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EE FR Thames Valley West March/April 2013

Drama classes  for  5-­‐ 16  yrs  in  Wokingham,   Lower  Earley,     Tilehurst  &  Burghfield    

Issue 64 •

0118  933  3791 Contact  Jackie   791  



RECRUITING NOW Successful Ô Business MumÕ is seeking 5 working partners to work part-time from home, alongside & without compromising family commitments or current career. If you have a supervisory, managerial, sales, marketing, FREE DELIVERY! recruitment or a self-employed background or you wish to develop an extraordinary lifestyle,

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Meadowbrook Montessori School ST. JOSEPH’S COLLEGE

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.


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We develop each childÕ s personal and social behaviour through our unique application of Positive Discipline©.

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Beginning with Parent and Toddler sessions, we support your child through to comprehensive preparation for secondary school. Fully accredited Montessori Teacher Training College offering part-time courses.

St Joseph’s College & Preparatory School Thursday 2 May 2013, 9.15am -12.15pm New Early Years Centre is now open To reserve a place at an Open Day, please call the Registrar on 0118 966 1000 or email We look forward to seeing you.

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Educating boys & girls from 2 ½ to 12 years old for over 20 years.

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Senior School Open Morning • Friday 26 April, 9.00 - 10.30am Junior School and Early Years Open Morning •• Thursday 9 May, 9.15 - 11.00am For times of Head’s talks and for more information please visit our website. For enquiries contact Admissions on 0118 987 2256 or email

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Thames Valley West MARCH/APRIL 2013

inthisissue ISSUE 64 • MAR/APR 2013

Visit us now at www.


News & Views


Raising Girls


Get Bouncing Tips on buying a trampoline

10 Holiday Clubs and Workshops 12 Easter Days Out

Some great ideas for family visits

15 What’s On 22 Competitions 23 Music, Dance & Drama Irish dancing, benefits of music, drama tips for parents

Editor’s Letter

It’s time for some Spring fun and we’ve been very busy tracking down lots of Easter events and activities. Our bumper What’s On guide is packed with ideas for keeping the family busy - from Easter Egg hunts and lambing events to craft activities, steam train rides and even Britain’s quirkiest event! If you’re bored of the park but don’t want your children stuck in front of the TV, why not enrol them at one of the camps, clubs or workshops listed on page 10? And we’ve got some unusual ideas for a family day trip in our Days Out feature. Find out where you can join a regal treasure hunt, journey through the history of chocolate or visit the circus. Parents looking for childcare should take a look at our feature starting on page 28. There are some useful tips on reducing childcare costs and hints on choosing a nursery. Mums-to-be won’t want to miss our article on hypnobirthing and, if you’re thinking of buying a trampoline for the summer, don’t miss our buyer’s guide on page 9. Whatever you get up to, enjoy Easter and have a lovely Mother’s Day! We’ll be back in May for our ever popular Parties issue. Karen and Jane

26 Hypnosis for Birth 28 Childcare Feature

Competition Winners from Jan/Feb issue

Choosing a nursery, reducing costs, childcare roundup

Skiplex Indoor Ski Slope: Caroline Kelly Cannelle Beauty Package: Amy Ward Aquabeat MP3 Player: Sally Hudson

31 World Book Day

Fun for young readers on 7 March

Don’t miss these great Families offers and competitions To advertise: Tel: 0118 954 6893 Contact us: Designed by: Graphic Resolutions 01438 871600 Next issue: May/June – Parties! Booking Deadline – 1 April

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Special OFFER with GO-KART Party – page 18 2 for 1 OFFER at Reading Climbing Centre – page 21 WIN a term at Stageability – page 22 Child Goes FREE to Wellington Country Park – page 22 WIN tickets to Marwell Zoo – page 22 WIN tickets to Odds Farm Park – page 22 Child goes FREE to Bucklebury Farm Park – page 31

Front cover photo courtesy of Polarn O. Pyret

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News & Views Long division rules From now on, children are to be awarded extra marks for using long division in maths, as long division and multiplication make a return to maths exams. As part of a Government incentive to increase standards in primary schools, 11 year olds will receive extra marks for using traditional methods of calculation in their Sats tests. Even if they end up with the wrong answer, the workings-out of sums will receive additional marks. The changes are due to be introduced from 2016 and coincide with the introduction of a new primary maths curriculum which places greater strength on times tables and mental arithmetic, plus calculators will be banned in maths tests sat by 11-year-olds at the end of primary school. The draft national curriculum for primary maths says that children should learn “efficient calculation methods”, such as short and long multiplication and division, and that nine-year-olds should know all their times tables up to 12x12 and confidently work with numbers up to 10 million by the end of primary school.

Get your garden in shape for the summer

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 play.

Spring is nearly here and now is the time for thoughts to turn to the garden. Why not let Carolynn and Fiona at Hill and Hughes Gardening help you to create the garden of your dreams? Whether you would like to revamp one area of the garden, create and plant a new border or embark on a complete makeover they will work closely with you to ensure the finished result meets your requirements and your budget. Alternatively if you would like to get stuck in yourself but don’t know one end of a spade from another why not use their garden expert service? They will come to visit you in your garden and spend time discussing the different plants and their requirements, pruning techniques, identifying the goodies and baddies and answer any other questions you may have. They will then provide a written report and even send monthly emails reminding you what you should be doing and when. If you want some instant colour and already have some lovely garden

pots or hanging baskets in the shed or at the bottom of the garden, rather than buy new ones each year, why not let the team at Hill and Hughes come to your home and plant up your existing pots with a stunning seasonal display? For more information call Hill and Hughes Gardening on 0118 969 3382, email info@ or visit

Toddler Time screenings come to Henley Our Lady’s Nursery The Avenue, Crowthorne, Berks RG45 6PB

01344 773394



Friday 19th and Saturday 20th April 2013, 9am-12pm


Thames Valley West

A new film club has just started running at The Regal Picturehouse in Henley. Toddler Time is especially designed to introduce children to the big screen, featuring 30-minute shows for pre-school children and their parents or carers. Tickets are just £3 each for children and accompanying adults who become members of the Toddler Time club. It’s free to join, just ask for details at the Box Office or call 0871 902 5747. Toddler Time starts with weekly screenings of Peppa Pig on Tuesday mornings until 19 March. For timings and further details visit


News & Views Helping Berkshire children to read Local charity ABC (Assisting Berkshire Children) to read aims to help as many children as possible to improve their reading. Schools identify pupils who need additional help and ABC to read safely recruit volunteers, then train and support them. Volunteers work twice a week on a 1:1 basis with three children for a year with a study showing 97% improve their reading performance as a result. ABC to read are also piloting courses that show parents the importance of talking, listening and

playing with their children in teaching the interactive skills that help them to adapt to school and the challenges of adult life that follow; as well as training school’s own parent helpers. The charity is currently looking for new volunteers and training is being held in Reading and Slough. The experience is very rewarding. Volunteers help to motivate, raise self-esteem and help each child to enjoy reading. Currently around 300 children in Berkshire, at 50 schools, are being helped but there are many more that could be reached if more volunteers and schools joined the scheme. If you can’t volunteer but would like to help, why not make a donation or join in fundraising? Schools and companies are encouraged to get in touch to find out more about working together to raise literacy standards. Find out more by going to or calling Marcia Rowlinson on 0118 951 1336.

Where awe and wonder are part of the curriculum.

Chess is back! Chess is making a dramatic comeback in primary schools, 30 years after it all but disappeared from the state school scene. In the past two years, a total of 175 schools, including those serving some of the most deprived areas of the country, have reintroduced the game to the curriculum. Now the charity behind its revival, Chess in Schools and Communities, is optimistic the take-up will spread to 1,000 state schools within the next three years. CSC is pushing for all primary school children in the country to have the chance to learn how to play chess, and has already taught over 6,000 children in schools, as well as providing schools with chess sets, a chess curriculum and a weekly visit from a chess trainer. Academics are agreed the game is a major stimulant for improving pupils’ concentration and believe it can also be used in other subject areas, such as maths, to improve skills. It is easy to see why heads are keen to encourage it a report by Chessmaster Jerry Myers on why it should be encouraged in schools says, “We believe it directly contributes to academic performance. Chess makes children smarter.”

Fun food on a plate Make meal times fun for even for the fussiest eater with these Food Face Plates. Why not give Ms Food Face a broccoli bouffant or Mr Food Face a gravy beard? The 9" plates come individually gift boxed for £9.95 each from along with lots of ideas for creative food arrangements!


Holme Grange – Open a World of Possibility! Holme Grange School is an independent preparatory school for girls and boys aged 3-13 years. They told us: “We offer a unique educational experience in an idyllic setting in 21 acres of Wokingham countryside. Each pupil can thrive in an environment offering myriad opportunities in the classroom, on stage or sports field and in our outdoor woodland learning areas. “Academic standards are excellent. We believe your child’s happiness, security, and future are based on the choices you make for them in the early years so we provide a stimulating environment with innovative teaching and an investigative approach to learning. “When a child leaves us, they will be well-prepared for the world – selfconfident, sociable articulate and with special memories of their time here.” To find out all that Holme Grange has to offer call 0118 978 1566 or visit

Senior School at Work: Wed 6 March 9.15am Whole School Family Open Day: Sat 11 May 10am-12pm

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

View for the latest news

Thames Valley West


News & Views You’ll find more online at Find a child-friendly walk at: buckleburywalk Easter treats for the children to make: Easternests Creative outdoor fun with sticks

Making Music Magic! For babies & pre-schoolers

Bracknell, Wokingham & Crowthorne Contact Liz 07985 935662, Henley Contact Anna 07887 571375,

Taking the Fast Track to fitness If you’re looking for a fun way to get fit and healthy, tone up your body and maybe lose a few pounds, why not give FastTrack Fit Camp a go? Their 4-week Fit Camps offer outdoor bootcamp style work-outs combined with online healthy eating plans and nutritional advice. A team of professional fitness instructors make sure exercises are varied, so boredom doesn’t set in, and the support and camaraderie of the other bootcampers makes sessions fun and keeps everyone going back for more. The idea of exercising in the fresh air appealed to one local mum we spoke to but she was worried Fit Camp would be yet another exercise regime that she soon gave up on. “I was worried it would be full of fit people and once again I would feel like the fat frumpy one who couldn’t do the exercises”, she told us. To her delight she found everyone really friendly and supportive and has made several good friends within the group. “We all have our different strengths and the instructor is so encouraging, suggesting slightly different exercises to help you build up to the full thing. She gently pushes you along when you feel like giving up.”

Fit Camp members find the regime benefits them in many ways. Helen, who attends the Winnersh camp, told us, “I get loads from Fit Camp, I love it. I am more confident, I don’t worry now about my fitness although I’ve got more I’d like to achieve. I feel so much better physically and mentally. Did I say I love it?! “ FastTrack Fit Camps are suitable for all fitness levels and camp locations include Wokingham, Winnersh, Warfield, Twyford, Henley and Swallowfield. Early morning, daytime and evening sessions are available. Find out more be visiting or calling Heidi on 07968 774804.

Labels4Kids launches new website Labelling specialist Labels4Kids is launching their new look website in March. It will make ordering so much easier and you can even design your own labels prior to ordering. There are labels for your children, your sport requirements, camping, corporate and even care home items for grandparents, plus a personalised clothing site selling high quality clothing in both climacool and normal ranges. Ann-Maree Morrison, the founder and Managing Director, told us: “We have, I believe, the best quality labels for a reasonable price. Labels4Kids has very high levels of customer service with a money back guarantee, a free returns policy and a free 1st class delivery option.” See the full range at today.

Personal injury solicitors Specialising in a wide range of accidents and injuries, we have been helping accident victims for well over 30 years.

Members of all the relevant specialist panels including the Law Society, Headway and the Spinal Injuries Association.

We hope it never happens to you, but if you do have an accident, call Kim Smerdon Freephone 0800 884 0719 Email Let us show you that it really is true ... not all law firms are the same.


Thames Valley West

Families Mag TVwest Mar 2013v2.indd 1

06/02/2013 12:42:49


Mother’s Day – March 10

Finding the perfect gift for Mother’s Day With Mother’s Day just around the corner, it’s time to think about choosing that perfect little gift which tells your mum just how you feel about her. Finding that special gift for that special someone in your life isn’t easy, especially when you haven’t got lots of time to trail around the shops. We‘ve discovered a great new website which sells artisan handmade, designer gifts and homeware all by British designers. Many of the products they sell, are ‘one off items’ like this beautiful resin stone

mounted silver pendant (bottom left), or can be personalised like this silver initial and angel wing necklace (right). The business was set up last year, by partners Deborah Bancroft and Ann Ellison. Deborah told us, “People are so busy these days they don’t always have the time to hunt down exactly what they want, especially if they are looking for something a little different. We wanted to bring together many gorgeous and unique products all under one roof and at the same time support the growth of small British businesses”. Many of the products they sell are made from locally sourced materials or are exclusive designs. Their pampering products

include a sumptuous range of organic bath and body products. One of our particular favourites is deliciously named ‘bath spa with bergamot, lime and black pepper’ (left), ideal for indulging in that little ‘me time’. Go on, treat your mum like she deserves and make her feel extra special this Mothering Sunday!


new for 2013 learn how to garden using our garden expert service see website for more details

call Carolynn and Fiona on 0118 934 4784/07973713303

making the most of your garden space Ideas for Mother’s Days Out on pages 15 and 16

garden design and planting plans hanging basket and pot planting

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Thames Valley West



Getting girls back on track A few years ago, psychologist Steve Biddulph was advising parents how to raise boys. Now he’s back with a formula for bringing up girls. Joanna Moorhead, a mother of four daughters, asked him what matters most.

Fifteen years ago, Steve Biddulph leapt to fame when his ground-breaking book Raising Boys tackled the difficulties that were making life tough for parents of boys – rising rates of ADHD, aggressive behaviour, teenage drinking. Back then, he says, “girls were doing just fine”. But no longer. “It all started to change about five years ago. We began to see a sudden and marked plunge in girls’ mental health. Problems such as eating disorders and self-harm, which once had been extremely rare, were now happening in every classroom and every street. And more than this, the average girl was stressed and depressed in a way she hadn’t been before.” So now Biddulph is back with a new book aimed at parents with girls. And the message he wants to give us is that, from their earliest times, we need to bomb-proof them from what he calls

“a world that seems bent on poisoning their confidence and trashing their lives”. What the onslaught is all about, says Biddulph, is the fact that advertisers have fixed their beady eyes on our pre-teen daughters: they’ve realised that little girls are extremely malleable from a marketing point of view, and they’ve gone all-out to sell them not only pinkclad dolls and gender-typed toys, but also sexualised clothes (long, long before any little girl should be thinking about looking attractive to the opposite sex) and pre-adolescent make-up.

Biddulph’s advice is simple Avoid all gender-stereotyped toys and products like the plague. From her earliest days, think not about what material possessions you are giving your daughter: instead, concentrate on how you’re making her feel. From birth to two, he explains, all that really matters to a baby girl is that she feels safe and loved. In a world where the arrival of a little girl is often seen as an invitation to start showering her with possessions – cute outfits, a pretty bedroom – he advocates forgetting all about what she has (especially if it’s of the ‘girly’ variety) and concentrating entirely on how welcome, and wanted, and loved she is in your life. The deep-rooted confidence that brings will,

he promises, be something she carries with her right through her life. From two to five, a little girl starts feeling interested in the world around her: now, she needs to be introduced to the world as an exciting and fascinating place, a place full of adventures. From five to ten it’s all about people skills – what she most needs to discover, says Biddulph, is that while her feelings are very important indeed, other people’s feelings matter too. With the coming of puberty, a girl’s thoughts shift towards what Biddulph calls ‘finding her soul’: if she is helped and encouraged to find what he calls her ‘spark’, some passion or interest that she cares deeply about and is willing to invest her time in, that will help her to find fulfilment through her entire life. It’s an empowering message: best of all, for parents like me, is Biddulph’s conviction that the family and the adults surrounding a girl are the most important elements in helping light the fire that will burn through all her days. If girlhood has sometimes seemed scary, Biddulph reminds us that it’s exciting and enriching – and guides us through the skills that will help us help our daughters, time after time. Steve Biddulph’s Raising Girls is published by HarperCollins, £12.99

Osteopathy Physiotherapy Acupuncture Cranial Osteopathy Sports Massage Nutritional Consultancy

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Thames Valley West

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Outdoor Toys

Get bouncing! Children just love trampolines and buying one is an exciting prospect. However choosing the right model can be an overwhelming exercise. There are numerous manufacturers, brands and models on the market, so how do you choose when clever images make it impossible to tell the good from the bad? And why do some trampolines cost so much more than others? We asked local experts Just Outdoors Toys to give us some tips to consider when looking for a trampoline. What size should I buy? Get the biggest trampoline you can fit in your garden - children grow! Try laying a hosepipe out in a circle in the garden as a guide to see how it fits. Remember size is measured across the outer perimeters of the frame, so a 12ft trampoline has a bounce area of 10 feet as the pads are about 12 inches wide. A 10ft one has just 8 feet diameter of bounce area etc. Standard sizes are 8ft (for toddlers), 10ft (young children in a small garden), 12ft (most popular size) and 14ft diameter (space isn’t an issue). Note: You gain approx. 30% more bounce area with every 2 feet.

Which shape is best? Round trampolines are great for messing around and having fun in the garden. Rectangular ones are used by professionals and give optimum bounce but safety nets don’t fit them. Oval trampolines are bouncier than round ones and a safety surround fits them neatly.

What surface does the trampoline need to sit on? Flat ground is not necessary as legs can be dug in and some are adjustable. Grass is the best surface but it will die off underneath. Use cushioning under the legs if siting on a hard surface such as a patio.

Why are some trampolines more expensive?

If you want support, service and customer care beware of cheap unknown brands sold online or by non-specialist retailers. You get what you pay for!

Some final tips • Trampoline tents look fun but they do take an hour to erect (safety nets must be removed and replaced afterwards) plus it’s unsafe to bounce inside them. • Trampolines are designed to be kept outdoors all year round - no hibernation required! • ALWAYS buy a fun trampoline with a safety net. Just Outdoors Toys is a family run business specialising in outdoor play equipment. See their largest range of play equipment online, or pay a visit to their Thames Valley Display Centre, at Burnham, near Slough, where you can try before you buy! The outdoor display centre is full of climbing frames, swings, slides, sandpits, playhouses and trampolines from a range of manufacturers. Children can play to their heart’s content while you can chat to experienced staff about what you want and how it will work in your garden. For more information go to or call 01628 660 893. e ic h Pr atc ise M om Pr

ex ye 10 pe ar rie s nc e

Good quality trampolines have more and longer length springs, higher gauge (thickness) galvanised steel frames, thicker pads and longer warranties. Expect a good trampoline from a reputable manufacturer to last 10+ years. Second-hand or eBay bargains which develop problems may end up costing you more than buying new. Parts are usually expensive and some brands/models are one offs making it impossible to source replacement parts.

TP Octagonal 12ft Genius Trampoline

Try before you buy!

01628 660 893 BIGGEST Display in the Thames Valley (just 5 mins from M4 J7) Abbey Rose Nursery, Nashdom Lane, Burnham SL1 8NJ

Find your child a trampolining class at

Thames Valley West


Easter Activities

Holiday Fun! The Easter holidays will soon be upon us. If you’re looking for childcare or just a day or two of fun for your children we’ve listed details of a few holiday camps, clubs and workshops below. You’ll find lots more at

Ufton Court, Tue 9-Fri 12 April, 6+yrs, £145, 07863 734 830 Showcase production in Ufton Court Barn 6.30pm, Fri 12 April Dance, Drama, Singing, Circus Skills, Magic and other specialist master classes!

Full details and booking visit

Children’s Party Planners

• Bear Making Parties • Fabric Painting Parties • Theme Parties

Jubilee Jets

Visit our website for current prices. or call us on 07764 849828 or e-mail:

Berzerk Easter School runs at Energy Kidz Holiday Club

FDA approved, non-allergenic materials. Experienced, friendly & reliable service. 07505 104 376

Quality, Fun and Affordable Holiday Care held in: Arborfield, Crowthorne, Spencers Wood, Wargrave, Windsor, Winnersh and Wokingham. Fun Games and Activities, Arts and Crafts, Sports, Specialist Activities and Free Choice for 4 to 11 year olds. Standard day (10am-4pm) costs £19.50 per day and Extended Day (8am-6pm) costs £23.95. 0845 519 4470,,

Adventure Dolphin in

Pangbourne offer various Taste of Adventure days for 8-13yrs between 2-12 April. Try out canoeing, kayaking, climbing, archery, survival skills and more. 10am-4pm. £36 per day (£34 with West Berks Leisure card) to include lunch. 0118 984 3162,

The Apollo Holiday Care Club, close to Reading town centre.

2-12 April. For 4-11yrs, 8.30am5.30pm. £16 full day, £8 half day. Childcare vouchers accepted. Need to bring packed lunch. Activities include cooking, drama, special trips and arts & crafts. 0118 916 8416,

Barracudas Activity Day Camp at The Holt School,

Wokingham. 2-12 April. For 4½-16yrs, offering a wide range of sports, arts & crafts and other activities. 8.30am-5.30pm with 8am-6pm extended day available. 0845 123 5299,


Thames Valley West

Ufton Court in Ufton Nervet on 9-12 April for ages 6+yrs. Enjoy dance, drama, singing, combat, circus skills, magic and other specialist master classes whilst working towards a showcase production in Ufton Court Barn on the Friday. 10am-3pm (late finish on Friday). Full details and booking on

Bracknell Leisure Centre has lots going on over the holidays. Little ones can enjoy Messy play in the Crèche every Tuesday afternoon; there are short swimming courses running for all ages and abilities, including mums; and budding Beckhams can sign up for Soccer Dribblers to learn some basic football skills. 01344 454 203,

Bulmershe Gymnastics Club in Woodley has holiday sessions for walking to 5+yrs from 10am-2.30pm on Tuesdays 2 and 9 April. £6.30 per hour session, £11.60 for two hours. 0118 926 3686, admin@ Dramatix Productions are running a performance Easter school from 2-5 April 10am-4pm (6pm on Friday) at Cranford House for 6-16yrs which includes acting, singing, musical theatre, master classes and much more. Showcase for parents on Friday 5.30-6pm. £105, sibling discounts. Also a two day dance course on 8 and 9 April for £55 or do both schools for £145. 07886 918 492, Edgbarrow Sports Centre has

Foxys Fun Weeks for 3-6yrs, Club 7-11 for 7-11yrs and Senior Sports Academy for

11-16yrs from 2-12 April. 8am-4pm or half-days. Also taster sessions in trampolining or gymnastics for 4-16yrs, 4-6pm. 01344 776 211,

Jubilee Jets Holiday Club at

Jubilee Too, School Rd, Padworth Common, RG7 4JA. 2-15 April. For 5-11yrs, with woodland adventures, animal care, quad biking, trampolining, football, team challenges, arts, crafts and more. 8am-6pm. 0118 970 1600,

Have a Blast! are running fun dance and drama workshops this Easter: The BFG Musical Theatre (5-12yrs) 8-10 April afternoons (Emmer Green only); Dance a Story: Journey into Space (3-5yrs) on 2 April (Emmer Green) and 3 April (Twyford); Street Dance for (Reception–Year 2) on 2 April (Emmer Green) and 3 April (Twyford); Act a Story: Red Riding Hood (4-6yrs) on 2 April (Emmer Green) and 3 April (Twyford). See website for full details and booking. 07986 488 087, Henley Leisure Centre will be

running children’s activities over the holidays. Contact them for further details. 01491 577 909,

Hotshots Multi Sports Camps offer children aged 4-13yrs the opportunity to be active, learn new skills and have fun. Qualified PE teachers, OFSTED registered and childcare vouchers accepted. Open 8am-6pm. 0845 301 0450,

John Nike LeisureSport Complex in Bracknell offer multiactivity camps for 8+yrs from 2-5


Easter Activities and 8-12 April. Activities include ice skating, skiing, Cresta run, team sports, sno-tubing and more. 01344 789 000,

Kings Camp is running a choice of

Easter Camps at Queen Anne’s School, Caversham. 8-12 April. Multi-Active for 4-13yrs, Rookie Sports Leaders Award for 14-17yrs and International Soccer Schools, a specialist football programme, for 5-10yrs. 0114 263 2160,

Reading Borough Council is running a number of Holiday Playclubs over the holidays for rising 5’s–12yrs. 8.30am-5.30pm (shorter sessions available) at Highdown School, Emmer Green; Waterloo Meadows Children’s Centre, Elgar Rd; and St Joseph’s Convent School on Upper Redlands Rd. 0118 937 2637,

and Meadow Vale School in Bracknell; Ascot Heath Junior School in Ascot; and Waingel’s College in Woodley. 2-12 April. 10am-4pm with extensions available from 8.15am to 6pm. Caters for 4-13yrs with multi activity, sport, arts and crafts, drama, adventure. 0845 094 2322,

Loddon Valley Leisure Centre in

Rivermead Leisure Centre is

Lower Earley has a Holiday Club for 5-12yrs. 2-12 April. 8am-6pm or 9.30am-3.30pm. Sports and games, judo, climbing wall, swimming and street dance and much more. 0118 974 6264/0118 974 3728 sportsdevelopment@wokingham.

The Mad House Holiday Club,

Green Park Reading for 3-11yrs. 2-12 April. 8.30am-6pm, with activities in the play structures as well as arts, crafts and more. 0118 975 5455,

Perform Wokingham are running a

3-day Hansel and Gretel workshop with colourful costumes, original songs and live music for 4-8yrs at Wokingham Methodist Hall, Rose Street, Wokingham 3-5 April. 2.30-4.30pm. Children will go on a magical adventure with unique games, energetic dance and colourful improvisation. £93 incl. refreshments, discounts available. 0845 400 1283,

Super Camps are running Multi-

activity Camps from 2-12 April at Bearwood College, near Wokingham and LVS Ascot in Ascot. These offer over 40 different sports, arts and crafts activities for 4-14yrs, from archery to quad bikes. RAW Adventure camps for 7-14yrs are also running at Bearwood College, offering the chance to learn outdoor survival skills. All camps offer optional extended hours from 8am-6pm. 01235 832 222,

Bracknell Leisure Centre

Bracknell & Thatcham • Non-swimmers & Improvers from 3 1/2 years

Reading FC has various soccer schools running between 2-12 April for boys and girls aged 5-14yrs, including goalkeeping courses. Locations include the new outdoor 3G pitch behind the Dome at the Madejski Stadium, the Goals Centre in Woodley, Henwick Playing Fields in Thatcham, Stanlake Meadow in Twyford, Palmer Park and Church Crookham. 0118 968 1480, www.readingfc.

KOOSA Kids runs at Birch Hill School


running a Holiday Play Scheme for over 8’s. 2-12 April. 8.30am-5pm. £16 per day, £75 per week. Early drop off and late pick up available at extra cost. Also drop-in sessions at The Zone, 10-11am and 11-12noon daily, £3.60 per hour. 0118 901 5000,

• Snorkelling & Diving • Advanced & Club level swimmers • 6 children per class • Teachers CRB checked • Term & Holiday courses available

( local rate ) │

South Hill Park in Bracknell offers 8-16yrs the opportunity to appear in the SHP Easter show Wind in the Willows. No experience necessary just lots of enthusiasm. Rehearsals on various dates from 3 March. £121, £81 for siblings. 01344 484 123,

St Crispins Sports Centre in Wokingham is running a Holiday Club with sports, games, dance, judo and much more for 5-12yrs. 2-12 April. 8am-6pm or 9.30am-3.30pm. 0118 974 6264/0118 974 3728 sportsdevelopment@wokingham. Tennis Camps for 5-15yrs at Caversham, Caversham Park, Wargrave and Slough Tennis Clubs from 2–5 April & 8-12 April. 10am-1pm, 10am-3pm, 8.30am–4.30pm. 0118 947 7885,

Waverley School Holiday Club based at Waverley School in Finchampstead is open from 28 March-12 April. For 3-11yrs with themed weeks with arts, crafts, cooking, sports, dance, music and more. 8am-6pm, half days available. 07920 268 735/0118 973 1121,

Set in Do you have fantastic children aged countryside location 5 to 11 years? Book a fun-filled • Woodland & adventure for the farm visits Easter Holidays! • Arts & crafts

• Building dens

We are open 2nd to & bases 15th April, 8am to 6pm. • Cooking Full or half days available.

Booking forms available online, at:

• Trampolining • Games and races • Quad bikes

School Holiday Fun!

or call us on 0118 9701 600 for more information Paddock View, Rectory Rd, Padworth Common, Berks, RG7 4JD

Ofsted registered

Lots more activities at

Thames Valley West


Family Fun

Easter Days Out In our house any suggestion of a ‘family walk’ is greeted by a major outbreak of pouting, sulking and even tears (and that’s just my husband). However, add a few clues, some cute lambs or the prospect of a sweet treat into the mix, and the whole family is fighting to get out of the house.

NT Robert Morris

Luckily, at Easter time it’s easy to find a day out that includes all of these and more. Our What’s On diary, starting on page 15, includes lots of places to visit but here are a few of our favourites.

Learn more about chocolate at Kew Gardens fun, Treehouse Towers has giant swings, zip wires, scramble nets and slides to help burn off some more energy. If you’ve got a head for heights, enjoy an exciting birds-eye view over the Gardens along the Xstrata Treetop Walkway, an 18 metre-high circular walkway through the treetops. For rainier days there are the Glasshouse galleries to explore. Climb up high inside the Palm House or the Temperate House to tower above the palms and plants and experience the huge scale of these historic glasshouses. As well as incredible plants, the Palm House and the Princess of Wales Conservatory also feature aquatic displays where you can see piranha, enormous catfish, freshwater stingrays and water dragons. In the latter you can also find the Cacao, or chocolate, tree. Adult entry to Kew Gardens costs £14.50 but children under 17 are free. For more information about upcoming events see


Discover fun, excitement, adventure, and most important of all – chocolate – at Kew Gardens this Easter. From 29 March to 14 April you can take a journey through time and discover the history of this delicious substance. Learn where our passion for chocolate originated; from the use of cacao in Ancient Maya and Aztec culture, to sailing across the seas to Europe with the Spanish Conquistadors and finally arriving in 17th century London. Handson sessions will give youngsters the opportunity to explore the world of chocolate – from cocoa pods to delicious Easter eggs – and on Easter Sunday there will be the traditional Easter Egg hunt. Spring is a lovely time to visit Kew with over five million bulbs coming in to bloom, and there are plenty of family-friendly activities on offer. Younger children will love Climbers and Creepers, a unique indoor play zone for 3-9 year olds and, for outdoor

Amners Farm Lambing Days Open 27th & 28th April and 4th, 5th & 6th May 2013 11am – 6pm (last entry 5pm)

6.00 Adults: £ £4.50 n re ild h C 0.00* 2 £ ily es Fam ket includ tic *(Family s) n, 2 adult 2 childre

Pregnant women are advised not to attend the Lambing Days. No dogs allowed.

• Seeing lambs being born • Steam train rides • Pets Corner • Straw play barn • Crafts & refreshments • Archery • Tractor and trailer rides • Pony rides • Falconry and more...

out! y a d t a e r G A

Find us between Junction 11 and 12 south of the M4. Follow the signs on the day. For more information go to

or call us on 01189 833 437 Amners Farm, Burghfield, Reading, Berkshire RG30 3UE


Thames Valley West


Family Fun Have fun at Wellington Country Park

Visitors to Wellington Country Park, ‘The Biggest Outdoor Play in Berkshire’, can enjoy a range of extra activities during the Easter holidays, all included in the admission price. Easter Sunday sees the Park’s first ever ‘Mega Egg Hunt’. Large decorated eggs will be dotted around the grounds, each with a clue or letter on them, which families must find to solve the riddle. Children can meet the Easter bunny and then get creative in the craft tent. Over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend the Baby Big Top, pictured, will be returning by popular demand to thrill and entertain with two circus shows a day. The fun continues into the rest of the school holidays with special activities, from crazy bikes to magic shows, running on various days. Set in 350 acres of beautiful parkland between Reading and Basingstoke, Wellington Country Park is a fun place to visit at any time of the year. Aimed particularly at children up to the age of 10, there are 1 plenty of outdoor activities to fill your day, from woodland nature trails Untitled-1.indd  to a 9 hole crazy golf course. Children can crawl, slide, climb and jump their way through the adventure playgrounds, build sandcastles in the sandpits, ride on the miniature railway (extra charge) and head to the To advertise call 0118 954 6893 or email Animal Farm to meet the farm yard friends. If they still have any energy left, how about bouncing the afternoon away on the jumping pillow or  visiting the resident herd of deer? For further details, times, information and prices visit

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

06/02/2013 11:21

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Beale Park is the place to be this Easter Calling all wannabe Pirates! Beale Park, at Lower Basildon, has got some great ways to entertain the children this Easter, including a fantastic new adventure playground, ‘Pirate Island’. The play area comes complete with a 47ft wooden adventure ship, wooden pirate island fort, new sand pit, cannons, challenging walkways, slides, rope nets and a mini climbing wall. With the Park open from 10am daily, there’s a lot to see and do including some new arrivals such as a baby Cameroon Sheep, two new Sulcata Tortoises, a Chilean Rose Tarantula and a range of bugs including Hissing Cockroaches, Locusts, Jewel Beetles and Assassin Bugs, all of whom reside in Pets’ Corner. The Park is offering a variety of additional activities including Archery Taster Session, Plant a Sunflower Seed and Junior Keeper Sessions. Visit www.bealepark. for details.

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Easter traditions –

Thames Valley West


Family Fun Join the Easter Egg Trail

NT Jennie Woodcock

For the sixth year running, Cadbury and the National Trust are teaming up to help families celebrate Easter weekend together by offering fun Easter Egg Trails at many different National Trust places throughout the country. Follow cryptic clues around picturesque gardens, complete fun-filled challenges and explore some spectacular places to hunt down a chocolate prize. Each trail is unique to its location and offers a range of activities for all the family to enjoy. There is an entry fee for most National Trust properties, members go free, plus a small additional charge for the trails. We have listed local Trails in our What’s On pages but you can find the full list by visiting As well as Trail details and locations, you can also find tips on how to make the most of the Easter weekend at home. There’s also an Easter Egg Trail Pack, the perfect kit for organising exciting egg trails at home.

Celebrate Easter at ‘Downton Abbey’ Admission tickets to visit Highclere Castle over the Easter period were snapped up months ago. However you can still enjoy views of the real ‘Downton Abbey’ on Easter Sunday when local children’s hospice, Naomi House, will be holding its annual Easter Egg Hunt in the beautiful grounds, situated close to Newbury. Running from 11am until around 4pm, admission costs £5 per person, and a chocolate egg is on offer to all children completing the Easter Egg Hunt (subject to supplies). Don’t forget to take your homemade bonnet along to join the Easter Bonnet Parade – or make one at the craft workshops – you might win a prize. There will be plenty of other activities to enjoy including a 1940’s themed area with characters from the era, a nursing station where you can practice your bandaging skills, vintage Rolls Royces and military vehicles. More modern attractions include an array of fete games, beat the goalie, stalls, a Classic Ferrari car display, bouncy castle, bungee trampolines, face painting, glitter tattoos, refreshments and entertainment throughout the day. What would Lady Grantham have to say about it all! For more information, take a look at

St. George’s Tower, Oxford’s oldest building. (inset) Help Empress Matilda find her treasure

Enjoy a regal treasure hunt A Right Royal Treasure Hunt will be taking place at Oxford Castle – Unlocked this Easter. The year is 1142 and Empress Matilda is besieged at Oxford Castle. To win the battle against her foe King Stephen, she must find her hidden treasure. From 29 March until 14 April, visitors are invited to complete the trail and help Empress Matilda claim victory and the coveted crown of England. Arts and crafts will also be available in the prison gallery. Oxford Castle – Unlocked is a 1000-year castle, which was also used as a place of incarceration for over 800 years. The attraction offers a 40-minute guided tour with a costumed character from the castle’s history, exploring the Saxon stone-built St. George’s Tower, the atmospheric crypt, the preserved prison wing and the archaic man-made mound, offering breath-taking views across Oxford’s dreaming spires. Oxford Castle - Unlocked is open daily from 10am to 5.30pm (last tour 4.20pm). Tickets cost £9.25 adult, £6.95 child, and £7.95 conc. Further information can be found at


Thames Valley West

Did you know? • Easter was originally a pagan festival – the ancient Saxons celebrated spring with a party in honour of its goddess, Eastre. • The average time for children to start tucking into their first chocolate Easter egg is 11am on Easter Sunday, with 30% of children eating their chocolate egg instead of breakfast! • Eggs are coloured brightly to symbolise the sunlight of spring. • The first Cadbury’s Easter egg was made in 1875, in dark chocolate; milk chocolate didn’t arrive until 1905 with the launch of Dairy Milk • A new Guinness World Record for the most entrants in an egg hunt was set in London last Easter after 12,773 entrants took part in The Fabergé Big Egg Hunt.


What’s On

We take great care in compiling these listings but please always contact the venue in advance to check details are correct.

Diary Dates Ongoing events Daily – FAMILY SPRING TRAIL at Cliveden, Taplow, Maidenhead, SL6 0JA, 0844 249 1895, www. Explore the springtime landscape at Cliveden by picking up a free family trail from the Information Centre. Go on an adventure through the gardens to find the clues and complete your trail. Open 10am5pm, normal admission charges apply. Every Friday during term time – TODDLER TIME at The Musuem of English Rural Life, Redlands Rd, Reading, RG1 5EX, 0118 378 8660, Rhymes, songs or craft activities based on objects in the museum collection or garden. 10-11am & 1-2pm. For families with children 2-4yrs. £2, drop in. Daily – BEALE PARK at Lower Basildon, Reading, RG8 9NW, 0844 826 1761, There are lots of new attractions this year alongside the usual fun of the playgrounds, animals, gardens, walks and activities on the banks of the picturesque River Thames. For details see page 13. Archery taster sessions (£1.50 extra charge) will be run on 2, 16-17, 23, 2931 March & 1, 5-6 & 12-13 April. On 3 & 10 April you can also Plant a Sunflower Seed 10-2pm (£1.50 per pot). Daily – ODDS FARM PARK at Wooburn Common, nr Beaconsfield, High Wycombe, HP10 0LX, 01628 520 188, Spring is a particularly lovely time of year to visit this award winning farm park because so many babies are born. Get up close to the animals in the hands-on area inside the large undercover animal barns. Stroke bunnies, hand feed goats and sheep, meet cheeky pigs and more. The indoor giant Playbarn contains a massive adventure play area with special toddler and under 5’s areas, plus an Espresso bar for the adults. Outdoor activities include an adventure maze, go-karts, log play areas and crazy golf. • Enter our competition to win tickets to Odds Farm Park on page 22. Weekends and school holidays – THE SLIME SHOW at The Look Out Discovery Centre, Bracknell, RG12 7QW, 01344 354 400, thelookoutdiscoverycentre 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.

March 2 March – GREATWOOD CHARITY RACEDAY at Newbury Racecourse, RG14 7NZ, 01635 40015, Alongside some of the season’s best Jump racing, enjoy a host of equestrian demonstrations and guest appearances, with pony rides for younger racegoers. This fixture also recognises the fantastic work of racehorse rehabilitation charity, Greatwood. Gates open at 11.30am with first race at 2pm.

Join us this Easter! Family tours at MERL

2 March – BABY & CHILDREN’S MARKET at Bracknell Leisure Centre, Bagshot Rd, Bracknell, RG12 9SE, Stallholders selling excellent quality nearly new and new baby and children’s items from birth to 8yrs plus unique family products and services. 2-4pm. £1 entrance, children free. 2-3 March – DAYS OUT WITH THOMAS at Didcot Railway Centre, Didcot, OX11 7NJ, 01235 817 200, Ride behind ‘Thomas’, see the Troublesome Trucks in action, find out about Duck’s Dilemma and meet Diesel and the Fat Controller. Plus a variety of children’s entertainment including magic shows, Punch & Judy, balloon modelling and a circus workshop. 10am-4pm, with entrance from 9.30am. Tickets: £12, child £10, family (2+2) £39. Tickets available on the day or book by phone or online at 3 March – BABY & CHILDREN’S MARKET at Swallowfield Parish Hall, Swallowfield, RG7 1QX, 2-4pm. See 2 March entry for details. 9 March – MOTHER’S DAY PLANT POTS at The Nature Discovery Centre, Muddy Lane, Lower Way, Thatcham, RG19 3FU, 01635 874 381, Decorate a plant pot and make felt flowers to put in it, a perfect homemade gift for Mother’s Day. Drop in between 2pm-4pm. £1 per child.

10 March – MOTHER’S DAY at The Savill Garden, Wick Lane, Englefield Green, TW20 0UU, Mums enjoy free entry for the day into The Savill Garden. Enjoy the gardens, the Savill Building with gift shop, plant centre, restaurant and art gallery. Horse drawn carriage rides run all day between 11am-4pm (weather permitting). Normal parking charges apply.

For details, call 0118 378 8660, email or visit

• Free, drop-in

Join us in the holidays for our Easter bunny trail, craft workshops & fun family tours

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10 March – MOTHER’S DAY at Cliveden, Taplow, Maidenhead, SL6 0JA, 0844 249 1895, cliveden Celebrate Mother’s Day by visiting Cliveden. Mums go free and can enjoy the beautiful grounds plus a free wine tasting (while stocks last). Between 11am-3pm children can make a Mother’s Day gift at the craft workshop (£2 additional charge). 10am-4pm. 10 March – MOTHER’S DAY at Basildon Park, Lower Basildon, RG8 9NR, 0118 984 3040, basildonpark ‘Pottering About’ will be visiting Basildon Park between 11am-4pm. Children can make their mums a special plate personalised with their handprint (prices start from £10). Grounds open at 10am. Normal admission charges apply. Also being served, between 3-4.30pm, is a special Mother’s Day tea, which includes a glass of sparkling wine. Tickets cost £25 and must be booked in advance.

Contact us

• 3rd & 9th April, 11.30 & 2pm







10am - 4pm Everyday ( 5pm Aug)

01962 863791

Winchester SO21 1HZ

Full theatre listings at Thames Valley West


What’s On

Giant Softplay Padded Toddler Area Dressing Up & Reading Area Disco • Café Baby & Toddler Classes Holiday Workshops & Events Birthday Parties Laser Tag Parties Make a Bear Parties Eddie Catz Newbury

Northway House, York Rd, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 7NF Tel. 0845 2011268 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, Putney Spencers Wood, Purley on Thames, Reading, Wokingham and 68–70 Putney St dates and locations across the Thames Valley. For ourHigh market SW15 see the ‘What’s On’ London, section of the 1SF magazine or visit us at: • 07881 641614

Reading Science Week, 15-24 March

10 March – MOTHER’S DAY CRUISE leaving from Hobbs of Henley Ltd, Station Rd, Henley, RG9 1AZ, 01491 572 035, Treat your mum to a unique Mother’s Day lunch and cruise aboard The New Orleans. Tickets cost £37.50 pp which includes an arrival drink, 3 course lunch and live entertainment. A children’s menu for under 10’s costs £19.50. 12.30-3.30pm. 10 March – MOTHER’S DAY at Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway, Chinnor, OX39 4ER, 01844 353 535, Mums travel free when accompanied by a fare paying passenger and receive a complimentary posy of flowers. Trains at 10.15am, 11.45am, 1.30pm, 3pm and 4.30pm. 10 March – MAVELLOUS MOTHER’S DAY CRAFT FAIR at The Vyne, Vyne Rd, Sherborne St John, Basingstoke, RG24 9HL, 01256 883858 This bijou and crafty fair is back by popular demand to treat all mums to a lovely day of celebrations. 11am5pm. Normal admission charges apply. 10 March – MOTHERING SUNDAY at Greys Court, Rotherfield Greys, Henley, 01491 628935, greys-court Celebrate Mother’s Day at Greys Court, a family celebration with a special lucky-dip gift for all mums. 11am-5pm. Normal admission charges apply. 10-16 March – HENLEY YOUTH FESTIVAL at various venues around Henley, A varied programme on the theme of ‘Back to the future’ which includes performance arts, sports, competitions events and workshops. Lots of free bookable workshops are also on offer. For the under 5s these include Beanie Babies, Story time, Disco Divas & Dudes and arts & crafts. School-age children can try out bell-boating, judo, arts & crafts, fencing, cheerleading, cricket and synchronised swimming plus lots more. Visit the website to find out more and to book.


Thames Valley West

14-17 March – THE BIG BANG FAIR at ExCeL London, E16 1XL, The largest celebration of science and engineering for young people in the UK. Designed to inspire 7-19 year olds make the link between the classroom and great careers, it allows them to meet some of the country’s leading scientists and engineers and to see interactive exhibits and explosive theatre shows such as Gastronaut Live and Guinness World Records: Science Live. The event and shows are free but you do need to register on the website. 15 March – LEGOLAND RE-OPENS at LEGOLAND Windsor, 0871 2222 001, LEGOLAND re-opens for the 2013 season with a new 4D movie experience, the Legends of Chima, plus a gallery of new model characters within the Star Wars Miniland. Improvements have been made to the Fairy Tale Brook ride and a new Shark and Ray Nursery has opened within the Atlantis Submarine Voyage. Due to open in May is a new themed land, DUPLO Valley, which will feature Drench Towers, the largest outdoor water play structure in the UK. Opening hours vary. 15 March – RED NOSE DAY at a venue near you, Visit the website to find out how you can get involved. 15-16 March – STARGAZING at Museum of English Rural Life, Redlands Rd, Reading, RG1 5EX, 0118 378 8660, Explore the Universe from the comfort of Reading. Fun for all the family, regardless of the weather. 6pm onwards. Part of Reading Science Week. 15-24 March – READING SCIENCE WEEK at various locations around Reading, readingscienceweek Part of the National Science and Engineering Week celebrations, this annual event includes talks, demonstrations and exhibitions. We have listed some activities individually but visit the website for the full programme of events. 16 March – SCIENCE BUSKING in Broad Street, Reading Town Centre, Get hands on with science live in the centre of Reading. Part of Reading Science Week. Free drop in event between 12noon-3pm, suitable for all.


What’s On National Trust

Easter Holidays

collections. You can also make a flower pot loaf (£3 charge). 1-5pm. Suitable for families with children aged 5+yrs.

16-17 and 23-24 March – LAMBING OPEN DAYS at Rushall Farm, Back Lane, Bradfield, RG7 6DL,,, 0118 961 6107 Enjoy a day out at this organic farm in the beautiful Pang Valley. Visit the lambing shed to see lambs being born and try some bottle feeding. Look out for calves and piglets too. Other attractions include tractor and trailer rides and refreshments including soup, hot dogs and homemade cakes. 11am-5pm. Proceeds to local MS Society and John Simonds Trust. Suggested donation: adult £5, child/senior £3. Pregnant women advised not to attend.

24 March – 30th WORLD POOH STICKS CHAMPIONSHIP at Days Lock on the River Thames at Little Wittenham, near Didcot, 01491 838 294, Come and drop your Pooh Stick over the bridge in this annual competition, awarded the title of Britain’s ‘favourite quirky event’. Plus bouncy castle, face painting, stalls and refreshments. Individuals can sign up on the day from 11am, team tickets must be pre-booked through the website. Solo championship from 11.30am-1.15pm, with the team event at 1.30pm.Visit the website for details of the one-way traffic route to the parking at The Earth Centre, Wittenham Clumps.

16-17 and 23-24 March – LAMBING WEEKENDS at Earth Trust Centre, Little Wittenham, Oxon, OX14 4QZ, 01865 407 792, Visit a real working farm for their annual lambing weekends. See some lambs being born and enjoy craft activities and refreshments. 10am-4pm. Entry: adult £6, child £3, family £13. No need to book.

25 March-15 April – EASTER ON THE FARM at Bucklebury Farm Park, Bucklebury, RG7 6RR, 0118 971 4002, Enjoy the fun down on this popular local farm park. Feed the lambs and go on an Easter egg hunt. Visit the website for more details.

19-24 March – FIELD TO FORK at MERL, Redlands Rd, Reading, RG1 5EX, 0118 378 8660, A thought-provoking, interactive exhibition produced by the Global Food Security Programme demonstrating the challenges of providing the world’s growing population with a sustainable, secure supply of good quality food. Free. 22-24 March – THE GRUFFALO’S CHILD at The Corn Exchange, Market Place, Newbury, RG14 5BD, 0845 5218 218, Following hot-on-the-heels of The Gruffalo’s sell-out tour and monstrous West End success, comes The Gruffalo’s Child – with attitude! One wild and windy night the Gruffalo’s child ignores her father’s warning not to go into the deep, dark wood and tiptoes out into the snow. After all, the Big Bad Mouse doesn’t really exist… does he? Ages 3+yrs. Tickets: £10, school groups £8.50. 22 March-5 April – HUNT THE EASTER CHICKS in Woodley town centre shops, 0118 921 6920, There are Easter Chicks hiding in some of the Woodley town centre shop windows. Find them and enter the draw to win a prize. 22 March-5 April – EASTER STORY & CRAFTS at Reading libraries, There are lots of free craft activities taking place in Reading libraries over the holidays. There is no need to book unless stated.

27 March – EGGSTATIC SPECTACULAR at UK Wolf Centre, Beenham, Reading, RG7 5NT, 0118 971 3330, Join the wolves for a walk this Easter and then decorate some eggs for their very own wolfy Easter Egg Hunt - the wolves love it. 11am. Book early for this popular event. £15 per person, ages 6+. Limited parent spaces.

Battle Library (0118 901 5100) 5 April Make Buzzy Bees, 3-4pm; 12 April Make Awesome Owls, 3-4pm. Caversham Library (0118 901 5103) 4 April Make Spoon People, 2.15–3.15pm; 11 April Craft Creations, 2.15–3.15pm. Palmer Park (0118 901 5106) 8 April Make Paper Strip Clowns, ages 4+ with parental help, 10–11am, please book. Reading Central Library (0118 901 5950) 22 March Easter time themed story and craft session for under 5’s,2.15–2.45pm; 5 April Roman Mosaics, craft session for 6+yrs, 10.30–11.30am; 12 April Planets and Space, craft session for 6+yrs, 10.30– 11.30am; 26 April Mrs Honey’s Hat, themed story and craft session for under 5’s, 2.15–2.45pm. Southcote Library (0118 901 5109) 4 April Make a Spring picture, 10.30– 11.30am, booking essential, for 6+yrs; 11 April Make a Lazy Lizard. 10.30–

11.30am, booking essential, for 6+yrs. Tilehurst Library (0118 901 5112) 2 April Make Paper Insects; 9 April Create a lion or tiger mask, 3–4pm, for 4+yrs. Whitley Library (0118 901 5115) 5 April Make a Foam Picture Frame, 10.30– 11.30am, please book, suitable for Under 10s; 12 April Design your own Mirror, 10.30–11.30am, please book, suitable for Under 10s. 23 March – WHERE DOES FOOD COME FROM? at MERL, Redlands Rd, Reading, RG1 5EX, 0118 378 8660, A special free family event inspired by the Field to Fork exhibition, see above. Try out a range of activities that explain where your food comes from. Have a go at milking Daisy the cow, see how quern stones are used to turn corn into flour and take part in a family tour of the food related

29 March-1 April – EASTER STEAMDAYS at Didcot Railway Centre, Didcot, OX11 7NJ, 01235 817 200, Enjoy a ride behind a Great Western steam locomotive. Plus all the usual attractions of the railway museum, the home of many steam and diesel locomotives, coaches and rolling stock. 29 March-1 April – EASTER SPECIALS at Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway, Chinnor, OX39 4ER, 01844 353 535, Steam train rides with Easter eggs for children and hot cross buns for adults, plus Easter chick hunt. Trains at 10.15am, 11.45am, 1.30pm, 3pm and 4.30pm. 29 March-1 April – EASTER TRAIL at Cliveden, Taplow, Maidenhead, SL6 0JA, 0844 249 1895, Take part in an ‘eggstra’ special Easter Trail, sponsored by Cadbury. Hunt for clues around the grounds and enjoy a delicious prize at the end. £2 per child, normal admission charges apply. 11am-4pm. No booking required.

Day Out With Thomas Sat/Sun 2/3 March (1000-1600) See, and ride behind the famous blue engine Book online at

Enhanced Easter Steamdays (3 engines in steam) Fri/Sat/Sun/Mon 29/30/31 March, 1 April (1030 - 1600)

Entrance at Didcot Parkway rail station. Signed from M4 (junc 13) & A34

Recreating the golden age of the Great Western Railway Registered Charity No 272616

Full theatre listings at

Thames Valley West


What’s On 29 March-1 April – DAYS OUT WITH THOMAS at Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, HP22 4BY, 01296 655 720, Take a ride behind Thomas and meet the Fat Controller, plus children’s magic show, Punch and Judy, miniature railway, arts and craft, storytelling and Thomas cinema. Advance tickets: £15 adult, £11 child, family £44.50. 29 March-7 April – DAYS OUT WITH THOMAS at Mid Hants Railway (Watercress Line), The Railway Station, Alresford, 01962 733 810, Ride with Thomas, Toad and Diesel, meet The Fat Controller and others, plus magic shows, bouncy slides, face painting, miniature railway and Thomas DVDs showing. Advance booking recommended: £16 adult, £10 child, Under 2s free. 29 March–14 April – EASTER HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES at Wellington Country Park, Riseley, RG7 1SP, 0118 932 6444, Alongside all the normal attractions there are lots of special events running at the Park over the Easter period. All activities are included in the normal admission price. 29 March-1 April The Baby Big Top Circus - back by popular demand; 31 March Easter Sunday ‘Mega Egg Hunt’ - join in the first ‘Mega Egg Hunt’ around the Park, meet the Easter Bunny plus much more; 3-4 April Magic Shows - be dazzled by Dave Croft’s mystical magic shows; 6-7 April Circus Skills – have a go at a host of activities from tight rope walking, stilt walking and even the trapeze; 10-11 April Crazy Bikes an assortment of unicycles, bicycles and even tricycles for you to try if you dare; 13-14 April Big Foot – Big Foot is back with his silly shows. • Don’t miss our Child goes free offer for Wellington Country Park on page 22.

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Thames Valley West

29 March-14 April – EASTER FAMILY FUN at Odds Farm Park, Wooburn Green, High Wycombe, HP10 0LX, 01628 520 188, Youngsters can follow the Chick Trail around the farm and get a yummy treat. Plus, with plenty of cute lambs to bottle feed, the return of tractor and trailer rides (weather permitting) and fun in the Giant Indoor Playbarn, there’s so much to do. • Why not enter our Odds Farm Park competition on page 22? 29 March-14 April – EGGSTATIC FUN at Basildon Park, Lower Basildon, RG8 9NR, 0118 984 3040, basildonpark Hunt for eggs in the house and win yourself a prize by solving the Easter trail in the garden, £2 per child. On Wednesdays during the holidays children can join in with craft activities. Cadbury will be joining the fun over the bank holiday weekend with extra activities including face painting and giant games. 10am-5pm. Normal admission charges apply. 29 March-1 April – EASTER EGG HUNT at Cotswold Wildlife Park,Burford, Oxon, OX18 4JP, 01993 823 006, The Park is having an Easter Egg Hunt where children can win a little chocolate egg. There will also be Birds of Prey flying displays from Cotswold Falconry. New to the Park are a pair of Six-Banded Armadillos from South America and coming shortly are Crocodile Monitors, one of the world’s largest reptiles. The restaurant has been totally refurbished and on display are the winning entries of the 2012 Photography competition.

29 March-14 April – RIGHT ROYAL TREASURE HUNT at Oxford Castle – Unlocked, 44-46 Oxford Castle, Oxford, OX1 1AY, 01865 260 666, Join in the treasure hunt at this 1000-year castle. 10am-5.30pm. For more details see page 14. 29 March–14 April – EASTER HOLIDAYS at Marwell Zoo, Thompsons Lane, Colden Common, Winchester, SO21 1JH, Visit the new walkthrough bird aviary, get creative with free feathery crafts, and listen to some fascinating talks. Take part in the Wild egg hunt and visit the Easter Bunny to collect your very own chocolate egg (bank holiday weekend only). • Enter our competition on page 22 to win tickets to Marwell Zoo. 29 March-15 April – EASTER ACTIVITIES at REME Museum of Technology, Isaac Newton Rd, Arborfield, RG2 9NH, 0118 976 3375, All activities are free with admission charge and suitable for accompanied children aged 5-12yrs. 29 March-15 April Easter Egg Hunt and Easter Crafts - spot all the eggs hidden by the Easter Bunny with a prize for the winner, plus a small prize for all entries. Also Easter craft based activities for the family throughout the Museum. 3 & 4 April Eggstravaganza Crafts workshops - creative Easter egg based workshops running at 11am, 12noon & 2pm. 10 & 11 April Mini Shelter workshops - can you build a shelter in only 15 minutes? Workshops will run at 11am, 12noon & 2pm. 30 March – EASTER EGG TRAIL at Caversham Court Gardens, Caversham, The event is free, but donations to Friends of Caversham Court Gardens are welcome. 2pm-4pm. All children to be accompanied by an adult. The Tea Kiosk will be open for refreshments from 11am-5pm. For more details visit www. 30 March – BABY & CHILDREN’S MARKET at Bulmershe Leisure Centre, Woodlands Ave, Woodley, RG5 3EU, 2-4pm. See 2 March entry for details. 30-31 March – MAPLEDURHAM AT WAR at Mapledurham House, Reading, RG4 7TR, 0118 972 3350, Step back in time to World War 2. Taste the atmosphere of army and civilian life with the opportunity to see vehicles and equipment, meet the re-enactors and see static displays and battle re-enactments. Throughout the day there will be dance demonstrations in the marquee. The event will end with a battle on both days. On the Saturday there will also be a separate dance event in the heated marquee with authentic recorded music and dance demonstrations. 30 March-1 April – IVOR THE ENGINE at Cholsey & Wallingford Railway, 01491 835 067, A full size Ivor the Engine locomotive will be steaming between Cholsey and Wallingford over the Easter weekend. Take a ride and meet those favourite characters such as Jones the Steam. 30 March-1 April – EASTER EGG TRAILS at Greys Court, Rotherfield Greys, Henley, 01491 628935, Come into the garden at Greys Court and get exploring, follow the clues and they could lead you to a chocolate prize. £2 per child. No booking required. Normal admission prices apply.


What’s On 30 March-14 April – EASTER TRAIL starting from The Savill Building, Wick Lane, Englefield Green, TW20 0UU, Set off on the Easter Trail to enjoy the spring plant collections and fine floral displays of The Royal Landscape, which provide the perfect backdrop for a great family day out. There are fun clues to solve, and things to look out for, with a special prize at the end for participants. £2.50 per leaflet (and prize) which can be purchased from The Savill Building from 10am. Participants must return by 5.30pm to collect their prize. Normal parking charges apply. 30 March-14 April – EASTER at The River and Rowing Museum, Mill Meadows, Henley, RG9 1BF, 01491 415 600, Easter Egg hunt - explore the Museum galleries to hunt for clues and help solve a puzzle to claim a mini Easter egg. Free with admission, drop in between 10am-5pm. 11 April Whiskers & Wildlife - the local Wildlife Trust will be on-hand to show you how to encourage wildlife into your garden. Make a bug hotel or bird feeder, sow wildflower seeds and lots more. Plus get up close and stroke the springtime ducklings, bunnies, guinea pigs and more! Free with admission. Workshops: All workshops cost £8.50 per child and must be booked in advance. 3 April Pom Pom Chick Chick - learn the skill of making pom poms which can then be turned into little Spring chicks, ages 4-7yrs, 10.30am-12.30pm; 9 April Vole in a Hole - use hessian and wooden spoons to make a river bank screen and a vole puppet to pop out of its hole, ages 4-7yrs, 10.30am-12.30pm; 10 April Taylor Tug’s Holiday Happenings - join Taylor Tug for lots of creative springtime fun. Make, sing and play the morning away, ages 18 months–5yrs, 11am-12.30pm; 10 April Birds Roc - learn all about birds’ habits and habitats, then create your very own mod-roc bird, dress for mess, ages 7-11yrs, 2-4pm. 31 March – EASTER SUNDAY EGG HUNT at Highclere Castle, Highclere, Nr Newbury, Join in the fun in the grounds of ‘Downton Abbey’. £5 pp admission which includes a chocolate egg for children completing the Easter Egg Hunt. Lots of other entertainment on offer too including a 1940’s themed area. For full details see page 12.

4 April Maiden Erlegh Library (0118 966 6630) 2.15-3.15pm and Wokingham (0118 978 1368) 2.30-3.30pm; 5 April Lower Earley (0118 931 2150) 10.30-11.30am and Woodley (0118 969 0304) 3-4pm.

MERL Easter activities 31 March-1 April – EASTER EGGSTRAVAGANZA at The Vyne, Vyne Rd, Sherborne St John, Basingstoke, RG24 9HL, 01256 883858, The Eggheads have escaped; follow the Easter trail for your chocolate reward. £2 per trail in addition to normal admission charges. 11am-5pm. 31 March – EASTER SUNDAY at Nuffield Place, Huntercombe, Oxon, RG9 5RY, 01491 641 224, Enjoy vintage games, hot cross buns and an Easter egg hunt at the former home of William Morris, the philanthropist and founder of Morris Motor Cars. The house is a time-capsule, offering the chance to look around a complete 1930’s country home. 11am-4pm. Normal admission prices apply. 1 April – EASTER QUIZ at Mapledurham House, Reading, RG4 7TR, 0118 972 3350, There will be clues around the grounds and an Easter egg prize for all children who complete the quiz. Animal Dramatics will be there too with some cute animals and the tea rooms will be serving cakes and cream teas. Please book in advance to make sure the Easter Bunny brings enough eggs. Tickets: £4 child, £1 adult. Separate charge applies to visit the house and watermill. 2 April – WILDLIFE ON THE MOVE THAMES CRUISE leaving from Hobbs of Henley Ltd, Station Rd, Henley, RG9 1AZ, 01491 572 035, Join the Chilterns Conservation Board and Hobbs of Henley for a wildlife watching voyage of discovery with an expert guide to spot hidden natural treasures between Henley and Hambleden. 3-4.15pm. Adult £8.50, seniors £7, child £5, advanced booking available.

2 April – WILD ONES: EASTER TREASURE HUNT at South Hill Park, Bracknell, RG12 7PA, 01344 354 441, parksandcountryside Can you solve a series of clues by walking around South Hill Park and earn yourself a chocolate prize? The course will take an hour to solve. Drop in between 1-3pm, but you must pre-book if you want a prize, £2 per child. 2-6 April – LITTLE EXPLORERS BIRTHDAY STORYTIME SPECIAL at various Wokingham libraries, To celebrate the first birthday of the Little Explorers Library Challenge scheme there will be special Birthday Storytimes at all Wokingham libraries. Meet Monkey and enjoy stories, rhymes and crafts. Free but must book at relevant library, contact numbers as in entry below. 2 April Maiden Erlegh Library 2.15-2.45pm, Wokingham 2.15-2.45pm and Woodley 4-4.30pm; 3 April Winnersh 10.1510.45am; 4 April Spencers Wood 2.303pm; 5 April Twyford 10.45-11.15am and Finchampstead 11.15-11.45am; 6 April Wargrave 10.30-11am. 2-6 April – PETS GALORE at various Wokingham libraries, Pet Treasure Trails will be happening at all Wokingham libraries with prizes galore if you get round all 10 libraries. Contact your local library for more details and an entry form. There will also be a Pets themed story and craft session, see times below, for under 12s. £1 charge, please book at relevant library. 2 April Twyford (0118 934 0800) 10.45-11.45am, Winnersh (0118 979 7519) 2.15-3.15pm and Spencers Wood (0118 988 4771) 2.303.30pm; 3 April Finchampstead (0118 908 8176) 9.45-10.45am and Wargrave (0118 940 4656) 10.30-11.30am;

2-10 April – EASTER ACTIVITIES at Reading Museum, Town Hall, Reading, RG1 1QH, 0118 937 3400, Admission is free to the museum. Easter Holidays – the Activity Cart will offer a range of free drop in art and craft activities for all ages. Plus family workshops on: 2 April Spring Chicken Plates - hand paint an Easter-themed china plate, ages 5+, 1-hour sessions starting at 10am, 11.15am, 1pm & 2.15pm, £3, pay on the day, drop in; 2 April Victorian Schoolroom Experience - meet a Victorian schoolteacher and re-learn the ‘3Rs’ in a Victorian classroom, ages 5+, 11.30am, 1.15pm & 2.30pm, £1, drop in (max 35 places per session); 3 April Make & Take: Rocking Rabbits & Chicks - an easy Easter-themed activity for all ages, drop in between 10am–12noon & 1-3pm, 50p, pay on the day; 4 April Foaming Magma Madness - build a messy model volcano then make it erupt using everyday kitchen materials, ages 7+, 10am–12pm & 1–3pm, £7, booking essential (NB children are dropped off for booked activities); 9 April Dino Eggs - make your very own prehistoric egg, complete with dinosaur hatchling, ages 5+, 1-hour sessions starting at 10am, 11.15am, 1pm & 2.15pm, £3, pay on the day, drop in; 10 April Make & Take: Explorer Hats - become a jungle explorer and decorate your hat with butterflies, beasts and camouflage, half hour sessions between 10am–12noon & 1–3pm, 50p, pay on the day, drop in. NB Drop in events are very popular and places are limited. 3 April – WOLFY ART at UK Wolf Centre, Beenham, Reading, RG7 5NT, 0118 971 3330, Get inspired on a walk with the wolves, then join artist Susan Hill to create wolf pictures and collages while parents enjoy tea or coffee. After lunch together, adults can see what their children have been creating and help with the finishing touches. 10am-2pm, £25 for 1 adult and 1 child. Packed lunch required. 3 and 10 April – WILD WEDNESDAYS at Cliveden, SL6 0JA, 0844 249 1895, Ages 4-11, drop in, 11am-3pm, £2 extra charge. 3 April Play Trail – help design a new part of the trail; 10 April Weeds & Seeds – learn about and plant your own seed to take home and grow.

Easter Fun At Odds Farm Park Voted “Farm Park Of The Year 2013”+, there’s so much more this Easter at Odds Farm Park! Follow the Chick Trail from 29 March-14 April & earn a Yummy Treat. Giant Plus, Bottle Feed cute, fluffy Indoo Lambs and meet plenty more Playb r arn Furry Friends! OPEN DAILY 10AM - 5.30PM TEA ROOM & FREE PARKING

+ Voted by The National Farm Attractions Network

T:01628 520188 NR BEACONSFIELD, HP10 0LX (M40, J2)

Full theatre listings at OFP-AM-13-006 118x70 3.indd 1

PAGE 19 Thames Valley West01/02/2013 20:49

What’s On 3-11 April – HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES at The Nature Discovery Centre, Muddy Lane, Lower Way, Thatcham, RG19 3FU, 01635 874 381, 3 April Farms2Ewe Petting Zoo cuddle a cute farm animal this Easter in this interactive hands on session, £4.50 per person, booking essential, various sessions throughout the day; 4 April Spring Family Wildlife Day - enjoy a day of hands on free fun activities all about native wildlife including pond dipping, wildlife walks, minibeast hunts and craft activities, drop in between 10.30am-4pm; 11 April Easter Treats – join in an afternoon of crafts and make a chocolatey Easter treat and Easter crafts to take home, 2-4pm, £1 per child, drop in; 12 April – Recycled Arts Workshop - join ingenious recycler Jill Nicholas to find out how to make scraps of wallpaper into birds and butterflies. Drop in between 11am-4pm, £1 per item. For bookings and more information phone or email 3-14 April – EASTER HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES at Museum of English Rural Life, Redlands Rd, Reading, RG1 5EX, 0118 378 8660, Admission is free to the museum. Children must be accompanied by an adult. 3-14 April Easter Bunny Trail - follow the Easter Bunny’s trail around the Museum and find the special Easter eggs, prizes for everyone, drop in during normal opening times, £2 per child, suitable for all ages; 3 & 9 April Family Tours - enjoy 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, 11.30am & 2pm, free, for all ages; 5 April Easter bunny masks - make your very own cute bunny disguise, ages 2+yrs, drop in between 10am–12.30pm & 1.30–4pm, £2; 10 April Fantastic Fledglings - join artist Julie Roberts to make your own baby bird, complete with feathers, ages 3+yrs, drop in, 10-11am, 11.30am-12.30pm, 1.30-2.30pm & 3-4pm, £3; 11 April Fabric Badges working with artist Julie Roberts, be inspired by MERL’s garden to create fabric badges and brooches. Make creepy crawlies, flowers or let your imagination run wild, ages 4+yrs, drop in, 10-11am, 11.30am12.30pm, 1.30-2.30pm & 3-4pm, £3; 12 April Howling Owls - make and decorate a unique, colourful wise owl, ages 2+yrs, drop in, 10am–12.30pm & 1.30–4pm, £2.

A chance to help spruce up your local play park. Children welcome accompanied by an adult. Refreshments, gloves and tools will be provided. 10am-12noon. 4 April – CHILDREN’S WOLF WALKS at UK Wolf Centre, Beenham, Reading, RG7 5NT, 0118 971 3330, Take a walk with the ambassador wolves. This event includes a short talk and a tour of the centre. 10am. Ages 6+yrs. £13pp, booking essential, limited parent spaces.

Countryside Family Raceday, 7 April

Catch a Star, Lost and Found and The Way Back Home returns with a tale about a little boy in a very sticky situation. It all begins when Floyd gets his kite stuck in a tree. He throws up his shoe to shift it, but that gets stuck, so he throws up his other shoe and that gets stuck too. Along with the cat, a ladder, a pot of paint, the kitchen sink, an orang-utan and a whale, amongst other things! Will Floyd ever get his kite back? Ages 3+yrs. Tickets: £10, conc. £8. 4 April – EASTER FUN MORNING at Eddie Catz, Newbury, RG14 7NF, 0845 201 1268, A morning of Easter games and crafts including an Easter egg hunt around Eddie Catz and the opportunity to make Easter baskets. Ages 5-9yrs. £10 per child which includes a light lunch and a visit from Eddie himself. Accompanying adults free, siblings

4-5 April – STUCK at The Corn Exchange, Market Place, Newbury, RG14 5BD, 0845 5218 218, The award-winning author of How to

under 2 pay normal admission fee (crafts and refreshments not included). 10am12noon. Please book, limited tickets. 4 April – WILD ONES: EASTER TREASURE HUNT at Lily Hill Park, Bracknell, RG12 2RX, 01344 354 441, parksandcountryside Can you solve a series of clues by walking around Lily Hill Park and earn yourself a chocolate prize? The course will take an hour to solve. Meet at the Giant Picnic Bench. Drop in between 1-3pm, but booking required, £2 per child. 4 April – PLAY PARK PRIDE at Westmorland Play Park, Off Westmorland Drive, Warfield, RG42 3QP, 01344 354 441, Meet the animals at Marwell Zoo

4-7, 9, 11-13 April – WIND IN THE WILLOWS at South Hill Park Arts Centre, Ringmead, Bracknell, RG12 7PA, 01344 484 123, Join Ratty, Mole and Badger as they attempt to keep up with Mr Toad’s extraordinary adventures as he smashes and crashes through the English countryside pursued by a washerwoman, the police and a hoard of wicked weasels and scary stoats. Tickets: £18 adult, £12 child, £17 conc, £16 members, £50 family. 5 April – LASER TAG EASTER DISCO at Eddie Catz, Newbury, RG14 7NF, 0845 201 1268, Join the Eddie Catz team for this giant Laser Tag, with disco music, smoke and lights creating the perfect atmosphere. 5-7pm. Children can be dropped off or parents can stay and watch. The battle will commence once the teams have been formed, safety briefing done and laser guns switched on. 6-12yrs, £11 per child which also includes a meal of pizza and juice (gluten free pizza available by request) and a goody bag. 6 April – BABY & CHILDREN’S MARKET at The Barn, Goosecroft Lane, off Beech Rd, Purley on Thames, Reading RG8 8DR, Stallholders selling excellent quality nearly new and new baby and children’s items from birth to 8yrs plus businesses offering unique products and services. 2-4pm. £1 entrance, children free. 7 April – COUNTRYSIDE FAMILY RACEDAY at Ascot Racecourse, 0844 346 3000, Superb jumps racing plus a host of countryside inspired activities including terrier racing and quack pack, hawks and llama displays. Free family entertainment includes a climbing wall, pony rides, a family farm and the opportunity to test your driving skills on quad bikes, and don’t forget to watch the parade of hounds down the track. Gates open 10.45am, first race 2.15pm. Advance tickets from £18, under 18s free.

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. 01628 410736/07926 751243


Thames Valley West


What’s On

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

9 April – MAKE A BUNNY WORKSHOP at Eddie Catz, Newbury, RG14 7NF, 0845 201 1268, Choose, stuff, fluff and adopt your very own cuddly and lovable deluxe teddy or bunny. You can have Cream Bunny - a milky soft bunny with long ears - or choose one of the other cuddly plush bears. Also includes a play at Eddie Catz and lunch. 10am-1pm. For ages 4-8yrs (drop off). £15 per child, please book.

16s must be accompanied) or a supervised playground cycle for 4-7yrs. Entry £5 per person, £7 on the day, £2 for playground cycle. For walkers there are 1 or 3 mile ‘On Your Feet’ treasure hunts to enjoy around the village. Visit website for more information and to register. 28 April – BABY & CHILDREN’S MARKET at St Crispin’s School, London Rd, Wokingham RG40 1SS, www. 2-4pm. See 6 April entry for details

11 April – WILD ONES: BUG SAFARI at Longhill Park, Bracknell, RG12 9UE, 01344 354 441, www.bracknell-forest. A simple and fun way for all the family to enjoy some time exploring the creatures beneath our feet. 10-11.30am, booking required. 11 April – WILD ONES: EASTER BOATS & FLOATS at Sandhurst Memorial Hall, off York Town Rd, Sandhurst, GU47 9BT, 01344 354 441, www.bracknell-forest. Create model boats and other things that float using natural and recycled materials. Enjoy an outdoor boat race, with chocolate eggs on board. 2-4pm. Suitable for 5+yrs, £3.50 for materials, booking required. 13-14 April – GREAT BIG TREE CLIMB at The Vyne, Vyne Rd, Sherborne St John, Basingstoke, RG24 9HL, 01256 883858, The Great Big Tree Climbing Company is visiting The Vyne. Scale the dizzy heights of the grand old Oak and Cedar to see things from a whole new perspective! Have a go at tree climbing, take the leap of faith or experience a zip wire ride. Tickets £12.50 for all 3 activities or £6 for individual activities. No need to book. 11am-5pm. Normal admission prices apply.

Rest of April 17-18 April – TODDLER DAYS OUT: SHAPES & PATTERNS at The Look Out Discovery Centre, Bracknell, RG12 7QW, 01344 354 400, www.bracknell-forest. Extra activities just for toddlers, alongside the normal exhibition. Make and take activities, play dough, face or hand painting and storytelling. £6.45 per parent and toddler, extra child £1.50 (up to a maximum of three). 10am-4pm. 20 April – DUBAI DUTY FREE SPRING TRIALS WEEKEND at Newbury Racecourse, RG14 7NZ, 01635 40015, A day of top quality racing, as well as a host of entertainment for all the family. Gates open at 11am with first race at 1.30pm.

Nearly New Sales 8 March – WOODCOTE WINDMILL SALE at Woodcote Village Hall Nearly new sale of children’s toys, games, nursery equipment and clothes. 8am12noon. 25p entrance. To sell call 01491 681 449 or email

Whiskers & Wildlife, see RRM 30 March-14 April entry

20 April – BABY & CHILDREN’S MARKET at Bracknell Leisure Centre, Bagshot Rd, Bracknell, RG12 9SE, www. 2-4pm. See 6 April entry for details. 20 April – DEBJANI CHATTERJEE: ANIMALS & RAINBOWS, FESTIVALS & FUN at Reading Central Library, 0118 901 5950 Storytelling and performance poetry for children aged 7–9 with this award-winning poet. 2pm. Free event. Email libraryevents@, phone or collect tickets from the library. 20-21 April – ST GEORGE’S DAY & TRADITIONAL SKILLS FAIR at The Vyne, Vyne Rd, Sherborne St John, Basingstoke, RG24 9HL, 01256 883858, Celebrate everything English from Morris Men to a man with a dragon, there’s something for everyone. A great day out for all of the family and best of all, entry is free. 11am-5pm. 22–27 April – WOKINGHAM ACTIVE LAUNCH WEEK at various venues, 0118 974 3728, Throughout the week, there will be a variety of free taster sessions in different sports and activities to celebrate the launch of Wokingham Active – a programme of sports classes and sessions across Wokingham borough, aimed at children, families and adults. Call or visit the website for more information. 27 April – BABY & CHILDREN’S MARKET at Main Sports Hall, Nuffield Fitness & Wellbeing Centre, The Racecourse, Newbury, RG14 7PN, 2-4pm. See 6 April entry for details

27-28 April – BLUEBELL WALKS at Rushall Farm, Bradfield, RG7 6DL, 0118 961 6107, An entry donation in support of Reading MS Society gives access to various walks along ‘permitted paths’ through woodland carpeted with bluebells and other spring flowers. Walks are of various lengths from 5 miles down to a short, ‘wheelchair friendly’ circuit. Refreshments are available and there are lots of baby lambs in the fields. Visit website to confirm the dates and details.

16 March – BINFIELD TODDLER GROUP’S NEARLY NEW SALE at Binfield CE Primary School, Benetfeld Rd, Binfield For a huge range of toys, children’s clothes, maternity wear and equipment. 2.30-4pm. Admission £1. Cash purchases only.

27-28 April – OPEN DAYS AND LAMBING WEEKEND at Berkshire College of Agriculture, Burchetts Green, SL6 6QR, 0800 0711 666, See the lambs, watch demonstrations, animals, crafts and displays plus many other activities for all the family. 10am-4pm. £15 per car.

17 March – BRACKNELL NCT NEARLY NEW SALE at The Hilton Hotel, Bagshot Rd, Bracknell, RG12 0QJ 11.45am (11.30am for members)1.15pm. £1 entry. For more details email: 23 March – HENLEY NCT NEARLY NEW SALE at Christ Church Centre, Reading Rd, Henley, RG9 1AL, 10.30am-12noon. (10.15am for NCT members). Entry costs £1. For more information email henleyanddistrictnct@

27-28 April and 4-6 May – LAMBING DAYS at Amners Farm, Burghfield, RG30 3UE, 0118 983 3437, See lambs being born and have a very ‘hands on’ experience with lots of farm animals and their offspring. Sheep shearing demonstrations, pets corner, falconry, Straw Play Barn, tractor and trailer rides, crafts, refreshments and lots more fun. Pony rides and steam train rides available at extra charge. 11am-6pm. £6 adults, £4.50 child, £20 family. Pregnant women are advised not to attend. No dogs.

14 April – WOKINGHAM NCT NEARLY NEW SALE at St Crispins School London Rd, Wokingham, RG40 1SS 11.15am (11am for members)-12.45pm. Entry £1. Information on 0844 243 6332 option 2 or email

28 April – ON YOUR BIKE 2013 at Sonning Common School, Grove Rd, RG4 9RJ, 0118 972 4487, www. Family bike ride to raise money for the Sue Ryder charity and Sonning Common School. Choose from 6, 12 and 20 mile marshalled routes in the Chiltern countryside (under

2 for 1 on any taster session

16 March – NEWBURY & DISTRICT NCT NEARLY NEW SALE at Kennet School, Stoney Lane, Thatcham, RG19 4LL, 11.15am-12.30pm (11am entry for NCT members). For more information email

27 April – MAIDENHEAD & MARLOW NCT NEARLY NEW SALE at St. Piran’s School, Gringer Hill, Maidenhead, SL6 7LZ, Children’s and babies’ clothes, toys, maternity wear and equipment. £1 admission. 1.30-3pm (1.15pm entry with NCT card). Details or to sell contact

at The Nature Discovery Centre

The perfect present

Wednesday 3rd April

0118 9756 298

Farms2ewe Petting Zoo - Cuddle a cute farm animal Sessions all day, £4.50 per person, booking essential

Thursday 4th April


Spring Family Wildlife Day - Enjoy hands on crafts and activities

Reading Climbing Centre

10:30am-4pm, free, drop in event

Thursday 11th April

Call now quoting FAM01 to claim your 2 for 1 discount* 0118 9756 298

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Discover more at

Family Wildlife Fun - Easter treats to make and take 2pm-4pm, £1.00 per child, drop in event


Unit 33 Robert Cort Industrial Estate, Britten Road, Reading, Berkshire RG2 0AU * Offer valid until 31.05.13. This voucher must to be provided at the start of the session. Terms & Conditions apply. See website for details.

April-October 10.30am-5pm. November-February 10.30am-4pm To book or for more information please contact us on T: 01635 874 381 E:

08/10/2012 15:09

Thames Valley West


Great Time Out from WIN a wild family day out

WIN a family fun day out

A visit to Marwell Zoo is a chance to get up close to the wonders of the natural world – and help save them. We have 3 sets of family tickets (2 adults and 2 children) for you to win. This Easter you can take part in their Wild egg hunt and visit the Easter Bunny to collect your very own chocolate egg (Bank Holiday weekend only). Also from 29 Mar-14 Apr enjoy all things feathery! Visit the new walkthrough bird aviary, get creative with free feathery crafts and listen to fascinating talks. For more information call 01962 777407 or visit To enter just visit today. Closing date 10 April.

There’s plenty of Family Fun this Easter at Odds Farm Park - voted “Farm Park Of The Year 2013” – and we have two sets of entry tickets for 2 adults and 2 children to give away. From 29 Mar-14 Apr, children can follow the Chick Trail around the farm and get a Yummy Treat and Bottle Feed Lambs. With a Giant Indoor Playbarn combined with fantastic outdoor play facilities, including the Adventure Maze, Go-Karts, Log Play Areas and Crazy Golf there’s lots to do come rain or shine. For more information call 01628 520 188 or visit To enter just visit today. Closing date 10 April.


Enjoy an action packed day out. Let the kids crawl, climb and jump their way through the adventure playgrounds, slip and slide down a whole host of slides, try and build the biggest sandcastle, scream through the tunnel on the miniature railway and head to the Animal Farm, open from March 23, to say hello to all the farmyard friends … and don’t forget to pop into the petting barn! For more information call 0118 932 6444 or visit er ad Re er ff O

Admit One Child Free When accompanied by one Full Paying Adult Valid until 21 June 2013 Not valid with any other offer. Voucher must be redeemed to obtain the discount. Only original voucher accepted. NOT VALID for Bank holidays, special ticketed events or camping. Only one child free per voucher per full paying adult.

Thames Valley West

WIN a term at Stage School

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Have you considered drama as an after-school activity for your child? Enter our competition to win a free term at a StageAbility Stage School! The benefits of drama are well-documented showing drama classes to boost a child’s self-confidence and concentration levels. Stageability’s fun, high energy classes teach stage skills whilst focusing on team work to create a supportive class environment. Classes run after-school in Wokingham, Earley, Burghfield and Tilehurst for children aged 5 –16. For more information and class times call 0118 933 3791/07721 565898 or visit To enter just visit today. Closing date 10 April.



Music, dance & drama Jo Jingles is Here! 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

Irish Dancing Irish dancing is an incredibly popular hobby for children, says Jude Chapman of Dancia International Reading. It’s great for fitness, team building, confidence-boosting and making friends. And, of course, it is amazing to watch. Regular classes are important if a child is to improve, and these are generally available for children aged 4½ and upwards. Many young dancers reach the stage where they can enter a feis (pronounced fesh), which is a traditional Irish dancing competition. A feis is extremely lively, challenging and a real eyeopener to all those who attend. Once a child has attended a few classes and you know they definitely want to carry on, then it is worth buying a proper pair of Irish dancing shoes. Beginners should start with soft pumps (or ghillies), and it is best to go to a dance shop to have these fitted. Make sure you take the socks or tights that your child would normally wear, so that the fitter can establish the correct size of shoe. This should be similar to the fit of a ballet shoe, ie. very snug It is a false economy to purchase them larger with the view that they will last

longer. Pumps which are too large tend to fold under the foot and wear out a lot quicker than normal. They will also make learning the steps a lot more difficult. When the dancer is more experienced – usually after about a year to eighteen months - their teacher will recommend that they also have a pair of hard Irish shoes, known as “jig” shoes. These are quite a bit more expensive than soft shoes so, again, it is advisable to have them fitted at a dance shop. For a well established Irish dancing school, try the Viv O’Gara School of Irish Dance, which runs classes for children aged 4½ and over at The Reading Irish Centre in Chatham Street and also in Didcot. See for specific details of classes. For both soft and hard Irish dancing shoes, as well as socks and accessories, visit Dancia International at 36-38 Prospect Street, Caversham, Reading, RG4 8JL. Tel: 0118 947 8123. Their friendly staff will be pleased to advise you and make sure that your child gets the correct type and size of shoes.

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



SONNING Pearson Hall & Beech Lodge

READING Amersham Road Community Centre Emmer Green Youth & Community Centre The Ground Floor Youth Provision


OR CONTACT 07743 398 844 -

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

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

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

Call Alison on 01494 880063


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

NEW CLASS ADDED FROM APRIL Train with Teachers and Children who work Professionally in Film, TV and Theatre.

Acting , Singing and Dance Training! Call!07825!558757!or!01344!424138! mail@berkshireartsacademy.com22 www.berkshireartsacademy.com2

Learn about other types of dance -

Thames Valley West


My child loves to perform Berkshire ART’s Academy, BARTA, offer some words of advice to the parents of children who are drawn to the bright lights of the stage.

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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!

Take your child on a musical journey, with our lively, fun classes full of singing, movement and percussion Jolly Babies from birth to 1 year Music with Mummy from 1-3 years Classes in the following areas

Not much compares with seeing the buzz your child gets from performing in front of a live audience, the smile on their face at curtain down with the applause still ringing in their ears. Seeing your child come alive when they perform is all the incentive many1parents need to commit to 13:16 Page auditions and rehearsals, disappointment and elation, countless hours hanging around, dropping off, picking up and military like operations to arrange meals, care of your other children and homework. Some children will find themselves performing professionally on a West End stage, but for a large number their West End will be a part in a school show, a lead part at their drama school or a part in a local community production. Wherever they find themselves performing the goal should always be to enjoy what they are doing and to push themselves to improve. The fortunate few who make it into a professional production lead a unique life, performing in front of thousands of people with days off school, press nights and lots of attention. They will work with top producers, actors, choreographers and directors and perform in some of the county’s finest theatres. Parents therefore have an important role to play in keeping their child grounded. Our students have a range of experience and skills. A number of them have been in West End and touring theatre productions, TV shows and films. They have performed in the RSC’s Matilda, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Burke and Hare and Robin Hood. BARTA students can currently be seen in Game of Thrones, the Les Miserables movie and on tour with Oliver! The majority of our students are, however, happy to perform in school shows and some of the many local adult

productions that take place each year. We work hard to advise parents of auditions for these shows and in the last 6 months our students have performed locally in Jack and The Beanstalk, Gondoliers, Titanic, Cinderella, The Full Monty, Fiddler on the Roof and Oliver. Our advice for any parent with a child interested in performing would be to train with a reputable performing arts school with industry knowledge and experience and agent and casting director relationships. A good book to read is Children In Theatre by Jo Hawes. Above all, parents should be supportive not pushy, ensure it’s their dream not just yours and for all the family to simply enjoy the journey. Berkshire ARTs Academy, BARTA are based at South Hill park and offer performing Arts training for children from the ages of 6-16 in Drama, Singing and Dance. For more information and a free trial session visit call 07825 558757 or email


Wokingham and Woodley

Clare O'Shea | 0118 903 4808

Lower Earley and Arborfield

Heather Neale | 0118 954 0610

Pangbourne and Upper Bucklebury

Joanna Cooke | 07919 407614


Clare Klesel | 01344 451 988

Visit us at...


Thames Valley West


BERKSHIRE’S PREMIER DANCE SHOP! • Ballet, Tap & Jazz Shoes • Ballroom & Latin Shoes

• Dance School Uniforms • Gymnastics Leotards

36-38 PROSPECT STREET, CAVERSHAM, RG 4 8 JL Mon-Fri: 10 am - 5.30 pm Sat: 9.30 am – 5 pm Tel: 0118 9478123


Music, dance & drama

Music is the most amazing thing! Music can still a crying baby, capture a toddler’s attention and help your child to develop a wide range of skills. Heather, Clare, Joanna and Clare from Music with Mummy tell us more about the benefits and joys of music. Helping you to bond with your child When it comes to favourite lullabies, babies prefer Mummy to Mozart every time. A child is tuned into its mother and will enjoy your attempts at singing much more than the finest recording, whatever your musical ability. You’ll also be increasing the secure bond between mother and child so important for infant development, and just as important for uncertain new mothers. Just watch the adoration on their face as you sing to them! Music and singing helps to calm babies and is even known to speed up recovery from minor illness. One mum in the Arborfield class told us, “I came to the class with a grumpy baby, but I’m going home with a jolly baby!” A baby cannot sing or dance at six months old but they can appreciate music and they have got rhythm! Try bouncing your baby on your knee and see the wonderful expressions of excitement through their faces, body language and movements.

Improving co- ordination skills Musical instruments can be used to train coordination skills from the earliest level. The child starts by holding, then goes on to shaking, then to banging, to striking one object with another, to stroking

and scratching, through to clashing cymbals. When children manipulate objects in different ways, they are actually developing their motor skills and physical coordination. Try to make instruments available to your child and choose ones that are colourful, safe and easy for your child to use. Any instruments that make noise from very little effort are appealing to the smallest of hands – from bells to maracas to sea sound drums that give the child reward from basic movements.

and where you feel you can bond with the other mothers. It should be a group or company that your child can grow with from an early age right up to school age and even beyond, to ensure that the educational content and interest can grow with your child too.

Music is something that is enjoyed by everyone!

Developing language skills Music activities can help your child’s language skills. In fact music is a language in its own right as it has the ability to communicate feelings and moods. This is especially significant for children who are at the stage where they find spoken language hard to use effectively – they can communicate through their movements, music and general noise! Songs are a great way to learn new vocabulary as it is easier to remember words when they rhyme or are presented in a tuneful way e.g. Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. Also music and movement go naturally together for pre-school children – they instinctively move when they make sounds and they make sounds when they move – put this all together and you get enhanced development.

Building social skills and confidence The pre-school years are a time when your child’s curiosity in the world is at a peak and musical activity can be a very rewarding part of the process. Enjoying the pleasure of music with other children helps to build confidence and develop social skills. They may learn to share and take turns during a music session, learn to start and stop playing their instruments and learn the very important life skill of listening. Your child will become observant of others around them and learn from example. When looking for a music group it’s important to choose one that you can enjoy as much as your child

Music with Mummy run small, friendly music groups where young children can have fun and learn with percussion instruments, action songs and musical games. Sessions consist of a mix of nursery rhymes and popular songs, plus original songs designed to encourage very young children to learn the basic aspects of music, whilst having fun. There are several Music with Mummy franchisees in the area so it’s easy to find a Music with Mummy (for 1-3yrs) or Jolly Babies (birth to 14 months) session near you. Heather Neale runs sessions in Lower Earley and Arborfield (0118 954 0610 / 07769 941 564), Clare O’Shea in Wokingham and Woodley (0118 903 4808), Joanna Cooke in Pangbourne and Upper Bucklebury (07919 407 614) and Clare Klesel in Bracknell (01344 451 988). To find out more visit 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)



Find lots of classes for Under 5s at

Thames Valley West



HypnoBirthing pregnancy can be a pretty up and down experience for women and their partners. Here Ashley Parker tells us how hypnotherapy can help.

Pregnancy should be a time of excitement and anticipation but all too often that joy is tempered by fear and anxiety about the birth ahead. HypnoBirthing is an approach to antenatal education, based on logic which aims to give couples all of the information and tools to approach the birth of their baby with confidence and empowerment and the ability to achieve a calm, natural and comfortable birth experience. HypnoBirthing isn’t just for first time Mums, it works for women who have varying experiences in the past, such as trauma or those who want to be more in control of their experience. There is occasional scepticism and worries about what hypnosis entails. The simple answer is that it is a way of releasing some of the un-helpful and debilitating beliefs and assumptions that we acquire on our journey through life. It can actually control pain and there is no magic to achieving success with self-hypnosis; almost anyone who chooses to, can reach deep relaxation and redirected focus. Hypnotherapy is simply words,

used in a positive and focused way, to help release worries and concerns about giving birth. Women’s bodies are designed to birth their babies naturally and statistics support this, as the majority of women can and do. In HypnoBirthing we talk about how the uterine muscles work and why when relaxed and free of tension, the birthing muscles work efficiently and in harmony. Dr Dick-Read, the author of Childbirth without Fear postulated that the fear experienced by women in childbirth caused the blood to be diverted away from her uterus, in order to be

used by other muscles to enable her to escape from danger. The result of this was to starve the uterus of oxygen, therefore preventing it from carrying out its intended function without pain. This phenomenon he called ‘the fear-tension-pain syndrome of childbirth’. Dr Dick-Read believed that if a woman was able to eliminate the fear, her uterus would return to its normal function, thus eliminating the pain. He concluded that fear and tension was responsible for 95 percent of labour pain, which could be eliminated through relaxation techniques. By learning specific breathing techniques, visualisation and self-hypnosis, it is possible to reach a deep state of relaxation, giving the body the best chance to do as nature intended. The NHS is currently running a trial about hypnobirthing (the SHIP trial), with the aim of demonstrating its effectiveness and how the unnecessary medicalisation of normal births can be avoided. HypnoBirthing is regularly being offered now within maternity units and hospitals across the UK. Hypnosis is recognised in the UK by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) and has been approved by the British Medical Association (BMA) for over 40 years. HypnoBirthing classes can be held in small groups or privately. You will learn all about the physiological side of childbirth, relaxation techniques, including breathing techniques, visualisation, self-hypnosis and light touch massage which is used by your partner to deepen your relaxation. HypnoBirthing is not a magic solution, nor is it a guarantee for the ‘perfect birth’, but it is a collection of uncomplicated tools that with practice and dedication work. Even when special medical circumstances may arise, hypnobirthing helps mothers feel more calm and in control of their treatment options, as mum Hanora Habberjam found out (see below). Most importantly, if the birth is calm, gentle and drug free for you, it’s also calm, gentle and drug free for your baby, so this little person arrives in the world alert, and with a mother who is alert and ready to receive it lovingly and attentively. Hypnobabies are often described as calm and serene and adjust well to sleeping and eating patterns.

Further Information To read about Hanora’s experiences of hypnobirthing and labour: For more information about Ashley Parker visit: For further general information about HypnoBirthing visit

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

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:

Fiona Grant DHP LAPHP BSc Hons 07810 716 050

Call today to arrange a free initial consultation.


Thames Valley West



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:

Baby Sensations

Hope, Birth and Beyond Catherine Evans is a qualified hypnotherapist and counseller based in Lower Earley, Reading. She offers support before, during and after pregnancy and has developed her own course which uses the same principles as Hypnobirthing. Here she tells us more. I have long recognised that emotions surrounding family, health, work, childbirth and even your leisure time can have a huge influence on your life and how you enjoy it. Working through your emotions, both in and out of hypnosis, can help to release long held fears, beliefs and habits and enable you to live your life to the full. Using counselling and hypnosis, and drawing on my background in nursing, midwifery and as a therapist, I help people to deal with a wide range of issues and experiences. These include fertility, pregnancy and childbirth, weight loss, quitting smoking, stress and anxiety, ante and post natal depression and many other areas. I have worked with a number of couples who feel the benefit of talking through their feelings about their birth experience. My Birth Experience and Reflection (Baby BEAR) sessions allow parents the time to explore these feelings and emotions, on either a 1-to-1 basis or in small groups. Together with a couple of colleagues, I also run Holistic Birth Journey, a 4-week course designed to help mums-to-be relax, bond with their unborn babies and release any fears about the birth. They prepare mums for giving birth, teaching the skills that will help them to remain relaxed and in control during labour and to adapt to the changes that come with parenthood. I run these sessions on both a 1-to-1 basis (as a couple) or in a small group. For further information about Catherine Evans, visit:

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



Delayed speech?


Ear infections?


Speaks loudly?


Selective hearing?



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

Tel: 07795 268 866 E-mail:

Recruiting now!

Hope, Birth and Beyond 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

Issue 60 Read one mum’s experience at

Thames Valley West


Childcare l yba




Different activities every week. Small class sizes. Teaching life skills. No joining fee. Lets go!

with help from Joanna Moorehead

How to cut your childcare costs Childcare in Britain costs more than childcare almost anywhere else in the world. According to recent figures, 27% of the income of families with young children is spent on the costs of a nanny, a childminder or a nursery. There are ways, however, that you can reduce the costs.

2 ½ - 5 years Lunchtime provision Great outdoor play area High ratio of adults to children 9am-12.45pm Tue-Fri term time

SPACES AVAILABLE  NOW   Tel:  Jackie  0118  976  0750   or  Bhavna  07769  708005  

• Check whether your employer can offer help towards your costs through the childcare voucher scheme. Under this scheme, money is taken out of your pay packet before deductions, giving you savings on tax and National Insurance. In return, you are given a voucher or e-voucher to use with any childcare provider that is registered for the scheme and the amount is deducted from your bill. So it’s a way of getting more childcare for your money. Find out more at • Under the government’s Free Early Education scheme, all three and four year-olds are entitled to 15 hours of free education each week for 38 weeks of the year. Your child becomes eligible from the beginning of the term (1 September, 1 January or 1 April)


Photo © sdenness -


following their 3rd birthday. The 15 hours are flexible and can be taken at nursery schools, children’s centres, day nurseries, playgroups, pre-schools or childminders, as long as they are registered for the scheme. Visit for more information. • If you work part-time and use a nursery, check whether the fees are lower on certain days of the week (they sometimes are) and see if you can switch the days that you work. • Change your working hours: as a parent with a child under 16, you’re entitled to request flexible working hours from your employer, provided you’ve worked there for more than six months. You could ask to fit your work into fewer, longer, days – then your partner could collect your child from your carer on the days you’re working, and you can cut childcare bills. • Team up with a friend who’s also working part-time and has a child of a similar age. So you look after her child with yours while she’s working, and vice versa.

We're having a Ball! For details and availability call: 07718 606 765 (Little Kickers Reading & Wokingham)

or email the team at

Kilnsea Pre-­‐School  

Friendly, experienced,  qualified  staff     Ofsted  GOOD.  Flexible  hours   Large  indoor  and  outdoor  play  areas     Any  catchment  area   Children  accepted  from  2  ½  to  5  years   CELEBRATING  25  YEARS   Maiden  Place  Community  Centre   Lower  Earley,  Reading  RG6  3HE   07754  847  967    


Thames Valley West

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.

Approved football training for kids aged 18 months to 7 years



Nursery Roundup Celebrating 25 years at Kilnsea Pre-School Kilnsea Pre-School in Lower Earley, Reading, is celebrating 25 years in the community this year. Located in the Community Centre at Maiden Place, they’re a community run pre-school with charity status and are managed by a committee whose members comprise of parents. The Pre-School is situated in a large, air conditioned hall and children can enjoy the recently developed outside play area. There are a maximum of 30 children at the Pre-School with a staff to child ratio of 1:5 and one parent volunteer helper invited to each session. Children are eligible to start from 2½ years or to register from 18 months. Kilnsea Pre-School is a registered Early Years provider with Wokingham Borough Council. To find out more visit www. or call 07754 847 967.

Waverley School and Nursery Strong relationships and a caring, supportive atmosphere are vital when choosing a nursery for your young child. At Waverley, nurture and care are the cornerstones of their offering; happy children are healthier, more confident and learn more readily. In the bright Swiss-style lodge, a spacious six place baby room, and only twelve places in the toddler room means the atmosphere is one of a close family. Children are able to interact and therefore bond with a small number of key staff and developmental milestones are monitored and encouraged on an individual basis. Learning takes place indoors and outdoors with a lovely garden area and regular trips to local parks and woodlands. The children are also able to make use of the school facilities and take part in gym and dance in the school hall, have trips to the school library for shared reading and enjoy

access to the computer suite and cookery facilities too. Why not take a look at the School and Nursery for yourself? Just contact the school office on 0118 973 1121 or find out more at

Reduce childcare costs -

Barkham Pre-School encourages parent days Barkham Pre-School provides sessions for children from 2½ to 5 years in a peaceful village setting on the outskirts of Wokingham. The experienced staff provide a nurturing and engaging environment for pre-schoolers, showing a genuine interest in each child’s development and enjoyment. Parents have an active involvement in the Pre-School, and are encouraged to visit regularly. As one mum told us, “What a lovely morning getting an insight into my child’s experience at her pre-school. My daughter was very excited that I was the parent helper today and hasn’t stopped telling everyone. With play and fun, they learnt to recognise the sound of the letter their name begins with and then acted out different animals, running freely around the spacious hall. It was insightful to see how much they covered in a morning - much more than painting, playing with playdough, and reading in the corner.” To find out why Barkham Pre-School is unique, visit www.barkhampreschool. net or contact Jackie Lawrence on 0118 976 0750 or Bhavna on 07769 708005 to arrange a visit.

Thames Valley West



with help from Joanna Moorehead

How to choose the right nursery

Copyright sdenness

Nurseries can provide a stimulating environment for your child where they will make friends, play, learn and most importantly feel happy and secure. So how do you go about finding one that fits best? Here are a few pointers you might want to consider. Start early if you can. Many nurseries have waiting lists and you need time to be confident that you have made the right choice. “It sounds ridiculous, but I put my bump down for nursery when I was pregnant,” says Camille, mother of one. “I wasted a few registration fees, but at least I got a place at the nursery I really wanted.” Ask around. Get other parents’ views on what nurseries are like in your area. Make a shortlist of ones that might work for you. Take into account the journey time, particularly at rush hour. A nursery near your workplace might be better. Read the most recent Ofsted report. Available from www.ofsted., these inspection reports include detailed information on everything from quality of care and education to cleanliness and opportunities for play.

Do the children look happy? It may seem a cliché to say this, but it is an important barometer of whether a nursery is good. Watch the children while they’re playing, and pay attention to how much they’re interacting with the staff and with each other.

Check the quality of the setting. Some nurseries offer cosy, homelike environments whereas others have more room to run around in. A childfriendly outdoor space can be a real draw when choosing a nursery, especially for lively boys. Are the indoor and outdoor areas pleasant, bright and welcoming, and do they seem safe? Bear in mind, however, that looks aren’t everything. If a nursery is a bit shabby it could still be fantastic in terms of quality of care. And perfect, pristine equipment is not being used!

How do the staff come across? Do they seem happy, relaxed and fun to be around? Notice whether they are engaged with the children or just chatting to each other. Do you feel comfortable talking to them? Look at staff turnover and ask if the nursery ever uses agency staff.

Ask about the extras. Find out about meals, how the food is prepared, and what time meals are served. What kinds of snacks are provided and how often are they available? Ask about organised play sessions - weekly music groups, perhaps, or storytelling. Are there trips to the library, and to the park? How are these organised, and how often do they take place? If you are interested in meeting other parents, ask if the nursery arranges any social gatherings. Check the costs. Make sure you understand what the nursery charges, how payment is made, and exactly what the fees include (for example, if they cover meals, nappies, outings). Find out how many weeks a year the nursery is open, some shut for longer at Xmas or Easter than others. Finally, and most importantly, trust your gut instinct! If a nursery ‘feels’ right for your child it will probably turn out to be the right choice.

RG12 Football training for under 5s who are nuts about football Get your midfield dynamo enjoying super-skills, fun & exercise CRB checked & FA qualified coaches Training sessions, courses & parties across London 020 7937 7965

NEW! Match Play for Under 8s PAGE 30



Celebrate World Book Day! Young imaginations are set to run wild as World Book Day returns on 7 March, with an exciting line up of eight new books from some of the nation’s bestselling children’s authors and illustrators.

Kids across the country will get their groove on with giraffes Can’t Dance: Colouring and puzzle Fun; teach mums and dads a thing or two using Francesca Simon’s Horrid Henry’s guide to perfect parents; or uncover what makes things tick with the Weird World of Wonders: Funny Inventions by TV’s Tony Robinson; and Liz Pichon invites readers to have the Best Book Day Ever! (so far) with the newest Tom Gates novel, a clever blend of fiction and illustration.

There are new stories starring some old favourites such as Shirley Hughes’ Alfie, Anthony Horowitz’s Diamond Brothers and Cathy Cassidy’s Chocolate Box girls, as well as a new mystery story by Lauren Child. Youngsters can pick up one of the fantastic new titles completely free using a special £1 World Book Day Book Token handed out in schools in March. All eight will be available in bookshops across the UK and this year an extra-special surprise is in store for children who download the World Book Day ‘Books Alive’ app. They can watch their £1 Book Tokens and £1 books come to life through augmented reality technology by scanning them with a smartphone. To mark the big day itself, 2013 will see the return of The Biggest Book Show on Earth – the UK’s original live-streamed literary festival for children – which last year saw half a million children from 78 countries worldwide tuning in to watch performances by their favourite writers and illustrators. Special activities for older readers will include a new online initiative and access to digital content from popular teen writers, while an exciting array of events will also be taking place to mark the day in schools, libraries and bookshops across the country – from sponsored dress-ups and competitions to appearances and readings by top authors. Visit for more information, the latest news and to subscribe to the free monthly World Book Day e-newsletter.

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

☎ 0118 954 6893

Interested in education - visit

Thames Valley West


ST EDWARD’S SCHOOL PreParatory School for boyS aged 4-13


Radley College is an independent boarding school for boys aged 13 to 18.

Radley College

The Foundation Award at 11+, 13+ and 16+ are for boys currently in state education with academic potential and interest in music, art, drama or sport.


11+, 13+ & 16+

The award provides financial support of up to 100% of full fees for two initial years at preparatory school and then for a further five years at Radley. Entry is through assessment in December 2013. Applications close on 1 November 2013. Sample papers are on the website.


Friday 3rd MAY 2013 9–11am to register call

Tracy Glass on 07775 420930 64 Tilehurst Road, RG30 2JH T: 0118 957 4342 F: 0118 950 3736

For details: The Registrar, Radley College, Abingdon OX14 2HR Tel: 01235 543174

A quality education from start to finish EVERY DAY IS AN OPEN DAY 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


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

A Friendly Mobile Farm For Your School, Home, Fete, Party ! 01628 821145 / 07721 422554 E-mail:

Printed by Warners Midlands Plc. Copyright Families Thames Valley West February 2013. 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.

Families TVW March-April 2013 Issue 64  

Families Thames Valley West magazine for March & April 2013

Families TVW March-April 2013 Issue 64  

Families Thames Valley West magazine for March & April 2013