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January/ February 2012 issue 80

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, Ki agazine for families w of Richmond ngston, Elmbrid EE m ith y ge, Ho roughs The FR oung c o b e h t unslow hildren living in

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YES, YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL! Successful ‘business mum’ is seeking 5 working partners to work part-time from home, alongside & without compromising family commitments or current career. If you have a supervisory, managerial, sales, marketing, recruitment or self-employed background, or you wish to develop an extraordinary lifestyle, please call Diana Page 01235 533 362

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0845 400 1284 Regular updates for local families at

Families upon Thames delivered to your door

Bocketts Farm Park 11th - 19th Feb


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January-February 2012


HappyNew Year


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No matter how great Christmas was, it’s always great to clear away the decs, have a good clean up and start the year with the very best hopes and intentions. In this issue we’re doing everything we can to help local families start 2012 with a bang. I can’t tell you how much fun we had researching our feature 10 terrific ways to start 2012 (pages 6 and 7). All I’m saying is it all started, back in mid November with a tweet… Diet and fitness is always very much on our minds as the year begins so this time we’re looking at children’s health (page 8) as well as yours (pages 10 and 11), although we believe the two are very much connected, as you will read. Happy 2012 from all of us! Frances LOATES, editor t: 01932 254584 After 1st March 2012, Linda Stone t: 07530 283330 e:


News and views


Ten terrific ways to start 2012


Their wellbeing

10 Your wellbeing 12

Nurseries - a guide


Books about nursery

14 Nurseries - one Mum tells all 15

Home births - the facts

16 Help for new mums 18 Family holidays


20 What’s on

Stagecoach Theatre Arts The original, largest and still the best network of performing arts schools in the world.

Call your local Stagecoach to enrol Chertsey Hinchley Wood Hounslow Kingston & Surbiton New Malden Richmond

0845 265 7081 01932 254333 0845 078 0804 020 88737140 020 85407791 020 8332 6741

January-February 2012

Staines Twickenham Walton-on-Thames Weybridge

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news&views New Academy for New Malden

Old favourites in a new format The fabulous Curious Cat series of books by locals Jenny Tulip and Dawn Smith is now available in a much larger format of 235mm square. In each book, packed with fascinating facts and magical illustrations, Curious Cat discovers a new endangered species. The books have been re-branded ‘Curious Cat’s Way Out Bunch’ and have some new titles. Animals and countries covered so far are: Kenya – Golden-rumped Elephantshrew Brazil – Giant Anteater New Zealand - Kakapo Western China – Giant Panda Pakistan – Snow Leopard Greece – Dalmatian Pelican Borneo – Orang-utan Canada – Polar Bear Mongolia – Long-eared Jerboa Sierra Leone –Pygmy Hippopotamus Dawn told us, ‘Jenny and I have in the past done various events across the country in school and book stores and with our new titles, we have already been into Danesfield Manor School in Walton, Feltonfleet School in Cobham and The Heart Centre with Waterstone’s in Walton.’ The series is available to buy or order from most major book retailers including Waterstone’s. The retail value is £5.99 each.

Spring ball for Home-Start WHEN? Friday 16th March 2012 FOR WHO? In aid of Home-Start Elmbridge, a local family support charity offering practical and emotional support to families in need WHERE? Oatlands Park Hotel, Oatlands Drive, Weybridge, KT13 9HB WHAT TIME? Bucks fizz reception in lounge from 6.45pm 3 course meal at 7.45pm dancing to the Famous Five band DRESS CODE? Black tie TICKETS AND FINISH? £70 each or £600 for a table of 10, carriages at 1am CONTACT? Home-Start Elmbridge on 01932 235802 or email:


The Stories and More Academy will be opening its doors in New Malden this January. Using its unique approach to storytelling at the heart of the programme, The Academy will allow young people aged 4 to 16 years to create their own stories using dance, drama and singing. Stories and More has been delighting children at schools, community centres and libraries with their theatrical storytelling sessions and workshops for over two years and has now branching out to open the first of many Stories and More Academies around the country. The Academy’s talented and experienced team of teachers will help the children develop and expand their creative skills, building confidence week by week. Each term a specialist guest practitioner will visit the Academy to share their knowledge and expertise, giving the children a unique workshop in areas from Shakespeare to Stage Combat. Teoni Woodward, Artistic Director at Stories and More said, ‘We are very excited

about the launch of our Academy. As well as encouraging each and every child to reach their full potential, we also aim to make the classes a lot of fun!’ The Stories and More Academy will run sessions every Saturday from 10am to 12.30pm at Holy Cross Girls’ School, New Malden, starting in mid January 2012.

For more details, visit or call 0845 075 6044

WIN wellness with

Do you want to: ✦ Learn how to boost your family’s immune system naturally and reduce reoccurring illnesses and infections? ✦ Make quick, easy and nutritious meals for the whole family that taste delicious? ✦ Understand and learn how to cope with digestive issues and food intolerances? ✦ Feel good about your own body all year round by losing weight naturally and keeping it off? ✦ Reduce cravings and sugar/caffeine addictions? ✦ Spring out of bed and stay revitalised throughout the day with bucket loads of energy? Enter me organic’s competition to win a 6 session wellness package (valued at over £534) including a personalised nutrition and exercise programme, a grocery tour and

An introduction to classical ballet with Petites Pointes Laura Brooks is both a qualified RAD ballet teacher and Primary teacher. Before training as a teacher, she spent a number of years teaching ballet in nurseries and prep schools. ‘It was this introduction to the early years setting that ignited my interest into the possible use of dance as a learning tool’, Laura told us. Her Petites Pointes class is designed to introduce children to the vocabulary and foundations of classical ballet through imaginative story telling. Classes are based

cooking class plus hundreds of tips, recommendations and suggestions to help you create a healthier, more vibrant family. Go to upon-thames to answer one simple question and stand the chance of getting back the body you know is hiding inside. Plus for the months of January and February me organic are helping make health a priority by offering 20% off their 3 and 6 month nutrition programmes and 2 for 1 deals on their private cooking classes for all Families readers when quoting ref FUTJAN12 at the time of booking. on traditional tales such as The Three Little Pigs, Jack and the Beanstalk and Goldilocks. Laura says, ‘Through familiar repetitive rhymes and creative imagery, children can easily follow class content and thus feel proud of their achievements’. Music and props are used to support the sessions and parents and carers are encouraged to join in to help their child feel comfortable. As confidence grows, parents and carers may choose to step back and watch. Classes are held in Kingston. For more information go to January-February 2012

news&views New Diddi Dance class in Ham

Following the success of the afternoon Diddi Dance class in Ham, Janine has opened one in the morning, to accommodate mums and carers who can’t make it after lunch. The new class is at St Thomas Aquinas RC Church, Ham, TW10 7HT. These classes start on Tuesday 17th January at 10.30am. Diddi Dance parties also remain hugely successful with sometimes five booked in one weekend. Janine told us, ‘we always get back loads of lovely feedback and almost all rebook’. Diddi Dance also run pre-school dance classes locally in Twickenham, St Margarets, Teddington, Hampton and Isleworth. Call Janine on 07971 278765,

Get your children fit with Ligasoccer

Raise your child’s heart rate and support their physical literacy with 60 minute Ligasoccer football classes for U6s on Saturdays in Teddington, Brentford, Chiswick and Richmond. Ligasoccer classes are super-fun, develop super-skills and introduce small-sided Match Play for maximum exposure to football. Classes will be held indoors from January to March 2012. Check 020 7937 7965 or All services are available for nursery, private, school settings and parties.

Half term down on the farm

Enjoy a great day out at Bocketts Farm in Fetcham this February half term with the start of the Spring lambing. There are up to 70 lambs due from February 10th - you may even see one being born! Birds of Prey will also be at the farm every day where you can meet them up close and watch the flying demonstrations twice daily. In addition, there is a full programme of activities including pony rides, tractor and pig racing taking place every day. The large indoor area with two giant play barns, trampolines and ride-ons means you can have a great day out whatever the weather. Visit

New owner of Theatrebugs franchise in our area Theatrebugs workshops, parties and clubs in Chertsey, Byfleet, Walton, Weybridge, East Molesey, Esher, Cobham and Claygate are now being run by Hannah Mason. ‘I have been running Theatrebugs Guildford for almost a year now and I am extremely excited about bringing the magic of Theatrebugs to this new area.’ says Hannah. ‘Theatrebugs is all about fun, fun, fun - the interactive-story based sessions put the children right in the middle of the action, so their confidence blossoms, communication increases, they make new friends and the best part is they are having so much fun they don’t even know they are doing it! To celebrate the new launch Hannah and her partners at Theatrebugs HQ are delighted to offer 20% off all parties booked before the end of February. For more details, contact Hannah at or on 01483 882244 / 0797 100 4134. For Theatrebugs in Kingston and Richmond areas, please see below.

Confidence through creativity Theatrebugs have an action packed all singing, all dancing, all acting after school club that will really knock your socks off this term. From 4 to 5pm your child will become a dinosaur, a space rocket, a caterpillar, they’ll visit the moon and dive under the sea - who knows what could happen? One thing is for certain... they’ll have a bucket load of fun while you watch their confidence bloom! Barnes, The Village Nursery Hall, Tuesdays 4 to 5pm Kingston, YMCA Hawker Centre, Mondays 4 to 5pm For 3.5 to 6 years Book your free trial now on 0800 975 5290, January-February 2012

Capitalise on your home during the Olympics

London’s biggest party ever is happening this year but where are 1 million plus Olympics visitors going to stay? Hotels and holiday lets were booked months ago but the fans are still knocking. In fact, with 1 million more tickets yet to be released in spring 2012, fans’ requirements for accommodation and parking will only increase. Savvy local residents can cash in on the action. Due to its access to the Olympic Park and central London, world heritage sites and landmarks, local residents will make more money from their homes and parking than many London boroughs. So how much can you get and is it worth the hassle? ‘Making money from major sports events isn’t a new concept. However, it’s the perceived hassle of emptying wardrobes and fridges and hiding away the family heirlooms that puts homeowners off’, says Sarah Green, Director of a website dedicated to sports fans’ accommodation and parking. ‘But the Olympics is no ordinary sports event. Demand far outweighs available properties translating into some big numbers for your 2 bed semi.’ According to Fanbed’s current listings and market trends, local property and homeowners can expect to generate a weekly average of £70 for a parking space and £5353 for a 4 bed house. Multiply these numbers by 2 to 6 weeks during the Games and you’ve got yourself a nice little earner. Follow in the footsteps of Twickenham homeowners who regularly let their spare space. ‘One of our property owners lets his driveway on match days generating enough money to put his two daughters through private schooling’, says Sarah. ‘But mostly residents see it as a way to escape London and pay for their holidays’. Worth a thought. Average weekly rental income for London Boroughs London borough Hounslow Kingston Richmond

Spare Room per week £330 £390 £713

1 bed per week

2 bed per week

3 bed per week

Parking per day

£826 £975 £1441

£1869 £1176 £1790

£1261 £1794 £2900

£10 £10 £10



A unique event on flexible working Attend the exhibition to meet with family friendly employers and franchisors, plus attend seminars and workshops for career advice and tips on starting a business from the experts.

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New year

10 2012 Start the new year as you mean to go on with some great ideas for getting organised, keeping fit and having fun together as a family.

terrific ways to start

1 Feeling skint? So make some money from a New Year clear out. Why is it we spend most of December buying and making stuff and, bang, come 1st January we all get the urge to empty the cupboards, have a good old sort out and declutter? In her book Downshift to the Good Life (£12.98, Infinite Ideas Limited), Lynn Huggins-Cooper suggests a strategy, ‘Walk around with a black sack. There are probably things in every room.’ Making money from your unwanted stiff couldn’t be easier with local website Sell Things Locally. It’s a bit like Freecycle or eBay without the queues at the post office because buyers and sellers are all local.





3 Challenge the stereotypes. Let your boys try out ballet classes in 2012. Jessica from Twinkle Toes Ballet runs boys only classes for ages 4+. In 2012 she is starting a pre-school Boys ballet class in Richmond and Kew. Contact Jessica at: Do you have boisterous girls? Enrol them at Little Rugby who have local classes in Twickenham. Full details at 4 Learn to play the piano. Perhaps you used to play and are very rusty, or maybe you’re a complete beginner? Becky Mead is a local piano teacher with many years of teaching experience. She currently has daytime slots available for adults. Becky told us, ‘Playing the piano is a wonderful skill to develop at any age. As well as great exercise for the mind and fingers, it’s a very relaxing and rewarding hobby to have.’ In addition to the many children Becky teaches after



5 Celebrate seasonally. In 2012 make the most of those seasonal events and special days which break up the year. It’s not long to Valentine’s Day which is not just about chocolates and roses. Make some Valentine biscuits together on 14th February: INGREDIENTS 25g plain flour 75g margarine or butter 175g plain wholemeal flour about 75ml milk 5ml baking powder flour and icing sugar for rolling 25g caster sugar 450g packet ready-to-roll icing 25g rolled oats red or pink food colouring

METHOD 1 Pre heat over to 200ºC (400ºF) Gas mark 6 2 Put the flours, baking powder and oats into a mixing bowl. Cut the butter or margarine into small pieces and add it to the flour. Rub in the mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. 3 Gradually add the milk until the mixture is sticky enough to make a ball. Then sprinkle the flour on a work surface and roll out until it is very thin. Cut out heart shapes using biscuit cutters. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until pale brown the out on a wire rack to cool. 4 When the biscuits are cold, colour a little of the ready-to-roll icing with a few drops of food colouring. Sprinkle the work surface and a rolling pin with icing sugar. With the heart biscuit cutters, cut out the shapes as you did for the biscuits. Brush the underside of the icing with a little water and stick the heart shapes onto the biscuits. Recipe adapted from Good Housekeeping Kids’ Cookbook by Janet Smith, Ebury Press.

January-February 2012

Clothes from Primark

2 Go on a treasure hunt. Surrey Treasure trails supply easy-to-follow routes which will take you to the most interesting and beautiful sights and along the way. You must answer the clues to be able to solve the mystery. Each treasure hunt is completed in your own time. The Kingston treasure trail takes you from the Ancient Market Place to the contrasting modern riverside development via a scenic section of the Thames Path. It is 1.8 miles long and you should allow about one and a half hours to complete it, provided that you are not distracted by the shops and all Kingston’s other amenities!

Trails cost £5.99 and can be downloaded or posted to you. You can even buy a personalised version for your family and friends with your own title and photograph on the cover for £12.99. surrey/things-to-do.html

New year school hours, she also teaches adults with a real mixture of abilities and ages, from young mums to the elderly and all agree it’s a most enjoyable and often therapeutic activity. If you think you might like to try a couple of lessons before committing to a more long-term arrangement, Becky would be very happy to hear from you. Contact her on 020 8941 8377 or email Becky also runs Noah’s Ark Music Club, a pre-school music group. These classes are all held in Molesey. 6 Who do you think you are? In 2012, research your family tree. Ask grandparents about their childhoods and research your findings. The National Archives, based in Kew, have a fantastic website with records of births, marriages and deaths, as well as Census records from 1841 to 1911. Alternatively you could research the history of your house by checking out the deeds for key names and dates. The local museums are great places to find out more about your neighbourhood. For example, in Spelthorne Museum, the Elmsleigh Room covers the history of Spelthorne, from the Ice age to modern times. The Museum is Free and is located at 1 Elmsleigh Road, Staines TW18 4PM. Check uk for opening hours.


7 Love bird life. Does your family remember to feed the birds? Making bird cake is great fun. Simply pour melted fat (suet or lard) onto a mixture of ingredients such as seeds, nuts, dried fruit, oatmeal, cheese and cake. Use about one-third fat to two-thirds mixture. The children can now stir well in a bowl and allow it to set in a container of your choice. Alternatively, you can turn it out onto your bird table when solid. The RSPB website has a great section to help you identify the birds in your garden, Alternatively, take yourself along to a Winter Bird Walk at 9am on 15th January at Bedfont Lakes. Take a walk around the lakes to see the winter bird residents, with a possibility of catching a glimpse of the elusive Bittern in the reed beds. The cost is £1 per child/concession, £2 per adult. Bedfont Lakes is at Clockhouse Lane, Bedfont, TW14 8QA. Call for more details on 0845 456 2796,


January-February 2012


8 Walk to school in 2012. Gear up for Walk to School Week in May 2012 by starting in January by walking once a week. The Walk to School Week website has masses of great ideas and resources and a special Parents Pack (£14.99). The pack includes: ❋ A bespoke A3 wall chart - for you and your child to fill out across a whole year ❋ 11 x aluminium badges - to be given as rewards each month for walking at least once a week. ❋ A Parent’s Guide - with everything you need to know about running Walk once a Week (WoW) ❋ A WoW certificate ❋ A WoW pen Check 9 Have your say in 2012. Yes times are tough, budgets are being cut and we are all having to adapt to change so don’t moan and groan. Take part in community initiatives, let your voice be heard and make a positive difference on behalf of other local families. Here are some ideas for starters: Kingston has a Parents’ Forum, which aims: ❋ To listen to the voice of Kingston’s parents ❋ For parents’ views to impact onto borough services ❋ To provide an opportunity for parents to meet as a group ❋ To have consultations with Parents Forum members (one every term) ❋ To create a database of parents/carers wishing to be involved with the Parents Forum For further information or to join Kingston’s Parents Forum contact 020 8547 6582, Richmond has an All in One scheme, which aims to get residents involved in its future. So far the scheme has identified the following top issues in the borough: ❋ Traffic and congestion (34%), ❋ Condition of pavements (30%) and roads (20%), and ❋ Shopping in high streets (22%) In Elmbridge Community Connect has been established to promote community-based initiatives. To encourage Big Society-style ideas, each Elmbridge borough councillor has access to funds of £500 to award to local projects. Grants are for planned local projects which relate to one or more of the Elmbridge Sustainable Community Strategy priorities, these are: ❋ Promoting and enhancing the natural environment ❋ Promoting health and wellbeing ❋ Enhancing the local economy


❋ Building safer communities ❋ Fostering inclusion ❋ Partnership development Find out more at 01372 474385. Spelthorne’s Spelthorne Together supports organisations and local residents to work together to improve the quality of life for people living and working in the borough. The main way this is achieved is through the community plan, which sets out how partners intend to improve the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of Spelthorne. The Spelthorne Community Plan 2005-2015 has targets relating to the following themes: ❋ Safer stronger ❋ Children and young people ❋ Health and wellbeing ❋ Economic development ❋ Housing, infrastructure and environment For further information on Spelthorne Together, please contact the Partnership Liaison Officer on 01784 446421 or email uk. Hounslow asks local people for their views on a number of subjects to help to improve the services which the council provides for the community. A residents’ panel is made up of people who have agreed to take part in up to four surveys a year

and occasionally some focus groups, generally for a three year period. As far as possible, the demographics (gender and age, etc) of the 2000 adults on the panel are very similar to the total of the adult population in Hounslow. More at 020 8583 2540 10 Get fit for free in the parks. Active Health Mind organise free fitness sessions in local parks for ages 8 to 77 years. An environmentally friendly way to keep fit, being in the park means no lights, no heating, no air conditioning, no pumps, no PCs, no electrical appliances ... oh yes, and no membership fee! Local sessions are at: ❋ Canbury Gardens, Canbury Pavilion, Kingston on Saturdays at 10am ❋ Marble Hill Park, Twickenham on Saturdays at 10am ❋ By Tesco’s Express opposite St Richard’s Church of England in Ham on Saturdays at 10am For more, check



Music classes for babies and young children! ®

Action songs and rhymes Music and movement Fun with percussion Musical games

Since 1993 thousands of children across the UK have grown up with Monkey Music. Our unique teaching curriculum was written by classically trained musicians, To book your complimentary class, call and introduces music to very young children in a way they Kingston and Surbiton: 0208 224 3971. can easily understand and enjoy. Banstead and Claygate: 01932 223309. Rock ‘n’ roll - from 3 months Weybridge, Cobham and Molesey: 0208 Heigh ho – from 12 months 224 0096. Richmond, Twickenham and Jiggety jig – 2 & 3 year olds Teddington: 0208 847 4031 Ding dong – 3 & 4 year olds

time of music Nur turing a life

Winner of the Best National Pre School Activity Award.


wellbeing 2012

Healthy by example Teaching children to look after their bodies is best done by setting a good example yourself, writes CAROLINE SHERRY. Motivating children to exercise is all very easy if you have a child who is keen and up for anything. But what about those that need lots of encouragement and who will opt out of school sport given half a chance? For parents it is hard to know exactly how much exercise your child is doing at school and in other activities or how effective it really is. As your child gets older it becomes increasingly difficult to manage every aspect of their diet as much as the level of exercise they should be getting. Ultimately we want to be good role models to our children, but as busy parents there isn’t always time to cook healthy meals from scratch and to lead by example in exercising every day without exception. It is essential that we educate our children about their own health, to show them how to make good choices about meals and snacks and that being active is important and can be fun and social. It is up to us to help them understand the significance of how they treat their bodies and where necessary the effects of not taking care of themselves. If you’re worried your child is overweight, first seek advice from your GP and follow up with advice from a dietician if necessary. Try not to start fad diets or an aggressive reduction in food. Look into making long– term changes to healthy eating by increasing your child’s intake of fresh fruit and vegetables and reducing their fat intake.

Getting the whole family involved makes it less directed at one or two individuals – and it’s good for everyone to learn how to eat well. Sitting down together at mealtimes allows your children to see you eating the same things plus giving them an opportunity to discuss the food they want to eat. Try giving them options to pick from for tomorrow’s meals or let them help you cook. This should help to reduce resistance to new/healthier options as they have been able to pick and prepare for themselves. If your child is not keen to join in with school sports, clubs and classes get them to exercise with you - work out an exercise plan together, set goals and monitor them. For instance, how long did it take to walk/ jog to the park and back? Is that faster than last time? (see below for more ideas). There are also centres that provide programmes for primary aged and teenaged children which include fun games and routines. Keep in mind it is recommended that children aged 5 to 17 should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily. Even if you’re not worried about your children being or becoming overweight, educating them on how to eat a balanced healthy diet as well as the importance of exercise and rest will enable them to make good choices for their own bodies.

Get moving ✔ Ride scooters - great fun and use lots of energy. ✔ Swimming once a week in a pool with waves and slides to make it more fun. ✔ Dancing - have a family disco and give out prizes for the funniest or most impressive dances. ✔ For those who like their games consoles try out the fitness games. There is a great selection available including yoga, Zumba and aerobic games – remember you can save money and rent them. ✔ Enrol your children in one of the active classes advertised on this, the facing page and other pages!

Eat well

Clothes from F & F at

✔ Give them more of the veggies and fruit they do like rather than buying and throwing away food they won’t eat. ✔ Remember it’s better to grill and bake rather than fry or microwave - and limit portions. ✔ Keep your cupboards stocked with healthy snacks and drinks instead of less healthy alternatives so children get used to eating them. ✔ Breakfast is important in helping kids focus better at school so if your kids like the sweeter cereals mix them half and half with a healthier option or add fruit to whole grain cereals to sweeten them rather than sugar. ✔ Add more veggies to favourite meals – hide them if necessary in a sauce or by chopping them small.

Sima’s parties are structured energetic fun action-packed & set to music


An introduction to the world of fitness and football for children ages 2 1/2 to 5 years


Sima’s Action Kids parties for under 6’s Sima’s Dance parties for under 11’s Sima’s Disco-bop & karaoke parties for under 11’s contact Sima on 07956993439 or visit


For children ages 5 to 8 years ALL CLASSES HELD INDOORS - FOOTBALL PARTIES AVAILABLE Call Andy for info and bookings on

07931 707720




A captivating introduction to ballet through storytelling for children aged 2.5 - 4 years when: Saturday am, Innerspace studio, Kingston

Tel: 07958 530962

January-February 2012 810 Brooks Dance A Jan12.indd 1

05/12/2011 20:17

wellbeing 2012 TW8 TW9 TW11

The Kensington Ballet School

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

18 Months - 6 Years The Vineyard Church The Vineyard Richmond TW10 6AQ

NEW! Match Play for Under 8s

January-February 2012

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spectacular summer wellbeing 2012

How a club worked for Carol CAROL from Twickenham tells us about her success with a local diet and fitness club, plus we find out about new developments this year and a great reader offer. The beginning of 2012 sees the launch of several new classes and an expansion into Sunbury upon Thames and Shepperton for Lorna Andrews’s Rosemary Conley Diet & Fitness Club franchise. Lorna has already been helping members to successfully lose weight and shape up for over six years in Teddington, Twickenham, Isleworth, Whitton and Hampton. Along with the new classes, Lorna is launching a new anti-recession Premier membership of just £25 a month for unlimited exercise (no contract) plus a special offer for ‘Families upon Thames’ readers of FREE membership (worth £10) and a FREE new 2012 diet pack (worth £25)! The brand new F.A.B. (Fat Attack Booster) diet plan allows members to lose weight more easily than ever before – safely and healthily. It starts with a two-week Kick Start Booster Diet in which trial dieters lost an average of 7lbs over these 14 days. The next stage allows high-fat treats and alcohol back in to the plan and you will be given a personal calorie allowance to stick to, that is regularly reviewed. Each class provides a weigh-in, a short informative talk then a 45 minute exercise session.

Mum of two, Carol, joined the Twickenham class last Spring. ‘The first photo shown here is of me on holiday in Devon early last year. When I looked at it I didn’t recognise the person in the picture. I felt that image was a far cry from where I saw myself in my head. That picture said middle aged, my head says young and fit! This was the moment I decided I would change the picture for the better. I joined Lorna’s Club in May 2011, with a goal in mind. I haven’t quite got there yet but I am very close and far happier already plus I’ve dropped nearly three dress sizes to date! I love the combination of exercise and diet advice at class, as I believe that one can’t work without the other. The classes are enjoyable and varied which means that your body is targeted from every angle.

Next issue

Features in our spring issue include home-based childcare, Easter egg hunts and local spring-time fun. For advertising and editorial, please call Frances on 01932 254584. After 1st March 2012, please call Linda on 07530 283330


Lorna encourages everyone to work hard but still manages to tailor the exercise for every level of fitness. There are a great range of ages and levels in my class alone, some people have lost their weight and stay at the Club to maintain this and keep fit. New members also join each week and soon find themselves amongst friends as we are a very supportive bunch! We’ve all been there, so we understand each other completely. It’s not like going to gym where you don’t know anybody. There are also lots of extra courses available to members on top of the regular classes to try out, such as Bootcamp, Zumba, Pilates and Boxercise. I defy anyone not to be able to find something that suits their need. I have tried them and love them all! I found the diet easy to follow and I was able to adapt the way I bought and cooked food really easily. However, if people struggle doing it by themselves or if you just have a few days in the week where you’re too busy to cook, then there is a great new range of tasty ‘Solo Slim’ soup and meal options to choose from that you can purchase at class and they’re actually really tasty! I get excited about the monthly magazine coming out so I can try the recipes and impress my family. It’s suitable for my kids too which is great because I am teaching them how

LOSE A STOnE ST 7 WEEKS juST in ju with the new ROSeMARY COnLeY

fAT ATTACK bOOSTER diet fRee Membership AnD free Diet Pack worth £35!* *New members only. Class Fee £7.00. Bring voucher to claim offer.

‘Joining Lorna’s club has been one of the most positive things I have ever done for myself.’ tasty low fat, healthy food can actually be and don’t have to do separate meals for them. Joining Lorna’s club has been one of the most positive things I have ever done for myself. I still go out and enjoy myself and I never feel that I’m being deprived of what I want to eat. It’s all about changing your attitude towards food by finding the healthier alternatives without losing the taste. As long as you couple this with becoming more active, I’m pretty sure that 2012 can be as amazing a year for you as last year was for me!’

HAMPTON White House Community Centre, TW12 3RN Saturday 08:55 - 9:45 am Bootcamp - Call to book! Wednesday 9:45 - 11:00 am ISLEWORTH The Green School, Busch Corner, TW7 5BB Wednesday 6:30 - 7:45 pm SHEPPERTON The Greeno Centre - Main Hall, TW17 9DH Thursday 6:15 - 7:30 pm SUNBURY-ON-THAMES St. Paul’s Catholic College Main Hall, TW16 6NX Tuesday 6:15 - 7:30 pm Tuesday 7:05 - 8:15 pm (Slim & Zumba®)

SUNBURY-ON-THAMES Sunbury Methodist Church, TW16 5AD Thursday 09:30 - 10:45 am TEDDINGTON Collis Primary School, Fairfax Road, TW11 9BS Monday 6:15 - 7:30 pm Monday 7:35 - 8:30 pm Pilates - Call to book! TWICKENHAM All Hallows Church Hall, Erncroft Way, TW1 1EW Tuesday 10:00 - 11:15 am Tuesday 6:00 - 7:15 pm WHITTON Whitton Community Centre, Main Hall, TW2 6JL Thursday 6:30 - 8:00 pm

Call Lorna on 020 8941 8143 January-February 2012

wellbeing 2012

A knock out way to beat the gym Get fit without going to the gym with personal trainer Angela Poole.


ngela Poole has always been in involved in sports and exercise which included competing in athletics at school. After having two children she obtained her personal trainer qualification in South Africa, and became passionate about promoting a healthy lifestyle. When her family moved to the UK recently, she decided to encourage these same ideals here. She now works for a company which offers men and women of any age the opportunity to get fit, lose weight and keep healthy all from the comfort of their own home. For a number of reasons there are many people who feel uncomfortable about exercising in busy gyms, while many others simply do not have the time to dedicate to visiting a gym on a regular basis. Angela told us, ‘I think people feel threatened by the gym because they think all gym goers have a perfect image and they have to dress and look the same to be welcomed. If you are lacking confidence in your body it can be difficult walking into a large gym where masses of machines can be overwhelming. It is a very public place where people feel they are being judged.’ Added to that, we all fall into bad habits when it comes to diet and exercise, ‘in our busy lifestyles people often skip meals and this actually results in more calories being consumed in the day as the next meal often tends to be a bigger, calorie-dense meal. People don’t realise the importance of small regular meals which include 2 snacks, which keep you satisfied for longer and therefore less calories are consumed. When people decide they want to lose weight they often follow a totally restrictive diet which can’t be sustained for long, instead of adopting a healthy lifestyle by making wise food choices and being aware of food labels and ingredients. It should be a lifestyle change which can be maintained for the rest of your life.’ Recent studies which found that about 46% of men and 32% of women in the UK are overweight seems to bear that out, but where do we start to turn over a new leaf? ‘Time management is the biggest obstacle people need to address’, in Angela’s opinion. ‘ If you can only exercise for 30 minutes a day then this is better than nothing - as long as you can exercise at your highest intensity then this will have the desired results.’ In her initial assessment with new clients they are required to complete a personal history questionnaire which includes questions on their medical history and exercise habits. Measurements are taken on a scale which reveal resting heart rate, weight, body fat


186 Fun with Music v2 A


Fun With Music! In Central Richmond

Music Classes for 1-5 Year Olds For more information, call: %, muscle mass, BMI (body mass index) and BMR (basal metabolic rate) from which Angela can determine their metabolic age, and she measures their hips and waist which provides her with a waist to hip ratio. She takes blood pressure and conducts a sit and reach (flexibility) test, strength test (number of sit-ups in 1 minute) and a fitness test (step-up test for 3 minutes measuring heart rate). From this data she can determine their fitness level and their goals so she can create a programme specifically to meet their needs. From there, based on their fitness level and lifestyle Angela can determine the starting point of their programme. She says, ‘If they have been sedentary then everything will be at a low level to begin with and progress slowly, and more vigorous if they already established a high fitness level. If they have any pre-existing conditions I would avoid exercises that could cause any discomfort and strengthen the necessary areas. As a personal trainer I am able to drive and motivate them to achieve their goals, by always encouraging them to push a little harder.’ Angela is also able to help mums before and after childbirth, being conscious of their heart rate, blood pressure and movement issues. ‘Having exercised through both pregnancies myself I think I can also give the necessary advice and an understanding of any difficulties.’ What’s more, she brings along exercise equipment that can be used in the home such as aerobic step, Swiss ball, dumbbells, medicine ball, punching gloves, kettle bell, exercise bands, a skipping rope and exercise mat. She says, ‘I am a runner myself so enjoy jogging sessions, and I specialise in circuit training which combines a mixture of weights, cardio, functional training and boxing sessions.’


Dusty Does Disco A monthly disco for children and their families in Twickenham & Ealing. Dusty th


dog just loves to dance! Join him for s fun filled afternoon of Lightss Live DJ, Bubbles, Dance tuition and much more! See dates and book online :


For 10 free hour-long sessions with a medical and health assessment in your own home (worth £250) with Angela, please go to our Competitions (top left tab at locations/upon-thames) and answer the question: What do recent studies estimate to be the percentage of overweight women in the UK? Angela works for Workout at Home Contact her on 07873 812950 or at January-February 2012




Nurseries it’s your choice SARAH-JANE BUTLER and ANN CLARE guide you through the process. Today there is so much day care choice that parents find the decision harder to make. How to decide between nanny, childminder or day nursery? Nannies and childminders work in a home setting and the care is on a much more personal basis (more on this in the March/April issue). Day nurseries, on the other hand, care for babies and young children on a much larger scale. When looking for a day nursery it is important to have a clear idea of what you want for your child. Think about choosing a nursery as you would choose a new home - what are the ‘must-haves’ and what are your ‘desirables’? All parents want their children to be happy and cared for, and when they are small babies the care aspect appears to be the most important. Care is important, and you need to look closely at the adults in the whole nursery who will be delivering this care. Remember to consider the whole nursery environment and all of the adults, not just the baby room or whichever room your child is starting in. Your baby will grow quickly and as a consequence will move through the rooms in the nursery. You don’t want to keep changing settings so look at where your baby is heading. Your adults need to be caring but they also need to be mindful of the role that their interactions and challenge have in helping your baby to learn through first-hand experiences and opportunities for exploration and investigation. It is these experiences which help

develop the brain during those formative years. Research has clearly demonstrated that babies and young children make progress when supported by knowledgeable and skilled adults. When visiting a nursery ask about the qualifications of the staff. Many good nurseries are now employing graduates who have gone on to gain Early Years Professional Status (EYP). Ask whether these adults work in all areas of the nursery and not just with the children aged 3+. Remember the majority of brain development occurs within the first 2 years of life and it is important that high quality staff is caring for our very youngest children. The environment that a nursery creates is of crucial importance to parents and children. When visiting a nursery look beyond the physical

environment to the babies and children already in the setting. Do they appear to have high levels of wellbeing? Look at the body language that babies and children display - do they look at ease? Are they comfortable and cosy with the adults in the room? Are they showing levels of excitement and stimulation? In babies is there excited movement of the limbs? All of these are indicators


that the babies and young children feel safe and secure in a setting. Research has shown that when babies and children display high levels of wellbeing and involvement then learning will take place. Wellbeing indicates that the basic needs of the child are satisfied and refers to the degree to which children feel at ease, act spontaneously, show vitality and self-confidence. Involvement is evident when children are concentrated and focused, interested and fascinated and when they are operating at the very limits of their capabilities. When choosing a day nursery for your baby, parents want somewhere which is safe and secure, not just from a safeguarding perspective but importantly for emotional wellbeing. You want play experiences for your young child, not hothouse pressure to produce a prospective genius but an emotionally secure individual who has had the opportunities to develop the valuable learning skills that are learnt through play. After all, ‘a child’s play is his work’, Friedrich Froebel

Sarah-Jane Butler and Ann Clare are founders of Parental Choice, the essential ‘one-stop shop’ to help you make the right decision on your childcare needs. Creating a Learning Environment for Babies and Toddlers by Dr Ann Clare will be published in February 2012 by Sage Publications at £19.99. For more information on your childcare options, see

Maternity Nurse and Nanny Agency Temporary and Permanent Bookings • Daily Nannies • Live in Nannies • Night Nannies • Nanny/Housekeepers • Governesses • Nanny / PA’s • Part-time Nannies • Weekend Nannies • Maternity Nurses 24/5 - 24/6 Basis Are able to discuss any childcare requirements. We cover UK and Overseas bookings. Mention families magazine to receive a 10% discount on permanent bookings. Contact us today with your requirements

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January-February 2012 16/10/2011 08:50

spectacular summer nurseries

Read all about it Books are a great way to prepare children for nursery, writes LUCY NOGUERA.

January-February 2012

Recommended reads

Gus Goes to School by Kate Perry, QED Publishing, £5.99 paperback I want My Mum by Tony Ross, Harper Collins, £5.99 paperback Going to Playgroup by Geraldine Taylor, Ladybird Starting School by Janet Ahlberg & Allan Alhberg, Picture Puffin, £6.99 Going To School by Anna Civardi and Stephen, Cartwright Usbourne Books, £3.99 paperback Do I Have To Go to School? By Lesley Harker, Weyland, £6.99

Read part two of our childcare feature in our March/April issue where we focus on home-based options

New experiences in a child’s life, or changes to their daily routines can cause lots of anxieties and worries, both for the child and the parents. Finding a way to prepare them beforehand can help enormously. Starting playgroup, nursery and then school are probably some of the biggest new experiences for a child. Worries about being away from home can often be based around really small things, things you can easily reassure them about, (as long as you know what they are). Talking about the subject early can offer reassure them on little details that you won’t even have thought of. My son was worried about who would do his trouser button up when he went to the toilet, so avoided going to the toilet at nursery. This resulted in desperate wees in the park on the way home! Only when we talked about it one bedtime did he eventually tell me why. This was from a really quite independent child who I would have assumed would have happily asked for help if he needed it. I asked his teacher in front of him if she would help him if he needed it, and from then on he was fine. Choose some books about other children doing whatever it is your child will be doing soon and then read them to together as far ahead as you feel you want to. Ideally a couple of months before would be a great place to start. Having a child try out these new situations in a story can allow questions and opportunities for you without any pressure. Use the book as the starting point. Compare the child in the story to your child. ‘Look he is hanging his coat up on his peg, he has a photo of himself to remind him. I wonder what will be on your peg to remind you?’ Make it sound exciting, if you seem nervous or anxious your child will be too, Encourage them to talk about how the children in the story might be feeling. ‘Oh, look that little girl is by herself, the teacher is helping her to join in with the other children and make friends and now she is really happy.’ Make it fun and they will start

to feel reassured. It obviously isn’t going to solve all their issues but the more you can prepare them before the event the better. Tony Ross’s Little Princess series have some great picture books for new experiences. Gus Goes to School by Kate Petty is a another lovely book which describes Gus’s last week before starting full days at school. It also has the day of the week at the start of each page, this allows you the opportunity to talk about how many days you go to school, and how many are spent at home over the weekend. There are lots of ideas of the type of activities you might do at school. The book gives you the reason for the conversation; it takes the pressure off and allows you to introduce all the new vocabulary associated with the situation. At Brilliant Monsters we have book packs to prepare your child for any new situation, and if we don’t have a pack to suit yours, we will make you one! We love a challenge.

extra For all Families Upon Thames readers Brilliant Monsters are offering free delivery & 10% off any new experience pack. Just quote FUT2012. Packs start at £15. To discuss packs or any other queries please contact Lucy Noguera on: monsters 07973 314522

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Working together to make the best choice for you and your family. Parental Choice is the essential “one-stop shop” for your childcare needs and advice on your legal rights before, during and after pregnancy. 4 Childcare options and the costs clearly presented 4 Advice on maternity and paternity employment rights 4 Advice on employing nannies

4 Bespoke nanny employment contracts and payroll services 4 Drafting flexible working proposals and guidance on flexible working

Take a look at our Nursery Search on our website to find the best nursery closest to you. Parental Choice: dedicated to helping you make the right choices for you and your family.



You pays your money ... LAURA WELSH explains how, all shiny and branded is not necessarily the best for all families, as she found when she discovered a great independent nursery in Teddington.


hoosing a nursery sounds like an easy task doesn’t it? You get a list from the internet, ask friends for advice, check the Ofsted website, visit a shortlist and then, voilà! Our son Connor gets to spend a couple of days a week (in our case, more if you are a working parent) in a loving, caring, educational environment that could be a home from home, and you get some time to either go back to work or, if you’re lucky like me, to care for your other children and run a busy household. If only that were true. Making a decision about who is going to look after your children while you work/run the house/ look after other children can be one of the toughest decisions you have to make in the early days of

parenthood. For starters you have to think about the following: ■ Which way do you go: au pair, nanny, childminder or nursery? ■ How much is it going to cost and how are you going to pay for it? ■ Where is its location in relation to your home and office? ■ What hours is the care available for and is there any flexibility in this? ■ Does the setting have links to any schools or provide any kind of holiday activities (essential for working parents during the long summer holiday)? ■ Do your children have to be potty trained to attend (surprisingly, this became my number one question after a while!) ■ What kind of venue is it? Does it have a lot of open space?

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■ Where do your friends send their children? ■ What does Ofsted think of it? We started out with a nursery for one day a week when Connor was a year old. This was to give him a little bit of independence and confidence outside the house and for me, at 6 months pregnant with our second child, to try to get a day of rest and some precious ‘me’ time. I looked at a number of nurseries in the local area and we plumped for a very highly regarded, Ofsted recommended, expensive nursery that everyone said was the best in town. Needless to say Connor hated every second and screamed from the moment he arrived to the moment he left! At this point I realised that childcare, like most things, is not a one-size-fits-all solution and that it is very much horses for courses. So it was back to the drawing board and more decisions had to be made. Of course the screaming may have been down to his age, the fact that he had never been left before, and that he knew I was leaving him there to go off and have some fun at home (even 12 month olds are very perceptive about such things) but I had a feeling in my gut that this was not the right place for my son, no matter what other people said. I looked at Montessori nurseries, which are lovely, calm, educationally rich environments for the right child (but not my child, I felt). There were others run by teams of lovely caring older ladies but which had no outside space to speak of. Others offered all bells and whistles of toys and activities but where I felt the staff seemed slightly underwhelming. And then there was the issue of potty training. Many nurseries will not take children of over 2.5 that are still in nappies, and Connor still was. My dream was to find somewhere that would help me to potty train him whilst allowing

him to explore life in a dynamic and exciting way and teach him to be himself, in a safe and loving environment. And I hit the jackpot with Little Scamps in Teddington. The day I walked into this slightly scruffy building with its huge garden full of slides, trampolines and ride on cars, and met the (mostly young) enthusiastic staff which included (hooray!) some young male carers (vital in my opinion if you have a son), who didn’t give a hoot about whether he was potty trained or not, then I signed up there and then. Now, four years later, all three of my children have been cared for, and I don’t use the word lightly, by the staff there to the highest degree. They have genuinely been part of my children’s lives and I feel like they are part of my family. It helps enormously of course that they run a holiday club which runs through all the school holidays, as well as flexible care that can wraparound the school day but the kids have fun there while they are learning not only the alphabet, how to tie their shoelaces and pull their trousers up, but also how to be confident, independent little people with their own personalities. No amount of money, fancy buildings or Ofsted reports can provide that. I went with my gut feeling and I recommend that you should always do that too.

extra Little Scamps is at 65a Strathmore Road, Teddington, TW11 8UH, 020 8943 9313, Laura Welsh lives in Hampton Hill. Read her blog about family life at:

January-February 2012

baby pages

Home births -


Local midwives LOUISE NUNN and WENDY BURMAN share their thoughts about home births. The safety of home births has been drawn into the media limelight again, due to the recent publication of a nationwide BirthPlace study, when it was widely reported that a hospital birth was safer than a home birth for first-time mums. So what does the BirthPlace study tell us about home births?

The study looked at the effects of planned place of birth for healthy (‘low risk’) women. The results showed that risks for these mums and their babies were low in all settings (at home, in a midwife-led unit or at a doctor-led hospital unit) but that there were big differences in experiencing a ‘normal birth’ (where labour starts spontaneously, and there is no medical intervention) at home compared to a hospital obstetric unit - 88% versus 58%. It also showed that the risk of having an emergency caesarean was much less at 3% rather than 11%. Overall, the study confirms that healthy low-risk mums should still be given the choice of where to have their baby, and this is supported by The Royal College of Midwives, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and the National Childbirth Trust. These are some of the questions that we are often asked about home births...

Why should I have a home birth?

One of the most common reasons for wanting to be at home is that it is more comfortable and private, where you might feel more relaxed and able to move around more freely, than if you were in a clinical environment in hospital. Many


women feel more in control of their labour and birth at home, particularly if they are keen to keep birth ‘normal’ and avoid interventions where possible. Receiving focused support from a midwife they know is another important reason, and statistically women are much less likely to experience a range of medical procedures if they birth at home rather than in a doctor-led unit. Planning to stay at home can be a practical solution if you have other children at home.

Why shouldn’t I have my baby at home?

If you have pregnancy complications that would need you and your baby to be closely monitored in labour. If your living conditions are unsuitable (no heating, water or able to be accessed by the emergency services). If you feel that you would definitely like to have the option of an epidural, as this is unavailable at home. Some mums just feel more comfortable being in a hospital environment.

What are the practicalities of having a baby at home?

Contrary to popular myth, your carpets do not get ruined! In fact, there is very little mess - usually there is just one washing machine load of towels afterwards. Your midwife will bring plenty of protective pads with her. Apart from adequate heating and light, (and the traditional hot water and towels!) there is also very little

Louise and Wendy are NHS midwives and also run Teddington Midwives, providing private ante-natal classes and post-natal visits to mums in the Teddington, Twickenham, Hampton and Kingston areas. They have supported many women having home births over the course of their careers, plus have both experienced birthing at home themselves, and feel passionately that women should be given choice and accurate information about where to give birth. Wendy and Louise discuss all types of birth during their ante-natal classes, please see their website for more details

January-February 2012

Many women feel more in control of their labour and birth at home, particularly if they are keen to keep birth ‘normal’ and avoid interventions where possible. extra equipment that you need at home, although items like angle poise lamps and hot water bottles are useful.

I’m interested in having my baby at home, what do I do?

You can book a home birth directly through a midwife at any stage in your pregnancy. She will need to make an assessment of your current pregnancy and any previous births to check that planning to have a home birth is a suitable option for you and your baby. A home birth may not be recommended if you have medical or pregnancy complications, although the decision to birth at home is yours and the midwife is there to advise you rather than to allow or not allow you to choose a home birth. You do not need a doctor’s permission to have a home birth. The midwife will then organize a home visit to


discuss the practicalities with you and your birth partner in more detail. She may also arrange home ante-natal visits for you.

Can I have any pain relief at home?

Yes, you can! You can use a TENS machine, the midwife will provide Entonox (gas and air) Birthing pools can be hired and are widely used at home, and are a very effective form of pain relief. You may also wish to use complementary therapies such as homeopathy, acupuncture, and massage to help support you through labour.

What happens if there’s a problem?

If a problem arises during your labour, your midwife may need you to transfer to hospital. However, most complications that develop in labour can be anticipated well in advance and dealt with accordingly. The most common reason why you might be transferred into hospital is because your labour is progressing too slowly or for closer monitoring of your baby. Unexpected emergencies are very rare, and midwives attending home births are highly skilled practitioners and trained to deal with emergency situations in all birth settings. Your midwife will discuss these aspects with you in more detail during the home visit appointment.



baby pages

Help for new mums We know it can be

tough, but there’s lots of local help out there, write JOANNA PARRY and FRANCES LOATES.

So, you’ve had a baby. You’re a new mum and of course you’re tired, but you’re also elated and amazed at this tiny new being that has entered your life. You spend every waking hour staring in adoration at their tiny little toes and gorgeous little mouth. Your exhaustion doesn’t matter as you drift from day to day in a haze of milky delight. Or maybe you don’t? If you are like us then those first few weeks, even months of being a new mum are the hardest days of your life. Not only are you exhausted after weeks of unbroken sleep but you’re also struggling with breastfeeding or getting your baby to take a bottle, your baby is unsettled and suffers from reflux and why oh why won’t it just go to sleep? Even if it’s your second or third baby, it’s still just as hard. You’ve got baby blues, or perhaps Home-Start is a charity that helps parents by providing volunteer support. Whether you’re struggling to look after your baby or suffering from post-natal illness or even just feeling lonely and isolated, Home-Start can help. Volunteers offer regular support, friendship and practical help to young families under stress in their own homes. The visits are flexible and you decide together what to do during that time. Home-Start Kingston - 020 8296 0654 Home-Start Richmond - 020 8487 8500 Home-Start Hounslow - 020 8577 9552 Home-Start Elmbridge - 01932 235802 Home-Start Spelthorne - 01784 463200


Support starts here

Health visitors are there for the welfare of babies and their parents, and your health visitor should support you in whatever way they can. They should get in touch with you in the first few days of you returning home from hospital, but if you don’t know how to reach your Health Visitor your doctor’s surgery will be able to tell you how to contact yours and get all the help you need. North Kingston Children’s Centre, Latchmere School, Latchmere Road, Kingtson, KT2 5TT, 020 8547 0187, Old Malden Children’s Centre, Malden Manor Primary and Nursery School, Sheephouse Way, New Malden, KT3 5PF, 020 8241 0837, Surbiton Children’s Centre, Alpha Road, Surbiton, KT5 8RS, 020 8390 2555, Tolworth Children’s Centre, Tolworth Infant and Nursery School, School Lane, Surbiton, KT6 7SA, 020 8399 4231, West Chessington Children’s Centre, Lovelace Primary School, Mansfield Road, Chessington, KT9 2RN, 020 8391 2145, Richmond Ham Children’s Centre, Ashburnham Road, Ham TW10 7NL, 020 8734 3400, Heathfield Children’s Centre, Powder Mill Lane, Whitton, TW2 6EX, 020 8734 3405, Norman Jackson Children’s Centre, 50 Windmill Road, Hampton Hill, TW12 1QU, 020 8941 6843, Welcare in Richmond Children’s Centre, 26 The Green, Twickenham, TW2 5AB, 020 8893 9123, Hounslow Beavers Children’s Centre, c/o Surestart, The Hub, Salisbury Road, Hounslow, TW4 7NW, 020 8570 8156, Bedfont Children’s Centre, Fairholme Primary School, Peacock Avenue, Bedfont, TW14 8ET,

020 8583 558, Brentford Children’s Centre, North Road, Brentford, TW8 0BJ, 020 8583 5760, Crane Park Children’s Centre, Crane Park Primary School, Norman Avenue, Hanworth, TW13 5LN, 020 8894 9837, Cranford Children’s Centre, Cranford Infant and Nursery School, Berkeley Avenue, Cranford, TW4 6LB, 020 8583 5590 Feltham Hill Children’s Centre, Feltham Hill Junior, Infant & Nursery, Bedfont Road, Feltham, TW13 4LZ, 020 8583 5571, Feltham North Children’s Centre, ‘Alf Kings’ Alf King Centre, Hanworth Road, Feltham, TW13 5AF, 020 8583 3922, Heston Children’s Centre, Berkeley Infant School, Cranford Lane, Hounslow, TW5 9HQ, 020 8583 5812, Hounslow Town Children’s Centre, Hounslow Town Primary School, Pears Road, Hounslow, TW3 1SR, 020 8570 1747, Lampton Children’s Centre, Neville Close, Hounslow, TW3 4DN, 020 8583 5720 Midsummer Park Children’s Centre, 292 Staines Road, Hounslow, TW4 5BA, North Isleworth Children’s Centre, West Thames College, Grove Road, Isleworth, TW7 4JT, 020 8326 2131, Norwood Green Children’s Centre, c/o Berkeley Primary School, Cranford Lane, Hounslow, TW5 9HQ, 020 8583 5812,

If you’re tired, struggling to bond with or feed your baby or have a touch of the baby blues, there are plenty of support networks out there.

January-February 2012

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Children’s centres (also called the Sure Start programme) have been developed throughout England as a ‘one-stop shop’ to help parents, with many offering support groups for new mums as well as stay and play sessions, baby clubs, post-natal and breastfeeding classes. Kingston Chessington Children’s Centre, Buckland Road, Chessington, KT9 1JE, 020 8408 8927, Kingston Hill Children’s Centre, Alexandra Infant School, Alexandra Road, Kingston, KT2 6SE, 020 8549 5142, Kingston Town Children’s Centre, Villiers Road, Kingston, KT1 3AR, 020 8481 0640, New Malden Children’s Centre, Burlington Road, New Malden, KT3 4LR, 020 8336 1561, Norbiton Children’s Centre, King’s Oak Primary School, Dickerage Lane, New Malden, KT3 3RZ, 020 8949 6065,

even post-natal depression? Now the most important thing you can do, even if you don’t feel like it, is to get out there, meet some other new mums and get some support. If you’re tired, struggling to bond with or feed your baby or have a touch of the baby blues, there are plenty of support networks out there.

baby pages Post-natal depression

South Isleworth Children’s Centre, Worple Road, Isleworth, TW7 7AP, 020 8321 8100, Southville Children’s Centre, Southville Community Centre, Southville Road, Bedfont, TW14 8AP, 020 8844 2328, Syon Children’s Centre, Marlborough Primary School, Darcy Road, Isleworth, TW7 5XA, 020 8583 5560, Elmbridge Burhill Sure Start Children’s Centre, Pleasant Place, Hersham, KT12 4HR, 01932 246918, Claygate and Oxshott Sure Start Children’s Centre, Claygate Community Centre, Elm Road, Claygate, KT10 0EH, 01372 471222, Cobham Sure Start Children’s Centre, Oakdene Road, Cobham, KT11 2LY, 01932 596034 / 07508 324015, Grovelands Sure Start Children’s Centre, Sandy Lane, Walton, KT12 2EQ, 01932 229313, Long Ditton Village Sure Start Children’s Centre, St Mary’s Community Hall, Church Road, Long Ditton, KT6 5HH, 020 839 80438, Thames Ditton Sure Start Children’s Centre, The Thames Ditton Centre for the Community, Mercer Close, Thames Ditton, KT7 0BS, 020 839 83772, Three Rivers Sure Start Children’s Centre, Chandlers Field Primary School, High Street, West Molesey, KT8 2LX, 020 848 17212, Weybridge Children’s Centre - A Sure Start for All, The Pavilion, Churchfield Road, Weybridge, KT13 8DB, 01932 300106, Spelthorne Buckland Sure Start Children’s Centre, Buckland Primary School, Berryscroft Road, Staines, TW18 1NB, 07882 312637, Clarendon Sure Start Children’s Centre, Clarendon Primary School, Knapp Road, Ashford, TW15 2HZ, 01784 253379, Saxon Sure Start Children’s Centre, Saxon Primary School, Briar Road, Shepperton, TW17 0JB, 01932 569742, Sun Ash Sure Start Children’s Centre, Spelthorne Infant and Nursery School, Chertsey Road, Ashford Common, TW15 1SF, 01784 251976, Sun Ash Sure Start Children’s Centre, Kenyngton Manor Primary School, Bryony Way, Sunbury, TW16 7QL, 01932 755110, Stanwell Sure Start Children’s Centre, Hadrian Way, Stanwell, TW19 7HE, 01784 241407,

Meet and greet

Drop-in centres, playgroups and baby groups offer vital post-natal support and advice. Most importantly, they don’t cost more than a pound or two. Your Children’s Centre should be able to give you a list of local groups. For Richmond parents, For Sanity’s Sake has a great calendar with hourly listings. They also January-February 2012

arrange regular get-togethers, The NCT runs Bumps, Babies and Beyond groups where you can make friends and share experiences with other new mums, and support is provided. Esher Branch - 0844 243 6126, Sunbury, Shepperton and Chertsey Branch - 0844 243 6288, Staines, Ashford and Egham Branch – meet on Fridays at The Youth Hall, behind Staines Congregational Church, Staines, from 10 to 11.30am 0844 2436279, | Richmond Branch – 0844 2436250, All other local branches offer support to new parents ranging from coffee mornings to breastfeeding support: Weybridge, Oatlands and Addlestone Branch - 0844 243 6322, | Molesey and Thames Ditton Branch – 0844 243 6211 Kingston Branch - 0844 243 6180, Twickenham, Hounslow and District – 0844 243 6304

Join a class

Baby yoga is also a great way to encourage baby-parent interaction. A natural transition from baby massage, it incorporates stretching, relaxation and yoga techniques, enabling you and your baby to create a joyful interaction. Try Baby Bumpkin with classes in Richmond, Twickenham, Chiswick and Kew - 0845 680 2864, 07974 750886, Activity classes. These don’t have to be expensive, so shop around. All kinds of local classes start with the very young. Try Gymboree Surbiton, Nuffield Health Club, Simpson Way, Surbiton, Surrey, KT6 4ER 020 8398 9360, Gymboree St Margarets, 133 St Margarets Road, Twickenham, TW1 1RG 020 8607 9995, Gymboree West Byfleet, 42 Station Approach, West Byfleet, Surrey, KT14 6NE 01932 353313 / 07824 645046, The Little Gym, 94 to 102 High Street, Hampton Hill, TW12 1NY 020 8977 0099

Post-natal Depression (PND) is often not fully understood by mums who experience it, yet one in three mothers will suffer from it. Becoming a parent can be a shock and it is perfectly normal to feel emotional, vulnerable and sensitive after your baby is born. Some mothers may feel confused about their feelings - they feel they should be overjoyed and instantly fall in love with their baby but this is not always the case, especially if you’ve had a difficult labour or a traumatic delivery. Baby blues typically occur between 3 to 5 days after the birth, and one theory is that they coincide with the hormonal changes that occur as the breast milk starts to come in. Another theory is that they are due to the ‘come down’ after the effects of endorphins, or a sort of physical shock reaction after the upheaval of birth. You may feel weepy, irritable, have a low mood and feel that you lack confidence in being able to look after your baby - these feelings usually subside after a week or so. However, post-natal depression is more serious and must be treated immediately. Symptoms can include: ◗ sleeping problems ◗ crying a lot ◗ not eating or over-eating ◗ physical pains such as headaches or stomach pains or blurred vision ◗ a lack of motivation to get up and do anything ◗ a constant sense of anxiety, sometimes escalating into panic attacks ◗ a feeling of being lonely or isolated having difficulty concentrating ◗ feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope ◗ having no interest in sex ◗ feeling guilty about everything and wondering if you are a bad mother ◗ being overly protective of your baby ◗ feeling emotionally disconnected from your baby ◗ having frightening thoughts about harming yourself or your baby or about bad things happening If you feel any of the above, it is important to seek professional help. Your GP may suggest anti-depressant medication and/or counselling and your health visitor will know about local post-natal depression support groups. You can also go to or for information, support and advice. Also, tell your family and close friends, as talking about your feelings is part of the cure.

Treat yourself

If you feel up to it, get a babysitter for an hour or two and treat yourself to some quality ‘me’ time. Try a day spa for a pampering and revitalising treatment, or one of the ‘Yummy Mummy’ clubs that are springing up offering spa treatments as well as a range of classes and support groups for new mums, usually with crèches on site.

extra Helpful websites Support for twins

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17 17

08/12/2011 07:25

travel 2012

15 ways to

travel well

Top travel tips from a family who journeyed the hard way.

Ben Hatch, author of Are We nearly There Yet?, his wife Dinah and their two children Phoebe (3) and Charlie (1) spent 5 months touring Britain’s family-friendly attractions. In the course of 8000 miles they reviewed 900 attractions, slept in tents, mobile homes, castles, hotels, and, once, in their car. They were attacked by bats, had confrontations with puff adders, Nazis and Billie Piper’s pyjamas. Here, Ben highlights 15 things he now knows.


Not owning a sat-nav today is like being a 14th century sailor and trying to round the Cape without a nautical chart. We bought one halfway through our trip. Put it this way, if I’d a choice – brakes or sat-nav? I’d gladly drill a hole in the driver’s footwell and use my feet to slow down.


It’s unwise to allow Dinah, my wife, who has a raging cheloniaphobia (fear of tortoises and any creatures that look like tortoises), to wander untended through Birdworld in Farnham. I’m also aware now, that afterwards telling her, as she hyperventilates into a bag, ‘I’m sorry, I thought Tortoise Hill was just a description of what the hill looked like. Not a description of what lived on the hill’, cuts little ice.


In Welly Boot Land at the Slimbridge Wetland Centre, after handling ducklings and feeding wild fowl (‘There’s some for you swan. And you goose. No, you’ve had yours heron.’) it isn’t a good idea to take your eyes off your children. There’s an artificial stream running through the play-park that our children attempted, fully clothed, to swim up like salmons running to their native breeding grounds.

4 5 6

At the Jorvik Viking Centre in York it’s possible, through responding to a series of questions about your hair colour, and also, somewhat baffling, your sandwich filling of choice, to see how much Viking blood you possess. After almost being blown up in a field of live ordnance inside a Military Zone, near Otterburn, we’ve learnt to be careful taking the kids for nature wees and to look out for signs saying: Warning: This may explode and kill you. It’s easy stealing lunch from hotel breakfast buffets. Secretive initially we’d pilfer odd rolls when waitresses’ backs were turned. A few weeks in, feral, we were snatching camembert triangles, bacon, sausages and yoghurts then asking for napkins to wrap it all up in.


You can impersonate David Blaine on the A719 between Dunure and Croy in Scotland. Here there’s an optical illusion created by the surrounding landscape


At Kew Gardens, we spen t 2 hours in the countr y’s most fam ou s gr ee the wonderful flora wh n space, surveying tr ying to thwar t our da ilst at the same time to steal rhododendron cuughter’s dogged attempt pink bucket ‘because I likttings to place in her and they’ve got loads’. e them, I want them

which means that if you put your car in neutral and release the brake it appears to slowly roll up hill. Known as the Electric Brae (brae meaning slope), the spot is marked by a stone cairn inscribed with an explanation that you needn’t trouble your awe-struck family with.


On long journeys don’t oversell destinations as we did visiting the Wensleydale Cheese Visitor Centre. On the strength of a Yorkshire Tourist Board leaflet featuring Wallace and Gromit sticking their thumbs up, we rashly promised life-size models of the cartoon characters wandering around. However, the only thing Wallace and Gromit related was a chalk outline of them on the café’s specials board. We’d driven two hours to a working cheese factory to show the kids the processes milling and tipping and for them to learn how Wensleydale cheese did in the last Nantwich International Cheese festival.


At the The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Great Missenden, we learned that the great children’s writer kept on his writing desk a model of a hurricane plane in recognition of the one he flew in World War 2, a paper knife of his father’s and the thighbone he had removed by a surgeon who later remarked it was the biggest he’d ever seen, it all helpfully making the loose orange peel, crumpet crumbs and broken monkey nut casing on my desk at home seem mildly more excusable to my wife.


Cheap in-car dvd players are inadvisable. Ours kept disconnecting from the cigarette lighter and returning the film to the beginning every time my wife scratched her leg in the passenger seat. Consequently despite watching Finding Nemo 10 times our kids are still unaware Nemo was eventually reunited with his father.

11 12

Mother Shipton’s Cave in North Yorkshire, is where a 17th century prophetess lived, predicted both the Great Fire of London and the advent of email. I now never to listen to my wife on health matters. In a serviced apartment in Leeds she advised me a pain in my side was trapped wind and I should ‘cycle in the air’ to alleviate it. I was eventually rushed (after she and the kids had finished watching Nina and Neurones on CBeebies) to the A & E department of St James Hospital, Leeds where a kidney stone was diagnosed. Thanks, love.


At the Old Town Jail in Stirling, ‘Coarse food, continual, irksome labour and a planned and unrelenting exclusion of happiness and comfort’ was the Victorian prescription for prisoners. Something that was coincidentally also my punishment for losing the key to the roof-box containing Charlie’s nappy changing stuff a few day’s earlier, which meant we had to change him on a bench in the rain using nothing but three KFC Lemonfresh wipes my wife found at the bottom of her handbag.


You can have fun in the Scottish Central Highlands at Doune Castle, used in the filming of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, shouting from the ramparts on our best John Cleese voices: ‘I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and you father smelled of elderberries.’


Finally, if all distractions in the car fail, turn up Classic FM to max volume and kid yourself you aren’t muffling the kids’ din with an even louder one, but that you’re educating them about Haydn.

extra Are we nearly there yet? - 8000 misguided miles round Britain in a Vauxhall Astra by Ben Hatch is published by Summersdale and is available from all good booksellers or via £8.99, ISBN: 978 1 84953 155 9

January-February 2012

travel 2012

Our holiday ideas Known for their family friendly self-catering holiday cottages across the UK, France and Ireland, RecommendedFamilyHolidays. com is excited to announce the launch of featuring luxury, family friendly worldwide hotels. They can help you put together your perfect family holiday including flights, transfers, room, board and kids clubs – all designed for the whole family to enjoy their holiday. Whether you want to travel to the Caribbean, Indian Ocean, Middle East or stay in Europe the company now offers luxury hotels that are recommended by other mums and dads as well as self-catering holiday cottages. And, if you fancy going skiing with the family, staying in a chalet, apartment or hotel, why not try out

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at home and abroad for 2012.

Hideaway in Robin Hood’s forest

What child wouldn’t be excited to be holidaying in the centre of the wood made famous by the legendary Robin Hood? And what parent wouldn’t be happy to join them, now Forest Holidays are extending their venues to this one? The new lodges, which open this spring, will be set in the middle of 3300 acres of forest, and include basic cabins to de luxe ‘golden oak plus’ cabins with their own hot tub. Loads to do for all ages – Sherwood Forest has a glorious labyrinth of cycle trails, plus farm parks, arts and craft centres and play areas. Midsummer prices: From around £30 per person per night

Camping meets boutique hotel

Glamping is the way to go: much more reasonable prices than villas or hotels, and a wide range of family-friendly sites. And what’s new on the glamping block for 2012 is an ever-widening range of top-notch accommodation: for 2012, Select Camp has a new range of what it’s calling its ‘lodge suites’ featuring a canopy bed, free-standing oval bath, fully-equipped kitchen, shower and toilet – and a separate junior lodge tent next to the main suite. Select Camp also has four new sites, three in Italy and one in Spain – and coming soon, a brand new website which should make browsing and booking a lot easier too.

Molly Dishwasher isn’t just an unusual name for a holiday experience – it’s an unusual experience, too. You stay in a shepherd’s hut nestled among acres of meadows and woodland in deepest Sussex. A comfy double for you, bunk beds for the children, all squeezed into a small but beautiful space with oodles of special little touches. Young children adore staying somewhere different, and they love pulling their parents into their adventures – which is what makes Molly Dishwasher such a hit. Plus breakfast included, a bbq and food on hand, and loads of places to explore in the area including Drusilla’s Zoo, Battle Abbey, Hever Castle and endless beaches.

Midsummer prices: from around £24 per person, per night

Midsummer prices: Around £20 per person per night

January-February 2012

Are We Nearly There Yet? See page 18

Launch of

Images from Recommended Family Holidays

Here’s our round up of some great family holidays

Love our website but fed up with seeing info not in your area? There is a simple solution:


Once the website knows your postcode it will always present you with your local info!

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what’s on

SHOP ‘N’ DROP Sundays from 15th JANUARY, Duck Pond Market, Heron Square, Richmond, TW9 1EP, 10.30am to 3.30pm. Stalls from local artists and crafters, gifts, vintage and other interesting stalls. 5th FEBRUARY and 4th MARCH, Kew Village Market, Station Parade, Kew, 10am to 2pm. Started by local residents the mixed craft and food market has around 25 stalls with most stall holders coming from the local area and Surrey. All profits raised by the market committee will be distributed to local charities. 5th FEBRUARY, Esher NCT Nearly New Sale, Claygate Centre, Claygate Centre, Elm Road, Claygate, KT10 0EH, 12 noon to 2pm.

SHOWS 11th to 14th JANUARY, Treasure Island at Riverside Arts Centre, 59 Thames Street, Sunbury, TW16 5QF, 7pm. The Shepperton Players present Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. Cost is £10, contact the Box Office on 07505 206757,


17th and 18th JANUARY, Arabian Nights at Vera Fletcher Hall, 4, Embercourt Road, Thames Ditton, KT7 0LQ, 1.30pm. Proteus Theatre Company presents Scheherazade’s stories of the Thousand and One Nights, brought to life in a magical production fusing physical theatre, circus, music and film. Tickets, £6. Book on 0844 884 8832,, 18th to 22nd JANUARY, Moscow City Ballet presents The Nutcracker at Richmond Theatre, The Green, Richmond, TW9 1QJ. Tchaikovsky’s rousing and familiar score, along with sumptuous sets and fabulous costumes. Book on 0844 8717 651 or 19th to 21st JANUARY, Aladdin - The Pantomime atClaygate Village Hall, Church Road, Claygate, KT10 0JP, 7.45pm. With traditional attractions of panto, Claygate Dramatic Society’s latest offering has lots of innovation, including loads of audience participation (more than usual). Set in China and Egypt it promises to be full of action, suspense and loads of fun. An ideal way to banish those post-Christmas, winter blues. For those who cannot make the evening performances, there are matinees at 1.45 and 4.45pm on Saturday. Book on 07904 078171, 21st JANUARY, Magic at The Rose Theatre, 24 to 26 High Street, Kingston, KT1 1HL, 7.30pm. Kingston’s Magic Show has become a favourite in the local calendar. An evening of large-scale illusions and astounding mind reading followed by informal strolling magic around the bar. Get ready for the astounding Vox Brothers with their fiendish Spirit Cabinet, and prepare to be on the edge of your seat as they dice with death to perform the legendary Bullet Catch. Recommended for the whole family. Tickets £8 to £10. Book on 08444 821556,

January-February 2012

Clothes by Dunnes

12th to 14th JANUARY, Cobham Players present Treasure Island The Pantomime at Cobham Village Hall, Lushington Drive, Cobham, Surrey KT11 2LU, 7.30pm. This version, by Toby Bradford and Tina Webster, is a high-octane romp based on the classic pirate adventure. All the familiar characters are there - the hero Jim Hawkins and his mother Ma Hawkins, the dim-witted Brass and Knuckles, Squire Trelawney and his lovely daughter, Felicity and of course the famed pirate and renowned baddie, Long John Silver who, apart from one leg, has an over-sized, sarcastic parrot. Finally there is Robinson Crusoe, desperately trying not to be rescued, having spent the treasure, turning the island into a casino and nightspot. Lots of swashbuckling fun. Performances are on Thursday 12th, Friday 13th and Saturday 14th January at 7.30pm evenings with a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm. Tickets £8, including £1 donation to charity (£7 for 10+ tickets booked together), available from Cobham Bookshop, 12a Anyards Road, Cobham, 01932 862903,

15th JANUARY, The Gingerbread Man by The Rainbow Collectors at Watermans, 40 High Street, Brentford, TW8 0DS, 3pm. Using puppetry, live cooking, and a sprinkle of imagination, The Gingerbread Man is brought to life in a whole new way. Two children are helping their mother in the kitchen. But when they are left to their own devices, the mischievous pair accidentally create the Gingerbread Man. He leads them on an adventure, where they encounter curious animals, cause a lot of mess, and there’s a delicious ending for everyone. Clowning, music and live cooking - a classic story brought to life in a new and delicious way. For ages 3 to 7 years, show lasts 45 minutes. Tickets £6.50, book on 020 8323 1010,

Please double check details of all events before leaving home as we compiled these listings in early December.

Little Rugby 2yrs-5th 87x60

22nd JANUARY, Dick Whittington at The Rose Theatre, 24 to 26 High Street, Kingston, KT1 1HL, 4.30pm. A family pantomime by John Morley, Dick Whittington is the perfect show for this Diamond Jubilee year. A large cast of performers tell the story of a poor country boy who became three times Lord Mayor of London – with all the traditional opportunities for audience participation. The Mayor of Kingston has commissioned the St James’s Players, New Malden to perform this hilarious pantomime, in aid of the Mayor’s Charity Appeal (which this year is supporting Born Too Soon and Macmillan Cancer Support). An amateur production. 
All tickets £5 to £12. Book on
08444 821556, 24th to 26th JANUARY, Peppa Pig’s Treasure Hunt at Richmond Theatre, The Green, Richmond, TW9 0LQ. Join Peppa, George and Danny the Dog for an adventure on Grandad Dog’s boat. Performances on Tuesday at 4pm

Wednesday and Thursday at 10am, 1pm and 4pm. Book on 0844 8717 651, 29th JANUARY, Brunch Barnstormers at Riverhouse, Manor Road, Walton, KT12 2PF, 11.30am. With a live contemporary folk music band. Bring the family along for a bacon buttie and enjoy the distinctive sound of ‘Suntrap’. Once described as Fairport meets Fleetwood Mac, the songs clearly take influence from both English folk and Americana. Bert Jansch-like guitar coupled with big ‘wall of sound’ vocal harmonies and a strong dose of driving fiddles. Tickets £8 (Kids £4), family ticket £20 (based on a family of 4). Book on 01932 253354, 29th JANUARY, Indigo Moon Theatre presents Aladdin at Watermans, High Street, Brentford,TW8 0DS, 3pm. This colourful tale from the Arabian Nights is set in the Middle East - a place of mystery, enchantment and strange, mythical creatures. This large-scale contemporary shadow puppet theatre show tells of a poor street boy who falls hopelessly in love with a Royal Princess. What magic would he need just to see her again? Follow his wild and dangerous adventures, as he gets caught up in excitement, way beyond his control. Book on 020 8232 1010, 4th FEBRUARY, The Victorian Toy Theatre at Vera Fletcher Hall, 4, Embercourt Road, Thames Ditton, KT7 0LQ,
2.30pm. Cornelius & Jones present the paper puppets of a Victorian theatre who set off on an adventure in bustling London streets with puppetry, magic lanterns, music and dance. For 5 to 11 years, tickets £6. Book on 0844 884 8832,, 4th FEBRUARY, Beauty and The Beast at Riverhouse Barn, Manor Road, Walton, KT12 2PF, 2 and 4pm. A pre-Disney version of the tale with a special twist. For ages 5 to 11. Tickets £7 (carpet seats £6). Book on 01932 253354, 15th to 19th FEBRUARY, The Gruffalo at The Rose Theatre, 24 to 26 High Street, Kingston, KT1 1HL. Book on 
08444 821556, 3rd MARCH, Lempen Theatre Company Presents Ugly Beauty at Riverhouse Barn, Manor Road, Walton, KT12 2PF. Melo, the strange, one legged musician, sits alone by the sea, content in his world and playing the most beautiful music. But who comes here? A golden carriage bearing a Princess so beautiful that she wears a golden mask to hide her blinding beauty. Puppetry, shadows, original music, acting and occasional face pulling are used to tell this delightful story or everyone from 5 years old to 105 years young. Tickets £7 (£6 carpet seats). Book on 01932 253354,


Page 1

Following the huge success of the Little Kickers football training programme for kids, here is another great idea we decided to run with. Little Rugby is a fun introduction to the sport and is non-contact, so it’s safe and friendly.


Don’t forget, listings in out What’s on pages are FREE - subject to space and deadlines! For editorial and advertising for our March/April issue, please call Frances on 01932 254584 by 3rd FEBRUARY to be included. After 1st MARCH please call new editor, Linda, on 07530 283330.

22nd JANUARY, Professor Popup presents Festival of the Dragon Moon at Watermans, 40 High Street, Brentford, TW8 0DS, 3pm. It will soon be the time of the ‘Dragon Moon’ and, like everyone else in the village, T’ang and her teacher are excitedly getting ready for the festival. Using principally Chinese Palm Puppets (forerunner of the glove puppet) and an ornately decorated travelling Pagoda Theatre with music and atmospheric lighting, this unique performance will enthrall and entertain all the family. For ages 4 to 11 years, the show lasts 55 minutes. Book on 020 8232 1010,


Call 02030921313 01932 429602

819 Little Rugby A Jan11.indd 1

15/12/2011 07:54

Free Trial Class fun, friendly, educational music classes for your pre-school child in Molesey call Becky on

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January-February 2012


what’s on FUN INDOORS 7th JANUARY, Very Grand Designs Family activity at Elmbridge Museum, Church Street, Weybridge, KT13 8DP, 2 to 4.30pm. Be inspired by the magnificent 18th Century landscape gardens of Elmbridge. Design and construct your own model garden. Booking not necessary but arrive early to avoid disappointment. Children must be accompanied by an adult. £1.50 per child, 01932 843573. 20th JANUARY and 24th FEBRUARY, Museum Monkeys at Chertsey Museum, The Cedars, 33 Windsor Street, Chertsey, KT16 8AT, 9.30 to 11.30am. Join Charlie the Chimp for singing, stories and crafts for under 5s. Must be booked in advance on 01932 565764. Cost £4.50 per child, 20th JANUARY and 17th FEBRUARY, Fun with Fabric at Chertsey Museum, The Cedars, 33 Windsor Street Chertsey, KT16 8AT, 2pm to 3.30pm. These tutor-led sessions offer a relaxed environment for adults to have fun with fabric in good company and with refreshments. Cost £5 per person, booking essential on 01932 565764,



21st JANUARY, Yogi Bear, Family Cinema at Watermans, 40 High Street, Brentford, TW8 0DS, 11am. CGI animated/ live action comedy based on the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon. Book on 020 8232 1010, 1pm to 9pm, 28th JANUARY, The Smurfs (U) - Family Cinema at Watermans, 40 High Street, Brentford, TW8 0DS, 11am. Book on 020 8232 1010 between 1 to 9pm, 11th FEBRUARY, Dusty Does Disco at The Winning Post Function Room, Chertsey Road, Whitton, TW2 6LS, 3 to 5pm. Adults £3, children £6. Real disco with live DJ, full disco lighting, bubbles, glow items, disco dance tuition and of course Dusty the Disco Dog! Book at

FUN OUTDOORS 15th JANUARY, Winter Bird Walk at Bedfont Lakes, Clockhouse Lane, Bedfont, TW14 8QA, 9am. Take a walk around the lakes to see the winter bird residents, with a possibility of catching a glimpse of the elusive Bittern in the reed beds. £1 per child/concession, £2 per adult. 0845 456 2796. 28th JANUARY, Big Garden Birdwatch at Claremont Landscape Garden, Portsmouth Road, Esher, KT10 9JG, 10.30am. Join in with the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch at Claremont. 01372 467806.

Book before end Feb 20% off

815 Theatrebugs H2 Jan11.indd 1

12th FEBRUARY 2012, Mammal Safari at Hounslow Heath, 450 Staines Road, Hounslow, TW4 5RB, 10am. Using animal friendly traps see some of the small mammals that make Hounslow Heath their home and learn something of their secret lives in the undergrowth. £1 per child/ concession, £2 per adult, 0845 456 2796,

12/12/2011 10:13


26th FEBRUARY, Family Discovery Day at Osterley House, Jersey Road, Isleworth, TW7 4RB, 1 to 4pm. A changing programme of activities on the last Sunday of the month. May include art, craft, storytelling or hands-on activities in the House and Garden. More on 020 8232 5050,


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11th to 19th FEBRUARY, Half Term Trail at Claremont Landscape Gardens, Portsmouth Road, Esher, KT10 9JG. A fun and informative trail to get the children out into the fresh air and run of some steam during the school holiday, 01372 467806. 12 13th to 17th FEBRUARY at Landmark Arts Centre, Ferry Road, Teddington, TW11 9NN. A week of arts based activities for children aged 4 to 11 years. Further information will be published at in late January, or sign up for the Children’s Activities Mailing List. officemanager@ 18th FEBRUARY, Whitaker-inspired workshop at Kingston Museum, Wheatfield Way, Kingston, KT1 2PS, drop-in sessions,10am to 5pm. Drawing and paper-based activity running all day. Open to all but chlldren must be accompanied by an adult. Suggested donation of £1 per entrant. 020 8547 6463,

FOR PARENTS 25th JANUARY and 29th FEBRUARY, Cloth Nappy Demo at Duke Street Church, Duke Street, Richmond, TW9 1DH, 7 to 9pm. See different cloth nappy systems before you buy. Personalised advice from Saffy, a local nappy guru. Richmond residents are eligible for £50 cashback on cloth nappies. Call Saffy for details on 07817 384075.

244 Ma Petite Ecole 27/7/10 27th MARCH, LIVE, Business Design Centre, Islington, London. The event is free - and child friendly - and allows you to meet with family friendly employers, seek out flexible jobs, get CV tips and attend informative seminars on everything from returning FRENCH CLASSES to work to starting a business or franchise. Register for your free 2 - ADULT MON-SAT ticket today at ESHER 020 8224 5672

820 Baby & Family Hols H1 Jan11.indd 1 16/12/2011 08:31

January-February 2012

Give your child a head start at school! The online reading program for children 5 Years 3-4 Years

First Steps The playroom section is designed especially for 3 and 4 year olds. Completing the activities with your child is a great shared activity that will help develop positive attitudes towards reading and learning.

Ready for School Your child can build on the reading skills they have been introduced to at school. The team behind Reading Eggs has been creating successful reading materials for schools for the last 12 years, and this experience has resulted in the best online reading program.

6-7 Years

Fun Practice Makes Perfect Your child can take a placement test to ensure they are working at a level that matches their ability. The program is excellent for older children who need more practice to increase their reading speed and comprehension. Reading Eggs also develops key skills in spelling, vocabulary and grammar.

7-13 Years

Continuing the Reading Journey Packed full of hundreds of great online activities and games, Reading Eggspress is a great way for your child to continue developing their reading skills.

GET YOUR FREE 5 WEEK TRIAL! Register your child at and use this code: UKJ23UPT RE1255 BTS2012 UKJ23UPT

Registration is quick, easy and FREE! But hurry, this great trial offer ends on 29th February 2012

Where children become great readers!

Fun for all

You can Bank on it!

COULD YOU FOSTER? We can provide you with a great opportunity to help transform children’s lives  You don’t have to be married  You don’t need to be employed  You don’t need a big house

13 – 17 February

 You do need a spare room and space in

Riverbank Tales

your life to help a vulnerable child to achieve.

A costumed storyteller will read tales from ‘The Wind in the Willows’ by Kenneth Grahame. 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm, 2:00pm, 3:00pm, 4:00pm

As a Chrysalis Care Foster Carer you will receive:  24 hour professional support Excellent remuneration


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With special events and displays throughout the year, the Bank of England Museum is a great day out.

Admission free 10am – 5pm Monday to Friday. Closed weekends and public holidays. Entrance in Bartholomew Lane, London EC2R 8AH. Tel: 020 7601 5545

 Job satisfaction  Comprehensive training  Up to 3 weeks paid respite per year  Retainer fees We are also looking for specialist foster carers who can provide a home to teenagers, a parent and child, children with disabilities and carers interested in Remand fostering. If you are considering becoming a foster carer, or would like to find out more about us,

please contact us on: 0208 298 2800 or via our website:

Families upon Thames is designed by Sarah Harmer and printed by Warners, in Lincolnshire. Copyright, Families upon Thames magazine 2012. Colour transparencies and any other original materials submitted for publication are sent at owner’s risk and, while every care is taken, neither Families nor its agents accept liability for loss or damage. Families upon Thames is part of the Families Group, established in 1990 and headed by Families South West. All franchised magazines in the group are independently owned and operated under liscense. We take every care 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 upon Thames Jan/Feb 2012  

The 2012 New Year edition of Families upon Thames magazine