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Jan/Feb 2013


Top tips to

make your 2013 holiday the best ever!

Healthy eating for winter Ideas to get your child reading this Half Term CHANGES TO CHILD BENEFIT FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

For families with young children aged 0-12 in Gloucestershire

CONTENTS 2–3....NEWS & VIEWS 4-5....FREEDOM FOR BIRTH IN GLOUCESTERSHIRE I’m Deb and I’d like to wish you a very Happy New Year from Rufus and Holly and me, their mum. As a local mum I feel passionate about everything that happens in Gloucestershire for families with young children and I’m so excited as new editor of Families Gloucestershire magazine to share with you all the places my family and I enjoy. Most importantly, though, this is YOUR magazine and we want to hear what’s going on in your school, club, workplace or family to feature in future issues. Let us know what matters to you, what you find interesting and what is helpful to hear about – with your help we can make Families Gloucestershire the best possible resource for busy families. So get involved and get in touch, I’d love to hear from you. Email me, Twitter me or follow me on Facebook. Best wishes

FG Circulation 15,000 copies distributed through nurseries, schools, libraries, activity classes and other selected distribution points throughout Gloucestershire. If you would like free copies for your organisation please contact us. Cover Photograph By Venture Cheltenham

Printed by CBF


12-13....TRAVEL 14-16....WHAT’S ON

Little Monster Cover Star Competition

Email: Phone: 0788 181 5962 Online: Facebook: familiesglos Twitter: @familiesglos

Designed by Joanna Keogh


On a lovely sunny day in September the Little Monster Baby & Toddler Show returned to Cheltenham Town Hall for its fifth year. Over 800 visitors came along to meet over 50 exhibitors, Peppa Pig and friends, claim their goody bag and enjoy free activities throughout the day. A queue of gorgeous little ones entered the Cover Star Competition in partnership with Venture Photography Cheltenham and Families Gloucestershire. And the winner is on the front of this issue of Families Gloucestershire magazine! A very big thank you to Venture Cheltenham for their wonderful shots, our fabulous winner and to the wonderful runners-up who made it a very difficult decision for our panel.

Families Gloucestershire 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 licence. We take every care in preparing this magazine but the publishers and distributors cannot be held responsible for the claims of advertisers nor for the accuracy of the contents nor for any consequence.Paper used to print Families Gloucestershire is from fully managed sustainable sources - meaning trees which are felled are continuously replaced. Inks are soya based, which can be recycled.


January/February 2013

News and Views Lower speed limits

key to kids’ health

More than half of parents believe lower speed limits would allow their kids to walk, cycle and play outside more often, according to a survey carried out for charity Sustrans. The survey revealed 54% of parents thought their kids would be more physically active if speed limits were lowered, with 49% identifying busy and dangerous roads as the main reason their children don’t walk or cycle to school. Sustrans’ Free Range Kids campaign is calling for a national 20mph speed limit in residential areas to help tackle the UK’s growing obesity epidemic – a call backed by Dr Mike Knapton,

Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation.“It’s a tragedy that so many of our children are failing to meet recommended physical activity levels but little wonder when parents don’t feel that their local streets are safe,” says Sustrans’ Chief Executive Malcolm Shepherd. “We urgently need to make our neighbourhoods safer if we’re to get kids active by walking and cycling to school and playing outdoors. Parents want to see safer streets - the Government must change the standard speed limit to 20mph on the streets where we live, work and play.”

Join the fun on March 28th and help fund the fight against brain tumours ‘Wear a Hat Day’ is a fun way of increasing awareness and getting people raising money for an often overlooked form of cancer. It’s a day when we encourage people to make donations in order to wear a hat to school, at work, at social events or even at home. From sponsored silences to charity runs and school bake sales, educational facilities around the country are being encouraged to raise money in any way they can. Sue Farrington-Smith, Director of Brain Tumour Research, comments: “Brain tumour research receives less than 1% of national cancer research spending in the UK yet this deadly disease kills more children and adults under 40 than any other cancer so please get involved on March 28th 2013”. Register your interest today

Puddle Ducks in PJ’s! Puddle Ducks Gloucestershire have raised an amazing £650 for The Children’s Trust during Humphrey’s Pyjama Week. During their lesson children swam in their pyjama’s and bought a teacup and saucer that they used in their activities. Charlie Goodenough and Jodie Coles, who run the franchise, were proud to announce that one of their own students, Ashleigh-May Wattam, was the highest fundraiser nationally for The Children’s Trust. Well-done Ashleigh-May and all the Gloucestershire Puddle Ducks who took part! Visit for more information.

New Parent Pack launched

Media Smart launches a new guide for parents to help them educate children about the commercial nature of the online world. Children may encounter all sorts of digital advertising on the internet, from search engine results to advergames, and this pack, developed primarily for parents of 6-11 year olds and backed by the Minister for Children and Families, Edward Timpson, provides tips to help parents explain the intent of online advertising to children. “Parents know best how to bring up their children but they expect businesses to act responsibly in supporting them to do so,” says Timpson. “The Parent Information Pack is an excellent example of how the advertising and marketing industry is taking its responsibilities seriously. As a father myself, I see this as a welcome step in equipping parents with the relevant information to help them educate their children in an increasingly digital world.” Download the free Media Smart Digital parent pack at

“I made it myself!” Local Gloucestershire catering company “I Made It Myself!” has launched a

bespoke service to help busy Gloucestershire families. Choose from a range of delicious homemade ready meals delivered to your door to save you time in the weeks prior to, and following having a baby. Or perhaps you lead busy lives and have chosen to use jars and pouches for weaning your baby, but would much prefer a more economical, preservative and additive free option, home made by a fellow mum, and delivered direct to your door in convenient one or two pot meals. Business owner, chef and mum Crystal Neave told Families Gloucestershire that she decided to start “I made it myself” Catering Co. when she realised that there are so many families trying to have it all and do it all. “I just want to take some of the stress out of life, and offer a service that will give families more time to enjoy being together”! For more information call Crystal on 07753344727 or visit her Facebook page:

January/February 2013


Bumps and Babes

Freedom for Birth By Clara Wiggins


ou’ve recently found out you’re pregnant, you’re already eyeing up the latest buggy and thinking about turning the spare room into a nursery. But one of the most important choices you will have to make is one most women in this country take for granted – which is where you are actually going to have the baby.

from some of the most prominent birth experts in the world, all united in one thing: that the situation around birth and the way women are treated is substandard – and it’s not getting any better. In fact, French doctor Michel Odent even described the situation as being “at the bottom of the abyss”, while American midwife Ina May Gaskin states in the film: “If you keep people afraid, you can make a lot of profit”.

Here in Gloucestershire, we are lucky, almost spoiled for choice, with three midwife-led birth units and an obstetric-led delivery suite in the county. Home births are well supported, and many of the birthing facilities are either brand new or recently refurbished. But imagine if you didn’t have these choices, if you were told where you would have your baby, and even how it would be born, or imagine if you thought you had made a choice only to find that you had no control over what happened to you during your birth. Unfortunately, this is the reality for many women in the world, even in the UK, and it is what prompted two documentary makers to produce a film that has been shown all over the world, including recently in Stroud.

Shocking stuff – but information that the filmmakers, couple Toni Harman and Alex Wakeford, felt was vital to get people starting a conversation about the problem. “In terms of our human rights about birth, there is a sliding scale, with forced caesarean sections in countries like the Netherlands and America at one end and uninformed consent at the other”, Toni said. “Women are not being given choices, they are not being told the full implications of what is being done to them. If women are not fully informed, I would call that assault”.

Freedom for Birth is based around the story of Hungarian midwife Agnes Gereb, who was jailed for supporting women during their home births, and the subsequent European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling that stated all women within the ECHR jurisdiction should have the right to choose where they give birth. As well as Gereb’s story, the film includes comments


January/February 2013

Toni’s own birth experience (in Brighton) involved an induction, which she said she wasn’t given a choice about. She also said a friend was automatically signed up for a caesarean because her baby was breech. “I respect women’s rights to have a caesarean. But we need a cultural shift – instead of doctors saying “this is what is going to happen to you”, mothers should be saying “I let you...”. Our human rights are not being respected, we need better education, better awareness that you have rights, that you have a choice”.

Bumps and Babes One of Toni’s main concerns is that we are going the way of America, where the caesarean rate is high, and rising – up to 45%. In this country, the rates are lower – but still unacceptably high at 25%.

Birth in Gloucestershire Where:

Here in Gloucestershire, though, the head of midwifery for the local NHS Trust believes we do have a good story to tell. Proudly showing off a poster for a Promoting Normal Birth study day the hospital is running, Vivien Mortimore believes Gloucestershire is at the fore-front of change, that they are amongst those leading the way in women-focused birth and that where they lead, others will follow. The Trust are rightfully proud of the number of choices women have about where to give birth in Gloucestershire, as well as facilities on offer. They also try to accommodate the wishes of every woman, even if it means a very detailed care plan, and it is now assumed that women will go to a midwife led unit unless she has complications or wishes to go to the delivery suite.

Two standalone midwife-led units (Cheltenham and Stroud) One midwife-led unit alongside the obstetric unit (Gloucester) One obstetric-led delivery suite (Gloucester) Home

Facilities: Aromatherapy

Unfortunately though, however much the Trust tries to accommodate the wishes and needs of women, there will always be a gap between what the medical community thinks is best for women, and what those who believe in complete freedom of birth choice want. It is, for example, rarer and rarer for women with breech babies to have natural births – as medical research has shown there are doubts about this method of delivery being the safest. With fewer midwifes having the experience of delivering a breech baby, the skills are being lost and the choices are getting narrower. So whilst initiatives like those being pushed here in Gloucestershire should be applauded for trying to change things, is it inevitable that women in this country, and in the rest of the world, will never feel that the choice really is all theirs? What do you think?

Mood lighting i-pod docking stations Nature sounds Double beds – partners can stay overnight (birth units) Pools Bean bags Two theatres 32 neo-natal cots 4 transitional care cots

We would love to hear your stories and views. Please visit our Facebook page to join the discussion at

By Emma Tilley Practicing pregnancy yoga is a great way to reconnect to your changing (and growing!) body. You can also meet other mums in your area. Knowing women who are due to give birth around the same time as you can be a great support. Learning which postures feel good, which postures relax you, postures that make you feel strong, and pelvic floor awareness is great preparation for birth. As is awareness of breathing techniques and the use of sound. Yoga can help you to be confident in your body and your ability to birth. For yoga classes in your area visit You can join Emma’s pregnancy yoga class from 9.00 – 10.20am every Saturday at Stroud Yoga Space Email: Web: Useful Links Freedom for Birth: Gloucestershire Maternity Services: Pregnancy yoga:

January/February 2013


Bumps and Babes

Launching Baby Bumpkin A new yoga-inspired movement class in Cheltenham

A new baby yoga-inspired activity group, built around Baby Bumpkin, has come to Cheltenham. Led by the Baby Bumpkin character – an engaging fair-trade rag doll whose mantra is ‘bendy, giggly, clever and strong’. The classes are based around a story using simple baby yoga movements. The sessions are nurturing and supportive with lots of bonding and stretching time for Mum / carer and baby. The sessions can help with digestion, sleep and many other baby issues.

are interested in private classes in Cheltenham and the surrounding area, for both Baby Bumpkin [and Tatty Bumpkin – for children aged between two and seven years old] -please contact the Cheltenham branch of Tatty Bumpkin for an information pack. Andrea can be contacted on 0845 6801769 / 07530 925 090 or email For further information please see her website:

The Cheltenham franchise is run by Andrea Warner, a specifically trained CACHE accredited Tatty Bumpkin teacher with an enhanced CRB check. These fun filled classes focus on the ‘well-being’ of the child and you, thus providing a firm foundation for social, emotional and physical confidence - all required for future happiness and success. The programme has been developed by educationalists, paediatric physiotherapists, musicians and yoga teachers ensuring the creative, fun sessions are based on sound principles of child development. They are aligned to the Early Years Foundation Stage framework and so follow the most up-to-date thinking on learning and teaching. These classes have been shortlisted by Tommy’s charity as Best Children’s Activity Provider 2012. If you would like to experience this magical world in your nursery or

Money matters

Five things you need to know about the changes to child benefit





Child Benefit is not being stopped for high earners. Anyone receiving Child Benefit, regardless of their income, is entitled to carry on receiving it. But from 7 January 2013, high earners may have to pay a tax charge on any Child Benefit payments they or their partner receive. This applies whether they’re married or not. The tax charge increases in line with your income. For every £100 of income you or your partner have between £50,000 and £60,000, there is a tax charge of 1% of your total Child Benefit. Once your annual income is £60,000 or more, the tax charge is equal to the Child Benefit payments. It’s the higher earner who pays the tax.



Your income is based on your adjusted net income. Even if you or your partner have an income of £50,000 a year or more, you may find that the tax charge doesn’t apply. This is because the tax charge is based on your adjusted net income. This is your income less any payments you make to a pension scheme, donations to charity through Gift Aid and reductions due to membership of salary sacrifice schemes (such as childcare vouchers and the cycle to work scheme). You could even consider increasing payments to your pension, for example, to bring your annual adjusted net income down. You can choose to keep or stop receiving Child Benefit.

January/February 2013

If you or your partner’s adjusted net income is over £60,000, it could make sense to stop receiving Child Benefit as the tax charge will wipe out any financial gain to you and you won’t have to complete a tax return. But if you don’t know exactly how much your income will be, or you’re under the £60,000 threshold, it’s best to carry on getting it. If you decide to keep Child Benefit, you’ll have to do a tax return. If either you or your partner has an adjusted net income of £50,000 or more then the highest earner must complete a tax return, declaring the Child Benefit as income. It’s that person’s responsibility to make sure they’re registered for selfassessment by 6 October 2013 or they’ll face a penalty. They then have until 31 October 2013 to file their return with HMRC (or 31 January 2014 if filing online).

More information.

This information was provided to Families by MoneyVista; a free online service that provides access to financial experts. By entering your information, Money Vista works out what tax and national insurance you pay, your projected state pension and what your savings, investments and property might be worth in the future. Joining all these elements together lets you see the impact on your overall plan of financial decisions you are considering. See


Healthy eating tips for winter from...

f e h C d l he Cotswo


Happy new year everyone! For many of you the beginning of the new year will have inspired you to get healthy, eat better and shed some of those extra pounds which have inevitably crept up on us all over the festive period. It can be tempting to skip breakfast in order to do this, but please don’t!

A great start… Breakfast is essential for kick-starting your metabolism, which actually helps your body to begin burning calories, and can be an exciting and healthy addition to your daily diet. It’s also vital that your children have something to eat in the mornings too, as research has shown that children who do perform better in school. Breakfast is an ideal opportunity to slip in some of your five a day portions. Try sprinkling dried fruits or slices of apples and pears over cereals, or perhaps make smoothies using frozen berries and bananas, adding a handful of oats for a more substantial start to the day. Farmhouse Breakfast Week is from the 20-26th of January this year, they will be holding tasting sessions, competitions and cookery demonstrations to encourage the whole family to get excited about the most important meal of the day. Visit their website for more recipe ideas and check out what events are on near you at

their own garam masala which can contain up to 50 different spices!) You can get a pre-mixed one from most supermarkets and they tend to contain ground coriander, cumin, cinnamon and cloves to name a few. These spices will transform your soup keeping you feeling cosy on a cold evening. Serve with crusty Hobbs House bread warmed in the oven for a delicious, comforting meal that even your little ones will love. You can also spruce up a soup by adding a spoonful of turmeric. As well as adding a fantastic vibrant yellow colour to your soup, it has also been linked with an array of different health benefits, including possibly warding off cancer.

And don’t forget the veg… If you prefer a more traditional stew, how about serving yours with a root vegetable mash for something a bit different. The farmers markets are abundant with weird and wonderful roots at this time of year, and the producers will be happy to advise you on which veggies go with different flavours. Substitue half of your potatoes for celeriac, mash with a knob of Netherend Farm butter and mix some freshly chopped herbs through before serving for a truly scrumptious accompaniment. Visit and to find out more about us and what we do.

Foody fun for little ones…

One-pot warmers When its cold and wintry outside I crave warming one-pot meals like soups and stews. When I was in India I was amazed by their creative use of herbs and spices, which make everyday produce really shine. Why not try a spiced parsnip soup, flavoured with fresh ginger and garam masala (a spice mix used frequently in Indian cookery, every family will have

If you are looking for something a bit different to entertain the kids then head down to Whole Foods in Cheltenham. They have an ever changing calendar of events and workshops especially for kids, at no or little cost. It’s also a great excuse to lust over the amazing array of produce on offer, much of which is locally and sustainably sourced, or treat the family to a freshly prepared lunch in-store. Check out their website or pop in for more information on what’s on.

January/February 2013



Is a nursery right for your child (and you)? By Joanna Moorhead

Nurseries aren’t the cheapest form of childcare - according to the latest figures, the average cost of a nursery place for a child under two for 25 hours a week is £103.19 a week. But prices vary dramatically, and in some areas nurseries charge as much as £15,000 a year for 25 hours’ care a week.

Is a nursery the right choice for you? Studies show, though, that attending nursery can increase a child’s confidence, because it involves mixing with adults, and other children, from outside the family group. It gives children social skills, and experience from an early age of an environment outside the home. The nursery ‘key worker’ scheme, under which each child is allocated a special member of staff with whom they can bond, helps provide security. And as your child gets older, play and learning opportunities will be targeted appropriately: staff are trained in what young children can do when, and will be conscious of a child’s likely interests and potential. Nurseries work best for parents who have regular working hours, because it’s difficult or impossible for staff to deal with erratic patterns of collection and drop-off: nurseries often open early in the morning and some close late in the evening, but they are not as flexible as, say, a nanny or a childminder. On the other hand, they have the big advantage that only very, very rarely will they be closed at short notice - so they’re more reliable than one carer who may be ill or have to cope with a sudden family emergency. They may be prohibitively expensive if you have more than one child, although many nurseries do offer a sibling reduction. But if you can fit around its opening hours, if your budget stretches to the fees, and if you like the idea of a social environment and a place with plenty of activities and trained carers, a nursery could be the place for your child and for you.


January/February 2013

Choosing the rig ht nursery.. . Do your research Start your nursery search well ahead of the time when you’re actually going to need to leave your child: the more confident you are of the choices you make, the happier you’ll be when it comes to the day you have to head back to the office. Ask around so you get other parents’ views on what nurseries are like in your area. Make a shortlist of ones that might work for you (remember to take geography into account: how easy will it be for you and/or your partner to do the drop off/collect?) and don’t hesitate to ask to visit a second time. Make sure you read the most recent Ofsted inspection report for the nurseries you are considering, and ask whether they have any awards of excellence. On your visit… Be guided by your instincts when looking at a nursery: it may seem a cliché to say do the children look happy, but it is an important barometer of whether a nursery is good. Watch the children while they’re playing, and pay attention to how much they’re

interacting with the staff. How do the staff come across - do they seem happy, relaxed, fun to be around? Do you feel comfortable talking to them? Do they seem interested in your child and his/her likes/dislikes and interests? Be aware of the quality of both indoor and outdoor play areas: are the spaces pleasant, bright, welcoming, and do they seem safe? Questions to ask Ask about meals, how the food is prepared, and what time meals are served. Are you able to provide input for your child’s food suggestions for what they would like to eat, or recipes? What kinds of snacks are provided and how often are they available? Ask about organised play sessions - weekly music groups, perhaps, or storytelling. Are there trips to the library, and to the park? How are these organised, and how often do they take place? How are parents involved in the nursery, and are there opportunities for parents to meet up? Make sure you understand what the nursery charges, how payment is made, and exactly what the fees include (for example, do they cover meals, nappies, outings). How many weeks a year is the nursery open?


When your child starts nursery Try not to drag out your goodbyes: leaving your child will be difficult, especially at first, but keeping it brief will help you both. Remember that your child may cry every day when you drop them off (and so might you!) for quite a while; this is a normal part of getting used to this big change in your lives. Cope with it by emphasising the positives: think about why you’re working (to make money and provide a better standard of living; to ensure you have an interesting life, and income, in the longer term) and how much your child will benefit from a wider social network. As your child is settling into nursery, remember that in the early days,

they will probably get more tired than usual -nursery is a big change, emotionally as well as physically. Both your child and you need time to adjust to the new set-up.

Troub lesho oting Fingers crossed, you’ll never have a problem with a nursery your child attends. But what happens when there IS an issue? As every working parent knows, nothing undermines your ability to work more than a nagging suspicion that your child isn’t happy, or isn’t being looked after as well as possible or even - worst scenario of all - isn’t safe.

If you have any worries at all you must resolve them, and as quickly as possible. So as soon as something strikes you as ‘not right’, talk to the nursery manager or your allocated member of staff - many niggles are simply down to a lack of communication. Explain what’s up, and the chances are you’ll never have to mention it again, and things will all be smoothed over. But if you’re not satisfied that all is well, put your concern in writing to the nursery manager. All nurseries should have a protocol for dealing with complaints - ask to see this if it’s not spelled out in the nursery handbook.

Funding tips from Gloucestershire Family Information Services Family Information Service advisors give free, impartial information and advice on childcare, finances, parenting, support services and education for families with children aged 0 - 19 years (25 for young people with additional needs) and professionals working with these families.

Funding for nursery education in general: Your employer may offer a childcare voucher scheme which will mean you are not taxed on the wages you use to pay for childcare. Both parents can use childcare vouchers for the same child! Check whether you are entitled to the Childcare element of Working Tax Credits by visiting If you have not previously been entitled to tax credits and have recently had a baby, call them and ask them to recalculate your entitlement based on the income you are getting now, while you are on maternity leave. Ofsted registered Childminders offer the same early years education as a nursery or playgroup and are inspected to make sure they are meeting your child’s developmental needs. They often charge by the hour instead of a daily rate, so you might not have to pay for the hours you don’t really need. Your child is entitled to 15 hours of free nursery education starting from the term after their 3rd birthday. Make sure you put their name down early, as some places have long waiting lists.

Specifically for the 3 and 4 year old funding

(15 hours per week free, taken up to 6 hours in one day for 38 weeks per year): No setting should ever charge you an hourly top up fee! They are not allowed to do this, but they are allowed to specify when they are offering the funded hours. Make sure you are sending your child in when they are offering the funded sessions. Settings may charge you for extras such as snacks, nappies, sun lotion, trips or even art materials, so check what is in your contract with them before you sign it. The funding is term time only, so if you choose a nursery or accredited childminder as opposed to a playgroup, remember you will be charged their full usual rate during school holidays. You can split the funding across 2 different providers, but the amount of funding paid to each one is worked out as a proportion of your child’s total amount of time in both settings per week. You are not able to choose one setting to receive the funding or specify how many funded hours to use at each place once you have signed the paperwork.

Phone: 0800 542 02 02 or 01452 427362, Email:, Web: Follow on Twitter (@GlosFIS) or Facebook (Family Information Service Gloucestershire).


Education Wycliffe Preparatory School Academic Scholarships Wycliffe Preparatory School is offering generous scholarships to a range of pupils for Year 7, September 2013. The school focuses strongly on the development of the individual, enabling every child to grow in confidence and expand his or her horizons. Assessments for Academic Scholarships take place on Thursday 31st January 2013. Assessments for Specialist Scholarships for Excellence in Art, Drama, Music and Sports take place on Monday 28th January to Saturday 2nd February. To find out more contact Wendy Robertson on 01453 820471 or email

School Open Days Berkhampstead School, Cheltenham Co-ed ages 3 – 11 Saturday 9th March 2013 Contact 01242 523263

Cheltenham College Junior School Boarding and day co-ed ages 3 – 13 years Saturday 23rd February 2013

Dean Close, Cheltenham

Co-ed Day & Boarding ages 3 - 18 Saturday 16th March 2013 Contact: Senior School 01242 258004 Prep and Pre-preparatory School 01242 258001

Rendcomb College

Co-ed day and boarding school ages 3 – 18 years Friday 1st March 2013 Contact 01285 831213 or email

Rose Hill Wesonbirt School

Co-ed Preparatory Day School & Nursery ages 3 – 11 Thursday 7th March 2013 Contact 01666 881375 or email

St Edward’s Junior School Co-ed 2 – 11 years Saturday 23rd February 2013 Contact 01242 538900

Wycliffe Nursery, Preparatory, Senior School & Sixth Form

Co-ed day and boarding school ages 2 – 18 years Saturday 2nd March 2013


January/February 2013

What makes St Edward’s Junior School special? It might be our unrivalled facilities set in over 40 acres of woodland where children can safely explore. Or it could be our small class sizes where plenty of individual teacher time ensures a focus on giving your child a competitive edge. Perhaps it is our art, music, drama and sport where your child will learn that we all have different talents and the sheer fun of being part of a team. Maybe it is our strong inclusive ethos where everyone feels part of our family. Come and see for yourself - we’re confident you’ll think we are special too. OPEN DAY Sat 23rd Feb 2013




or NOT to


Here are some great ways to get your children into books this Half Term by Clare Burkhill-Howarth of Book Events for Children.


ake a quick look around most homes with young children and what will you see? If your house is anything like mine, I’ll guarantee you’ll find a mountain of Lego, Playmobil, discarded dolls houses and the usual electronic games and handheld devices. …oh, and of course, some books. Whilst children often have a bookshelf full of books, how do we encourage them to read for pleasure and to choose reading as an enjoyable activity, when they have so many other means of entertainment?

Capturing their interest Speaking at a recent literary festival, author Tom Palmer claimed he was a reluctant reader as a child, until his mum channelled his passion for football by encouraging him to read about his hobby in books, magazines and newspapers. The wise Mrs Palmer realised that the best way to encourage a reluctant reader is to find a subject that actually interests them. Fast forward to Tom’s successful career as a children’s author, specialising in writing about football!

Face to face If your child needs a bit of encouragement to try and read something new, why not arrange for them to meet an author ‘in the flesh’. Attending book-related events is a fantastic way for children to see authors/illustrators as ‘real’ people, who may or may not have loved reading as children and to hear about what inspired them to create their stories.Local libraries and bookshops hold regular events op in h s with authors k o o ’s B lar Octavia ter holds regu and these small es at Cirenc events g group sessions in o n t t ig book-s s. Don’t forge he T encourage d t n a e s ent week t the ev op in u o children to k c che ksh n’s Boo rstone’s in e r chat to authors d il h e C t and Wa informally and Stroud am too. nh hear the authors Chelte tell the stories in their own voices.

Taking to the stage Taking a child to see an adaptation of a children’s book at the theatre can be a magical experience, as they are drawn into the story unfolding before them, particularly if it is a familiar tale. Theatre companies excel in bringing to life adaptations of popular books, including Julia Donaldson’s much-loved books and classics such as The Tiger Who came to Tea.

Audio Books

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If your child is dyslexic, audio books could facilitate their enjoyment of a good story. Publishing company Barrington Stoke has been recognised for its “outstanding commitment to children who have dyslexia or find reading difficult” (IPG Awards, 2007). As well as publishing a range of books that focus on the needs of dyslexic readers, they also publish audio books. Also most libraries now offer the option of borrowing audio books, often free of charge.

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

Useful Links .

Book Events for Children: Twitter:@ChildBookEvents

Octavia’s Bookshop 24 Black Jack Street, Cirencester, GL7 2AA 01285 650677 The Children’s Bookshop 10 Union St, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 2HE 01453 750055 Waterstone’s Cheltenham 33-41 Promenade Town Centre, Cheltenham GL50 1LE 01242 571 779 Nosy Crow Barrington Stoke

January/February 2013







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By Joanna Moorhead


Space is crucial. You know those places that say ‘sleep 4/6’ and turn out, on closer inspection, to have a pull-down bed in the sitting room? Avoid them (at full capacity) like the plague. Squeezing as many people as possible in is fine for students, less good for grown-ups. You want a bit of luxury on holiday – and space is luxurious.


Joanna Moorhead, who has been planning her family’s holidays for the last 20 years, shares her insider tips to help you plan for a summer to remember in 2013. Fantastic family holidays don’t just happen. They’re crafted, often by hours of work from one or both parents, who spend endless amounts of time planning, plotting, budgeting and making sure safety nets are in place to stop hiccups becoming disasters. Of course everyone loves spontaneity - but for spontaneous decision to be possible, especially where a family with children are concerned, a framework has to be in place...and getting that framework right is the backbone of every holiday. So how do you do it? Here are our top ten secrets.


Don’t cut corners. To get the right holiday, you may have to spend a long time on research. Don’t begrudge this time, and don’t expect the perfect holiday to fall into your lap without it: after your mortgage, your car and (if you’re paying them) your child’s school or university costs, the money you spend on your holiday is your biggest outlay. So doing the homework matters. Start with a list of what sort of holiday you’re looking for – the location you’re after, what facilities you need close by, what sort of accommodation you need, how far it needs to be from the airport, and so on.


Don’t expect a bargain. After two decades of planning holidays for my family (my children are aged between ten and twenty), I’m sure of one thing: where school holidays are concerned, bargains are as rare as hen’s teeth. Look for the best deal, the best quality that you can possibly afford: but if somewhere seems a lot cheaper than other places, scrutinise it very carefully indeed.


January/February 2013

Location, location, location. Just as when you’re buying a house, this is your number one priority. Some of the villas I’ve looked at for my family’s holiday this year are twice the price of others, simply because of where they are. And guess what? I can understand why. On holiday I want a great view and shops and restaurants we can walk to. If you’ve got younger children, a beach within walking distance may be your number one location priority. Know what you need, and don’t settle for less.


Friends matter, so think very carefully about who to holiday with. However close you are, nothing scratches away at a friendship’s weakest points as much as sharing two weeks together. You think you know that couple, and you think you like their kids? Take it from me, you’re going to know a lot about them, and you may have totally reassessed their kids, by the flight home.


Holidays are about being honest about the sort of experience you want and how you’d really love to spend a fortnight with your family – and who cares what anyone else might think. You don’t need anyone else’s approval, or envy, for the holiday you choose: what this is about is working out what’s right for your family, and making it happen.



Once you’re there, alternate busy days with quiet ones. Even if you’re a busy, boisterous, action-packed family, everyone needs some downtime. The easiest, simplest way to make sure you get both busy days and more relaxed ones is simply to alternate them. Overloading is the enemy of a good holiday.


Don’t over-plan: have ideas, but leave space to be open to what you find when you get there. It’s well worth doing some research about the area you’ll be staying in – essential, in fact – but it’s a mistake to plan every jot and comma of your stay before you even touch down. You want to explore, to discover, to be surprised, to make friends – and all these things will only happen if you’ve left the space for them to unfold.


Embrace change: as your family grows up, be ready to move on to new destinations and new experiences. For three years running my family had wonderful holidays in a hilltop villa in inland, northern Mallorca. It was perfect for us: but by the third year it was obvious my older daughters needed something more: shops, places to hang out, a beach they could walk to. I was desperately unhappy about giving up the villa: but guess what? The following year I found somewhere even better.

Focus on...the Alps


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


Set boundaries. It might be a holiday, but rules ensure everyone – especially the parents – get a break. If your children are younger, those rules might be about bedtime (you need some time with your partner, so letting your kids stay up all evening might not be the best move), or about time for the children to go to the crèche; if your children are older, the rules might be about sharing the washing up, or about how much contact you need to have with them through the day. Then everyone can relax and have what they came to do: have a wonderful fortnight away.

Focus on...Cornwall


ornwall has always been a family favourite, and with good reason! Family-friendly ingredients include beautiful, sandy beaches, watersports galore, stunning countryside and a variety of seaside towns and villages to meander around whilst enjoying a delicious Cornish ice-cream. The owners of The Rosevine have created a unique holiday house on the south coast, set in extensive gardens which lead to the coastal path and the sandy beach at the bottom of the lane. Families have the freedom of their own apartment with separate children’s bedrooms and mini-kitchen, set in a beautiful part-Georgian house with a restaurant, swimming pool and children’s playroom. It’s the perfect blend for an independent holiday in stylish surroundings. Prices range from £200 to £390 per night for a family apartment (sleeping 4) depending on the season. More information at

January/February 2013


What’s On Jan/Feb 13 February half term to discover how trees survive in all sorts of weather; freezing cold, hot and dry, wet and windy! Age 3 upwards. Admission price only.

SLIMBRIDGE WETLAND CENTRE Bowditch, Slimbridge, Gloucestershire GL2 7BT 01453 890 333 Please always phone before setting out in case details have changed since press deadline or we got it wrong.....

Crafts NEW BREWERY ARTS CENTRE Brewery Court, Town Centre, Cirencester GL7 1JL 01285 657181 12 Feb. Crazy wire portraits Learn how to use tools to bend and twist wire to create a unique contour line wire sculpture. Beads and sequins can be added to create pattern and texture. Age 5 upwards. Places limited so early booking advised. £15 including materials. 14 Feb. Heartfelt Combine funky felt, paper and mixed-media techniques to make a beautiful mini-wall-hanging to celebrate Valentine’s Day in glittering, glamorous style! Age 5 upwards. Places limited so early booking advised. £14 including materials.

DEAN HERITAGE CENTRE Soudley, Cinderford, Gloucestershire GL14 2UB 01594 822 170 9 – 17 Feb. Spring craft activities Spring related craft activities available in Gallery 1. Check web site for further details.

MUSEUM IN THE PARK Stratford Park, Stratford Road, Stroud GL5 4AF 01453 763394 10 Feb. Valentines’ Day Cards 11am - 3.30pm. Drop in fun for families with children of all ages. 12 -17 Feb. Wild and Wonderful Wallpaper 11am - 3.30pm. Be inspired by patterns found on Museum objects and create your own unique pattern to take home. A drop in family activity for families with children aged 5+.

Nature WESTONBIRT ARBORETUM Tetbury, Glos, GL8 8QS 01666 880220 12 – 14 Feb. Whatever the weather! Join Westonbirt Arboretum’s learning team in

January/February 2013

DEAN HERITAGE CENTRE Soudley, Cinderford, Gloucestershire GL14 2UB 01594 822 170 9 – 17 Feb. Indoor and outdoor trails Look for signs of spring and collect interesting natural objects to look at under the microscope.


Soccer camps are being held over Half Term in the following areas: Cheltenham, Gloucester, Bishops Cleeve and Tewkesbury. Please check web site for further details on venue and how to book.

GL1 LEISURE CENTRE Bruton Way, Gloucester GL1 1DT 0845 643 4203

Please see website for details of Half Term activities.



12 – 19 Feb. Half Term Birdwatching Follow an interactive trail through the grounds learning a variety of techniques to improve your birdwatching skills. This event is suitable for all ages and all levels of interest. Warm clothing boots or wellies needed. No need to book. 9 - 17 Feb. Love Birds Trail To celebrate St Valentine’s Day vote for the most loved up species living at Slimbridge. Armed with facts on some of the bird couples it is up to you to see them for yourself and vote for your favourite winning couple.

LEISURE @ CHELTENHAM Tommy Taylor’s Lane, Cheltenham GL50 4RN 01242 528764

Please see website for details of Half Term activities.

STRATFORD PARK LEISURE CENTRE Stratford Rd, Stroud GL5 4AF 01453 766771 Fit For Sport will be running OFSTED registered activity Kids Camps for children aged between 3 – 12 years old over the February Half Term at Stratford Park Leisure Centre. Check web site for further details and how to book.

WAREHOUSE CLIMBING CENTRE Parliament St, Gloucester GL1 1HY 01452 302351

Fun program of events during the school holidays for all ages from 11 – 15 Feb. See web site for more details.

Theatre and Drama THE BACON THEATRE Dean Close School, Shelburne Road, Cheltenham GL51 6HE 01242 258002

23 Jan – 26 Jan. Cinderella Promenade Productions present their annual family pantomime. Tickets available from Showcase on 01242 224144 21 Feb. Pied Piper Theatre: My big little sister My Big Little Sister, written by Tina Williams, takes a light-hearted look at the pressure of consumerism on young minds and gently asks the important questions about what happiness really means. Age 3 yrs and over.

CHELTENHAM TOWN HALL Imperial Square, Cheltenham GL50 1QA 0844 576 2210 12 Feb. Theo the Mouse in Magical Mayhem From the writer of TV favourites Sooty & Basil Brush comes the UK’s cleverest children’s character Theo the Mouse. Join him for a hilarious interactive show packed with magic, laughter and music for all the family.

THE COTSWOLD PLAYHOUSE Parliament Street, Stroud GL5 1LW 0870 432 5405 16 – 19 Feb and 23 – 26 Feb. Honk! The musical tale of the Ugly Duckling This charming musical is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling. With a tuneful score, witty lyrics and book, it’s a show to win the hearts of audiences of all ages. It won the Olivier Award for Best Musical in 2000.

THE EVERYMAN THEATRE 7 - 10 Regent Street, Cheltenham GL50 1HQ 01242 512 515 20 Feb – 24 Feb. Beauty and the Beast on Ice The Russian Ice Stars deliver a dazzling interpretation of this enchanting story loved by all ages, a treat for the whole family.

THE DODS THEATRE IN DURSLEY Long Street Dursley Gloucesershire GL11 4JB 07890 203 318

29 – 26 Jan. Sleeping Beauty Dursley Dramatic and Operatic Society present this traditional pantomime suitable for all the family. THE ROSES THEATRE

Sun Street, Tewkesbury GL20 5NX 01684 295074 13 Feb. Tweedy’s Lost Property In this hilarious one-man family show, Tweedy, famed for his role within Giffords Circus, illustrates an impressive repertoire of comedic talents that

What’s On Jan/Feb 13 have made him one of the most respected and popular clowns the country has to offer. Tickets £10. Concessions £8.

GL13 9BQ 01453 810332

help the farm hands feed the animals or check out the indoor or outdoor play areas. See web site for latest Winter opening times.

15 Feb. Michaela Strachan’s Really Wild Adventures Adapted from her own book of children’s poetry, popular TV presenter Michaela Strachan comes to The Roses for her world premiere, to take families on a delightful journey through an alphabet jungle of animal rhymes. Michaela will be signing copies of her book after the show. Age 3 – 8. All tickets £12.50

CATTLE COUNTRY ADVENTURE PARK Berkeley Heath Farm, Berkeley, Gloucestershire GL13 9EW 01453 810510

GLOUCESTER CATHEDRAL 12 College Street, Gloucester GL1 2LX 01452 528095

Days Out AT-BRISTOL Anchor Road, Bristol BS1 5DB 0845 345 1235 Weekends in Jan & Feb plus 11 – 15 Feb. Good vibrations! Hold on tight - we’re going to vibrate as we learn all about what sound is and how it gets around! 17 – 18 Jan. Toddler Takeover – Crazy Creatures! Two days of animal activities just for the under fives!

At Cattle Country you will find a whole range of activities to keep you and the whole family amused, whatever the weather. Weekend opening from 9 Feb plus 11 – 15 Feb.

COTSWOLD FARM PARK Bemborough Farm, Kineton, Gloucestershire GL54 5UG 01451 850 307 A total countryside experience - from shearing and milking demonstrations to an interactive Rare Breeds through History trail. Open from 9 Feb, weather permitting. Check web site for opening hours.

BRISTOL ZOO GARDENS Clifton, Bristol BS8 3HA 0117 974 7300

DICK WHITTINGTON FARM PARK Little London, Longhope, Gloucestershire GL17 0PH 01452 831000

BERKELEY CASTLE Berkeley, Gloucestershire

Farm full of interesting animals, fascinating wildlife and exciting activities! Visit the pets corner and

NATIONAL TRUST GLOUCESTERSHIRE DYRHAM PARK Dyrham, near Bath, SN14 8ER (Sat Nav: SN14 8HY) 0117 937 2501 9 – 15 Feb. February Fun Trail Try the February trail at Dyrham Park this half term, and tick off the top ten activities from the ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4’ list.

NEWARK PARK Ozleworth, Wotton-under-Edge, GL12 7PZ 01793 817666

9 – 17 Feb. Snowdrop Week With real Snowdrops and other flowers carpeting our woodland glade. There will also be a Snowdrop Trail for children.

PRINKNASH BIRD AND DEER PARK Prinknash Road, Matson, Gloucester GL4 8EU 01452 812 727

January/February 2013


What’s On Jan/Feb 13 SLIMBRIDGE WETLAND CENTRE Bowditch, Slimbridge, Gloucestershire GL2 7BT 01453 890 333 26 Dec 12 – 24 Dec 13. Toad Hall Talks Hear expert Jay Redbond give an insight into the world of amphibians, and their habitats. Have the opportunity to hold some of his collection of frogs, toads and newts, and ask all those questions you have always wondered about. Daily 2:15pm plus 12:30pm at weekends and school holidays. 26 Dec 12 – 28 Feb. Wild Bird Feeds From the comfort of the heated observatory hear the warden’s commentary as he feeds the thousands of wintering wild birds and hundreds of Bewick’s swans that have flown all the way from arctic Russia to be here. Usually 4pm daily but times can vary through the season so please check on the day. 26 Dec 12 – 24 Dec 13. Otter Talks Meet our friendly family of Otters: Flo, Minnie and Ha Ha and hear a talk as they tuck into a tasty fish supper. Talks are at 11.30am and 3.30pm every day. Check on the notice board on the day.

WESTONBIRT ARBORETUM Tetbury, Glos, GL8 8QS 01666 880220 Westonbirt Arboretum is a huge natural playground for children! From becoming a young

January/February 2013

adventurer on the natural play trails to taking part in family events or self-led trails, there’s something to suit families across the seasons.

Museums BEATRIX POTTER’S THE TAILOR OF GLOUCESTER MUSEUM & SHOP 9 College Court, Gloucester GL1 2NJ 01452 422 856 A charming museum and quaint shop staffed by volunteers who are both enthusiastic and knowledgeable about Beatrix Potter and her works. Open Monday - Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sunday noon until 4pm.

CORINIUM MUSEUM Park Street, Cirencester, Gloucestershire GL7 2BX 01285 655611 COTSWOLD MOTORING MUSEUM & TOY COLLECTION The Old Mill, Bourton-onthe-Water GL54 2BY 01451 821255 You can visit TV’s Brum at his home and see where

he was filmed. The little super hero car, whose adventures start and end at the Museum, can be found at the Museum every day. The Cotswold Motoring Museum is open 10am- 6pm seven days a week from 10th February.

DEAN HERITAGE CENTRE Soudley, Cinderford, Gloucestershire GL14 2UB 01594 822 170

See ‘Half Term Activities’ listing for more details

GLOUCESTER WATERWAYS MUSEUM Llanthony Warehouse, Gloucester GL1 2EH 01452 318200 MUSEUM IN THE PARK Stratford Park, Stratford Road, Stroud GL5 4AF 01453 763394 13 Feb The Mysteries of the Museum 2pm - 4pm (drop in). Meet the new Collections Officer Alexia and help her solve some of the mysteries of the Museum Collections. All ages welcome. Also see ‘Half Term Activities’ listing for more details

Families Gloucestershire Issue 12 Jan - Feb 2013  

Families Gloucestershire Magazine for January and February 2013