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Nov/Dec 2011 Issue No. 006


Sensory Play Battling with Bullying A Gloucestershire Christmas The Cotswold Chef What’s On


Win tickets to see Shrek The Musical plus overnight accommodation in London - pg 3

For families with young children aged 0-12 in Gloucestershire




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. CONTACT US Families Gloucestershire email: web: tel: 01453 544658 Facebook: Twitter: COVER PHOTOGRAPH ‘An Enchanted Christmas at Westonbirt Arboretum’. Photographer: Rob Cousins

CONTENTS Nov/Dec 2011 Issue No. 006


Sensory Play Bullying Battling with e Christmas A Gloucestershir ld Chef The Cotswo What’s On

For families with

young children

Tickets Musical Shrek The t plus overnigh in accommodation 3 London - pg


aged 0-12 in Glouces


PRINTED BY The Manson Group,

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.




2 November /December 2011




lympic gold medallist Christine Ohurogu says young people are "not really interested" in the London 2012 Games, and that more must be done to encourage them. The 400-metre champion, who grew up less than a mile from the Olympic site, says it's hard to sell the Olympics story unless you've experienced it - but she believes more imaginative ways must be found to persuade youngsters to feel part of the excitement in the build-up to next year.


T For more articles, listings and competitions visit our website



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he RSPB launches its 2011 youth fundraiser as children across the UK help to save some of our rarest and most spectacular birds of prey. Young people are being asked to help save golden eagles, peregrine falcons, red kites and other birds of prey with the RSPB youth fundraising campaign. Children can help through sponsored activities such as cycling, hopping, running or even sponsored silences, with money raised going towards buying special equipment to help RSPB staff stop wildlife crime. “It’s my great privilege to spend a good deal of my life with birds of prey,” said Steve Backshall, TV presenter of Deadly 60. “However, the future of many species is far from secure. Some people still kill these extraordinary creatures and with your support we can help save birds of prey.” Every young person who raises money to help the Wildlife Explorers Save Birds of Prey appeal will get a special certificate and a set of stickers as a thank you. Visit uk/youth to download a sponsor form.



rom November parents and grandparents will be able to deposit up to £3,600 a year for their children in new Junior ISAs. The ISAs replace Child Trust Funds which were withdrawn as part of the government's austerity measures. Junior ISAs are intended to provide youngsters with a nest-egg towards university costs, or a car or flat deposit, when they reach 18 - they're not allowed to delve into the funds until then. For more information see




inal preparations are being made for the Cheltenham Baby & Toddler Show, which is being held at Cheltenham Town Hall on Sunday 6th November. The show, which is now in its fourth year attracts parents-to-be and parents of young children from across Gloucestershire. And organisers Caroline Sparks and Sophie Mutimer are confident this year’s show will be bigger and better than ever! Caroline commented “We’ve got so much happening at the show this year – a packed schedule of free talks and demonstrations, and Tumble Tots are running sessions in the Activity Room, which proved to be a huge hit last year. Water Babies is also supporting the feeding room, providing a peaceful place for people to feed their babies. Other exhibitors include Costco, fingerprint jewellery company Precious Prints, Ask Baby Cotswolds Magazine and newly launched Turtle Tots – who are looking for licencees to run a baby swimming company. Plus photographers, local schools, and more! As well as the exhibitors, there will be free face painting, and the NCT will be on hand in the feeding room to help mums with every aspect of pregnancy and coping with a baby or toddler. The show is from 10.00am to 4.00pm and entry is just £3.50 per person or £2.50 in advance, with accompanied children under 16 allowed in free. The first 500 families will also receive a goody bag full of useful information and product samples. For more information about the Cheltenham Baby and Toddler Show or to book tickets, visit



estonbirt Arboretum’s Enchanted Christmas illuminated trail, 25 November – 18 December The spectacular Enchanted Christmas event will return to Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, managed by the Forestry Commission, this November and December. Alongside exploring this year’s new illuminated route through the trees, visitors can buy gifts and decorations in the Forest Shop and enjoy warming festive fare. Families will also be able to enjoy a new winter wonderland in the education centre. Amongst a snowy setting, children can meet Westonbirt’s green Father Christmas and make festive crafts with the arboretum’s learning team. For over ten years Westonbirt, The National Arboretum has thrilled winter visitors with the Enchanted Christmas illuminated trail. The one mile trail highlights the striking structures of Westonbirt’s trees in winter. A new route through the trees is created each year to take in different specimens, paths and vistas in the tree collection. The illuminated trail is accessible for wheelchairs and mobility scooters, both of which can be booked for free in advance by calling Photograph: Rob Cousins 01666 881218. Westonbirt’s Enchanted Christmas takes place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening from 25 November to 18 December, from 5 to 8.30pm, with the last entry at 7.15pm. Admission is adults £9, concessions £8 and children £5. Discounted entry is available for pre-booked groups over 10 people and Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum members receive half price entry on Fridays. Advance tickets can be booked online from 1 October at www. Photograph: Rob Cousins


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November /December 2011 3



lamper Camper was born on an August night on a windswept campsite in Wales. Founded by friends Helen, Kate and Hannah, in Nalisworth Gloucestershire, Glamper Camper is an online shop selling accessories for people who love camping. Specialising in smart, stylish accessories there is something for everyone here; from Walkie Talkies for children to pretty headtorches, warm welly socks and Helen Webb, Hannah Persaud and Kate Shakespeare collapsible kettles. ‘We all camp regularly, and believe that our range of products reflects items that not only look good but that are really useful. We are proud of our integrity and only sell products that have been tried, tested and loved by us’. (Hannah from Nailsworth). The founders of Glamper Camper have always loved camping but since they all had their first children 5 years ago it’s become a regular activity on the family calendar. ‘Camping removes you from everyday chores and stresses and allows you to all pitch in and spend quality time together in the great outdoors’ says Kate, a former teacher who lives in Pangbourne. ‘The things that we sell are great for camping whether you do it in a tent, a caravan or a motorhome, but we’re not just for people who camp’ Helen from Baldock explains. ‘Our range makes great presents all year round and much of what we sell looks as comfortable at a bbq or a garden party as it does on a campsite’. With Christmas approaching there is something for everyone here; a camping gift is a brilliant way of saying that whilst it may be bleak and cold now, Spring and the camping season is just around the corner.



SMALLPRINT JEWELLERY Give your loved ones the perfect personalised gift this Christmas with a piece of Smallprint handcrafted jewellery which captures children's fingerprints, hand and footprints, artwork and writing in fine silver. Choose from charms, pendants, cufflinks and keyrings.Prices start from £35. For more information visit or contact Caroline on 01452 770885/

SOCK MONKEY FACTORY Sock Monkey Factory offer handmade unique gifts for any age! Our signature monkeys and other animals are all made from the humble sock and filled with high quality toy stuffing. Choose a ready made creature or why not commission an animal with your choice of pattern. New designs are being added every week and you can find us at several arts and crafts events around Gloucestershire. For products and events, please visit or follow us on facebook as SOCK FRIENDS BY SARAH Contact or call 07917391132

GLAMPER CAMPER COLLAPSIBLE KETTLE Whatever the weather you always need a trusted camping kettle, and these beauties collapse so they are perfect for squeezing into that overpacked car. Available in a range of striking colours, these look fabulous on the camp stove and make the perfect present for anyone who loves to camp. These are selling like hot mince pies so don't delay, order from

GLAMPER CAMPER WALKIE TALKIES Kids just love to play hide and seek, give them the confidence to roam safe in the knowledge that these Walkie Talkies really do work. Crystal clear, excellent long range reception and extremely reliable, these are just as much fun in the house, garden, at the park or on the beach as they are on a campsite. Make a child very happy this Christmas, buy at CH E LT E N H A M CLA S S E S : Call Sarah : 01242 511478 Email DU R S LE Y/ S T I N CH CO MBE CLA S S E S : Call Claire : 01453 546639 Email Affordable franchises available throughout Gloucestershire For more details contact Anne-marie Collier, Regional Co-ordinator 01454 773267

GET MILKY Get Milky is a totally unique, retro and quirky online baby clothing store. We have designed a variety of funky items including a zebra print sleepsuit, a giraffe print romper, a piano skirt, berets, bloomers, legwarmers and MUCH MUCH MORE! Check out our website on or contact for more information.

WESTONBIRT’S FOREST SHOP In Westonbirt’s Forest Shop you will find a range of exciting items to suit all pockets and ages, and which reflect our love of trees and nature. From regional pickles and preserves, handcrafted wooden items to recycled wool picnic rugs, there are gift ideas for every taste, sourced from over 70 local and British businesses.

WESTONBIRT PLANT CENTRE This plantsman’s paradise is to be found hidden within old stone walls in the valley between the Old Arboretum and Silk Wood. We specialise in hardy plants and depending on the season, stock an extensive and interesting selection of Japanese maples, unusual trees, shrubs and conifers, as well as climbing plants, herbaceous perennials, hardy ferns, grasses and shrub roses

4 November /December 2011


By Helena Foss

Nothing prepares you for first time motherhood does it? There is a life BC (before child/children), and an utterly different kind of existence afterwards; one where you are never top priority anymore, where your life revolves around others’ scheduled needs: nap times, school times, meal times, milk times, bath times, bed times. Yes, you are now in service to the next generation. For the rest of your life, you will probably find something about your children to worry about, no matter what age they are. The word ‘mother’, it has been said, is not just a noun. It is a verb. FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT There is this crazy assumption that when motherhood hits, we will somehow, intuitively know what to do; it will all just flow naturally. The reality, I think, goes more like this: we hit the ground running, muddle through and do the best we can. And it is, as they say, just one thing after another. Once we have the routine and sleeping through the night thing nailed, then we have the joys of encouraging them to eat healthily, along with the Herculean challenges of boundary setting. After the umpteenth request to ‘please, do NOT leave your rollerskates at the bottom of the stairs,’ or ‘no, it is not OK to chew on your baby brother’s ear,’ is it any wonder we start sounding like our own frustrated parents when we yell: ‘If I have told you once, I have told you a thousand times... Why don’t you LISTEN??’ Or the classic one that makes me shudder when I imagine my neighbours overhearing it: ‘JUST PUT YOUR F***ING SHOES ON!’ Ooops. Swearing at child. Guilty as charged Your Honour. But can I claim mitigating circumstances? My son practices selective deafness, I was stressed out and we were horribly, horribly late. Sigh. There goes another few quid in the ‘therapy for when he is older’ box. ANGELS IN TRAINING Mothers aren’t supposed to shout or be cross or tear their hair out or cry and scream with frustration, are we? Especially not in supermarkets. We’re supposed to be sweet and kind and giving and patient and perfect with angelic supplies of unconditional love. We’re not supposed to park them in front of CBeebies for the morning and go back to bed nursing a hangover. No. We must provide educational activities, bake cakes, rustle up fancy dress costumes out of remnants in the recycling box, present a clean and tidy house, organise schooling, lay proper meals on the table and, often, hold down a job and even a marriage too. But we can’t and we don’t. And we feel guilty about it. The best advice I ever heard about mothering went something like this: ‘Look, you have to accept that you are going to get it wrong. You are going to make mistakes. Everyone does. It is the only way you learn. So the best thing you can do is just resolve to love your children as much as you possibly can.’ My rules are that I always apologise for my appalling behaviour and then tell my son I love him. “Our biggest mothering mistake really, is believing we shouldn’t be making any. “ In have a little sign in my kitchen that reads: ‘mothers are angels in training’. Feeling guilty is how we punish ourselves for not reaching impossibly high standards. I don’t know any mother who thinks she ticks all the ‘perfect mother’ boxes. And you know what? Maybe we are right. Maybe, we weren’t even designed to meet every single one of our children’s needs. TRIBAL HEART There is an African saying that goes: ‘It takes a whole village to raise a baby.’ In her book ‘The Spirit of Intimacy’, Sobonfu Some, a woman from the Dagara tribe of West Africa, says that it is also true that it takes a whole village to keep parents sane. In fact, it was not until she was nearly six years old that she understood that she came out of one particular woman’s womb, that she did not biologically ‘belong’ to all of the women in her village who breastfed and cared for her. We would do well to remember that one-to-one parenting is a pretty recent evolution in our species. Back in the day there would be aunties, sisters, cousins, neighbours and grandmothers all on hand for mass childcare duties. Sobonfu insists that if a child has a problem that their parents can’t sort out, he or she needs to have other adults to turn to. If nothing else, there is a much better chance the child will actually listen to sage advice. Let’s face it: children just don’t like having to listen to their parents. (I mean, did you? I certainly didn’t. Dammit, of course my son doesn’t want to listen to me!)

Families Gloucestershire has teamed up with Two Front Teeth Photography to give you the chance of winning a photo shoot for your child/children with one of Gloucestershire's most popular family photographers, take home a beautiful 20x16in framed print worth £175 and you could also be on the front cover of Families Gloucestershire! There are also six runner-up prizes worth £75 each. If you think your child /children would look great on the front cover of Families Gloucestershire send your name, address or email contact and the ages of your children to the editor: editor@familiesgloucestershire. or call 01453 544658. Please type Front Cover Competition in the subject line of your email. The names of the winner and the six runners up will be drawn from all entries received by the closing date of Monday 9th January 2012 The winner's photo shoot will take place on a mutually convenient date in January/February



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HANG UP YOUR HALO ‘Motherhood,’ Oprah once said, ‘is the hardest job in the world. Women everywhere must declare it so.’ In my opinion, it is also the most undervalued, the most rewarding and the most important job in the world too. Hey, we’re at the coalface of building the foundations – the veritable bedrock – of society here. Let’s hang up our halos and, through example, teach our children that we are all on a lifelong learning curve, that we are all lovable despite our imperfections. That, in itself, is a great education.

November /December 2011 5




s our children grow and take part in more activities, they will come into contact with a great number of diverse people. Unfortunately, as this happens, bullying seems to be on the rise. With anti-bullying week approaching, we take a look at what steps we, as parents and carers, can do to stamp out bullying. Bullying occurs when a person is picked on repeatedly by an individual or a group with more power, either in terms of physical strength or social standing. Bullies pick on the people they think don't fit in, maybe because of how they look, how they act (if they are shy or withdrawn for example), their sexual orientation, race or religion. Bullying can take the form of physical attack, psychological control or verbal insults. For example, popular groups or cliques often bully people by excluding them or gossiping about them (psychological bullying). They may also taunt or tease their targets (verbal bullying). Unfortunately bullying like this is made easier today due to the accessibility of new technology. It is far easier to bully via email, facebook and mobile phone text messages, and do it anonymously. It even has its own name – Cyberbullying. Whatever form it takes however, the effects are devastating. Studies have shown that being bullied increases the risk of low self-esteem, stress and depression or anxiety. Bullies themselves are also at risk. Bullies often become rejected by their friends and fail to achieve at school. Their violent behaviour often increases, and it is estimated that 1 out of 4 elementary-school bullies have a criminal record by the time they are 30. So what can we do to help stamp out this behavior? EQUIP YOUR CHILD WITH THE SKILLS TO HELP THEM AVOID BEING BULLIED • Get your child to identify teachers and friends that would help them if they were worried about being bullied. Encourage them to buddy-up and avoid places where there are no other pupils or teachers - go to the bathroom with a friend, eat lunch in a group, sit at the front on the bus, etc. • Explain to your children about cyberbullying and not to respond or forward threatening emails. “Friend” your child on Facebook and set up proper filters on your computer. Limit their social media friend requests to only those people with whom they have a positive relationship offline. Make the family computer the only computer for children, and have it in a public place in the home. If you decide to give your child a mobile phone, let them

know you will be monitoring their text messages, and insist that phones are also kept in a public area, by a certain time at night, to eliminate night-time bullying and inappropriate messaging. • Keep talking to your children and work with them to handle any bullying. Tell them not to fight back, just calmly tell bullies to stop or walk away. Practice scenarios at home where your child learns how to ignore them and/or develop assertive strategies. Tell them not to take any of it personally and remind them of their worth and value. SPOTTING A BULLY AND HELPING THEM STOP Studies indicate that most bullies are motivated by the pursuit of status and affection. They gain status by dominating their victims, and choose children who are not well-liked to ‘win’ friends. One of the most effective ways to help them stop bullying therefore is to report their actions and tell them about it. Give them consequences and set boundaries, e.g. tell them if the behavior doesn’t stop then you will report him or her. Encourage them to talk to an adult and help them find better ways to deal with their anger such as taking up a sport, a hobby, and developing positive friendships. Tell them to put themselves in the shoes of their targets and ask how they would feel. Try to get them to understand the impact of their actions and to change them. Whilst we cannot erase bullying, we can equip ourselves with the skills to spot it and tackle it, thereby preventing further damage and torment amongst our young children. Preventing and stopping bullying helps us achieve a safe environment where children can thrive without being afraid. COMMON SIGNS OF BULLYING TO WATCH OUT FOR: • Your child coming home from school with cuts, bruises or torn clothing. • They are hungry or have walked home, when you know they had lunch money and bus fare. • Their work at school starts to slide. • They are reluctant to go to school or pretend to be unwell. • Their eating habits change or they don’t sleep well. National Anti-Bullying Week is from 14th to 25th November 2011 Visit for a collection of free resources helping combat bullying.


FOCUS ON PHONICS new report has been published with MPs claiming that the focus on phonics in schools will turn reading for children into a “dull exercise”. They are concerned that children will be turned off reading by the Government’s new literacy drive and the Coalition policies that have been designed to make schools use back-to-basics teaching methods. In order to improve literacy in England, the Government want primary schools to use synthetic phonics, with children sitting a ‘phonics test’ after only one year at school. However, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Education is claiming in its report that too much emphasis on this method could affect pupils’ learning and lead to a decline in literacy. They also claim they are joined in this opinion by the education establishment. According to the latest figures, around 16 per cent of children leave primary school without being able to read to an acceptable level, with one-in-10 boys having only the reading skills of a seven-yearold. “Literacy is the key to the curriculum,” said Fabian Hamilton, Labour MP and chairman of the Parliamentary group. “Pursuing phonics without considering whether pupils can comprehend what they’re reading, and without paying any attention to whether children enjoy reading, will switch children off. Learning to read – especially a complex language like English – cannot be reduced to a mechanical process.” However, Nick Gibb, the Schools Minister, has rejected the group’s conclusions, saying “High-quality evidence from across the world shows that the systematic teaching of synthetic phonics is the best way to teach basic reading skills, and especially those aged five to seven

6 November /December 2011

CHECKS FOR TWO-YEAR-OLDS nder new Government plans to spot children who are failing to develop properly, all two-year-olds will be given a compulsory “progress check”. Two-year-olds in England will be assessed to discover whether they can use certain basic words, respond to familiar sounds, communicate their wants and socialise with others, as part of an Early Years Foundation Stage framework setting out to identify struggling children. All parents will be given a written report of their child’s abilities in these key areas, with Ministers claiming that this will help to identify any early developmental problems. They are concerned that too many children are starting school

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without the necessary basic social and language skills, and Sarah Teather, Liberal Democrat Minister for Children, said "the importance of the early years – as a foundation for life and for future attainment and success – cannot be overestimated. That’s why it’s vital we have the right framework to support high quality early years education.” However, Richard House, senior lecturer in psychotherapy at Roehampton University, says "Children are so diverse that to even begin constructing some generalised view of how they should be developing at a certain age is fraught with danger.” He goes on to state that the move risked defining children as "failures" at a young age.

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By Sue Gascoyne (BA, MA, MRTPI), Being a parent can be one of the most rewarding jobs in the world, yet one of the most demanding! As an early year’s trainer and parent, every day I come across potential conflicts between the glittering ‘ideal’ of parenthood and reality. Take sensory and messy play - most children are hardwired to get the most from resources like mud and water, but as adults we can struggle to appreciate their appeal, as well as finding time in our busy lives and embracing the mess and dirty clothes!


rowing up in London, the youngest of three and only girl, mine was a very different childhood to my husband-to-be. With daily adult-free adventures in rural Norfolk, spent exploring in woods, on boats or bikes, his was the childhood of my Swallows and Amazons fuelled imagination. According to the Sensory Play Research project my husband was not alone, with over 60% of adult’s most vivid childhood play memories involving sensory-rich play outdoors, making mud pies, building dens and climbing trees. 82% of adults feel that play has changed, with time, fear of stranger danger and screen-based competition, at the heart of this. Nowadays, adult-free experiences like these are harder to offer, but if we make time for sensoryrich play it reaps rich rewards, being hugely satisfying and good for children as each sensory experience creates vital connections in the brain. Treasure Baskets – a sensory feast Offer sensory-rich experiences doesn’t just mean play outdoors. A Treasure Basket, quite literally a basket of household and natural objects, can happily engage young babies through to six year olds (and older). The secret lies in the fact that this collection of what adults may see as just everyday objects, becomes a basket of awe and wonder with limitless possibilities. As there are no actual toys, a spoon

can be a wand or microphone and a purse a dolls bed, rocket, boat or host of possibilities! Children can explore, problem solve, create and discover to their hearts contents as there are no right or wrong ways of playing. What you will need... • A sturdy basket, ideally round, straight-sided measuring 26-36cm across and 13cm deep. • A collection of interesting objects, e.g. rubber plug, spoons, napkin ring, shell, large pebble, etc. Pick objects for child-size hands and include a mix of wood, metal, cardboard, fabric, shapes and colours to appeal to all the senses. What to do... • Clear the area of toys and put the Treasure Basket on the floor. If appropriate, position cushions to support young babies. • Sit nearby and watch what your child plays with and how? Depending upon their age they may explore each object one at a time; use two or more objects together, e.g. putting an object in a tin to make a shaker; use the objects for building towers; or rustle up a fabulous imaginary feast. • Simply sit and watch to discover interests and developmental milestones. (Adult supervision is needed.) How children benefit? • Increases concentration and focus. • Develops muscle strength and skills. • Gives meaning to words, e.g. soft, heavy, cold, rough. • Encourages problem-solving and creativity. • Develops connections in the brain.

Try this activity with your little one(s): Bury some treasure-like objects, e.g. a smooth stone (for a dinosaur egg), mini-flower pot, necklace or chain (for treasure) in a container of sand to be discovered in a miniarchaeological dig. Simply saying “I’ve heard that there’s a fossilised dinosaur egg in here” can be enough to get them playing! Provide various brushes and spoons for children to experiment with discovering the treasure. Add magnifying glasses for exploring finds and magnets to extend to a mini-metal detector hunt. Talk about what

What else can I do? Once your child/children have had plenty of opportunities to explore the Treasure Basket, you could offer some of the objects next to a container of sand or water to see if and how this changes play. Be prepared for play lasting an hour or more and heaps of problem-solving, discovering, experimenting, pretending and creativity.

Tips for minimising problems • Where possible play outside so that mess isn’t an issue. This increases sensory appeal and scale, particularly for boys. • Provide a dust pan and brush for the children to help tidy-up. • Wear old clothes, so that stains aren’t a problem. The great thing about sensory play is siblings play happily together, each in their own age-appropriate way: A baby will enjoy the feel of sand and objects. A toddler may accidently create patterns and use containers for pouring and transporting. An older child will mix ‘delicious’ concoctions or develop their own games.

PLAY SNAPSHOT A three year old boy plays outside with sand, a plastic digger and toy cement mixer. After a few minutes he draws a Treasure Basket near and begins using some of its objects for deeply focused play. In just one hour he explored cause, effect and gravity (the sand falling through the tea strainer holes); problem solving (discovering that if he speeded up the action he could catch some sand); the pattern-making potential of sand (pressing a bath plug into a mini-bucket of sand); big and small and volume (transferring the sand to different sized containers). Meanwhile the digger and cement mixer were left untouched. Tips for adding sensory interest Add dried rice, glitter or sequins to sand to change its texture or appearance.

Add natural seedpods and clean recycled pots to give children’s imagination a free reign.

happens and why the magnets did/didn’t work. This simple fun activity will capture children’s imagination whilst developing muscle strength, language, thinking skills, problem solving and creativity. Older children’s play may naturally evolve into guess the pattern games.

In our time-stretched lives the biggest boost we can give to play is giving children the time, space and ‘permission’ to discover and explore simple and natural ‘treasures’ like these. Watching sensory-rich play is magical and can be fun for us too! Sue Gascoyne (BA, MA, MRTPI), has run workshops nationally & internationally to help practitioners introduce learning through play. She is a published author who focuses on embedding sensory play experiences in the learning environment. Play to Z provides the Playscope range of quality playful learning resources, award winning training and research.

November /December 2011 7

you could also get the Christmas cake made at the same time, allowing plenty of time for the weekly ”feeding” with brandy! Children will always enjoy helping to marzipan and ice the cake as well as making some decorations for the top. Cranberries and pomegranates are magical ingredients around Christmas time, and their perfumed scent just sums up Christmas. Pomegranates, which means ‘seeded apple’ in Latin, don’t look like much from the outside, but open this exotic fruit up and your children will be fascinated by the beautiful seeds inside. They are also full of beneficial anti-oxidants, so try them stirred into a fruity couscous to accompany a delicious lamb tagine or make a salad with salty feta cheese (Simon Weaver now produces a good award wining one), crunchy pomegranate seeds and bitter leaves and herbs. Knock out the seeds from a pomegranate and add diced red onion, olive oil and red wine vinegar. Add bite-size pieces of feta and roughly torn chicory, along with some mint leaves…delicious. We all know cranberries complement the festive roast turkey as a tart sauce, but they also work really well in fruitcakes, teabreads and muffins. The dried version will keep well in the store-cupboard and fresh cranberries also freeze really well, so buy them early and you will have them to hand when you need them. Stuffings can also be made ahead of time and frozen ready for Christmas. So, whenever you have some slightly stale bread, make it into breadcrumbs and add melted butter, chopped onion, sage or other herbs. Shape into balls and pop into the freezer, The Cotswold Chef Courses then simply remove and bake in the oven for a delicious accompaniment to your turkey. Christmas Preparations Masterclass Finally, if you’re looking for “foodie” things to do at this time of year, don’t forget to check out the Good Food Show at the NEC in Birmingham, from 23rd-27th November. Lots of new ideas to see, books to buy and sources of inspiration for those difficult last-minute Christmas presents. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year with your family.

THE COTSWOLD CHEF TALKS TO FAMILIES! Hello! The nights are drawing in, the clocks have gone back an hour (hope you all remembered that one!) and it‘s really feeling like winter. Still, there are several good things to be said about Winter and “comfort food” is definitely one of them.


n the frosty winter mornings, it’s really important to send your children off to school with a warming breakfast inside them. I wrote last time about making granola, but now it’s time for the real winter fuel – porridge! It really doesn’t take long to make – either on the hob, overnight in a slow oven or in the microwave. Try putting some chopped apple and sultanas or raisins in the bottom of the bowl and pour the porridge over, top with some lovelly local plain yoghurt such as Chedworth Farm. Alternatively, serve with berries (fresh or frozen) – blueberries work particularly well. An excellent lowfat, cholesterol-reducing and filling start to the day for the whole family that will give your child a slow release of energy right up to their award wining Edwards and Ward hot school meal. With bonfire night coming up on 5th November, remember the original “Street Food” – baked potatoes. Apparently baked potatoes were sold as street food from 1835 onwards throughout the winter months. The cleaned potatoes were taken to the bakers to be cooked in large tins for about an hour and a half. They were then taken from the bakehouse in a basket protected by green baize to keep them warm and placed in tins, some of which were highly decorative with brass ornaments. Top them with a myriad of fillings – sour cream with chives, coleslaw made with seasonal celeriac for a change from cabbage, or a delicious local cheese like the award wining Three Virgins from Godsell Farm. Its delicous grated and melted over the top. Also, remember to visit your local butcher for a delicious sausage made on the premises – so much better than the mass-produced ones. I particularly like those from Adeys Organic Farm at the moment, topped with some caramelised onions in a hot dog – lovely! Casseroles are another great thing about winter. From cheap cuts of meat – lamb shanks, chicken thighs, stewing beef, pork shoulder and duck legs you can produce delicious meals and, if you get organised with your slow oven or slow cooker, then a wonderful smell can greet you as you come in the door at the end of the day. Just whizz up some dumplings (suet, self-raising flour and fresh chopped herbs) and add to the casserole for the last half hour of cooking, whilst you prep some fresh veggies like roasted parsnip and buttered Savoy Cabbage, and you have a really easy weekday meal. Another important date to remember is “Stir-up Sunday” – this year on 20th November. Traditionally, this is the date when everyone in the family takes turn in stirring the Christmas pudding and making a secret wish.Our family’s traditional recipe is available in my book ‘A Year in Recipes and Landscapes’ which you can order by emailing us. Making it well ahead allows time for the flavours to develop and

8 November /December 2011

30th November 3-6pm – Simple ideas to get your Christmas food done!

Junior Chefs Stage One Course December 19th,20th and 21st Designed for 11-16 year olds A fantastic hands on Chefs course developing many new culinary skills in an industrial kitchen.

Feed My Mind Course – January 4th,5th and 6th 2012 - An insight from farm to fork for 7 -10 year olds and includes some practial cooking, science and enjoyable activities about food. Website


1st Lesson FREE! Coaching programmes running throughout Gloucester •Tots Tennis (parent & child sessions) 2yrs – 5yrs •Junior & Adult Coaching •Summer Holiday Camp Tennis To book lesson or for more information

Tel- 07870 620488 E-mail- The UK’s first rugby specific play programme for young children Rugbytots® is a weekly play session for children between the ages of two and seven. Separated into three age groups, Rugbytots® combines the multiple skills used in rugby with a fun, energetic and structured play programme designed to enhance your child’s social and physical skills.

Whether the next step for your child is mini-rugby or ballet, Rugbytots® aims to provide the foundations which will enable them to progress with confidence. All Rugbytots® classes are fully insured and will be run by an RFU qualified lead coach who is trained in paediatric first aid and has been CRB checked.

For further information please call

0845 313 3242 •

DON’T DREAM IT, BE IT! Learn to act in comedy and drama. Have a go at mime, stage combat and much more. Devise your own musical or perform in one of your favourites. Make and star in your own TV show movie or even music DVD! We are enrolling now in the Cheltenham area. Places are limited so visit us at or call us now on 084567 32022


SUPERDADS! Meet Lee Bates who celebrated his 100th “A dad’s point of view” column in find it hard to believe but this is my one hundredth “A Dad’s Point-of-View” column. How best to celebrate this milestone? I’d like to look back at the previous 99 and choose ten strong ideas among them and briefly share them with you.


1. THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS QUALITY TIME. I learned early on in my parenting that the often-quoted notion of “Quality Time” was bunk. The only thing that matters to our children is “Quantity Time” since the only time they will open up is when they are good and ready. You can’t schedule time with your children the way you might with a business appointment and the moments that will surprise you the most are when you least expect it. There is no such thing as quality time, only quantity time. 2. GRATITUDE About five years ago, I survived a car crash that should have left me dead or worse. A man I greatly respect, Dennis Prager, has often said that the single most important ingredient to happiness is gratitude. That accident reinforced, very dramatically, his words to me. Too often we are living our lives waiting for that something we think will make us happy rather than counting the blessings right in front of us. 3. MY KIDS AREN’T ME, IN SPITE OF SHARING THE SAME DNA I learned a valuable lesson about parenting before I became a parent, when I was a Big Brother to a little girl. We shared nothing in common. I learned to bond with her in spite of our differences and found that experience to be the best prep course for parenting my own two boys, who also turned out to not fully share my interests. Too many parents think that just because their children share their DNA (which of course is not the case in adoption) that their children should share their same interests. All this does is set a pattern of hurt and disappointment for both child and parent. Don’t do this. Support what your child is interested in rather than push him or her to do what you want them to do. 4. WORDS THAT HURT, WORDS THAT HEAL The power of words can be as harmful as the power of a fist. With the advent of modern technology, we’ve seen the damage that a simple text can do to a middle school child when something hurtful is spread around about him or her. And, like a leaf blown in the wind, it can’t be retrieved. It is incumbent upon us as parents to teach our children to watch what we say, what we write, and what we text and to model good behavior in this regard and not gossip and not disparage others with casual disregard. 5. BEST FRIEND OR BEST PARENT The job of being a parent is not being our children’s best friend, yet too many parents confuse the two and try to be their children’s buddy. To achieve this buddy status, they forego being their best parent. That may mean not being strict, not holding high standards, or relaxing them when their children pout or throw a tantrum. Being the best parent you can be may sometimes mean your son or daughter doesn’t like you at a given moment. So what. Being liked isn’t your job. Being their best dad or mom is! 6. DO WOMEN NEED MEN? A popular feminist slogan of the 1960’s and 1970’s went something like: “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.”“We’ve come a long way, baby” is another slogan, I believe, from a cigarette that was marketed to women during the same general era. More bunk. Women need men just as much as men need women. It was foolish to think otherwise back in the hippie days and it’s foolish to think so now. The fact that women now can earn as much and can do what men can do just levels the playing field but doesn’t change our inherent natures.

people from all over the world. I met a group of children from a girl’s school in Ghana, Africa, through my “A Dad’s Point-of-View” Facebook page. My family began sending them books and soon my readers and radio show listeners were also sending them books, toys, and other things. We all learned the blessings of giving and charity and how when we give, we get so much more than we ever could expect.

We parents must insist on having a family dinner at least once a week, period.

8. THERE ARE NO PERFECT FRIENDS My mother taught me this basic lesson and I kept on forgetting it as I kept on wanting my friends to be perfect. Just like me. Ha! I also saw how my own boys got into spats with their friends over silly and unrealistic expectations of their friends. My mom always said that if you wanted perfect friends you wouldn’t have any. 9. THE FAMILY DINNER I read somewhere that the children from families that share meals together suffer fewer problems than those that don’t. The family dinner is essential glue for my family and something that belongs as a ritual in every family. As our children grow older and their friendships and extracurricular activities intrude more and more upon their lives, it is easier to allow the family dinner to drift away.

10. WALK A MILE IN MY SHOES Empathy is a simple but very important word. How often do we pass a homeless person without a thought or glance? Or hear a friend’s problem and promptly forget about it? Until you really do as the song says and walk a mile in someone’s shoes, you can’t really know what he or she may be going through. Too often we are caught up in our own problems, big or small, to pay attention to someone else’s problems, which I suggest, are usually bigger than ours. A little reflection upon someone else is a good thing to do now and then. It is good for your soul. I hope these short reflections from these columns give you some pause to consider the blessings in your lives, maybe to think what you might do to help a friend or neighbour, or to simply hug a loved one and offer a kind word or thought. For me, it’s on to the next hundred. Article courtesy of Superdads, helping men everywhere make the transition into fatherhood and beyond !!

A new bus service!




Hereford • Ross-on-Wye • Gloucester From 23rd October 2011, you can travel all the way from Gloucester to Hereford Herefordshire on the new Route 33!


Buses run up to every hour during the day. Gloucestershire

For timetable information visit:

Hereford • Ross-on-Wye oss-on• Gloucester

You can explore further than you think on the Route 33 County Link!

7. A STORY OF GIVING One of the blessings of my writing and radio show is meeting

November /December 2011 9


Don’t let Christmas shopping be relegated to just an online click. Families Gloucestershire shows you where to enjoy the Christmas spirit and pick up some Christmas gifts as our region’s great shopping areas go festive.


rom lantern processions to horse and carriage rides, Gloucestershire’s fantastic range of Christmas markets offer lots of festive entertainment as well as gifts. This year the whole family can enjoy preparing for Christmas. And talking of the whole family, if you do have a few extra relatives around or can negotiate with your other half, we’ve a suggestion in each town for a ‘festive escape’ – taking a little time out to de-stress and keep sane until the big day. TIPS TO GET THE MOST OF YOUR CHRISTMAS EVENT • Try your local event but also try somewhere new. From Cheltenham? Try Tetbury. From Broadway? Head to Nailsworth. Each town and market has its unique style and atmosphere. • Try and buy local food – as well as just the mulled wine! Local producers’ Christmas lines are great for the Christmas table or gifts. • Do be prepared for extra traffic. • Check the timing of the evening’s main event – usually the switching on of the lights. Bring along the buggy in case it all gets too much. • Look out for family Christmas workshops and activities linked to the market. • Take a rucksack full of extra layers for all; it’s only charming if you’re not freezing. BOURTON ON THE WATER: TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS FAYRE Date: Fri 2nd Dec An evening of festive entertainment combined with late night shopping at Bourton’s independent shops, boutiques and additional Christmas stalls. The event starts at 6pm with the turning on of lights; on a Christmas tree sitting in the middle of the Windrush River! Entertainment includes choirs, children’s theatres, a barrel organ and kiddy rides. Shop till you or the kids drop or until 9pm when shops close. FESTIVE ESCAPE FOR THE GROWN-UPS: At the Dial House Hotel, non-residents can enjoy a Royal afternoon

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tea by the fire adding a glass of champagne to the traditional scones and cream. Look out for the hotel as you walk from the main public car park to the village. The Dial House Hotel and Restaurant, High St, Bourton on the Water www.dialhousehotel. com Tel: 01451 822244 BROADWAY: LATE NIGHT CHRISTMAS SHOPPING Date: Fri 25th Nov AND 2nd Dec Two chances to combine shopping in Broadway’s range of individual store and boutiques with a chance to go on a horse and carriage ride, see Santa and sing carols. Traditional food such as mulled wine and mince pies available. 5pm to 8.30pm. FESTIVE ESCAPE FOR THE GROWN-UPS: The Swan at Broadway is one of Broadway’s best known pubs. An hour in front of its roaring fire with a glass of festive fizz or even just a coffee may be just enough to recharge the shopper in you. Alternatively, go home, get the children and babysitter settled and head back for your table in the restaurant. The Swan at Broadway, 2 The Green, Broadway CIRENCESTER: CHRISTMAS MARKET AND LANTERN PROCESSION Date:Christmas Market from 25th Nov to 11th Dec Lantern Procession 3rd December ( 5pm) In Cirencester the family can really take part in the town’s main Christmas event. Try making your own paper lantern to take part in the lantern procession, one of the highlights of the Cirencester Christmas market. Book ahead at one or more of the three workshops at the New Brewery Arts Centre to make your own colourful creation for the parade, whether it be an angel, snowman or even a dinosaur. As well as the lantern procession, the centre of Cirencester will be home to many wooden chalets for two weeks, decorated for the festive season to pick up gifts, food and decorations as well as your lantern to take home! Lantern Workshops: Saturday, 12th, 19th and 26th November (10am – 1pm) Cost per family £6. New Brewery Arts Centre Tel: 01285 657181 FESTIVE ESCAPE FOR THE GROWN-UPS: Some things can be wasted on the children. Although ‘Lick the Spoon’ does of course welcome children to its glamorous coffee and chocolate shop, just for once go there as grown-ups. Try their award winning truffles or new Chocoroons with your latte before throwing yourself back into the shopping fray. Lick the Spoon Chocolate Shop, 3 Black Jack Street, Cirencester www.lickthespoon.

Photo: Kevin Farnham

CHELTENHAM CHRISTMAS MARKET Date: Fri 18th Nov – Sun 4th Dec Traditional wooden chalets line Cheltenham’s Promenade for two weeks, selling a range of traditional gifts and decorations. Food served in the outside café area has a European feel with Glühwein and Bratwurst. Open throughout the day and evening, families can combine a festive visit with other shopping at Cheltenham’s main stores or a family meal out in town.

FESTIVE ESCAPE FOR THE GROWN-UPS: Treat yourself to a mini-treatment at Chapel Spa, a relaxing day spa in a converted 19th century chapel, just a few minutes’ walk from the Christmas market. Several 30-40 minute treatments available including an organic luxury foot treatment for stressed shopping feet. ‘Chapel Spa Chaps’ treatments also available if it’s Dad who’s getting frazzled. Chapel Spa, 10 North Place, Cheltenham. Tel:01242 518075 LECKHAMPTON (CHELTENHAM): THE CRIMBLE FESTIVAL Date: Fri 2nd Dec (10am-6pm), Sat 3rd Dec (10am -6pm) and Sun 4th Dec (11am-4pm) Another opportunity in Cheltenham is three days of local Christmas shopping and great live music in the grounds of The Exmouth Arms, Bath Road, Leckhampton. Within the small tented village, this fun Crimble Festival offers locally made gifts, mulled wine and festive food and of course a chance to visit Santa in his grotto. FESTIVE ESCAPE FOR THE GROWN-UPS: Just a few streets away is one of Cheltenham’s iconic buildings and now restaurants. Originally a 1920’s art deco cinema, the building has been restored with a real sense of glamour. Book for an afternoon tea amongst the Hollywood images and original cinema memorabilia. The Daffodil Restaurant, 18-20 Suffolk Parade, Cheltenham. GLOUCESTER – VICTORIAN CHRISTMASMARKET Thurs 24th and Fri 25th Nov , Sat 26th Nov and Sun 27th Nov Gloucester Quays and the historic docks area offers a great long weekend of family entertainment, with not only brass bands, choirs and a traditional carousel, but a troupe of Victorian re-enactors mingling with the crowds. As you browse the stalls selling gifts, food and drink, look out for the Victorian lady next to you or even the street urchin, all against the backdrop of the grand Victorian warehouses. Thursday 24th November, the first night of the Victorian Christmas Market is VIP night , 5-8pm when there will be Free parking, store offers and giveaways, free mince pies . Collect your VIP ticket from our customer service desk. .

FESTIVE ESCAPE FOR THE GROWN-UPS: Make some time to pick up your Christmas party dress at greatly reduced prices at Gloucester Quays Designer Outlets. Brands such as LK Bennett and The White Company have stores here with prices at up to 60% off. Look online for a full list of stores and get a further 10% of when you register online. Gloucester Quays Designer Outlets NAILSWORTH: GOODWILL EVENING Date: 25th Nov Nailsworth’s Goodwill evening has been a local event for more than 25 years, combining the switching on of the Christmas lights with late night opening of the permanent stores and many Christmas gift stalls. Look out for the family size fun-fair with rides suitable for younger children as well as the chance to visit Santa in his grotto. FESTIVE ESCAPE FOR THE GROWN-UPS: If you want a break from the mince pies, try calling in at one of Nailsworth’s newest foodie stores. The Nom Nom Cupcakery will be offering a range of seasonal cupcakes and plans to be open for the Goodwill evening. Although they do have a small area to grab a coffee too, why not choose a small selection to take home and enjoy when the shopping is over…and the children are in bed. The Nom Nom Cupcakery, Market St, Nailsworth. Tel: 01453 834402 TAURUS CRAFTS (FOREST OF DEAN): CHRISTMAS MARKET WEEKENDS Date: 3rd-4th Dec and 10th-11th Dec The Christmas weekend markets at Taurus Crafts offer two opportunities to shop for gifts at the Forest of Dean’s arts and crafts visitors centre, when their normal range of shops are joined by more local stallholders selling local food, crafts and gifts. Taurus Crafts, The Old Park, Lydney, Glos. Tel: 01594 844 841 FESTIVE ESCAPE FOR THE GROWN-UPS: Taurus Crafts has its very own place to escape, right in the middle of the crafts centre. The Garden Retreat Health and Beauty Centre is in its own beautiful building and offers a range of treatments for a Christmas treat. The Garden Retreat, The Garden Studio. Contact via Taurus Crafts. TETBURY: TORCH-LIT PROCESSION AND CHRISTMAS MARKET Date: Torch-lit procession – Thurs 1st Dec. Christmas Market Mon 5th Dec – Sat 10th Dec Tetbury offers several opportunities to get festive for families. On Thursday 1st Dec join in the celebrations and the torch-lit procession to the market hall for carol singing before the beautiful and extensive lights are switched on. Bring an electric torch to the Dolphin Hall at 4.45pm – lantern covers and song sheets provided! In the following week, lookout for more musical events as well as a traditional Christmas market with more than 40 stalls. FESTIVE ESCAPE FOR THE GROWN-UPS: Tetbury is well-known for its antique shop;, places that aren’t always the best places for a family visit unless you like shopping with a sense of danger. Negotiate yourself a quiet half hour amongst elegant shops such as The Ark Angel Antiques or Sassy and Boo which mixes new and vintage clothes along with accessories and interiors. Ark Angel Antiques, 33 Long Street, Tetbury. Sassy and Boo, 16 Church St, PLEASE NOTE: ALL DETAILS CORRECT AT TIME OF GOING TO PRESS BUT PLEASE CHECK LOCAL PRESS TO CONFIRM EVENT TIMINGS BEFORE HEADING OUT.



DEAN FOREST RAILWAY SANTA SPECIALS 2011 A trip on one of our Santa Specials is a great way to get the Christmas pulse racing! Join the regulars who return each year to join in the fun of this unique experience steaming through the forest. Capture your children’s excitement as you sit in your reserved seats and meet Santa and his helpers - don’t forget to bring your camera. There are worthwhile presents from Santa for the children and adults are not forgotten – Your magical Christmas starts here! they receive a miniature and a hot mince pie! DEAN Have a snack in the Platelayers’ Buffet, search FOREST for suitable Christmas presents in our well RAILWAY stocked gift shop and take a look at our The Friendly Forest Line Museum.



All Santa trains depart from Norchard Station, just north of Lydney on the B4234 where there is a large free car park. The round trip on the train takes approximately one hour. Toilets are available at stations. Santa Specials run on 10th,11th,17th,18th and 24th December and there are three trains each day. Tickets booked online cost £12 each for adults and children aged 2 & over.

Book online at Enquiries to 01594 845840 (11am-4pm)

GLOUCESTERSHIRE WARWICKSHIRE RAILWAY SANTA SPECIALS The Railway Station, Toddington, Glos GL54 5DY It may seem very early but Santa is already preparing to come to the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway this year. He has been in touch to say that this year he has arranged to bring with him an even greater number of top quality presents than usual as he is going to be extra busy. For those reading this who have been to see Santa at the railway before, you won’t need telling that you need to book your places NOW as trains get filled up very quickly. By the end of September about half the available seats have been sold so if you want a specific date, then you need to go to our website and book right away. You will also know what great fun and excitement there is to be had meeting Santa’s elves and friends . All our steam train visits to Santa will start at Cheltenham Race Course station where there is plenty of free car parking but new this year we have some extra diesel rail car Santa trains running from Toddington. So you can choose which is more convenient. See our website for more details Santa will be visiting on the following dates in December:3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th, 17th, 18th and 21st to 24th December

Enjoy the luxury of "Child Free Christmas Shopping"... find out about our fantastic xmas childcare offers!

Pay As You Go Childcare... Flexible, affordable & open 7 days a week For children aged 12 weeks to 12 years Now open until 6pm weekdays with an after school Pick up service. Tick Tocks, A Great TIME for kids & TIME off for you!

For more information call 01242 681000 or 07514412724 email visit

November /December 2011 11

GLOUCESTERSHIRE TOY SHOPS RECOMMEND... Looking for a more traditional toy this Christmas? We asked four independent toy shops in Gloucestershire for their recommendations on great presents which don’t cost a fortune and here are their suggestions. Wherever you live in Gloucestershire support your local Toy Shop! RAG DOLLS Traditional Rag Dolls made to Fairtrade standards, perfect gift for little girls and we also have boy rag dolls too. The dolls have sewn hair and faces, no glue involved and there are lots of different ones with different coloured hair. We also have sets of clothes for them to change into creating lots of play value. Suitable from birth. From £14.95. Clothes from £9.95.Sprogs, Winchcombe 01242 604833

PULL ALONG TOY These adorable pull along toys are ideal Xmas gifts for children aged 12 months +. The pull along toy can be dragged along on the wooden wheels and then when ready for bed the wheels can be taken off to become a soft cuddly toy Soft pull along toys retail at £16.98 Heffalumps2Heroes. Nailsworth, Stroud 01453 835415

LEGO GAMES Experience a whole new way to play. LEGO games allow children from as young as 5+ to build, design, play and change the game each time they play. From educational games to fun movie themed board games, there is a huge choice to choose from. Each game includes 1 buildable LEGO dice LEGO games vary in price from as little as £7.99. Heffalumps2Heroes, Nailsworth, Stroud, 01453 835415

ELEPHANT This bright and colourful elephant by Jellycat (£12.99) will delight any baby with its different textures and the cheerful boing is sure to provoke a giggle. Henrietta’s House, Tetbury 01666 505267

CUTTING VEGETABLES The cutting vegetables by Bigjigs (£12.99) are a great way to teach coordination and are a fun addition for any budding cook. Henrietta’s House, Tetbury 01666 505267

JESTER JACK IN THE BOX An old favourite, the traditional tin Jack In The Box who never fails to entertain little ones. This is a high quality toy playing “Pop Goes the Weasel” as the Jester pops up. We also have a version with a Teddy Bear who pops up for little ones who find jester a bit scary. Suitable 18 months plus £19.95 Sprogs, Winchcombe 01242 604833

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CUDDLY RABBIT A cuddly rabbit all dressed up and ready to go. £13.00 from Pretty Special in Montpellier, Cheltenham 01242 262679

MUSIC BOXES FUN GIRAFFE Fun giraffe. £24.00 All Machine washable Part of the range of farm and wild animal soft toy range from Pretty Special in Montpellier. 01242 262679

Stunning music boxes featuring attractive scenic pictures complete with dancing animals. Wind up the music box and enjoy watching the animals twirling around the centre of the music box to the tune of ‘wish upon a star’. No batteries needed and the music boxes are made out of fine colourful wood. Ideal gifts for special occasions such as Christmas, birthdays or christening. Music boxes retail at £16.98. Heffalumps2Heroes., Nailsworth, Stroud 01453 835415

STRIPY TEDDY A hand crochet stripy teddy. Machine washable £15.20 .One of the ranges of soft teddies and dolls from Pretty Special in Montpellier. 01242 262679

SOCK DOG KIT This gorgeous kit by Little Experience (£16.99) includes everything to make the cute sock dog. Suitable for girls and boys and recommended for BLENDY PENS 8+. It comes with its own suitcase, so two presents In real life colours blend, so why don’t you? in one. Henrietta’s House, Tetbury 01666 505267 Blendy pens blend two or more colours in a single pen. Join the two pens together using the fusion chamber, twist the pens and leave for 5 seconds and colour to see your blend magically appear on paper. Blendy pens provide a selection of box sizes, each including colourful pens, fusion chambers and accessories. Blendy pens vary in price, from £6.99 - £23.50. Heffalumps2Heroes., CUDDLY DUCK Nailsworth, Stroud 01453 835415 A fabulously soft cuddly duck. £11.00. One of the baby toy range from Pretty Special in Montpellier, Cheltenham 01242 262679

POCKET KITES The pocket kites by House of Marbles (£4.99) make excellent stocking fillers and with no struts are easy for little hands to manage. Henrietta’s House, Tetbury 01666 505267

BUTTONBAG LEARN TO KNIT KIT Just one of a brilliant range of craft kits, which are all made here in the UK. The knitting kit is beautifully presented in a traditional spotty suitcase and comes complete with wool, needles, felt squares and buttons as well as simple to follow patterns to knit. Recommended age 8 plus £19.95 Sprogs, Winchcombe 01242 604833

RACING CAR SPINNING TOP A new twist on a very traditional toy, the spinning top. This tin spinning top has 2 racing cars inside which race around and make a noise as the top is pressed. Possibly our most popular toy for little boys (Dad's seem to love it too!) £18.95 Age 3 plus but younger with adult supervision Sprogs, Winchcombe 01242 604833

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WHAT’S ON 1 What’s On November - December 2011

Please always check with the venue to confirm details, including dates, prices and opening times.

AT-BRISTOL At-Bristol 0845 345 1235 Toddler Takeover 25 November 2011 Especially for the under fives. This month’s theme is Colour Spectacular! There will be kaleidoscope of different activities for little ones to explore colour, light, reflections and mirrors - let’s go colour crazy! Boggling brain show! Times: 12.15, 15.15 Come and join our crazy science show, The Boggling Brain Show. Discover what’s in our grey matter and how it works together to let us see, speak, move around, and even go to the toilet! Boggling brains is the family show that will fire up every part of your brain. Storytelling Times: 11.00 and 2.30 Get swept up in a story as the Live Science team take you on an imaginative adventure, filled with sounds and actions - perfect for engaging little ears! Planetarium shows: Autumn night sky Winter night sky From 12 December Little Stars Tiny explorers get star struck in this show especially for the under fives. . At-Bristol’s Winter Wonder-land 10 Dec – 02 January ‘Tis the season to be amazed in At-Bristol! Discover some of the science behind the festive favourites including the Brussels sprout taste challenge and flaming Christmas puds! Santa’s Invention workshop Make like an elf and start creating as At-Bristol’s Live Lab area is turned into Santa’s Invention workshop. Design, make and take home cracking Christmas crafts chock full with stocking filler science from LED Christmas decorations, Christmas crackers and more! Party tricks Get beneath the tinsel of Christmas with a selection of crowd-pleasing demonstrations such as flaming Christmas pudding tornadoes, giblet dissection and homemade snow storms. Christmas Animation Animate It! gives you the chance to create your own animation! There will be a selection of festive backgrounds to give your animation that extra bit of seasonal sparkle! And then why not email your animation to your friends as a unique and green season’s greeting alternative! BERKELEY CASTLE 01453 810332 Castle by Candlelight with Santa’s Grotto Friday 16th – Sunday 18th December 2011 Start your Christmas celebrations this year by visiting

14 November /December 2011

Berkeley Castle for some candlelit magic. Beautifully decorated for the festive season with greenery from the grounds, a 12ft Christmas Tree in the Great Hall and over 400 candles throughout the rooms all accompanied by live music from local choirs and musicians. Children can meet Father Christmas in his special grotto. Mulled wine and mince pies will be available.. You are advised to bring a torch as from 5.00pm the Castle is lit predominantly by candles only. BLOOMS CHELTENHAM GARDEN CENTRE CHELTENHAM 01242 672 560 www. Breakfast & Tea with Father Christmas Blooms Cheltenham will be hosting breakfast and tea with Father Christmas from December 3 until 23. Please check all details with the garden centre. Booking is essential. BLOOMS GLOUCESTER GARDEN CENTRE 01452 721 081. Father Christmas is hosting a Winter Wonderland grotto Children are invited to see Father Christmas in his grotto every weekend from Sunday, November 20 until Sunday, December 18 from . The grotto will also be open everyday from Monday, December 19 until Christmas Eve, Saturday, December 24. Please check all details with the garden centre. Booking is essential and is subject to availability. BRISTOL ZOO GARDENS 0117 974 7399 Bangless Bonfire Nights Friday 4th and Saturday 5th November 4pm – 5.30pm Now in its fourth year, we are excited to welcome you back for two evenings of unique, family-friendly entertainment. Be entertained by an enchanting display of lownoise fireworks that will light up the night sky. Display to start at 5pm. Book tickets in advance

CATTLE COUNTRY 01453 810 510 www.cattlecountry. Santa’s Grotto 11th, 17th, 18th,19th, 20th, 21st and 22nd December. 10am – 4pm Christmas holidays opening 27th, 28th,29th and 30th December 2011 and 1st January 2012. 10am – 4pm Only the top area of the park will be open; this includes the main slide barn, synthetic Ice Rink and the main field (outside under 6’s area, swings, activity net, trampolines and Adventure Castle)

Father Christmas is coming to Gloucestershire.Check out the following pages to see when he’ll be near you!

CHRISTMAS IN CIRENCESTER Friday 25th November – Sunday 11th December 10:00am – 6:00pm. Late night opening until 7:00pm Saturdays Switching on the Christmas lights: 4:30pm, Friday 25th November The heart of the town will be transformed with festive activities. The Christmas Market of beautifully adorned wooden chalets, selling hand crafted clothes, gifts and toys, together with festive food and drink will fill Cirencester’s market place. A programme of events and live performances will add further to the festive spirit.

See advert on page 11 for more details

CORINIUM MUSEUM Corinium Museum, Park Street, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 2BX Tel: 01285 655611 Website:


Family Drop-Ins Family drop-ins are suitable for children aged 3 and above. Cost £1 for activity only, or included in the price of admission. All children must be accompanied by an adult. A family drop-in Stained Glass Decorations Monday 19th & Tuesday 20th December, 10.3011.30am Drop in for some seasonal fun and make some stained glass style decorations to take home and hang on your tree or in your window. Choose from a variety of characters - reindeer, elves or Santa himself! A family drop-in Stretchy Reindeer Wednesday 21st December, 10.30-11.30am What are the names of Santa’s reindeer? Come along to the Museum and make your very own stretchy version of Prancer, Dancer, Comet, Cupid, Rudolf and… you know the rest! A family drop-in Winter Mosaics Wednesday 29th December, 10.30 - 11.30am Be inspired by The Seasons mosaic in the museum and create a design that could be the missing ‘Winter’. COTSWOLD WILDLIFE PARK & GARDENS BURFORD 01993 825705 Stinky Sundays every Sunday in November ‘Whose Poo?’ Quiz! Santa’s Grotto in the Shop Real reindeer walking around the Park 17 -24th December. DEAN FOREST RAILWAY 01594 845840 (11am - 4pm) Santa Specials 10th,11th, 17th, 18th & 24th December

Mince Pie Specials Christmas Day is over and you need some fresh air and exercise! Enjoy a day on the Dean Forest Railway! Steam on 27th December, 1st & 2nd January 2012. Heritage diesel railcar on 31st Dec. Get an early train and stop off at Parkend for a brisk Forest walk and perhaps a drink in one of the real ale pubs. Enjoy a complimentary mince pie. Free parking, museum, gift shop & cafeteria at Norchard End 2011 or start 2012 on a heritage train! Phone or check website for more details

World War II Day Sunday 13th November Take a lesson with scary Mrs Wright in our school room and experience an air raid drill. Forest Fairy tales 10th -23rd December Discover your favourite fairy tale characters on our forest trail and meet Father Christmas. Check website for more details. DICK WHITTINGTON FARM PARK 01452 831000 Santa with his toys will be here up until Christmas. Say hello to the deer, donkeys and other farm animals who will be in their Winter accommodation. Christmas themed face painting, meet the Harry Potter Snowy Owl, other Christmas fun and games in the Play Barn., Christmas pies and snacks in the restaurant GLOUCESTER CATHEDRAL Celebrate the Switch On Of Gloucester’s Christmas Lights Sunday 20 November –4.15pm Y ou are very welcome to join us in the Cathedral as the City celebrates the switch on of Gloucester’s Christmas lights. The festive parade will enter the West Door around 5.00pm. Everyone will be invited to sing a selection of favourite carols led by the Cathedral Youth Choir. FAMILY FUN AT CHRISTMAS 17 December - 02 January Mon to Sat 10.45am – 3.15pm/Sun 12pm – 2.30pm FOLLOW THE STAR Free Children’s Trail. Come and journey around the Cathedral spotting characters from the Christmas story. Collect your route map from the Welcomer. Finish your trail at the nativity scene then collect your sticker from the shop. Christmas Carol Service

WHAT’S ON 2 What’s On November - December 2011

Please always check with the venue to confirm details, including dates, prices and opening times. Friday 23rd December 6pm Family Carol Service with the lighting of the Christmas Trees Christmas Eve 3pm GARDENS GALLERY, MONTPELLIER, CHELTENHAM Crafty Christmas Wednesday 7 - Tuesday 13 December This year we have taken over the Gardens Gallery for a week of festive creativity! Our pop-up workshop sessions will run on Wed 7, Thur 8, Mon 12 and Tue 13 where you will be able to learn all manner of creative coolness including papercutting, textile printing, traditional letterpress and much more. Please see our website for further details. Christmas Craft Market Friday 9, Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 December 10.00 - 5.00 The weekend will see the return of our quite-newbut-really-amazing Christmas Craft Market GLOUCESTER GUILDHALL Tel: 01452 503050 Lala Lounge (For parents with under-5s) Escape the shopping frenzy for an hour or three in our comfy cinema. Meet your friends, chill and chat, treat yourself to tea, cake or a light lunch while the little ones watch CBeebies. Mondays / 10am – 1pm / Under 5s / Admission free Juggling Club with William Greenwood Wednesdays 5pm - 6.30pm £3.50 (£2.50 unwaged) per class Learn to juggle, improve your juggling, skill share with other jugglers - come and be inspired and inspiring! Anyone over 10 years old can join, ZumbAtomic with Annet Richards-Binns It’s time to make fitness a family affair with ZumbAtomic®! Designed exclusively for kids, Zumbatomic® classes are high-energy fitnessparties packed with specially choreographed, kid-friendly routines and all the music kids love to groove to in a group. Saturdays 1.30 – 2pm for 4 to 7 year olds £2 per session 2.15 – 3pm for 8 to 12 year olds £3 per session GLOUCESTER SKI & SNOWBAORD CENTRE 01452 524547 Holiday Ski Schools for children aged between 6 & 16. The December courses cost £86.10 We also run Holiday Snowboard Camps We cater for all levels of ability from beginner through to more advanced.


Santa Specials 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th, 17th, 18th, 21st 24th December See advert on page 11 for more details

Boxing Day Mince Pie & New Year Specials 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th, 30th and 31st December. Also 1st and 2nd January. After the Christmas break why not get out into the fresh Cotswolds air. Mince pies and sherry available for mums and dads and squash and biscuits for children. The normal train timetable applies and fare prices are the standard tariff. Great atmosphere and a chance to relax in the Cotswolds doing something different. MUSEUM IN THE PARK 01453 763394. Drop in Family Fun: ‘Amazing Dream Machines’ Sunday 6 November | 11am - 3.30pm | 50p per person Transform a photo of a mystery Museum object into a flying saucer, time machine or ingenious device of your own invention. For families with children aged 5 - 12 . Museum in the Park Christmas 3 & 4 December 2011 | 11am - 5pm | Admission free (charges for special activities) ‘Make Do & Mend’ 1940s Christmas Weekend Step back into the 1940s for a ‘make do, mend and be merry’ weekend of Christmas activities. Make your own gifts or tree decorations, get thrifty fashion tips, meet an ARP Warden or watch ‘Working for Victory’, a film about Stroud District during wartime. Free party games for children, and a chance to look at fascinating Museum artefacts from the period. Festive fun for all!

Normal Admission Charges Apply


Dyrham Park Doynton Village Market Sun 27 Nov, Sun 4, Sat 10 Dec, 11am-4pm A small local market down by the house. On the last Sunday of every month, stallholders from the nearby village of Doynton will set up shop at DyrhamPark. There’ll be a selection of local handicrafts and home-made produce, including delicious cakes and jams. Normal Admission Charges Apply

NEW BREWERY ARTS, CIRENCESTER 01285 657 181 Lantern procession: 5:00pm, Saturday 3rd December A charming procession of colourful and dramatic paper lanterns will be paraded through the town’s streets by their young creators.

Christmas at the Blathwayts’ Contact: Property Office, 0117 9372501 Sat 3, Sun 4, Sat 10, Sun 11 Dec, 12noon-4pm Visit William Blathwayt’s home, set to welcome you for a Victorian Christmas. .Christmas spotter trail available inside the house for families. Carols in the church and seasonal refreshments available. Father Christmas will also be wishing you a merry Christmas. Hidcote Contact: Lisa Edinborough, 01386 438333 The Enchanted Garden Fri 18, Sat 19, Sun 20, Fri 25, Sat 26, Sun 27 Nov, 5pm-8pm See Hidcote in a different light this autumn. Meander along the intricate pathways and discover breath-taking silhouettes. Last Chance Santa and Festive Trail Sat 17 - Sun 18 Dec, 12noon-3pm Take part in our interactive festive trail leading straight to Santa’s enchanted grotto. Not only do we have a special visit from Santa, but he’ll also be bringing along two extra special guests his friendly reindeer. Please call for prices, times and

NATIONAL TRUST GLOUCESTERSHIRE Chedworth Roman Villa Fungus Foray Sat 5 Nov, 10.15am-12.30pm Join our expert for a walk into the amazing world of mushrooms and toadstools, as we explore the woods around the villa. Booking Essential 01242 890256 £3 per person

SLIMBRIDGE WETLAND CENTRE Slimbridge Wetland Centre , 01453 891900 www. Reptile Encounters Sun 13th Nov & Sun11th December 11am - 4pm Enjoy the opportunity to get close and even handle lizards, snakes and tarantulas - just drop in to our Get Closer room at any time. Christmas Shopping Days Sat 3rd & Sun 4th December 09:30 to 17:00 Browse an array of stalls selling everything from beautiful and unusual gifts and decorations for the home to the very best in local festive produce. Cost: Free to browse stalls – Admission to centre as normal Christmas Grotto Date: Saturdays and Sundays Only Date: 3 / 4 December and 10 / 11 December 12 noon to 4p.m. Father Christmas is making an early visit to Slimbridge this year, come and meet him in his cosy Grotto. Cost: Normal admission plus £4.00 per child includes the gift. Pay on the day. . Breakfast with Father Christmas Date: 3rd, 4th, 10th & 11th December Enjoy a delicious breakfast and wait to see Father Christmas as he sweeps through the restaurant on

Animal Encounter Vouchers Feed and meet some of our animals! Ideal Christmas gift for animal lovers See website for details... Beautiful hair accessories for everyday, parties, back to school, ballet, party bags...& tutus, pettiskirts, wings, wands..... 10% discount - Code Families

November /December 2011 15

WHAT’S ON 3 What’s On November - December 2011

Please always check with the venue to confirm details, including dates, prices and opening times.

his way to his cosy grotto. When finished your family will be taken to meet Father Christmas, who will have a special gift for your child. After meeting santa help our friendly elf spread the joy of Christmas to all creatures by taking part in a special bird feed around Swan Lake. Event costs £16.50 for children (includes entrance, breakfast with Santa, toy and birdfeed) and £12 for adults. There are limited spaces on this event. Call Eleanor Wise on 01453 891223 for more details. TEWKESBURY CHRISTMAS LIGHTS Sunday 27 November The high street will be transformed into a vibrant and buzzing market place with a traditional farmers’ market and a vast array of stalls selling unique Christmas gifts. Fairground rides and a snow machine to make Father Christmas feel right at home in Tewkesbury. Lights switch on ceremony approximately 4.30 pm. THEATRE THE BACON THEATRE, DEAN CLOSE SCHOOL, CHELTENHAM Box Office: 01242 258002 Tangled [U] Tuesday 20th Dec from 4.00pm (film starts at 5.00pm) Tickets: £6.00 to include a Christmas treat Father Christmas will be dropping by for a fabulous event for the whole family, including the animated feature film Tangled [U]. EVERYMAN THEATRE, CHELTENHAM 01242 572573 Jack and the Beanstalk. 25th November 2011 - 8th January 2012 The traditional show will feature some familiar faces from previous record-breaking pantos . It promises to be packed with songs, laughs, slapsticks a giant, a hero, a beautiful girl or two and even a comedy cow! The Selfish Giant Wed 07/12/2011 To Fri 23/12/2011 This adaptation of a much-loved Victorian fairy story by Oscar Wilde reveals how one small act of kindness melts a Giant’s heart. The production uses elements that are at the heart of pantomime whilst safely surrounding the audience with the warmth of friendly puppets and a cosy environment. THE ROSES THEATRE 01684 295 074 Stig of the Dump 12th November, 2.30pm A captivating tale of unique friendship as a cast of learning disabled and non-disabled actors transform between worlds and characters to tell the story, using puppetry and drama to change rubbish into something real, turn scrap into scenery and make garbage glorious. Suitable for ages 8+

16 November /December 2011

Sleeping Beauty 3rd Dec 2011 - 7th January 2012 This lovely traditional family pantomime has everything you have come to expect from the Roses Theatre. This is the perfect show for all the family and a wonderful way to introduce children to the magical world of theatre THE OUTER SPACE CHELTENHAM Tel: 01242-515360 Tots & Tales 7 December, 4 January 10.30 - 11.15 A fun session for parents/carers of preschool children with stories, hands-on and arty activities. Free drop-in event - numbers strictly limited. Christmas Past, Christmas Present Tuesday 20 and Wednesday 21 December Be inspired by Christmas Past and create a Christmas decoration for your tree. Sessions at 10.30, 11.30 and 12.30. £1 per child - numbers strictly limited. Timed tickets available on the day. Children must be accompanied by an adult. WESTONBIRT ARBORETUM 01666 880220

Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings from 25 Nov - 18 Dec 2011 A magical illuminated trail through Westonbirt’s wonderful trees Tickets and info: Box office: 03000 680400 Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, Gloucestershire, GL8 8QS

An Enchanted Christmas Friday. Saturday and Sunday evenings From 25th November - 18th December 2011 A magical illuminated trail through Westonbirt’s wonderful trees. Tickets and infromation from westonbirt-christmas


Wetland Centre

Slimbridge, Gloucestershire GL2 7BT T 01453 891900

Reindeer Trail: Thursday 1 - Saturday 24 December Discover the reasons behind many of our winter traditions and help Westonbirt’s green Father Christmas find his missing reindeer. This is a self led trail, available from the Great Oak Hall between 10am - 4pm. Free after admission. EVENTS NCT Christmas Nearly New Sale Saturday 12th November 2011 at Minchinhampton Primary School, 9.30-11am. Admission £1. Early entry at 9.15am with NCT Membership card. St Mary’s Primary School, Tetbury, Christmas Fair 5.30-7.30pm on Friday December 16th. There will be craft stalls, school music groups and Father Christmas’ grotto to visit. Sapperton School Christmas Shopping Evening Sapperton Village Hall Friday 25th Nov 6.30pm - 9.00pm Jamie Oliver at Home, Neals Yard, Muddy Wellies and many more Tickets £4 in advance or £5 on the night includes a glass of festive fizz, canapes and entry into raffle Tickets available from Sapperton School 01285 760325

Meet Father Christmas 3 & 4 and 10 & 11 December - Visit the jolly red man in his magical grotto and receive a gift (extra charge applies) when he pays an early visit this year so he can hear all your Christmas wishes. Breakfast with Father Christmas Dates as above - For a unique experience enjoy a delicious breakfast then take a trip to the grotto. Call for details. Christmas shopping days 3 & 4 December - Enjoy a weekend of festive shopping. Plus discover family themed trails through the grounds and crafts throughout the festive season.

Visit for more details. WWT registered charity in England & Wales, no. 1030884 and Scotland, no. SC039410 FAM GLOS UPON AVN 130x87mm Winter SLIMad.indd 1

05/10/2011 15:17

Families Gloucestershire Nov Dec  

Families Gloucestershire magazine for November and December 2011

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