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Thames Valley East

RECRUITING NOW Successful ‘business mum’ is seeking 5 working partners to work part-time from home, alongside & without compromising family commitments or current career. If you have a supervisory, managerial, sales, marketing, recruitment or selfemployed background, or you wish to develop an extraordinary lifestyle

please call Diana Page 01235 533362 • 07747 086518

! SANTA’S TREAT ! Claim your FREE* trial lessons throughout December !

Christmas Special!

Fun swimming lessons for 3+ year olds in low ratio groups to national standards NEW swimming groups; 7+ years non swimmers and advanced swimmers

Contact: Tel: 079496 735262 Web:

Where to meet Father Christmas Festive Days Out Christmas Competitions

* New swimmers only - cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer

Issue 105 November/December 2019

2 • Maidenhead • Windsor • Marlow • Ascot • Slough • Egham

In this issue... 3-7 News & Information EDUCATION

8 Changes to how schools are assessed by Ofsted 10 Talking to children about climate change PARENTING 11 Why your young child should do sports 12 Is your child being bullied 13 Night time nappies to no nappies CHRISTMAS 15 Top ten board and card games to play this Christmas

...endless ideas for families of young children in Maidenhead • Windsor • Marlow • Ascot • Slough • Egham

........From the Editors........

And just like that it’s Christmas again! If you’re feeling a bit like Christmas has crept up on you this year, hopefully Families can help. With ideas for family days out, suggestions on where to find the big man himself and which Christmas shows to book up, there’s plenty to look out for in and around the local area to help make the most of some precious family time over the holidays. Plus, don’t forget to check out our Christmas competitions on p.27. If you’re keen to read about something other than Christmas, we have that covered too! There are suggestions for talking to your kids about climate change on p.10, easy ideas for introducing young children to sport on p.11 and Emma Chichester Clark talks about illustrating for Quentin Blake and Roald Dahl on p.30. Wishing all our readers a very Happy Christmas and New Year. See you in 2020!

16-17 Festive Days Out 18-19 Where to find Father Christmas 20 Christmas Shows 22-26 WHAT’S ON 27 COMPETITIONS

To advertise here call:

PARENTING 28 Time to enjoy the Kids 29 The importance of Mum Friends

01628 788058

Thames Valley East

30 Families Book Club 31 SHE MEANS BUSINESS Finding a flexible job that works for you

#WeAreEtonEnd E: editors: Anna Collins and Rachel Bailey circulation: 19,500 next issue: Jan/Feb 2020 due out: 2 Jan, featuring: Health and Children’s Parties!

T: 01628 788058 Copy/advertising deadline: December 2 Cover image:

I am Eton End

Co-educational Preparatory Day School for children aged rising 3 - 11 •

35 Eton Road Dachet Berkshire SL3 9AX 01753 541075 •

Unlock your child’s potential with our expertly led singing, dancing and acting classes for 4-18 year olds

Find out more today: ASCOT 01344 206466

HIGH WYCOMBE 01494 533203

BRACKNELL NORTH (Warfield) 01344 723123

MAIDENHEAD 01628 281128

HENLEY AND MARLOW 01494 533203

WINDSOR 01932 988086


Creative Courage For Life

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Families Thames Valley East • 3

Calling all young artists

News & Info October was Dyslexia Awareness Month. Here are a few top tips for helping learners with dyslexia: • Make written material dyslexia-friendly. • Avoid serif typefaces and try Dyslexie and Open Dyslexic fonts, created specifically for dyslexic readers. • Present information in a multi-sensory way. All subject facts; seeing, hearing, and involving the sense of touch, such as through touch typing words in a computer program, can help new material stick. • Facilitate note-taking skills. Copying from the board can be extremely difficult for students with specific learning difficulties. Teach the life skill of touch-typing by using a computer program developed specifically for dyslexic learners and consider using a qualified experienced Spd Tutor to show the learner correct finger placement. • Teach phonics in an age-appropriate way. Consider using a literacy touch-typing program that presents groups of words in a specific sequence to teach structured English spelling rules implicitly. Yvonne Thomas

It’s time to step into the Christmas spirit as The Lexicon launches its annual art competition! Open to local children aged between three and twelve, the competition offers a unique chance for the winner to have their artwork printed on The Lexicon’s limited-edition Christmas Gift Card Wallet. The winning designer will receive a Lexicon Gift Card to the value of £50 and the second placed a £25 Gift Card. In addition, both winners will also receive a fabulous pack of Giotto art products worth £200 for their school and a Giotto set including coloured pencils and felt pens for themselves. Sue Boor, head of marketing at The Lexicon says: “We were delighted to receive hundreds of entries to the Christmas Gift Card Wallet Design Competition in 2018 and can’t wait to see this year’s entries! It’s a great opportunity for children of all ages to get into the festive spirit and for the winner to showcase their creative flair!”The entry form and template can be found on The Lexicon’s website t-2019. Wallet designs can be created using crayons, felt-tip pens, paints or even a computer. The design must be the child’s own work and should be something that will appeal to all age groups. The closing date for entries is Sunday, November 10. For more information, visit

Help your child to feel good about themselves, know what they stand for and what they believe in.

Turn ‘I can’t to ‘I can’. With selfconfidence children will try new things and achieve.

Life Coaching 4 kids

Open Events

Autumn/Winter Term 2019

Herries, an exclusive co-ed prep school and nursery in Cookham Dean, developing confident, well rounded and reflec ve learners.

Sign up at: Herries Preparatory School Dean Lane, Cookham Dean, Berkshire SL6 9BD 01628 483350 |

4 • Maidenhead • Windsor • Marlow • Ascot • Slough • Egham

Learn more at

Jean Gibson is one of 2018’s best career coaches for the home counties, as voted by the publication: Corporate Vision

Thursday 28th November 9.30am

Welcome from Fiona Long, Headmistress. Guided tour by pupils.

Teach: What we say to ourselves is important and develops soaring self-esteem

Teach them: You are worthy. You are a leader of your own life and you respect others.


• Small class sizes & tailored teaching (Nursery to 11 years) • Cross curricular enrichment • Timetabled LAMDA & instrumental lessons • New music centre • New outdoor learning area • Woodland school in Quarry Woods • Sports at Bisham Abbey, Na onal Sports Centre

By identifying and appreciating their own talents, your child will realise they can accomplish anything.


Open Events are a fantastic way to see the school in action, to meet our Headteacher, Joanna Leach and all our staff. For girls from 3 - 11 years.


Open Events

Saturday 16 Nov 2019 10.00am

Friday 24 January 2020 9.30am

Private Tours

We understand how busy our parents are so we also offer Private Tours, these take place all year round. Please do feel free to book this at a time to suit you.


To book your place call 01628 624918 Or email Connect

What is Life Coaching? By Julia Papoutsis

News & Info

● Life Coaching is a way of helping individuals find their purpose and passions through several conversations and helping plan the steps needed to be taken. ● Life coaching deals with the now and the future - not the past. ● Life coaching helps people who feel they are stuck or lost. ● Life coaching helps people who feel life has become pointless. ● Life coaching shows people the steps they need to take for a more fulfilled life. ● Life coaching is for people who feel their lives are incomplete or lacking what they really want. ● Life coaching is a way of awakening your true self and your desire to dream.

Fostering can be good for your family! Following the Fostering Network’s recent campaign to celebrate the sons and daughters of foster carers, one local carer has spoken about the benefits fostering brings to her entire family.

Julia is very passionate about her work as a life coach. She is offering 3 free sessions as she is 100% confident that people will see results in that time. Search ‘On purpose with Julia’ or call 017919 153789

Denise Chappell, who lives in Berkshire, has been fostering for 14 years. She also has three of her own children who are 10, 8 and 8 months old and runs her own business.

New Sleepy Tales for Children

“ I can honestly say that being part of a fostering family makes my kids the amazing little people they are. The older two have incredible emotional intelligence; are kind and patient and don’t take things for granted. I believe that being part of a fostering family will help them to be better people as adults too,” says Denise, who started fostering at the age of 24.

The book publisher Penguin Random House has collaborated with The Children’s Sleep Charity to create collections of Sleepy Tales audiobooks designed to help children relax before bedtime. For children ages 3 to 6 years, Ladybird Sleepy Tales and for children aged 7+, Puffin Sleepy Tales, they are stories with a difference. Part soundscape, part descriptive narrative, they use relaxing sounds and soothing narrators’ voices to conjure calming settings and landscapes to help children feel calm and positive at the end of the day. Each tale is 15 minutes long and has been created to be interesting enough to hold children’s attention, but not too exciting. Sleepy Tales are designed to become part of a child’s bedtime routine, and can be listened to before or after reading a bedtime story. Children can listen on their own, or with a parent, as a way to wind down. Visit: for more information


Fri 8th Nov 2019 9.15am - 11am

Tues 4th Feb 2020 9.15am - 11am

Denise also says there can be misperceptions around foster children’s behaviour: “People often worry that foster children will be badly behaved. Just like any child, there are times when their behaviour isn’t great. Slough Children’s Services Trust, who I’ve been with for years now, offer full support and training for these situations and, for me, the good times and satisfaction completely outweigh the challenges which may come. If you’re interested don’t put it off, you could be a life changer!” To find out more about fostering and the benefits and support on offer, text FOSTER to 60066

Email: • Tel: 01628 788058

Families Thames Valley East • 5

News & Info

The Tiger Who Came to Tea Hits the Screen this Christmas The Tiger Who Came to Tea, the classic children’s book by Judith Kerr, will come to TV this Christmas adapted as a half-hour animated film for Channel 4. It will feature a star studded cast of voices including Benedict Cumberbatch, David Oyelowo, Tamsin Greig, David Walliams and Paul Whitehouse. The role of Sophie will be played by 7 year old Clara Ross, who will be making her TV debut. For anyone that doesn’t know the book, it tells the tale of the tiger that shows up at young Sophie’s front door and proceeds to eat the family out of house and home, even going so far as to drink all of the water out of the taps, before declaring: “Thank you for my nice tea. I think I’d better go now,”and departing.

Chloe Tucker, Commissioning Executive, Channel 4 Drama said: “The Tiger Who Came to Tea is a timeless classic, and we hope this film will capture the same special place in every family’s imagination watching it.

Making Kicks Count Set up in 2009 after the founder, Sophia Wyatt, gave birth to her stillborn daughter, Chloe, Kicks Count aims to reduce the UK's high stillbirth and neonatal death rate by raising awareness of baby movements. The terrible reality is that 9 babies are stillborn in the U.K. every day. Whilst there isn’t one cause of stillbirth, a decrease in fetal movement can be a key warning sign that a baby is in distress and early delivery could save nearly a third of stillborn babies. By raising awareness of baby's movements and encouraging mums to report any change in movement immediately, it is estimated that a third of stillbirths could be prevented. You can help support this worthy cause by donating your used stamps and foreign coins to provide funds for the charity and allow

their fantastic work to continue. Visit for more information on this and other recycling initiatives or join the Facebook group pRecycling

We are an Ofsted rated ‘Good’ nursery providing high quality day care for children from three months to five years. Set within bright, modern Windsor Leisure Centre, our setting includes a large toddler room, pre-school room, a new snuggly baby room, and spacious outdoor garden.

Open 51 weeks a year – Accepts 30 hours funding – Highly trained team Come and look around today: Call: 01753 855543 or email:

6 • Maidenhead • Windsor • Marlow • Ascot • Slough • Egham

Rush in High Wycombe opens state-of-theart soft-play centre “Ruby and Red’s”

The UK’s first Glow-Karting experience launches in Maidenhead! A new state of the art go-karting experience is set to launch this October at Absolutely Karting’s indoor centre at Stafferton Way. The huge double level track has been transformed into a kaleidoscope of lights and color with glow-in-thedark track and karts and features video game style ‘boost pads’ to the backing of old school dance tunes. The indoor karting venue is run by local charity Absolutely Leisure, and will be running its new Glow-Karting experience from 28th October 2019

new 75 seat area for parents and carers. Ruby and Red’s is situated close to Rush’s new dessert parlour ‘Crush’ which serves fresh waffles and crepes, delicious fresh coffee and ice-cream sundaes. Ruby and Red’s will also be opening a supervised creche facility in 2020. Book at

for birthday parties, corporate events, ‘Arrive & Drive’ sessions, stag and hen do’s. “We want the public to experience something new and exhilarating when they visit us.” Explains Jack Bishop, Commercial Manager of Absolutely Leisure. “We will also be offering free sessions for children with special needs and their families. We can’t wait to see the reaction it gets!” maidenhead

Spotlight on Herries At Herries we are non-selective. Our small class sizes enable our highly experienced staff to tailor our approach to each pupil, taking into consideration their stage of development and individual needs. Our children are encouraged to invest personal effort, which is the key to fulfilling potential through personal targets, regular evaluation and rewards. We have a strong reputation for nurturing due to the layers of pastoral support we offer to pupils. Assessment tracking shows that children make good progress against their own starting points. Academic results are above average when benchmarked against national norms. We embed opportunities to think critically into lessons and within enrichment sessions, which are designed to take the curriculum out broadly to encompass current events, philosophy, problem solving and coding. We are a high performing LAMDA

Rush Trampoline Park in High Wycombe has opened a brand new state-of-the-art soft play centre for babies and children up to the age of 10, called Ruby and Red’s. The new large soft play centre has capacity for up to 100 children and includes a dedicated zone for babies. Ruby and Red are two astronaut characters that feature in the soft-play, which also features a

centre where all of our children gain either merits or distinctions. Most of our pupils take up a musical instrument. We use the National Centre Bisham Abbey for sports and we make good use of local facilities such as Longridge Outdoor Activity Centre. Children take their learning outside whenever possible, including to Quarry Woods nearby. We are a close community at Herries and we make the most of family style ethos. We enjoy our links with the local community and were proud to take part in the Cookham Dean Gravity Grand Prix, finishing second in our ‘Toad on the Road’ entry which was designed by parents and pupils. We are also very proud of our continued success at the Cookham Regatta, where our team have finished first for three years in a row. Parents are very closely advised throughout the process of applying for senior schools. Children who enter the Transfer Test (11+) are able to complete the test within the

Email: • Tel: 01628 788058

School Spotlight

familiarity of their own classroom. At Herries each child feels fully engaged and is valued for the talents they bring.

Families Thames Valley East • 7

Education Changes to How Schools are Assessed by Ofsted – What Parents Need to Know By Ruth Lowe As a parent choosing schools for your child, you are very likely at some stage to take a look at the Ofsted reports of those on your shortlist, to see how they performed at their latest inspection. What you may not know though is that the way in which schools are assessed and reported on by Ofsted has recently changed. Here is the low-down on these changes and what parents need to know about them.


arlier this year, Ofsted held a consultation into their inspection process. It wanted to know if it was delivering the right information to help schools improve, while also providing parents with a clear view of how well a school is performing in delivering a good education to its students. Interestingly, this consultation resulted in the most responses that Ofsted has ever received and included feedback from over 600 mums and dads – a clear indication that parents value Ofsted assessments as an important part of the process of deciding which school is best for their child. Currently, Ofsted gives schools a grading of one to four; One is ‘outstanding;’ two is ‘good;’ three is ‘requires improvement;’ and four is ‘inadequate.’ Although these categories are not changing, the new assessment framework has been updated in the following ways and will be effective from September 2019:

their child from the school roll. This practice is not at all encouraged or supported by Ofsted.

There will also be a new ‘personal development’ assessment which will look at how a school helps its pupils to develop character, resilience and values so that children are well-equipped to succeed in life. A separate assessment on ‘behaviour and attitudes’ will be included. Ofsted will look at whether or not school leaders tolerate bullying or harassment of pupils and staff, as well as whether they deal with behavioural problems swiftly and effectively while maintaining a calm environment.

Inspection reports will be shorter and easier to digest. The aim is to give parents “the key information they need to know about a school and a sense of how it feels to be a pupil there.”

Inspections of previously graded ‘good’ schools were carried out over a period of one day. This inspection period will now be extended to two days (except in the case of smaller schools with less than 150 pupils).

Schools will be assessed in a new ‘quality of education’ category, putting the emphasis back on the quality of the curriculum being taught rather than exam results. This change aims to reduce the pressure felt by teachers who have been criticised in the past for ‘teaching to the test’ rather than covering the curriculum in a more balanced and manageable way.

Any schools found to be ‘off-rolling’ pupils are likely to be judged ‘inadequate’. ‘Off-rolling’ is when a school removes a pupil without using a permanent exclusion. In these instances, removing the child is considered to be in the best interest of the school, rather than the pupil. It is a controversial practice as it could also include pressuring a parent to remove

SPECIALIST TOUCH TYPE COURSES TO SUIT ALL LEARNING STYLES Dedicated classroom in Maidenhead (near J8/9 of M4) • • • • • • •

Structured approach to develop muscle memory, accuracy and speed Structured spellings taught Small class to promote rapid learning Specialist skills to support all learners inc. Dysgraphia, Dyspraxia or Dyslexia Specialised software which reinforces understanding of vocabulary and spelling Keys introduced sequentially following a phonics program Multi-sensory learning - students see, hear and type each word

These changes to the Ofsted inspection framework are a positive step forward in providing parents with more focussed, concise and rounded information about local schools. Schools will be rewarded with a rating that takes into account the above assessment criteria and also acknowledges where Head Teachers and teachers are working under difficult circumstances (for example in areas with high levels of deprivation or poverty). Of course, although there is considerable value in Ofsted reports, when choosing a school it’s also vital to visit, preferably with your child, speak to parents of children already there, and understand the ethos and ambitions that the school has for those in its care. In addition, parents can also look at Ofsted’s ‘Parent View’ results online at, where those with children already at school share their views for the benefit of other parents. Ruth Lowe works for the charity Parentkind which supports, engages and champions parents in education. For more information about choosing schools, Ofsted inspections and how you as a parent can participate in your child’s learning, visit

Thames Valley East

To Advertise here call: 01628 788058

YVONNE THOMAS • 07929 528642 • Cert Ed, SpLd Level 5, Literacy/Numeracy, ADD/ADHD Coach

8 • Maidenhead • Windsor • Marlow • Ascot • Slough • Egham

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at Poppies Come and see what makes our nurseries special! Organic food provided Bourne End 01628 521522 Marlow 01628 487772

Beaconsfield 01494 677116 Old Windsor 01753 313030

Holmer Green 01494 716789 Maidenhead 01628 629716

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Families Thames Valley East • 9

Talking to Children about Climate Change By Valentina Giannella Being a parent is a tough job. The trickiest part is making sure we tell our children the truth, without simultaneously causing them to be either overanxious or delusional about the future. It applies to an extensive range of aspects in life, and climate change is a relatively new but undeniable one.


y children were 10 and 7 years old when we first started talking about the environmental challenges facing humanity. Even as a journalist who has dealt with such topics for years, I was frankly terrified of this task. Writing an article is one thing: facing their worried questions was entirely another. Then, a young girl showed up. Greta Thunberg was everywhere online, with her yellow raincoat and a straightforward concept: we have to DO something to save our planet, or there’s going to be trouble. Action: that was the key. If you know that there is something you can do about a problem – even the smallest thing, anything that is within your power – you feel less hopeless. Less scared. Here are some of the questions that children and their parents - have been asking me about Climate Change and the answers that seem to help them. My child gets Anxious about the Future of Humankind: What Should I Say? Talk frankly, but also help them understand the everyday actions that we can all take to tackle the main issues related to Climate Change. Action is the best cure for fear. Stop using disposable plastic; start using re-fillable water bottles; make sure you recycle correctly; reuse; exchange instead of buying new things; save energy; save water; walk and cycle more; use public transport or shared transportation. Show your child we can all make a difference

and that if everyone does the same, the future looks more positive. “What is Climate Change?” – How to Answer The earth is our home, and it is nestled within a precious shelter that is called the atmosphere. Inside the atmosphere, we and other creatures can breathe and live. For nearly 200 years we have used something called fossil fuel (carbon and oil), which we burn in order to fuel our working world, in everything from factories to transportation. Every time we burn fossil fuels, or cut down trees, the atmosphere temperature rises a tiny bit because the gas (mostly a gas called carbon dioxide) that comes from this burning becomes trapped inside the atmosphere. This means the earth cannot release the heat that it receives from the sun. This is called Global Warming. As the temperature rises, the climate changes. This brings heavy rains or severe drought, diverts the sea currents and disrupts the natural habitat of many species. It also means that the sea level is rising due to the ice melting in the Poles. All of these are the main effects of Climate Change. What Can Help Me Communicate the Key Facts to my Child? It helps to introduce a hero character that allows children to engage their imagination while they absorb abstract information. Greta Thunberg is a perfect medium for these concepts. Discover other children who have

also made a difference – like William Kamkwamba, who inspired the book and film The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. Who is Greta Thunberg? Greta is a child who loves to be “in the know” about what is happening to our planet. She comes from a family of scientists and artists, she has studied the facts, and she is not afraid of being in the spotlight. This combination worked well when she decided it was time to speak out and gain attention from the world about the danger we are facing and what we should be doing to avoid it. Where Can We Learn More About This? Sometimes, the news can be challenging for children to understand because it only illuminates part of a problem. Also, some headlines can be scary. Suggest that your child come to you with their questions and look for scientific sources together. Bookshops and the internet (reliable websites such as can give a wider view. Look for sources that have been translated in a way that is understandable for younger ages. Valentina Gianella is the author of We Are All Greta: Be Inspired to Change the World - published by Laurence King and available from Amazon and all good book stores.

Blossom Ballet For a FREE taster class or for further information please contact Lucy:


Blossom Ballet

is about having lots of fun and making new friends. Classes in Windsor throughout the week and at the weekends

10 • Maidenhead • Windsor • Marlow • Ascot • Slough • Egham

Why your young child should do sports Playball Windsor, Ascot and Chertsey talks to Families about the importance of sports for young children.


eing involved in sports is extremely important to the overall development of any child, especially in the Foundation Phase. The benefits are endless. Being involved in sports is not about creating the next professional athlete. Getting children away from the screens and involved in sports brings a wide variety of physical, mental and social skills, and the younger they get involved the better. Research has proven that children in the foundation phase who develop key ball and movement skills and experience the joy of a good sports programme, will have the confidence to participate in physical activity and enjoy the many benefits that an active lifestyle provides for the rest of their lives! Physical benefits, besides the obvious, include gross motor skills, body and spatial awareness, core strengthening and bilateral integration. These benefits will not only help on the sports field but in the classroom too, building stamina,

concentration and enhancing the same neural pathways the brain uses for things like reading, writing and sitting up straight at a desk. Competent sports participation promotes school readiness skills, ensuring that children develop a sound base from which to build academic competence. There are also several social and emotional benefits like learning to share, follow instructions, deal with failure, persistence, inclusion and many more! In conclusion, positive sport participation enables children to learn and grow in an environment that is rich in wonderful experiences. As we know, success orientated experiences empower young children. This establishes confident and competent children, who are motivated, persevering, and who are able to take suitable risks in all areas of their development.

5 easy ways to get your child involved in sport: 1. Get outside: make time every week to go outside and play different ball games with your child. 2. Lead by example: children are imitators, choose something active that you enjoy, participate as often as you can and your little one will be inspired to do the same. 3. Enrol your child in a sports class: there are many wonderful children’s sports classes and programme’s out there that cater for all abilities, find out which one works for your child and encourage them to get involved! The focus on these classes for young children should be fun participation. 4. Every now and then buy sports equipment instead of toys and gadgets: get them excited to play with new and different sporting equipment from all spheres of different sports. Footballs, small balls, bouncy balls, swing-ball, mini-cricket sets, basketball hoops, the list is endless! This doesn’t have to be at a great expense, there are many second-hand items available on various platforms. 5. Read about sports: make sure there are some sports related books being read at bedtime, there are many wonderful stories about the trials and tribulations of various sporting journeys. You can also tell them about the many great and inspiring sporting greats of our present and history. If you would like to get your child involved, visit: for more information or to book a class

Email: • Tel: 01628 788058

Families Thames Valley East • 11

Is your Child Being Bullied? By Toby Buckley

Anti-Bullying Week runs from 11 to 15 November this year. It’s a good time to ask yourself whether, as a parent, you are alert to the possibilities of your child being involved in a bullying incident.


e or she could be acting as a bully, being bullied or even upset because they have seen others behaving badly. What are the signs that this might be happening? Frequent Headaches and Stomach Aches Headaches and stomach aches are signs of stress and/or anxiety both of which are commonly linked with bullying. If your child often complains of headaches or stomach aches this could be the first warning sign, especially if these are happening in the mornings before leaving for school. Many people believe you should use these signs as an opening point to talk with your child by asking questions like: “You seem to be feeling sick a lot lately; can you tell me more about that?” Asking open-ended questions creates a non-confrontational space in which you and your child can hopefully get to discuss the root of the problem.

Crying or Intense Emotional Reactions If your child breaks into tears or shows a more emotional reaction than usual when being asked about their day, this could also be a sign of bullying. Again, you should try to avoid ambushing your child in a confrontational way during these situations. Best to offer comfort and then, again, ask open-ended questions to find out what is going on. Lack of Eating If your child or teen comes home from school and you realise they’ve had very little, if any, of their lunch or don’t seem to have an appetite for dinner, this may also be a sign that they are involved in bullying. It may mean that they feel uncomfortable eating in the dinner hall where they know a bully might be and may be avoiding this area, hence not eating at school at all. It may just be that they are so worried that their appetite is being affected. Torn Clothing and Physical Marks Of course, this is the most obvious sign of bullying. Again, it’s best to ask open-ended questions: “What happened today at school?”; “How did you feel when that happened?”

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If you become aware that your child is being bullied, witnessing bullying or even bullying themselves, it’s important to take this up with your child’s school. All schools are legally required to have an Anti Bullying policy. Make an appointment with your child’s teacher or the Head and aim to work together with them to find a solution. For more information about bullying, check out Need2Know’s Essential Guide to Bullying at which offers some answers as to why children are bullied and how parents can prevent it from happening, as well as providing some proven methods on how to help a bullied child boost their plummeting self-esteem.

12 • Maidenhead • Windsor • Marlow • Ascot • Slough • Egham

How to Prevent Bullying Help Children Understand Talk to your children about what bullying is, how to act safely and ask for help if they’re being bullied. Communication Talk to your kids on a frequent basis, listen to them, find out who they’re friends with and try to pick up on any changes in their mood and in the way they communicate with you. Be a Good Role Model Try to avoid any confrontational behaviour in front of your child; this includes things like road rage. Research tells us that children really do look to parents and caregivers for advice and help on tough decisions. Because of this, it’s recommended that you spend 30 minutes every day finding out about your child’s day. Sometimes it can be hard to elicit much information but relaxed, regular questions can be effective. You might want to have a chat over dinner, whilst washing dishes or before your child goes to sleep at night. Useful questions might be: “What was one good thing that happened today? Anything bad happen? What is lunch time like at your school? Who do you sit with? What do you talk about?” By doing this daily you should be able to pick up on any changes in your child’s behaviour or activities.

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Night Time Nappies to No Nappies By Alicia Eaton Every parent looks forward to the time when their young child will be able to sleep through the night without wearing a nappy or pull up. For some children, this happens naturally and without effort or any obvious preparation. For others, more groundwork is required and, as a parent, you may need to consider some simple steps that may assist your child in reaching this milestone. Words Work Talk to your little one and explain that soon they won’t need to wear nappies or pull-ups as they’ll be able to keep themselves dry all through the night and won’t need them. Don’t miss out this step. By plating this idea in your child’s mind, you’ll trigger important thinking processes that lead towards getting dry at night. Regularly use phrases like: “When you’re dry at night….” “Soon you’ll no longer need these nappies/pull-ups….” Keep referring to how things will be in the future and express the automatic assumption that they will get to the point where they are able to easily keep themselves dry. Step by Step Explain to your child that when they no longer wear overnight nappies or pull-ups, they may need to visit the bathroom at night. Walk them physically through the steps they’ll be taking and tell them you will leave lights on so they can see their way easily. Deeper Sleep Avoid leaving night-lights on in the bedroom itself. Experts agree that a dark bedroom promotes better, deeper sleep patterns and this in itself might be enough to ensure your child sleeps through the night and doesn’t need the toilet. You can buy night-lights with motionsensors for the bedroom and these are a better option – the light will come on automatically when it senses your child is walking around.

Keep a diary during your training period to track dry nights and wet ones

Plan Ahead Decide when to stop using pullups. If your child has reached the age of 5, it’s definitely time to start thinking about this. The super absorbency of these pants means your child’s skin won’t feel wet and this actually prevents them from understanding how their body works and learning how to take control. Have a chat with your child and put a date in the diary so everyone knows when this will happen.

overnight: instead it could make them constipated. In turn, constipation itself is a common cause of bedwetting.

Accidents Prepare for accidental wet beds. Use an absorbent bed mat in between two layers of sheets. If your child is wet, simply take off the top layer and you’ll have a ready-made dry bed underneath.

No Rewards Avoid offering rewards and bribes, including star charts during this training period. It will be doubly disappointing for your child if they’re not successful one night and they also act as a distraction. Your child’s focus should be on

Think Food Certain foods and drinks effect the bladder so it’s best to avoid these: fizzy drinks, sugary foods and milk at night-time. Lots of fruits have a diuretic effect on the bladder so avoid your child eating strawberries, melons and grapes in the evenings.

learning how to stay dry at night and the reward for doing this can come later in the form of a sleepover with friends or a new duvet cover set for the bed. Keep Track Keep a diary during your training period to track dry nights and wet ones. It will make it easier for you to figure out what the cause of wet nights might be and take steps to eliminate them. Alicia Eaton is a trained psychotherapist and author of Stop Bedwetting in Seven Days published by Practical Inspiration Publishing. For more information, visit

Declutter Ensure the bedroom floor is clutter-free so your child will feel more confident about getting out of bed to visit the bathroom at night. If your child sleeps in a bunk bed, consider placing a mattress on the floor for them to sleep on for a couple of weeks, if this will make the transition period easier for them. Drinks It’s good to avoid drinks one hour before bedtime, but don’t generally restrict fluids in the hope that this will help your child become dry Email: • Tel: 01628 788058

Families Thames Valley East • 13






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14 • Maidenhead • Windsor • Marlow • Ascot • Slough • Egham

Top Ten Board and Card Games to Play this Christmas Christmas is the time to dust off your favourite games to play at home with your family and friends. With a flurry of new games hitting our living room tables during recent years, the games market has seen something of a revolution. Now there are hundreds of games available that employ brain-teasing strategies and flex your investigatory muscles. Claire Winter has picked ten family board games that will help entice your children away from gadgets this festive season. Sherlock Holmes - Consulting Detective Thames Murders game Gather your loved ones, and don your deerstalkers to play this fun mystery game. You have to solve the case by interviewing witnesses, and tracing their steps through Victorian London. This is very much a challenge of the mental ability of the players, rather than a game of chance. The details are well-researched and give you a real sense of a bygone era. £34.90 Amazon The London Board Game The complexities of the London Underground system make this a great brain-challenging game for players of all ages. The board itself is the London Underground map, so while enjoying the race, you'll also learn more about London. Players must visit six of London's sightseeing hotspots, and the winner is the first person to get back to the mainline station where they started. £30 Monopoly Cheaters Edition The new Cheaters Edition of Monopoly brings a fresh twist to the property trading game that was initially designed to warn players about the dangers of capitalism. This version encourages cheating and subterfuge! It includes 15 cheat cards that allow players to steal money from the bank and avoid paying rent. £17.74 Amazon Exploding Kittens Not technically a board game, this card game is for people who like explosions, laser beams, and kittens. All the players draw from the deck until one of them draws the exploding kitten. At this point, the only option for survival is to play a defuse card that allows them to place the kitten back into the deck. Beautifully designed and riotously funny! £19.99 Amazon Pictionary This drawing game has been a firm favourite since 1985. The latest edition has been updated with two levels of clues for adults and younger children, making it a fun game for all ages. It also has wipe clean markers and boards. Mattel has also released Pictionary Air, which uses an app and augmented reality, but I prefer the old school version! £21.99 Amazon

Dobble This fun picture card game is very popular in our house and it’s really addictive. It depends on speed of observation as players have to pick out one icon from a group on a card that matches the same icon in a group on another card. This simple premise then forms the basis for five short mini-games, alternatively asking you to collect or discard cards as quickly as possible. Younger eyes and reflexes are at a definite advantage which means your 5 year old will beat you fair and square! £12.99 Amazon Tales of Arabian Nights This game is unlike anything you’ll have played and is the closest you can come to being in your own adventure book on a board. You travel around the board choosing how to tackle each random event using a rulebook. Whatever option you choose it has an unpredictable consequence, which makes it both unpredictable and eventful! £49.98 Amazon Speech Breaker This challenging game for children age 14+ is great fun. You have to put on the game headset, talk into the microphone, and get your teammates to guess who, what, where without saying any of the words on the cards. But…the microphone jams your speech with a built-in delay. As you talk, you'll hear your delayed voice through the game headset, making it harder to speak clearly. Really hilarious! £25.52 Amazon Chess and Draughts According to academics, chess boosts intelligence and creativity, so this Christmas teach your children the tactical games of Chess and Draughts to improve their mental agility. These timeless games are also a great way to share one-on-one time with your child. £19.99 Amazon Nudge Nudge is an incredibly simple, yet insanely addictive strategy game for children age 14+ designed to send you and your opponent over the edge. Designed with the environment in mind, the game is made from 100% recyclable materials including the game board, single-colour packaging, and fully biodegradable game discs. £9.99

Enjoy your precious family time this Christmas! Email: • Tel: 01628 788058

Families Thames Valley East • 15

Festive Days Out Christmas time is family time and if you’re keen to get off the sofa and out and about this winter, we’ve got some great suggestions for days out to help get you in the festive spirit. A Family theatre performance Performed at Windsor’s Christmas lights switch on, on Saturday November 16, ‘The Last Puppet Christmas Special’ is a Busy Buttons core production, featuring Susan Handys School of Dance. Prepare to be entertained with puppets, dance and time travel on this unforgettable voyage. For more details visit: A Vintage Christmas at Hughenden See the house decorated for a 1940s Christmas and enjoy a vintage theme around the grounds, a family trail and nostalgic treats in the café. Daily from November 29 to January 5. Normal admission applies plus £9 to visit Father Christmas in his 1940s inspired grotto and receive a Christmas gift; weekends from December 7. Early booking advised. Celebrate all things Victorian with Busy Buttons this Christmas Featuring 10 majestic arches

celebrating the bicentenary of Queen Victoria and all things little and great from the Victorian era, 'THE little GREAT EXHIBITION' is for the whole family to enjoy. The arches were designed by Busy Buttons along with 300 local school children and commissioned by the Royal Windsor Rose and Horticultural Society for the Mackintosh Shield school competition. Supported by Windsor Yards, the exhibition runs from November 17 to January 5 and offers a number of free creative family events. For more details visit Busy Buttons Design Centre CIC, 8-9 Windsor Yards, Windsor SL4 1TF 07952 418 212 Christmas at Kew This year the spectacular after-dark landscape at Kew Gardens boasts a brand new trail illuminating the magnificent Treetop Walkway and Temperate House. A waterfall of lights will cascade from the towering

16 • Maidenhead • Windsor • Marlow • Ascot • Slough • Egham

18m high walkway with laser projections animating the cathedrallike Temperate House boasting 15,000 glimmering panes of glass. Other highlights will include smoking white haze arches, a choir of holly bushes and a walkway of glittering pink cherry trees. Visitors can find Santa and his helpers on the Temperate House steps entertaining youngsters, and a mini food village complete with fairground rides will be a perfect stop-off point for little ones. Sweet smells of mulled wine, mince pies and other festive treats will greet visitors from stalls along the trail, Kew lights up from November 20 to January 5. For tickets visit Christmas at Waddesdon From November 16 to January 5 step into a world of festive, musical splendour with decorated rooms in the house inspired by traditional tunes and memorable Christmas hits. Outside, Waddesdon’s longest ever Winter Light trail will illuminate

the gardens, with playful features such as floodlit disco balls and a cascading river of light, whilst the Manor’s façade will come to life, with coloured lights dancing in time to much-loved Christmas classics. New for this year are giant fairy-light baubles at the Stables Courtyard and an immersive light installation inside the coach house. If it’s Christmas gifts you’re after, the Christmas fair housing more than 80 exhibitors in wooden chalets, runs from November 16 to December 22 11am-6pm Wed - Sun. Early booking for the house is essential. For more information visit Experience Christmas by the River along the scenic banks of London Bridge City Whether you're searching for gifts or celebrating with friends, Christmas by The River boasts 70+ stalls packed with food, drink and treats alongside the return of a busy schedule of creative workshops, to keep both parents and little ones busy over the Christmas break. Visitors will be able to sip a glass of mulled wine in the cosy alpine lodge, or try their hand at a range of

arts and crafts from Christmas wreath making to Christmas jumper decorating in support of Save the Children. Open November 26 to January 5 Family Festivities Christmas trail Prepare for Christmas at Cliveden and help the staff get into the festive spirit, inspired by the stories of Astor family Christmases on the estate. Tick off your to-do list before midnight and gather some festive gifts to take home. The trail runs November 30 to December 1, December 7-8, 14-15 and 19-23. £5 per child; normal admission to the estate applies. Meet at the Info Centre to collect a trail map. For further details about events, opening times and admission prices, visit: call 01628 605069 or email Hyde Park Winter Wonderland Returns Located in the heart of London, Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland is open daily 10am – 10pm from November 22 to January 5. Free to

enter this year with over 100 rides, attractions and shows as well as London’s biggest Christmas market and Santa Land, a whole area dedicated to little ones. There’s a new ‘Christmas Carol’ theme at the Magical ice Kingdom as well as Paddington™ On Ice. Mornings are great for families where you can enjoy Winter Wonderland at a leisurely pace and at night, Hyde Park is transformed by thousands of sparkling lights. To book tickets, visit: Maidenhead’s Community Lantern Parade is BACK! The Carnival of the Animals Lantern Parade returns on Saturday December 7 featuring live music and entertainment from The Brass Funkeys who bring pumping brass driven funk to lead you on the route! Get involved at one of their Lantern Making workshops, running throughout November and December. Expert lantern makers will guide you through the process and you will have a lantern ready to illuminate at the parade. Public workshops are held at Norden Farm

and in Maidenhead Town Centre. On Saturdays from 16 Nov, workshops will run in Maidenhead Town Centre 10am – 4pm for 3+ years £4 per person. On Sundays from 17 Nov, workshops will be run at Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Altwood Road, Maidenhead SL6 4PF from 10.30am – 12.30pm & 2pm – 4pm for 6+ years. £7 per person. To book, call the Box Office on 01628 788997 This winter The Look Out Discovery centre is running the Slime Show! This sticky, slimy show looks at states of matter using oozy, gooey slime. Finishing with a snail handling session this show is sure to satisfy the fascination with slime! Running from Nov 23 until Jan 12 at weekends and in Bracknell school holidays. Also, look out for the NEW exhibit Watch Water Freeze. Run the tap and then watch as the ice crystals form. Patience will be rewarded as the ice spreads! Check out overy or call 01344 354400 for more details.

Email: • Tel: 01628 788058

Windsor’s Reindeer Parade Taking place on Saturday December 7, the Reindeer parade in Windsor is perfect for getting into the Christmas spirit. See the LIVE Reindeer and Father Christmas on a sleigh parading through the town centre with a marching band and costumed characters. Jingle all the way from the castle at 2pm through St Albans Street, then into Park Street, High Street, Peascod Street and finally into Windsor Yards. The parade will end near the toy department steps of Daniel department store where you can have your photo taken with Father Christmas on his sleigh.

For Information on where to find Father Christmas go to pages 18 and 19 and for Christmas shows go to page 20. Plus don’t forget our What’s On guide on pages 22 - 26.

Families Thames Valley East • 17

I’m sure you’ve all started hearing the word ‘Christmas’ from your children since the end of summer! Now, at last it’s time to start searching out Father Christmas! Families shares a guide on where to visit him this year Lapland UK can be found at Whitmoor Forest, Swinley Road, Winkfield Row, Ascot SL5 8BD. It is based on the original adaptation of the Father Christmas story and the secret world of the elves brought to life through a 4-hour immersive experience. This includes personal invitations, a visit to the secret Elf Toy Factory, a wander through a snowy woodland, ice skating around a giant Christmas tree,

The Look Out Discovery Centre

• Science and Discovery Fun • Over 90 hands-on activities

Bring this voucher to get one free child with one full paying adult*.


10am - 5pm every day

Nine Mile Ride, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 7QW

Tel: 01344 354400

18 • Maidenhead • Windsor • Marlow • Ascot • Slough • Egham


A great family day out whatever the weather! Be Amazed...

Santa loves a great ice rink! Meet him at Windsor on Ice at Alexandra Gardens, Barry Avenue, SL4 3HY. If you would like to meet Santa and give him your Christmas list, make sure you visit on the following dates: December 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22 and then on his busiest day of the year, December 24 (all 11-5pm). Email: for special requests for Santa or groups wanting to see him.


Where to find Father Christmas

meeting real reindeer huskies, and Father Christmas himself. Tickets left at time of going to print were from £89 per person. November 16 to December 24

Valid until 31/01/20 *Terms and conditions apply. Nine Mile Ride, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 7QW

Tel: 01344 354400

Visit Santa’s grotto and have a magical family day out in Santa Land, just one part of the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland experience! See your little ones’ faces light up as they enjoy a day of festivities including the 45m long Ice Slide and specially chosen rides to suit little ones. Santa Claus opens his grotto from 10am to 6pm. He is FREE to meet and will have a gift for children who’ve been good! You cannot book a visit to Santa, it’s run on a first-come first-served basis so make sure you plan your day accordingly. Daily from 21 November to 5 January Witness Santa’s arrival at Iver Flowerland with a parade of characters on November 16 at 10am. Santa will be in his Grotto until 24 December £10 per child, including a gift, festive grotto walk, entertainment zone and receive a baby christmas tree! Alternatively, join ‘Breakfast with Santa’, which includes a Grotto experience afterwards (£15 per child); 10am at weekends from November 17 to December 22. Limited spaces. Similar also available at Bourne End Flowerland. Enjoy a spectacular Christmas at Odds Farm Park, Wooburn Common, HP10 0LX 01628 520 188. This year there are two great options to choose from! There is the Christmas Spectacular Experience which takes you through the Wintry Enchanted Forest. To start your magical journey to meet Father Christmas, head into the Elves’ Workshop to create your extraordinary take home gift, finally going onto the Toy Shop to choose your Christmas Spectacular present. New for 2019 there is also Tea and Story-time with Father Christmas! Also included in this is a visit to the Elves’ Workshop to create your gift as well as the visit to the Elves’ Toyshop to choose a present from Father Christmas! Saturday November 30 to Tuesday 24 Experience the magic this Christmas at the Legoland Windsor Resort Winkfield Road, Windsor, SL4 4AY, 0871 2222 001 You’ll be met by one of Father Christmas’

cheery elves who will guide you through the weaving Christmas tree forest to Father Christmas’ very own cabin. He’s checked his list, received your letters and for every good child he has a special LEGO gift waiting to be collected. There will be over 26 rides and attractions available over this period (subject to capacity). Weekends from November 30 and daily from December 20 to 23

Enjoy family lunch with Santa at the Oakley Court Hotel, Windsor Road, Windsor, 01753 609988 A truly festive day with a delicious buffet, crackers and table novelties. A balloon artist will entertain every child and they can go to Santa’s Grotto to receive a gift. Three course buffet, crackers, table novelties, professional balloon artist and grotto. £45.00 (half price for under 10s). December 15, 21 and 22.

Enjoy a Traditional Christmas at Chiltern Open Air Museum Gorelands Lane, Chalfont St Giles, HP8 4AB 01494 871117 Father Christmas will greet visitors as he sits by the fire in Haddenham Cottage. Children (and adults) are invited to take part in Christmas crafts and activities. December 7 and 8

Join in the Christmas Racing at Ascot Racecourse, High Street, SL5 7JX 0870 727 1234 Take a ride at the fairground, experience Christmas tales live from the cosy confines of the bandstand and meet both Santa and his reindeer. Story-telling from Mrs Christmas, pony rides, huskies, a carol singing concert, festive cocktails, fine dining and free fairground rides. Children can attend and eat for free too at this family day. Saturday December 21

Visit Father Christmas’s Grotto in South Hill Park Wilde Theatre, Ringmead, RG12 7PA 01344 484 123. Decorate your very own Christmas ornament with Father Christmas’s elves, before going in to see him for a personalised visit. Guaranteed to leave you feeling warm and wonderful. Send your letters to Father Christmas in advance for an even-more tailormade visit. Suitable for ages two to ten years old. From Sunday December 1 (excluding 2-5, 9-10 & 16 Dec)

Café, Maidenhead. At 8.30am they will be offering a breakfast for families offering the opportunity to meet with Santa! Santa will walk between tables meeting the children and hand out a festive gift to ticket holders aged 2 to 12 years old. Santa will then read a Christmas story to all the children, after which each child will receive an 'I met Santa' certificate. November 30 & December 1, 5 to 8, 12 to 15, 19 to 24 December. s/breakfastwithsanta Maidenhead Bridge Rotary Club are setting up a free Santa’s Grotto in the Nicholson Centre, Maidenhead on 23, 30 November and 7, 14 December.

Please tell advertisers you found them in Families magazine

Come along for breakfast and meet Father Christmas at Stubbings

Book in your slot to visit Santa in his magical grotto in Black Park Country Park, Black Park Road, Wexham, SL3 6DR and tell him all your Christmas Wishes! Each child receives a gift and a visit to Santa. Booking is essential, choose from the following dates: Saturday 7 and Sunday 8, Wednesday 11, Friday 13 and Friday 20 December. Book online at

Father Christmas returns to Hughenden in his decorated 1940s inspired grotto on weekends from 7 December. Normal admission applies, plus £9 to visit Father Christmas and receive a Christmas gift. The grotto is always popular so please book early on 0344 249 1895.

Email: • Tel: 01628 788058

Families Thames Valley East • 19

Christmas Shows Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a trip to the theatre. If you’re looking for the perfect family outing this festive season, Families has put together a roundup of shows in the local area:

The Bear, Norden Farm

Tuesday 26 November to Sunday 29 December The Bear Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Altwood Road, Maidenhead SL6 4PF 01628 788997 Norden Farm’s Christmas show this year is The Bear, based on the book by Raymond Briggs. The show tells the story of a little girl who befriends a mischievous polar bear. This playful, funny and heart-warming tale is one of imagination and growing up.

Featuring magical puppetry and original music. Suitable for all audiences from 3 years and upwards, tickets from £11.50. Relaxed performances are available and Pre Show Touch Tours for children with SEND and sensory impairments. Friday November 29 to Sunday January 12 Aladdin! Theatre Royal Windsor, Thames Street, Windsor, SL4 1PS 01753 853 888. Theatre Royal Windsor is delighted to announce their 2019 ‘genie’us of a pantomime, the magical tale of Aladdin. Make your wishes come true and join them on this magical carpet ride of a show, featuring Theatre Royal Windsor’s traditional pantomime comedy capers, with a sprinkle of magic and dazzling dancers, colourful costumes and a glittering star cast featuring actor Paul Nicholas, musical legend Marti

20 • Maidenhead • Windsor • Marlow • Ascot • Slough • Egham

Webb and not forgetting the little fox with the big laugh, Basil Brush! A treasure of a show you won’t want to miss. Tickets from £17. Saturday December 7 The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Burnham Park Hall, Windsor Lane, Burnham SL1 7HR 01628 550380 Showings at 2pm and 5pm Adults £10, children £5 khall Wednesday December 11 to Sunday 15 Dick Whittington Desborough Theatre, Park Street, Maidenhead, box office SL6 1RF Maidenhead Drama Guild presents Dick Whittington. 7.30pm weekdays, noon and 4pm weekends. Tickets: £12 adults, £10 children, contact the box office for group discounts 07375 111174 Friday December 13 to Monday 23 The Wonderful Wizard of Oz The Curve, William Street, Slough Follow Dorothy and her new friends; Scarecrow, Tinman and The Lion along the yellow brick road as they try to defeat the Wicked Witch of the West! Relaxed Performance – Sunday 15th Dec at 4:30pm. 0333 666 3366 Friday December 13 to Saturday 28 (not including December 16, 18 or 25) Sleeping Beauty Kenton Theatre, 19 New St, Henleyupon-Thames The Kenton Theatre are delighted to bring you the fun and frolics, the energy and dynamism, and the love and romance of Sleeping Beauty. A heart-warming story for all the family told with charm and wit. Relaxed Performance – Tuesday 17th Dec at 5:30pm ping-beauty Friday December 13 to Sunday 5 January Dick Whittington Wycombe Swan, St Mary St, High Wycombe HP11 2XE 01494 514 444

Straight from Love Island, ballroom dance sensation Curtis Pritchard leads the cast of this year's unmissable family pantomime, Dick Whittington. Joined by Milkshake! star Kiera-Nicole Brennan and funny man Adam C Booth, this year's panto will be paved with gold as our hero (and his trusty cat) seeks fame, fortune and happiness journeying to become the Lord Mayor of London. Saturday December 21 until Sunday December 29 Snow White The Pearce Suite Theatre, Magnet Leisure Centre, Maidenhead, SL6 8AW Mirror, Mirror on the wall, panto is back with the greatest of them all. Maidenhead Panto returns with Snow White starring a professional cast at the Pearce Suite Theatre. Will the Wicked Queen banish Snow White once and for all or will Dame Doughball, the handsome Prince and seven of their friends thwart her evil plans? Ruth Senior, HA Events Producer commented, “I am so excited to be back in Maidenhead this year with my personal favourite pantomime, Snow White. It is a fabulous, interactive show that promises fun and laughter for all the family”. Book now or 0333 6663366

Snow white, The Magnet Leisure Centre

Please also check What’s On on pages 22-26. Information correct at time of going to print; please check with venue.

Classes held

Every Sunday at 11.45 am Maidenhead Club The Magnet Leisure Centre (Upstairs Studio) Holmanleaze Berkshire SL6 8AW

No special clothing required. Ladies, gentlemen and children welcome. Families welcome minimum age 4 years.

Tel: 07709 327274 or 01753 882012 email:

All our instructors have enhanced Disclosure and Barring Certificates

Email: • Tel: 01628 788058

Families Thames Valley East • 21

What’s on

November Ongoing SCIENCE EXHIBITION The Look Out Discovery Centre, Nine Mile Ride, Bracknell. More than 90 activities which children of all ages can learn from. Saturdays in November & December AFTER DARK DISCO AT RUSH TRAMPOLINE PARK Cressex Business Park, High Wycombe, Bucks 6.30pm – 9pm. Pre-booking recommended. Tuesdays in November & December STORYTIME AT MARLOW BOOKSHOP 22-26 Spittal St, Marlow 10-10.30am, ideal for 0-4 year olds Mondays in November and December EVENING SALSA CLASSES All Saints Church, Marlow Mondays and Thursdays in November WOODLAND CAPERS Under the Canopy Forest School, Windsor Road, Gerrards Cross. Forest fun in a stay and play session (for rising 2-4 year olds).

Compiled by Anna Collins Sundays in November THACKERAY COLLECTION OF BRISTISH BIRDS Eton College, South Meadow Lane, Eton Sundays 2.30 to 5pm (except Xmas period). Throughout November NUTTY NOVEMBER AT RUSH TRAMPOLINE PARK Cressex Business Park, High Wycombe, Bucks 60 minutes of open jump. Monday to Thursday. – 4pm; £8.50pp. 4pm – close; £10pp £1.50 walk in fee. Pre-booking recommended. Saturday November 2 FIREWORKS FAMILY RACEDAY Ascot Racecourse, Ascot. Racing is followed by a Fireworks spectacular. Saturday November 2 BIG BANG FIREWORKS AND BONFIRE Beaconsfield Cricket Club, Wilton Park Saturday November 2 50TH BEACONSFIELD ROUND TABLE FIREWORKS Beaconsfield Rugby Club, Beaconsfield

22 • Maidenhead • Windsor • Marlow • Ascot • Slough • Egham

The Reindeer Parade, Windsor

Saturday November 2 FIREWORKS NIGHT CELEBRATION Crowne Plaza, Marlow Saturday November 9 GRAND FIREWORKS DISPLAY AND BONFIRE Grove Island, Odney Lane, Cookham £5 in advance from Countrystore, Village Hardware and Hillcrest Stores. £7 on the night. Saturday November 9 MAGIC IN THE SKY- MUSICAL FIREWORKS Stone Meadow, Chalfont St Giles

Please email with any events. Event times and dates do change. Please try and check that an event is still going ahead, before you head out.

Saturday November 9 to Sunday 10 WINDSOR CONTEMPORARY ART FAIR Windsor Racecourse, Maidenhead Road, Windsor Major exhibition with artist-led workshops for adults and kids.

Saturday November 16 WINDSOR CHRISTMAS LIGHTS SWITCH-ON AND LANTERN PROCESSION 3.30-5.30pm Castle Hill, Windsor Saturday November 16

Tuesday November 12 to Saturday 16 THE NUTCRACKER Theatre Royal Windsor, Thames Street, Windsor Tuesday November 12 to Wednesday 13 DINOSAURS - THEMED TODDLER DAY The Look Out Discovery Centre, Nine Mile Ride, Bracknell. Thursday November 14 ETON CHRISTMAS LIGHTS SWITCH-ON, Eton town centre Carol service at Eton College Chapel (6pm), followed by a parade to Jubilee Square where the lights are switched on. Friday November 15 and Saturday 16 ARTISAN FAIR AND NIGHT MARKET Norden Farm, Altwood Rd, Maidenhead

THE LAST PUPPET CHRISTMAS SPECIAL Castle Hill, Windsor. Free family theatre run by Busy Buttons Design Centre, as part of the Windsor Light Switch On. Saturday November 16 to Tuesday December 24

LAPLAND UK Whitmoor Forest, Swinley Road, Winkfield Row, Ascot SL5 8BD. 4-hour immersive Christmas experience. Tickets left at time of going to print were from £89 per person.

What’s on Sunday November 18 and other dates as below

'CARNIVAL OF THE ANIMALS' LANTERN MAKING WORKSHOPS Organised by Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Maidenhead. Create lanterns at family workshops then join the parade in Maidenhead town centre on Sunday December 7 (see date for parade details). Norden Farm workshops: Sundays November 17 , 24, and December 1 Maidenhead Town Centre workshops: Saturday November 16, 23 and 30 and December 7 Thursday November 21 CHRISTMAS LIGHT SWITCH ON AND SHOP 2019 Marlow Town Centre. Lights will be switched on at 6.30pm by this year’s celebrity. Plus stalls, carols, mulled wine and more

Saturday November 16 to Thursday January 5

WINDSOR ON ICE Alexandra Gardens, Windsor. Rink, Ice Bar and Grill, cafe, dodgems & Father Christmas. Sunday November 17 till Sunday January 5 THE LITTLE GREAT EXHIBITION Windsor Yards, Windsor. Monday November 18 to Saturday November 23

THE SECRET GARDEN Theatre Royal Windsor, Thames Street, Windsor

Email: • Tel: 01628 788058

Lantern workshops run by Norden Farm

Families Thames Valley East • 23

What’s on Thursday November 21 WESSEX CHRISTMAS SHOPPING EVENT Wessex Primary School, St Adrian’s Close, Maidenhead SL6 3AT. Plenty of stalls to browse to get the Christmas shopping done. 7-9pm

Compiled by Anna Collins

Sunday November 24 WOKINGHAM WINTER CARNIVAL Free event. This years’ theme is ‘Space Adventure’, but don’t worry Santa will also be there in his grotto! Tuesday November 26 to Sunday December 29

Saturday November 23 MAIDENHEAD LIGHT SWITCH ON Christmas market and children’s funfair, then at 4.30pm more entertainment at The Town Hall followed by the ‘switch on’ at 6pm and fireworks afterwards.

THE BEAR - NORDEN FARM The story of a little girl who befriends a mischievous polar bear, this playful, funny and heart-warming tale is one of imagination and growing up. Age 3+ £13.50 (£11.50 under 16s), Family and Friends Ticket (4 people) £46 Tuesday November 26 and Wednesday 27

Sunday November 24 ALEXANDER DEVINE’S SANTA DASH Bachelors Acre, Windsor 5K festive fun run! Includes a free Santa suit or children's reindeer antlers. All proceeds donated to Alexander Devine Children's Hospice Service.

WREATH MAKING Cliveden National Trust, Cliveden Road, Taplow Decorate a wreath ready for the festive season. All materials supplied. Adult £45 0344 249 1895 Thursday November 28 to Sunday January 12

ALADDIN Theatre Royal Windsor, Thames Street, Windsor Make your wishes come true and join this magical carpet ride of a show, featuring Theatre Royal Windsor’s traditional pantomime comedy capers!

Saturday November 30 to Tuesday 24 December

ODDS FARM AT CHRISTMAS Odds Farm Park, Wooburn Common. Lots of Christmas magic this year at Odds Farm. Choose from the Christmas Spectacular or Tea And Story Time With Father Christmas Sat November 30, December Weekends FAMILY FESTIVITIES CHRISTMAS TRAIL Cliveden National Trust, Cliveden Road, Taplow A festive trail through Cliveden’s grounds, inspired by the stories of Astor family Christmases on the Estate. £5 Also on Monday December 23 Saturday November 30 to Wednesday January 1

WOODLAND WONDERS FESTIVE TRAIL Burnham Beeches Hawthorn Lane, Lord Mayors Drive, Burnham. Collect a leaflet from the information point and follow the seasonal trail. Fun for all ages. Suggested donation £2. Bring a pencil. Saturday November 30 till Thursday 5 January

Saturday November 30

Skate into Windsor on Ice

WESSEX CHRISTMAS FAYRE Wessex Primary school, St Adrian’s Close, Maidenhead. 11am-2pm Santa’s grotto, tombolas. face painting, games, cakes and more.

24 • Maidenhead • Windsor • Marlow • Ascot • Slough • Egham

CHRISTMAS AT WINDSOR CASTLE Windsor Castle. See the State Apartments decked with twinkling lights, garlands and shimmering Christmas tree

Please email with any events.

What’s on

Event times and dates do change. Please try and check that an event is still going ahead, before you head out.

December Throughout December SANTA’S GROTTO AT RUBY AND RED’S Cressex Business Park, High Wycombe, Bucks. Meet Santa at Rush in his grotto. Booking required. From Saturday December 1 CHRISTMAS CARRIAGE RIDES IN WINDSOR GREAT PARK Savill Garden, Wick Lane, Englefield Green, A 30-minute ride costs £50 per carriage. Booking essential. Sunday December 1 WHITE WALTHAM PRIMARY SCHOOL CHRISTMAS FAYRE Waltham Road, White Waltham. Lots of festive fun for kids and adults from 1-4pm. Sunday December 1 SANTA’S 5K FUN RUN Higginson Park, Marlow, For adults and children.

Monday December 3 FREE FAMILY WORKSHOP Busy Buttons Design Centre, 8-9 Windsor Yards, Windsor. Part of Windsor & Eton Living Advent Calendar 6.15pm. Tuesday December 3, Friday 13 and Tuesday 17

Wreath making at Cliveden

WREATH MAKING Cliveden National Trust, Cliveden Road, Taplow Decorate a wreath ready for the festive season. All materials supplied. Adult £45 0344 249 1895 Thursday December 5 CHRISTMAS LIGHT SWITCH ON Burnham Park Hall, Burnham. Light switch on at 6pm followed by parade and shopping at The Lions Christmas Fayre. Return to Burnham Park Hall at 8pm for mulled wine, mince pies and entertainment from Burnham’s new choir Sing4you

Busy Buttons free family workshop

Saturday December 7 CHRISTMAS ON THE GREEN The Green, Datchet. The lighting of the village Christmas tree with community carols, food, drink and entertainment.

Traditional Christmas at COAM

Email: • Tel: 01628 788058

Families Thames Valley East • 25

What’s on Saturday December 7 REINDEER PARADE Windsor Yards, Goswell Hill, Windsor. Live reindeer pull Father Christmas on a sleigh parading through the town centre with a marching band and costumed characters. Saturday December 7 THE CARNIVAL OF THE ANIMALS MAIDENHEAD'S COMMUNITY LANTERN PARADE Maidenhead Town Centre. Contact Norden Farm for Lantern making workshops before this date. Live music and entertainment from 4.30pm, at 5pm the parade departs from Maidenhead Town Hall, 5.45pm – 6.15pm - live music and entertainment continues. Free and suitable for all ages.

Compiled by Anna Collins Saturday December 7 Sunday 8 COAM TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS Chiltern Open Air Museum, Gorelands Lane, Chalfont St Giles. Music, mirth and craft making - find out about how Christmas was celebrated in the past. Father Christmas will also be there! Saturday December 7 to Sunday January 5 FAMILY TRAIL: 1920'S CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR Runnymede National Trust, Old Windsor Sunday December 9 CHRISTMAS FAMILIES UNDER THE CANOPY Under the Canopy Forest School, Gerrards Cross . Make a Christmas star, roast chestnuts over an open fire, find Father Christmas’s Den and all things Christmassy!

Saturday December 7 CHRISTMAS CREATIONS River and Rowing Museum, Henley. A chance to make special decorations inspired by the Snowman and the Snowdog

Monday December 9 to Tuesday 10 SPACE - THEMED TODDLER DAY The Look Out Discovery Centre, Nine Mile Ride, Bracknell.

Monday December 9 and Thursday 12 FESTIVO IN ST GEORGE'S CHAPEL Windsor Castle. The Choir of St George’s Chapel will be joined by musicians from The Band of the Household Cavalry in a concert of sacred and secular seasonal music Wednesday December 11 to Sunday 15 DICK WHITTINGTON Desborough Theatre, Maidenhead Maidenhead Drama Guild presents this years’ panto. Friday December 13 CAROLS ON THE HILL King Henry VIII Gate, Castle Hill, Windsor. An evening of carols in front of Windsor Castle featuring the Band of the Household Cavalry. 6-7pm. Friday December 13 to Saturday 28 (not inc December 16,18 or 25)

SLEEPING BEAUTY Kenton Theatre, 19 New St, Henleyupon-Thames ping-beauty/ Friday December 13 to Monday 23

THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ The Curve, William Street, Slough Friday December 13 to Sunday 5 January DICK WHITTINGTON Wycombe Swan, St Mary St, high Wycombe. Straight from Love Island, ballroom dance sensation. Curtis Pritchard leads the cast of this year's family panto.

Saturday 14th December RUSH TRAMPOLINE PARK: 4TH BIRTHDAY PARTY Cressex Business Park, High Wycombe, Bucks 6.30pm – 7.30pm, 7.30pm – 9.30pm Live House DJ party. £12.50 for the 6.30pm slot, £17.50 for the 7.30pm slot. Booking required. Saturday 14 December BURNHAM PARK GIFT AND CRAFT MARKET Burnham Park Hall, Windsor Lane, Burnham 11am-3pm. Visit Santa in his grotto and his special guests Donner and Blitzen £3.50 per child Sunday December 16 to Friday 20

BUSY BUTTONS CREATIVE WELLBEING CAMP Busy Buttons Design Centre, 8-9 Windsor Yards, Windsor, SL4 1TF Saturday December 21 to Sunday December 29 SNOW WHITE PANTO The Pearce Suite Theatre, Magnet Leisure Centre, Maidenhead. Find out if the Wicked Queen will banish Snow White once and for all, or if Dame Doughball and the handsome Prince will thwart her evil plans. Saturday December 21 CHRISTMAS FAMILY RACE DAY Ascot Racecourse, High Street, Ascot. As well as racing, there are festive features such as visits from Father Christmas and his reindeer, storytelling from Mrs Christmas,carol singing and more! Wednesday January 1 NEW YEAR WHEELBARROW RACE Sunninghill village centre, High Street. Fancy dress wheelbarrow race in Upper Village Road raising money for the Ascot Day Centre.

The snowy world of Lapland UK 26 • Maidenhead • Windsor • Marlow • Ascot • Slough • Egham

Competitions and Offers with WIN A Family ticket (for 4

WIN A personalised engraved

people) to see The Bear at Norden Farm this Christmas!

Christmas Eve Platter!

Running from Tuesday 26 November to Sunday 29 December, Norden Farm’s Christmas show this year is The Bear by Raymond Briggs. Suitable for 3+ years, tickets are priced from £11.50. Featuring magical puppetry and original music, the show tells the story of a little girl who befriends a mischievous polar bear. Visit for details.

With illustrated places to leave your offerings and personalised with your child/children’s names, these are definitely on our wish list! (Size - 30cm x 20cm x 2cm)

For your chance to win, all you have to do is answer the question below and email your answer to A Simon Higgs

Who wrote The Bear?

If one of your Christmas Eve traditions involves leaving a mince pie and a drink out for Father Christmas and a well-earned carrot for Rudolph, Hugo’s Workshop’s solid oak serving boards are the ideal way to display your treats!

B Michael Giggs C Raymond Briggs

For your chance to win, all you have to do is answer the question below and email your answer to What’s the name of the company who makes the boards? A Santa’s Workshop

B Elves’ Toyshop

C Hugo’s Workshop

Closing date for competition entries is 1 December Closing date for competition entries is Nov 18 *T&Cs apply

*T&Cs apply

*Competition Terms and Conditions: 1. Only one entrant from same e-mail address or household will be accepted 2. Under 16s must obtain parental consent before entering 3. Entries must be received by the closing date and proof of sending cannot be taken as proof of receipt 4. All decisions of Families magazine are final and no correspondence will be entered into 5. No prize is exchangeable for cash or any other prize 6. Only the winners’ details will be supplied to the Promoter of the competition 7. Families Magazine is not liable for any delay or failure by the Promoter to deliver any prize or for the quality of the prize or for any loss or damage arising in connection with the competition 8. By entering the competition, entrants will be deemed to have accepted and agreed to these terms and conditions 9. Winning entries will be randomly drawn from all correct entries and contacted via the email address provided by the entrant. If the Promoter does not obtain a response from the winner within 21 days, we reserve the right to select another winner at random 10. Automated/bulk entries and entries from third parties will be disqualified 11. This competition is restricted to UK residents only.

WIN a fantastic Dasher Christmas party package at Jump In Slough for up to 15 people! Enjoy festive tunes as you watch your family, friends and colleagues jump around and do battle in a 60-minute session. Have access to some of Jump In’s coolest activities such as the Airbag, where you slide or jump into a giant cushion of air. All jumpers will also get a Santa hat and Grip Socks too. Sessions are available all day Monday to Friday and Sunday and after 5pm on Saturday. Additional refreshments and Christmas party snacks can be added if required. For your chance to win this package worth £150 please answer the question below and email your answer to One of our coolest activities is where you either slide or jump into out giant cushion of air. This feature is called our….? A Air Bag

B Slushie Bag

C Bungee Tower

Closing date for competition is Nov 30 T&C's: Prize must be redeemed and used by 31st December 2019 • Dasher package slots subject to availability • No food included in this package All party guests to be at least 5 years of age or older • Slough site only • Guests to arrive half an hour early to allow time to complete waivers, collect socks and wristbands and watch our safety video

Email: • Tel: 01628 788058

Families Thames Valley East • 27

Time to Enjoy the kids? By Anna Collins


hen I mentioned to a group of friends that I was going to write on this topic I was met with one particular response that spoke volumes in this day and age, ‘Please don’t give me something else to do!’ begged a mum who was already stretched with a full-time job, 2 kids, a large house to run, dinner to cook and homework to do! We all get it, life with children can be stretched to the max for sure. Another article telling us to do X, Y and Z can sometimes be more stressful! It’s so easy to get bogged down with the worries and issues that come hand in hand with raising children. When will they sleep through the night? are they being stretched enough at school? should I let my 9-year-old have a games console? will my 5 year-old read eventually? is my child making enough friends? are they being bullied? what can I do about these things? This list can be endless and as one phase ends another begins. Amidst our lists of chores and concerns, it is vital to try and weave in some family feel good time. This is less about adding in more tasks for us to do and more about making routine more fun. After all mental health is so important and it all starts at home. A few weekends ago we had a family roast dinner and as well as being thankful and saying Grace, we spent some time going around the table celebrating our successes for the week. Not just the kids, but ours too! It really was uplifting, didn’t feel like another ‘extra’ thing to do and I can really recommend. Celebrating the good is something we do so little of. For the kids, where homework pressures and social pressures can be huge; giving them some time to be positive with family can be a game changer. A simple walk with family or friends can also work wonders. While kids can sometimes moan about getting out the house, they usually

really enjoy being outdoors once they have their coats and shoes on! Time away from screens, being healthy outdoors and socialising with one another is time well invested. A sociable walk rarely disappoints. You could bring in the success discussion here too. A simple walk is definitely on my top 5 list of how to enjoy the kids. A lot in this for me is actually about slowing down, making things simpler and enjoying the kids that way. I usually pick my own kids up about 4pm most days. Don’t get me wrong, we do have the standard barrage of clubs, cubs and swimming to get to and from, but one day a week I keep as a ‘free’ day. On this day we sometimes visit a small park on the way home from school which is on the edge of the countryside. Not many people go there, so it’s just our time to enjoy each other, talk and wind down after the school day. I too enjoy it after a day at work.

based in

Maidenhead and

Admittedly this last idea does take a little planning, but again could be a fun activity and a way to record what your child loves. Every 5 years conduct a little interview with them (maybe pretend you’re both on TV!) and ask them about their lives. Amazing to see how it evolves over the years or maybe even play at their wedding! It doesn’t need to be overbearing, just some key questions will do: n What would you like to do when you grow up? n What’ the best thing about your life? n What’s the hardest thing about your life? n Who are your good friends? n What’s your favourite toy / What do you like to do in your spare time? n What’s your favourite food? n What country would you like to visit one day? n Who would you like to meet? n What TVE programme /film would you like to be part of? Goodluck – you never know what you may find out! Even though the last point involves a camera or screen, I think the common thread here is enjoying some time away from homework, screens or dashing from club to club! Whilst we can’t get away from them all the time, there is a balance to be struck and wouldn’t it be nice if enjoying your kids was part of your every-day?


Find out more info at 28 • Maidenhead • Windsor • Marlow • Ascot • Slough • Egham


The importance of having ‘Mum friends’ By Rachel Bailey


he other day I was having coffee with a friend, a friend I aspire to be like as a mum; calm, seemingly on top of things, with impeccably well-behaved children, and yet she shared that she was finding parenting a struggle. Not in a complete ‘I can’t cope’ way, but more of a ‘I’m so tired’ way. Something along the lines of – the kids are acting out, I’m not sure if I’m making the right decisions and how do I discipline them in a way that ensures they at least stand a chance of growing up to become half decent human beings? My initial reaction was one of slight panic, because if she was feeling like this, then what hope was there for the rest of us, but the reality is we all have these moments and what it actually made me think, was how important it is for us as mums (and dads) to have a support network. Friends that we can just go for a coffee (or a glass of wine) with and offload. For most of us, when our children are babies, we have an NCT group or such like that we can turn to, to share all those early parenting concerns with. A group of women we gravitate to in those fog filled

days of sleep deprivation and sore nipples, who are invariably experiencing all the same worries that we are. Those ladies were a lifeline for me as a first-time mum and whilst in many cases those friendships may remain strong, circumstances change, people return to work, life takes on a different kind of normal and eventually you stop relying on them in quite the same way. It got me thinking however, that there is no specific mum’s group for mums with older children. Wilful 5-year olds, tweens, teens, managing school aged multiples (I’m not necessarily thinking about twins here, just mums with more than one child), or those just sometimes overwhelmed by the parenting juggle. Being a mum is amazing and I wouldn’t change it for the world, but, bottom line, parenting is hard. It’s the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced and it’s why blogs such as Hurrah for Gin and Peter and Jane are so popular – making humorous situations out of such relatable experiences. Who hasn’t wanted to celebrate when their child finally eats a piece of broccoli, or pour a glass of wine after funding a day

out that was supposed to be an opportunity for family bonding and was actually a day filled with tantrums and sibling rivalry? I read a particularly pertinent post from Katie Kirby today, who whilst promoting her latest book The Reluctant Adult highlighted how overwhelming the constant juggle is. Finding time to exercise, remembering to recycle, boycott plastic, eat organic, parent patiently, get 8 hours sleep, hold down a job, keep a clean house, join the PTA, stay on top of homework etc it’s no wonder we need good friends to keep us in check! So, where do you meet

these likeminded souls who are going to change your life? It’s hard when your kids are older, if you’re never standing around at the school gates and your close friends aren’t local. Perhaps try helping out at school events if and when you can, join a local book group or exercise class, or maybe even host a play date for your child’s friend and invite the mum for a coffee or glass of wine too. If there’s one new year’s resolution I’d like to make, it’s to try not to get too caught up in the busyness of life and make time to nourish those friendships.

What is life coaching?

It is a way of helping you find your purpose. It helps people who feel they are stuck or lost. It is a way of awakening your true self and your desire to dream.

I am offering 3 FREE sessions so that you can see if coaching works for you and gives you results.

Google ‘onpurposewithjulia’ for more info or CALL or TEXT 07919 153789 to book - Julia Papoutsis

Email: • Tel: 01628 788058

Families Thames Valley East • 29

Book Club Here at Families we are always on the lookout for a good book and the winter months offer the perfect excuse to share a story wrapped up in a duvet or cuddling up on the sofa with a hot chocolate. Books make ideal Christmas presents and top of our list for young children, is the latest offering from Emma Chichester Clark and Sir Quentin Blake Three Little Monkeys Ride Again. Rachel Bailey talks to Emma about working with some of the greats in children’s literature. Did you always know you wanted to be an illustrator and what made you choose the wonderful world of children’s books? I did always know! I began to make little books when I was 5 years old. I wrote stories and drew pictures – mostly of rabbits and bad foxes – and I made little books with sewn up spines. I chose children’s books because there is the opportunity to use colour and to have a series of pictures together, unlike in adult books, and it is a chance to use one’s imagination to the full. We love Blue Kangaroo in our house. Do you have a favourite book/character you’ve created? I’m so glad you love Blue Kangaroo. I am very fond of him too because he is so kind and forgiving to Lily. He is such a loyal friend. I am also fond of Melrose and Croc – two best friends who live together, one a small green crocodile, the other a yellow dog. They have a perfect relationship, I think. Sometimes they are irritated by each other and sometimes sad, but most of the time they are happy, and they jolly each other along. However, inevitably, my favourite character is Plumdog. (She is standing beside me, so I have to be careful what I say.)


To Advertise in


01628 788058

Was your dog Plum pleased to feature in some of your books? She must provide lots of inspiration! Plum has taken her transition into public life very well. She adores visiting her publishers but I don’t let her come with me too often as she’s a dreadful influence in the office. One minute everyone is sitting at their desks working – the next, they are all sitting on the floor, talking to Plum who is lying on her back with her legs in the air. This latest book is a sequel to Three Little Monkeys which Sir Quentin Blake wrote especially for you to illustrate. That’s a lot of talent in one book! What’s it like illustrating for him? It’s very frightening! Having to show him my rough ideas was one of the most daunting things ever, because I kept imagining how he would have tackled the pictures and he would have done it so much better. But it’s also been absolutely wonderful because he is the perfect children’s book writer. He is a choreographer – he knows all the moves and where things are going. He has given me such brilliant things to draw. The more you read the text, the more you find. He is a genius. You’ve worked with a lot of great authors, do you have any stories to tell? Goodness! I have been very lucky to work with some fantastic people. I can’t really think of any stories. Michael Morpurgo was always very forgiving and accommodating when I made mistakes – he would simply rewrite the text … I did work with Roald Dahl a hundred years ago. For a short time, there was an edition of James and the Giant Peach illustrated by me. (It was soon redone by Quentin) I remember that when I sent the cover roughs to be approved by him, they came back several times as they just weren’t right. Eventually I had a message from the man himself. He said, “It’s got to look more like a BOTTOM!” So, I made it look more like a bottom. What’s your favourite childhood book? I have always loved Madeline better than anything. I loved all the disasters – the fall into the river, the dog, the Bad Hat. I love the line, the yellow, the characters – everything. I wish I could draw like that – and write like that. The

30 • Maidenhead • Windsor • Marlow • Ascot • Slough • Egham

books are so deceptively simple. Simplicity is the hardest thing to achieve. They are also very witty – not patronising, and made me long to go to Paris. Which book do you wish you had written/illustrated? Apart from Madeline, I think one of the perfect books of all time is by William Steig. It is called Sylvester and The Magic Pebble and it’s about a donkey - no ordinary donkey. Sylvester is very dapper in trousers and jacket and comes from a good family. William Steig is another deceptively simple genius. The drawings/paintings are loose and gentle, done with watercolours, and the text is sprinkled with unusual words, slightly grown up words, like ‘gratified’. When Sylvester first finds the pebble he is so excited he makes lots of silly wishes, ‘he wished a wart on his left hind fetlock would disappear…’ Do you have any family Christmas traditions? We all still love finding bulging stockings full of presents at the end of our beds from Father Christmas on Christmas morning. Other than that, we do the usual things – eat too much especially. I do have a new tradition that I’m encouraging the rest of my family to take up and that is to give books for Christmas – only books. Books are the thing I like receiving best of all. Even picture books!

Give Away Three Little Monkeys Ride Again is available in hardback priced £12.99.

Families have two copies to give away to the first two people to email their details to Visit Emma’s website: or follow her blog:

She Means Business

Time becomes an increasingly precious commodity once you have children. For many that means looking to reduce or re-arrange their working hours to give themselves the time they need to enjoy family life.

Finding a Flexible Job that Works for You By Mandy Garner


o what are the alternatives to the traditional full-time job? Well, these days there are many different options. Flexible Working Requests Firstly, you could seek some form of flexibility in your existing job. It's important to be open-minded as to what that might look like, whether it could be part-time hours, some home working, flexible start and finish times, annualised hours, compressed hours (longer days but fewer of them), or a combination of several possibilities. In order to make a formal flexible working application you will need to show you have thought through the implications of any changed working pattern on your employer and colleagues. Are there, for instance, parts of your job that could be delegated to others to enable them to get experience? Could you use the flexible working process to review your job and hone in on where you can have the most effect? If you can show that you have thought your case through carefully, weighing up your own and your employer’s needs, you are more likely to be successful. Bear in mind that flexible working legislation currently only applies to those who have been in the position for six months.

If this is not you or if you do not want to permanently change your hours - perhaps you only need some temporary flexibility - then you could ask for changes in your working pattern on a more informal basis. Be Creative Another way around the flexible working issue is to switch jobs or even careers. Having children means that all your creative skills will be in play most of the time, including when it comes to your work life. You could try listing your skills and thinking broadly about any possible available job that might fit around your family’s needs. Talk to others and look into industries you may not have considered before. Check out family-friendly websites to see who the most flexible employers are and read around about what other parents do. Sites like have a regular jobs alert and case studies of working parents which can give you suggestions of where to look that you might not have thought of before. Once you have honed sectors and types of jobs you might be interested in, you could join LinkedIn professional groups and check out company websites and social media. Thorough research is

key to securing the right job for you. If the sector you are interested in requires you to re-train, you could look into whether there is any on the job training. Portfolio Career Another potential option is the socalled portfolio career where you juggle several part-time or freelance/self-employed jobs, creating a kind of tapestry which gives you flexibility around drop-off and pick-up times. You could, for instance, reduce the hours in your regular job and run a franchise or self-employed job on the side either on a permanent basis or until your self-employed work is earning enough to support you. Another advantage of the portfolio approach is that it gives you time to experiment with different work options. It could also allow you to re-train for another career while still earning.

Email: • Tel: 01628 788058

Self-Employment You could, of course, choose to jump straight into self-employed work. If so, ensure you do your business research well. You could also consider becoming a franchisee, which means that you would have the freedom associated with running your own business with fewer of the risks of going it alone since the franchise will provide a tried and tested business model. The important thing is to be creative and to try to think out of the box about your skills. Go back to basics and rediscover what those skills are, who you are, what you like doing. A good coach can help you work your way through all the above options. Mandy Garner is Editor of where you can find more suggestions on flexible working options.

Families Thames Valley East • 31

Families Thames Valley East is part of Families Print Ltd, a franchise company. All franchised magazines in the group are independently owned and operated under licence. Families is a registered trademark of LCMB Ltd, Remenham House, Regatta Place, Marlow Road, Bourne End, Bucks SL8 5TD. The contents of Families Thames Valley East are fully protected by copyright and none of the editorial or photographic matter may be reproduced in any form without prior consent of Families Thames Valley East. Every care is taken in the preparation of this magazine, but the franchise company, Families Print Ltd and Lifecycle Marketing cannot be held responsible for the claims of advertisers nor for the accuracy of the contents, or any consequence thereof.

Profile for Families Magazine

Families Thames Valley East Magazine Nov/Dec 2019 Issue 105  

And just like that it’s Christmas again! If you’re feeling a bit like Christmas has crept up on you this year, hopefully Families can help....

Families Thames Valley East Magazine Nov/Dec 2019 Issue 105  

And just like that it’s Christmas again! If you’re feeling a bit like Christmas has crept up on you this year, hopefully Families can help....