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Thames Valley East November/December 2012 - Issue 63

Quality Day Care for Ages 0-5 years Open all year 8 am to 6 pm Monday to Friday • Friendly and homely environment • Experienced and qualified staff • Covering the EYFS & Montessori curriculum • Excellent & Safe outdoor play area • Council Funded sessions • Childcare Vouchers accepted • Freshly cooked meals Our childcare philosophy is to promote a warm, safe and stimulating environment for every individual child so they develop a unique curiosity for knowledge and potential for learning.

For further information please call: 01628 665621 email:

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 self-employed background, or you wish to develop an extraordinary lifestyle,

please call Diana Page

Christmas Special

01235 533362

The really useful magazine for parents of children between 0 and 12 Packed with information and fun things to do with the family in Maidenhead - Windsor - Marlow - Ascot - Slough - Egham

REDROOFS THEATRE SCHOOL Locations: Bath Road, Maidenhead and School Lane, Littlewick Green and now at Novello Theatre Sunninghill Nr Ascot

*** FULL TIME PERFORMING ARTS SCHOOL FROM YEAR 6 TO 13. *** Part-time department including Saturday Afternoon Musical Theatre School, Senior Musical theatre, Audition Skills and confidence courses, RAD Ballet, ISTD Tap and Modern, Jazz Dance, Hip Hop and Street, Musical Theatre, Singing, Creative Drama Workshops. *** Singing Classes (ages 8-11 and 12-16), Toddlers tiny tutus ballet (ages 18 months -3) Dress Up and Dance (ages 3-4), Lets Act (ages 5-7), Musical Theatre (ages 4-16+), Hip Hop and Street (7-16+), Junior Acting School, Senior Acting School, Creative Drama (7-16) Junior and Senior Screen Acting (10-16+), Showbiz Workshops with West End Artistes, Onstage * Productions and shows throughout the year. * Holiday courses. * Agency representation for all pupils. Call us: 01628 674092 • Email us: Find us on Facebook and Twitter


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in this

issue 3 News & Info

The countdown to Christmas has begun! We hope you enjoy our festive offering, which includes some great competitions on page 25. There are some unusual gift ideas on pages 8 to 9 and, most important of all, where to find the man in red on page 24. We also learn about how to help your left-handed children (p26-27) and the perils of sugar (p14-15). Whatever you do, have a wonderful Christmas with your kids, friends and loved ones and we’ll see you in the New Year with our Children’s Party and Health special.

6 Education News 7 Clubs & Classes News 8 Christmas Gift Guide 10 Spotlight on Charity 12 Panto Special The history of Panto Interview with Craig Revel Horwood 14 The perils of excessive Sugar 17 Time Out 21 Christmas Time Out 25 Competitions 26 How to help your left-handed child 28 Eds Reading Room 29 Bumps & Babes 30 Mums Who Mean Business

web: tel: 01628 627586 fax: 08717 146 305 (calls cost 10p/min) e-mail: editor: Claire Winter circulation: 19,000 next issue: January/February 2013 due out: January 2 featuring: Children's Parties, Health & Holidays copy/advertising deadline: December 1

Cover photograph by Saliha Pleace- Momento Photography.

Telephone: 01628 627 586

Free parenting courses in Windsor and Maidenhead As we all know, kids don’t come with an instruction manual and parenting isn’t always plain sailing. But now there is on-the-job training. Parents that live in the Royal Borough can get free help with a variety of parenting issues and problems with Triple P courses that are free to attend. Triple P (“Positive Parenting Programme”) is a parenting programme that suggests small changes that can make a big difference to your family. The programme gives parents the skills to raise confident, healthy children and to build stronger family relationships. It helps parents manage misbehaviour and prevent problems occurring in the first place. But it doesn’t tell people how to parent. Rather, it gives simple and practical strategies that can be adapted to suit your own values, beliefs and needs. Triple P is not “one size-fits-all’: whatever your parenting dilemma, no

Stop the bullies ‘We’re better without bullying’ is the theme of this year’s Anti-Bullying Week, which takes place November 19-23. Go to for information, workshops and details of roadshows, as well as the Anti-Bullying Week competition where you can win £100's worth of prizes for you and your school. The site even includes a Virtual Anti-bullying Village, where pupils from schools around the world can interact. •


matter how simple or complex, Triple P has the information, tip sheet, self-help book, video, seminar, course or expert advisor to help you. And with over 30 years of proven clinical research to back it up, you can be sure Triple P works for the majority of families. For more information visit Parents living in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead can access Triple P through their local children’s centre or phone 01628 685615 for more information.

Think about adoption Every child deserves a family, and this 5th11th November sees the annual National Adoption Week. Since its launch in 1997, National Adoption Week has gone from strength to strength, reaching people across the UK wanting to know more about adoption. National Adoption Week is important in reminding people about the backgrounds of children waiting for adoption and the difference adoption can make to a child’s life. It also attracts people wanting to find out about their own adoption or about a child they put up for adoption themselves. Find out more at

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News & Info Montessori baby and toddler classes in Windsor

Specialist Baby & Toddler Swimming Classes Aqua-Natal Yoga Classes Come out of your shell and learn to swim the Turtle Tots Way! For more information call Jodi on: 07823 885328 / 01628 785236 or email:


Expanding local agency (established in 1998 and owned by highly experienced teachers)

offers individual tuition in twenty subjects including: all primary; Biology, Chemistry, Economics, English, French, Geography, History, Latin, Maths and Physics. Further tutors welcome Tel. (01628) 477164

Baby, toddler and parent Montessori classes are being held at the Holy Trinity church in Windsor on Friday mornings and alternate Thursday mornings. Children can attend from the age of six months until they are two and half and must be accompanied by a parent or carer. The class is filled with activities and educational material to encourage the children to develop a love of learning, independence, freedom and a power of choice. The class is run by a fully qualified Montessori teacher, from the Children of the World Montessori School, who is dedicated to the Montessori philosophy and will help parents understand the Montessori method of education and positive discipline. Telephone Cheryl or Alexis on 01753 833 771 or email

A choir for everyone If you’re not interested in singing a heavy classical repertoire or cheesy pop songs then the Elentone Singers could be the group for you. The choir sings mostly unaccompanied music from around the world in three and four part harmony. There are no scary auditions and the whole ethos of the choir is that everyone can sing! The choir has a strong core membership of mums and dads with young children and are keen to get more people involved. It’s a very friendly, sociable choir and the rehearsals are great fun. The cost is just £45 per term. They meet on a Thursday evenings at Cox Green School from 8 –10pm and their Christmas concert is on December 13 at the Cox Green School Theatre. Contact Lyn on 01628 622651 for more details or go to


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Charity tackles ignorance about fertility So you want to have a baby (or another one), but are you sure you know how? Sexual health charity FPA reports that a significant proportion of couples trying to conceive don’t understand enough about fertility and as a result may mistakenly believe they have a medical problem. There are many common myths about fertility and evidence from an FPA study reveals that 50% of adults don’t know basic facts about reproduction. As a result couples trying to get pregnant could suffer unnecessary stress as well as wasting money on expensive fertility tests and treatments. “Equally, couples with a genuine problem may be waiting for nature to take its course,” says Natika Halil from FPA, “when in fact there is a fertility issue and they need professional help without delay.” To reduce these potential problems, FPA has launched Fertility Awareness Kits to assist couples when starting or extending a family, available from The charity also runs a helpline 0845 122 8690.

Recycle your kids’ clothes locally Tots Togs & Toys is a small family run business, which aims to provide good quality second hand clothes to local Berkshire mums at Baby and Children’s markets, which has now launched online. The main aim of the business is to provide a cheaper option for good quality clothes and to encourage recycling. Mums know that as their children grow there are some things that hardly ever get worn or that are only worn for special occasions. Check out to do your bit for the environment and find the perfect outfit for your little one too.


News & Info Maid to measure

Stuck for a party idea? Why not try a cupcake decorating party? Cakin’ Faerie, a Burnham based company, runs mouthwatering parties for children age 6 to 16. Each child gets to practice decorating techniques before they are let loose on four of their own cupcakes, which they take home in a beautiful box. Suzanne Readman who runs the parties is a seasoned cake maker and teaches the party-goers some great skills. At the end of the party each child also gets a certificate and a photo of themselves with their cakes, which is emailed to the party host after the event. The cost for a party of six children is £120, additional children are £15 (max number 8). For more details call 01628 543 963/07979 807 553 or email

Telephone: 01628 627 586

All working parents probably know the sinking feeling: you’re about to make the daily dash home to pick your kids up from school or nursery when you discover your train’s been cancelled, or your car won’t start, or you suddenly need to take an unexpected, super-urgent call from your boss, who’s just landed in Australia, but whose laptop is still in Heathrow. Enter the Busy Professional Service Plus from Mummy’s Maid (MM), offering stressed-out working parents a dedicated maid to take the stress out of childcare, whether that means helping with pick-ups, homework, washing, ironing, tidying up or cooking the evening meal. Bookings can be for a minimum of two hours, and all MM employees go through a rigorous vetting process of face-to-face interviews, enhanced CRB checks and reference checks. And most of MM’s maids in shining armour are mums themselves, with experience of running a home and looking after kids. For further information visit or call 0845 463 0075.

Advertise for as little as £60 plus VAT. Call: 01628 627586

Looking for some childcare? Need childcare but not sure where to start? KiddyKare Nannies, who pride themselves on providing the personal touch, will help select the right type of person to care for your little ones. Home visits mean that they will get a good understanding of your requirements too. All KiddyKare Nannies are interviewed face to face and all references, ID and qualifications are thoroughly checked. KiddyKare Nannies have been approved as a recommended agency by the Good Nanny Agency Guide and Best Bear. For more info call 01628 675828, email or visit

Cupcake Decorang Pares Making Cupcake Decoraon fun for children aged between 6 and 16 • 1 demonstrated themed cupcake • 3 free design cupcakes starng with piped buercream swirls • 1 cupcake to eat decorated by Cakin' Faerie Each guest will receive a cerficate of aendance and take home 4 vanilla cupcakes that they have decorated in a presentaon box. All equipment is provided and demonstrated along with a selecon of decoraons and sprinkles. All that Cakin' Faerie asks is that you can provide sufficient tables and chairs for all of your guests.

10 Almond Road, Burnham, Bucks SL1 8HA

Tel: 01628 543963 or 07979 807553 Email:


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Education News 11+ Preparation 1 to 1 Tutoring Individualised Courses KS1, KS2 and KS3 Tutoring Telephone 07535 522755 email

Checking Homework and Correcting Online Tutoring Beginners Arabic Tutoring

We specialise in preparing pupils for common entrance examinations

Learning English as a Foreign Language Tailor Made Study Packs

At Herries, ...... every child is an individual and every child is known and loved. Come and visit the school at one of our monthly Open Mornings or arrange an individual appointment. See our website for full details: Herries Preparatory School, Dean Lane, Cookham Dean, Berkshire SL6 9BD Tel: 01628 483350 Email:

BOOK NOW for advertising in our Jan/Feb 2013 issue Due out January 2nd email:


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The demise of the GCSE Education Secretary Michael Gove is planning to replace existing GCSE exams with new, tougher qualifications in a major overhaul of the exam system. The new English baccalaureate - the EBacc - will replace GCSEs with single, more difficult examinations, in the biggest change to the system for over 25 years. The new exams are likely to do away with the existing continuous assessment modules and will reintroduce the traditional 3-hour examinations as well as restricting the number of top grades awarded. In fact, one of the key aims is to remove starred grades entirely and make sure that far fewer pupils win the top grades, compared with the 3 in 10 pupils who currently receive As and A-stars. Teenagers will also be prevented from resitting individual modules and will have to retake the entire exam if they want to improve their grades. The government insists that these changes will end “grade inflation and dumbing down” and come after both Coalition parties have shown themselves keen to see the introduction of more rigorous teaching and exams in key subjects, however they are not scheduled for introduction until September 2018.

Former school site bought by local council in Maidenhead The local borough of Windsor and Maidenhead has bought the former grounds and buildings of Winbury School in Maidenhead, in order to preserve them for ‘educational purposes’ in the future. The purchase of the 0.11 hectare site on Hibbert Road was completed on October 19. The Borough is seeking to discuss the possibility of the site being named by Free School proposers, who wish to set up a primary school in September 2014. Free schools are all-ability, independent state schools that can be set up by parents, teachers or charitable bodies. Cllr Eileen Quick, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “This is an exciting move for education in Maidenhead. By taking this step the Royal Borough can make sure the property is preserved for educational use.” If a free school opens on Hibbert Road it will provide more primary school places in Maidenhead, helping to ensure there are enough spaces to meet the rising demand in the town, as well as increasing choice for parents.


Save the arts in our schools Arts campaigners, including the director of the Tate Gallery Nicholas Serota, are petitioning for the Arts to be included in the new English Baccalaureate. Creative subjects like music, art, design & technology, drama and dance are all missed off the list of core areas that children must study. The Tate is also calling for arts subjects to remain within the national curriculum for secondary schools and for their inclusion in the new exam. Britain is well known for its creative industries across the world. They contribute 6% of the country’s GDP, employ over two million people and export £16 billion annually. Many are concerned that this change in government policy will have a detrimental effect on industries that are still currently thriving, despite the economic downturn. Nicholas Serota, Director of theTate, said: “There is a real risk that fewer and fewer schools will provide learning opportunities in the arts. The UK’s leading edge in creativity may be lost. We cannot deprive an entire generation of children of the cultural skills that they will need…The arts should share an equal place with reading, maths, science and other disciplines as ‘core subjects’.” There is an online campaign and petition calling for the inclusion of the arts in the Ebacc called Bacc for the Future. Go to to sign the petition or to find out more.


Clubs & Classes News Turtle Tots Berks & Bucks is expanding After an amazing response to their launch of baby and toddler swimming classes six months ago,Turtle Tots has just added two new fantastic pools in Langley and Bagshot to their class schedule.The new classes will begin in January 2013. The Turtle Tots programme of swimming classes for babies, toddlers and mothers has been written in

conjunction with experienced personal trainers to promote fitness through pre-natal and post-natal pregnancy exercises. Every movement can be adapted to suit individual ability levels and the classes provide an excellent toning work out for mums and mums-to-be. All their swimming classes for babies and toddlers are open to dads as well. For more information contact Jodi O'Connor either by email or call 07823 885328 or visit

New funky dances classes for under-5s in Windsor Little Dance Flavourz classes offer a mixture of styles from Latin and Ballroom to Bollywood and Disco for pre-schoolers. The new class in Windsor starts this November and is being held on Wednesday afternoons from 1.15 to 2.00pm, for children aged 2 until their 5th birthday. Classes are also currently being held at St Pirans School in Maidenhead on Saturday mornings. The Junior Crew class is being held at 9.30am and is for 2 to 31/2 year olds and the Senior Crew class is on at 10.30am for ages 31/2 until their 5th birthday. For more details please call 01628 526584 or visit their website:

New canoeing and kayaking club in Taplow

Engage Watersports is moving its adult paddling club to Sunday Mornings on November 18. The sessions will be from 10am to 12noon and are suitable for all skill levels. The club, based at Taplow Lake, is a great place for those who want to canoe or kayak in beautiful surroundings. They have a wide range of boats including single and tandem sit-on-top kayaks. In addition, a children’s club (for ages 8 and over) will also be starting on Saturday November 17, from 10 to 11.30am. The club’s emphasis will be on enjoying being on the water, whilst keeping members as dry as possible. Costs are £18 per adult (5 sessions for £75) and £15 for children (5 sessions for £65). All equipment is provided including good quality wetsuits, spraytops and spraydecks. To find out more or to book your place call Engage Watersports on 01628 671130, email or go to

Going Dutch in Marlow Dutch Club is a popular language club for children aged from 2 to 8 years old. Set up in 2009 by experienced native Dutch teacher Erica Roberts, it offers sessions filled with fun songs, rhymes, games, stories, activities and Dutch culture. Just by watching, listening and joining in, your child will absorb the Dutch language without even realising it. All levels are welcome. The club meets on alternate Saturday mornings during term time and there are now two clubs: the first one from 10.00 to 10.50am for 2 to 5 years olds (parent/toddler) and the second one from 11.00 to 11.50am for 5 to 8 year olds at the Christ Church URC Hall, Quoiting Square, Marlow, SL7 2NP. Contact Erica on 07948 246 281 or email Visit for a FREE TRIAL and more information.

Telephone: 01628 627 586


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Gift Guide

All I want for

Finding the perfect present can be tough when time is short. Here are a few of our favourites to get you started. The perfect first bike Award-winning Kiddimoto bikes help children to develop their skills of balance and coordination and make a seamless transition to a pedal bike without stabilisers. Available in a wide variety of designs, they can also be personalised. For 2-6yrs. Order from Makedo Robot Every parent knows the feeling when of spending a fortune on the latest high-tech toy, only to find your child much more engrossed playing with the packaging. Makedo’s brilliant idea is to help those kids make better use of the box! It supplies a safe-saw for cutting and punching through materials safely and re-clips and lock-hinges for connecting things together.Your child’s creativity and instinct for building can then take over. Check out the website for videos of inspiring creations made by people from around the world. Winner of three of the most prestigious international Design Awards. Prices from £7.99. For stockists see

How about adding a twist of personality and colour to your home with Betsy Blu! Pictures made from the Heart….. Whether it be a Hand Craed personalised picture for a Nursery to a Big, Bold and Bright Animal print for a Kitchen or Playroom, we have something to suit everyone. All pictures come framed and are perfect as a Present for a First Birthday, Christening or simply to brighten up a wall with a touch of humor and flare!

For more info please visit:

Tel 07764884747 Email:

Travel chalk fun Surrey mum of two, Lesley Hill, hopes that her new product will help take the headache out of travelling and eating out with young children. The Roll-Up Chalk Mat is a blackboard on one side, a wipe-clean placemat on the other and it rolls up to tuck into your bag neatly, ready to take everywhere with you. This clever new product for the UK is the design of Lesley and her friend Louise who have teamed up to form Les & Lou. Lesley is no stranger to business, having been a partner at a Big 4 firm in London before becoming a full-time Mum, but she admits that it’s completely different taking an idea from scratch and getting it off the ground. “It’s so exciting though, and the reward will be seeing other parents and their children getting enjoyment out of our product” sums up Lesley. There’s a special introductory offer of a chalk mat, plus chalk and free delivery for just £9.99 – perfect for Christmas! See Stylish Jewellery is the perfect gift Introducing new Popcorn Bracelets from The Dinky Fingerprint Company. These stylish new designs are the latest jewellery trend. The stunning bracelets are created from sterling silver with a mesh-like link, plated in various metals to give five different colour options. These are: Dark Ruthenium Plated, Light Rhodium Plated,Yellow Gold Plated, Original Silver, and Rose Gold Plated. Each bracelet features a stylish magnetic clasp for easy closure and removal. Prices start from £50. Their gorgeous handmade fingerprint charms can also be added to the bracelets with a charm carrier. View their full range of personalised keepsakes at or call 01628 623 386. Original artwork to grace your walls How about a cheeky Chihuahua or a proud Pug from Betsy Blu’s ‘Animal Magic’ range to add personality, colour and humour to the playroom or kitchen walls? Or perhaps, for the younger ones, a personalised handcrafted picture for the nursery? There are several designs to choose from, including skull and crossbones for the boys and a pretty little puddleduck for the girls. All pictures are an ideal and unique Christmas present! For more information please visit or Email or call 07764884747.


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Gift Guide

Picture Perfect Why not treat someone to a studio session at Momento Photography or get some family portraits taken to give as Christmas gifts? Photographer, Saliha Pleace, specialises in beautiful informal portraits of babies, children and families. She takes pictures that capture your child and family in the most natural way possible, with no forced poses and no cheese, just stunning shots to last a lifetime. One of her beautiful images is on the front cover of this magazine. Based in Maidenhead, she is not a high street outfit, she is an experienced photographer who offers a bespoke service. Photo sessions can be at your home, in a studio, outside in the park or at a location of your choice. Momento Photography is currently offering a FREE session with an 8 x10 size print. For more information call 01628 771455 or email Wax lyrical with Candle by Night This year Candle by Night is running a number of candle-making workshops running up until Christmas. These are an enjoyable way to spend a few hours creating your own candles, which make perfect Christmas gifts for friends and family. Courses at Norden Farm run on Saturday November 3 and Saturday December 1. They are also taking part in the Collective Art Christmas ‘Make and Take’ workshops in Marlow for adults and children from the December 14-16 at the Pugin Rooms, St Peter’s Street. Or why not book your own party? Are you looking for a novel Christmas party or company event? If so, Candle by Night runs parties for adults and children, as well as team building workshops. Call 07771 851435 or go to for more info. Get arty and make your own Be inspired at Hands-on Art in Old Windsor who offer a wealth of arts and crafts activities for children and adults: paint unique pottery gifts with the children for family and friends; their great courses and workshops are very popular - why not give one as a present? Book a creative office Christmas party or get together with the girls and design a festive table centrepiece or dinnerware. Creative Gift Vouchers are also available. And for those that have everything… Why not book an Exclusive Evening Tour at Windsor Castle. They are available on December 14, 15, 21 & 22. Discover 1,000 years of royal history with an exclusive behindthe-ropes tour of the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. In the company of an expert guide, tour the magnificent state apartments and learn how the castle got its famous skyline. Tours include the Victorian Family Christmas display and end with a glass of champagne and a mince pie. The cost is £55.00 per person.
 Visitor information and tickets are available at Photo: John Freeman

Telephone: 01628 627 586


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Spotlight on Charity Carolyn Mayling and her family founded the charity, Rosie’s Rainbow Fund, in memory of her eleven-year-old daughter Rosie. The registered charity provides music therapy and equipment for sick and disabled children. They also help their relatives with ongoing support and bereavement counselling. Rosie’s life may have been too short but her extraordinary legacy will live on, ensuring that very sick children and their families will receive essential care through times of intolerable stress. and at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital. We also offer bereavement support for families after the loss of a child. Our aromatherapist stationed in the John Radcliffe Hospital, treats the extremely stressed parents of long stay and terminally ill children.

Why was Rosie’s Rainbow Fund set up? Rosie’s Rainbow Fund was established in 2003 following Rosie’s tragic death. Rosie was born into the family who own Redroofs Theatre School in Maidenhead and Littlewick Green. Talented Rosie inherited a love of all performing arts and had already appeared in numerous musical shows, films and on television. In December 2002 Rosie became ill and was diagnosed with vasculitis, a devastating illness affecting the blood vessels. After six months in hospital, Rosie was discharged. Six days later, at home, she suffered a fatal pulmonary haemhorrage and she died on May 14th 2003. During her treatment at the John Radcliffe Children’s hospital, Rosie expressed a wish to raise money to help other children undergoing lengthy hospital stays. It became increasingly apparent to Rosie and her family how difficult a hospital stay is for the whole family to cope with. It is lonely, frightening and stressful spending months in hospital and extensive support for the whole family is needed. They also became aware of the need for immediate care and support for bereaved parents. What is the purpose of the charity? We support sick and disabled children in hospital, school and the community. The Fund provides regular music therapy at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, the John Radcliffe Children’s Hospital in Oxford

In the community we provide music therapy and equipment for special needs children in five schools and centres across Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.

Why is the work that you are doing needed? The charity emerged from an identified need to support children and families in distressing circumstances and to try to alleviate some of the strain. The letters we regularly receive from parents, continually demonstrate the valuable support we offer to families as they experience traumatic and life-changing events.

This is a note we received in October 2012: “I would like to say a massive thank you for bringing a massive smile to my daughter Lucy’s face - I haven't heard her laugh so much in a very long time. Lucy is at John Radcliffe undergoing high dose chemo for neuroblastoma. She thoroughly enjoyed the music sessions - from the bottom of our hearts thank you. The last months in hospital have been very emotional and aromatherapy treatments have really boosted us. Amanda has been a massive emotional support and works wonders on our mind and body. Words really can't describe how truly grateful we are. Thanks for making our hospital stay much easier with the joy of hearing Lucy laugh and a pampering for mum and dad. Truly amazing xxx

What current fundraising projects are you working on? Next year is our ten-year anniversary and we are developing a fundraising plan to purchase an adapted holiday home for families, who are in desperate need of a break. This will be more cost effective than the holidays we currently provide for families. We expect this to cost around £270,000. We have a fantastic set of events lined up for 2013, including a climb of Ben Nevis, a family fun day and a performance at the Wycombe Swan. We would welcome support from schools, nurseries, businesses and individuals. The house will be a genuine community resource and we are urging people to support us in any way that they can. How can our readers get involved? We are encouraging people to join in with our events, or perhaps organise an event or raffle locally, with friends or at work. Other fundraising ideas include: asking a favourite restaurant about a set menu (on a quiet night, they can be £7 or £8) sell tickets to friends for a bit more and add a raffle; hold a stall or event at a local fair or car boot sale; organise a themed night of some kind, a pamper, wine tasting, quiz night or jumble sale. Every penny raised will go towards helping the sick children and their families, for whom Rosie was so concerned. To find out more or to get involved in fundraising go to or their facebook page.

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Wear a hat for Brain Tumour Research ‘Wear a Hat Day’ takes place on March 28 next year. It is a fun way of increasing awareness and getting people to raise money for an often overlooked form of cancer. Every year the charity, Brain Tumour Research, asks people to get sponsorship for wearing a hat for the day. The aim is to raise awareness and funds for vital research into brain tumours. From sponsored silences to charity runs and school bake sales, educational facilities around the country are being encouraged to raise money in any way they can. Sue Farrington-Smith, Director of Brain Tumour Research, says: “Brain tumour research receives less than 1% of national cancer research spending in the UK yet this deadly disease kills more children and adults under 40 than any other cancer, so please get involved on March 28 next year”. Register your interest today by calling 01296 733011;

Every girl deserves a pretty dress If you have a daughter, chances are she has plenty of pretty dresses to choose from, so spare a thought for the children growing up in poverty in countries like Malawi, India, and Ghana who do not own a single one. If you have some basic sewing skills, there is a way you can make a difference with a charity called Dress A Girl Around the World which collects handmade dresses and arranges for them to be sent to projects around the world. The dresses are being made out of new fabric or recycled pillowcases by sewing groups, schools, colleges and individuals across the UK, but more are needed. So far, 1,170 dresses and 178 pairs of shorts have already been distributed to children in Malawi, Kenya, India, Uganda and Ghana. The charity’s UK co-ordinator, Louise Horler, is still looking for people to help make dresses. You don’t have to make a dress - if you are handy with a sewing machine you can also make boys shorts, bags, hair bands and bracelets. They are also looking for people in the UK who are visiting charitable projects abroad to take and distribute dresses. For more information, sewing tips or to see the dresses that generous people in the UK have made please visit: Facebook: Twitter: @SewScrumptious

Charity Bootcamp at Braywick Park

Birthmatters successful Kenya appeal Birthmatters, who run antenatal classes in the local area, has managed to collect a large amount of toys and baby items for orphans in Kenya. One of the mums, who had attended a Birth Matters course, moved to Kenya and contacted her antenatal teacher Debra Jonckers to tell her about the plight of orphans in this country. Mums attending Birthmatters classes were asked if they would like to donate some baby items to the orphanages - and so the project began. The last collection from Birthmatters’ mums and business partners (such as Turtle Tots) was 350kgs of toys, nappies, clothes, bottles, books, shoes, hats and socks! Please donate your outgrown baby and toddler clothing to help families in need in Kenya. Please take a look at for more info and collection dates if you would like to donate

Telephone: 01628 627 586

A special charity Bootcamp is being held at 10am on November 9 at Braywick Park in Maidenhead for Mark Payge. (Ed’s note: this is for my father, please come and support us!) For just £10 you get a great hour-long, outdoor workout with fantastic personal trainer Michelle Shaw. Mark was diagnosed with colon cancer a year ago. The cancer then spread to his bladder, lymph nodes and brain. The treatment options offered in the UK only gave him one or two years to live. We are raising money so he can have specialist treatment in Germany, which will give him a much better chance of survival. The good news is that the treatment is already working, he had Gamma Knife treatment on his brain tumour three months ago which has now completely gone. If you are unable to attend, you can go to to make a donation. For more information call Michelle on 07702 043267.


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Panto Special

The history of the pantomime

Look behind you, there’s a talking horse and man dressed as a woman…it must be the pantomime season again. Allison Thomas takes a look at some of the weird and wonderful traditions behind the Christmas panto. Where did it all start? in that they had to be funny and villains at the The British Christmas pantomime has same time. mopped up all sorts of different influences Further cross-dressing was introduced into along the way, but it can mainly be traced back panto around the 1880s, with the introduction to the old 16th-century Italian commedia of the principal boy, played by a girl. The public dell’arte tradition, a populist kind of travelling demand to see comely young ladies tackling theatre performed by wandering actors. the roles of Jack, Dick Whittington, Aladdin etc. Because of language and communication is very easily explained. In an era when ladies problems, these shows increasingly focused on were corseted and covered up almost into physical acting, slapstick, comedy and funny invisibility, the sight of an attractive young costumes. It is a style that also inspired female clad in calf-hugging tights was always Audience participation and double entertainment like the Punch and Judy show guaranteed to swell box-office figures. entendre - In no other show are the and the Victorian Music Hall. Comic theatrical Animal magic - As the 19th century audience expected to join in quite as much as presentations featuring commedia dell’arte progressed, the subjects of pantomime shifted in a panto. The villian must always be booed characters like Harlequin, Clown and to fairy tales, with interludes of juggling and and hissed every time they appear on stage. Pulcinella became popular across acrobatics, providing wholesome Did When the villain is creeping around or behind Europe. The first use of the entertainment for children, while panto the hero, the audience must warn them by you know? word ‘pantomime’ was in the performances also became particularly shouting “He’s Behind You!”. If a character tells To this day, evil panto Harlequin-inspired ‘balletassociated with and limited to the a fib or gets something wrong (which happens characters enter the stage pantomime’, The Loves of Christmas season. The Victorian era a lot) the audience are expected to respond from the left, and goodies Mars and Venus, staged at also saw the increasing importance with cries of “Oh no he isn’t” or “oh yes he is!”. from stage right, echoing a of animal roles in pantos. Famous Lincolns Inn Field Theatre There’s often a song and usually towards the commedia dell’arte tradition in London in 1717. The first panto animals include Jack’s cow, end of the show some children are invited to which always placed the ‘modern’ pantomime dates Aladdin’s camel and Dick go up on stage and join in. There’s also lots entrances to heaven and Whittington’s cat, not to back to 1773, when the Did of double entendre – more for the adults Theatre Royal in Drury Lane hell on these respective mention Priscilla the you know? in the audience than the kids, whose presented Jack the Giant Killer, Goose and Puss in Boots sides of the stage. heads, in theory, it goes right over. The expression followed within the next three – many actors have Modern pantomime - There’s no ‘slapstick’ is another decades by Robinson Crusoe, Aladdin, specialized in these so-called such thing really as ‘traditional’ commedia dell’arte Babes in the Wood and Cinderella. ‘skin parts’, and skilled animal pantomime. The whole point of the tradition. Harlequin used to Cross-dressing - It was the famous 19thimpersonators can achieve genre is that it has constantly carry around a wooden century clown, Joseph Grimaldi, who their own cult status. evolved and adapted throughout sword-cum-wand which pioneered the tradition of the Pantomime Top of the bill - No modern its history, to keep up with changing could be used to make a Dame, or an old woman played by a male Christmas panto would be public tastes. Panto provides an slapping sound when important source of income for comedian. Grimaldi’s roles included Queen complete without its ‘celebrity’ Rondabellyana in Harlequin and the Red Dwarf guest star, usually a soap star, he ‘hit’ people. many theatres and is also often the first and Dame Cecily Suet in Harlequin Whittington. reality TV personality, comedian, TV – and potentially formative – experience The Pantomime Dame is often the hero’s presenter or retired sportsperson, to young children have of the theatre. A mother, for example Widow Twankey in top the bill. This is a tradition which dates back rollicking Jack and the Beanstalk or Dick Aladdin or Dame Trott in Jack and the to the great 19th-century impressario Whittington could have them coming back to Beanstalk. The Ugly Sisters were first played by Augustus Harris, who would regularly hire the theatre for years to come. Which is why men in 1860, at the Royal Strand Theatre, stellar contemporary artistes for his Drury pantomime is still just as relevant today as it London. The Ugly Sisters differ from the Dame Lane panto performances. ever has been…Oh yes it is…

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‘Strictly’ star loves his new panto role

Panto Special

Have you been to the Chilterns before? Yes I have, to Aylesbury and High Wycombe, and to be honest I love it – the countryside is beautiful and the people are lovely. I’m really looking forward to doing the panto here. We can’t wait to see you dancing together with Ann after all your confrontations on Strictly. How did you decide to work together? We came up with the idea over a glass of wine after Ann and I did a dance together on the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour – Anton wasn’t available so I decided to come out from behind the judging desk as a surprise and do a Charleston with Ann and it brought the house down. I thought, “I think I’m missing a trick here with this panto, darling!”, and as I was looking for a servant, I asked Ann if she wanted to do it. She jumped at the chance to do something new. So she doesn’t get her revenge on you? Well, she does! I’m playing Queen Lucretia, the wicked queen, and Ann’s my lady-in-waiting. I set up the jokes but this time she has the punchline. On Strictly, I commented in an appropriate, or what I thought was appropriate, fashion about her dancing and she would answer back, so we had that sort of rapport anyway, and it’s just so nice that now she throws the punchline. How did you become friends? Well we became friends on the tour, it was odd to begin with as I’d only ever been on the judging side of things and I’d not had any opportunity to rehearse with her at all. I didn’t know what she was going to be like – in fact I thought I could make her better than she was. I now know that’s impossible and I understand why Anton danced around her because he had to! This year we’re going to do more dancing, and there’ll be plenty of illegal lifts because they’re with Ann.

Telephone: 01628 627 586

I imagine you’re used to be people booing at you because of Strictly? Yes, but you’re doing your job right if they’re booing in panto. It’s quite funny though because by the end of the show, the audience is often divided. The kids are still booing but a lot of the parents are cheering. It’s not that they’re screaming and yelling, “Go on kill Snow White”, but I think they’re on my side actually – an ageing lady trying to pick up a young, handsome prince… How frustrating do you find it when you’ve got someone on Strictly who’s clearly not very good and the public keeps voting them in – you must get to a stage when you want them to go? I try and guide the public to make informed choices. It’s been my job to attempt to teach them about dance and I think the public are quite savvy now – they understand the difference between a foxtrot and a waltz. I like it that Ann was kept in, up until a point; and generally the public are right, they like it for a while but then they begin to think whether a dancer should win it or whether a comedy actor should win it. Strictly is an entertainment show, not a reality show. Look at how it compares with something like Britain’s Got Talent: we’d never have a dog win it. Did you deliberately decide to be Mr Nasty or did that just evolve? It came out of our auditions. I was watching a screen and then they asked me to make a comment and I said it was pretty boring – I don’t like the way she walks down the stairs, she doesn’t look confident, I don’t like the way she moves round the floor, I don’t like the holds they were in, she was wobbling on her heels… So they said, ‘Craig can you just sum that up in three words?’ and I said, ‘Yes I can: DULL, DULL, DULL’. Well, the first show was scripted and those were my first three words. And overnight I was the bad guy, I was out the next morning and people walked past saying ‘DULL, DULL,


Photo © Mike Swift

Craig Revel Horwood is starring in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with Ann Widdecombe at the Wycombe Swan in High Wycombe this December. He talks to Allison Thomas about dancing with Ann, Strictly Come Dancing and being Mr Nasty.

DULL’ at me. Suddenly I was the droniest, dreariest queen who was trying to be Simon Cowell. I thought this is ridiculous. But the show’s gone to 49 countries, it’s in the Guiness Book Of Records as the most produced show in the world, it’s the BBC 1 flagship show and I’m glad that the British are supporting it, and there’s something on the TV that’s not I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here or Big Brother. It’s an entertainment show for all the family, there’s no smut, no filth, it’s all family fun, just like panto! So what would you like for Christmas? Boxing Day off!! I’d love that, but I’ve always got two shows and everyone wants to get out of the house, so come and boo and holler at me. I can’t wait!! Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is on at the Wycombe Swan from 7 December to 5 January. Call the box office on 01494 552885 or visit for booking info. Turn to page 21 for our local guide to Christmas Shows and Pantos in the area.

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Excessive sugar

Addictive, unwholesome and everywhere: The toxic truth about sugar in our children’s diet. By Elisabeth Dolton o you sent your child off to school this morning on a full bowl of cereal and some fresh orange juice. Thinking this is a good start to the day, you may have already given them over half their recommended daily allowance of sugar. This scenario is common across many families. Over the past ten years the use of sugar in foods has undergone a transformation, resulting in us potentially providing a diet for our children that contains too much sugar than their bodies can cope with.


A silent revolution Essentially, the mass development of a cheap, highly sweet, glucose-fructose syrup, produced from surplus corn, started in the 70’s, and was soon pumped into every conceivable food: pizza, coleslaw, meat. It provides a "just baked" sheen on bread and cakes, makes everything sweeter, and helps to keep foods moist so extends shelf life from days to years. At the same time low fat foods were being embraced by dieters, so as fat was taken out of foods, sugar replaced it to maintain taste. Unsurprisingly, sugar consumption has trebled worldwide over the last 50 years, and this purified sugar (known as ‘added’ sugar) is now an alarmingly major part of the Western diet. As a result, the amount of sugar going into our bodies has been silently revolutionised.

Unavoidable UK guidelines recommend that added sugars shouldn’t make up more than around 50g a day, equivalent to ten teaspoons of sugar for adults and nine for five to ten-year-olds. Added sugar is now found in almost all processed foods and not just obviously sweet foods - glucosefructose syrup is found in everyday products, such as cereal, salad dressing, sausages, making it easy to send our children over the recommended limit, sometimes with just one product. Increasing addiction Moreover, recent research has been looking into a worrying trend that the more sugar we eat, the more we want, and concluding that the addictive nature of sugar for our children is much higher than previously thought. Added sugar dulls the brain’s mechanism that tells you to stop

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eating, by reducing activity in the brain’s anorexigenic oxytocin system that gives the body the ‘full’ feeling. Without this, our appetite becomes insatiable, making it very easy to overeat. The dangers “Sugar is ubiquitous, and the problem with refined sugar as opposed to natural sugar,” says Tracey Harper, Nutritional Therapist, “is that this sugar is an empty food with the goodness striped away, so when eaten it actually robs the body of vital nutrients, resulting in a depleted immune system.” She goes on to explain that sugar feeds bad bacteria in the gut, the gut lining becomes exposed, so toxins can enter the blood stream, causing allergens to develop and other auto-immune deficiencies. Studies confirm this, showing that excess sugars cause a fifty-percent drop in the ability of white blood cells to fight off bacteria. The growing problem of obesity in the UK with 31% of children now classified as overweight and the rising incidence of Type 2 diabetes, once associated with old people, also points to the overconsumption of sugar in children’s daily diet. Excess sugar rots teeth and let’s not forget, poor memory, low moods and depression all have been linked to the over-consumption of sugar. The recognisable 'sugar high' you get after eating sugar resulting in more energy and improved mood is temporary. After some time, the body crashes, energy levels plummet, leaving lethargy and tiredness. Further effects can include hyperactivity in children, crankiness and eczema.



Further information Jamie Oliver’s TED Award speech Thanks to Tracey Harper for her contribution to the article and great tips for reducing sugar in children’s diet – to contact email or go to

So, as we scratch our heads on how to get our kids to eating less sweets and exercising more, perhaps we also need to start looking more closely at what are putting on their plates at meal and snack times. Main offenders • 1.5l bottle of Volvic Touch of Fruit Lemon and Lime – 16 ½ teaspoons of sugar • McDonald’s milkshake - 16 teaspoons • Orangina 500ml - 13 teaspoons • Dolmio Bolognese sauce, 500g - 6 teaspoons • Walls soft scoop vanilla ice cream, 200ml – 4 ½ teaspoons • Serving of Kellogg’s Frosties - 4 teaspoons • Two McVities Jaffa Cakes - 3 teaspoons • Muller Light Strawberry yoghurt, 175g – 2 ½ teaspoons (Source: How to spot a high sugar food? Look for ‘total sugars’ on the label which include natural and added sugar A food with less than 5g ‘total sugars’ per 100g is classified as low, more than 15g per 100g is high.

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Reducing added sugar in your family’s diet • Remember natural sugars are better - Soak apricots, whizz them in a blender, and use that to sweeten foods • Ensure every meal includes protein. Have meat, fish, vegetables or salad with pasta or pizza, so your child is getting everything he/she needs for the body to function properly • Eat from scratch. Eat real food not processed food – porridge with a dash of honey has everything a young child needs to start off the day • Make your own pasta sauce, stuffed with lots of pureed vegetables (carrots, peppers, greens.) Make a large batch then freeze small portions • Make smoothies using a hand blender and a jug. Add in a vegetable, e.g. avocado and strawberry. They are cheaper and as good as any supermarket brand • Children eat what is there. Keep sugary snacks and junk food out of the house, instead offer oat biscuits, hummus, chopped vegetables, Whole Earth peanut butter on crackers.

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Time Out

Compiled by Trynke Casale

Horrible Histories:The Terrible Tudors, the Hexagon, Reading; November 7 -11.

Guided Autumn walk, the Burnham Beeches, Farnham Common; November 12

My Big Little Sister, Norden Farm; November 17


Windsor. 10am-5pm. Discover art for all, including original paintings, photography,limited edition prints and sculpture. Free workshops for adults and children. Tickets: adults £7, children 5-12yrs £1. 01753 591892; Sunday November 11. CHRISTMAS FOOD FESTIVAL at Hare Hatch Sheeplands, London Road, Hare Hatch, Reading. 10am – 4pm. The food festival offers a true taste of Christmas and a wonderful day out. Come and try some tempting treats, and maybe take home some tips to make your Christmas and this party season go with a swing! 0118 940 1600; Monday November 12. AUTUMN LEAVES, guided morning walk in the Burnham Beeches, Hawthorn Lane, Farnham Common. Introduction to the history and wildlife of the National Nature Reserve and, hopefully, an autumn display from the world famous beeches. Booking required. 01753 647358; Thursday November 15. AUTUMN LEAF CROWNS, family activities at the Natural History Museum, Akeman Street, Tring. 30-minute workshops at 10.15am and 2pm. Make a natural crown to wear for the occasion. Cost: £1.50, available on the day. 020 79426171; Friday November 16. OPERA DUDES – LICENSED TO THRILL at Burnham Park Hall, Burnham. 7.30pm (Doors open at 7pm). Part of Buckinghamshire’s Theatre in the Villages. The Opera Dudes do opera, swing, showstoppers and impressions, but also include funny stories, singalongs, a concert piano solo and a silly piano duet. Suitable for adults and children 6+. Tickets £15, available via 01628 661381. Monday November 17. JACK AND THE BEANSTALK PANTO DAY at the Theatre Royal Windsor, Thames Street, Windsor. From 9am onwards and for ages 5-16 years. Pantomime workshop with lots of song, dance and comedy, finishing with a mini-pantomime performance on the main stage. Cost: £50. 01753 853 888; Saturday November 17. THE HISTORICAL TRAIL, guided walk at the Burnham Beeches, Hawthorn Lane, Farnham Common. Learn about the history of the reserve, from Iron Age hill forts and 19th century composers to the D-Day landings. Booking required. 01753 647358; Saturday November 17. MY BIG LITTLE SISTER at Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Altwood Road, Maidenhead. 2pm. Tom can’t understand his little sister Ruby. She wants to be a grown-up, with no-one telling her what to do. Mum says you should be careful what you wish for! Tickets: all seats £8.50, family £31. 01628 788997; Saturday November 17. WINDSOR MEGA NEARLY NEW SALE at Windsor Leisure Centre, Stovell Road, Windsor. 1-2.30pm (12.45pm entry for NCT members). NCT Slough Windsor and District Branch’s Nearly New Sales have now been awarded the Gold Standard. Stock up on Christmas presents. Entry: £1. 0844 243 6264; Saturday November 24. SANTA’S ARRIVAL PARADE & FUN DAY at Hare Hatch Sheeplands, London Road, Hare Hatch, Reading. 11am. Santa arrives in style every year and this year is no different. He will be saying hello to all the boys and girls and collecting Christmas letters. There is plenty to do including a living nativity, entertainment by Bertie Slippers and circus skills with Oojamaflip! You can also visit Santa’sgrotto from 11.20am to 5pm. 0118 940 1600;

Sunday November 25. WINDSOR STREET GALLERY in Peascod Street, Windsor. 11am-5pm. Open air fine art show. Joint project between Windsor Town partnership and Windsor & Maidenhead Artist’s Cooperative. Sunday November 25. THIRD ANNUAL BROOM FARM TOY RUN, annual bike meeting for charity. Lots of Santas on bikes meet at Legoland at 11am and ride through Windsor to The Broom Farm Estate in Dedworth to deliver presents for The Forces Children's Trust Charity. Wednesday November 21. DIWALI CELEBRATION at Norden Farm, Altwood Road, Maidenhead. 7pm. Special performance with Kathak and Bollywood dance performed by children from Norden Farm’s regular classes and readings about the Diwali story.Variety of craft stalls open from 6pm. Tickets: £7 per person, £25 family of four. 01628 788997; Thursday November 29 to Saturday December 1. ABBA MERRY CHRISTMAS at the Theatre Royal Windsor, Thames Street, Windsor. 8pm, also at 4.45pm on Saturday. The UK’s No1 concert show’s festive party spectacular, starring all the ABBA hits, celebrating its 19th year. Tickets: £13 to £33.50. 01753 853 888;

Weekends and school holidays in November and December, till January 6. THE FIRE AND LIGHT SHOW at the Look Out Discovery Centre The Look Out Discovery Centre, Nine Mile Ride, Bracknell. Shows at 11am, 12 noon, 2pm and 3.15pm. How does a candle keep burning, which creatures create their own light and other experiments. Cost: £1.85 per person, in addition to exhibition admission. 01344 354400; WEEKEND FUN DAYS for children at Hare Hatch Sheeplands, London Road, Hare Hatch, Reading during November and December. Free entertainment and crafts in the play area. Circus skills, Christmas crafts, music and dance, magic, balloons and facepainting. 0118 940 1600; Daily till Sunday November 18. DARING EXPLORERS at the Natural History Museum, Akeman Street, Tring. 10am-5pm, Sundays 2-5pm. Discover true stories of danger, death and disaster from the Victorian species seekers. 020 79426171; Daily till Friday November 30. SELF-LED AUTUMN TRAILS at Cliveden, Taplow, Maidenhead. 10am-4pm. Pick up a free Family Trail from the Information Centre. 01628 550320; Fridays in November. NATURE WALKS at Basildon Park, Lower Basildon, near Reading. 11am-12pm. Guided nature walk around the estate’s parkland and historic woodland with a National Trust warden or a member of the Reading and District Natural History Society. 0118 9843040, Wednesday November 7 to Sunday November 11. HORRIBLE HISTORIES: THE TERRIBLE TUDORS and THE VILE VICTORIANS at the Hexagon, Queen’s Walk, Reading. Two separate shows at varying times of the day. Experience HORRIBLE HISTORIES live on stage, using actors and ground-breaking 3D special effects. Tickets: adults £16, under 16s £12, family £50. 0118 9606060; Saturday November 10. AUTUMN NCT NEARLY NEW SALE in Marlow, Great Marlow School, Bobmore Lane, Marlow. 1.30-2.45pm (1.15 entry for NCT members). Quality nearly new items at bargain prices. Toys, children's books and dvds, baby and children's clothes, nursery equipment, maternity wear, parenting books, etc. Entry: £1. No pushchairs in hall. Saturday November 10. SCULPTURE AT THE PARK at the Heritage Park, Herschel Park, Upton Close, Slough. 10am-4pm. Take part in creating a permanent willow sculpture for the park. Learn how to work with willow with the help of an artist. For children and adults of all ages! Spaces limited so arrive early. 01753 875209; Saturday November 10. BIRDING COMPETITION at Horseshoe Lake, Mill Lane, Sandhurst. 11am-1pm. Test your bird watching skills and see how many species you can identify on your walk around the lake. Bring binoculars, identification books, suitable clothing and footwear. Teams of 2-6 people, all ages. Booking required on 01344 354441. Saturday November 10 and Sunday November 11. WINDSOR CONTEMPORARY ART FAIR at Windsor Racecourse, Maidenhead Road,

Telephone: 01628 627 586


DECEMBER Saturday December 1 till Sunday December 16. ‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS…’ at Basildon Park, Lower Basildon, near Reading. 10am-4pm. The house is ready for Christmas! Special Christmas trail for children; Christmas decoration workshops in weekends. Cost of trail: £2. 0118 9843040; Saturday December 1 till Sunday December 30. CHRISTMAS AT HUGHENDEN, Hughenden Manor, High Wycombe. 11am-3pm. (Closed on 24, 25 & 31 December). See the Manor decorated especially for Christmas. Plus fun activities for all the family. 01494 755573, Saturday December 1 to Sunday January 6. A VICTORIAN FAMILY CHRISTMAS at Windsor Castle. See how Queen Victoria and Prince Albert celebrated Christmas at Windsor with their young family. Open daily, except 25 and 26 December. 020 77667304; Daily in December. FREE ADMISSION to The Savill Garden, Wick Lane, Englefield Green. 10am-4.30pm. (Closed on December 24 and 25). Special leaflet, The Twelve Plants of Christmas, available for all visitors, to help you have fun and learn from your visit. 01784 435544; Saturday 1 December. ART ON THE STREET, in the High Street, Maidenhead.Visit Maidenhead’s special outdoor gallery and market, with creative workshops, live music all over town, a BMW ArtCar for vistors to doodle on, two £10,000 state-of-the-art digital whiteboards to for children to play on, a vintage cafe and a room of ceramics. Saturday December 1 and Sunday December 2. TRADITIONAL CHILTERNS CHRISTMAS at the Chiltern Open Air Museum, Newland Park, Gorelands Lane, Chalfont St Giles. The park is decorated with Christmas greenery and special activities in the Village Green buildings. 01494 872163;

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Time Out


Santa's Fun Run, Higginson Park, Marlow; December 2

Windsor on Ice, Alexandra Gardens; December 8 - January 6

Christmas with Mr Toad & Friends, River and Rowing Museum, Henley; December 15

Sunday December 2. SANTA’S FUN RUN, in Higginson Park, Marlow. 10am start. 5km run, organised by the Rotary Clubs of Marlow, and raising funds for Guide Dogs for the Blind, or a charity of your choice. Sir Steve Redgrave will start the run and present the awards. Entrance is open to all. Fun for everyone, spectators and entrants alike. Entrance: adults £14, 12-17yr olds £10, children £5. 01628 476610; Sunday December 2 to Friday December 21. CHRISTMAS COIN HUNT AND CHRISTMAS CRAFTS at the REME Museum of Technology, Isaac Newton Road, Arborfield, Reading. 0118 976 3375; Wednesday December 5 and Thursday December 6. TODDLER DAYS with a Christmas Theme at the Look Out Discovery Centre, Nine Mile Ride, Bracknell. 10am-4pm. Special days for both parent and toddlers. Art and craft activities, face or hand painting, lots of hands-on activities, storytelling, and more. Tickets: £6.45 per parent and toddler, £1.50 each additional toddler. 01344 354400; Saturday December 8. WINGS OF WINTER at Herschel Park, Upton Close, Slough. 10am-12.30pm. A walk around the park and nature reserve to see which species of bird are overwintering in the various habitats on site. Meet by the kiosk in the Heritage Park. 01753 875209; Saturday December 8. FESTIVE WALK at Waltham Place, Church Hill, White Waltham. Afternoon. Winter walk with Head Gardener, Beatrice Krehl. Collect berries and foliage for decorating. Followed by homemade organic cake and biscuits, tea and coffee. Tickets: adults £7, children £3. Booking essential. 01628 825 517;

Saturday December 8. CLEVER AND CRAFTY - Gifts for Christmas at the River and Rowing Museum, Mill Meadows, Henley. 10.30-12.30pm. Special 3D techniques with paper: gift boxes out of recycled Christmas cards, folded stars and other decorations. Make a golden candlestick out of clay. For ages 7-11. Cost: £8.50. Booking essential. 01491 415600; Saturday December 8 to Sunday January 6. WINDSOR ON ICE at the Alexandra Gardens, Barry Avenue, Windsor. Sessions from 10am to 9pm. Booking essential. Tickets: children £6.50 (off-peak)/£8.50 (peak), adults £8.50/£10.50, family £24/£32. Sunday December 9. A DICKENS OF A CHRISTMAS at the Wycombe Museum, Priory Avenue, High Wycombe. 2-4.30pm. Free, drop-in activities for all the family. Enjoy an afternoon of music, crafts and festive fun in true Victorian style. 01494 421 895; Sunday December 9. RAPUNZEL at the Kenton Theatre, New Street, Henley. 11.30am and 2.30pm. Theatre of Widdershins have taken this Grimm tale right back to its dark roots, teased out the tangles and styled it into a beautifully coiffured hair piece! Suitable for children 4+. Tickets: all seats £8. 01491 575698; Tuesday December 11. POLAR BEAR CHRISTMAS CARDS, family activities at the Natural History Museum, Tring. 30-minute workshops at 10.15am and 2pm. Make your own great white bear card to take home for Christmas. Cost: £1.50, available on the day. 020 79426171; Saturday December 15. CHRISTMAS FLORAL DECORATIONS, at Herschel Park, Upton Close, Slough. Three sessions during the day. 1½ hour workshop, demonstrating how to make a table centre piece for Christmas, and make your own. Booking essential. For adults and older children. 01753 875209; Saturday December 15. CANDLES AND GLASS, family workshops at the Reading Museum, Town Hall, Blagrave Street, Reading. 1-hour family drop-in sessions at 10am, 11.15am, 1pm and 2.15pm. Make candle decorations or paint glass jars to decorate your Christmas table. For ages 5+. Cost: £3 per person, pay on the day. 0118 937 3400; Saturday December 15. CHRISTMAS WITH MR TOAD & FRIENDS at the River and Rowing Museum, Mill Meadows, Henley. 10.30am-4pm. Join Mr Toad and his friends Ratty, Mole and Badger as they celebrate Christmas with crafts, activities, songs, dance and presents. Find out what happens to wildlife in the winter. Most suitable for under 10s. Cost: Museum admission + £3 per child. 01491 415600; Friday December 21 to Friday January 4. THE OWL WHO WAS AFRAID OF THE DARK EXHIBITION in the Gallery at Norden Farm, Altwood Road, Maidenhead. An exhibition of entries from the Centre’s art competition for local children, inspired by their Christmas show, The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark. How to enter: contact the Education Officer on Saturday December 22. KIDS’ CLUB CHRISTMAS PARTY AND WII ACTIVITY DAY at the Firestation, St Leonard’s Road, Windsor. From 1pm. Festive Wii tournament plus an array of arts and crafts activities and seasonal songs for non-stop entertainment. Tickets: £1. Booking required. 01753 866 865;

Saturday December 22. FAMILY DAY: CHRISTMAS RACEDAY at Ascot Racecourse, Ascot. Gates open at 10.45am, last race at 3.40pm. Festive fun for the whole family, with fairground rides, Christmas storytelling and meet Santa’s reindeer.Visit Father Christmas and join in the Christmas carol concert. Grandstand admission: adults from £18; under-18s free. 0844 346 3000; Sunday December 23. CHRISTMAS AT HERSCHEL PARK, Upton Close, Slough. 3-4pm. Welcoming local singer Shola Hepburn, harpist Satu Salo and pianist Lenford Quashie to the park, with festive songs, music and poetry, plus mince pies. Meet at the Bentley Education Centre. Sunday December 23. HANDS-ON CONSERVATION EVENT at Larks Hill, off Harvest Ride, Warfield. 10am–12pm. Join in with some Christmas Community Orchard work. Meet at the Larks Hill car park. 01344 354441. Wednesday December 26. ANNUAL BOXING DAY PRAM RACE through the streets of Windlesham. Fancy dress charity event starting at 11am at Linde Group Headquarters (BOC) on the Chertsey Road and finishes at The Windlesham Club & Theatre, Kennel Lane, where the prizes are awarded. 01276 472977; Thursday December 27 and Friday December 28. MINCE PIE SPECIALS at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, Quainton Road Station, Quainton, Aylesbury. A great family day out with a festive flavour. No need to book. Just turn up and enjoy the fun. 01296 655720; Saturday December 29 and Sunday December 30. WINTER FESTIVITIES at Windsor Castle. Activities will be based around the Victorian Christmas display in the State Apartments. Free with entry to the Castle (free for RBWM residents). 020 77667304; Saturday December 29 to Monday December 31. MINCE PIE SPECIALS at the Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway, Chinnor Station. Trains at 10.30am, 12noon, 1.30pm and 3pm. No need to book. 01844 353535; Sunday December 30. MARLOW HILLS, MILL END AND RIVERSIDE WALK with the Loddon Valley Ramblers. 10am-4pm. Meet at Hurley Village car park near the church. A walk through the hills to the west of Marlow, Mill End and a riverside walk back to Hurley. Bring packed lunch; leaders will provide mince pies & mulled wine. Booking recommended. 0118 9872496. More walks on Tuesday January 1. ANNUAL SUNNINGHILL WHEELBARROW RACE starting at noon, Upper Village Road, Sunninghill. Teams compete for various trophies, including Best Fancy Dress and Fastest Time. Fundraising event organised by the Rotary Club of Ascot and the local community. Thursday January 3. NEW YEAR’S TREASURE HUNT at Herschel Park, Upton Close, Slough. 1-4pm. Starting at the Bentley Education Centre, search the park for the clues and solve the puzzle before returning to the centre to make a snowman hat. 01753 875209; Thursday January 3. LIGHTS AND LANTERNS at the River and Rowing Museum, Mill Meadows, Henley. 2-4pm, drop-in anytime. Cast some light on those dark winter nights with our fun and easy to make lanterns. Decorate using your own design and show Ratty and Mole what they are missing in the wild wood! Free with museum admission



FAMILIES Thames Valley East


FUN + SAFE + CHALLENGING Classes for Children walking to 3 years plus. Enjoy participating with your child in our safe indoor environment with its exciting up-to-date play equpment, based within the Altwood School, Maidenhead. Every day at 10am from Wednesday to Saturday. Our programme has been developed through more than 28 years’ experience with young children and their parents. Gymtots will enable your child to gain confidence by expanding their physical ability, coordination and social skills, with your involvement and under the guidance of our experienced staff. Our advanced class for 3 to 4 years plus, without parent participation, on Wednesdays at 3pm, is more structured and builds upon the earlier classes. Telephone

07 957 223 124 for details

Play sessions for under-5s at the Phoenix Gymnastics Club Have fun in this fully equipped gym with your kids. Sessions Monday: 10.30-11.30 Tuesday to Friday: 9.30 -10.30 & 11.00–12.00 Tuesday & Thursday: 1.00-2.00pm Cost just £3.50 per child (must be accompanied by adult)

Refreshments available Phoenix Gymnastics Club Unit 1, Water Oakley Farm, Maidenhead Road, Windsor Tel:01628 778881

Blossom Ballet

All about fun!

For a FREE taster class or for further information please contact Lucy: 07813084283

The ultimate experience in children’s entertainment for 2-13 years

Blossom Ballet Playful, imaginative dance for 18 month - 5 years

Blossom Ballet and its syllabi were created specifically for babies, toddlers and young children. • New Classes Added • New Weekend Classes • ISTD Ballet and Tap • Tap Dance 4 years+

 Interactive party games Hi-energy action rhymes  Multi-coloured parachute  Assault course  Mini indoor football  Limbo dancing  Fairies and pirates dressing-up adventure  Sweets, stickers and prizes galore!  Disco parties  Going Home Presents

Blossom Ballet is about having lots of fun and making new friends. Classes throughout the week, including weekends, in Windsor, Birch Hill and Maidenhead.

For further information contact Maxine Tel: 020 8573 6288 Mob: 07814 605175

For Little Kickers & Little Rugby classes in Maidenhead, Bourne End, Henley, Marlow & Stokenchurch. Call 01628 526 584 or email For Little Kickers classes in Ascot, Langley, Windsor & Eton call 07412 166 686 or email

Telephone: 01628 627 586


FAMILIES Thames Valley East



FAMILIES Thames Valley East



Compiled by Trynke Casale

Britt Ekland starring in Jack and the Beanstalk, Theatre Royal, Windsor; December 5 to January 6

Christmas Time Out

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Wycombe Swan; Dec 7 - Jan 5

The Nutcracker,Theatre Royal, Windsor; November 13 – 17

PANTOMIMES & CHRISTMAS SHOWS JACK AND THE BEANSTALK at Theatre Royal Windsor, Thames Street, Windsor, on Wednesday December 5 2012 to Sunday January 6 2013. Windsor welcomes back British pop icon Anita Harris and international superstar Britt Ekland. Joining them will be West End legend Michael Crawford as the voice of the giant, panto sensation and ‘Captain of The Fishy Rose’ Kevin Cruise returns to the stage as Simple Simon, and joining the Britain’s Got Talent finalist will be Windsor favourite Steven Blakely, as Dame Trott. Last but definitely not least, they also have the fabulous Postman Pat and his faithful sidekick Jess the Cat. This fantastic pantomime will be full of song, dance and audience participation - great fun for all the family! Standard ticket prices start from as little as £11. 01753 853 888; THE OWL WHO WAS AFRAID OF THE DARK at Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Altwood Road, Maidenhead, on Tuesday November 27 to Saturday December 30, at varying times. Based on the classic book by Jill Tomlinson. Join Plop the baby barn owl on a Christmas adventure. He discovers campfires, fireworks and moonlit adventures. With live music, puppetry and storytelling. Suitable for 3+ Tickets: adults £11.50, children £9.50, family £40. 01628 788997; THE WONDERFUL ADVENTURES OF PINOCCHIO at the Novello Theatre, High Street, Sunninghill, Ascot .The Show runs from Thursday December 13 until Saturday January 12 with performances at 10.30am (school term time) and 3pm (weekends and holiday period). This famous movie story is brought to sparkling life by a fully professional cast. An enchanting treat with music, audience participation and fun for the entire family. Tickets: adults £17.50, children £15.50. Concessions for Schools, Groups and Birthdays or Christmas parties. Students & Senior Citizens tickets: £8.50 available on day of performance only (subject to availability). 01344 620881 or 0I628 822982. THE NUTCRACKER at the Theatre Royal Windsor, Thames Street, Windsor, on Tuesday November 13 to Saturday November 17 at 7.30pm, also at 2.30pm on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Tchaikovsky’s world famous classical ballet performed by the Vienna Festival Ballet. Tickets from £11. 01753 853 888; A CHRISTMAS CAROL – by Ballet Theatre UK, at South Hill Park, Ringmead, Bracknell, on Sunday November 11 at 3pm. Combining traditional ballet with captivating theatre performed to a glorious classical score. Tickets: £17, Conc £16, Members £15, Under 16s £10, Family £48. 01344 484123; ALADDIN at the Kenton Theatre, New Street, Henley, on Monday November 26 to Saturday December 1 at 7pm. Amateur production by StageWorks students. Fun show for all the family. Tickets: £5-10. Box office: 07761 129546 or ALADDIN at Colnbrook Village Hall,Vicarage Way, Colnbrook, on Friday November 30 to Saturday December 8, at 2pm and 7.45pm. Performed by the Colnbrook Amateur Stage Theatre. Tickets: adults £8.40, concessions £6.30. 07944 215487; TREASURE ISLAND at the Memorial Hall, Straight Road, Old Windsor, on Friday November 30 to Saturday December 1 and on Thursday December 6 to Saturday December 8, with performances at 2.30pm and 8pm (or 7pm on December 1). By the Riverside Players. Tickets: adults £9, children £5. 07717 671765;

Telephone: 01628 627 586

MIDWINTER PROM at South Hill Park, Ringmead, Bracknell, with Park Opera, on Sunday December 2 at 7.30pm. Enjoy gems from the world of opera, as well as some great Christmas music, and a few surprises, too. A fundraising event in aid of South Hill Park Arts Centre. Tickets: adults £12.50, children £6.25. 01344 484123; A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Ballet Theatre UK at the Kenton Theatre, New Street, Henley, on Sunday December 2 at 2.30pm and 7.30pm. Perfect tale for Christmas, to be enjoyed by everyone, young and old. 01491 575698; JACK AND THE BEANSTALK at South Hill Park, Ringmead, Bracknell, on Saturday December 1 to Saturday January 5.Various performances. Traditional panto telling the story of Jack and his magic beans. Tickets: adults £16, concessions £13 , family £56. 01344 484123; CINDERELLA, family pantomime by the Marlow Entertainers at the Shelley Theatre, Court Garden Leisure Centre, Marlow, on Wednesday December 5, Friday December 7 to Sunday December 9 at 7pm on Wednesday, 7.30pm on Friday and Saturday, 2.30pm on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets: adults £9, children £7, via DEAR SANTA at the Firestation, St Leonard’s Road, Windsor, on Thursday December 6 to Sunday December 9. Various morning and afternoon performances. Rod Campbell, the author of Dear Zoo, brings the magic of Christmas to life in his newest children's show, consisting of just one act. Suitable for the under 5s, with audience participation. Meet Santa after the show and receive a gift! 01753 866865; SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS at the Wycombe Swan, St Mary Street, High Wycombe, on Friday December 7 to Saturday January 5. Starring Craig Revel Horwood as The Wicked Queen and Ann Widdecombe as Widdy in Waiting.Various afternoon and evening performances. Tickets from £18.50 to £27. 01494 512000; THE NUTCRACKER at Farnham Common Village Hall, Victoria Road, Farnham Common, on Saturday December 8. 3pm. Magical Christmas play, adapted from the classic story by Hoffman, taking place in a 19th century German toyshop where Zachariah the toymaker’s toys suddenly come to life. Tickets: adults £8, children £5, available via, or 07779 161493. PETER PAN at the Camberley Theatre, Knoll Road, Camberley, on Saturday December 8 to Saturday January 5. With presenter of Disney Channel's Art Attack, Jassa Ahluwalia, and Emmerdale star, Freya Copeland. Music, comedy and plenty of audience participation. Tickets: adults £17.95, concessions £15.95, family of 6 £94.50. 01276 707600; BEAUTY AND THE BEAST at the Hexagon, Queen’s Walk, Reading, on Saturday December 8 to Sunday January 6. With CBeebies superstar Justin Fletcher and Vicki Michelle (Yvette from 'Allo 'Allo), Reading's favourite Dame. Tickets: £18, opening weekend £14, groups £15, schools £9.50. 0118 9606060;


ROBIN HOOD at the Desborough Suite, Town Hall, St Ives Road, Maidenhead, on Wednesday December 12 to Sunday December 16, at 7.30pm Wednesday to Friday; at 12pm and 4pm on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets: adults £9, children £7. 07900 863699; ALADDIN ON ICE at the John Nike Leisuresport Complex, John Nike Way, Bracknell, on Wednesday December 12 to Sunday December 16. The 25th production of an ice pantomime at Bracknell Ice Rink. Large cast made up by members of the ice skating club, ice professionals and special guests. Tickets: from £7.95 per person. 01344 789000; PETER PAN at the Beck Theatre, Grange Road, Hayes, on Saturday December 15 to Sunday January 6. With Adam Woodyatt (Eastenders’ Ian Beale) as Captain Hook. Varying morning, afternoon and evening performances. Tickets: from £10. 020 85618371; ABSOLUTELY MAGICAL CHRISTMAS, Christmas show on ice at the Montem Ice Rink, Montem Lane, Slough, on Tuesday December 18 to Thursday December 20. With over 100 local children performing and a special appearance from a celebrity guest. Doors open at 6.30pm, show starts at 7.30pm. Tickets: adults £10, children £8. 08450 262466; CINDERELLA at the Kenton Theatre, New Street, Henley, on Friday December 21 to Saturday December 29 at 2.30pm and 7.30pm, also at 4pm on Sunday 23. Traditional pantomime for all the family, with comedy and song, familiar jokes and sketches. Tickets: adults £15, children £10. 01491 575698; JACK AND THE BEANSTALK at the Kenton Theatre, New Street, Henley, on Monday December 31 to Sunday January 6, at 1pm, 2.30pm or 6pm. Performed by the Henley Children’s Theatre Group, continuing the 40 year tradition of performing pantomimes. Tickets: adults £11, children £8. 01491 575698; RUMPELSTILTSKIN, panto by the Quince Players at the Cordes Hall, High Street, Sunninghill, on Thursday January 17 to Sunday January 20 and on Wednesday January 23 to Saturday January 26. Tickets: all tickets £10. 01344 874200;

FAMILIES Thames Valley East


Christmas Time Out

Craft Coop Pop-Up Shop, Maidenhead; Wednesdays to Sundays, throughout November & December.

Windsor Contemporary Art Fair, Windsor Racecourse; November 10 & 11.

Windsor Emporium, the Guildhall, Windsor; December 2.

CHRISTMAS FAIRS AND MARKETS Wednesdays to Sundays throughout November and December. CRAFT COOP POP-UP SHOP in the former Waterstone’s shop, the Nicholsons Centre, Maidenhead. 10am-5pm (Sundays 11am-5pm). Treasure trove of handcrafted goodies just in time for Christmas. With special workshops and drop-in activities, and café. THE JEWELLERY SHOP in the former Cathy Stephens jewellery shop, Nicholsons Centre for unique handcrafted jewellery and accessories. FARMERS MARKETS IN DECEMBER: Windsor market, St Leonard’s Road, on Saturday December 1, 9am-1pm. Maidenhead Market, Grove Road, on Sunday December 9, 10am-1pm. Ascot Market, Car Park 3, High Street, 9.30am-1pm. CHRISTMAS CRAFT FAIR at Hare Hatch Sheeplands, London Road, Hare Hatch, Reading. 10am-4pm. Get down to some serious Christmas present buying at the garden centre’s biggest on-site event of the year. Gorgeous handmade goods, artists, authors, beaders, beauty, candles and cufflinks - so much choice.You can have refreshments in the cafe and children can play in their play area. Pop in to the garden centre for Christmas decorations and the farm shop is crammed with seasonal treats. Free entry, free parking and lots of Christmas cheer! 0118 940 1600; Thursday November 8. CHRISTMAS SHOPPING EVENING at Winkfield St Mary's Primary School. 7-10pm. Wide range of high quality stalls including jewellery, toys, crafts, children's clothes, decorations, cards, gifts for all ages, etc. Entrance £4; includes a glass of wine and a goody bag. Bar and raffle available. 07795184922 or via Tickets also available on the door. Saturday November 10. CHRISTMAS FAYRE in Moor Hall (the Chartered Institute of Marketing), Cookham Village. 11am-4pm. For all your Christmas cards and presents; over 40 stallholders. Free entrance, and free parking. 01628 427500;


FAMILIES Thames Valley East

Saturday November 10. THAMESHOSPICECARE CHARITY & CRAFT FAIR at the Charlotte Prat Hall, Chavey Down Road, Winkfield, Bracknell. 1.30-5pm. Local crafts people and stallholders selling jewellery, handmade items, cards and gifts. Plus a raffle, delicious tea and cake. All raising money for Thames Hospicecare. Free entry. Saturday November 10. BOURNE END COMMUNITY AND CRAFT MARKET CHRISTMAS FAYRE at Bourne End Library, Wakeman Road, Bourne End. 10am-1pm. Local craft fair selling decorations, gift ideas and festive produce, jewellery, cards, candles, art, plants, fashions, health & beauty and much more. Free entry, parking nearby. Every second Saturday of the month. 07989 716635. Saturday November 10. NEARLY NEW SALE at the Parlaunt Park Primary School, Kennett Road, Langley. 1-3pm. Lots of good deals, ready for Christmas. Refreshments also available. Entrance: 20p. 01753 542269. Thursday November 15 to Saturday November 17. CHRISTMAS FAIR in the Pavilion, Ascot Racecourse, Ascot, organised by the Really Good Deal Fashion Sales people. Festive restaurant on the ground floor, gift and craft fair on first floor, selling gifts, furniture, homewares, art, toys, jewellery, children’s collections and stocking fillers. Raising funds for Harrison’s Fund. Saturday November 17. CHRISTMAS CRAFT AND FOOD FAYRE, at the Camberley Theatre, Knoll Road, Camberley. 11am-3pm. Unusual gifts, handmade jewellery, clothes, paper crafts, kitchenware, etc. Plus a chance to visit Santa (cost: £1.50 per child). Free admission. 01276 707600. Saturday November 17. CHRISTMAS BAZAAR at Cox Green Community Centre, Highfield Lane, Cox Green, Maidenhead. From 12noon. 01628 636715; Friday November 23 and Saturday November 24. CHRISTMAS SHOPPING VILLAGE along the Concourse Level of the Grandstand, Ascot Racecourse, during the racing on both days. Gates Open at 10.45am; racing from 12.25pm to 3.50pm. Over 30 quality gift stalls. Tickets: Grandstand admission £13 (£11.70 in advance), under 18s go free with paying adult. 0844 346 3000; Saturday November 24. CHRISTMAS FAYRE at Iver VIllage Junior School, 12-3pm. Organised by The Friends of Iver Schools Association. 07771 932108; email: Saturday November 24. CHRISTMAS MARKET at Farnham Common Junior School, Sherbourne Walk, Farnham Common. 1.30–4.30pm. With crafts, decorations, homemade cakes and jam, Christmas wreaths, childrens’ face painting, nail painting, books, and other gifts for family and friends. Entry: £2 on the door (incl. mulled wine). Contact: or 07974 382650. Sunday 25 November. MARLOW CHRISTMAS MARKET at the Crowne Plaze Hotel, Marlow. 10am-4pm. Free entrance. Lots of stalls with gifts, food, carol singers, mulled wine and mince pies. Saturday December 1. CHRISTMAS FAIR at Courthouse Primary School, Blenheim Road, Maidenhead. 12-3pm. Organised by the Alwyn Infant and Nursery School and Courthouse School PTAs. 01628 626 958;


Saturday December 1. FOURTH ANNUAL CRAFT COOP CHRISTMAS CRAFT FAIR in Cookham Dean Village Hall, Church Road, Cookham Dean. 11am-5pm. Wreath-making and other workshops, children's activities, a café offering cake and other Christmas treats, and local craftspeople offering jewellery, candles, cushions, greetings cards and more. Sunday December 2. WINDSOR EMPORIUM at the Guildhall (first floor), High Street, Windsor. Arts, crafts and antiques fair, every first Sunday of the month. 10am-4pm. Also visit the Vintage Tea Room - serving home made refreshments. 07900 285919; Sunday December 2. ST ANNE’S MANOR CHRISTMAS MARKET at the Hilton Hotel, St Anne’s Manor, London Road, Wokingham. 10am-4pm. Free entrance. Stalls with unusual and original gifts and everything from to wine and cheese to cakes and sweets. Plus carol singers, mulled wine and mince pies. 07515 287823. Friday December 7. CHRISTMAS MARKET at the Parlaunt Park Primary School, Kennett Road, Langley. 3.30–5.30pm. Fun, festive, family night with lots of Christmas stalls, crafts and children’s activities. Festive cakes and sweets, hot food and refreshments. Christmas carols by the school choir, super prize draw and special visit from Father Christmas. Free entrance. 01753 542269. Saturday December 8. CHRISTMAS BAZAAR at White Waltham C of E Academy, Waltham Road, White Waltham. 12-3pm. Lots of attractions, a grand raffle, tombolas, craft and face painting, refreshments, external stalls for those special gift ideas and of course a VIP guest! 07762 016761. Saturday December 8. CHRISTMAS FAYRE at St Nicolas School, Taplow. 3-6pm. Lots of stalls, barbecue and children’s activities. 01628 603759. Saturday December 8. TABLE TOP SALE at Iver Village Infant School, Grange Way, Iver. 10-1pm. Organised by The Friends of Iver Schools Association. 07771 932108; email: Saturday December 8. CHRISTMAS ARTISAN FAIR at Norden Farm, Altwood Road, Maidenhead. 11am-4pm. Stress free Christmas shopping in the Long Barn. Free mulled wine, wide variety of stalls, workshops and demonstrations. 01628 788997; Saturday December 8. BOURNE END COMMUNITY AND CRAFT MARKET CHRISTMAS FAYRE at Bourne End Library, Wakeman Road, Bourne End. 10am-1pm. Ongoing craft market with a seasonal flavour. Free entry, parking nearby. Every second Saturday of the month. 07989 716635. Thursday December 13. CHRISTMAS SHOPPING EVENING at Alwyn Infant and Nursery School, Mulberry Walk, Oaken Grove Park, Maidenhead. More details nearer the time via 01628 622 477. Saturday December 15. REAL CRAFT FAIR at the Community Centre, Straight Bit, Flackwell Heath. 10.30am-4.30pm. Many crafts including jewellery, woodwork, art, metal workers, handmade soaps and lotions, knitwear and fabric goods. Free admission. 01494 883583;


Christmas Time Out

The Sunninghill Victorian Street Fayre; November 18.

Late night shopping in Marlow; December 6.

Christmas Concert with Egham Choral, St Paul's Church, Egham; December 15.

CHRISTMAS CAROL CONCERTS, STREET FAYRES AND TOWN CENTRE LIGHTS SWITCH-ONS Saturday November 17. WINDSOR CHRISTMAS LIGHTS SWITCH ON AND LANTERN PROCESSION. Start at 3.30pm with a traditional handmade lantern procession. Live entertainment on the main stage outside Windsor Castle includes the Choir of St George's Chapel. Lights switched on by Windsor’s pantomine stars. Sunday November 18. THE SUNNINGHILL VICTORIAN STREET FAYRE. Noon- 4pm. Raising funds for The Ascot Day Centre and Sebastian’s Action Trust.Various gift and food stalls, plus most of the local retailers open for the day. Santa’s Grotto, marching band and carol choirs. Thursday November 22. SLOUGH CHRISTMAS LIGHTS switch-on event. Festivities from 4-6.30pm. Thursday November 22. CHRISTMAS LIGHTS SWITCH-ON in High Wycombe Town Centre. Sun 25 November. AFFORDABLE ART FAIR at Hare Hatch Sheeplands London Road, Hare Hatch, Reading. 10am – 4pm. They are hosting an 'affordable art for all' fair. The exhibition will be held in their new market place, all are welcome and there is no entry fee. Browsers welcome – take the opportunity to chat with local artists. Pick up some great Christmas gifts such as limited edition prints, cards, original art and superb photography are all available 0118 940 1600; Saturday November 24. CHRISTMAS LIGHTS CELEBRATIONS in Maidenhead Town Centre and Nicholsons Centre. Entertainment, activities and fun during the day with performances starting on stage at the Town Hall from 5pm. Lights switch-on and fireworks at 6pm. Saturday November 24. ETON CHRISTMAS LIGHTS SWITCH ON. Started by a carol service at Eton Chapel, then join the residents and businesses of Eton for a candlelit procession to Eton Square for their annual Christmas light illumination. Wednesday November 28. CAROLS BY CANDLELIGHT at the Theatre Royal Windsor, Thames Street, Windsor. 8pm. With the Locrian Ensemble in full period costume, singing seasonal favourites including carols, string medleys of familiar Xmas tunes, and other surprises. Tickets: £13 through to £33.50. 01753 853 888; Friday November 30. PARISH CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION in Sunningdale village centre. Singing, dancing, lights switch-on by a celebrity in the village centre (by the Jubilee clock) and shops open. From 6pm. 01344 874268;

Saturday December 1. REINDEER PARADE in Windsor Town Centre, from 2-4pm. Come and see the real-live Reindeer and Father Christmas on a sleigh parading through the Town centre. Have your photo taken with Father Christmas on his sleigh before he returns to Lapland. Saturday December 1. CHRISTMAS LIGHTS CELEBRATION at Iver Village Hall, High Street, Iver. Sunday December 2. CHRISTMAS STREET PARTY in the High Street, Cookham Village from 1-4.30pm. Lots of family fun, with food from around the world, Santa's Grotto, roast chestnuts, mulled wine, carol singers and music, charity stalls, children's rides, Father Christmas and his sled. Shops open. Free parking at Moor Hall. Sunday December 2. CHRISTMAS CONCERT by the Taplow Children’s, Boys’ and Girls’ Choirs at St Nicolas Church, Taplow. 7pm. Conducted by Gillian Dibden and Greg Hallam. Tickets: adults £10, concessions £8; available from Taplow Rectory, 01628 661182. Thursday December 6. CHRISTMAS FAYRE AND CHILDREN’S PARADE, High Street, Burnham. High Street closed from 5-9pm. Fayre open from 5.30pm. Parade at 7pm from St Peter’s Church. Thursday December 6. CHRISTMAS LATE NIGHT SHOPPING EVENING in Marlow High Street. 6-9pm. Shops open, stalls on the street, carol-singing, fun and music. Friday December 7. BOURNE END CHRISTMAS EVENTS, The Parade, Bourne End. From 5pm. Shops open, Christmas lights, Father Christmas, stalls and entertainment. 01628 522604, Saturday December 8. SANTA ARRIVES AND REINDEER RACING, in the High Street and Nicholson’s Centre, Maidenhead. Santa and his Cairngorm reindeer will be there between 11am-5pm. Join in with the (toy) REINDEER RACES, organised by the Maidenhead Bridge Rotary Club, at the Nicholsons Centre between 10am–4pm. Fundraising event. Entry: £1 for over 10 yr olds, 50p for under 10s. 07876 341334; Saturday December 8. CAROLS ON THE GREEN AND CHRISTMAS EVENING in Stoke Poges village centre. 6-10pm. With carols, switching-on of the lights, Santa’s grotto, stalls and lots of other festivities. Saturday December 8. CHRISTMAS CAROL CONCERT by the Cantorum Choir, at the Holy Trinity Church, Cookham. For more details, contact the box office on 01628 525371;

Sunday December 9. SING NOEL with Thames Voyces at South Hill Park, Ringmead, Bracknell. 7.30pm. Evening of traditional Christmas music and readings with some choral and poetic classics. Sing along with your favourite Christmas carols. Tickets: adults £10, members £9, children £1. 01344 484123; Wednesday December 12. HANDEL’S MESSIAH, sung by the Choir of St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, together with period orchestra Charivari Agreable Simfonie, conducted by Timothy Byram-Wigfield. Tickets available online via 01753 848869; Friday December 14. CAROLS ON THE HILL, Castle Hill, Windsor. 6-7pm. An evening of carols in front of the castle. Featuring the Band of the Blues and Royals. Saturday December 15. CAROLS BY THE LAKE (and other seasonal songs) at Herschel Park, Upton Close, Slough. 1-2pm. With members of St Mary’s, St Peter’s and St Laurence churches. Sing along! Mince pies and hot punch served (non-alcoholic). 01753 875209; Saturday December 15. CHRISTMAS CONCERT with Egham Choral, Runnymede’s traditional choir, in St Paul’s Church, Egham Hythe. 7.30pm. With some of Bach's Christmas Oratorio, carols from Germany and Austria, and your favourite audience carols. 01784 436632; Saturday December 15. MARLOW CHORAL SOCIETY CHRISTMAS CONCERT at the Shelley Theatre, Court Garden Leisure Centre, Pound Lane. 01628 405200. Saturday December 15. CAROL EVENING at the Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway, Station Approach, Station Road, Chinnor. Evening of traditional Christmas carols. Train departs at 7pm. 01844 353535; Sunday December 16. FAMILY CAROLS with the Windsor and Eton Choral Society at Eton College Chapel. 01628 528041; Sunday December 16. CAROLS AT THE CAFÉ, in the Burnham Beeches, Hawthorn Lane, Farnham Common. Afternoon. Check details online nearer the time. Annual Christmas celebration at the café on the Common. No booking required. 01753 647358; Tuesday December 18. FESTIVO - A Concert of Carols for Christmas with the Choir of St George's Chapel and Onyx Brass conducted by Timothy Byram-Wigfield at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. All the nation's favourite carols interspersed with devotional readings and lighter seasonal items. Tickets available online via 01753 848869;

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Telephone: 01628 627 586


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Christmas Time Out

Breakfast with Santa, Cafe Rouge, Windsor, every weekend in December (up to 24).

Santa, racing and lots of festive fun at Ascot Racecourse; December 22.

Father Christmas at Savill Garden, Englefield Green, every weekend in December and December 20 & 21.

WHERE TO MEET FATHER CHRISTMAS On the Railways: …At the BUCKINGHAMSHIRE RAILWAY CENTRE, Quainton Road Station, Quainton, Aylesbury. Tickets include train ride and live magic show. Lots of fun events on all days. DAYS OUT WITH THOMAS on the weekends of December 1 and 2, and 8/9. Santa’s train will be pulled by Thomas, with the help of all his friends. All standard tickets £14, babes in arms £2. SANTA’S MAGICAL ADVENTURES on the weekends of December 15/16 and 22/23. Santa’s train rides between 10.25am and 4pm. All standard tickets £12. 01296 655720; …At the CHINNOR AND PRINCES RISBOROUGH RAILWAY, Chinnor Station, Chinnor. SANTA’S SPECIALS ride during the weekends of December 1 and 2, 8 and 9, 15 and 16, 22 and 23. All children receive a present from Father Christmas and adults receive seasonal refreshments. Seats bookable in advance. 01844 353535; …At the CHOLSEY AND WALLINGFORD RAILWAY, Wallingford Station, Hithercroft Road, Wallingford. SANTA SPECIALS during the weekends of December 8 and 9, 15 and 16, 22 and 23. Santa will ride on all the trains visiting children during the journey. Gift for all under 8s. No need to book. 01491 835067; …At the DIDCOT RAILWAY CENTRE, Didcot Parkway Station. DAYS OUT WITH THOMAS during the weekends of December 1 and 2, 8 and 9, 15 and 16, 22 and 23. Thomas and Santa are welcomed by their friends the Great Western engines. Tickets (include train rides and other activities): adults and children £10. To visit Santa, booking is essential. 08444 77100; Around and about: …At ASCOT RACECOURSE, in his Winter Wonderland, on Ascot’s Family Raceday, Saturday December 22. Last raceday of the year, plus lots of family activities off the track.Visit Santa, fairground rides, and lots more. Gift for every child, subject to availability. General admission: from £16.20, under 18s free. 0844 346 3000; …At THE SAVILL GARDEN, Wick Lane, Englefield Green, where he will arrive on Saturday December 1 by festive horse and carriage at 10.45am (please check in advance). He will be in his grotto every Saturday and Sunday in December, plus Thursday and Friday December 20 and 21. Booking required. Tickets: £5 per child, on sale from The Savill Building. 01784 435544; …At ODDS FARM PARK, Wooburn Common Road, Wooburn Common. Every weekend in December and Monday December 24. 10am-5.30pm (3.30pm on Christmas Eve). Children can visit Santa in his grotto and receive a gift. Extra cost: £4. Plus free chocolate treat from the Christmas Tree. 01628 520188; (Odds Farm will be closed on December 25, 26 and January 1.)

...In his log cabin at the ICE RINK in Alexandra Gardens, Barry Avenue, Windsor, from Saturday December 15 to Sunday December 23. Durings weekends from 11.45am-4.15pm, weekdays from 3-4.15pm. Booking essential. Cost: £15 for 5 minutes per child, £20 two children, £25 three children. …At CLIVEDEN, Taplow, Maidenhead, every weekend in December till Sunday December 23. Follow a special FATHER CHRISTMAS TRAIL leading to his grotto, where you might see him. 10.30am-3.30pm. Cost: children £4 (Father Christmas visit and gift). 01628 605069; …During breakfast at Café Rouge in WINDSOR ROYAL SHOPPING CENTRE, every weekend in December till Monday December 24. Two sittings at 8.30am and 10am. Booking essential via from the end of October. …and his reindeer in his Winter Wonderland at BIRD WORLD, Holt Pound, Farnham, Surrey, every weekend till Christmas, plus Monday December 24. 10am-4.30pm (varying times). Meet the farm animals and Santa’s elves. Booking essential. Tickets: adults £6.50/£13.95, children £9.95/£14.95, under 3s £7.50. 01420 22992; …At his Crystal Grotto in PAINSHILL PARK, Portsmouth Road, Cobham. Join Father Christmas and his Elves in the park’s unique Crystal Grotto from Saturday December 1 to Monday December 24. Booking required. 01932 868113; In Garden Centres …At HARE HATCH SHEEPLANDS, London Road, Hare Hatch, Reading, from Saturday 24 November to Sunday 23 December. Father Christmas will be in his grotto every weekend from 10am until 4pm for all good little boys and girls. He will part of a special arrival parade on Saturday 24 November at 11am (visiting times will be from 11.20am until 5pm). Walk past a beautiful reindeer and sleigh, the living nativity, meet the Elf at the door and then step into Santa’s Christmas Wonderland. Cost £5 per child includes a visit to Santa and a gift. All proceeds go to the chosen charities of the Rotary Club of Reading Maiden Erlegh. You can also have BREAKFAST WITH SANTA on Saturday December 9, Sunday December 10 and Saturday December 15 and December Sunday 16. Join Father Christmas at 9am with your family for a wonderful breakfast. Speak to Santa and tell him all you want for Christmas, and receive a wonderful gift. Booking essential. For general information, prices and booking go to …At DORNEY COURT KITCHEN GARDEN, Court Lane, Dorney, on his arrival on Saturday December 1 by horse and cart. Meet him afterwards to reveal your wish list. During the weekends of December 8 and 9, 15 and 16, and from Wednesday December 19 till Monday December 24, book yourself a breakfast with Father Christmas in the Garden’s Café. Booking essential. 01628 669999; …At the MARLOW GARDEN CENTRE, Pump Lane South, Marlow, for BREAKFAST or TEA WITH SANTA during weekends from Saturday November 17 to Sunday December 23 and Monday December24. Booking required. Breakfast from 9am, tea from 4pm. Cost: £8.95 per person, includes meal and present for the children. 01628 482716. Or if you live in Windsor: at the WINDSOR GARDEN CENTRE, Dedworth Road, Windsor. 01753 841791; …On his arrival at SQUIRES GARDEN CENTRE, The Willows, Maidenhead Road, Windsor, on Saturday December 1 at 10am.You can then visit him in his grotto from 11am-1pm and 2-4pm every weekend till Christmas. No booking required.You can also have TEA WITH SANTA every Sunday afternoon from December 2 till December 23. Booking required via 01753 865076; …In his grotto at TOAD HALL GARDEN CENTRE, Marlow Road, Henley, during weekends from Saturday November 24 to Sunday December 23. Buy tickets to see Father Christmas on the day. Cost: £5. Christmas displays open daily from November 20. 01491 574615;


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Win a Vtriker Elite 3-wheel Scooter! We have two fantastic Vtriker Elite scooters to give away.Your kids will enjoy hours of fun whilst keeping healthily active with these funky new scooters from UKayed. There’s no pushing or touching the floor! Simply place one foot on each side, then the unique V-shape design enables you to move your legs in and out while stationary on the platform. Now you’re off, resulting in a thrilling pedal and battery free ride. There are different riding styles to hone your tricks and skills. Move your feet in and out to increase your speed with the Scissor; twist your body one way and push your opposite foot out with Skating; move your body and feet to one side as you steer the other way in the Slalom. With four great colours to choose from – black, blue, green, pink – and a modern design, retailing at £69.99 RRP, this exciting, unique scooter is a great Christmas gift idea and is suitable for kids aged seven and over. The Vtriker Elite is available from For more information visit To enter just visit

Win 1 of 2 Family Tickets to the Christmas Meeting Family Raceday The festive season is upon us, so why not grab your woolly hat and scarf and go to Ascot’s Christmas Meeting Family Raceday on Saturday December 22. It’s their most valuable day of the Jumps season, featuring the two mile £150,000 Ladbroke Handicap Hurdle, the highest profile event of its type outside the Cheltenham Festival. Off the track join in the festive fun by taking a ride on the fairground rides, enjoy some storytelling in the Bandstand or even meet Santa’s Reindeer! The Christmas Meeting wouldn’t be complete without a visit from Father Christmas, who will be waiting in his grotto to give a gift to every child (subject to availability). To end the day you can join in the Christmas carol concert after the last race, a perfect way to get in to the festive spirit! If you aren’t so lucky, tickets start from £18. Generous Group discounts apply and kids under-18 go FREE. To book, call 0844 346 3000 or visit To enter just visit

Win a family ticket to Norden Farm's Christmas Show Norden Farm is excited to announce that their Christmas show this year is The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark, based on the book by Jill Tomlinson.The family show will run from 27 November – 30 December and is suitable for 3+ years.Tickets are £11.50, £9.50 under 16s, £10 Groups and £40 Family (4 people). Plop is a baby barn owl. He lives at the top of a tall tree. He is fat and fluffy with very knackety knees. Plop is exactly the same as every other barn owl, except for one thing – Plop is afraid of the dark! It’s the night before Christmas and Plop wants to join in the excitement. He peeps over the edge of his nest, wobbles a bit, and falls off his branch! Join Plop as he discovers campfires, fireworks and moonlit adventures. With live music, puppetry and storytelling. Come fly with us – it’s a hoot! To book tickets go to or call 01628 788997. To enter just visit

Win a £200 Shopping Spree in time for Christmas! New clothes make any occasion extra special.The Polarn O. Pyret Christmas collection for newborn to age 12 years is now in stores and online. As always, the clothes are geared towards children not just looking good, but feeling comfortable too. Cosy cotton PJ’s that will last until next Christmas Eve, a new party dress that can handle spills, or an extra cute outfit for Christmas Day. Enjoy the occasion PO.P style whatever you are planning for the holidays. FREE! Gift wrapping is always available at Polarn O. Pyret stores. Nearest stores: King Edward Court, Windsor; House of Fraser, High Wycombe; Westfield White City and Brent Cross Shopping Centre. To find out more or to shop online go to For your chances to win enter your details at by 10th of December.Terms and conditions apply. Winner will be notified via email on 11th December. Go to to download a 15% off discount voucher for all Polarn O. Pyret clothes.

Telephone: 01628 627 586


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Parenting One in ten children are lefthanded, but many fail to get the support they need in the early years of their education. Experts say teachers aren’t given the proper training and often schools don’t have the right resources. Sarah Butters is mum to a left-handed daughter. She takes a look at some of the most common problems faced by left-handers and some tips for helping them out. Messy Handwriting If you have a child who is left-handed, chances are they haven’t been taught to write. Most are simply allowed to use their left-hand. As the right-handed parent of a left handed child I admit to having that same attitude. I now know that I was completely wrong. Left-handers push the pen across the page, whereas their right handed friends will pull. This can lead to smudging and untidy work, which in turn leads to anxiety on the part of the child. At an early stage a lefthanded child should be encouraged to master the correct handwriting position and paper placement to avoid problems as the writing assignments increase. The paper should be rotated to 45 degrees with the hand and wrist below the writing. Any pen needs to be held in a strong three point grip. In early years this can be supported with a triangular bodied pencil or a moulded grip around a regular pencil. If your child can get into good habits from the start of their school life, they will avoid problems when they graduate to a fountain pen and longer writing assignments.


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Supporting your left-handed child.

Hook Grip Some left-handers use a hooked grip to avoid the problem of smudging, and angle the pen in the same way a right-hander would. This causes more problems than it solves. The hook grip becomes more uncomfortable the more you write. It leads to an overtight grip and aching hands, which in turn lead to messy handwriting. The wrist should always be below the writing line. If your child is developing a hook grip, consider introducing a sloped surface to resolve the problem. Elbow collision At some point your child will have to share a desk and if they’re left handed this can be a problem. “I always end up banging elbows” explains my 9 year old daughter. “That makes my writing messy.” Your child should always be placed at the left-hand side of a shared desk or next to another left-hander. This gives them plenty of space to get their paper positioned correctly and avoid knocking elbows with a righthanded neighbour. White Boards They’re a teacher’s best friend but a left-

handers worst nightmare. White boards and chalk boards are a great learning tool in the modern classroom - pupils can get rid of mistakes easily without using endless pieces of paper. However, if you’re left-handed you can end up erasing as you write. Good grip and placement of the board gives lefthanders half a chance. However if your child isn’t completing white board work quickly or neatly enough, it may not be their fault. Mirror Writing I remember being hugely concerned when I discovered that my daughter had completed a Reception assignment using mirror writing. She had begun her words on the right-hand side of the page and written from right to left. It’s common in left-handed children and when you think about it, it makes sense. If they are sat next to a right-hander, they are simply mirroring their work. Encourage them to start on the left-hand side of the page by placing a coloured star in the margin as a reminder. Computers Most ICT rooms are set up with the computer mice on the right hand side of the keyboard. This gives left-handed children an automatic disadvantage because they either



need to move the mouse or attempt or use their right-hand. Don’t presume the teacher knows your child is left-handed. Be sure to let all the staff involved with your child know that they’re a left-hander and will need a different workstation set up. The ‘right’ equipment Many left-handed children learn the basics with the wrong equipment. Give a lefthanded child some right-handed scissors and they'll find the blade is upside down and so they can't see the line they are cutting. It means the child has less control and think of themselves as messy. This can be a real problem in the early years. Check your school has left-handed scissors to offer your child. Ambidextrous scissors don't exist trust me! As they progress to writing, shiny barreled pens are to be avoided. Make sure whatever pen you choose has a good grip so it's easy to hold even when hands get hot and tired. Pencil grips, left handed fountain pens and Yoropen ballpoints make life a lot easier.

Telephone: 01628 627 586

Parenting Lack of understanding As a right-hander, I never appreciated the challenges faced by my daughter. Until she mastered left-handed writing, she was labeled untidy in her written work and lost enthusiasm for putting pen to paper. It wasn’t until I began researching this piece that I realise how much of her attitude is linked to the hand she writes with.The bad news is she’s had a more challenging time than her right-handed pals. The good news is she’s in good company. Barack Obama, Leonardo Da Vinci and Bill Gates are all lefties. Now that’s not a bad club to be in! You can make a difference Keith Milsom campaigns for better support of left-handed children in our schools and offers some advice about what to expect from your child’s school. “Despite decades of campaigning and a string of promises from government ministers and teacher training authorities, there is still virtually no guidance provided to teachers on helping left-handed children and no process for identifiying left-handers in schools. Make sure you talk to your child's teacher to make sure they know that he/she is lefthanded and may need assistance and advice. Ask your child’s teacher to talk YOU through the support they’re going to give it so you can be sure they really understand. If you’re


concerned, refer them to the teacher guidance sheets available from The school should have left-handed scissors available and pens that will help left-handers write in the correct style. If children are left to their own devices it is very unlikely they will find writing and cutting out easy. Apart from the practical difficulties, this can mean they are working more slowly than the rest of the class and lose confidence - especially if the teacher tells them off for ‘not doing it right’. Lefthanders can end up underperforming at school and having difficulty with written exams as a result of a lack of informed guidance at an early stage. It’s important parents keep the pressure on schools to support their left-handed children.”

Useful Resources... has some great left handed guidance sheets for parents and teachers. It’s also a super source of left-handed equipment. is another great website with some top tips for parents looking to support their lefthanded child.

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Ed’s Reading Room Hi kids, parents, grandparents, teachers – and book lovers everywhere! I’m Ed and here is my Winter book selection for you to enjoy. The books are all available online from Ed’s Reading Room at Ed’s Reading Room is an exciting free online book and story club for primary children in homes and schools. Each month, recently published books are selected as Ed’s Books of the Month for Owlets (age 5-7) and Owls (over 7s). On the website, there are fun literacy activities to accompany each book, including wordsearches, quizzes, poetry and reviews, and there are new original stories in Edtime Stories. There are also lots of other fun online activities, complementary to the curriculum. Check out Ed’s Archive for Ed’s Books of the Month from previous months.

For Ages 5 to 7 years Cudweed in Outer Space by Marcus Sedgwick (Orion £4.99) ED SAYS: ‘Cudweed persuades his father to let him buy a spaceship kit that he sees in a comic found in the attic of the castle where he lives. After managing to assemble the spaceship, Cudweed and his pet monkey Fellah set off on an exciting adventure into outer space. When the spaceship is hit by a missile they see the Thrillons waving. But are they waving in friendship or in anger? And will the two adventurers get back to the castle in time for cakes and scones? ‘This is a super book for young readers to enjoy on their own or reading together. It is a great story with fantastic colour illustrations throughout.’

For Ages 7 years plus The Snow Bear by Holly Webb(Stripes Publishing £7.99)

ED SAYS: ‘With only days to go until Christmas, snow starts to fall. Sara is staying with her grandfather and after his tales of life in the Arctic they decide to build an igloo and a small snow bear in the garden. Sara is thrilled – but in the middle of the night it all looks very different. Sara and the young bear set out on a journey to find the bear’s mother. But will Sara find her way home in time for Christmas? ‘This is an exciting winter adventure with its snowy setting and delightful characters. It is a lovely story that will captivate boys and girls alike.’

How To Build An Abominable Snowman by Dominic Barker (Orchard Books £4.99)

The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne (Doubleday £10.99)

ED SAYS: ‘Max and Molly are horrified at the idea of living on their parents’ emergency stock of baked beans if they are snowed in. They set out to find a way of getting a snowplough to clear their road and the only answer seems to be a visit from an abominable snowman. In this wintery guide to trouble, Max and Molly show us how to deal not only with problems in the snow but also with troublesome grown-ups. ‘Here is another hilarious tale about the Pesker twins. It is brilliantly written by this fantastic author who has an amazing insight into children’s curiosity and logic!’

ED SAYS: ‘Barnaby Brocket is a very unusual boy. He defies the laws of gravity – and floats. His parents try to take steps to keep him firmly on the ground but, at the end of their tether, they decide to release Barnaby. At first he is horrified – but when he floats towards a rather special hot air balloon a new, magical life begins for Barnaby. ‘This imaginative tale is beautifully written and the colourful characters are very entertaining. How lovely to read about someone discovering that, even in extraordinary circumstances, there is nothing better than just being yourself.’

Ed’s Reading Room is part of, a DTI award-winning website. It was created by Maggie Humphreys, a teacher of more than 25 years, and Les Snowdon, who together are authors of several books on fitness walking and healthy eating. You are very welcome to contact Maggie on 01753 730019 or by email at about the website or about Ed on the Web Spelling Bees in schools.


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My baby has a flat spot on its head! What do I do next?

Bumps ‘n’ Babes

Eva Winter, paediatric osteopath, discusses the problem of ‘flat head syndrome’ or plagiocephaly and provides some useful advice to parents whose babies are affected. How do I know if my baby has plagiocephaly? An infant’s head with plagiocephaly often forms a typical parallelogram shape, with flattening at the back of one side of the head. In addition there can be facial asymmetry affecting the forehead, eyes, ears and jaw, which some parents may notice first. In many cases there is also an associated torticollis (a stiff neck on one side). Often the infant’s head may be tilted and rotated to one side and they may find it difficult to look in the other direction. Watch the way your baby sleeps, feeds and positions its head. Do they turn their head equally in both directions? When a baby can only turn their head one-way development may be one-sided. Some research also suggests that there may be an association between plagiocephaly and delayed development. Why do babies develop plagiocephaly? Positional plagiocephaly has become more common since the back-to-sleep campaign, which has successfully reduced the incidence of sudden infant cot death (SIDS). If a baby has a stiff or restricted neck after delivery it may develop a preference for sleeping on a particular side of its head. Over time the soft newborn skull may get misshapen under the influence of its own weight. This occurs if the baby continues to sleep on the same part of its head. In cases when a baby is born with plagiocephaly it is usually due to its positioning, whilst in the womb. This condition is more common with multiple births, prematurity and births using forceps. There are varying degrees of plagiocephaly and in some cases simple repositioning advice can help resolve the asymmetry of a baby’s head. In other cases where plagiocephaly is more pronounced or persistent, osteopathic treatment may be helpful. How does osteopathy work for this condition? A paediatric osteopath will undertake a case history and then carry out a physical examination of the baby with the parent’s consent. The osteopath will explain their findings and give a diagnosis before treatment commences. The treatment itself will focus on reducing strains, distortions and releasing restrictions within the baby’s body. The application of very light, focused pressure applied with the practitioner’s hands encourages compressed tissue to release. Progress is constantly monitored and feedback is always given to parents.

Telephone: 01628 627 586

Should I just wait and see what happens to my baby’s head shape? The best thing is for parents to seek advice as soon as possible to help determine a diagnosis and the underlying cause of the baby’s misshapen head. Up to eighty percent of head growth occurs in the first year of life, so treatment for plagiocephaly is most effective during this time. Paediatric osteopathy uses a combined approach of hands-on techniques with advice on repositioning, increasing supervised ‘tummy time’ and stretching exercises to be carried out at home. In most cases this combined approach is successful in resolving the majority of plagiocephaly cases. In some instances, referral for a cranial orthotic device (helmet) may be advisable, which is typically determined by the severity of the condition and the age of the baby. Early osteopathic treatment can help avoid the need for a helmet. When a helmet is required parents often find it helpful for their baby to have osteopathic treatment during this time. Treatment helps the bones within the skull accommodate the moulding action of the helmet. If you are concerned about any of these issues, get in touch with your local paediatric osteopath who will be able to advise you.

Music with Mummy Themed, fun music classes for children aged up to 5 years in small groups Jolly Babies – specially designed for babies under one year Eva Winter has a 1st Class (Hons) degree from Oxford Brookes University in Osteopathy and also holds a diploma in Paediatric Osteopathy. She is part of the teaching faculty at the Osteopathic Centre for Children in London and also works at Marlow Complementary Health Centre. Eva specialises in the osteopathic treatment of babies and children, but also treats adults. For location and appointment times go to or call 07776448700.


Jackie @ Windsor: 01344 301954 Caroline @ Ascot: 01753 850772

BOOK NOW for advertising in our Jan/Feb 2013 issue Due out January 2nd email:

FAMILIES Thames Valley East


Mums Who Mean Business Unique art to brighten up your walls... 1. Who are you and where do you live? My company is called Betsy Blu and we retail handcrafted and designed pictures for the home. The collection ranges from children's nursery pictures to big, bold and bright contemporary prints. I am the artist and creator behind the venture and my name is Nicola Hyslop. I am self-taught and continuously experimenting with new ideas. I am also a mum of two and work from a studio at home in Maidenhead. 2. Why did you set up the business? Alongside my passion for art, I am a busy mother of two. Corporate hours simply no longer fitted around my family life, changing nappies and the school run, so I decided to try and combine my lifelong passion for painting into a new career. 3. What inspired you to set up the business? Since my school days I have always played around with drawing, painting and textiles. I have always had a positive reaction to my artwork from friends and family but I was never confident to take it to the next level. It was only after having children when I thought seriously about following this passion and setting up something on a more professional basis. I am inspired by bright colours, different textures and things that are a little

bit unique and quirky, the main aim of Betsy Blu is to evoke smiles in those that view my pictures. The colours I use depict the mood of each image, creating personality and originality. My main collection is inspired by both surrealism and impressionism. My aim is to create fun, bright art that has a sense of humour! I take inspiration from my children, whether it is them smiling, laughing or running around with no cares in the world. They can at the same time be my greatest supporters and my harshest critics. The great thing about kids is that you always get an honest opinion!

4. What are your plans for the future? I am really excited about the future, my plans are to continue to develop new collections and establish the best way to showcase my artwork. I would love to get into some of the big retailers and perhaps to have my own exhibition some day. When I see something that inspires me I simply have to capture that moment, whether it’s taking out my camera for the hundredth time, or simply jotting down notes for my next piece. There is never a moment when I am not thinking about a new idea, it’s like a compulsion. Pictures are available to view and purchase on her website: and Facebook page:

places available


FAMILIES Thames Valley East


Host a stylish house party

1. Who are you and where do you live? We are Rachel Tilley and Louise Finch, we both live in Maidenhead and have five children between us, which keeps us both pretty busy. We have also set up mummy & bean, an online and home party business. Where you can buy fantastic homeware and unique gifts at affordable prices, either online or in the comfort of your own home by hosting a party. 2. Why did you set up the business? Over a coffee, we spoke of a desire to start our own business, which would allow us to work around our families and this was how mummy & bean was born. In 2010, whilst we were both pregnant with our own little "bean" and finding it more and more difficult to visit the shops with other little ones in tow, we began researching unique gifts and homeware. We launched our company in April 2011 by hosting home parties for our products. We received wonderful feedback about our home parties and many customers suggested we sell our products online. We listened and set up, so now you can buy online too. 3. What did you used to do? Before having children, we both commuted to London daily for work but felt that our careers didn’t fit in with our busy family lives, once children came along. 4. What inspired you to set up the business? As working Mums we are keen to make life simple, make gift buying quick and pleasurable and for it not to cost the earth – our motto has always been “affordable style”. 5. What are your plans for the future? Now mummy & bean is online we are keen to push internet sales, which will help to keep our prices low and affordable. We are also looking for individuals who would like to work independently as mummy & bean sales representatives. In return they get to be their own boss, run their own diary and fit their work around their other commitments. Email: or for more information or if you would like to host a party.


Classifieds Est 1993

Swim School

Fashionable, affordable jewellery locally handmade in Maidenhead

Ascot & Bagshot

Host a jewellery party and have a fab night in with friends!

Parent/Baby, Parent/Toddler. Learn to swim from 3yrs - Adult

Special Offer - Earn 20% commission on party sales to spend on jewellery for yourself

Contact: Chris Shepherd 01784 455205 07702 412090

07810 058891 or 07787 512526

Book your party now Call Mel on Email:

Candle-making parties for children and grown-ups!

Passion for jewellery inspires business idea Who are you and where do you live? Mel Baldery is Mum of two and lives in the St. Marks area. Mel Wood also has two children and lives in Ockwells Park, Cox Green. We met at postnatal classes at St. Marks Hospital eight and a half years ago and have been friends ever since.

View our entire collection online now

Tel: 07771 851435

Dutch songs • games • stories • activities every other Saturday morning • Marlow • Group 1: 2-5 year olds • Group 2: 5-8 year olds

07948 246281

Why you set up the business? We were looking for jobs but neither of us wanted to compromise on the time we spent with our children. So we were looking for that elusive job that fitted within schools hours and gave us school holidays off. We decided that working for ourselves would be the perfect job. What did you used to do? Mel B. used to work for BMI as cabin crew and also trained as a Montessori teacher. Mel W. studied Biological Sciences at university and went on to work as an account manager at a local marketing agency in Marlow for ten years. What inspired you to set up the business? We loved the ‘laid back’ style of jewellery available in Fat Face and White Stuff (our favourite shops) but just felt it was a bit over priced for us, so we popped down to Creative World bought a few glass beads and some leather and tried to make it for ourselves. Our first sale was at a local Christmas Fair where we sold 12 bracelets and Theresa May even bought one! We soon realised that we were onto something and that there was a gap in the market for fashionable, affordable, handmade jewellery. Within a few months Beads & Bracelets was formed. We are constantly designing new necklaces, most of which are bespoke one-offs. We have found that our customers really appreciate the fact that they are buying something unique and handmade. What are you plans for the future? We would like to grow the jewellery party side of the business as this has tailed off during the last 18 months due to the recession. That is why we are currently offering 20% commission to all party hosts. We are also keen to grow the internet arm of the business. We have a website with an online shop and we currently receive a few orders from returning customers but we hope to increase traffic with special offers and utilising Facebook and Twitter. If you would like to book a party Mel Baldery & Mel Wood can be contacted at or calling 07810 058891.

Telephone: 01628 627 586 •

Professional Tuition: Provided by a qualified and dedicated tutor. Choose from: 11 plus Verbal/ Non-Verbal Reasoning, Common Entrance Exam, GCSE, Sciences and much more. Tel: 01628 637008 or 07887 936484

Tots Togs & Toys Gorgeous pre-loved clothes and accessories Get that something special for less!

07872 052158


As seen on Paul O‘Grady Show.

For ages 3-103 Tel: 01753 663374 or 0781 1084 325


FizzyBubbles Soap and Jewellery making Parties for Children Email:

07748 - 645161

FAMILIES Thames Valley East


Families Thames Valley East Nov-Dec 2012  

Families Thames Valley East Magazine Nov-Dec 2012

Families Thames Valley East Nov-Dec 2012  

Families Thames Valley East Magazine Nov-Dec 2012