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January/February 2011 issue 74


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YES, YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL! Successful ‘business mum’ is seeking 5 working partners to work part-time from home, alongside & without compromising family commitments or current career. If you have a supervisory, managerial, sales, marketing, recruitment or self-employed background, or you wish to develop an extraordinary lifestyle, please call Diana Page 1/11/04 1:56 PM 01235 533 362

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We provide the best in children’s party fun and entertainment Recommended by The Observer & Tatler

 Magic, games, prizes, balloon modelling and puppet shows for all ages  Discos  Bouncy castles  Fabulous theme parties  Table & chair hire; food & party bags We offer a complete party service

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B U I L D C O N F I D E N C E • B O O S T C O N C E N T R AT I O N • M A K E N E W F R I E N D S • H AV E F U N

FREE Drama Class

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Watch your child’s self-esteem soar with Perform’s unique drama, dance and singing classes. Our weekly workshops will work wonders for their confidence, concentration and social skills as well as giving them the best fun they’ll have all week. Book your child’s FREE class today. Call 0845 400 1284 or visit

0845 400 1284 Inside - nurseries, family finance, travel 2011, green home, healthy treats

Approved football training for kids aged 18 months to 7 years

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Tiffin Experts

C L A An RE MONT FAN COURT SCHOOL independent co-educational school for children aged 3-18  01372 473624

OPEN MORNINGS Spring 2011 Whole School Saturday 12 February Saturday 12 March 10:00am - 12:30pm The Principal will speak at 10:00am

120 individuals, one great team

Learn Gymnastics and Have Fun!

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Next Open Day Tues 8 March 10.15 to 12.15 Exceptional independent secondary school for boys & girls For enrolment and all inclusive fee details call 020 7228 3933 Thames Christian College, Wye Street, London SW11 2HB


FAMILIES UPON THAMES January-February 2011

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Gymnastics Classes for Ages 2-12 PlayTime – Drop in and Play for Ages 1-8 Gymnastics Birthday Parties, Breakdancing, Trampolining, Cheerleading AND Holiday Camps Barnes, Bedfont, Brentford, Cobham, Richmond, Weybridge, Wimbledon, Woking

Call 020 8940 7998 Or For Your Nearest Venue & Class Times

09/12/2010 11:57

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A happy and busy 2011 to you all!

Clothes from Room Seven,

Let 2011 be the year your family…. books a free holiday (page 18), does an energy audit (page 13) or sets up a website (page 23) …. The new year is such a great time for drawing up plans and working out creative ways in which those projects can be achieved. Yes the news may be all about cuts here and less money there but you can take positive action and make your financial situation healthier (page 12) and if it’s your complete overindulgence over the holidays you’re preoccupied with, we have a family nutrition feature (on page 16).

Happy 2011 to you all! FRANCES LOATES, editor FAMILIES UPON THAMES PO Box 425 Walton on Thames KT12 5AG t: 01932 254584 e:


News and views


Mums mean business



12 Money guide 2011 13 Green guide 2011 14 Parenting 15 Treats full of goodness 16 Nutrition guide 2011 18 Travel guide 2011 20 Out and about 23 Book reviews

Call your local Stagecoach to Enrol Cheam/Worcester Park 020 83988106 Hinchley Wood 01932 254333 Hounslow 0845 0780804 Isleworth 01932 886413 Kingston & Surbiton 020 88737140

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January-February 2011 FAMILIES UPON THAMES


news and views... Ski essential

They never said it would be easy...

The NipperGrip is a must for any family going skiing with young children. Developed by Sussex husband and wife, James and Katherine, over years of teaching their three children to ski, the NipperGrip is a ski harness for children up to 8 years old. It is unique in that it has a handle on the front and the back so you can pick your child up whichever way they fall. The NipperGrip makes getting on and off chairlifts easy - no more panics or having to stop the lift while you untangle your child on the floor. The NipperGrip also comes with detachable reins so you can control your child’s direction and speed as they ski along in front of you. Its use is not

Becoming a parent is an exciting time – but we all find it can be a challenge, too. NCT Postnatal Leader Juliet Pollard says, ‘ Remember, you are not alone. Many new parents feel overwhelmed, for all sorts of reasons. NCT’s recent postnatal care survey of 1260 first-time mums found that emotional support, physical care and information provided to first time mums was sadly lacking leaving many mum feeling abandoned and uncertain.’ The NCT helpline is staffed by qualified NCT Postnatal Leaders who offer support and information to new parents. They are skilled in providing a listening ear as well as support and information on concerns from baby routines to body image after birth. The helpline number is 0300 330 0773, open 9am to 1pm Monday to Friday. Calls are charged at local rates.

From strength to strength

Dusty Does Disco Next Discos: Saturday 22nd January Saturday 19th February 3-5pm Twickenham Book online now at:


Toddlers take up salsa

020 8398 3034 or

Backflip Performers, run by 5 times British Champion Katie Cannon has been running gymnastic classes since 2008. With over 500 children attending weekly they are now opening new classes all over the area. Current venues include Cobham, Weybridge, Richmond, Brentford, Barnes and Wimbledon. Please call 020 8940 7998 or go to Classes in: Thames Ditton, Surbiton, Cobham, Teddington, Molesey, Walton on Thames

69 Basingfield Road, Thames Ditton, Surrey, KT7 0PB


Exciting news - Latino Bambino are now offering Latin dance classes for toddlers in Richmond and Twickenham. During the 40 minute lessons, they will use props to stimulate activity and there will be songs to improve their confidence. Check email or call 07961 838394

Can you help with a study aimed at improving mothers’ experiences of therapy? I am looking for mothers who received therapy in the first three years following birth. If you are one of these, please help me understand your needs so that others can receive better professional support. Participation in the study involves a 45 minute discussion. All information is kept confidential. I am a Trainee Counselling Psychologist (BPS member 166572) doing a doctorate at London Metropolitan University, where this study has been ethically approved. If you are interested please email and I will send you more information. Thank you, Laura Ruaro Bhatia.

Call us about advertising on 01932 254584

Ball skill classes for 18 months to 5 years

To book your FREE class call

Sure Start centres in Hounslow celebrate 10 years Sure Start Centres in Hounslow have been providing a range of services for families with children under 5 years old for ten years now. The service is dedicated to ensuring families with young children can access the services, activities and opportunities they want and need in the Hounslow West area. Sure Start will be celebrating their achievements with a party to look back over the past decade and forward into the future in Hounslow. Contact Sure Start Hounslow at The Hub, 103 Salisbury Road, Hounslow, TW4 7NW 020 8570 8156

A fun disco for children and their families!

Fun and interactive games 30 and 45 minute daytime and after school classes available Monday - Friday All instructors are CRB checked

limited to skiing, it is also good for cycle training, roller or ice skating. Order online at

FAMILIES UPON THAMES January-February 2011 761 Laura Jan10 N.indd 2

28/11/2010 11:11

Become a mumpreneur in 2011

A growing number of mums are setting up their own businesses to find a better work-life balance. Many work from home, but what should you consider before embarking on a home-based business? First, one of the drawbacks of homeworking is isolation. If you are a good self motivator this will not be a problem, but isolation can be hard to deal with. The solution is to use social networking to get regular online contact with people working in related fields to your business and make contact with local business groups and general business support groups. Second, get out and about. Use social networking to arrange face-to-face meetings. Third, ensure you have childcare in place. It is very difficult to work when trying to look after children. Fourth, keep your work station separate from family life. If possible, install a second business-only phone line or you could use a virtual office assistant. Also ensure you have a good broadband connection and back-up if your computer goes down. Lastly, work your hours. One danger of homeworking is overwork. Make sure you get enough rest and don’t burn out. is holding Workingmums LIVE in March, a one-stop shop for flexible work options. See page 7 for an inspiring homeworking local mum.

Work for me&i Me&i, a gorgeous range of kids clothes from Sweden is coming to the UK. The brand was founded by two Swedish mums in 2004 and their clothes represent Swedish design at its best – high-quality, funky colours and cool prints and they are really comfortable to wear. All the clothes are tried and tested by a panel of children for both comfort and looks. With me&i, clothes shopping for

the kids is a relaxed affair. A me&i representative will come to you and showcase the clothes so you and your friends can get a really good look and feel. If you are thinking about returning to work or just want to change to a job that fits round your family, take a look at the company’s website as they are currently looking for people to join them as self-employed me&i representatives.

For more details, call 07725 030 821

The West End comes to Worcester Park Stagecoach, Britain’s largest part time theatre school has been running in Worcester Park and Cheam for 8 years. From the January term the schools will be taken over by Lucy Moorby, who joins Stagecoach after an extensive professional career in the performing arts. Lucy’s West End credits include Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat (London Palladium), Grease (Dominion Theatre), Dr Doolittle (Hammersmith Apollo), Oh! What A Night (Hammersmith Apollo), Pirates of Penzance (London Palladium),The Rocky Horror Show (National Tour) and Peggy Sue Got Married

Are you outgoing and looking for a new challenge?

Come work with me&i!

For more information call Lucy on 0208 224 2442

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(Shaftesbury Theatre). She also represented The Eurovision Song Contest in Rome with Samantha Janus. Lucy is married to one of Britain’s Leading choreographers Kim Gavin, most notably known for being creative director and choreographer for Take That. Lucy hopes to build on the school’s success and offer exciting opportunities for the students by bringing in many experienced professionals from her own as well as her husband’s theatrical background.


Free indoor Soft play area for Coffee Bay customers East Molesey Cricket Club. For more details call Paulo on 07590503137 Graburn Way KT89AL

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To spend on Hot food and Hot Drinks Min spend per voucher is £8.00 Voucher available Jan and Feb 2011. FAMILIES UPON THAMES January-February 2011 762 Coffee Bay Play.indd 1


16/12/2010 07:49

news and views... Make a splash with Perform QUESTION: ‘Our little boy started school in September, and apparently he’s a bit of a mischief quite a lot of the time. We feel that he gets told off by the teacher too much, what can we do?’ ANSWER: Mum and teacher, June from Parents Keep Calm and Carry On says: ‘I love that … “a bit of a mischief quite a lot of the time”. I’m sure every reader will smile in at least part recognition of this! Children crave attention – ANY attention. There’s quite a lot here: a) Your son is a bit of a mischief b) This happens quite a lot of the time c) You think he gets told off too much d) You feel you don’t have a choice Starting school is a huge change for many children and the first term is spent settling in and learning the ropes. It is important that there are clear and consistent routines in school so that everyone is safe, happy and aware and respectful of one another’s needs. In this way, children feel they belong and effective learning can take place. Children respond very well to consistency and praise. Find out what specifically the ‘bit of a mischief’ is and work with your son and the class teacher to address this. Make sure that you agree a way of dealing with it that you can reinforce at home. Catch him being good. Give attention and specific praise every time your son ‘does’ the behaviour that you are looking for eg, Comes to the table to eat when asked/takes turns/ shares his toys: ‘Thanks for coming straight away when I asked’; ‘I like the way you are so good at taking turns.’; ‘I love it that you always share, thank you.’ Snatched conversations with the teacher at home time can reinforce the negative rather than the positive. If you haven’t already, arrange a meeting so that you can get a fuller picture. It’s a team effort and will help you to feel more in control. Ask about the positives and the things that ARE going well too. There will be plenty! Feed these back to your son with specific praise. Build on success. Make sure your son hears you praising the behaviour you are looking for to other people. This is the MOST powerful form of praise. Tell a friend or family member whilst he is in earshot. So, work with the school, be specific with identifying the unwanted behaviour, be specific with the praise when the desired behaviour takes place, be consistent. Enjoy this precious time. Parents Keep Calm and Carry on is Facebook, see their page: www.facebook. com/ParentsKeepCalmAndCarryOn They say: ‘Bringing up children is a massive and exciting challenge. Here we provide thoughts, ideas, inspiration and resources for parents to support ‘learning’ in its widest sense: emotional, social and academic.

This term, local children attending Perform classes will not just be having fun acting, singing and dancing each week, they’ll be exploring a magical world Under the Sea. Perform’s Principal Lucy Quick says, ‘Perform workshops aim to be the best fun of the week for 4 to 8 year-olds, but at the same time educational and informative. Our Under the Sea theme will involve meeting a magical world of ocean creatures and embarking on an exciting watery adventures’. As well as promising ‘the best fun of the week’, Perform specializes in helping children develop the 4 Cs, Confidence, Communication, Co-ordination and Concentration. According to parents and teachers all over London and the South East, ‘you can always tell a Perform child’. Any interested 4 to 8 year old can try out the classes by attending a Free Trial Session.

For more information please phone 0845 400 1284 or email:

Is your Montessori school accredited? The MEAB (Montessori Evaluation and Accreditation Board) scheme was introduced by the Montessori St Nicholas charity in 2009 to ensure that all schools using the Montessori name in the UK offer high-quality education and care to children. Montessori St Nicholas is the UK’S Montessori charity. The scheme has been developed with the British Accreditation Council and Independent Schools Inspectorate. There are many benefits of MEAB accreditation for Montessori schools, parents, teachers, and of course the children attending the schools. The most important benefit will be the sense of recognizing a setting which delivers a genuine Montessori practice and is committed to excellence in Montessori education. When selecting a Montessori school for your child, ask if they have been accredited.

An accredited school will have an accreditation plaque on its wall.

For further information, please check To find out more about best practice Montessori, order your free dvd – Discovering Montessori with Tana Ramsay. Email: or phone 020 7493 8300. For our nurseries feature, turn to pages 8 to 11.

YogaCubs in Thames Ditton Take your toddler along to YogaCubs classes (for ages 21/2 to 4 years) at Thames Ditton Children’s Centre, every Tuesday for 40 minutes, starting at 2pm. YogaCubs teach postures through stories mixed with relaxation, songs games! Improve children’s balance, coordination,

Enjoy each precious moment!’


Classes Run on Mondays in Weybridge, Tuesdays in Teddington, Esher and Surbiton, Wednesdays in Cobham and Richmond, Saturdays in Esher, Sundays in Richmond.

FAMILIES UPON THAMES January-February 2011

flexibility and strengthen and tone their bodies. It will also help their energy levels, concentration and bring them to a place of calm. Most of all lots of creative fun in a safe environment. Mats are supplied. Thames Ditton Children’s Centre is at Mercer Close, Thames Ditton, KT7 0BS

To find out more, contact Johanna, on 07807 055858

Creating a bolt hole for

mums mean business

busy mummies Tell us a bit about yourself I am 44 years old and live in Weybridge with my husband and my four gorgeous children. Their ages range from 23 to 3 years so not only am I quite obviously insane but I do actually really like children! Despite the fact that our house is much too small we are a very happy close family. I have worked in publishing for about the last 19 years. I have been Home Editor for House Beautiful and then eventually Commissioning Editor for S Magazine (Sunday Express). I went freelance in 2005 and have never looked back! I now style shoots for Next, Tesco, Wickes, M&S, Bhs and work for magazines such as Homes & Holidays, Ideal Home, and House Beautiful...I also write a blog for Next Baby Boutique about the ups and downs of family life. I decided to launch a website that would be full of things women like myself would enjoy, so after much discussion and experimenting with Twitter was born. What are the best things about living locally as a family? I have my family around me, which is really lovely. I grew up in Weybridge and Shepperton so although it’s not very exciting to have never moved anywhere else, my mother is on hand to have the children or collect them from school, etc which is very helpful. We are very lucky to have brilliant schools here too. The boys went to The Marist and are now at Heathside School and Antonis is at Churchfield House, which is a wonderful Casterbridge Nursery. We have everything on our doorstep here...including Thorpe Park, Chessington and Legoland. There is still lots of countryside too - a month ago we discovered a wonderful rambling walk about a mile from our house. What’s the idea behind That’s Yummy Mummy? I wanted to share interiors ideas, travel ideas, lovely recipes, etc. I was very lucky, when it was still at dream stage Antony Worrall Thompson, who I knew from my Express days, agreed to let me feature his recipes. I also wanted an online book club for all mums who couldn’t leave the house in the evenings. Being a mum and working is sometimes really hard

We meet Jess Contomichalos, the force behind children but how many really busy people have spared me the time to help me get things I need. Also that it takes a very long time to establish yourself and get traffic to your site so don’t be impatient or rush things. I am still developing ways to reach visitors and it’s not easy.... but I’m in for the long haul so fingers crossed we get better and better.

Jess with Joseph (11 years), Antonis (3 years). Chelsey (23 years) and Pavlos (14 years).

work so I also wanted interviews with celeb and non-celeb mums to find out how they manage and cope too. I wanted a real mix of content but didn’t want to compete with websites that focus on parenting – so you won’t find that on my site.... just content for mums that helps them escape the parenting duties for the few minutes they are online! How long did it take from the initial idea to the launch? I work with a fabulous photographer Matt Spour who was really encouraging and told me to go for it. He said that he had a friend who might be able to spare a bit of time. Paul Cripps is really the genius behind the site – he designed advised on and created the site that you now see. He spent hours getting it looking right and when we couldn’t find a logo – he even designed that too! He has been a web guru.... and we have all put our time and effort into this for love so far not money! So I suppose

really, I got in touch with Paul in February and we launched in August. Quite a while but we had day jobs too. What are the various talents you bring into That’s Yummy Mummy? I have always been very focused with my projects and reasonably innovative. I am also shameless and have oodles of stamina so if I decide I want something I keep trying until I find a way in....coupled with an enormous contacts book and friends in various places I’ve managed to get some really good content for the site which has really helped raise our profile.... including interviews with Myleene Klass, Tana Ramsay and Fay Ripley. I am also able to use all my interior shoots on the site courtesy of Matt, so that is quite unique too! What lessons did you learn along the way? That people are brilliant! Seriously, not just the support of all my family including my

What advice would you give other parents wanting to set up an online business? Know your subject, have something you can really offer your readers/visitors. Be careful.... there are stories of people investing thousands of pounds and then having nothing to show for it at the end of the day because no-one knows it’s there. Affiliate marketing is a great tool and a good way to create revenue.... explore your marketing ideas thoroughly – work out how you are going to reach the public and what you will use to continually lure them to your site. I am very lucky because I love my ‘day’ job so until That’s Yummy Mummy makes it impossible for me to do that as well – I don’t expect to become a millionaire overnight. I am not sure how much money this sort of business will make eventually.... but it rewards me in other ways! How do you juggle all this with being a Mum of 4? I use the time the children are at school to do as much work as I can. Antonis is at nursery from 9 to 1 three times a week so I sit down, focus, upload features/ content and then I stop and continue when they are all in bed. Sometimes I have to work with the children here – all that happens is neither ‘job’ gets done properly. Plans for the future? Well web domination I suppose! No, really I would like the website to continue to grow and be successful.... I love creating and updating it. The internet is a wonderful thing as it is always evolving and I love the fact that you can work on a feature and watch it changing in front of you...its a very exciting time for me right now and I just want to take it to its full potential!

January-February 2011 FAMILIES UPON THAMES


spectacular summer nurseries

Help I need a nursery

ROBINA COWAN takes a look at your nursery options.


If your child would thrive on the constant stimulation of other children and adults they trust, using a wide range of toys and outdoor facilities then a nursery would be a great childcare choice for you. Other advantages include year-round care and the experience of qualified staff, which can be particularly reassuring for first-time parents. Nurseries with the best reputations tend to be hot property, and baby units are scarcer than places for 2 to 5 year-olds, so start looking well ahead of the time. Some mothers start while they are still pregnant; others wait until their child is a babe in arms and they have a better idea of what they need. If you don’t know of any local nurseries, try our advertisers - they’re here because they want you to know about them. Otherwise, the Families Information Service can supply a list of registered childcarers in your area by phone on 0800 2346 346 and online at


■ A useful option for working parents, day nurseries are typically open from 8am to early evening and children can stay for all or part of the day ■ Some parents feel uneasy about leaving their baby in sole care, no matter how well qualified that person is. It’s reassuring to know that nursery staff can safely take breaks, and that you are covered if a member of staff is off sick ■ Consistency - your child can stay in the same environment from the day you go back to work until they start school ■ Social environment - children who attend nursery find it easier to settle into school routines when they join reception classes. THE CONS? Little flexibility - playtime, naps and meals are at more or less set times. Also you’ll need backup care when your child is unwell or if you’re late to collect.

Clothes by Mamas and Papas


■ A first step into school, although a school nursery place does not automatically guarantee a place in reception ■ Convenient if you are already dropping siblings at the school ■ Stimulation - some children are ready for school earlier than others and readily take to structured, educational play ■ Age-specific activities are geared to the school children they are becoming rather than the babies they used to be. THE CONS? Sessions tend to be just three hours which is not practical for many families. Full-time places are few and far between. 8

■ The Preschool Learning Alliance is one of the largest providers of quality childcare in England, offering a wide choice of settings from pre-schools and baby and toddler groups to full daycare places in nurseries and children’s centres ■ Managed by experienced and qualified managers who lead teams of nursery workers and support staff, training them to meet children’s individual needs ■ Parents are encouraged to be active members ■ Small-scale settings are less daunting for shy children THE CONS? Tend to be community operations so don’t expect glamorous premises. You may need additional care if you work full-time, although wrap-around hours are available in some settings.


■ Stimulation - by two and a half most children benefit from some kind of pre-school environment. They learn without knowing it while using letters, shapes and numbers, looking at books and expressing themselves through making things, drawing and singing ■ Peer group - the opportunity to make friends of the same age Might be more flexible on the availability of hours or days you need to fit in with your work schedule ■ Often smaller scale with a personal touch, and the nursery head is usually involved in the running of the school. THE CONS? Some offer wrap-around care but are generally open only for school hours so you will need someone to pick up and collect if you are at work.


Nursery fees very greatly, depending on location, demand and what is offered, but can be from around £100 to over £200 a week. ■ Local authorities receive government funding so they can offer 15 hours a week of early years education to all three and four year-olds from the term after their third birthday. If you choose a nursery which costs more than the funding or need more hours, you top up the difference. ■ Child tax credits and working tax credits are available to help with childcare costs. From April 2011, the ‘child’ element of the child tax credit will be increased for families earning up to £16,190 a year with an above-inflation increase. At the same time though, families earning over £41 400 will no longer be eligible for the full tax credit. ■ Some employers offer childcare vouchers which staff can opt to receive instead of part of their salary. Parents can save up to £1000 a year by reducing their income tax and national insurance contributions.

FAMILIES UPON THAMES January-February 2011


Read more childcare articles on the Families group website For local nurseries and links to their Ofsted reports, go to The National Day Nurseries Association provides a lot of useful information including a free checklist to take on your visit, and contact details for NDNA member nurseries, 01484 407040 The Preschool Alliance website has useful sections for parents and practitioners, including links to find local PLA childcare,

464 Toad Hall



Page 1

Providers of quality childcare and education

Open from 8.00am to 6.00pm 51 weeks of the year

• Safe, secure and loving environment

Watch them shine brighter every day!

• Preschool education curriculum approved by Ofsted • French lessons and additional sports programmes • Qualified, skilled and caring staff • Full and part time care for children from birth – 5 years • Large outside gardens To give your child a helping hand in the early years please contact the numbers listed below for more information or to book a visit Chessington – 020 8391 4447 Bridge Road, Chessington KT9 2ET

Ealing – 020 8571 6867

Comer Crescent, Windmill Avenue, Ealing UB2 4XD

Shepperton – 01932 592525

Here at Playtime Nursery we know that choosing the appropriate child care is one of the most important decisions that you will make in your child’s early years, that’s why our caring and loving staff will ensure Playtime Nursery is the right nursery for both you and your child. We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework Highly trained and fully qualified staff Extensive indoor and outdoor facilities including soft play structure

Privately owned Unique environment for developing little minds Open 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday Vouchers and Nursery Education Grants accepted

Shepperton Film Studios, Studios Road, Shepperton TW17 0QD Nurseries also in: Walton on Thames – 01932 226975 or 252858 Ottershaw – 01932 874286, Ripley – 01483 222020


Secure your child’s place today Call 01932 246747 or email Miles House, Govett Avenue, Shepperton, Middlesex TW17 8AG

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January-February 2011 FAMILIES UPON THAMES


spectacular summer nurseries

Your nursery visit You have shortlisted the childcare providers in your area and booked visits to them, here MIRIAM BROWN tells you what to look for on your way round.

It is important that you write a list of questions. It’s a little like going to the doctors or attending an interview in as much as it can feel very overwhelming and it is only after you have left that you remember the all-important queries you had. These could be anything from ‘How is sleep time arranged?’ to ‘How will potty training be managed?’ or ‘What does the Early Years Foundation Stage mean for my child’? Take notice of how you are greeted – is the door held wide open or does the person ask who you are before inviting you in? Security is a very important aspect of any setting and whilst it is good to be greeted warmly, it is essential that unfamiliar people are not given free access to the building. Are you asked to sign a visitor’s book? Is the reception area clutter free and inviting and are staff well presented? Have a quick look around for the Registration certificate, it is a legal requirement for all childcare providers to display this and it gives you details of how many children the setting may care for at any one time.

Curious Caterpillar toy from Little Bird Told Me

Nuffield Health day nursery. • Children from 3 months to 5 yrs • Safe caring environment • Friendly long standing team • Grant funding available for over 3’s • Freshly prepared nutritional meals • Ofsted approved For a prospectus please contact:

020 8335 2901 Simpson Way Long Ditton Surrey, KT6 4ER

Sometimes it includes conditions about the number of children under a certain age or if there is any exclusion, such as no children under 12 months. The manager or deputy should greet you even if they do not show you round the nursery. Tell the staff member who is leading the visit about those areas you particularly want to see. This is important – if you have a baby you will not want to see Pre School first, or vice-a-versa. If this is not offered and you feel as if you might be given the generic tour, say where your particular interests lie. As you walk round the various rooms, are children happy and engaged in what they are doing and are staff involved with them? Nursery rooms should look busy but not chaotic! Do staff look up and acknowledge your presence by a smile or ‘hello’? Are children’s noses clean and does the room smell good? Look at the display boards, are they up-to-date and look as if work has been done by children? Do they demonstrate staff have an understanding of child development and the Early Years Foundation Stage? At this point you may like to ask about observations and planning, how this is done and by whom. If no mention is made of a Key Person system then this is something you really must ask about as this person will be central to your child’s time at nursery. Are you allowed to just stand and watch the room in action or are you hurried in and out of rooms? Is the garden or outdoor area set up ready for children’s play and if there is no outdoor area, how do staff manage this aspect of the day? When you return to the reception area and if you have liked what you have seen so far, take a look at your list of questions. Have


FAMILIES UPON THAMES January-February 2011

you answers to them all? If not, ask now. If you have inadvertently left them at home, do remember as a minimum to ask about menus if your child has a special diet, or if they have a cultural, familiar or special need how this will be managed. It is always worth looking briefly at the nursery policy and procedures file – this should be in the reception area, to see how accidents, administration of medications and other inevitable aspects of nursery life are managed. You also have a right to see the Complaints file on request. There is of course the Ofsted report, the latest version of which should also be displayed. This offers a snapshot of the setting and will detail any complaints that may have been reported to them. However, if it is more than a year old it is unlikely to provide a true picture of how the setting is 12 months or more later. This could be due to changes in staffing, room layout or the development of day-to-day practice following training. When you have left the setting and before moving onto the next, make a few notes about your general impressions and feelings. This is really helpful when trying to make that all-important decision. Remember you can also arrange for another visit without any obligation to make a booking. Brochures and websites offer useful information but it is how you feel about the setting and the care offered that actually counts.

extra The author is Early Years Advisor for Kidsunlimited Nurseries, 0845 365 2988,

What they say We asked parents and the nurseries for their news



• Hands-on owners: ‘Always go for an owner-run nursery. These people are not “in it for the money” but doing the job because they genuinely like and understand children. It’s a vocational thing.’ Mary, mother of three under six. • Looks aren’t everything: ‘Some of the shabbiest establishments are far superior to some upmarket nurseries in terms of quality of care. The best childcare we’ve ever found was

and opinions.

in state-run nurseries and playgroups.’ Eliza, four children aged three to eleven. • Socialisation: ‘Although I’m not at work, from the age of two I felt it was important for my son to start learning to get on with a range of other children and adults, to help him when he started school.’ Matt, father of Ollie, three. • Experienced staff: ‘Look at the ages of the staff. Youngsters fresh out of college may have more energy and I’m sure they know all the latest thinking on childcare but in my opinion that’s no substitute for experience. I would always go for a nursery with mature staff, every time. They have more patience and you know they have to be doing this because they want to, they really love the children.’ Clara, mother of three under seven. • Explore all options: ‘Go and see as many different nurseries as you can. Don’t get tied up in the Ofsted and what other people think. You know your child better than anyone.’ Ramona, mother of Klaus, five. • The details that matter: ‘Churchfield Nursery is a gorgeous Victorian building that has been renovated to a very high standard. All the rooms are beautifully decorated with bright, clean, new toys and lots of natural daylight coming through big windows. The teachers are all really attentive and warm with the children too, cuddling them if they are miserable and praising them when they’ve done well...really sweet. When you walk into the nursery, there is gentle ‘spa’ like music playing, and the office door is always open, so the head and deputy wave and greet the children as they arrive! I am also more than a little impressed with

the uniform, black back-packs and the rain ponchos and umbrellas they put on when they go out in the rain(!) I know that’s a bit shallow, but I love their attention to detail and it filters down from the top of the school’s management, right down to the smile or cuddle one of the teachers give the children when they need it most. Really a fabulous, stimulating and inspiring environment for your child to be in!’ Jessica, mum of Antonis, age three about Churchfield House Nursery, Weybridge. • About atmosphere: ‘I noticed at an early stage how all members of staff knew Lola as they would greet her by name, regardless of which room they worked in. As a parent I am also always warmly greeted and appreciate the numerous invitations to join day trips and activities that fall on Lola’s non-designated nursery days. Parent about a Kidsunlimited nursery.

Sunflowers Nursery Staines Preparatory School

You are welcome to visit on Open Days or by individual appointment

•Learning through activity •Guaranteed place in the & creative play main school •Ofsted registered •Highly caring environment with excellent facilities •Holiday Club •Out of hours childcare •Nursery Education Grant facilities


Early registration for Sept 2011 advisable. Some year groups from September 2010 to August 2011 are operating a waiting list. For assistance with fee planning and other fee information please contact the Bursar

01784 450909 | January-February 2011 FAMILIES UPON THAMES 11

Photo by Tom Clare

• About themselves: ‘Playtime nursery has been open since September 2008 and we think it is one of a kind. Not only do we have a unique soft play structure but also provide high-quality childcare which is flexible to meet the demands of working parents. We pride ourselves on creating a home-from-home environment for your child where they can play and learn the Playtime way. We are a 70 place nursery catering for children from 3 months to 5 years. During a day with us children are provided with delicious homemade meals cooked on site by our chef and activities are based around each child’s individual needs to help them reach their full potential. For more information please call Shareen or Jo on 01932 246747 who will be happy to give you the grand tour and explain in detail all that we do’. Victoria, owner of Playtime Nursery, Miles House, Govett Avenue, Shepperton, TW17 8AG, ‘We have a new Kidunlimited Nursery opening in Esher officially opening on 17th January and the opening week will be between 10th – 14th January. The 72 place nursery is on a new residential development fronting the Kingston Bypass (A309) near Hinchley Wood.’ To register your interest in the nursery please contact 0845 365 2929 or email Marketa at

spectacular summer nurseries

2011 living

Your starter for


At the best of times being a parent means your life is a constant juggling act with little time to spare for thinking or planning ahead. With all the recent government austerity measures and changes to welfare payments there’s never been a better time to take action and put yourself and your family on track financially. Experts from the Institute of Financial Planning (IFP) are used to helping their clients to map out their future, and this month they are using their expertise to try and help people like you to get financially sorted. Here are some of our top tips.

1 What do you want out of life?

Start your new financial fitness regime by identifying the goals in life that are most important to you and your partner/family, and start to plan for them. ◆ In the short term, eg nursery fees, next year’s holiday, changing your car ◆ In the medium term, eg school fees, career change, moving house ◆ In the long term, eg university fees, weddings, looking after elderly parents, retirement With your partner, try to work out the costs of each of your goals and also apply timescales to each of them. Write your goals down and review them regularly.

2 Live within your means

Work out what you earn and also what you spend each month – and be honest with yourself! Keeping a spending diary for a month will help (and shock) you. Set yourself a spending plan and stick to it. You should spend less than you earn, but if you don’t then work on ways to cut your costs and/ or find other ways to increase your income, rather than borrowing to pay bills or to pay for shopping/holidays.


ten tips to help you sort out your family finances and kick start your plans for 2011.

Other tips… Make sure you claim benefits you’re entitled to. Visit

3 Control debt

Borrow only what you absolutely need and make sure you know the true cost of your debt. Work out a plan to pay off your debt as quickly as you can. You may tackle your high-interest debts first, like credit cards although be careful to prioritise mortgage repayments, tax bills, utility bills too as non payment can have very serious consequences.

4 Know what you are worth

Your net worth is the difference between what you own and what you owe. Set specific targets and include precise timescales to increase it in line with your life goals.

5 Plan for the unexpected

You need to ensure your family can cope financially under all sorts of circumstances, including unforeseen events like ill health, an accident, premature death, etc. Find out from work what you would be covered for (if anything) otherwise consider insurance policies, as otherwise your finances – and lives - could easily be derailed. Other tips on protection: ◆ Are your main assets like your car and house covered by insurance? ◆ Make your will and keep it up to date – including appointing guardians for the children ◆ Consider setting up a power of attorney as a precaution in case you can’t handle your affairs personally

8 Retirement plans

Use a deposit account to save for an emergency fund or ‘cash cushion’. Aim to accumulate at least 3 months’ income but if you’ve got high-interest debt, pay that off first.

Make a financial plan for your retirement now. Do you have access to a workplace pension scheme? If so, seriously consider contributing to it, especially if your employer will make a contribution too. Otherwise, consider saving or investing using personal pensions or ISAs to accumulate funds for retirement.

7 Make saving a habit and consider investing too

9 Shop around and control your spending

6 Stash some cash

Once you’ve paid off any high-interest debts and have got your emergency cash cushion, get into the habit NOW of saving on a monthly basis for your shorter and medium-term goals. Investments are not just for the rich. Investing in the stock market might be more risky but it can make your money work harder for you over the long term for things like university fees. You can invest from just £50 a month. Also look into ways to help reduce the tax you have to pay on your returns by using ISAs. 12 12

IFP Chief Executive Nick Cann adds, ‘We know from our recent UK survey that thousands of families are risking financial disaster by simply not taking the time to plan their finances or work out what they want from life. When you’re busy with the family it is so easy to overlook important things like this until it is too late. It’s not about money – it’s about you; making sure that you and your children get the most out of life rather than leaving it to chance.

FAMILIES UPON THAMES January-February 2011

When shopping ask yourself : Do I need it? Can I afford it? If not, forget it. If so, can you get it cheaper elsewhere? That applies to your utility bills, phones, broadband, etc. You’ll be amazed how much you and your partner can save, creating room for you to put more aside to help reach your goals.

10 Visit the IFP website, - a website created for Financial Planning Week to give you tips and tools to improve your financial fitness.

2011 living

Baby it’s cold outside Become your home’s own energy doctor. NICOLA BAIRD suggests ways to make the rooms you and the kids use most snug and draught-proof.

Quick fix ◆ Using the simplest of tools – tape measure, tacks and hammers, secure foam or rubber draught-proof strips to the sides and base of doors etc. ◆ Add a rug or two over gappy floorboards or try a winter layout by moving large pieces of furniture so they sit on top of leaky spots. ◆ Fit a portiere rod so that you can put up a door curtain blocking front/back door draughts. Finish off by making a long snakey door stop (1.5m x 15cm material sleeve stuffed with clothes/sand/crumpled newspaper).

Piling on chunky knits, snugly scarves and fleece-lined footwear can be an enjoyable part of winter dressing. But it’s also good to be able to take some layers off when you and the kids get back home - without forcing the boiler into overdrive or racking up your power bills.


If you’re working from home, or spend a lot of time there with little children then organise your winter den in the sunniest (south or south-west facing) room and make insulation a priority. In a top flat or house you can lay insulation material thickly over your attic floor (buy cheaply from a hardware store). Then sort out the draughts. Try using well fitting, thick layers of curtains over sash windows if you’re not ready to replace single glazed windows. There are lots more ideas like this in George Marshall’s Carbon Detox (Gaia, £7.99). Quick fix ◆ Draw curtains at dusk. ◆ If the curtain rail is strong enough sew, staple or use safety pins to fix up second-hand curtains (from charity shops, car boot sales, etc) behind your own curtains. ◆ Shut doors! ◆ In the kitchen: if you’ve finished using the oven, turn it off, then open its door to borrow heat while you eat.




Turn your efforts to hunt out draughts into a game with the kids. Explain it costs money to heat space. ‘Money that could be spent on treats’ is one way to motivate your assistants, whose mission it is to find all the ways heat escapes from each room. Organise a kit for your energy auditors with a tape measure, notebook, pen and super-sized matches. When it’s breezy outside, look for draughts inside and take a note of flimsy window coverings, gappy floorboards and absent insulation. One trick is to light a match to see if the flame and smoke go straight up, which means that part of your home is well draught-proofed. Pay attention when smoke angles off at 90 degrees as that is a sign of a major draught (the side and base of front and back doors are often the biggest culprits for this).

When Tom Jones smouldered the line to songstress Cerys Matthews it’s clear Tom meant his fire was burning well but he’d have an even better heat from a wood burning stove, and these days they can be installed in smoke-free zones too (budget £1 to 3000). Far cheaper is to stop unused fireplaces from sucking heat up the chimney by fitting a chimney balloon (an inflatable, reusable device, available from More homespun solutions include blocking never-lit fireplaces with your plastic bag collection. Quick fix ◆ If you are reading stories together you can keep warm by making sure there’s a cosy fleece/blanket for every member of the family. ◆ Sometimes a hot water bottle makes all the difference between a lovely night in watching your favourite DVD, and an early night.


Nicola Baird is mum of two girls. Her book Homemade Kids: thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children is published by Vermilion, £10.99. Have a look at the blog on

Oobi Baby & Kids

A well maintained, modern gas boiler, with individual controls - thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) on each radiator and a centrally sited thermostat – can be an efficient way to keep your home warm in the cold if you take the time to get to know the controls. Match the heating hours with when you are in the house and don’t bother to heat your hall. If your child is already at nursery and you are out during the day you could set the heating so it turns off half an hour before you leave the house. You can also set it for half an hour before you normally arrive home if you like to fling your coat off when you get in.


January-February 2011 FAMILIES UPON THAMES 13

2011 living

Guilty or not guilty?

KEVIN RYAN explains how to help your children out of the guilt trap.

‘I should not have done that and now I feel really bad.’ That is the voice of guilt, an internal reminder that tells you when you have overstepped your own moral code. For adults guilt can be a great burden, blunting their lives, but for children it can be unbearable. Guilt releases powerful emotions, but it also changes how you see the world around you. You feel your conscience stabbing you with raw emotional pain and believe yourself to be entirely responsible and utterly alone. All of us, at some point in our lives, have experienced these feelings of guilt. Most of us are mature enough to deal with the situation, put it behind us and carry on. However, there are others unable to step out of this all encompassing emotion, becoming stressed, regretful and depressed. Children, especially find guilt hard to deal with. Guilt has had a negative press; always seen as something bad. Nevertheless, guilt helps us navigate through life; identifying the difference between right and wrong. It is our conscience speaking to us. The feelings it evokes are so painful that it encourages us either, to take action to change the situation or to never to do the guilt inducing act again. It is the emotional equivalent of a child touching a hot saucepan; the resulting

pain ensures the act will never be repeated. Feelings of guilt a child has when they have done something wrong are a vital part in the growth of their own moral code. Children have impressionable minds and absorb these codes from those around them, especially their parents. However, unlike their parents they do not have the structures to deal with this difficult emotion. These feelings, if left unchecked can have negative consequences, like introversion, lack of initiative, loss of self-esteem. Childhood is the foundation upon which we build our lives and unresolved guilt can drastically change the persona of the future adult. Next time you feel guilty about something, take a minute to reflect on where you learnt the values behind this feeling and whose voice is it in your head telling you what is right or wrong. It is the responsibility of the parents to explain the meaning of guilt to their children, as well as ways of coping with it and getting on with life. The steps given below can show how you can help your child deal with this emotion.

1 2 3

People are never perfect; they are bound to make mistakes. However, the aim is to be able to learn from those mistakes, rather than seeing them as the end of everything. Tell your child that they can forgive themselves and try to make amends. Remind them that overindulging in guilt will only deepen their misery. Guilt always seeks to be released through forgiveness. Encourage your child to confess their misdemeanours in front of somebody they consider morally significant, such as their teacher or yourself. This will help them to ease their burden and move on. However, it is good

for them to promise out loud never to do it again. Discover the reason behind their guilt by talking about it. The more they try to hide it within themselves, the more it will hurt them. Talking can help reduce something that feels large and unbearable into something smaller and manageable. Remember, what is done can never be undone. Guilt can never change the past, no matter how bad the child feels. Your child can share their guilt with your close friends. They can definitely help and make useful suggestions.


5 6

7 8 9 10


If the guilt concerns a particular person, encourage an apology and if possible, try to make amends. In return that person might offer forgiveness. Teach your child to watch their speech and actions in future to make sure that mistake is never repeated. Offer the gift of optimism. Worries will only worsen the existing problems, so it is always better to invest time and energy in correcting the misdeed, rather than brooding over it. Finally, teach the value of communication. It is better to show the problem the light of day than bury it in a deep dark place.

Kevin Ryan, based in West London, is a coach at Moving On Coaching. If you wish to know more you can visit, email or phone 020 8400 9045 Read Kevin’s blog at

Sima’s parties are structured energetic fun action-packed & set to music Sima’s Action Kids parties for under 6’s Sima’s Dance parties for under 11’s Sima’s Disco-bop & karaoke parties for under 11’s contact Sima on 07956993439 or visit

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FAMILIES UPON THAMES January-February 2011

Clothes by Marks and spencer,

Ten steps for dealing with guilt

2011 health

Sisters doing it for themselves Take two health conscious sisters with food intolerances, combine their various talents and a great local company called Eat Me Organic, supplying gluten and dairy free delicious treats ‘without the bad stuff’ is born.

Leigh and Bonnie

095 Premier nannies



and officially launched at the beginning of August. Working as sisters has been great, as 528 Diddy Nov10.indd 1 23/10/2010 Leigh told us, ‘We both have different skill sets given our backgrounds so things have worked out quite well. Bonnie is really good at the design and creative side of things, while my marketing/business background has definitely helped with all the financial aspects and setting up the website’. Their high point was the first day at Richmond Farmers’ Market. ‘We were still feeling a little nervous about the product and Daily/live in nannies whether it would appeal to kids - our key Mother’s Helps target audience. One of our first customers Temporary and Emergency Staff was a family with three kids. They decided Maternity Nurse to buy one raspberry cupcake and share it Night Nurses amongst them all as they clearly weren’t sure Evening Babysitting Service about the whole gluten-free, dairy-free thing. Established 18 years Plus no sugar? However a few minutes later All staff interviewed and reference checked they were back with an order for 4 more CRB Enhanced Disclosure cupcakes. That was great reinforcement for For Friendly Professional Advice on all your us and we knew we were onto something.’ Childcare Requirements Their low point was discovering that all Call Suzanne ovens are not created equal. ‘We struggled through way too many failed batches Visit our website of cupcakes and frustrated research on temperature variations while trying to work out why the bottoms always burnt. Thankfully it was not our unique ingredients that were causing the issue but rather the fan option in the oven. Discovering this at 11pm with an order due the next day does  Nannies, Maternity Nurses, Housekeepers and Mother’s raise the tension somewhat!’ Helps Despite the inevitable problems, Leigh and All our Bonnie’s advice to anyone with a business idea is emphatic, ‘Don’t give up. If you think applicants  Permanent and Temporary you have something persevere. If it were are  Residential, Daily, easy, everyone would be doing it!’


Bonnie and Leigh from Richmond grew up in a family passionate about healthy eating. However, both learnt the hard way that they had intolerances to certain common ingredients. Leigh told us, ‘I discovered in my early twenties that I had an intolerance to wheat. The most visible reaction is my eczema which has almost disappeared since reducing wheat in my diet. ‘I was often sick as a child as a result of my dairy allergies’, says Bonnie, ‘and it was particularly hard for me as a kid to have to eat goat’s yoghurt instead of ice cream. Now with so many options and more knowledge it is much easier for me to follow a dairy-free diet, without next day cheese hangovers.’ Their mother, who is more partial to alternative healing than the traditional ‘just take a pill and it will go away’ approach, always believed in healing with foods. In the family it has always been a case of finding and addressing the cause as opposed to treating the symptoms. Originally working in online marketing, Leigh decided that nutrition had always been her passion and graduated from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York City in 2009, to focus on the benefits of healthy eating and the importance of a good diet. She says, ‘I split my time between creating delicious healthy treats and health coaching individuals to improve their lifestyle’. She started talking about the idea behind Eat Me Organic at the beginning of 2010 when she moved back to the UK. The biggest challenge was coming up with recipes that actually tasted good so the first four months were pretty much spent in the kitchen. Leigh and Bonnie did their taste testing in July

020 8339 0298

personally interviewed and their references checked

What’s NOT in Eat Me Organic refined sugar, wheat, soya and gluten milk or butter, preservatives colourants, Es, or any of that other bad stuff that you can’t pronounce. What IS coconut oil, honey, beans dark vegan chocolate,nuts fresh fruit


Full and Part-Time

 Evening Babysitting Register

Tel: 020 8947 4666

Order some delicious treats from Bonnie and Leigh by checking out:

184 Copse Hill, SW20 0SP Fax: 020 8947 0405 accredited

15 January-February 2011 FAMILIES UPON THAMES 15



2011 health

Real food for good health Local nutritionist LEONIE WRIGHT blames processed food for many of the nation’s health woes and offers her tips for a healthy 2011. Now that the Christmas and New Year celebrations, with their abundance in food and drink, are once again behind us, it might be a good time to think about how you can improve the health and fitness of your family through eating healthy food. Many people do not realise what the influence of eating the wrong foods can have on their health and energy levels. If we don’t feel well we go to the doctor and are often given a prescription to cure the problem, but there are other actions we can take to make us feel better. We eat too much of the wrong food, we don’t exercise enough and we are becoming unhealthy. These are headlines we see regularly in the media and they should be taken seriously. Obesity has increased six-fold

since the 1970s and reports show that 90 percent of today’s children will be overweight or obese by 2050. Diabetes figures are also rising as fast as our waistlines are expanding. More than 1.9 million people in the UK are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and over a million are thought to be undiagnosed. All have health risks. Research shows that we often overeat because we’re tired or cold or feeling down, or because we’ve had a bad day at work or are stressed out with the kids. One study even shows that women eat 13 percent more when listening to the radio! However, a new wave of research is emerging that points the finger at the food manufacturers. According to this latest evidence, the reason we’re eating more food is the food itself as we become addicted to the ingredients, namely salt, sugar and fats. According to David Kessler, the former

head of the United States Food and Drug Administration we are too reliant nowadays on the ubiquitous, processed, ready-made, fast food we eat. It is not really food at all he says, it’s a drug, in its own way as addictive as a class A drug. The three main culprits Kessler identifies are sugar, fat and salt. The basis of the modern food industry is to take fat, sugar and salt and put it on every corner of every street and make it into entertainment. We develop habits around our favourite foods and become aroused when we anticipate them, according to Kessler. We all lead busy lives and we can’t or don’t want to make the time available to prepare healthy food. But it is of vital importance to eat healthily. We must start eating real food, not processed food. Eating food in the form nature delivers is the way forward.

Leonie’s tips Top tips to help you and your family have a healthy 2011 0 Make sure everyone in your family has a

good breakfast. This could be porridge with some dried fruit, yogurt with fresh fruit, slice of wholemeal toast with honey or low sugar cereals

0 Eat at least five servings of fruit and

foods as much as you can due to their high sugar, fat and salt content. This means as few ready-made meals or pizzas as possible

0 Eat smaller portions regularly and don’t limit yourself to three main meals a day. Each time you eat your blood sugar levels will go up. It is better to have more smaller peaks than 3 large ones


unrefined carbohydrates such as wholemeal bread, rice or pasta

0 Divide your plate in three equal parts

vegetables a day. Fruits, nuts and seeds are very good in-between meal snacks

and have a third vegetables, a third protein and a third carbohydrates (pasta, rice or potatoes)

0 Drink as little packaged fruit juices and

0 Finally, build exercise into your family

alcohol as possible as they contain high amounts of added sugar. It is far better to drink freshly squeezed juice or water instead

0 Avoid eating processed convenience

0 To accompany your meals, choose

0 Make your meals from scratch with the best quality of ingredients you can afford. It is good to have one family meal a day and this also encourages social interaction

0 When cooking your main meal choose lean protein meats such as chicken, turkey or lean mince containing no more than 5% fat and more fatty fish, such as salmon and trout and avoid fish fingers

FAMILIES UPON THAMES January-February 2011

life. Join a health or fitness centre or simply take the family out for regular walks


Leonie Wright, a nutritionist and coach, runs EatWright - - a healthy eating plan which makes people healthier, slimmer and fitter for the long term. 01374 386028

baby page

Feet first

Ladies trying to get pregnant may find the answer no further than their feet. Maternity reflexologist, EMMA FURR tells us about her work. learnt that you have to be prepared for any eventuality in the world of maternity. All three of my daughters have benefited from reflexology and it has made life much easier, especially on long car journeys! Our five year-old daughter Anika had reflexology from the word go and used to ask me to do ‘refleksockoly’ on her. It may have also been useful in balancing out our 13 year-old’s hormones on occasion too!

Reflexology is effective for rebalancing hormones for anybody, but particularly during conception, pregnancy, childbirth, the post-natal period and for the baby. My work is very varied - I can be at a Polo match one minute, where the Bellinis are flowing or at a mental healthcare unit the next, treating the patients or the hardworking staff. I work from a Beauty Salon in Ham and also visit clients’ homes. If clients prefer to come to me I have a wooden garden studio in Ham, next door to my artist husband’s studio. I have also done treatments at various exhibitions from The BBC Good Food Show in Birmingham to The International Cycle Show at The Business Design Centre. I have worked in many different offices, and also enjoy treating hen parties and pamper parties, though I always advise the guests that champagne after reflexology is never as good as water for flushing away the released toxins! The work means I have to be flexible, especially juggling irregular, last-minute hours with my three daughters and their busy social lives. Yet I can’t think of any job where people are so happy to see you arrive. When I have finished a treatment it is so rewarding to see people visibly refreshed and feeling as if they have had a great night’s sleep. There have been many success stories with clients who have fallen pregnant after reflexology with me. One of my first clients had reflexology from the beginning of her family and is now considering a fifth baby, proposing having reflexology from conception to birth again of course! It was only by my third pregnancy that I discovered reflexology for myself. I ended up having a lovely pregnancy and a normal delivery at Kingston Hospital after two Caesareans with my previous babies, which is quite unusual. It was fantastic to have had the opportunity to give birth naturally, though each of my pregnancies and births were special in their own way. I have

After completing my maternity reflexology course I had one very happy client who told her pregnancy yoga class about me at Christmas time. I was grateful to her, but all of the heavily pregnant mums-to-be seemed to be due around Christmas and wanted their babies to arrive before Christmas Day. They all wanted to try the gentle technique I do called priming for labour, which may be successful in naturally encouraging the baby to arrive. I was even working on Christmas Eve that year, in between all the last-minute Christmas shopping! I always do my best to help out with local charities and events whenever I can. I often donate vouchers and have been doing treatments for Me Too & Co, a local voluntary organization which helps children with additional needs and their families, since I first trained. I have also participated in a few events at The Royal Star and Garter, the local charity that has caring for the ex-service community since 1916. A few years ago I won a local business award and I always seem to have a project on the go, my next one is giving a confidence through creativity talk locally to a group of 15 year-olds who have become disengaged from education. The aim is to raise their confidence and self esteem and to demonstrate the variety of just what is out there in the big wide world.


WIN a free treatment with Emma! Simply go to the Familie s group website and click on Co mpetitions at the far left of the pu rple panel: k/ locations/Upon-Thame s


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


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

07931 707720 186 Fun with Music v2 A


Fun With Music! In Central Richmond

Music Classes for 1-5 Year Olds For more information, call:


The only embarrassing mishap I had was when I was pregnant and passed out during a Reiki treatment at a Beauty Salon, there must have been too much Reiki energy for me to handle in my condition! Thankfully the client was totally understanding though.


Reflexology is a method of stimulating reflexes in the foot that in theory correspond to each gland, organ and part of the body. Emma also practises Indian Head Massage, Hopi Ear candling, Beauty Therapy and is a Reiki Master. For more, check or call Star Treatment 0208 404 9431 or 0774 0612971 January-February 2011 FAMILIES UPON THAMES 17


travel 2011

s y a d i l o h y l i Fam er or poorer

- for rich


As we shiver in grey, cold Britain, it’s inevitable that our thoughts turn to warmer climes and sun-kissed beaches. The kind of places we hope to end up in a few months’ time, when it’s summer once again, and we’re getting away from it all for those magical two weeks we call our annual holiday. Of course holidays with kids are always tricky...and one of the trickiest aspects of all is always financing them. And this year more than usual, finding the money to pay for a holiday is going to be harder than ever. But chins up – we’re not giving up! There are still ways to do it...and for those who do have some money to spend, the bargains are likely to be hotter than ever. 18

Holiday for free

Yes, you really can go on holiday without spending any money at all. Even if you manage not to pay for your accommodation, you’ll still be making a huge saving. Here are just some of the ways of achieving a cost-free break.

House swap: The world falls into two camps on house swapping. There are those who swear by it, who’ve stayed in the best villas around the world because of it; and there are those who can’t think of anything worse than having to leave their house pristine for another family when they go away, and who fear being palmed off with some tenement hovel while its owners live it up in their luxury pad. The truth about house swapping is that it IS hard might not be paying for your accommodation, but you need to go to a lot of trouble beforehand to make sure you a) have the perfect swap and b) that your own house is properly organised for the incoming family. Top tips from seasoned swappers are to find a family that’s as much like you as possible, and to ask lots of questions and look at lots of photos of the place you’re going to. Also, don’t rule out swaps with friends or relatives – these can be easier to organise, and you can top and tail them with some together-time with your mates as you overlap at one or both homes.

Wildcamping: it ain’t for everyone, but those who love ‘real’ camping say they really, really adore it. What it means is camping in the remote wilds – not on campsites (where you have to pay), but in the absolute back of beyond, where there’s no infrastructure at all. The downside, of course, is that it’s usually illegal (unless you have the landowner’s permission) but if you’re headed to Scotland you’re in luck since the right to camp on hill land is now enshrined in public-access law. For more information, see

Work for your keep! Working holidays, in fact, aren’t usually free – but they are very, very cheap. The National Trust, for example, has holidays from £90 a week including food and hostel-type accommodation. No previous experience is necessary, as you’ll be led by trained volunteer leaders and staff. The trust says it’s a great opportunity for families, especially those with older children, to spend time together as a’ll be involved in ‘team activities’ and you’ll be helping to improve the environment. Children must be at least eight years-old. For more information, see

FAMILIES UPON THAMES January-February 2011

Clothes from

We all need a holiday, but how are we going to manage it in the harsh new economics of 2011?

less and how to holiday for free, for r more! (if you have some cash) fo

Holiday for more

Holiday for less In general, you get what you pay for with holiday spending. But it is possible to make your money go further – you just have to work out a strategy, and stick to it.

Bargain-hunt: There are bargains around on the holiday front this year...and as usual, the trick is either to book well ahead, or to wait until the very last minute (and if your income is looking dodgy at the moment, the late-booking option could be the best). Uncertainty is tricky when you’ve got kids, but try to keep them happy by promising that you will go somewhere, you’re just not entirely sure exactly where...but work out a few basics, so you can tell them it will definitely involve a beach, a flight (if it’s abroad) and the chance to play with other kids (if you’re going somewhere where there’ll be other families).

Holiday with another family. This can make your outlay a lot cheaper, because the costs will be divided in two. If you’re holidaying with another family, the cheapest thing to do is either to stay in the UK or to go to France or somewhere else by ferry, since that’s the cheapest way to travel. Look for bargains like La Blanchere in the Vendee region of France – it’s a four-bed farmhouse set in a two-acre garden with a games barn and an above-ground swimming pool. It’s available for just £700 a week in high season – so for two families sharing, that’s quite a bargain. For more information, see

travel 2011

Holiday in the UK. Libbear Barton is a 5 Star Award winner and is one of the best baby friendly facilities in the UK. For more info, see There is a swimming pool, sauna, games room and well equipped gym, open from 8.30am to 8pm each day. There’s also a well stocked fishing lake and delightful woodland walk. Each cottage contains all the equipment needed for babies and toddlers. Food can be ordered and delivered from Waitrose in Holsworthy.

If you’re going to spend a bit of money this year, you’re in luck because there will be plenty of choice – and you should be able to get somewhere that gives you excellent value for money, given that many families will be looking for a cheaper option. You definitely need to shop around. Tell travel companies about deals you’ve been offered by competitors – and see whether they’re prepared to throw more into your deal, or to cut the cost. Make clear from the start that you’re looking for a holiday that’s pricey but also offers great value. For example, Aztec Villas has wonderful villas in Cyprus that give you everything you’re ever going to need on a family holiday. The resort of Penera has everything on your doorstep – cafes, restaurants, beach, water park – so although they’re not a cheap option, you won’t necessarily need to hire a car. Plus, the company makes sure the villas are stocked with all the clobber families with young kids need but don’t want to have to lug around... pushchairs, DVDs, toys, balls, inflatables, Wii games. Prices around £1100 (not including flights) for a villa sleeping eight in August. For more information, see

Go somewhere unfashionable. For 2010, for example, Mexico isn’t looking like the hottest holiday destination – but I was there last summer with my family for a fortnight, and though Mexico is a country with problems, those problems are light years away from your all-inclusive hotel on the Yucatan peninsula. We stayed at Club Med in Cancun, which was superlative – it’s got the best position on the Cancun holiday strip, it’s well away from the business of the town, the food is delicious and even our older children enjoyed the teen hang-out called, oddly, Carwash. Plus

watersports, children’s clubs and childcare, pretty views, a great beach. For us, Mexico was a family holiday of a lifetime and it wasn’t a let-down – and given that the Yucatan is packed with all-inclusive hotels, and that it’s not had a great press of late, it should be a great place to get a lot more for your (considerable) outlay in summer 2011. For more information, see

It’s a refreshing change: to have a choice of hundreds of holidays that are recommended by other families who have been there and experienced them

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issue 74

January-February 2011 FAMILIES UPON THAMES 19

what’s on FUN INDOORS 8th JANUARY, Family Fun - The Great Panel of Pattern at Elmbridge Museum, Church Street, Weybridge, KT13 8DP, 2 to 4.30pm. Led and devised by local artist Gerald Curtis. The museum is installing a large printed artwork inspired by the paper and fabric patterns in the collection. Learn to print and add your own designs to the collective canvas. The Great Panel of Pattern is part of a series of free, Family fun days. Children under 10 years old must be accompanied by an adult. For further information about the museum, call 01932 843573. 15th JANUARY, Runnymede Young Archaeologists Club at Chertsey Museum, 33 Windsor Street, Chertsey, KT16 8AT, 11am to 12.30pm or 2 to 3.30pm. 8 to 16 year olds only. Cost £4.50 per child, 01932 565764. 21st JANUARY, Museum Monkeys at Chertsey Museum, 33 Windsor Street, Chertsey, KT16 8AT, 9.30 to 11am. Storytelling, sing-a-long and craft activities for under 5s. Cost £4.50 per child. 01932 565764. 22nd JANUARY, Dusty Does Disco at The Winning Post Function Room, Chertsey Road, TW2 6LS, 3 to 5pm (doors open at 2.30pm). A fun afternoon of disco fun for children and their families. Dusty the Disco Dog just loves to dance! This lovable mascot takes to the stage throughout the disco to guide the children through dance routines to various well known hits as well as his very own song! Parents are welcome to join in or relax with a drink from the bar. Live DJ and fantastic lighting in a great child friendly venue. Book online to guarantee entry (limited tickets only available on the door if the event is not sold out in advance) 5th FEBRUARY, 15 Minutes of Fun at Chertsey Museum, 33 Windsor Street, Chertsey, KT16 8AT, 2 to 4pm. Free family craft activity. Details on 01932 565764. 5th FEBRUARY, Family Table Top Sale at St John’s Church, Grove Lane, Kingston, KT1 2SU, 10am to 1pm. Sell all your unwanted items, children’s toys, clothes, books, bric-a-brac, pictures, etc. Get ahead with the Spring cleaning and clear out all those unwanted Christmas gifts and de-clutter your house with an indoor table top sale. To take a pitch it is £10 and you will need to book in advance. Please contact Jo McCormick on 07968 068 668 to book your table top. That’s all it will cost and then you keep the money you make at the sale. Almost like a car boot sale, but indoors! 11th FEBRUARY, Valentine’s Baby and Toddler Disco, Welcare, 26 The Green, Twickenham, TW2 5AB. 10am session for 12 months to under 4 years, 11am session for under 12 months. Entertainer, bubbles, lasers and animal balloons. Places limited, book at 12th FEBRUARY, Bags of Fun - Family Fun Event at Elmbridge Museum, Church Street, Weybridge, KT13 8DP, 2 to 4.30pm. Everybody needs a bag! They come in all shapes, sizes, colours and textures. Check out the new exhibition ‘Accessorize’ and design your own funky and useful bag to carry home. Bags of Fun is part of a series of free, Family Fun days. Children under 10 years old must be accompanied by an adult. For further information about the museum, please call 01932 843573. 18th FEBRUARY, Museum Monkeys at Chertsey Museum, 33 Windsor Street, Chertsey, KT16 8AT, 9.30 to 11am. Storytelling, sing-a-long and craft activities for under 5s Cost £4.50 per child. Details on 01932 565764. 19th FEBRUARY, Runnymede Young Archaeologists Club at Chertsey Museum, 33 Windsor Street, Chertsey, KT16 8AT, 11am to 12.30pm or 2 to 3.30pm. 8 to 16 year olds only. Cost £4.50 per child. Details on 01932 565764.


FAMILIES UPON THAMES January-February 2011

Lots of events at Ham House and Garden (see page 22) 21st to 25th FEBRUARY, Fit for Sport Workshops at Waldegrave School, Fifth Cross Road, Twickenham. TW2 5LH and Russell School, Meadlands Drive (entrance Stathmore School), Ham, Richmond, TW10 7ED. Fit For Sport deliver Ofsted registered kids camps that are aimed at children aged between 3 to 12 years old. Kids Camps are a great way for your child to have fun, make friends and take part in a wide range of sports and activities, in a safe environment, while promoting the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle. Check for more details and to book. 21st to 25th FEBRUARY, The Topsy-Turvy Forest Storytelling and Craft Workshop at Painshill Park, Portsmouth Road, Cobham, KT11 1JE. Craft Workshop from 12 noon to 3pm, Storytelling at 11.30am, 1.30 and 2.30pm. The forest of Painshill will be springing into life with the storyteller’s topsy-turvy tale of curious creatures and magical madness! Wear fancy dress and take along a toy forest creature to have fun in a creative workshop making a topsy-turvy magical animal shadow puppet. You can put on your own family show with the puppet theatre - then best of all you can take your puppet home with you. This is an indoor activity and is suitable for children up to 10 years old. The event is included in the price of normal admission, no advance booking is required and numbers are limited per session. For further information call 01932 868113 or visit 22nd to 24th FEBRUARY, Half Term Holiday Activities at Chertsey Museum, 33 Windsor Street, Chertsey, KT16 8AT, 11am to 12.30pm and 2 to 3:30pm. 5 to 12 year olds. Cost £4.50 per child per day. Details on 01932 565764. 22nd to 25th FEBRUARY, Creative Art Workshops at The Museum of Richmond, Old Town Hall, Whittaker Avenue, Richmond, TW9 1TP, 10am to 12 noon. Call 020 8332 1141 or check 29th FEBRUARY, 22nd JANUARY, Dusty Does Disco at The Winning Post Function Room, Chertsey Road, TW2 6LS, 3 to 5pm (doors open at 2.30pm). A fun afternoon of disco fun for children and their families. Dusty the dog takes to the stage throughout the disco to guide the children through dance routines to various well known hits as well as his very own song! Parents are welcome to join in or relax with a drink from the bar. Live DJ and fantastic lighting in a great child friendly venue. Book online to guarantee entry (limited tickets only available on the door if the event is not sold out in advance)

Please check all events before you leave home as details may have changed since we went to press.

what’s on

SHOWS Until 16th JANUARY, Sleeping Beauty pantomime at Richmond Theatre, The Green, Richmond, TW9 1QJ. Book on 0844 871 7651. On 16th January at 12 noon and 4pm there will be free pre-show entertainment for families, including face painting, dressing-up and arts and crafts (no need to book separately). 13th to 15th JANUARY, Cobham Players present Babes in the Wood at Cobham Village Hall, Lushington Drive, Cobham, KT11 2LU, 7.30pm (Saturday matinee 2.30pm). Plenty of fun for all the family. Tickets £7, book on 01932 862093 14th JANUARY, Robin Hood at Vera Fletcher Hall, Embercourt Road, Thames Ditton, KT7 0LQ, 7.30 pm. Charles Court Opera presents a traditional family panto - a thigh-slappingly sensational and terrifically funny production, toe-tapping routines and musical treats from pop to opera. Tickets £12.50. Book on 0844 884 8832, email: 15th JANUARY, Blunderbus Theatre Company presents Giraffes Can’t Dance at Riverhouse Barn, Manor Road, Walton, KT12 2PF, 2.30pm. By Bill Davies, adapted from the book by Giles Andreau. Told with music, imagery and puppets, an uplifting tale for ages 2 to 4 years. Tickets £7, box office 01932 253354.

Table top Sale at St John’s Church, Kingston 5th February (see page 20) The only creature that scares away the Nian is the Lion but the next year when the Nian revisits the village the Lion is busy guarding the Emperor’s palace and cannot help the villagers. So they create a lion costume, perform a Lion Dance and scare away the evil one. A Lion Dance is still performed in China and is said to bring good luck and happiness. The production features four performers and a spectacularly decorated lion costume and mask. It includes shadow play, original live music and songs and has been created for children aged five and over. After the show the audience will be invited to join the performers in celebrating Chinese New Year. Box office 020 8232 1010, tickets £6.50, concessions £5,

21st to 23rd JANUARY, Swan Lake at Richmond Theatre, The Green, Richmond, TW9 1QJ, 7.45 pm with 2.30pm performances on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Performed by Moscow City Ballet. Tickets £16 to £34. Book on 0844 871 7651. 25th to 29th JANUARY, Elmbridge Youth Theatre presents Beauty and the Beast at The Playhouse, Hepworth Way, 7.30pm (Saturday matinee 2.30pm) Walton. Stage version of the Disney film. 26th to 30th JANUARY, We’re Going On A Bear Hunt at The Rose, Kingston, 24 to 26 High Street, Kingston, KT1 1HL, Matinee(s) Wednesday 2pm and 4.30pm, Thursday and Friday 11.30am and 4.30pm, Saturday 11am, 2pm and 4.30pm, Sunday 11am and 2pm. Michael Rosen’s award-winning book We’re Going On A Bear Hunt is brought vividly and noisily to the stage in director Sally Cookson’s fun-filled adaptation set to Benji Bower’s versatile lively score. Join the intrepid adventurers on their quest to find a bear; as they wade through the gigantic swishy-swashy grass, the splishy-splashy river and the thick oozy, squelchy mud! Expect catchy songs, interactive scenes and plenty of hands-on adventure - plus a few special surprises! Recommended for ages 3+. Running time approximately 55 minutes. Book on 0871 230 1552 or online at 30th JANUARY, Richmond Orchestra presents a Children’s Concert at The German School, Petersham, TW10 7AH, 3pm. A varied programme (running for an hour) including ‘The Snowman’ with contributions from local schools, introduction to the instruments of the orchestra and more. Ticket includes light refreshments. Adults £7, Children (under 16) £3. Information and tickets 020 8547 2695.

5th MARCH, Folded Feathers presents Suitcase Circus at Riverhouse Barn, Manor Road, Walton, KT12 2PF, 2 and 4pm. This show features the most unlikely performers, including an anarchic sock, a daredevil ski glove and an incredible dancing milkshake straw. Tickets £7 (£6 on carpet), book on 01932 253354.

Enjoy a great day out at Bocketts Farm!

lf in pric Ja e nu en ar try y!

• Lots of friendly farm animals, inside and out • Animal Handling, Pig Racing, Tractor Rides and Pony Rides every day • 2 Huge play barns with trampolines, jumping pillow & triple slide tower • Open Daily 10am – 5.30pm

February Half Term 21 - 25 February 2011

Birds of Prey Displays Lambing

5th FEBRUARY, Sea Legs Puppet Theatre presents Peter and the Wolf at Riverhouse Barn, Manor Road, Walton, KT12 2PF, 2 and 4pm. Travel to Prokofiev’s house to meet the characters in this story. Music by Prokofiev, storytelling by Rob. Tickets £7 (£6 on carpet), book on 01932 253354. 13th FEBRUARY, Why the Lion Danced at Watermans Arts Centre, 40 High Street, Brentford, TW8 0DS, 3pm. Every thirteenth moon the Nian visits a village and the people find their New Year celebrations disrupted by the terrible monster.


100 early spring lambs due including 10 sets of triplets

SPECIAL OFFER - Half price entry any day in January 2011 (ie. Adults £4.10 and children £3.85) only with this advert! Not to be used for birthday parties


Young Street, Leatherhead, Surrey, KT22 9BS 01372 363764 January-February 2011 FAMILIES UPON THAMES 21

what’s on Why the Lion Danced at Watermans, Brentford, 13th February

FUN OUTSIDE Every Wednesday in JANUARY, Free entry to Painshill Park, Portsmouth Road, Cobham, KT11 1JE. Enjoy a wonderful frosty walk in the garden. The follies are looking stunning against the winter landscape and Alpine Valley’s rich variety of evergreen conifers and pines make Painshill a fantastic habitat for the resident wildlife. For further information, call 01932 868113 or visit

(Full details on page 21)

From 6th JANUARY, Free Garden Tours at Ham House, Ham Street, Ham, Richmond, TW10 7RS. Also, in the Orangery Cafe, a selection of warming winter treats that won’t add to the Christmas bulge. Children’s food offers are also available, as well as a new play area including a mini kitchen, toys, puzzles and books. A quiet zone with comfy sofas close to the second-hand book corner gives adults the chance to relax in peace. In the 17th century, tea was a highly prized and exotic possession, and tea drinking was something Ham’s owner, the Duchess of Lauderdale, loved to indulge in. On 3rd and 10th February, the property is offering two unique Tea Tasting afternoons, which include an opportunity to peek into one of the Duchess’s intimate closets for a glimpse of her famous teapot, before enjoying a one hour workshop with a Chinese tea specialist. The event starts at 2pm and costs £8, booking advisable on 0844 249 1895. The house itself opens on 12th February, and is extending its opening days from five to six (guided tours only until 2nd April). Call 020 8940 1950 for more details.

5th FEBRUARY, Ice Skating at St James C of E School, Grotto Road, Weybridge, KT13 8PL, 10am to 6pm. The playground at St James C of E Primary School in Weybridge will be transformed into an ice rink for one day only. As well as a skate on the ice, there will be the opportunity to enjoy a snow machine, Peter the Penguin, stalls, refreshments, a raffle and lots more. Suitable for everyone aged 4+, the cost is £5 for 30 minutes of skating. All proceeds will go towards the children at St James Primary School. To book your tickets please email stjamesiceskating@hotmail. indicating the number of tickets you require and your preferred skating time.

9th JANUARY, Lakes Country Park at Bedfont Lakes, Clockhouse Lane, Bedfont, TW14 8QA, 9am. Take a walk around the lakes to see the winter bird residents, with a possibility of catching a glimpse of the elusive bittern and water rail around the reedbeds. £1 per child, £2 adults. Call 0845 456 2796 for details.

21st to 25th FEBRUARY, Half Term Waterfowl feeding at Claremont Gardens, Portsmouth Road, Esher, KT10 9JG. Meet a member of the garden team as they feed the many ducks, geese, doves and other waterfowl. Get up close and learn about the many waterfowl who live at and visit Claremont. More details on 01372 467806,

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

29th and 30th JANUARY, Big Garden Birdwatch at Claremont Gardens, Portsmouth Road, Esher, KT10 9JG. Collect a bird ID sheet from the Kiosk and then spend an hour looking at what birds you see in the garden. Simply record the highest number of each bird species you see at any one time (not flying over) on the sheet. Hand the sheet back to the kiosk and your results will be collated. Don’t forget to take a pen. More details on 01372 467806,

23rd FEBRUARY, Fairytale Walk, Bedfont Lakes Country Park, Clockhouse Lane, Bedfont, TW14 8QA, 12 noon. Take an enchanted walk through the magic forest. Play magical games and hear stories about fairies, goblins, witches and wizards. Suitable for children aged 4+ (must be accompanied by an adult). £2 per child, or £1 per child if in fairytale fancy dress! For more details, please call 0845 456 2796 244 Ma Petite Ecole





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and Mock Exam Paper Practice TIFFIN/GRAMMAR & Private School Entry


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FAMILIES UPON THAMES January-February 2011

KS2: YEAR 4 - 6 (Tiffin, 11+ Common Entrance, Bursaries and Scholarships) Verbal Reasoning, Non-Verbal Reasoning, Mathematics, English, Exam Practice, Interview Technique Highly Experienced Graduate Teacher, B.Sc (Hons), PGCE


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book reviews

Problem solved We take a look at three recently published books which help you through some very different life experiences you may be facing in 2011.

The Babysense Secret; The painless routine for happy days and peaceful nights by Megan Faure, published by Dorling Kindersley at £12.99

Baby experts can feel a bit like know-it-all maiden aunts or well meaning, learned academics, neither of whom have had to face the lonely 3am feed and the day ahead. It’s so easy, as you try to implement their advice, to become slaves to your baby and end up an exhausted wreck or to take it to the other extreme (clinging to the idea that happy parents = happy baby) and wilfully impose a rigid, one-size-fits-all routine on your child. Yes, they will adapt, but at what price? Megan Faure’s book claims that parents and babies can all be happy with her baby-centric routine which shows parents how to ‘read’ the signals that their baby is giving them and respond according to the individual baby’s personality. Her well researched approach introduces ‘the painless routine for happy days and peaceful nights’ and her TEAT (timing, environment, activities and toys) guidance at the end of each stage of development is full of age-appropriate ideas. The author’s aim is to enable new parents to understand their baby’s signals and behaviour from a sensory experience, accepting that each parent and each baby brings to play their own personality types to the situation. 0 Could you differentiate between your newborn’s over-stimulated cry and his/her gassy cry? 0 If your 4 to 6 month-old was sucking his/ her hands would you realise that it was a sign of fatigue? 0 And what about you – are you a serene mum, a slow-to-warm mum or maybe a social butterfly mum? Which of these categories does you baby fit into and how can you make your personality types work together? This book is full of helpful tables and great photos of babies and babies and parents interacting. It’s packed with really helpful information and Megan Faure gives any new parent masses of reassurance and confidence without ever feeling that she’s being bossy or hasn’t ‘been there’!

Sex and Romance During Pregnancy and After the Birth: What expectant couples need to know by Adelaide E Aduboffour, published by Author House at £12.95

So many blogs, books and articles offer expectant couples a wealth of information on pregnancy and childbirth, but so much time is spent devoted to adjusting to becoming parents that it’s easy for pregnant couples to neglect the romantic and sexual aspects of their relationship. In her practical new guide, local midwife and mother Adelaide Aduboffour presents a resource on maintaining sexually fulfilling relationships through pregnancy and beyond. Adelaide outlines how to enjoy sex and intimacy during pregnancy, different positions to try as the baby bump grows, alternatives to penetrative sex and how to resume sex after childbirth. A comprehensive discussion of the myths and cultural beliefs surrounding pregnancy and birth gives new perspective and context to the rest of the book, and a glossary is included, along with a list of available resources and related organisations. After all, a healthy sex life is an essential part of successful relationships and helps to strengthen the bond between couples. Raising a family can be a stressful endeavour, but committed partners will navigate the exciting journey together.


Create a Successful Website: Easy do it yourself steps to online success by Paula Wynne, published by Lean Marketing Press at £15.

There are so many reasons why you might be thinking about setting up a website this year – maybe you are a parent and toddler group, an avid knitter who wants to sell stuff online or a budding entrepreneur wanting to set up a home business? After all, a website is pretty much essential for any group, business or public individual. How sophisticated you want it to be is entirely up to you but you have to start somewhere. Whether you want to have a go at getting something up yourself or aim to employ a designer to set up a bespoke website, this book will be a fantastic resource. Create a Successful Website, makes it easy for anyone to learn how to build a web presence, what pitfalls to watch out for and explains what to do in easy visual steps with plenty of illustrations and checklists. It covers everything from research and planning, branding, navigation, free and hosted website packages, ecommerce, adding content and revenue earning options, to the final preparations for going live. Author Paula Wynne has quizzed a group of top-notch business people about their experiences and the book is full of advice and lessons learnt by the owners of successful websites who were beginners just like us not too long ago. Her personal philosophy, motivation and one of her best nuggets to readers comes at the end of the book; ‘Give it freely because the more nectar you share, the more they’ll come back for more. By this I mean, communicate your experiences, your generosity, your personality and talents.’

Adelaide Aduboffour is an advanced midwifery practitioner at West Middlesex Paula’s style is accessible, cheerful and University Hospital in Isleworth and is no-nonsense. As Fiona Wright from Woman dedicated to promoting sexual health and and Home says. ‘It feels like you’ve got a wellbeing during and after childbirth. She friendly, clever, we-savvy mate just chatting told us, ‘As a midwife, wife and a mother, you through the techy, hard bits of setting up I believe in not only promoting the physical a website and creating an online business’. wellbeing of families, but also the emotional and psychological wellbeing in which sex, love and affection play a major role’. This book is available from regular bookshops and For more about the author, check January-February 2011 FAMILIES UPON THAMES 23


Win top-price tickets to London’s most romantic musical.

This month on Families Online: WIN a 12-month membership to Menus4Mums’ fabulous online meal planning service! Menus4Mums members get a new menu plan each week for dinners the whole family will enjoy, with recipe cards and a shopping list broken down into supermarket aisles.

Families magazine has four tickets to give away to this fantastic new British musical produced by Michael Ball. Love Story transfers to the West End following a critically acclaimed sell-out season at the Chichester Festival Theatre and is ideal for couples or for a girls’ night out. for your chance to win and more information If you are not lucky enough to win we have a discount offer for top price seats for £29.50 (usually £55). To book call 0844 412 4659 and quote “Passion Offer”

To enter, go to Terms and Conditions apply. Closing date for the competition is 1st March 2011.

WIN a Speedo Aquabeat MP3 Player LZR Edition courtesy of! The Speedo Aquabeat is ideal for listening to your favourite music while swimming laps. FunSwimShop is a one-stop swimming shop for swimming equipment, baby swimwear and swimwear. To enter, go to Terms and Conditions apply. Closing date for the competition is 1st March 2011.

Competition terms & conditions: competition closes 1 February. Winners will be notified by 7 February. Tickets can be redeemed across Monday - Thursday evening performances until 31st March, excluding 14th-27th February. Chosen dates are subject to availability. Tickets cannot be sold or exchanged, no cash alternative is available. For full details of offer and discounts, see *Ticket offer terms & conditions: Offer valid for Monday - Friday evenings and Wednesday matinees until Friday 28th January 2011. Subject to availability. A £1 restoration levy per ticket applies.

Families upon Thames is designed by Sarah Harmer and printed by Warners, in Lincolnshire. Copyright, Families upon Thames magazine 2011. Colour transparencies and any other original materials submitted for publication are sent at owner’s risk and, while every care is taken, neither Families nor it’s agents accept liability for loss or damage. Families upon Thames is part of the Families Group, established in 1990 and headed by Families South West. All franchised magazines in the group are independently owned and operated under liscense. We take every care preparing this magazine but the publishers and distributors cannot be held responsible for the claims of the advertisers nor for the accuracy of the contents nor for any consequence.

Families upon Thames, January - February 2011, Issue 74  

The FREE magazine for parents with young children living in the boroughs of Richmond, Kingston, Elmbridge, Hounslow and Spelthorne.

Families upon Thames, January - February 2011, Issue 74  

The FREE magazine for parents with young children living in the boroughs of Richmond, Kingston, Elmbridge, Hounslow and Spelthorne.