Family First- January 2021

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I S S U E 07 - C o n te n t s

46 17

Contents 07 Welcome letter 12 Ask us first

FEATURES 13 Good night, sleep tight 26 Winter reading – our top picks 28 New year, new approach?


38 Healthy Pets – the whole family’s best friend 58 Enjoying a happy & healthy pregnancy 63 Meeting milestones 65 Balancing business with motherhood INTERVIEW 68 It’s all in the mind


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71 A balancing act INTERVIEW

GREAT OUTDOORS 17 Where the wild things go in winter - The Wildlife Trusts 23 Get out and about this weekend 35 Social media: friend or foe?

TRAVEL 46 Walking in a winter wonderland 50 Breaks of a lifetime 55 Watch out world, we are coming for you!


SPORT 4 ALL 75 Find their zen 80 Jump around! 81 Let’s hear it for the girls INTERVIEW 84 Winter cycling for all the family

89 Easy ways to eat more healthily 90 Boosted bolognese RECIPE 91 Follow your gut 95 Making food fun 96 Movie Night snacks RECIPE 101 Meat-free family feast days 102 Cashew and carrot loaf RECIPE 103 Tofubabs RECIPE 107 Cashew and lentil burgers RECIPE 108 Healthy packed lunches your kids will love 110 Aubergine pizzas RECIPE 111 Courgette egg cups RECIPE 116 Fabulous fish pie RECIPE






C o n te n t s - I S S U E 07


FA M I LY F I R S T - W I N T E R 2 0 2 0 / 21



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F a m i l y F i r s t - I S S U E 07

Dear Families... Executive Editor: Lee Gatland Editor: Georgina Probert Art Director: Richard Hejsak Sales Team: +44 (0)1959 574 556 For all other enquiries:

Like many of you, I’m certainly glad to see the back of 2020. Although I mustn’t complain too much, as my much-longed-for second daughter was born at the end of lockdown one, and I am thrilled to have been appointed as the the editor of Family First magazine! I am excited to help families across the country eat more healthily, explore the great outdoors and find a sport their children will love. As we welcome 2021 with open arms, I’m sure many of us will be hoping for a happier and healthier year for all, as well as the ability to spend time with family and friends. The theme of this issue is New Year, New Normal – and we have tried to focus on how families can have a positive and fulfilling year. As a mum to two daughters – now age 6 months and 5 years – I am hoping that my eldest daughter enjoys the rest of her first year at primary school and that my youngest will continue to thrive at home and hopefully be able to socialise more with other babies. In this issue, we are looking forward to a fun-filled year with some amazing ideas for things to do outdoors – from jumping in muddy puddles to spotting winter wildlife. While the ability to travel the world was very limited in 2020, we hope that our travel articles, including 12-year-old Maja’s stories of travelling with her family, will inspire you to discover new places in 2021.

Find us on Facebook Family First Magazine is published bi-annually (twice per annum) by Seven Star Media Ltd. No part of Family First Magazine may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without permission. Views expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of Seven Star Media Ltd, and are included to provide advice only. No content is a substitute for professional medical advice. During printing, images may be subject to a 15% variation. ©Copyright of content belongs to Seven Star Media Ltd. All rights reserved. Please either keep this magazine for future reference, pass it on for somebody else to read, or recycle it.

We have several inspiring interviews in this issue, from entrepreneurial mums who juggled childcare with running a business during lockdown, and a dad who finds time to run a barbershop and be a hip hop artist, as well as being a family man. Our resident life coach Puja touches on resolutions and how we can involve the whole family to help us keep them, and we also cover a wide range of topics for all of the family, from mindfulness and yoga to enjoying a happy and healthy pregnancy to bedtime routines. It may be cold outside, but we won’t let that stop us. This issue is packed full of a range of different sports – from rugby to cycling – to tempt your children to try something new this year. And if you would like to get your kids to eat more vegetables or to try more of a plant-based diet, we’ve got some delicious and easy recipes that you can cook at home with – or without! – your kids. Wishing you and your family a fantastic start to 2021.

Georgina Editor, Family First magazine

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I S S U E 07 - A s k U s F i r s t

Ask us first

Advice from our experts on some of your family concerns Dear Family First, Our daughter has been potty trained and dry at night since around age 3. She has just started primary school (now age 4.5) and is having regular accidents. Sometimes she wakes up in the middle of the night and other times she wets in the early morning, about half an hour before she would usually wake up. I am worried that starting school and anxiety about everything going on in the world is causing her accidents. She is getting very upset when it happens. What can I do to help her?


Lauren Rosenberg, fear & phobia relief expert and founder of Fear Busters (, says:

You are correct by mentioning the anxiety about school and the impact Covid-19 probably has on her mind subconsciously. I would first suggest that you reassure her that there is nothing wrong with her and that her bladder is working perfectly. There is no reason for her to worry, as she has had plenty of dry nights before, so her body knows what to do. I would also prepare her room each night by using a diffuser and adding drops of pure lavender oil to help her relax when she goes to bed. Bedwetting can be a sign that subconsciously she is scared, anxious and worried about different things that are happening during her day, so encourage her to talk to you after school or ask her to draw what she is worried about. It’s not uncommon for young people to suffer from this problem, many of whom are born via water birth. This may lead to the subconscious mind associating being surrounded by the warmth and comfort of water with feeling safe and secure. Therefore, when the child shows signs of anxiety, the subconscious mind triggers memories of the water birth and protects them by surrounding them with water, causing a natural tendency toward bedwetting. The more the child feels safe the less the bedwetting will happen. Dear Family First, My husband is a teacher and I am self-employed, so we have always shared the childcare of our son. During the school holidays, I pick up more work and my husband does the bulk of the childcare. Whereas in term time, I look after him three days a week and he goes to the childminder. I feel that we have a good bond, but whenever my husband is around, it is like I don’t exist! While I am very grateful that


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my husband is so hands-on and I love the father-son bond they have, I feel slightly jealous and a bit left out that I am not the ‘favourite’ parent. Is there anything I can do to strengthen the bond with my son, without taking away from the bond he has with his dad?


Joanna Fortune, a psychotherapist specialising in the parent-child relationships and author of the 15-Minute Parenting series (, says:

Yours is such a relatable question for many parents. While it is not always pleasant for us, it is normal and common for our children to show apparent preferential treatment for one parent over the other as they grow and develop. Toddlers and preschoolers are largely egocentric in their development and are known to express strong preferences, for toys, clothes, food, TV shows – and even people. With older children, preferential treatment towards one parent tends to be linked to feeling more in common with the chosen parent (a shared interest, for example). Hold in mind that showing preferential treatment to one of you over the other implies a stronger pull towards that parent at that time, but is not indicative of stronger love for one parent. Avoid making parenting decisions that are motivated by a desire to become favoured by your child and embrace family play time when you are all together to reinforce that you are both available to connect with your child. Allow your child to see you content and occupied (reading, cooking, gardening etc) even while they play with the other parent. Find something you can start that ensures a daily connection, such as planting a seed together and each day you water/take care of the seed as it grows. Make it something like a tomato plant so that you can pick from it and make some food with what you created together.

F a m i l y F e a t u re - I S S U E 07

Good night, sleep tight Sleep expert and dad of two boys, Chris McFadden, explains the importance of a good family bedtime routine and how to teach your children healthy sleep habits.


ne of the most common questions I am asked by parents of babies and toddlers is: “What is the best sleep tip you can give me?”. There are two answers I always give: put your baby down awake, and create a bedtime routine and stick to it every single night that you possibly can.

Bedtime routine A bedtime routine is so important. I cannot overstate the importance of it in your little ones’ sleep process: it instils good, long-term habits and it creates important triggers and cues to let them know that bedtime is coming. For babies, it is essential to differentiate between daytime and nighttime when developing their internal body clocks. They are constantly exploring and are stimulated very easily; therefore, a soothing nighttime routine will allow them to wind down and reduce the level of activity in their minds. For toddlers, a bedtime routine means that nothing is a surprise, especially when it comes to having to say goodbye to their toys, mummy or daddy until the next morning. Moreover, there is significant research published that suggests that a good bedtime routine is linked to cognitive function, attention, increased self-confidence and general wellbeing and happiness.

Parents and real life While a bedtime routine can often be stressful and rushed, if set up correctly, it can be fun AND it can be relaxing for parents too. It’s an opportunity to spend one on one time with your little ones, in a calming environment, reading stories and bonding with them. Even though we would love to have a long, relaxing block of time with our kids, life doesn’t always allow for that. I recommend keeping the bedtime routine

fairly short – approx. 30 minutes – which helps make it enjoyable and something to look forward to. You can start a routine with babies as early as 4-6 weeks old. This way, you are fostering good habits from an early age and also helping to develop their internal body clock, which will help them to sleep less in the day and more at night.

Bath time wind down Wherever possible, try to have a nice bath as part of the bedtime routine. The warm water is a relaxant to children’s bodies and muscles, and really helps them wind down. I always recommend that once bath time is complete, don’t let them play with noisy or vibrant toys, as they can stimulate children during a process that is all about winding them down for bed. With a wonderful selection of children’s books available, I always encourage parents to read to their children before bed. It’s not only excellent for their development, but it’s also a lovely activity for both mum or dad and child to do together.

A full belly until morning Feeding is such an important part of bedtime. When babies are little their tummies are very small and they cannot take enough milk to get them through until morning. But from about 6 months old babies can and are often sleeping right through until morning. Having their biggest feed of the day before bed is a big component of this. I give my son some of his bottle before the bath to give him enough energy at the start of the process, which he finishes once he is in his PJs right before sleep. Chris McFadden, The Daddy Sleep Consultant, specialises in designing gentle sleep training programmes for babies and toddlers. Find out more at

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Hazel dormouse | © Terry Whittaker / 2020VISION

G re a t O u td o o r s - I S S U E 07

Where the wild things go in winter Tom Hibbert of The Wildlife Trusts looks at how animals and birds survive during the winter months, from hibernation and migration to stashing food for a rainy day.


inter can be a tough time for wildlife, with cold weather and less food to eat. While they can often benefit from a helping hand, our animals have developed lots of different ways of surviving our harshest season. Some battle it out the best they can, others spend most of it sleeping, and some leave the country completely! Let’s find out what happens to our UK wildlife in winter.

Many Arctic terns go all the way to Antarctica, travelling over 55,000 miles a year

THE LEAVERS If your favourite food is a beakful of tasty insects, winter here can be tricky, as there are far fewer around. Luckily for many of our birds, they have the ultimate strategy for dealing with this – they fly somewhere else that has more food. Every spring, millions of birds come to the UK to nest and take advantage of all the food on offer in summer. In autumn, when it starts to get harder to find food, they leave again. This is known as migration. A lot of these birds are insecteaters that spend the winter in southern Europe or Africa, where it’s warmer and there’s more to eat. The swallows that you see chattering over farms and fields each summer fly as far as South Africa, about 6,000 miles away.

Many of our seabirds are summer visitors too, like the graceful Arctic tern and the bright-billed puffin. These tough birds spend the winter out at sea where they can find more fish to feast on. Puffins can end up out in the Atlantic Ocean, whereas many Arctic terns go all the way to Antarctica, travelling over 55,000 miles a year – the longest migration of any animal. Did you know? Some insects also migrate south in autumn, such as painted lady butterflies, which can get as far as the Sahel region of Africa.

If your favourite food is a beakful of tasty insects, winter here can be tricky

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I S S U E 07 - G re a t O u td o o r s


Let’s find out where some of our super sleepers spend the winter... Dormice

Hazel dormice live in woods and big bushy hedges. Every autumn they feast on berries, seeds and nuts until they’re really fat. Then they climb down to the forest floor or the bottom of a hedgerow and make a little nest under the fallen leaves. This is where they curl up and hibernate through the winter.

UK butterfly that spend the winter in their adult form. They find a sheltered spot, such as a log pile, a hollow tree or even a shed, and rest there with their wings closed to conceal their colourful patterns. Sometimes they try to hide away in houses, but then get too hot when the heating comes on and start flying around. If you find one in your house in winter, gently catch it in a box and move it to a cooler spot in a shed or garage.

Our wild neighbours have got lots of skills to help them survive the winter

Small tortoiseshell butterflies

Small tortoiseshells are one of only five species of

Small tortoiseshell butterfly | ©Mark Hamblin | 2020VISION

Not all animals have the option of leaving when things get tough, so they choose a different strategy – they go to sleep. They find a nice spot hidden away somewhere safe and dry, go into hibernation and wait for the warmer weather in spring. Hibernation is a bit like a very deep sleep. When animals are hibernating, their body temperature drops, and heart rate and metabolism all slow down, so they need less energy to survive. ©Tom Marshall Dormice are famous for their ability to sleep for most of the year. The name dormouse even comes from the French word for sleep, dormir. They can spend months curled up in a woven nest on the forest floor, from the first frosts of October right through to April or May. They even go into a mini hibernation in summer if there isn’t enough food around. Hedgehogs and bats are our other hibernating mammals. Hedgehogs nestle beneath hedges and in leaf piles (making it important to check bonfires before lighting!), while bats tuck themselves away in caves, tree holes and gaps in old buildings. It’s not just mammals that can power down for winter. Reptiles, amphibians and many insects all go into a type of hibernation, too. Insect hibernation is known as diapause, which is a bit like pushing pause on their lifecycle. Amazingly, they can do this at different stages in their development.

Butterflies are a great example: some overwinter as adults, some as eggs, some in their chrysalis, and others as caterpillars.


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Coal tit | ©Mark Hamblin | 2020VISION

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Different species of ladybird choose different ©Philip Precey places to spend the winter. Some tuck themselves away in cracks in trees, some underneath loose bark, and others inside curled up leaves or plant stems. Many gather together and hibernate in large groups. If they can find an open door or window, harlequin ladybirds – a species that was introduced to the UK from Asia – sometimes try to hibernate in groups inside houses.

Frogs and toads

We always think of frogs and toads as pond creatures, but most of them don’t spend the whole year in water. They leave their ponds in summer and spend the autumn gobbling slugs and insects in damp, shady places. Then they find somewhere sheltered to hibernate for the winter. They really like rockeries, log piles and nice warm compost heaps, though frogs will sometimes spend the winter ©Tom Marshall buried in the mud at the bottom of a pond.

Some animals spend the whole autumn fattening up or stashing food to eat later, like jays, squirrels and coal tits THE SURVIVORS So what about the animals that don’t leave or sleep through the winter? They have to battle freezing temperatures, storms and a shortage of available food. It’s a tough life for many creatures, but our wild neighbours have got lots of skills to help them survive the winter. Some animals spend the whole autumn fattening up or stashing

food to eat later, like jays, squirrels and coal tits. If you’re lucky enough to have coal tits visiting your bird feeder, watch closely and you’ll see they often fly in, grab a seed and then quickly fly off with it. They hide these seeds in cracks in trees, so they have an emergency food supply in case they’re ever struggling to find enough to eat. Other animals might grow a thicker coat of fur or spend more time hidden away in their burrows to avoid the cold. Badgers spend most of the winter tucked away in their underground setts, where they’re protected from the worst weather. In late winter, females give birth to a litter of cubs that will stay underground until they’re about eight weeks old. The badgers fill their nesting chambers with bedding made from grass, leaves and other plant materials to make them nice and cosy.

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Seal Pup | ©Philip Precey

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Meet some of the other animals you could spot this winter...

Grey seals

Grey seals don’t just survive in winter, they thrive! This is when they come to shore to give birth to their young, called pups. After spending the summer out at sea feasting on fish, females haul up onto a beach in autumn or early winter and usually have a single pup (though twins are possible). The pups have fluffy white fur to keep them warm and seal milk is really fatty, so they grow quickly.


This colourful ©Mark Hamblin 2020VISION member of the crow family is one smart bird. In autumn, they collect lots of acorns and hide them all over the place. Then, when they get hungry in winter, they go and find the acorns they buried and snaffle them up. Look for them in forests and parks with lots of trees. They have a loud, ©Peter Cairns screeching call that often 2020VISION gives them away.


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Foxes have a varied diet so can stay active over winter, sometimes visiting gardens to look for food. In January, male foxes start searching for a female to pair up ©Luke Massey with. At this time of 2020VISION year, they make a lot of noise and you might hear their eerie screams and barks.

Mountain hares

These tough little mammals put up with snow and freezing temperatures as they stay on their mountainsides all winter. To help them cope with the cold, they grow a thicker winter coat. The winter coat is white so they blend in with the snow and are tougher for predators to spot. Their big furry feet even act like snowshoes.

Wherever you look this winter, there will be wildlife – some active, some hidden and some sleeping away the colder months. The Wildlife Trusts has a great guide of things to spot (www., so get outside and see

what you can discover!

DISCOVER MORE ABOUT WILDLIFE Get to know more amazing wildlife with a family membership of The Wildlife Trusts. You’ll receive a wild welcome pack and our Wildlife Watch magazine, filled with competitions, posters and fantastic facts – as well as information about lots of fun events where you live. For further information on The Wildlife Trusts or to sign up for a family membership, visit: www.wildlifetrusts. org/family-wildlife-trustmembership

Search for Woodland Trust family online

Outstanding activity day camps for 4 to 14 year olds during the Easter and Summer Holidays!

BOOK NOW - or 0330 111 7077

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Get out & about this weekend!

If you don’t have plans for the weekend, grab your hats, scarves and gloves, wrap up warm and head outside – be it your back garden, your local park or woodland – for some fun family activities. Jump in muddy puddles

We are often telling our children not to get dirty and not to jump in puddles – but where’s the fun in that? Rather than staying inside on a rainy day, why not take a leaf out of Peppa Pig’s book and find some muddy puddles. Get the kids togged up in their waterproofs and wellies, and find the biggest puddles you can! Adults, you might actually find you enjoy doing this more than the kids.

Go for an ‘adventure’ walk

Often, when you suggest going for a walk, older kids groan and see this as a boring activity. Turn it into a challenge and suggest an ‘adventure’ walk. Create a list of items for them to spot and see who can tick off all the items on the list first. If you live in a town, it could be things like a sports car, a bus stop or a telephone box. For country dwellers, you could spot a creepy crawlie, a pine cone or a lacy leaf skeleton. You can tailor your adventure to your child’s age (toddlers won’t know a blue tit from a sparrow, but they can spot a bird) and also their interest – whether that is transport, nature or even specific colours. Older children might want to use a camera or smartphone to take artistic photographs of things they spot on their adventure.

Litter picking

Do something good for the environment by going litter picking. All you need is

a pair of gloves and a black sack, then simply walk around your local area and collect any abandoned litter. We advise only picking litter on public land, such as your local park, and to avoid litter picking near busy roads. You could also make a trip to your nearest beach! If you are worried about you or your children touching the litter, you can buy inexpensive adult and child-size litter pickers that have a long-reach grabber and trigger handle.

Get arty

If you are feeling creative, go for a walk and look out for large and small smooth rocks. Take a sturdy bag with you, so you can carry your rocks home. Give them a wash in warm soapy water and leave them to dry. Then, you can paint fun designs on them – anything from flowers to faces or just bright patterns. The next time you go for a walk, put the rocks back where you found them for someone else to find and enjoy!

Organise a scavenger hunt

This is a really great way for your children to engage with nature and to burn off some energy. Set a time limit and give your kids an item to find and bring back to you. The first one back with the correct item wins! During winter, you could ask them to search for an evergreen leaf, to create a bumpy bark rubbing or a funny shaped stick.

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Are you prepared for an outdoor adventure? Spending time outdoors can be a great stress buster for the whole family. However, for some of us, the potential risks linked to outdoor adventures with the kids can be off-putting, and make us think twice before planning a trip out. We’ve partnered with Mini First Aid, providers of award-winning first aid classes for parents and children, to share some top tips for your out and about first aid kit, so you are prepared for any little mishap and can get back to enjoying your day out!

Top 5 first aid items to pack for days out First aid scissors

These special scissors, which are more like shears, allow you to quickly cut through clothing to be able to treat a wound.

Non-alcohol wipes or bottled water

Both options are non-sting for cleaning minor wounds, rinsing nettle stings, cooling sore skin and for washing hands to administer first aid treatment.

Savlon Antiseptic Cream 30g

After cleansing, you can apply to cuts and grazes to help prevent infection. The gentle no-sting formula cleanses minor wounds, as well as providing an extra level of protection against bacteria. Scan the QR code with your phone camera to explore Savlon


These need to be hypoallergenic and it’s useful to have a selection of sizes and shapes. Patterned or character plasters can raise a smile and help banish tears!

Safety pins

Allow any clean absorbent material to be used as a bandage for a wound – think that extra hoodie you brought with you, or even a clean nappy! Tip: If you’re concerned that the cut may scar, try using Savlon Advanced Healing Gel, which promotes faster healing and helps reduce the likelihood of scarring.

And you’re all set for the next family adventure! For more information about Savlon product range and advice, visit

First aid for life

Our range of products: Help prevent infection

Provide soothing relief

Aid natural healing

For cuts, grazes, burn and skin reactions Savlon Antiseptic Cream to cleanse and help prevent infection. Savlon Dual Action Gel and Savlon Bites & Stings Pain Relief Gel (12+ years) are indicated for topical relief of pain, itching, irritation and antiseptic protection for use on bites, stings and skin reactions. Always read the label.

Don’t forget to follow us for more tips:


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OUR TOP PICKS for winter reading When it’s cold outside, there is nothing better than curling up with a good book. From bedtime stories that spark their imagination to tales that teach important facts, we are sure your children will not be able to put down these winter reads. SNOW GHOST By Tony Mitton 0-5 years | RRP £12.99 | Available from Bloomsbury ABOUT THE BOOK - Flying through the snow-filled skies, the Snow Ghost is looking for a place to call home. She doesn’t like the busy traffic of town, the dense, tangled woodland or the top of the blustery hill. When she meets a little boy and girl playing on the quiet, calm moors, she breathes magic and sparkle into their play until it is time for them to go home. Then she curls herself around the roof of their farmhouse and has found her home at last. A wonderfully wintery book that will make you want to cuddle up in the front of the fire with your loved ones.


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BOOTSY’S PICNIC ADVENTURE: THE ONLY FLYING COCKAPOO By Richard Unwin 2-5 years | RRP £6.99 | Available from Amazon ABOUT THE BOOK - Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a flying dog! Inspired by the author’s love for nature and his dogs, the Bootsy series of books aims to empower children to take an interest in the world around them, with a little help from the lovable and magical Cockapoo Bootsy. On her first adventure, Bootsy realises she can fly and explores the local area, meeting some wild and wonderful creatures along the way. Imogen, age 4.5, enjoyed reading this book with her mummy at bedtime. She said: “I liked when they had the picnic and the dog was flying.”

THE WOLF WILDER By Katherine Rundell 9-11 years | RRP £7.99 | Available from WH Smith ABOUT THE BOOK - A story of friendship, hope and adventure based in the snowy woods of Russia. Feodora and her mother’s lives revolve around wolves. Feo’s mother is a wolf wilder – a person who teaches tamed animals to fend for themselves, to fight, to run and to be wary of humans.

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When the corrupt Russian Army arrests her mother and threatens her pack, Feo must go on the run. On her journey through the snow to St Petersburg, she learns about revolution, adventure and standing up for the things you love.

TIME SCHOOL: WE WILL REMEMBER THEM By Nikki Young 9-12 years | RRP £5.99 | Available from ABOUT THE BOOK - When you’re running late for school, then you find

your usual train has turned into an old steam train, you know it’s not going to be a normal day. What you don’t expect is that it will be a ‘take you back in time’ sort of day. Four children find themselves at their own school 100 years in the past and learn that they have arrived at a significant point in history. Isabella, age 11, said: “Time School is a great book about Year 7s getting taken back in time to WW1. It takes a normal fear of getting onto the wrong train into a whole new adventure and thriller. A fantastic book!”

THE ONLY BOOK A KID NEEDS TO READ ABOUT CORONAVIRUS EVER By Dr S G Jack 12 years+ | RRP £7.99 | Available from Amazon ABOUT THE BOOK - Pushing the boundaries of health education, the first book in the Disgusting Doctors series mixes memes and cartoons with science to help older children and teenagers better understand COVID-19. Based on the expertise of husband-and-wife Dr Saira Goheer and Dr Jack Miftha, the book explores gruesome facts and important truths. Kids can learn how dabbing can save your life, read about the great toilet paper shortage of 2020, discover how a little robot in your phone can help crush COVID-19 and find out about why a horseshoe crab’s blood is vital for testing coronavirus vaccines.“This entire series is designed to help children understand how our bodies and minds fit into the world,” explains Dr Saira. “Of course, we teach everything through a side-splitting cocktail of gruesomeness, hilarity and delightfully disgusting facts and cartoons. We plan to expand the series to encompass a comprehensive range of health/wellness topics – both physical and mental – so children can learn about the science of their body in a way that’s easy to comprehend. After all, knowledge is the most powerful medicine we can practice.”

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New Year, new approach? While many of us make New Year’s Resolutions, how often do we actually stick to them? Life coach Puja McClymont explains how involving the whole family can help parents to reach their personal goals.


t the start of a new year, we all have resolutions, goals or lists of how we’re going to do things differently, which unfortunately often fall by the wayside come 5th January. The reason this happens is usually because the resolution is not a goal, but more of a ‘nice to have.’ In order to turn it into a goal, the resolution needs to have purpose. There needs to be a strong reason or


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meaning for the goal to help you stay motivated towards achieving it. The other common reason why we may struggle to stick to resolutions or goals is our families. Family life can be highly unpredictable and we often struggle to find time for ourselves to work towards our own dreams. However, considering we are a completely different society to that of many of our parents, we also have the opportunity

to do things differently. By changing the way we approach our priorities and how we raise our families, we can achieve more of our personal goals.

You need to consider your family when setting your goals When we have a family, we naturally fall into putting the children’s needs first — they are demanding. We are also told this by society, through the media and in our relationships. However, a newer narrative of parenting is beginning whereby “you put your own oxygen mask on first”. But how do you do this without compromising your priorities and commitments as a family?


The answer is quite simple, you need to consider your family when setting goals. What I mean here is that you have to be aware of the challenges you may face and prepare for them. You also need to involve your family in your goals; for example, you might decide that all evening meals are going to be vegetarian, so everyone eats the same thing, or get the whole family involved in helping to increase your daily step count. Setting and achieving goals with a family requires discipline, but most importantly, careful, considered planning. This is to ensure that you can stay motivated to achieve your goals and that your kids can be involved in your pursuits, too. This is also a great lesson in teaching the children about prioritising themselves. An example of this would be if you wanted to study a particular course that would require reading time. You can make reading time a part of your family’s daily schedule, so that everyone reads during this time. If the kids are younger, you may need to take it in turns with your partner, but ultimately, the goal here is to allow time for you to work on your goals, without your family feeling that they are being ignored.

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These behaviours will instil excellent values into your children as well. They will learn to prioritise their needs and accept that ‘alone time’ is positive; that you can spend time alone doing whatever you like and that it is something to look forward to. By setting time limits, putting an alarm on your phone for say an hour, everyone knows that the task ends when the alarm goes off. You can then come together as a family and share what you did in that hour. “If we’re not attuned to who we are and what we want, we can start to make sacrifices that don’t just hurt or limit us, but actually negatively impact those we care for.” – Dr Lisa Firestone.


Maintaining a certain regard for ourselves and engaging in selfcompassion and self-care are fundamental to creating a good life for ourselves and the people who matter most to us. Setting and achieving goals is part of human nature. Working towards anything that allows us to build our selfesteem helps us be better to all those around us. If we put others (especially children) before ourselves, the negative impact on our sense of self will be questioned and we will no longer be happy about our lives. We will feel guilty often and we won’t live as full a life as we could have.

you’re setting a particular goal, this will be your motivation to keep going even when faced with a challenge or setback. The aim is to keep getting back up and moving towards your goals, while accepting that it will be more of a squiggly line to success rather than a perfectly straight line.

Create vision boards for your goals and get the kids involved

GOAL-SETTING TIPS Create vision boards for

Setting and achieving goals with a family requires discipline As adults, we tend to either try to do too much at once and then fail at most of them or we don’t use our time mindfully enough. However, when you know the reason why

your goals and get the kids involved so that they can make their own vision board. Looking at these daily will help remind you why you’re working towards the goals, as well as inspire the kids to do the same and hopefully support you.

Write the goal down as a

statement that you can see every day – this is your ‘why’, which is your motivator.

Plan out the actions

you need to take to achieve your goals both as individuals and as a family, i.e. what do you need from your family to help you stay focussed, so creating an hour as part of your routine may allow you time to take action daily.

Prepare for your

challenges and create solutions for them. This is essential so that you can bounce back from any setbacks that are bound to happen in family life.

Make smaller goals and

celebrate them. In the same way we reward kids for good behaviour, you can reward yourself. Doing it with the kids, you could both get stickers, plan days out, anything that will inspire your family to support your goals.

Puja McClymont is a life and business coach at Frankly Coaching. Visit:

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Teaching children to feel clean and confident and ready for school


arents want what’s best for their children. They want them to be healthy, happy and confident, in all aspects of their life. But confidence can take time to develop. More often than not, it’s the small everyday changes that can make the greatest difference when it comes to children’s learning! For one, ensuring that children achieve a feeling of clean, through learning positive bathroom habits, will empower them to take on the day with confidence. At Andrex®, we understand that the journey to confidence is likely different for every family. For some, going to the toilet can be daunting for a number of reasons; children may not feel confident in their toileting abilities, or aren’t comfortable in an unfamiliar setting, such as school or trips out. To help parents and children alike, Andrex® has created the Clean


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Routine; an easy-to-follow two step guide to achieve an elevated feeling of clean. Whilst parents can rest easy knowing that their family’s delicate skin will be cared for with products recognised by the British Skin Foundation.

THE ANDREX® CLEAN ROUTINE: Step 1: Use 3-4 sheets of Andrex® Toilet Tissue Step 2: Follow up with Andrex® Classic Clean Washlets™ for all day freshness

What’s better, the Andrex® Washlets range is 100% plastic free, biodegradable and certified as Fine to Flush by the UK water industry.

TOP TIP Using the Andrex® Classic Clean Washlets™ is a great way to help your family feel fresher for longer. They are a bathroom staple and the perfect accompaniment to any family day out.


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Clean is a feeling. Clean is *When used responsibly. Ž Registered Trademark of Kimberly-Clark Worldwide Š KCWW

ways to stay well this winter When we think of winter we think of cold weather and cosy nights in, but the season also brings with it seasonal ailments such as colds and flu. With the current coronavirus pandemic, you may be thinking more than ever about how you and your family can stay well this winter. Rest assured LloydsPharmacy is always here for you and your loved ones, here are 4 ways to look after you and your family this winter:

Make sure you’re getting your vitamins Vitamins and minerals are important to keep our bodies in top shape, from helping you fight off infections to keeping your teeth and muscles healthy. Making sure you and your family are getting the vitamins they need is important.

Some key vitamins to support good health are:

Staying active, even in the colder weather For many of us winter means spending more time inside in the warm and it can be harder to motivate ourselves to get active. But exercise is important to help boost your mood, sleep, energy and can help reduce stress1, all of which can help us to feel our best. Why not get the whole family involved and plan some fun activities to get you moving?

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Vitamin C which is important to help keep your cells, skin, bones and blood vessels healthy. As most of us know, oranges (and other citrus fruits) are a good source of vitamin C but you can also get it from other fruits and veg including peppers, strawberries, black currants and broccoli.

• Go for a bike ride round your local park

Vitamin D helps our bodies regulate calcium which keeps our bones, teeth and muscles healthy. Our bodies create vitamin D from sunlight on our skin, but between October and March we may not get enough vitamin D from the sun. Instead, speak to your pharmacist about a supplement you and your family can take in the winter months.

• Make an obstacle course around your garden

• Go for a family walk, and why not make it a nature scavenger hunt while you’re outside • Put together a playlist of all your favourite songs and have a dance contest


NHS – Benefits of Exercise

Stay alert to avoid winter bugs Coughs, colds and flu are common in the winter months and can be easily spread.

Don’t forget your five a day Winter usually means comfort, including food with many of us turning to foods that we find comforting and warming particularly after spending time in the colder weather. Try to make sure that your family is still eating plenty of fruit and veg as they are good sources of vitamins and minerals that can help you stay well.

You could try: • Adding fruit to your morning porridge • Making soups for lunch that have plenty of veg in them • Adding extra portions of veg to your favourite winter dinners (stews and pasta sauces are great for this!)

To help you and your family avoid catching and spreading colds make sure you and the family are washing your hands regularly with warm water and soap and keeping warm when they’re playing outside. If you do catch a winter bug, remember at LloydsPharmacy we can have a range of pharmacy only medicines and our healthcare team can advise you on the best cold and flu remedies for you and the family. Visit your local LloydsPharmacy for advice. Or shop our range of vitamins and cough, cold and flu remedies at Get 10% off your purchase online with discount code FAMILYFIRST Please enter discount code at the checkout at to redeem 10% off. Offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers or discount code. Excludes delivery charges. Limited to one use per customer. Discount code expires 22nd February 2021.

Discover your perfect staycation Sykes Holiday Cottages has over 16,000 hand-picked holiday homes in the UK & Ireland to help you holiday at home. With over 25 years of experience in UK selfcatering and a straightforward booking process, you’re sure to find your perfect staycation.

Book your next staycation at or download our app, search for “Sykes Holiday Cottages”

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Social media: friend or foe?

Muddy Puddles, the British-based children’s outerwear brand, has been looking at the impact of social media on children and suggests how a balance of screen time and getting outside in nature can be beneficial to all.


he Internet is such a huge part of people’s lives – and children are no exception to this. Throughout 2020 we saw a rise in screen time. From schools having to move to online learning, to people using the Internet more to keep in touch with family and friends who we couldn’t see - we are definitely living in a digital world. Finding a balance between time both on screens and off is essential – and a perfect way to use the time away from social media is to go outside and explore.

The younger generation is growing up in a highly digitised climate Many adults in the UK rely on social media for a variety of reasons, but the audience of these platforms has shifted in recent years. More youngsters are engaging with some form of social app these days. While there are both positive and negative factors rooted in the idea of children

on social media, it’s usually up to a parent to make the call on how and if their children should use it. As a result, it has become a divisive topic. Let’s take a look at the perspective from both sides and evaluate whether or not there is a way to strike a balance for our ever-social children.


One of the biggest issues with social media is the amount of time that it involves spent focusing on a screen. Many users have become aware of the impact that this can have on health. Known as ‘computer vision syndrome’, prolonged screen exposure can cause eye strain, headaches and blurred vision. While these symptoms can be easily treated, it’s important to encourage children to take regular breaks from their devices. But distracting a child’s inquisitive eyes from the screen can be a challenge sometimes. Instead of spending rainy weekends indoors, dig out your kids’ waterproofs and encourage them to get out and explore nature. As these devices are more accessible than ever before, kids are

spending more time focused on a screen with little downtime. Studies have found evidence to support the claim that obesity is linked to excessive screen time, through both inactivity and poor diet. The evidence suggests that more screen time could even increase the likelihood of obesity in later life. In 2019, around 20.2% of children between the ages of 10-11-years-old were overweight. As for children between the ages of 4-5-years-old, 12.9% were found to be overweight. Another health-related issue that is linked to excessive screen time is difficulty sleeping. This is because the light that is emitted from many digital devices can interfere with the brain’s sleep cycle, triggering insomnia.


It’s not all bad though. The concept of social media is to bring people together. It has evolved the way we stay in touch with both people we care about and issues in the wider world. For children, there are benefits of being a part of such networks, as it can have a positive impact on teaching them how to interact with their peers. FA M I LY F I R S T - W I N T E R 2 0 2 0 / 21


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Sites such as Kidzworld, Grom Social and Yoursphere are all leading examples of how social media can be used to generate a useful community for kids. Social media helps spread awareness of issues that society is faced with. For example, concerns over poor mental health in children has become more apparent in society over the years. Thanks to the power of social media spreading awareness of this issue and the important days dedicated to tackling this, such as World Mental Health Day, children are educated on the importance of ‘speaking up’ if ever they feel they need help. The younger generation is also growing up in a highly digitised climate. In this way, exposure to social media can equip them with the necessary skills for the world that they will inherit. Digital technology has arisen across all areas of life at an alarming rate and our kids will need to be prepared for an ever-advancing world.

RELATIONSHIPS – A POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE INFLUENCE In a world before widespread access to social media, developing relationships was a process reserved for real life. However, as these networks began to emerge, they provided a new way to create connections and relationships. Observations into children’s behaviour development as a result of social media has revealed a potential increase in a child’s ability to be empathetic. It has also highlighted an improved focus on solidifying new relationships. Youngsters are growing up in a world where we stay in touch with friends and family by ‘liking’ and commenting on updates. However, this can lead to over-use and even


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a reliance on these platforms for maintaining such relationships. This can affect a child’s perception of what a real human relationship is. Contrarily, technology can be used to teach empathy and some of the content that a child sees online can help to teach compassion to a younger audience.

SWAPPING THE CONTROLLER FOR A COAT Although social media has many perks, what it doesn’t have is the benefit of the great outdoors. Finding time during the day to go outside with your children has several benefits you might not be aware of.

The outdoors helps lower the risk of myopia It’s thought that spending more time outdoors helps to lower the risk of children developing myopia and becoming nearsighted. Spending time outdoors and playing games gives children’s eyes a rest from screens and ‘close work’, and it can help prevent the chances of becoming nearsighted. Sunlight is rich in vitamin D As well as the benefit the outdoors has to their eyes, spending time outdoors is thought to help support kids’ bodies and brains too. Sunlight stimulates the production of vitamin D, which helps support the development of their muscles and body growth. As for their brains, sunlight helps enhance synapsis, which ultimately promotes better concentration. Natural light helps regulate sleeping patterns Despite the belief that playing outdoors helps children sleep better, this isn’t necessarily true. However, playing outside does help promote healthy sleeping patterns. It’s suggested that the more sunlight we

are exposed to, the better our bodies synchronise with day and night. So when nighttime comes around, our brains find the shift from awake to asleep easier. Nature helps lower stress levels Ensuring that children have a supportive and healthy outlet for any stresses they are feeling is important – and spending time outdoors advocates this. Studies suggest that going on short walks surrounded by nature helps decrease levels of stress and improve a child’s ability to focus more. One study conducted by Amicone et al in 2018 found that after a group of children went outside to play in a schoolyard and another group in a green space, those in the green space were more attentive and improved their working memory performance. With the COVID-19 pandemic having forced us all to stay at home for long periods at a time, making the most of the time you can spend outdoors with your child is more important than ever. As the winter months commence, ensuring they have comfy and warm clothes to wear outside is vital. The impact of screen time and social media on children can be managed. As we have explored, technology can be useful for developing a wider understanding of the world. Too much of anything is bad, so finding the correct balance between having social media in our lives without letting it take over is something we must educate the younger generations on. For more

on Muddy Puddles, visit: www.




Nuffield Trust

You love them like family, so why not feed them like family? Naked Dog is packed full of fresh, human-grade ingredients that provide your furry friend with the love and care they need to thrive.

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Healthy Pets

The whole family’s best friend

A dog is for life, not just for Christmas – or lockdown! If you are thinking about getting a dog, it is important to consider the breed and whether it will fit in with your family’s lifestyle. Caroline Griffith, pet care expert, looks at popular breeds, the advantages of shelter dogs and helps us to break down the huge range of dog food choices.


t’s official, the lumbering, lovable, family-friendly Labrador is still the most popular dog breed! At least in America. The most popular in the UK during 2020 might just surprise you. Statistics show that while the Labrador was also our most popular breed in 2019, last year saw the smaller Staffordshire Bull Terrier leap to the top. As a pet industry professional, this surprised even myself. I know that the Staffordshire Bull Terrier – affectionately known as the Staffy – is one of the most child-friendly breeds, but I was surprised that the curly-haired Cockapoo was not higher on the list, or perhaps even the French bulldogs.

There’s nothing lovelier than a child and dog who have become best friends


Now after as many years in the pet industry as I have enjoyed, I do not campaign, but instead, speak from experience when I say that shelter dogs are often the most wonderful family dogs. It’s all about choosing carefully though. It is not uncommon for Labrador rescues to have puppies available or for adult shelter dogs to be there through no fault of their own, with full history and – to many parents’ joy – already be fully house-trained. My number one piece of advice for families looking to get a dog would be to always look carefully on UK shelter websites first. Next, in my experience, dogs rescued from warmer countries make a better family pet than those from cooler countries. This is largely due to the human socialisation

dogs in warmer countries enjoy on a daily basis. My own family dog Foosa was a shelter dog, rescued from Phuket in Thailand. She is a credit to shelter dogs and to the kindness of natural pet care. Whether you opt for a pup or a shelter dog, I highly recommended that you choose a reputable organisation. Unfortunately, online selling sites such as Gumtree can all too frequently, and unwittingly, advertise stolen dogs that recently belonged to somebody else or even dogs that have been shipped into the UK without a legal pet passport.

Do you have one of those? Perhaps you are considering a family dog and have looked at those two breeds? Undoubtedly, cuteness does come into our decision-making, after all, didn’t humans originally tame the dogs that were visually cuter? To me, there’s nothing lovelier than a child and dog who have become best friends, who have fun together and have bonded with an almost telepathic connection many of us adults just don’t quite seem able to achieve.


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If you are buying a puppy, aim to see the mother wherever possible.

A family dog is a real asset, not just for keeping the kids occupied HEALTH & HAPPINESS

A family dog is a real asset, not just for keeping the kids occupied. Studies have shown they can even improve the health and wellbeing of the family. Recent studies from the New England Journal of Medicine, the University of Chicago microbiome centre and the University of Arizona have highlighted the outstanding boost to both babies’ and children’s immune systems when they spend time around dogs and other animals. Pets raise the level of beneficial bacteria – known as probiotics in the supplement trade – which, in turn, boosts the immune system. The age of farm living and even making mud pies did perhaps do us some good after all.


Talking of immune boosters, one of the big debates in recent years is on the changing choices in dog food.

This is arguably one of the biggest choices you will make once you have chosen your shelter dog or puppy, with the dog’s balance of microbiome also becoming quite the discussion in the natural pet care community. Currently, there are more than 250 dog food brands in the UK and growing, each aiming for your attention – which can be a little confusing. Despite the number of brands, it may be useful for you to know that only three companies are behind around 90% of them. Mars and Nestle (which are owners of almost every dog food on the supermarket shelf) and the more clinically recommended veterinary brand, Colgate-Palmolive. The last 10% are generally the pioneers of fresher, less-processed foods. We only have to look at the huge following for Jamie Oliver’s School Dinners campaign to recognise our deep understanding that a diet of fresh food is better for health. The 10% are almost all small businesses that, especially in the current economical climate, surely deserve our attention more than ever. Many nutritionally balanced and, usefully, ready-made, fresh meals for dogs can now be delivered to your door. With a little freezer space juggling, you will be able to watch your new pup or much-loved shelter dog thrive on a diet of fresh foods. The days of dry or tinned meats being the only option are definitely now fully behind us. I feel here even the option of raw ready-made foods is worth

mentioning. While this is often of concern, as it is ultimately made of raw meat, it is already fed in millions of homes around the UK. By following the same stringent hygiene rules we apply to our own meat handling, there are absolutely no ill effects. Perhaps raw meat is the ultimate in fresh dog food and certainly the simplest in terms of ingredients. Whether you are looking to welcome your first dog into the family, or you are a seasoned dog owner I hope this article has helped you in some way, and that your new addition will bring you much joy in the coming years. Sources: UK Dog Stats | Independent Newspaper online, June 2017 - All about dog food


Shelter dog, mixed breed Labrador Cockapoo Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Greyhound Staffordshire Bull Terrier Golden Retriever Shih Tzu

Caroline’s book Imperfectly Natural Canine covers all aspects of dog care, from getting a puppy to helping reduce ailments naturally, diet, activities and even therapies for dogs. It was written as part of BBC’s Janey Lee Grace Imperfectly Natural book series. Available from Amazon.

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SOME PET INSURANCE IS NOSE AND TAIL ABOVE THE REST. Bought By Many was voted Best Pet Insurance Provider at the 2020 Insurance Choice Awards. AUTUM N 2 0 2 0



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Vet fees can add up, so it’s worth making sure you choose a policy with enough cover. This year we had a claim for over £8,000 from a dog owner! Our Complete policy is the most comprehensive on the market with £15,000 of vet fee cover and all our policies offer lifetime cover.

Many of the largest insurance companies offer pet cover but, bigger isn’t always better. It’s worth checking customer reviews to see how easily an insurer pays out. Bought By Many was voted Best Insurance Provider at the 2020 Insurance Choice Awards and has over 12,000 5-star Feefo reviews. We’re also one of the only providers to publish our claim reviews.

Pre-existing conditions If your pet has a pre-existing condition, pet insurance can be a challenge. We want to ensure all owners can get cover, so our policies cover conditions that ended two years ago or more. We also offer a policy for pets with more recent pre-existing conditions.


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You might not always be sure whether your pet needs to go to the vet. Some companies offer a vet phone line but all Bought By Many customers have unlimited free video calls with UK vets through the FirstVet app, 24/7. Consider cover that gives you instant access to a vet at no extra cost.

Making an insurance claim can be notoriously long-winded, so look for a company that makes it as easy as possible. That gives you more time and energy to help your pet when they need it most. Bought By Many lets you claim online in seconds and you can check progress at any time once it’s being processed. If you prefer to do things over the phone, you can still call us.

We created our cover to make pet insurance better for owners, so everything we do is as transparent and as user-friendly as possible. Our customer service team doesn’t use a script and our policy documents are easy to understand. That’s why more than 200,000 pet owners have chosen Bought By Many pet insurance. We hope you do too.

Has the above given you paws for thought? To find out more or get a quote visit Buy Bought By Many pet insurance and get a free pet treat box.

Choosing a chew – how hard can it be?

Dogs need chews and toys they can safely get their teeth into. It’s easy to think your dog’s teeth are indestructible. Dogs use their mouths to explore the world and chewing is a dog’s natural instinct, it helps to keep them active and relieve stress. But dogs’ teeth are more fragile than you might think – their enamel is up to six times thinner than our human teeth1 and nerves are closer to the surface. 1 in 4 dogs have fractured teeth, many of these are a result of chewing on things that are simply too hard [2-8] Chips and fractures can be hard to spot and are sometimes missed by pet owners. By their very nature, as pack animals, dogs are good at disguising their distress to avoid displaying any weakness. So even if they are in extreme pain, your dog might not show any obvious signs of a tooth injury. If you think your dog might have a fractured tooth speak to your vet.

Tooth Truths From vet dentist Lisa Milella

• The hard enamel layer on a dog’s tooth is thinner than on a human tooth meaning their teeth have less protection than ours! • Vessels and nerves are much closer to the tooth’s surface in dogs than in humans. • Unlike many common fractures in humans, chips and fractures in dogs’ teeth can cause extreme pain, infection and decreased appetite as they more commonly expose the nerves inside the tooth.

Treat your dog with tooth-kind products We all love to treat and play with our dogs, and giving them chews and toys supports oral hygiene and mental stimulation. However, some products are very hard and have the potential to cause damage to a dog’s teeth. Any chew or toy that is not bendy and malleable, or doesn’t soften very quickly and easily when chewed, could cause a painful tooth fracture, posing a risk to your dog’s well-being. All our Pedigree treats products have been tested to ensure they are not too hard.

© Lisa Milella

References 1. Crossley, DA. Tooth enamel thickness in the mature dentition of domestic dogs and cats--preliminary study. Journal of Veterinary Dentistry. 1995 Sep;12(3):111-3. 2. Golden AL, Stoller N, Harvey CE. A survey of oral and dental diseases in dogs anesthetized at a veterinary hospital. J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 1982; 18: 891-899. 3. Le Brech C, Hamel L, Le Nihouuannen JC, et al. Epidemiological study of canine teeth fractures in military dogs. J Vet Dent 1997; 14: 51-55, 1997. 4. Hamp SE, Olsson SE, Farso-Madsen K, et al. A macroscopic and radiologic investigation of dental diseases of the dog. Vet Radiol 1984; 25: 86-92. 5. Venturini. Retrospective study of 3055 pets referred to Odontovet® (veterinary dental center) during 44 months. Dissertação (Mestre Em Medicina Veterinária), Faculdade De Medicina Veterinária E Zootecnia, Universidade De São Paulo 2006; 35-37. 6. Gioso MA, Lopes FM, Ferro DG, et al. Oral fractures in dogs of Brazil - a retrospective study. J Vet Dent 2005; 22: 86-90. 7. Butkovic V, Simpraga M, Sehic M, et al. Dental diseases of dogs: a retrospective study of radiological data. Acta Vet Brno 2001; 70: 203-208. 8. Capik I, Ledecky V, Sevcik A. Tooth fracture evaluation and endodontic treatment in dogs. Acta Vet Brno 2000; 69: 115-122.

Oral Care for your Pets Just like humans, pets also need a daily oral care regime. Happy cats have healthy mouths... It’s important to clean your cat's teeth in some way every day to remove the plaque that adheres to their teeth. If the plaque is not removed and is left in contact with the tooth, it will harden to form tartar within just a few days and cannot be brushed away. Feeding your cat a mixture of dry and wet food not only provides a variety of tastes and textures which cats really enjoy, but the additional benefit of feeding dry food is that the kibble creates abrasion on the surface of the teeth, which can help to wipe away plaque and support keeping their teeth clean.

How do you clean your cat's teeth? Tooth-brushing is the most effective way of removing plaque from your cat's teeth and most cats will take to it if the process is built up slowly. Cat toothbrushes and specially designed cat toothpaste is available at most pet retailers. Because oral care of cats is so important, Whiskas® have created DentaBites, a daily treat to help you care for your cat's teeth and gums. Having your cat's mouths checked regularly by your vet or vet nurse is a great way to keep on top of their oral hygiene.

Your dogs’ teeth are as important to him as our hands are to us. Your dog doesn’t only use their teeth to eat but to hold, pull and carry things too. And it’s precisely because they do so much with their teeth that they really need looking after. The bacteria on the tooth form an off-white, sticky layer caller dental plaque. The bacteria within plaque and tartar attack the gums and cause inflammation of the gums and surrounding tissues. This is painful for your dog.

How do you clean your dog’s teeth? Having a daily oral care routine is important to support your dog’s health and wellbeing. Tooth brushing is the single most effective method but you may be still want to combine several different methods. One Pedigree DentaStix™ a day can help keep tartar away. It is scientifically proven that just one chew a day can help reduce tartar build-up by up to 80%, with their unique x-shape, the texture of daily Dentastix™ are designed to give your dog’s teeth a really good clean.

Total care for your cat Your cat’s nutritional requirements will change over time, depending on her evolving lifestyle and age. To help your cat remain fit and healthy throughout her life, here are some basic guidelines on how to tailor her nutritional intake to her specific needs. FROM WEANING TO 12 MONTHS, the nutritional requirements of a growing kitten are very different to that of an adult cat. It is important that kittens eat specially designed kitten food. They need 3-4 meals a day and can be fed either wet or dry kitten food. FROM 6 TO 12 MONTHS, neutering may reduce the ability to burn calories. We recommend monitoring their bodyweight and adjusting portions as necessary. WHEN ADULT AND NEUTERED, the ideal weight for most cat breeds is about 4kg. Your vet can advise you on the Ideal weight for your cat.

PERFECT FIT™ has a unique Total 5 formula that offers an all-round protection for a healthy life. Total 5 combines 5 health benefits that address the 5 most common health needs of your cat, irrespective of size or age. Healthy Digestion

Created with high quality proteins & rice that are easy to digest for your cat.

Strong Natural Defences

With increased taurine and vitamin E and supplemented with vitamin C, antioxidants that contribute to strong natural defences.

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Formulated with balanced minerals to support Lower Urinary Tract Health.

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A combination of L-carnitine, high level of protein and ideal energy provision promotes optimum weight management and body condition.

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Contains biotin, zinc & sunflower oil, a natural source of omega6-fatt y acids, to help support a healthy skin and coat.

To maintain a healthy body weight, you can: • Use feeding toys to encourage activity. • Feed a proportion of wet food, which contains fewer calories, yet is filling owing to its high moisture content. • Ensure treats are a maximum 10% of your cat’s calorie Intake. • Daily calorie intake 208-220 kcal / day (for a cat of 4kg) +/- 10% depending on physical activity. SENIOR (7+ YEARS) cats tend to lose their sharpness of smell. Try feeding wet foods which have a more Intense aroma to stimulate her appetite. We recommend serving food designed for senior cats in order to support her specific needs e.g. mobility. Perfect Fit™ Senior contains Glucosamine and omega 3 fatty acids to support their joints.

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TRAVEL While 2020 hasn’t been the easiest year for travelling anywhere in the world, we hope that this year global restrictions begin to lift and travel opens up once again. From the fascinating stories of 12-year-old Maja and what travelling with her family has taught her, to the most amazing holidays to Lapland, Disney World and the Caribbean — we’ve got a host of inspirational travel ideas that the whole family will enjoy!

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Walking in a winter wonderland We know, we know, you’ve probably still got your tree and decorations up from last Christmas, but while you are still in the festive spirit, now is the best time to look ahead to December 2021 and give your family a Christmas experience they will never forget.


e all dream of snow at Christmas, but the reality of this happening in the UK is pretty slim. That’s why so many families are booking festive breaks abroad where there is snow and Christmas magic abound. One very special place, where it is rumoured that a certain Father Christmas lives, is Lapland. The Christmas Sparkle tour is based in a remote ski village called Suomu in Lapland and families can stay in either a traditional log cabin or at the Arctic Circle Hotel, which boasts Scandi chic design. The 2-night/3-day tour runs in December 2021, with departures from Birmingham, Manchester and Stansted airports.

The holiday includes a range of authentic Arctic activities, including:


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Reindeer Experience

Feed the reindeer, learn about traditional Sami culture and enjoy a magical reindeer sleigh ride.

Adult & Junior Snowmobiling

Fun and excitement for all ages.

Santa’s Special Elves

Meet Santa’s most trusted helpers and prepare for mayhem, magic and giggles galore.

Sleigh Ride to Santa’s House

The excitement builds as you swish deep into the forest by reindeer sleigh.

A Gift from Santa

Santa gives your child their most special present.

Elf School Graduation Certificate Souvenir Book.

Husky Experience

Learn a whole host of fun and fascinating facts about Arctic huskies and enjoy a traditional sleigh ride.

Reindeer Experience

Tobogganing, snowballing, snow angels and more.

Santa’s Magical Post Office

Join the elves and sort those very special letters.

Private Family Meeting with Santa

Your family’s private time with Father Christmas.

Graduation Party

Put on your dancing shoes and join your fellow Elves for a special celebration!

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Day 1. The Journey Begins

experience a traditional husky sleigh ride and meet Santa’s faithful reindeer. At the Post Office, you will also need to learn how to sort and stamp the mail that Santa receives from children all over the world. Yet, which of these traditional Arctic activities will lead you to Santa’s secret hideaway? When you finally discover his home in Lapland, Father

stay in a cosy log cabin with the added bonus of a sauna and log fire or enjoy a relaxed stay at the recently upgraded Arctic Circle Hotel. After dinner at the Hotel, meet more of the traditional Elves. Santa’s excitable helpers have been patiently waiting for you to arrive. So, let’s quiz them at length about tomorrow’s activities. What will be your special elf name?

Christmas will be delighted to meet you and every child will be rewarded with a special gift from him. As we return to Suomu, enjoy a classic festive dinner; followed by a Graduation Party to commemorate your achievement of becoming one of Santa’s Elves. Will Christmas Sparkle join you at the party?

On the way to Suomu, it’s time for the children to learn about how to become an elf and the essential tasks they will need to complete in order to graduate from Elf School. In resort, we’ll stop to collect thermal snowsuits and boots, then it’s time to check into your accommodation. In this picturesque setting, you can

Day 2. Let the fun begin, it’s time for Elf School Today, you must complete a full set of tasks to make the grade as one of Santa’s Special Helpers. The huskies and reindeer know that you have travelled from afar and they are determined to help you to complete your mission. Join Wendy Wood, Santa’s chief toymaker, to experience a range of traditional Arctic activities. Every apprentice Elf must master tobogganing, learn to drive a snowmobile,

Day 3. Say Farewell to Santa and the Special Elves

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast this morning. Then join your fellow Elves outside for some final snow games before it’s time to leave Lapland. Today, both adults and children can experience a short snowmobile drive under the supervision of our experienced guides. After lunch, it’s time to say goodbye to the Elves and the magical world of Lapland before returning to the airport.

Suomu Resort Lying on the Arctic Circle, Suomu is a hidden gem in Lapland. Set close to Lake Kemijarvi, you can truly be at one with nature in the beautiful frozen forests of this quiet resort, known locally as Santa’s official ski village. In Suomu your choice of accommodation ranges from a traditional rustic log cabin set among the snow-covered trees to

the stylish, Scandi-inspired Arctic Circle hotel. What can be more exciting than visiting Lapland? For in Suomu you can experience a variety of traditional Arctic activities including a romantic reindeer sleigh ride or a thrilling snowmobile safari and be captivated by Santa’s furry friends, the huskies. Enjoy fun and games with the cheeky elves at their school on the very special Christmas Sparkle holiday to Suomu. For a family of 4, Christmas Sparkle prices start from £3,627. For more information or to book, contact Canterbury Travel on 0800 270 0150; tour details; resort info and accommodation. www.

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Plan the family trip of a lifetime

With international travel opening up in 2021, we’ve got some amazing family holidays to tempt you with! WALT DISNEY WORLD

With six Disney Parks, two exciting nighttime entertainment districts, more than 20 Disney Resort Hotels, a state-of-the-art sports complex and countless opportunities for dining, shopping, recreation and relaxation, it’s easy to see why Walt Disney World Resort is the holiday of your dreams. And these dreams can come true – just like magic. Disney’s All-Star resort will bring out the kid in everyone. With ‘fun’ as the order of the day, the entire family will enjoy the decidedly whimsical atmosphere that prevails. Featuring three hotels, Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort boasts a giant Herbie; the Love Bug car, and lots of enormous


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playful puppies from 101 Dalmatians. Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort has five themed areas – American football, baseball, basketball, tennis and surfing; and at Disney’s All-Star Music Resort, the buildings are decked out with huge saxophones, guitars and drums. Food is casual and relaxed, just how families like it, and regular complimentary buses to all four theme parks, both water parks and Disney Springs make getting around as easy as American pie!

7 NIGHTS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD FROM £2,459 FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR Seven nights in Orlando with Virgin Atlantic Holidays, including scheduled Virgin Atlantic flights from London Heathrow to Orlando, room only accommodation at the Disney’s All-Star Resort with basic car hire included. Price is per person based on 2 adults and 2 children travelling and sharing a standard room and includes all applicable taxes and

fuel surcharges, which are subject to change. Price is based on a departure of 22 February 2021. Virgin Atlantic

Holidays is a member of ABTA and is ATOL protected. To book: www. or call 0344 557 3859.

Customers can also purchase their Disney parks tickets through Virgin Atlantic Holidays with adult prices from £459 and child prices from £439 for 7 days in the parks.

CARIBBEAN Welcome to the home of endless sun, reggae, jerk cuisine and some truly gorgeous beaches. Ocho Rios has the very best of them, along with plenty of adventure to keep you busy. Ocho Rios holidays bring you right into the mix, with Dunn’s River Falls practically on your doorstep and plenty of excursions to tempt you away from the blissful coastline.

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For active families who like to be out and about with a huge range of sports facilities all to hand, plus a good choice of dining options, Beaches Ocho Rios - A Spa, Golf & Waterpark Resort incorporates all that Beaches is renowned for in a value-for-money package. The resort features an array of facilities; from Kids’ Camps with Sesame Street® games for kids, Liquid at Beaches nightclub for teenagers; 6 dining options and a Red Lane® Spa for adults; as well as an extended Pirates Island Waterpark with 11 water slides that will enthuse everyone.

Lively or laid back, sandcastles or safaris, Antigua holidays have it all 7 NIGHTS IN JAMAICA FROM £5,445 FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR

7 nights in Ocho Rios with Virgin Atlantic Holidays, including scheduled Virgin Atlantic flights from London Heathrow to Jamaica, All Inclusive accommodation at the Beaches Ocho Rios - A Spa, Golf & Waterpark Resort with transfers included. Price is per person based on 2 adults and 2 children travelling and sharing a

Caribbean Luxury Family Sized Suite Double and includes all applicable taxes and fuel surcharges, which are subject to change. Price is based on a departure of 24 April 2021. Virgin

Atlantic Holidays is a member of ABTA and is ATOL protected. To book: www. or call 0344 557 3859.

ANTIGUA Lively or laid back, sandcastles or safaris, Antigua holidays have it all - in buckets (and spades). Whatever your vibe, you’ll find it in this authentic corner of the Caribbean: 365 beaches, friendly faces and an abundance of history make for a time out that’s good for the soul. In an idyllic location, overlooking one of Antigua’s best beaches, with fine white sand and turquoise waters. Surrounded by 40 acres of tropical gardens, the Jolly Beach Resort & Spa offers simple and good value accommodation for families and groups alike. Lively in atmosphere, there’s always plenty to do, including water sports, pool volleyball and beach games, perhaps even an impromptu game of cricket on the sand late afternoon. Kids have their very own club, promising a funpacked itinerary of activities whilst parents can head to the quiet pool or spa for some much-deserved relaxation and pampering. There

are five restaurants in total, serving everything from International favourites to Caribbean delights and an Italian selection at the Bocciolo Restaurant and Bar.

The entire family will enjoy the decidedly whimsical atmosphere that prevails 7 NIGHTS IN ANTIGUA FROM £4,714 FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR

Seven nights in Antigua with Virgin Atlantic Holidays, including scheduled Virgin Atlantic flights from London Heathrow to Antigua, All Inclusive accommodation at the Jolly Beach Resort & Spa with transfers included. Price is per person based on 2 adults and 2 children travelling and sharing a Queen Superior room and includes all applicable taxes and fuel surcharges, which are subject to change. Price is based on a departure of 21 August 2021. Virgin Atlantic

Holidays is a member of ABTA and is ATOL protected. To book: www. or call 0344 557 3859.

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Watch out world, we are coming for you! Discovering new countries, cultures and experiences is a great way to teach your children about the world. Maja, who is just 12 years old, shares some of her favourite memories of travelling with her family.


was born in Singapore and lived with my parents, brother and sister in Asia the first nine years of my life. My parents took the opportunity to explore that part of the globe and took us on many extraordinary trips around the continent. When we moved back to Europe, we felt that there is a lot to explore here as well, and we are still excited to discover our home country and the surroundings. My 1st birthday I spent in Australia. I blew out the birthday candle on my supermarket muffins with a view on Ayers Rock/Uluru. I don‘t remember much of this trip, but I love looking at the photos: the red sand, the crocodiles in a river, the clouds of mosquitos at sunset, swimming on my dad’s shoulders in a gorge. When I was a toddler we travelled to China. I only have bits of memories: having a dance with my brother and a Chinese boy on a street in Beijing‘s art district, a noodle-soup-slurp-contest with my dad and my brother in a park. We also climbed up to the Great Wall of China and even though it was typical foggy weather, we still got an overwhelming impression of its size.

siblings and I always moan about visiting landscapes or going sightseeing, but almost every time these trips were full of adventures and exciting experiences. On each campsite, we met new friends on the playground or ran around the site and played tag. (FUN FACT: on many Australian campsites there are huge jumping cushions – great fun!) Every time we left a place I was sad, but there were always new friends to be found at our next stop. I was 6 years old when we moved to Bangkok. My mum insisted that we get to know a bit of Thailand and its culture and took us to temples and different parts of the country. We went on trips to Thai natural parks, enjoyed snorkelling with colourful fish in crystal blue water and cold coconut

water somewhere in the sun. One of the many things I love about travelling is that you get to know different people, cultures and food. On my 8th birthday, I was in a small hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam. That morning (as usual, excited because it was my birthday), I got up early and went to the dining room for breakfast. Our table was decorated with rose petals and the friendly hotel staff had put a birthday cake in the middle. This is a great example of how interesting it is to meet new people and shows that there are many kind and caring human beings.


I also love exploring the world because of the opportunities it offers. To have experiences that I would probably never have made without travelling, for example celebrating all kinds of festivals: the beautiful decorations in Singapore’s main streets changed from Deepavali to Christmas to Chinese New Year, and I was part of it. In Thailand, we released little lotus-shaped rafts with candles onto the water at Loy Kratong and splashed around at Songkran, the Thai New Year festival of water. Not to be missed, of course, is hunting melting chocolate eggs on Easter morning and getting scared at Halloween.


A few years later, my parents took us on camper van trips through Australia and New Zealand. My

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I S S U E 07 - Tra ve l

Even though I was not always in the mood to go on a trip, there are only very few moments I didn’t enjoy. But getting to know places, cultures or people you aren’t entirely happy with is also something positive. One day I didn’t like was in Myanmar. I was about 10 years old and we were on a viewing platform. Suddenly a stranger pulled me away from my parents, who were walking in front of me. The man then put my arm around a small child and started taking pictures of me. More and more people came and took pictures as well. What I didn’t realise was that in Myanmar people with blonde hair are deemed special, as

most people there have dark hair, so the situation scared me. Fortunately, my mum looked for me, pulled me away and told me that those people didn’t mean to frighten me. Back in Europe, my parents wanted to show us our home country and more about Europe, and we continued travelling. We went on weekend trips to explore the surroundings and spent summer holidays in Spain and Italy. Last year, we drove a motorhome to the northern part of the UK. We hiked in the Lake District, went to a pub, tried to figure out Cumbrian and Scottish languages, and visited old castles (my favourite: Alnwick Castle). The people we met were lovely and the food was too. Having lived in a small country like Singapore, where you cross a border to another country after travelling for 40 minutes by car, train or boat, travelling became a part of me. I miss it at the moment and can’t wait to start again. I have already made plans for my own trips when I am grown up.

MY IMPRESSIONS FROM TRAVELLING SO FAR I got used to the feeling of looking

different and I am curious about different cultures and getting to know different people. I am happy to learn and

understand a new language, the sounds of different languages and dialects are interesting. A map of my home country looks

as strange to me as the map of Indonesia. I hate packing – and unpacking

– suitcases, but love being on the road.


Maja’s dad, Bernd, says: “For

me curiosity is the main reason for travelling: Seeing places, meeting people and being in unusual situations make great memories. Even getting stuck in remote places or needing help from locals turn into great stories to tell and re-tell. Travelling as a family, and especially with my children, intensifies this further: I can see the world through their eyes in addition to my adult perspective. Each trip together grows the treasure trove of shared family memories and travelling always makes for intense time shared. “

Maja’s brother, Mattis, says: “What

do I like about travelling? The food and making new friends. I don’t always enjoy the company of my sisters all the time, but I love playing football everywhere we go.”

Maja’s sister, Lila, says: “You can

experience a lot of adventures when you travel.”

Maja’s mum, Katleen, says: “My

kids claim to have a temple trauma because I wanted them to learn about the place, the people and the culture where we are living. That can be a temple, a church, a walk in nature, playing at a playground or just having an ice cream somewhere. And in retrospect, they mostly enjoyed their experiences.”


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I S S U E 07 - F a m i l y F e a t u re

Our guide to enjoying a happy & healthy pregnancy Being healthy in pregnancy means more than just eating well and moving more. We have spoken to experts in nutrition, fitness, mental health and wellbeing and more to find out how you and your baby can thrive during pregnancy.


ating healthily is important at any stage of life, and that’s no different during pregnancy. Nutritionist Abigail Sleven, (www. explains that while there isn’t a pregnancy-specific eating plan to follow, there are a few things that will help support you and baby to grow and develop. Eating a variety of foods is a great way to get a balance of vitamins and minerals that you and baby need. Different foods provide different nutrients, so try to mix it up a little where possible. You may be hungrier than usual, so it might help to include extra snacks during the day in addition to regular meals, but there’s no need to ‘eat for two’. Aim for snacks low in fat and sugar, such


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as yoghurt, pitta and hummus, fruit, cereal and malt loaf. Including plenty of fruit and vegetables provides nutrients, as well as fibre, which help with constipation. Fresh, dried, tinned and frozen all count, but make sure to wash fresh fruit and veg thoroughly.

Supplements – current UK recommendations: Folic Acid. 400 micrograms (sometimes written as 400mcg or 400ug) per day up to 12 weeks, as well as eating folate-rich foods like leafy greens. Vitamin D is also recommended, 10 micrograms per day. Supplements containing vitamin A (retinol) and cod liver oil are not recommended during pregnancy as they can harm your baby, so double-check any multivitamins.

What foods should I avoid?

Eating a variety of foods is a great way to get a balance of vitamins and minerals that you and baby need

Mould-ripened cheese and blue cheese e.g. brie or stilton, unless cooked until steaming. Any unpasteurised or raw dairy (cow, goat or sheep). Raw or undercooked meat. Liver or liver products. Raw shellfish, marlin, swordfish and shark.

F a m i l y F e a t u re - I S S U E 07

Things to be careful with: Eggs stamped with the red British Lion are safe to eat raw or partially cooked. All other eggs must be cooked thoroughly until solid. Eat no more than 2 portions of oily fish per week (salmon, mackerel, sardines). No more than 2 tuna steaks, or 4 cans of tuna, per week.


Whether it is your first pregnancy or your fourth, finding the enthusiasm to exercise can be tricky – especially if you are suffering from morning sickness in the early stages or when your bump gets heavier in the later trimesters. While for parents with older children at school, it can be difficult to make time for yourself to exercise. Sharon Porter (, who is a pre and postnatal fitness instructor, has suggested some great ways to incorporate exercise on the school run and include the kids for fun exercise on the move:

Timed walk to school: goal to keep it under 15 minutes, for example. (Buggy) Walking squats to lamp post while the child runs there and back.

means you should be able to hold a conversation while exercising.


For new parents, it is important to educate yourself and your birth partner on the choices available to you during your pregnancy and after birth to ensure you have enough information to make informed decisions, explains Dr Ellie Rayner, obstetrician and founder of The Maternity Collective. (www.

founder of Mumsjourney (www., and author of Motherhood - The Unspoken. Her advice is to talk about your feelings.

“Eliminate anything that has a negative impact on your inner peace” Dr Ivana Poku

“Pregnancy and parenthood can be overwhelming with the volume of information and resources available to you, and knowing which sources to trust can be tricky. Where possible, you should use a recognised resource for antenatal and birth preparation information that is up-to-date, easy to understand, provides a balanced perspective and, most importantly, is based on scientific reliable evidence. By understanding the choices you may be asked to make, you can feel confident in making decisions right for you and your baby,” she adds.


Mental health and wellbeing are even more important when you are pregnant and your hormones and body are changing. “What you need the most right now is being relaxed, so eliminate anything that has a negative impact on your inner peace,” says Dr Ivana Poku, a mum of twins,

“The majority of pregnant women experience all sorts of feelings and thoughts they had not expected and, therefore, feel guilty about it. I promise that your feelings are not abnormal, and if you bottle them up, they can come back to you later in the form of mental health issues,” she says. Another important thing is to ask for help. “If you want someone to cook dinner for you, or do the shopping... ask! Remember that people naturally love to help, so it is a win-win. And finally, make sure to take care of yourself. Go for a walk, meditate, hug a tree, get a facial... Whatever makes you feel good. You and your baby need and deserve it!”

(Buggy) Walking lunges to lamp post while the child hops there and back. Squats and clap hands with each other. Press-ups together against a wall or frame. Walking with commands: lefthand touch floor, right-hand touch floor, both hands touch floor, jump in the air. (For mum, just as low as she can go with bump).

Sharon adds: “During pregnancy, the aim of any programme should be to simply maintain your current level of fitness and work within your comfort zone. This

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IMPORTANT NOTICE: Breastfeeding is best for babies. Follow On Milk should only be used as par before 6 months. Use on the advice of a healthcare professional. Use Toddler Milk as part of


rt of a mixed diet and not as a breastmilk substitute f a varied balanced diet from the 12th month.


F a m i l y F e a t u re - I S S U E 07

Meeting milestones

COVID-19 has impacted our lives in so many ways, one of which is that many parents are worrying about their young children reaching milestones, such as potty training, on time. Dr Oscar Duke discusses parents’ concerns and how we can alleviate them.


recent study of 1,000 EXPERT Q&A parents across the UK has Doctor, author and dad, Oscar Duke found that nearly half have answers our questions on children’s lost sleep from worrying development, social media and the about the rate of their importance of good-fitting nappies: child’s development. A staggering 65 per cent put pressure What should parents do if on themselves to ensure their kids hit the their children are late in hitting milestones, such as milestones they ‘should’ at certain ages, potty training? with walking, potty training and sleeping Dr Duke says: “Try not to allow yourself through the night being the main stages to worry too much about the exact that concerned them the most. timing of the different developmental The study, commissioned by Pampers milestones – and, most importantly, for their new Pampers Active Fit range, don’t let your child become aware of also found that 45 per cent of parents any worries you may have. Children worry their child didn’t develop at the rate will usually develop well with gentle they should have, with more than eight support and encouragement, but in ten comparing their child to others the some milestones like potty training same age. need a bit more Despite these focused parental concerns and input. Just stresses over occasionally a development, child struggling 55 per cent with certain of parents skills may feel they’ve need medical benefited from assessment being at home, to ensure as new working that there’s patterns have no medical meant they have diagnosis witnessed more contributing to of their child’s milestones than the delay.” they would have Dr Duke and his daughter It is so done before. easy to tell And 83 per cent parents not are confident that their children will still to compare their children to hit their future milestones based on others – but so many parents recent changes at home.

Children will usually develop well with gentle support and encouragement

do it! What is your advice for parents who are getting stressed because they feel their children are behind compared to their friends or people on social media?

“Social media allows other parents to highlight the areas in which their child is flourishing, few share the more challenging side of parenting. Some children develop faster in one domain

than in others. For some, motor skills such as crawling and walking will be more advanced, while others will be stronger in areas such as speech and language. Just like us adults, remember that your child will have unique strengths and will most likely catch up in the end. If you’re ever concerned then be sure to discuss this with your health visitor or GP.”

Why is the right nappy so important for children, particularly when they are learning to crawl or walk? “As children start to explore the world around them they begin to gain muscle strength and co-ordination, which enable them to improve their motor skills. No child wants a wet or dirty nappy interfering with their movement, so ensure that they are wearing a nappy specifically designed for wriggly little ones that keeps them clean and dry whatever they are up to. This is why Pampers new Active Fit range is perfect for such wriggly babies, as they are designed to be the best-ever wriggleproof fit with their 3-way fit and their quick-dry core, which creates up to 12 hours of leak protection. Leaks are no more fun for the developing explorer than they are for the adult doing the clean up!”

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F a m i l y F e a t u re - I S S U E 07

‘The juggle-struggle is real’: balancing business with motherhood Cecily Henderson, co-founder of plastic-free children’s toy company PomPom, explains the inspiration behind the brand and offers advice on how to survive working from home with kids.


recently I read that the term ‘mumpreneur’ is now considered patronising. It was a relief, as I am living proof that there is nothing cute about running your own business and being a mother. It’s messy and frustrating, and the juggle-struggle is real. I probably identify more closely with the term ‘wantrepreneur’ – there’s nothing like a healthy dose of Imposter Syndrome and self-doubt. Yesterday we sold out of our first set of indoor climbing triangles in just two weeks. It made me sit up and take stock – excuse the pun – of quite what myself and my business partner had achieved through lockdown last year and being 4,731 miles apart. In 2019, Katherine Rhodes and I set up PomPom, which sells imaginative and unusual toys, games and homeware for children. We are the natural home of the climbing triangle and proudly plasticfree, from product to packaging.

we swapped easy tips on how to buy less plastic and be more sustainable. Our mum-mates started asking for advice on where to buy unusual and loveable alternatives to plastic toys that kids will actually play with again and again. They were too busy to look themselves and yet wanted to do the right thing. We knew we could help and then, PomPom was born.

There is nothing cute about running your own business and being a mother


Although we are a British company, Katherine holds down HQ in Essex and I – for now – need to be in Vancouver, Canada for my husband’s job. In January 2020, I had my second son, a week early, in the middle of packing boxes and the worst snowstorm Vancouver has had in 20 years. My hospital room overlooked the busiest street in the heart of downtown and yet it was silent and beautiful – rather romantic despite the circumstances. Within a week, we had moved house and the basement had flooded, but at least the rats had been evacuated, much to the chagrin of our toddler who loved watching the Rat Trap Man at work.


The idea for PomPom was a true moment of clarity. I realised children are the tip of the iceberg of all that comes with them – clothes, toys, nappies – and that we were drowning in colourful plastic. I had been adding to the world’s plastic problem and I didn’t know what to do about it. I was a first-time mum and overwhelmed. Sleep was more important than researching plastic-free alternatives. But I slowly began to shop more consciously. Katherine and I are old friends from university who share a love of travel, theatre, books, art and dancing on tables. When we became mums,

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It was during these snatched hours that we started to design the indoor PomPom Climbing Triangle. The design was inspired by Dr Emmi Pikler, a Hungarian paediatrician working in the 1940s, who supported the idea of a child’s right to the freedom of movement. The triangle is designed so kids can safely climb and will choose to do so within their own bodily limits. As they grow in confidence, they will climb, slide, jump, race, and begin to interpret the triangle with their imagination… it is a teddy bear’s catwalk, a race track, a reading cave, a doll’s house.


Meanwhile, Katherine was running the business solo as I started maternity leave. Across the ocean, just as I was slowly getting my family life in order, the world was descending into chaos. A global pandemic was fast becoming personal. Canada and the UK went into lockdown on the same day.

Increasingly, parents were looking for sources of fun at home and they started to turn to PomPom A painfully recent memory, our lockdown drill was like many others. Daycares were closed, we started to work from home, playgrounds were shut, multiple meals a day started to be made – the world over, we were all experiencing the same mad circus juggle. Kids + work + home = insane! Increasingly, parents were looking for sources of fun at home and they started to turn


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to PomPom. If our business was going to survive, then we needed to be in this together. I came back from maternity-leave-slashrodent-busting and Katherine and I were going to tackle Covid-19 head-on.


Nap times became sacred. We growled if the doorbell rang, we ignored family phone calls and we dreaded a child waking early (are they not programmed machines?!). Evenings were brutal. As the day ended, ours began. Ideally, the last emails would be finished before the wine bottle. Both husbands gripped transatlantic stoves, as we barely looked up from the keyboard to accept a fork and plate. Our only option was to include our children in our household chores – we could no longer cook, clean or sort the washing while they slept, because this was our only time to work. Hilariously, Katherine’s kids got so efficient, they were featured on the BBC! Washing the floors was a mutual source of fun – try it at home. It’s free, it’s huge fun and it kills at least an hour.

We have learned the rules and regulations of CE testing – that is the toy safety mark to you and 50 pages of red tape and bureaucracy to me. We found a British carpenter, who we have yet to meet due to Covid-19. I can tell you about his family, his feelings about a nightmare client (not us, thankfully), his last surfing trip, but I don’t know what he looks like. We have tweaked the design to make it the world’s first climbing triangle with three adjustable heights, a reversible slide and ramp. We have worked with the award-winning duo, Salvesen Graham (Top 100 interior designers by House & Garden) to choose the paint colours. The paint is Edward Bulmer Natural Paint, which is eco-friendly and toxic-free. The triangle transforms a sitting room into a playroom and folds behind the sofa at night. It will keep kids happily entertained for hours – bring on the fun of long cold winter afternoons. On 1st October 2020, we celebrated PomPom’s first birthday. We have made more than 1,000 sales and it has been quite the journey. It has never been easy. It has been fun. It has been frustrating. It has been exhilarating. It is not over yet! Perhaps we are becoming entrepreneurs after all. PomPom is offering readers of Family First a special New Year’s discount. Simply use the code FamilyFirst10 for 10% off your purchase. Visit:

F a m i l y F e a t u re - I S S U E 07



Create a predictable routine, so you know when

you should be available for calls/ work, and your kids understand when its nap/quiet/bedtime.


Establish a corner that is “yours”. Make sure it is

untouchable, as it helps focus.


Divide the chores between adults and kids.

Collaborate, so when they are asleep, you can focus on work. Make it fun, include them.


TOP 3 FUN IDEAS FOR A RAINY DAY Here are our three best free activities at home. My husband is reigning champion of #3. My vote is always for minimal effort for maximum fun.


Turn off the lights Yep, you heard me. Get out the torches, dig out the 90s glow sticks and have a party. Kids can dance in the dark, read quietly in the dark, play hide and seek in the dark, have tea time in the dark. Light candles on high shelves. It’s amazing how much it changes the atmosphere from boring to brilliant fun.

Washing is a winner. We reckon a minimum of half an hour of fun


Use the car. I have listened to hours

of courses on SEO, revenue

Washing Children

are helpful. Fill a

optimisation and best social


media practice.

and let them wash


their teddies, Not all tasks are created

wash building

equal. Prioritise. Don’t

blocks (ideally our

get distracted. Switch off the


Internet if you need to. Only

sugar cane blocks,

answer emails that need

but plastic will do

answering. What should be a

just fine). If you are

40-hour week needs to be nailed

feeling really brave,

in 20.

let them help wash the floor. Washing is a winner. We reckon a minimum of half an hour of fun, but you could be there for a couple of hours.


Socks An incredibly versatile

sport, essential for child development. Ball up socks and throw them. Throw them at each other (parents, please let your kids join in). Throw them at the walls. Sock fight. Play hand tennis. Play boules. Ideally, they would be clean, but we’re not too fussy. You will laugh and laugh. Perfect for the end of the day when frustrations are just building. It. Is. Such. Fun.

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It’s all in the mind

Mum of two and mindfulness expert Nikki Wilson explains some quick and easy mindfulness exercises to do with your kids.


indfulness is the practice of becoming more aware of our present moment experience, and learning to welcome what we find with a kind and open heart. Often, children find being present much easier than adults, so they can be incredible teachers. Here are a few ideas about how to sow mindfulness into your everyday activities as a family.


When you’re driving with your kids in the car, can you take the initiative to really look and point out what you can see around you? Maybe a funny shaped cloud? An old building with decorative features? The colour of the leaves on the trees? The different shapes and sizes of the cars? Not only can this be a good conversation starter, but it can also be a great way to pull you out of your own head and into the moment, too.

table to look really closely at their food – what colour is it? What shape is it? What patterns can they see? Be sure to join in too and be warned, the kids will enjoy being cheeky! Then ask them to explore the texture of the food. Is it squidgy? Gooey? Dry? Next, ask them to take a good sniff of the food. What does it smell like? And then ask them to take one slow mouthful. What’s the taste? What does it sound like to chew and swallow? Don’t drag it out – just a few minutes of fun.

Descriptive praise is a proven tool to help your child feel more connected to you


You can do this at any time of day, but bedtime is often best. Tell your child three good things that gave you a sense of comfort, happiness and joy today. Then ask them to do the same. In doing this you’re teaching them that it’s within our gift to shift the focus of our attention onto the things that have gone right each day. It’s a guaranteed mood-lifter and a great way to open up a wider conversation about the day.


It can be great to tell our kids that top athletes use mindfulness to help calm themselves, focus and perform at their best. When they’re playing with a ball or racket, encourage them to pause for a moment, feel their feet on the ground and feel the ball/racket in their hands. Ask them to focus on their breath – feel the breath move up the nose and out through the mouth. Then encourage them to really focus on their next move. My son likes to say, “Breathe, focus” before he takes a goal kick! Nikki Wilson is the founder of 10 of zen ( – a social business providing mindfulness tools and training, so together we can stress less. Her work focuses mainly on mums, but she caters for wider groups too. Instagram @tenofzen.


Descriptive praise is a proven tool to help your child feel more connected to you. So when they bring home a drawing or make a Lego creation, make the effort to pause. Rather than defaulting to blanket praise such as, “Wow – that’s amazing”, try looking for a really specific detail and pad out your praise with more description. Instead, you might say, “Wow – I really like how you’ve added lights to the front of the wings and what’s this purple stripe doing here?” This helps your child to feel that you are really interested in them.


If you have time to eat together with the kids, tuck into your dinner in a different way and set yourselves a few challenges. Ask everyone at the


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F a m i l y F e a t u re - I S S U E 07

A balancing act

We catch up with dad of one and barber-shop owner Kevin Gedert to find out how he has taken his passion as a hip hop artist to the next level, alongside family, work and despite a global pandemic. Written by Ara Lee

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aybe you’ve been there. You get to your early thirties after setting up your life and feeling that everything is moving onto the right track and suddenly you recall a passion that has accompanied you your entire life. A hobby or a talent that needs to find its place in your new set-up. Most of us would not have the time, energy, or even the courage to pursue a passion alongside family and work life, so what is it that has motivated Kevin to follow his dream into hip hop?

You are always free to decide the person you want to be YOU’VE GONE FROM HAIRDRESSING TO BEING A DAD TO HIP HOP… TELL US ABOUT IT.

I think you get to a stage in life when you feel like you have something to share – something that will help other people or

younger generations to realise that they have their whole life and potential ahead of them. Also, maybe there are people at my age and older who think it’s too late to do something they always wanted to do, but you’re never too old to start something new. And you are always free to decide the person you want to be. It’s what I pick up from the insecurities people have in the usual chats you have with customers when you cut their hair – a time-old cliché that people come to the barbers to talk, get advice and a haircut (laughs). Becoming a dad just gives you a different perspective of the world. It’s amazing and demanding, and you learn the importance of doing things now.


I’ve always loved hip hop – it’s part of me and I grew up with the music. For me, you hear the music, relate to a beat and then the words just flow. I want to

get as comfortable performing on stage as I feel in the studio. But that’s about practising all the time. I’m no stranger to putting in the work – you have to practise for ages to cut hair well, so you quickly learn the virtue of hard work, that the more you do something, the better you become at it. That’s when a skill becomes second nature and, dare I say, an art form.


I love the performing and the technical side of it – being in the studio. Creating something feels like a type of therapy for me. I’m not a Backstreet Boy, I’m just a guy making music, so I don’t think it has to be about not being a family scene. I suppose it’s a form of expression – a creative platform – like adding poetry to music and sharing a message with the world. My message? That we all express ourselves in different ways – the clothes we wear and the hair colour we choose. Being ready to take a calculated risk to try something new because you know you might regret it if you don’t and you don’t want to look back at life that way, so why not give it a try? I do have a family and I wouldn’t be able to pursue my dream if it wasn’t for the support of my family.


Like anyone I suppose. I have an amazing partner, Vanessa, who understands my passion and encourages me to do what I love. I would never have had the courage to start had it not been for Vanessa telling me I’m good enough and also taking care of our baby daughter while I run the barber business. I realise that I have to make every minute I spend creating in the studio count because it’s time I’m away from my daughter and partner.


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Sure, we’ve had our ups and downs like any couple. But she’s the first girl I met that I felt ready to settle down with. We just knew that the next natural step was a family. I never felt like I was ready to become a father – always thought I needed to be perfect, give my kids what I never had, you know. You can never live up to that ideal, so I kind of ruled out having a family. It all changed when I met Vannie – we have an understanding, a way of communicating that clears the air but never questions our love and commitment for each other. It feels like fate to be honest; we met pretty late in life and her childhood wasn’t a walk in the park either. So we can relate to the struggle and support each other through building a better place for our daughter to grow up in.

and caught up in a criminal scene for a while, I suppose you look for an alternative group identity and don’t always make the best choices. But realised quickly that I didn’t want to be on that path and needed to make my legacy in the world more positive and constructive.


There will always be people who don’t like what you do, and that’s everyone’s right and freedom to choose. I’ve learned to make criticism my catalyst


Absolutely. Growing up was tough. I didn’t have that much encouragement and praise as a kid. It was complicated. My stepdad died of cancer when I was nine and from an early age, I was responsible for looking after my mum. My mum had a lot to deal with and didn’t make the best choices in partners after that. She ended up with a guy who was heavily into heroin and it was one of those situations where they weren’t good for each other, but couldn’t live without each other. I went to sleep with a knife under my pillow for protection. Between the ages of 9 and 15, we moved around a lot – mostly skipping town at night. It was far from a stable upbringing. When my mum went back to him after a while of separation, he kicked me out and my mum didn’t back me up, so that was a hard lesson to learn. I’m not saying I blame anyone for that, but I did feel a little lost after it all – got in with a difficult crowd

to grow. I learned to prove those people wrong who said I wasn’t good enough to do music and also to silence that voice of doubt that we all have saying we’re not good enough or can’t do it. Now, I do it because I really enjoy it and feel a sense of purpose, so that external motivation is transforming into an internal drive. I know that with Vanessa we can build a strong family and have chosen aunts and uncles as surrogate grandparents for our daughter – when you don’t have your own stability as a family you learn to trust people around you and make your own family.


Life experience is the main influence and, of course, hip hop artists of our time: Stormzy, Trae, Khalifa, Nas, Logic G- Easy, Eminem, Yelawolf, Dr. Dre. – Compton is my favourite album. I’m working on several tracks right now, not necessarily an album, but who knows, maybe it will evolve into one. Follow Kevin on Instagram at @kege_in_the_barbershop Listen to Kevin’s recent track on Spotify:

I’ve learned to make criticism my catalyst to grow

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4 ALL From cycling to rugby to trampolining, there are more than 100 different sports out there for your children to try. Each issue, we aim to showcase just some of the fun, team-building sports that will not only keep kids fit and healthy, but are also good for their mental health too.


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Find their zen

Niki Perry, founder of Blessed Yoga in Sussex and mum of three daughters, explains why doing some simple yoga moves with your children will set them up for life.


t’s widely accepted that yoga and mindfulness improve both physical and mental health in children, as well as in adults. Not only is it great for physical health, but yoga also calms the mind and helps children relax and sleep better. It improves self-esteem and confidence, makes them feel warm and nurtured, and improves academic performance and concentration. For school-age children, it makes a huge difference to classroom behaviour. And it’s fun! Children’s lives today are busy, competitive and goal-oriented and, for many, there is little time to just play. Some have access to outside space, many don’t. Yoga gives them the space to reconnect with themselves, the time to notice their feelings, where they might be gripping muscles tight, or holding their breath. It

allows them to let go and just be themselves. As the Dalai Lama said: “If every eightyear-old in the world is taught mediation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.”


It’s important that yoga isn’t just another lesson. Let children play with the poses, build in stories with positive themes – make them feel strong, give them an awareness of those around them and how to behave kindly. And, just as importantly, bring them to a lovely stillness at the end, even if just for a moment. Learning to be still and calm, to listen to a little story (to meditate, although you don’t need to call it that) is a precious skill that will really help them – off the mat as well as on it.

Let children play with the poses, build in stories with positive themes

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Yoga poses 4.


Breathing - Flying like a Swan Stand with your head as high as you can, back long and feet strong on the floor. Feel the earth with all your toes and your heels (Mountain pose). Imagine your arms by your sides are long and getting ready to fly. Take a big breath in and sweep your ‘wings’ right up to the sky, reaching as high as they can. Breathe out and spread your wings, ‘diving’ through them as you take your nose towards the floor. Roll yourself back up to your starting position to fly again. See if you can do it with your eyes shut without falling over – and it doesn’t matter if you do.


Marjaryasana – Cat pose, here made into a flow with Cow pose Start with your hands and feet in a rectangle with your back flat, so you look like a table. As you breathe out, suck your tummy button right


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up and arch your back like a cat. Now breathe in, and as you do, slowly arch your back the other way, dropping your tummy down and opening your heart.


Silly Simhasana – Lion pose Sit cross-legged on the floor with your back tall and straight and your long arms resting on your knees. Spread your fingers wide like claws. Take a big breath in through the nose. Then open your mouth really wide, stick out your tongue as far as you can, open your big eyes wide, and let all the breath roar out of your mouth like a lion.

Yoga gives kids the space to reconnect with themselves

Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward-facing dog Start as you did for your cat pose. Lift your knees off the floor and imagine your tummy button is pushing your back right up to the sky until your bottom is really high and you’ve made your body into a triangle. Breathe in and out a few times and then lower the knees and come back to the start.


Balasana - Child’s pose Always offer this as a place of rest, of calm. Kneel on the floor with your big toes touching and your knees wide and then lower your body between your knees, resting your head on the floor. You can either have your arms next to your body, palms upwards next to your bottom or you can stretch them forward and have your palms on the floor. You can stay here and breathe whenever you need a rest.

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Natarajasana Dancer pose Stand as straight and tall as you can. Make one leg really strong, lift the other one behind you and catch it in your hand. Then, slowly, as you pull that foot up towards the sky, at the same time reach the other hand in front of you as far as you can stretch – and try not to fall over!

Yoga and mindfulness improve both physical and mental health


Urdhva Dhanurasana Wheel Lie on your back, knees bent, and your feet flat on the floor as close to your bottom as you can. Bend your arms and put your hands next to your head, fingers pointing backwards at your shoulders. Push your hands and feet into the floor, squeeze your bottom and use it to push your tummy up towards the ceiling. Stay there for a couple of big breaths if you can and then gently roll back down to the floor — (Don’t plonk down).

NIKI’S TOP TIPS Teach your children classic yoga poses with creative names they can easily visualise. Make up a routine you can do together or that they can do with their friends. Stretching, balancing and rolling, with even very small children, releases tension in muscles and minds and makes them giggle – and the quality of this time spent with them is invaluable.

Niki Perry is the founder of Blessed Yoga (, which aims to help people transform their bodies and minds, connect with a supportive community and achieve balance in an otherwise hectic world.


Virabhadrasana – Warrior and aeroplane Start standing up tall and straight. Take one leg straight behind you, landing your foot so your toes are pointing outwards a little. Lift your arms so they are ‘flying’ out to the side like long straight wings, level with your shoulders. Then slowly straighten your strong front leg and lift the back leg off the floor, stretching out behind you and leaning your body forwards to balance.

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Silentnight inspires a nation of unique sleepers and want to change how people sleep for the better As the UK’s most trusted bed brand, they know a thing or two about what’s needed to get a good night’s sleep, night after night.

1. breakfast is key

After a long day running around after your little ones, what’s more important than getting a good night’s sleep? After all, a good night’s sleep can help boost your immune system, help manage stress and boost your energy levels, so you can feel refreshed and energised to do it all again tomorrow.

you ready for the day ahead.

Silentnight’s Sleep Expert Dr Nerina gives you her five essential sleep tips for a happier, healthier and more active family lifestyle.

It can be hard to try and find time to eat breakfast when you’re a busy parent, but eating breakfast within half an hour of rising can help to boost your metabolism and get

2. drink caffeine in moderation We all love a cup of coffee however, caffeine has a direct effect on our sleep. Try not to drink caffeine after 3pm so that you can enjoy a well-rested slumber.

3. keep hydrated Make sure you try and drink lots of water throughout the day. Staying hydrated can improve productivity and make you less stressed during your relaxation time (if you get any!).

4. take a break from technology An ‘electronic sundown’ 60 to 90 minutes before bed can help your body realise it’s time to go to bed. Take this time to relax, pick up your favourite book and read for 30 minutes to help you drift off into a peaceful sleep.

5. get an early night After a long day, what’s more inviting than jumping in to bed for an early night? Commit to getting to bed at around 10pm for four or five nights per week to stop you feeling exhausted in the morning and help you run around after your little ones the next day.

something for everyone Silentnight know that sleepers come in all shapes and sizes, with lots of different wants, needs and personal preferences Together with Argos, they’ve developed a range that works for the whole family, so now you can get all your Silentnight sleep solutions at the click of a button on Argos. From the snuggliness of memory foam to a bed big enough for those Sunday morning lie-ins with the kids – Silentnight and Argos have something to suit everyone.

studio ideal for convenience seekers If you want a lovely cosy mattress at the drop of a hat, then Silentnight’s rolled mattress range is just for you. Choose from a range of hybrid mattress, which combine pocket springs and comfort layers so there is something for everyone. Ideal if you’re in a hurry, want to collect in your car or have a tight staircase to navigate.

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Silentnight’s Eco range features eco-friendly mattresses with sustainable fibres for a breathable & refreshing sleep that doesn’t cost the earth. The eco comfort filling is highly breathable so you can enjoy a rejuvenating and refreshing night’s sleep.

Silentnight’s Geltex® is an intelligent gel infused comfort filling with a bounce back sensation that actively responds to your body as you sleep. It’s incredibly flexible and moves as you move, providing your body with optimum pressure relief so you can say goodbye to those niggling aches and pains.

eco mattresses start from £159

geltex® mattresses start from £279


eco breathe

ideal for sink-in snoozers

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Silentnight’s memory comfort filling gently hugs you to sleep, moulding with the contours of your body for soothing pressure relief. Sink into a blissful night’s sleep with the cocooning nature of memory foam. Responsive and pressure relieving, back aches and pains will soothe away.

Silentnight’s Eco Comfort Breathe™ mattresses are eco-friendly and feature their innovative Microclimate System™ for your most refreshing night’s sleep. The Microclimate System™ features a Coolmax™ sleep surface which wicks away moisture, creating a cooling effect on your body.

memory mattresses start from £169

eco comfort breathe™ mattresses start from £399

Find out more and shop the full Silentnight range at

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Jump around!

Trampolining is a great sport for learning discipline, improving co-ordination and making new friends. Lizzy Adams explains how her teenage stepson and her twin daughters have found a love of trampolining through joining their local club.


wo years ago, my stepson, CJ, showed an interest in trampolining. He was 13 at the time and would be in the garden for hours on our trampoline doing twists, turns and always practising. He also competed at school and loved it. I decided to look for somewhere he could learn how to develop his skills and I found Aire Trampoline Club in Canterbury, Kent. Each week, I would take CJ and my twins, who were three at the time. They would watch and cheer him on. I saw CJ’s confidence grow as he trained hard and took part in competitions, with great success.

I saw CJ’s confidence grow as he trained hard and took part in competitions, with great success He then got the opportunity to be part of the Squad Team and was over the moon. His face just lit up and he kept pushing himself more and more to get better. He loves the sport, he loves the feeling of progressing and has made many friends at the club; he is so happy, it is truly lovely to see.


My twins were shy, clingy and


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wouldn’t say ‘boo’ to a goose. But they loved watching CJ and how much fun he was having. They would cheer him on at competitions and kept asking to join in. When the twins turned four, they joined the club. They were hooked as soon as they started. Liz, a senior coach, made them feel so welcome and they loved learning from her. They have come out of their shells so much. They overcame the fear of meeting new people and their motor skills have improved, along with strength, coordination and confidence. What is not to love about the sport!


The benefits of trampolining are multifaceted, from learning discipline to being part of a team and making friends. There are also many health benefits, such as improved balance and coordination, improved bone density, better circulation, enhanced motor skills, and cardiovascular benefits. The coaches at Aire Trampoline Club are down to earth and make learning fun and enjoyable – a year on and my twins are still loving the club. We go twice a week and every badge and certificate they achieve just adds to seeing them light up. They look at the older gymnasts

and they tell me they want to be like them when they grow up.


All three kids look up to the coaches. In 2019, the head coach of Aire Trampoline Club, Dexter Millen was officially recognised by the British Gymnastics National Awards for his outstanding contribution to gymnastics. This was an amazing achievement for not only Dexter, but the club and sport. The children even watched the trampolining when Bryony Page, Kat Driscoll and Nathan Bailey went to the Rio Olympics in 2016.

The benefits of trampolining are multifaceted, from learning discipline to being part of a team Seeing the children do these incredible twists, turns and somersaults, all the while smiling away is the best feeling. If you are looking for a fantastic allround sport for your child, find your local trampoline club and see for yourself just how great it is. For more information on Aire Trampoline Club, tel: 01227 471744, email: or visit:

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Let’s hear it for the girls


t goes without saying that sport benefits both boys and girls mentally and physically. However, statistics for girls in sport – particularly during the early teenage years – reveal that teenage girls are significantly less active than teenage boys and are more likely to drop out of sport than boys. Founded in November 2019, We Are Girls in Sport (WAGIS) is on a mission to improve coverage of girls’ and women’s sports, to help girls find a sport they love and persevere through adolescence. From interviews with female Olympians to up-and-coming stars in all kinds of sports – from shooting to squash – the WAGIS blog highlights the stories of inspirational girls and women around the world. Georgina Probert speaks to WAGIS’s founders, freelance writer

Caroline Kings and parenting blogger ‘Guilty Mother’ Jo WimbleGroves, to find out how parents can encourage their daughters to take up a sport. What was the inspiration behind WAGIS and why is it so important to encourage girls, in particular, into sport? Caroline: I have two boys who both love sport and enjoy reading sporty stories at bedtime. I noticed that, although they are not exclusive to boys, the books we were reading were certainly targeted at boys and featured male sportspeople. I started to think about what was out there for girls and realised that when you walk into any book shop or look at a rack of magazines, the majority feature traditionally boys sports.

Jo: I’m all about female empowerment and about building confident, strong and resilient girls. I have a daughter of my own who is very sporty. It is really important that Caroline, as a mum of boys, was able to notice the lack of representation for girls. When I read to my daughter at night, we don’t have any books that show sporty role models that she can relate to. There are athlete autobiographies, but they are not suitable for her age group. Nor are there any magazines she can pick up that would really inspire her. WAGIS aims to open up the conversation around women and girls in sport and share the hundreds of sporting activities out there. If we can show girls all the different types of sports, they might feel inspired to go and do something they hadn’t thought of. FA M I LY F I R S T - W I N T E R 2 0 2 0 / 21


Words: Georgina Probert

Noticing a lack of engaging stories and strong female role models for young girls who like sport, entrepreneurial mums Caroline Kings and Jo Wimble-Groves launched We Are Girls in Sport to inspire and encourage girls to find a sport they love.

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What are the benefits of sport? Caroline: Something I think many people have discovered during lockdown is that exercise, or lack of, impacts your mental health. Doing any kind of exercise gives you a sense of achievement and an endorphin rush, as well as keeping your body fit and healthy. We want to emphasise that doing sport is not about being thin or about the size of your body, it is about feeling great. Sport gives you confidence. We know that the feeling of belonging from being in a team or a sports community/club really empowers kids. And that will help children in other areas of their lives. Jo: The skills you learn on the pitch from such a young age must never be undervalued. When I give talks in schools, we speak a lot about those times in sports at school that you don’t realise are so important when you are 13 years old. For example, as an adult in the workplace when a project has gone wrong, you can compare it to sport when you are losing in the first half. How do you come together and regroup? What are you going to do differently? All of those skills are easily transferrable into the workplace.

If we can show girls all the different types of sports, they might feel inspired to do something they hadn’t thought of

How can parents encourage their daughters to take an interest in sport from a young age and find the right one for them? Jo: Everything starts with a willingness to try. Yes, some sports you have to pay for and some parents can’t afford that. In most cases, clubs and organisations will give you a free trial, which is a great way to discover new sports. In my experience, local clubs’ doors are always open and are always welcoming kids to come and try it out. Team games are brilliant and are great for building their confidence and for communication, on and off the pitch. Building new friendships is a massive part of my daughter Erin’s life. Caroline: I come from a sporty family, but I was the anomaly, as I never found a sport I loved. My parents tried to help me find a sport but they didn’t necessarily have time to take me to lots of different clubs or activities. Also there was nothing for


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me to read to inspire me to say, ‘Do you know what? I think I might enjoy this!’ Often a love of sport does begin at home and it is due to having role models. But you don’t have to come from a ‘sporty’ family to enjoy sport. What do your kids see their parents doing? Even if it’s just going out for a walk at weekends, or running for a minute and getting your kids to join in. Or them seeing you practise yoga or pilates at home. WAGIS is all about being active. If they see you doing sport, they think this is what normal life is like. Judy Murray famously started with her boys at home patting a balloon backwards and forwards; a fun game that honed their hand-eye coordination.

MISSION STATEMENT The inspiration behind We Are Girls in Sport is to achieve the following:


To improve coverage of girls’ and women’s sports across

all types of media, particularly to give young girls role models. We believe that the women’s coverage is still not as widespread as men’s and only focusses on certain sports such as netball, cricket and rugby. We want to showcase the other sports out there.


To help girls find a sport they love. When you go to

school, your idea of sport is framed

Jo adds: My husband’s favourite phrase is: “As long as you’ve got your trainers on, you’ve already won.” If you got your trainers on you are committed to doing something. Being a role model is important. Even if you are the slowest or least fit member of the family!

around PE lessons from a very early

What advice would you give to parents of pre-teens or teenagers who want to give up sport? Jo: I think it needs to be discussed. Erin did taekwondo for a number of years and announced one day that she wanted to quit. She said: “I just want to have a break.” The coach said to her that the door is always open and you are welcome back any time. That was the right decision for her, as she still enjoyed that experience. But what she has done is decided to take up cricket, so she has replaced it with something else she had fallen in love with instead.

you can just put on some trainers

Caroline: I think this applies to both girls and boys. My kids have quit clubs before. I agree with Jo, if you can have that healthy discussion and say if you are going to quit that, what might you do instead to keep yourself active? Understanding why they want to give up is important, especially when they are pubescent. Is it something that can be fixed? Is it something simple like wearing the right sports bra? Having the right kit is really important, as teenagers often feel self-conscious.

age. If you don’t like those sports, and if you don’t have the right role models, you could decide you don’t like sport based on those early experiences. We want to say there is a sport out there for everybody and it can be accessible. Although with some sports you do need a lot of kit, and go for a brisk walk or a run. We are trying to showcase more niche or minority sports.


To help girls persevere through adolescence.

While it is slowly improving, there is



Y daughter Erin started playing rugby when she was five years old. It really improved her confidence and she enjoyed playing as part of a team. By the time she was seven and playing for her local rugby club, they finally had enough girls to put a squad together – they hadn’t had enough girls for a team for 100 years! Erin is now in under 11s rugby and they’ve only got three girls left, so not enough for a squad. So where are these girls now? Where are their role models? How can young girls see the new wave of amazing talent, like the Rachel Burfords and Sarah Hunters of this world, who play for England Rugby? Or the women who are playing for Harlequins or Saracens? One thing that’s really brought home to me when I talk to Erin about rugby is that she says, when she plays it makes her feel like herself. When we interview sportswomen, no matter how old they are, we always ask them the question: how does sport make you feel? Because that’s how powerful it can be. We want to bring through more girls so they can experience that feeling.

a drop off rate as girls hit puberty, for a myriad of reasons. We want to showcase girls and women who have pushed through those tricky teenage years and come out the other side. They might be Olympians, but they might be women and girls who like sport for exercise’s sake. We want to ask them: ‘How can teens push through that awful time when your body is changing and you get your period and you don’t feel like doing sport?’, ‘How can sport make you feel inside?’.

Read more inspiring stories from girls and women on the We Are Girls in Sport blog. WAGIS is always looking for stories about girls in sport. If you have one to share, please email:

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still not what we’re used to, one of the remaining constants has been the freedom to cycle. Throughout 2020, the simple joy of cycling – whether commuting as a key worker or discovering new routes from your front door – has been clear to see, as so many of us have been encouraged to keep (or start) pedalling.

Winter cycling for all the family

Check your tyres and dig out your gloves… it’s time to get out and about on your bike with the family this winter!


s we head into the winter months you’ll have noticed the days becoming much shorter and much colder than we have grown used to over the last few months. Though we’ll all have to wrap ourselves in an extra layer or two to battle the elements, we wouldn’t let that stop you thinking about making the most of the great outdoors (or indoors – we’ll speak a little more about that later) with the whole family. Whether you want some inspiration for family rides and local routes, help with teaching your younger ones to ride, or simply some time for yourself to look after your mental wellbeing, British Cycling has all you need to get pedalling this winter.


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During the first lockdown, we saw a huge number of families get out and cycle together to make the most of an unusually warm spring and quieter roads. Although there has been a huge upheaval in our day-to-day lives since March last year, and things are

Taking the family out on a bike ride is a great way to get some fresh air, exercise and a dose of feel-good That’s where resources like our brand-new online hub, HSBC UK Let’s Ride Local (www.letsridelocal. come in to help. Taking the family out on a bike ride is a great way to get some fresh air, exercise and a dose of feel-good! HSBC UK Let’s Ride Local provides ideas and inspiration to help keep everyone motivated and safe while cycling in your local area and has a dedicated section on riding in line with Government guidelines. It brings together a whole host of handy pointers to help you get going, too, then when you’re ready, has a number of tips for a safe and successful bike ride as well as more than 1,000 free cycle routes to help you get out and explore.


Riding a bike gives you a great sense of freedom – and we think every child in Britain should have the chance to learn. That’s why we created HSBC UK Ready Set Ride; ( a fun and easy way to help children from as

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young as 18 months to eight-yearsold learn to ride a bike with free, quick and easy games – having lots of fun along the way. Kids can start at any age and there is no pressure to get it right on your first go. In fact, you don’t need a bike or any cycling knowledge to get started. HSBC UK Ready Set Ride is all about introducing pedalling to playtime, where learning together is a fun, family adventure that can be completed in three simple steps.

children can ride safely on the road but, as traffic awareness doesn’t really develop until 8-10 years old, children younger than this should be closely supervised.


When it comes to the basics for chaperoned cycling, the main requirements are that a child should be able to ride in a stable, predictable and controlled manner. They should be confident riding in

When it comes to how old your children need to be, there’s no legal age limit for children cycling on the road - it really comes down to parents making a sensible decision based on their children’s cycling ability, maturity and awareness of possible hazards. For children under the age of 10, there is no criminal liability for cycling on the pavement, but this doesn’t mean that children always should or need to ride on it. Younger

There’s no legal age limit for children cycling on the road

a straight line, cornering, and be able to brake and come to a halt in a controlled manner. If you are unsure about your children’s cycling skill level, try some rides in a trafficfree environment first to determine whether you feel they’d be safe on the road. We’ll always advise parents to check their child’s bike to make sure it’s well maintained, properly fitted and safe to ride. After that, we’d suggest making sure your younger ones are familiar and comfortable, then when it’s time to head out, take advantage of traffic-free cycling routes and cycle paths but make sure, if using a shared cycle path, that your children are aware that they may encounter pedestrians.

Having younger children who aren’t ready to ride on the road doesn’t have to mean no family cycling fun – find out more of the British Cycling website www. britishcycling.

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THE FROG BIKES GUIDE TO BUYING A BIKE SHOULD YOU TAKE YOUR CHILD WITH YOU TO TEST OUT BIKES, OR CAN YOU BUY ‘BLIND’ FOR PRESENTS? Frog Bikes only sell through Independent Bike Stores, so that the bikes can be fitted to the child along with being fully built and correctly assembled by a qualified mechanic. The sizing of Frog Bikes is based on the average inside leg measurement of the child rather than age – each child is different. Whether they are confident or tentative riders also plays an important factor when fitting the bike. Frog stockists have access to a FrogFit app where arm length, inside leg measurement and a rider’s confidence level together inform the model recommendation.


This is really quite simple. Some kids’ bikes weigh as much as the child, so they are at an immediate disadvantage when starting to learn to ride a heavy bike. If the bike is lightweight and has child-friendly parts like easy to reach brake levers and gear shifters for little hands, the bike is so much easier for them to handle and they experience success much faster (sometimes they’re cycling in a matter of minutes!)


This is the biggest temptation, and understandably so when kids grow so fast. But this tactic is likely to put them off bikes altogether. If they can not touch the floor, even with their tiptoes, and can not reach the handlebars/brakes comfortably they will associate cycling with being scared and uncomfortable. It will take a long time and a lot of encouragement to erase this. The great thing about Frog Bikes is that they hold their resale value and the quality of the frame and components mean that a Frog Bike can be handed down or sold on multiple times instead of being taken to the tip after a few months.


In addition to balance skills, it is important that a child learns to brake from an early age. This is why Frog Bikes even have a brake on their tiniest 10” balance bike – the Tadpole Mini! Whilst we’re discussing brakes, check the bike has child-specific components. The brake levers especially need to be easy to reach and pull, this ensures they can control their speed and grow in confidence.

WHAT BIKE DO I CHOOSE FOR AN OLDER CHILD LEARNING TO RIDE? Ideally, most children will start to learn on a balance bike, so they master balance before having to worry about how to pedal or change gears. Some children, of course, may not show an interest at a younger age, but there are still options for parents with older or taller children. You can remove the pedals on a first pedal bike, so it can be used as a balance bike until they are ready to pedal. Frog Bikes also do a larger bike (Frog 52S) without gears, for children who are not ready for gears but have an average inside leg measurement of 52cm (approx. 5 to 6 years old).

STABILISERS – ARE THEY A GOOD OR BAD THING, AND WHY? Stabilisers tend to offer a false sense of security. Children end up leaning to one side or another, rather than learning the important skills of balancing (which will be needed once the stabilisers come off anyway!) This is why Frog Bikes generally encourage their customers to try without them.

ARE THERE ANY PITFALLS TO BE AWARE OF WHEN BUYING BIKES? It is really important that the bike is fully assembled, fitted to the child and has had a full check by a qualified mechanic. Buying a bike online normally means it will arrive unbuilt, which can be daunting for a parent and leaves a concern about whether it may not have been assembled correctly once they have finished. (Or the parent ends up having to pay a mechanic to build it).

GEARS A wide range cassette and single chainring is a lot easier for children to master their bike’s gears. This will make the bike lighter, simpler and easier to ride. All of our Hybrid bikes come with this setup. If you are purchasing a bike with gears and a rear derailleur it is a good idea to get a kickstand for the bike too. Children are not great at propping up their bikes and a kickstand will help prevent any knocks to the gear mechanism and keep the gears changing like clockwork.

THE OPTION TO CUSTOMISE THE BIKE TO YOUR CHILD’S NEEDS Most children will only have one bike so this bike will need to cope with everything that’s thrown at it. Check the bike has eyelets to attach mudguards and pannier racks if it is going to be used for the school run. If you are going to be hitting the trails as a family at the weekend then you might want to prioritise front suspension like our Push the Limits MTB range.

What accessories might be good to buy if kids already have bikes? There are lots of fun and useful accessories available. Perhaps start with a helmet – the sooner a child gets used to wearing a helmet when they are on their bike or even just playing with it, the sooner it becomes a good habit! Frog Bikes also produce high visibility kit bags and vests which can be great for cycling to and from school so you can be seen. Knog lights, which are easily attached to the bikes, are available in lots of colours too! There are even Frog hoodies and jerseys if you want to stand out! You can find lots of ideas at

I S S U E 07 - G et C o o k i n g

GET COOKING From the importance of gut health to satisfying lunchboxes in winter and how to eat less meat, in this issue we’ve got lots of top tips and ideas to get your kids to eat a wide range of healthy, nutritious foods – and enjoy them too!


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Easy ways to eat more healthily as a family Nutritional therapist and spokesperson for the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) Chloe Steele shows us five easy steps to help create good eating habits that will keep your family happy and healthy long into the future.


uring the winter months, in particular, you may want to ensure that you are supporting your family’s health by encouraging good eating habits. A varied diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, can support the immune system and help chase away those winter blues. But with a growing amount of online nutritional advice, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. These top tips will help you and your family to break those bad habits and eat better and smarter. SUPPLEMENT SNACKS - Healthy eating isn’t about counting calories, forcing everyone to give up the things they love or starving yourself to the point that the cat suddenly looks like a tasty meal. The foundation of healthy eating is replacing highly processed foods with those as close as possible to the way that nature intended. Removing snack foods from the home will prevent everyone from grabbing an unhealthy option when they get home from work or

school. Instead, encourage fresh fruit and vegetable snacks, or make and bake your own snacks, and only buy ‘treat’ foods occasionally. EAT TOGETHER - Modern lifestyles mean that we are busier than ever and often struggle to find time to eat together. However, sitting down as a family to share a meal away from the television can have numerous benefits. Children who join in frequent family meals are less likely to be overweight, and more likely to try healthier options such as fruits, vegetables and calcium-rich foods. So allocate at least one mealtime a week to sit and eat as a family. BOOST YOUR FAVOURITES - The majority of the time healthy eating is not about removing but adding something to your diet. Taking a favourite family meal and adding extra vegetables, beans or pulses is a great way to boost its nutritional value. For example, adding lentils to spaghetti bolognese can increase its content of iron, zinc and vitamin B6,

G et C o o k i n g - I S S U E 07

all of which help support the immune system. However, if your children are like mine and can’t find a pair of shoes that are right under their noses, but can spot a lentil in their food from one hundred paces, then add these nutritional boosts in small amounts and increase them gradually over time. Healthy eating is about building good habits, rather than quick fixes. GROW YOUR OWN - Research showing the correlation between growing your own food and increased fruit and vegetables in the diet is not in its infancy, especially when it comes to children. Positive experiences of growing fruits and vegetables build positive feelings about eating them and can increase a child’s tendency to choose healthier foods. Vegetables such as cabbage and broccoli are perfect for growing in winter and are high in fibre, which is important for gut health and can positively affect your mood. If you don’t have space at home, consider growing your own herbs on a windowsill or search for a local community garden that you can get involved with. INVOLVE EVERYONE - If planning family meals fills you with dread, then you are not alone. Giving your children the opportunity to take control and choose what to have for dinner one night a week is a great opportunity to allow them some autonomy – and give you a break. Now, I am not suggesting you allow them free reign to eat ice cream with chips for dinner, rather allow them to pick a meal from pre-approved recipes. If you really want to instil good eating habits, why not involve them in the cooking too? But only if you can handle the mess. Chloe Steele is a Nutritionist Therapist and BANT Spokesperson. www.bant. Follow her on Instagram @ladyaboutnutrition

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Boosted bolognese This healthy twist on the classic spaghetti bolognese is packed with nutritious pulses and vegetables, and is full of flavour.

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil Salt and pepper Boosted Bolognese_Chloe Steele

INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Heat the olive oil on a medium-low heat in a large deep saucepan and add vegetables and mushrooms

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS: 500g lean minced beef 1 tin brown lentils, drained and rinsed 400g tin crushed tomatoes, no added salt 2 tbsp tomato paste, no added salt or sugar 100g brown mushrooms, sliced 1 carrot, finely chopped 1 courgette, finely chopped 1 stick celery, finely chopped 1 brown onion, finely chopped 150ml vegetable stock 1-2 bay leaves 2-3 sprigs rosemary 2 sprigs basil 1 sprig oregano Chopped parsley leaves to garnish 2 cloves garlic


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2. Cook until the onion turns translucent and the vegetables have softened, and then add the beef mince. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the meat is brown all over

3. Increase the heat and add the tomatoes, tomato paste, herbs, vegetable stock and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil 4. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer on low for 20 minutes or until the sauce has reduced and thickened

5. Add the lentils and cook for a further 5 minutes 6. Serve with cooked wholegrain spaghetti and top with chopped parsley.

Recipe provided by nutritional therapist Chloe Steele.

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Follow your GUT

Nutritionist Anna Mapson explains why our children’s gut health could be having an effect on more than just their digestion and why good gut health is so important.


ould your child’s behaviour, sleep and weight be influenced by their digestion? We are learning more about gut health all the time and a growing body of research highlights an interaction between our gut microbes and our immune health, skin health, and mood.

You can support your child’s gut health through diet and lifestyle Living inside our digestive tract are trillions of microbes made up of bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses. These microbes help us extract energy from our food, create our neurotransmitters and also create important vitamins within the gut. Children’s gut microbes populate their gut from the moment of birth. The bugs either come from the mother as the baby travels through the birth canal, or in the case of a C-section, by skin to skin touch as we hold and feed our babies. You can support your child’s gut health through diet and lifestyle. Here are five reasons why supporting your child’s digestion is so important:


Common childhood conditions such as eczema may be linked to issues with digestion. You might want to look at possible food intolerance triggering symptoms or whether they

need help to absorb dietary nutrients. Improving digestion can often alleviate symptoms on the skin.


Bacteria in the gut interact with our metabolism and affect the levels of energy we extract from our food. Chronic health conditions on the rise in children, such as type 2 diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure, are linked to certain strains of gut bacteria. You can feed the beneficial gut microbes with fibre from vegetables, wholegrain carbohydrates, nuts and seeds and pulses.


There is a superhighway of information between the brain and the gut. Many of our important hormones and neurotransmitters are actually made in the digestive tract. Anxiety and mood issues can be related to imbalances in gut health.

Switch from white to brown bread, rice and pasta to increase fibre content PROPER DIGESTION

This breaks down our food and helps us absorb nutrients. If your child has inflammation in the gut they may not

absorb certain vitamins or minerals, leading to insufficiency. This could impact on their immune health, energy levels or memory, even if their diet is well balanced.


Increasing the amount of fibre in your child’s diet will help to feed the healthy bacteria that support our health. The beneficial microbes will create an environment to fight off incoming bad bugs and help to reduce inflammation.

GOAL-SETTING TIPS Encourage your child to eat their 5 a day. Vegetables and fruit are important sources of fibre.

Playing outside in nature to get more exposure to bacteria.

Switch from white to brown bread, rice and pasta to increase fibre content.

Add pulses like beans and

lentils to stews, sauces and chilli for a cheap way to bulk up the health content of dinner and add fibre.

Allowing your child

unscheduled downtime, to relax and play will help to manage stress hormones, which can interfere with gut microbes.

Anna Mapson is a registered nutritionist mBANT working with families on fussy eating, gut health and happier mealtimes. She runs The Gentle Touch (, which offers holistic sleep coaching, baby massage courses and baby weaning classes online.

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I S S U E 07 - Ad ve r to r i a l

For the chocolate ganache and topping 200ml double cream 200g milk chocolate 25g mini marshmallows Cocoa, for dusting

METHOD Chocolate Cake

Gluten Free Hot Chocolate Cake


E believe when you are gluten free, you can still enjoy delicious bakes and treats. That’s why as the UK’s number one gluten free flour brand* we’ve created a range of gluten free flour blends made with naturally gluten free ingredients that make it easy for you to bake at home. With many flours in the range, including Self-Raising, Plain, White Bread, Brown Bread and Buckwheat, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. This Hot Chocolate Cake uses our Gluten Free Self Raising Flour and makes an indulgent bake. Where to buy: You can buy all our flours at, national and independents retailers. Info: For more gluten free recipe inspiration, visit *Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 22 March 2020.


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EQUIPMENT 3 x 20cm/8” round baking tins 2 x large mixing bowls and saucepan


190°C, Fan 170°C, 375°F, Gas 5.

COOKING TIME 30-35 minutes

YOU WILL NEED For the chocolate cake 300g FREEE Self Raising White Flour 300g caster sugar 300g butter 4 eggs 50g cocoa 175ml milk 2 tsp vanilla extract Oil, for tins

1. Pre-heat the oven and rub some oil around three 20cm/8” round baking tins. 2. Measure the flour into a small bowl. 3. Put the butter and caster sugar into a large bowl and beat together until light and fluffy. 4. Break one egg into the bowl and beat to combine. 5. Sieve the cocoa into the bowl and stir to combine. 6. Break the remaining eggs into the bowl, beating them in one at a time. 7. Sieve half the prepared flour into the bowl and stir to combine. 8. Mix in the milk and vanilla extract. 9. Sieve the remaining flour into the bowl and beat well. 10. Divide the mixture between the prepared cake tins and smooth the tops. 11. Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Buttercream filling

1. Put the butter into a bowl and beat it until it is light and fluffy. 2. Sieve the icing sugar into the bowl and beat to combine. 3. Divide the mixture between the top of two cold cakes and spread it out evenly. Place one cake on top of the other. 4. Place the third sponge on top.

Chocolate ganache and Topping

1. Put the cream into a saucepan over a medium heat, when almost boiling remove from heat, stir in chocolate and allow to cool, stirring until thickens slightly. 2. Spread topping over the top and sides, then scatter marshmallows and sieve a little cocoa over the top.

For the buttercream filling 250g butter 300g icing sugar

Gluten free food for the whole day It’s as simple as one, two,

ly Natural e re gluten f

Here at FREEE, we believe gluten free food should be simple, natural and delicious. We’ve created a range of tasty foods including organic breakfast cereals, oat bars, cookies and pasta. When it comes to making homemade bread and cakes, our naturally gluten free home baking and mixes ranges give great results every time. Find out more at

G et C o o k i n g - I S S U E 07

Making food fun

Danielle McCann, founder of Not Just Nibbles, explains why getting your kids excited about food is the best way to encourage them to eat more vegetables.


rom birth, our natural instinct is to like sweet foods. This dates back to thousands of years. Sweeter foods tell our brain it is safe to eat, whereas bitter foods warn us it could be poisonous – think of it as our survival mechanism. *Most* vegetables are bitter in comparison to what children are used to at that age. So as we get older, eating vegetables is very much a learned behaviour, just like riding a bike. Luckily, involving kids in the kitchen is one way in which we can help to accelerate this behaviour. At Not Just Nibbles, we include children in every step of the cooking process. Whether that’s taste-testing to identify key flavours, learning culinary terms to build their vocabulary or teaching them how to peel and grate a carrot like Gordon Ramsay.

healthier snacks [see pages 96-97] with the kids and present them on a sharing platter, for the extra theatre. Dim the lights and watch your favourite family movie with your homemade snacks.


Set the kids a task to design their own menu. Start with something small like a sandwich then work your way up to pizzas or tacos. The caveat: each sandwich must include a salad/ vegetable item.


The secret to our success: we make food fun Our themed cooking kits transport kids around the world where they can learn how to make two dishes from the country of that month. But the secret to our success: we make food fun. Now, of course, you don’t have to buy our boxes to get your kids to eat vegetables (although it wouldn’t hurt to try). Instead, you can apply your own themes in the kitchen. Here are some which have been tried and tested by us:


Movie nights – whether they’re at home or in the cinema – are a hit with the family. Try making some of our

1. Fillings: Ask them to come up with five sandwich fillings with ingredients already at home. 2. Design a menu: They decide on a name, logo and write the sandwich options on their menu. 3. Play: You decide on a sandwich from their menu and let them take your order. 4. Make: Obviously, supervise in the kitchen, but let them get creative with it. 5. Serve: Eat and enjoy. Don’t forget to pay your bill!.


We love celebrating Halloween, Christmas and Easter, but why not use other countries as inspiration to teach them about different cultures:

Diwali (India) - Known as the festival of light, this vibrant culture has lots of delicious dishes to offer. Try making a no yeast naan and eat it like a wrap with salad. It’s surprisingly easy and extremely fun for the kids to try. Day of The Dead (Mexico) A day of celebration rather than of mourning, this colourful festival is a great way to introduce your child to some Mexican culture/food. Tacos all round! Buñol (Spain) - AKA: Tomato fight. We’re not condoning that, but there’s lots you can do with tomatoes (which don’t involve throwing them at one another). Spanish omelette filled with tomato and basil for one. Not Just Nibbles (www. creates healthy cooking kits for kids with characters that teach children about the health benefits of food in a language they understand.

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Vegetables large bowl

measuring spoOns

chopPing board






1 grated sweet potato 1 grated courgette 2 grated carrots 2-3 chopped garlic



herbs & spices

tray & paper

1-2 tsp paprika 2 tbsp nutritional yeast 1.5 tsp mixed herbs 1.5 tsp dry thyme 5-6 sprigs fresh thyme



Preheat oven to 180°C Fan. Add everything into a bowl and mix.


Prepare baking tray and paper.

chickpea nachos



1 whisked egg 5 tbsp plain flour 20g grated parmesan

Scoop a little of the mix and cup together in the palm of your hand. Gently add to the baking tray. Sprinkle with salt and bake in a preheated oven at 180°C Fan for 8-10 minutes. Alternatively, use an air fryer for 5-7 minutes.


baking tray & paper

measuring spoOns

1 bunch fresh chives (cut) 1.5 tsp paprika 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme 1 tbsp dried thyme

130g chickpea flour 1 tbsp olive oil 50ml water 1 whisked egg


Preheat oven to 180°C Fan. Add everything into a bowl (except the egg) along with some genrous seasoning. Mix.

4. Dips chocolate

rolLing pin


herbs & spices


large bowl

Weighing Scales


Work into the dough with your hands until it comes together. Cut in half and place one piece between baking paper. Roll out thin. Repeat with other half.

When it comes to serving, place on a baking tray, sprinkle with cheddar cheese and grill on a medium-high heat for a couple of minutes.

Add the ingredients for each of the dips into the blender.

150g melted dark chocolate (80%) 1 tbsp cacao powder

mix together | AdD raspeberRies on top

CheEsy (vegan)


Cut the dough into triangular shapes with a knife or pizza cutter. Gently add to a baking tray with baking paper. Brush with your egg. Bake for 8 mins (or until golden brown).

guacamole (vegan)

1 can cooked cannelini beans 3 cooked carrots (boiled)

2 ripe avocados

2 roasted garlic cloves

small handful coriander

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

2 chopped garlic cloves

Salt & pepper

juice 1/2 lime

Splash lemon juice

1 chilli (deseeded)

cauliflower popcorn



2 bowls

tray & paper


chopPing board

175 c

Add a little salt & pepper to the cauliflower and bake in a hot oven at 175°C Fan for 5 minutes.





Dip the pre-baked cauliflower in the egg, then breadcrumbs. Add to baking paper and tray.


Add breadcrumbs to a bowl with the seasoning, salt & black pepper (be generous.)

175 c


1 cauliflower, washed & chopped into small florets. 1 whisked egg 65g panko breadcrumbs

breadcrumb seasoning fresh sage (chopped) fresh thyme fresh parsley (chopped) 1 tbsp oregano 2 tbsp paprika 1.5tbsp white pepper 1 tbsp dried thyme 20g parmesan cheese


Add some chopped fruit, oat cookies and homemade popcorn to your board. Enjoy!

Bake for 8-12 minutes or in an air fryer for 6-8 minutes.

chickpea nachos

cheEsy dip

cauliflower popcorn

vegGie VegGie bites bites guacamole

® Reg, Trademark of Société des Produits Nestlé S.A. Shreddies is a source of iron which contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism. Reducing intakes of saturated fat contributes to maintaining normal blood cholesterol levels. Multigrain Cheerios is a source of calcium which is needed for maintaining normal bones. It’s important to have a varied, balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

. O





Gluten, eggs, dairy? Nah, not for us either. That’s why our entire range is completely plant-based and freakin’ delicious! Discover your new favourite puds in the free-from fridge today.

G et C o o k i n g - I S S U E 07


family feast days Sally J. Hall, author of Plant Based Baby, introduces some delicious plant-based meals that pack a punch.


eeding a growing, hungry family is always a challenge, especially when you are trying to think of new meals to tempt them with. Many of us are now thinking of ways to include less meat in our family’s diet, especially with MeatFree Mondays and movements like Veganuary becoming more popular and plant-based cooking becoming more accessible – and trendy! But how do you change your usual meal routine for something that’s healthy, delicious and that your family will accept without cries of “don’t like it”? If you’re thinking of adopting some delicious meat-free meals in your repertoire, there are some easy and great recipes that can feed the whole family nutritiously, that will have them asking for more. What’s more, it’s budget-friendly too. The benefits of a diet that’s less heavy on meat David Attenborough recently said in an interview that he eats very little meat and that he, like many others, has chosen this diet mainly as a way to try to help stem the pace of climate change. Environmentalists suggest that cutting out at least some meat each week is a good thing for the planet. It’s a complex issue, but put simply, large-scale animal farming leads to greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation. If you want to learn more, there are lots of places to give you good, unbiased information such as Greenpeace.

Did you know? (Per 100g in weight) Tofu or bean curd has 9g protein. Red lentils have 9g protein. Chickpeas or hummus have 8.4g protein. Baked beans have 5.2g protein. Nut butters have between 14

There are also more compelling reasons to cut down on meat: A plant-based diet helps you keep control of your cholesterol. You will be eating less saturated fat, which can clog the arteries and lead to heart disease. Red and processed meats have been linked with bowel cancer y3seuvy6, so staying away from them is a good thing. Consumption of red meat has been linked to Type 2 Diabetes.

Five great sources of plantbased protein One of the things parents worry about most in their children’s diet is protein. After the Second World War, when food rationing and shortages were the norm, parents were advised to give their kids as much protein as they could, with full-fat milk and meat being seen as good ways to nurture their little ones. We now realise that too much saturated fat and cholesterol is a bad thing and can lead to obesity and health problems. We also now realise that you can get a lot of protein in your diet from plant sources, such as beans, lentils, nuts, tofu and even many vegetables. Children need around 11g of protein per day when they are under 12 months old, 13g between ages one and three years and 19g from four to eight years.

and 21g.

Easy swaps Often when we cook, we think about a typical ‘meat and two veg’ meal – so how do you find recipes that will help you cook in a familiar way, yet use less meat? It’s easiest if you find a recipe that replaces the meat, so you can make the rest of the meal as you usually would. For example, a lentil or cashew nut roast can be put in place of a roast meat; tofu can be used to create a very convincing kebab or sweet and sour dish in place of chicken, and a pie or quiche can be made vegan and served the way you love it.

Plant Based Baby is a guide to weaning your little one on a vegan or vegetarian diet. It contains lots of nutritional information, as well as tasty recipes, many of which can be made for the whole family. It is available as a paperback on Amazon or as a Kindle download. y3d3yjwh

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I S S U E 07 - G et C o o k i n g

Cashew and carrot loaf This is a great alternative to a Sunday roast and is very cheap to make. Best of all, it has plenty of protein for your growing kids and you can still serve it with all the trimmings!

2. Put the carrots, onions and garlic in the food processor with the chopping blade, turn it on and chop the veg until they are very fine

INGREDIENTS: 400g raw cashews 2 carrots 1 onion 2 small garlic cloves 1 tsp mixed dried herbs Half tsp stock powder 2 slices bread (this recipe is great for using up stale bread) 1 tbsp mixed seeds (you can buy these in packets from health shops and larger supermarkets) 50ml olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS: 1. This is best made in a food processor if you have one, otherwise chop everything finely by hand


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3. Add the bread and all the herbs, spices, stock powder and oil and keep turning until the mixture is well combined and resembles fine breadcrumbs 4. Grease a loaf tin or square baking tin and then tip the mixture into it and smooth the top

5. Roast it for 40 minutes at 180 degrees C

6. Serve with mashed potatoes, steamed or boiled vegetables like cabbage, carrots, sweetcorn and peas — and gravy if you like!

Recipe supplied by Sally J. Hall, author of Plant Based Baby.

G et C o o k i n g - I S S U E 07

Tofubabs A colourful and tasty take on the traditional kebab, tofubabs are great for a quick mid-week meal. They can be cooked on a barbecue in warmer months or under the grill in the winter.

2. Soak some bamboo skewers in water (this stops them burning when you cook) and then slide the tofu and vegetables onto the skewers to make colourful kebabs

INGREDIENTS: Block of firm tofu Any vegetables you like including: Red, yellow and green pepper Red onion Button mushrooms Courgette Tomatoes Marinade 2 tbsp olive oil or sesame oil 1 tbsp teriyaki sauce or black bean sauce Alternatively, use a barbecue sauce, thinned with oil

INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Cut the tofu into blocks that are about 4cm square and cut the veg into similar-sized pieces

3. Cover the grill pan with a piece of foil and lay the kebabs on it. Then brush them with the marinade on the top and grill for about 5-8 minutes per side 4. Turn them frequently, basting with the marinade on each side

5. When the vegetables are slightly blackened on the edges and the tofu has changed colour to look golden, remove them from the grill

6. Slide the pieces off the stick for younger children 7. Serve on a bed of fluffy white rice, with a crunchy side salad

Recipe supplied by Sally J. Hall, author of Plant Based Baby.

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G et C o o k i n g - I S S U E 07

Cashew and lentil burgers These fun-sized baby burgers are a good way to introduce some hidden vegetables and they are high in protein too, thanks to both the nuts and lentils.

allow the vegetables to soften and the flavours to blend

3. Add cashews and lentils and stir well 4. Then tip the whole lot into a food

INGREDIENTS: 1 red onion, finely chopped 1 stick of celery, finely chopped 1 carrot, finely chopped 4-5 green beans, steamed (good to use leftovers), finely chopped 1 cup cooked lentils Half a cup raw cashews Half tsp cumin Half tsp ground coriander 1 tbsp ground linseed (available in health stores) mixed with 3 tbsp warm water to make a binding agent 4-5 tbsp breadcrumbs

INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Place the linseed and water in a bowl and stir, then set aside 2. Sauté the onion until soft and then add the carrot and celery, plus the spices and keep cooking for a while to

processor and blend until you have a smooth consistency. If you don’t have a food processor, grind the cashews up in a pestle and mortar, or chop them as small as you can

5. Add the linseed ‘egg’ and mix it well in

6. Put the breadcrumbs into a shallow bowl or a plate. With wet hands, take a spoonful of the mixture and form it into a ball, then press it firmly to create a little burger shape. Roll it on both sides in the breadcrumbs so it is covered 7. Fry the burgers in a little olive oil in a wide frying pan on a fairly low heat – this will ensure the inside is cooked and the outside is crispy 8. Serve in burger buns with some slices of tomato, cucumber, crunchy baby gem lettuce and red onion

Recipe supplied by Sally J. Hall, author of Plant Based Baby.

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Healthy packed lunches your kids will love

Nutritional therapist and naturopath Caroline Peyton shares some healthy lunchbox ideas to sustain your child through the long winter months.


t’s difficult enough to prepare daily lunch boxes for your children for weeks at a time, but how do you try to keep these healthy and also satisfying through the cold winter months? As a mother of 20-year-old twin girls who did not have school meals throughout their entire school years, I understand how exhausting it can be to keep the lunchbox contents interesting, as well as satisfying and healthy.

Nutrients important for the immune system are vitamin C, zinc and selenium COLOUR AND CRUNCH

First and foremost, do not be tempted to forgo fresh crunchy vegetables just because it is winter. Opening up a lunchbox and seeing colourful vegetables rather than just a bland-


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looking sandwich is cheerful and will add interest and texture to the meal. We know colds and infections increase through the winter months, so it is important to choose foods to help keep your child’s immune system in tip-top condition. Nutrients important for the immune system are vitamin C, zinc and selenium. With this in mind, it is great to include vegetable sticks like carrot, red and yellow pepper with a small pot of hummus to dip. Hummus contains sesame seeds, which contain zinc and selenium. Kiwi fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C, so cut one in half, wrap in tinfoil and pop in a spoon so that your child can scoop out the contents. Apple slices or a pip-free clementine are other good options.


Sugar creates an instant rush of energy, but not in a good way, as it also results in a sudden crash. Instead, it is important to consider plenty of protein to help keep your child full and able to concentrate through the afternoon. Choosing wholegrains rather than refined (white ones) and adding vegetables helps to provide fibre and keep blood sugar stable. This also helps to keep children focused, calm and energised through the day. Try to avoid snack bars, as they are laden with sugars that are often hidden by using different complex names. Also watch out for dried fruit, like raisins, dates and figs, in these bars as these too are sugarrich. There is a temptation to think they are ‘healthy’, but the sugars cause the same blood sugar crashes. Boiled eggs, chicken skewers, oatcakes with cream cheese or sunflower seed butter are healthier and sustaining mid-morning snacks.


The rice and pasta options can be prepared the night before, stored in the fridge and eaten cold. Children love pasta and rice dishes this way. For a slightly older child, hot soup in a flask is a welcome lunch during the cold winter months. Consider a lentil or vegetable soup with added mixed beans. If you have leftover meat from a roast dinner, tear small strips and add to a vegetable soup. Try wheat-free pasta alternatives (buckwheat, chickpea, lentil) and serve with a tomato or pesto sauce, but add protein such as salmon, chicken slices or tuna. Add chopped pepper, cucumber and sweetcorn. Great colours! Brown rice, couscous or quinoa served with roasted vegetables and crumbled feta cheese. Look for wheat-alternative wraps such as oat or sweet potato or wholemeal pitta bread. Spread a little hummus, pesto or cream cheese, and add plenty of lettuce and chicken slices. Frittata is an Italian-style egg dish cooked with potatoes, cheese, herbs, tomatoes and any vegetables you have to hand. This is commonly served cold and makes a very nutritious and filling lunch.

Caroline Peyton of Peyton Principles is a naturopath and nutritional therapist with clinics in Wiltshire and Gloucestershire.

F a m i l y F i r s t - I S S U E 07

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Aubergine pizza Cooking Instructions

Quick and easy to make, these healthy pizzas are perfect after-school dinners that are rich in antioxidants and taste delicious. Prep Cook




Carefully slice the aubergine into 5mm thick slices and coat in a little olive oil (use your hands or a pastry brush to do this and make sure both sides of the slices are covered in oil)


Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and pop in the oven for 15-20 minutes to soften


While they are cooking, prepare your toppings. Tear/chop the spinach leaves into small pieces, slice the cherry tomatoes, grate the cheese and prepare any other toppings you fancy!


Once the aubergine slices have softened, allow them to cool a little before handling


Spread a tablespoon of passata over each one, layer spinach/basil over the top, then grated cheese and finally the cherry tomatoes


Pop back in the oven and bake for another 10 minutes until the cheese has totally melted


Allow to cool before eating (the cherry tomatoes are very hot straight out of the oven)


Serve as a snack or light dinner/lunch – they are delicious with a green salad


Ingredients 1 aubergine 1 cup of passata Handful of spinach or basil Punnet of cherry tomatoes 1 cup of grated cheese Olive oil Equipment you’ll need

Chopping board and knife | Grater Baking tray | Parchment paper

Tasty tip

You could also add extra toppings, such as sweetcorn, pepper, ham or pesto.

Recipe provided by Little Cooks Co, a monthly subscription-based recipe kit for kids.


Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 170C

10 minutes 30 minutes

5/6 pizza slices


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Courgette egg cups Cooking Instructions A perfect dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner… or even a snack! Prep Cook



Eggs, dairy

Ingredients 2 medium courgettes Around 2 cups of chopped veggies – we used sweetcorn, cherry tomatoes, spinach and red pepper 6 eggs ¼ cup of milk (almond or oat milk also work well) 1 cup of cheese (around 70g) Salt & pepper Equipment you’ll need

Chopping board | Knife | 12-hole muffin tray | Mixing jug | Whisk or fork | Julienne/ grater

Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 170C


Chop the ends of the courgettes off and either use a julienne or the long slicer on a grater to carefully slice the courgettes into long pieces


Grease your muffin tray and then arrange the courgette pieces into the holes – you may need to cut the courgette pieces to the right size, and don’t worry if there are some small gaps


Roughly chop the veggies you have chosen to use and sprinkle them into each of the holes


Next, crack the eggs into your mixing jug and whisk them together with the milk and a pinch of salt and pepper


Grate your cheese and thoroughly mix it into the egg and milk mix


Carefully pour the mixture into each of the 12 holes to cover the veggies


Pop into the oven for 20-25 minutes until they are sizzling and golden. Allow to cool before handling


Enjoy any time of day – they are even yummy served cold straight from the fridge

20 minutes 20-25 minutes

12 courgette egg cups

Tasty tip


Yummy served for lunch or dinner with a crisp green salad (they can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days).

Recipe provided by Little Cooks Co, a monthly subscriptionbased recipe kit for kids.

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I S S U E 07 - G et C o o k i n g

Fabulous fish pie Cooking Instructions

This simple fish pie is creamy, sweet and full of hidden goodies that even the fussiest eater will love. Prep Cook



Tasty tip

Chopping board | Knife | 2 pans | Wooden spoon | Masher | Colander | Measuring spoons | Pie dish This is also great as mini fish pies. Instead of making it in one big dish, split it into singleportion ramekins. Kids love having their own little dish and they can decorate each one differently so they know whose is whose. Recipe provided by Little Cooks Co, a monthly subscription-based recipe kit for kids.



Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Peel the sweet potatoes, cut into 2cm chunks and add to the water. Cook for around 10 minutes until soft. Once cooked, drain them in a colander and leave to cool


Meanwhile, use a different pan on a medium heat and heat the cream cheese and stock – stir regularly with a wooden spoon


Add the fish, peas, sweetcorn and spinach and stir thoroughly


Transfer the mixture into your pie dish


Next, add a knob of butter and a pinch of salt to your sweet potato and mash until smooth


Cover your fish mixture with the sweet potato mash and sprinkle with grated cheese


Cut your cherry tomatoes in half and pop them on top– you can make a face or a love heart if you are feeling creative


Pop it in the oven for 30-40 minutes until golden. If the tomatoes start to burn, put some foil over the top for the remaining cooking time

Fish & dairy

Ingredients 1kg sweet potatoes 200g cream cheese 100ml vegetable stock 700g white fish such as cod (or fish mix from the fishmongers) 1 cup frozen peas 1 cup frozen sweetcorn 2 big handfuls of spinach Handful of cheddar cheese Handful of cherry tomatoes Butter Salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 200C/fan 180C

30 minutes 30-40 minutes

2 adults, 2 kids

Equipment you’ll need


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Why this recipe is so good for you: Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A – in fact, no other food on the planet contains more vitamin A than sweet potatoes. This helps keep your eyes healthy, your bones strong and your skin soft and clear.

F a m i l y F i r s t - I S S U E 07

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I S S U E 07 - F a m i l y F i r s t

It’s time for some family fun

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F a m i l y F i r s t - I S S U E 07

Granny Fannie World Children’s Books – Games – Educational Videos- Apparels

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I S S U E 07 - F a m i l y F i r s t

Find your perfect hideaway

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F a m i l y F i r s t - I S S U E 07

Is your child struggling and you don't know why?

Ask about FASD If your child was exposed to any amount or type of alcohol in utero and is facing challenges at home and school, ask about FASD. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders - more common than autism. However, very few people have heard of it.

Signs of FASD include: difficulty learning, processing information or organising daily tasks; intellectual and developmental disabilities; problems with behaviour; hyperactivity or attention problems; memory challenges; sensory integration difficulties; abstract thinking or judgement difficulties; social skills and adaptive behaviour challenges including behaving at a level much younger than their chronological age; poor social or adaptive skills; motor or oral motor control difficulties; social communication; sometimes physical symptoms.

Which is sad, because the UK has one of the highest rates of alcohol use in pregnancy in the world and there are thousands of children and families struggling without understanding why. You are NOT alone. No woman drinks to harm a baby, but the reality is that alcohol in pregnancy can affect the way their brain and sometimes their body develops. Early diagnosis and support can build brighter futures.

The Chief Medical Officers say it's safest to avoid alcohol when pregnant or if you could become pregnant to keep risks to your baby to a minimum.

With the correct advice and support affected individuals can and do achieve. If you think your or someone you love has been affected, please reach out.

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