Family First - Summer 2021

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Building a happier, healthier family lifestyle

Pet rabbits:



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FREE Bi-Annual Magazine | ISSUE 8


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Contents 06 Welcome letter 10 Ask us first


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GREAT OUTDOORS 12 It’s time for an outdoor adventure! 16 Beat the Street

45 Healthy Pets – Think outside the hutch!

19 Getting out and about as a family

48 Blending families

22 Magnificent minibeasts The Wildlife Trusts

74 Amazing rainy day experiments 80 A hobby with a difference 85 Navigating the new normal 88 Calm among the chaos 117 Hey baby! – INTERVIEW 118 Scorching hot summer reads

26 ‘I love birds and I’m passionate about saving them’ – INTERVIEW 30 Let’s play outside

TRAVEL 36 Ready, set, beach 37 Stay safe in the sun

41 Fancy a staycation with a difference?


SPORT 4 ALL 54 Surf’s up 56 Making up for lost time 59 Rising stars

66 Step up to the bat 70 School’s IN for summer 71 A summer of sport with Peppa Pig

GET COOKING 90 Buddies for growing bones 98 Improving immunity 100 Sugar-free banana bread and Chicken, vegetable and parmesan sausage rolls – RECIPE 101 Sweet summer treats – RECIPE 102 Don’t bin it, freeze it! 106 Calling ‘FULL TIME’ on child food poverty 109 Fuss-free mealtimes, yes please


110 Weaning essentials




64 Instilling confidence on and off the court

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

Welcome to the summer 2021 issue. With Covid restrictions finally starting to lift in the UK and people able to socialise with friends and family, we are getting geared up for a fun-packed summer. As international travel is still difficult, in this issue we have curated a brilliant selection of quirky staycation ideas around the UK that will keep the whole family happy – from treehouses and yurts to old prison cells and even a hobbit house. We have also put together our top tips for a day out at the beach and Dr Rachel Abbott from the British Skin Foundation explains how to make sure your kids stay safe in the sun. With sporting events and clubs able to run once again and – fingers crossed – the Tokyo Olympic Games being held in July/August, there’s lots of sport to look forward to watching and playing over the coming months. Whether your children want to try surfing, hone their swimming skills, learn how to play tennis or simply get moving more, we have got information about a whole host of different sports that help kids to get fit, stay active, make friends, improve dexterity and boost their mental health. When the sun is shining, there is nothing better than exploring the great outdoors with your family. In this issue, we meet 18-year-old Dr Mya-Rose Craig, who has been an avid bird watcher since she was a young child. She explains why learning about nature can be rewarding for children and young people of all nationalities and from all walks of life.

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.


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We also have some fun indoor experiments from The DadLab to keep the kids entertained on those inevitable rainy days. While our selection of summer books are sure to keep children busy during the school holidays. And if your kids are looking for a new hobby, why not take up model making? Dad of two and teacher Tom Probert explains why making models is a fun activity that gets kids away from screens and helps them develop concentration, research and motor skills. In our Get Cooking section, we have tips from baby and child nutritionist Charlotte Stirling-Reed on how to deal with fussy eaters, while nutritional therapist Chloe Steele explains which foods are good for boosting our children’s immune health. Home cooking consultant Kate Hall shares her expert advice on making the most out of your freezer and reducing food waste at the same time. We also look at an exciting new initiative from footballer Marcus Rashford and chef Tom Kerridge that aims to end child food poverty. Have a fabulous summer.

Georgina Editor, Family First magazine

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IS SUE 0 8 - Ask Us First

Ask us first

Advice from our experts on some of your family concerns Dear Family First, My daughter has been coming out with some worrying statements about her body recently. She is only 7 years old and is very slim, but has made a few comments about having ‘fat arms’. My partner and I have always used body-positive language around her and we can’t understand where this idea has come from. She has been refusing to remove her jumper, as she doesn’t want to show her arms. I have asked her if someone has said something to her at school and she says no. I am unsure whether or not to contact the school, as this has only come out since she went back after lockdown. My husband thinks it will blow over, but I am worried that she is having body issues at such a young age. How can I best help her?


Anupa Roper, positive body image advocate and author of Sparrowlegs, a book that promotes different body types ( sparrowlegs), says:


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Well done on using positive language at home, as the language that we use is vital. The word ‘fat’ often has a negative meaning attached to it, but we need to teach our children that this is actually a neutral descriptive word. Your daughter does have fat on her arms, but her arms are not fat. Discuss with her all of the amazing things that our arms allow us to do – hugging being one of the most amazing! I would talk to your daughter about why she doesn’t like removing her jumper, really listen and try not to reassure her with compliments. Recognise that lots of people worry about the appearance of different parts of their body, but that it’s okay and normal. I would certainly speak to the school, as if the teacher is aware, they can listen out for any teasing. One last tip is to share some books that promote all types of different bodies. Dear Family First, I had a baby last summer and I am almost exclusively breastfeeding. While I know it is normal to not want to have sex straight after you have had a baby, all of my NCT friends seem to now have a fairly active sex

life. However, I have lost my libido. I still love my husband very much, but I am so tired and I just want to go to sleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. Lockdown restrictions have not helped, as we have not had any time away from the baby to be a couple. My son is still feeding a few times through the night and I’m struggling to move between the roles of mum/ source of milk and then wife/lover. How can I get my sex life back?


© Ocean Taylor

Clio Wood, women’s health advocate and Founder of & Breathe Wellbeing (andbreathewell, says:

Loss of libido is common postnatally and you’re not alone. While your NCT friends may say they’re back in the sack, it’s not necessarily the whole truth: we all like to present a glossy image to the world. It can be weeks, even months, after birth before women want to have sex again. You’re tired (especially as you’re feeding through the night), your hormones are all over the place, your body has been through a transformation, and it can be very hard to reconcile your new Mother identity, with that of your passionate, pre-baby self. Added to that, lockdown hasn’t helped! We often need a touch of distance from our partner to really recognise what we fancied about them in the first place – you’ve been missing that for over a year. Make sure you’re being open and communicating with your partner so he knows how you feel. This is a gentle journey that may take some time and it’s best that you can work through it together. Try to make time for just the two of you out of the house and be patient with yourself. It may take time to transition mentally into intimacy these days. Get to know yourself again post-baby, with time for just you and as a couple, and rest assured that as sleep becomes easier to come by, so will your intimacy levels.

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OUTDOORS Summer is here and there’s a whole world of nature on your doorstep to explore. From bird watching to searching for creepy crawlies and the benefits of playing outside, we have got plenty of ideas and activities for you to do with your children in the great outdoors this summer.

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It’s time for an outdoor adventure! Whether you live in a town, the suburbs or the countryside, there’s lots of fun to be had in the fresh air. Outdoors educator Carol Murdoch suggests nature activities your kids will love.


ummer is in the air and there is no better way to spend it than outdoors. Taking your family for an adventure can feel overwhelming with so much to consider. What to pack, what to do, where to go, and the impossible task of trying to keep everyone happy. Read on to discover tips that will take the stress away, activities that all ages will enjoy and ways to make your life easier.


Time outdoors helps children learn and creates lasting memories. It also develops team working skills, enhances communication, aids the development of imagination and so much more. But more than that,


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heading outdoors three times a week for as little as 20 minutes each time improves mental health for young and old alike. There are no rules that state adventures can only be had in far off lands and last for a full day or more, so let’s explore some mini adventures.

Time outdoors helps children learn and creates lasting memories Staying within your comfort zone where things are familiar helps you to build confidence and helps

your child feel secure. Have a look at what is close by and then think about some of these simple activities that you can try; they only need to be around 20 minutes and have been tried and tested. Keep your first walk simple. It might be a walk in the woods, around your town or village or even just to the shops and back. You can play i-spy or look for numbers and letters. A number or letter hunt can be a lot of fun and is excellent for all ages. With younger children, it is all about recognition. Can they sound out the letter or tell you what number comes before or after the number they find? With older children, can they add or multiply the numbers together? This is great for mental maths. Or

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can they turn car license plates into words? MLK could become milk! I loved doing this with my mum and still play that game now. When you start looking for numbers and letters it is amazing how many you spot, we really are surrounded by them.


Children have amazing, fertile imaginations and can think of all sorts of ways to have fun. Can you ask your children what they enjoy and follow that? If they are interested in bugs, can you go on a bug hunt? If they like books, can you go looking for the Gruffalo or discover the Wolf Brother’s camp? What about exploring flora and fauna and learning a little about how trees and plants were believed to have magical properties – herbology class, anyone? Learning to identify trees and plants can open up a whole natural world filled with spellbinding magic, myths and legends that your child will adore. Did you know that the average three-year-old can identify more than 100 brands, but can struggle to name a single tree or plant? So, on your walk, take your time to help your child remember them. Start where you are confident – it might be

with birds, dogs or trees – and build up from there. When I was learning the trees, I would pick a different one each week and see how many times I could spot it throughout that week. It is a simple but effective way to learn them. If you do not know them yourself, it is a fun way to learn them together. This is an excellent way to develop identification skills, observation and even build your child’s vocabulary. If you enjoy learning about trees you can always research their magical properties and then use a twig to make a wand. Find the perfect stick, not too big and not too small. You may wish to whittle it or keep it simple and add some ribbons and bows, or you might paint it. Whatever you do, make your wand as unique as you are.


We are finally back to a time when we can see loved ones. Can we invite others on our outdoor adventures? Not only does this reduce the pressure on you, as there are other adults to share the load, but it can keep your children entertained as they play with others. Setting some challenges can help to keep children busy and encourage teamwork,

especially if there is a range of ages. You might create arts or craft. Andy Goldsworthy is an environmental artist based in Scotland. His environmental art is stunning in its simplicity. Can you collect natural materials? You might find stones, acorns, leaves, flowers, twigs, shells or anything else while out on a walk. Andy’s art is often left in nature, where it was created, ready to be discovered. Can you create natural mandalas? These are circles within circles within circles and have become popular thanks to adult colouring books. What could you use to create each circle? Older children can think about tone and size while creating. Or, if you would enjoy relatively simple crafts, we love to create stick people; all ages will get something different out of this activity. All you need to start is two twigs and some wool or string. Lash the two sticks together into a cross to create a basic stick man or women. For younger children, lashing sticks together can be a challenge. We encourage children to wrap the yarn around the sticks diagonally three times, switch to the opposite diagonal for another three and keep alternating until it is held tight. Older children can be more creative. Can they use natural materials to create an outfit? Can they write an adventure about their stick person?


The outdoors is a place of fun. It should not be adding more stress and strain to your life. You can head to your garden or local green space or venture further to a park close to home. There are no time restrictions. You can spend as little or as long out as you like. The only rule is you should all be having fun! And yes, that might mean you join in with the activities as well. Carol Murdoch runs Love Outdoor Learning, an outdoors education provider based in West Lothian, but supporting schools and families all over the country and beyond. Find out more at

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HOW TO FIT A CHILD’S BIKE HELMET The helmet plays an important role in protecting your child’s head if they happen to fall off when riding their bike. Whether they are toddlers or teenagers, new to cycling, or cycling experts, a helmet should be their number one kit item on EVERY bike ride!


Ensure it’s the correct size by measuring the circumference of your child’s head


The helmet needs to be flat over the crown of the head, covering the forehead, without blocking the child’s view


The bottom of the helmet should sit 1-2 adult finger widths above the eyebrows


If the helmet has a universal fitting ring at the base, use this to adjust the tightness of the helmet (before fastening the chin strap). If the helmet doesn’t come with a tightening dial, it should have various size pads that you can replace inside


The helmet should be tight enough that if the child shakes their head, without the chin strap fastened, it does not fall off, but loose enough to not put pressure on the head


A properly positioned helmet should stick out further than your child’s nose when viewed from the side


Always ensure that the chin strap is fastened


The straps should lay flat against the child’s head, forming a ‘Y’ at each earlobe, if the side straps are sewn together, you can ignore this step


Adjust the strap so that you can still fit one finger between the buckle and the chin


If you twist and pull the helmet lightly and it doesn’t move, then the chin strap is fitted perfectly

HOW TO TEACH A CHILD TO USE BIKE BRAKES Teaching a child to ride a bicycle not only provides them with a lifelong skill but also inspires confidence and independence while having a whole lot of fun! One of the most valuable and essential cycling lessons you can teach a child is speed control, using their bike brakes.


Brake levers need gentle squeezing to slow down, you don’t want to pull too hard or fast otherwise, you’ll come to a very sudden stop!


The first thing to consider is hand positioning - When riding a bike, it’s common practice to rest the index finger on the brake lever; this is called ‘covering the brakes’


When using the brake levers, a child should only need to use their index fingers and not their whole hand, as this can cause a loss of balance


Find a quiet area away from traffic to practise braking skills


Have the child begin pedalling at a slow and steady pace, then have them gently squeeze the back brake to see how that feels for them


Practice slowing down and coming to a controlled stop by applying the back brake for slowing down, before gently applying the front brake to come to a complete stop


Pulling on the front brake lever too quickly will abruptly stop the bike, which can propel the rider forward which is why it’s recommended to use both brakes!


If it’s raining or the road is wet, take extra care when braking. However, with practice, a child will be able to brake, slow down and come to a controlled stop with confidence

HOW TO EXPLAIN BIKE GEARS TO A CHILD With your child now a master of bike handling and balance, the next step forward is to teach them about bike gears. Having this knowledge will help them to maintain a comfortable speed whilst pedalling, depending on the terrain and gradient.


The lowest gear is shown by the number 1, and the highest gear is the highest number you can see This will be different for different bikes and is normally between 6 and 9 on children’s bikes


Each click of the lever moves the chain into a different gear, but remember to keep pedalling as you change gears! Maintain a smooth pedalling technique, releasing pressure slightly on the pedals as you change gear


Practice changing gears in a quiet place and on a flat surface, but make sure to remain seated and look ahead at where you are going, not down at the gears while slowly pedalling your bike


Shift through one gear at a time. How does your bike feel when you’re in the lowest gear? Now, try to pedal in your highest gear, and see how that feels!


Keep practising until you feel confident with changing gears before attempting to cycle up big hills!


How do you know what gear to use? As a rule of thumb, use your lower gears for going uphill, middle gears for flat paths and playgrounds, and the higher gears for going downhill






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Beat the Street

A new outdoor game is taking the UK by storm: Beat the Street encourages children to get active, explore their local areas and get out into green space. Georgina Probert finds out more...


etting bottoms off sofas can be a challenge – especially after many of us have spent months at home during the past year and a half. Beat the Street is a free, interactive challenge that encourages people of all ages, especially children, to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives by turning their city into a six-week game. The game is outdoors, completely contactless and players take part in their family groups or support bubbles. Participants are encouraged to walk, cycle, run, wheel or scoot as far as possible within the local area, with prizes of sports or book vouchers for the teams that clock up the highest number of miles.

So far, Beat the Street has run in Barnsley, Derby, Hamilton/ Blantyre, Leicester, Rotherham, Sheffield, Taunton, Wigston/South Wigston and Wokingham – with plans for more cities across the UK this year.

Covid-safe game

Since it was founded, the game has been played by more than 1.2 million people and has been adapted to ensure that it’s safe to play during the Covid-19 pandemic with the approval of Public Health England. Players use a free card or fob,

which they hover over special sensors called ‘Beat Boxes’, which will appear on lampposts. These are placed approximately half a mile apart and you simply hover your card or fob over it. It will beep and flash and will register your points. Players can join a school or community team or help raise money by allocating their miles to a charity team.


As well as encouraging people to get active, Beat the Street has been shown to get communities more engaged, less cardependent and fitter. More than 33,000 people played the Beat the Street game safely in various UK towns in autumn 2020, with many players reporting that it had a positive impact on their mental health at an anxious time.

Participants are encouraged to walk, cycle, run, wheel or scoot as far as possible Greg Fell, director of Public Health in Sheffield, said: “We know that one of the best things people can do right now for their physical and mental health is to move more and to get out into green space where possible, and Beat the Street really helps people do just that in a safe and enjoyable way. “Beat the Street is free and it’s open to everyone regardless of age, ability or background. It encourages you to get active from your front door so pick up a card and get playing!” Beat the Street is delivered by Intelligent Health, with funding from the National Lottery and Sport England, and local partners. For more information or to take part, visit:


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Get instant comfort from hay fever for your whole family Check our new Pollen Tracker for your local pollen forecast ®

Registered Trademark of Kimberly-Clark Worldwide Inc. ©KCWW

G re a t O u td o o r s - I S S U E 0 8 Ergobaby Aerloom carrier | £219.90 | Available from

Lightweight, stylish and good for the planet, the new Aerloom carrier is made from 87% recycled polyester. Suitable from newborn to toddler (up to 35lbs/15.9kg), it comes in five different colours and can be worn in three carrying positions. It is extremely well ventilated – perfect for keeping parent and baby cool during the summer months.

Kiddiwhizz Whizzer | £19.99 | Available from

It is inevitable that when you are on a long car journey or a trip out with no toilet in sight, one of your kids will need the loo. An essential piece of kit for any family, the Whizzer is a unisex portable hand-held toilet made from silicone – and it is leakproof!

Getting out and about as a family The must-have products that will make life easier when you are exploring the great outdoors this summer with your little ones.

100 Great Walks With Kids book, paperback | £16.99 | Available from

From award-winning outdoor writers and photographers Jen and Sim Benson, 100 Great Walks With Kids includes 100 walks across England, Scotland and Wales for families with children from 0 upwards. It features simple maps, advice on how to plan and execute trips, and carrier- and buggy-friendly routes that cover woodland, beaches, mini mountains and lakeside loops.

BundleBean GO | £34.99 | Available from bundlebean. com

Suitable for newborn up to 4+ years, the 5-in-1 BundleBean GO is a multipurpose rain cover that adapts to create a foot muff for pushchairs, as well as a cover for car seats, rear-mounted bike seats and all types of baby carrier. We love the new vibrant blue seagull and metallic-gold bee prints.

Out ‘N’ About Nipper Sport Stroller V4 | £321 | Available from

The Out ‘n’ About Nipper Sport Stroller V4 is the perfect buggy for off-road terrain due to its lightweight aluminium frame, large 16-inch wheels, fixed front wheel and rear suspension. The seat fully reclines to lie flat for newborns and we are big fans of the spacious shopping pouch and storage pockets.

Raleigh MY21 Molli bike | from £185 | Available from Raleigh has brought out some new fun and fruity designs for its MY21 Molli bike. It comes in three sizes: 12 inches (age 3-5), 14 inches (age 4-6) and 16 inches (age 5-7). We love the cute wicker basket and the fact that each bike comes with a cuddly Molli toy dog.

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Extra-wide slow-rolling wheels and low deck, all designed to make riding easier for toddlers

Colorful Dino, Shark, and Unicorn-inspired graphics

Fun 3D eye effect means play can happen even when the scooter is not rolling

Age: 30+ months

The adorable slow-rolling



ters for toddlers

Available from: Freemans | Homebase | JD Williams | Littlewoods | Robert Dyas | Studio | Very

Common sexton beetle | ©Richard Burkmarr

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Magnificent minibeasts Some may consider them creepy and crawly, but beetles are truly fascinating creatures. There are loads of different species of all shapes and sizes to look out for in our gardens, parks and woodland, says Tom Hibbert of The Wildlife Trusts.


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ave you ever seen a beetle? There’s plenty of them to spot, with more than 400,000 different species around the world, 4,000 of which are found in the UK. In fact, it was thought that there are more species of beetle in the world than any other animal, although some scientists now think there may be even more wasps!

These incredible insects do an important job of cleaning up the countryside Beetles come in an incredible variety of sizes, shapes and colours. They can be big or microscopic, black or shiny, long and thin or round and fat. The biggest beetle in the UK is the stag beetle, which can be over 7cm long. Male stag beetles have huge, red antler-like jaws that they use to wrestle with other males to win the female’s attention, just like deer do when they’re rutting. Stag beetles are mostly found in southeast England, in forests, as well as parks and gardens with lots of rotting wood for their larvae to feed on.

ready to fly! (See the photo below of the soldier beetle with its elytra raised.)

Prehistoric pollinators

Swollen-thighed beetle ©Chris Lawrence

When we think of pollinators (the animals that carry pollen from one flower to another, helping the flowers reproduce), we usually think of bees. But did you know that beetles are also excellent pollinators? Many beetles visit flowers to feed on nectar and pollen, accidentally carrying sticky clumps of pollen from one flower to the next. Amazingly, fossils show us that beetles may have been the first insects to pollinate flowers, visiting plants long before bees even existed! One of our most eye-catching pollinating beetles is the swollen-thighed beetle, also known as the thick-legged flower beetle. This glittering green gem of an insect can often be seen visiting flowers on sunny days from late spring to early autumn. The males are easily recognised by the enormous swollen thighs on their back legs, which look as if they’ve been pumped up like a balloon.

Poo police

Some beetles just love poo. Whether it’s a giant cowpat or little balls of rabbit poo, to a dung beetle there is nothing tastier! Some dung beetles even live inside the piles of poo, so that they are surrounded by their favourite food. Other beetles dig tunnels beneath the poo and pull pieces underground, stocking their burrows with stinky snacks for their growing young. These beetles are really important because they help get rid of all the poo that animals leave around the countryside. Without them and other pooloving wildlife, there’d be piles of the stuff everywhere. By burying pieces of dung, they also add extra nutrients to the soil, which help plants to grow. One of the most impressive dung beetles we have is the mighty minotaur beetle. They grow to 2cm long and males have three bull-like horns behind their head, which they use to defend their nest burrow. Minotaur beetles can dig burrows over 1m deep (huge if you are only 2cm long!). Once they’ve dug their burrow, they drag rabbit droppings down into it for their babies to feed on.

Hidden wings

One of the things that make beetles special is their wings. Like many other insects, beetles have two pairs of wings on their back. But unusually, they only use one of these for flying. The two front wings are hardened into tough cases called ‘elytra’. These hard cases protect the beetle’s more delicate flying wings. When most beetles are on the ground, these flying wings, or hindwings, are completely hidden, but when it’s time to take off the elytra pop up and the hindwings come out,

Soldier beetle showing raised elytra ©Jon Hawkins Surrey Hills Photography

Minotaur beetle ©Brian Eversham

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It’s not just poo that beetles like to bury. Some are scavengers that feed on dead animals, even burying the body to keep it all to themselves. Just like dung beetles, these incredible insects do an important job of cleaning up the countryside. One of the burying beetles you’re most likely to see is the common sexton beetle. These bright, black-and-orange beetles have a very strange idea of the perfect date night. They follow a smell to find a dead rodent or bird, then wait for a partner to arrive. If lots of beetles turn up, they fight over who gets to bury the body. Males fight males and females fight females until one pair wins. The winning pair then work together to dig a hole beneath the body, sinking it into the ground. This burial chamber is the perfect place for them to lay eggs and start a family, with plenty of food for the adult beetles and their growing larvae. Sexton beetles fly at night and are attracted to lights, so you may find them around outdoor lights or settled on nearby plants. They often turn up in moth traps, which use a bright light to lure in moths so that we can see which moths live nearby.

SIX TO SPOT THIS SUMMER With so many different species living in the UK, you’re never too far from a beetle – but many of them can be tricky to find. Some are tiny, others are only active at night, but luckily there are plenty of big and often beautiful beetles to spot during the day.

©Chris Lawrence


Wasp beetle ©Vaughn Matthews


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©Jon Hawkins Surrey Hills Photography

7-spot ladybird

Did you know that ladybirds are beetles? Those big, bright, spotty cases on their backs are their elytra, protecting the see-through wings beneath. The 7-spot is one of our most commonly seen ladybirds. They’re usually bright red or orange with black spots. As the name suggests, most have seven spots, but they can have up to nine.

Some dung beetles even live inside the piles of poo, so that they are surrounded by their favourite food

Green tiger beetle

It’s easy to see why longhorn beetles got their name – just look at those massive antennae! Spotted longhorns are usually seen feeding on the nectar of flowers.

©Ross Hoddinott

2020VISION This glittering green gem of a beetle is one of our fastest insects. They’re impressive predators that run across the ground to grab caterpillars, ants and other tiny animals. You’ll find them on areas of bare ground, where the sun makes the soil nice and warm. Green tiger beetles often live on heaths, hillsides and sand dunes.

Wasp beetle

Spotted longhorn

They’re especially fond of hawthorn flowers and umbellifers like cow parsley. They often live along hedgerows and the edges of woodland.

This longhorn beetle has the black-and-yellow pattern of a wasp, so that predators leave it alone. But it’s all a trick – wasp beetles have no sting and are totally harmless to people. They can be seen throughout the summer around hedgerows and woody areas. You might spot them visiting flowers or resting on leaves.

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Red soldier beetle

Build a log pile

A common beetle that can often be seen clambering over flowers on sunny summer days. They’re particularly keen on flowers known as umbellifers like hogweed and cow parsley. They eat pollen and nectar from the flowers, but are also predators that hunt smaller insects.

Great diving beetle

Look out for this beast of a beetle swimming around in ponds and ©Jack_Perks slow-moving waterways. Adults grow to around 3cm long and are fierce predators that can even tackle tiny fish. They store air under their wing cases to breathe underwater, so every now and then must come to the surface to top up their supply.

A big pile of rotting wood is the perfect home for many beetles. Pile up a bunch of logs and sticks and wait for the beetles to move in. For the best results, dig a few of the logs into the soil. Rock piles and mounds of leaves can also give beetles somewhere to shelter.

Add a pond

Water is a great way to attract wildlife to your garden. Many different beetles live in ponds, from diving beetles that hunt tadpoles to whirligig beetles that spin around on the surface. If your garden is only small, try making a little container pond. Make sure you include a ramp made of stones or logs, so animals can climb out of the water.

Plant for beetles

Grow pollen-rich, openfaced flowers that pollinating beetles love to visit. Cow parsley, fennel and other plants in the umbellifer family are very popular with longhorn beetles.

Make a beetle bank

Create a low mound of soil covered in grass and flowers to provide shelter for lots of different insects. Beetle banks are often used on farms to attract beetles, but you can also make a smaller version in your garden.

For more tips on how to help beetles, including a step-by-step guide to making beetle banks, visit The Wildlife Trusts and RHS website:

With so many different species living in the UK, you’re never too far from a beetle


If you have a garden, you don’t have to go far for a beetle safari. A wildlife-friendly garden could have hundreds of different species of beetle living in it. There are lots of things you can do to make your garden more attractive for these magnificent minibeasts. Here are some of our top tips…

Let grass grow

Leave a part of your garden to go wild, letting the grass grow long and wildflowers bloom. Long grass filled with flowers is like a mini jungle with lots of tiny wildlife living in it. It’s also a good idea to leave some dead plant stems in your garden, as beetles and other insects can hide in them over winter.

Stag beetle ©Terry Whittaker 2020VISION

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© Dr MC Birdgirl Ltd/Photographer: Oliver Edwards

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‘I love birds and I’m passionate about saving them’ Dr Mya-Rose Craig, 18-year-old birdwatcher and environmentalist, chats with Georgina Probert about all things birds, nature and how she wants all children to have the chance to connect with wildlife.


r Mya-Rose Craig has achieved a huge amount in her 18 years on this planet; from interviewing some of Britain’s top bird experts for her podcast Get Birding and writing a book to championing climate change justice and setting up the Black2Nature charity helping children from ethnic minorities get access to nature. She is the youngest ever member of the RSPB advisory committee, a Swarovski Optik opinion leader and the youngest Brit to be awarded an honorary doctorate for her work fighting for equal access to nature and ethnic diversity in the environmental sector. In September 2020, she travelled to the Arctic Circle with Greenpeace to investigate climate change, staging the world’s most northerly climate strike. We find out more about her life-long love of birds, her favourite birds to spot in the UK and her top tips on how parents can get their children interested in birds and wildlife. How did you first get interested in birdwatching? My parents and older sisters were already passionate birders when


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I was born, so I just got taken everywhere with them. When I went on my first twitch – which is when you go to see a rare bird that has got blown off course and ended up here – we spotted a Lesser Kestrel from Europe on the Isles of Scilly off the coast of Cornwall. Although I do not count seeing that bird, as I cannot be 100% sure that I did see it and I have not seen another one since. Having a much older sister was really important to me, as she was super cool and if she loved birds then so did I. That is why I think that having role models who look like you is so important.

have been watching it there all my life – and I still get excited when I see it on my daily walk. The other is the Puffin, which amazes me every time I see one. I saw my first birds on the coast of Scotland when I was seven years old and was doing a ‘bird year’, which is when you try to see as many different bird species as possible in one year. I went back there recently, which was still just as fantastic! What can parents and carers do to encourage their kids to put down their tech and try birdwatching? Getting any kids into nature is actually pretty easy; you have to make it interesting and fun, and relevant and suitable for their age and interests. Do not get too worried about removing their phones from them. Put phones in pockets and get them out to use for taking photos of wildlife, such as birds, butterflies or bees, and for using apps such as bird ID or bird species recording. One of my favourite apps is when you can record a bird singing and your phone tells you what the bird is. How cool is that! What about families who don’t have easy access to green spaces? Access to nature can feel really hard for people who maybe live in flats and do not have any access to a garden. There are still things that families can do, like putting bird feeders and water out on a balcony, listening to and watching birds, as well as the sunset and stars, out of your window. Once you start

The beautifully bright Kingfisher is Mya-Rose’s favourite bird

What are your favourite bird species? There are two birds in the UK that I really love. The first is the Kingfisher. We have one living next to our village pond and I

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looking, you might find that you can see treetops. Also, try using Google Earth to find safe walking routes with lots of trees and then go in a different direction each day looking out for wildlife in these unlikely places. Do you think that schools can do more to encourage kids to connect with nature? My dad has been a forest school volunteer at my old school since I was 10 years old. Now, only the youngest children there get to do forest school, which I think is tragic. Learning works so well outdoors and this is a great opportunity for younger children to get engaged with nature – but it needs to continue right through to Sixth Form. We cannot expect young people to care about and fight for our planet if they have not had the opportunity to connect with nature first. What inspired you to launch the Get Birding podcast? I love birds and I’m passionate about saving them, particularly after I presented a German documentary last year when I looked at the decline of bird numbers in Europe, which is 40 million fewer birds in the last 30 years. I started Get Birding as I wanted to bring lots of new people to birding and to inspire them to try something different in lockdown.

how we interacted with and what we can do. I think people living in the suburbs had an easier time being able to walk somewhere leafy from their doorsteps. Lots of people told me that they spent time in their tiny gardens because, with everyone working from home, the pavements were parked up and too narrow to walk along. I think people started to realise the detrimental impact on their mental health of being stuck within their homes. People began asking for advice and put out bird feeders, leftover food and water baths for birds; then they started sitting and watching the birds, before finally using the Internet to find out what they were looking at. Tell us about your work in improving diversity in the environmental sector. Why is this so important to you? I am British Bangladeshi and went birding most of the time with my mum and sister, who also look like me. My Bangladeshi family live close by in Bristol and I was always conscious that they did not understand why we were interested in birds or going into nature. When I was 13 years old, I found out about birding camps in America and so

decided to arrange a camp to take place in Somerset. I managed to get 16 people to come, but they were all boys and none of them were ethnic minority. I suddenly realised that I needed to get inner-city ethnic minority teenagers to come to my camps, as they did not have the opportunity or understand the benefit of visiting the countryside. I realised that I had hardly ever seen any ethnic minority people out in the countryside. People told me that teenagers, especially ethnic minority teenagers, were not interested in nature – I proved them wrong. I have now set up a charity, Black2Nature, and have had 10 camps for children and teenagers, as well as 10 one-day events. I have had a 100% success rate in engaging people and children with nature and working with the conservation and environmental sectors to create equal access to nature for ethnic minority communities, particularly to help with mental health, which is worse in those communities. I am a climate activist and have spoken at Bristol Youth Strikes with Greta Thunberg and done the most northerly youth strike in the Arctic. I have also written a children’s book, We Have a Dream, for children age 8+ and adults, highlighting 30 young environmentalists of colour from around the planet. Listen to Mya-Rose’s Get Birding podcast across all major streaming platforms and on Acast:

© Dr MC Birdgirl Ltd/Photographer: Oliver Edwards

Photo above: Puffins arrive in the UK in spring, nesting on islands and clifftops around our coast to breed

Do you think being in lockdown has made people take notice of nature and wildlife? Lockdown has changed everything; every part of our lives, who and

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Let’s play outside Sarah Welland, researcher at the Good Play Guide, explains why play is so important for our children’s development and looks at what parents can do to encourage our kids to play.


hildren play because they can and it’s fun. While they may not realise it, playtime is just as important for their development as food and maths. Why is it important for children to play? Play helps children to be creative, learn problem-solving skills and develop a sense of curiosity. In particular, free and active childled play equips children with a range of skills and helps them to be physically and mentally healthy.


A good variety of play is best and it’s easy to feel pressured about the amount of screen time children are allowed. We shouldn’t feel that we have to forbid screens, as they have their place in play and, increasingly, in education with home learning and homeschooling. As with many things, moderation is the best way forward and it may help to think of your


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child’s ideal play diet much like an ideal nutritional diet. In the same way that nutrition is about balancing the food groups, a healthy play diet is about balancing different types of play activities. Taking a balanced approach to play and creating healthy habits as the norm allows us to treat children occasionally and not feel bad for the times that they might be allowed to have more screen time than intended.

Getting outside makes for healthier and happier minds THE BENEFITS OF OUTDOOR AND ACTIVE PLAY Similar to vegetables, active play is the superfood of the play diet and so it’s not really possible to have too much of it! The value

children get from playing outdoors and connecting to nature is huge. Whether it’s structured learning or free play, getting outside makes for healthier and happier minds. Through exploring the outdoors and engaging in different types of outdoor play, children learn about the world around them and, in doing that, learn about themselves. For example, climbing a tree builds confidence and self-esteem, while falling and scraping a knee promotes resilience. Building a den outside is often a collaborative effort that requires social skills and communication. Coming up with their own fantasy world in the garden requires creative thinking and imagination, while collecting frogspawn challenges their observation and problem-solving skills. Time spent playing outside can also help to improve your child’s ability to focus in the classroom and foster more positive relationships among their peer group.

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One of the reasons for this is that natural sunlight allows our bodies to produce vitamin D, which releases the chemical serotonin in the brain. This is known as ‘the happy hormone’, as it helps to regulate emotion and mood. Because vitamin D isn’t in many of our foods, lots of play outdoors is important for your child’s wellbeing. Exposure to nature can also have a soothing effect on children by bringing stress and anxiety levels down, as it reduces levels of the hormone cortisol in the brain. It does this by offering an escape from stressful environments, such as classroom pressures or busy, urban surroundings. The outdoors environment is also important, as the natural light stimulates and helps to regulate our biological clock, which is vital to children’s immune systems and positively contributes to a healthy sleep pattern too.

of the most rewarding activities for children. Letting them know it’s ok to get wet and dirty encourages creativity, sensory exploration and can result in some of their most amazing experiments and discoveries. Encouraging them to get creative and use different parts of nature will also help to develop their problemsolving skills and nurture their curiosity. For example, tree stumps, rocks and branches all make good additions to their play equipment. For older children, if there’s a safe play space near home, encouraging them to play out together can be a great way to promote trust and selfreliance. Setting clear boundaries and timings will empower them with independence and confidence, while ensuring they stay safe. Getting everyone involved by scheduling some family play time can also be a fun way to encourage your children to get outdoors. While we’re not suggesting you have to play every minute of the day your child does, a dedicated time to down tools and give them your full attention will help them to feel valued and important. Additionally, it has the bonus of allowing you to open up your

communication and strengthen your bond. As adults, we often forget to be playful in our everyday lives and so the joy of letting our hair down outdoors can benefit us too.


While televisions and screens have their place in a child’s balanced play diet (and increasingly, their education too) we are more aware than ever of the pressures and distractions they can bring. Think of the great outdoors as an easy-to-access, natural detox. It is unmatched in the creative potential it has for your child’s play and is shown to scientifically benefit us all. So set a great example and encourage your children by enjoying some outdoors play yourself and your family will reap the benefits. By giving children time out, encouraging them to get back to basics and have some fun playing outdoors, we can make a huge difference to their overall mental health and wellbeing, and provide them with valuable life skills. The Good Play Guide ( is the destination for all things play and parenting and home to the Good Toy Guide (, leading source of toys tested by children and endorsed by experts.


Simple differences can help us to encourage more time playing outdoors. For example, arranging a playdate at the park or playground rather than at someone’s home can be a good way to encourage outdoor, social play. In fact, it benefits both parents and children, as it allows you to socialise with other adults and children who could become new friends. Although messy outdoor play can create more washing, it can be one

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IS SUE 0 8 - Family First

Tonbridge boasts Kent’s best example of a motte-and-bailey castle. The mighty gatehouse is amongst the finest in England. Yet its glory lies in much more than can be seen. On this ancient site and inside these weathered stone walls, the interwoven stories of kings and archbishops, tyrants and heroes, murderers and mercenaries, have helped write 950 years of English history. Tonbridge Castle’s medieval walls plays host to a fascinating attraction where you can walk in the footsteps of the Red Earl and lend a hand in the guardroom as the gatehouse comes under noisy attack from battering ram and siege tower. It’s a fascinating insight for young and old. Afterwards pop into the Castle gift shop for a souvenir of your visit. Set in the heart of Tonbridge old town the Castle together with its stunning 18th Century addition provides the perfect location where you are able to host a conference, running training sessions along with holding a reception or ceremony, the Castle can cater to your event needs. With views over the beautiful Bailey lawn the Castle makes for the most idyllic of locations where you can take in the stunning 14 acres of grounds as part of your day. The castle is within a short walking distance from Tonbridge train station which offers excellent links direct into London. Tonbridge Castle Castle Street Tonbridge Kent TN9 1BG

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Fancy a day at the beach? Use the Beach Check UK App to find the perfect spot. Available to download free on any Apple or Android device.

Or Go Beyond the Beach… Dorset boasts some of the most beautiful coast and countryside with lively towns and villages to be discovered and family fun attractions and activities ready to take your booking. Perfect for making fabulous holiday memories.

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TRAVEL Whether you are planning a day out at the beach, a staycation in the UK or just some fun in the sun, we have some great advice, inspiration and quirky ideas to keep the whole family happy and entertained this summer.

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Ready, set, beach

On a sunny day, what better way to relax, unwind and have fun as a family than a trip to the beach, says Georgina Probert.


ith international travel restrictions still in place, it is not likely that many families will be able to enjoy a foreign holiday this summer. Fortunately, we are lucky to have some beautiful beaches in the UK. Aside from the obvious items, like swimming costumes, beach towels and sun cream, we have come up with a few things that we just can’t do without, as well as ideas for fun activities and our favourite beaches to visit this summer.


Often, public toilets are few and far between at the beach. If you have young children, a portable potty is a lifesaver. We use one that can be set up as a standalone potty with disposable bags or as a booster seat that sits on an adult toilet seat. This is useful for children of all ages, as well as adults!


While we love going on holiday in the UK, the British weather can be somewhat unpredictable. Two items that we always take to the beach are a windbreak and a pop-up tent. The windbreak means we can create a ‘base camp’ that keeps everyone sheltered if the wind picks up and stops all of our things from getting blown away. Don’t forget to take a mallet to help you bang the wooden sticks deep into the sand. We also take a small pop-up tent where we put our picnic box, bags, towels and toys – this stops them from getting quite so sandy. It is also useful for babies and toddlers to nap in and to have some time in the shade, particularly in the hot midday sun.


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While it is a nice treat to eat fish and chips or ice cream on the beach, we often find ourselves on a beach that is quite remote and a drive away from the nearest town. If your children are anything like ours, they ask for snacks every five minutes and this is only made worse when they are excited and running around on the beach burning lots of energy, so bring twice as much food as you think you will need. We always take an insulated picnic box with ice packs to keep our sandwiches, snacks and water cold. We also take a large pack of wet wipes (great for getting sand off little hands and faces) and a black bin bag for all our rubbish.


While parents might want to sunbathe or read a book at the beach, kids need entertainment. A good old bucket and spade will keep little ones busy, but for older children, why not bring a sturdier wooden-handled spade for digging big holes or

making sand art. Other beach games we love to play include rounders, volleyball, football and frisbee (provided it’s not too windy!). Last but not least, don’t forget to check the tide timetable before you set out. There is nothing worse than driving an hour to a beach and then finding the tide is in and there’s no beach to play on!

5 OF OUR FAVOURITE UK BEACHES Camber Sands, East Sussex

– unlike other beaches in this area that are lined with pebbles and shingle, it boasts fine golden sand and stunning dunes that are fun to explore. East and West Runton, Norfolk

– great for fossil hunting, take along a bucket to collect your finds. Serious palaeontologists can use a geological hammer to open up rocks. Dymchurch, Kent – when the

tide is out, this sandy beach stretches for miles giving you plenty of space to play games and paddle in shallow pools. Woolacombe, Devon – recently

voted the best beach in the UK, this beach is dog friendly, has stunning views and is ideal for rock pooling. West Sands Beach, St. Andrews,

Fife – ideal for swimming due to its clear waters and lifeguards that patrol the beaches during the peak summer season.

Stay safe in the sun

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Dr Rachel Abbott, consultant dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson, explains how we can keep our children safe in the sun this summer.


hen choosing sunscreen for your child, opt for a high factor SPF 50 with a 5-star UVA rating. It’s important not to solely rely on sunscreen and ensure that children are in the shade and covered with loose clothing and a legionnaire style hat, especially between 11am-3pm when the UV rays are strongest. Always keep babies out of direct sunlight, as sunscreen is best avoided until they are over six months old. As sunscreen can be sweated or rubbed off, make sure you’re reapplying every hour or more – especially if your child has been playing in water.

Common Q&A’s Q: What is the difference between adult and child sunscreens?

A: Generally, sunscreens that are marketed for children tend to be a high factor (SPF 50) and fragrance-free to reduce the number of potential allergens in the sunscreen.

Make sure you’re reapplying sunscreen every hour or more Q: Should I put sunscreen on my baby?

A: Babies have very sensitive skin (both to the sun and potential allergens in sunscreen). Keeping them out of direct sunlight, particularly between 11am-3pm, keeping them in the shade and covered with a legionnaire style hat/clothing/light blanket is best until they can move by themselves.

Q: How much sunscreen should I put on my child?

A: It depends on the size of the child and the extent of the areas being covered. The general message is to use shade, hats and clothing. Sunscreen should be a last resort for areas that are difficult to cover e.g. face and hands – the more the better or realistically as much as the child will allow. This is because studies have shown that we don’t apply enough sunscreen and also that it is often rubbed and sweated off.

Q: Should I put once-a-day sunscreen on my child before school? A: Unfortunately, sunscreen reduces in effectiveness over time and so applying it before school (around 8am) means that it is unlikely to be very effective around the middle of the day (12pm) when the UV index is highest. Either send sunscreen in with your child – because learning when and how to apply sunscreen is a useful life skill – or speak to your school about supplying sunscreen. There are several national school programmes that support sun safety at school.

Q: Which sunscreens are best for children with sensitive skin conditions such as eczema?

A: Sunscreen with a short ingredient list, fragrance-free or described as ‘hypoallergenic’ would be a good place to start. No one type or brand of sunscreen will be suitable for everybody and so you might want to consider testing any new sunscreen on a small patch of skin first; for example, on the inner elbow before using it on the face. For more information on sun safety, visit the British Skin Foundation website:

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† 5in1 protection refers to NIVEA SUN Kids Protect & Care Range. *Source ©2020 Nielsen da (client defined) 52 w/e 31.10.20 (GB Total Coverage + NI Multiples)



The sun is at its strongest between 11am and 3pm in the UK, so try to limit exposure at these times.


Seek shade whenever possible.


Use extra water resistant sunscreen with a high or very high SPF.




2H Protect your shoulders, chest and back by wearing a t-shirt while out in the sun.


Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours but also after swimming, sweating or towel drying.


LOW: SPF 6, 10 MEDIUM: SPF 15, 20, 25 HIGH: SPF 30, 50 VERY HIGH: SPF 50+

ata, Value, Units, Suncare Protection

Wear a wide brimmed hat to protect your face, neck, and ears along with UV protective sunglasses.

The SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is the description of how much longer you can stay in the sun without getting a sunburn when you use a sun care product in comparison to unprotected sunbathing. The time you can stay in the sun when using a sun care product with certain SPF depends mainly on your skin type and the place you are at.

Fancy a staycation with a difference?

We take a look at some of the quirkiest family-friendly places to stay in the UK.

Clink 78 is housed in a former Court


hile there’s still a chance international travel might be possible this summer, many of us are not quite ready to jump on an aeroplane just yet. Going on a staycation is good for UK tourism and good for the planet (no air miles). There are some fun, fabulous and fantastic ways to make a summer holiday in the UK special. Here are some of our favourite quirky places to stay.

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Clink 78, London | Price per night: from £69.12

Families looking to explore London on a budget can make the most of the relatively tourist-free sights with a centrally based self-catering stay at Clink Hostel’s Clink 78 venue, which is close to King’s Cross. Clink 78 re-opens on 1 August. Housed in the former Clerkenwell Magistrates Court, the 200-year-old listed courthouse building – where punk band The Clash once stood trial (for shooting pigeons) and Charles Dickens worked as a court scribe – has been totally refurbished. Families can sleep in an authentic prison cell or chill out in the original courtrooms of this grand English-Heritage listed Victorian building, which features colourful and contemporary interiors following its multimillion pound revamp. The Private Family Rooms sleep up to 4-6 people and feature 2-3 uber-comfortable and newly developed ‘pod’ beds each with their own adjustable ventilation system, blackout curtain, multi-coloured mood light, reading light, power socket, USB port, free Wi-Fi and personal locker. Guests have full access to a communal kitchen for self-catering, as well as an onsite laundry and a free daily walking tour. More information at

The Burrow, Mid Wales | Price per night: from £150 | Minimum stay: 3 nights

If you want to live out your Lord of the Rings fantasy, The Burrow at Dolassey is a real-life hobbit house nestled in the hillside and surrounded by fields and nature. Situated in the middle of the countryside at the end of a farm track, The Burrow boasts luxurious, modern and very trendy interiors. The master bedroom has the most amazing standalone copper bath and there’s a cool bunk room with space for three children. Outside, there’s endless space for games and adventures, with a private hot tub, a patio that looks out onto a picturesque pond and a large garden, all surrounded by woodland and fields. The property is based in the small village of Bleddfa, near Knighton, so a car is recommended for getting about. For families who love outdoor adventures, there’s an assortment of attractions close by in the Elan Valley, as well as the Small Breeds Farm & Owl Sanctuary. Further afield is Radnor Forest, where you can discover the hidden waterfall, or you can go canoeing and kayaking in the Wye Valley. More information at

The Burrow at Dolassey

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I S S U E 0 8 - Tra ve l Will’s Tree House

Winchcombe Farm, Warwickshire | Price per night: from £225 | Minimum stay: 2 nights

Channel your inner Tarzan and head to the Warwickshire and Cotswolds border to stay in real-life treehouses nestled in sycamore and ash trees. Winchcombe Farm Holidays is a fivestar family-run boutique glamping retreat on a private estate in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There are six treehouses to choose from, sleeping different numbers of adults and children. We are very excited that some have slides that offer alternative access from the top

deck to ground private garden areas. Plus there’s a play area and duck pond, as well as sheep, chickens, moorhens, ducks, ponies and alpacas for company, including the opportunity to enjoy alpaca trekking. For adults who want a bit of luxury, there are private hot tubs, hanging chairs, hammocks and an outside shower, as well as a barbecue shed, fire pit (perfect for toasting marshmallows), and pizza oven. We love the look of the geodesic domes that come with some of the treehouses and have a king-size circular bed, plus personal telescopes for a spot of stargazing. More information

Ben’s Burrow

The Woodland Cabin, Yorkshire | Price per night: from £125 | Minimum stay: 1 night midweek/2 nights weekends

Within the sweeping landscape of a 20,000-acre estate near Masham in the Yorkshire Dales hide six original, hand-crafted round timber-frame lodges. Off-grid and totally unique, these snug little hideaways are rustic and luxurious in equal measure. Each lodge sleeps seven people: two in a king-size on the upper mezzanine level (from where you can gaze

through the skylight at the stars), three on single beds nestled in the middle mezzanine, and two in a secret double bed beneath the middle mezzanine. The lodges, each with a private veranda, are spread out around the edge of the woodland with views across the valley and moorland. At the heart of the site is the Bivouac Café, where residents can warm up and enjoy local produce. Older kids and adults can go mountain biking on the dedicated off-road trail and bike hire is available too. For more information, visit:

Round the Woods, Norfolk | Price per night: yurts, from £280; roundhouse, from £350 | Minimum stay: 2 nights

If you fancy sleeping ‘under the stars’, but would still like home comforts, the Round the Woods glamping site in Weston Longville, near Norwich, is just the ticket. Feeling more connected to nature is the most refreshing way to let loose and unwind. Situated in a large wildflower meadow, there’s a choice of spacious yurts that sleep up to five people or the newly-completed hand-built Willow Roundhouse, which sleeps up to seven.


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The yurts and roundhouse are ‘off grid’ with no electricity, which means guests can really escape and switch off. However, there’s no compromise in terms of comfort: luxury bedding, en-suite compost toilets and a separate spacious shower room with hot water and fluffy towels, as well as a wood burner to cosy up by on chilly nights. Each structure has its own private outside space with a picnic table and a large hammock. During the day, families can explore the private 18-acre nature reserve, spotting wildlife, building dens, playing in the woodland and gathering around the community campfire. For more information, visit:

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Think outside the hutch! Healthy Pets


Pet care expert and lifelong rabbit owner, Caroline Griffith explains why pet rabbits need a much bigger home than you might think. She also looks at how to care for bunnies to ensure they lead a long, happy and healthy life.

here is no doubt about it, being in lockdown has affected us all. While it does seem to be lifting for us humans, for many small pets it will sadly continue. In fact, many rabbits have always lived in ‘lockdown’. A recent survey highlighted that more than 60% of hutches sold as homes for our bunnies do not even meet requirements for farmed or laboratory rabbits.* Let alone, provide the true space a pet rabbit needs to live happily and healthily. As a pet industry nutrition consultant, my specialism is in the food your rabbit will

thrive on, but my knowledge of pet needs extends far beyond that. My biggest regret in pet guardianship is keeping rabbits in a hutch – albeit with a small run attached – during my early teens. I adored those rabbits, but naively followed the traditional view that a rabbit would simply live in a hutch in the garden. Thankfully, despite many pet stores insisting on selling rabbit hutches, awareness of true rabbit needs is growing. I shall not rabbit-on anymore over their misunderstandings, instead, I am happy to present the ultimate Bunny Care

Manifesto: what your bunny would ask for if he or she could talk (previous pun definitely intended). When kept happily and healthily, rabbits can live for up to 10 years and make great pets. They are not ideal for small children, but for a responsible older child and parent happy to care for them alongside their child, they are really good fun.


Feeding rabbits lettuce and carrots is somewhat of a myth – in fact, vegetables are not good for rabbits. If you recall while Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit chose to steal cabbages from Mr McGregor, he did get poorly afterwards.

Rabbits are very social animals and they much prefer a friend to hop about with Rabbits require lots of hay, grass and herbs, such as dandelions, cleavers and parsley. I have kept rabbits almost all of my life and never used processed rabbit pellets, as they would never find those out in the wild. Their little digestive systems do not need them and the dry pellets can also contribute to weight gain. Save yourself the money and pick delicious wild herbs instead; for thousands of years of evolution, these have kept rabbits healthy and wellfed. You can check out the Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund (RWAF) – – for an indepth list of wild herbs you can pick and feed to your bunny.

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Vets and rabbit experts have shared with me many times that rabbits have an IQ equal to a cat! They can play, learn tricks and use a litter tray just as cats do. While they are vocally quieter than cats, a happy rabbit will display just as many hops and jumps around the garden, which they do just for fun. Happy rabbits will often display a cute, comical, celebratory type move known as a binky. A binky is essentially a run, jump and twist in the air, well known to guardians of happy bunnies given the space they truly need. If your bunny is not binkying, their care manifesto needs addressing. RWAF recommendations are a home of H3xW10xD6ft – a true Bunningham Palace. Rabbits need to be able to stand upright in their housing; this allows them to stretch their backs and prevents many of the back pain issues that lead to aggression and contribute to weight gain.


Rabbits are social animals and they much prefer a friend to hop about with. Another bunny is better than a guinea pig. Traditionally, the two species have been kept as pets together, but it is much safer for both animals if they live separately with one of their own kind. Rescue centres can help you to find a friend for your existing rabbit, as they can be picky about friends. Finding the right rabbit friend is crucial. You must neuter your bunnies if they are not already neutered and there are thousands of bunnies in UK pet rescue centres – we have no shortage of bunnies in the UK.


If you scoop up your bunny gently, they can enjoy sitting on your lap. However, be aware that rabbits much prefer to have their feet on the ground and it can be scary for them to be held up high in your arms.


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This is an example of the sort of cage rabbits will thrive in – it’s much larger than a hutch

Contrary to what most people think, rabbits don’t actually like carrots and lettuce. They need plenty of hay, grass and herbs

They may struggle, twist and even appear aggressive to get back to where they feel safest, and they can easily hurt themselves by doing so. Rabbits will also play dead or trance through fear when held upside down; this should never happen to your bunny. Always keep them the right way up. Never pick a bunny up by their ears, as this is dangerous for them and even picking them up by the scruff is uncomfortable for them. I recommend you visit the RWAF website and read how to pick them up safely, as this is vital to your bond with your rabbit. Save picking up your rabbit for absolute needs; a confident, happy, bunny will often jump up onto your lap if you are sitting near them anyway.i


It is important to protect your rabbit from environmental diseases such as the common myxomatosis. Vaccines are clever in that they encourage your rabbit’s immune system to create a memory of the disease and that way the protection is there should they come across the disease later in life. Their bodies do not put a time limit on that protection; once the memory is there, it’s there. Initial vaccination is enough for a lifetime’s

protective memory. Myxomatosis is not an annually mutating disease like the human flu. While the vaccine product licences may only last a year or three years, your rabbit’s immune system goes well beyond that. ll a



Bunnies adore playing and they are quick to learn. Provide enrichment such as tunnels, plus a place they can dig. Digging is important, as this is what they love to do – after all, they are rabbits! Willow toys they can pick up and throw with their mouths and cardboard tubes stuffed with goodies occasionally (not too often as they sometimes eat the cardboard too). Rabbits will also enjoy chewing on branches from apple trees – mine adore this activity. Source * rabbit-welfare-association-fund/ our-work/a-hutch-is-not-enoughpetition/

Caroline Griffith is a pet industry nutrition consultant, author, Ofqual-regulated pet nutrition course provider and avid animal lover. Her published books can be found on all major platforms, including Imperfectly Natural Canine, written with BBC’s Janey Lee Grace.

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Blending families

Sophia Rantzau, counsellor and stepmum to three children, discusses common issues with blending two families and how to navigate meeting your stepchildren for the first time.


or me, there are three common issues when blending two families together: impatience, assumptions and communication.


This occurs when the two adults want to spend more time together, but the logistics of ‘child-free’ time can mean there aren’t many hours in the week for them to be alone. What often

happens here is that the adults rush to get the two families blended, so that they can see each other more. I can’t stress enough the importance NOT to rush this. Enjoy your own time together, cherish it. Use it to get to know each other better and build your foundation. This is your honeymoon period, so make the most of it before the day-today aspects of life are introduced. Use this time to make your Sophia with her stepdaughter

relationship secure, because when your stepchildren become an active part of your life, you and your partner’s relationship will be tested and you will be grateful to have cemented your foundation.


Never assume that because you have children of the same sex, age, or at the same school that both families’ children are going to get on. Before blending the two families, create time to speak to each of your own children individually. Ask them how they feel about you having a new partner and what are their fears? This could be about the ‘other’ children or how their other parent might feel. You are not putting fears into your child’s head, as they will already be there – so let’s encourage them to be named and looked at.

Before blending the two families, create time to speak to each of your own children individually Children can feel terribly guilty about liking their new stepparent or having fun as a new family. They may feel bad because their other parent doesn’t have a partner, for example. No matter what their fears are, please refrain from dismissing what your child has said or jumping to your own defence. Listen and repeat back to them what you have heard. Ask them if there is anything you can do to help reassure them. Remind your children that you will be ‘checking in’ with them to see how they are and then ensure you actually do this, even if you have to set a reminder on your phone – this is especially important after you have become a blended family.


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Such amazing things can happen with good communication, but it can so easily be forgotten. Each member of your new family is unique and will have their own ways of communicating. Even though, at times, it feels they aren’t saying anything, their actions will be telling you how they are feeling. Two ways to tackle this is to make sure you and your partner have planned time (without young ears around) to talk about what’s going well and what is perhaps not so going well. Second, encourage the children to talk to you and your partner, or separately, about how they are feeling. This might be about the family or things going on in their friendship groups. I always believe you can put more work into meeting your stepchildren before you actually meet each other in person. I am assuming that you would put in effort and consideration before doing things such as going for a job interview, going on holiday or buying a car. Anything that could be important to you deserves time to plan, prepare and be made a priority, which I feel is absolutely no different to meeting your stepchildren.


Before you meet your stepchildren, ask your partner about them: what are their interests? What are their likes and dislikes? For example, let’s say that one of them likes skateboarding; the first time you meet, you could go somewhere where there is the option for them to skateboard. It can give you and your stepchild a pause from what could be an intense meeting. Going to the cinema is also a good idea for a first meeting. Try not to look at it as if you are going to have to talk all the time. I would also highly recommend the first meeting to be incredibly casual

and not too long. When asking your stepchildren questions, make sure you speak to each of them and listen to their individuality. If they are of school age, ask what subjects they like or what they are studying. If they play games on their devices, ask them about the games. You could ask them to show you the game or explain how it works. If they have a character, get them to tell you about their character that they have created. This will be safe ground for them and, hopefully, they are talking about something they like, which could make them feel more at ease.

will be experiencing lots of changes, so be consistent in everything you do and give them time.

Sophia Rantzau is a stepmum to three children and a qualified counsellor, working with adults and children who are part of separating and blending families. She didn’t have a handbook when she was thrown into being a stepmum and that led her to write her first book, When Families End and Blend, available on Amazon ( Follow Sophia on Instagram and Facebook @yourspacetoday.


My first meeting with my three stepchildren was with the eldest, as he lived full time with his dad. He just said hello, loitered in the kitchen for a bit and then went off to play on his Xbox. It was my youngest stepchild who asked to meet me! Her other brother barely managed to say hi and that was all I saw of him for that first meeting, but the youngest glued herself to me, asking lots of questions and wanting ‘hang out’ with me and her dad. Remember, the children never chose for their parents to separate (even if their home life is ‘easier’ now). They

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Sport 4 All - ISSUE 08


4 ALL With sporting organisations now able to run clubs, events and activities once again – and many global sporting events taking place – there’s a fantastic summer of sport to look forward to. We highlight some of the active, fun and social summer sports that your children might like to try.

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ISSUE 08 - Sport 4 All

Surf’s up Are you lucky enough to be heading to the beach this summer and want to try a new sport? Surfing is one of the coolest lifestyle sports around and it’s heaps of fun. Surfing England explains how to get going and ride your first wave!


S an island nation, our coasts are to be explored and the ocean to embrace. Surfing is a great sport because it uses most muscles in your body and offers a completely mindful experience. When you’re in the ocean battling the waves, there’s no time to think about anything else but picking your wave and having a go at walking on water.


We asked one of Team England’s coaches some top tips on getting started:


Book a Lesson with an Accredited Surf School – taking a lesson and receiving some coaching to get started will save you hours of


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frustration. Learn the basics from an expert to make sure you are standing and wave riding as quick as possible. You can book surf lessons with Accredited Surf Schools in England at and all providers offer full equipment


Big is beautiful – it’s actually easiest to ride a big surfboard, so start off with a large foam board (again, your coach will make sure you get the right size for your height). As you progress, you’ll be able to try shorter boards


Wetsuits are key – ok, so you look a bit like a seal, but a wetsuit is essential kit if you are going to be in the water for at least an hour. Even in the height of summer, the ocean in the UK is chilly. Think of a wetsuit

as a neoprene rubber onesie and remember, the zip usually goes at the back!


Be safe – never surf alone and always follow the lifeguard’s advice. Surf coaches are also beach lifeguard qualified.


When you are at the beach, look for the lifeguards; they are on duty 10am-6pm, 7 days a week. The seasons they operate vary depending on the beach and you can find out more at Lifeguards are extremely fit and have to pass swim and running tests, as well as undergo regular first aid training. They’ll keep you safe. Learn the flags and make sure you’re in the right area. If you have any questions, ask the lifeguard on duty. Red flag = DANGER. Do not go

out when the red flag is flying. Black and white chequered

flags = For surfing, go between these flags. Also, in this area are stand up paddleboards, kayaks and other non-powered craft. Red and yellow flags = The

safest place for swimming, bodyboarding and using inflatables.

Sport 4 All - ISSUE 08

Orange windsock =

Noticed it’s a bit windy? There are often sea breezes at the coast and they can be safe, it all depends on how strong the wind is and the direction. An offshore wind means the wind is blowing out to sea and there is a risk of being blown far from shore. If you see an orange windsock flying, don’t take inflatables out.

Swim front crawl regularly

– it’s important to be a good swimmer to be safe in the sea. Swimming is the closest thing to paddling a surfboard, so get that pool time in. Push-up – a great exercise to

build upper body strength for pop-ups. Squats – bodyweight squats

do wonders for developing leg strength and stability. Pop-up – bringing the

Surfing is inclusive of all ages and abilities GET SURF FIT

Surfing uses all muscles in your body, it’s a fantastic form of exercise for getting fit and strong, while also being lots of fun. Many surfers do not live next to the sea for much of the year, so staying surf fit while not surfing is a key part of a surfer’s routine. Ahead of starting your surfing journey, you can do some simple exercises to get you prepped for the sea:

muscles together for an allbody workout that simulates ‘popping up’ on a surfboard. Lie on the floor/grass if you’re outside (make sure you’ve got bare feet to avoid slipping), move your arms in a paddling motion (like front crawl), then bring your hands beside your hips bending your arms, push up, and jump to bring your legs beneath you. Bend your knees to lower a little before standing up straight again. Put your hands back on the floor, jumping back to a plank and lowering down to the floor before repeating.

You’re good to go. Get fit and start your surfing journey safely. Most importantly, have FUN. Stay stoked, throw some shakas, and see you in the water!

Surfing England is the National Governing Body for the sport of surfing in England, covering all forms of the sport from bodyboarding to stand up paddleboard surfing. It has Accredited Surf Schools and Affiliated Surf Clubs all over England. Surfing England looks after surfing from beginners at grassroots entry-level through to the elite surfers competing for Team England. You can become a member of Surfing England for just £18/year (junior) and get all the latest surfing news emailed straight to you, as well as personal accident insurance for surfing worldwide (including at artificial wave pools and stand-up paddleboarding on flat water rivers/ lakes/canals). There’s also exclusive discounts and giveaways on offer. Find out more at

FUN FACTS ABOUT SURFING Surfing also takes place in

artificial wave pools; the first one in England opened in Bristol in 2019. It is a magnificent teardrop-shaped pool that generates all different size waves for beginners to advanced surfers. Surfing is inclusive of all ages

and abilities. The equipment can be adapted as required to be accessible – this means an amputee can surf or a person in a wheelchair, or with a visual impairment. Surf lingo – surfers are often

‘stoked’, which means excited, amazing. For example: “I’m so stoked with that wave I just rode”. Throw a shaka – a shaka is a

hand gesture that means stoked. When something is all good, you can throw a shaka at your coach. Curl your middle three fingers and extend your thumb and little finger.

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ISSUE 08 - Sport 4 All

Making up for lost time

Swim England, the national governing body for swimming in England, explains how it is encouraging children to safely get back into the pool with its #LoveSwimming campaign.


here’s simply no other sporting activity quite like swimming. It’s a valuable life skill and the unique properties of the water means it can be enjoyed by people of all ages and physical abilities. However, more than two million youngsters missed out on the chance to go swimming due to the coronavirus pandemic – resulting in almost an additional quarter of a million children being unable to swim the length of a standard swimming pool.


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Swim England has now joined forces with operators up and down the country to urge parents and guardians to ensure children return to ‘safe and secure’ swimming lessons as part of its latest #LoveSwimming campaign. The statistics show that more than five million swimming sessions – the vast majority being swimming lessons – were lost following the closure of public pools for the first time on 20th March 2020. That has already led

to at least 240,000 children missing out on learning how to swim 25m and 50,000 fewer children now being able to perform a safe self-rescue. The latest wave of the #LoveSwimming campaign has shown how swimming lessons are held in Covid-secure environments and how vital they are to keep youngsters safe, fit and healthy.

Swimming lessons are vital to keep youngsters safe, fit and healthy POOLS ARE NOW OPEN

Indoor pools were allowed to reopen on Monday 12th April and Jane Nickerson, Swim England chief executive, said people were returning to the water in droves. She said: “We are absolutely thrilled to see swimming pools across the country reopen their doors and it’s been great that parents and children are returning to their lessons in a safe and Covid-secure environment. “Swimming is a fantastic way for children and young people to be active and reap both physical and mental health benefits. However, being able to swim and stay safe in the water is also an invaluable life skill. With access to facilities limited due to the pandemic, we expect that there will be some regression amongst children’s swimming ability. “With summer upon us, I fear for children’s safety in the water and would strongly recommend parents and guardians to be proactive in

Sport 4 All - ISSUE 08

making up for the lost time. I hope that through regular swimming lessons and more pool time, we will be able to avoid ‘a lost generation’ of children and young people who cannot swim and keep themselves safe in the water.”

to keep the kids active and moving. It has been wonderful seeing them back in their swimming lessons. I have definitely noticed both my son and daughter’s swimming ability has deteriorated, but I’m confident that we’ll be able to make up for lost time.”


Find swimming lessons at

One parent, Amy McCarthy, a mum of two from Littlehampton, was confident her two children aged five and seven would be able to make up for lost time now indoor pools had reopened. She said: “We absolutely love going swimming as a family and think it’s so important that the children are able to swim and have fun in the water. “The last year has brought about so many challenges, including trying

there are plenty of reasons why parents shouldn’t put off their little one’s first trip to the pool. Infants can start enjoying the benefits of the water from birth and most swimming lessons start from around three months old, although it’s wise to check with your health visitor before enrolling.


They say you’re never too old to learn. And while that certainly applies to swimming, you’re also never too young to start enjoying a lifelong love of the water. It may seem a daunting experience, but there are many advantages to taking your baby swimming. From helping to improve coordination and balance to strengthening muscles, as well as providing quality bonding time and improving sleep,

Infants can start enjoying the benefits of the water from birth As youngsters get older, Swim England’s Learn to Swim programme is a world-leading syllabus helping children and adults learn how to swim. A games-led approach ensures children enjoy learning, while it also supports their confidence, enjoyment and safety in the water. Learn to Swim Awards help provide motivation and support for children at every level and these can be logged on the Learn to Swim app, unlocking exclusive content as they progress through the stages. To find your nearest pool for swimming lessons or family sessions, visit the pool finder section at Swim England’s website

Swim England helps people learn how to swim, enjoy the water safely and compete in all aquatic sports. It also supports its members, clubs and athletes, and runs qualification and education programmes to develop the workforce. For more information visit swimengland

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Sport 4 All - ISSUE 08

Rising stars Jo Wimble-Groves, co-founder of We are Girls in Sport, takes us through some of the female athletes to watch at the Tokyo Olympic Games this summer.


he Covid-19 global pandemic sadly postponed many events in 2020, including one of the biggest of them all – The Olympics and Paralympic Games. This was Tokyo’s second setback when it came to hosting the games. The first being way back in 1940 with the Second World War leading to rescheduled games in Finland. With Covid-19 cases reducing in several countries, it looks promising that the Summer Olympic Games is on and, even better, it is fast approaching. The opening ceremony of the games starts on 23rd July 2021 with a total of 33 sports being

played at the most competitive level. This is followed by the Paralympic Games, which will run from August, so there is plenty of incredible sport to watch and enjoy this summer. Understandingly, this year’s event will be slightly different, as fans will not be allowed to travel to Japan and we are being encouraged to enjoy the event from home and other sociable venues. To say we are excited here at We are Girls in Sport (WAGIS) is an understatement! To top it all off, we know that there will be five (well, actually six) new sports added to the Tokyo Games programme. While the introduction of new sports into the games is

both exciting and promising for the future of sport, it is important to mention how the Olympic Games this year is also adapting for women in sport. The IOC (International Olympic Committee) has also introduced 15 new disciplines to the 2021 Summer Games, each with the aim to increase women’s participation in sport and promote equality. Among many others, the 1500m women’s swimming and 3x3 women’s basketball are just some of those to be introduced. We have come a long way since women first participated in the Paris Olympics in 1900, when only sailing, croquet, tennis and golf allowed female athletes to compete. Over time, the female makeup of competitors has risen from 2.2% to 45% in 121 years – and these new disciplines are absolutely a step in the right direction for complete equality in sports.

There is plenty of incredible sport to watch and enjoy this summer WAGIS is taking a closer look at each of the sports being added this year and which promising young female athletes you can look out for.


This year, skateboarding athletes will compete in two Olympic disciplines: park (which takes place in a hollowed-out bowl for spins and tricks) and street (a course of rails, stairs and benches). The US, Japan, Brazil and Portugal all have strong world rankings in this sport. Skateboarder, Sky Brown will be appearing in the 2021 Games as one of the world’s youngest Olympians at just 12 years old! Sky started skateboarding when she was three and despite facing some challenges, including some injuries last year, Sky has come back stronger and fitter than ever before. FA M I LY F I R S T - S U M M E R 2 0 21


ISSUE 08 - Sport 4 All

In an interview with The Guardian last year, Sky said: “It’s OK to fall sometimes and I’m just going to get back up and push even harder.” We can’t wait to see her representing team GB this summer!


Olympic surfers will make their debut this summer at Tsurigasaki Beach on Japan’s Pacific coast. Greg Cruse, the CEO of USA Surfing, says the Brazil men’s team and Australia’s women’s team are expected to be strong competitors, thanks to a mix of athlete talent and experience in similar waters. Ones to watch include, Caroline Marks, who will be competing for the US at 19 years old, which makes her one of the youngest surfers to ever qualify for the women’s championship tour. Though her biggest phobia is actually drowning, Caroline overcomes her fears daily and has worked since the age of seven to represent the US in surfing.


In Olympic sport climbing, athletes will traverse a wall dotted with holds of different shapes and sizes, competing in speed (climbing a 50-foot wall as fast as possible), bouldering (scaling a number of fixed routes in a set time) and lead (trying to climb as high as possible in a given amount of time). Japan is one to watch, as it’s currently the only country other than the US to have its team of four set. Multi-award-winning Janja Garnbret is competing in the first sport climbing Olympic event and representing Slovenia this summer. Janja is definitely one to watch, having won the World Cup in both lead and combined climbing and the World Youth Championships in lead and bouldering by the age of 17.

which held the very first Karate World Championships in 1970. Front runners come from all over the globe, with standouts from Spain, Japan, Turkey and China. Sakura Kokumai will represent the US this summer. Sakura’s dedication to the sport is admirable, currently standing at number one in the US women’s kata. Sakura has given up having a car, a house and a job to train for the Olympics. She says: “Because I’m my own coach, I never really had the time to handle the other things, which has been a struggle.” But having recently been sponsored by Panasonic, Sakura is preparing for the games with their support and we can’t wait to watch her thrive.


Technically these two are not new Olympic sports, but they are being reintroduced after their last appearance in 2008. Baseball and softball are quite similar to one another, but with small differences. Softball tends to be quicker than baseball, with a smaller field, more hitting (thanks to a bigger ball) and just seven innings versus baseball’s nine. Competition for both sports will likely come from the host country, Japan. Baseball is their national sport and Team Japan is ranked number one in the world in softball.

Yu Kato aims to bring women’s baseball into the spotlight. She wants people to see what she can do on the diamond and also how talented the rest of her Saitama Astraia teammates are. Mostly, she hopes to show girls with a passion for baseball they can have a future in the sport. She told The Japan Times: “When I was a kid, there weren’t any women’s pro leagues and there were no goals we could set. Now that I’ve become a professional, I want to be the kind of player kids can look up to.”


In summary, despite all the setbacks of 2020, we hope that 2021 will be a golden year of sport. A year where women’s sport can thrive alongside a new generation of superstars. From the Olympics to Wimbledon and the Rugby World Cup, we hope that everyone will take some inspiration away from these amazing sporting events. We are Girls in Sport is a global movement to encourage and support more girls and young women to find and take up a sport they enjoy. Share your daughters’ sports story with us or find out more about upcoming news and events on our website ( Follow us on Instagram @wearegirlsinsport


This year, karate athletes will compete in two forms of karate: kata (a solo form of karate) and kumite (sparring). The competition will take place in Nippon Budokan,


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ISSUE 08 - Sport 4 All

Instilling confidence on and off the court

Following the launch of its new junior tennis programme, the LTA discusses how the sessions aim to ensure children have an enjoyable, positive and progressive experience.


he LTA – the national governing body for tennis for Great Britain – is paving the way for a new generation to pick up a racket and play. LTA Youth is a new and innovative junior programme aimed at kids aged 4-18, created to help more children enjoy the benefits of playing and staying in tennis, whatever their age, gender, ability, disability or background. The programme is a significant step-change for children’s tennis in Britain, providing fun, actionpacked sessions with a range of activities designed to help kids develop skills for life, on and off the court.


Created with world-leading expertise, the LTA Youth coaching


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programme offers a fresh, modern approach to tennis in schools, clubs and parks. This builds significantly on the success of previous LTA initiatives, such as Tennis for Kids and Team Challenge, to create a clear path that supports kids’ enjoyment of tennis, progression and an informal competitive environment within which kids will thrive.

The development of LTA Youth is driven by the insight that children’s physical literacy is deteriorating and there are growing concerns over declining physical activity among children. [1] This has been amplified during the pandemic, with the percentage of kids taking part in daily sport falling from 46.8% to 19%. [2] As outdoor tennis begins to reopen across Britain, now is the prime time for children to enjoy LTA’s new youth coaching programmes in school and recreation. For education settings, LTA Youth Schools’ content has been specifically created to develop key character qualities such as perseverance, resilience and respect, which complement the school sports curriculum.

Tennis helps to develop balance, coordination and fine motor skills HAPPY AND HEALTHY

The LTA is striving to help young people live happier and healthier lives, with a target of inspiring 10% of children in Britain to play tennis once a week by 2023. More than just learning tennis, LTA Youth helps them develop a whole range of physical and neurological abilities, including balance, coordination and fine motor skills, with activities involving decision-making and strengthening handeye coordination. These are core skills that will help set kids up for life, not just for tennis, developing them as both players and people. Sam Richardson, LTA Head of Tennis Products and Programmes, says: “Playing tennis, no matter your age, ability, of how often you get on the court, is one of the best ways to improve your balance, mind power and lightning moves – but we don’t

Sport 4 All - ISSUE 08

often think about how those skills can level up other areas of your life. “With the pandemic having a real impact on how active children have been, we’re proud to offer an insightled, world-class programme that gets kids active, develops fundamental motor skills and supports athletic development to ensure children progress, compete and enjoy the game. LTA Youth has all of this; it’s all about instilling confidence on and off the court.” Top British tennis talent are also showing their support for the programme and its positive impact. Rising tennis stars Emma Raducanu and Paul Jubb, and double Paralympic medallist Lucy Shuker will all be supporting LTA Youth throughout the year.


When enrolling onto the programme for the first time, kids will be assigned a colour based on their age and tennis experience, which will then determine what size court and racket, as well as what pressure ball they play with. Kids want to play in groups and with their friends, so coaches will support kids to develop their skills to become a more proficient player – no matter what their age or level. To make it easier for kids who have never played tennis before, there is a dedicated tennis taster course called LTA Youth Start, which combines coach content from the Blue & Red stages into a standardised course. For just £29.99 (plus postage) kids will receive 6 hours of coaching sessions (typically one hour per week for 6 weeks) a tennis racket, balls, a personalised t-shirt, certificates and more. Enrolling in LTA Youth Start will take kids’ footwork,

agility, strength and speed to the next level, which ultimately will help them develop physical skills that they can take into all walks of life. With a jam-packed tennis calendar ahead, kids have the chance to embark upon their own winning journeys with plenty of exciting competitions to look forward to within the youth coaching programme, from the LTA Youth Team Challenge through to the LTA Youth Local Tour. Competition is essential to retaining children in sport and helping them develop and progress. Visit the LTA Youth page for more information and to book youth-programme

The LTA is here to govern and grow tennis, from grassroots participation through to the professional game. Its vision is ‘Tennis Opened Up’ and it is on a mission to grow tennis by making it relevant, accessible, welcoming and enjoyable. It works with schools, volunteers, coaches and venues across the country. It also represents the interests of more than 685,000 members, playing on more than 23,000 courts. The LTA runs and supports a network of 11,500 approved tournaments for players of all ages, the four cornerstones of which are the premier grasscourt events leading up to The Championships, Wimbledon: the Nature Valley Open (at Nottingham), the Nature Valley Classic (at Birmingham), the Fever-Tree Championships (at The Queen’s Club, London) and the Nature Valley International (at Eastbourne). For further information about the LTA and tennis in Britain, visit: or follow on Twitter @the_LTA

Sources 1. Sport England, 2020 2. Physical Literacy Study, Hawthorn Press 2018

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ISSUE 08 - Sport 4 All

Step up H to the bat England cricket stars Chris Woakes and Sophie Ecclestone have teamed up with Strictly star Dr Ranj to help kids get active.

oping to inspire kids to get active again

after lockdown, England cricketers Chris Woakes and Sophie Ecclestone have penned heartfelt letters to more than 150,000 children across the country in a rallying cry to get back outside and active. The duo surprised pupils at their old schools by reading out the letters, which explained what inspired them to get into cricket. World Cup Winner Chris and Sophie, who is the number one IT20 bowler in the world, detailed their own experiences of playing cricket when younger and the benefits it brought them – from physical health to having fun with their friends. Chris, Birmingham Phoenix and England Cricketer, described just how difficult the year has been for him and his own two young daughters who he can’t wait to try playing cricket with in the future. He said: “It has been such a tough year for kids all over the country and we have to do all that we can do to help them. They’ve been separated from their friends and they haven’t had the opportunity to get outside and live active lives as they normally would. This has to change. “I have personally benefitted hugely from exercise and cricket over the years and I just want kids to be able to have that opportunity too. We all stand to lose out if they are denied it.”


As the nation comes out of a third lockdown, the impact on children’s activity levels has been profound. Research shows that nearly a third of children and young people (2.3 million) are doing less than an average of 30 minutes a day – with activity levels lowest for school Years 3-4 (ages 7-9) [1]. This is despite the government recommending that children and adolescents aged 6 to 17 years should do 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity each day. [2]

Findings have further shown that organised sport and activity have huge benefits for kids. From the development and improvement of cognitive skills [3] and the positive effects on attitudes and academic behaviour [4] to improving mental health, [5] self-esteem and leadership skills, [6] the benefits are broad – and a generation has missed out on these benefits for over a year. Cricket, in particular, is a great way to get kids active and offers much more than just physical benefits: giving kids more freedom and independence in a safe space, promoting togetherness and socialising as part of a team, better wellbeing and a

Cricket is a great way to get kids active and teaches independence in a safe space and socialising as part of a team

England cricketer Sophie Ecclestone and CBeebies presenter Dr Ranj (inset) are encouraging kids to get involved in cricket


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Sport 4 All - ISSUE 08

break from the pressures of life. Dr Ranj Singh, CBeebies presenter and Strictly Come Dancing star, explained: “The physical benefits of fitness and getting outside are well known. However, their role in reducing stress and anxiety, developing social skills and, crucially, given the events of the last year, bringing people together to reduce isolation and loneliness are more important than ever. Cricket is such a great way to get outside for a prolonged period of time with friends and is the perfect antidote to the lockdowns kids have been impacted by over the last year.”


To help parents get their children more active, the ECB has launched Dynamos Cricket, a new programme for girls and boys age 8-11 of all abilities. Designed with kids’ needs in mind, Dynamos Cricket will see participants get active, have fun and make new friends while developing their cricketing skills and playing a fast-paced, exciting game of countdown cricket – a new format that mirrors The Hundred competition launching this summer. To support this, the ECB has unveiled a video of Sophie and Chris reading the letters to the pupils at their old schools, in which they acknowledge the difficulties that children have had in getting outdoors with friends over the past year of lockdowns and encourage them to give cricket a go. Sophie, Manchester Originals and England Cricketer, discussed the impact that the limitations of the past year have had on her and had the kids laughing when she revealed she’d once bowled their headteacher out first ball. She also spoke about the challenges she faced as a young girl looking to get into sport and how she believes there have been huge changes since to help inspire more girls to take up cricket. She added: “While I was growing

up, playing cricket and getting outside was a constant source of fun and relaxation for me, and have continued to play a crucial role in my life. I’d hate to have had that taken away for one week, let alone a whole year, so I can only imagine what kids have been going through. I loved revisiting my old school to talk to the kids about it all – especially the girls – and chat about the positive impact sport can have on their mental and physical health, because it is such an important message. It’s why getting kids back outside and active is so important.”

TAKE PART For parents and carers who want to

Families also have The Hundred to look forward to this summer – a brand new sporting event, fusing fast-paced 100-ball cricket with blockbuster entertainment. Featuring eight men’s and eight women’s teams, from seven cities across England and Wales, it aims to open up the game to more families and young people. Kids that sign up for Dynamos will receive priority access tickets for their family, as well as receiving a whole host of free gifts and money-can’t-buy experiences associated with the competition and its partners. Parents can find out more about Dynamos Cricket and register their children to take part at: They can also sign up their younger kids up to All Stars Cricket at:

give their children an opportunity to take advantage of these benefits

For more information about The

and experience a summer of fun

Hundred and ticket access visit:

with friends, the ECB’s new Dynamos

Cricket programme debuts on 7th May across the country with further programmes due to take place


across the summer holidays. Parents

1. Sport England Active Lives Survey

can find out more about Dynamos


Cricket and register their children to


take part at: Alongside Dynamos Cricket, the ECB’s All Stars Cricket entry-level

3. Piche, 2014 4. GAO, 2012 5. Women’s Sports Foundation, 2004

programme for 5-8-year-olds is also open for registration for this summer, with activity taking place across England and Wales in July.

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1 Brush twice a

day for 2 minutes with a toothbrush and toothpaste specifically developed for your child’s age


To reduce the number of times your child’s teeth are exposed to sugar, try to limit any sugary food and drink to mealtimes


Take your child to visit the dentist for regular 6-monthly check ups

9-12 YEARS

ISSUE 08 - Sport 4 All

School’s IN for summer

ISTD ballet teacher, Sarah Barnett, explains why summer schools and workshops are so much more than just a fun day out for your child.


h, the summer holiday: a long break from school, and clubs and activities. To me, this breather always initially sounds idyllic, but then, as it approaches, the fear arises – how can I possibly entertain my children for weeks on end? The temptation is to book activities with specialist providers. But are summer schools and activity workshops worth the financial investment? As a long-term ballet teacher who has run numerous workshops over the years, I can assuredly say “yes”. Here are a few reasons why you should absolutely consider booking one for your child this summer.

A SOCIABILITY, CONFIDENCE AND INDEPENDENCE BOOST For many children, especially after Covid restrictions, just showing up and successfully participating in a

full-day workshop is enough to provide a valuable confidence boost. The group environment of a workshop also embeds a sense of unity and friendships quickly form, assisted by the children all having something (the workshop) in common. This ability to form friendships is hugely valuable and stands children in great stead for their school years and, indeed, the rest of their lives.


Without the constraints of following a syllabus, as a dance teacher, I use a workshop environment to stretch and develop the children I teach. It is a great opportunity to introduce more advanced steps and it is so rewarding to witness children trying their hardest and practising until they have perfected their routines. Workshops are an enabler for this sort of practice – not just for dance, but in all disciplines. Workshops are also a brilliant way of allowing children to try other activities over the space of the day or week, which they might not have otherwise had a chance to. Children sometimes stumble upon their niche during a workshop and it is wonderful to see a child just ‘click’ with a new activity.


While most workshop content is prepared well in advance, teachers often view them as a collaborative opportunity and one in which the students, especially in a creative


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environment, can really get involved with devising content. In my workshops, this is often students’ first foray into choreography and I thrive on watching them take this freedom and run with it! Creative autonomy is brilliant in expanding thought processes and giving a sense of ownership: the end result is no longer a dictated piece of work, but something they themselves have made, and there is a particular sense of pride in their performance.

It is wonderful to see a child just ‘click’ with a new activity With all this in mind, I would simply say, go on and book the workshop! And, as an added bonus, you can enjoy a little restorative peace and quiet for the day too.

Sarah Barnett has been the Director of Tiny Tutus Ballet School ( in Kent, since 2008. When she isn’t teaching, Sarah enjoys being a freelance writer and proofreader (

Sport 4 All - ISSUE 08

A summer of sport with Peppa Pig Peppa Pig has teamed up with athlete Greg Rutherford and Team GB to help get pre-schoolers active.


old-medal-winning athlete and father of three, Greg Rutherford, has joined forces with cartoon character Peppa Pig to unveil a new campaign in partnership with Team GB. Summer of Sport aims to get preschoolers across the UK moving ahead of the Tokyo Olympics this summer. Greg, Peppa and the Team GB mascot, Pride the Lion, feature in a series of highenergy and fun, physical activity videos aimed at children age 0-5 years old. The videos show easy-to-follow ways to get active, focusing on the essential fundamental movement skills linked to the curriculum.


Greg has been transformed into a Peppa Pig-style animated character for a range of fun educational activity sheets and fitness video tutorials. He explained: “With the Summer Olympics around the corner, there couldn’t be a better time to inspire the next generation of young children in the UK to get moving and educate them about the positive benefits of being active and doing your best. “It’s a cause that’s very close to my heart, so I’m really pleased to be joining Peppa Pig for this campaign. We hope we’ve created some helpful resources for preschool kids that will teach them that moving is not only great for your health, but also good fun!”

active fell during the 2019/20 academic year in England, as the Covid-19 pandemic restricted the type of activities available. In fact, 31.3% (3.3 million) children and young people did less than an average of 30 minutes of physical activity a day. The report also highlighted the importance of developing the physical literacy of young children – including motivation, confidence, competence and understanding – that is essential to enjoy the long-term health and social benefits of living an active life.


Peppa Pig was a natural choice for Summer of Sport, as she has always been an active little piggy and the TV show includes many episodes where Peppa and her friends and family enjoy different sports and activities, including swimming, basketball, cycling, skiing, football and ice skating.

Peppa and her friends can often be seen showing off their sporting skills The British Olympic Association’s head of retail, Paul Ellis, added: “Peppa and her friends are known throughout the country and can often be seen showing off their sporting skills, so what better way to get our nation’s pre-schoolers active ahead of Tokyo 2020 than by teaming up with Team GB, Greg Rutherford, and our very own Pride the Lion in this range of simple and fun activities. It’s also great to see both Greg and Pride brought to life in the animated world of Peppa Pig.” Peppa Pig will also be releasing a new sports-themed music single entitled, Bing Bong hyperlink Champion, to tie in with the activity and get the little ones up and dancing along.

Parents can download the Summer of Sport interactive content, including videos and activity sheets, for free. Visit Twinkl’s online educational resource platform (https://bit. ly/3xyj6kT).

Source * Sport England Active Lives Children and Young People Survey January 2021 covering the academic year 2019/2020 in England.


According to a survey commissioned by Sport England*, the number of children and young people who were physically

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I S S U E 0 8 - F a m i l y F e a t u re

Amazing rainy day experiments Father of Max (7) and Alex (9), and founder of TheDadLab, Sergei Urban shares some of his favourite activities to keep kids entertained on a rainy day.


’ve devoted the last few years of my life to thinking up inventive ways to entertain my children, while also teaching them about science, which is how TheDadLab was born. I always find the summer holidays are a particularly full-on time to be a parent. Without school to tire them out, Max and Alex are full of energy – and the demand for activities and experiments is even higher. On a sunny day, it can be easy to turn the boys out to the garden, where they will spend hours looking for creepy crawlies or playing football. But on those rainy summer days, I find it’s best to

have something ready to go at the drop of a hat, as soon as the restlessness and fidgeting makes an appearance. Here are four of Max and Alex’s favourite rainy day activities:


This is a straightforward and safe experiment that is a good level for children age 6-8 years old – you can even let your kids to set it up independently. Since water and food colouring are involved, there is a risk of spills and stains. If you’d rather rule out the chance of mess, encourage your kids to carry out the STEP

experiment in the bathroom or kitchen. The bath, shower (or even kitchen sink) is a great zone for messy experiments like this. What you need: Five cups (preferably clear plastic or glass) Three different colours of food colouring Kitchen paper roll Water

Step by step: 1. Set the five cups out in a row. 2. Pour water into the two end cups and the middle one (or the first, third and fifth cup) so that they are almost full. 3. Add food colouring to the water so that the water in each cup turns a different colour.



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4. Fold the paper towel/kitchen roll in on itself to form a strip. Repeat until you have four strips of paper towel/kitchen roll.

5. Connect each of the cups with a strip of kitchen roll.

6. Sit back and watch as the water travels up each strip of paper town/kitchen roll into the empty glass and marvel at the new colours that are made as the food colourings combine.


STEP 6 This is a great experiment to introduce primary and secondary colours and how they interact. Why not change the order of the food colouring in the original set-up and see how this affects the colours produced? This is also a good way to introduce older children to the concept of capillary action. Capillary action is what makes the water migrate up along the kitchen towel (against the force of gravity) and into the empty glass – and it is an important process in biology and plant science. Capillary action takes place because of the intermolecular forces between the molecules of the water and the tiny fibres of the kitchen towel. Believe it or not, this is the very process that allows trees and plants to ‘suck water’ up from the soil. FOLLOW THE EXPERIMENT:




If i’ve learned anything from my time setting up experiments for Max and Alex it’s this: kids LOVE magnets. Surely it’s not just my two? It can be so cool to see an inanimate object being moved around without being touched or pushed – and even overcome gravity. Magnets are also an excellent way to start introducing your kids to concepts relating to magnetic fields and electromagnetism. This next activity is an excellent and messfree way to combine magnets with another activity... painting!

What you need: A few colours of bottle paints Paper A small steel object (paperclip, nut, washer or another magnet) A magnet A plastic box (I used an old Ferrero Rocher case, but any clear plastic container will do. Ideally, the surfaces of the case will be flat and it will be big enough that the magnets can move around and paint with plenty of room)



Step by step:

1. Place a blank piece of paper inside the plastic box.

2. Add two different coloured

3. 4. 5. STEP 1-2 6.

blobs of paint at each corner of the paper. Place a nut in the middle of the paper. Close the box with a lid and seal it with sticky tape. Demonstrate moving using the magnet on the outside of the box to move the nut on the inside of the box. Let your kids take over and enjoy the mess-free magnet painting.



What if your child asks how magnets work? You don’t have to have a degree in physics to give them a scientifically sound answer. Magnetism is a force just like gravity (you can stop here if you don’t feel comfortable talking about atoms!).

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I S S U E 0 8 - F a m i l y F e a t u re

The force of magnetism is generated by the behaviour of tiny particles within the atoms that make up magnetic materials. These particles are called electrons. All atoms consist of a nucleus, with electrons orbiting around them like the earth orbits the sun. In a magnetic material, all of the electrons start orbiting in the same direction. The combined effect of all of these electrons orbiting in the same direction creates a magnetic field. This magnetic field will attract other magnetic materials that have electrons orbiting in the opposite direction and repel magnetic materials where the electrons are orbiting in the same direction.

What you need: A large piece of cardboard, big enough to be cut into lots of different pieces A paper straw Two wooden skewers Scissors A glue gun or liquid glue. Ideally you want a glue that dries fast, otherwise you’ll be holding pieces together for hours A cutout picture of a whale and a separate cut out of a jet of water


STEP 4-5

STEP 9-10

4. Pierce the middle of the long rectangular side of the cardboard box with one of the wooden skewers. 5. While in place, use this same skewer to pierce one of the circular shapes, off-centre, and feed this same skewer through the other side of the rectangular box.

6. On the top, square side of



For a slightly more challenging crafting activity, why not try making this amazing DIY whale automata toy. These crafty creations look great and they make an excellent art and design project for kids ages 10-12. This doesn’t have to be whale-themed either – you can make it whatever animal you like. This activity is best carried out with adult supervision, as scissors, hot glue and sharp objects are all possible hazards for unsupervised children.



STEP 6-7

9. 10.

side box, poke a hole in the cardboard with some scissors, and insert the straw, glueing it in place. Feed the other skewer through the straw and balance the other circle on top of the pierced circle. Glue the skewer tip to the pierced circle. Glue the water to the skewer and the whale to the straw. Turn the bottom skewer and watch the whale blowing water.


STEP 1-2


Step by step:

1. Cut two rectangles of equal

STEP 2-3


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size and shape from the cardboard, followed by two squares and four circles. 2. Glue the rectangles and squares together to make an open-sided box. 3. Glue the circles of paper to each other, so two doubledthickness circles are created.

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A cool experiment that looks great and teaches us about some important concepts in chemistry and physics is the density tower experiment. This is easy and safe, but has the potential to be very messy. This one is perhaps best carried out in the bathroom or kitchen! If you don’t have one of the liquids mentioned, just leave it out – the experiment will work just fine without it. Don’t replace it with another liquid, as the chances are it will have a different density, which will ruin the look of the final product.


A tall glass or vase An assortment of small

household objects of different weights (e.g. a screw, a raisin, a peanut, a marble and a ping-pong ball)

Step by step:

1. Pour approximately an inch of each liquid into the tall glass/vase. You must do this the order listed above – i.e. adding honey to the glass first, and baby oil last. Make sure you pour the liquids in gently. 2. Once you have finished pouring the liquids in, sit back and marvel at the weird and wonderful looking density tower. 3. To take the experiment further, drop the household objects into the glass to see how they interact with the different layers. You can use what you have to hand, but we got some really interesting results using an old screw, a marble, some raisins, some peanuts and a ping pong ball.


The density of a liquid describes how heavy it is per unit volume. We don’t come across too many “heavy” liquids in day-to-day life - and the concept is unfamiliar to some people. You would be forgiven for thinking that all liquids weigh the same as water! This experiment is a great way to clear up that misconception and also introduce to our youngsters how liquids of different density interact. The liquids used in this experiment have already been ranked from the most dense (honey) to the least dense (baby oil). If two liquids of different densities are put together, the more dense one will sink to the bottom, and the less dense one will float on top. This is demonstrated in our density tower - but with eight different liquids rather than two! It is curious to observe how some mixing will take place at the boundaries between some liquids. When we add the different objects to the glass/vase, we see that some sink straight to the bottom while others stop part of the way down floating at a boundary between two liquids. It mainly depends on the density of the object itself and the density of the liquid it is submerged in. This experiment helps us to match solid objects density with the density of a liquid. In our experiment, we discovered that our raisins density is close to the density of maple syrup. What match will you find? FOLLOW THE EXPERIMENT:



TheDadLab ( is a trusted resource for STEM and art activities for young children

What you need: Honey Maple syrup Milk Hand soap Water Rubbing alcohol Vegetable oil Baby oil

and their parents. You can watch these experiments and more on TheDadLab YouTube channel ( Read a review of the TheDadLab book on page 119.


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The real deal: Tom sitting in one of his favourite WW2 planes, the Spitfire

place on my bedroom ceiling as a youngster was exciting stuff! I also like building scale replicas of commercial airliners and, again, my inspiration came from flights to various holiday destinations as a young lad while on family holidays.


A HOBBY WITH A DIFFERENCE Dad of two, teacher and avid model maker, Tom Probert, explains why taking part in this ‘traditional hobby’ can improve concentration, teach kids about history and help them to relax.


uring the long periods of lockdown this past year, many adults and children had been suffering from screen fatigue. Fed up with Zoom meetings, online learning and being tied to a computer, they were searching for ways to entertain themselves other than watching TV, playing video games or scrolling through social media. This led to a huge increase in people taking up what have long been known as ‘traditional hobbies’, which include things like gardening, knitting and bird watching. My life-long hobby is model making and it’s a pastime I’d certainly put in the ‘traditional hobby’ category. I have a keen interest in all things aviation and


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The main reason I have become so involved in this great hobby is due to my dad. I ‘inherited’ this hobby from him; he too had been making models since he was a young boy and in turn, was inspired by his father – my grandfather – who used the more traditional balsa wood methods. My dad never pushed me into making models, but as a young child I would watch him modelling and I wanted to get involved.

I still enjoy whiling away any spare hours making my latest creation

After a trip to the local model shop to buy my first Airfix kit, with dad’s encouragement I was soon learning how to make models myself and have been enjoying this hobby ever since. Unlike many people who start model making at a young age and then give up, I continued into my teens and Tom mainly scratch-built this now, at almost 40 1/32 scale model of a Halifax, years old and with which won best in show at the two children of my Southern Expo model show own, I still enjoy whiling away any spare hours making my latest creation. the Second World War, so the Model making can be frustrating majority of the models I make are when things go wrong, but overall it from this era. My favourite WW2 is my way of zoning out and relaxing. planes are the Spitfire and the When engrossed in my latest build, B-17 Flying Fortress and seeing time passes in the blink of an eye these classic warbirds performing and the stresses of real life disappear at airshows as a young boy is completely. I find it hugely satisfying one of the reasons I got into to finish a model and, while I do make the hobby – having my own air standard model kits, I like to stretch battles and dogfights taking

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myself and regularly scratch-build models from plastic card and the like or adapt model kits to make different types of aeroplane that are not covered by the mainstream model manufacturers. I’ve even entered competitions in the past and won awards at the various model shows across the country.


I am a teacher at a boys-only prep school and I run a model club every week, as I am keen to promote the hobby. The children learn the basics of making models and they can choose whether they want to build a plane, car, bus, boat, tank or anything else that takes their fancy. There is often a lot of research involved in making models as, in my case, I want them to be as historically accurate as possible. However, if the boys want to paint their Spitfire bright pink, they can!

This is also a great way to spark an interest in history for children, as they can research the plane or vehicle they want to build. We often spend some time during the model club meetings looking up pictures or facts about the real article – which they enjoy as much as building the model. It’s great that many of the boys in my school model club continue this hobby at home with their parents. However, as they are using a sharp model knife and solvent-based glues, this is definitely a supervised hobby for younger children.

and a little tube of glue. For example, Airfix has 37 starter kits in its range and there are four skill levels attached to each kit. For complete beginners, both Airfix and Revell offer simple brick-based model kits that push together to build a sturdy model, with no paint or glue needed. Revell has the SnapTite Build & Play range and Airfix has the QUICKBUILD range.


Head over to the Family First Facebook page to enter our exclusive competition with Airfix to win a Small Starter Set Hawker Hurricane Mk.1. Visit familyfirstuk to enter.

The great thing about modelling is that it is a really easy hobby to get started with. While you do need more specialised equipment if you want to build models at competition level, you can buy starter kits from Revell ( and Airfix (uk.airfix. com), with only a few essential tools that you need to purchase separately. Starter kits are the perfect first foray into building. They contain an easy-tobuild model and everything you need for your first build: a paint scheme, necessary paints, a brush, sprues (the little plastic frames that the pieces come in), decals (the ‘stickers’),



If your child shows an interest in model making, here are a few top tips to help encourage them to give it a try: It is always a good idea to

build something they have an interest in. That might be cars, planes, boats or even spaceships. If they like history, such as WW2,

or they like to learn about how things work, you could do some research together about their chosen model. Make sure you don’t start

Tom has been interested in model making from a young age. He enjoyed watching his father build them and also raiding his collection!

out with a model that is too challenging, as that might put them off. Be prepared to supervise and

help them to build their model, as some aspects of building – particularly the model knife and glue – can be dangerous.

BASIC MODELLING KIT A cutting mat (to protect your

worktops/dining table) Small paintbrush Glue and paints (most starter kits

come with the correct colours) Model knife Sandpaper

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3 play modes: TV, Tabletop, Handheld

Dedicated to handheld play

Bigger screen

Compact and lightweight

Includes 1 Joy-Con Pair

More affordable

Games to Play Together

© Nintendo, © 2019 Nintendo. Ring Fit Adventure and Nintendo Switch are trademarks of Nintendo., Mojang © 2009-2018. «Minecraft» is a trademark of Mojang Synergies AB., © 2020 Mojang Synergies AB. TM Microsoft Corporation.

Games to Play Together

Games to Play Together

Games to Play Together

Available at


©2021Pokémon. ©1995–2021Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc. Developed by ILCA,Inc., ©2020 Pokémon. ©1995–2020 Nintendo / Creatures Inc. / GAME FREAK inc. ©1999 Nintendo / HAL Laboratory, Inc. Developed by BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc.

Navigating the new normal

It’s been a tough year for adults, but what about kids? Life coach Puja McClymont looks at how you can help your children get used to the ‘new normal’, so they can socialise with their friends again.


irst it’s important to note how resilient kids actually are. We often think that they can’t handle challenging situations, but with a little bit of preparation and involving them, you can communicate really effectively and still retain their childhood innocence. It’s a lot to ask of anyone, let alone young children, to keep their distance, not touch anything and wash their hands incessantly at the best of times, But during the pandemic, we’ve all been forced to. Have you noticed how children have adapted to the many changes?

Some children have struggled, as they do with any type of change, so it’s down to us as parents to make things easier and help them to understand. I’ve put together a few tips to help with the transition into the ‘new normal’ for you to use as a roadmap to help your children navigate their social lives. The key here is to communicate clearly with them regularly. Perhaps set up a family meeting once a week (like a school assembly) where you report on what’s happening in the world, what they can

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do and what’s to come. This way, they’ll enjoy the fun of the weekly meeting, but also appreciate the special time that you’re giving to communicate what’s happening around them. Remember that children can only understand what they can understand, so you will still need to parent them and remind them 100 times of everything you’ve just said! But making this weekly meeting a regular feature will encourage trust and foster excitement.

The key is to communicate clearly and regularly USE THE ‘BUBBLE’ ANALOGY FOR MEET UPS Most (if not all) schools have been operating within bubbles in each class, for lunch and at playtime. Use this analogy to help your children understand how they can meet up with their friends. Perhaps get a calendar just for them that marks what they can do when and with whom.

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For instance, if you can meet with one other household outside, let them choose a playdate with someone, add their name with a sticker to the calendar and show them how to count down the days. Essentially, rather than focussing on what they can’t do, focus on what they can do. This will then be less disheartening for their little feelings. A reward chart might also be helpful and you can create one for yourself or older children, so that everyone has something to look forward to.


If you haven’t already, find a book or print out a picture of the body and show your children how the immune system works (obviously at the most basic level). Use coloured pens to show blood flow, white blood cells etc to help them understand what happens in the body. You can then use another colour for the germs, with sad faces on to demonstrate what happens when you don’t wash your hands. For social distancing, it’s quite incredible watching a video of a sneeze in slow motion (there are many on YouTube) – the kids will love it and it’ll help them gain perspective on how far germs can really travel.

No one knows how the rest of the year will pan out and you can only do what you can do GET THEM EXCITED TO PLAY OUTSIDE

When you make something exciting, children are much more receptive. Use their excitement triggers to paint a picture of how wonderful it is to be able to see friends outside and you can demonstrate the benefits of being outside with regards to germs and the air, too. Get them excited to ride their


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bikes one week, feed the ducks another, play football etc. Whatever you do, keep them excited about being outside and they’ll soon forget about the restrictions that cause them to worry or be upset that they can’t have playdates indoors with their toys yet.


It’s difficult to navigate all that has been happening this past year for adults and it’s easy to forget what we say and do at home that our children see. They see everything and they feed off our energy, so it’s vitally important that you manage your stress and anxiety well so that you don’t project your fears and worries onto them. Always remember that you do not have to do anything that makes you anxious. It’s not worth the stress and worry, you can find other ways to be social and safe and do whatever is comfortable for you and your family. No one knows how the rest of the year will pan out and you can only do what you can do. Whatever is in your control, just focus on that. Everything else is just going to cause you additional stress and worry, which will essentially compromise your immune system. Don’t feel pressured to meet up with anyone or go to places. You survived a strict yearlong lockdown, you can do whatever

you need to do to keep yourself sane and the kids safe. As the weather improves, you’ll naturally want to spend more time outside and being outside is the best way to socialise, as well as top up on essential vitamin D, so it’s a win-win. My top tip is to keep the roadmap an exciting journey for the children and yourselves so that you have things to look forward to. Be creative as well, use Pinterest to find easy picnic ideas, get the kids involved in menu and activity planning, do something different each week and you’ll enjoy it too. The most important point in navigating the ‘new normal’ is to communicate with your children as often as possible so that they feel safe, otherwise they can get stressed and worry very quickly with all the different messaging they hear. Be clear with them and as upbeat as possible, so that they are more receptive to the changes taking place. Also, be kind to yourselves. This is not easy and everyone – no matter how many pictures of activities they post on social media – is struggling in some way. Puja McClymont is a life and business coach at Frankly Coaching (

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among the chaos Mum, mindfulness coach and nutritionist Sheena Tanna-Shah shares an excerpt from her book, Perfectly Imperfect Mum, with advice on how to stay calm when family life gets on top of you.


e have all been there: a certain situation arises with the kids, you tell yourself you are going to be calm and patient, you will talk gently, you will not lose your mind… definitely not this time… and the next minute you see red and that’s it; your mouth opens and a whole flurry of words escapes at such a volume that you are pretty sure it’s triggered an earthquake. For some reason you can’t seem to close your mouth and the words continue to flow out, until suddenly you feel this eerie silence descend upon you, which is what makes you stop for a minute. You notice a pair of eyes staring back at you, looking slightly scared,


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and then their eyes fill with water and spill out silently. (Either that or they yell just as loud and just as hard back.) Then the worst feeling in the world takes over, which is guilt. It fills your body and you feel like the worst mum ever for losing your cool. You had promised yourself the last time that this wouldn’t happen, you feel like you are the only one who acts like this – I mean, there is no way any of the school mums would ever lose their cool – and your thoughts on failing parenthood begin to spiral. Now I will stop you there to tell you the one simple fact that you really aren’t the only one to ever yell at your child; every parent has pretty much had a moment of reacting in the same

way, and I for one didn’t know how to manage my own awareness and control before practising mindfulness and would react in the same way many, many times. I always felt like this psycho mum because my temper would just go at the smallest things. I felt like I had no patience… ever! However, I knew also that this couldn’t be the only way. I was sure I could absolutely control my reaction to any situation. I didn’t need to shout or yell to have an impact (unless, of course, they were about to put their hands in the socket or something), I didn’t need to continue to raise my voice to get their attention, and I certainly didn’t need them mirroring my reaction in the future.

Deep breathing is extremely powerful I can honestly say that after practising mindfulness and working on my inner calm, I really don’t feel it’s necessary to raise

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my voice to show them I mean business. It feels good to have this control, and it feels good to work through situations in a much calmer environment. This calmness over my tone, mood and patience has made one of the biggest differences to me personally and, of course, to my family.


Deep breathing is extremely powerful here; breathing deeply right into your stomach and slowly exhaling (minimum ten breaths) will slow your heart rate down and will signal for the brain to calm down too. This in turn will get you out of the fight/flight reflex and instead allow you to think clearly and logically. It will give you that space and time to respond and not react.

Communication is key to calm When the conversation has been had, tell them you feel proud that you were able to discuss it like a grown-up. Tell them this took good listening and communication skills. If things haven’t resolved, tell them to maybe write down what it is they are feeling, I often tell my daughter to say, “I am feeling [she fills in the word, e.g. frustrated, angry, sad] because [she thinks of the answer].” It is a good way to express whatever it is they are feeling in the moment. If one or both of us are still feeling frustrated and we need extra time, we choose one of the following to do for a few minutes:

Read, Listen to music,


Instead of telling your children to stop or go somewhere, remove yourself from the situation for a few minutes. Go to a different room or on the stairs and continue to breathe deeply. This will remove you from the triggers that are getting your emotions to rise.

Then, when we are ready, we come back together and have a little chat.

Explain to your child what it is about their behaviour that they could improve on, what it is that you were not happy with and how it made you feel. Often when a child sees the impact it has on you, this is when they will rethink their actions next time. You could even start by asking them what they think they could have done differently. Often, when the answer comes from them, they are more likely to actually understand their behaviour and consequences. When we are quick to tell them, “You did x, y and z wrong,” they are more likely to feel defensive and not feel understood; this in turn leaves no room for learning or moving forward. The process of calming them down will take longer because they will feel attacked or not believe their side will be heard, even if it’s an apology.

This is a great time to be just like a child and allow that release through child’s pose. 1. Start on the floor on all fours, keeping your knees hip-width distance apart. 2. Breathe in, and as you breathe out, sink your bottom over your heels and place your forehead to the floor. 3. You can place your arms overhead with palms on the floor or along the side of your body, palms facing up. 4. Breathe slowly, pressing your tummy on your thigh and hold for a few breaths. 5. To release, place your palms under your shoulders and gently sit up.

Doodle with pencil and paper,

Find a space

Ask the question


Accept it’s OK to have moments like this, that things can go wrong and that’s OK; the key is how you move forward from it. It’s harder when it may be the same thing that’s causing you to be frustrated (kids never doing the bed or tidying up, etc.). I have absolutely been there and still can be there on days, but I explain to them how it makes me feel, and by me spending extra time on something it takes out time for other things, such as playing or hanging out with them. Promote how working together to find solutions can benefit all of you and, as my daughter likes to remind me, the word POSSIBLE is in IMPOSSIBLE.

Sheena Tanna-Shah is a mum of two girls, optometrist, rapid transformation therapy practitioner, life coach, NLP practitioner, nutritionist, and mindfulness and meditation practitioner. Her book Perfectly Imperfect Mum, £9.99, is available from Amazon (amzn. to/2TgvE1O), WHSmith and all other retail outlets.

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Buddies for growing bones

Dr Judith Bryans, chief executive at Dairy UK, looks at the importance of calcium and vitamin D in our children’s diet.


e all know calcium is good for our bones, this is especially so when we are young. During childhood, calcium is essential in supporting the growth and development of bones, as well as maintaining bones and teeth throughout our later life. Calcium intake is super important because it’s during childhood and the teenage years that our bones grow the most rapidly in length and strength, with around 90% of the adult skeleton formed by the time we are 18 years old. For this reason, it’s crucial that we ensure children’s diets include enough calcium to allow their bones to grow and strengthen to their full potential. Getting the right amount of calcium


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to support our bone development while we’re children sets our bones up for the future. Similarly, not getting enough calcium can open us up to serious health issues – such as osteoporosis – in our adult years. Milk and dairy products are rich sources of calcium and just one school-sized carton of milk can provide 42% of a 7-10-year-old’s daily calcium intake in one convenient and tasty package. Other dairy products, like cheese and yoghurt, are also loaded with calcium and are a great way for parents to help children meet their nutritional requirements every day.


While we rightly think about calcium when it comes to our bones, it also has a number of

other functions that you probably didn’t know about, but that are just as important for our bodies. Calcium helps us release energy from the food we eat, which is particularly important for children, who need lots of energy to grow and develop – and also for running around the playground! It also helps our muscles and nerves work, and even contributes to the function of digestive enzymes, helping little tummies digest food. Calcium also plays a role in neurotransmission, which is the process of the body’s chemical messengers sending signals between one part of the body and another. That’s a lot of jobs for just one nutrient and underlines how and why calcium intake is so important, especially for growing children.


Vitamin D works together with calcium – think of them as a tag team. They both share a few roles within the body. In fact, vitamin D contributes to normal calcium levels in our blood and helps us to absorb and use calcium, so that it can do its many jobs within the body. Like calcium, vitamin D helps children’s bones to grow and develop and helps maintain their bones, teeth and muscle function. It also helps to support the functioning of children’s immune systems. This is especially

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important for school children, who are exposed to all sorts of different germs every day. Calcium and vitamin D both play a role in the process of cell division – in which our cells divide and multiply – which is an essential process required for growth and development. Calcium even goes a little further than this and helps our cells specialise to perform specific functions in the body.

Calcium helps us release energy from the food we eat Our bodies mainly get vitamin D from the action of sunlight on our skin, which triggers the production of the vitamin in the body. Between the British weather and the fact that there aren’t many good dietary sources of vitamin D, this is why it is recommended that every person over the age of one takes a daily supplement of 10mcg, especially in autumn and winter. Foods that do contain some vitamin D and can help top up your levels include: oily fish, red meat, egg yolks and fortified foods such as some yoghurts, breads and cereals – but always check the label.

MORE THAN JUST CALCIUM While we rightly applaud dairy for providing us with lots of calcium to support the growth and development of our bones in our younger years, they actually provide us with an array of nutrients that we need to get a healthy and balanced diet and to support our general health. Children need lots of nutrientrich foods in their diet to support their rapid growth and development. They have much higher requirements for energy and nutrients in relation to their body size than adults and so nutrient-rich foods, such as milk, cheese and yoghurt, should play an important role in their diet in helping them to meet the needs of their growing bodies.

The fact that dairy products pack such a nutritional punch is also seen in the data that is collected about our diets. These figures show that milk and dairy foods contribute significant amounts of calcium, B2 and iodine to school-aged children’s diets and significant amounts of protein, calcium, vitamin A, iodine, B2, potassium and zinc to preschool children.

TIPS FOR FEEDING TINY TUMS There are many ways you can help children get more of the nutrients they need to help them as they grow – and dairy products are a great way to provide a healthy and balanced diet. A glass of milk before bed, cheesy crackers as a snack or a tasty yoghurt with fruit are all easy ways to help little ones get the nutrients they need every day. Here’s one of our favourite quick and easy smoothie recipes, packed with dairy goodness and fruit for you to try at home.

To show just how important milk and dairy are as sources of nutrients for children, they provide: Calcium, which helps to

support healthy bones and teeth Protein for helping to support

healthy muscles and bones Energy to support growth Iodine for growth,

development and cognitive function Phosphorus, which helps us to

help release energy from food Potassium for muscle and

nerve function Vitamins B2, B5 and B12

BERRY BOOSTER INGREDIENTS: 3tbsp of mixed fresh and frozen berries (such as strawberries, raspberries and blueberries) A large glass of milk

METHOD: 1. Place the berries in a container and mash into a pulp. 2. Push through a sieve or place in a blender and whizz until you have a smooth puree. 3. Pour the milk into a shaker with the puree and shake until smooth.

For more information on dairy, nutrition and health, visit the Dairy UK website (

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GET COOKING Preparing and cooking healthy meals as a family can be messy, but it can also be loads of fun! In this issue, we have a roundup of products that will make weaning your baby a breeze, top tips to reduce food waste, and the importance of dairy in your children’s diet, as well as some delicious recipes.

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YOU WILL NEED For the cake 100g butter 125g caster sugar 2 eggs 125g FREEE Self Raising White Flour 1 tbsp lemon rind, grated 1 tbsp poppy seeds 3 tbsp lemon juice butter, for tin

For the icing 75g icing sugar 1 tbsp lemon juice ½ tsp poppy seeds


Cake 1. Pre-heat the oven 2. Rub some butter around the inside of a 500g/1lb bread tin. 3. Put the butter and sugar into a large bowl and beat together until light and fluffy.

Gluten Free Lemon & Poppy Seed Loaf 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 Lemon & Poppy Seed Loaf Cake uses our Gluten Free Self Raising White Flour and makes a lovely, fresh summer bake.


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Where to buy: You can buy all our flours at, and at selected national and independent retailers. Info: For more gluten free recipe inspiration, visit *Kantar WPO, 52 w/e 21 February 2021

EQUIPMENT 1 x 500g/1lb bread tin 2 x mixing bowls

4. Beat in the eggs one at a time. 5. Sieve the flour into the bowl and stir. 6. Finely grate the lemon rind into the bowl, add the poppy seeds and lemon juice and mix together well. 7. Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the top. 8. Bake for 40-45 minutes. 9. Cool the cake in the tin for 10 minutes then gently turn it out onto a wire rack and leave to cool. Icing 1. Put the icing sugar into a bowl, add the lemon juice and stir to make an icing paste. 2. Spread the icing over the top of the cold cake. 3. Before the icing sets, sprinkle the poppy seeds over the top of the cake.

TEMPERATURE 190°C, Fan 170°C, 375°F, Gas 5.

COOKING TIME 40-45 minutes

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INGREDIENTS - SERVES 4 – 1 tablespoon olive oil – 150 g finely chopped onion – 2 tablespoon Korma curry paste – 1 tablespoon tomato purée – 625 ml vegetable stock – 200 g dried red lentils PREPARATION 10 min cooking time Cooking Pressure: High 1. Add oil. 2. Cook onion for 2 minutes or until soft. 3. Add paste, puree, stock and lentils. Stir well to combine. SEASON TO TASTE AND SERVE !

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Improving immunity Chloe Steele (MSc), a BANT-registered nutritional therapist, shares her top dietary tips to help boost your child’s immune system.


he modern age has given us many great things, like the Internet and electric cars, but our diets are not one of the success stories. Nowadays, we eat large quantities of processed foods and, while most of us understand that this is impacting our waistlines, what you may not be aware of is that it could also be damaging our immune systems.


The job of the immune system is to protect the body from anything it doesn’t recognise and it can be split


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into two main departments. The first is the innate response, which is fast and the first reaction to invasion. The second is the adaptive response, which is responsible for remembering what has occurred so a more efficient defence can be initiated next time. The adaptive response is underdeveloped in children, as their exposure to germs is limited. However, unlike adults, who often feel like they have been hit by a bus when they get a cold, healthy children have a strong innate immune response, which quickly reacts to fight new infections. This results in milder symptoms and faster recovery and has been given as a reason why children appear to remain largely unaffected by Covid-19. The early years of life are critical for the development of a child’s immune system and it can be influenced by a number of modifiable factors. Breastmilk, a healthy diet, skin-toskin contact after birth and owning a pet can all boost the immune system,

whereas early weaning and a poor diet can hinder it.

NUTRITION AND THE GUT The majority of our immune cells are located in the gut, in an area known as the gut associated lymphoid tissue (GALT), which gives an indication of the influence food has on the immune system. The Western diet has emerged in recent years as our diet of choice, which is high in processed foods and low in fruits, vegetables and fibre. Children have a natural liking for the Western diet, as they generally have a preference for sweet and salty flavours and avoid bitter and sour tastes. It is thought that this is an evolutionary development, whereby sweetness is related to a source of energy and bitterness, toxicity. Children also tend to eat more of the foods they like best, which alongside a poor diet, can culminate in deficiencies and excesses of certain nutrients.

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A lack of dietary vitamins and minerals is particularly problematic for the immune system, as many of these cannot be produced within the body and low levels can hinder the body’s ability to regulate inflammation. High intakes of sugar, salts and certain fats, can contribute to inflammation as a result of the normal immune response to these types of food. If this reaction is prolonged due to continued consumption, it can lead to increased severity of infections and the development of certain diseases such as type 2 diabetes.


It would be easy to rely on supplements, but it appears that non-processed whole foods have abilities beyond the vitamins and minerals they contain. While supplementation for other disorders is not unwarranted, such as iron for anaemia, fresh whole foods have a greater benefit for immune health and should be encouraged. For those of you who find it difficult to get your children to eat unfamiliar items and foods that don’t come out of a packet, then you are not alone. The most important thing is to relax and understand that the tendency to reject new foods is high in early childhood, but reduces in adulthood. Having said that, there are still a few strategies that can be employed to help.

also. Big brothers and sisters are perfect for this, as they get that sense of responsibility and may also end up trying new foods themselves


Combine flavours In extreme circumstances, allowing your child to dip the new food in something they love, like peanut butter, can slightly mask the taste, but also allow them to understand that there are no consequences after eating it. However, be aware that really weird combinations could cause them to reject both tastes


Focus on the health benefits We have all uttered the words: “If you eat all of your vegetables, then you can have pudding”. However, offering one food as a reward for eating another can increase a child’s liking of the reward food and decrease their preference for the disliked food. Instead, focus on explaining the health benefits of vegetables and what they can do for their body. Use positive words like stronger or fitter, rather than focusing on negative language


Bake your own With more and more of us working from home, those valuable hours that were once

dedicated to commuting could be used to bake or make healthier versions of previously consumed packet foods. Banana bread (recipe overleaf) is a great lunchbox item or alternative to bread. Toasted in the morning with no-sugar peanut butter, can increase your child’s nutritional intake

MICRONUTRIENTS THAT HELP THE IMMUNE SYSTEM: Iron – essential for immune cell multiplication and development Zinc – numerous roles, including aiding the development of the adaptive immune response Selenium – acts as an antioxidant Vitamin E – modulates inflammation Vitamin C – stimulates white blood cell production Vitamin D – regulates proteins, which can directly kill bacteria Vitamin B12 – involved in the energy production needed for making new immune cells.

Chloe Steele (MSc) Personalised Nutrition, BANT, is a nutritional therapist specialising in childhood nutrition. Follow her on Instagram @ladyaboutnutrition.


Exposure Simply exposing your child to new foods can encourage sampling, but do not overly pressure them. Having familiar foods on the plate alongside new foods or those that have previously been rejected can help, but it may take them up to 10 times of seeing the food before they even accept it, so patience and perseverance is the key


Lead by example What may be faster than the exposure technique is to be or have a food role model. Older children and parents eating vegetables have been shown to encourage children to sample them

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CHICKEN, VEGETABLE AND PARMESAN SAUSAGE ROLLS Makes approximately 48 sausage rolls

SUGAR-FREE BANANA BREAD EQUIPMENT: 450g (1lb) loaf tin 2 large mixing bowls Baking paper Temperature: 190 oC, 170 oC fan, 375 o F, gas mark 5 | Cooking time: 50 minutes

INGREDIENTS: 125g wholemeal self-raising flour ½ tsp baking powder 2 tsp cinnamon 75g sultanas 2 medium-sized ripe bananas 50g melted butter 2 tsp vanilla essence 1 egg 1 tbsp milk

METHOD: 1. Preheat the oven and line the loaf tin with baking paper. 2. In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and sultanas and make a well in the centre. 3. In a different mixing bowl, mash the bananas until you get a thick paste. 4. Add the melted butter, vanilla essence, egg and milk and mix until combined. 5. Add this bowl to the one containing the flour mixture and whisk until a thick cake batter is achieved. 6. Add the cake mixture to the loaf tin and bake in the oven for 50 minutes until well risen and an inserted skewer comes away clean.


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EQUIPMENT: Large mixing bowl Rolling pin Food processor Baking sheet Baking paper Temperature: 200 oC, 180 oC fan, 390 o F, gas mark 6 | Cooking time: 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS: For the pastry: 250g plain flour 180g butter, roughly chopped 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice 80-100ml chilled water Pinch of salt For the filling: 2 large chicken breasts, chopped into rough chunks 1 large carrot, roughly chopped ½ large red pepper, roughly chopped 2 garlic cloves 1 small onion, roughly chopped 1 tsp thyme 1 tsp oregano 75g parmesan cheese finely grated Pinch of black pepper Pinch of salt 1 egg, beaten Sesame seeds

METHOD: For the pastry: 1. Add the flour to a large mixing bowl and loosely rub the butter into the flour. You need to see bits of butter. 2. Make a well in the centre and add lemon juice, 80ml of water and salt and mix until you have a firm rough dough. Add the extra water if needed. 3. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and roll until 3 times the length. Do not overwork the dough, the butter should still be visible in streaks. 4. Fold the top third to the centre and then the bottom third over that. Seal the edges of the dough with the rolling pin and make a quarter turn. 5. Repeat this step 3-4 times and then wrap in baking paper and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

For the sausage rolls: 1. Preheat the oven and line a large baking sheet with baking paper. 2. In a food processor place the chicken, vegetables and garlic and process until a paste-like consistency. 3. Add herbs, parmesan, salt and pepper and briefly mix until well combined. 4. Roll out the pastry into a rectangle, about 2mm thick. Use a sharp knife to trim the edges and cut into 30x12cm lengths. 5. Spoon the chicken mixture down the longest edge of the pastry. Using a pastry brush, brush the other edge with egg and fold over to enclose. 6. Brush the top with egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. 7. Cut into 5cm width sausage rolls and place on a baking tray. 8. Repeat with the remaining pastry and mixture and bake in the oven for 30 minutes until golden.

Recipes provided by Chloe Steele (MSc) Personalised Nutrition, BANT.

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Sweet summer treats Suitable for children from 6 months old, these fruity lollies will keep little ones cool this summer, while the smooth puree has a great balance of nutrients and flavours. SPINACH, BANANA & KIWI PUREE Makes 3 servings / prepare 5 minutes

RASPBERRY & COCONUT LOLLIES Makes 6 lollies / prepare 5 minutes / freeze 5 hours

These lollies are easy to make and naturally sweetened by the fruit, vanilla and coconut milk. They are refreshing and make a perfect snack. Hemp hearts are high in omega 3 fatty acids and protein, while raspberries are high in antioxidants, making this a balanced snack option.

INGREDIENTS: 1 cup/125g raspberries 2 tbsp desiccated coconut 1 tbsp hemp hearts 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 can full-fat tinned coconut milk

INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Add all of the ingredients to a blender and whizz until creamy. 2. Pour the mixture evenly into a lolly mould. 3. Pop a lolly stick into each section and freeze for a minimum of 5 hours, ideally overnight, until set.

This quick and simple purée is loaded with vitamin C, potassium, iron and fibre. Chia seeds are a good source of fibre and omega 3 fatty acids, while banana is high in potassium and magnesium to support heart health, and spinach is a good source of iron. You can serve this puree as it is, freeze into lollies (as above) or add it to yoghurt.

INGREDIENTS: 2 kiwis 1 banana 1 cup/30g spinach 1 tbsp milled chia seeds

INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Peel and chop the kiwi and then add to a blender. 2. Next add the banana and spinach. 3. Pop the lid on and pulse to puree until smooth. 4. Transfer the puree to a bowl or jar and stir in the milled chia seeds. 5. Serve as it is, add to yoghurt or even freeze into lollies! 6. This can be stored in the fridge for 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

Recipes supplied by My Little Food Critic ( and Beaba UK (

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Don’t bin it, freeze it!

Kate Hall, home cooking consultant and founder of The Full Freezer, offers her top tips on how to reduce food waste by making the most of your freezer.


ow many times in the last year have you bought fresh healthy food with good intentions, only for it to end up in the bin? It is so easily done when our lives are busy and our kids’ preferences are so often changing. It seems like as soon as we bulk buy something that our kids love, it automatically becomes their least favourite food. While many of us might feel frustrated by this waste, it is easy to not see it as a huge problem. It is often assumed that it will just decompose when thrown away and it has only cost us a few pence. The reality is, however, that when we waste food, we are also wasting all of the resources that went into producing and transporting it. Also, rotting food actually emits a substantial level of methane, which contributes to climate change. It might surprise you to learn that wasted food produces six times the amount of greenhouse gas emissions as global aviation. Those little bits of binned food (whether it’s plate scrapings or fresh food turned bad), really add up financially too. The average family in the UK wastes more than £700 every year on food


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bought and then thrown away. While some environmental challenges may be difficult for us to tackle, with 70% of UK food waste coming from our homes (rather than supermarkets and restaurants), it is also something that we have an extraordinary amount of control over.


There are lots of small changes that we can make to reduce our food waste. These are often simple tweaks to how we store and serve our food. My personal favourite, though, is to make better use of our freezers. Most people assume that the only way to use your home freezer is for shop-bought food or home-cooked meals, but the truth is that you can freeze almost any food in your own home. Always have more carrots than you need? You can freeze them. Never eat the whole loaf of bread? You can freeze the excess. Not got time to make banana bread? Yep, you guessed it. You can freeze the bananas and make banana bread (or something else) using

the frozen bananas whenever it suits you. What is vital, is knowing how to freeze foods correctly and what to do with them once they’re frozen. If you’re keen to pick up tips on this, I share a new video every Friday on my YouTube channel ( and @CanIFreezeIt. I also run group training and 1-2-1 consultations to help parents to master the art of freezing!


One of the simplest things you can freeze is fruit. All that you need is a baking tray that will fit in your freezer or a large Tupperware lid or picnic plate. You then line this with some baking parchment (reusable baking parchment is a great investment) and then put the fruit on top so that the pieces aren’t touching each other. Place the tray in the freezer for a few hours until frozen solid and then pop the fruit into a freezer bag, squeezing out as much air as possible. You can then snack on the fruit whilst still frozen, add it to smoothies, make sauces or use it in baking. Warning: some frozen fruits can be a choking hazard – please always monitor your children closely when eating frozen fruit. If you have kids that aren’t keen on fruit, this is a great activity to do. Get them to help you to line up the fruit on the tray and practice counting the pieces, or talk about the colours, smells, and textures. Just resist the temptation to tell them to try it – they’ll do it when they’re ready. Sources:

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to avoid any going bad before you can eat it.

INGREDIENTS: Any fruit that you know you’re not going to eat before it will go off (e.g. berries, banana, orange segments, melon, kiwi, mango)


Makes approx. 2 portions INGREDIENTS:

KIT: Ice-lolly sticks or wooden skewers for older children | Paring knife | Baking tray or picnic plate that will fit in your freezer | Baking parchment

2 cups (255g) frozen fruit of your choice (home frozen, or shop-bought) 1 & 1/2 cups (235ml) fruit juice (e.g. apple, orange or pineapple) OR milk (e.g. cows, almond, coconut) 3/4 cup (95g) Greek yoghurt



METHOD: 1. Simply put your fruit, juice (or milk) and yoghurt in the blender and blend until smooth. If it is a bit thick, add a touch more juice

Top Tip: freeze your smoothie

in ice-lolly moulds for a yummy summer treat!


If you find frozen fruit too chilly to eat with your fingers or if you’re not keen on smoothies, these frozen fruit popsicles are a great option. Try and use fairly fresh, firm fruit so that it is easy for little fingers to help you. This is a great activity to get your kids interacting with fruit and a useful way

METHOD: 1. With the help of your child, thread the fruit onto the stick (if necessary, adults can cut a small hole with a paring knife to help the fruit onto the stick) 2. Put on a lined tray and then place in your freezer for a few hours 3. Once the fruit popsicles are frozen you can move them to a freezer bag or tub until you want to eat them

Visit for your free copy of ‘Ten Foods You Didn’t Know You Could Freeze’ or follow Kate @thefullfreezer.

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Mission Wraps make delicious and simple family meals possible

Meal times can be hectic,

especially with the whole family to feed. Time is often against us but that doesn’t mean we have to compromise on taste.

At Mission, we are here to

help you create quick but delicious dishes, so grab a wrap with both hands and get stuck in.

Mission Wraps create the perfect

A known family favourite -

opportunity to get everyone involved in meal times. Why not challenge your kids to come up with their own filling? From fruit salad to margarita pizza, our super soft and easy to roll wraps can be filled with whatever tickles your taste buds.

especially loved by kids – Mission Wraps are ideal for lunch, dinner or even a mid-afternoon snack. Perfect for folding, rolling or topping, Mission Wraps are also vegan, so truly suitable for the whole family.

Pick up your pack of Mission Wraps at Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s or Co-op




Cut fish fillets into thick fingers.

in i 4 M is si on Or ig in al M h fil le ts 2 sk in le ss w hi te fis k) oc (C od or Ha dd

Put the flour, beaten eggs and breadcrumbs in 3 different bowls. First, dust fish pieces in the flour, then dip them in the beaten egg and coat in the breadcrumbs.

50 g pl ai n flo ur 2 eg gs 10 0g br ea dc ru m bs

Fry the fish goujons for 3-4 minutes on each side or

25 g bu tte r

salsa to a m to e th r o F e oi l

2 tb sp ol iv s 20 0g ch er ry to m at oe ga r 1 ts p ba ls am ic vi ne 1 tb sp ol iv e oi l le av es Sm al l ha nd fu l ba si l

until crisp, golden and cooked through. Drain well on kitchen paper to avoid excess oil. Roughly chop tomatoes and mix together with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, basil leaves and season. Add the tomato sauce to each tortilla, top with the fish goujons and wrap it.


Find out more, including recipes at

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Calling ‘FULL TIME’ on child food poverty

Footballer Marcus Rashford and chef Tom Kerridge are on a mission to teach and encourage parents and children to learn the skills to cook proper food.


n response to the UK Government’s April 2021 uplift of the Healthy Start voucher scheme, Marcus Rashford MBE and Michelinstarred chef, Tom Kerridge, have joined forces to launch ‘FULL TIME: Get Cooking with Marcus & Tom’. This nationwide initiative is in support of the #EndChildFoodPoverty campaign launched by Marcus in


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September 2020 and in partnership with his Child Poverty Taskforce, supported by Facebook and Instagram. Together, the goal is to call ‘Full Time’ on child food poverty. No child should ever have to go to bed hungry. Today, far too many do. Even before Covid-19, 4.2 million [1] children were living in poverty in the UK, which equates to 30% of children or nine in every classroom of 30. In addition, demand from children for food-bank services has increased by 121%. [2] Marcus’s ambition is to shine a bright light on this national issue but, more importantly, equip children with vital life skills to support seamless navigation into adult life. Phase one of that ambition focuses on food education and kitchen confidence, with the help of Tom Kerridge, who is now part

of the National Food Strategy team. Together, Marcus and Tom will unite to drive change at both a national and grassroots level. Marcus explained: “Following Government investment into Healthy Start, it was important to me that we demonstrated the power in collaboration. We needed to come up with a creative project that really engaged children most in need, preparing them for what adult life has to offer, while also attracting all children to break down the stigma around usage of the vouchers. “This project is for every child and I really hope parents and carers will benefit from having a bit of valuable time together in the kitchen when family activity is heavily restricted by financial restraints. I’m proud of what we’ve done here.”

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The ambitious project aims to equip families with the skills to get the most out of the Healthy Start vouchers, which will equate to £4.25 per child under the age of four per week and to encourage a 100% take-up rate from eligible families. FULL TIME wishes to eliminate the stigma around the use of these vouchers and encourage parents and carers to enjoy one hour of valuable time each week, cooking with their children.

This project is for every child Tom added: “Marcus and I are super proud to be working together to spread the message of how easy cookery can be, for even the most inexperienced of cooks. We don’t want you to be fighting with your kitchen and we don’t expect you to have lots of equipment, you can still make great tasting, fun and filling food. “Marcus has always been one to encourage life skills and cooking is a valuable skill that everyone can embrace and that will see you through the whole of your life. (Marcus even admitted to never peeling a carrot before, now he can!) If you can engage with food from the start, you can grow, develop and build your own collection of recipes – and enjoy cooking together.” Tom has created 52 delicious, family recipes, as part of this 12-month-long programme, which launched in April 2021. The recipes are simple and easy to follow with emphasis on limited equipment and inclusion of store cupboard goods with a longer shelf life. Recipes are available to pick up in various forms from selected supermarkets every Sunday morning. Each recipe will feature a QR code linking through to the ‘FULL TIME’ Instagram page where users can access short-form tutorial videos, hosted by Tom, Marcus and a selection of celebrity guests and families.

Recipes will include tasty, substantial meals such as:

Tortilla Pizzas Chicken Satay Stir Fry Fish Pie Jackets Mexican Style Chicken Broccoli & Cauliflower Cheese Creamy Chicken Pie

Each Sunday, on the @FULLTIMEMEALS Instagram page, a cookalong video will launch with Tom teaching Marcus, a celebrity guest or a family how to cook that week’s recipe. Children and their parents or carers will be encouraged to give each recipe a try at home, sharing their results via Instagram with Tom and Marcus and the hashtag #fulltimemeals. “We are proud to support FULL TIME and hope that people enjoy coming together to take part in the series,” said Steve Hatch, Facebook’s vice president for Northern Europe. “Facebook and Instagram have always been places that people come

to connect and food has always been a big part of the community. We hope that FULL TIME not only increases awareness around the serious challenge of child poverty in the UK, but inspires people to try the recipes and connect with each other. In the UK, 4.5 million people are members of active Facebook parenting groups and we think this could be a great way for all the family to try out some tasty new recipes!” FULL TIME hopes to help give children and families the skills and confidence to cook good, proper food in their own kitchens, with the equipment available to them. It will be creative, fun and engaging, offering families valuable time in the kitchen and being able to enjoy a tasty meal together. For more information, visit: Sources 1. Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG). (2020). Calculated from: Households Below Average Income, Statistics on the number and percentage of people living in low income households for financial years 1994/95 to 2018/19, Department for Work and Pensions, 2020. 2. Food Foundation.

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*Among non stick aluminum pans v. top 10 competitors’ best sellers, in volumes, based son egabrasion nar eldnatest, h dexindependent fi lafeT ot dedata rapm2018. oC*

Find out more and shop the tafull egnrange ar llufat eht pohs dna erom tuo dniF oinegni-lafet/hcraes/ku.oc.sogra Available in the Cook aisle of selected Sainsburys stores

Fuss-free mealtimes... YES PLEASE

Baby and child nutritionist, Charlotte Stirling-Reed, provides expert advice on how to prevent fussy eating before it begins. environments and temperatures etc. When it happens it’s often easy to think we need to change something, alter the routine or offer accepted foods only. However, the best thing to do is to try to stay calm, accept that it’s just an off day or week, and look for underlying factors that might be causing it.



hen it comes to fussy eating, it’s completely normal for infants and toddlers to go through phases where they refuse certain foods and even whole meals. However, there are some things you can do as a parent to try to stop fussy behaviours from turning into full fussy eating habits. There is no official definition of what fussy eating is, but research suggests that 50% of all children go through it at some point. It can often be described as being transient (brief) or persistent (longer lasting). As parents, we can help to keep it transient by doing a few simple things early on in your child’s weaning journey.


It’s so common for there to be fussy meals, days and even weeks. So much affects your little one’s appetite, including illness, sleep, teething,

Try to role model at mealtimes and eat in front of your baby or toddler, while honouring their will to not eat. Pressure can have the opposite effect to encouraging them to eat in the long term. If you want your little one to eat well, one of the best things you can do is to eat a variety of healthy foods and to try to eat in front of them as much as possible. They pick up so much from watching you, including how to eat and what foods to enjoy. So, as much as possible, join them at the table and show them how much you love foods yourself. Babies learn the skills of eating, social skills and even WHAT foods they enjoy by first copying others.

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If they want to be a part of it because it’s fun, they are much more likely to enjoy mealtimes and the idea of food. Creating a little foodie is all about getting them to enjoy food, eating and mealtimes. It may sound like a long way off, but trying to use mealtimes as a fun way to spend time together talking, laughing and learning about each other. You could also listen to some calm music, or using funky tablecloths and cutlery and eating together can all help.


It’s all too easy to only offer the ‘accepted’ foods, but this can actually encourage more food refusal in the long run. Familiarity encourages acceptance, so the more your little one sees, touches and smells food, the more familiar they will become with it. If you’re always offering a variety of different fruits and veggies, carbs (bread, pasta, rice, buckwheat, quinoa) and proteins (beans, lentils, nut butters, fish, meat), then they are more likely to accept and eat a variety of foods as they get older.

Charlotte Stirling Reed, leading baby and child nutritionist for children’s furniture and nursery brand Stokke ( has a new book, How to Wean Your Baby: The step-by-step plan to help your baby love their broccoli as much as their cake available from Amazon


This is important, as we don’t want children to feel they were tricked into eating some foods – it might make them feel that food isn’t something they should be eating. The early days of feeding are often about trust, so using aeroplanes, television or games to get food into your baby’s mouth often isn’t helpful and can set up habits that are hard to break. Instead, honour their appetite and stick with the recommendation – you decide what and let them decide how much.

Stokke Clikk Highchair

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Weaning essentials Our pick of the best weaning and feeding products for babies and toddlers. Boo Chew Baby’s First Utensils | £9.99 | Available from boochew. com Made from BPA-free silicone, these cute giraffe utensils come in packs of two, with a choice of six different colours. The giraffe’s head is a shallow spoon and the feet/legs are a double fork, which helps your child to pick up food easily and safely.

IKEA ANTILOP high chair | £12 | Available from Nimble Sticky Stopper | £1.99 for 60ml | Available from nimblebabies. com Weaning can be extremely messy and cleaning up often takes longer than the actual meal! Powered by plant-based ingredients, this bleachfree antibacterial cleaning spray kills 99.9% of germs and removes sticky and greasy residues from a range of surfaces. The foam spray is safe to use on children’s toys, bibs, high chairs or potties.

Infantino Squeeze Station | £30.99 | Available from

Shop-bought baby food pouches are super-convenient for meals on the go, but can be expensive. Squeeze Station allows parents to make their own pouches using homemade ingredients. Simply make your puree and use this clever system to squeeze it into the portable pouches.


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Highly rated by parents for its excellent value and durability, this high chair comes with seat straps and has a removable tray and legs. It is suitable for children who can sit unaided up to 3 years old (or 15kg) and you can buy a support cushion and cover separately.

BabyChum Silicone Highchair Placemat | £12 | Available from

Take your IKEA high chair to the next level with a bright silicone placemat. Available in seven different colours (we like this gorgeous shade of blue), the BPA-free mats are specially made to fit the ANTILOP model. They can be wiped clean in situ or can be peeled off to wash.

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Beaba’s Babycook Neo 4-in-1 Baby Food Maker | £160 | Available from

Make life easier when cooking meals for your baby from scratch with the Neo steamer and blender that also defrosts and heats food. Different settings allow you to make smooth puree or chunkier textures as your baby gets more experienced at eating. It comes with a large glass bowl and a stainless-steel steam basket.

Chewie Cat Alpaca bib | £8 | Available from Thumbs up for the gender-neutral design of this alpaca bib, which is suitable from 6 to 36 months. The bib has an adjustable neck fastening, generous-sized pocket to catch food and is waterproof – perfect for messy eaters. Made from 100% food-grade silicone, it can also be put in the dishwasher.

Wild cubs Giraffe Bamboo Plate & Spoon Set | £15.99 | Available from

Designed by mum of 3, Gemma, who has a passion for eco-friendly alternatives, these bamboo suction plates come with silicone suction bases in a choice of three colours: teal, orange or green. Each set includes a plate and matching bamboo spoon with a silicone tip, which is ideal for weaning.

Stokke Tripp Trapp high chair | from £189 | Available from

What’s great about this high chair is that you can bring your baby right up to the table. The Scandi design and choice of more than 10 colours mean it will complement most room schemes. The height and depth of the seat can be adjusted as your child grows and the footplate keeps fidgety feet still.

Munchy Play Kids’ Car Plate | £14.50 | Available from

Make mealtimes fun with this innovative tableware that features a built-in track for toy trains and cars. Made in Britain, the dishwasherfriendly plate has a non-slip base and high-sides to make scooping food easy.

EasyTots EasyMat MiniMax | £15.99 | Available from

If you have a baby who likes to throw their plate on the floor, this is a dream come true! Using five suction points, it works on most smooth surfaces. Great for use at home and also meals out, the sides fold under and it comes with a lid and a carry bag.

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Milton, N°1 Expert in Sterilising For Baby & Home With a high majority of the population now being vaccinated, we can feel more relieved about the threat of serious COVID illness. However, with the threat of new variants, ensure you still keep good hygiene habits that protect yourself and your family against germs. The most successful approach to protect against viruses is through systematic hand hygiene and thorough cleaning of surfaces.

For home cleaning, the well-known Sterilising Fluid or Tablets can be used daily to disinfect your floors, all the kitchen surfaces and your bathroom. Do you know these 2 products can be used for many things in your house? Use Milton Sterilising Fluid to: • disinfect your kitchen sponges • destain and brighten your whites • make your flowers last longer in a vase with a few drops • maintain the water for children’s paddling pool or Milton Sterilising Tablets to: • Get rid of all the germs in the toilets and make them look really white by dropping 3 Tablets in the bowl, once a week • Do an empty run with 3 Tablets inside the drum of your washing machine or dishwashers to get rid of bad smells and grime. This will clean up the entire system of your machine and make it last longer. Discover the 100 uses of Milton on

Milton Antibacterial range is effective on viruses including Coronavirus*. Milton has been trusted and used in hospitals for over 70 years Use biocides safely. Always read the label and product information before use. *Effective on all viruses including Bovine Coronavirus in 15 minutes according to EN14476+A2:2019 at the dilution 2 capfuls or 2 tablets per litre of water (Wearing gloves and rinsing required).

New mineral-based

New alcohol-free & Ideal for schools

Milton Antibacterial Surface Spray • Cleans and disinfects home surfaces • Plant-based formula • Kills bacteria and viruses including Coronavirus* in 5 min • Ideal for kitchen surfaces, fridges, cupboards, sinks, high chairs, bathroom etc.

NEW plant-based Antibacterial Hand Sanitiser • Alcohol-free, fragrance-free • Suitable for all ages: babies from 3 months old, children & adults • Kills bacteria and viruses in 30 secs • Tested for sensitive skin • Teach young children good hand hygiene in a fun way. • Ideal to keep in the school bag

Milton Antibacterial Surface Wipes • 100% Plant-based alcohol derived from beetroot • No need to rinse • Suitable for baby soothers and teats • Kills bacteria and viruses, including Coronavirus*, from 30 secs • Biodegradable fabric • Ideal for door handles, mirrors, house keys, your mobile phone, the inside of your car or your shopping trolley

NEW Antibacterial Laundry Tablets • Disinfect, destains and remove bad smells in the family laundry from 30°C • Kills bacteria and viruses including Coronavirus* • Suitable for all fabric: whites, colours and delicate items • Mineral-based ingredients • Ideal for re-usable cloth nappies, soft toys ,bibs, baby grows, bedsheets, towels, sportswear, etc.

Milton Antibacterial Hand Gel • 80% alcohol content • Non-sticky • Kills bacteria and viruses in 30 secs • Contains plant-based moisturisers • Tested for sensitive skin *Effective on Bovine Coronavirus according to EN14476+A2:2019.



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


xed diet and not as a breastmilk substitute nced diet from the 12th month.


The Polar Express 28-piece Remote Controlled Train Set

Showcase the magic of Christmas with this The Polar Express 28 pieces battery powered train set. Witness the children’s shadows as they sit in the passenger cars and imagine them drinking steaming mugs of hot chocolate and chattering excitedly about Santa. The Polar Express licensed train set comes with a 24 piece track (8 curved plastic track pieces and 16 straight track pieces) and a four piece train. The train has four pieces comprising 1 x locomotive engine, 1 x engine tender, 1 x train carriage and 1 x observation carriage that measures 81 cm in length and 7 cm in height, once all connected. It also features 3 movie announcements (‘All Aboard, this is The Polar Express’, ‘Tickets, Tickets please’ and ‘I am the King of the North Pole’. The engine has a working headlight and looping sounds (stream chuffing, whistle, and bell) and a three-position switch (Stop, forward with sound and forward without sound). Requires 2 x AA batteries, not supplied. A perfect decorative addition to put round the base of the tree for the festive season. One completed the track will measure 1.6 x 1 metre oval. For indoor use only. Suits ages 4 years +.

Child’s Metal Wheelbarrow With Double Front Wheel

This large red framed children’s wheelbarrow has a metal bucket, rubber hand grips and has two large front wheels for stability - making it easier for manage larger loads for smaller hands. The wheelbarrow is easily assembled and has a load capacity of approx. 25 kg. Suit ages 2.5 years +. Dimensions of item: 80 x 38 x 41 cm

Hogwarts Express 28-piece Remote Controlled Train Set Step through Platform 93/4 and take a ride on the Hogwarts Express. Witches, wizards, and Muggles can easily control this battery powered train set. Featuring authentic sound clips of the ever-popular Harry Potter characters, this 28-piece train set is sure to delight boys and girls and Harry Potter fans of all ages. The Harry Potter Hogwarts Express licensed train comes with a 24 piece track (8 curved plastic track pieces and 16 straight track pieces) and a four piece train. The train comprises of, 1 x locomotive engine, 1 x engine tender and 2 x train carriages that measures 81 cm in length and 7 cm in height, once all connected. It also features 3 movie announcements (‘But Hagrid, there must be mistake, this is Platform 93/4. There’s no such thing, is there?’ ‘You’re Harry Potter!’ and ‘Anything from the trolley, dears? We’ll take the lot!’). The engine has a working headlight and looping sounds (stream chuffing, whistle, and bell and a three-position switch (Stop, forward with sound and forward without sound). Requires 2 x AA batteries, not supplied. A perfect decorative addition for all Harry Potter fan to put round the base of the tree for the festive season. One completed the track will measure 1.6 x 1 metre oval. For indoor use only. Suits ages 4 years +.

Human Body

What are the 5 senses and how do we use them? Do smell and taste work together? How do the heart and lungs work? How does our body digest the food we eat? What does the brain do? What is DNA? 12 experiments to discover the secrets of our anatomy and test our 5 senses. The model of the human body helps you to understand how our digestive, respiratory and urinary organs work. Comes with a 32 page booklet. Suits ages 8 years +.

Wizard Chemistry and 30 Experiments

Caterpillar Dumper

This chain driven Caterpillar licensed dumper truck has anti-slip pedals, tipping front dumper, rear hitch pin, chunky steering wheel and rugged style wheels. Suit ages 2.5 - 5 years. Dimensions of item: 93 x 44 x 52 cm.

A cauldron to conduct 30 magical experiments and become a real wizard. Conjure magic smoke, light effects and magic potions to surprise your audience. Everything is included to help you complete the experiments successfully. Simply activate the light effects and smoke and use the magic wands. Comes with a cauldron, pipette wand, spoon wand, 100ml beaker, mixing straw, spoons, goggles, string, 3 x colours (red, blue, yellow), 5 x harmless chemicals (bicarbonate of soda, sodium alginate, calcium chloride, litmus blue, red phenol). Suits ages 8 years +. Requires 4 x AA batteries, not included

Hey baby! Mum-to-be Rosie – one half of the popular YouTube duo and married couple Rose and Rosie – shares their pregnancy journey so far and offers advice on starting a family as a same-sex couple.


n 2019, Rose and I went to a fertility clinic open day specifically to help women in samesex relationships get started on their journey to parenthood. The open day was a godsend, as we’d been desperately trying to find out how to get started and even our local doctor didn’t know. We then went on a mission to find a sperm donor – something we thought would be easy, but ended up taking us an entire year. Rose decided to try for a baby first (as we would both like to carry) and fell pregnant immediately – we were overjoyed. But, unfortunately, we found out at an early scan that the baby had stopped growing and was no longer viable. This was extra challenging as it happened during lockdown, when we weren’t able to physically rely on family and I couldn’t go with Rose to the hospital. After a lot of heartache and grief, and some more tries, I ended up pregnant on my second IUI attempt and here we are. I am 30 weeks pregnant as I write this.

How did you decide who would carry the baby?

We agreed that Rose would have 3 IUI (insemination) attempts and then I would have 3 attempts. We did this to try to equally divide up our sperm rations. Sperm is expensive! And can take a while to ship to you, especially

during Covid. But we realised that, instead of me trying one month, then Rose trying the next, our cycles lined up perfectly, so if I had an IUI attempt and wasn’t pregnant two weeks later, Rose would be ready to try for her attempt. So we could essentially have two tries at pregnancy per month.

What barriers did you find in having a baby as a same-sex couple?

The total lack of information! Lots of sperm banks and clinics have their own rules, requirements and prices. We finally found our dream sperm donor, only to discover that the clinic we had carried out all our preinsemination tests with did not accept donations from our sperm bank. No one had told us upfront that certain clinics only used certain banks. There’s a lot of misinformation and we found there wasn’t one place with all the information we needed. This is why we wanted to start our podcast, Rose and Rosie Parental Guidance, to talk to experts and to help other people like us, who just want to start a family.

What advice would you give to other LGBTQ+ couples who want to start a family? As a first step, research all the clinics they know and find out if they are

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LGBTQ+ friendly. We had a local clinic, but it in no way was familiar with or catered for LGBTQ+ families. It is definitely worth a bit of travel if you are going to be met with people who are welcoming and understanding. I would also recommend joining as many Facebook groups or forums as possible, as there’s a huge community of LGBTQ+ families out there all going through the same thing. You can share advice and, most importantly, have someone to talk to about the highs and the lows. Although Rose and I had each other, it’s nice to hear kind words from others who understand your situation.

Every family is different and everyone’s journey to parenthood will be different Finally, I would say go with your gut! Every family is different and everyone’s journey to parenthood will be different. You will know best, not anyone else, and it’s good to train that parent muscle for when your little one finally comes along. Rose & Rosie’s podcast Parental Guidance is on Spotify ( They have been nominated in the Top 10 Broadcaster category for their podcast in the British LGBT Awards. You can vote for them at

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summer reads

From fairytales to fame and cool experiments, our selection of children’s books will keep them entertained for hours this summer. THERE IS NO BIG BAD WOLF IN THIS STORY By Lou Carter 0-5 years | RRP £6.99 | Available from Bloomsbury

Written by primary school teacher Lou Carter, the sequel to There is No Dragon in this Story focuses on the Big Bad Wolf, who has had enough of huffing and puffing. But who will save the day? The fairytale characters, including the Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood, aren’t worried – they think they


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can manage without that grumpy wolf. But they soon realise that being a Big Bad Wolf is much harder than it looks. This fun story turns classic fairytales on their head and kids will love to see their favourite characters getting into all kinds of trouble.

THE WONDERFUL WORLD WAS WAITING By Lauren Fennemore 4-7 years | RRP £7.99 | Available from Owlet Press

The sequel to the lockdown-hit The Year We Muddled Through, which helped us see the magic within the mundane, this new joyful anthem of hope shows the beauty in experiences we previously took for granted. Everyday outings such as swimming lessons and birthday parties have a whole new level of wonder for these young children who have grown up in lockdown and may be experiencing them for the very first time. Of course, the magic isn’t lost on us adults too, who have been waiting for a long time, for something as simple as a hug.

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SOMETHING I SAID By Ben Bailey Smith


9-11 years | RRP £6.99 | Available from Amazon

By Sergei Urban 5+ years | RRP £14.99 | Available from TheDadLab

TheDadLab is brilliant for those days when you don’t know what to do with your kids and need to come up with some interesting and engaging activities. Written by dad of two, Sergei Urban, the book is packed full of 40 fun and fascinating experiments to do at home. As well as providing clear instructions on what you need and how to do each task, Sergei explains the science behind what’s going on and shares some ‘clever clogs’ facts. A great way to engage kids with STEM and give them a passion for learning about how things work.

THE BOOK OF HOPES Curated by Katherine Rundell 7-9 years | RRP £12.99 | Available from Waterstones

All kids love to laugh and joke, but what if being funny brings you fame and fortune? Written by comedian, actor, rapper and screenwriter Ben Bailey Smith, this heartwarming story brings together the importance of friends, family and the lengths one boy will go to make people laugh. Centred around 13-year-old Carmichael Taylor, the story follows how he delivers a piece of hilarious stand-up at his school talent show, targeting his family and his school, that goes viral. As fame beckons, it’s up to Car to decide what or who he’s willing to risk in pursuit of his comedy dream.

With contributions of short stories, poems, essays and illustrations from more than 100 children’s authors and illustrators, The Book of Hopes is a beautifully crafted, uplifting book that aims to inspire and entertain children with feelings of hope. The book is split into themed sections, such as Kindness, Nature, Dragons and Amazing Machines, all of which use hope as the underlying message. Look out for some favourite children’s authors, including Anthony Horowitz, Jacqueline Wilson, Lydia Monks and Michael Morpurgo. A great read to make children feel good about themselves and the world around them.

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Picks for parents Beehive Toys

Beehive Toys are proud to offer parents high quality toys without the high price tags. With a unique range of toys including the Made for Mums award winning Giraffe and Zebra Baby Balance Bikes, 5 star rated and recommended as the perfect first Birthday gift for both little boys and girls.

So DIY from Canal Toys Children love to explore the world around them! At Canal Toys we create a wide range of compound sensory toys that encourage creativity for all. Our So DIY brands combine audio and visual sensations with fun and non-messy play! Learn about our So DIY brands and more.

Pattie & Co Get 15% off Pattie & Co.’s super soft, rainbow coloured, 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton muslin blankets, swaddles, squares and comforters. Simply use code ‘FF15’ at checkout. We also donate 10% from every muslin product purchased on our website to Tommy’s charity, helping parents have healthy pregnancies and happy babies.

My Little Goody Box My Little Goody Box provide sensory boxes, which are perfect for introducing play and bonding with your little one! We also have sustainable wooden toys, instruments and so much more! Aimed at children from birth to three years old our range supports learning and development through play.

Meet Milo, an adventurous 5-yearold cat who uses role-play to explore numerous careers and introduce children to a variety of professions in a bright, uplifting new series on Channel 5’s Milkshake! Milo and friends discover it’s great fun to explore so many jobs through role-play – and that all jobs can be AMAZING! Every episode also features Milo’s home and time with his family. With 52 episodes there are many careers for Milo to explore: doctors, footballers, hairdressers, chefs, mechanics and dancers are just a few! Watch Milo on Milkshake! every weekday at 8am.


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GraviTrax Experience the power of gravity with the GraviTrax interactive track system. Using tiles and tracks, players can create and build exciting marble runs experimenting with gravity, magnetism and kinetics.GraviTrax offers limitless play opportunities and a different track every time; the open-ended building concept, and numerous extensions to the range, ensure endless fun watching the marble speed along the track.

Razor USA Razor embodies the spirit of fun and freedom. Designed in California by a passionate group of people who live to ride and love to share the experience of riding with others, Razor products have been made with playful enthusiasm since 2000. A full range of innovative Razor rides is available worldwide.

Robbie Toys Founded in 1997, Robbie Toys is a family run company. We are the official UK distributors for a large array of toy manufacturers. We hold a large stock holding 365 days a year, not just for Christmas. And pride ourselves on outstanding customer service. The full range is on our website.

Fab Dab Do by Splatter Make Our dynamic t-shirt printing kits encourage children to discover their artistic talents and individuality. This fun t-shirt designing activity has everything you need in the box with plenty of paint to make additional t-shirts. And, works great as a party too! Our dabbers make it minimal mess with maximum fun.


01959 574 556

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Lovingly developed over 40 years by the Franks family Situated on the Jurassic Coast near to Sidmouth Touring pitches divided into private ‘groves’ Holiday caravans & leisure lodges for purchase/hire Camping Pods, Premier Pods & Shepherd Huts Deluxe centrally heated, spotlessly clean amenities Well-stocked shop and café Popular 9-hole par 3 golf

Call 01297 680387

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Creating positive futures for all 09/01/2019 children, one story at a time 04/03/2019

Available from all good booksellers or from Follow @owletpress on social media

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Dawlish, EX7 0LX 01626 863411

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20% off all 2022 holidays!* *Valid for ANY holiday booked for 2022. Book online and enter code ‘FAMILYFIRST20’ to redeem. Head to for more info. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.

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Please note - Dare Devil activities and Dartmoor Bike Park available at additional cost

Beautifully handmade baby wear, toddler wear, t slings and accessories made right here in the UK



Running at over 40 venues across Berkshire | Hampshire | Surrey | London

All of our baby wear is sling and cloth bum friendly and part of our 'grow with me' range, lasting that little bit longer.

Secure your child’s place early, our clubs have limited spaces available!



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15% discount for all readers use family15 at checkout Tag Togs Babywear & Slings


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Adventure Play | Feed the Animals | Wildlife Walk Messy Mud Kitchen | Bouncy Pillows | Meet the Rare Breeds Sandpits | Fresh Pizzas | Ice Cream | Pedal Tractors

Purchase online family first .pdf














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The date is easy to remember. The place is hard to forget. Scan QR code for our video for more information

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Get a taste of the wild Visit us: Yaverland Rd, Yaverland, Sandown, PO36 8QB

15% off

100% Organic Cotton Muslin products – kinder to baby and the planet 10% of all muslin purchases donated to Tommy’s charity 15% off on our website


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please use code FF15

Family First - IS SUE 0 8 shop online for Award winning toys

See our full range online & get 10% off with code: FAMILY10

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Vitamin D3 Probably the most important Vitamin to take

• 1000iu per tablet • Suitable for vegetarians • Chewable – so easy to take • Yeast, Wheat, Gluten, Dairy and Sugar Free • Sweetened with Xylitol – protects teeth and gums

BioLife is available from our online shop. Tel: 01932 221354

Safari Summer Six weeks of fun at Berkshire’s only wildlife park – a 35-acre riverside adventure • Electric boats and safari jeeps • Bouncy castle slide • Pond dipping and bug box building • Exotic and farmyard animals • Jumping pillow and miniature train • Playgrounds and splash pool

*Specific activities subject to change. Latest information and book tickets at


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Visit our Websiotoe k to Pre-B ets your tick www.thrigbyh THRIGBY HALL FILBY GREAT YARMOUTH

N R 29 3DR 01493 369477


The place to visit

A WORLD OF DISCOVERY Explosive live science Interactive exhibits Out-of-this-world Planetarium


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*Compared to Tefal fixed handle ranges

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