LAUNCH ISSUE | MARCH 2017
FAM! Everything you need to banish those winter blues and get the family set for spring
Yep! YOU READ THAT RIGHT. . Absolutely free . IT TAKE Itâ€™s ALL YOURS.
LOCAL FOOD ASSEMBLY KIDS ACTIVITIES MINDFUL PARENTING Is there any such thing?
FOOD FOR THE FAMILY FAMILY FITNESS REAL LIFE
Party in the City
Sissoko & Segal
Psycho: with Bath Philharmonia
Stormy: The Life of Leana Horne
Family Arts Day
JUMP 19-28 INMAY
SOAK UP THE ATMOSPHERE FREE family events and activities
Friday 19 May: Party in the City Sunday 28 May: Family Arts Day Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 May: Alfred Street, Kingsmead Square and Southgate Thursday 25 to Sunday 28 May: Old Bond Street, Stall Street and Southgate
Bath Box Office 01225 463362
Well, it’s here! After much planning, researching, worrying and many months of labour, it’s finally here. We’d like to introduce you to your new, free family lifestyle magazine, The Little Things. The Little Things is a magazine for families who want to live life to the fullest. Rather than run around pandering to our children’s every whim, we at The Little Things approach family life a little differently. Our kids aren’t perfect, neither are we. We don’t always find it easy and we get it wrong, a lot. Like all parents, we're still figuring it out. We fail and we succeed (although not according to our kids). At The Little Things we like to embrace our imperfect parenting and celebrate the chaos and craziness that family life brings. Inclusive and honest, with a healthy dose of gallows humour, expert advice (which you don’t have to listen to), real-life stories (to assure you we’re all in this together) and reviews from the mouths of babes, The Little Things packs every issue with useful tips, information and ideas to help you enjoy – and survive – modern family life. We’d love to hear what you think of the launch issue, if you have any ideas for articles or features, or want to advertise with us, get in touch with us at: email@example.com.
Lisa Merryweather-Millard firstname.lastname@example.org DESIGN & ART DIRECTION
Rather Nice Design email@example.com
Chris Bailey, Jen Chow, Alice Starr, Catherine Stokes, Claire Yeoman and Frome Food Assembly. PRINTED IN THE UK
© Rather Nice Design Limited 2017. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used or reproduced without written consent. Rather Nice Design Limited (company number 10214533) is registered in England and Wales. The registered office of Rather Nice Design Limited is 12 Wallbridge Avenue, Frome, BA11 1RL. All information contained in this magazine is for information onlyand is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Rather Nice Design cannot accept any responsibilty for errors or inaccuracies in such information.
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What’s New The inside skinny Family Social Family-friendly entertaining Home & Garden Getting down and dirty Family Health Sneaking in some fitness Bright Young Things Busy kids = enjoying a cuppa Mind Full Mindful parenting, really? Rogue Ones Real kids, really bad ideas Make It Happen Educating generation next Dear Jamie Where do we start? Family Life The merits of mess |3
WHAT’S NEW The skinny. The low-down. The scoop.
for quality bread. They are parents to one year old Alfred. The Space – a relaxed, family-friendly cafe with a bakery, children’s play space and art gallery with plenty of quiet areas for those without kids to read, have meetings or work remotely. There will be a gated outdoor space with a play space and tables which will serve fresh pizza in warmer months. The space can be hired by members of the public for evening events by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org Location – tucked away from the bustle of Frome, Rye Bakery can be found just off the top of Catherine Hill, down Whittox Lane in the former United Reform Church, BA11 3BY
hile cafes and restaurants are increasingly tolerant when it comes to (wellbehaved) children, we get the feeling that at the new Rye Bakery cafe, run by young parents Amy Macfadyen and Owen Postgate, it will be less stress and more mess. In a good way, obviously. Intrigued by the idea of a cafe geared 4|
towards families, we met with the two at the newly renovated United Reform Church in Frome to get the scoop. NEED TO KNOW AMY & OWEN – they are both trained baristas with a (possibly unhealthy) coffee obsession. Amy has worked as a cook locally and in cafes and restaurants in Brighton. Owen is a baker by trade with a particular passion
Food & Drink – they will be selling nutritious, high-quality and affordable breakfasts, lunches and baked goods. All of their coffee and tea is single origin and sourced from ethical farms. They will also sell Amy’s homemade cordials and fermented soft drinks. Opening Times – when it opens in late March, Rye Bakery will open Tuesday to Friday from 8am–5pm and on Saturday from 9am–5pm. Find Out More – Instagram: Rye_ bakery, Twitter: Rye_bakery
The Fat Radish
he Fat Radish, a sumptuous new restaurant and bar opening in Frome, is the love child of Head Chef Pascale Vickery and Creative Director Ellen Porteous. The restaurant promises to be a vibrant, down-to-earth hang-out with an epic menu. Whilst the kitchen serves up modern, seasonal cuisine drawing inspiration from around the world, the bar will shake up classic cocktails with creative twists. With all this and a wine list to accommodate modest boozers and connoisseurs alike, we’re sure they’re on to a winner. What’s the number for the babysitter? NEED TO KNOW The Story Behind The Name – it involves tiny radishes, text messages and a lot of laughing. For the full story, you’ll have to ask lovely, local ladies, Pascale and Ellen. What we can tell you is that it wasn’t their original intention but they thought it really suited the cuisine they were going for; “wholesome, locally sourced, seasonal, generous portions and
lavish trimmings”. Late Night Eats & Weekend Treats – from early March, The Fat Radish will be open 7 nights a week from 5pm –11pm (a little later at the weekend). They’re aiming to open for lunch at the weekend, with family-friendly Sunday lunches. If people want more, Pascale and Ellen have told us they will open for lunch and dinner every day of the week! Live Music – they’ve applied for a license to hold live music events. Whilst they don’t want to disrupt their diners, they’re planning to host some acoustic sessions or funky jazz nights. The Look – lots of bold colour, plants and artwork to make the place rich in personality. The aim is for everyone to feel comfortable. The Fat Radish is modern, yet unpretentious; bold, yet humble; stimulating, yet friendly. Drinks – gorgeous craft ales, ciders, lager, with a luscious spirit collection, creative twists on classic cocktails (think rosemary and ginger margarita, blueberry and lavender mojito and lots of lovely home-infused liqueurs). And, of course, amazing wines for all budgets and tastes.
urrah! Frome'sbeloved independent cinema in Frome is back and we, at The Little Things, are excited, to say the least. Being the nosy types and not content with the rumours, we went straight to the source. We met with owners, Pat and Beryl Scott, and their new manager, Barry Morgan, to learn more about the new Westway Cinema and, of course, to get a sneak peak at what’s been going on. NEED TO KNOW Pat & Beryl – they already own a successful cinema, Ritz Cinema in Burnham-on-Sea. They are passionate about independent cinema and want to safeguard the survival and longevity of the Westway in Frome. More Screens – there are three screens, seating 65, 63 and 53, capable of showing three different films at the same time. Lots of Screenings – the cinema will screen films seven days a week. On weekdays between 2pm and 11pm and between 11am and 11pm on weekends. Food & Drink – they serve popcorn, snacks, soft drinks AND alcohol. Happy days! Seating – it has a great retro look, it’s comfy and there is loads of legroom. Prices – £4. Every seat. Every day. Every screening. Book tickets at: www.sandbcinemas.co.uk
Community Matters daily, which is great news, however, Frome Community Cars needs more volunteer drivers to help deliver the demand. Without transport, access to local services and social interaction can be limited which can lead to loneliness and isolation within our community.
t The Little Things, we value community – it’s what makes a place special. Community does matter and this is a matter of community. Often 21st century living means a lack of community. Creating a community takes time and effort, two luxuries many modern families are without. The irony is the time and effort invested in your community pays massive dividends. Studies have shown that investing in your community through volunteering can help you: ●● reduce stress ●● decrease loneliness and depression ●● learn new skills ●● advance your career ●● improve your mental and physical health
So un ds like that ma gi c elixi r we’ve been lo okin g fo r
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY Frome Community Cars was launched only a few months ago by Frome Town Council to help people in the community who struggle to access public transport, get to medical appointments or attend social engagements. To date, over 50 passengers have registered and are starting to use the service. Increasing interest and applications are coming in almost
WHAT CAN YOU DO? Offer any spare time you may have, even if it’s only an hour or two a week or even less. The majority of the journeys are within Frome and are often a quick pick up and drop off - think of it like a community Uber, without the money. This would have been perfect when my kids were little and I used to have to drive them round in the car, bored senseless, so they could have a nap! The scheme is also looking for anyone who may have a wheelchair accessible vehicle that they would be willing to bring to the scheme, or allow one of the volunteers to drive. The scheme will pay insurance costs. HOW DO I SIGN UP? To register as a volunteer driver, even if you can only spare a small amount of your time, please call or email co-ordinator Mike Lane on 07596591391. email@example.com
IN FROM THE
It's spring – put down your phone, turn off the telly and pop round the neighbours to invite them for a comforting afternoon of family entertaining – and mess.
asy, laid back entertaining is where it’s at. The rainy, dark and dismal evenings of winter are (hopefully) over and we could all do with a little bit of fun. Our Family Social section puts together a family friendly menu so you can invite some friends or neighbours round with their kids, get the board games out and make an evening of enjoying each other’s company
without worrying about the food. We’ve tried to make sure the recipes are a bit different, not too expensive and family friendly in both preparation and eating. Although some of the recipes seem a little out-of-the-ordinary for a family feast, you'd be surprised what kids will try when they've been involved in making it. Even better, socialising at home and getting the kids involved in
making the food helps to develop social skills and supports children’s literacy and numeracy development. So, having friends or neighbours round for dinner is (very) good parenting! Just make sure they wash their grubby, little, hands first . For our first issue we are lucky to have Lindsay and Pia from Frome Food Assembly sharing their menu idea. |7
Hosts of the Frome Food Assembly, Lindsey and Pia
“THE FOOD ASSEMBLY?”
INTRODUCING… FROME FOOD ASSEMBLY
s hosts of the Frome Food Assembly, Lindsay and Pia were delighted to contribute recipe ideas for the launch of The Little Things magazine. They’ll be highlighting produce from many of the people who supply the Frome Food Assembly and hope that the results will speak for themselves! RECIPES FOR A FAMILY GET TOGETHER It’s spring and though the flowers are out, there is still a little nip in the air. Rather than a hearty stew, we were looking for a recipe that's a bit lighter with a bit more zing. So we thought , why not try a goat curry? Don’t worry, 8|
we’d never tried a goat curry before either and the thought of giving goat to our kids was anxiety inducing to say the least. But, they ate it! Our Goats’ meat producers are Ian and Sarah Davies, who together run Wookey Farm, with their two sons,
There are over 900 food assemblies across Europe, 74 of which are in the UK. This on-line farmer’s market is a community initiative with 90 pence out of every pound spent going back to the producers. It ensures a much fairer deal for Frome’s producers than they would receive in the supermarket and, as everything is ordered in advance, farmers can guarantee their produce is not wasted. Seasonal produce is often picked in the morning ready for you to collect direct from the producer in the afternoon. HOW IT WORKS: Order on-line every week by Tuesday 2am and collect in the Main Hall at the Steiner Academy Frome on the Wednesday between 5:30pm and 7:30pm. BENEFITS OF EATING SEASONAL, LOCAL FOOD ●● Produce tastes better ●● Less expensive ●● Higher nutritional value ●● Supports body’s natural nutritional needs ●● More environmentally friendly ●● Less stressful as fewer trips to the supermarket with kids in tow
Photography © Rather Nice Design
Just some of the produce available to buy (and try!) at the Food Assembly
Alistair 5 and Edward, 3. Wookey Farm is a small dairy goat farm and eco-campsite near Cheddar where Ian and Sarah have a herd of British Toggenberg goats, as well as rare breed sheep and pigs. Ian runs the farm and campsite while Sarah makes the cheeses and yoghurt. They also sell goats’ milk and goats’ meat. Goats’ meat is a healthy alternative to other red meats as it is low in fat. It has fewer calories and cholesterol than chicken and turkey – and triple the amount of iron. Slow cooked, the diced meat makes delicious curries, tagines and stews. So if you are a meat-eater or are having meat-eating guests, it’s definitely worth giving it a go.
Wookey Farm and (above) proprieters Ian and Sarah Davies
Th (and th e kids e ch are in t ildren) here
Family Social GREAT
PARENTING! 1 Get the kids to Numeracy is pick the mint leaves supported through off the stalks and measuring and place in to a bowl. counting. (make sure at least one of your helpers is counting the number of leaves that go in) 2 Next throw in 300ml of yoghurt – give a teaspoon to each kid and have them take turns adding the yoghurt to the measuring jug. 3 Next add a couple of child-sized handfuls of fresh peas or frozen peas. Kids can divide the peas in to separate bowls or containers and smash them to smithereens with a fork before adding to the yoghurt, cheese and mint leaves. Or, if you could do without the faff, you can just add the peas straight to the food processor container with the yoghurt and mint leaves for a 30 sec blast. 4 Add a pinch of salt and pepper to finish, give it a stir and chuck it in a small bowl to serve with your chosen veg.
GOAT CURRY STARTER
GREEN DIP & VEG TIME: 10 mins Skills required: Barely any Equipment: ●● Knife ●● Chopping board ●● Food processor, micro blender, or a simple fork
Photography © Rather Nice Design
hile we don’t often do a starter with a curry, it’s nice to have something for your guests to nibble on while you are putting on the finishing touches. It can also work to keep idle hands busy, so get the kids to whip up a simple dip with some chopped veg. THE VEG: Of course it’s great to eat veg that’s in season but who are we kidding, go with any veg you can get your hands on. More importantly, choose veg that the kids will eat – just make sure it’s 10 |
fresh. We like carrots, celery, cucumbers – the staple lunchbox faire. Throw in some chicory and fennel if you’re feeling fancy pants. We like to get the kids to help chop the veg in to bite sized pieces, but that’s your call and it certainly depends on age and their fine motor skills. The main course is a goat curry, not a kid curry. If they’re not doing the chopping they can help to put it on a plate to serve. To deal with whinging kids who aren’t digging the veg, you can always put some crisps out! THE GREEN DIP: Ingredients to serve 8 ●● 300ml Greek yoghurt ●● 20 Mint leaves ●● A handful of grated Cheddar cheese ●● 2 child-sized handfuls of fresh or frozen peas (roughly 60 if they want to count) ●● Salt + Pepper
MASTERCHEF JOHN TORODE’S GOAT CURRY Time: 15 minutes prep, 3-4 hours cooking time Skills required: Very little Equipment: ●● Food processor, blender or similar whizzer ●● A large flameproof casserole dish
ohn Torode’s Goat Curry is the perfect main for friends and family, both in the eating and the cooking. Smaller children enjoy whizzing up the ingredients in the food processor, older ones can chop, stir and cook under supervision. We’ve adjusted the spice in the recipe a bit, but you can use as much or as little chilli as you or your guests will tolerate. Rather than being a slave to the cooking, you can leave this to look after itself for3-4 hours and enjoy some time with your guests. Or, if you are having friends over at the weekend, leave it in the slowcooker while you nip into town, walk the dog or relax with the papers before the guests arrive. Ingredients to serve 8 with some leftovers (*Available through the Food Assembly) ●● 2 large onions, roughly chopped * ●● 20 garlic cloves * ●● 200g ginger, chopped ●● 200ml vegetable oil * ●● 4 red or green chillies, chopped (omit as desired – we used 2 green) ●● 2 small handfuls of curry leaves ●● 6 thyme sprigs * ●● 8 tsp mild curry powder * ●● 1400g goat shoulder, diced * ●● 2x 400g can chopped tomato
For goat's sake, that's a lot of garlic.
s for pudding, we’re still trying to stick to our New Year’s Resolutions, though we could be tempted by a Mango and Cardamom Syllabub at the end of the evening. We’ve used a BBC GoodFood recipe as a starting point but made some changes to make it more family friendly.
and cook for 5 mins until softened. Add the chillies, curry leaves, thyme, curry powder and 2 tsp salt. Cook for 2-3 mins until fragrant. 3 Tip the goat into the pan. Cook for 5 mins over a medium-high heat until the meat has browned. Add the chopped tomatoes and stock. Increase the heat, bring to the boil and cook for 10 mins. 4 Reduce heat, cover and leave to simmer gently for 3-4 hrs – remove the lid for the final 30 mins of cooking. 5 Add the beans to heat through. Add more chilli if you want. After 5 mins more, remove from the heat. Add the lemon juice and coriander, and stir well. Serve with warmed flatbread and rice.
●● 600ml lamb or beef stock ●● 2 x 410g can of pinto or kidney beans ●● Juice 1 lemon * ●● Large bunch coriander, chopped * ●● Warmed flatbread and rice, to serve
1 Place the onion, garlic and ginger in a food processor and blend to a purée. 2 Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish, add the onion mixture
MANGO & CARDAMOM DELIGHTS Time: 15 minutes (it can be made up to an hour in advance)
Skills required: Very little Equipment:
●● Food processor, blender or similar whizzer ●● Bowl and a spoon or a pestle and mortar
Ingredients to serve 8 with some left over ●● 4 large mangoes, peeled and stoned, 2 finely chopped ●● 5 green cardamom pods, seeds removed. You can order seeds online as it can be time consuming to get them out of the pod ●● 1 litre of greek or plain yoghurt ●● 4 meringue shells, lightly crushed – kids love smashing these up! Be sure to use a heavy duty sandwich bag to avoid a massive mess ●● Mint sprigs, to serve
1Put the flesh of 2 mangoes in a food processor and blend to a purée. Stir in almost all the finely chopped flesh of the other 2 mangoes, then spoon into the base of 8 glasses. 2 Grind the cardamom seeds to a powder, mix in with half of the yoghurt. Use the remaining yoghurt for the kids’ pudding. Fold in half of the crushed meringue to each bowl. 3 Spoon the yoghurt mixture on top of the mango purée, then spoon the remaining chopped mango on top. This can be made 1 hr ahead. Serve decorated with mint sprigs. | 11
Home & Garden
On the verge of a Vitamin D defiency and most certainly feeling the effects of season affective disorder, local gardener, Jen Chow, sends The Little Things in to the garden. Words Jen Chow
t this time of year most of us are completely stir-crazy and are likely to be at the end of our tether with couped up kids. The problem is, the weather is nearly as miserable as the kids. Gardening can be fun whatever the weather is doing. It’s a perfect time to get started, to prepare and to fill your boots with inspiration and ideas for the coming months. Get some ideas of what you like by having a look at what you’ve got in your garden. Look at your friend’s garden, take a walk to a local allotment or plan a visit to a garden that’s open to the public. Enjoy the colours, textures and
shapes. Take some photos or draw some sketches. Ask the kids what they think, what colours they like in gardens, what wildlife or minibeasts they might like to attract. If space is limited or you don’t have a garden, there are still loads of things you can do. Here’s some ideas:
Home & Garden
FAT BALLS Time: around 10mins
Our gardens can provide important habitat for all sorts of wildlife from beetles to bats. They can link together with other neighbouring habitats, gardens, fields, woodland etc. Don’t be too tidy in your garden, there will be all sorts of creatures taking advantage of a left-over leaf pile or some rotting wood. Get the kids to check around for slimy log-like poos, you might be lucky enough to find a little hedgehog. Though we usually think of fat balls in winter months), offering high energy food for parent birds will help them fuel up and be in tiptop shape for raising their young.
FLOWER POTS Time: around 15mins
This is a good one for kids; everyone can have their own flower pot, mess is limited (dependant on those digging), it gets them outside and they can see the benefits of their hard work or not. Mostly, it will keep them busy rain or shine.
WHAT TO DO: ●● Get the children to wash up some small yoghurt cups, dry them then fill up with seed mix (you can buy this at garden centres). ●● Gently heat up suet or lard until it becomes a liquid. (Adults only for this.)
WHAT TO DO:
●● Let it cool slightly so it doesn’t melt the yoghurt pots.
●● Go to a garden centre and choose
●● Pour into the yoghurt pots. Add string if you would like to hang the fat ball. (Adults only for this too.)
some bulbs and some potting compost. Lilies are good in pots and
●● Place fat ball on bird tables or hang in a tree.
seem to get better each year. A pair
●● Watch the birds as they feed on your fat ball.
of old wellies, an un-used tea pot or
●● Children can research types of birds, frequency of visits, behaviour.
crockery make great alternatives to
Check the RSPB website for more info on what to feed birds and how to attract particular types of birds throughout the seasons.
ordinary plant-pots. ●● The general rule of thumb for planting bulbs is to put them in at 2x the depth of the bulb. If you are using pots, plant them slightly deeper to give extra protection from wet and cold. ●● Older children can read about how much sunlight they need and think about where best to put them in order to get the right amount of sun. ●● Potted plants could be put in different places in the garden, kids could experiment with what conditions are best for growing particular plants by regularly measuring growth and coming up with reasons why growth was affected.
Developing science and maths skills GREAT FOR:
NATIVE SOIL Time: around 10mins
While the children are making mud pies, ask them to see if they can work out the type of soil in your garden. This will be important when thinking about plants as different plants thrive in different soil types. WHAT TO DO: ●● Get the children to scoop up a trowel
its likely to be sandy. ●● If it’s brown like chocolate cake crumbs and holds together somewhat you’ve got loamy soil: a combination of silt, sand and clay.
All of this information will be very useful when choosing plants that are likely to survive in your garden. To find out more about soil types and which plants work well in a particular soil type, go to thompson-morgan.com/ plants-for-soil-types. Or you can ask at your local garden centre.
full of soil. ●● If it is very sticky and squeezes together easily, it’s a clay soil. ●● If it is fine and doesn’t squeeze together
kids to Get your lan of p draw a rden your ga
T H E LI G H
Time: any amount of time
THE GRAND DESIGN Time: any amount of time
Following on from your garden visits it would be a good idea to gather some information about your garden as it looks in the winter. This will tell you a lot about the skeleton of the garden and help you plan what to add as we move in to spring. And, it’s a perfect job for the children. WHAT TO DO: Identify the basic bones of your garden by gathering information about what you see. Children can draw what they see from the back of the house, either standing outside or from the back window or back door. Where is the shed, fences, buildings, seating areas,
etc? Where are the trees, shrubs? What shape are the existing lawn areas? Get them to include all the junk too. (To keep the rascals outdoors for longer, why not give them some tape measures so they can make a scaled-down accurate drawing). Regardless of their level of skill, their doodles will give you a picture of the structure of your garden or outdoor space as it exists at the moment. Another alternative is to take photos which can be printed off and added to. You and the kids can then use the drawings or photographs as a canvas to add magazine cut-outs, sketches of flowers and plants and other structures. (**a mock up of a kids sketch with magazine cut-out flowers)
CAN YOU DIG IT?
If you just want to get out in the garden without the kids vying for your attention we’ve put together a list of how to keep the kids busy while you get on with sorting the garden.
Children could also explore where the light is in the garden at different times of the day and add this to the drawing or photograph. Where is the sun in the morning, afternoon and evening? Which direction is the garden facing? What plants will grow in which areas? Not only is this keeping the children entertained, but they are collecting useful information about your garden for you – and learning a few things themselves.
Some of the local (ish) places to find plants for your garden: ●● The Walled Garden,
WHILE ADULTS ARE…
Plant bulbs too
Cutting back herbaceous plants
Cut back too using scissors. Younger children can use markers to draw marks where plants need to be cut.
Splitting and dividing perennials
Fork-over bare ground to prep for planting
Ruffling in the compost heap to aerate
Count how many worms they find
Planning out the garden
Use a hose pipe or heavy string to draw out the shape of borders
Mells BA11 3RN ●● Trowbridge Garden Centre, Trowbridge BA14 0DT ●● The Mead Nursery, Westbury BA13 4EG ●● Barters Plant Centre, Westbury BA13 4AL ●● Rocky Mountain Plants, Wells BA5 3HA ●● Homebase, Frome BA11 4DH
MINDFULNESS “Start living in each present moment”
Mindfulness Courses & Workshops Groups | Individuals | Organisations Highly qualiﬁed and experienced teachers
Mindful Self-Compassion Courses Counselling with Mindfulness For details see: www.everyday-mindfulness.com E firstname.lastname@example.org T 01373-464564 M 07792 137103
Health and Balance Kinesiology uses gentle muscle testing techniques to gain accurate information about your current issues and discover what will help you to achieve the healthy life that you want. To discuss what kinesiology can do for you or to book an appointment call 01373 836180
COVER FEATURE | Family Fitness
Family Fitness | COVER FEATURE
We’ve ‘lost’ our gym membership card, have gone back to hiding our empties underneath pizza boxes and fully embraced our extra weight – that is until we met with personal trainer, Alice Starr, who HIIT us with some home truths… Words Alice Starr and Lisa Merryweather-Millard
ummer means more flesh on show and despite our January resolutions, many of us are still dealing with the leftovers. We had grand plans of getting up early to go for a run, doing some yoga, getting to the gym for 6:30am. That hasn’t happened and, quite frankly, hulling ourselves out of bed on those wet and cold mornings is exercise enough.We failed and we have been consoling ourselves with stodgy comfort foods and alcohol all winter. It’s gone from bad to worse and with another holiday around the corner, the warmer weather coming soon (wishful thinking) and the reality that we can’t hide in baggy jumpers forever it’s time for a re-think. No resolutions, no unachievable targets – this is about being healthy. Personal trainer, mum to two boys and all-round superwoman, Alice Starr of Starr Fitness, spoke to us about how we can become a little bit more healthy and how to sneak in some exercise (even if we think we don’t have the time). CAN’T I JUST GO ON A DIET? We may not want to hear it, but chances are you know dieting is not good for you. A healthy, balanced diet is good for you. Dieting can be extreme and temporary – these are quick fixes which people don't often stick to. Who can? The thought of being on a diet for the rest of your life is enough to make anyone quit before they’ve started.
Yo-Yo dieting doesn’t work either. loose weight as well, remember that the Repeat dieting often means your body ‘WALL’ you hit when exercise is hard temporarily goes in to starvation or eating healthy is hard is the point at mode and hangs on to the extra fat as a which you get stronger, fitter, and leaner. reserve. While this was great So when you’re in the middle for our ancestors’ survival, of an HIIT (high intensity Obviously, it’s not so great now when interval training) workout, it’s advisable to we can get our hands on an exercise class or a run check with your food whenever we want. and your brain wants you doctor if you plan to stop, keep going that to change your SORT OUT extra bit longer – it will lifestyle. YOUR ATTITUDE pay off. Your muscles can As you know in order to make a lifestyle change, or any change, you need to have the right attitude. Rather than focusing on loosing weight, focus on being healthy. It’s about balance. We all ram our faces full of junk some days, that doesn’t mean we’ve failed, we just need to get back to being healthy the next day. We’ve all heard the saying ‘You are what you repeatedly do’, well the same goes for being healthy. It’s about repeatedly eating well and repeatedly taking care of yourself. It’s about the long haul, not short-term weight loss. MY BRAIN SAYS “NO” Of course your brain says no. Your brain looks for the easy option, the easy convenience foods, and the easy exercises that don’t challenge your body. When you hit THE WALL, when it gets difficult, that is usually the point at which your brain says no. However, if alongside being healthy, you want to
work longer than your brain thinks they can. The brain is lazy, it’s trying to preserve your energy. We choose the easy option. You can do more, you need to override your brain – it will always choose the easiest option if given a choice.
There are no two ways about it – if you are carrying excess weight, at some point you ate more than your body needs. That’s what Alice told us and we weren’t happy about it either. How much weight you gain or lose depends on your size, how much exercise you do, and how efficiently your body is working. There are only two ways to loose weight: Reduce your calorie intake (this accounts for up to 80% of weight loss and weight gain) and burn more calories – either through cardio, building lean
COVER FEATURE | Family Fitness Apps like My Fitness Plan can help you track the calories you consume and also the calories you use throughout the day.
Make exercise part of what you do as a family
muscle or for the best results, both. It goes without saying that if you eat less and burn more calories, you're more likely to lose weight. On average women need roughly 2000 calories per day to maintain their current weight, while men need roughly 2500 calories. To lose just one pound of fat per week, you need 3500 fewer calories over 7 days or 500 less calories per day. For those of us who are over 27, which is around the age when your body is supposed to be working at the height of efficiency and effectiveness, you need 500 calories less than you did when you were in your late twenties. While admitting that your body is not at it’s peak isn’t a reality we’d all like to accept, it’s worth considering, particularly if you are uncomforatble. . To put that in to perspective, 500 calories looks a little bit like this. 500 CALORIES OF DRINK ●● 2 large glasses of wine ●● 2 pints of beer
500 CALORIES OF FOOD ●● 1 slice of cake and a large latte ●● 2-3 slices of pizza ●● 4 slices of bacon ●● 9oz of steak
500 CALORIES OF EXERCISE ●● 45mins hardcore Spin session ●● 2hrs of yoga or pilates ●● 45mins quick jog ●● 25mins interval running
BALANCING ACT As long as you're balancing your calorie
intake with exercise you can pretty much do what you like. Okay, that’s not entirely true – NO EXCESS! Fat can cling on to your organs (visceral fat) – that’s not only disgusting to think about, but worrying too as this visceral fat can lead to insulin resistance (the beginning of diabetes), high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and a higher risk for developing heart disease. There have been links between visceral fat and breast cancer, colorectal cancer, strokes, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia too. So, even if you are looking good in your skinny jeans or rocking a trim tummy you may actually be holding on to some fat on the inside. That’s one of the reasons that regular exercise is so important. It’s not just about loosing weight – you can sort out your weight by eating properly. Regular exercise can help you loose visceral fat, help you sleep better, improve your mood and reduce the effect of stress on your body.
Don’t eat too much or too little. Make sensible decisions (not 2000 calories worth of booze).
In order to make a change and live a healthy lifestyle, the following are super important.
Be positive. Don’t worry if you don’t exercise everyday or eat healthily everyday. You can start again the next day. You can do it!
Be prepared. Think about what you and your family are going to eat for the week. Buy only those ingredients. This will save time, stop you from impulse shopping, and help you and your family stick with making healthy decisions about food.
Get the recommended 10,000 steps per day in.
Drink it. Often. Drinking enough water can stop you eating too much by filling you up and helping your body work more efficiently.
Get enough. The right amount of sleep can drastically improve your mood and help you function better. If you’re in a better mood, you will be less likely to reach for ‘comfort foods’.
Family Fitness | COVER FEATURE
Alcohol is full of empty calories. If you are trying to make healthier decisions swap wine, prosecco, beer and cider for clear spirits like gin or vodka. Clear spirits often have less calories. You will, however, need to be careful of your choice of mixer as soft drinks like cola, ginger ale and lemonade are full of sugar. Substitute for low calorie versions. Another issue with alcohol is that when you have alcohol in your body, you crave sugary fat-filled drinks and food which add more calories on top of the calories from your drinking. Maybe try having two glasses of water before having a drink. Or, you can do more exercise. It’s about balance. A MESSAGE TO THE BREAKFAST SKIPPERS Sometimes people don’t loose weight because they don’t ingest enough calories. If you aren’t getting enough calories, your body can go in to starvation mode and hang on to the food you ingest as fat reserves.
Build it. This is not body builder muscle. We are talking about fit, toned muscles, not bulgy muscles. Each pound of lean muscle on your body burns an additional 300 calories. This is roughly equivalent to a glass of wine or pint of beer.
MORE CARDIO EXERCISE
Do it. Cardio exercise isn’t just about loosing weight; it improves your mood, reduces stress levels, makes your stronger, can reduce the risk of some forms of cancer and helps you sleep better.
Eating well and exercise needs to be about more than just loosing weight in order to stick with it
Downward Dog – AKA The Toddler Tunnel
If, like in most families, time is a luxury that you no longer have, getting in shape may be another one of those things you have to squeeze in around the rest of the day’s demands. Here are Alice Starr’s sneaky exercises for busy family life… A.M. GETTING DRESSED Do leg lunges until you can get their trousers on or, if they are older, while they are putting their trousers on. Do the other leg while putting on their shirt or until they can get their shirt on themselves. Try doing squats while they are getting their socks or shoes on. The longer they take, the more of a workout you get. A.M. BREAKFAST While your kids are eating breakfast, do press ups against the wall or worktop. This may be the only time having a painfully slow eater will pay off! P.M. READING While kids are reading to you or while you are reading to your kids, lay on the floor in a plank position for 1 minute (or whatever time you can do). Increase this every day. You can plank
from either your knees or your toes. Judge your success by your ability to read at the same time. No swearing. A.M. / P.M. BRUSHING TEETH For the 2 minutes your kids are supposed to be brushing their teeth, you can run up and down the stairs. Ask them to count how many times you can do it. Try to increase the number each day.
P.M. WATCHING TELLY Plank, do wall squats or tricep dips on the sofa or coffee table. For your stomach, do crunches or alternating leg extensions in reps of 10 with a 30 second break.
COVER FEATURE | Family Fitness Put a note on the bedroom door, mirror, or on your phone, to remind yourself!
10 minute HIIT Burn up to 150 calories in a 10 minute HIIT workout.
Start the day right (added bonus of getting fitter, stronger, leaner – as Alice says)
ACTIVITY: jumping jacks / burpees / high knees / heels to bum TIME: 20 seconds giving it all you’ve got REST: 10 seconds then repeat Repeat: 20 x for 10 minute HIIT / 30 x for 15 minute HIIT
Activity: squats / press ups / lunges / plank Time: 20 seconds giving it all you’ve got Rest: 1 full minute then repeat Repeat: 6 times for 10 minute a HIIT OR 9 times for a15 minute HIIT Alternate as you wish between cardio and muscle.
When you are brushing your own teeth – squeeze your own tummy in like you are trying to do up the flies on those jeans that don’t quite fit anymore. A.M. / P.M. THE DISHWASHER Walking lunges to and from the cupboards or squats while packing or unpacking the dishwasher. Yes, you will look ridiculous but you will be building muscle which will help your body to burn more fat.
TO DO WHILE AT WORK Take away your chair and make your own seat for a few minutes by adopting the squat position – challenge your colleagues if they start to tease. Do glut squeezes in your chair. No one will ever know! Go for a little walk every hour. This will help with your 10,000 steps per day. If you can’t spare the time or your boss will be on your back, plan your day to include this as thinking time.
EXERCISE AS A FAMILY Get the whole family involved in being healthy. Not only is it time spent together, but if you have other’s doing it with you, you are more likely to stick with it. Here are some ideas: GO FOR A WALK AFTER DINNER WITH THE KIDS
JOIN A LOCAL PARK RUN
They can even wear their pyjamas for a quick loop around the block.
HEAD TO THE PARK
Take a ball and have a kick around, take your tennis rackets or a frisbee. You’ll be having so much fun, you’ll forget you’re getting some exercise in.
You can find information about your local, free park run on their website www.parkrun.org.uk
DO SOME YOGA TOGETHER
It can be a great start to the morning, rather than the typical stressful rush we usually associate with school mornings. You can easily find simple and short three minute routines on websites like Yoga Journal.
GO FOR A FAMILY CYCLE AT THE WEEKEND
GO FOR A FAMILY SWIM
A WEEK OF R O SPORTS & OUTODGOET ACTIVITIES T ING! THE KIDS MOV
29TH APRILâ€“7TH MAY For more information visit fromeactive.org.uk
FOR KiDs this issUe: Fake some stained glass! AGES: 6–101 TIME: 10 minutes – how long have you got? MATERIALS: ●● Plastic sweet wrappers ●● PVA glue (liquid or gloopy glue) ●● Small paint brush ●● Black permanent marker (optional) ●● Scissors (optional) ●● Larger piece of clear (no colour) cellophane or plastic
In association with…
Hey kids, this is your very own mini-mag, Bright Young Things, filled with lots of creative ideas for when you are at home or out and about. Rip these pages out, scour the house for all the bits and pieces you need and get making!
Bright Young Things
lastic sweet wrappers are EXACTLY what you need to make fake stained glass. Save as many of the coloured seethrough parts of the sweet wrappers as you can. It’s also known as cellophane, to professional stained glass fakers. Call it recycling, call it salvaging, but don’t call it an excuse to eat all the sweets in one go for art’s sake – your parents are right, you’ll make yourself sick if you do that! If you can’t get your hands on sweet wrappers (or your parents aren’t giving in to your demands for sweets), you can ask them to buy coloured cellophane from most local craft or art shops or scrap stores. You will need clear cellophane as a
base for your artwork. You can buy some from the craft shop, or here are some ideas for the Recycling Ninjas among you. If you have ready-made meals at home (tell your parents it’s okay, we have them sometimes too) save the clear thin plastic bit that they sometimes tell you to pierce before putting in the oven. Even better, if you can find a clear plastic carton – the kind that fruit or veg sometimes come in, grab a grown up and they’ll help you cut out a nice flat piece of plastic to use as your base. Make sure there are no sharp edges and be sure to give it a wash before you use it. You don’t want your stained glass smelling of chicken korma.
How to do it:
OK, so you’ve done the difficult bit in getting everything together, all you have to do now is have fun. You shouldn’t even need an apron if your PVA glue is washable.
Place your clear base on some scrap paper Use plain paper rather than newspaper if you have some.
Brush some glue on to your clear base. Make sure you have enough glue, more is better here.
Paste your coloured sweet wrappers or plastic cellophane on to your gluey, oozy clear base.
� | 23
Bright Young Things
Rub over the top of each new piece gently with your gluey brush to make it as flat as you can. Real stained glass doesn’t have flappy or curly bits. To fool everyone with your fake yours shouldn’t have flappy or curly bits either.
Overlap the sweet wrappers when you add new ones. It is much better to have too much glue than not enough here. The glue will dry eventually, and as it does, your little trapped glue bubbles and wrinkles will end up looking a lot like antique hand-made stained glass – making you an expert faker!
Bright Young Things
OUT AND ABOUT?
BORED? Try this!
Featured Artist: Vincent Bal and his ‘Shadowology’
ere at Make It! we love taking photographs of shadows, cutting them up and turning them into artwork, so we were really excited when we met fellow shadow lover, Vincent Bal. Check out how he uses shadows in his artwork on this page, and then have a go yourself. Because you’ll find unexpected shadow shapes in unfamiliar places and because you only need a pen and paper, ‘Shadowology’ is a perfect activity for when you’re out and about. You’ll find different light sources and shadows everywhere, and they’re free! Vincent has some advice especially for you, the readers of The Little Things, to help you get started:
Vincent Bal’s brilliant shadowology illustrations: Duck For The Police and (below) Beary Tasty
“The good thing about Shadowology is that you don’t have to be a good artist, you can just use what the sun has drawn and make it visible to the other people by adding some lines. The less lines you have to use, the better it usually is. Give yourself some time to look at the shadow, toss and turn the object you work with. You have all the time in the world, especially if Mum or Dad are busy chatting. Look for faces, for animals, for buildings, for things that are very big or very small. Sometimes you can even see something in the so-called negative space, where there is no shadow. Look at my ‘Beary Tasty’ Shadow Doodle and see how it works there. You can’t go wrong, because there is no right way of doing it!” Vincent Bal
Vincent Bal is a Belgian filmmaker and artist. He has made four feature films and several shorts. While working on a new script in May 2016, he suddenly noticed how the shadow of a teacup on his desk looked like a little elephant. He completed the image with a few lines, took a picture and shared it on Instagram. He challenged himself to make one of these ‘shadow doodles’ every day and he hasn’t stopped since. His book will be published in May and there are plans for a short film. vincent_bal doodleballs vincebal Shop: etsy.com/shop/ VincentBalDoodles Film: vincentbal.com
Health & Well-being
understand our situation much better.
In the midst of family-life chaos, can mindfulness offer any real solace? The Little Things offers mindfulness teacher, Eva Ruijgrok-Lupton, the chance to convince us.
eing a parent is the epitome of being ‘mind full’. When the kids are around it’s difficult to find time to process our own thoughts, even time spent in the toilet is not our own. When it comes to family life, we can be mind full to the point of being mind less. In the middle of the post-school / pre-dinner chaos, The Little Things interviewed Eva Ruijgrok-Lupton, a qualified mindfulness and selfcompassion teacher, to get the lowdown on this mindfulness mumbo-jumbo. Truthfully, we just really wanted to see if she could offer any real relief from the roller coaster of family life. I spend a lot of time with my mind full — full of what the kids are up to, keeping the house together, social arrangements, school, work, marriage, my parents, etc. I suspect this isn’t the mindfulness that you practice and teach. Modern mindfulness is rooted in the work of biologist Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn 26 |
who developed mindfulness based stress reduction or MBSR. It’s not the same as Buddhist mindfulness. Mindfulness means both the practice and the mediations used. It's the awareness that arises from the practice as a consequence. The meditations use the breath as the focus. Paying close attention to your body, your breath and all of your other senses allows you to be aware of where you are right now. Right now I am in the middle of cooking dinner, quizzing my daughter on her 8 timestables and conducting an interview with you. I am breathing quite quickly and I feel my shoulders beside my ears. If I paused to think about it, I 'd say I feel frazzled and like I’m not doing a very good job of any of it. The aim is to accept the awareness you get from paying attention in a kindly way, without criticism or opinion. This is often very different from our daily lives, constantly judging and editing our thoughts. Without judgment and selfediting, we can take in much more and
If it’s not going to change my situation, why be mindful? We spend so much time in the past or the future. Regrets or longings draw us back in to the past, which we cannot change, and planning or worrying force us in to our future, which has not happened. We are rarely in the present. We react, rather than respond. We develop escape mechanisms, ranging from mild to extreme, to remove ourselves from the present and avoid dealing with things we find uncomfortable. Examples can, and often, include excessive eating, exercise, drinking, shopping or cleaning. If we aren’t present, our issues often don’t get resolved, the problem becomes compounded and we end up with new problems as we try to avoid our issues. How is mindfulness going to help me? MBSR can help people be calmer, enjoy improved relationships, make clearer decisions, sleep better and improve selfconfidence. Other benefits can include a decrease in blood pressure and it’s known to be quite effective for anxiety. By learning to stay present with the way things are and not focussing on, criticising or forming (negative) opinions about others , it can offer a different relationship to life – a relationship of kind acceptance. That does not mean condoning the things that are wrong or causing us problems, but acknowledging that this is the way things are. For now. Only then can we think about our choices we way we respond. I’m too busy with work, home, kids and everything else life throws at me to find time to be calm and practice being mindful. I feel stressed just thinking about it. It’s a misconception that you need to be calm to be mindful. At least I haven’t failed at the first hurdle! It’s being present with however you are,
Health & Well-being
acknowledging where you are now. It is difficult to develop that level of awareness without setting aside some time to practice. People spend so much time with their phones, checking social media or the net that, if you really look at it, you can find 10 minutes. Start small with 5 minutes a day just being aware of how your body feels. How does touching the ground feel? Am I aware of my breathing? Find time in the shower, or on the toilet. You don’t need a guide, just be present and aware of where you are and what it feels like. It needn’t take a lot of time – you’ll get more out of doing 5 to 10 minutes a day than 30 minutes once a week. Gradually you’ll be able to bring that awareness in to the rest of your life. During those chaotic parenting moments, ask yourself if you can still feel your feet on the ground or if you can feel your breath. It is giving yourself a little bit of breathing space, literally, to deal with the situation and be present. You don’t have to be perfect. It’s nice to hear someone say that I don’t
NEED MORE? To find out more about mindfulness, visit these suggested websites… EVERYDAY MINDFULNESS everyday-mindfulness.com Eva’s own website which is filled with a wealth of information about mindfulness. MENTAL HEALTH FOUNDATION bemindful.co.uk CENTRE FOR MINDFULNESS RESEARCH AND PRACTICE bangor.ac.uk/mindfulness OXFORD MINDFULNESS CENTRE oxfordmindfulness.org
“MBSR can help people be calmer, enjoy improved relationships, make clearer decisions, sleep better and improve self-confidence” have to be perfect. Family life itself can be a practice; giving the situation or your children your full attention, not pulling away from them but to fully be with them in the situation – even when they get up in the middle of the night. It’s hard to think about anything other than getting back to bed when they are up in the middle of the night. Yes, you may want to get back to bed but that is not being present. Feel your love for them, connect with them. Children are so sensitive to you not giving them your full attention. They know instinctively when you are present. When you are present, you are able to respond instead of react. It tends to make you feel calmer, calming the situation which then calms your child. Can I work more of this magic on my kids? Absolutely! There is currently a lot of research in to the benefits of mindfulness with children. The Mindfulness in Schools project is one example. In fact there are already many schools, some local, where the staff and students regularly practice mindfulness. On their website you can watch films of the children speaking about their experience. It has made a real difference with the kids, both in school and at home. Are there specific things I can do with my kids to help them be more mindful? Hug and breath together. Talk about what it feels like to hug each other. Notice what your body feels like, what does your breath feel like? Sit with your children and ask them
to hold up their left hand with the palm facing towards them. Use the index finger to follow along the outside of the hand. The sensation of the finger moving around the hand will help them become aware of their breathing and touch. Play with them. Get down on the floor with them. Pay attention to them. Focus on the moment, not the past or the future. Be present with your children. Cultivate their questioning. They’re learning. Paying attention helps them feel valued. When they are upset, ask them, ‘what does that feel like when you are upset? What does it feel like in your tummy?’ It’s important to consider the way the body responds to emotions. What about when I’m already 10 minutes late and the kids still don’t have their shoes on? You can have a different response to that situation. I suspect you don’t mean shouting, I do that already and it doesn’t work. You can have 10 frantic minutes or you can decide to get up 10 minutes earlier. Acknowledging your lateness helps you to realie you have choices. I love the saying, ‘If you’re busy, go slow. If you’re very busy, go very slowly”. We tend to want to do too many things, too quickly. We are not multitasking as we are not really doing two things simultaneously. Take one moment just to breathe, feel your feet on the ground and think about what really needs to be done. One thing at a time. With dinner cooked and served whilst interviewing, I decided to ask Eva one last question. Eva, if you could give just one piece of advice, what would it be? Holding my breathe for the answer, I finally breathed out, dropped my shoulders and – after what felt like a lifetime – she answered… Breathe out. | 27
Rogue Ones We all know the struggle of getting the kids out for the day the endless arguing about what to wear, what toys to bring or where to go are enough to work us in to a weekend-ruining frenzy. The Little Things (reluctantly) finds out exactly what happens when the kids are allowed to make all the decisions.â€Ś
Left: “Daddy told me that I can’t bash things because I break them so I’m using my hammer to bash the tree. I want to smash down trees.”
This: “My brother thinks he’s almost as tall as me, but he’s not .He thinks he's so strong and big. He's not.”
Photographed for The Little Things by Chris Bailey. chrisbaileyphotography.co.uk Location: Shearwater.
SHOES: “From the hallway” Shorts: “From my wardrobe” Coat: “It was my friend, Gabriel’s, but it was too small for him” Book: “My dad bought it for me” Hockey stick: “From under my bed” Hair: “I brushed it” Make-up: “Ididn’t wear any. Why would I? ”
SHOES: “They were by the front door ” Shorts: “Frommy summerclothesdrawer” Yellow hoodie: “Dirty clothes basket” Jacket: “I found it in the car” Tools & glasses: “From Daddy” Stuffed toy: “Freddie’s mummy bought it for me” Hair: “I didn’t do my hair” Make-up: **looks quizzically**
It â€™s 4 C!
LEFT: “I don’t think I’m going to be able to rollerskate here, it’s really bumpy. We should have chosen somewhere with pavement.”
This: “Hockey is my favourite sport. I like netball too, but I love hockey. I play at school and I also practice every Sunday.”
Power to the People On March 21st and March 22nd young people in Frome will be learning about democracy, the importance of participation and through an engaging day of activities, they will be using their voices to make change happen.
ollowing the 2015 UK general election, Ipsos Mori estimated that less than half of young people between the ages of 18 to 25 voted. Similarly, in the recent US elections, market researchers estimated that only about 50% of eligible young voters between the ages of 18 to 29 cast their vote. In both countries, the percentage of young people voting was considerably lower than any other age group. Interestingly, in the UK the majority of young voters supported Labour while in America, Clinton was the candidate favoured by the millennials. With greater young voter turnout, the landscape may have looked very different. Whether you agree with the outcomes of recent, or not so recent, democratic decisions or not, it’s clear that teaching future generations about participation and democratic decisionmaking is important. No, it’s more than important, it’s imperative. On Monday March 21st and Tuesday March 22nd at Frome Football Club Year 8 children in Frome will attend Make It Happen, where they will spend a fun-filled, activity-packed day designed to give Frome’s young people a voice. The activities are all about making democracy real for young people – encouraging kids to get involved in local decisions and giving them the tools to turn their ideas into a 32 |
reality. It also focusses on participation – enabling young people to get involved in their local community, make links with local groups that interest them or give them confidence and connections to start their own group. Sue Willis, co –director of the project, said “Make It Happen day in April 2016 saw all the Year 8s in Frome finding out about how democracy works, taking part in activities which would give them skills to take their ideas forward, and giving us feedback about what they liked about Frome and what they would like to improve. There were some very interesting ideas put forward including outside shelters, a film club and a mobile café all of which are now in the pipeline at the planning stage.” This year the event will be held over two days which will give the pupils more time to engage in the activities and collaborate with students from other schools within the same sessions. The event is designed to keep the students active and interested and will include activities such as; practical sports coaching, face-painting,
working with the Park Rangers learning scything skills, website design, community film-making and spoken word poetry. A member for the Youth Parliament will kick off the day and the democracy workshops will be led by Learning to Lead. The skills developed in these sessions can be used to support local community groups or by the students themselves to set up their own enterprises. Additional sessions will look at sustainability; how individuals can influence the world they live in through their day-to-day actions; how to find funding for an idea; how to get ideas off the ground and how young people can make themselves heard on issues about which they are passionate . Make It Happen is supported by older students from Frome College who welcome the students, guide them from one activity to the next, document the day and support the activity sessions. Involving students from the college helps the Year 8s to gain more information about life at Frome College and make connections with college students in advance of their transition into Year 9 in September. For the college students, gaining experience of running an event and mentoring the year 8 pupils outside of a school environment helps to develop their life skills. The project, commissioned by Frome Town Council, is keen to enable young people to get more involved in local decision making and is organised by Rachel Griffin and Sue Willis from Purple Elephant Productions CIC, a non-profit organisation who also put together the Children’s Festival, Sports Fest and Frome Children’s Festival Christmas party.
Just ask Jamie
Outlaw In-Law Dear Jamie, As a family, we often spend holidays at my mother-in-law's house. She is a nightmare and she makes me feel utterly useless, I’m not allowed to do anything to help out around her house and if I do try she publicly corrects me. It just doen't feel right sitting around having wait on me hand and foot. She also seems to take delight in belittling me, making constant sly digs and putting me down, she undermines my parenting and it feels like she turns my partner and my children against me. The worst thing is, they don’t even seem to notice how upset I am. They love being with their granny who dotes on them; particularly my partner, who is an only child. She spoils them rotten, which I know grandmothers are supposed to do but it feels like she does it just to spite me. My partner always sides with her to try and keep the peace. When I’ve tried to talk about it but the response is always, “she’s old and it’s just the way she is”. Am I being overly controlling? Why does she make me feel so rubbish? I want to tell her how I feel, but I don’t want to cause arguments. At the minute, the idea of spending time there over Easter has me panicking. How do I stop feeling this way? Help!
irstly know that you are not alone, the often tense and difficult mother-in-law relationship is played out worldwide and across all types of families. Be thankful it’s just one week and she doesn’t live under the same roof as you. Yet. At the heart of this there will be feelings of insecurity, envy and competition on both sides and in the middle of it is your partner, someone you both love. Having some understanding of her feelings may help. I assume from your letter that she is alone and you’ve already said that your partner is an only child, if this is the case then your partner is still her baby and she may still have a strong maternal urge to still mother. Also if she is lonely she will understandably be envious of the time, intimacy and relationship you have as a couple. She may also miss being a mother and having command of a family home. This does not, however, excuse her behaviour towards you, particularly if it is making you miserable. Also, it may be important for you to explore the feelings that she stirs up in you and understand where they have their roots. Try and be really honest with yourself. Are you at all jealous of your partner and your mother-in-law’s special bond? Do you find it difficult to let go of control? Is there a past dynamic in your life that has left you feeling ‘silly and small’? On a more practical level is it possible for her to come to you during the holidays? Or, can you limit the visit to just a couple of days? If all else fails send your partner and the kids out a few days before or after the holidays and have some quality you-time, invite your friends over with some food and drinks. You really need to speak with your partner before you go to her house for any other holiday. Be sure not to put your mother-in-law down. Your partner may become defensive of her but explain how she makes you feel and ask your partner to support you when you feel undermined. Present a united front as a family, establish some ground rules of things that you do and don’t want to happen whilst you are there and make sure that your children understand that even though they are at Grannies, you and your husband are in charge. Don’t be afraid to be direct with her, with a gentle delivery and pleasant smile, even though you may be seething inside you may be surprised at her response, especially if you have your partner on side. She probably won’t change but you can change the way you respond to her and I think some acceptance is necessary here. The other option is just give up the fight, let the kids do what they want, let your partner be waited on hand and foot, let any comments wash over you and mix yourself another gin and tonic!
Filthy Family Toys piled up and left abandoned in every corner, mountains of laundry and dishes breeding on the work surfaces – sound familiar? You bet it does, it’s what most of our houses look like.
riedrich Nietzsche once said, among other things, “People don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed”. And, in this case, it just might be true. We want to believe we can do it all - house, kids, job, life – and we want everyone else to think we can do it all too. It’s time to be honest. We already know your children aren’t perfect, neither are you, and neither is your house. Not that we’d know, we don’t get invited to ‘pop round for a cuppa’. Instead, we all book in playdates, drinks, dinner parties weeks in advance to make sure we have time to jam our family junk in to any hidden cupboards, drawers or crevices we can find to try to impress people who are just as messy as
us. Inevitably, we spend the hour before guests arrive in a stressy mess; tidying, cleaning and screaming at the kids in an attempt to hide the chaos of family life. Some of us manage to hold it together and stay on top of it all, but most of us are faking it, most of the time. It’s time to embrace our ‘mess’. A ‘messy’ house tells a story about the family living there. It gives an insight as to how that family lives their life, what they value, what their true interests are. It tells anybody that comes in to their house that, like them, they are not perfect. It’s the evidence of having spent time together as a family, the evidence of playing, the evidence of living. It’s okay to not have it all together, it’s okay to be imperfect. Fancy popping round for a cuppa?
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The Little Things is magazine for modern families packed with gallows humour, expert(ish) advice and tips to help you enjoy and survive mode...
Published on Mar 14, 2017
The Little Things is magazine for modern families packed with gallows humour, expert(ish) advice and tips to help you enjoy and survive mode...