The Little Things Magazine Issue 09

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health and well-being | family recipes | education | things to do | real life | home and garden

issue 09

Helping you survive the chaos of parenting

Taking care of business

Taking care of №1 Taming the black dog Around the world in midweek family dinners Download for free on Search: ‘The Little Things Magazine’

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Taking Care of Business And the kids. And your partner. And the mental health of your family. And the dinner. And, and, and. The struggle is real. So, in this issue we’ve explored a few of the ‘ands’, and (hopefully) given you some food for thought alongside some simple hacks to make family life a little easier. We’ve packed Issue 09 with short, easy-to-read articles on mental and emotional health in kids and adults, tips on how to look after yourself, staying up-to-date with politics, quick and easy family recipes, how to go greener at home, home styling tips and more. Do we have all the answers? Nope, not a chance, but we can offer the advice and opinions of those in the know.

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Bad Parent? Or Birth Trauma? Birthzang’s Eleanor Hayes explains the effects and how to get help

Taking Care of №1 Finding time for self-care in the middle of family life

Living in an Interiors World Materials girl, Sarah Baker of Baker & Gray, talks interiors

Going Green at Home Director of Castrads’, Adam Baylis, on being more eco at home

Under the Umbrella Suzy Howlett talks about anxiety in older children

Follow us on social media! Better yet, send us an email or say ‘hello’ in person – we actually like people.


Lisa Merryweather-Millard

Design and art direction Rather Nice Design


Marina Wild


Printed in the UK


Sarah Baker, Adam Baylis, The Cooking School, Emily Doherty, Suzy Howlett, Matt Janes, Julian House, Joe Pena Romero, Dr Helen Ross, Dr Andrew Ross, Marina Wild

© Rather Nice Design Limited 2018. 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. The Little Things Magazine has taken great care to ensure the content is accurate on the date of publication. The opinion expressed in each article is the opinion of its author and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Little Things Magazine. Therefore, The Little Things Magazine carries no responsibility for the opinion expressed thereon. The published material, adverts, editorials and all other content is published in a good faith. The Little Things Magazine cannot guarantee and accepts no liability for any loss or damage of any kind caused by errors and for the accuracy of claims made by the advertisers.

The Big, Black Dog in the Room Matt Janes, founder of Thrive, helps bring the dog down to size

Around the World in Five Dinners The Cooking School offers a multicultural journey through food

SATs Season Dr Helen Ross on supporting SEND children in the run up to exams

Experimenting with Chocolate Dr Ross, the Boss, on the perfect science experiment for kids

Keeping Up With Politics Political blogger and mother, Emily Doherty, on how to stay in the know


The Best Books By Far Hunting Raven’s Fledgling book reviewers give us the lowdown on what to read now | 3

Real Life | Parenting

Feeling like a bad parent? It could stem from birth trauma Birthzang’s Eleanor Hayes explains…


eing a bad parent is a bit of a social media joke. Blogs and memes are littered with stories about giving our kids fish fingers and chips, using Netflix as a babysitter and being inconsistent with our reward charts. We joke about it to normalise it, but we all

know perfect parents don’t exist, right? However, the feelings around our own parenting often feel far from a joke. At times these feelings can disrupt our connection with our children and affect our daily lives. As a new parent I felt overwhelmed. I struggled to bond with my baby, avoided talking about birth jealous of others’ joyful stories and got angry with my kids when they were just doing normal kid stuff. I worried I was a bad parent. I worried that I wasn’t good enough. I worried that I couldn't finish my giant ‘to-do’ list so that I could actually enjoy being a parent. I felt depressed, anxious and alone. Then I learned about birth trauma. I recognised every single symptom as something I was experiencing. I had never connected giving birth with my feelings as a bad parent. I never thought I carried that trauma with me. Yet when I looked at ways trauma manifests trauma, I knew it was still affecting me as a parent and also as a person. I realised I wasn’t a bad parent after all, I was suffering from the effects of trauma from the birth of my children.

The effects of birth trauma can be immediate or lie dormant for months or even years and can affect both women and men (and in some cases even the baby). Identifying the source of the trauma is not always obvious as two people can experience the same birth in profoundly different ways. Trauma can stem from many things but the UK Birth Trauma Association suggest that as many as 30,000 mothers experience birth trauma annually. The first step in recovery from trauma is to recognise some of the symptoms: Reliving the birth, possibly as flashbacks Avoiding talking or thinking about birth Angry outbursts Insomnia High levels of worry, anxiety and stress, perhaps having panic attacks Feeling overwhelmed by daily tasks Feeling a lack of connection or bonding with your kids Resentment and jealousy of other parents Depression

Illustration ©

The Rewind Birth Recovery Technique is a quick and effective treatment of PTSD which was first used with war veterans. It can be done in 1-3 sessions. You don’t need to talk about the trauma or relive it, or even be in the same room as the practitioner. To find about more about recovering from Birth Trauma contact Eleanor Hayes, a Frome-based birth trauma recovery specialist who offers face-to-face and online recovery plans.


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Looking after you | Health & well-being

Taking Care of №1 While it may seem selfish, unless you take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else. Here's a little list of quick self-care hacks to help you find some peace in the chaos of family life.

Make (some of) the morning yours Over the course of the day it’s likely that you’ll have many demands on your time and your attention. Finding time in the morning for yourself is important because, and let’s be honest here, you may not get another chance to prioritise YOU for the rest of the day. If you’re able to get up a little bit before the kids, even 10 minutes to yourself makes a difference. Those few minutes of peace (and quiet) help to set you up for the day. Stretch, do a little yoga, make a cup of tea and drink it while it’s still warm, read a few pages of a book - it can be anything, as long as it’s just for you.

Illustration ©

Breathe This sounds obvious, right? But how often do you take the time to breathe deeply? We suspect it’s less often than you think. The benefits of deep breathing are wellnoted and according to the Mayo Clinic deep breathing can improve concentration and mood, improve circulation and digestion, reduce stress and anxiety, boost confidence and reduce anger and frustration. Sounds like the perfect prescription for coping with the demands of parenting. A good way of remembering to take the time to breathe deeply is to spend a minute on the hour, every hour breathing in deeply through your nose and out of your mouth. As you breathe in, raise your shoulders up. On the

out- breath, let them fall slowly as you let the air out of your mouth. This also works particularly well in the midst of stressful parenting situations.

Clear your head Not easy, we know but it’s important that we allow our brains to stop every once in a while. There are a number of great articles on meditation and some superb apps to guide you through the practice of clearing your mind. We like the free app Stop Breathe Think ( which is perfect for a quick and easy mind-clearing session. It’s also great for kids.

Home | Interiors

Living in an Interiors World The Little Things PR Rockstar, Marina Wild, meets with owner and designer Sarah Baker at the Baker & Gray studio in Mells for a little advice on interior design… What should you consider before starting a design project? Consider how you intend to use the space, how long you envision the design and completion process to complete, who the key decision maker for the project is , and – very importantly – your budget! What small changes can make a big difference? Consider the natural light and space. Moving items of furniture into a new position can make an amazing amount of difference. Customers often visit our showroom to buy cushions, lampshades and fabric for curtains. These small things

Unique and beautifully designed fabrics and furnishings by British designer, Sarah Baker. Visit the shop at Courtyard Barn, Woodlands End Mells, Somerset, BA11 3QD P h o n e 01373 812775 Weds–Fri 10am–4pm Mon, Tues & Sat by appointment Or

v isit our online shop

help to change the feel of the room without having to go to the expense of redecorating a whole room. In your opinion what’s more important, practicality or aesthetic? Both are important, though practicality and beauty can be possible together. How do you choose a color palette? Most people will usually have a good idea of what they would like in terms of colour. Collecting images and cloth samples to create a mood board is essential to help make colour, textural and paint decisions. Consider existing items that may be

included in the new project and note the colour of any adjoining rooms. Don’t be afraid to try tester pots of colour – it’s surprising how natural light differs from wall to wall, affecting paint colour. What practical tips can you give to accessorize a home? Declutter! This is always difficult as we love our things. However, soft lighting, plants, a favourite rug or piece of artwork, cushions and interesting items collected over the years always make your home uniquely yours. At Baker & Gray we specialise in limited edition and bespoke cushions within our extensive collection, sometimes using vintage embroidery, trims, cashmere, silk and antique linen. A bespoke item, however small, can add instant interest and personality to a room. ‘Baker & Gray – luxury homeware and furnishings with heritage and longevity’

Living Green | Home

Make Your Home Greener Adam Baylis, Director at Castrads, shows us how to reduce our home’s carbon footprint, without sacrificing style…


ith nearly nine million smart meters now installed in our homes and sales of organic food and drink up by 6% last year alone, there’s a growing movement towards more sustainable living,. Whether you’re motivated by lower household bills, improving your family’s health or caring for the environment – or all three - there are simple ways we can all live a little greener at home.

Au Naturel We’re all guilty of relying on convenience products in our homes. Take for example cleaning sprays; chances are you can’t pronounce most of the ingredients listed as they’re often packed full of harsh chemicals. Consider switching to natural alternatives. Bicarbonate of Soda is a miracle non-toxic ingredient with super-effective abrasive and deodorising powers. Mix with water to clean stainless steel, sinks and walls, or sprinkle on upholstery and carpets before hoovering it up to refresh your rooms. Vinegar is another handy kitchen staple which can double-up as a powerful cleaner, cutting through tough grease and making your home sparkle. A good old-fashioned feature duster or a modern microfibre cloth both work well to remove dust without chemicals, including those

hard-to-reach spots behind heavy furniture and radiators.

Healing houseplants The air in our homes can be more polluted than the streets of London – think benzene in scented candles, nitrogen dioxide from log-burning stoves, and formaldehyde in the foam of our sofas. Enter houseplants. So much more than a Millennial ‘fad’, indoor plants are back in fashion for more than aesthetic reasons. As well as purifying the air we breathe of harmful toxins according to NASA, indoor plants can also help control humidity levels and even lower sound pollution. One healthy plant for every 100 ft² of living space is a good idea. Here are five easy-to-grow houseplants to improve the air quality in your home: Dracaena marginata (Madagascar dragon tree); Ficus elastica (India rubber tree); Hedera helix (English ivy); Nephrolepis exaltata

(Boston fern) and Sansevieria trifasciata (Mother-in-law’s tongue).

Invest in long-lifecycles Iconic designs which have stood the test of time are a good indicator of longevity when it comes to style and return on investment. The initial cost of timeless items may be higher, but in the long run you’ll only need to buy small things to follow the latest design trends. This will also save on the cost to the environment of manufacturing a new product. Whether it’s an antique handed down through the family or an exciting auction find, restoring classic pieces can add aesthetic value to your home and give you a sense of personal achievement you simply don’t get when buying new. In addition, good quality items can often be refurbished with just a little TLC. A lick of paint, some updated accessories and suddenly you’ll have a whole new look – at a fraction of the environmental cost of building a new product. That’s why investing in products with longevity has always been good green advice. | 7

Health | Mental health

Under the umbrella Stress and anxiety in children is tricky for the entire family, but what can you, as a parent, do? Former teacher, Suzy Howlett, offers her advice on how to support our children through difficult times.


e all worry. Some of us are permanently fretting about ourselves, our families, our friends, our work, and the whole muddled-up world. Others seem to run along in a more relaxed way much of the time, but you can bet that they have their worries too. It’s part of being human. We all want our children to be happy, or at least contented. But this isn’t going to happen all the time, because Life gets

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in the way. Common worries for older, school-aged children include feeling left out at school, not feeling they can do their work well, being told off unfairly, tests and exams, fear of the dark and bad dreams, anxiety about intruders, fear of separation from their parents, anxiety at new situations and people, and (increasingly) worries over social media (even though it is recommended that children of this age do NOT have social media accounts). Protecting children from all possible

Mental health | Health

Things I can’t change

I need to visit the dentist to get a filling in my tooth

Thinking about how much it may hurt

Things I can change I could take an umbrella to keep dry

I could think about the happy memories that I have

It’s raining

worries IS NOT your job as a parent. Yes, there are adult worries that a child should not have to carry in his or her shoulders, but if we protect children from everything unjust and unkind, and try and eliminate all anxiety, how are we going to help a child manage their feelings?

So, how do you help? The good news is, there is plenty you can do. First, watch your child and see what’s going on. Can you see evidence of them developing healthy coping strategies or not? Sometimes a child will work out what to do, and sometimes they might develop strategies which are helpful in the short term (such as comfort rituals or mannerisms) but which may develop into something which in itself causes anxiety. Talk to your child about their worries.

My pet cat has died

Show them you understand, and reassure them, without dismissing their thoughts. Explain about anxiety and how it’s something everyone feels. Talk about how it can make us feel unwell or miserable, and can build up, and then go away, a bit like a wave. Explain that you can help them to find a solution, so that they can feel better again, even if you can’t change the situation. Stoicism, an ancient philosophy, has much to say about a situation that can’t be changed – it is a way of paying attention to how you change what you can/need to, and also how you react to those things you cannot change, so that you worry less about them. Let’s take an example. How about that child (say, a 7-year-old) who won’t be left with a babysitter or childminder? Who feels wretched about the whole idea?

You have to get it sorted out, because next term you are starting a new job, and your child will need to spend Saturday mornings with a childminder. Anyway, you want him to build the confidence to do this, and you want to go out at night sometimes, too! It goes without saying that you will choose a minder that you really trust to be kind and sensible, but if your child is unusually nervous and you think it could all go pear-shaped, you could break down the activity into small, manageable steps. It might seem long-winded, but it is worth it: First, talk to your child about their worries. What is it about being left that is making them so unhappy? You might discover it is something simple: she will give me something I don’t like to eat, for instance. Talk through what would happen | 9

Health | Mental health

if, for example, he was given something he hated for lunch. What could he say? “I’m sorry, but I don’t like onion. Please can I have some bread and butter instead…” You can role-play, and reassure him that it is ok not to like everything, and a childminder will understand that. Arrange an activity which you, your child, and the babysitter all do together, in your house. Cooking (perhaps as simple as making a sandwich) is a good one. Sit down and eat it together. Next time, set up something that he can do with the babysitter while you are nearby – showing off a favourite toy, drawing or painting together, building a Lego model – something which might get them chatting. As a teacher, I have often found that using hand puppets is a great idea – a child who is feeling too shy to talk to a person, will sometimes talk to a puppet instead, even if it is just an old sock! Slightly older children might have a collection of character cards or plastic action figures instead. You might play it safe by watching a favourite programme together, but make sure that they are communicating about it (gently). One 9-year-old girl I know had a breakthrough by playing Minecraft with a potential childminder (who needed some teaching from the child), and all was quickly well! So far, so good? Move yourself into another room, or upstairs. Using the garden, if you have one, might help. Or pop next door for a few minutes, always coming back when you say you will. Confidence will almost certainly start to grow. When you want to use a babysitter at night for the first time, try to keep it to a time when you help to settle your child for the night while the babysitter is there, too. Never leave him in a situation where he expects you there if he wakes up, and panics because you had sneaked out without telling him. He won’t trust you, and you could set up new anxieties around bedtimes. Let him know you are going out, but will come back later. 10 |

When you get to the point of going out before bedtime, make sure the usual routine is kept to, more or less, but that there is something a little special, too, such as a wonderful new book from the library for him to hear in bed, from the babysitter. I can almost guarantee that you will get there. There are plenty of situations which your child can (and needs to) learn to handle more independently than the childminding example. You can guide them and help them develop these strategies. This works well for school-aged children. Using the diagram on the previous page as an example, draw a big circle on a piece of paper and write down what can’t be changed and what can. Think of some

Top tips for dealing with anxiety n Help your child manage anxiety – you can’t shield them from everything, and they can build their confidence over time. n Don’t avoid everything because of worry or tears, or avoidance becomes the coping strategy, and will become a cycle. n Respect those feelings of anxiety, but don’t magnify them. Say “I know you are scared and that’s okay, and I can help you get through this.” n Be positive AND realistic. You can’t promise a child that a vaccination won’t hurt at all, but you can express confidence that she will be ok. By being realistic, your child will learn to trust you, and that you will ask her to deal with only what she can handle.

ways to change what you can so that the worries become less of a problem.

When should we get help? If the anxiety persists, and really affects your child’s ability to enjoy everyday life, you could start by talking to your GP. It is a good idea to talk to your child’s teacher, too, as they may have noticed something specific, or have some good ideas which they can help with. There is a helpline run by Young Minds where parents and carers can get advice. It is free, and operates Monday to Friday 9.30-4pm: 0808 802 5544. For younger children, see the ‘Anxious Little Ones’ feature in issue 08 online:

n Don’t put ideas into their head. “I expect you’re getting anxious about that maths test” leads a child to expect that they will (or even should) be anxious. Keep it more open-ended: “How are you feeling about…” n Help your child understand that she can tolerate some anxiety, because it will reduce as she gets over her fears. n Think and talk things through together and find out how different (feared) scenarios can turn out well (try using the circle idea, above). n Let them see you coping well with anxiety yourself, managing it calmly, tolerating it, and feeling good about getting through it. n Use the NHS Moodzone website for some great ways to clear your head, relax and feel calm. The site is designed for parents and children working together. stress-anxiety-depression



It’s our 40th Anniversary in 2019!

Amazing food Beer tent, street food, cakes, gin bar, crepes, wraps, burgers, coffee, etc.

FUN FOR KIDS Circus skills, games, Punch’n’Judy, crafts, teddy bear parachuting.

120 street stalls

BRILLIANT BANDS Local bands in the beer tent – see website for line-up.


Ferret racing, Easter bonnets, brass band, morris men, town criers, birds of prey, tug of war, dog show, classic cars and engines. And Mells Manor gardens will be open.

with locally sourced food and drink, gifts, crafts, clothes, plants, vintage, jewellery, glass, etc.

Here’s the deal £3 entrance (£1 children).

Mells is a beautiful village, a couple of miles west of Frome. There’s free parking, and free buses from Frome and Radstock. See website for info. Proceeds support village community groups. | 11

Health | Mental health

Let's talk about the big, black dog in the room. Founder of Thrive, Matt Janes, looks the dog in the eye and suggests ways to bring him back size.

Founder of Thrive, Matt Janes, looks the black dog square in the eye and offers solutions on how to bring him down to size.

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k down to

Mental health | Health

Illustrations © Phil Millard


was three years old when I first witnessed what stress could do to a man. I remember walking into the kitchen to see my father crying inconsolably, unable to face the prospect of going to work. It turns out that he was in the grips of chronic depression, which, since that first episode in 1975, has had a profound effect on his life, as well as mine. Fast forward to 2019 and in households up and down the country, we have a stress epidemic. Up to 80% of all GP consultations are now stress related and men, in particular, are struggling. Men under the age of 45 are more likely to die by their own hand than anything else. Something has to change. And fast. The trouble is, if you visit your doctor for help with stress, they have limited options. Two, to be precise. They can either refer you for talk therapy, for which the wait on the NHS is up to two years, or they can prescribe an antidepressant, which they did 64 million times last year. Sadly, antidepressants are only effective in up to 50% of cases, which is only marginally better than giving you a sugar pill. The picture sounds pretty bleak, doesn’t it? Depressing even. Thankfully, now, there is a third way.

The big, black dog in the room. What's the problem? To help me explain, let me take you back to your childhood. Do you remember the Weeble which wobbled but wouldn’t fall down? When you rocked it, it would sway from side to side, then return to upright. This is the perfect analogy for how stress is affecting you on a physiological level. When you are under stress, something called your Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) gets knocked out of balance, like when the Weeble is rocked out of alignment. Your ANS is a collection of nerves, organs and muscles which aren’t under your conscious control. It regulates things like your heart rate, body temperature and blood sugar level, to keep you healthy. And when you’re knocked out of balance by stress, your body tries to return you to equilibrium, through a process called homeostasis, like the Weeble returning to vertical alignment. This is achieved by the two branches of your ANS, the sympathetic branch and parasympathetic branch, working together in reciprocity. Your sympathetic branch takes care of short term survival issues, | 13

Health | Mental health

Up to 80% of all GP consultations are now stress related and men, in particular, are struggling.

system. Once established, you can then go about restoring homeostasis, to reclaim your mental health. The burning question, I hear you cry, is ‘How?’.

Illustrations © Phil Millard

Now what? like hunting food from Waitrose, whereas your parasympathetic branch is concerned with your long term survival, like digesting the resulting organic wild salmon and taking care of your immune system. So what’s the problem? Well, your modern lifestyle, complete with high flying job, 2.4 kids, elderly parents and unlimited access to emails, is forcing your ANS out of balance for prolonged periods. Which is making you ill. You’re living in what’s known as sympathetic dominance, where your sympathetic branch is engaged for much of your day, at the expense of your parasympathetic branch. This autonomic imbalance explains why we are seeing unprecedented levels of chronic anxiety, as well as inflammatory and melancholic depression. To restore order, and mental health, we must concentrate upon rebalancing our ANS. Thankfully, due to recent advances in technology, we now have a way of measuring this imbalance in the comfort of our own home. Enter Heart Rate Variability (HRV). HRV is the most accurate biomarker for measuring your stress load and the relative balance of your ANS. It does this by measuring the intervals between heart beats and whilst this technique used to be limited to hospitals and private medical centres, it can now be measured through a compact and inexpensive finger sensor available over the internet for around £40. Once you’ve measured your HRV, typically for two minutes a day for a period of seven days, you’re able to see a visual representation of the balance, or imbalance, in your autonomic nervous

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There are things that you’re likely already doing, like physical exercise. You’ve probably heard that running helps alleviate symptoms of depression. It achieves this by stimulating your sympathetic nerves, which is exactly what’s required for some someone who’s suffering from melancholic depression. It helps to restore order to an autonomic nervous system which is dominated by the parasympathetic branch. Remember, it’s balance that we’re seeking and given that the two branches work in reciprocity, by stimulating weak sympathetic nerves, we achieve equilibrium, and health. Then there are interventions that you’re less likely to have come across. People suffering from anxiety have an overactive sympathetic nervous system and can calm these nerves by supplementing with magnesium. Anxiety sufferers tend to have weak parasympathetic nerves and can boost these by supplementing with potassium, which helps restore autonomic balance. People suffering from melancholic depression, with low mood and motivation, are the opposite. They have weak sympathetic nerves, which can be boosted by supplementing with calcium. They should avoid magnesium and potassium.

Anything else? Another fascinating insight is the ability to use nutrition to bring about good mental health. The first and often most effective change is to eliminate sugar

Mental health | Health

Men under the age of 45 are more likely to die by their own hand than anything else. Something has to change. And fast. and foods containing sugar. These create inflammation on a cellular level, which crosses the blood brain barrier, and can cause inflammatory depression. Unfortunately, that means alcohol, bread and other carbohydrates should be eliminated from your diet. There are other nutrition tricks that you can employ, such as increasing your red meat intake to stimulate sympathetic nerves and leafy green vegetables to boost your parasympathetic nerves. It all depends upon the balance of your ANS and tailoring your diet accordingly.

How can I help myself? Specific kinds of meditation practices help to calm the sympathetic nervous system and boost parasympathetic nerves. Attention training, anchor breathing and compassion meditation are scientifically proven to help restore autonomic balance and develop resilience to stress, anxiety and depression. If you’re a man struggling to juggle the demands of a stressful lifestyle, I’ve made available a series of free resources to help you. Visit and navigate to the ‘Resources’ section, or sign up for my free online video course at

Matt Janes is a mental health and neuroscience practitioner, with a particular focus on stress, anxiety and depression. With extensive studies in Neuroscience, Psychology & Mental Health, Functional Medicine and Heart Rate Variability, his area of speciality is the autonomic nervous system and its relationship with mental illness. In 2018, Matt published Thrive, the online course which teaches the science of stress, anxiety and depression, plus practices of how to achieve and retain mental fitness by regulating the autonomic nervous system. He has also published a course on Burnout. As well as helping individuals to achieve mental health, Matt teaches leaders and organisations how t o achieve their potential through a series of mental hygiene interventions. | 15

EASTER ESCAPADE: SPRING SEASON FUN FROM LANDSCAPE TO ORBIT Step inside the PLANETARIUM – one of the most advanced digital theatre domes in the country – to explore the wonders of the natural world with us. A FREE EVENT FOR CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES SATURDAY 20 APRIL 2019, 11 AM – 4 PM

20170414-HoFTHnW-42.indd 1

12/02/2019 17:36

At Springmead, we support each and every one of our children to achieve their full potential – academically, socially and personally.

From ages 2½ to 11 Small class sizes with a maximum number of 18 children High staff to student ratio with 2 teaching staff per class Award-winning extra-curricular programme over 25 different clubs each week Outstanding academic results with the majority of our children achieving above national average and a high proportion achieving significantly above national average in standardised national assessments Wrap-Around Care available from 8am to 6pm (inc. during School Holidays)

Springmead School Castle Corner, Beckington, Somerset, BA11 6TA 01373 831555 | |

Watmuff & Beckett are a fresh soup and risotto company based in Frome. They take pride in sourcing the highest quality produce from within the UK and Europe so you can be assured that every pot is of the highest standards, and perfect for all the family. Try using their warming Thai Carrot & Sweet Potato Soup as the base for this delicious ‘Quick Thai Chicken Curry’ recipe – perfect for midweek dinners for everyone.

Quick Thai Chicken Curry INGREDIENTS Makes approximately 3 servings 1 tablespoon oil

2 chicken breasts, cut into bitesized pieces (300g)

1 red chilli, seeded and sliced (plus more to serve) 1/2 head broccoli, chopped small

2 teaspoons fish sauce


1 pot Thai Carrot & Sweet Potato Soup

1 Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat.

handful of Thai basil leaves, chopped (regular basil is fine too)

2 Add the chicken, spreading it out so the meat is in a single layer. Season with salt and pepper. Let it sit without touching until it is browned and caramelised on that side.

1 lime cut into wedges cooked rice to serve

3 Flip over, then add the red chilli, broccoli and fish sauce. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the fish sauce is mostly evaporated and the chilli is softened (about 1 minute). 4 Stir in the Thai Carrot & Sweet Potato Soup. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes until the broccoli is crisp tender and the chicken is cooked through. 5 To serve, spoon the curry over the rice, top with a sprinkling of basil and sliced red chilli (leave the seeds in if you like it spicy). 6 Squeeze over a wedge of lime.


A world of flavour Nestled in the South West in a beautifully restored former silk works in Warminster, The Cooking School is a professional culinary school offering cooking lessons, cooking courses, cooking parties and private hire of their newly renovated, world-class professional kitchen. Each of their courses and lessons are hosted in their open-plan kitchen offering space, light and character alongside modern facilities, state-of-the-art equipment and the tuition of expert, award-winning chefs. The Little Things met with The Cooking School head chef, Joe Pena Romero to liven up mid-week family dinners. • 01985 213214 • The Old Silk Works, Warminster, BA12 8LT

Patterns ©

Morrocan lamb tagine & spice-roasted cous cous A traditional Moroccan dish combining delightful spices, this authentic lamb tagine is slow-cooked perfection.

Ingredients 2 tsp ground black pepper 1½ tbsp paprika 1½ tbsp ground ginger 1 tbsp turmeric 2 tsp ground cinnamon 1kg lamb shoulder 2 large onions, grated 4 tbsp olive oil 3 cloves garlic, crushed 1 pint tomato juice 2 x 400g tinned chopped tomatoes 100g dried apricots, cut in half 50g dates seeded 50g sultanas 80g flaked almonds 1 pint chicken stock 1 tbsp clear honey 2 tbsp coriander chopped 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley

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1 Place the cayenne, black pepper, paprika, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon into a small bowl and mix to combine. 2 Place the lamb in a large bowl and toss together with half of the spice mix. Cover and leave to marinate for a few hours. Preheat the oven to 150°C. 3 Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large casserole dish. Add the diced onion and remaining spice mix. Cook over a gentle heat for 10 minutes until the onions are soft but not coloured.

4 Add the crushed garlic for the final 3 minutes. 5 In a separate frying pan, heat the remaining oil and brown the cubes of lamb on all sides then add the browned meat to the casserole dish. 6 De-glaze the frying pan with ¼ pint of tomato juice and add these juices to the pan. 7 Add the remaining tomato juice, chopped tomatoes, apricots, dates, raisins or sultanas, flaked almonds, saffron, lamb stock and honey to the casserole dish. Bring to the boil, cover with a fitted lid, place in the oven and cook for 2-2½ hours or until the meat is meltingly tender. 8 Sprinkle over the chopped herbs and roasted almonds.

Around the world in five family dinners | Food

Asian pork burger, sweet chilli slaw & baked sweet potato fries This delicious pork burger is infused with Eastern flavours, and is a great alternative to traditional burgers.

Ingredients For the chilli sauce 6 large fresh red chillies, half the seeds discarded, flesh chopped roughly 2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped Grated zest of 3 limes + juice of 2 8 cloves garlic, peeled 1 large bunch fresh coriander 300g caster sugar 125ml rice wine vinegar 25ml fish sauce

For the sweet potato fries 3 sweet potatoes Olive oil Maldon salt

For the slaw


3 tbsp groundnut oil Juice of 3 limes 1 tbsp rice vinegar 4 tbsp soft light-brown sugar 1 tbsp fish sauce 1 medium red, white or savoy cabbage 1 large carrot 20g coriander leaves 20 mint leaves, shredded 4 spring onions, chopped 1 tbsp peanuts or cashew nuts, roughly chopped 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced 2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped

1 For the sauce put the chilli, ginger, lime juice and zest, garlic and coriander leaves into a food processor and purĂŠe to a coarse paste. Put the sugar into a heavybottomed pan with 6 tbsp water and place on a medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Turn up the heat and boil until it becomes a light caramel colour. Stir in the paste, vinegar and fish sauce and simmer for two minutes. Leave to cool. 2 Make the dressing for the slaw by mixing the oil, lime, vinegar, sugar and fish sauce. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Quarter and core the cabbage then shred finely. Cut the carrot into matchsticks. Then, add to all the other ingredients and toss with the dressing. 3 Put all the burger ingredients into a bowl with some seasoning and mix well. Shape into four burgers. Heat the oil in a frying-pan and cook over a high heat to get a good colour on both sides, then turn down and continue until cooked through (approx. 3-4 minutes each side). 4 Serve in a toasted sesame-seed bun. Drizzle with the chilli sauce and serve with the slaw and homemade sweet potato fries.

For the burgers 400g pork mince 1 egg, beaten 2 cloves garlic crushed grated zest of 1 lime + juice of ½ 4 spring onions, finely chopped 1 red chilli, halved, deseeded and finely chopped 2 tbsp coriander, finely chopped 2.5cm (1in) piece fresh ginger, grated 20g panko breadcrumbs 2-3 tbsp groundnut or sunflower oil sesame-seed buns, to serve | 19

Food | Around the world in five family dinners

Jambalaya with tiger prawn, sausage & chicken Originating from New Orleans, Jambalaya is a Cajun-flavoured rice dish similar to paella but uses long grain rice. This one-pot meal is comfort food for the whole family.



2 tbsps cooking oil, divided 2 tbsps Cajun seasoning 300g cooking chorizo sausage 2 chicken breasts cut into 1 inch pieces 1 onion diced 1 small green pepper seeded and diced 1 small red pepper seeded and diced 2 sticks celery chopped 4 cloves garlic chopped 400g chopped tomatoes 1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon ground black pepper 1 teaspoon dried oregano ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes ½ teaspoon hot pepper sauce 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 250g uncooked long grain rice 1 ½ pints of chicken stock 300g raw tiger prawns peeled and de-veined Sliced spring onions and chopped parsley, to garnish

1 Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pot or paella pan over medium heat. Season the sausage and chicken pieces with half of the Cajun seasoning. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside. Add remaining oil to the pot and saute chicken until lightly browned. Remove with slotted spoon; set aside. 2 Sauté the onion, peppers and celery until onion is soft and transparent. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes; season with salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, red pepper flakes (or Cayenne powder), hot pepper sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and the remaining Cajun seasoning, chicken and sausage. Cook for 5 minutes, while stirring occasionally.

20 |

3 Add in the rice and chicken stock, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low-medium. Cover and let simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked, while stirring occasionally. 4 Place the prawns on top of the Jambalaya mixture, stir through gently and cover with lid. Allow to simmer while stirring occasionally, until the prawns are cooked through and pink (about 5 minutes, depending on their size/thickness). 5 Season with a little extra salt and pepper if needed and remove from heat. Serve immediately with the spring onions and parsley.

Around the world in five family dinners | Food

Seafood paella This traditional Spanish dish is a true taste of Valencia and makes a great alternative for a Sunday lunch.



8 tbsp olive 500g of monkfish boned and cut into 1 inch pieces 200g fresh clams 200g fresh squid 2 large Spanish onions, finely chopped 1 large green pepper, halved, seeded and finely chopped 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped 225g calasparra (paella rice) ½ tsp Spanish paprika 2 ùoras peppers or dried peppers soaked in hot water 1.75 pints hot fish stock 1 lemon in wedges Sea salt and black pepper

1 In a 30-40cm paella pan or frying pan, heat the olive oil over a high heat, stir-fry the monkfish and squid for a few seconds so it is still a little undercooked. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and put to one side. 2 Turn down the heat to low, and fry the chorizo for a minute. Add the onion and green pepper and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, and continue cooking for a further 5-10 minutes. At this point, the mixture should be caramelised and taste sweet. 3 Stir the rice into the pan to coat in the mixture for a minute. Now season with salt and a little pepper - this is the time to season the rice perfectly. 4 Add the paprika and drained noras peppers followed by the hot stock and simmer for 5 minutes. Then, scatter the clams, squid and monkfish over the rice and gently shake into the mixture. It’s important not to stir the rice as this releases the starch in the rice making it more risotto-like.

5 Cook for a further 10-15 minutes until you have a thin, oily liquid around your rice. Cover the paella tightly with foil and let it sit for 5 minutes. Remove the foil, squeeze half a lemon over the paella and serve. Enjoy! | 21

Food | Around the world in five family dinners

Spicy jerk chicken and pumpkin tray bake with coconut rice A quick, simple and hearty dish, full of punchy flavour. Experiment with seasonal veg but keep them chunky as you want everything to cook at the same time as the chicken.


For the sweet potato fries

Tsp ground turmeric 2 tsp ground cumin 1 tsp ground coriander ½ tsp ground cinnamon ½ tsp smoked paprika ½ tsp hot chilli powder ½ tsp ground ginger 4 tbsp Soy sauce 3 garlic cloves chopped I lime juiced and zested Olive oil 8 chicken thighs on the bone 2 red onions, peeled and sliced into chunky wedges 1 aubergine, cut in to large chunks ½ butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut in to wedges Chopped coriander

100g basmati rice 1 tin of coconut milk 100ml water 1tsp salt

About the chef

Joe’s culinary career was carved out almost from birth. His father, born in Southern Spain, ran a family restaurant in Somerset and Joe grew up with a passion for traditional Spanish food cooked with quality ingredients. After leaving catering college at the age of 20, Joe worked his way through the ranks of 5 star hotels and award22 |

Method 1 Mix together all the spices, lime juice, zest, garlic, soy and olive oil. Make a few slashes in the chicken flesh with a small knife and rub in the marinade, coating the thighs all over. Leave in the fridge for at least 30 minute and preheat the oven to 200°C. 2 Using your largest baking tray, add the vegetables and drizzle with a few glugs of olive oil, and season. 3 Place the chicken pieces on top, then bake for 50 minutes, until the meat is cooked and golden.

winning fine dining restaurants, developing a knowledge of cuisines from around the world. Cooking took Joe to London, where he cooked in the Tate Gallery, Tower of London and the Red Bull Formula One Team, before being headhunted by a large food company to develop new dishes.A unique role in one of the UK’s first all-vegetarian hotels eventually lured Joe back to Somerset.

4 Drizzle a little honey over the top and scatter with the coriander. 5 Rinse the rice and place it in a pot along with the coconut milk, water, and salt. Set over mediumhigh to high heat. Stir occasionally to keep rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot. 6 Once the coconut milk has begun to gently bubble, stop stirring and reduce heat to low so it simmers. 7 Cover tightly with a lid and let simmer 15 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. Leave to rest for a few minutes to fluff up before serving.

Fresh produce is a key characteristic of his cooking and he can often be found on his boat catching his own fish. Foraging is also a passion and he often incorporates samphire, wild berries and mushrooms in his dishes. Over the last 8 years, Joe has been cooking at large-scale events for artists and touring with bands, as well as working in the film and television.

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Surviving SATs Season


ATs are a yearly fixture on the primary school calendar. From acting as a GCSE target benchmark for young learners to determining teacher pay progression, SATs have a significant impact on the lives of all those who are associated with them. But what of young learners? Those whose entire experience of Year 6 may be defined by the 3 days or so of SATS testing. Young people reportedly suffer stress and anxiety because of the pressure they feel linked to their SATs. Within this context, it is no surprise that learners with Special Educational Needs (SEN) often fair worse than their peers in SATS, and their parents may be unsure how to best support them through this part of their educational journey.

Illustration ©

Access Arrangements ‘Access Arrangements’ can take the form extra time, a scribe/reader or prompter amongst other things. A key feature of any arrangement made for children in the SATs is that it must be regularly implemented in the classroom. Typically, ‘access arrangements’ are used to support learners who find reading or writing tricky, or whose concentration may wane. Schools must, decide whether access

24 |

As we near the SATs, teacher and SEND specialist Dr Helen Ross offers her advice on how best to support children with special educational needs and disabilities.

arrangements are appropriate for learners and whether those learners are eligible for them before formally administering the tests. It is important to note that there is a small window between the end of January and the end of February of Year 6, for schools to make applications for ‘access arrangements’ for learners, although not all ‘access arrangements’ must be processed thus. Schools are required to provide evidence that learners need and use the arrangements put in place for SATs exams as a matter of course during their day-to-day learning. Learners with an ECHP or visual or hearing impairments

may automatically qualify for certain access arrangements.

What do I need to do? The short answer to this is nothing. As host of the SATs tests, the school is charged with organisation and administration of ‘access arrangements’ for learners. However, children want to know where they stand with SATS, what to expect and how they will be supported, as do their parents. The school Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) is your key contact as a parent. If you are concerned that your child may need extra time in their SATs, or may have difficulty reading the questions, for example, contact the SENCo sooner rather than later. If your child struggles to concentrate, a prompter or rest breaks may be appropriate, but cannot be implemented without discussion with the SENCo, and most likely the class teacher, as they will have records of what support is used by your child and how they respond to it. Communication and discussion with the SENCo will help you to understand what will be in place to support your child, so that you in turn can share the information with your child and minimise the impact of stress and pressure on them at a tricky time in their school-career.

The lazy parents guide to good parenting | Education

All about chocolate The University of Bath’s Dr Ross, ‘The Boss’ presents: THE BEST SCIENCE EXPERIMENT EVER™


s the months tick on, it’s that time of the year again where we start to think about chocolate. I know some of us think about chocolate all year round but with Easter just around the corner, there is more chocolate than ever in the shops. Yes, I know Easter isn’t just about chocolate but it sometimes feels like it when you go down the seasonal aisle in the supermarket. Children are beginning to work out which type of chocolate they want as a treat over Easter, but have you ever thought about the science behind it?

The sciency bit Chocolate is an amazing thing – it has at least six different polymorphs. There are the same molecules within butter. In chocolate, however, they're arranged differently. This means you get different textures, snappy-ness, strength and glossiness. These polymorphs are due to the cocoa butter and they depend on the temperature the chocolate is formed at. There is one particular polymorph

called ‘form 5,’ which manufacturers aim for. This version gives the smoothest, glossiest and snappiest chocolate, just like all of our favourite chocolate eggs in the shops. There are ways you can make the different forms at home – all you need is some melted chocolate. This is a great way to spend some time on a wet weekend afternoon. Plus, you get to eat chocolate all in the name of science. To create different polymorphs, you will need to melt a bar of chocolate. Take a bar of chocolate, (keep some back for eating later) and melt it. Then you need to cool it in 5 – or 6, if you’re really keen – environments. Form 1 Cool the melted chocolate really quickly in the freezer Form 2 Cool the melted chocolate in the fridge Form 3 Cool the melted chocolate at 5-10°C – this could be in cold utility room or outside on a cool day Form 4 Let the melted chocolate cool at room temperature Form 5 Stir the melted chocolate while

it is cooling at room temperature Form 6 If you really want to try this, take some of Form 5 (or the original bar before melting) and store it at room temperature for 4 months! (I’m not sure it would last 4 months in my house). Once you have the different forms lay them all out and it’s time for the taste test! Try a little of each one and decide which one is your favourite. Are there differences in texture? How do the snap? Do they look glossy? Do they taste different? How do they compare to the original chocolate bar? Using chocolate is a great way to engage children in science. We have other ideas of experiments you can try with chocolate as well as ideas of how to go through designing your own project in our Family Science Project resource. It will guide you through the process of designing ,and undertaking, your own science project with your child. It's a great way to spend those wet days stuck inside. Download it for free from: | 25

As a family-run business, we’re immensely proud of the fact that our superior cast iron radiators are heating more than ten thousand homes, in over a dozen countries. With a seven day lead time, we can deliver quality handmade heating solutions at unbeatable prices. There’s no shortage of options to add real beauty and value to your home.

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Founder of Purple Pollen, Rebekah Arthurs, combines her ethical values with herbalism to create a range of high-quality, cruelty-free, gluten free, botanically active vegan skincare products. Suffering frequently with eczema and other skin disorders, Rebekah began experimenting with her own skincare solutions containing herbs and flower tinctures. After training in Skincare, Aromatherapy and Herbalism, and many years of refining her own unique skincare blends, Rebekah started Purple Pollen. Free from gluten, palm oil, artificial colours and fragrances, toxins, sulphates, petrochemicals, parabens and SLES, Purple Pollen’s products use only natural and organic raw materials cultivated without artificial fertilisers, chemicals and pesticides. Ranging from face creams to serums, hand cream and body lotions the ingredients have been carefully selected for their ability to nurture skin and include essential oils, such as rose, linden blossom, neroli, patchouli and bergamot. Purple Pollen is available to buy online at or through Etsy as Purplepollenproducts. You can also find Purple Pollen at the Frome Independent Market as well as ad-hoc trade shows. For more information, check out Purple Pollen’s Instagram and Facebook pages for updates and promotions, or get in touch with Rebekah at

Homelessness | Real Life


e see elements of homelessness almost every day. Maybe we’ve walked past someone huddled in a shop entrance, noticed a pile of sleeping bags on a street corner, or spoke to someone selling the Big Issue. It’s easy to think of these stereotypical images of homelessness but harder to contemplate the reality of it. Have you ever considered what homelessness sounds like? What it tastes like? What it feels like? For the men and women living on our local streets, there isn’t one image that defines them. Homelessness is ruthless, non-prejudice and is often the result of an array of problems; from family breakdowns, addiction, the loss of employment, domestic violence and poor mental health. Everybody’s needs, experiences and stories are different and it’s because of this, that since our foundation 30 years ago, Julian House has always strived to put the individual at the heart of what we do. What was initially set up to offer food and shelter to some of Bath’s most marginalised people – the homeless – has developed, due to the sheer demand for it, into a regional charity with over 40

Know homelessness Bath-based Julian House explains why we should care about homelessness, what they do and how we can help.

different projects, accommodation sites and social enterprises across the South West of the UK. These projects and services not only address the symptoms of homelessness but also the underlying reasons why men and women are forced on to the streets and find creative solutions to empower and help them to build sustainable, independent lives. Whether that be through moving into their own accommodation, learning new skills, returning to college, volunteering or finding employment. Due to the complexity of homelessness, our client base has also expanded. We offer support and refuge to women and children escaping from domestic abuse, adults with learning difficulties, people suffering from addiction as well as offering a second chance to ex-offenders, helping them turn their life around and make a positive contribution to society. The scale of the problem is large, but thanks to the community’s incredible support we’ve been able to make a huge difference to the lives of many. In 2018 alone, we provided almost 12,000 bed spaces in our emergency hostel accommodation. 73% of the clients in our supported housing moved on to independent living. We helped 22 people secure employment, thanks to our skills training sessions at our Bike Workshops, provided essential refuge accommodation to 45 individuals or families fleeing

domestic abuse and achieved a 72% success rate in reducing re-offending in our criminal justice service. Behind each statistic, there’s an individual with a real-life story. A story you’ve helped change for the better. But this narrative can’t continue without you. From giving regular monthly donations, organising your own fundraiser at your school, local group or supermarket, choosing us as your Charity of the Year at work, attending one of our own fundraising events or volunteering at our charity shops or hostel we rely on you to help us raise much needed funds and awareness so that our projects and services can keep running and expanding. It’s you that makes the difference! We have some exciting fundraising events coming up this year which are perfect for the family. In July, we have the Colour Fun Run and in September there's the Circuit of Bath Walk. And, if you fancy a personal challenge, you can sign up to our Kilimanjaro Challenge which will take place between 13-21 September. To find out how you can help this year, head to our website or email Community & Events Fundraiser Jessica Gay. | 27

Real life | Politics

Keeping-up with the Joneses. (And the Corbyns. And the Mays).

Illustration ©

For Emily Doherty, blogger, mother and concerned citizen, teaching young people about politics starts with being a well-informed adult. But how can we find time to keep up-todate in the midst of family chaos. Read on to find out.

28 |


t’s hard to avoid politics at the moment. For better or for worse, Brexit is ubiquitous. (Cripes. The ‘B’ word. Stay with me, reader, stay with me). But it has also democratised the political world; opened it up. The referendum to leave the European Union in 2016 mobilised thousands of sixteen year olds to publicly demand that the voting age be lowered so that they too could join in the decision making. Away from the corridors of power, families found themselves talking, arguing and occasionally agreeing about it. Amazing! However, we parents are so very often time poor when it comes to staying on top of current affairs. How many nights a week do you attempt to squeeze your entire adult life into the three hours you have between bedtime (theirs) and bedtime (yours)? Between the school run, the after-school clubs, the science projects, the which-kit-for-which-day drama and the managing sibling relationships, catching up on what’s happening in Westminster may well be at the very bottom of your daily to do list. Or more likely, not there at all. But if you aren’t informed, how do you nurture the young people in your family for whom it could be a part of daily conversation? How do you make politics normal chat? And why would you want to? Let’s tackle that bit first…

Why bother? Talking openly at home about politics can be a practice session for experiencing different opinions later on. It’s one step removed from real life: you can learn to disagree and be ok. Practice is a good and necessary thing. Along with the opening of politics, Brexit has normalised nastiness. It has polarised swathes of people and divided the country ideologically. It has evolved in to a toxic debate in which the concept of respecting a different opinion has often been forgotten. In September last year I started blogging and Instagramming about politics – ‘caspar the hat’ – for younger people to explain what was happening in an agenda-free way. For me, Westminster is a giant, brilliant, knotty puzzle to be enjoyed and I want to be a light-hearted unbiased resource to complement GCSE and A level learning. I make very short Instagram films for the swipe up generation, to explain what the rubbery duck is going on. Brexit, MPs, House of Commons, Select Committees: you name it, I attempt to decode it. And it’s been brilliant. I have been overwhelmed by the engagement and eloquence of the UK Youth Parliament MPs I’ve met and had some extraordinary exchanges with kids whose interest has been piqued but don’t know what to do with it. I’ve even had a chat with the Prime Minister about it. I’ve also been trolled a few times, mostly by teenagers who write in the third person (“she ugly” resulted in

Politics | Real Life

The best way to get your children interested in politics is to stay on top of it yourself. But when you have small people, the other half, your job, the dog and guinea pigs all looking to you to stay fed, watered and stimulated, how do you achieve it? Here are some Caspar tips for quick-fire info…



If you're on it you have a wealth of speedy knowledge at your finger tips. Members of Parliament, Parliament itself, local government, media and political parties worth their salt know they haveto be insta-savvy to reach the biggest audiences. Casparthehat (sorry - of course) For the briefest of unbiased, simple updates and explanations of British Politics. Ukparliament Straightforward explanations of how it works, business of the day, factoids about Big Ben and guided tours. 10downingstreet Basic updates on the current incumbent. To my mind, I’d like to see more of Number 10 resident Larry the cat, but they do tend to focus on his current mistress somewhat. Your local MP Most Members of Parliament are on Instagram now. And if they aren’t, you are quite within your rights to encourage your MP gently towards it for regular updates. Isabel.hardman Isabel is the Assistant Editor of The Spectator magazine. simplepolitics Graphic style updates.


Email Updates

If you aren’t a social media whizz, getting updates sent straight to your email inbox is another fast and furious way to stay on the ball. Both The Guardian and The Spectator do automatic email updates if you register online. These short, to the point headlines provide instant coverage of the day’s most important stories.



If you prefer the old fashioned way, The Week magazine is a famously easy-to-read round up of current affairs published, you guessed it, every week. In their words: “In just one hour, you will be brought up to date with the most important news and events”.



Political blogs: now there’s a great thing. Critical mass edited down on a need to know basis - what could be more helpful? Here are some great ones to be aware of:

Guido Well connected and influential political gossip

Reaction Independent journalism. Nicely written. A great round up. For £1 per week you get a members’ only email to your inbox.

particular mirth). The message seems to be because I’m online, I’m not a real live actual person. Members of Parliament experience verbal abuse and trolling on a frequent basis. The Labour MP for Hove had his windows smashed because of his views on Brexit, and some women MPs have been advised by the police not to venture out at night alone. Bob Seely MP told me recently that he receives death threats weekly. Regardless of whether we think they are doing an incredible or terrible job, threatening violence is a step too far by anyone’s standards. When I interviewed the Somerton and Frome MP, David Warburton, for my blog, he reiterated that MPs may rage at each other across the chamber (of the House of Commons) but that they then often end up in the pub together afterwards. There is a “deep respect” there, he told me. And so restoring respect for alternative ideas and maintaining strong opinions of your own remains as important today as it ever was. If you are interested in what’s going on politically, or trying to be, you have the enormous benefit of being one of the most targeted audiences on the planet. You have never been more wanted, more loved, more desired. Newspapers, magazines, blog writers and editors, individual twittering MPS and peers want YOU to be their subscribers because without you, they are wittering away pointlessly. Emily Doherty blogs and instagrams as Caspar the Hat, decoding British politics in a simple, agenda free way. Instagram: casparthehat

The Canary On the left, entertaining, independent

Politics Home | 29

Parkour is a sport which encourages us to use our bodies and imagination to climb, jump, vault and flip. Using only our bodies and obstacles. This can be practised at any age and with anything from a small curb to walls. Parkour has become more and more popular with children, through such easy access to the internet. This is fantastic news as it brings so many out from in front of screens and keeps them healthy and fit. Parkour has come a long way in the past 15 years. As of last year it has been recognised as a sport which has allowed more funding for Parkour parks and classes.

Everyone can learn something from Parkour, such as hand eye co-ordination, problem solving, socialising and over coming fears. The wonderful thing is that it is accessible to everyone of all ages and abilities. Visit the Kiwi Parkour webiste to find classes to suit all ages.

Does your little one like video games?

Sizzle & Stew

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Visit our website for an up-to-date list of film screenings, workshops, events and performances. Booked tickets online or via the box office.

22 Catherine Hill, Frome Somerset, BA11 1BZ 01373 455660 •

Email or phone 01373 465949.

Join us

as bestselling author and former Children’s Laureate

Jacqueline Wilson introduces her new book ‘Dancing the Charleston’. Perfect for readers 8+

The Merlin Theatre, Frome Sunday 28th April, 2pm Tickets: £7.50 Plus a special discounted rate on the book!

Purchase tickets from eventbrite


email Phone 01373 473111



Books | Education

The Fledglings is Hunting Raven’s team of young reviewers. They get exclusive access to not-yet-published titles (also known as ‘proofs’) and let us know what they think. If you would like to join The Fledglings, send us an email and tell us your name, your age and what you love to read and why:

Bookseller picks The Sea Saw Tom Percival

Perfect for: 3-6 year olds

A beloved teddy lost on the beach ties together generations of the same family. Tom writes with incredible heart and deals with the biggest of subjects with a true lightness of touch.

Captain Cat and the Treasure Map by Sue Mongredien (illustrated by Kate Pankhurst) Perfect for: 5-8 year olds

The purrrrfect pirate adventure with a rabbletailed crew of seafaring animals. Captain Cat is perfect for young readers – we think it’s the cat’s whiskers!

A Pinch Of Magic

On The Come Up

Perfect for: ages 8–12

Perfect for: teens/young adults

Once upon a time on Crowstone island, Betty Widdershins was celebrating her birthday on Hallowe’en night. Her plan to become ‘Betty the brave’ was about to be put into action. But when her plan goes wrong she discovers a sinister curse that has brought many of her ancestors and even her mother, Clarissa to their death. Betty, her dreams destroyed, sets out with her two sisters, Fliss and Charlie, to find a way to break the curse. They have only three objects with gifts bestowed upon each one by a mysterious ancestor who, in an attempt to get revenge on her disloyal sister, cursed the Widdershins forever. Will Betty, Fliss and Charlie save the Widdershins? I would totally recommend this book for people who enjoy magic, mystery and time travel. Review by Síne, Fledgling Book Reviewer

Bri wants to be the world’s greatest rapper. She pours her feelings about the prejudice she experiences at school into her first song and it goes viral… But not for the music. It gives the media an excuse to see her as a threat. However, it’s the only thing keeping her family off the streets now that her mum’s lost her job. Bri has a choice to make. Become what the public want or become homeless? This is Angie Thomas’s second novel and she certainly hasn’t lost the talent that made The Hate U Give so popular. The characters seemed so vibrant and it really makes you think about how much we need change. I would even go to say that it’s even better than The Hate U Give! Review by Edie, Fledgling Book Reviewer

Michelle Harrison Simon & Schuster, £6.99

Angie Thomas Walker Books, £7.99 | 33

a place to be together Formerly known as the HUBnub Centre, RISE is a place to eat, learn, play and be together. THE





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VEnue Hire | Classes | ARt GalleRy | Food


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Curious about the world around you? Of course you are! We’ve put together a familyfriendly guide to help you put together a science experiment using the scientific method. The guide will help you to come up with a good scientific question, design an experiment and present your research. Download the FREE Family Science Project guide using the link below.



Join us for another week of fun and engaging events for the whole family to learn more about science and the world around us. There are FREE events for families and events just for adults. The launch event is held at the University of Bath on Saturday March 9th and the festival finishes in the Bath Forum on Saturday 16th March with a BANG (literally!).



Join the epic contest between 26–29 April 2019 as we compete with 150+ cities across 7 continents to discover and record as much wildlife as possible over 4 days! Help defend Bath and Bristol’s title as the best region in Europe for people discovering nature! Download the FREE app, take on a wildlife mission or join us at one of the FREE and ticketed events across the region.



Join us for a series environmental and chemistry-based talks and workshops during The Bath Festival. Aimed at adults and secondary school aged children, science-based events include ‘Cleaning Up Our Act’, ‘Our Planet’ and a talk from Nobel prize winner Venki Ramakrishnan about his latest book, ‘Gene Machine’. For more details and to book tickets, head to The Bath Festival website.



Nature-lovers of all ages are invited to join the UK’s largest FREE celebration of the natural world! Come to Festival of Nature for an amazing FREE family fun day in Bath’s beautiful Green Park as we launch a week long programme of activity across Bath and Bristol! Watch performances, talks and a showcase of hands-on fun from environmental organisations and discover hundreds of ways to stretch your imagination into the world of wildlife!


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