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out and about

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A HOLLY JOLLY CHRISTMAS! With Christmas almost upon us, our spectacular gift guide will help you find toys and games your children will love (p30), while our Christmassy book reviews will give you added inspiration (p24). If you love cooking, either alone or with your kids, check out our fabulous festive recipes (p28). Alternatively, if you’re looking to get out and about with your family, check out our ice skating guide (p22). Specialist paediatric dietitian Ana-Kristina Skrapac explains how we can eat healthily during the winter months (p27) and we also explore ways to keep your baby’s skin protected in the cold weather (p16). If you’re already looking to make changes in the New Year, read our feature on keeping fit during pregnancy and beyond (p12) and our childcare article, which explores your options if you’re thinking of re-entering the workplace in 2017 (p20). We also look at the different feeding options available for babies whose mothers wish to return to work (p14). You can also encourage your children to get the New Year off to a great start with Rachel Vecht’s column on homework (p23) and Ruth Birnbaum’s column on school-readiness (p26). Better still, treat them to a new bedroom setup in 2017 (p18) so that they can rest, sleep and study in a healthy environment. Our top five pregnancy apps will give expecting mums a great head start (p10), while our new product and fashion pages are full of fresh ideas to kit out your home and kids (p32). We wish you a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Joy Tibbs

PUBLISHER Sruly Monk EDITOR Joy Tibbs CONTRIBUTORS Susan Koppel, Adina Rechnitzer, Dvora Ebert, Debbie Young, Hannah Smith and Jess Clements ADVERTISING Sidney Rechnitzer GRAPHIC DESIGNER James English

up front




5 OUT AND ABOUT Days out for the family 9 COMPETITIONS More chances to win big

PREGNANCY 10 THE TOP FIVE PREGNANCY APPS Read our handy apps guide 12 KEEPING FIT DURING PREGNANCY AND BEYOND Top tips on pregnancy and prenatal fitness

BABY & TODDLER 14 BREAST VS BOTTLE Is breast always best? We look at the pros and cons of breast and bottle-feeding 16 PROTECTING YOUR BABY’S SKIN Our top tips will help keep your baby’s skin soft and healthy this winter



23 HOMEWORK MATTERS Rachel Vecht explains why homework is so important 24 BOOK REVIEWS Read our Q&A with author Emma Warner-Reed 26 MAKE SCHOOLREADINESS YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION Put down the phone and play a game

HEALTH & WELLBEING 27 TIS THE SEASON TO BE JOLLY Eat seasonal fruit and veg this winter, urges AnaKristina Skrapac

18 SAFE BEDROOMS Create a stunning bedroom for your little ones in the safest possible way

28 FESTIVE FOOD Get the whole family cooking this Christmas

20 CAN I AFFORD TO GO BACK TO WORK? Work out whether you can return to work and childcare options



22 LEARN A NEW SKILL: ICE SKATING Ice skating is a fun and healthy family activity

30 CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE Your guide to some of the best Christmas presents on the market 32 SHOPPING AND REVIEWS New product reviews and fashion

out and about

newS & Events

Fired Treasures celebrates 10th anniversary Mill Hill East-based Fired Treasures recently celebrated its tenth anniversary. Since it opened its doors in 2006, the pottery-painting business has welcomed more than 120,000 customers and fired up the kiln more than 2,000 times to transform treasures into glazed works of art. Each weekend, more than 200 people spend time creating pieces of art in the colourful shop. More than 2,000 parties have been celebrated at Fired Treasures to date, including children’s parties, hen parties and bat

mitzvahs. Alongside pottery painting, the studio offers foam clay, acrylic painting, canvas art, glass fusing, decopatch and T-shirt design. Company founder Ruth Sacks says: ‘What sets Fired Treasures apart is the number of repeat

loyal customers. Having experienced the range of activities, buzzing atmosphere and great service, they keep coming back for more fun. ‘Fired Treasures is offering a free gift when you bring this ad along so you can try out some of the techniques on offer.’

50% of parents over budget for children’s Christmas gifts

New research from safe. claims half of parents go over budget for their children’s Christmas gifts. On average, parents spend £143 more than they planned, with some spending £800 more than they budgeted. Worryingly, households with an income of £25,000 or less are most likely to succumb to overspending. Only children are about £45 better off in the present stakes than those with a sibling. Contrary to the common myth that the dads don’t know what lies beneath their children’s wrapping paper, the study shows that dads spend marginally more on each child than mums.


Four babygros sold every minute at Mothercare According to a new study from Mothercare, babygros are flying off the shelves at a rate of four a minute, or 2.2 million per year. On average, babies receive 30 toys in the first three months after they are born and single out a favourite toy within 14 weeks. Rattles continue to be the top seller; however, modern twists on old-fashioned favourites are gaining traction as monkeys are chosen over teddies and octopuses over bunnies. There has been a return to traditional colours for boys’ and girls’ clothing, with 60% of parents dressing their tots in gender-typical pinks and blues. Red and black were once the best-selling colours for prams, pushchairs and strollers, but grey, blue, navy and teal were favoured in 2016. Karl Doyle, executive group product director at Mothercare, said: ‘As space is becoming even more of a premium in family homes across the UK, we are seeing parents looking for compact and spacesaving products that offer convenience and simplicity… ‘It’s no surprise that the year has seen mobile dominate parents’ online shopping with instant research and purchasing capabilities in the palm of their hand meaning they don’t need as many arms as our top-selling octopus toy to juggle all the challenges that modern parenting throws at them.’


out anD about

Theatre & entertainment

SANTA CLAUS AND THE CHRISTMAS ADVENTURE G Live, Guildford Until December 24 From £15.50, age 2+ The Reindeer Sat Nav is programmed and the toys are piled high on the sleigh, but then chaos strikes! Filled with songs, nursery rhymes and magic, Santa Claus and the Christmas Adventure offers an unforgettable experience, with the opportunity for audience members to meet Santa and receive a gift. CHRISTMAS TALES Until December 29 Rayne Theatre, £8 (free to babies under 1 year), all ages, Christmas Tales is an amazingly fun and festive show from the creative team

Patchwork Girl and Ojo the Unlucky Munchkin. Travel along the famous Yellow Brick Road on a quest to release Ojo’s uncle from an enchantment that has turned him to stone.

behind the hugely popular Tales from the Shed. The show is a full-on family talesomime (a pantomime starring all the favourite Tales characters). It’s going to be high-energy, interactive and brilliantly entertaining... (Oh no, it’s not! Oh yes, it is!)

ALADDIN Millfield Theatre Until December 31 From £15, all ages Complete with a magical flying carpet, Millfield audiences can expect a wish-granting genie, an evil sorcerer and a lamp-full of laughter, music and dance in the north London’s biggest family pantomime. Grab your magic lamp and make buying Aladdin tickets one of your three wishes this Christmas.

THE SNOWMAN Peacock Theatre Until January 1 All ages, from £15 Based on Raymond Briggs’ much-loved book, this magical stage show transports families into a wintry wonderland. The young boy and his Snowman visit the North Pole, where they meet dancing penguins, reindeer and, naturally, Father Christmas. Watch spellbound as the Snowman flies through the night sky above you!  ADVENTURE TO OZ Rayne Theatre Until January 7 £5 to £22.50, age 5+ Meet familiar faces such as Dorothy, the Scarecrow and the Tin Man, as well as new and memorable characters such as the incredible

THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR SHOW Ambassadors Theatre Until January 8 £12.50 to £26.60, all ages The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show features 75 enchanting puppets during a magical 60-minute stage adaptation of four of Eric Carle’s best-loved books. The cast features Andrew Cullimore (Charlie and Lola, UK Tour), Sarah Hamilton (Charlie and Lola, Australian Tour), Katie Haygarth (In The Night Garden Live) and Adam Ryan (The Smurfs Live, World Tour).

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out and about

The great outdoors

MAGICAL CHILDREN’S CHRISTMAS Forty Hall Estate December 3 Free entry (activity costs apply), ages 4 to 11 Experience Christmas through the ages as sights, sounds and scents fill the hall and grounds with atmosphere. Look out for the festive lights and meet our welcoming characters. Take a horse and cart ride around the lake, visit Santa in the Warrener’s Cottage and enjoy a Christmas woodland trail around the Pleasure Grounds.

SQUIRE’S CHARITY GROTTOS Squire’s Garden Centres Every weekend in December All ages, free Children can meet Santa in his grotto, share their Christmas wishes and receive a gift. The grottos are free to visit, but customers are encouraged to give charity donations. Grottos are available at Squire’s Stanmore, Twickenham, Windsor, Cobham, Crawley, Hersham, Long Ditton, Reigate, West Horsley and Woking centres.

an icy 100-yard race before heading home to tuck into their Christmas dinner. Only members of the Serpentine Swimming Club can take part, but why not bring your family and watch from the sidelines?

FATHER CHRISTMAS AT WEST DEAN West Dean Gardens December 10-11 and 17-18 Child £5/adult £5.50 All ages Children can share their secret Christmas wishes in Santa’s grotto in the historic Apple Store with a free gift and activities, while adults can enjoy a complimentary mulled wine and a mince pie. Enjoy the festive lights, decorations and gifts in the shop and enjoy seasonal food in the Gardens Restaurant.

PETER PAN CUP Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park December 25 Free, all ages serpentineswimmingclub. com Since 1864, swimmers have been taking to the water in Hyde Park to compete in


THE FROSTED FAIRGROUND Dreamland Margate Until January 2 Free entry (ride prices apply), all ages The Frosted Fairground will transform Dreamland into a magical winter experience allowing families to get into the festive spirit. Guests will enjoy performances from local school choirs and community groups as well as music on the bandstand, popup panto, carol singing, Teddy and Betty’s Christmas Show and much more. HYDE PARK WINTER WONDERLAND Hyde Park, until January 2 All ages, free entry (activity and show costs apply) Come and celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland! New additions include Nutcracker on Ice at the Winter Palace and the UK debut of the world’s largest transportable rollercoaster, Munich Looping. The usual favourites

out and about include The Magical Ice Kingdom, outdoor ice skating, Zippo Circus and the Giant Observation Wheel.

HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGE RIDES RICHMOND PARK Until January 3 All ages (under 15s must be accompanied) £125 for two people Snuggle under a blanket and enjoy the stark wintry beauty of Richmond Park with a carriage ride drawn by majestic Shire horses. The experience will include a behind-thescenes visit of the working stables at Holly Lodge. Proceeds will fund sustainable conservation initiatives with the horses in the Royal Parks. Refreshments and blankets are provided.

The great INDOORS

SCHOOL SESSIONS Westfield London Ice Rink Until December 16 £5 per child, £8.50 over-16s (one free adult for every ten skating places booked) 4-16 years Book via Uk.ticketing@

Treat your pupils to an active, fun-filled day out at Westfield London Ice Rink. Discounts are also available for youth groups via the email address provided. The ice rink is open until January 8 for family skating trips. DAY CAMPS AND SWIM COURSES Poolside Manor From December 19, ages 3-12, see website for prices Poolside Manor will host its popular multi-activity day camps this Christmas (rated outstanding by Ofsted), offering a variety of sports, games, arts and crafts, and much more. It will also be running crash courses for beginners through to advanced swimmers with a half-hour lesson on offer each day.

A Wonderful New Musical

23 Nov - 7 Jan For ages 5+

Box Office: 020 8292 9222 Registered charity no 1012369


DINO SNORES FOR KIDS CHRISTMAS SPECIAL Hintze Hall December 23 Tickets £130 (members £117), ages 7-11 (accompanied by an adult) The first ever kids’ Christmas museum sleepover offers the perfect opportunity to explore the museum after dark. The experience includes a torch-lit trail, a dinosaur T-shirt-making workshop, an educational science show, a Christmas carol performance, live reindeer, two meals, meeting a special guest and his helpers, and a goody bag to take away.

The live stage show


‘Walking in the Air’

“Sheer theatrical magic” The Times

LY £115 FAMILY TICKETe atON least one child

4 tickets, must includ lies. Max £3 Transaction fee app

23 Nov - 1 Jan 020 7863 8222

out and about






WIN 1 of 5 family tickets to Westfield London Ice Rink! WIN a SwimFin

Five lucky families have the chance to win tickets to Westfield London Ice Rink. It’s the perfect way to spend a winter’s day with the whole family. Wrap up warm and get your skates on for lots of fun and laughter! Visit for more information


One lucky Today’s Child reader will win a special SwimFin hamper containing: • A Marble Tropical Fish SwimFin (RRP £22.99) • 4 Dinky Divers dive sticks (RRP £9.99) • 4 Funky Floaties pool toys (RRP £9.99) The SwimFin swimming aid will get your little ones water-confident in no time at all! Best of all, they’ll have great fun as they play with the colourful pool toys and collect the eye-catching dive sticks. Visit for more information

win a family ticket to Aladdin Millfield Theatre is giving away a family ticket to see Aladdin. If you love pantomime (oh yes you do!), this is a fantastic prize, with fun, drama and song to keep the whole family entertained. Visit for more information

HOW TO ENTER For a chance to win one of these great prizes, email info@ and tell us which competition you would like to enter by December 9. UK entrants only. Must be aged 18 or over. View all our competitions on Facebook ( for an extra chance to win! Find us on facebook - facebook/




pregnancy apps Do you have pregnancy-related questions? Check out these great apps! f you’re looking for relevant apps to inform and inspire you during your pregnancy, you’ve come to the right place. The following apps will help you keep track of your pregnancy, provide handy tips and connect you with others who are in the same boat.


I’M EXPECTING (iOS and Android) The I’m Expecting app will provide you with daily and weekly updates of what’s happening to your body and your baby, with foetal development images developed by medical experts. You can view pregnancy and baby development videos and track your symptoms. You can also join a


EMMA’S DIARY (iOS and Android) This app offers credible pregnancy and early postnatal advice in collaboration with the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and a number of healthcare experts. All you need to do is register and set up a simple profile and the app will tailor content to your specific needs. It includes baby name searches, ovulation and due date calculators, a photo journal and lots more for pregnancy and beyond.

pregnancy community to get answers from other mums who share your due date to get instant advice and support. BABYBUMP (iOS and Android) BabyBump is a pregnancy tracker and social health network for expecting families. It offers a personal countdown screen with weeks and days remaining and trimester information, journal and weight tracking options, a social network enabling you to connect with other parents from around the world, and a store providing access to high-tech gadgets as well as eco-friendly home and body products. Sister apps Kidfolio and Pink Pad are also available on iOS and Android.

PREGNANCY+ (iOS, Android and Windows) This app provides information that will help you and your baby enjoy a safe and healthy pregnancy, with a comprehensive guide to all stages of pregnancy. It offers daily information, colour and scan images, a personal diary and weight log, diet, exercise and labour information, a kick counter and contraction timer, a shopping list and baby name ideas. The app was recently updated to include a Zika guide for those who have concerns about the virus.


Keeping Fit


pregnancy and beyond

Whether you’re keeping fit or getting fit during pregnancy, there is a path for you… you just need to find it, says Claire-Marie Lewis When it comes to putting strain on your body, few things have the same impact as pregnancy and labour. That said, fewer things have the same reward!


GETTING STARTED The NHS website reminds us that exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous to be efficient, so if seeing that second line appear has incentivised

you to get fit, start by doing fifteen minutes of aerobic activity three times a week. That could be cycling, fast walking, jogging, swimming or even dancing. Over time, increase this to thirty minutes four times per week and you’ll not only be increasing your cardiovascular fitness but also benefitting from the happy endorphins that come from raising your pulse rate. You’ll also find yourself sleeping more easily as a result. Top tip: Remember that during pregnancy you have an increased amount of blood in your system so you will need to drink even more water than usual while exercising. ADAPTING YOUR CURRENT ROUTINE If you are already a regular at the gym, there’s no need to suddenly stop exercising just because you’re expecting. Making a few modifications


to your usual routine and understanding your new limits will keep you fit right up until the big day. Speak to a trainer or staff member and let them know you’re pregnant. They should be able to help you adjust your usual training plan. By the end of the third trimester your 10k treadmill run might have morphed into a 10-minute walk, but that's absolutely fine. If you usually attend spin or dance classes, let your teacher know about your baby and he or she can help you bring it down when necessary or adjust the movements to accommodate your changing shape and centre of gravity. If you usually take part in combative exercise classes such judo or karate, it’s best to take a break until after your baby arrives, not just to protect your baby but

also to protect yourself. A hormone called relaxin renders your ligaments extra stretchy during pregnancy. This loosens your joints to make space for the baby and can make you more prone to injury. There are a plethora of pregnancy yoga and Pilates classes out there and you can also buy DVDs or visit YouTube for great workouts to follow. If you’re already a yoga or Pilates regular, remember that lying on your front after week 12 or your back after week 16 of pregnancy is not recommended, so omit poses with that requirement from your workout. Top tip: If you’re looking for pregnancy-specific exercises, focusing on your core and pelvic floor is the way to go.


What to wear? Finding fitness clothes to accommodate your changing shape can be one of the main challenges of staying healthy during and after pregnancy, but there are plenty of specialist brands out there. If you don’t want to splash out on a whole new fitness wardrobe, ensure that your breasts (and bump if you’re currently pregnant) are well supported and that you won’t overheat. We love: • Fitta Mamma ( • Asquith ( • For Two Fitness (

Get bouncing!

GETTING BACK IN SHAPE AFTER THE BIRTH Once your beautiful new baby has arrived it can feel like the first question on everybody’s lips is how you plan to get your ‘pre-baby body’ back. The best tip out there is don’t pressure yourself. Enjoy your tiny baby, let your body rest and recover, and when your doctor says you’re well enough to do so and you feel ready, ease yourself back into your regime. One great way to get started again is to take your baby out for a gentle walk in the stroller. Remember that you have all the time in the world. No matter how fit you kept yourself during pregnancy, your body will have changed dramatically. Your core muscles and pelvic floor have been stretched out

and they won’t just spring back. Your back, hips and ribs are all slowly recovering from bearing the weight of your child and from helping you push him or her into this world. It’s okay not to hit the ground running. In fact, don’t hit the ground running at all!

Trampolining is a really fun way to exercise with kids or friends once you’ve had plenty of time to recover from the birthing process and are ready for something more energetic. You’ll burn calories without even thinking about it and enjoy hanging out with your kids at the same time. Cara Bradney from Rainbow Play ( says: ‘According to Nasa statistics, ten minutes bouncing on a trampoline is the equivalent of a 30-minute jog. It’s better for you core and is low-impact exercise, so it’s easier on your joints.’ If you’re thinking of buying your own, Springfree trampolines ( are safe for all the family to use, not to mention super fun! Check out the Springfree blog ( for top tips on which trampoline to buy and how to use yours most effectively.

Top tip: If you are feeling self-conscious about your new body, working out at home is a brilliant option. You can even use your baby as a weight for lunges and squats, or for walking if you have a sling. Whichever type of exercise you choose, you’ll start feeling more like yourself in no time. Remember that you’ll be more tired than ever before so don’t push yourself too hard! Find us on facebook - facebook/



Is breast always best?

Everyone seems to have an opinion when it comes to breast or formula-feeding, but who’s right? ealth professionals often recommend breastfeeding as it helps to defend against infection, prevent allergies and protect babies from a number of chronic conditions. However, some mothers find they are unable to breastfeed or that it simply doesn’t come naturally to them. Infant formula can offer a healthy alternative, giving babies the nutrients they need to grow and thrive.



PROS: • It’s a great way to bond with your baby, maximising skin-to-skin contact • Breastfeeding may protect babies against allergies, asthma, diabetes, obesity and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) • Breast milk is easy for babies to digest, reducing incidents of diarrhoea or constipation • Breastfeeding is convenient as you’ll never run out and you don’t have to worry about sterilising bottles or heating up formula • The baby is exposed to different tastes through the mother’s milk • Breastfeeding burns


calories and helps shrink the uterus, so nursing mums may return to their pre-pregnancy shape more quickly • Breastfeeding may reduce the risk of certain cancers, high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease • It’s free! CONS: • Some mothers struggle to breastfeed and it can take weeks to get into a routine • Breastfeeding can be uncomfortable and even painful. It can also lead to infections, which may require antibiotics • Breastfeeding requires a big time commitment from mums • It can be inconvenient to breastfeed while out and about if there is nowhere discreet to do so • Women who breastfeed need to be careful about their diet, for example alcohol, caffeine and fish consumption • Breastfeeding may be

unsafe for women with certain conditions, such as HIV or cancer • Breast milk may not contain as much vitamin D as the baby needs, although this can be rectified with supplements


THE PROS: • Bottle-feeding allows dads to develop a feeding bond • Formula-fed babies tend to eat less than breastfed babies, so feeding may be less time-consuming • Formulas may contain some vitamins and nutrients that breastfed babies can only get from supplements • Bottle-feeding is a more enjoyable and less painful experience for some mums • Mum doesn’t have to be on hand every time the baby is hungry (although mums who express milk can also enjoy this benefit) • There is no need to express milk if the mother is likely

to be away from the baby for any length of time • You won’t have to find a private place to feed when you’re out and about • There are fewer diet constraints CONS: • Formula-fed babies may be at greater risk of infection and illness • Breast milk adapts to the baby’s needs, which cannot be replicated by manmade formula • Formula feeding requires planning and organisation. You’ll need to have a healthy supply of formula and sterilised bottles wherever you are – even in the middle of the night! • It’s more expensive than breastfeeding, especially if your baby needs specialty formula. Estimates suggest formula costs could amount to around £1,200 in the first year • Bottle-fed babies may produce more gas or suffer from constipation


It may be possible to combine the two methods, maximising the benefits of each feeding option. You could even use bottles with breast milk rather than formula if that’s the best solution for you. Sarah Williams, general manager at mimijumi, says: ‘We’re wholly supportive of breastfeeding. It’s the ideal feeding method, and mothers who can breastfeed for as long as possible, especially for 12 months or more, are providing the best possible health benefits for their babies. ‘But often mums who have exclusively breastfed for the first part of their child’s life find that it’s very difficult to continue exclusively breastfeeding when they return to work, or have other commitments that take them away from home for any length of time.

‘The mimijumi bottle and teat are uniquely designed to make the transition between exclusive breastfeeding to combination or bottle-feeding as easy as possible. Nipple confusion is significantly reduced when babies switch to our bottles. ‘The baby uses the same technique to latch on to a mimijumi nipple as it would do with breastfeeding, and baby also controls the flow rate, so it enables mums to switch backwards and forwards from breast to bottle with relative ease compared with more traditional baby bottle designs, and this will hopefully extend the period for which mothers are able to breastfeed.  ‘Our aim is to enable busy mothers to both breast and bottle-feed in combination, which also allows partners and other caregivers to become involved with feeding.’

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Love the

Winter weather can be tough on skin whatever your age, but babies are particularly susceptible to changing weather conditions What to look out for: RED, CHAPPED SKIN Babies’ skin can easily crack and split in cold weather, particularly on the face, bottom, backs of knees and elbow folds. If your baby has a runny nose or is drooling, lips can be especially vulnerable. If the cold reaches your baby’s extremities – fingers, toes and nose – the skin can turn red or even blue, and may become really tender. RASHES Nappy rash can occur at any time of year, but babies’ skin is particularly sensitive in cold, damp conditions. Heat rash is another possibility if you bundle your child up and overheating occurs. If


your baby has bright red spots or blisters it may be a yeast infection. ECZEMA Eczema flare-ups are particularly common during the winter months. FLAKY SCALP (CRADLE CAP) If you notice greasy yellow scales on your baby’s head or behind the ears, it’s probably flaky scalp. This is very common and usually clears up on its own.

Ten top tips to combatting skin problems this winter


If you’re out and about a lot with the baby, the skin can become dry and rough.

Apply face cream and a thick body moisturiser twice a day.


Make sure your baby wears mittens, socks, shoes and a warm hat when you’re out.


Use a dehumidifier to keep the nursery dry and maintain a comfortable temperature.


If your baby suffers from dry lips, use a hypoallergenic chapstick or lip balm.


A gentle bath oil will help to restore moisture and suppleness. After the bath, dry the skin carefully and apply a nourishing body cream or lotion.


Let your baby run around naked or in just a nappy from time to time in a warm room, allowing the skin to breathe.


Change nappies frequently and apply nappy rash cream if the skin looks red or sore.


If symptoms are severe, use gentle, hypoallergenic

products and clothing, especially around the worstaffected areas.


Apply olive oil or baby oil to the scalp to loosen flakes and gently brush them out before shampooing.


If symptoms persist, speak to your local pharmacist or GP.

Products we love Mustela’s skincare range is like a breath of fresh air, particularly during the winter months. In addition to its products for new and expecting mothers, it offers dedicated, baby-friendly creams, oils, ointments and balms to soothe irritated skin. We particularly love the company’s Bath Oil and Cleansing Cream products, which make babies’ skin super soft, cleansing, soothing and replenishing it in the process.


skin your baby’s in!

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create a safe

bedroom for your kids

The following tips will help to prevent avoidable accidents in your child’s bedroom ou might be the most attentive parent in the world, but it’s impossible to watch your children at all times. Running around after them and cleaning up as you go, you rarely lose sight of them, but you have to sleep, right? No one wants to think of the kind of accidents that can happen when our backs are turned, but we should always try to minimise risk for our little ones. Creating the perfect environment for them to play, learn and grow in isn’t an unachievable dream. While you can’t cover them in bubble wrap, there are steps you can take to make the constant struggle a little easier.



TEACH THEM You’re probably used to telling them to blow on their food and watch for cars when they cross the road, but don’t forget to teach them about safety in the home. Children learn by doing, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait until they have a bump to show them their mistakes. Warn them and make sure they understand the risks. When you’re telling them not to climb on furniture, explain the reasons why they shouldn’t rather than just telling them not to do something without offering an explanation. MONITOR LIGHTING Bedtime is a constant battle for

parents, but you can make it easier by monitoring bedroom lighting. This is especially important during the summer months, when they feel as though it’s not time for bed because the sun is still up. This is why creating the illusion of night using blackout blinds is so effective. A recent survey from Budget Blinds ( revealed that one of the first things 20% of respondents would do to improve sleep would be to install blackout blinds. Without the distraction of daylight streaming through the windows, your children will soon fall asleep if the room is dark enough. This will help you ease them into a natural routine, ensuring they get the rest they need. Make sure you use a cord safety fixing so that your kids don’t get tangled up if they decide to climb onto the windowsill. CHILDPROOF THE WINDOWS Window safety is extremely important as one mistake could have fatal consequences. Make sure windows are latched so that they open a maximum of


Did you know… …that children aged four to eight rank decorating their room as the secondmost important childhood milestone, just behind hosting a birthday party and above their first day at school or losing their first tooth? …that 92% of kids would spend more time playing in their room if they could help decorate it? …that children find decorating with their parents a really positive experience, with 65% saying they felt happy and 58% feeling excited at the prospect of helping mum and dad? Why not design and a safer bedroom for your child with his or her help?

If you are using a toy chest, choose one without a lid or with a fabric cover rather than a heavy wooden top that could cause damage to little hands and heads. USE THE RIGHT PAINT Make sure the paint you buy is toxinfree and will stand the test of time. Dulux’s water-based Endurance range, for example, is so durable that you can wipe off all sorts of stains, including mud and colouring pencils, without taking off any paint. Don’t forget that your toddler or child will visit most or all of the rooms in the house so it may be worth applying some of these principles throughout the household. You don’t have to completely remove all signs of danger from your home, but these simple tips will help to reduce the risk of any potential accidents and injuries.

(Figures from Dulux)

Looking for inspiration for your child’s bedroom? 10cm and lock them whether they are open or closed to avoid trapped fingers and falls. Avoid placing any furniture near windows to discourage kids from climbing onto the windowsill. SOFTEN ALL THE EDGES We have all experienced that unbearable feeling as our children run past a table corner or the hard edge of a piece of furniture, narrowly avoiding an accident. There is no quick route to childproofing your home, but there are plenty of things you can do to minimise risk, such as introducing safety guards and subtle cushioning. Make sure the furniture used in your child’s bedroom is sturdy and well put together, avoiding any danger of collapsing or tipping. Keep drawers closed when they are not in use as they could cause bumps and falls or be used for unsafe climbing. POSITION THE BED CAREFULLY Your child will spend a significant portion of time in and around the bed, so think carefully about its location.

Don’t place it under a window, directly against a radiator or under shelves, ledges or appliances a child could get hold of.  Avoid hanging heavy objects such as mirrors above the bed and remove mobiles and dangling toys. Use cabin beds rather than bunk beds for young children as they are safer and provide plenty of storage space. USE SOCKET PROTECTORS Children are naturally attracted to light switches and plug sockets, so use socket covers to keep plug sockets away from probing fingers. It may also be worth explaining why plug sockets are dangerous so that children are aware of the risk.  

The following companies have an excellent selection of kids’ furniture and furnishings, from beds to storage to lighting solutions: • Bobo kids ( • Kids’ Rooms ( • Dragons of Walton Street (dragonsofwaltonstreet. com) • Nubie ( • Cuckooland Kids ( • Mini Eden (

KEEP TOYS REACHABLE If you place attractive toys and games out of your child’s reach, you can guarantee that he or she will mount a targeted climbing mission to gain access to them. Make sure appropriate toys are within reach and keep less suitable games or objects hidden or locked away. Find us on facebook - facebook/



Can I afford to pay for childcare while I work?

Thinking about returning to work after having kids? This guide will help you decide whether you can afford to pay for childcare and which option might be best for you ccording to new figures from the British Chambers of Commerce, more than 25% of employees have cut their hours because of high childcare costs. The report found that almost 10% had quit for the same reason. Currently, three- and four-year-olds in the UK are entitled to up to 15 hours of free early education and childcare per week. This entitlement will double to 30 hours a week in 2017, which may take the pressure off for some parents, but can you really afford to work



before your children are of school age? THE AVERAGE COST OF CHILDCARE If you’re looking for parttime childcare, say 25 hours for a child under two, you can expect to pay a weekly average of: • £104.27 for a registered childminder • £116.77 for a day nursery • £237.50 to £375 for a nanny If you’re looking for full-time childcare support, say 50 hours for a child under two, you can expect to pay a weekly average of: • £202.22 for a registered

childminder • £217.57 for a day nursery • £350 to £650 for a live-in nanny (plus tax, National Insurance, and room and board) OTHER EXPENSES Remember that you will also have expenses such as travel and work clothing to factor into your working week. FINANCIAL SUPPORT AVAILABLE Government schemes such as the Working Tax Credit, Universal Credit or Tax-Free Childcare scheme (from 2017) may help to offset some of your childcare costs. Your employer may also be able to offer childcare vouchers or direct payment for childcare. CHILDCARE ‘HACKS’ There are ways to cut the cost of childcare if your employer is willing to be flexible and

if you have people you can pool resources with nearby. You could: • Enlist the help of a trusted friend or relative (the child’s grandparents, for example) for free-ofcharge childcare. • Introduce a shared childcare scheme, where you and another parent take it in turns to look after the children. You would need a flexible working arrangement for this to work and you will also need to factor in lost earnings when it’s your turn to provide childcare. • Take advantage of free or low-cost childcare options such as nursery schools, play groups and preschools, breakfast clubs and Sure Start Children’s Centre sessions. • Nanny share, dividing the cost of your nanny with another family.


• Hire a nanny just to be with the children before and after nursery. • Use staggered starts and finishes to minimise your childcare costs. • Work three long days rather than five shorter days. • Work a day from home each week so you don’t have to pay pre- and postnursery childcare costs. It’s vital that your childcare provision is close to your home or workplace so that valuable time (and money) is saved. Some employers offer onsite childcare facilities, so it’s worth asking what’s available. Talk to your employer about the benefits available and about flexible working arrangements. The chances are they will be accommodating. Think about what your ideal working week would look like and

how much you would need to earn to make it work.



FAMILY OR FRIENDS Help from relatives or friends can be a really costeffective option and is a great way for loved ones to bond with your children. However, they may have different ideas about parenting from you and tensions can arise, particularly if you’re not paying for the service. Talk about ground rules and expectations before you make any long-term arrangements.


NANNY OR AU PAIR Nannies may work on a live-in or live-out basis, taking charge of childcare and perhaps some minimal household duties. Au pairs will live with your family and may assist with light

housework. They tend to be younger and less experienced, but are often cheaper to hire than nannies. Make sure you use a licensed and experienced agency and find out how much training the nanny or au pair has had and to get the background information you need.

Childcare checklist


• Drawing up a contract (formal or informal) outlining expected duties, hours, salary, paid holiday and sick leave

EXTERNAL CHILDCARE Out-of-home care may include childcare centres, childminder care at his or her home, and programmes such as preschools and playgroups. A single adult should have primary responsibility for no more than one baby under the age of 12 months in any care setting. For overall infant care, a child-to-staff ratio of three to one is recommended. By the time your child is three or four, it can be really beneficial to have at least some exposure to other children and to be part of a structured programme such as a preschool or day care.

Whichever option you go for, it’s vital that you ensure any potential childcare provider is DBS checked and that you have recent references. That should even include family members and friends! Other things to tick off your childcare checklist include:

• Making sure the home or agency is licensed and fully inspected • Ensuring that caregivers have basic CPR and early childhood development training • Putting in place written policies on sickness and discipline • Making sure health, safety and hygiene are a priority • Checking that all children and staff members are up-to-date on immunisations • Ensuring that your child’s age and any special needs are taken into account • Choosing a childcare provider who makes your child feel safe, relaxed and ready to learn


Learn a new skill...

ice skating Ice skating can be really healthy, but make sure you dress up warm!

ce skating is an excellent way to get kids outdoors and active without them even realising! Ice skating works almost every major muscle group in the body and is good for the joints. Some claim it is even more beneficial to the body than cycling or running.


Ice skating offers: • Improved balance, challenging kids to adjust their weight as they move across the ice. Even if they fall to begin with they will quickly learn to balance, leaning their weight slightly forward and bending their knees • Better joint flexibility and range, with quick foot movements and strong knees required • Muscle-building opportunities, with a strong focus on lower-body strength and movement, which helps to build and tone leg muscles • Cardio exercise, giving kids an aerobic workout once they have built confidence and are able to glide from one end of the

rink to the other • Endurance, with a need for continued energy expenditure as time passes on the ice • Weight management, as skating burns calories quickly (between 300 and 650 calories an hour, providing you’re not hanging on to the edge the whole time!) • Stress relief and mental fitness. With plenty of space to unwind and interact with peers in a stunning setting, ice skating is tough to beat in terms of stress-busting exercise What to wear Ice rinks can look like fashion shows at times, but the main focus should be on warmth and safety. Dress your children in trousers or leggings, long sleeves, gloves, a padded jacket and a hat for maximum coverage and insulation. Most importantly, make sure the skates you buy or hire fit well. Thick socks will help to prevent rubbing.

Five tips for beginners • Practise off the ice (with and without skates) to improve balance • Teach them how to fall safely and to get back on their feet afterwards • Move away from the edge so that kids are forced to challenge themselves and build confidence • Pick a quiet time so they don’t feel intimidated by large crowds and can move around freely • Book some lessons if you’re all complete beginners. Taking lessons will reduce the pressure on you and will teach them the basics. Some ice rinks offer skating aids, so if your kids need a little extra help, don’t be afraid to ask


Where to skate Natural History Museum Ice Rink (until January 8) Canary Wharf Ice Rink (until February 25) Westfield London Ice Rink (until January 8). See page 9 for your chance to win a family ticket! Skate at Somerset House (until January 15) Hyde Park Winter Wonderland (until January 2) Ice Skating at LDO Wembley Park (until January 2) Tower of London Ice Rink (until January 3) Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink (until January 8)



Rachel Vecht, director at Educating Matters, focuses on the importance of homework, even during the holidays! spent eight years handing out homework as a teacher, 15 years discussing it as a parent educator and, most importantly, practice what I preach on a daily basis with my four children at home. Very few children have the maturity and motivation to rush home after a long day at school, or to take a break from the fun Christmas festivites to say, ‘Oooh, I can’t wait to sit down and do my homework.’ Parents need to consistently guide their children to establish productive homework habits. However, homework is for children, not parents! Homework teaches children vital life skills such as motivation, problemsolving, self-reliance, perseverance and time management. With New Year just around the corner, now is the perfect time to sit down and establish clear rules around homework with your child. If you are consistent it will eventually become a routine and resistance will diminish.  

homework is not completed in the allotted time, for example they will have to miss a break and complete it at school.




Make sure homework happens before anything fun.


Ensure they have a healthy snack or dinner before starting.





Have a clear homework timetable stating when, where and how long homework should take. If they have no homework, ensure that they read instead.

4 5

Set a time limit for each task and use a timer.

Build in active breaks and divide longer projects into manageable chunks.


Eliminate distractions, particularly younger siblings or any form of screen if it is not required for the homework.


Descriptively praise and encourage every step in the right direction. For example, ‘You got all your homework out without having to be reminded. That shows real maturity.’ 


Listen to how they are feeling. For example, ‘I understand you would much rather play on your iPad than do your homework, but...’ Remain calm and try not to blame, criticise, lecture or nag.


Give rewards for completing homework, such as screen time or an extra story.


Introduce natural consequences if

Talk through the homework with your child. Ask leading questions to guide them and ensure that they understand what they need to do. Ask, don’t tell.


Let the child have a go at doing it alone. Ignore any delay tactics and don’t engage with them during this time.


Review it. The parent and child should find three good things to descriptively praise and two things that could be improved. Don’t correct all the homework; teachers need to get a real sense of what a child is able to do independently.  

Educating Matters delivers seminars and courses on a variety of education and parenting-related topics in homes, schools and to parents in the workplace. For further details visit

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Q&A With Emma Warner-Reed Author Emma Warner-Reed talks to Today’s Child about her fantastic Dotty series

hat are the Dotty books about? The series starts with Dotty and the Calendar House Key. Dotty is sent to live with her Great Uncle Winchester after her parents die in a firework accident. She hears strange noises coming from the chimneys in her new home, which is a huge, crumbling, country pile called The Calendar House in the Yorkshire Moors. She is told by the old cook, Mrs Gobbins, that the noises come from nesting jackdaws, but Dotty suspects there are other factors at play. The series chronicles her adventures in the house and the magical world she discovers beyond it.

explore titles they might not otherwise pick up and that I might not think to suggest.


Which is your favourite character and why? I should say Dotty, but actually I love the ‘baddies’. In the first book, I loved Porguss and Poachling. They are just so hideous and greasy, you can almost smell them! In the second book [Dotty and the Chimney Thief] I love Mordecai, the Vagabond King’s evil henchman. I love the way he loses his feathers when he’s flustered (he’s a magpie). Dotty fans keep telling me they like the Hob character. He’s a bit of a trickster and you never know what he’s going to do next. He also features in the next book, Dotty and the Dream Catchers, due out next year. What’s the key to writing a successful children’s book? I would say it’s creating memorable characters and a hero or heroine


children can identify with. My heroine, Dotty, is a feisty little Welsh girl. She is a really strong female role model that girls can identify with, but she’s also a bit of a tomboy; always in jeans and a sweatshirt, and rollerblading wherever she goes. The secondary character, Pip, who acts as Dotty’s foil, is a great male character, so the book appeals to boys and girls. Why is it so important for children to read? Reading feeds the imagination, and brings experiences and emotions to children that they are yet to experience or feel, or that they can share with the characters they meet. It also broadens vocabulary and helps with their English comprehension. My children read daily – out loud, to themselves and to each other – and I also read to them, so they get a broad range of literature thrown their way. I think giving them plenty of opportunity to read different types of text and letting them experience them in different ways is key. We love to visit the library and I find it’s a great environment for them to

What do your children like to read? My eldest (eight) loves adventure stories, humour and anything to do with dragons! My six year-old devours fact books by the dozen, but he’s just discovered David Walliams so he’s going through those at the moment. My four-year-old isn’t reading yet, but she enjoys picture books. Peter Bently is a real favourite in our house. And the little one is all about Peppa Pig, and anything with flaps to lift and hidden elements to explore. The little ones adore the poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’. We have a super version with sound effect buttons that they can press at different parts of the poem, which they love doing.

Emma’s girls love…

Snow Bears by Martin Waddell (Walker Books) This enchanting family tale is available in a special mini pop-up edition. When Mummy Bear comes out to play with her baby bears she finds three

development small snow bears instead. They don’t look like her baby bears, but they love to play exactly the same games. Three little bears, a game of snowballs and hot toast by an open fire are the magical ingredients brought together in this sweet book.

Emma’s four-yearold’s favourite is…

Dodd (Puffin) If your kids love great storylines and fun rhyme, Slinky Malinki’s Christmas Crackers is the perfect choice. Lynley Dodd’s cracking Christmas tale is told in rollicking, rhythmic rhyme. Festive preparations are being made in Slinky Malinki’s house and the mischievous cat is most curious about the Christmas tree. With its reindeer, ribbons, baubles and bells, it’s too tempting a treat for Slinky not to investigate. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss

Stick Man by Julia Donaldson (Alison Green Books) Stick Man is another classic from the creators of The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Stick Man lives in the family tree with his Stick Lady Love and their stick children three. But it’s dangerous being a Stick Man. A dog wants to play with him, a swan builds her nest with him and he even ends up on fire! Will he ever get back to the family tree?

The whole family loves…

Slinky Malink’s Christmas Crackers (Hairy Maclary and Friends) by Lynley

We have yet to find a child who doesn’t love Dr. Seuss’ books. This classic tale tells the story of the disgruntled Grinch and his fiendish attempts to steal Christmas from the citizens of Whoville. With wacky rhymes and zany illustrations from the master himself, it has been a seasonal favourite with young readers for more than 40 years. The movie is pretty good too!

Another one for the Christmas list… Dotty and the Chimney Thief by Emma WarnerReed If you’ve already read Dotty and the Calendar House

check out Dotty and the Very Lucky Day, a short story available in a special Christmas edition. You can also buy Mrs Gobbins’ Cookery Book as the perfect Christmas gift for baking fans. Visit thedottyseries. com for more information.

Key (and if not, why not?), we highly recommend Dotty and the Chimney Thief. There’s a Chimney Thief on the loose and little Joe Raman has gone missing. Can Pip stop the Chimney Thief before the portals have been sealed forever? For super Dotty fans,

Lightening the load through therapeutic journaling

Often we ignore and suppress thoughts, feelings and unresolved issues, choosing to find ways to cope in spite of them. This is like carrying excess baggage that weighs us down and limits us. If we can identify this excess baggage through regular therapeutic journaling, we may find it is no longer needed, allowing us to continue on our journeys with a lighter load.

This is the first book in my journ-book collection, Be the Human Sunshine. The book provides stunning illustrations, simple prompts, techniques and practices to help change the way you look at life. It is available on Amazon both in paperback and ebook format

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Make school-readiness your New Year’s resolution! Put down the phone and play a game, advises educational psychologist Ruth Birnbaum n a third of primary schools, more than half of new pupils are below the expected level of schoolreadiness, according to the State of Education’s 2016 ‘What is the Sector Telling Us?’ report. The most commonly cited issues are a lack of social skills, delayed speech, lack of resilience, delayed understanding and a lack of world awareness. While it is anticipated that children with special educational needs or a disability could be challenging for teachers, it is comments from schools such as: ‘Four-year-olds know how to swipe a phone but haven’t a clue about conversations’ that are most alarming. As indicated in the survey, the rise of mobile phones and other mobile technology means parents are often seen on the phone rather than talking to their children. If this sounds familiar, a reality check is needed. If screen time is replacing social interaction time, parents need to get back to basics: story reading, board games, outside activities and play. The Literacy Trust’s latest reading report shows that just 24.1% of pupils at Key Stage 4 say reading is ‘cool’ versus 70.5% at Key Stage 2.



Examples of types of play

(adapted from The Social Play Record by Chris White)

EARLY SOCIAL PLAY • Incy Wincy Spider • Row, row, row your boat • Bubbles • Push-button toys PEER PLAY • Picture Lotto • Snakes & Ladders It seems we are storing up trouble for later. So what can you do? PACEY, the professional association for childcare and early years, has created a set of resources to help parents equip their children with important skills in readiness for school. These are available at schoolready. It’s never too soon to look at these. However, all parents can easily help their children develop social play, which begins when a child responds to an adult’s playful interaction. This develops into reciprocal interaction, with the child taking a more active part. Joint attention is sharing the focus of attention with another person, and is fundamental to all social

interaction and learning, particularly the development of communication. So this is a critical area for intervention. Social play is the priority route to social inclusion, so if you want your child to be invited to parties and play dates, turn off the phone and play.

Ruth Birnbaum has more than 30 years’ experience in education. She visits schools across the UK to advise parents and consultants on which schools are most appropriate for which children. Visit for more information

SOCIAL AND IMAGINATIVE PLAY Introduce props, such as a box that becomes a train shed. REMIND YOUR CHILDREN TO: • Talk to each other • Listen to each other • Take turns • Wait for their turn • Look at each other • Check that their friends’ faces are happy • Have fun! Wishing all children and parents a stress-free beginning to the New Year!

Christmas is almost upon us and the winter woollies are well and truly out. At this time of year we crave winter warmers and nourishing foods. Just as we change our summery scarves for woolly items, we should also adapt our eating. By eating seasonally we achieve variety in what we eat and ensure that we get the right balance of nutrients. Many parents tell me they struggle to keep food variety over the winter months and that their children quickly tire of eating the same foods. So let’s look at how we can encourage food variety by eating seasonally while encouraging children to try new foods. It’s no surprise that the fruits and vegetables we generally associate with the Christmas season are wintergrowing foods. In the lead-up to the Christmas holidays, visit the local farmers’ market with your kids and let them explore all the new colours and shapes. Eating a wholesome range of fruits daily boosts our vitamin intake and helps fight off colds. Try apples, clementines, cranberries, dates, grapefruits and pears. Explore the different varieties, noticing the subtle



Eat seasonal fruit and veg this winter, advises specialist paediatric dietitian Ana-Kristina Skrapac

differences in taste, colour, size and texture. Involve your children in picking out different varieties when you shop. Try fruits roasted and poached as well as fresh and crunchy. Root vegetables are at their best in winter and make the perfect base for nourishing meals and tasty sides. Try parsnips, pumpkins, swedes, sweet potatoes and turnips. You could make sweet potato wedges, pumpkin risotto or pureed swede. Pair these with fresh or dried herbs, such as sage, thyme, rosemary or parsley, or liven them up with mild chilli, ginger or grated parmesan. Vegetables don’t need to be boiled and boring. Using the natural flavours from roasting or a combination of herbs and spices can really entice children to try them. Using a variety of coloured vegetables gives the best diversity of nutrients. Learn new ways of combining vegetables with your staples. For example, aubergine can be hidden in familiar favourites such as bolognaise sauce, or slow-roasted with tomato. Try steamed cauliflower, cabbage, celeriac, Jerusalem artichoke or leek. Oven-roasted crunchy Kale can be sprinkled over dishes for a texture and taste explosion, or mixed with herbs to create a healthy snack. And let’s not forget the Brussels sprout. It’s not everyone’s favourite, but children often reject a new flavour the first time round. Encourage them to try new foods multiple times and lead by example. The more they see you trying new foods the more likely they are to eat them. Check out for more information on seasonal foods

Ana-Kristina Skrapac has been providing nutrition services for infants, children and adolescents for 15 years. She offers private consultations in her Harley Street clinic, specialising in paediatric gastroenterology and food allergy, feeding difficulties and eating problems. Visit london-nutrition. com for more information and follow her on Twitter @AnaKristinaLNC

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FESTIVE FOOD! Enjoy healthy and delicious recipes using tasty seasonal ingredients

he festive period should be full of fun and food! Here are some ideas to inspire your thinking about sumptuous starters, marvellous meat, tasty trimmings and delicious desserts.



Smoked salmon, caper and dill pancake rolls

smoked salmon. Roll each pancake tightly to form a long roll. Wrap the rolls in cling film and refrigerate until needed. 4 Trim the ends and cut into neat 2.5cm slices. If any unroll, use cocktail sticks or toothpicks to secure them. Courtesy of In the Mood for Quick Family Food by Jo Pratt (Nourish Books) MAIN

FOR THE PANCAKES 125g self-raising flour 250ml milk 1 egg A pinch of salt Butter or sunflower oil, for frying FOR THE FILLING 200g cream cheese 1½ tbsp chopped dill 1 tbsp capers, finely chopped Grated zest and juice of ½ lemon 150g thinly sliced smoked salmon Sea salt and freshly ground pepper 1 Combine the pancake ingredients and fry until golden on both sides. Set aside to cool. 2 Mix the cream cheese, dill, capers, lemon zest and juice until creamy, then season lightly. 3 Spread the mixture over the pancakes and top with


Roast turkey 4kg whole turkey 2 tbsp olive oil 250ml chicken stock Rosemary sprigs 1 Preheat the oven to 180°C. Tie the turkey legs with kitchen string and tuck the wings under the bird. Tuck the rosemary sprigs behind the legs. 2 Place on a wire rack in a large roasting tin. Brush with the oil and pour the stock into the tin. Cover with two layers of oiled foil and roast for 2½ hours. Uncover and brush with the pan juices. 3 Roast uncovered for 30 minutes or until browned all over. Remove the turkey from the pan and discard the string. 4 Stand for 20 minutes before carving. Courtesy of

Baked redcurrant and clove-glazed ham 1.5kg boneless gammon or ham joint (smoked or unsmoked) 15 juniper berries, lightly crushed 2 bay leaves 3 tbsp The Bay Tree redcurrant jelly 1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard Finely grated zest of 1 orange and juice of ½ orange 10-20 cloves 1 Put the gammon in a largelidded pan, cover with cold water and slowly bring to the

boil, then drain and discard the water. 2 Return the gammon to the pan and cover with cold water. Add the juniper berries and bay leaves. 3 Bring to the boil again, then simmer, part-covered, for 1 hour or until cooked. 4 Drain the ham and discard the berries. 5 Preheat the oven to 200oC. Put the redcurrant jelly in a small pan with the mustard zest and orange juice, stir, then simmer over a medium heat for 10-15 minutes until reduced and thickened to a syrupy consistency.

HEALTH & WELLBEING 225g frozen chestnuts, thawed and coarsely chopped Fresh parsley, chopped Salt and pepper 1 Preheat the oven to 200°C and grease the roasting tray. 2 Place the onion and apricot in a saucepan, pour in a little hot water and boil for 5 minutes. Drain, tip into a large mixing bowl and stir in the breadcrumbs. 3 Melt the butter in a frying pan and pour half into the mixing bowl with the breadcrumbs. Add the chestnuts to the frying pan and cook over a high heat for a couple of minutes until lightly browned. Tip the chestnuts into the breadcrumb mixture, add the parsley, season and mix well. 4 Shape into approximately 18 balls. Place in the roasting dish and bake for 30 minutes, uncovered, until crisp and piping hot. Courtesy of DESSERT

2 Place the hazelnuts and almonds on two baking trays and toast in the oven for about 9 minutes, turning once, until starting to colour. Remove from the oven and leave to cool, then chop the nuts in half. 3 Sift the flour, cocoa powder and mixed spice into a bowl and stir in the dried apricots, figs and toasted nuts. 4 Put the chocolate, honey and sugar in a heavy-based saucepan and set over a low heat, stirring until the chocolate melts. Pour into the flour mixture and mix well to combine. Spoon the mixture into the tin and, working quickly before it sets, spread into an even layer, first with the back of the spoon, then with wet hands. 5 Bake for 25-30 minutes, until just firm, and leave to cool in the tin. Remove from the tin, dust with icing sugar and serve in wedges. Courtesy of The Bay Tree Home Deli Recipes by Emma Macdonald (Watkins Publishing)

Panforte 6 Once the ham has cooled slightly, remove and discard the skin, leaving an outer layer of fat. Pat the fat dry with kitchen towel, then use a sharp knife to score the meat diagonally. Change direction and score again to create a diamond pattern. Press the cloves into the fat, ensuring they are evenly spaced, and spoon the redcurrant glaze over the top. 7 Put the ham into a roasting tin and bake for 25-30 minutes, basting occasionally until the top is golden and caramelised. 8 Remove from the oven and

rest for 15 minutes before serving. Courtesy of The Bay Tree Home Deli Recipes by Emma Macdonald (Watkins Publishing) TRIMMINGS

Apricot and chestnut stuffing balls A little butter, to grease 1 large brown onion, coarsely chopped 225g dried apricots, finely chopped 225g dried white breadcrumbs 75g butter

Butter, for greasing 140g shelled hazelnuts 125g blanched almonds 70g plain flour, sifted 1 tbsp cocoa powder 1 heaped tsp mixed spice 100g dried apricots, chopped 80g dried figs, chopped 125g plain chocolate (about 70% cocoa solids), chopped 125ml clear honey 75g caster sugar 75g soft light brown sugar Icing sugar, for dusting 1 Preheat the oven to 180oC. Lightly grease a 22cm cake tin with butter and line the base with baking paper.

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(Christmas Gifts) Check out these top Christmas gifts for 2016!

SWIMFIN Worn on the back, SwimFin works in harmony with the body, providing freedom around the arms to allow for a natural swimming position. The only aid to have been endorsed by the ASA, it works across all four swim strokes. It’s super safe, highly visible and available in nine fintastic colours! RRP £22.99, age 18m+,

KETER WONDERLAND This adorable playhouse takes around 30 seconds to build and folds up neatly so you can tuck it away in a cupboard or under a bed. With wide windows, funky walls and barn-style doors, your kids can use their imaginations to their fullest. Made from hardwearing plastic, it can be used indoors and out. RRP: £79.99, age 3+,

FARMYARD HEADS AND TAILS This fun matching activity develops into a game as children grow in confidence and ability. Featuring 12 colourful farm characters and objects to match, it’s a great way to introduce first gameplay and turn-taking. RRP £7.50, age 18m+,

MR TUMBLE’S CHRISTMAS PARTY Star of CBeebies’s Something Special, Mr Tumble has released a fantastic Christmas album. The Tracks include ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’, ‘Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree’, ‘Frosty the Snowman’, ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’ and many more, with ‘Do You Want to Build A Snowman’ from Frozen as an added bonus! RRP £9.99, all ages,

BELLE’S TEA CART With help from Mrs Potts and Chip, kids can host the best tea party in town. They can push the cart and watch the lazy Susan spin while singing along to ‘Be Our Guest’. Included is a teapot and lid, two teacups, two spoons and a special invitation to enjoy a magical teatime treat. RRP £60, age 3+,

FLIP A ZOO TOYS These soft toys are two-in-one cuddly characters, allowing kids to reveal their second furry friend by flipping from front to back. Excellent for cuddles and imagination-filled storytelling, there are four different character combinations to choose from: dragon/unicorn, tiger/elephant, polar bear/husky and mouse/pink cat. RRP, age 3+,




FROZEN NORTHERN LIGHTS ELSA DOLL Queen Elsa of Arendelle needs your child’s help. Kids can wave their hands over the interactive snowflake to restore the beautiful Northern Lights and watch them sparkle on Elsa’s dress as she sings ‘Let it Go’. Elsa says 40 phrases, lights up and sings. RRP £39.99, age 3+,

LEGO® CITY VOLCANO EXPLORATION BASE Explorers can set up the mobile operations centre, fly the drone to plan the expedition and use the excavator and dumper to place the ‘lava' boulders in the rack, breaking them open to find the crystal elements. The set includes a team of mini-figure scientists, adventurers and back-up crew. RRP £79.99, ages 8-12,

FOAM CLAY This foam clay kit will keep your children entertained for hours as they sculpt, shape and model. Let their imaginations run wild as they use the ten colours provided to make their own special creations over the festive period and well into the New Year. RRP £13, age 3+,

T1 SCOOTER Children can ride along in the safe sitting mode position thanks to the T1’s height-adjustable seat and telescopic handlebar. When they are ready to hop aboard, parents can keep the T-lock tilted mechanism locked for safety and once they’ve mastered scooting, it’s time to ride freestyle! Available in pink and blue. RRP £49.99, age 15 months+,

FROOGLI FROM FRUGI The all-new Frooglies are sure to be a hit this Christmas. Dash, Giggles and Doodle (a leopard, giraffe and crocodile) each have their own story to tell. Made from signature Frugi fabrics including snuggly soft Velour and classic corduroy, and with lots of sensory textures for little hands to touch and feel, there is a Froogli for everyone. RRP £25,

ALOKA SLEEPYLIGHT The Sleepylight by Aloka is a colourful and stylish way to light up your little one’s room at night. The lowheat LED lights cycle though 12 soft glowing colours, creating the perfect sleep environment for your little one. Available in 26 designs, there is an Aloka Sleepylight for every child this Christmas!   RRP £39.95,

THREE LITTLE PIGGIES Once upon a time, logical games were limited to school-age kids. Now, children as young as three can get their little cogs turning with this enchanting fairy tale game. With easy-to-hold puzzle pieces, a storybook and a booklet containing 48 challenges, The Three Little Piggies offers your child a real-life happily ever after! RRP £19.99, age 3+,

JUNGLE ANIMALS FINGER PUPPET SET This delightful cardboard theatre is perfect for inspiring your children’s imaginations, introducing them to the spectacle of theatre from an early age! The four finger puppets can be used to create endless plays and tales. Made from anti-allergenic wool the puppets are soft to the touch and won’t cause irritation. RRP £12.99, age 4+,

SUPER HERO HIGH FIGURES Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl and Harley Quinn are among the stars in this six-figure range based on the powerful students of Super Hero High by Mattel. These fun action figures feature a host of accessories, showcasing each character’s unique abilities and giving kids endless fun and inspirational play. RRP per figure £19.99 (12-inch), £9.99 (6-inch) age 3+,

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ProducTreviews Stokke’s Tripp Trapp chair I love the philosophy of having our baby join us at the dining table. Eating together is very important to us as a family and the Tripp Trap makes this possible. The newborn seat puts our baby at the perfect height so she is included in the meal. I really disliked my old plastic highchair with its nasty grime-filled nooks and crannies on the seat and tray. Worst of all, it took up so much space in my small kitchen. I’m really excited about the Tripp Trap, which is attractive, compact, easy to clean and very stable. I also like the fact that when my baby becomes a toddler she will be able to climb onto the chair and get down from it independently. Assembly was really easy with the very clear instructions, even for me, and I’m rather hopeless at DIY. While this chair may sound expensive, it is extremely versatile and built to last. I have friends whose teenagers are still using them! Having sat on these chairs myself numerous times I can understand why, as they are extremely comfortable. This highchair should be looked upon as an investment item you will be able to use for many years to come. Susan Koppel

The Baby Jogger city mini GT

The city mini GT is an attractive and super practical buggy. It’s really light and easy to steer, making it almost completely manoeuvrable with one hand. The large wheels are great for off-road walking when there are bumps and rocky paths to traverse. It glides well over grass and even sand. The Forever-Air, 8.5-inch wheels are easy to remove if required. The front wheel has good suspension and is fixable. The city mini GT offers a very compact fold with just one hand, which is really important for a mum like me, who has come to the realisation that two hands are simply not enough! The handle is adjustable, making it possible even for my five-year-old to push his sister around, which he really enjoys doing. The seat is well padded with height-adjustable straps and full recline. The hood is huge and almost completely protects my daughter from the rain, even without the rain cover. It also has a handbrake, which is brilliant as it’s so easy to flick on and off. The buggy can be used with a Maxi-Cosi Pebble or CabrioFix car seat. I have found the city mini GT to be an excellent buggy and would highly recommend it. It offers great value for money and I thoroughly enjoy using it. Susan Koppel

Theraline Maternity and Nursing Pillow: The Yinnie This is the third pillow I have used and by far my favourite. It’s so comfortable and the sand-like filling allows me to adjust the softness or firmness of each part of the pillow. I don’t even have to get out of bed to change position as the

pillow is light and easy to manoeuvre. Once pregnancy is over, it becomes a fantastic feeding pillow for your new baby. My eldest son is 16 months old and enjoys nothing more than snuggling into the pillow with me for his night-time milk. He even fetches it himself! Anything that makes him settle at the end of the day gets five stars from me! Claire-Marie Lewis

Product reviewers: Claire-Marie Lewis trawls the internet for safe, stylish products that her children will love before explaining to their daddy why these items are absolutely necessary! Susan Koppel is a stay-at-home mum based in north London. She has five gorgeous children aged between two months and 14 years 



Kids Kargo Duellette 21 BS Combi I was initially impressed with the detail of this pushchair: the viewing windows, the adjustable calf support, the rain covers and foot muffs, the multitude of seat positions and even the fact that it’s compatible with various car seat brands. However, the lightweight materials make it feel flimsy, and at times I felt the handle wouldn’t take the stress if I leant on it to mount a high curb. A little more needs to be invested in the chassis for this pushchair to reach its potential. The price point is low and that is reflected in the feel of the product. My eldest loves the height and upright position of the top seat, while the baby loves the carrycot with its soft liner and Velcro ‘swaddle’ function, which stops him rolling around while we’re out and about. I have several pushchairs and this is by far their favourite. The Duellette is great if you’re on a budget. I just wish it felt more stable. Claire-Marie Lewis

Rainforest Friends Fun ‘n’ Fold Bouncer The Fold ‘n’ Fun appealed to me as it doesn’t play music and folds almost flat when not in use. With two babies in the house there is a shortage of space and an abundance of toys that sing to me all day long, so these were key features. This bouncer is easy to assemble and the folding feature is simple. The bouncer weighs next to nothing, so transporting it around the house and into the car is a breeze. The vibration setting is fairly strong but has proved a hit with every baby we’ve had to visit and the swinging toys provide entertainment for little ones. My only real reservations are that the toy bar is very flexible and, in an effort to play with the baby, my eldest can bend it right in until he eventually tumbles into the seat. Secondly, the chair takes C batteries, which we don’t use for anything else, so battery price should be taken into account. Claire-Marie Lewis

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DC SUPER GIRL ROBE AND PYJAMAS Inside every little girl is a superheroine, and this cute pyjama and robe combo is bound to inspire your daughter to greatness, even while she sleeps! 5-12 years, £24.99,

H COOL YULE REINDEER T-SHIRT This pure cotton T-shirt will work some festive flavour into your little boy’s wardrobe. With long sleeves for warmth and a fun graphic, it even comes with a set of novelty antlers! 5-13 years, £10,

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Keep your kids clean, warm and stylish in these festive outfits and accessories!

Get the look! SHIRT, WAISTCOAT AND BOW TIE SET The white dobby shirt features a chambray trim, while the checked waistcoat comes with a pocket handkerchief. The bowtie pulls the dapper outfit together perfectly. 0-5 years, £20-£22


Get the look! FLORAL DRESS AND TIGHTS SET This sweet set includes a soft-woven floral-print dress and cotton-rich tights. With a handy button fastening at the back for easy dressing, it’s a must-have! 0-5 years, £15-£16,


HAPPY JACKSON DRIBBLE BIB SET Modern and fun, these adorable dribble bibs make a great gift and are super handy for keeping special Christmas outfits clean. Newborns and toddlers £8.50,


CUTE BOOTS! Emu’s Littles range has been given a festive makeover with these adorable Rudolph-inspired and Santa boots. They’re sure to put a spring in your child’s step and will keep their feet toasty warm. Up to size 13, £59, emuaustralia. com/uk




ENJOY 50% OFF ICE SKATING* USE PROMO CODE TODAYSCHILD50 *Valid weekdays 24 Nov - 16 Dec (inclusive)



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16/11/2016 06:11

THE GIVING TREE Add an extra gift to your shopping list and make someone’s Christmas brighter.

We’re collecting Christmas gifts for local children in foster care and families in need. Simply bring NEW, unwrapped, toys, books, board games, beauty products and clothing (kids and adults) to the management office on the upper level by Friday 23rd December* and we’ll get them over to selected local charities (including Camden Foster Care and Doorstep) in time for Christmas Day. Thank you. Find out more at 255 Finchley Road, London NW3 6LU *We’re open 7 days a week.

Todays child 21  

The Magazine for Modern Parents

Todays child 21  

The Magazine for Modern Parents