® o n T h a m es
azine for families wit mond, Kingston, Elmbrid
mag h yo of Rich
T h e F R EE ung ughs ge, H
children living in th e boro ouns low and Spelthorne
We provide the best in children’s
party fun and entertainment
Recommended by The Observer & Tatler
Magic, games, prizes,
balloon modelling and puppet
shows for all ages
Discos Bouncy castles
Fabulous theme parties
Table & chair hire; food & party bags
We offer a complete party service
020 8789 3232
Fun Dance Classes
Hounslow Isleworth Teddington
Popstar Parties High School Musical,
Clothes by Mini A Ture www.miniature.dk
Mamma Mia-ABBA, Hannah Montana & Grease
T: 020 8568 6886 www.PopstarsAcademy.com
Stretch your child’s imagination
in three directions at once
Call your local Stagecoach to enrol now!
Richmond 0208 948 9288 New Malden 0208 540 7791
Twickenham 0208 224 6905 Weybridge 01932 254 333
Cheam/Worcester Park 0208 398 8106 Walton on Thames 01932 254 333
Surbiton/Kingston 0208 873 7140 Hinchley Wood 01932 254 333
Isleworth 01932 886 413
So much more at www.familiesuponthames.co.uk
DO IT FOR DAD WEEK 31st May-4th June
Decorate your own pottery gift
20% off 1 pint mugs
Providers Open from
of quality 8.00am to
and 51 weeks of
education the year
• Safe, secure and loving environment
• Preschool education curriculum approved by Ofsted
• French lessons and additional sports programmes
• Qualified, skilled and caring staff
• Full and part time care for children from birth – 5 years
• Large outside gardens
To give your child a helping hand in the early years
please contact the numbers listed below for more
information or to book a visit
Chessington – 020 8391 4447
Bridge Road, Chessington KT9 2ET
Ealing – 020 8571 6867
Comer Crescent, Windmill Avenue, Ealing UB2 4XD
Shepperton – 01932 592525
Shepperton Film Studios, Studios Road, Shepperton TW17 0QD
Nurseries also in:
Walton on Thames – 01932 226975 or 252858
Ottershaw – 01932 874286, Ripley – 01483 222020
2 FAMILIES UPON THAMES May-June 2010
welcome to Families uponThames
4 News and views
7 Mums mean business
12 Family gardens
Clothes by Mini-A-Ture www.miniature.dk
I don’t know about you but the rise in
13 Book reviews
temperatures and blue skies overhead
have had me zooming round like one
of the bumble bees swarming over
our ﬂowering currant bushes. The
14 The Down’s Syndrome
girls have returned from school to ﬁnd
‘Wet paint’ signs on every imaginable Association
surface and the garden has had a
thorough clear up. My ofﬁce space
is becoming severely restricted as
growing number of pots sown with
delights such as spherical courgettes,
16 If you go down to the
baby tomatoes and broad beans soak
up the moisture and warmth in the
hope that they will be strong enough
to be planted in the veg patch
sometime in May and June.
18 Live your dream
If you are looking for gardening
inspiration, turn to page 12 for advice
from expert David Austin. We have
reports on a wonderful charity based
in Teddington ( page 14), local bluebell
19 The importance of play
woods (page 16) and the rest can be
summed up as parties and
parenting – now that sounds like a
great title for this issue!
20 Be a good enough parent
FRANCES LOATES, editor
FAMILIES UPON THAMES
PO Box 425
21 Out and about this May
Walton on Thames
KT12 5AG and June
t: 01932 254584
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May-June 2010 FAMILIES UPON THAMES 3
news and views...
CASH BOOST FOR
When Lee Perkins was laid up in
hospital with life-threatening
burns he was so touched by the
kindness of 1st Tolworth Scout
group that he vowed to help
them in any way he could.
While he was recovering from
an accident in 2004, cub leaders
looked after his daughter Laura,
then aged seven, taking her
away on a cub camp and making
sure she was kept informed of
her dad’s progress.
Their kindness was had such an
effect on Lee that he has since
spent much of his spare time
helping out whenever he can.
And now his employers EDF
Free and easy at Ham and Osterley
Energy Networks have awarded
the group £250 as part of their
ntertain your children for free during Over half term, the 17th century kitchen
Team Sports Awards. half term with the National Trust, which garden at Ham House is the venue for several
is waiving children’s admission charges days of family fun.
The youngsters at the 1st at many properties from 29th May to 6th To encourage families to have a go at
Tolworth Scouts love orien- June, including Osterley and Ham House. growing their own produce, the Sow and
teering and mountain climbing, Many of the activities on offer are linked Grow event on 29th May (11am to 4.30pm)
to the Trust’s Food Glorious Food campaign, reveals just how much enjoyment can be
but needed some new maps
which this year will introduce thousands of had from creating that ﬁrst vegetable patch.
and compasses. They can now visitors to the delights of eating and growing Discover demonstrations, lots of interactive
go out and get them after Lee, local seasonal produce. fun and free seed giveaways. From 30th May
of Cranborne Avenue, Tolworth At Osterley Park and House, young visitors to 2nd June, a special Family Sow and Grow
successfully applied for the can take their ﬁrst steps to food self-sufﬁ- event (11am to 4.30pm) introduces children
grant. ciency this half term. Head Gardener, Andrew to growing food from seed, including sowing
Eddy, has created an ornamental vegetable and potting up, with free seeds and pots to
He said, ‘They were so kind plot ﬁlled with all sorts of delicious edibles take home.
that I vowed to do all I could to to inspire families during Osterley’s ‘Grow Inside the house, children can explore the
Your Own’ weekend (29th to 31st May). Free many nooks and crannies of this magniﬁcent
help them in the future. I was
seeds are also on offer, to grow on at home. ‘time capsule’ with a house trail that
in a really bad way but the cub Andy says, ‘Everyone is feeling the pinch a introduces them to its exciting and exotic
leaders said they would take little, so it’s wonderful to be able to offer our past. Hands-on activities reveal more about
Laura with them and look after family visitors an extra treat!’ the dangers of sea faring in the 17th century,
her and allow her to use their On 3rd June, children can delve into and the lives of Ham’s many servants.
mobile phones to ring mum Osterley’s craft cart which is packed with free Call 020 8439 8231 for more info.
each night to see how I was activities. On 30th May, a special Discovery
doing. I was very touched by Day introduces creative activities for families,
their kindness at a difﬁcult time.’ focusing on aspects of 18th century life, such For more on family gardening, see page
as food and games. Activities may include art 12, for more local events and activities,
and craft workshops, and storytelling. including more at local National Trust
Since the accident he does as Call 020 8232 5055 for more details. properties, see pages 21 to 23.
much as he can to help including
fundraising, assisting on cub and
scout camps and running First FREE COMPUTERS
If you are a low-income allows you to purchase one of Grant Card. The grant allows
The popular troop celebrated family with children in school the following packages: you a choice of computers
its 100th anniversary last year years 3 to 9 you could get 1 Full package (a computer, from a range of Approved
a grant through the Home one year’s internet access, Suppliers and can be
and is one of the oldest in the
Access programme to pay service and support) redeemed at a number of high
country. It’s an important part for a computer, one year’s 2 A computer with service street retailers, over the phone
of the local community with internet access, service, safety and support only or via the internet.
more than a hundred youngsters features and support. This is 3 One year’s internet access If you think you are eligible
involved in a wide range of a Government programme, only for a Home Access Grant and
activities. which means there are no Once your application is would like to apply please
hidden catches. The grant approved you will receive a call the Home Access Grant
value is up to £528. Depending Notiﬁcation of Entitlement Helpline on 0333 200 1004 for
on what you need, the grant (NoE) and a Home Access an application form.
4 FAMILIES UPON THAMES May-June 2010
Dame Kelly Holmes calls on local heroine
Hampton-based ﬁve-time British aerobic Katie Cannon, is a unique and talented
gymnastics champion, Katie Cannon, 25, performer and sportswoman with a career
who gives gymnastic ﬁtness classes to spanning 20 years in which she has excelled
local children, has been asked by Dame in gymnastics. Katie went on to become
Kelly Holmes to educate and inspire Britain’s aerobic gymnastics champion no
aspiring sports athletes from around the less than ﬁve times. No other person has
country to pursue promising careers in achieved this accolade to date while she has
athletics. proudly represented the UK at two world,
Katie is leading various seminars covering and two European championships.
the key aspects of what athletes must set in In 2006 Katie retired from her career in
place from an early stage to ensure longevity gymnastics and she put into practice her Pilates, yoga and ballet, Katie Cannon’s
of their bodies through their sporting experience, expertise and foresight into workout uses free body movement,
careers. ﬁtness training for young children inspired abandoning gym machines, using the body’s
Katie commented, ‘There are some by gymnastics. Backﬂip Performers, based in own resistance, resulting in an intense
essential activities which new athletes must Richmond, Barnes and Wimbledon is today cardio-muscular workout. Levels range from
learn to implement such as stretching – one of London’s most successful kids’ ﬁtness beginners to advanced.
many sports people ﬁnd this crucial activity initiatives. Katie’s latest venture is the Katie Cannon
uninspiring or tedious. I often shock people Most recently Katie has opened her ﬁrst Centre, West London, located in Brentford
by walking onto stage in handstands and gym. The Katie Cannon Centre in Richmond where she plans to expand her kids’ ﬁtness
they can’t believe how ﬂexible I am. Posture employs a completely novel approach to classes.
alignment and stretching makes durable exercise, inspired by Katie’s career of extra- Katie who is a gymnastics senior club
athletes capable of pursuing longer careers, ordinary athletic achievements. coach, qualiﬁed personal trainer, also holds
and I am passionate about educating young Borne out of a desire to give adults a a BSc in sports science, health, nutrition and
sports people about their importance.’ workout inspired by aerobic gymnastics, exercise.
Find out more at www.BackFlipPerformers.com
SUPPORT ELMBRIDGE HOME-START
PLAY AT PICCALILYS
Start your training and gather the sponsors now - the Claygate Have you discovered this new Play Café based at Weybridge
Cricket Club? Open Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm, this is a
5 mile run for Elmbridge Home-Start is on 11th July and starts at great place to take your under 5s for some fun. There’s a special
10.30am at Claygate Recreation Ground. Registration for adults area for under 1s and plenty of equipment to keep the over 1s
16 and over is £13, for juniors 15 and under is £10. A t-shirt is Piccalilys serve hot and cold food for parents, carers, babies and
young children, including organic snacks and baby food. Emma
included! For further information, registration and sponsorship told us that party bookings are welcome for afternoon sessions
forms, please email: email@example.com from 2 to 4pm. Contact them on 0773 972 4673 or check
French and Spanish
FOOTIE TOTS Summer Holiday Clubs
An introduction to the world of
fitness and football for children ages Children enjoy games drama,
2 1/2 to 5 years cooking and more and learn a new
language at the same time!
FOOTIE WIZARDS Twickenham 26-28 July (£75)
For children ages 5 to 8 years Molesey 29-30 August (£50)
ALL CLASSES HELD INDOORS - FOOTBALL PARTIES New Malden 2-4 August (£75)
AVAILABLE Clubs run 10-2pm
Call Andy for info and bookings on £5 discount for second child
07931 707720 or 020 8287 3269 Book at www.childrensclubs.com
firstname.lastname@example.org 0208 979 4586
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I enclose a cheque for £9.30/£18 made out to Families upon Thames.
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May-June 2010 FAMILIES UPON THAMES 5
news and views...
WIN A HOLIDAY TO EGYPT
Readers of our last issue will remember our item about Families Worldwide and their amazing
HERE COMES SUMMER adventure holidays. (Check page 4 of the online version of our March/April issue at
www.familiesuponthames.co.uk.) The competition for a Families holiday to Egypt we
St Andrew’s Primary School in
Lockhart Road, Cobham have been mentioned is still open to entries. Highlights of the trip include seeing the pyramids, the sphinx
in touch to tell us about their School and the Egyptian Museum, sleeping on an overnight train, riding camels in the desert, relaxing
Summer Fair and Fun Dog Show on
Saturday 10th July from 2 to 6pm. and exploring the delightful town of Aswan and sailing a felucca sailing boat slowly down the
For more information. Please email Nile. Check it all out at www.familiesworldwide.co.uk and click ‘Competition’ in the left hand
We love to list your school events navigation menu.
– please get in touch asap with
anything you have planned for July
so that we can include it in our July/ BREASTFEEDING
August issue. Email date, time, place
and details please to: It’s about time BENEFITS
for families National Breastfeeding
Awareness Week this year
is 21st to 27th June. The
government’s Start4life’s latest
campaign is about laying the
BBC presenter Chris Collins will be one
of many gardeners offering hands-on foundations for a healthy
advice and inspiration this spring as lifestyle during those early
he takes to the road around the UK months and focuses on six
with the BBC Dig In team on board recommended behaviours for
the specially adapted Dig In van to parents to follow and adopt,
encourage audiences to learn how to covering the three strands of
grow their own food. the campaign: breastfeeding,
introducing solid foods and
Chris, best known as Blue Peter’s active play. The building blocks
resident gardener, will be joined by Spending quality time together enhances the family dynamic are:
various special guests. There will also and is key to nurturing positive relationships. Every family is Mum’s milk - Breast milk
be grow-your-own demos, potting different, as is every individual family member, so ﬁnding fun, is best for both mum and
activities, a chance to quiz the experts, rewarding things to do that everyone will enjoy can seem baby, boosting kids’ immune
free seed giveaways (ﬁrst come, ﬁrst difﬁcult, but don’t rule out life’s simple pleasures! According systems and reducing the risk
served) and a special Dig In garden. to the Family & Parenting Institute, there was a 20% decline of obesity.
in time spent eating at home between 1975 and 2000, Every day counts
Says Chris, ‘This is a great opportunity yet enjoying a family meal at home and exchanging stories -Supporting mums to start
for inexperienced gardeners to learn about your day is a perfect way to bond in an enjoyable and breastfeeding and continue
how easy it is to get started growing meaningful way. Cooking together reaps many relationship exclusively for the ﬁrst six
their own vegetable’. rewards; it’s fun and interactive, teaches teamwork and other months of their baby’s life.
skills, as well as being the healthier (and often cheaper) option
Family and friends are an
Find out more when the Dig In tour to eating out or ordering in.
integral source of support, in
visits Kingston’s May Merrie on 3rd Time spent together has many beneﬁts for children, as well
addition to midwives, health
May. Read more about family gardens as for parents. The same study by the FPI shows that between
visitors and peer supporters.
on page 12. 1974 and 2000, Britain saw a 200% increase in the time that
fathers actively engage with their children and fathers’ interest No rush to mush -
and involvement in their children’s education and learning Introducing solid foods at
results in better educational results. This is a very encouraging around six months helps avoid
RESIDENTIAL CAMPS statistic and is only complimented by the fact that, although stomach upsets and allergies,
the rate of employed mothers has tripled since 1951, mothers as well as maximising the
The organised amongst you may be now spend more time with their children and are more beneﬁts of continued breast-
thinking ahead to the summer break involved in their education than 3 decades ago, proving that feeding.
so here’s a summer camp you may the message promoting the impacts of positive parental input Taste for life - Introducing
wish to book up now: has been, and continues to spread. a variety of different foods at
Making time to spend together can be difﬁcult in modern around six months will help
Camp Beaumont runs at The German day life. With the summer half term holiday approaching, it’s prevent a baby becoming a
School, Petersham Road, Richmond important to make the most of this time, but a family trip fussy eater later in life.
from 12th July to 27th August. There to the cinema or a picnic in the park are simple, enjoyable Sweet as they are - Avoiding
are tons of activities to choose from ways to make the most of the opportunities this extra time sugary foods and hidden
- swimming, motorsports, climbing, presents. It’s also great to know what’s happening in your sugars when introducing
circus skills, arts and crafts and much area that you could get your family involved in. During the babies to solid food reduces
more. Children choose six activities summer half term holiday there will be thousands of events the likelihood of them
a day. Also specially designed theme taking place all over the UK as part of National Family Week developing a sweet tooth in
days take place each week to ensure including community picnics, story-telling sessions and a later life.
campers are entertained. For children national Guinness World Record attempt. Enjoying what your Baby moves - Encouraging
from as young as 3 up to 16, Monday local community has to offer as a family is a perfect way to lively, active play helps babies
to Friday 8am to 6pm. From £42 per spend some quality time together. develop brain and muscle
day. Contact 01263 823000,
email@example.com for details. For more information on National Family Week, visit
www.nationalfamilyweek.co.uk – check what’s going on For more, please check
locally with the easy-to-use search. www.nhs.uk/start4life
66 FAMILIES UPON THAMES May-June 2010
Photo of Helen and Zoe by Sam Day
The day two Twickenham
friends bemoaned the lack of
alternative things to do with the
children at weekends, they had
no idea they were embarking on a
journey which would lead them to
Dusty Does Disco.
Helen Harkin and Zoe Hand The business has very much
have lived in the same grown organically since its made a lot of decisions based Dusty and by the end he had
Twickenham street for conception in January this year. on our similar experiences and received true celebrity status!’
three years. With Helen’s They told us, ‘snatched moments our gut instinct but also, having Dusty is also available for
background in marketing and when the children were playing four children between us we are children’s parties and Helen
Zoe’s in business, acting and nicely, late nights after they had more than aware that facilities and Zoe promise that having
hairdressing, their previous gone to bed and on our morning for our venue such as parking, your child’s party at Dusty Does
professional experience was very run around the park were baby changing, a microwave Disco is affordable, unique and
different but they soon found the only opportunities to get and being all on one level are stress free. The party children
that their past experiences and together and make our plans!’ vitally important to parents are made to feel like VIPs with a
personalities complimented one When the idea was born in having a relaxing and stress-free reserved, decorated party table
another perfectly. After brain January they thought we were time. The bar serving wine and right next to the dance ﬂoor.
storming and fondly recalling a giving themselves plenty of beer is an added bonus! In The birthday child is also invited
holiday that their two families time by booking the ﬁrst of the general though it has been great on stage to receive a special gift
had shared in 2008, the idea of monthly events for 6th March. to have someone to share the and a big hug from Dusty!
a disco with a dancing mascot But Helen and Zoe hadn’t quite load with and help look after Such has been the success
was born as a business idea. bargained for how much work the kids.’ of the business that they
They told us, ‘Discos are a would be involved though The rush to launch was well are now looking for another
fantastic opportunity for the and actually found themselves worth their effort and Helen venue so that they can take
whole family to get out for a working frantically towards the and Zoe told us that seeing the Dusty to another town. Helen
fun ﬁlled afternoon and dancing end to have everything ready in excitement on the children’s and Zoe are also working on
is great exercise for children’. time! faces as they came in and saw improving their website as well
Helen and Zoe were unaware of So it was especially good all the disco lights and also as looking into franchising and
any other similar events when to have a partner to share the being able to pleasantly surprise merchandising.
they had the idea. They told load, ‘We would advise any a lot of the parents who had Asked if they would have
us, ‘We have since come across mums thinking about setting underestimated how great the done anything different, they
some children’s discos, however, themselves up in business to venue and facilities would be would only have allowed
none that have a Dusty the ﬁrstly ﬁnd a partner on the same was fantastic. ‘Children and themselves a little more
Disco Dog!’ wavelength!’, they add, ‘we’ve parents alike fell in love with preparation time!
Find Dusty the Disco Dog on 15th May and 12th June at The Winning Post Function Room, Chertsey Road, Whitton, TW2 6LS
Children £5, Adults £2. Siblings under the age of 1 FREE, 3 to 5pm (doors open at 2.30pm).
Book online at www.dustydoesdisco.co.uk For more information, call 07980 641380 / 07792 182951
For party enquiries, email: firstname.lastname@example.org For more on parties, see pages 8 to 11.
YES, YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL!
Successful ‘business mum’ is
seeking 5 working partners
to work part-time from home,
alongside & without
commitments or current
If you have a supervisory,
marketing, recruitment or
or you wish to develop an
please call Diana Page
01235 533 362
May-June 2010 FAMILIES UPON THAMES 7
wet!)’ says Susan. ‘Every child PARTY VENUES
has a cardboard lunchbox of
sandwiches, carrot sticks, hoola
There’s absolutely no shame in bringing in
hoops and fruit; Nigella’s birthday the professionals to help with your party,
biscuits come next and then and there are lots out there with years of
the cake. As it’s in the park we experience in crowd control. Hiring a venue
expect parents to stay and we is great too as the mess is kept out of your
provide refreshments for them home, and there’s more space for all that
too. We play very traditional energy to bounce around.
games, such as pass the parcel
(with forefeits that everyone Lisa told us, ‘The best party we had was my
has to do like jump up and son’s fourth birthday. We hired a hall and a
down 10 times) musical magician, and the theme was Batman. I made
statues, musical bumps, individual Batman cupcakes and one main
sleeping lions. This year we’re candle-topped Batman cake. About 25 guests
going to do more sports day came, and they all loved it. My son Callum
things like sack and egg and says the magician is his hero!’
spoon races. Giant frisbees and ‘My sons have always loved Laser Quest, a
skittles ﬁll in unstructured moments and laser tag game (sometimes called Zap Zone)’,
they act as presents too. We also do a piñata says Kim. ‘It’s heart pounding and adrenalin
DIY PARTIES which kids love. The parties always feel pumping stuff, but such an easy party to
pretty chaotic and are very home made but organise. We’ve probably had about six of
So, you’re a gung-ho mummy with a stash are full of energy and fun.’ these parties. My daughter has also had a
of bunting at the ready and a well-thumbed Sarah told us about the party she put Laser Quest party; and even my husband and
recipe book with post-it notes on the party the most effort into, ‘It was Megan’s ﬁfth. I had an adult one with friends, which was a
treat pages... Firstly I completely emptied her bedroom scream!’
Karen says, ‘My three have always loved (moving toys, shelves, bed and her sister’s Helen’s idea saved on seasonal stress,
traditional party games and dancing parties cot), borrowed about six tables and plenty ‘ Oscar’s birthday is two weeks before
(and they are all boys). Some of the most of chairs from the nursery up the road, Christmas which is always a really stressful
popular games have been: doughnut eating and set them all up with shiny tiaras, glue, time of year. Last year I bought a block of
competitions - thread ring doughnuts onto sequins, feathers and glitter for them to tickets to the panto (Snow White). It was
string/ a washing line at the correct height make their own princess tiaras. I pinned fantastic - the only preparation I had to do
and eat without using your hands: chocolate loads of netting to the ceiling and ﬁlled it was invitations and name badges for the day.
eating competitions - but using only a knife with fairy lights. The room looked amazing It was a matinee performance so parents
and fork: and the Mummy game - teams and if I was setting myself up in a fairy party dropped their children at the theatre after
use loo roll to wrap a child to create the business and could have left it all there then lunch and picked them up again afterwards.
best wrapped Egyptian Mummy. All the old it would have been great - unfortunately the We bought ice creams in the interval, which
favourites are still very popular - musical girls needed their bedroom back afterwards! I pre-arranged with the manager, along with
bumps, the best dancer, sleeping lions etc. The only downside was having to arranging for Oscar’s name to be read out
It’s advisable to not invite too many and have single-handedly provide the services of party by one of the cast to make him feel extra
an alternative quiet activity/ chill-out zone for entertainer, house clearance and removals... special. There were 20 of us in total all on
those who want to opt out. My friend held a not to mention the tidying up.’ one line! 13 children and 7 adults (each adult
cinema party recently for eight year old girls. ‘I buy lots of crafts, usually about four was assigned children to look after). It was
Turned lights down low, had choc ices in the items - www.yellowmoon.org.uk do lots of deﬁnitely the least stressful party I’ve done
interval with a torch, popcorn and the latest crafts in packs which are good for parties’ and worth repeating.’
DVD release, then hot dogs afterwards. Very is Sara’s tip. ‘If you buy things that aren’t Karen says, ‘For Bethany’s 10th birthday we
easy and cheap.’ too difﬁcult for the age group it works went to a Safari park, did the drive-through
Photos by Carolina Middleton www.carolinamiddleton.com
Kim told us, ‘One of the best party games, well. We then play traditional games like safari and saw the animals, had a cooked
probably for under 10s, is to give each child musical statues. Some children ﬁnish the lunch in one of the restaurants, went on all
a piece of bubble wrap to jump on. The ﬁrst crafts before the others so we put music on the rides. She starred in the sea lion show,
to pop all the bubbles is the winner. It’s a for them to dance to until the others have we had a picnic tea which I brought with me
great (if noisy) way to get rid of some of that ﬁnished. For my eldest’s ninth birthday she and then when it got dark we went on an
energy. Or buy some plain wooden photo/ had four friends over and we combined illuminated walk around the grounds. It was a
picture frames from a pound shop or Ikea. crafts with a sleepover. After the crafts and full day out and all the children really enjoyed
Each child decorates a frame using paints, tea, I put on a DVD and they had a sleepover themselves.’
glitter, feathers, anything you can think of. (with midnight feast).’ Felice has had many successes through the
While they’re absorbed decorating, call each Finally Pascale, the voice of reason, years, ‘As our children have progressed from
one up and take his/ her photo or a group reminds us there’s no need to get carried primary school age to teens, we have held:
photo and print off on computer (or have away; ‘Our parties have always been swimming parties at a local pool with the
partner run round to Snappy Snaps and they’ll low key - you will never see any themed party tea included; a movie followed by tea
print within an hour). At the end of the party partyware in our household! We set up good at Pizza Hut; roller skating, ice skating and
each child can put the photo in their frame old traditional party games and provide bowling parties; the cinema followed by
and take it home - party bag sorted!’ plenty of sweets and cucumber sandwiches. dinner in town; a day out to a theme park;
‘We are lucky that our son is a summer A bouncy castle is always a success, the facial/ nail/ henna makeover parties and most
born so always head to the park for his cinema for older children and sleepovers for recently, murder mystery and dinner at home
party which means numbers aren’t an everybody (of course with no more than a followed by clubbing ‘til late in town at the
issue (and we always say if it rains we get handful of guests).’ magical age of 18!’
8 FAMILIES UPON THAMES May-June 2010
Some parents enjoy planning and hosting
children’s parties, while others are deeply
relieved it’s only once a year.
ROBINA COWAN asked a bunch
of mothers to tell us about their most
memorable and successful parties. She
found out how to organize the best
party ever. Read on and be inspired.
THEMED PARTIES they got through), an overall winner was
declared and we ﬁnished with the group
Most children have a special interest, be it a dance. We ﬁlmed the whole thing and
sport, dancing, singing, a particular book or gave each girl a CD to take home the next
ﬁlm, which provides the perfect starting point morning, taking care of the goodie bags.’
for arranging the party. Frances told us, ‘We are lucky with our
Mum of three Claire likes themed parties. youngest daughter in that her birthday falls
‘We had a Mad Hatter’s tea party for our two on Hallowe’en which gives us an instant eat. The party was a hoot and still talked
year old twins, just grandparents and aunties theme her friends never tire of. It helps that about!’
and uncles were invited. We had it in the it usually falls in half term so we have spent ‘Magicians and Mad Science have always
garden, everyone wore a funny hat and we days making costumes, designing invitations been a hit with my boys’, Sarah told us.
ate lots of miniature cakes, sandwiches and and games (eg pin the tail on the witch’s cat, ‘Last year for my daughter’s ﬁfth we had a
nibbly bits. Great fun and the girls loved the apple bobbing) and getting creative with fairy party which was so magical. All the girls
hats! I am thinking of having ‘Where the Wild the food (spider biscuits, dead man’s ﬁngers, dressed as fairies and the party company
Things Are’ party this year. They can all dress mystery punch, etc). As the years have passed provided a beautiful drinks fountain,
up as monsters and we can make up some we’ve made each year different - once they made fairy dust with the girls and then
fun games to match the theme.’ were older we risked an evening bonﬁre they all planted fairy eggs in the garden.
Angela told us, ‘My sister in law, (a qualiﬁed and barbecue which was quite spooky and While they were eating tea the eggs were
primary school teacher), always comes up of course there was the year we hired a magically transformed into fairy dolls - it was
with wonderful homemade budget ideas ‘wizard’ whose traditional magic act was a wonderful to watch!’
on a theme. Her fairy party was signposted real success.’ Roberta’s idea worked well too, ‘for my
outside the house with painted toadstools, ‘We threw a Murder Mystery party for 7 year old daughter’s party we had a dance
the children had their tea from toy china fairy our twelve year old daughter which was theme. I was lucky to have a choreographer
cups, and all the games were fairy themed. excellent, with her friends declaring it friend who taught them a wonderful routine
Even the party invitations were sent out in the ‘best party ever’, says Kim, ‘Choose which they threw themselves into and as a
tiny fairy writing with a toy magnifying glass which mystery you’d like from the internet, ﬁnale performed it to collecting parents’.
to read. For someone with a creative leaning download it and print out (costs about £20). Finally, Karen told us, ‘For my daughter’s
and time to spend, lots of fun can be had - I Detailed instructions are provided along with third birthday we had a Bug’s Life party. I
am in awe of her attention to detail!’ timings. It takes a little time to prepare but actually think both my daughters enjoyed
‘When our daughter was nine she invited is well worth it and anyway at that age the helping me make all the caterpillar cakes,
eight friends for an ‘X-Factor sleepover’ birthday girl/ boy can help. The children dress bug like sandwiches etc more than the party
party’ says Alix. ‘When the girls arrived, we up and act in character, we had a 1920s itself! Depending on the age and whether
sent them off to each choose a character newspaper reporter, glam starlet. Food can they want to do so, include your children in
(the over enthusiastic, the pleading, the be laid out to graze on or you can break to the making, designing and planning.’
downright awful etc), plan their look and
rehearse their song, plus come up with a
group dance for the ﬁnale. That took care
of a couple of hours before tea! The judges
were daddy, her brother, plus one guest who For more Go to www.familiesuponthames.co.uk and search in the Directory under
didn’t want to perform, while I played Davina Children’s parties for a list of local goodies with links to websites.
McCall at her most over the top. The girls At the Families Group website www.familiesonline.co.uk you will ﬁnd archived articles
duly performed their act, were judged (lots about parties full of tips and advice. Be sure to register on the site to get access to local
of mock screaming down their mobiles when information.
May-June 2010 FAMILIES UPON THAMES 9
Party proﬁles An in-depth look at a selection
of party options.
receive a party balloon to take home. At a
minimum extra cost they will provide their very
own party bags with party goodies, including a
book for each child to take home.
The children are encouraged to come ribbons to ‘Best of Both Worlds’ and more.
in fancy dress, however, it is not essential High School Musical parties tell a story of
as Stagecoach Parties provide props and friendships, drama, loyalty and united dreams.
accessories like hats, wands and fairy wings. You don’t have to be the next Troy or Gabriella
There is a break during the party for parents to to enjoy the dancing at a High School Musical
provide food, drink and birthday cake and party party as your Instructor will teach you songs
STAGECOACH hosts will help during this time. from the three ﬁlms have been mixed with an
The Murder Mystery Parties for ages 11 to array of dance props and basketball games, a
16 years are a fun, exciting and creative event High School Musical Party is high energy and
STAGECOACH PARTIES where the detective host will take care of all the great fun,
The latest venture of Stagecoach Theatre entertainment. The parties last for two hours Grease themed parties are a timeless classic
Arts plc, Stagecoach Parties promise to take and thirty minutes and are set around a three and appeal to all ages. A story of love, rivals
children on a roller coaster ride through their course meal. Themes include; The Mystery of and everlasting friendship, Grease captures the
imagination and land them safely back home the Caribbean Curse and Murder at Midwinter spirit of 1950s pop culture. Re-live the energy
with a bulging bag of amazing memories! of the ﬁlm by dancing to your favourite Grease
Whether it is your child’s 4th birthday or WHAT THEY SAID tracks with pom poms and clapperboards - it’s
your teenager’s 16th birthday Stagecoach can ‘Absolutely brilliant – the children are still electrifying!
run a party for you. The parties range from talking about it. The show at the end will stay Families upon Thames readers receive 10%
a themed two hour creative Drama, Dance with me forever. ‘ discount when booking a party before the end
and Singing party to a spine chilling Murder ‘Thanks a million for a wonderful Murder of May. Please quote ref: PSA2 - PSP10%.
Mystery evening experience. Mystery Party! Lea came home and said that Call 020 8568 6886 or
Party hosts take care of all the enter- it was the best party ever! Thank you for email: Lindsay@PopstarsAcademy.com
tainment throughout the party and are there organising everything so professionally’. www.PopstarsAcademy.com
for the arrival of the very excited young guests For further details, please call Polly Simmonds
and do not leave until the last goodbyes have on 01932 256294. MOTHER NATURE SCIENCE
been said. PARTIES
For ages 4 to 10 years, themed parties POPSTAR PARTIES Want something fun, educational and unique
combine a variety of drama, singing and dance If your children love to follow the latest dance for your children’s next party? Mother Nature
activities. The parties are all based around crazes, sing into a hairbrush and love music this Science parties sound great. Their exciting
original themed stories that are unique to is the party to go for. They bring along music, science-themed parties combine the ideas of
Stagecoach and are designed to unleash the lights, and choreographed dance routines to playing and learning, and can be presented
imagination and creativity of the children, all your favourites, fun popstar games, dance outdoors, indoors at home or wherever you
ensuring that no two parties will ever be the props with blow-up guitars, bubble machine may choose. Each Mother Nature Science party
same. Themes include Wonderland for ﬂittering and complimentary invitations. features an impressive array of spectacular
fairies, Wild Wild West for gun-slinging The new Street Dance Parties are for children topical demonstrations and interactive activities,
cowboys, Once upon a Time for would-be to enjoy street dance and hip hop urban dance and children leave the party with fun and
princesses, piratical Pieces of Eight, Disco Divas moves, popping and locking to current dance educational take-home experiments. Visit them
for aspiring pop stars and Super Heroes to save tracks and their all-time favourites mixed with a at www.mnature.co.uk or call 020 8863
the day! During the last ten minutes of the variety of dance props and games. 9986.
party, family and friends are invited to watch Mamma Mia parties are for dancing to Abba
some of the fun and exciting activities the songs with glitter microphones, dance ribbons WHAT THEY SAID
children have enjoyed during the party. and pom poms! There are choreographed ‘Thank you Mother Nature Science for the
Before the party you will receive themed routines to Dancing Queen, Waterloo, Money, wonderful party yesterday. Lara, Leo, and their
party invitations to send out to your child’s Money, Money and more. friends all enjoyed it very much. They even say
guests. On the day a trained party host will Enter the dream world of Hannah Montana want to become scientists in the future!’
arrive at your home in full costume, loaded by dancing to her songs including routines from ‘As you know Joshua has been to a science
with themed props to use during the party. Hannah Montana The Movie. Do the hoedown party before and is really into science and he
Party prizes and stickers will be handed out throwdown with glitter cowboy hats, join in and his friends thought the party was amazing,
throughout the party and every child will with blow up guitars to ‘Rock Star’, dance so a big thank you!’
Parties Balloons – Beautiful & Stunning Colours for
Children’s Birthday Parties & Other Occasions.
Popcorn Machine for your Summer/Beach theme
Bouncy Castles, Inflatable slides, Ball Ponds & parties. Affordable Prices. Great alternative to party
much more for Birthdays, Holy Communions, Spring bags – Please try us first. Delivery to Venue Possible.
/ Summer School Fairs & Other Occasions. 020-8399 5679, www.party-bounce.co.uk
Popcorn Machine for your summer & Beach theme
parties. Also Tables & Chairs and Balloons available.
020-8399 5679, www.party-bounce.co.uk
For Birthdays, Spring/Summer Fairs etc.
Also Tables, Chairs & Gazebos
FUN, GAMES AND MAGIC for children’s parties
WITH LIVE DOVES AND RABBIT!
020 8399 5679
0118 973 0737 www.party-bounce.co.uk
10 FAMILIES UPON THAMES May-June 2010
MOTHER NATU S
RE PARTIES ACTIVE PARTIE
for all your summer / beach theme parties.
Please book early to avoid disappointment
on 020 8399 5679 www.party-bounce.co.uk
10% discount for Families Upon Thames
readers – offer ends 30th May 2010
PARTIES TO REMEMBER ACTIVE PARTIES
Rowena’s company grew from the time For an outdoor party in a beautiful location,
when she organised her own child’s parties. how about Painshill Park, Cobham?
They were so popular that her friends and Their active parties are set in the landscape
the parents of attending children told her to details, please call Kirsty on 07961 397226 or with themes from Camp Building to
start up a traditional party business. That was email her on email@example.com. Christopher Robin Days Out. They can be
14 years ago and Rowena has never tired of Storytellers can also be found on Facebook catered or self-catered and party bags are
hearing the children laugh while hunting, The Story Teller’s Children’s Parties group. You available. Painshill Park parties are suitable
singing and playing team games during that can get a 10% discount when you mention for ages 4 to 12 years. For more information,
time. The games that have proved popular Families magazine on all parties booked by please call 01932 868113 or check
for many years and the cry, ‘Can we play 31st May for parties in June and July 2010. www.painshill.co.uk
that game again?’ is reward enough to know
that the children are enjoying themselves. It’s THEATREBUGS PARTIES
a party, there needs to be laughter, a little Theatrebugs provide fun-ﬁlled, interactive IMAGINE DREAM PARTIES
shouting and running, a few slightly scary drama adventure parties for 4 to 8 year olds Imagine Dream Parties offer imaginative and
games and a couple of quiet games. The crammed with stories, games, tasks, dressing interactive parties with many themes.
mixture means the children rarely get bored. up and good old fashioned fun! Choose from Professional entertainers will arrive in full
Rowena arranges a consultation, so not to be themes such as, Cars, Dora, Superheroes and costume and create a world of fantasy and
a stranger on the big day, a week or so before Princesses and many more! make believe. All equipment is provided
the party and provides all the prizes including New to Theatrebugs are party packages for including music, sweets and stickers, themed
a material party bag. Read her blog for more 2 to 3 year olds with song, music and puppet props, certiﬁcates and a present for the
insight to her ethos. Call 020 7249 3242 shows, lots more great themes to choose from birthday child. 01932 784564
www.partiestoremember.co.uk like Under the Sea, Teddy bear’s Picnic, and www.imaginedreamparties.co.uk
NEW STORYTELLING PARTIES
As with Rowena, this idea evolved out of Kirsty WHAT THEY SAID
Sweet’s own children’s parties. Parents of the ‘The perfect solution for a party to remember!’
children coming to their parties started to ask www.theatrebugs.co.uk 020 7350 2995
her to organise their children’s parties and the firstname.lastname@example.org
idea has grown from there.
The idea is to take the child’s favourite book BOUNCY PARTIES
or poem and base the party around that. The Party Bounce provide a wide choice of bouncy
party starts with some crafts and ends with castles, inﬂatable slides, sumo suits, tables
the story or poem being read to the children, and chairs and much more for all occasions –
wearing the masks, ﬁnger puppets or whatever children’s parties, fetes and fairs, corporate /
they might have made, interacting with the charity events, etc.
story or poem and quite often learning too To make the celebrations extra special, why
(the Owl and the Pussy Cat is a good one, how don’t you order beautiful, high quality helium
many children know what a runcible spoon balloons as an alternative to party bags?
is?). New this year is an popcorn machine - great
Kirsty told us, ‘I myself
have 5 children the
oldest being 19, so in
fact have been doing
this a very long time. I
also organise Christmas Dream Children’s Parties
and Easter craft
workshops for children
at our church which is Just choose your theme at
done on a much larger
If you are interested
or would like further
or call 01932 784564
for editorial and advertising
Next issue: Summer special,
please call 01932 254584.
May-June 2010 FAMILIES UPON THAMES 11
HOTEL Get started t
DAVID AUSTIN believes gardening is an activity for all the family.
caught one in my son’s bug hunting kit
allowing me a good close look. They can take
Unrivalled facilities for families
up to 7 years to mature from wood eating
Excellent low season offers grub to beetle. Like the stag beetle, bees
Studland Bay · Dorset · BH19 3AQ have had a tough time in recent years with
s 01929 450450
numbers falling dramatically as tastes change
and their favourite ﬂowers can no longer
be found in the garden or countryside. The
large garden bumble bee has seen a 95%
decline since 1960. Bird feeders are always
surrey childcare guaranteed to provide interest in the garden
with those acrobatic blue and great tits but
nanny agency some plants can also provide seeds for the
birds; we had a selection of ﬁnches visit our
sunﬂower heads over the winter (not to
mention squirrels). Even digging over your
borders and vegetable patches will bring
in the blackbirds and robins and occasion-
ally thrushes. Last week I discovered a
hibernating hedgehog in a customer’s garden
during a tidy up.
On the more practical side of gardening
there is always the increasingly popular
Gardening is increasingly popular with all age vegetable patch. Some may be lucky to have
Surrey’s childcare recruitment groups whether you have a large outdoor a dedicated area within the garden or an
space or small yard or balcony. So why not allotment, others may choose to go down a
specialists encourage your children to get stuck in as more self-contained route by having a raised
25 years childcare experience part of a family activity? bed built. This is a great idea for children or
All nannies personally interviewed I am fortunate enough to have a garden older people to enjoy gardening as it can be
Live in or daily and two children under 7 and it has been as big as is manageable and fairly accessible
a revelation to see just how naturally as it’s off the ground. You can also determine
Full or part time enthusiastic and interested children are in the quality of the soil which should help you
Permanent or temporary what happens in the garden. From digging produce better plants. You could also try
Online babysitting service over the vegetable patch and seeing worms growing potatoes or other veg in a rubble
www.surreychildcare.co.uk wriggling around, to moving objects in the sack or other containers; just keep them
garden and ﬁnding frogs, toads or newts, to watered so they don’t dry out. Dwarf fruit
020 8399 4199 seeing how the tiny little seed they helped
plant, grow into a beautiful tall sunﬂower or
trees can also be grown in containers and
strawberries in dedicated planters or trailing
Fancy Dress clothes from Kiddymania www.kiddymania.co.uk 01455 615 804
tomato. Then of course there is always that ones even in hanging baskets, great for
much loved activity of jumping up and down snacks for the little ones while they make use
in muddy puddles just like Peppa Pig. of the garden. Anyone who has grown their
Nufﬁeld Health As spring turns to summer, more of us will
be thinking of how we can make use of and
own in recent years will tell you that there is
nothing better than produce fresh from the
day nursery. maintain our gardens. That could be from
cutting the lawn to those summer barbecue
garden; you really can taste the difference.
The basic rule for the newcomer would be
parties. Anything that brings the family don’t try to do too much all at once and
together to enjoy an activity that’s good for grow things that are simple to look after to
Childre fro month t yrs your health either through the physical side give yourself the best chance of success.
Saf carin environment of digging and hoeing to eating those lovely Finally, keep the garden safe. For example,
fresh potatoes from the veg patch or carrots put sharp tools out of reach of children, be
Friendl lon standin team
from that window box, can’t be bad. careful about which ﬂowers or shrubs you
Gr fundin availabl fo ove ’s So how can your family become more grow and their fruits, use circuit breakers on
Freshl prepare nutritiona meals involved with the garden? Well if your electrical equipment, maybe build an area of
children are interested in wildlife, how about restricted access for barbecues, keep a safe
attracting some by building bug or bee hotels area around playground equipment and use
For a prospectus please contact: or huts which incorporate wooden structures soft materials such as bark in a quantity that
020 8335 2901 ﬁlled with twigs, pots or bamboo canes or could break a fall.
build a stag beetle bucket? These creatures
may look frightening but are endangered - Above all make the garden a fun, learning
personally I think they look incredible, having environment for all to share and enjoy.
David Austin is from professional gardening company Leaf it to Us. Contact him on
07766 63043 or email: Leaf_it_to_us@talktalk.net
12 FAMILIES UPON THAMES May-June 2010
Ed’s Reading Room is part of www.edontheweb.com, a DT books
award-winning website. It was created by Maggie Humphrey
a teacher of more than 25 years, and Les Snowdon, wh
together are authors of several books on ﬁtness walking an
healthy eating. Ed’s Reading Room is part of www.edonthewe
website. suggesting this created of
com, a DTI award-winning children toRoomthis May and June. wonderful selectionby Magg
Thanks to MAGGIE HUMPHRIES from Ed’s Reading
great books for your read
Humphreys, a teacher of more than 25 years, and Les Snowdo
FOR AGES authors
who together are5-7 YEARS of several books7 on ﬁtness walkinFOR AGES YEARS PLUS
and healthy eating. Ed’s Reading Room is part of www
Scarlet Silver: Swashbuckle School No Way Out by Gene Kemp
edontheweb.com, a DTI award-winning website. It was create
by Sarah McConnell and Lucy
(Faber and Faber £5.99)
(Hodder Children’s Books £3.99)
by Maggie Humphreys, a teacher of more than 25 years, and Le
The notorious Long Joan Silver
Adam and Alex are twins.
They’re not identical but they
are telepathic and there is
Snowdon, who together are authors of several books on ﬁtnes
was eaten by a giant shrimp and
ever since then her granddaughter
Scarlet Silver has wanted to be a
something secret that holds
them together even when
walking and healthy eating. Ed’s Reading Room is part of www
pirate. Now Scarlet and her family
sail the high seas, learning to be
they argue. They are on what
is supposed to be a typical
family holiday - but somehow
edontheweb.com, a DTI award-winning website. It was create
pirates and seeking treasure. But
the captain of Swashbuckle School
isn’t quite what he seems.
it is different. They are in a very
strange town with weird houses
by Maggie Humphreys, a teacher of more than 25 years, and Le
Join Scarlet on the pirate ship
55 Ocean Drive for an adventure
This is a brilliant book that you
won’t want to put down. You’ll
Snowdon, who together are authors of several books on ﬁtnes
on the ocean waves. If you enjoy
this story there are lots more in
this super new series.
see that no matter where they
run there’s…no way out.
walking and healthy eating. Ed’s Reading Room is part of www
edontheweb.com, a DTI award-winning website. It was create
The Gofﬁns Go Batty by
(Walker Books £4.99)
Goodbye, Copper Pie by T M
(Piccadilly Press £6.99)
by Maggie Humphreys, a teacher of more than 25 years, and Le
George is settling in to life Goodbye, Copper Pie is the
Snowdon, who together are authors of several books on ﬁtnes
at Grandma’s house and his
thoughts turn to having a
pet. Along with Lofty and
second book in this great new
series about the ﬁve friends
who make up Tribe. It’s full of
walking and healthy eating. Ed’s Reading Room is part of www
Eave, the Gofﬁns secretly
living in Grandma’s attic,
questions. Will the summer fair
be a success? Who’s getting a
edontheweb.com, a DTI award-winning website. It was create
he sets upon giving a lost
puppy a home. But can he
convince the grown-ups to
dog? And not least, will Copper
Pie really desert Tribe? There are
three stories in this book for you
by Maggie Humphreys, a teacher of more than 25 years, and Le
let him have a puppy?
Here is another terriﬁc
to get to know these fantastic
Here’s a group of ordinary
Snowdon, who together are authors of several books on ﬁtnes
book by this talented writer.
You too can go batty with
the Gofﬁns in this charming
kids who ﬁnd fun in inventive
ways. You’ll enjoy ﬁnding out
walking and healthy eating. Ed’s Reading Room is part of www
and hilarious story! more about their challenges and
friendship as you delve into Tribe’s
edontheweb.com, a DTI award-winning website. It was create
by Maggie Humphreys, a teacher of more than 25 years, and Le
Snowdon, who together are authors of several books on ﬁtnes
extra eating. Ed’s Reading Room is part of www
walking and healthy
edontheweb.com, a DTI award-winning website. It was create
Ed’s Reading Room is part of www.edontheweb.com, a DTI award-winning website. It was created by Maggie Humphreys, a teacher of more
than 25 years, and Les Snowdon, who together are authors of several books on ﬁtness walking and healthy eating.
by Maggie Humphreys, a teacher of more than 25 years, an
Ed’s Reading Room is an exciting free online book and story club for primary children in You are very welcome to contact
Les Snowdon, who together are authors of several books o
homes and schools at www.edontheweb.com. Each month, recently published books are
selected as Ed’s Books of the Month for Owlets (ages 5 to 7) and Owls (over 7s). On the
Maggie on 01753 730019 or by email
at email@example.com about
ﬁtness walking and healthy eating. Ed’s Reading Room is pa
website, there are fun literacy activities to accompany each book, including wordsearches,
quizzes, poetry and reviews, and there are new original stories in Edtime Stories. There are
the website or about Ed on the Web
Spelling Bees in schools.
of www.edontheweb.com, a DTI award-winning website. It wa
lots of other fun online activities, complementary to the curriculum, in Ed’s Imaginarium.
Check out Ed’s Archive for Ed’s Books of the Month from previous months.
created by Maggie Humphreys, a teacher of more than 25 year
and Les Snowdon, who together are authors of several book May-June 2010 FAMILIES UPON THAMES 13
Can-do with DS
FRANCES LOATES ﬁnds out about a Teddington-based charity, how for 40 years it has supported those affected by
Down’s syndrome throughout the UK. She also discovers what’s going on locally for families affected and those who
want to get involved with the charity’s wonderful work.
With much still to do, it is
hoped that instead of a life
of social exclusion, affected
families will one day feel
part of the mainstream. The
charity works endlessly for
understanding of those with
Down’s syndrome among the
general public. They provide
support and advocacy for those
affected plus their families and
professionals who support them.
Most of all they champion the
rights of people with Down’s
syndrome to live the life of their
Since 1970, the Down’s
Syndrome Association has
worked tirelessly to improve
knowledge. As Carol Boys says,
‘Our work is not yet done and
I look forward to working with
others in the learning disability mainstream school, have jobs
arena to ensure that opportuni- and make decisions about their
ties for those with Down’s lives and futures.
syndrome continue to grow and
WHAT IS DOWN’S?
One in every 1000 babies, or BIG STEP FORWARD
600 babies a year in the UK, is The DSA’s organised walk which
born with Down’s syndrome, is taking place on Sunday 6th
a genetic condition with June in Bushy Park just over the
those affected carrying 47 road from the National Ofﬁce in
instead of the usual 46 pairs of Teddington.
chromosomes. Whether you have 5 walkers
Down’s syndrome is not a or 50, the charity wants you to
disease. People with Down’s walk that weekend to celebrate
rom small beginnings as a large extent to the charity’s syndrome are not ill and do not Down’s syndrome and 40 years
a local support group work. The 1971 Education Act ‘suffer’ from this condition. of the DSA. They can provide
for parents in 1970, The changed the status of children Although older mothers have you with full instructions on
Down’s Syndrome Association with Down’s syndrome from the a higher individual chance of how to organise your own walk
(DSA) is now a national charity previous and quite outrageous having a baby with Down’s along with up to the event
with over 20 000 members label of ‘ineducable’ and syndrome, more are born to support and t-shirts for all
across the country and an recognised their right to attend younger mothers, reﬂecting registered walkers.
impressive record. school. Also that year legislation the higher birth rate in this age The DSA has an annual
Carol Boys, Chief Executive, was passed which ensured that group. operating need of approximately
says, ‘Forty years ago, people those with Down’s syndrome Everyone with Down’s £1.6 million and this is met
with Down’s syndrome were had a right to access services syndrome has some degree of almost entirely on voluntary
ﬁghting for the basic rights within their own communities. learning disability along with donation so your contribution
– to life, medical treatment, Far from the lives led in long- physical characteristics which makes a difference.
education and to be an stay hospitals which was the may bring with them speciﬁc To register, please contact
accepted member of society. expectation earlier in the 20th medical problems. Alexa Dizon on 0845 230
The ability to engage in century, where parents were Due to medical advances, the 0372 or email alexa.dizon@
activities that help deﬁne one’s urged to consign their children life expectancy of someone with downs-syndrome.org.uk
sense of self were limited or with learning disabilities, people Down’s syndrome is now 60 to
non-existent; however, the DSA with Down’s syndrome now 65 years with recent research FULHAM FC BADGERS
has led the case for change as lead full, rich and varied lives. into the condition enabling a The DSActive programme
an instrumental force expanding Our society is a long way from greater understanding of the began in 2006 as a pilot
the range of opportunities at being fully inclusive for those associated health issues. programme with the Fulham
both local and national level.’ with any form of disability With the right support, FC Foundation in partnership
The changes in those 40 years but recent progress has been people with Down’s Syndrome with the Down’s Syndrome
have been phenomenal, due impressive. do make friends, most go to Association in response to a lack
of footballing opportunities for
people with Down’s syndrome.
Down’s syndrome is not a disease. People with Down’s The programme has grown to
include seven teams with six
syndrome are not ill and do not ‘suffer’ from this condition respective professional football
14 FAMILIES UPON THAMES May-June 2010
GET IT RIGHT
More than many disabilities, this syndrome seems prone to
misconceptions. For example those with Down’s syndrome do no ‘all
look alike’ – they can share certain characteristics but with always
look more like Mum or Dad than anyone else with the condition.
What’s more, people with Down’s syndrome are by no means
necessarily all happy and affectionate and indeed no different to
anyone else in their character traits and varying moods.
When speaking about Down’s syndrome it is important not to
fall into the trap of being offensive or plain inaccurate so as not
to perpetuate any myths about the condition. This is especially
important when talking to your children.
DON’T SAY DO SAY
Mongol Person/baby/child with Down’s
Suffers from OR is a victim of syndrome
Down’s syndrome Has Down’s syndrome
A Down’s baby/person/child A person/baby/child with Down’s
Retarded/mentally handicapped/ syndrome or who has Down’s
Disease/illness/handicap Learning disability
Down’s (as an abbreviation) Condition OR genetic condition
DS (as an abbreviation if necessary)
clubs. In total, more than 200 main focus was not on winning
players engage in DSActive
In March Down’s Syndrome
or losing, but just taking part.
The event was a resounding
success and the DSA now has
extra The Down’s Syndrome Association’s website is
football teams from across plans for a national Down’s
London came together for their Syndrome Football League.
ﬁrst-ever football tournament.
For parents who have just discovered they are expecting a baby with
Other participating London From May 22nd to 29th,
Down’s syndrome, a new book published on 1st June could be helpful.
clubs were QPR Tiger Cubs, Fulham FC Badgers will be on
Down’s Syndrome - The Essential Guide by Antonia Chitty and Victoria
Charlton Upbeats and West tour in Hong Kong playing
Dawson is published by Need2know books at £8.99.
Ham United DS Team. Unlike against Hong Kong’s DS Team,
traditional tournaments, the The Hong Kong Dragons.
Experiencing your World Together
For more information,
enrolment and fee details
call 020 7228 3933 or visit
Thames Christian College, Wye Street, London SW11 2HB
May-June 2010 FAMILIES UPON THAMES 15
out and about...
If you go down to the
Do you have a fondness for
Hyacinthoides non-scripta? Maybe if we
were to ask if you were fond of Bluebells
we’d be making more sense?
The sight and scent of blooming bluebells
covering a woodland ﬂoor in May and
into June is one of the most magical and
intoxicating experiences nature has to offer on
a family walk. As Carys Hudson from Surrey
Wildlife Trust reminds us, ‘bluebells are one
of the marvels of spring, transforming forest
ﬂoors into a lush carpet of green and purple’.
After the harsh winter, the bluebells should
be at their best in May this year and if we’re
lucky, the bluebell season could extend into
Up to 70% of the global population of
bluebells ﬂower is in Britain so they are an
extra special seasonal aspect of the British
landscape. Sadly, this treasured species has
greatly declined over the past 50 years and
is globally threatened by the invasion of the
Spanish bluebell. Image of a bluebell wood at Wakehurst Place, East Sussex,
kindly supplied by www.kew.org
The Spanish bluebell is a serious threat
because the two species hybridise freely. The
resulting hybrid Hyacinthoides × massartiana
and the Spanish bluebell both produce highly
fertile seed and can invade areas of the native
Make sure you don’t miss them this year
and be sure to pass on the magic to your
Should your child turn
Other reasons for decline of the beloved children; why not get them to help you
bluebell are: habitat loss, particularly establish a bluebell patch in a shady patch of
up at the back door with
woodland and hedgerows; picking, uprooting your garden to help maintain our horticul-
and bulb removal, mainly for gardens; and tural heritage (see below)? a pretty posy for you, do
tipping of garden waste in woodlands and
hedgerows. BLUEBELL FACTS make sure they wash
As a result, since 1981 the common The Spanish bluebell is distinguished from
bluebell has been a protected species under the common bluebell by its paler, larger blue their hands at once!
the Countryside and Wildlife Act. Landowners ﬂowers, more erect ﬂower stem (raceme),
are prohibited from removing common broader leaves, blue anthers (where the belief that anyone who wanders into a ring
bluebells on their land for sale and it is a common bluebell has creamy-white ones) of bluebells will fall under fairy enchantment
criminal offence to remove the bulbs of and little or no scent compared to the strong and soon after die.
wild common bluebells. This legislation was fragrant scent of the northern species. Although most live up to their name, it’s
strengthened in 1998 under Schedule 8 of The bluebell is a perennial herb that not unusual to spot violet-blue, white or even
the Act making any trade in wild common grows in spring from bulbs that stay in the pink ﬂowers blooming amid the blue mass.
bluebell bulbs or seeds an offence. soil over winter. The shoots emerge from
Bluebells are notoriously slow to establish early January, before trees’ leaves block a BLUEBELL FOLKLORE
themselves, so stumble upon a deeply large proportion of the available sunlight. In English folklore the bluebell was said to
carpeted blue haze and it’s likely to be ancient The bluebell sets seeds profusely and also call the fairies to their meetings. People also
woodland – which adds to its mystery. multiplies by offshoots from its bulbs. would not walk through a ﬁeld of bluebells
Fortunately the area is blessed with many a The part of the scientiﬁc name because they believed it to be enchanted
bluebell wood at this time of year. Many are ‘non-scripta’ means ‘unlettered’, and and that the fairies would spirit them away –
in local parks and open spaces, others open to distinguishes this species from the ancestor never to be seen by human eye again.
the public but nevertheless tucked away so go of cultivated hyacinths (Hyacinthus Some believed that by wearing a wreath
and hunt them out! orientalis), which in Greek mythology grew made of the ﬂowers, the wearer would
It goes without saying that it’s against the from the blood of the prince Hyacinthus as be compelled to speak only truth. Others
law to pick bluebells and dangerous to do he died. believed that if you could turn one of the
so as parts of the plant are poisonous. This is Medicinal uses of the bulb include ﬂowers inside out without tearing it, you
especially worth remembering if you are lucky diuretic and styptic properties. Because the would eventually win the one you love.
enough to have any in your garden. Should bulbs contain toxic substances, they were a Bluebells have long been symbolic of
you child turn up at the back door with a popular source of glue for bookbinding – the humility and gratitude. They are associated
pretty posy for you, do make sure they wash toxins discouraged attack by silverﬁsh. The with constancy, gratitude and everlasting
their hands at once! toxicity may be the origin of the superstitious love. Bluebells are also closely linked to the
realm of fairies and are sometimes referred to
‘bluebells are one of the marvels of spring, as ‘fairy thimbles’.
Other local names used throughout
transforming forest ﬂoors into a lush carpet of green the UK, which mainly refer to the ﬂowers,
include Auld Man’s Bell, Calverkeys, Jacinth,
and purple’ Wilde Hyacint and Wood Bells.
16 FAMILIES UPON THAMES May-June 2010
woods today Have a family outing to a local bluebell wood
this May or June and discover the magic and
mystery of these beautiful spots.
This species is found in deciduous woodlands,
hedgerows, meadows and on cliffs. The
bluebell occurs in coppiced woodland,
where it may dominate the ground ﬂora. SEE THEM NOW
Humidity is a key requirement. It is intolerant
of trampling, heavy grazing, water logging, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, TW9 3AB: Find bluebells at Kew in the
deep shade and does not compete well with Conservation Area to the north-west of the Gardens. The website has
vigorous grasses. The presence of the species a regularly updated bulb map giving the current status of its many
in hedgerows and under bracken on pastures varieties, check www.kew.org and be sure to see the bluebells at their
may indicate that the land was once covered peak.
Osterley Park, Jersey Road, Isleworth, TW7 4RB. At Osterley the bluebells
GROW YOUR OWN appear in the south and west woods.
Bluebells prefer a moisture-retentive,
humus-rich, woodland type soil. The site Esher Commons. This Site of Special Scientiﬁc Interest has been subject
should be well drained, cool and shady, but to a Restoration and Management plan over the last ﬁve years. One of the
it shouldn’t dry out in summer. It is ideal four main aims of the project has been to control invasive plants such as
for naturalising in a wooded corner or old Rhododendron and Himalayan Balsam. Such plants had been pushing out
orchard. In the garden it can be planted in a many less competitive native species such as bluebells, which hopefully will
border or amongst herbaceous plants. now thrive again. Esher Commons can be accessed from various points in the
From seed: Sow early in spring or as soon Borough, check www. elmbridge.gov.uk for a detailed map.
as ripe in a cold frame. If you have plenty of
seed it can be sown in situ, but it is usually
more economical to sow it in a frame. Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, KT8 9AU. During May the
By division: Bluebells are easily propagated Wilderness area of the Gardens has many wildﬂowers and patches of
by division of large clumps of bulbs. Divide bluebells. This part of the gardens is to the north of the site and the place
the bulbs in summer after the leaves die where, historically, courtiers went in search of privacy and where gentlemen
down. Larger bulbs can be replanted direct of the court would entertain ladies in secret.
into their permanent positions, but it is best
to pot up smaller bulbs and grow them on for Isabella Plantation, Richmond Park to the south-west corner of the Park
a year in a cold frame before planting them has glorious patches of bluebells in May and June.
out when dormant in late summer. Bulbs
should be planted about 8 cm deep in small Cranford Park, Cranford, TW5 9RZ. The old woods are a great place to see
clumps . bluebells at this time of year.
By chipping: A mature bluebell bulb (one
of about six years old) can be carefully cut Syon Park, Syon House, Brentford, TW8 8JF. There are bluebells in the
to produce bulblets, which will each grow woods.
into individual plants. Simply take a mature
bulb and with a very sharp sterilised knife, For bluebell woods further aﬁeld, check Surrey Wildlife Trust at
cut the tip off the bulb. Turn the bulb over www.surreywildlifetrust.org They have information about glorious bluebell
and carefully cut the trimmed bulb into woods throughout the county.
segments making sure that you have a piece
of the basal root plate in each section. These
bulblets can then be planted as normal.
Come and join in the fun!
sing, dance, learn and be inspired at
Term time classes
Classes tailored for individual age
groups: 6 Months – 4 Years
For more information and a
Wide range of children’s percussion call us on:
Exciting props, puppets and Toys
May-June 2010 FAMILIES UPON THAMES 17
Live that dream
MATT JARDINE believes we can teach our children to achieve the life they dream of. In this ﬁrst in a
series of articles, he asks fellow parents to examine their own aspirations.
I have information that could change your
child’s life forever.
This information is not new! But it is being
delivered today in a different voice so that
maybe you and your child will hear it clearly
enough to be inspired to begin to beneﬁt from it?
Who am I to deliver these ideas? No one special at all! I am
a teacher, a parent, a separated husband, a lover, a friend, a son, a
brother and many other things. I have had my fair share of ups and
downs, twists and turns, highs and lows from which I have established
a ﬁrm belief in the ideas I offer you today.
I have tried and tested them on my own life before even daring
to suggest that they may work in yours. I am convinced of their
Actually, if you take a moment to look at your own life, to
focus a mental spotlight upon it, you will see that you have
already been using and beneﬁting from the ideas I will
present over this and following articles. Perhaps you
have been beneﬁting without knowing, by default, but
beneﬁting all the same?
Today my goal is simple and twofold:
1 To start a process whereby you can begin to use these
ideas by choice rather than by default.
2 To pass on this information to your children so that they may learn
to create the life of their dreams.
So let’s begin by daring to dream.
I asked a friend the other day what would science of visualisation and goal projection
be the ﬁrst thing he would do with unlimited
His response was to pay off the mortgage,
but certainly within the world of sport it has
been regularly documented that imagination
and mental rehearsal are primary keys to
the car, the school fees…I stopped him mid success. ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ﬂow. There was not one ounce of inspiration I can offer you though the same Matt Jardine is a father of two and has
coming from his words. What do you think explanation I offer my students within my taught children and adults for over 20
that is all about; the need to engage in karate classes: years.
the mundane? Is about being realistic and Everything starts with a thought. Look He owns and runs Jardine Karate
responsible? Is there more to life than this at a building. It was once just an idea in and teaches karate to over 500
way of thinking? someone’s mind. Next came a blueprint young pupils. His school and teaching
I said that these were all obviously taken followed by a mass of happenings, philosophy is based upon the principle
care of as the money is unlimited, so now occurrences and activity; some mundane, of ‘small wins’- small incremental
what would you do? effort ﬁlled and un-miraculous; some successes that lead a child to the
He couldn’t tell me. He didn’t know. He exciting, ‘lucky’ and coincidental. conﬁdence and realisation that they are,
hadn’t really thought about it. Finally we end with a solid structure that quite literally, unlimited in potential.
And there it was right there; he hadn’t can be physically touched, lived in and He is the author of Mo and Lucy -
even thought about it! testament to the truth that all things start Choices, a book that guides its young
When did we stop daring to dream? When with a directed thought - a wish. readers to understand the importance
did we stop imagining we could be a famous of choice and is currently working on
footballer, a vet, an astronaut, a leader Future articles will build upon this a new children’s title I Want To Be An
of people, a mother, a father, a doctor, a platform. For this article just indulge your self Astronaut from which these articles are
business owner… when did it happen? and let yourself ponder these 3 questions: developed.
Let’s just experiment with daring to Retreat to Africa this year will see
dream. This is where our amazing lives can 1 What would you do if you had him developing an adult title The
be created. This ‘playing’ could be the most unlimited money? Urban Pilgrim. Based upon inspirational
crucial and important step of all the things I 2 What things would you do if you had insights and reﬂections he enjoyed
plan to present to you. 6 months to live (pain free and not whilst walking an ancient Japanese
Let us, for a minute, be a child again. I emotionally tumultuous)? pilgrimage, this title will aim to help
love to watch my son playing on the grass 3 What would you do if you had both adult readers consider their unlimited
verge outside my ﬂat. Whether he has a unlimited money and 6 months to live? potential and show them how they may
football, rugby ball, cricket bat or tennis reach beyond the ordinary.
racket I watch him get completely lost in a Play with these questions. Enjoy them. Matt believes that he will have had
world of imagination where he is playing for Ponder them. Dare to write down the a ‘good day at the ofﬁce’ if his writing
England and taking on and beating all other answers in a book that may very well be ‘for or teaching inspires just one person to
competing nations. your eyes only’. It is not that easy to do at reach for the life of their dreams!
I can literally see the thoughts ﬂowing ﬁrst but with practice it becomes easier and
through him and watch daily his skills really enjoyable. Read Matt’s next article in our
develop as he imagines himself into Let the process begin by daring to dream July/ August issue.
improvement. and I will see you back here in the summer
There is not the space here to get into the issue for the next step…
18 FAMILIES UPON THAMES May-June 2010
Lessons in play
It’s time to brush up on
your child’s dental care
Make it a part of your routine and provide your
children with the best in childrens dental care.
DR CLARE BAILEY tells us to Exclusively for 0-18 year olds, Toothbeary has been designed
drop what we’re doing and play specifically with children in mind from colourful murals and
with the children. child-friendly benches, to the very latest in dental care
technology. No intimidating dentist chairs, no scary dentists,
bright lights or hurried consultations.
Our parent coaching courses the immense love I have for my
start with a session on how boys, all my good intentions, a For parents who want the best start for their children in
to play with your children, healthy sense of humour or any dental care, come and see the experts who offer the highest
joining their games, following amount of reading up on it.
standards in dental hygiene and treatment.
their interests and imagination, The ﬁrst session was a real
without taking over or telling eye-opener, mainly because I
them what to do. This is rarely was quite taken aback by the
the reason parents book on the fact that something that seemed
course. Often they have other, frivolous to me is so vital to the
very reasonable priorities, like growth and development of my
re-establishing calm and a sense children. Play was surely simply
of control or boosting their something that kids do in order
child’s conﬁdence and resilience. to while away long afternoons.
All of which are covered in later On weekends we might have
sessions. But as Penny our the luxury to get involved too
Parent Blogger, fresh from her but even then it was primarily to
ﬁrst session found, play is key: prevent siblings from squabbling
and perhaps to slip in the odd
‘I used to believe I was bit of spelling or to sneak in
one of the lucky few who some work on numbers and
would succeed at pretty much colours.’
anything I put my mind to.
If I worked hard enough at PLAY THEIR WAY
something it worked out pretty Follow their lead, their rules and
well. How wrong I was... imagination (within reason!)
Parenting has been a roller Young children have a
coaster ride, with tremendous natural curiosity and need to
highs and also some pretty scary learn about the world through
lows. Tom and Jack are 5 and play
3, and are the best of friends, Be an ‘appreciative audience’
but the worst of enemies or simply describe what they
too, so every day is full of are doing. Not only does this
challenges. I have felt entirely increase their vocabulary, but
unequipped for policing their it shows you are engaged
countless conﬂicts, which are and interested, which in turn
so frustratingly petty, yet earth nurtures their creativity and
shatteringly important to them. imagination
The ﬁrst of my many inadequa- Avoid criticism. Resist the
cies as a parent... I ﬁnd myself urge to teach or tell them what
repeating myself constantly, to do (all too tempting to tell
talking to walls, raising my voice them where furniture should go
Picture by Carolina Middleton www.carolinamiddleton.com
and at times admittedly even in the doll’s house or that the
my hand. Some role model... horse stays in the stable...does
How could I have ever it matter if the horse comes into To register, book a consultation or 020 8831 6870 or visit
imagined that love and the kitchen for tea?) for further information, please call: www.toothbeary.co.uk
common sense would be This is an opportunity to join 358A Richmond Road,
enough to raise a happy child? their world, at their pace. East Twickenham TW1 2DU
I realize that parenting is an art Children usually love the
that often eludes me, despite attention and the good it
generates goes a long way.
Parenting Matters offer Parent Coaching Courses, individual,
corporate and phone sessions. Next course in Thames Ditton starts
Tuesday mornings from May 4th for 9 weeks. For further info go to
www.parentingmatters.co.uk, firstname.lastname@example.org or call
01494 677575. You can also check out your parenting style and its
implications in their online quiz.
May-June 2010 FAMILIES UPON THAMES 19
Denise Van Outen shopping at
KEVIN RYAN helps parents shrug off that inferiority complex.
o you feel children should have boundaries, competing ideas and experience
overwhelmed by and then fundamentally disagree and the inexperienced can be
magazine articles, where those boundaries should left confused and downhearted.
books, radio and be. To be a parent is to feel Do parents have to feel bad
television programmes telling guilty all the time about your all the time? In Neuro-linguistic
you what you are doing is own perceived inadequacies Programming (NLP) there is the
wrong? To be a parent in any and the suspicion that you concept that everyone does the development. He believed in
era is to feel permanently guilty are making the wrong choice best they can with the materials the ‘Good-enough mother’,
it seems. against the often contradic- and knowledge that they have who meets the child’s needs,
A few months ago I caught tory advice pumped out by the at that time. Parents do the best yet gives it enough space to
an edition of Woman’s Hour parental advice industry. It can they can with the information allow it to develop, as opposed
on the radio, where nutrition- seem so overwhelming. they have, decisions are made to the ’Perfect mother’, who
ists were worrying that today’s Every view is met by a counter for the right reasons at the obsessively meets the child’s
mothers only knew how to view from an equally qualiﬁed time and can be changed when needs, giving it no space to
cook nine dishes, and were expert or prestigious organisa- better reasons are offered. develop. (Unfortunately, this
concerned about the effect tion. Every month a piece of a We all act in good faith, but research was from the 1950s,
that this limited culinary range new scientiﬁc research appears can feel unsettled when new when fathers were not yet
might have on the development showing that something you information causes us to reﬂect seen as important for the early
of their children. These experts believed was right now turns back on our actions. Hindsight development of the child.) This
were countered by another out to be wrong. Even where can be a torturous vision, developmental space occurs in
guest, the comedian Annabella there seems to be universal imposing present knowledge the mistakes a mother might
Weir, who proudly admitted agreement, such as the efﬁcacy on past decisions and leaving make, allowing herself and
that she only knew how to cook of breastfeeding, mothers us ﬁnding ourselves wanting. the child to learn. Being ‘good
four dishes and saw these new who cannot breastfeed feel The past cannot be changed enough’ allows for failures and
pronouncements as yet another inadequate and guilty for letting and these feeling of guilt can mistakes and it is only through
stick to beat parents with. their child down. Nothing you be ameliorated by admitting these perceived shortcomings
Parents seemingly cannot do do can ever seem right. to yourself that you were that learning occurs.
anything right. In the eyes of This may appear to be doing the best you could in Experts offer advice and
the media - everything they do a very twenty-ﬁrst century the circumstances you found parents can take and learn
is wrong. They are bombarded phenomenon, but in fact yourself in. from them in a guilt free
by reports and experts telling it is very ancient, as old as Donald Winnicott, whose environment. Yet sometimes it
them what they should do. parenthood itself. Family pioneering research in the does feel as if there is a glut of
Some say they should ignore histories always have tales 1950s into the developmental experts weighing down upon
their baby’s cries, others that of battling grandparents and relationship between mother parents, constantly telling them
they must respond to their in-laws offering new parents and baby, forms the basis that they are not good enough.
child’s every murmur. Some say often contradictory advice based of much of our present Parents should not be deterred.
starting nursery early will help on their own experiences of understanding of child Stand up and shout:
children’s development, others child rearing. Parenthood has ‘We are good enough!’
claim this will impair it. All say always been a battleground of
Kevin Ryan, based in Isleworth, is a coach at Moving On Coaching. If
you wish to know more you can visit www.movingoncoaching.co.uk,
email email@example.com or phone 020 8400 9045
We offer your child the best start in life
Brentford • Clapham • Hammersmith • Kentish Town • Wembley
Limited places available • Corporate discounts
web • www.bringingupbaby.co.uk
e-mail • firstname.lastname@example.org
020 7622 5552
20 FAMILIES UPON THAMES May-June 2010
out and about...
box ofﬁce 0871 230 1552
www.rosetheatrekingston.org Football training for under 7s who are nuts
22nd MAY, Kids Go Disco at Oceana, Get your midﬁeld dynamo enjoying super-skills,
154 to 166 Clarence Street, Kingston, fun and exercise
KT1 1 QP, 2 to 5pm. Disco for children CRB checked and FA qualiﬁed coaches
aged 4 to 10 years with their families. Training sessions, courses and parties
£10 each, adult or child. Book online at across London
kidsgodisco.com kiddikicks.co.uk 0845 602 8276
Fun at Kew Gardens
1st to 4th JUNE, Half Term Fun at
the Landmark Arts Centre, Ferry Road,
Teddington, TW11 9NN. Arty, creative
and drama activities and a show for ages
5 to 12 years. Full details at
22nd to 26th JUNE, George’s
Marvellous Medicine at RIchmond
Theatre, The Green, Richmond, TW9
FUN INDOORS 1QJ, 2 and 7pm. Roald Dahl’s story about
Until 20th MAY, Kingston Readers a young boy who makes a marvellous
Festival, www.rosetheatrekingston.org new medicine to sure his grandmother
has a full list of events. of her terrifying temper. Book on 0870
Until JULY, Perform Fairytale Forest
Workshops in various local centres. Check 30th JUNE, 2nd and 3rd JULY, Monkey
www.perform.org.uk Theatre presents The Adventures of
Odysseus at Riverhouse, Manor Road,
1st MAY, Theatre of Widdershins presents Walton, 4.30 and 6pm. Children aged 8
The Arabian Knights at Vera Fletcher Hall, to 11 present this story full of action and
4 Embercourt Road, Thames Ditton, KT7 fun. Suitable for ages 6 years +. Tickets
0LQ, 2.30pm. Sheherazade’s fabulous tales £6 (carpet £3), book on 01932 253354.
are brought to life with puppets, story-
telling and original music. Suitable for ages 30th JUNE, 2nd and 3rd JULY, Monkey
4 to 10 years. Tickets £6, book on 0844 Theatre presents Witch Hunt by Stuart
884 8832. Arden at Riverhouse, Manor Road,
Walton, 6pm and 7.30pm. Children aged
19th to 23rd MAY, Guess How Much I 11 to 13 present this tale of fear and
Love You at The Rose, 4 to 26 High Street, friendship. Suitable for ages 8 years+.
Kingston, KT1 1HL. With something for Tickets £6 (carpet £3), book on 01932
everyone, this is the perfect entertainment 253354.
for the young and not-so-young! Ages 3+,
! Nannies, Maternity Nurses,
Housekeepers and Mother’s
applicants ! Permanent and Temporary
are ! Residential, Daily,
personally Full and Part-Time
interviewed ! Evening Babysitting Register
Tel: 020 8947 4666
184 Copse Hill, SW20 0SP
Fax: 020 8947 0405
May-June 2010 FAMILIES UPON THAMES 21
out and about...
classiﬁed meteors and satellites. £2 for adults, £1 for
advertising FUN OUTDOORS children and concessions, 0845 456 2796.
Throughout MAY and JUNE, Family Fun
Days at Ham House Garden, TW10 7RS, 11am 23rd MAY, Raise your Voices to Ham House,
to 4.30pm. Exciting new Discovery Room and TW10 7RS, 6 to 9pm. To celebrate the 400th
Ham Voyages map in the house. Self-guided anniversary of Ham House, a one-off community
trails and family tracker packs for the garden singing event. Enjoy a leisurely stroll around the
available throughout the open season. Toy Box gardens - bring a picnic if you like - where you
in Orangery Garden. Contact 020 8940 1950, will be entertained by various community choirs
email@example.com in a real festival of the voice. Free admission
throughout the day but you need to register your
2nd and 3rd MAY, Let’s Go Fly A Kite at interest on 020 8940 1950.
Painshill Park, Portsmouth Road, Cobham, KT11
1JE, 1 to 4pm. Drop into a family workshop and 30th MAY, Family Discovery Day at Osterley Park
have some fun with this ancient art by making and House, Jersey Road, Isleworth, TW7 4RB, 12
your own decorated kite which you can then ﬂy to 4pm. Hands-on creative fun days for families.
out in the landscape. Activities may include art, craft, storytelling or
www.painshill.cco.uk 01932 8868113. hands-on activities in the House and Garden.
Kate’s School of Dance 8th MAY, Richmond May Fair, Richmond Green, 4th JUNE, Teddy Bears’ Picnic at Bedfont Lakes
Kate's School of Dance offer Dance Richmond, TW9 1PB, 10am to 5pm. Free entry. Country Park, Clockhouse Lane, Bedfont, TW14
for 2-11yrs, RAD qualified teacher, 8QA, 11am to 1pm. If you go down to the Lakes
CRB checked and insured, 9th MAY, Chestnut Sunday, Bushy Park, today you’re sure of a big surprise. Take your
RAD syllabus, Lafour Syllabus.
parade 12.15 to 4.30pm. Traditional fairground Teddy Bear along to picnic for a fun day out.
Call Kate on 07957639460 or ‘Galloper’ carousel and other rides and stalls. Advance booking only on 0845 456 2796.
for a free trial lesson. Living history displays:
www.katesschoolofdance.co.uk Henry VIII, English Civil War, WW2 gunnery and 10th, 17th and 24th JUNE, Teddy Bears’ Picnic
others including Ancient Greeks. at Thatched Cottage Glade, Claremont Landscape
Shire Horses from Richmond Park. Gardens, Portsmouth Road, Esher, KT10 9JG, 1
Military Vehicle camp and display reﬂecting to 2.30pm. Take teddy and a picnic followed by
Bushy Park’s wartime history. storytelling from 2pm. Additional charge for story-
Teddington School’s Jazz Band. telling. Call 01372 467806 for details.
Classic cars, motorcycles and cycles.
St John Ambulance and Police information and 11th to 20th JUNE, Twickenham Festival -
advice. Information and displays about Bushy The Best of British. For full details, contact
Park’s wildlife, history, The Friends of Bushy and Twickenham Town Centre Management
Home Parks, The Hampton Wick Association, on 020 8891 7410 or check
The Horse Rangers Association and Richmond www.twickenhamtown.co.uk
Park’s Holly Lodge Centre.
Local charities’ information stands and fund 11th JUNE, Bat and Owl Walk at Bedfont Lakes
raising activities including pony rides. Country Park, Clockhouse Lane, Bedfont, TW14
Education and volunteering opportunities in the 8QA, 9 to 11pm. Using bat detectors, tune into
Park. Refreshment kiosks will be stationed at the the bats that ﬂy the skies above the lakes and
site too. listen out for the local owls. £2 for adults, £1 for
For full details contact 020 8977 3416. children and concessions. All children must be
accompanied by a responsible adult. Call 0845
15th MAY, National Moth Night at Bedfont 456 2796 for more details.
Lakes Country Park, Clockhouse Lane, Bedfont,
TW14 8QA, 8 to 10.30pm. Celebrate National 12th JUNE, Elmbridge Music Festival, Esher Rugby
Moth Night with a candle-lit picnic. Take a Club, Molesey Road, Hersham, 11am to 10pm.
thermos and some snacks and see what Bedfont Live music, busking tent, fun fair, arts and craft
Lakes has to offer in the world of moths and stalls. Adults £4, children free. Call 01932 229996
bats. There will be games and activities for all for more details.
11+ TUITION the family. £2 for adults, £1 for children and
concessions. All children must be accompanied 12th JUNE, Llama Day At Claremont Landscape
and Mock Exam Paper by a responsible adult. Call 0845 456 2796. Gardens, Posrtmouth Road, Esher, KT10 9JG,
Practice 10.30am to 4.30pm. Meet the Bluecap Llamas
TIFFIN/GRAMMAR 16th MAY, British Reptile and Amphibian Day at from Wadhurst in Sussex . Visitors will have
Painshill Park, Portsmouth Road, Cobham, KT11 the opportunity to walk the llamas around the
& Private School Entry 1JE, 12.30 and 2pm. Discover fascinating facts garden. £10 charge payable on the day to Bluecap
Surbiton Kingston Richmond as you come face to face with live British reptiles Llamas. Call 01372 467806 for details.
Hampton Sheen Putney and amphibians. Join a short talk, followed by
Wimbledon Sutton question and answer sessions. Animal handling 12th JUNE, Ham Fair, 11am to 4.30pm. Contact
will take place at approximately 1.15pm and Ham Amenities Group on 020 8940 9476 for
KS2: YEAR 4 - 6 (Tiffin, 11+
you can drop-in and visit Fred the snake handler more details.
Common Entrance, Bursaries and
any time between 12.30 to 4pm. This event
Verbal Reasoning, Non-Verbal is great fun for all ages, included in price of 13th JUNE, Country Bike Ride for Charity and
Reasoning, Mathematics, English, normal admission and no advance booking is Family Fun Day, Cobham Rugby Club, Fairmile
Exam Practice, Interview Technique required, www.painshill.cco.uk 01932 868113. Lane, Cobham, KT11 2BU, 10am to 4pm. Join
Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity and Surrey
Highly Experienced Graduate
Teacher, B.Sc (Hons), PGCE
21st MAY, Star Walk at Bedfont Lakes Country County Cricket Club for a day of pedaling.
EXCELLENT RESULTS Park, Clockhouse Lane, Bedfont, TW14 8QA, Three different rides to choose from, all starting
TEL: 0208-390-6076 9pm. Join a Ranger to search the skies above at Cobham Rugby Club, and an array of different
Bedfont Lakes to see constellations, planets, stalls and activities.
22 FAMILIES UPON THAMES May-June 2010
Please check all events before you leave home as details may have changed.
Please send us details of your
The 10 mile family ride will be mainly off
road, crossing the Mole Valley and Great
events in July and August for
Bookham Common, perfect for all ages. a free listing:
For adventurous riders, try the 17 mile dirt firstname.lastname@example.org
trail through Oxshott Woods. For more
persistent pedallers, take part in the 45 mile
road ride, a challenging tarmac route with
several hilly sections?
Rainbow Trust asks each rider to try and
raise just £50 in sponsorship for the bike ride
but any donation will make a real difference
to the families they support. There are
prizes for the riders who raise the most.
To register for the bike ride, visit
or for more information call 01372 220022 or
Entry fees are £12 for adults, £6 for 13
to 17 year olds until 30 April. Thereafter @nationaltrust.org.uk
£15/£7.50. Children 12 and under are free.
Entries on the day are welcome, includes
a donation to the charity. For further 27th JUNE, Osterley Day at Osterley House
information about the charity, please visit and Park, Jersey Road, Isleworth, TW7 4RB,
www.rainbowtrust.org.uk 12 noon to 5pm. Join in the celebra-
tions of local life at this popular day of
live music, dance performances, art, crafts Fun With Music!
13th JUNE, Twickenham Carnival. Free
event. Twickenham Carnival 2010 celebrates
and children’s activities. This free event
takes place on the lawns of 18th Century
In Central Richmond
the rich heritage of the borough. The day Osterley Park and House. Music Classes for
features an exciting mix of performances Art in the Park transforms the front 1-5 Year Olds
and activities. Enjoy the Carnival Village that lawn into a giant open-air art gallery,
transforms the Orleans House Gallery site with exhibitions and sales of work from For more information, call:
with vibrant live performances, food stalls,
workshops and children’s activities. For more
local artists and crafts people. The Open
University is getting creative juices going
information, contact 020 8831 6000 with a series of writing workshops, and
Send an email to Arts Team at local community groups are showcasing
email@example.com their work, with displays highlighting the
View the Twickenham Carnival website range of activities available in the borough.
www.richmond.gov.uk/arts Family fun includes a host of special craft
activities such as mask and badge-making,
face painting (see above) and henna
20th JUNE, Father’s Day at Claremont designs for the hand.
Landscape Garden, Portsmouth Road, Esher, An variety of music is on offer and the
KT10 9JG, 10am to 6pm. Fathers get in free Hounslow Seniors Trust show how life
to the garden when accompanied by their doesn’t have to stop once you reach a
children. Call 01372 467806 for details. certain age. Members of their Fun & Fitness
in Retirement group are performing the
Chair Dance and Hounslow Age Concern
24th JUNE, Midsummer Picnic Week at group, Golden Age, perform Bollywood
Osterley Park and House, Jersey Road, dance numbers. Another older group folk
Isleworth, TW7 4RB,11am to 7pm Enjoy a and Bollywood songs, and rounds off the
summer’s evening in the Garden as part of day with a relaxation workshop focusing
Midsummer Picnic Week. Families welcome on breathing exercises and ‘laughing yoga’.
020 8232 5050. For more information, call 020 8232 5050.
Daily/live in nannies
Temporary and Emergency Staff
Evening Babysitting Service
Established 18 years
All staff interviewed and reference checked
CRB Enhanced Disclosure
For Friendly Professional Advice on all your
020 8339 0298
Visit our website
May-June 2010 FAMILIES UPON THAMES 23
Sunday 25th July Family Day
Turn an ordinary Summer’s afternoon into a magical adventure
as we relive Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Start the day with a ride on the rabbit hole helter-skelter,
between races take tea with the Mad Hatter
and White Rabbit, solve the Cheshire Cat’s
riddles, have your face painted by the
Queen of Hearts and much more.
Free family entertainment.
Tickets from £16 per person. Kids go FREE.
Fine dining packages from £106 per person (includes Premier Admission ticket).
To book call 0870 727 1234 or visit ascot.co.uk
Families upon Thames is designed by Sarah Harmer and printed by Warners, in Lincolnshire. Copyright, Families upon Thames magazine 2010. Colour transparencies and any other original materials
submitted for publication are sent at owner’s risk and, while every care is taken, neither Families nor it’s agents accept liability for loss or damage. Families upon Thames is part of the Families Group,
established in 1990 and headed by Families South West. All franchised magazines in the group are independently owned and operated under liscense. We take every care preparing this magazine but
the publishers and distributors cannot be held responsible for the claims of the advertisers nor for the accuracy of the contents nor for any consequence.