families north devon & exeter nov/dec 2012

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The essential local magazine for parents... Issue 4 November/December 2012 www.familiesnorthdevonexeter.co.uk plus your local What’s On Guide & much more inside ® North Devon & Exeter FREE pick me up! Christmas Gift Guide Pantos & Shows Competitions Photo - F&F at Tesco

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Families North Devon & Exeter Magazine for November & December 2012

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Page 1: Families North Devon & Exeter Nov/Dec 2012

The essential local magazine for parents...

Issue 4November/December 2012

www.familiesnorthdevonexeter.co.uk

❤ plus your local What’s On Guide & much more inside

®

North Devon & Exeter

FREE pick me up!

❅ Christmas Gift Guide

❅ Pantos & Shows

❅ Competitions

Phot

o - F

&F a

t Tes

co

Page 2: Families North Devon & Exeter Nov/Dec 2012

November/December 2012

www.familiesnorthdevonexeter.co.uk2

How to Survive Christmas By Sarah White

My mother often reminds me that technically, religious considerations aside, Christmas is a slightly posh roast dinner where there are presents. There are subtle differences in the china we use and the bird is a goose instead of a chicken. The bread roll will be accompanied by a cracker, the napkin cloth not paper. Yet somehow despite this seemingly simplistic assessment, many of us feel the stress and anxiety beginning to build as early as November. The following are some (rather useful) tips on surviving Christmas with the family:

Calendars We have a shared calendar in the kitchen for all the family to see and share. With so many invitations from work and friends, nativity plays and present deliveries, having a large visual reminder (above the kettle or on the fridge works well) avoids clashes and aids time management. This should avoid your in-laws scheduling to pop round with their gifts the morning after the office party.

Christmas lists These can be a life-saver. Small children are occupied for hours dreaming up potential presents. Knowing you’re buying someone a gift they will truly love reduces the tendency to overcompensate or the stress of which scented candle they’d like most. Knowing you will receive

something from the list retains the element of surprise, drastically speeds up the shopping process and ensures every gift is “Just what I always wanted.”

Gifts Do not wait until the week before Christmas to begin panic buying. There are bargains to be had online and on the high street throughout the holidays. Even better, take advantage of the January sales and purchase gifts in advance for the following year. Agree to set an upper spending limit for each person. Have a couple of ‘emergency gifts’ such as a bottle of wine or his and hers toiletries. Wrap and leave the label blank - should you receive an unexpected gift you can quickly and easily reciprocate. If you don’t use them they provide an emergency back-up supply of birthday gifts the following year.

TimingIf you really can’t get out of that party why not arrive late and leave early. You can probably list right now the situations most likely to cause you the most stress. Whether it’s a large party or dinner with a particular relative agree an ‘escape signal’ with your partner to indicate that you’ve had enough. Christmas is a busy time and people will understand if you need to leave early or can’t stay overnight.

Take a BreakRecognise when stress levels are building and take five minutes out. If arguments do break out, call truce and get some space. Pop to the shop for groceries, take the dog for a walk or offer to deliver the Christmas cards. Similarly, don’t put things off. If you know you’ll have to telephone your great aunt who drives you crazy get it over with sooner rather than later. Don’t let the dread and anxiety ruin the entire holiday by leaving it too close to Christmas day to make that call.

Don’t try to do it allIt sounds obvious, but few have the strength to say it’s okay if I don’t attend a carol concert this year or if we don’t deliver all our cards by hand. Set a limit to the number of parties/events you can realistically attend in the 24 days before ‘the big day’ and stick to it.

Remember above all else, Christmas is supposed to be a joyful, magical occasion especially for those surrounded by children and family. Our ‘special roast dinner’ only happens once a year, make the most of it!

Aliye Mullen photography - www.aliyemullen.com

Editor’s LetterHelloI hope you enjoy reading this issue of Families, we have put together a bumper What’s On section for November and December including pantomimes and shows for all the family. As well as that you will also find our Christmas Gift Guide and a great recipe for Christmas Cookies for you to try.

Don’t forget to enter our Competition on page 12 and you could win tickets to see Robin Hood at Queen’s Theatre in Barnstaple.

If you are looking for an alternative way to spend Christmas see our Alternative Christmas article on page 9 for ideas.

We have lots of exciting plans for the new year (and a few resolutions), we look forward to seeing you again then!

ContentsNews 3Christmas Gift Guide 4-5find the perfect giftBumps & Babes 6baby go to sleep, please...Parenting 7the ultimate me timeFood for Thought 8Christmas cookiesGet away from it all 9alternative christmasEducation 10-11how to learn the times tablesWhat’s On 12-15out & aboutNext issue: January/February 2013

• Nurseries Feature •If you are interested in advertising and would like to know more about pricing, distribution and upcoming

articles please call 01271 863995 or email [email protected]

© Families North Devon & Exeter. We take every care preparing this magazine, but the publishers and distributors cannot be held responsible for the claims of advertisers nor for the accuracy of the contents nor for any consequences. Any original materials submitted for publication are sent at owner’s risk and, while every care is taken, neither Families North Devon & Exeter nor its agents accept liability for loss or damage. Families North Devon & Exeter 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 license.

Printed by Warners www.warners.co.uk

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Page 3: Families North Devon & Exeter Nov/Dec 2012

News

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By Joanna Parry

Stop the bulliesFind out more about Anti-Bullying Week, which takes place 19th-23rd November this year with the theme ‘We’re better without bullying’. See www.antibullyingweek.co.uk for details of anti-bullying resources, workshops and roadshows, as well as the Anti-Bullying Week competition where you can win £100’s worth of prizes for you and your school.

Think about adoptionEvery child deserves a family, and this 5th-11th November sees the annual National Adoption Week. Since its launch in 1997, National Adoption Week has gone from strength to strength, reaching people across the UK wanting to know more about adoption. National Adoption Week is important in reminding people about the backgrounds of the children waiting for adoption and the difference adoption can make to a child’s life. It also attracts people wanting to find out about their own adoption or about a child they put up for adoption. Find out more at www.nationaladoptionweek.org.uk.

Charity tackles ignorance about fertilitySo you want to have a baby (or another one), but are you sure you know how? Sexual health charity FPA reports that a significant proportion of couples trying to conceive don’t understand enough about fertility and as a result may mistakenly believe they have a medical problem. There are many common myths about fertility and evidence from an FPA study reveals that 50% of adults don’t know basic facts about reproduction. As a result couples trying to get pregnant could suffer unnecessary stress as well as wasting money on expensive fertility tests and treatments. “Equally, couples with a genuine problem may be waiting for nature to take its course,” says Natika

Halil from FPA, “when in fact there is a fertility issue and they need professional help without delay.” To reduce these potential problems, FPA has launched Fertility Awareness Kits to assist couples when starting or extending a family, available from www.fpadirect.org.uk. The charity also runs a helpline 0845 122 8690. www.fpa.org.uk

Family literacy project exceeds expectationsA unique approach to early literacy work with families has had a huge success. Researchers from the University of Sheffield funded by the Economic and Social Research Council shared their approach to family literacy with Early Years practitioners including nursery workers, teachers and family support units to help them plan and evaluate their family literacy work. This unique framework focuses on four key elements: opportunities, recognition, interaction and models, and most practitioners said that it helped promote many activities including enhancing parents’ recognition of reading behaviour in 3 and 4 year-old bilingual children, encouraging talk in 2 year olds and encouraging young boys to begin communicating with writing. “We have been excited to see how the Early Years practitioners involved in this project are taking our ideas to work with parents who have young children,” says Professor Nutbrown, who led the study. “This has greatly exceeded our expectations and by the end of the project the new approach reached over 6,000 families.” www.esrc.ac.uk.

The British Red Cross throws down the gauntlet to parents to take the First Aid ChallengeThe British Red Cross is launching the first UK-wide first aid campaign aimed at parents, in response to a survey showing that most parents don’t feel confident about what to do if their child were injured.96% of parents agree all parents should have basic first aid knowledge – but two thirds don’t feel confident, or worry they would do something wrong.For free first aid advice, videos and to sign-up to the First Aid Challenge, go to www.redcross.org.uk/firstaidchallengeThe website features free videos, emergency advice and information on first aid courses around the UK – the campaign will also encourage parents to download a letter to send to head teachers to ask local schools to teach first aid in the classroom.Tracey Turner from the British Red Cross said, “We hope this challenge will make all parents stop, think and decide to learn some first aid. We all know that as children grow and explore, inevitably they will have some kind of accident, be it big or small. We are passionate about giving everyone the skills and the confidence to know what to do.”

News If you have any news which our readers would like to hear about, send it to [email protected]

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Page 4: Families North Devon & Exeter Nov/Dec 2012

Gift Guide

www.familiesnorthdevonexeter.co.uk

Christmas Gift Guide

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We’ve sifted through masses of products and here it is: our own selection of toys for Christmas 2012. This year we’ve chosen toys we’d buy ourselves, either because they offer great play value, develop creativity or physical play or because they are made of reusable material. With a recession on, choosing toys that will last enough to be handed down is a wise move too. Most toys can be ordered from your local toyshops, who always provide great advice too if you are not sure about what to buy. Enjoy.

Alphabet Zoo

Play, stack, tower and build with the Alphabet Zoo ABC House Blocks. Toddlers will develop their motor skills while creating buildings complete with roofs, windows and doors, before turning the pieces upside down to nest within one another. Made of high quality wood and non toxic paint. Suitable for age 12 mths + RRP £28.00 from www.bibsandstuff.com

Doodle Daysack

Comes complete with a special Doodle Pad that can be used for drawing, painting or even playing games. Once your child has finished their masterpiece, the pad can be displayed proudly in the daysack’s clear, front pocket. www.littlelife.co.uk for stockists. Age: 4+ RRP: £19.99

BigJigs Village Shop

This brightly coloured shop has a bright yellow counter and shelves that have been decorated with pictures of the kind of products you would expect to see in a village store. It also comes with a clock on the sign so you can display opening hours! Educational yet fun, this is a permanent favourite with children from www.WoodenToyShop.co.uk Age 3+ price £97.95 (groceries and accessories additional)

Wobble Deck

Exciting electronic, balance board features four games, tipped to become the latest craze up and down the country. Test skill, memory and agility with hilarious challenges.www.worldsapart.com for stockists. Age 5+ RRP £24.99

Darcey ‘Ballerina’ doll

Removable thin knit ballet style cardigan, lycra leotard and satin tutu with mesh underskirt. Wire integrated in arms and legs mean Darcey can hold various ballet positions. Removable ballet shoes and pink satin pyjamas and slippers for bedtime. £35 From Silver Cross

Makedo – for those who enjoy the Christmas packaging!Every parent knows that feeling, when you’ve spent a fortune on the latest high-tech toy only to find your children much more engrossed playing with the packaging.Makedo’s brilliant idea is to help those kids make better use of the packaging! It supplies a Safe-saw for cutting and punching through materials safely, Re-clips and Lock-hinges for connecting – the child’s creativity and instinct for building things from boxes, cardboard boxes and wrappings then takes over from there. Check out the website for videos and photos of inspiring creations made by people from around the world. Winner of three of the most prestigious International Design Awards. From £7.99 SRP from www.marbeltoys.co.uk

editor’s top choice

Page 5: Families North Devon & Exeter Nov/Dec 2012

Gift Guide

www.familiesnorthdevonexeter.co.uk

Solar Mechanics

Experiment with green energy using solar cells to build a mini robot, cooling fan and more, from the Science Museum, ages 8+ £17 from www.sciencemuseumshop.co.uk

Kiddimoto

Award winning Kiddimoto help children develop their skills of balance and coordination and make a seamless transition to a pedal bike without the use of stabilisers. Wide variety of designs and can be personalised! For 2-6yrs. Available from www.kiddimoto.co.uk £59.99

Win a £200 Shopping Spree in time for Christmas!

New clothes make any occasion extra special. The Polarn O. Pyret Christmas collection for newborn to age 12 years is now in stores and online. As always, the clothes are geared towards children not just looking good, but feeling comfortable too.Cosy cotton PJ’s that will last until next Christmas Eve, a new party dress that can handle spills, or an extra cute outfit for Christmas Day. Enjoy the occasion PO.P style whatever you are planning for the holidays.FREE! Gift wrapping is always available at Polarn O. Pyret stores.For your chances to win enter your details at www.polarnopyret.co.uk/win by 10th of December. Terms and conditions apply. Winner will be notified via email on 11th December.

www.polarnopyret.co.uk

win!

Make your own presents!

I know, you are too busy, and have no time, … but take a minute to consider whether you might benefit from ‘taking the time’ to do it. and home made presents are always much appreciated! You’ll find recipes/how to on the net.• Make your own jam or chutney, (do invest in nice looking labels)• Make your own raw chocolate from scratch, no cooking involved, just mixing ingredients. Once you’ve discovered this you’ll be hooked! See our recipe on Familiesonline/rawchocolate• Frame a beautiful child’s drawing/painting for a relative• Make your own Christmas decorations for fun• Turn your family photos into a collage, calendar, place mat etc. Many options available online or Snappy Snaps.• Paint your own pottery (mug, plate, dish, teapot etc) at our local pottery cafe• Make your own Christmas cards. Those made with family pictures are easy too• Dig out that candle making kit your children never used. It is really easy and results do look good.• Knitters will have fun making rattles, jumpers, scarves, dolls etc. There are some great books to show you how.• Try a craft kit: they allow you to learn the techniques of a craft by creating a finished item from the supplied components. Many kits available are for mums too, including mosaic, soap making, jewellery, knitting, paint your own cup, mobiles for baby, bath bomb and much more. Free delivery for all orders over £30 with www.makeitnow.co.uk or www.hobbycraft.co.uk have a wide choice of kits.

Invest in beautiful packaging, it will make all the difference!

The Tinker’s Tailor has been created by Cathy Lang, a Farmers daughter from just outside Exeter. Cathy is reminiscing

her own Devonshire childhood by making home-made dresses for little girls, and uniquely, giving the children complete control to design their own clothes.Little girls now have access to a unique website which allows them to design their own perfect dress. Then, following simple instructions on the website, they send their individual measurements and designs to be professionally hand-made, right here in Great Britain. £35 (Gift Vouchers Available) www.thetinkerstailor.co.uk

Dubble Trubble

Celebrity hair colourist and Prince’s Trust Ambassador, Daniel Galvin Jr, has introduced Dubble Trubble, a collection of five pH balanced Hair & Body washes and a Detangling mist, all utilising organic botanical extracts.Launching exclusively at Morrisons’ stores nationwide and online, the sales of the products will help raise money for The Prince’s Trust, with Daniel donating a total of £25,000 of the proceeds to the youth charity in the first 12 months.The Dubble Trubble collection is targeted for children from the age of 3 – 12 years.RRP £2.50 available at Morrisons.

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Give a garden that recycles as it grows!A keyhole garden allows an African family to grow 3 meals a day. The design, which looks like a keyhole from above, incorporates a central basket where composted waste is put and water from the kitchen is poured. Just £12 will provide training in how to build a Keyhole Garden for one family. www.sendacow.org.uk

Page 6: Families North Devon & Exeter Nov/Dec 2012

Bumps & Babes

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By Joanna ParryIt’s the first questions new mums ask – how can I get my baby to sleep? “The moment I put him down, he just howls!” We have all, at some time or other, rocked our baby to sleep, pushed them up and down the hall, put them in the pram and pounded the pavements to get them to sleep. But it doesn’t have to be like this. Here are our top tips to encourage your baby to sleep.

How can I get my baby to sleep through the night?Every baby is different. Some sleep through from the start, others won’t sleep more than an hour or two at a time. Although there’s no way to force a baby to sleep through the night, there are steps you can take that can help baby not only sleep through sooner, but also establish healthy sleep habits for life.

Establishing a bedtime routine. A routine provides babies with security and comfort and can encourage them to sleep for longer spells. Establishing a routine can be tricky with a newborn, but try to get a loose schedule started, especially at bedtime. Your baby will be more relaxed if they know what’s coming, and the more relaxed they are, the more likely they’ll fall asleep easily. Before bedtime let your baby get any pent-up energy out of their system with tummy time or a kickabout, then follow it up with a bath and lullaby. Dim the light when you’re feeding and put on a CD of children’s favourites. Whatever you do, do the same thing every night.

Learn the signs that your baby is tired. If they’re fussing, grizzling, crying, pulling their ears, rubbing eyes or is especially clingy, they’re probably sleepy.

Teach the difference between day and night. In the daytime, play with your baby. Chat and sing to them, keep their room light and bright. Don’t try to cut out the radio or washing machine.At night, stay quiet when you feed, keep lights and noise low and hopefully your baby will work out that night-timeis for sleeping!

Give your baby a security object, blanket or stuffed animal. A great way to make teddy a favourite is keep it near you so it becomes mum-scented. Stretch one of your t-shirts over baby’s mattress - when they startle awake the smell of mum can calm them.

Put your baby down awake. If they’ve become sleepy on the breast or bottle, rouse them slightly before putting them in their cot. How to put your baby to sleep is a matter of debate but whether you use controlled crying or co-sleeping, it’s important to find the way that works for you. I suggest giving your baby a chance to fall asleep on their own. It might be OK to rock them to sleep in the middle of the day but not so much fun at 3am! If in the first few weeks your baby is allowed to fall asleep during a feed or stroked until they are asleep, they’ll soon depend on it.

Teach your baby to settle itself. If your baby cries, allow them to cry for 3 minutes, then comfort them but don’t pick them up. Let them cry for 5 more minutes and return again. Extend the time you wait before returning each time and your baby will learn to soothe itself and fall asleep without assistance. It’s difficult listening to your baby cry but this method does usually work, although it may take a few days.

The settle-and-leave method. If you don’t want to leave your baby to cry, pick them up and talk to them until they stop screaming (or try to settle them without picking them up, which is even better). If they cry again pick them up again. It might take 100 goes, but you’ll get there!

Stay by the cot. Some parents choose to stay with their child as they fall asleep but unless you want to do this forever gradually move further away. After a week you’re sitting by the door and, finally, you need no longer stay. If your baby is upset, go to them and say “night, night”, then go back to your place in the room.

Be consistent. Whichever approach you take, it’s no good doing it one night and not bothering the next

You’re not just doing it for you. ‘Training’ your baby to self-settle at night will have positive effects on their general outlook during waking hours. Letting your baby settle themselves gives independence, confidence and security. Remember, your child won’t love you any less in the morning!

Ensuring your baby stays asleepNow that you’ve got your baby to sleep, the next step is to get them to sleep all night long. Swaddling often helps with younger babies, while older infants like to sleep “loose,” with coverings that allow freedom of movement. Some babies wake easily at sudden noises so make sure their cot doesn’t squeak and turn the phone to silent! Also, try playing repetitive sounds such as tape recordings of waterfalls or the ocean.

If you’re concerned about your child’s health seek advice from a doctor. Sometimes there are medical causes of nightwaking, such as gastroesophageal reflux (GER) or allergies.

Once you’ve got it sorted, it goes wrong…Sometimes when a baby is around six to nine months old, even if they’ve never had sleep problems, they may start waking up at night. This could be because of separation anxiety, teething or reaching milestones in physical and mental development.

If your baby wakes in the night to practise their exciting new skill of sitting up, teach them how to lie down again. Then stick to your chosen routine for getting them back to sleep. The sudden burst in development isn’t the same as a growth spurt, so feeding them during the night won’t help them sleep better

They may sleep through if you move bedtime earlier, as well as moving their afternoon nap earlier and making it shorter

Install blackout blinds if your baby wakes early. If they still wake early, don’t turn on the lights, settle and leave them as if it was still the middle of the night. It might take a while but they’ll get the message!

Get in the professionalsIf nothing’s working it might be time to call in the cavalry. Sleep deprivation can seriously affect the health of both mother and baby and there are agencies that offer specialist help with sleep problems. Sometimes referred to as ‘sleep trainers’, these night nannies will observe sleep patterns and implement routines to help baby sleep.

Remember the advice on cot death. SIDS is rare and the exact cause isn’t known, but researchers think there are likely to be a number of factors that can affect a baby at a vulnerable stage of development. www.fsid.org.uk advises placing baby on their back to sleep (not on the front or side). Don’t let your baby get too hot, and keep their head uncovered. Place your baby with their feet to the foot of the cot or use a baby sleeping bag. Don’t use a duvet or pillow until baby is over one year old. Never sleep with your baby on a sofa or armchair and don’t let anyone smoke in your home.

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Parenting

www.familiesnorthdevonexeter.co.uk

By Helena Foss

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Mindfulness has become the buzzword in the world of health and wellbeing. Helena Foss explores what the fuss is about and how busy mums can fit it into their day.

Over at Bangor University, you can do a degree in it. It is at the cutting edge of psychotherapy. Study after study shows it reduces the stress hormone cortisol (linked to everything from heart disease to cancer), alleviates headaches and anxiety; boosts the immune system; improves mental health, creativity and problem solving. In fact, with regular practice of mindfulness it is perfectly possible to rewire the brain to a more peaceful disposition, a process known as neuroplasticity.Academics at Bangor describe mindfulness as: ‘paying attention on purpose moment to moment without judging.’ This quote comes from Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the stress reduction programme at the University of Massachusetts Medical Centre, where mindfulness has been taught and studied since the 1970s. Based on Eastern meditation techniques, the Centre’s mindfulness programmes have yielded consistently successful results in all kinds of settings: from prisons and deprived inner cities to the corporate world.

Yes, but where do I find the time?Back in May, Cross Country Rail (www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk) commissioned a poll of 1,000 parents, 62 per cent of whom described managing their home, parenting responsibilities and longer working hours as akin to ‘one big juggling act’. Three quarters of those polled said that lack of time to themselves causes arguments with their partners, whilst one in ten get only ten minutes to themselves each day. Cross Country Rail have responded by creating a time-saving Smartphone app for booking train tickets. But are super efficient gizmos really the answer to alleviating constant overwhelm?

Human doings or human beings?Yes, women have the vote and legalised equality. But while we’re busy proving our worth to the world at large and overturning patriarchy, we are slowly but surely burning out. ‘Having it all’ has really transpired into ‘doing it all’, which is why we all need to schedule in pure nothing time on a regular basis.This might appear unproductive. But there is great value in stopping being a ‘human

doing’ and practicing the forgotten art of simply being, if only for a few moments. Most of us, at some point in our lives, have had a standstill moment in time – maybe watching an awe-inspiring sunset, looking into your newborn’s eyes for the first time, or even hearing heartbreaking news that you know will change your life forever. In that instant, we are so immersed in the moment that time itself slows right down. Now, this is the point of mindfulness practice; to

be so present that time actually stretches, a little like blue tac, opening up space in your mind. No smartphone app required. Cool, huh? (Did I mention this takes practice?)

Mindless chatterCognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), the NHS approved treatment of choice for depression, works to change the negative thought loops which trigger emotional distress. Indeed, most of us identify so closely with our minds that we believe the stream of mindless chatter that forms the running commentary to our lives, is who we actually are. But if you listen closely, you will notice that a lot of it is, well, a load of old nonsense: Judgements, opinions, shoulds, what ifs and if onlys. Endless self-criticism, worrying about the future, pining over the past, arguing with someone in your head, wondering what the neighbours think of you in your most stressed out moments (come on, admit it, we all yell sometimes), picking over every last detail of that mortifying incident when your child projectile vomited all over that terribly nice shop assistant... Anything except relaxing into the moment that is happening right now and letting everything be exactly as it is.

Doing nothing changes everythingThe magic of mindfulness is that simply observing our thoughts without judgement (which really does take practice!) can, over time, actually change them – no effort required. Using will power to, for example, lose weight, rarely works, as any yoyo dieter will tell you. Rather than sergeant majoring yourself into a strict health regime (and beating yourself up when you give into temptation), in the long term it is more practical and effective to observe your behaviour and compassionately notice the deeper, subconscious thoughts and emotions driving the urge to overeat. The Buddhist psychotherapist Tara Brach, calls this approach ‘radical acceptance.’ Not necessarily easy, but it does work.

Helena Foss is a hypnotherapist, mum and writer: www.helenafoss.co.uk

Mindfulness menuJust like learning to ride a bike, mastering the art of mindfulness takes practice. Once you have the knack, however, you will be able to call on it whenever you have a few spare minutes (on the bus, in a waiting room, while the baby is napping). Find a way that works for you:

Get the knackFind some quiet time and practice sitting with a straight back, feet on the floor (cross legged if you prefer) and notice your breathing, how the air feels as it touches the insides of your nostrils, your chest rising and falling. The idea is to witness thoughts that come and go without getting caught up in them. You could see them as clouds in the sky or a newsfeed along the bottom of your internal TV screen.Random thoughts will distract you time and time again. This is normal. ‘What can I make for dinner? Oh, my nose is itchy. I’ll never get the hang of this.’ You know the kind of thing. Keep bringing your attention back to the breath. If emotions arise, give them space and just let them be.Once you have the hang of it, you can make any and all mundane daily activities mindful: Whilst washing up become as present as you can to the sights, sounds and sensations of that moment. Feel how your feet touch the ground whilst walking. Just notice. Simply be.

If you have three minutes:According to Goldie Hawn’s book 10 Mindful Minutes, a recent American study found that just three minutes of mindful breathing three times per day is enough to strengthen the brain and effectively change stressful thought patterns. Again, the key is regular practice.

If you have twenty minutes:Transcendental Meditation is a popular technique that involves repeating a personalised mantra silently to yourself. To find teachers near you see: www.t-m.org.uk

If you have forty minutes:Sometimes we are so full of tense energy that it has to be released before our minds will calm down too. The trick is to find any physical activity that you enjoy (swimming, jogging, walking through nature, dancing around the living room) and let your body take over and find its natural rhythm. This will naturally clear your mind. Then sit for a few minutes afterwards and practice mindful breathing.

If you have an hour:Try an active meditation like Osho Kundalini Meditation, which involves four equal parts of shaking, dancing and stillness (all set to specially designed music) and a final fifteen minutes of silence. It is worth trying this in a group first (check www.oshoinuk.com/places-to-meditate for one near you) or purchase the CD or MP3 download, available on Amazon, to do at home. The first half an hour moves the body, releasing stress and pent up emotions, making it much easier to sink into stillness. You will emerge a different person!

Further Reading:Radical Acceptance: Embracing your life with the heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach

10 Mindful Minutes by Goldie Hawn (with Wendy Holden)Full Catastrophe Living: How to cope with stress, pain and illness using mindfulness meditation by Jon Kabat-Zinn

The ultimate me-time

Photo © Claus Mikosch - Fotolia.com

Page 8: Families North Devon & Exeter Nov/Dec 2012

Christmas Cookies

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Everyone needs a festive cookie recipe up their sleeve, and what better way to celebrate the holiday season than to bake a special batch of cookies with your children for giving to friends and family? There are many varieties of cookies from oatmeal and fruit filled to mocha and peanut butter, but one of the most popular remains the simple chocolate chip cookie.

But don’t be fooled. A basic chocolate chip cookie recipe can be trans-formed into a truly seasonal treat with a little imagination. Cranberries and pistachio nuts provide bursts of red and green, orange zest gives a festive aroma and white chocolate chips promise a scattering of snow.Spend an afternoon baking with your children and they will be proud to parcel up their homemade treats to give away as presents (if you and they can resist the temptation to devour them all first, that is!).

Kate Coldrick lives in Devon and is Mum to three children. She shares recipes and stories on her food blog, A Merrier World (www.amerrierworld.com)

Tips for Stress-Free Baking with Children

• Supervise their handwashing before beginning to bake. • Collect together all the equipment you will need so that everything is

close to hand. • Weigh out the ingredients in advance for younger children. • For older children, gather together all the ingredients they will need

in advance but allow them to weigh out the amounts they need of each ingredient themselves. • Place each ingredient in an individual bowl (small plastic bowls work

well for this) and ask your child to tell you what is in each bowl (my own children are often confuse flour with sugar, for example). • Write out the recipe in a format that your child can understand. For

younger children, this may use pictures and symbols; older children may be able to follow a simplified written version of the recipe. • Always use oven gloves when placing or removing baking trays from

the oven. • Don’t be too worried by spillages or messy hands, but see them as a

natural part of the baking process! • Don’t expect the finished cookies to be perfect – even the most badly

misshaped cookies will still taste great!

By Kate Coldrick

These delicious cookies are easy to cook and taste amazing. A great present for friends and family wrapped up with a bit of ribbon!

Ingredients:220g butter, softened150g Fairtrade granulated sugar170g Fairtrade light brown muscovado sugar1 tsp vanilla extract2 large eggs 360g plain flour1 tsp baking soda1 tsp salt300g chocolate chips

Method

• Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.

• Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl.

• Lightly beat the eggs together with the vanilla and add gradually to the creamed mixture.

• Mix together the dry ingredients, then stir into the dough until just combined.

• Stir in the chocolate chips.

• Drop large tablespoonfuls of the dough onto ungreased baking trays, leaving plenty of room for the cookies to expand during baking.

• Bake for 8-10 minutes in the pre-heated oven (9 minutes in my oven gives the best results for a crunchy-on-the-outside/soft- in-the-middle texture).

• Remove the cookies carefully with a spatula and cool on wire racks.

Makes c. 30 cookies.

Seasonal colours variation: replace the plain/milk chocolate chips with 200g white chocolate chips or chunks and also stir in 100g dried cranberries, 100g chopped pistachios and the grated zest of 1 orange.

recipe idea

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Food for thought...

Page 9: Families North Devon & Exeter Nov/Dec 2012

Get away from it all

www.familiesnorthdevonexeter.co.uk 9

There are many reasons why some of us find Christmas difficult, whether it be the loss of a family member, loneliness or the memories associated with the season. With the shops shut and attractions closed, you can feel like a prisoner in your own home with only endless episodes of EastEnders for company. But whether you want to escape the festivities or are looking for a different way to spend Christmas this year, there are plenty of alternatives out there.

Get active and busy!“A friend of mine who was single one year volunteered to help at one of the Crisis at Christmas lunch centres,” says Robina. “While we all admired her altruism, she said it was the best thing she’d ever done - rather than moping at home alone, she was helping other people, and came away appreciating what she did have, rather than what she didn’t.” While some charities shut up shop for the Christmas period, others, particularly those supporting the homeless, elderly or sick, are extremely busy, and are looking for people with a range of skills and backgrounds to do a whole host of different things this Christmas.Help out at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Many shelters are set up especially for Christmas so they need extra volunteers to help give out clothing, look after luggage and perform cleaning and kitchen duties. Many also provide services such as hairdressing, dentistry and medical services so they need volunteers with these skills too. They even need musicians, magicians and entertainers! Crisis is one of the biggest homeless charities and over Christmas will need up to 8,000 volunteers nationwideManning a helpline. Helplines such as Samaritans and ChildLine can be a real lifeline at Christmas but they require volunteers to keep them running. Most involve a training programme before you start so get in contact as early as possibleSelling Christmas merchandise. Cards and gifts are great sources of income for charities but they usually need extra help selling them. Volunteer at your local charity shop or offer to sell to friends and family. Alternatively, contact Card Aid, a charity that produces Christmas cards for about 300 different charities. Throughout the UK there are around 30 Card Aid shops needing help over the festive periodCollecting for Christmas. Contact your favourite charity and offer to help with Christmas collections. You only need spare a few hours and there are no necessary skills to take part – just enthusiasm!Help a lonely neighbour. There are many charities across the country working towards a community where neighbours look out for each other. They need your help this Christmas - invite a lonely neighbour for lunch, help with transporting them to local services or do a few jobs around their house to make their lives easier

Donate food. FareShare is a national charity promoting the message ‘No good food should be wasted’. Donate food at your nearest location or help with distribution and deliveryBe a DJ. Radio Lollipop provides entertainment and comfort for children in hospitals, which is especially important over Christmas. If you’re enthusiastic, positive and outgoing why not try thisAnimal lover? Crisis at Christmas not only provides support to homeless people but their dogs too. Dogs suffer equally from a life on the streets so if you’re an animal lover this could be for you

Keep it local. There are lots of organisations that need help within your community. Charities such as Age Concern or the Alzheimer’s Society often require befrienders in their local centres, you can coordinate carol singing for Christian aid, and the Salvation Army is very active at this time of year. For opportunities in your area, visit www.do-it.orgGet loads more ideas to inspire you this Christmas at volunteering.org.uk and timebank.org.uk/christmas-volunteering

Get away from it all“The first Christmas after my mother died, I couldn’t bear the idea of a big family Christmas at home without her,” says Annie, “so my husband booked us into the Grand Hotel in Brighton. The distraction of the Grand’s celebrations, the sea air and being somewhere

without memories turned what could have been sad in to an occasion we still remember for all the right reasons.”Book a cottage (or stay with a friend). Whether you’re on your own or with family, tuck yourself away for the holiday periodGo wild in a theme park. From Alton Towers to Thorpe Park, theme parks across the country offer exciting Christmas packages. Or for a more back-to-nature with many new activities to try, try CenterparcsHole up in a hotel. Forget tinsel and badly-decorated Christmas trees, many hotels fromthe Ritz in London to Thornbury Castle near

Bristol offer festive breaks with a touch of glamour, with everything from champagne receptions to treasure huntsSee a city. Spending a few nights in York, where you can take a trip back in time wandering its Roman city walls, or taking a ride on the 33m high wheel in Edinburgh can fill the holiday period with history and excitementTake a day trip. Why not spend Christmas Day at a National Trust or English Heritage property? Many are open on the day itself and will be given spectacular Christmas makeovers! Several tour companies also run day trips to places such as Windsor,

Stonehenge, Bath and DoverBook a retreat. From Holy Island in Scotland to the Self Realization Meditation Healing Centre near Yeovil, Somerset, you can avoid the festivities and find peace over ChristmasSeek the sun or snow. If you’re after true escapism try diving in Egypt, skiing in the Rockies, partying in Moscow, soaking in the hot springs in Iceland or shopping in the spectacular markets of Cologne or Vienna. Be truly alternative and climb Mount Kilimanjaro, go horse-riding in Arizona or practise yoga in GoaVolunteer abroad. The perfect solution – get away from it all while helping others. Companies such as www.statravel.co.uk, www.travelmatters.co.uk and www.handsupholidays.com offer holidays where you can do your bit, whether it’s painting houses in a favela in Rio de Janeiro or cleaning up a village in Borneo.

Useful WebsitesVolunteeringwww.crisis.org.uk

www.samaritans.org/volunteer-uswww.childline.org.uk

www.charityshops.org.ukwww.cardaid.co.uk

www.fareshare.org.ukwww.radiolollipop.org

www.salvationarmy.org.ukwww.christianaid.org.ukwww.volunteering.org.uk

www.timebank.org.uk/christmas-volunteeringwww.do-it.org.uk

Get away from it allwww.english-country-cottages.co.uk

www.centerparcs.co.ukwww.nationaltrust.org.uk

www.english-heritage.org.ukwww.goldentours.com

www.evanevanstours.co.ukwww.holyisland.org

www.selfrealizationcentres.orgwww.imaginative-traveller.comwww.adventurecompany.co.uk

Alternative ChristmasBy Joanna Parry

Photo © Africa Studio - Fotolia.com

Page 10: Families North Devon & Exeter Nov/Dec 2012

Education

www.familiesnorthdevonexeter.co.uk10

Brain Tumour Research – Wear A Hat DayThursday 28th March 2013Join the fun on March 28th and help fund the fight against brain tumours‘Wear a Hat Day’ is a fun way of increasing awareness and getting people raising money for an often overlooked form of cancer. It’s a day every year that we ask people to wear a hat to raise awareness and funds for vital research into brain tumours. A day when we encourage people to make donations in order to wear a hat to school, at work, at social events or even at home.From sponsored silences to charity runs and school bake sales, educational facilities around the

country are being encouraged to raise money in any way they can. Sue Farrington-Smith, Director of Brain Tumour Research, comments: “Brain tumour research receives less than 1% of national cancer research spending in the UK yet this deadly disease kills more children and adults under 40 than any other cancer so please get involved on March 28th 2013”.

Register your interest today [email protected]

The demise of the GCSEEducation Secretary Michael Gove is to replace the existing GCSE exam system with new, tougher qualifications in a major overhaul of the exam system. The new English baccalaureate – the EBacc - will replace GCSEs with single, more difficult examinations in the biggest change in the system for over 25 years. The new exams are likely to do away with the existing continuous assessment modules, will reintroduce the traditional 3-hour examinations and restrict the number of top grades awarded. In fact, one of the key aims is to remove starred grades entirely and make sure that far fewer pupils win the top grades compared with the 3 in 10 pupils who currently receive As

and A-stars. Teenagers will also be prevented from re-sitting individual modules and will have to retake the entire exam if they want to improve their grades. The government insists that these changes will end “grade inflation and dumbing down” and comes after both Coalition parties have shown themselves keen to see the introduction of more rigorous teaching and exams in key subjects, however they are not scheduled for introduction until September 2018.

Ed’s Reading RoomHi kids, parents, grandparents, teachers – and book lovers everywhere! I’m Ed and here is my Winter book selection for you to enjoy. The books are all available online from Ed’s Reading Room at www.edontheweb.com.On the 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 also lots of other fun online activities, complementary to the curriculum.

FOR AGES 5-7 YEARSCudweed in Outer Space by Marcus Sedgwick(Orion £4.99)ED SAYS: ‘Cudweed persuades his father to let him buy a spaceship kit that he sees in a comic found in the attic of the castle where he lives. After managing to assemble the spaceship, Cudweed and his pet monkey Fellah set off on an exciting adventure into outer space. When the spaceship is hit by a missile they see the Thrillons waving. But are they waving in friendship or in anger? And will the two adventurers get back to the castle in time for cakes and scones? ‘This is a super book for young readers to enjoy on their own or reading together. It is a great story with fantastic colour illustrations throughout.’

The Snow Bear by Holly Webb(Stripes Publishing £7.99)ED SAYS: ‘With only days to go until Christmas, snow starts to fall. Sara is staying with her grandfather and after his tales of life in the Arctic they decide to build an igloo and a small snow bear in the garden. Sara is thrilled – but in the middle of the night it all looks very different. Sara and the young bear set out on a journey to find the bear’s mother. But will Sara find her way home in time for Christmas? ‘This is an exciting winter adventure with its snowy setting and delightful characters. It is a lovely story that will captivate boys and girls alike.’

Is your school ready?This autumn Ofsted has issued new guidelines in regards to e-safety provisions in schools. From now on Ofsted will be concerned about how each school protects and educates its staff and students in their use of technology, plus ensuring there is support in place should any issues arise. Although many schools might already have existing policies in place,

others will need to revise their priorities to include this immediately. E-safety is constantly changing but by empowering both students and teachers with enough know-how to identify online risks, we can make sure children, even at an early age, can protect themselves from abuse, cyberbullying and other internet threats throughout their school life and into adulthood.

wavebreakmedia/shutterstock.com

Education News

‘I am pleased with my child’s progress and all aspects of QE.’

‘The staff are very helpful and make the atmosphere at QE a friendly place to be.’

‘The students are excellent ambassadors for the College’

Parent comments from 2011-2012

Western Road and Barnfield, Crediton

01363 773401

www.queenelizabeths.devon.sch.uk

By Joanna Parry

Page 11: Families North Devon & Exeter Nov/Dec 2012

Education

www.familiesnorthdevonexeter.co.uk 11

Learning the times tables is an important skill that is the foundation for all maths. With an extensive maths curriculum, and the latest stipulation being that children should master their tables up to 12x12 by the age of nine, teachers need parents help in getting children to learn the basic facts. Finding a pain-free method of learning times tables is not easy, but these tips and techniques you should help make major progress.

Start with explaining the concept If your child understands that multiplication is repeated addition, they will have an easier time learning them.Using objects such as crayons, illustrate a simple times table such as 3 X 2. Make two groups of three crayons, then count the crayons. Continue until they understand that multiplication is just adding a series of numbers, 6 x 4 means 6 added together 4 times (6 + 6 + 6 + 6).Create a number line from 0 to 100. Show them the pattern to working out each multiple, i.e. the three times table answers are every third number. End by encouraging them to write out the times tables on paper, using addition, up to 12.

Show them the tricks of the trade Now they need to start learning the facts, rather than by counting. Learn the tricks of the trade first, e.g. any number times by 10 is the number with a zero on the end, e.g. 10 x 5 = 50. They are all listed on www.mathsisfun.com/tables.html

Your aim now is to recite memorized facts quickly and in any order.If your child is a visual learner, purchase or make flashcards. Write the problem, like 4 x 9, on the front, and the answer, 36, on the back. Buy or create a times table poster and display key facts.Times tables raps and music CDs are great for an auditory learner. Chant the times tables as multiples 0, 5, 10, 15, etc. and also as sentences 1×5=5, 2×5=10, etc. Say difficult times tables in

a funny voice, a squeak or a whisper. Use helpful rhymes to remember really tricky ones, e.g. 8 x 8 = 64 becomes “He ate and he ate and he sticks in the door, eight times eight is sixty-four”.For a kinaesthetic approach, add actions. Children can clap, stamp or jump on the difficult fact. Play ‘Knock, Knock’ –knock your fists twice on the floor, then put out the number of fingers of a times tables. The winner is the first to say the answer.

Games to reinforce the multiplication facts After your child has a basic knowledge of the tables, games will help instil the recollection of correct facts quickly. Multiplication Bingo, Hoo Ha!, Know Your Times Tables and Math Whiz are great board games.There are a whole host of multiplication computer games – multiplication.com, Learn-timestables.com, themathsfactor.com, mathsisfun.com, maths-games.org, and computer apps such as Squeebles, Ghost Blasters, Multiple Wipeout. Another idea is to print off worksheets from Multiplication.com or Enchanted Learning, math.about.com

Keep it funHallelujah! Your continued energy and enthusiasm is very important – go at their pace and always praise their efforts. Aim to reward your children with every bit of progress made; it doesn’t haveto be material things, just a bit of

fun together. Take breaks often, relax, give lots of ‘high fives’, and real compliments.

And keep it up!After memorising times tables, it can be all too easy to forget them! Don’t give up too soon. It can take six or seven weeks until the facts are truly automatic. Practice quick-fire drilling. There are numbers everywhere, so multiply the digits in number plates or in recipes. Print out a times table square and keep a record of the tables your child knows well, so you know which ones you need to focus on.Whichever method you choose, there is never a truly pain-free answer because real fluency requires real practice over weeks and months. That said, it is important for your child to have a secure knowledge of the times tables with instant recall - their future maths skills depend on it. So take the challenge, make it happen, and enjoy it!

FOR AGES 7 YEARS PLUSHow To Build An Abominable Snowman by Dominic Barker(Orchard Books £4.99)ED SAYS: ‘Max and Molly are horrified at the idea of living on their parents’ emergency stock of baked beans if they are snowed in. They set out to find a way of getting a snowplough to clear their road and the only answer seems to be a visit from an abominable snowman. In this wintery Guide To Trouble, Max and Molly show us how to deal not only with problems in the snow but also with troublesome grown-ups. ‘Here is another hilarious tale about the Pesker twins. It is brilliantly written by this fantastic author who has an amazing insight into children’s curiosity and logic!’

The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne(Doubleday £10.99)

ED SAYS: ‘Barnaby Brocket is a very unusual boy. He defies the laws of gravity – and floats. His parents try to take steps to keep him firmly on the ground but, at the end of their tether, they decide to release Barnaby. At first he is horrified – but when he floats towards a rather special hot air balloon a new, magical life begins for Barnaby. ‘This imaginative tale is beautifully written and the colourful characters are very entertaining. How lovely to read about someone discovering that, even in extraordinary circumstances, there is nothing better than just being yourself.’

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.You are very welcome to contact Maggie on 01753 730019 or by email at [email protected] about the website or about Ed on the Web Spelling Bees in schools.

A* ISBORNKingsley School is celebrating another year of outstanding achievement, in the classroom, on the sports field, and in the local community.

www.kingsleyschoolbideford.co.uk

Outstanding achievements, outstanding individuals.

Kingsley School, Northdown Road, Bideford,

Devon, EX39 3LY

t: 01237 426200

How to learn the times tablesBy Elisabeth Dolton

2x2=43x2=64x2=8

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What’s On

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LANDMARK THEATREIlfracombewww.northdevontheatres.org.ukThe Wind in the WillowsSaturday 3 November, 2.30pmThis production features a fantastic musical score with catchy original sing-a-long songs, four talented actors, some cute and cuddly animal puppets, a caravan, a car, a barge, a train and horse! Age 3+Farm BoyMonday 12 November, 1.30pm & 7pmNew Perspectives Theatre Company presents Michael Morpurgo’s classic tale. The compelling sequel to the award-winning War Horse is a moving account of the changing face of the English countryside and a beautifully-crafted reminder that stories really can reach out across the generations. Age 7+Jingle all the WaySaturday 8th December ,7.30pm & Sunday 9th December, 3pm & 7.30pmJoin Small Pond and friends (Petroc Musical Theatre, La La voices, Make the Move and more) for their annual seasonal show - a festive feast of entertainment to kick start your Christmas. Age 8+

QUEEN’S THEATREBarnstaplewww.northdevontheatres.org.ukRobin Hood - The Queen’s Theatre 2012 PantomimeSaturday 15th December- Saturday 5th January

On target to be Queen’s Theatre’s best ever Christmas show! A sheriff-busting, arrow-shooting, tights-wearing, hog-roasting extravaganza of pantomime fun. Age 3+

EXETER NORTHCOTTwww.exeternorthcott.co.ukStones and BonesSunday 4th November, 3pmFind out all about archaeology and fossils, say hello to one of your stone-age ancestors, hear stories of giants and wizards, see a volcano erupting before your very eyes, and maybe even glimpse a dinosaur or two... Age 4+Farm BoyTuesday 6th- Saturday 10th NovemberThis magical tale of the bonds linking grandfather to grandson and ultimately both to the land has once more been brought to life by New Perspectives Theatre Company in their delightful touring show combining drama, storytelling and original music. Age 7+The Snail and the WhaleWednesday 12th - Sunday 30th DecemberA tiny snail longs to see the world, so she hitches a lift on the tail of a huge humpback whale. Together they go on an amazing journey, experiencing sharks and penguins, volcanoes and icebergs. But then disaster strikes – the whale gets beached in a bay. Can the tiny snail save the day? Age 4+

EXETER CORN EXCHANGEwww.exeter.gov.uk/cornexchangeNick Baker - Weird CreaturesFriday 9th November, 7.30pmCome and learn more about some of the lesser inhabitants of our planet, part bizarre, part adventure and part conservation; all served up with a generous dollop of irreverence and humour!

WESTPOINT ARENAExeterwww.westpointarena.comHoliday on Ice - SPEED!!Thursday 15th- Sunday 18th NovemberSkaters, dancers and aerial artists from all over the world perform in Speed, a show combining death defying stunts, burlesque, skating, dance and circus. Roaring through the Speed of Time, Love and Money this outrageous show is sexy, fast and full of adrenaline!

EXETER BARNFIELDwww.barnfieldtheatre.org.ukA Christmas CarolTuesday 6th November,7.30pmJoin Ballet Theatre UK on a magical journey to the dark and twisting streets of old Dickensian London.With a cavalcade of colourful characters, including Mr Bob Cratchit, Jacob Marley, Tiny Tim and the comical Mr Fezziwig, A Christmas Carol is the perfect way

to get you into the Christmas spirit. Mother GooseSaturday 1st - Wednesday 5th DecemberThe police and Hospital Players return again with their fun filled pantomime, and helping to raise money for local charities too. This year they have decided to have the pantomime in December hoping to get you in that Christmas mood!Christmas Spectacular ConcertSaturday 8th & Sunday 9th DecemberThe Stan Hacking Concert Band are back giving their very successful and popular Christmas concerts at the Barnfield Theatre. The programme will include the very popular Christmas melodies, plus music from around the world.Sleeping BeautyFriday 21st December-Saturday 5th JanuaryOnce upon a time in a land far away, a beautiful princess was born. Cursed by the wicked fairy Carabosse, she was destined to spend her life as the Sleeping Beauty.…until awakened by true love’s kiss. You can hiss and boo the baddies, cheer on the hero, and shout yourselves hoarse. This show promises to be packed full of colour, fun and plenty of slapstick to brighten up those winter blues. There are plenty of great songs old and new and maybe a fire breathing dragon or two…

win!Win Tickets to see Robin Hood at Queen’s Theatre!Enter our competition and you could win a family ticket to see Robin Hood.

Robin Hood promises to be a sheriff-busting, arrow-shooting, tights-wearing, hog-roasting extravaganza of pantomime fun.Based on the much-loved English folk tale, Robin Hood will be an action packed family pantomime with stunning new costumes, fantastic live music, brand new script and the usual comedy mayhem you would expect from the Queen’s Theatre pantomime.Journey into the enchanted world of Sherwood Forest with Robin and his motley band of Merry Men as they take on the wicked Sheriff of Nottingham and battle to rescue Maid Marian from his evil clutches… and all without laddering their tights!North Devon Theatres are delighted to present star of BBC1’s Call The Midwife, Laura Main as their fair Maid Marian, a welcome return from Richard Alan as the lovely-larger-than-life Dame (with a twist!), and Jon Wadey as the wicked Sherriff of Nottingham.

We have 3 family tickets for the 7pm show on Saturday 15 December to giveaway in our Robin Hood Competition. (A family tickets is four tickets with no more than 2 adults.)

To enter go to www.familiesnorthdevonexeter.co.uk/competitions

Competition

Pantos, Theatre & Shows

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What’s On

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MUSEUMS

ILFRACOMBE MUSEUMwww.ilfracombemuseum.co.uk Skeletons, Bats and Creeping CreaturesFriday 2nd November, 10.30am - 12.30pmHalf Term children’s activity morning. Cost £1.50 per child. No need to book a place. Come along for some spooky fun!

BARNSTAPLE & NORTH DEVON MUSEUMwww.devonmuseums.net/barnstapleRemember, remember. Bonfire Night and The Plague!Saturday 3rd November, 11am-4pmDiscover the story behind bonfire night and the terrifying tale of the plague. Meet people in period dress and have a go at some games & craft activities from the 17th century. Family friendly fun! Free activity but donations appreciated. See you there – if you dare!Mysterious CreaturesUntil Saturday 17 NovemberFrom the Beast of Exmoor to the Yeti. Come and be amazed by these strange and exotic creatures. Are they myths or reality? An exhibition of cryptozoology from the Centre for Fortean Zoology, Woolfardisworthy.

BURTON ART GALLERY AND MUSEUMBidefordwww.burtonartgallery.co.ukSculpt with Paper and WireThursday 1st November, 10 am - 4pm Taking inspiration from Leonard Baskin, create a sculpture working with paper mache. Build yourself in miniature, add beautiful wings, birdlegs and a beak. With fantasy in mind decide how your sculpture is going to look. £15. To book a place please contact the Burton.Meet ‘John Rolle Walter’ and ‘Pompeo Batoni’Wednesday 10th November, 2pmFind out more about these two amazing characters, brought to life by Past pleasures Theatre Company for the day. Part of the (From) The Road to Rome exhibition, which opens at 2pm.Self guided activities for families are also provided alongside the exhibition.

RAMMExeterwww.rammuseum.org.ukSaving FaceThursday 1st November, 10.30am to 12.30pm and 1.30 to 3.30pmMake a mask inspired by the marvellous objects in the World Cultures collection.Tickets £6. Accompanying adults can watch/supervise for free. All children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult. Some activities are messy so do wear clothes that can get dirty. If an activity is busy there may be a short wait. Family Activity Day at St Nicholas Priory: Land AhoyFriday 2nd November 10.30am to 12.30pm or 1.30 to 3.30pmFollow in the sea boots of merchants and adventurers who left Exeter to explore the world. Take ship for an imaginary journey to distant lands and discover the chests of gold, spices, silk and tobacco. Drop-in. Normal admission charges apply: adults £3.30, children £1.50.St Nicholas Priory, the Mint, off Fore Street, Exeter EX4 3BLSome activities are messy so do wear clothes that can get dirty. If an activity is busy there may be a short wait.Family Activity Day at St Nicholas Priory: Robert the Rat’s Gunpowder PlotSaturday 3rd November, 10.30am to 12.30pm or 1.30 to 3.30pmSt Nicholas Priory, the Mint, off Fore Street, Exeter EX4 3BLMake the soldiers that help Robert the Rat find barrels of gunpowder and save the King. Drop-in. Normal admission charges apply: adults £3.30, children £1.50.Some activities are messy so do wear clothes that can get dirty. If an activity is busy there may be a short wait.Travelling Souk: Christmas FairFriday 9th November, 9.30am to 3pmWoodbury Park Hotel & Golf Club, Exeter EX5 1JJA Christmas Fair sponsored by Every’s Solicitors, JM Finn & Co, Savills and St Peter’s School, Lympstone. £5 on the door (not available in advance)Organised by the Royal Albert Memorial Museum Development Trust (charity number 1038570) for the support of the museum, tickets are available in person or by phone using a credit or debit card

on 01392 265858 during RAMM opening hours.Making a Beeline in TimeSaturday 10th November, 10.30am and 1.30pm An event for families with young children. Join in a beeline at the Garden Entrance. Come on a waggle dance to find the treasures of the museum. A short activity session will be included. Ticketed but free. Tickets are available in person or by phone on 01392 265858 during RAMM opening hours.Family Activity Day at St Nicholas Priory: Robert the Rat’s Christmas FeastSaturday 8th December, 10.30am to 12.30pm or 1.30 to 3.30pmSt Nicholas Priory, the Mint, off Fore Street, Exeter EX4 3BLRobert the Rat will help you make

some tasty Christmas treats and evergreen decorations. Search for his Christmas stockings and join in a wassail. Drop-in. Normal admission charges apply: adults £3.30, children £1.50. Some activities are messy so do wear clothes that can get dirty. If an activity is busy there may be a short wait.

TOPSHAM MUSEUMwww.devonmuseums.net/topshamChristmas Market, Matthews Hall, Topsham 14 November,10am-12 noonTopsham Museum’s annual Christmas Market will be held in Matthews Hall on 14th November.Come along and enjoy a coffee with your friends, buy local and festive produce, home-made cakes and unusual christmas presents.

Museums & Galleries

Sunday 18th November, 10am-4pm

www.kingsleyschoolbideford.co.uk

CHRISTMAS CRAFT FAYRE

Outstanding achievements, outstanding individuals.

Entrance fees: Adults: £1.00 Children: 50pBacon Rolls £1.50 Drinks £1.00

Including children’s craft area and santa’s grottoKINGSLEY SCHOOL SPORTS HALL

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What’s On

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We have taken every care in preparing the listings in this magazine but sometimes events are cancelled or times

change, so please double check details before setting out.

14

Families North Devon & Exeter is looking for distributors in North Devon and

Exeter. If you have a car, a few hours spare every two months and want to earn

some extra money, please contact:

Kirstin on 01271 863995 or email [email protected]

Distributors Wanted...

ATTRACTIONSNT ARLINGTON COURTwww.nationaltrust.org.uk/arlingtonThe Faraway Tree at Arlington Court Every weeeknd in November & December, plus 26 December – 6 January, 11am-3pmFollowing on the success of the last 2 years, we will be bringing you a new family winter trail to get you enjoying the outdoors and exploring locations from a well known novel. This years book will be Enid Blytons Faraway Tree trilogy and will once again feature a fantastic outdoor trail.Pick up trail from receptionWear warm, waterproof clothes and footwear as the trail takes place outside. Suitable for all ages. Dogs on leads welcome. Normal Admission Charges Apply. £2 per trail.Country House Vintage fair Sunday 4th November, 10am-4pmA chance to take a step back in time and pick up some stylish vintage goods for your home. From clothes to kitchenware and textiles to toys there will be something to appeal to all tastes. Normal Admission Charges Apply, plus £1ppPamper Day and Winter Swish Tuesday 6th November, 10.30am-3.30pmEnjoy a day of relaxation and shopping. Sample mini treatments by local beauticians from massage to makeover and treat yourself to a special gift. Plus bring along an unwanted item of clothing or accessory to swap with someone else. Upgrade your winter wardrobe a cost-effective and fun way with our swishing. £4 per personFamily book fair Saturday 10th & Sunday 11th November, 11am-3pmAs part of our Faraway Tree winter

trail we’re looking to get more children reading. Novels will be on sale from popular children’s authors including Enid Blyton. There will also be a chance to try out some hands on crafts inspired by some of our books and, of course, the chance to purchase some early Christmas presents.The book fair will take place in the garden tea room. Dogs on leads welcomeNormal Admission Charges ApplyHome-made Christmas Fair Saturday 17th - Sunday 18th November, 10.30am-3.30pmOur ever popular Christmas fair. Buy products homemade by local people; from wood craft to chutneys and more. Find the perfect stocking fillers and join in the festive fun.Please wear outdoor clothing as the event is in a marquee on the lawn.The event is accessible to wheelchairs.This event is suitable for children.Dogs on leads welcomeNormal Admission Charges Apply plus £1pp

Christmas bells & baubles workshop Saturday 8th December, 11am-3pmLearn how to make pretty baubles and hanging bell decorations in this drop-in workshop using recycled fabrics. Deborah Hastings will take you through the basics, and

you’ll then have the skills to complete your own creations at home. A great workshop for families.The workshop will be held indoors. Follow signs from reception.Suitable for all ages. Children must be supervised by an adult. This workshop is a drop-in event, but may be busy at times. Please expect a short delay.Normal Admission Charges Apply

£2 per bauble, £3.50 per jingle bellRazzamatz Reindeer & Sleigh Saturday 15th, Sunday 16th Dec, 10.30am-1pm or 1.30pm-4pm These reindeer are out to have fun! Create a razzamatz reindeer from paper cups as you’ve never used them before! Plastic utensils become antlers & tails with of course a red nose for someone special. The workshop will be held in the garden tea room, please follow directions from reception. Please bring a cardboard box to take your creations home in. We also advise old clothes you don’t mind getting messy.Ideal for families to participate inChildren must attend with an adult and will be working on the same reindeer and sleigh. Booking Essential, £10 – one adult and one child, £15 – ond adult and 2 children Brunch/ Tea with Father Christmas Saturday 15th, Sunday 16th, 10:30am or 2:30pm, Monday 17th to Friday 21st December, 10.30am or 4.15pmEnjoy a special brunch or tea with Father Christmas. Join in with festive fun and games, plus all good girls and boys will receive a present. A great event for all families and children of all ages.Meet in the shop.Wear warm, waterproof clothing as some of the activities may be outside.Accessible for wheelchairs and buggies.Suitable for all ages of children.Please specify ages and names of participants when booking as well as any food allergies. Booking Essential. This event is very popular and books up early. Adult £7.50 Child £6 Family £24 (2 adults and 2 children) Father Christmas at Arlington Court Saturday 22nd & Sunday 23rd December, 11.30am-3.30pmVisit Arlington and meet a very special character - Father Christmas! Bringing toys for all good girls and boys, he’ll be joining us for a couple of dates in December. Plus write your Christmas list and hand it to Father Christmas yourself. Please buy a ticket from Reception.Accessible for wheelchairs. Suitable for all ages. Normal Admission Charges Apply Child £4Walk Out the Old Year... Monday 31st December, 11am-1pmEnjoy a ramble across the Arlington estate led by our Head Warden. Walk off your Christmas indulgences and make a new year resolution to get our in the

fresh air more! At shop and reception building. Suitable outdoor clothingTelephone for details but walk will be along narrow muddy paths and up and down hills. 2 hour walk. Please book a place on 01271 850296

NT KILLERTONwww.nationaltrust.org.uk/killertonKillerton Great British walk weekSaturday 27th October – Sunday 4th November, 11am-4pmEveryday throughout the autumn half-term the Discovery Centre will be open for you to pick up free trails, maps and ideas for beautiful walking routes.Explore Ashclyst forest Sunday 4th November, 11am-4pmAs part of Killerton Great British Walk week, why not come along to this walking event.Craft fairSaturday 10th and Sunday 11th November, 10.30am-4pmFind unique and home made gifts for Christmas with a wide range of local west county craft stalls in the house. £1.50 or free for National Trust members.Farmers’ and local produce marketSaturday 17th November, 10.30am-2pmBrowse the many stalls in the car park, try free tasters and get ideas for Christmas. Free entry and free parking.Food fairSunday 25th November, 11am-3pmStock up for Christmas with a wide range of food from sausages to olives and cheese. £1.50 or free for members.Christmas at KillertonOpen everyday, 1st December – 23rd December, 11am-4pmSee the pipers piping, lords-a-leaping and sparkling displays in the house. Wrap up warm and feel festive exploring the outdoor Christmas trail with twinkling lights and magical willow reindeer.

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What’s On

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RHS ROSEMOOR www.rhs.org.uk/rosemoor Tree Tramp Family WalkFriday 2nd November, 11.30am-6pmNormal Garden Entry but places are limited so booking is essential. Join Yvonne on a walk of discovery around some of Rosemoor’s collection of beautiful and unusual trees, many of them clothed in their striking autumn colours. Fun for all the family and good exercise too! Wear your wellies and wrap up warm. Tickets bookable for children only - accompanying adult family members are very welcome and don’t need to book.Christmas Shopping EventSaturday 10th - Sunday 11th November, 10.30am - 4:30pmFree event in Plant Centre and Gift Shop. Rosemoor’s Christmas gift shop opens to all with a large selection of quality gifts and Christmas decorations. Come along and get a head start with your Christmas shopping.Winter sculpture exhibitionuntil 24 February 10am–5pmRosemoor’s winter sculpture exhibition features an exciting and eclectic mix of exhibits from a diverse collection of sculptors, spread throughout the garden. See how many sculptures you can discover. Many of the pieces exhibited are for sale. Normal garden admission.Christmas food fairSunday 2nd December 10am–3pmRosemoor will be laden with festive treats including cheese, meats, fish, wine, cider, pastries, puddings, jams and much more. The perfect place to stock up on gastronomic goodies in the run up to Christmas. Normal garden admission.Santa’s grottoSaturday 8th–Sunday 9th December 11.30am–3pmBring the children to meet our traditional green Santa Claus as he arrives in style at Rosemoor at 11.30am each day. Our special guest will take a tour around the Formal Garden before settling in to his magical grotto, deep in the Winter Garden. Visit him there and make a wish for Christmas! Normal garden admission (booking not required).Christmas saleWednesday 26th December 10am–5pmHurry to the shop’s winter sale before all the best bargains go. We are making genuine reductions on many items as we clear space to make room for new ranges.

Free Plant Centre and Gift Shop event.

THE BIG SHEEPwww.thebigsheep.co.ukHalloween Festival Saturday 27th October - Sunday 4th November Ghoulish ghosts, haunted hayrides, wicked witches, scary skeletons. You’ll not find a scarier Halloween Fesival in the South West.

Guy Fawke’s Fire Works Party Monday 5th November 2012 - 6:30pm - 9:30pmBonfire and burgers - Fireworks and Fun - Boogying and Bopping!A fireworks party to to remember!Christmas Farmers MarketsSaturdays 1st, 8th & 15th, 22nd DecemberThe South West’s largest Farmers’ Market with over 50 local produce stalls.

POWDERHAM CASTLEwww.powderham.co.ukMichaelmas FairThursday 8th November, 10am-3pmA chance to do some early Christmas shopping! Browse an array of stalls around the Castle rooms selling Christmas puddings, decorations, books, jewellery and many unusual things you won’t find on the High Street.Admission £4

ESCOTwww.escot-devon.co.ukChoctober!until Sunday 4th NovemberEvery day in the half term holidays you can make and take home your very own hand-made chocolates! Learn how with our on-site chocolatier who will help you make no-nonsense chocolates which are delicious and healthy! Yes - healthy!! Spoon licking and booking essential! £3.75 per person (suitable for children and grown-ups)

Halloween Fright Nights!Friday 2nd & Saturday 3rd November, 5.30pm – 8.30pmIt’s thrilling…. It’s chilling……It’s scary.….you’ll scream……It’s monsterously good fun…..It’s Escot Halloween Fright Nights Booking and fancy dress is essential!Christmas Treats Free WeekendSaturday 24th & Sunday 25th NovemberFree admission 10am – 5pm!Our Annual Christmas Treats Free Entry Charity Event including Father Christmas in his Grotto, woodburners, wine and festive fun in the yurt village, christmas tales, horse and carraige rides and carols.

DEVON WILDLIFE TRUSTwww.devonwildlifetrust.orgMilling at CricklepitFriday 9th November, 10am-12noonCome and see DWT’s beautifully restored watermill, and watch as our volunteer millers grind wheat for flour in the traditional way. Admission is free and there is no need to book except for groups and schools. To enquire please call 01392 279244 or email [email protected] Organised by Devon Wildlife TrustChris Packham Goes Totally WildSaturday 24th November, 7.30pm

The popular presenter comes to Exeter’s Northcott Theatre on Saturday 24 November at 7.30pm. Chris will captivate with his latest exquisite collection of images. Through his talent and passion for wildlife photography, he captures on camera perfect moments in time and space – raw emotion, beauty and perfection.Christmas at Cricklepit! Saturday 1st December, 10.30am-3.30pmJoin us for our annual Christmas celebration, held at DWT’s headquarters, the beautiful Cricklepit Mill. Children’s activities include making natural Christmas decorations and bird feeders to give the birds in your garden a festive treat. Seasonal nature tales can be heard in the Story Room, while Father Christmas returns to his grotto.Milling and mince pies at Cricklepit Mill Friday 14th December, 10am-12noonA festive-themed event awaits you - watch DWT’s nineteenth century waterwheels turning, find out about the milling process and chat to our very merry millers as they grind wheat the traditional way. Purchase a bag of DWT’s stoneground wholemeal flour to take home with you and receive a free Christmas-themed recipe to help get you baking!

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