Families Birmingham, Solihull and Sutton Coldfield Jan Feb 2013

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Families Birmingham, Solihull and Sutton Coldfield for January February 2013


FREERJANUARY-FEBRUARY 2013 ISSUE 13www.familiesbirmingham.co.ukB A L L E T S C H O O L Sin Moseley & Bournville Royal Academy of Dancing syllabus Ages: 3-18 Tuition PlusHelping students achieve their true potentialTel: 07592 556 452Email: info@tuition-plus.co.ukwww.tuition-plus.co.ukProfessional TutoringLiteracy & Numeracyfor ages 5 to 11First lesson freeHarvest Fields CentreSutton Coldfield B75 5TJThe great outdoorsWhy pay for school?Coeliac diseaseThe great outdoorsWhy pay for school?Coeliac diseaseFREE DELIVERY!Birmingham, Solihull and Sutton ColdfieldFor more information, pick up our latest Families First brochure, or visit:http://www.barber.org.uk/category/learning/or call: 0121 414 2261FamiliesFIRSTSPRING 2013Learn to draw! Make sculpture!Paint portraits!Fantastic & fun workshops for kids!Barber-FF-Advert-Spring-02.indd 1 11/12/2012 15:40www.familiesbirmingham.co.ukIf a rewarding job with true security that provides you with the work/life balance, flexibility and control over your own destiny sounds appealing contact Carolyn Rose today.You can work part time, around your existing work or family commitments and there is no financial investment.Find out how Carolyns children can always be her priority working part-time hours to suit her family commitments you too could change your life.Contact Carolyn for a FREE information pack on07789 916278 or email: carolyn.rose1@tesco.net1,5002 Issue 13tuitionEnglishMaths &Book your free trial session today to nd out how Explore Learning can help your child to gain condence, enthusiasm and new skills. Harborne0121 647 43945HEHERISAMCXAMDKACJNFCNMiDEMCESHASHEKDHEQBACJIRGNME`/NVRHESQIERMEVSHIMGRVISHQEKIRH`4HECNTMSRSHEDAXRTMSIKRHECAMCNLEBACJHEQE Explore Parent.Explore Learning centres provide maths and English tuition to children aged 5-14, designed to improve knowledge, confidence and enjoyment of learning. Explore helps children make fantastic academic progress, in addition the vibrant atmosphere keeps them engaged and focussed enabling them to have fun while they learn. As members, children work with tutors who are great role models, enthusiastic about learning and fantastic motivators. The individual focus allows children to work at their own pace whether they are finding school tricky or are top of the class!www.explorelearning.co.ukKings Heath0121 661 7409Shirley0121 647 4395Wylde Green0121 647 5159Families Birmingham.indd 1 03/08/2012 10:17www.familiesbirmingham.co.ukwww.familiesbirmingham.co.uk ContentsNewsClubs and classesPets are good for your healthNew Year resolutions How to have the best ever holiday!Coeliac diseaseParentingIs an independent school worth the cost?Whats OnPuddle Ducks4689 101214151820In this issue...46128151018Next Issue: Advertisers:Book now for our March/April Easter issueCall 0758 352 6056or e-mail editor@familiesbirmingham.co.ukbefore Friday, February 1.Another year 2013 has arrived and we wish all our loyal readers a very Happy New Year indeed. Families Birmingham, Solihull and Sutton Coldfield has another cause to celebrate as this marks the second anniversary of our launch edition. We have survived the ups and downs of the fledgling business rollercoaster (do I hear a drum roll!) and we looking forward to a wonderful year ahead. So lets get cracking. First up, New Year Resolutions? Are you someone who makes a resolution and sticks to it, or are you resolute in not making one? If you do make one, we give you some tips about keeping it, and if you dont, well you are in good company. Also in this issue, we have oodles of information for you about clubs and classes (why not look at starting a new activity this year?) and we tempt you into the great outdoors with some suggestions of family activities that are fun and free.Read about why keeping a pet could be good for your health, and learn about gluten sensitivity and coeliac disease which is estimated to affect one in every hundred children, but often goes undiagnosed. Nutritionist Christine Bailey tells you how to spot the signs and what to do if you suspect your child is reacting to gluten.Still on the health theme, we would ask our readers to join us in supporting Wear A Hat day for Brain Tumour Research in March. More children and adults under 40 die from brain tumours than from any other cancer, yet it receives less than 1 per cent of research funding. You can make a difference by helping to raise funds.As ever we welcome your comments about the magazine. Send us a birthday e-mail letting us know what you think and how you would like to see us develop. Log on to www.familiesbirmingham.co.uk and click on contact editor.Families Birmingham, Solihull and Sutton Coldfield, EditorWendy FlynnFront page picture by photo artist Abby Wilkes. Abby won the West Midlands Master Photographer Award for her work with children three years in a row.She specialises in photographing children and families, creating art from lifes special moments. Contact Abby for more information:07966 867306. www.abbywilkes.comDesign: www.MattWaltonDesign.co.uk Print: Warners Midlands PLC, Manor Lane, Bourne, Lincs. PE10 9PH Copyright Families Birmingham, Solihull and Sutton Coldfield, Jan 2013We take care preparing this magazine but the publisher and distributors cannot be held responsible for the claims of advertisers, nor for the accuracy of the contents nor its consequence.Issue 13 3 4 Issue 13Half-term theatre treatsBirmingham plays host to the UK premiere of two shows this half-term a stage adaptation of Philip Pullmans childrens book, I Was A Rat; and David Bintleys production of Aladdin, performed by Birmingham Royal Ballet.AladdinChildren of all ages can catch up with the adventures of young Aladdin as he gets trapped in a dark cave for three days and three nights with nothing to eat before finding a magic lantern. This magical fairytale which all children will be familiar with is brought to life in another colourful show by the creator of Birmingham Royal Ballets Cinderella. Aladdin runs at the Hippodrome from Feb 15-23. To book call 0844 338 5000.4 Issue 13This year Chinese Year of the Water Snake falls on February 10 and once again the Arcadian Centre in Birmingham will play host to this colourful and spectacular festival. Its on from 12.30pm-5.30 pm with stalls, parades and displays, and its free to attend. The event has now become the biggest celebration of its kind in the Midlands, attracting more than 30,000 each year.In Chinese mythology having a snake in your house is seen as a good omen because it means your family will not starve, and children born in the Year of the Snake are deemed to be intelligent, wise, charismatic and good at business.ChineseNew Year celebrations I was a rat, insists a scruffy boy who turns up one evening on the doorstep of old married couple Bob and Joan. But what is he now - a terrifying monster rampaging in the sewers? A money-spinning fairyground freak or just an ordinary boy though a little ratty in his habits? Pulmans tale I Was a Rat will be running at the Old Rep Theatre between Feb 12 and March 2. A high action and visual show, combining humor, fantasy and adventure, it will appeal to adults and children alike. (*children aged 7 and over)To Book call 0121 236 4455.I was a ratNews www.familiesbirmingham.co.ukIssue 13 5 Issue 13 5 Dont be tempted to hibernate this winter when there are plenty of fun events to entice you out with the kids. Don the wellies, brave the elements, splash around in puddles and reconnect with your inner child as you and your offspring get in touch with nature.With more than 50 per cent of the worlds population now living in cities, the RSPB say fewer children than ever get the chance to play in the great outdoors. Yet the parks in Birmingham and Solihull run great activities for children all year round.Join Nature Tots at the Parkridge Centre, Brueton Park, Solihull. They organise outdoor activities and indoor games and crafts designed to encourage an early interest in wildlife. The Centre also organise half term Really Wild workshops. Park Rangers are also active in Birmingham organising fun family activities. You can make bird feeders at Woodgate Valley Park (Jan 22); head down to the farm at Sheldon (Feb 11); learn about lemurs at the Nature Centre in Edgbaston (Feb 13); or join the rangers at Edgbaston Reservoir for a family fun day on Feb 18.Watch out too for outdoor events with the National Trust a messy monster play day at Clent Hills or making mud-pies at Moseley Old Halls mud kitchen in the woods. The great outdoors!StagecoachTheatre ArtsStagecoach Edgbaston Saturday classes at Edgbaston High School for Girls for children and young people aged 4 to 18Call: 01926 651159email: edgbaston@stagecoach.co.ukwww.stagecoach.co.uk/edgbastonStretch Your Childs Imagination In Three Directions At Once The original, largest and still the best part-time performing arts schools in the world.Nurturing and developing young peoples potential through dance, drama and singing.SING! DANCE! ACT NOW!Missed out on Olympic tickets this summer? Head along to the NIA on February 16 and see world class athletes in action at the British Athletics Grand Prix. Top sprinters, hurdlers, high-jumpers and pole vaulters will all be competing at the event, which has in the past attracted stars like Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis. Spot the new stars emerging as contenders for the Rio Olympics in 2016! Indoor gamesAgatha Christies The Mousetrap holds the world record for having the longest continuous run of any theatre show. It has literally spanned generations in its 60 year history. My mother went to see it in London more than 50 years ago; I went as a student in my twenties; then took my eldest daughter to see it in London when she was 10, and will be back again with my youngest (now 10) to see it at the Alexandra in Birmingham next month where it runs from Feb 4-9. So, The Mousetrap has become somewhat of a tradition in our family. The scene is set when a group of people gathered in a country house cut off by the snow discover, to their horror, that there is a murderer in their midst. Who can it be? One by one the suspicious characters reveal their pasts until at the last, nerve-shredding moment the identity and the motive are finally revealed. Of course I know who did it, but I wont tell This is a happy, professional and caring group in which the individual child matters most.Please call to ask for full details and to book your childs free taster session.High quality dance, drama and singing classes for children 5-14 in Sutton Coldfield. Regular shows in which all members take part(Bugsy Malone coming up watch out for those splurge guns!)www.bigarenadrama.com0121 427 3770 077389 52062mike@bigarenadrama.com Dont tell them whodunit! Dont tell them whodunit! Dont tell them whodunit! Newswww.familiesbirmingham.co.ukwww.familiesbirmingham.co.uk6 Issue 13Clubs and ClassesClubs & Classes DIRECTORY To advertise here please call 0758 352 6056MUSICMUSICMUSICTIM TANDLER DRUM SCHOOL1-to-1 drum tuition, City Centre locationRock School grades 1-8. Ages 4 upwards. Tel: 0121 503 5849www.timtandlerdrumschool.co.ukB I R M I N G H A MTel: 0121 503 5849www.birminghamdrumschool.co.uk1-to-1 drum tuition,City Centre locationRock School grades 1-8.Ages 4 upwards. Ballet, Tap and Jazz age 2 +Branches in Yardley and Shirley Telephone: 0121 744 1422 www.dubarrieschoolofdance.co.uk DUBARRIE SCHOOL OF DANCE DANCE & DRAMAwww.solihullyoungdancers.co.ukSolihull Young DancersBallet and Tap DancingClasses from age 2 +Tel: Kate on 07722 732678Youth Theatre Group, Age 6+ Garretts Green Lane, Sheldon, B26 2SA Telephone: 0121 722 3761 MASQUERADE MUSICAL THEATRE www.masquerademusicaltheatre.co.ukDance/Drama/Singing/GymnasticsExams, Shows & CompetitionsNorth Solihull. 0121-242-3904SPOTLIGHT STAGE SCHOOLwww.spotlightstageschool.co.ukLessons could be a life-saverRecent research commissioned by Speedo revealed that 40% of children cant swim and more than half of parents surveyed worry about their child drowning as a result. Yet 1 in 4 parents believe that schools and the government should be accountable for teaching children to swim rather than themselves.This new year, why not resolve to help your child become confident in the water? A child is never too young to learn to swim with Puddle Ducks, Water Babies and Happy Aqua Babies teaching children from birth, and most local pools offering lessons from tots to teens.See our Mums in Business feature for info on new Puddle Ducks swim classes in Sutton Coldfield.Write on!The Birmingham Write On! Writing Squads are for young people aged 8-11 years who are interested in creative writing of any kind. If that sounds like your child, then move quickly to book a place as spaces are limited. The monthly Saturday sessions, held at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, are led by professional writer Helen Calcutt who will help young people develop their skills, discover new techniques and learn about being a writer. The sessions cost 5 on the day. For more information and to book a place call Joanne Penn of Writing West Midlands on 0121 246 2774.There will also be sessions for young people aged 12-16 years from 1.30pm-3pm at The Custard Factory, Birmingham.MARTIAL ARTSVISIT www.combatsportscentre.co.uk to book a FREE trial lessonCOMBAT SPORTS FULL TIME MARTIAL ARTS CENTREBoxing, Karate, Kickboxing, Self Defence classes for all ages and abilitiesHistory is horrible and kids love it!The newly-launched Horrible Histories magazine - based on the bestselling books - is a fun way of getting children interested in the past. With rumoured plans for children to learn about 200 key figures and events in British history in Michael Goves shake-up of the National Curriculum, this magazine could prove a timely addition to childrens magazine shelves. It is aimed at 7 to 10 year olds, especially reluctant readers. Like the books, the magazines engage children by concentrating on the wicked, weird and woeful things that have happened in history. Foul facts, scary quizzes and putrid pictures will prove a winner. The magazine is 2.99 and is available at all major retailers.www.familiesbirmingham.co.ukIssue 13 7 Clubs and ClassesIndian Dance Mothers and daughters can have fun learning to dance together at MAC Arts Centre in Birmingham. On Saturdays the centre is running a ten-week course in Creative Indian Dance sessions, which costs 70 for a mother and one child, and 40 for an additional child. Children whose parents are reluctant to join them on the dance floor could join a Bharatanatyram Indian dance class which is running on Sundays and is aimed at children aged 6-12.What will you do this half-term?Spend your half term break in the recording studio and bring along your mates. Following their successful Rocktober event, Progress Music Academy in Birminghams Jewellery Quarter is running a weeklong workshop and recording session for 7-16 year olds during the February school break. The fun vocal and performance workshop will run over 5 days from 10am-3pm and cost 99 for the week. Booking recommended as spaces are limited. To Book call 0121 212 9642.The Music Academy also offer weekly 1-to-1 tuition sessions for guitar, bass, keyboard, piano, drums and vocals.rhiggs@littlekickers.co.ukwww.littlekickers.co.ukApproved football training for kids aged 2 to 7 yearsWhere learnings a ballClasses in Solihull, Knowle, Hockley Heath & WythallFor a free trial class or information about our football parties please call0121 744 9730KKK"GID9F75ADG"7C"I?$%&'),'&&&&SCHOLHOLIDAYS20132013OVER 80 OFSTD REGISTRED VNUES WITH CRB LARED STAF 40+ ACTIVIES PORT, ARTS ND CRAFOPEN 8AM-6P MON-FRIWE ACPT CHILDARE VOUCHERS A PYMENTBOK Y MARCH 5T OSAVE 20%USING OUR EALY BOKING RATCasting call forMary Poppins andBugsy MaloneSolihull Young Dancers are looking for budding ballerinas and tap dancers to take part in The Adventures of Mary Poppins a performance which will be staged at Solihull Arts Complex later in the year. The show is the dance schools bi-annual performance. To find out more about joining Solihull Young Dancers and taking part in the Mary Poppins show, call Kate on 07722 732678.Meanwhile over in Sutton Coldfield, Big Arena Drama is getting ready to stage Bugsy Malone with a cast of children aged 5-11. To find out about their Saturday sessions at Fairfax School and how to get involved, call Mike Venables on 0121 427 3770 or mob 07738 952 062.www.familiesbirmingham.co.uk8 Issue 13Sounds like a strange idea, but recent scientific studies show all sorts of pets are good for our lives and health.For children, asthma and allergies were shown to be less likely when they had pets. Animals help to develop nurturing qualities in boys, often not practised in a society of smaller families. And although autistic children didnt seem to be directly helped, their parents showed less stress, and so they all had better relationships.For us busy parents, we may end up doing all the walking and feeding, but did you know just talking to a pet lowers your blood pressure. They are non-judgemental members of the family, providing unconditional love just when we need it. One fact for the doctors - survival rates after a heart attack look to be an extra 16% higher if you have a pet. And thats any pet, it doesnt have to be a dog to get you exercising, a budgie would do.For older people, isolation and loneliness are incredibly common. Pets can provide a solution. We should support this vital animal role. Perhaps sharing a dog would be useful, say between an elderly person in the day and a working family at night and weekends. Care home managers, please get a pet. It can make such a difference.And finally, this is where the goldfish comes into the equation! A study showed that people with Alzheimers ate better and reversed their weight loss if there was a fish tank (with fishes!) in the room. What a simple thing to add. So its official - pets are all good for us. Try one!Operating facilitiesX rays, Ultrasound In-house lab PETS Passport SchemeDental workMicrochippingVaccinationsPharmacy and Shop Out of hours Emergency TeamThe 608 Pet Health ClubFor all your pet animals a dedicated team for help and adviceSURGERIESSolihull: Tel. 0121 705 3044Bentley Heath: Tel. 01564 774246Acocks Green: Tel. 0121 706 1870Sheldon: Tel. 0121 743 2890www.608vetpractice.co.ukGet a goldfishon prescription?Kick Start Fat Loss is a new generation slimming club leading the revolution against processed foods and diet foods and aiming to get everyone cooking from scratch.The slimming clubs are teaming up with local butchers, grocers, fishmongers and organic produce suppliers to make sure their members are getting great, healthy, locally produced food. A Sutton Coldfield Club is launching at the Royal Hotel on January 7 with classes on Mondays at 9.30am and Tuesdays at 6.30pm. The club combines a half hour exercise programme with a clean eating plan and no diet food in sight.Coach Lisa Timmings says: Gone are the days where you have to work out for an hour every time; times have moved on and its all about high intensity, interval training now and kick starting your metabolism. Call Lisa on 07854 687492 to find out more.HARBORNE-MS-BOOKKEEPINGEmail: msbookkeeping@talktalk.netAccounts Preparations,VAT Returns,Bookkeeping& Payroll ServicesTel: 0121 4282684 Mob: 07823550041Slim in Sutton Coldfield Slim in Sutton Coldfield By Deborah Hopeof 608 Vet practice Lifestyle www.familiesbirmingham.co.ukwww.familiesbirmingham.co.ukIssue 13 9 Slim in Sutton Coldfield Slim in Sutton Coldfield www.familiesbirmingham.co.uk LifestyleThe trouble with New Years resolutions if you can manage to keep them is that they can often be a bit, well, harsh. Those resolutions to fit into a size 8 dress; eliminate the overdraft; give up alcohol, and to be forever calm - have a nasty habit of unravelling before we have seen the back end of January. January is such a gloomy month with the festive season well and truly behind us, apart from the lingering financial hangover still afflicting us, and summer is nowhere in sight. Now I am all for positive change and greatly admire the can-do attitude of those who make a resolution and stick to it. My husband, for example, gave up smoking on the stroke of midnight 20 years ago and has never picked up a cigarette since. (Unfortunately, he still thinks that giving up alcohol amounts to swapping beer for the rather dubious health benefits of red wine, and the only exercise he gets is running a mile from any, but I suppose nobody is perfect!)So if you want to make a New Year Resolution I am there with you in spirit and will applaud you at this point next year if you have managed to stick to it. Psychologists, by the way, would recommend that the best way of holding firm to your resolve is to focus on one behaviour at a time (so dont try to diet, run the marathon, pay off all the credit cards, and change jobs in one fell swoop). Next start by making a plan; set a series of small, interim goals to be achieved in a realistic timescale, and involve a buddy and ask others for support. With that, and a dollop of willpower, success is within your grasp. But for us lesser mortals the SAD ones (with seasonal affective disorder) who will put off any resolutions until at least Spring, I am suggesting some guidelines for just getting through January. Smile As the song says Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag, and smile, smile, smile. Make it your mission to smile even when you dont feel like it. Research suggests the act of smiling alone can help lift spirits. Gratitude and attitude: Just before sleep each night, think of three things you are grateful for that day. Anything that warms the cockles of your heart will do. Going to sleep with a smile on your face will put you in a better mood in the morning. Be kind to yourself: Children respond better to understanding and compassion for their mistakes than to being berated and so do we! So this month give up beating yourself up (even if you eat a cream cake!). Share a laugh with the kids put aside one treat time each week to play a game with the children; snuggle up on the sofa with popcorn to watch a movie, or play chasing in the park. Put things in perspective: Remember that each day of January takes you one step closer to summer. Everything looks better in sunshine and you will feel more energised. You might even get round to making that New Year Resolution!Happy New Year to all.Think about this: Do you really need New Years resolutions?Do you have experience in tele sales/field sales advertising?Are you game for a challenge?Families magazine is looking for an advertising sales executive to work part-time from home generating new business. This is a self employed position where you can choose your own hours.Generous commission paid to the right candidate.Apply in writing toeditor@familiesbirmingham.co.ukBirmingham, Solihull and Sutton ColdeldHow to have the best ever holiday! Fantastic family holidays dont just happen. Theyre crafted, often by hours of work from one or both parents, who spend endless amounts of time planning, plotting, budgeting and making sure safety nets are in place to stop hiccups becoming disasters. Of course everyone loves spontaneity but being spontaneous, especially where a family with children are concerned, means having a framework in place...and getting that framework right is the backbone of every holiday. So how do you do it?Here are our top ten secrets1. Dont cut corners. To get the right holiday, you may have to spend a long time on research. Dont begrudge this time, and dont expect the perfect holiday to fall into your lap without it: after your mortgage, your car and (if youre paying them) your childs school or university costs, the money you spend on your holiday is your biggest outlay. So doing the homework matters. Start with a list of what sort of holiday youre looking for the location youre after, what facilities you need close by, what sort of accommodation you need, how far it needs to be from the airport, and so on. Give yourself parameters, and then get googling. Keep a list of possible resorts/villas/hotels; whittle it down to a shortlist; and then make a decision. 2. Dont expect a bargain. After two decades of planning holidays for my family (my children are aged between ten and 20), Im sure of one thing: where school holidays are concerned, bargains are as rare as hens teeth. Far better to start from the premise that youll get what you pay for. Look for the best deal, the best quality that you can possibly afford: but if somewhere seems a lot cheaper than other places, scrutinise it very carefully indeed. 3. Space is crucial. You know those places that say sleep 4/6 and turn out, on closer inspection, to have a pull-down bed in the sitting room? Avoid them (at full capacity) like the plague. Squeezing as many people as possible in is fine for students, less good for grown-ups. You want a bit of luxury on holiday and space is luxurious. Joanna Moorhead, who has been planning her familys holidays for the last 20 years, shares her insider tips to help you plan for a summer to remember in 2013www.familiesbirmingham.co.ukHolidays www.familiesbirmingham.co.uk10 Issue 13How to have the best ever holiday! 4. Location, location, location. Just as when youre buying a house, this is your number one priority. Some of the villas Ive looked at for my familys holiday this year are twice the price of others, simply because of where they are. And guess what: I can understand why. On holiday I want a great view and shops and restaurants we can walk to. If youve got younger children, a beach within walking distance may be your number one location priority. Know what you need, and dont settle for less. 5. Friends matter, so think very carefully about who to holiday with. However close you are, nothing scratches away at a friendships weakest points as much as sharing two weeks together. You think you know that couple, and you think you like their kids? Take it from me, youre going to know a lot about them, and you may have totally reassessed their kids, by the flight home. 6. Be honest about the sort of experience you want. Holidays arent times to be aspirational, or eyeing up the Joneses, or following the in-crowd. Theyre about being honest about how youd really love to spend a fortnight with your family and who cares what anyone else might think. You dont need anyone elses approval, or envy, for the holiday you choose: what this is about is working out whats right for your family, and making it happen. 7. Once youre there, alternate busy days with quiet ones. Even if youre a busy, boisterous, action-packed family, everyone needs some downtime. The easiest, simplest way to make sure you get both busy days and more relaxed ones is simply to alternate them. If you went to a water park yesterday, relax by the pool today. If you went fell-walking yesterday, read a book and have a cream tea today. Overloading is the enemy of a good holiday. 8. Dont over-plan: have ideas, but leave space to be open to what you find when you get there. Its well worth doing some research about the area youll be staying in essential, in fact but its a mistake to plan every jot and comma of your stay before you even touch down. You want to explore, to discover, to be surprised, to make friends and all these things will only happen if youve left the space for them to unfold. So, for as much knowledge as youve learned beforehand, always be flexible about what youre going to find out, and want to do, when you actually get there. 9. Embrace change: as your family grows up, be ready to move on to new destinations and new experiences. For three years running my family had wonderful holidays in a hilltop villa in inland, northern Mallorca. It was perfect for us: but by the third year it was obvious my older daughters needed something more: shops, places to hang out, a beach they could walk to. I was desperately unhappy about giving up the villa: but guess what? The following year I found somewhere even better. 10. Set boundaries. It might be a holiday, but rules ensure everyone especially the parents get a break. If your children are younger, those rules might be about bedtime (you need some time with your partner, so letting your kids stay up all evening might not be the best move), or about time for the children to go to the crche; if your children are older, the rules might be about sharing the washing up, or about how much contact you need to have with them through the day. But put your rules in place, because then everyone can relax and have what they came to do: have a wonderful fortnight away. After-school care Edgbaston Forages 5-14Places now availableOpen until:7.30pm weekdayevenings; andSat 10am-3pmHours suitdoctors, nursesand shift-workersPick-up from all schools within a 3-mile radius9 George, Road, Edgbaston B15 1NP Call 0121 454 2858RefurbishedGeorgian building with excellent facilitiesRelax after school in our caf (hot food and snacks)Chill out in the games room Get ahead in ourHomework clubHave fun in dance, martialarts and language clubswww.familiesbirmingham.co.ukwww.familiesbirmingham.co.uk Holidays Issue 13 11 www.familiesbirmingham.co.uk12 Issue 13Coeliac disease is your child affected?2008|2009RUSSELL NURSERY SCHOOLChildren aged from 3 months to 5 years.Ofsted Outstanding Qualied friendly staff. Daily home cooking. Interactive Whiteboard/Table. CCTV cameras in every room. Free Grant places available for 3+Tel: 0121 777 4902130 Russell Rd, Hall Green, Bham B28 8SQ621 Fox Hollies Road,Hall Green,Birmingham.B28 9DWTel: 0121 777 3778Other sitesSmall World Nursery,975 Stratford Road,Hall Green,BirminghamB28 8BGTel: 0121 693 30712008|20092008|2009The prevalence of Coeliac disease has increased five-fold overall since 1974. Yet testing for the condition has been plagued with difficulties and inaccuracies, especially in children. Nutritionist Christine Bailey, who specialises in digestive disorders and allergies in children, discusses new tests available and the signs and symptoms to look out for.Coeliac disease (CD) is one of the most common life-long diseases in both Europe and the US. Its prevalence is estimated at around 1% of the population. This equates to approximately 3 million Americans and 620,000 people in the UK. The problem is that it is seriously under-diagnosed, especially in children. Approximately 78% of sufferers dont realise they have the disease in fact only 10-20% have been diagnosed. What is also shocking is that there has been an increase in its prevalence over the last 50 years one study suggested CD has increased by up to 400 percent (elevated Tissue Transglutaminase TTG antibodies). While classic symptoms include diarrhoea, intestinal bloating and stomach cramps the majority of people, including children, do not experience any digestive symptoms, making detection harder. Left untreated it can lead to the malabsorption of nutrients, damage to the small intestine and other medical complications. www.familiesbirmingham.co.ukHealthwww.familiesbirmingham.co.ukIssue 13 13 Coeliac disease is your child affected?WEAR AHAT DAYThursday28th March2013REGISTER NOW | Tel: 01296 733011 www.braintumourresearch.orgRegistered charity:1093411or go to www.sallysnannies.co.ukSimply call us on 08000 194518We can provide a complete and professional service that meets all your nannying and childcare needs: - Day nannies - Live-in nannies - Night nannies - Maternity nurses - Breast-feeding support - Babysitters - Before and after school care - Corporate and event nanny servicesCoeliac disease is an auto-immune condition triggered by gluten, which is found in certain foods (wheat, barley and rye). It is a life-long condition and requires the complete avoidance of all foods and drinks containing gluten. If your child has Coeliac disease, eating gluten will cause a reaction in their body that damages or destroys the villi (small projections in the intestines that help us absorb nutrients). When this occurs, the surface of the small intestine is flattened and a childs body cant absorb vitamins and nutrients from food.You are not necessarily born with Coeliac disease. Although the condition is linked to certain genetic markers there is normally an environmental trigger that causes the immune system to lose tolerance to gluten. For children it can be particularly difficult to diagnose classic blood tests are accurate only when the villi are severely damaged and in children this may not have occurred. However, if left undiagnosed it can lead to development of other auto-immune conditions as well as affecting the growth and development and overall health later in life. If there is a family history of auto-immune conditions and / or Coeliac disease then it is recommended you get your child tested. Until recently this would involve a standard blood test from the GP to look for a range of antibodies (e.g IgA anti-gliadin antibodies, IgG anti-gliadin antibodies, IgA anti-endomysial antibodies, Tissue transglutaminase antibody and total IgA antibodies). If positive, an intestinal biopsy is often performed. The trouble is these are not particularly accurate and blood tests can be distressing for children. There are new private laboratory tests available too, involving saliva collection, which are sensitive and easier to undertake for young children. There are also more comprehensive blood tests - again available privately - for older children. Even if your child does not appear to be showing any symptoms (see list below) if you have a family history of coeliac disease it is recommended you get your children tested for the genetic markers (HLA DQ2/8). This blood test will identify whether or not your child has the genetic markers that make it more likely they will develop the disease if they continue to eat gluten. Ask your practitioner or qualified nutritionist for the most appropriate tests for your family. Signs and symptomsBecause symptoms in children are often subtle and mimic other intestinal diseases, like Irritable Bowel Syndrome or lactose intolerance, the disease is often difficult to diagnose. Some children experience symptoms the first time they are exposed to gluten, while others develop symptoms later in life.Typical symptoms include: diarrhoea, constipation, abdominal pain, poor appetite, a bloated or painful belly, gas, flatulence, weight loss or difficulty gaining weight. These symptoms can begin during infancy (between 6 and 24 months) after the child begins to eat gluten-containing foods.Additional symptoms, which may develop later, include: slowed growth, failure to thrive, iron deficiency anaemia, fatigue, low energy, skin rash dermatitis herpetiformis, tooth enamel changes, bone thinning, joint aches and pains, headaches, mouth ulcers, mood changes, depression and delay in menstruation.If your child is diagnosed with Coeliac disease it is important they receive nutritional advice to help with planning a gluten-free diet, ensuring they are optimally nourished and their gut heals. In many cases nutritional supplements will be recommended. While there are obvious sources of gluten such as breads, pastas, flours, cereals, cakes and biscuits, it is often used as an ingredient in many favourite foods such as fish fingers, sausages, gravies, sauces and soy sauce. Working with a qualified nutritionist can help you plan a healthy gluten-free diet. However in some cases simply removing gluten may not be sufficient as many children with Coeliac disease also react to other foods such as dairy so additional testing and support may be needed.Healthwww.familiesbirmingham.co.ukwww.familiesbirmingham.co.ukwww.familiesbirmingham.co.uk14 Issue 13ParentingDay Nursery SchoolsQuality Pre-School Education and Care106 Wake Green RoadMoseley, B13 9PZ.Tel: 0121-449-367319 Woodland Road,Northeld, B31 2HU.Tel: 0121-475-8416 Ages 3 months to 5 years Small group sizes Open 8.00am to 6.00pm Mature qualied staff Home cooked meals Ofsted approved CCTV and Door-entry security Grant Funding processed Teachers specializing in Music, Dance & French (subject to availability)Have you ever wondered why it is that some children get along better with their peers, behave well, thrive in their surroundings and are much more successful and happier than others?While studying this subject I found some fascinating information and the answers became clear.A Childs behaviour is a direct result of how they are FEELING!How a child feels is a direct result of what they are THINKING!ThinkFeelBehaveLet me explain more. Like our own, a childs mind has tens of thousands of thoughts a day, which come from their environment, what others have said to them and what they say to themselves. These thoughts include short statements, sentences or words that go over and over in their mind. A childs thoughts have a direct effect on how a child feels and how a child feels affects their behaviour.The more positive the thoughts the more positive the behaviour will be. For example a young child starting nursery, who goes into class feeling miserable and shy and who is thinking to himself that he hasnt got any friends and he wants to go home, is far less likely to attract some friends because he may be sitting alone and not wanting to go and play with the others.Without realising it a child who misbehaves will have negative thoughts in their mind like a stuck record going over and over, saying things like, Im naughty, no one likes me, I dont want to and so on. Likewise a child who behaves well will have more positive thoughts in their mind and a better outlook on life. They will say things to themselves such as I can do this, This is fun, I can help, I have nice friends and I am good.Here are 2 tips to help your child to think positively: Say Positive things - As a parent, just by having a positive vocabulary you can encourage the children to have the same outlook. If you are going throughout the day saying things like, This is good, This is fun and You are good children then you will definitely see the benefits.Use descriptive praise - Being descriptive is telling them what they have done well, for example Thanks James you have cleared the sand pit really well, or Well done Tom you tried really hard with your painting.These positive thoughts are bound to make a child feel better and consequently behave better. For more tips and suggestions see: www.childbehaviourdirect.com www.familiesbirmingham.co.ukParenting Care in a homely setting From birth to 8 All staff CRB-checked Low staff turnover Exercise classes and sign language Open door policy Ofsted rating Good Full and part time placesTo visit call Amanda on 0121 444 0515Kings Heath Grange Day Nursery 23-25 Grange Road, B14 7RNTel: 0121 444 0515 Jumping Jacks Day Nursery6 Balaclava Road, B14 7SGTel: 0121 444 0808Kings Heath Grange Day NurseryWhy do children behave the way they do?By Ruth Edensorwww.familiesbirmingham.co.ukwww.familiesbirmingham.co.ukIssue 13 15 Education Is an independent school worth the cost?Making the decision to pay for an independent education is not easy when times are tough. In the last 10 years fees have risen by more than double the rise in inflation and parents from many middle class professions are feeling the pinch. Yet, despite the worst economic downturn since the 1930s, the numbers attending independent schools in Britain actually rose last year. It is true the increase was marginal and due to the growing numbers of overseas pupils looking for a traditional English education rather than an increase in British pupils. So the question is - is it worth it? Why choose private and commit to the equivalent of a small mortgage in fees when there is a free alternative? Ironically, Education Minister Michael Gove provided the answer for many parents when he said the sheer scale of privately educated individuals in positions of power in politics, media, comedy, sport and music was part of a deep problem in our country. The statistics speak for themselves although independent school pupils account for 7 per cent of the pupil population, they achieve 26 per cent of A* grades awarded at GCSE level. At A level fifty per cent of their entries are at A* A grades, compared to 23 per cent of entries from state schools. 11+ TuitionFinalist 20120121 733 6558 New Year Oer11+ Courses and Mock ExamsMaths, English, Verbal and Non-Verbal ReasoningPersonalised Course. Excellent Tutor Support.Pay As You Go.Centre and Online Courses.All Tutors CRB checked.www.ksol.co.uk/fam Use Promotion Code: FAM10GRAD13 +reg10Onlyoers expire 31/01/2013 - 10 oer rst month onlyYear 4 Early Starter CourseGet the Foundations Right 15SaveUse Promotion Code: FAM15ES13Year 5 Graduate Course Award Winning Exam PreparationKingswood SchoolIndependent School for 3 to 11 year olds0121 744 7883www.kingswoodschool.co.ukinfo@kingswoodschool.co.ukSt James Place, Shirley, Solihull, B90 2BAOPEN DAYWednesday, 6th February 20139:30am - 12pmcontd - turn to page 16www.familiesbirmingham.co.uk16 Issue 13Education This feeds into University admissions with privately educated students accounting for more than 40 per cent of students attending Oxford, and one third attending Cambridge.Smaller class sizes, better resources and greater one to one support are key reasons given for this discrepancy between state and private. While academic high flyers are stretched to their potential, some would argue that it the child of average ability who has most to gain as the individual attention helps them to punch above their weight when it comes to achieving good results.Clearly, academic success is one very powerful reason for choosing an independent school, but it is by no means the only one. The ethos of an independent school is to develop the whole person and to enable them to develop their interest and enthusiasm in a whole range of extra curricular activities. Whether it is photography, or music, or kayaking, or sport almost all private schools offer an impressive range of clubs and many have state of the art sports facilities. It is no coincidence that half of all Team GB Olympic gold medallists had attended independent schools. In the real world, confidence and social skills are just as important as exam results and extra curricular achievements in getting a first job or making your way up the career ladder. Independent schools due to their small size and more personal nature are often better at developing self confidence and can-do attitude among their pupils than larger, more anonymous comprehensives.Of course there are wonderful state schools and savvy parents may well mix and match with some opting to go private for prep school, hoping it will give their child the edge when it comes to securing a grammar school place. Others will opt to send their child to a good local primary school and focus their resources on paying for a place at a fee-paying secondary school to boost their childs chances of success. All independent schools will hold entrance exams, assessments or taster days (the latter for younger ages) but not all independent schools even at senior school level base their decision to offer a place on academic results alone, with many welcoming a wider ability range. It is worth speaking to and visiting schools to gauge which you think would work best for your child.InterviewsSome parents will be keen on single sex schools (research suggests girls achieve better in single sex schools), while others will be keen to find a school that caters for a child with dyslexia, or others will look for a faith-based school, or a school they believe will best nurture a shy child.Kingswood prep school in Shirley, judged to be outstanding in its last inspection report, has just 88 pupils from 3-11, but headmaster Rob Luckham says he passionately believes in the ability of small schools to offer the nurturing, family-type environment that is so important to childrens confidence, Inspectors agreed saying each child was seen as unique and allowed to flourish with more able pupils challenged, and struggling pupils identified early and given specialist support. Most pupils go on to grammar and independent schools. At senior school level King Edward School for Boys aims to offer places to children of high academic ability regardless of background and provides a high level of means test bursaries. Solihull School is academically selective at Junior and Senior School, while Edgbaston High School gauges potential both by entrance exam and by interviewing children who apply.0800 854 714kumon.co.ukImprove your childs study skillsKumons maths and English study programmes work to improve your childs skills, develop their confidence and inspire a passion for learning.Contact your local Instructor for a Free Assessment.Four Oaks 0121 240 1101 Great Barr 0121 378 2130 Kings Heath 0121 624 1233 Yardley Wood 0121 777 4327 Harborne 0121 427 3007 Shirley 0121 366 8206 Erdington 0121 730 2597 Handsworth 0121 241 7748Fees vary. Please refer to your local study centre.Contd - from previous pagewww.familiesbirmingham.co.uk EducationIssue 13 17 &%(#"450/)*()4$)00- GPS (*3-4$IBSJU Z OP 8IPMF4DIPPM0QFO&WFOU1SF1SFQ1SFQ4FOJPSBOE4JYUI'PSNEFQBSUNFOUT4BUVSEBZUI+BOVBSZBNOPPO/PXUBLJOHSFHJTUSBUJPOTGPS:FBSTDIPMBSTIJQTDPOUBDU.ST)BSUMFZ)FBEPG1SFQBSBUPSZ4DIPPMPOGPSEFUBJMT.FBOTUFTUFECVSTBSJFT5FM XXXFEHCBTUPOIJHI DPVLBOE4DIPMBSTIJQT"OJOEFQFOEFOUTDIPPMGPSHJSMTBHFEZFBSTEdgbaston High School - Year 7 entrance exam, Sat Jan 19. Register by Open Day, Jan 12. Call Annelle Rowlands on 0121 454 5831Highclare School, Sutton Coldfield and Erdington Year 7 assessment day Jan 28. Register by Jan 21. Call Julia Bayden on 0121 386 8218St Georges School, Edgbaston Year 7 entrance exam Jan 24 or Jan 26. Register by Jan 18. Open Day Jan 19Call Natalie Williams on 0121 625 0398King Edward High School for Girls, Edgbaston Open Day, Jan 19. Entrance exam Jan 31 and Feb 1. Register by Jan 24. Call Chris Tovey on 0121 415 2191Saint Martins School, Solihull year 7Entrance Exam Jan 14. Register by Jan 7. Junior School Assessment: March 6. Closing date for registration Feb 27. Call Ruth Iles on 0121 705 1265Priory School, Edgbaston: Entrance exam Jan 26. Register by Jan 18. Call 0121 440 0256Solihull School Year 7 Entrance Exam, Jan 19. Registration now closed. Entrance exam Junior School, March 9. Closing date Feb 25. Call Janice Edwards on 0121 705 4273King Edward School, Edgbaston. Entrance exam Jan 12. Registration closed.Admissions queries: Nicole Phillips on 0121 415 6056For entry to lower school Kingswood School, Shirley Admission queries. Contact Suzanne Lilley on 0121 7447 883Norfolk House, Edgbaston Admission queries: 0121 454 7021Ruckleigh School, Solihull Admission queries: Charlotte Laurens 0121 705 2773Bluecoat School, Edgbaston Open Day Jan 19. Admission queries: Mrs Jeffries 0121 410 6807Hallfield School, Edgbaston Open Day Feb 9. Admission queries: Alyson Devonshire on 0121 410 6706 Eversfield Prep School, Solihull Admissions queries: Jenny Dredger 0121 705 0354Key Dates Year 7 entranceAnnelle Rowlands, Head of Admissions, says: For us, the interview stage is extremely important. We believe that this gives each child an opportunity to show us her personality, interests and ability outside of the examination room and as such, it forms a key part of our decision-making.Highclare School invites children to an Assessment Day (not an examination) and they stress: There is no pass or fail. They also interview prospective students. St Georges School, Edgbaston, also offers places to a wider ability range from the high academic achievers to those who need support, for example, those with dyslexia and high functioning Aspergers syndrome. The key message is that there is a school to suit every child. But if you are considering entry in September 2013 you need to act now as most of the schools hold their assessment days for Senior School in January and Spring is also a key time for admissions for Prep Schools.(See panel below for dates).Call 0121 386 8218 or visit www.highclareschool.co.uk or email admissions@highclareschool.co.uk/PNOJSHYL:JOVVSZHYLSVJH[LKVU[OYLLZP[LZPU:\[[VU*VSKLSKHUK,YKPUN[VUNow enrolling boys and girlstogether for September 2013.Scholarships and Bursaries are available.excellenceindividualHighclare SchoolAdmissions September 2013Highclare Senior School11+ Assessment Day Monday 28th January 2013/PNOJSHYL:LUPVY:P_[O-VYTOpen DaySaturday 9th March 2013100% pass rate again at GCSE see website for detailswww.familiesbirmingham.co.ukOUT AND ABOUTWrite OnWriting squads for 8-11 year olds who are interested in creative writing of any kind.Venue: Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Chamberlain Square, B3 3 YHDate: Sat monthly until June 2013Time: 10.30am-12pmTickets: 5 per session. Bursaries available.To find out more: 0121 246 2774Nature TotsFun sessions encouraging an early interest in wildlife with outdoor play and indoor games and craft activities. Week 1 Pirates; Week 2 Quacking Ducks; Week 3 Rainbows of Colour; Week 4 - SpringVenue: Parkridge Centre,Brueton Park, SolihullDates: Wed & Fri in Jan from Jan 9-Feb 1. Time: 10.30am-12pmTickets: 2.50 per person. Must be booked in advance.To Book: 0121 704- 0768Musical PicnicA fun family morning with music for children aged 0-7 and their parents. Learn how to enjoy music at home with your children.Venue: Symphony Hall Caf BarDate: Jan 12Time: 10.30amFREE EVENTDrop-in Drawing Sunday Meet Lady Barber - wearing her favourite 1930s outfit - in the gallery, and have a go at drawing her from life. Suitable for all ages and abilities.Venue: Barber Institute,Edgbaston, B15 2TSDate: Jan 20Time: 11am 4pmFREE EVENTGet Ready for the Big Garden BirdwatchJoin the local RSPB group to spot the birds in the Park and find out how to take part in the Biggest Bird Survey in the world! Venue: Sutton Park.Meet at the Visitor Centre, Park Road, Sutton Coldfield, B74 2YT.Date: Jan 21Time: 11am-3pmFREE EVENTBird Food & FeedersHelp our feathered friends to survive the winter by creating feeders and food. Limited numbers.Venue: Woodgate Valley Country Park. Meet at the Visitor Centre, Clapgate Lane, Bartley Green, B32 3DS.Date: Jan 22Time: 1.30pm-3.30pm.Small charge for materials.Booking essential. Book online. Tel 0121 464 8728Musical PicnicFamily music session with dynamic pianist Dominic Harlan fun for children aged 0-7 and their parentsVenue: Symphony Hall Caf BarDate: Feb 9Time: 10.30amFREE EVENTChinese New Year Family DayCelebrate Chinese New Year with some fun family activities, live music and story-tellingVenue: Barber Institute,Edgbaston B15 2TSDate: Feb 10 Time: 12-3pmTickets: 5 per child. Booking essential.To Book: 0121 414 2261 or education@barber.org.ukSee www.barber.org.ukfor more information.Chinese New Year CelebrationsWelcome in the Chinese Year of the Water Snake 2013 with celebrations at the Arcadian Centre Venue: Arcadian Centre, BirminghamDate: Feb 10Time: 12.30-5.30pmDown on the FarmCome and have a look around the farm with the Rangers. Suitable for families and people of all ages.Venue: The Farm, Ragley Drive, Sheldon, B26 3TU, Sheldon Country Park Date: Feb 11Time 1-3pm FREE EVENTUnderstanding BirdsJoin the rangers for a classroom introduction into birds. After a packed lunch walk down to Bittell Reservoir to look for dabblers and divers, swans and sawbills and other wildfowl. (Walk is approximately 4 miles and crosses some stiles.)Bring binoculars if you have them.Venue: Lickey Hill Country Park. Meet at Visitor Centre, Warren Lane, Rednal, B45 8ER. Booking essential. Booking essential. Book online. Tel 0121 464 8728.Date: Feb 11Time: 11am-3pmFREE EVENTMessy Monsters Play DayWear wellies and waterproofs and have some half term fun with messy play at Nimmings Wood, Clent Hills. Suitable for ages 3 and over. Wellies and waterproofs recommended.Venue: Nimmings WoodDate: Feb 19Time: 10amTickets: 1 per child. No need to book. For further info call 01562 712822Learn about Lemurs Find out about Black & White Ruffled Lemurs, Ring Tailed Lemurs and tiny Grey Mouse Lemurs. Discover what they eat, where they live, what threatens their future in the wild. Watch keepers prepare their food and follow them as they take the food to the eagerly awaiting lemurs. 12 places available. Not suitable for under 6s. Booking essential. Booking essential. Book online. Tel 0121 464 8728.Venue: Nature Centre, Pershore Road, B5 7RL.Date: Feb 13Time: 2.30pm-3.30pmAlso at Nature Centre, Feb 15 2pm-2.45pm: Follow keepers as they feed some of the Nature Centres most popular animals. Nest Box Day Help build some bird boxes as part of National Nest Box Week. Small charge for materials.Venue: Sutton Park. Meet at the Visitor Centre, Park Road, Sutton Coldfield, B74 2YT. Booking essential. Book online. Tel 0121 464 8728.Date: Feb 16 Time: 11am-noon & 1pm-2pmMuddle ChallengeMoseleys mud kitchen opens for the first time. Go along and make mud pies in the mud kitchen in the woods, then warm up around the fire cooking tasty bread dampers (real break cooking over the campfire). Also try out a 30 minute family tour of the house and solve a muddle challenge.Venue: Moseley Old Hall, Featherstone, WV10 7HYDates: Feb 16-20 and Feb 23-24Time: 11am-3pmTickets: Usual admission chargeFamily Fun Day at Edgbaston ReservoirCelebrate with park rangers as Edgbaston Reservoir becomes a LNR (Local Nature Reserve). Fun for all the family, with the arts bus, RSPB- guided walks, craft activities and craft stalls.Venue: Reservoir Lodge, 115 Reservoir Road, Ladywood, B16 9EE.Date: Feb 18Time: 11am-3pmFREE EVENTGo wild for half-termOutdoor activities, including making winter dens, and indoor games encouraging interest in nature. Venue: Parkridge Centre, Brueton Park, SolihullDates: Mammal Madness (Feb 18); Winter Dens (Feb 19) Winter Woodland for Tots (age 2-4) Feb 20; Nature Explorers (Feb 21); Creative Crafts for Tots (2-4) Fri 22Time: 10.30am-12pmTickets: 3 members and 4 non-member. Booking essential.To Book: 0121 704 0768 British Athletic Grand PrixTop athletes compete at an event regarded as one of the best in the worldVenue: NIA, King Edward Road, B1 2AADate: Feb 16Tickets: 15-50To Book: 0844 338 8000 THEATRE AND SHOWSThe Gruffalos Child A magical musical adaptation of Julia Donaldsons and Alex Shefflers award winning sequel to The Gruffalo. One wild and windy night the Gruffalos child ignores her fathers warning and tiptoes out into the snow Venue: Town Hall,Victorial Square, B3 3DQDate: to Jan 16Tickets: 10.50To Book: 0121 345 0600The Wind in the Willows Watch out Toads about. Charming tale of Ratty, Mole, Badger and Toad by the Riverbank, brought to life this Christmas.Venue: Crescent Theatre, Sheepcote Street, B16 8AEDate: to Jan 19Times: vary. See website.Tickets: 5-28To Book: 0121 236 4455Robinson Crusoe and the Caribbean piratesVenue: Birmingham Hippodrome, Hurst Street, B5 4TBDate: to Jan 27Times vary. See website.Tickets: 14-37.50. Family offer at some shows: two children half price with full paying adult. To Book: 0822 338 5000Alices Adventure in www.landStage Two youth theatre present a very modern day twist on the Alice in Wonderland story as Alice, (a 15-year-old from Birmingham) delves into an online wonderland where she follows the white rabbit from tweet to tweet, tumbles down caterpillars blog; and finds a tea-party chat room. The show is for all ages, but will resonnate most with those who understand social media.Venue: Crescent Theatre, Sheepcote Street, B16 8AEDate: Jan 9-12Time: Evening at 7.45 and Sat matinee at 2pmTickets: 9 To Book: 0121 643 5858Madagascar Live Are you ready to Move it, move it with animals friends form Madagascar the Movie. This stage show is based on the first movie.Venue: LG Arena, B40 1NTDate: Jan 18-20Tickets: 20-50Tel: 0844 338 8000 Strictly Come Dancing LiveVenue: NIA, King Edwards Road, B1 2AA. Date: Jan 18-20Tickets: 35-65To Book: 0844 338 8000Mavis SparkleWith a magician for a Dad and a stargazer for a Mum, no wonder there is more to Mavis than meets the eye. Join her on a journey North to see the greatest light show on earth.Venue: Library Theatre,Paradise Place, B3 3HQDate: Feb 2Tickets: Adults 7.50; child 4.50 and babe in arms 1.50Age: 5 plusTo Book: 0121 303 2868The MousetrapAgatha Christies Whodunnit famous around the world for being the longest running British show of all time. On tour for the first time to celebrate its 60th anniversary. A group gathered in a country home, cut off by snow, discover 18 Issue 13Whats On www.familiesbirmingham.co.ukwww.familiesbirmingham.co.ukthere is a murderer in their midst Venue: New Alexandra Theatre, BirminghamDate: Feb 4-9Time: Evenings at 7.30pm; Wed and Sat matinee at 2.30pmTickets: 12-32.50To Book: 0844 871 7626Matthew Bournes Sleeping Beauty balletThe story begins in 1890 at Princess Auroras christening a gothic romance for all agesVenue: Birmingham Hippodrome, Hurst Street, B5 4TBDate: Feb 5-9Time: Evenings at 7.30pm; Thu matinee 2pm and Sat matinee 2.30pmTickets: 16-39.50To Book 0844 338 5000Peter and the Wolf CBSO Family ConcertA family concert introducing young people to orchestral music based on Prokofievs Peter and the Wolf tale Venue: Symphony Hall, Broad Street, B1 2EADate: Feb 10Time: 3pm. Free craft workshop and music in foyer from 1.30pmTickets: 15 adult; under 16 7.50; 32 any group of 4. To Book: 0121 345 0600X Factor LiveDate: Feb 9 - 10Venue: LG Arena Tickets: 32.50-50. Limited family tickets of 110To Book: 0844 338 8000I was a RatI was a rat insists a scruffy boy who turns up on the doorstep of old married couple Bob and Joan. But what is he now? Adapted from Philip Pullmans darkly comic and moving tale.Venue: Old Rep, Station StreetDate: Feb 12-March 2Tickets: 8 -20Age: 7 and overTo Book: 0121 236 4455AladdinDavid Bintley, the creator of Birmingham Royal Ballets Cinderella, is back with the UK premiere of Aladdin. A whirlwind of adventure and romance involving untold riches, love at first sight and of course a magic lamp.Venue: Birmingham Hippodrome, Hurst Street, B5 4TBDate: Feb 15-23Time: Evening at 7.30pm except Fri 22 at 6.30pm; Tues and Thurs matinee at 2pm; Sat matinee 2.30pm & Sun matinee1pmTickets: 15-47. Family offer two under 16s half price with a full paying adultTo Book: 0844 338 5000Farm BoyMichael Morpugos sequel to the award winning tale War Horse, features Joey visiting his Grandad on a farm where time seems to have stood still. A tale that reaches across generations.Venue: Solihull Arts Complex, Homer Road, Solihull B91 3RGDate: Feb 20Time: 2.30pmTickets: 8To Book: 0121 704 6962 Disney on Ice Lets PartyVenue: LG ArenaDate: Feb 20-24Tickets: 20-37.50To Book: 0844 338 8000Michaela Strachans Really Wild AdventuresTV presenter Michaela Strachan takes families on a delightful journey through an alphabet jungle of animal rhymes. An interactive show full of poetry, music, dance.Venue: Town Hall, Victoria Square, B3 3DQDate: Feb 17Time: 3pmTickets: 12Ages: 3-8 (Keystage 1)To Book: 0121 345 0600The Elephant BridesmaidJoin Nessie and her animal friends as she hunts for an outfit to make her the most beautiful bridesmaid in the world. A magical musical about weddings, wombats and a rather lovely elephant. Come in fancy dress for your chance to take part in a fabulous fashion show live on stage with the actors.Venue: Solihull Arts ComplexDate: Feb 22Time: 2.30pmTickets: 7To Book: 0121 704 6962Girls AloudVenue: LG Arena, B 40 1NTDate: Feb 26 and 27Tickets: 42.50 and 37.50To Book: 0844 338 8000 Justin BieberVenue: NIA. King Edward Road, B1 2AADate: Feb 27 and 28Tickets:50-60To Book: 0844 338 8000The MikadoGilbert and Sullivan with all the songs but a modern twist a show for all agesVenue: Solihull Arts Complex, Homer Road, B91 3RGDate: Feb 28-March 2Time: Evenings at 7.30pm; Sat matinee at 2.30pmTickets: 8-12To Book: 0121 704 6962Issue 13 19 Whats Onwww.familiesbirmingham.co.ukwww.familiesbirmingham.co.ukMums in BusinessA business going swimminglyMum Nadia Soar is taking the plunge in 2013 and starting her own business running a Puddle Ducks swim franchise in Sutton Coldfield and Walsall.Faced with the choice of either continuing to climb the management career ladder with a housing association, or spend more time with daughter Sophie-Mai, 5, and son Josh, 13, Nadia opted for the latter and set about finding a more flexible career.I took a year off before my daughter started school so that I could spend more time with her and I never went back. As you get into more senior positions at work, it becomes less and less flexible and your family life suffers - I wanted a better work life balance, explains Nadia.Finding the perfect business opportunity was not too difficult because Nadia had gone along to a local Puddle Ducks class with Sophie-Mai on her year out.She took to it like a duck to water and I fell in love with it they had such fun with singing and games that Sophie-Mai didnt even realise she was at a lesson although I could see what she was learning water-safety, and swimming independently. The lessons were structured but in a way that allowed her to be happy, have fun and build up her confidence in the water. And it was so nice for me to be able to spend that half hour with Sophie-Mai it was a great bonding time. I found that at the end of the class, I wanted to stop and watch the rest of the classes. So in the end I didnt go back to work and decided to become a swim teacher instead. I trained in October last year and I have been teaching with Puddle Ducks ever since.Nadia loved her new role so much that she recently decided to take it a step further and invest in her own franchise.I knew I could push myself a bit more and take on the business side of things as well so I began exploring options. Puddle Ducks has just celebrated their tenth birthday and I know this franchise has been tried and tested, so it made perfect sense. Nadias new classes start in Sutton Coldfield and Walsall from January 12 and will be for ages birth to 5 initially. To find out more call Nadia on 07852 985139 or www.puddleducks.comJoin our family of Puddle Ducks and enjoy baby and pre-school swimming with the most caring and highly-trained teachers around.Come on in, the waters lovely!puddleducks.com)5((WDVWHUVHVVLRQ(VXWWRQFROGILHOG#SXGGOHGXFNVFRP