Annie Quinton

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    Imagery: Muddy Puddles
    Imagery: Muddy Puddles

    We’re still in the depths of winter, so rainy days and violent storms are pretty much a given. But don’t let the wet weather keep you indoors – especially not when you’ve got a great pair of wellies ready for some puddle jumping. Here’s our pick of the best…

    Compiled by Mia Cresswell-Melstrom

      LexiconGo-Bag-Tiles-LR

      We’ve teamed up with Winning Moves to give away its new Lexicon-GO word game – like a mash-up of Scrabble and Bananagrams, but better

      Lexicon-GO! is one ‘L’ of a super-fast word game. Race against other players to get rid of all your playing card tiles by creating words, swapping letters and even attacking other players’ words. Packed in a portable bag – making it the perfect game for when you’re on the go – it’s great for any age.

      We’ve got 10 games to give away – enter your details in the form below and we’ll be in touch if you win. Good luck!

      This competition will close at 11:59pm on 12 March, 2018.

      winningmoves.co.uk

       

        Children thrive on routine - it helps them to build confidence and understand boundaries
        Children thrive on routine – it helps them to build confidence and understand boundaries

        Keren Ben-Ezra, founder of Keren’s Nursery, answers our question on finding the perfect place to start your child’s education

        There are many nurseries to choose from out there and it is very hard to know what is best for you and your child. Most of the good nurseries become fully booked a year in advance, so make sure you are early to book. Invest time in viewing nurseries that have good reputations. The best nurseries will be the ones you received personal recommendations about from parents. After you have compiled a shortlist of reputable nurseries, arrange to visit them. The most important points to look at when viewing a nursery are:

        Are the children happy? Do they look interested, engaged and busy?
        ‘Free play’ and ‘child-led activities’ are not a valid excuse when children appear passive, disinterested and bored.

        Are staff kind, engaging, attentive and passionate about childcare?
        The nursery facilities are of little importance if the staff looking after your child appear remote and disinterested.

        Is the nursery clean and organised?
        Good nurseries usually appear very busy to the eye, with filled display boards and tables laden with activities, but that is not to be confused with being unclean.

        Is there a daily routine?
        Children thrive on routine. Knowing what comes next is vital for their wellbeing and confidence. Often nurseries lacking proper routine experience high levels of noise and chaos from bored and often unsettled children.

        Above all, follow your instincts.

        Following a visit to the nursery, do you trust it to look after your child? If your gut tells you no, continue on your search.

        On top of all the above, it is always good to make sure the nursery is registered with Ofsted, and to read their last report, as Ofsted will have made sure the legal requirements have been met. The National Day Nursery Association has a quality assurance scheme which is a very high benchmark – look to see if the nursery has this accreditation as it will be an indicator of excellent practice.

        Want more? Tips for settling your child into a new school term

          Siblings

          Becky Dickinson reveals how to encourage sibling relationships that last into adulthood

          The bond between siblings is often the longest relationship of our lives.  Nobody knows you quite like the person, or people, you grew up with; the brothers and sisters who shared your bath, argued over your toys and fought for your parents’ attention. And nobody will back you up quite like a protective sibling.

          Yet as anyone who has a sister or brother knows, sibling relationships can also be complicated; at worst, a source of bitter rivalry and resentment.

          Unfortunately, this is the case for 34-year-old Kate, and her sister, Sophie. “I was an accident and my parents had me in their late forties,” says Kate. “My sister was convinced they always favoured me. Then at my dad’s funeral, she got insanely drunk and aired this grievance in front of the entire family.”

          Sadly, Kate and her sister are no longer on speaking terms. Yet as parents we yearn to see our children develop a closeness that will outlast childhood into adulthood, too.

          So is there anything we can do to ensure this happens? Of course, there are short term benefits to encouraging our little darlings to ‘be nice’ to each other – parenting is so much easier when they are playing harmoniously as opposed to hurling pieces of Lego at each other while wailing ‘I had it first’.

          But ultimately, we want our children to support each other when we are no longer around. “If children get on well together when young, this can help build a strong attachment that lasts throughout adulthood,” says family and relationship coach Su Ball.

          Su believes good parenting skills can help prevent painful rifts in adulthood. And she says it starts with quality time.

          “Make sure siblings spend time together on their own to laugh and play and, when possible, sort out their own squabbles.  Quality time as a family is also important, such as mealtimes and outings. Parents can help reinforce sibling and family relationships. This helps us recognise our similarities and build communication and trust.”

          But ask any parent if their children argue and the answer is likely to be a resounding yes. From disputes over what to watch on TV, to who has the biggest slice of cake, to the frankly ridiculous, ‘he’s looking at me!’

          While the temptation is often to intervene (or shut yourself in the bathroom with a glass of wine) it’s important to remember, as exhausting as these spats are, they are just a natural part of growing up. Squabbling provides an opportunity for children to learn important skills, including taking responsibility for their own emotions and how they affect others.

          “Disagreements are healthy,” says Kristen Harding, childcare expert at nanny agency, Tinies. “They help children develop into individuals with opinions and personalities. They help prepare us for the real world where not everyone will think or act like us.”

          However, both Kristen and Su agree, there are occasions when adults do need to get involved. “Remember children’s impulse control is still developing,” says Su. “They need adults to intervene when they become intense, and when cruelty, physical or verbal violence is involved. If there is a pattern that seems more than ‘just squabbles’ look at the dynamic: is one child always holding power over another? Is one child very timid and unable to hold its own? The parent could join the siblings’ play for some time to help moderate and role-model good relationships.”

          If a child is developing a pattern of negative behaviour, then Su suggests helping them to identify and accept their feelings and then moderate that behaviour.

          “Share some time with them on caring activities such as looking after a pet or a plant, making something to share, and help them to talk and think more about how ‘caring’ feels.  Keep activities going and help extend this towards their siblings and others.”

          Trying to foster sharing, caring relationships between siblings who are naturally competitive can test the patience of the most saintly parent. But the rewards can help establish a deep, enduring closeness.

          Unfortunately, Kate and Sophie were unable to resolve their childhood differences and Kate has now moved on. Su agrees that in some cases stepping away is the best solution.

          “If despite our efforts the relationship is emotionally painful, abusive or just not reciprocated it may be time to draw a line (with an open heart if we can manage it).  We must, after all, make sure we look after ourselves.’’

          As Kate has discovered, it is possible to have fulfilling relationships in adulthood that do not include a sibling – not everyone has a brother or sister, anyway. However, there is something special about the relationship with someone who accompanied us through childhood and who shares our family history. Encouraging our children to be friends as well as siblings may be one of the most important things we can do as parents.

          Childcare expert Kristen Harding’s top tips for encouraging healthy sibling relationships:

          – Build an environment of trust and respect: Don’t play favourites, or force the same things on all your children. In return, insist that everyone shows respect for all family members.

          – Let them be individuals: Not all children are the same – if you insist they all play the piano and only one is good at it, it may cause rifts in their relationship. Let children develop in their own ways.

          – Let them play: All too often we forget that children just need time to play together. Over-planning can be a curse, quiet times together are important.

          – Let them find solutions: Don’t always solve their differences for them. As they get older, the act of problem-solving together can build stronger relationships.

          – Talk together… … even when no one wants to talk. There will usually be a reason why children squabble, and often things like jealousy are at the root of the issue. You need to find the cause of this jealousy before it becomes impossible to come back from.

          – Seek further advice Su Ball: suball.co.uk; Tinies: tinies.com

          Want more? How to raise a self-reliant child

            GDST

            Katharine Crouch, headteacher of Sutton High School, answers our question on the GDST

            Choosing a school for your daughter is such an important decision. The Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST) is the largest network of independent girls’ schools
            in the country. It gives us a scope no other school can match – in how we teach, how we manage ourselves and make plans, how much we can invest in our schools and their facilities and in how we collaborate in the classroom and on the sports field.

            We have a ‘girls first’ approach to education. We put the teaching and wellbeing of our pupils before every other consideration. We have a ‘girls only’ ethos, too. Experience has shown that girls develop naturally and thrive in a single-sex environment and our combined strengths mean we can help girls perform confidently on a national level as well as within their schools. We are among the nation’s leaders in terms of the GCSE and A-Level results we achieve, in terms of the number of girls studying STEM subjects and foreign languages, in terms of sporting success and in terms of desired university destinations achieved.

            GDST schools offer outstanding support to past pupils, too, no other school or group of schools has an alumnae network anything like the size and breadth of ours. The unique qualities of our schools and of the network of which they are part enable us to equip our girls with the skills, qualifications and the confidence they need for adult life.

            Want more? How many after-school clubs should your child be doing?

              after-school clubs

              As parents book their children in for more and more after-school clubs, are we in danger of overscheduling them? Rhiane Kirkby finds out

              With the new school term underway, for many parents it means juggling drop-offs, pick-ups and inset days, but also factoring in a weekly activity timetable. “In my day, there was only swimming, ballet, football, cubs and brownies,” reminisces one grandma. “Now it’s gone completely crazy.”

              Take a look at Annabel’s diary and you may be inclined to agree. Her children do a total of 13 different out-of-school activities each week. As a consequence they rarely eat their evening meal at home and usually do their homework in the car. And even though organising this weekly schedule appears to be a full time job, Annabel still finds the time to work as a lawyer and battle a long daily commute.

              “I’m really not a tiger mum,” explains Annabel. “In fact, I’m not competitive at all. I rarely watch my kids doing any of their activities as I’m usually working on my laptop.” So, you may ask, why does she put herself through this gruelling schedule? “In the old days, kids would come home and go running around in the street – that just doesn’t happen anymore, but they still need to burn off energy. Most of the activities we do are physical and that’s my choice, but I never make them do anything they don’t enjoy.” When asked whether she feels her children are missing out on time with family and friends or the chance to unwind after school, Annabel is quick to defend.

              “Childhood is about having fun and that’s what my kids are doing. They’re with their friends every night and we all sit down to family meals at the weekend. They go straight to sleep when they go to bed and I really believe they’re doing better academically because they’re burning up all that energy.”

              Interestingly, a new study, which is thought to be the first of its kind, into the link between participation in after-school activities and academic attainment supports Annabel’s belief. The research by the Centre for Longitudinal Studies at University College London concluded that primary school children who take part in clubs and organised sports achieve more academically and have better social, emotional and behavioural skills than those who don’t.

              Annabel’s schedule may sound extreme, but she’s definitely not alone. Joanne’s two boys do eight different activities each week and she also volunteers to run one of their groups.

              “I don’t feel pressured by others,” she says, “but I do put pressure on myself. I think every child should learn to swim, and they love the other things they do – they’d be devastated if I decided to stop them.”

              Michelle, on the other hand, admits she does feel the need to conform. “Children should be allowed to play, be creative and run around the park, woods or playground, but if everyone else has tennis lessons from the age of four, football from five, swimming at six and is a proficient ballet dancer at seven, you feel like you are denying your child an opportunity if you don’t play ball.”

              Primary school teacher Laura points out that children need downtime too. “I think my two do the right amount of activities – two or three a week. I appreciate that’s on the low side, but I strongly believe that it’s important for your child to get bored. If they are constantly being ferried from one activity to the other then they will never stop and work out what they really want to do.”

              That’s something author India Knight agrees with: “I spent hours being bored as a child, something I consider extremely character forming. But no, not any more. The generation we’ve raised are lost without the slew of extracurricular activities their loving parents have organised for them.”

              So is it true to say that parents are actually fuelling this extracurricular craze? “Fear of missing out is rampant among parents,” says parenting coach Judy Reith. “We must be willing to make sacrifices to accommodate our children’s passions, and far better to be doing something healthy and stimulating than sitting at home with games consoles, but we really must try not to worry about what other families are doing.”

              For teacher Laura, the guilt factor also comes into play. “In my experience parents who tend to do loads of activities are often those with one child. They’re guilty they don’t have a sibling to play with. Or they’re full time working parents who feel guilty about working crazy hours and want to use the money they earn to give their children the best start in life.”

              That said, while experts agree that exhausting your children by pushing them into too many things or putting pressure on them to succeed where you may have failed can have serious consequences, few can argue the benefits of having the right balance of activities. And with only 21% of boys and 16% of girls aged five to 15 doing the recommended amount of daily exercise, after-school clubs are perhaps more important than ever before.

              Pierrot_LePlaisirD'apprendre
              Learn French at Club Petit Pierrot

              Looking to sign up? A selection of after-school clubs for every interest

              Club Petit Pierrot
              Little ones have the chance to learn French through fun and games in these multi-sensory classes. Founded almost 25 years ago, sessions are run by French natives in various venues across the capital.
              clubpetitpierrot.co.uk

              The Little London Music School
              A great opportunity to introduce your child to the joy of music. Classes are divided by age group, where kids can enjoy opera-quality music, learn about a variety of instruments, and sing and clap.
              thelittlelondonmusicschool.com

              PlayBall
              Watch as your kids learn the basics of sport, balance and coordination. There’s a wide variety of sporting activities to try; from tennis, football and cricket to baseball and volleyball.
              playballlondon.com

              The Avenue Cookery School
              Children can learn how to cook a variety of dishes at this cookery school in Wandsworth. Best of all, they can take home their creations at the end of each session to share with the family.
              theavenuecookeryschool.com

              Mini Artists at Dodo Studios
              Suitable for ages six and upwards, budding artists can flex their creative muscles at Dodo Studios in Dulwich. They’ll get to create their own masterpieces, while learning about different art movements and mediums.
              miniartists.co.uk

              Want more? The benefits of all-through schools

                Make the most of February half term with a trip to somewhere beautiful – whether it’s far-flung or somewhere nearer to home

                Escape the cold, English weather for brighter, warmer climes this February half term. Forget the cooking, forget the cleaning, and most certainly forget the washing with a stay in a Mr & Mrs Smith-approved luxury hotel, where the entire family will be catered for. As the travel club for hotel lovers, you can browse through the hundreds of different luxury hotels and villas on its website (including a dedicated ‘family’ section), complete with information on every aspect of the accommodation – from facilities to food and local hidden gems. And once you’ve set your heart on a location, you can even book flights and transfers with the help of a Mr & Mrs Smith travel specialist, available 24/7.

                So, whether you’d like to get as far away as possible or perhaps stay a little closer to home this half term, here’s six fabulous escapes that cater for the whole family:

                Far-flung favourites:

                MMS---Mauritius---Constance-Le-Prince-Maurice

                Constance Prince Maurice, Mauritius
                Escape to the Indian Ocean and stay in paradise – namely the Constance Prince Maurice in Flacq, Mauritius, a district of pristine coast with quiet coves and translucent lagoons. The luxury hotel has beachfront, lake-edge and palm-shaded suites on offer, with a free-form pool, luxurious spa and spectacular ‘floating’ restaurant. The kids’ club, Les Petits Princes, is a tropical playground for the little ones; there’s swings, slides, and a treehouse, plus thatched huts where you’ll find gaming, internet and arts and crafts stations. From crab hunting to ice-cream-making workshops, hair braiding to water skiing and scuba diving, there’s an activity for every kind of child. The hotel organises trips to the local wildlife and bird park too, where the whole clan can walk with lions and tigers (and expert big-cat handlers, of course).

                MMS---Anguilla---Zemi-Beach

                Zemi Beach, Anguilla
                If you’re looking for a family-friendly retreat, Zemi Beach is a surefire winner. What child wouldn’t want to go coconut bowling amid the Nemo-like landscape of the eastern Caribbean? The kids’ club here hosts this and more: from board games and craft sessions to family-friendly movie nights. The watersports here are second to none – try paddleboarding, swimming with dolphins, sailing and kite surfing. Any aspiring Princess Ariels can also learn how to swim like real-life merfolk – complete with requisite tails. Stay in a palatial suite with the whole family and enjoy your own kitchen space; although that’s not to say you’ll have to cook your own meals, as there’s two hotel restaurants to choose from.

                MMS---Maldives---Soneva-Fushi

                Soneva Fushi, Maldives
                Dotting the powder-white beaches of a private island in the Maldives, boutique hotel Soneva Fushi’s eco-chic villas are otherworldly. And when it comes to the kids’ club, it might just be the greatest in the world, boasting a clownfish-shaped pool, pirate ship, ping-pong hut, trampolines, mocktail bar, lego room, dress-up area, zip line and water slide from the main building. Also worth a mention is the on-island chocolatier, telescope-equipped observatory, enlightening eco centre and on-site reef for all ages. The Soneva Fushi Villa Suite is perfect for slightly older children – they’ll love the seawater pool and treehouse complete with beds.

                Closer to home:

                MMS---UK---The-Lakes-By-Yoo

                Lakes by Yoo, Cotswolds
                Enjoy a contemporary country stay in the Cotswolds at The Lakes by Yoo. Created by the design collective Yoo Studio – co-founded by Philippe Starck – each villa is totally unique. The standout stay has to be at Barnhouse, a Mad Men-esque, vintage-inspired space styled by Kate Moss herself, complete with private pool and room enough for a whole gaggle of children. There’s a rather inspired selection of activities available at the kids’ club, too, with three distinct groups for different ages: rock-music lessons, bushcraft with Ben Fogle and Nerf wars, anyone?

                MMS---Italy-itinerary

                A family adventure in Italy
                Traverse Venice, Rome and the Amalfi coast in an Italian adventure like no other. Highlights of the 10-day holiday include a private boat trip along the Amalfi coast and time to kick back on its spectacular beaches, painting carnival masks in Venice and touring the city’s canals in your own private gondola, and training to be a gladiator in Rome. Everything in the itinerary can be personalised so you end up with the perfect holiday for every single member of the family.

                MMS---UK---Lucknam-Park-Hotel-&-Spa

                Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, Wiltshire
                Foot-stomping children seeking the proverbial pony will have no complaints here. With an on-site equestrian centre, Lucknam runs daily pony trots around the estate for little princesses (and princes). Duck herding, falconry displays, adult-and-child cookery courses – if the Cotswolds set revamped Center Parcs it would look a little like this. When it comes to prising them away from the ponies, there are even ‘Little Miss’ spa treatments to enjoy. Or if they’re more into their sports, the tennis courts, croquet lawn and football pitch are sure to entertain. If you’ve got a handful of tikes on your hand, extra beds and cots can be provided in some rooms and suites.

                mrandmrssmith.com/family

                PROMOTIONAL MATERIAL

                Mr & Mrs Smith is the travel club for hotel lovers: an award-winning boutique-hotel booking service specialising in the world’s most seductive stays. Founded in 2003, there are now more than 1,000 boutique and luxury hotels in the collection, all hand-picked and anonymously reviewed. With Smith you’ll get the best prices guaranteed, free extras on arrival and round-the-clock service from Smith24, our in-house travel specialists. The collection now also includes luxury villas, bespoke itineraries and unique experiences, too. Go to mrandmrssmith.com to browse and book.

                  Social-media

                  Our children are growing up in an age of social media overload, but how can we as parents police it?

                  The need for parents to be vigilant about internet safety is well known, but as the world of social media is increasingly being accessed by children still in primary school, a whole new list of online issues has arisen.

                  According to a recent study by Internet Matters, 43% of children aged between 10 and 13 now use social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, and 86% of children aged seven to 11 use some kind of online communication, often without their parents’ knowledge.

                  Indeed, the NSPCC is urging parents to make online awareness as much a priority as road safety, as their recent survey showed that less that a fifth of parents discussed this vitally important topic with their eight to 13 year olds.

                  “Parents are the first port of call for a child when it comes to staying safe in real life and this is no different when it comes to their online life,” explains Claire Lilley, head of child safety online at the NSPCC.

                  “Talking to your child and exploring their online world with them is the best way to keep them safe but it can be hard to keep up to speed with the internet, and some topics can feel more difficult than others.”

                  Indeed, it can seem like uncharted waters for many mums and dads who may not even have a social media account themselves, let alone know how to navigate the many complex issues around their children’s use.

                  For example, many adults are unaware that sites like Facebook and Instagram require users to be aged 13 and over. However, these restrictions are easily overcome by any child with a phone or an iPad who can simply enter false information. While this isn’t illegal, it is against the site’s terms and conditions, and if discovered these underage profiles will be deleted.

                  And it’s not just a tech-savvy few. A recent survey by the BBC’s Newsround found that more than three-quarters of younger children at primary-leaving age were using at least one social media network.

                  Once on these sites, children are exposed to all images and text posted by adult users all over the world. Around 70 million photos are shared on Instagram every day, many of which will be unsuitable for little eyes.

                  “While we don’t condone children under the age of 13 using social media due to the breach in those sites’ terms and conditions, we are realistic. We know that kids are curious and will explore the many ways of using the internet, of which this is one,” says Gareth Cort from Childnet International, a non-profit organisation that aims to make the internet a safer place for children.

                  “They discover social media in different ways. Maybe they see an older sibling or parent using Facebook or hear of their favourite celebrity or footballer posting on Instagram and they want to do the same. Then, of course, they tell their peers about it. But at such a young age they are unaware of the risks and dangers involved.

                  “It’s essential to access all the security settings, make accounts private and know how to report anything suspicious or abusive,” he adds.

                  Grooming or contact from strangers is of course every parent’s worst fear surrounding the online world, but it’s not just safety issues and inappropriate content that they need to worry about.

                  Often the most immediate threat children face comes from bullying and peer pressure.

                  Childline has seen an 88% increase in counselling about online bullying over the past five years, with calls coming from children as young as seven.

                  “Talking to your child about how they behave online is absolutely essential,” Cort points out.

                  “Not only do you need to discuss safety, you also need a constant dialogue about what they post and the implications. They need to think about what they are saying online. Could it be offensive or hurtful? And remind them regularly that if they are unhappy with anything they have read or seen they can tell you about it. Teenagers tend to talk to their peers about their concerns but parents are still the first people a primary school age child will turn to if they are upset or scared.”

                  But what age should parents allow their child to access social media? According to Rose Bray, a project manager in child online safety at the NSPCC, that is a decision parents have to make themselves.

                  “You know your own child and you know when they are mature enough to have a phone and use social media,” she advises.

                  “Explain the risks to your child and make it very clear what they can and can’t access. For example, they can only send messages to friends and must have a private Instagram account so that only followers you approve of can see their posts.

                  “We have lots of information on the ‘Share Aware’ section of our website, including guides on the most popular sites and apps. It’s a great resource that can really help parents by breaking it all down into straightforward advice. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming and parents can monitor what their children are doing online.”

                  However there are many who feel that children of this age simply do not have the level of maturity required to cope with social media where self worth is measured in ‘followers’, ‘friends’ or ‘likes’.

                  “While you can start teaching responsible use of tech now, know that you will not be able to teach the maturity that social media requires,” explains Melanie Hempe, founder of Families Managing Media.

                  “It does not make your child smarter or more prepared for real life, nor is it necessary for healthy social development,” she continues.

                  “The longer parents delay access to social media sites, the more time a child will have to mature so that he or she can use technology more wisely as a young adult. Delaying access also places a greater importance on developing personal authentic relationships first.”

                  Ultimately parents must decide for themselves how and when their child can access social media but, crucially, they must also remember that they always have the right to simply say ‘no’.

                  Childnet’s top five tips for keeping kids safe on social media

                  1. Be aware of the terms and conditions. It’s not illegal for a child under the age of 13 to have a social media account but these rules are put in place by sites to protect children.

                  2. Protect personal information by using privacy settings. Make sure your kids know not to post things such as the name of their school or photos of them next a street sign. Turn off location services so they can’t be pin-pointed.

                  3. Become their ‘friend’ or ‘follow’ to keep track of what they are posting and who is contacting them.

                  4. Monitor screen time and set agreements about the amount of time spent online. Agree a time when all devices will be switched off and lead by example.

                  5. The most important thing is to talk to your child about social media. Explain your concerns and help them understand how to use it positively.

                  For more information, visit childnet.com and nspcc.org.uk

                  Want more? How old should a child be before owning a tablet?

                    IMG_9188

                    Leonora Bamford shares her favourite seasonal recipe to enjoy with the kids – chocolate mousse

                    250ml double cream

                    150g cooking chocolate

                    50g milk chocolate

                    3 eggs

                    2tbsp sugar

                    1. Put the double cream into a pan on a medium heat and leave to warm up.
                    2. Let the children break the chocolate up into small pieces.
                    3. Once the cream starts to steam remove it from the heat and add the chocolate. Avoid giving it a stir – it will melt on its own!
                    4. Separate the eggs, putting the yolks aside in a small bowl and the whites in a large clean bowl.
                    5. Whisk the whites until they reach soft peaks, then add 1 tbsp of sugar at a time and whisk until shiny.
                    6. Next, stir the chocolate mixture and make sure it’s cooled a little.
                    7. Add the egg yolks and combine.
                    8. Slowly fold in spoonfuls of the chocolate mixture into the egg whites one at a time until everything is combined. Don’t be too heavy-handed with it.
                    9. Pour the mixture into individual ramekins or glasses, or a big bowl, and leave to cool in the fridge.
                    10. My children love decorating the top with sprinkles and raspberries.

                     

                      new school term

                      Naomi Bartholomew, head of St Catherine’s Prep School in Bramley, offers up her tips for starting a new school term

                      The start of the new academic year is always an exciting one and one that brings new resolutions, targets for the coming term and a great deal of anticipation. As they begin at nursery or reception classes they will then be clocking each event and interaction to work out how it feels to be a part of their new class. This is can be a tiring time as the children settle, negotiate new relationships and understand new routines. It may also be a tiring time for you too, as parents, possibly figuring out a new route for the school run, or dropping siblings off elsewhere, understanding new routines yourself, perhaps even returning to work now that your child has settled into a certain age or stage.

                      Some tips which might help:

                      • Talk positively about going to school.

                      • Help your child to get into the routine of managing their own clothing, encouraging independence with daily changing.

                      • Encourage your child to learn good habits and feel comfortable about going to school by arriving in good time for the start of the school day.

                      • Make sure your child gets a good night’s sleep and expect tiredness in the first months.

                      • Trust the staff and talk openly about any concerns, however small.

                      • Let your child tell you about their day in their own time – avoid 20 questions about the school day.

                      Want more? How to choose a prep school that’s right for your child

                      EDITOR'S PICK

                      Mum of one, Meriel Miller and daughter Emilia test drive the Stokke Scoot My little Emilia is now two-and-a-half so I was on the hunt...