Lovely Easter Egg Hunt by The Friends of Palewell Common!

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What a lovely Easter Egg Hunt we had run by The Friends of Palewell Common

On Saturday the 6th, The Friends of Palewell Common set up an Easter Egg Hunt.  This organization is voluntary, occasionally getting grants for various things to improve our green space that we call Palewell Common.

  • If you wish to see what they do, click here.  
  • If you wish to download a form to join The Friends of Palewell Common, click here.

You  might not know that The Friends of Palewell Common planted some fruit trees in the Common, how lovely is this?  The children can learn and benefit from the fruit when ripe.


The Friends of Palewell Common also provided our lovely fencing that I have admired in the past.  This is an old type of fencing technique that takes quite some time to master and is also not cheap, but provides a natural boundry that is pleasing to the eye for residents such as us.  However you will see that sadly some of the fencing has been destroyed, it pays to be mindful when using the common to take care of what has been provided for us.

Moving on from this, and on to the event!

Palewell Common

Friends of Palewell Common

There was a little table set up for the event & posters being set out.

The idea was to go and hunt for a piece of card placed on a stick, the card was in the shape of an egg, presumably members had taken time to construct and cut out all of these what I call ‘Easter Egg Sticks’ to find.

The Friends of Palewell Common

Posters being put up by one member!

They were then placed in various places about the common.  They were not in too difficult places to find, so very suitable for young children.  I have suggested next year perhaps to have a tier system of difficulty to try and attract the older kids too, which should be fun.

Easter Egg Sticks

Easter Egg Sticks

My youngest son did not grasp the concept of only one Easter Egg Stick per child, which would result in one egg for him and me giving my information to The Friends of Palewell Common to presumably go on their mailing list.

My youngest promptly ran around the playground picking up every single one, only to be sent back by myself to put them back.

He chose to place one on top of the climbing frame, all of us adults refused should it not be found to go and get it!

We started from scratch again and off to the edge of the forest.

It was a lovely opportunity also to take in the beauty of Spring Time, plus meet a few four legged friends along the way.

020018Each son collected an Easter Egg Stick, which was summarily then returned, resulting in a  small chocolate egg as a prize.  Information handed over and membership card given (I did pay earlier!) and a lovely chat was struck between me and some of the Committee members who I can wholeheartedly say show their passion in this endeavour to improve our green space joyfully which is wonderful to see.

Friends of Palewell Common
Friendly Committee members of the Friends of Palewell Common

I would encourage anyone local to join and have a say in our space and hopefully donate time and or experience to help this small venture take off even further.

Once again thank you for reading, Justine x

© Justine @

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East Egg Hunt @ Palewell Common Sat 5th April 10am – 12 noon

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The Friends of Palewell Common have organized an East Egg Hunt in our lovely common

Saturday 5th April 2014, 10am – 12 noon.

There are prizes for anyone who finds an egg!  

What fun!


East Egg Hunt Palewell Common
Come join us on Palewell Common for an Easter Egg Hunt, Sat 5th April, 10am – 12 noon, organized by the Friends of Palewell Common



Better still, why  not come to the Hunt and also join The Friends of Palewell Common in becoming a larger community of like minded people who wish to benefit our green space.

Their Annual AGM is taking place at 7.30pm on 19th May in the All Saints Church

Be there or be square!

Justine x

© Justine @



WWT Wetlands Centre ~ Beauty in nature!


A joyful chance to encounter nature at it’s best, right in the heart of our Urban City.

Have you been to the Wetlands Centre in Barnes? If not, you really must go, but don’t just take my word for it, I am sure once you have taken a look at the pictures below you will be penning a visit in your diary.

A day arrived with a need of something to do, a place to go.

It was what seemed to be yet another day where the children were not at school for one reason or another, this time it was my eldest, so I pondered what I could do nearby that would interest him. I had been to the Wetlands quite some time back when my youngest was in a pram, I was exhausted and due to sleep deprivation didn’t seem to enjoy it anything like I did this time.  The beauty and vastness of the place is awesome, it was as if this time it was somewhere completely different.

This post will be predominantly a visual post, but let me tell you a little bit about this amazing place we have right on our doorstep.

Wetlands Centre Barnes

Entrance to the Wetlands Centre

What is the WWF?

The Wildfowl & Wetlands trust is the largest and most notable wetland conservation organisation that works world wide ensuring improvements and safety of the wetlands for wildlife and people. It was founded by the late Sir Peter Scott in 1946 and this Trust is now complemented with a network of UK visitor centres which comprises of 2,600 hectares in totality. This is all supported by a much valued membership base of over 200,000 people.

Different areas & activities to do .

There are different areas of the Barnes Wetlands Centre as you will see through the photographs.  A vast variety of things to see and activities complement the day, making sure you will not want for something to do.

It is impossible to list everything that is available and we ourselves only touched on a few bits and even this took us all day.

At the end of this post I have listed the page not only for the Wetlands Website but also their seasonal activities current.  But first we have lots of pictures to see and bits to read. 🙂


One educational area, ‘The Lodge’.

“The Lodge” was one of the areas we encountered which is a replicated lodge where tools used to make baskets for catching fish are displayed plus a scene of how it would look if someone lived there.

Bug Hotels & Bird Feeding.

I was stunned by the what I call ‘Bug Hotels’ as seen below which also had a bird feeding area on top, all built out of materials found at the Wetlands.

I wrote a post previously about ‘Bug Hotels’ here, and now am inclined after seeing this to get my children to help me build one in the garden when and if we get slightly sunnier weather.

If you want to know how to build a bug hotel, here is one useful website where the  RSPB  details how to do so, click here.

Wetlands for everyone.

The great thing about the Wetlands is it is for everyone.  I felt a little daunted at first when trying to chose an activity for the day, things like “well I am not really a bird watcher, I know a morhen but that is about as far as it goes”  Which is pretty shameful considering I grew up in the countryside.  Anyhow, you can be a complete novice like me and just enjoy the visual delights, young or old, there are things to learn, places to go and you can chose either a hectic or relaxed outing.


Relaxation & Rest.

There are plenty of areas to snack and rest.  The second picture shows how nature is constantly used within the Centre to provide not only for the Wildlife present but humans too.

Nesting Season.

My son was rather excited to find an egg, of course now we are in the nesting season it is not a surprise but still rather nice and gives children surrounded by an Urban environment to experience something that I as a child who grew up in a small village, took for granted.

The beauty of swans.

Swans have always made me a bit nervous, having grown up with them I know how protective they can be of their young and or themselves it seems, luckily these ones seemed to be dozing in the suns rays.

Did you know that swans usually mate for life and if one dies the other might pine and remain alone, though it is known for them to eventually find another mate, it does show a lovely side to them.

Huge variety of birds.

You will see a wide range of ducks, geese and swans from around the world.  Even if not a bird watcher, it truly inspires one to want to know more about these beautiful creatures.

Each day at 3pm you can see them being fed by the wardens and learn more about the threats that are posed to them environmentally.

Black swans.

Now though I am frightened of swans, I found the black ones absolutely stunning, mesmerising in fact even to the point that when they closed in together as a duo it took my eldest son to flee before I did.

Black swans originate from the Southwest regions of Australia and were nearly hunted to extinction in New Zealand before being reintroduced.

“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.” ― Sylvia PlathThe Bell Jar


I was surprised to see a Mongolian Yurt being uncovered and prepared for visitation.  As most know there has been an increase in ‘Glamping’ Holidays and with this the increased presence and knowledge of Yurts.

But do we know anything about them, or just merely enjoy staying in one in our beautiful English countryside?

A yurt was originally a dwelling, built to be portable traditionally used by the nomads of Central Asia, it was in fact their home.  The structure looks like a crown, this is achieved by being steam bent as is the roof.

East Asian Otters

Asian Otters

The Otter Area.

This I must admit was one of my favorite areas.  They had two otters, who had apparently known each other well over a year.  The idea being that they will mate and should have done by now, but the male seems to be in a relaxed state, taking his time over this.

We do have native otters in the UK, however they are nocturnal, which from the point of view of visitors being able to see and enjoy them would not work, so they have got Asian short-clawed otters instead which are not nocturnal and slightly smaller.

Feeding times are at 11am and 2pm.

We got to see this and it was rather fun.  The warden had to be quite careful because they can get a little over zealous in wanting their food and can bite, you will see in some of the pictures below how they approached and got their food.

After all the hard work of getting their food you will see they had a good old bathe.

Children’s outdoor play area.

There is also a ‘Play Zone’ which is great fun, even for my 11yr old.  They have what looks like a rabbit warren for children to crawl through, coming out in to various other areas to entertain themselves.

Never a dull moment.

There is so much to see and do at the Wetlands Centre, even on a rainy day it is worth a visit.

There is the Observatory for some bird watching, a Gallery of photographic exhibits plus the Discovery Centre which is an indoor playzone, taking youngsters through the journey of the wetlands of the world.

We also found near the Pond Zone an area called Trip Down the Plughole which follows our waters journey from sink to toilet, through a real sewer pipe and in to the wetlands.  In this area were many educational pieces.  It highlighted the dangers of chemicals which are so often used in domestic electrical appliances which then push this then hazardous water in to our sewage system, causing environmental damage.  It was very eye opening and applicable to all.


Microscope viewing area.

We found this great area which has microscopic stations.  I guess the idea being to possibly collect some bugs or plant life and take a good look under them.  However we did not have such things, but my son with his curiosity decided as boys do, to stick his finger underneath.

We were both sufficiently appalled as my son is a nail biter.  I have been trying to get him to stop for ages now.  The sight was truly disgusting of seeing his bitten nail and skin enlarged that he turned around to me and said “mummy I promise I will never ever bite my nails again.”

So you see, the Wetlands has another string to their bow!

Eating & relaxing.

Finally we had time to rest our weary feet and go to get a bite to eat in the Cafe.  Going anywhere new one always wonders what the quality and service might be like.  The prices were average, ie didn’t break the bank and yet absolutely delicious.  We had mushroom straoganoff with sour cream and capers served with rice.

You can’t beat being able to sit outside on the water, with great food and view it was a bargain.

For a seasonal surprise there are Egg-Citing Activities at the Wetlands, click here for more information.

To find out more about the Wetlands Centre in Barnes, admission prices, yearly memberships etc, click here

© Justine @

All and any comments appreciated!

Suffering from Tourettes ~ get support locally & help to remove misconceptions!


Helping those with Tourettes locally & removing common misconceptions perceived by some non-sufferers.

A bit of background.

For those of you who follow my Eclectic odds n sods blog,  will know that one of my sons suffers from what we called ‘tics’.  In the past we have called them ‘nervous tics’ when trying to let people know and they just shrug it off as an “oh well” which is fine & dandy but I don’t think they really understand.

We recently had him assessed privately, the Psychologist said “we won’t put him down as having Tourettes as this is often reacted to negatively & might cause him issues in the future, so we shall just say tics”.  I did wonder about this, I feel he should be diagnosed with what he has, not tailoring it to suit “social prejudices or ignorance”.  If one hides behind calling something another name because it seems more acceptable, how do we expect those non sufferers to ‘really’ understand Tourettes?

Tourettes can be physical, vocal and emotional

Being new to this however, I just went with the flow for now as she has in fact been great, not like the NHS Clinical Psychiatrist who after having met him for 10 minutes suggested medicating him for Tourettes and also medicating him for ADHD, the latter of which the Psychologist said he most definitely did not have.

Where are we now?

We are at what I would call experiencing a “bad stage” of my son’s Tourettes in as much as it is clear it is affecting him emotionally quite drastically.  This is not helped either by teasing/bullying, his dyspraxia and word finding issues, which all sort of snowball up one behind the other.

In comparison to other people we have met, who have Tourettes, we have found a big difference comes from confidence levels.  Those sufferers who do have that confidence level are able to ‘fend’ off questions better, generally deal with social interactions more fluidly as well as deal with the bullying/teasing to a degree should this occur.

My son can easily step in to “fend off” be it physically or verbally a bully towards another, however he struggles to deal with it when directed towards himself, he either crumbles or lets his frustrations get the better of him, either way these feelings provoke reactions that bullies love, don’t they?  It is about stopping the breaking down of confidence before it becomes too much of an issue and finding managing strategies.

It is very hard as a parent to stand by and watch one’s child suffer, one feels helpless and this is never a good place for any parent to be in, so with this in mind I made efforts to try and get local support.

We have found some local support.

I started searching for some kind of support as the NHS support is “six weeks” away at least, which doesn’t help my son today or tomorrow.

Tourettes is not a disease, you won't catch tics

I found in my searches Tourettes Action UK and within this site an array of understanding and caring supporters who helped me around the site, e-mailed me a list of specialists, told me about the forum they have where youngsters can log on and chat to others and last but not least a ‘meet up’ with other parents and children, run by volunteers.  The next local meet was Sunday just gone, my son was keen and we attended.

On the day I will admit I had moments of doubt, thought about cancelling.  What was it going to do for us?  Would it make my son feel worse?  Would it make me feel worse? Would there actually be anyone else there?  What would these people be like?  How would I react, my family, my kids?  Would my youngest behave?  Would my back hold out after the drive?

I am a little ashamed I thought all these things.

We made the drive

We arrived at a church, the meeting was in a hall. There was a warm welcome and initially about 8 people, plus a couple of children, this grew as time progressed.  My youngest soon shot in to the ‘playroom’ next door and created merry hell with the others, fuelled by wotsits and fizzy drinks.  We persuaded my eldest to stay in the main room and meet the grown ups and or listen to the talk.  The first talk was to be on Tourettes & employment, the next with Education.

I have to say WOW now, because it was Jess who spoke about employment, no I digress, she spoke about Tourettes as a whole, how it effects her, how she has progressed through life with it and she was a total inspiration, mind blowingly.  She is also an amazing speaker, her words effortless in clarity and sense, thought provoking, insightful and helpful.  In just one afternoon I learned a whole lot more about my son through listening to her than I might have ever done otherwise, my understanding of certain experiences he undergoes so much clearer.

One thing is clear with Tourettes and that is to own it, rather than letting it own you, in that I mean, though it will still be there, empower yourself, own your Tourettes, make it work for you.  Part of this is being confident, sharing the knowledge of it with others, educating them, trying to rid any stigma and ignorance.  This is very hard to achieve when not confident, my son has a long way to go on this front, but I have complete confidence he will get there in the end.

Jess pointed out it is pointless waiting for the day your Tourettes might go, because it might well not go, to learn to live life now and tailor your life to work for you, to make sure you are empowered enough to get what you want out of life that people should make adjustments where necessary in order for one to accomplish what others take for granted.

Jess’s Tourettes is so intense that she is in a wheelchair.  Her legs ‘tic/twitch’ to the point she just cannot walk more than a few steps.  She also has other physical tics, vocal ones too.  Every few words a tic word will join in, yet with all of this, she has been strong willed enough to get all the ‘support’ necessary to live life to the fullest in the way that she wants to.

I might miss out unintentionally a few things that Jess does, but she has started the website and blog called Touretteshero, she is also a writer, works with young people and an artist.  You will see from her site that there is a whole host of activities and information for people with Tourettes, but on a platform of ‘let Tourettes be used within your life where possible to enhance it’, don’t let it become a negative.

This ‘meet up’ happens around once a month and sometimes consists of different activities, the next one, which unfortunately I am gutted to say that we will miss due to unforseen circumstances is on Saturday 12th April 12-6 at none other than the Tate Gallery in London.

At this event 5-16 yr olds with Tourettes will be given the opportunity to work with visual artists & explore.  Also Dr Tara Murphy, Consultant Psychologist from the Tourette Syndrome clinic at Great Ormond Street Hospital, will be on hand to answer questions from12.30–14.30.

I have included here a video of jess at The Royal Albert Mueseum, talking about her Tourettes, it’s a great speech:

Here is the artwork attached as flyer for the event:

Tourettes flyerWFTL Flyer

To finish off!

My children had a great time at the ‘meet’.  My youngest met his match in many of the other youngsters and had a wild time.  My eldest though painfully shy and moody at the whole idea of having to be present did eventually warm up, listened to a little between darting in and out of the kids room.

Let's de-marginalise Tourettes
Let’s de-marginalise Tourettes

At the end we got to mingle and chat.  We met a University Student who came with a ‘dance teacher’ who has severe Tourettes which effects him quite intensely physically yet he has managed to continue a vocation that requires control of his body, how fantastic.  The young ladies name is Sheera Al-Hassani and is a filmaker/youtuber/poet who has managed to secure a grant and use some of her own grant to make a film about Tourettes in a non documentary basis, but more of an artform, she will be there next month, again another reason for me to be gutted, but it goes to show there are those out there passionate to make a difference.

I also met an inspiring man called Peter, who has Tourettes, only diagnosed later in life, he is now a young man and went through his childhood not realizing he had Tourettes, which can and does change over the years in many different ways.  He is teaming up with professionals to try and explore the whole process of the brain and what happens during a ‘tic’ experience, to try and work out possibilities of de-marginilisation through understanding.  He also does stand up comedy where he introduces humor around the subject of Tourettes, laughing with rather than at having this disorder.

I feel lifted in spirit after having been to this meeting, the difference I know small for my eldest but it is at least something, small for us could be very big for him.  I know next time around he won’t feel so shy and it has now given us an opportunity to find ways to empower him with Tourettes bit by bit, day by day and to learn a lot more about it as parents.

I have enclosed a link here to children who have contributed to TourettesHero in talking about how it effects them.  Click here for further watching.

I thank you for reading.  Do any of you have Tourettes or know someone that does?  If you would like to chat here I would welcome comments 🙂

© Justine @

Swirling coffee & how to keep in touch

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Barnes Village Newsletter March 2014 snippet ~ sign up & find out what’s going on with our neighbours

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Lots of exciting events going on with our neighbours, why not take a peek at this snippet then click the link below to sign up to Barnes Village newsletter?
Barnes Newsletter

Barnes Newsletter
March 2014

Barnes Newsletter whats on

Marks & Spencers development plans for Barnes

M&S Plans confirmed
Marks & Spencer have confirmed that they will be taking the retail space in the new development next to the Coach and Horses on Barnes High Street.  Work will start soon on building a new 6,000 square foot M&S Simply Food branch which will open in the autumn of 2015. The development will also include 4 new flats and the refurbishment of the Claridge House Office building.


Yes you read that correctly, M&S is opening up in Barnes, they are also having “The Best Baker in Barnes” competition & much more, what fun!

Read up on local newsworthy topics, music nights, catch up on the social scene, find out what “I must go and visit” shop is opening up.

Barnes is just a bus ride away, or even a walk if your feeling up to it, it has a great sense of community and is buzzing with activities.

Why not pop by to their website ~ Barnes Village


sign up to their newsletter & get regular updates ~ sign up here

As always I love to get feedback/comments, anything specific you would like to see on this blog?  Like the way it’s going?  Awfully quiet out there, anyone supping a cup of coffee and browsing the net? 🙂

retro chair

Let’s keep in touch!

Teddington Lock on a fine Sunday afternoon!


What to do on a Sunday?

I wanted to go to York House after having seen the photos of the statues in water, a great photo opportunity for my budding passion.  However, they are not open on Sundays so out came the trusted tablet and Google, where to go?

Shall we take the dogs?

pug and french bulldog

They look innocent right?

Sometimes we leave them at home when embarking on a nice tea experience as my young frenchie and greedy pug aren’t really conducive to a relaxing time in this type of environment.

Is that mean of me?  No way.

I have found out that attaching leads around either table or chair legs not a good idea as the strength of either dog having spotted a scrap of scone or jam seem to take on the ability to pull a truck as various pieces of furniture go flying in their attempt to race to the fallen morsel first.  As for the option of holding the lead, that’s fine if you want dislocated shoulders.  If you like Tom & Jerry though you would enjoy the show.

So it’s Teddington Lock

Teddington Lock

Teddington Lock

A few things came up, should we go to a famous house?  No, the kids said, “boooooring” they were in one of those “Kevin the teenager” moods and seemingly not much was going to wet their appetite.  So mummy (aka me), decided to go hard ball and said “that’s it, the dogs are coming and we are going to visit a Lock”.  “What is that?” they said, I left the question unanswered until we got there, just manipulating enough interest out of them with the unknown to keep them quietish/well behaved during the journey.  This really means, there weren’t any whiney “do we have to go there” “I want to stay at home” kind of sentences.

We arrived

Landmark Arts Centre

The Landmark Arts Centre is a creative resource for the whole community in south west London.

Landmark Arts Centre

Landmark Arts Centre

There aren’t many parking places, so nip down various side streets and you might find one.  It took us about half an hour from East Sheen to get there on a Sunday.

We passed on the way the Landmark Arts Centre, lots going on here and it was in fact the stunning building that caught our eye first as seen here.

The Landmark Arts Centre holds
  • a diverse, year-round programme of arts events and fairs
  • arts classes, courses, workshops, for adults and children
  • visual art exhibitions in their unique art gallery
  • space hire, sponsorship opportunities, business membership, personal and family memberships, and volunteering opportunities.

Moving on –  If taking prams there are walkways as well as stairs, plus there are many ‘tiers’ to walk on.  I.e. you can walk right down by the waterfront, look at the boats, a smoother surface further up and then a stony/muddy area.  I tended to hop from one to the other much like TV channel surfing to get the best experience of all.


Teddington Lock

Teddington Lock

Of course, for me, looking at all the different kinds of boats was fascinating.  The lock is quite ‘murky’ to look at but the huge fast flowing expanse of water quite dramatic.  I saw a few children feeding the birds, some birds deciding to circle like the mafia, swooping down and causing fights with others, all entertaining stuff.

I am not sure how far we walked, but it was certainly far enough.  Enough time for one man to come out and tell my youngest off for stepping on one of his ropes and ‘making his boat sway’. My 8yr old is a scrap of a child and I was doubtful that he would have enough weight to sway anything but the man reminded me of Victor Meldrew so we apologized profusely and continued on our way.  We saw plenty of other boat Owners coming out and conversing, their dogs tagging along and it was a nice experience to see ‘boat life & community’ on a semi decent day as far as weather was concerned i.e.: it did not rain at that particular moment.

BMX Track

The kids spotted this a mile off!  Yes a BMX Track was near the bridge where we crossed to walk down the side of the lock, so if any of you have any BMX’s you might want to bring them along.  I must say it took quite some persuading to tell the kids “no you can’t use your regular bikes here”…why?  “because they will fall to bits”  The muddy hills and dips were really quite severe, perhaps this is normal for a BMX track, but I think I might gain a few grey hairs if I saw my children traversing such hilly climbs though thrilling I am sure.

The Pub

There were a couple of pubs on the way back; we chose one where we had seen people outside with dogs prior.  The children were gagging by then for something to quench their thirst after climbing various trees and annoying various boat owners, it’s all hard work that you know for a youngster!

All in all a thoroughly pleasant afternoon!

A little gallery for your perusal.

As always I welcome comments/feedback, someone out there talk to me! 🙂

© Justine @

Summer Fairs & Fetes ~ dates for diaries!

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Local Fairs & Fetes in SW13, SW14, & SW15

Local Fairs & Fetes in SW13, SW14, & SW15

Upon researching information on local Fairs and Fetes it became apparent to me that there is a plethora of activities in and around East Sheen that local residents can make good use of.  There are plenty of calenders regularly updated on various websites & if you take a look at my Contributors Page you will see links to various magazine and online contributors to information in and around this area, plus a couple of calender links.  The list grows each day and is constantly being upated.

But for now lets concentrate on Fairs and Fetes

There will be I imagine various Church Fetes & other types cropping up but please see detailed below some major ones that will be being held over this next Summer Term.


Barnes Fair ~ Saturday 12th July 2014

This year the Barnes Fair will be being held on Saturday 12th July.  If you have never been it is a complete must for your diary.

Though it is a little time away it’s good to get ones diary organised as July tends to be a busy month leading up to the end of the Summer Term sometimes dates like these amongst the many other things going on get missed.  Please click this link to preview my prior post on this event.


Mortlake Summer Fair ~ Saturday 28th June 2014 ~

12 – 4pm

Where – Stag Brewery Playing Fields, Lower Richmond Road, SW14 7TH

What – The fair apparently will have the band, the Carnabys playing along with gladiator jousting.  Along with this will be a yummy BBQ, bar, tea tent, raffle, wheel of fortune & various other activities.  An ideal opportunity also to mix and mingle with other local residents.

How much – £2 for adults, £1 OAPs and U16s free.

Event contact details:

Owen Hughes
Phone: 07768 880 478

For further more detailed information click here


Richmond May Fair ~ Saturday 10th May 2014 ~ all day

Where – Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene and The Green, Richmond, Surrey,

What – Lots of charity stalls and quality crafts, vintage carousel & helter skelter for the children, crowning of Richmond May Queen, food & Maypole dancing, now I have not seen that in years, is a must!

How much – appears to be free!

Event contact details:

No commercial stall applicants, please

 Chairman Liz Carran 02089484464

Craft Marquee bookings to:

For further more detailed information click here


Hands Charity Fair ~ Bank Holiday Monday May 26th 2014 ~ 10am – 3pm

Where – Twickenham Green

What – The Fair will be visited by the Major of Richmond who will peruse the 75 charity stalls at 11am.  As well as there will be home-made cakes, refreshments, another yummy BBQ a Summer must and amusements for children.

How much – free entry

Event contact details:

For further details see

For further more detailed information click here


Kew Midsummer Fete ~ Sat 21 Jun 2014 ~ 10am – 6pm

Where – Kew Green

What – A dog show! Over 100 stalls, Victorian Funfair, craft arquee, beer tent, food, live music and much much more, sounds like the place to be!

How much – free entry

Event contact details:

If you would like to contact the organisers of Kew Fete, please e-mail

Please note that general stall applications for Kew Fete 2014 will be available from this website February 2014.

Thank you.

For further more detailed information click here

That’s all for now, thank you for reading, all comments and feedback appreciated!

© Justine @

fairs larger



Somewhere kids of all ages can go!

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What to do for an 8 yr olds party?

So, I had my youngest sons 8th birthday coming up and was pondering what on earth to do.

This is the age where sometimes instead of having big parties of the whole class it actually gets split up.  We have used the Church Hall at All Saints Church locally for a few years now and had various different entertainment people in.  Last year we had a science party which went down extremely well.

So this year what should we do?  I had already decided that I wanted him to have boy party of kinds.  Google is wonderful for these kinds of things when completely lost, it always comes to the rescue and it was through this medium I discovered Sector & Laser Tag in Feltham.  Yes it’s not East Sheen, but it is accessible, only about half an hour away.

What happens at this kind of party?

Here are some details direct from the site about what is included:


Crash landing on an unknown planet, Red Troops find themselves in a hostile standoff with the native green aliens. Both sides only hope for survival is to take down their attackers and destroy their base.

Let the birthday boy or girl lead their team to victory with a Sector 7 Laser party. As Captain, they’ll take command of their cadets to navigate through swirling fog, strobe lighting and laser attacks – their mission being to destroy the enemy base. And when the mission’s complete, it’s time to celebrate!

Book your laser combat mission today, by calling 0871 717 11 44. Calls cost 10p per min plus network extras.

Sector 7 Laser parties include:

  • Two games of Sector 7 Laser
  • A party meal for every guest – choose from Beef Burger, Cheese Burger, Chicken Dippers, Veggie Bites(v) and Fish Fingers, all served with fries.
  • Why not add a tub of vanilla ice cream for just 70p extra?
  • Birthday pin for the Birthday child
  • Unlimited squash
  • Balloons
  • Special party invitations – print yours here

Our Sector 7 Laser parties start from just £12 per child at weekends and £8.75 during weekdays. Please check before calling us for specific prices at your local Tenpin centre.


The package is great, easy to book and reasonable.

Ten pin bowling

Ten pin bowling

I realized that there was ten pin bowling there also so booked a round for my eldest son and his friend to keep them entertained whilst my youngest had his party.

We arrived



We were a little shell shocked when we arrived.  Not in a bad way, just a “wasn’t expecting this” sort of way.  The centre does not just house Sector 7 and the 10 pin bowling as expected but also a huge colourful bulb flashing, noise inducing array of rides and games, from weird chairs to put babies in that move around, right up to air hockey and coin games providing high impact visual entertainment for the teenagers.  It is basically a place that any age can go to and probably find something to do.  There is also a bar with bar snacks and drinks.

funfair fun

funfair fun

My youngest’s friends arrived and I swear their eyes were going to pop out of their heads.  The words of “cool, epic” falling from mouths as well as “oh can we go on that, there, do this, do that?”  A moment of panic swept over me as I thought “oh goodness am I going to be able to contain all the energetic boys in this one area who quite obviously are champing at the bit to go to other areas that we are definitely going to lose them in without adequate adult supervision.

What happened?

After signing various forms for safety and food requirements the children were taken in to the Laser 7 area.  This is an enclosed area that only party members get to go in to.  They require at least one adult to be present to ‘supervise the children whilst they are in combat’.  Vests are provided with electronic feedback sensors that when tagged by someone else give a score, this way teams can work out whether they really did win etc, all good fun!  They go in to a maze kind of area, all the boards are painted black with differing coloured laser lights popping all over the walls and various fluorescent swirls and shapes painted on to the boards.  After about 10 minutes in there I started to feel sick and came out to where the table are.  But then again I am quite obviously a wimp!

Once duals were fought and winners announced the children came out to sit at the tables.  The food was brought out with drinks, then it was basically up to the adults present to keep them occupied until booting off the table time or allotted collection time.  I must say all the children enjoyed themselves and came out fairly sweaty with red faces 🙂  That to me is a good sign.

Advice for this party

Where you eat for the Laser 7 party

Where you eat for the Laser 7 party

There is an open plan area with tables as you will see from the pics.  This is where the children sit after the party to have their food and wait to be collected etc.  However, there is a time limit and you are booted off once the time is done.  Then you have the question of keeping all the children together and trying to find another area to sit so good to bear this in mind with collection times etc.

When they are in the laser area, you leave your stuff outside.  You need an adult outside to look after your things as it is all open plan and anyone passing by could pick up your possessions.  You also need an adult per team really to keep the momentum going and encourage/supervise the children’s teams and combat.  So ideally if two teams you need 3 adults.

So my advice is this, after they have had their laser time and come out, nibbled on their food, make sure the you have something to entertain them for, for the remaining time, otherwise gleeful eyes start to look around and inevitably they want to go elsewhere.  I let them open their party bags and with match attacks, dealing started to happen which kept them happy.  Make sure the parents know to come a little bit before the finishing time to collect their children, because then they can placate/arrange or not whether they want to go elsewhere in the building 🙂


It was a great party.  Would I go there again? Yes if there was a group of my children’s friends I would take them there, with enough adults, but I would prepare myself mentally for the noise and energy levels 🙂  Take lots of change if you are planning on letting your children use the gaming machines, it ends up being quite an expensive affair compared to the price of the Laser 7 party.

I have enclosed some pics, obviously with lots of other children there it has been difficult to select as quality ones as I might have liked but there are captions if you scroll over the pics and hopefully gives you some kind of an idea!

© Justine @

Golden Snowdrops – Galanthus nivalis ‘Sandersii’

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The first sign of life after the winter months! One of my favorite flowers

The Teddington Gardener

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Four tough little things, these golden-yellow snowdrops – Galanthus nivalis ‘Sandersii’

I confess at first I thought these were just a little anaemic but closer inspection proved their yellow markings were just as they should be. Plenty of snowdrop varieties have come through in the Rock Garden at Kew and many deserve a closer look. It is handy where they are growing on ledges at some height off the ground – just that little bit easier to take in each tiny detail, a little more comfortably.

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