The Legal Concept of Parental Responsibility?

Lauren Cannon, a barrister at Guildford Chambers, briefly outlines the legal concept of ‘Parental Responsibility’, what it means, and who has it.


What is it?

‘Parental Responsibility’ is a term referring to certain legal rights, duties and responsibilities in relation to a child, provided by the Children Act 1989. In addition, Parental Responsibility is defined as “rights of custody” for the purposes of the Hague Convention on Child Abduction.   These rights and responsibilities exist until the child is 18 years old.


These rights and responsibilities include:

  • maintaining the child
  • making decisions about significant medical treatment
  • choice of educational provision
  • the naming of the child and any change of surname
  • taking a child abroad (unless there is a Residence / Child Arrangements Order in place)

If a holder of Parental Responsibility, does not live with their child, they have the right to be kept informed and consulted on the important decisions regards exercise of Parental Responsibility, but not regards the day-to-day exercise of Parental Responsibility by the other parent.

Who has it?

All mothers have Parental Responsibility for their children.

In England, fathers have Parental Responsibility in a number of circumstances:

  • Married to the child’s mother at the time of birth or subsequently 
  • Jointly registering the child’s birth certificate (births registered after 01.12.2003)
  • Jointly re-registering a birth that was initially registered before 01.12.2003 to include the father (only applicable if the father was not named on the original registration
  • Jointly adopted the child with the mother
  • The parents have entered into Parental Responsibility agreement, which has been duly registered
  • The court has made an order granting Parental Responsibility
  • By grant of a Child Arrangements Order that the child live with the father (previously Residence orders), as Parental Responsibility must be granted ancillary to that order for as long as the CAO is in force

There are similar rules in relation to births registered in Scotland and Northern Ireland, but there are some distinctions.

How does it work in same-sex relationships?

This is a complicated area and cannot be fully set out in a brief overview like this.

In cases of artificial conception a same-sex partner of the mother may have the legal status of ‘second parent’ depending on the specific circumstances at the time of conception.   Post 06.09.2009 in the case of children conceived after sperm donation, the birth mother’s partner is considered the legal ‘second parent’ if one of 2 conditions applies:

  1. They were in a civil partnership at the date of conception (presuming agreement to the pregnancy) and the conception was not by sexual intercourse
  2.  If not civil partners, the fertility treatment must be in a licensed UK clinic with appropriate forms completed by both parents

Parental Responsibility then is acquired in much the same way as for a legal father.

A civil partner may obtain Parental Responsibility for a partner’s child (their step-child) by agreement with all those who hold Parental Responsibility for the child or by court order.

By grant of a Child Arrangements Order as Parental Responsibility must be granted ancillary to that order for as long as the CAO is in force

Adoption of a partner’s child would provide Parental Responsibility.

In the case of a jointly adopted child Parental Responsibility would be shared by the adopters.


There are different procedures in relation to surrogacy.   Either an application for a Parental Order or Adoption is required to transfer legal rights in relation to the children from the birth mother to the parent(s).

Who else can have Parental Responsibility?

Applications for Parental Responsibility can be made by a non-parent who has sufficient connection to the child e.g a step-parent or grandparent / other relative. 

Local Authorities and Adoption Agencies can also hold Parental Responsibility for a child in specific circumstances.

Terminating Parental Responsibility

Parental Responsibility for persons other than the birth mother can be terminated by court order. Applications can be made by a person holding Parental Responsibility or by the child (with the permission of the court).

For more information about legal issues relating to children, please contact Guildford Barristers Chambers on T: 01483 539131.

Mumsnet Berkshire does Pan Asian dining!


My review of Cosmo Restaurant, Reading, Berkshire

I love food. I love eating out. It’s something I rarely do these days with a toddler and a baby because it’s usually too much hard work entertaining a toddler and not really relaxing. So when Cosmo, Reading invited me to come along for a free meal with my husband to see what their restaurant is like, I called in the babysitters AKA Nanny & Grandad!

Cosmo is a pan Asian, world food banquet dining restaurant – or to you and me, an all you can eat comprising Chinese, Indian, Mexican, Pizza and good old English food.

As you enter through the front door, the queue is split into two lines – those who have booked and those who haven’t. This makes it so much quicker to get in if you have booked a table and the queue did get very long so its clearly a popular restaurant. There is also a small area to leave your buggy. Unfortunately, its not possibly to take your buggies into the restaurant.

03292013022001-2We went on a Sunday lunchtime at midday so it had only just opened when we arrived. As you walk in the room is split into three dinstinct areas: seating, food, more seating. It’s massive!! The food was laid out and presented beautifully. As well as looking fresh and smelling great, you can also watch some of the food being cooked at live cooking stations.

I was struck by the décor. The walls are a modern grey and the chairs are cream and very comfortable to sit on. It was very atmospheric. We were shown to our seats and ordered our refillable soft drinks (sadly no alcohol to consume when you have to go back to looking after the littlies) and the staff explained we could go up when we were ready. So we did!

You go up and take a plate, help yourselves to what you want and then go eat it! Simple. I like buffet dining because it is instant and being a mum, time is usually of the essence. I don’t like buffet style because I always worry about freshness of food and hygiene. But it was very clean and the majority of dishes had lids on which I appreciated. There is an area in front of each row of food where you can place your plate which is really useful for having a nosey under the lids of the food before making your choice.

As well as starter, main and side options, they also have a wide variety of small desserts. So even when you are stuffed from the mains, there is ALWAYS room for a small pud. There was a fruit option, was well as cakes & ice cream. Children were well catered for with many simple kiddy foods as well as sweeties for on your ice cream. But if they were feeling adventurous we definitely thought it is a great place to introduce children to new flavours.

Cosmo is family friendly. I didn’t see any high chairs but then I didn’t see any really young children when we arrived. There were people of all ages there enjoying their lunch and it got very busy. It was a little bit weird to finish your plateful to have it whisked away before you have even put your fork down but it stops the table getting cluttered.

We did stop and rest for a while between platefuls so I could assess how full I was and just enjoy some people watching. This was the only time I felt rushed because the staff assumed we had finished and were tidying around us and asking if we wanted any tea or coffee. I don’t think that was meant purposefully to hurry us up though. It is run in an efficient manner and we found the staff very polite.

The tables are very close together so if you had lots of bags, it would be quite a squeeze to get through to your seat and if you love to know what others are talking about then you can easily listen in because you are so close. But this is the problem of modern dining and not something I’ve seen only at Cosmo.

The food was delicious. The mains were tasty and flavoursome (and I tried as many as a could haha!) but I found the desserts a little bland. That said, my husband liked his choices of dessert. It would have been nice to have the desserts labelled because it wasn’t always obvious what it was i.e you think its chocolate but its coffee flavoured (this always upsets me because I hate coffee – love the smell of it though!).

Overall, we really enjoyed our meal out at Cosmo and would recommend it as somewhere for the whole family, meals out with friends, and it has the space for larger parties too.

You can find out more about Cosmo Reading here.

Tips for choosing a toddler activity class by Sport4Kids


There are so many toddler activity classes  on offer to parents. However, choosing the best activity classes can be a challenge, with options ranging from local clubs to professionally run classes. It is often the case that classes can be badly organized, inconsistently staffed and poorly run. This can ultimately lead to toddlers becoming disengaged with the activity and forming a negative association with the hobby.

Sport4Kids have provided the following five key tips for parents when selecting a toddler activity class…

1. Is the class tailored to your toddler’s stage of development?

Tots Small 5

When introducing your child to any toddler activity, it is vital that the class pitches itself at the correct level for the children involved. Take a look at what the toddlers are being asked to do – is the aim of the game understood? Do the children in the class have the capability to learn the skills needed to play the game? We would expect most toddler activity classes to need parental assistance at this age, but it is important that the toddlers are able to grasp the concept of the game so that they remain enthused.

2. Does the class give your toddler a fun time?

Tots 10

Fun is the precursor to engagement in terms of toddler activity. If a toddler is not having fun, they will not be engaged with the class – no matter how much the parent can see the benefit! Is your toddler laughing and smiling with their peers and coaches or teachers? Do they babble about wanting to attend the class during the week when you are at home? Do they perform little actions that mimic the class content around the house? These are all signs that your little one is having fun –oh and of course beaming smiles during the class!

3. Are the teachers of a quality that you are happy with?

Most classes will advertise that their coaches are DBS registered and qualified to coach or teach the toddler activity that you have chosen. This is a good start and should not be overlooked. However, this does not provide an overall picture of the teacher. Is the teacher good at communication with the toddler age group? For example, in the instance of toddler football classes , a large number of coaches claim to have FA recognized qualifications. However, the FA courses provide no information on toddlers or indeed children under the age of 5 years. Can we guarantee that a FA qualified football coach would be suitable for a toddler class? Not at all! Qualities to look out for include…How caring the teaching team is? Are they trained in a child-centric approach to toddler teaching?   Are they well turned out and looking as though they take care of their appearance and therefore the appearance of the organization? Without respect for their appearance and the organization they represent how can we be sure they will respect your child – well the answer is we can’t.

4. Will The Toddlers Learn Something?

Tots Small 6

All toddlers behave differently and will ultimately develop different interests. Some like to draw, others like to bang a tambourine and others will love kicking a football – the crucial part of any toddler activity class though, is that the toddler learns something. Whether this be learning new colours, shapes, sounds or movements, one of the primary focuses of the class should be that every child takes something away…along with the expected smile!

5. Does the class have an ongoing development path?

Many toddler activity class teachers will pitch up and make a set of routines up for the class for the day on the spot. These individuals possess great talent – the ability to entertain children at the drop of a hat is hard enough for parents, so to watch another person do it often leaves us in awe. The only issue with this approach is that it often fails to consider the developmental trajectory of the toddler. It is important that the organization that you select for your child follows a curriculum based approach, with clear milestones for your toddler to develop over time. Toddlers are little bundles of senses, but psychologically and physically they are always developing and need to be challenged. Many organizations also offer classes beyond the toddler years, meaning that if you find a trusted provider for your child’s activity, you can pursue it with them and watch them grow throughout childhood. Ask your provider about the structure of classes and why they are structured this way – the absence or inclusion of a curriculum based approach will soon become apparent!

We encourage all parents to pursue taking part in some form of activity with their toddler. The best providers will always offer free taster sessions for parents and this will allow you to check out all of our tips in person!

Dr Mark Gould

Dr Mark Gould is an innovator of child sport, entertainment, learning and development.  He has a PhD in Psychology and is a champion of women’s sport, with over 10 years coaching experience.

This post was sponsored by Sports4Kids.

To find out  more about toddler activities organised by Sports4Kids please visit their website and visit for information on football for tots.

How do I explain that we can’t afford to go on holiday like all their other friends? And dance classes, and expensive day trips?

mnberksAwkward Questions Children Ask Part Four

Good Toy Guide Logo_MED



Dr Amanda Gummer, Play & Parenting Psychologist and founder of Fundamentally Children has been helping Mumsnetters with how to answer those awkward questions that children ask.

How do I explain that we can’t afford to go on holiday like all their other friends? And dance classes, and expensive day trips?

tshirt sat at tableAmanda says……

Most things in life cost money and it’s important for children to understand its value and to know that everyone has differing amounts.  This can be really difficult concept for young children who think that meals or days out are free.

Why not ask them to save some pocket money towards a day trip out, this will really help them to relate to how much things cost and make them understand that if they spend all their money on this trip they will miss out on other things such as sweets/magazines. If parents are going out to work, you can also explain that mummy and daddy work really hard to earn the money to pay for nice things and try to explain the process.

Some people have lots of money and can do whatever they like; lots of days out, holidays and dance classes. However the majority of people earn less and have to budget or pick and choose what they do as they can’t afford to do everything.

Explain to your child that having lots of money can buy you nice things but it doesn’t mean you will be happier, there are plenty of lovely things you can do that are free, such as visiting your closest beach for the day, having picnics in the park and these can be equally as special.  Try not to mention the cost of activities – a child won’t normally know the cost of a DVD and pizza night at home versus a cinema trip, they will take their lead from you.  Don’t feel pressured to supply endless treats as often a child will want to stay at home and play lego even more than going out for a day – it’s often the pressure we put on ourselves as parents that is an issue.

If there are certain things they really want to do, for example, dance classes why not get them to ask for these to be Christmas or birthday presents.

A note from the Mumsnet Berkshire Editor: Money is such a hard concept for children to understand. What’s most important is making the use of free activities where possible and also just making sure you actually have time as a family. Depending on the age of the child, most just want to have someone/their parents to play with them and to spend time with them.  Don’t forget you can use things such as Tesco Clubcard vouchers to pay for days out if you save them up. Plan things like Christmas in advance, consider second hand toys (you can get some bargain toys in great condition). When it comes to activities such as dance classes, work with your child to see how much they really want to do the activity. i.e. prove that they will stick at it and not just want to stop two classes in. You could ask them to help you for x no. of weeks with a house hold chore and if they do it regularly with no fuss they are showing they can commit and perhaps it is a worthwhile investment. Shop around for classes and don’t be afraid to ask for discount or to do pay as you go.

Read Part One: Who is lying?

Read Part Two: Why do grown ups argue?

Read Part Three: What does the tooth fairy do with the teeth they collect?

Free or cheap summer holiday activities in Berkshire (and at home!)


How many of you struggle to come up with ideas to entertain the children over the summer holidays? Whether your kids are constant balls of energy or lethargic teenagers who need to be dragged away from a computer there will be something here for you!

Summer holidays can be expensive. As its the one time of year when we are (usually) guaranteed some nice weather, we all like to make the most of it. Days out, breaks away, meals out and more. So I thought I’d compile a list with my ideas and the ideas of many Berkshire Mumsnetters of activities you can do and places you can visit that are relatively inexpensive or free.

I will be updating this regularly throughout the summer and you can of course see Mumsnet Berkshire for other listings

Explore Nature

Go on a nature exploration looking for bugs and insects galore. Pack up a magnifying glass and a few clear plastic pots to (temporarily) capture your finds and examine. See how many you can find! Berkshire has a great variety of nature reserves. Here are just a few:

1) Hoselake Theale

A beautiful lake you can walk around with lots to explore. Free parking near by and you can always pack some snacks or a picnic.

2) Inkpen Common Newbury

This flower filled common will be teaming with wildlife such as butterflies, bees & dragonflies!

3) Bray Pit Maidenhead

With a little lake and beautiful scenary you are bound to spot some great wildlife here! Definitely take your camera. It’s very pretty!

4) Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre

5) Englemere Pond Winkfield

Have a stroll around the pond, take some bread and enjoy the simple task of feeding the ducks

For more nature reserves to visit across Berkshire visit Mumsnet Berkshire

Activity & Discovery Centres

1) Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre

With family friendly walks, a visitors centre packed with interactive wildlife and a natural history display, there is lots to see and do here

2) The Lookout Discovery Centre Bracknell

Don’t forget your car park gives you a discount into the Discovery centre! Fun for the whole family inside, as well as three parks with play equipment designed that it can be used by children and families with special needs, equipment designed for older children and lots of things for the little ones to do too. There are loads of walks, you can hire bikes and a lovely café for something to eat if you don’t take a picnic.

3) Horse Shoe Lake Sandhurst

Popular with those who enjoy walks, dinghy sailing, birdwatching and other water sports.

Toddler Groups

1) Wokingham Salvation Army Toddler Group is on during the school holidays.

A lovely little toddler group on Monday & Friday mornings where you’ll get a warm welcome

2) Not a toddler group as such but Toddler Sense have a number of classes on for only £5.50 per class covering Winnersh, Bracknell & Twyford. It’s worth contacting your local Toddler Sense to see what’s on.

3) Diddi Dance Classes have a few summer specials on too in the Reading area


Never underestimate how awesome your local library is for activities for children of all ages. Not only do they have books to read, they also offer crafts, singing and much more! Please note not all rhymetime and storytimes are mentioned here. Please assume you need to book places on activities, especially those with a charge.

1) Under 5’s at the libraries in the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead

Library Time Day Activity Dates
Ascot 10.30am Wednesday Story & Rhymetime 30 Apr, 14 May, 11 Jun, 25 Jun, 9 Jul
Boyn Grove 2pm Tuesday Story & Rhymetime Fortnightly: 17 Jun, 1 Jul, 15 Jul
Cookham 2pm Thursday Storytime & colouring Fortnightly: 17 Apr, 1 May, 15 May, 29 May *
Cox Green 10.30am Wednesday Story & Rhymetime 23 Apr, 30 Apr, 14 May, 28 May, 11 Jun, 25 Jun, 9 Jul
Cox Green 11.30am Sunday Storytime 18 May, 15 Jun, 20 Jul, 17 Aug, 21 Sep, 19 Oct, 16 Nov, 21 Dec
Datchet 10am Wednesday Story &
30 Apr, 14 May, 28 May *
Dedworth 9.30am Thursday Storytime 24 Apr, 8 May, 22 May, 5 Jun, 19 Jun, 3 Jul, 17 Jul
Eton 2.30pm Friday Storytime 25 Apr, 23 May, 20 Jun
Eton Wick 10.30am Wednesday Story & Rhymetime 23 Apr, 7 May, 4 Jun, 18 Jun, 2 Jul, 16 Jul
Maidenhead 10.30am Tuesday (term time only) Storytime & colouring Every Tuesday during term time
Maidenhead 10.30am Saturday Story & Rhymetime 26 Apr, 24 May, 21 Jun, 19 Jul
Maidenhead 12.30pm Sunday Storytime Fortnightly: 3 August, 17 August, 31 August, 14 September, 28 September, 12 October, 26 October
Windsor 10am Friday Storytime & colouring Every Friday (including holidays)
Windsor 10.30am Saturday Story & Rhymetime 10 May, 14 Jun, 12 Jul
Windsor 11.30am Sunday Storytime 27 Apr, 25 May, 29 Jun

2) Newbury Library

Tuesdays & Wednesdays throughout August -11am Rhymetime for under 3s

Fridays 11am & 2pm – Story time for under 5’s

Tuesday 26 August, 2pm & 3.30pm- ZooLab workshop for 8-11 year olds, in connection with this year’s Summer Reading Challenge. Come and meet some of the extraordinary creatures from the world of myth and fairy tale. £2 per ticket in advance.

3) Hungerford Library

Thursday 21st August – 12pm ZooLab workshop for 4-11 year olds, in connection with this year’s Summer Reading Challenge. Come and meet some of the extraordinary creatures from the world of myth and fairy tale. £2 per ticket in advance.

4) Lamborne Library

Thursday 21st August 10am – ZooLab workshop for 4-11 year olds, in connection with this year’s Summer Reading Challenge. Come and meet some of the extraordinary creatures from the world of myth and fairy tale. £2 per ticket in advance.

Wednesday 27th August 10:30am – Rhyme time for under 5’s

5) Pangbourne Library

Monday 4th August -2pm, Tuesday 5th August 1030am & Thursday 7th August 930am – Pangbourne Heritage Group WW1 exhibition

Thursday 21st August 230pm – ZooLab workshop for 4-11 year olds, in connection with this year’s Summer Reading Challenge. Come and meet some of the extraordinary creatures from the world of myth and fairy tale. £2 per ticket in advance.

6) Thatcham Library

Mondays throughout August 215pm – Storytime for under 5’s

Tuesday 12th August 11am – Rhymetime for under 3’s

Tuesday 26th August 11am – ZooLab workshop for 4-11 year olds, in connection with this year’s Summer Reading Challenge. Come and meet some of the extraordinary creatures from the world of myth and fairy tale. £2 per ticket in advance.

7) Theale Library

Fridays in August 11am – Storytime for under 5’s

8) Aborfield Library

Monday 4th August-  215pm Mythical Maze Stories & Crafts, ages 4-12 £1.50

Monday 4th August – 3pm Elmer Parade – listen to Elmer and make your own Elmer mask, age 5 & under

9) Finchampstead Library

Get Creative Tuesday August 5, 12, 19, and 26. Session 1: 2pm to 2.45pm Session2: 3pm to 3.45pm For children aged 12 and under, £1 charge Please book at the FBC Centre, (0118) 908 8155

Beading Workshop for children Create different creatures with tutor Caroline Marriot. Wednesday August 6 Session 1: 9.45am to 10.45am Session2: 11am to 12noon For children aged 8-12 years old £4 charge, places must be booked at the Library.

Mythical Story Morning Friday August 8, 15, 22, and 29 10am to 10.50am For children aged 4 to 12 years, Free, just drop in.

Rainforest Discovery Thursday August 21 1pm to 2pm For children aged 4 to 12 years old £3.50 charge, places must be booked at the Library.

10) Lower Early Library

Thursday 7th August – 245pm Fizzlebert Stump, age 6 and over £3, meet the author and hear stories and poems

Thursday 14th August 2pm – Circus Workshop, age 4-12 £3.50

Thursday 21st August 11am – Rainforest Discovery & Quirks Animal Roadshow, age 4-12, £3.50

Tuesday 26th August 1pm – Alice In Wonderland, free explore learning ages 6-9.

Tuesday Augyst 26th 1pm – Tracey Beaker, free explore learning, ages 8-11

11) Maiden Erlegh

Monday 11th August 2pm – Mythical Maze story & craft session, age 4-12 £1.50

Thursday 14th August 1pm – Mythical Puppet Workshop, age 4-12 £3.50

12) Spencers Wood

Mythical Maze Story and Craft Session Monday August 11 2.30pm to 3.30pm For children aged 4 to 12 years old £1.50 charge, places must be booked.

Mythical Puppet Workshop Thursday August 14 10.30am to 11.30am For children aged 4 to 12 years old £3.50 charge, places must be booked.

13) Twyford Library

Mythical Maze Story and Craft Session Tuesday August 12 10.30am to 11.30am For children aged 4 to 12 years old £1.50 charge, places must be booked.
Rainforest Discovery Thursday August 21 9am to 10am For children ages 4-12 years old £3.50 charge, places must be booked

14) Wargrave Library

Fridays throughout August 230pm – Get Arty, £1.50 ages 4-12

Wednesday 6th August 1030am –  Circus Skills, £3.50, age 4-12

Wednesday 13th August 1030am – Mythical Puppet Workshop £3.50 age 4-12

14) Winnersh Library

Circus Workshop Come along and learn some circus skills. Wednesday August 6 2pm to 3pm For children aged 4 to 12 years old. £3.50 charge, places must be booked.

Mythical Puppet workshop Wednesday August 13 1pm to 2pm For children aged 4 to 12 years old. £3.50 charge, places must be booked.

Mythical Maze Stories and Crafts Listen to tales of dragons, with mythical craft. Thursday August 28 2pm to 3pm For children aged 4 to 12 years old. £1.50 charge, Just drop in!

Children’s Games Club A selection of Chess, Draught, Connect Four or bring your favourite game. Every Wednesday 2pm to 4pm For children aged 4 to 12 years old, just drop in!

15) Wokingham Library

Heritage Walk around Wokingham Find out about the story of James ‘Sooty’ Seaward, from child chimney sweep to town councillor and probable inspiration for Tom in The Water Babies Monday July 28, 11am For children aged 7 years old and over. Free to attend, places must be booked.

“I’m a Little Alien” Poetry Workshop with James Carter Wednesday July 30, 1pm to 1.30pm and 1.45pm to 2.15pm For children aged 6 and under, £2 charge, places must be booked.

“Journey to the Centre of my Brain” Poetry Show with James Carter Wednesday July 30, 2.30pm to 3.30pm For children aged 6 to 12 years old, £3 charge, places must be booked.

World War 1 Vehicle Session Friday August 1, 10am to 11am For children aged 4 to 12 years old, £1.50 charge, places must be booked.

Fizzlebert Stump and Poems Galore with Author A.F. Harrold Thursday August 7, 10.30am to 11.30am For children aged 6-12 years old, £3 charge, places must be booked.

Get Arty Thursday August 21, 10.30am to 11.30am For children aged 4 to 12 years old, £1.50 charge, just drop in

Rainforest Discovery Thursday August 21, 3pm to 4pm For children aged 4 to 12 years old, £3.50 charge, places must be booked.

16) Woodley Library

“I’m a Little Alien” Poetry Workshop with James Carter Wednesday July 30, 9.45am to 10.15am For children aged 6 and under, £2 charge, places must be booked.

“Journey to the Centre of my Brain” Poetry Show with James Carter Wednesday July 30, 10.45am to 11.45am For children aged 6 to 12 years old, £3 charge, places must be booked.

Fizzlebert Stump Come and meet author AF Harrold, hear about Fizzlebert Stump and his adventures. Thursday August 7, 1pm to 2pm For children aged 6 and over. £3 charge, places must be booked.

Circus Workshop Come along and learn some circus skills. Thursday August 14, 10.30am to 11.30am For children aged 4 to 12 years old. £3.50 charge, places must be booked.

Get Arty Thursday August 21, 10.30am to 11.30am For children aged 4 to 12 years old. £1.50 charge, Just drop in!

The Famous Five  Create a picnic collage and try out our Famous Five treasure hunt. Tuesday August 12, 10.30am to 11.30am For children aged 7 to 11 years old. £2 charge, places must be booked.

Mythical Maze event with Author Margaret Bateson-Hill Thursday August 21, 2pm to 3.30pm For children aged 7 to 12 years old.

Free session courtesy of local Federation of Children’s Book Group – ‘Getting Reading Reading’, places must be booked.

17) Bracknell Forest Council Libraries

As part of this year’s Summer Reading Challenge we have some puppetry workshops arranged with ‘Arm Chair Puppets’. These workshops last for approximately 2 hours and cost £3.50 per person. Places are limited and so booking is essential.

  • Binfield Library – Tuesday 5 August at 10.30am
  • Crowthorne Library – Tuesday 5 August at 2.30pm
  • Bracknell Library – Wednesday 6 August at 10.30am
  • Sandhurst Library – Wednesday 6 August at 2.30pm
  • Birch Hill Library – Thursday 7 August at 10.30am
  • Harmanswater Library – Thursday 7 August at 2.30pm
  • Great Hollands Library – Friday 8 August at 10.30am
  • Whitegrove Library – Friday 8 August at 2.30pm

Mondays’ Harmans Water Library – Bounce and rhyme – 10am to 10.30am (weekly – beginning on 2 June 2014)

Tuesdays – Birch Hill Library Bounce and rhyme – 2.30pm fortnightly – please check with the library for dates

Tuesdays Bracknell Library – Children’s Tuesday Club with stories, bounce and rhyme, and crafts. Takes place fortnightly from 10am to 11am. All welcome.

Thursdays Binfield Library – Drop-in – the library opens at 9am for refreshments and the activities start at 9.30am – stories, rhymes and craft

Thursday – Binfield Library Crafts – first Thursday of the month – 10am to 10.30am

Thursdays in August Bracknell Library – Children’s story time and music – 9.30am – this session is run by Willows and Maples Children’s Centre.

Thursdays in August, Sandhurt Library – Storytime – 2.15pm for under 5s Free.

Fridays, Great Hollands Library, Storytime – 3.40pm for under 5s free.

Fridays Great Hollands Library, Bounce and rhyme – 11am under 3s free.

Fridays, Sandhurst Library, Bounce and rhyme – 9.30am – 2nd and 4th Friday of the month

Pubs with children’s play areas in Berkshire

We all love a nice cool drink in a pub on these warm, sunny days. But with children, it’s often a bit of a hassle as there is no entertainment for them and they don’t sit still. So you speed eat your food and don’t always relax. Well over at Mumsnet Berkshire, I’ve been asking you to tell me your favourite pubs that are child-friendly and have children’s play areas. Below I have listed a few and will add them as and when I discover them. If you know somewhere great that isn’t on here, please let me know


1) The Fox and Castle – Old Windsor


Great food, great atmosphere

2) The Elephant & Castle – Hurst


At the heart of the community with a lovely enclosed outdoor play space for the little ones.

3) The Cow & Plough – Bracknell

lovely play area so children can play whilst adults enjoy a nice summer drink

4) The Jolly Farmer – Cookham, Maidenhead


5) The Crown Inn – Slough


The restaurant serves excellent fresh food, great ales, wines & more. It has a beautiful garden with a kids play area and friendly roaming chickens.

6) The Palmer Arms – Dorney, Windsor


We are family friendly and have four young children ourselves. Our large garden is a great place to eat on a warm day and we have just added a children’s play area.

7) The Six Bells – Shinfield, Reading


A Greene King pub with an enclosed garden and play area.

8) The Running Horse, Bracknell


A Greene King Pub with children’s play area. Also great if you fancy a walk at Lily Hill Park before or after – same car park.

9) The Craven Arms Newbury


Outdoor play space based in Enborne Newbury

10) The George – Slough



11) Weather Vane Bracknell


Indoor softplay area perfect for the kiddies

12) The Rifle Volunteer

the rifle volunteer

A local pub with nice outside garden with play area too.


Pant-tastic Review of Aliens Love Underpants by Eliza (aged 3)

mnberksAliens Love Underpants at Leicester Square Theatre, London

Based on the hugely successful children’s book by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort, ALIENS LOVE UNDERPANTS premieres in the West End at Leicester Square Theatre from Saturday 19th July until Sunday 31st August, following a highly acclaimed UK tour

Mumsnet Berkshire was invited to review Aliens Love Underpants theatre production at The Leicester Square Theatre on Sunday 20th July 2014. I gave the free tickets to Local Ambassador Helen and her 3 year old daughter Eliza to review the show. Here, Eliza tells us her thoughts on the day.

To continue my weekend of 3rd birthday celebrations mummy, nanny and granddad took me to London for the first time ever! If that wasn’t exciting enough, we were going to see Aliens Love Underpants at a theatre! Mummy assured me that the theatre would have red chairs like a theatre I have been to before.


When we got to the theatre I got a sticker which was fab and mummy got our tickets. The theatre was all on one level and the chairs were really nice and big. I got a special squishy seat to put on my chair and I saw lots of other children getting a squishy seat too. There were lots of watchers at the show and we were all very excited.

Mummy said she was scared of the aliens so I held her hand a bit and told her they were friendly. There was some alien music playing before the show started so I had a dance.

When the show started four people came on to the stage with ‘ I love pants’ written on their t-shirts – mummy had to read it to me as I’m not that cleverer yet! Some of the people (mummy said they’re called actors) came off the stage and asked the watchers what their favourite pants were! I shouted that mine were flowery. Nanny and granddad were laughing lots at all the other children shouting.

The people on the stage got changed and put some school uniform on and one was pretending to be a teacher. They sang a very good song and one of the school boys wanted to be a spaceman. Mummy said it was very clever how they introduced the book into the show.

The show isn’t the same as the book but the actors do say some of the things that are in the book. The actor who was pretending to be the school boys mummy put lots of pants out to dry and an alien space ship flew behind their garden wall and pinched the pants. The mummy had to go and buy some more pants and did a funny song and dance with a pretend shop keeper. My granddad was dancing in his chair! When the mummy went home and put the pants away we had to remember what pants she had brought and shout them out to her. I thought it was really good that we kept joining in and it meant that the grown ups wouldn’t be bored or fall asleep as we were shouting so loud.

Harrison Spiers in ALIENS LOVE UNDERPANTS photo credit sjsphoto - Copy

The aliens appear in the school boys bedroom and he is really lucky and goes on a space ship with them. The aliens are only pretend so my mummy really wasn’t scared – the aliens are puppets that are held by the actors and the school boy wears headphones so we can understand what the aliens are saying which was really good.


Mummy says I’m not allowed to tell you the rest of the story as it will spoil it when you do go and see it with your grown ups.


We stayed after the show and there were some sandwiches and cakes put on the bar and lemonade for the children and some special drinks for the grown ups. There was a really funny lady dressed as an alien making balloon aliens and she did make me a pink one.

ALU4The aliens with the actors came on to the stage and I did have my picture taken with them. I blew them a kiss too. I told my mummy that they were so friendly but she didn’t want to stand next to them. I think she was still a little bit scared.For being a really good girl, I got a goody bag with the Aliens Love Underpants book, a sticker game to make some aliens that I did in the car on the way home and I also got an Aliens Love Underpants waver that my nanny hid behind.

I had a pant-tastic time and my mummy, nanny and granddad all agreed that the 55 minutes show was a really good length for younger children, the actor people were really good and very fast at changing their costumes and the stage set was very simple but very effective.

I’m going to go and look for aliens in our clean pants now – as they like to hide in there you know!


It’s competition time folks!

For your chance to win a family ticket for four people to see Aliens In Underpants at Leicester Square Theatre see our Mumsnet Berkshire competition