Making relationships work and what if they don’t

cover (1)“The Secret Life of Love and Sex: making relationships work and what if they don’t” is the latest book by therapist and author Terence Watts. Terence Watts is a fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, Freeman of the City of London, and therapist. He is the only psychotherapist worldwide to have been awarded the MCGI by the City & Guilds Institute of London, UK. He lives in Essex, UK.

Essentially, it’s a book about relationships and how different personality types will experience different relationships and relationship problems. It’s a fascinating insight into yourself and others you have had relationships with in the past (as well as your current partner) because you learn how to identify your dominant personality type and learn why you behave the way you do. Based on Terence Watt’s evolutionary theory of personality types, Warriors, Settlers & Nomads, this book delves into various issues such as why relationships can go wrong, how you can put things right and how to handle break ups.

Let’s talk about sex! We don’t always like to admit what our sex lives are like, if there are problems, or why you had great sex with a bad ex, or not so great sex with the partner of your dreams. This book delves into the depths of relationships to help you figure it all out and gain a better understanding of yourself.

Terence is widely regarded as an expert in the field of relationships because of his vast experience within the therapy world as a therapist, teacher, author and mentor to many therapists across the world. The plus side of this book is that you will learn a lot from it. The downside is that it is a little wordy, but hang in there and read it to the end. There is a reason it is wordy and that it because it is full of positive suggestion for you throughout the book so that you get the most from your read,

“Kevin Hogan, Author of The 168 Hour Week, & The New Hypnotherapy Handbook – The Secret Life of Love and Sex blows open the doors to the real secrets of successful relationships. From the opening pages you think, “that’s me!” and then you are given the solution. Destined to become a classic, Terence Watts takes you where few dare to tread…” – taken from

This book is 249 pages jam packed with eighteen chapters that cover the whole of relationships including arguments, love, and why secrets and lies are sometimes beneficial. If you are the sort of person who has had a bad break up, keeps having relationships that go wrong or can’t seem to get a relationship off the ground then this book is for you!

51gAyV1wFcL._UX250_I spoke to Terence about his book and here is what we discussed:

When did you decide to write self-help books aimed at the general public rather than books aimed at therapists?

In 1997 – the end result was ‘Warriors, Settlers & Nomads’ published in 2000 and still in print. I like giving people the chance to discover ‘stuff’ about themselves and maybe make some changes that they might otherwise not know were possible.

What was your inspiration for writing this book?

‘The Secret Life of Love and Sex’ was written after I realised how much of that ‘WSN’ concept I was using with clients. I realised that a lot of people have problems but really don’t want to go anywhere near a therapist, so I decided to create the next best thing.

Do you think there is a difference between sexual comparability in personality types and relationship compatability?

Yes, definitely. People can be highly compatible in one of those and highly INcompatible in the other. The highly sexually compatible couple will often stay together even though they have a personalty clash… And it’s only when the sex ‘wears off’ that they might realise they don’t even like each other.

Who is your book aimed at? Many self help books are aimed at single people rather than those in existing relationships.

Anybody who has any problem associated with relationships! It helps people to make, break, mend, and nurture…

Do you think there are exceptions to the rules with regards personalities and relationships?

Yes, a few… Chemistry can override the personality ‘thing’. I think I do mention that in the book somewhere… It’s a disaster when the chemistry happens with somebody with whom it really shouldn’t. It will often drag people away from a good relationship, only to founder when the sex ‘wears out’.

How did you come about writing the theory of WSN?

It started out in life as a brief talk for therapists… And then just grew and grew. By the time I realised I had a book, I was really ‘into’ the concept and wrote it very quickly. I think my excitement at the WSN process shows in that first book!

 Do you think it competes with science based tested personality typing? How does it differ in purpose?

I think it competes extremely well! The only difference in purpose is that WSN is mostly ‘domestic’ whereas science-based (like Myers-Briggs) are more complex and targeted towards industry and employment. A few employers have used WSN instead though, to good effect…

What do you believe is the key to a successful, long term relationship?

Thats a tough question, which really needs an entire book to answer, since there are many relationships that look as if they won’t work and yet survive, and other that appears to be ‘made in Heaven’ that don’t last five minutes! I think liking each other has a huge amount to do with success in a relationship. My wife and I an hurl insults at each other but we each now that’s only meant during and in relation to the argument. Not anywhere else. We have a bond of trust that allows us to be relaxed and not ever have to ‘tread carefully’. If I could bottle that and sell it, I’d be rich!

What do you believe to be the role of sex in long term relationships?

It’s the mortar that keeps the blocks of the relationship together (but it sometimes keeps them apart!)

What are your plans for future self help books?

I haven’t got any at the moment, though I’ve just had ‘Smashing Depression’ published. I don’t usually try to think of what to write – I let it come to me. The next thing will probably be a self-help volume based on my latest therapy creation, BWRT… But is quite a long way off yet, I think.

If you’d like to read more and order the book, you can order it from Amazon here


How to help your NHS this winter

West Berkshire’s Clinical Commissioning Groups are urging people to take the pressure off local hospitals in the coming weeks by only going to A&E in a genuine emergency.

With winter being their busiest time of the year, NHS staff are bracing themselves for an increase in the number of people turning up in their emergency departments but often, people could have treated themselves or their families effectively at home.

Emmer Green GP and Berkshire West CCG’s Urgent Care Lead, Dr Andy Ciecierski said: “ The majority of people who get ill over winter shouldn’t need emergency services.  Very often, with a bit of advice, people can effectively treat themselves or their families for a wide range of complaints from minor cuts and bruises through to headaches, stomach upsets and colds.

“There are many treatments available over the counter which can relieve the symptoms of many common complaints and we are urging people to consider these as an alternative to using other parts of the NHS.”

“We are working closely with hospital, community and social care colleagues to make sure services are in place for those who do need them over the winter period, with a focus of helping to keep people out of hospital.

A well-stocked medicine cabinet or first aid kit can provide everything you need to treat coughs, colds, sore throats, minor cuts and bruises.

If you are unsure what remedy to use ask your pharmacist who will give you advice and who can also recommend what treatments to stock up on from simple pain killers and antacids to antiseptics and sticking plaster.

Ideas for a festive first aid kit include:

  • plasters, in a variety of different sizes and shapes
  • antacid
  • painkillers such as paracetamol (or infant paracetamol for children), aspirin (not to be given to children under 16), or ibuprofen
  • small, medium and large sterile gauze dressings
  • sterile eye dressings
  • scissors
  • alcohol-free cleansing wipes
  • sticky tape
  • thermometer, preferably digital
  • skin rash cream such as hydrocortisone or calendula
  • antiseptic cream
  • cough medicine
  • antihistamine tablets
  • distilled water, for cleaning wounds and as an eye bath.


If in doubt call NHS 111 who will advise on the most appropriate care or treatment or visit NHS Choices

Free booklet gives valuable advice to parents when their children are ill

A comprehensive guide to common childhood illnesses aimed at parents and carers of children aged between birth and five years old is now available in West Berkshire.

The free booklet, funded jointly by local Clinical commissioning Groups (CCGs) and local authorities contains helpful information on general welfare and well-being, common illnesses and how to keep children safe and healthy. It also provides advice on when to consult the GP or health visitor and information on common illnesses such as chickenpox, colds, sore throats and ear infections.

Dr Stephen Madgwick, Chair of the Wokingham CCG said: “This guide is an excellent resource for parents and carers of children aged five and under, offering advice on how to manage everyday illnesses, including coughs and colds, conjunctivitis and a number of other conditions. It also explains how to recognise and act on the more serious conditions like meningitis.

Wokingham Borough Executive Councillor for Health and Wellbeing, Julian McGhee-Sumner said: “We’re very pleased to support this booklet. Health needs vary for different age groups so it’s good to have a succinct, easy to read reference specifically aimed at those caring for very young children. I’m sure it will be broadly welcomed.”

The booklet is available from GP surgeries, health visitors, children’s centres, libraries and online at,,

15 Top Tips for Helping your Child Settle into Toddler Activity Classes by Sport4Kids

15 Top Tips for Helping your Child Settle into Toddler Activity Classes

We as parents always have both the trepidation of taking our child to their first child activity class merged with pride, excitement and of course hoping that they settle and enjoy the experience. New environment, new people sounds and experiences can be daunting for our little ones.

  1. Excite them during the week

Toddlers are excitable creatures – that’s why so many people want to work with them!  Building up the excitement with your child throughout the week through simple statements such as “We’re going to gymnastics on Saturday!” to “…only three more sleeps until gymnastics” can really set a high level of anticipation for our toddlers.  We all know how to push our own toddlers buttons – so let’s get them excited about their toddler activity class.

  1. Ask lots of questions beforehand and Tell your child what to expect

There are a number of tips for choosing toddler activity classes and during the decision process, it is important to ask lots of questions about what will happen in the class.  What kit is required (if any) for the class?  Do you need to bring a drink?  Who will be teaching your toddler?  What activities will your toddler be taking part in?  Higher level questions might include asking about the philosophies behind the teaching methods and what levels of progress to expect from your child’s first session.  The best activity class providers will provide this information without being asked – but all of the information provided will allow you to manage your own expectations and understand what is in store for you and your toddler.Tots 14

Toddlers are pretty smart cookies.  While our 18 month old might not understand that the majority of toddlers only participate in 30% of their first toddler football class, they will understand you telling them that the most important thing is that they have fun!  If you have asked about the sorts of games that your toddler will be taking part in, you can create excitement, but also comfort.  If you know that the class involves learning to stretch like different animals and that your child’s favourite animal is a giraffe, this can provide a familiar reference for them.  Familiarity is the key to toddlers settling into a new environment, so anything that we can do to provide this feeling can really help.

  1. Arrive Early

A toddler activity class can often provide a child with their first encounter with a structured learning environment.  A new location, a new room or sports hall and new faces of teachers and other parents and children can create quite a daunting environment for any little one (or parent for that matter)!  Arriving early allows our toddlers to adjust their new environment and meet their teachers and coaches.  This period of adjustment will also allow them a chance to sense out the new environment and become comfortable.  Ask your coaching team if your toddler can borrow a piece of equipment – a set of cones or a rugby ball – to help them settle in and increase that sense of familiarity.

  1. Don’t push them

Is your toddler quite shy?  Does he or she spend a lot of time hiding behind your leg?  Do not worry!  This is entirely normal and any toddler activity provider worth their salt will only employ teachers who are patient and possess skills to assist you in teasing your tot into their new environment.  The danger here is being over-pushy – we need to place ourselves in the place of the toddler and see what they see.  The whole experience can be quite daunting for your little one and pushing them only makes them more anxious.  Allow them to sit and watch with you for as long as needed.  The best teachers will continually pop over and try to entice your toddler into action with little toddler teasing techniques.

  1. Maintain Realistic Expectations

Many parents discontinue toddler activity classes because they are frustrated at their child’s lack of apparent progress, only to find that a week later, their toddler starts to mimic some of the learnings from the class.   We need to exercise patience at all times.  The best toddler activity classes will use a cycle of repetition, as this is one of the key techniques in toddler learning.  It is very unlikely that you will see large improvements in your child’s abilities after one session  – in sport, these improvements are generally observed after 4-6 weeks of a course.  Remember – our toddlers can’t always tell us what they are learning – but they will often show us later on.

  1. Celebrate Every Achievement

Parent CelebrateLose yourself in the class – celebrate not only your toddler’s first forward roll, but also the time that the coach asked them to sit down with the other children and they did!  Each of these little learnings benefit their social and cognitive skills.  Reinforcing these behaviours and praising children for them means that they will be more likely to repeat them…meaning that they settle far faster into their new activity.

  1. Ask for feedback.

This has two parts – firstly, ask your toddler what they liked most. Can they remember who the coaches name was. What did they learn today and even remind them of a great goal or cone they knocked over or picked up for the coach. Who did we meet today and pick out one of their friends. They will often then ask to go back and see Coach Lizzy or Coach Matt.  Better yet, you may well find them pretending to be their favourite teacher around the house!

The second part is to ask the teacher for feedback – how did your toddler perform?  Was it in line with their expectations of a first class?  What can you do to help them learn?  Are there any activities that you can practice at home with your toddler?  Most organisations will provide this feedback as a matter of course and excellent activity providers will be able to show you the areas of the curriculum that you can practice with your toddler.

Sometime our toddlers are just not up for a new experience. They can have an attack of shyness, they can feel overawed or just that feeling of being exposed and sensitive to the new environment. It pay to persevere. There are many things to get used to and they may take some time to settle. So perseverance is a great asset to have. Bringing them back a few times will let them get used to the new setting, the new instructors and new activities.  Remember – at 2 years of age, our toddlers are going through all sorts of changes – from growth to vocabulary spurts – let’s give them time to settle in to the new class.

  1. Have Fun

They know when mum or dad is having fun too. Kids feed off our own vibe – so make sure you are engaged, looing excited and having a laugh and joke with the activity coach other parents.  Smiles all round makes for a far easier environment for a toddler to set into, rather than a concerned gaze.

  1. Invite One of Their Friends.

Often kids settle when they feel familiar with their peers. If you can go with other parents and a child they are familiar with then this helps. It can turn into a familiar playdate but just in another setting! All the new environment, the coaches, teachers and games become a lot palatable for a child to cope with a little help from a friend.

  1. Get involved

It can often help if parents go and support the child on their first few sessions by getting down and dirty on the floor with them. But be careful that they don’t rely on you too much. Gradually pulling away once they build up the slightest confidence can avoid them clinging to you as opposed to joining in fully.  A great technique here is to have your child hold not only your hand, but also the hand of one of the coaching team.  As they become more comfortable with the coach, they will learn to hold only their hand and you can sit back, relax and enjoy the show from a distance.

  1. Pull Away.

Sometimes, toddlers and children will go through an extremely clingy phase.  This can cause a number of parents to get a little frustrated with their little one and one technique that can be tried is to leave the room entirely.  Now, this is not a good idea if your toddler is red in the face and streaming with tears, but it can give them a gentle nudge to leave you and join in.  Often we find that the toddler might be more attached to mum or dad in particular and that when a different parent attends a class, the child behaves completely differently.  Have a chat with your toddler’s teacher about nipping out of the room at regular intervals (and peering through the glass without being seen).  Most organisations are happy to do this, but don’t wander too far!

Practicing the activity between lessons is a great way for making your little one feel comfortable.  You might want to repeat a chant they learned or what they are meant to do with a ball.  And remind them in the days that follow. Which foot did you kick with? What part of the foot do you kick with? Children settle more when they understand more and remember what they can do – they feel even more settled when they can achieve even the slightest new skill or talent. This helps them feel familiar, to remember and then to feel less overawed in the next session.

  1. Introduce them to a new friend.

Speak to other parents at the class. Get to know the parents and their own children. Teach your child the name of one their peers. Get them to copy their new friend. Making friends yourself and being relaxed can rub off on our little ones. Making a new friend themselves has natural benefits of them feel more at home in their surrounds – plus it might even allow for some social relationships for mum and dad!

Toddler Friends

  1. Siblings can help too

An older sibling can really help a child settle into a class.  As a family, young toddlers always aspire to be like their older brother or sister, so having them involved in the class can really help.  Speak to your toddler activity provider before suggesting this to your children, but most will not have a problem if it helps tease your tot into action.  As the weeks go by, the older sibling can retract from the class, leaving your fully engaged toddler in their place.  If their older brother or sister loves it that much – why not try them in their own class?

All in all new activity classes are a great way to introduce your child to new experiences, new environments and new friends. Whilst it can be daunting for our children it can be so, so so rewarding for them. Getting them to enthuse, feel comfortable and generally submerge themselves in the whole experience may take a number of these tips. No doubt you will create your own tips, trick and knacks of getting our little ones to settle – remember, we are all learning.

Mark BlogDr 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.

10 Tips for Choosing a Kids & Toddler Activity Coach by Sport4Kids

mnberks10 Tips for Choosing a Kids & Toddler Activity Coach

Parents who have been through the joy of kids football over the years will testify that whether their child loves a sport or not, the experience will be largely dependant on the coach and how they build their confidence.  How coaches interact with and behave around our children is something that can shape their development not just in sport, but also in life skills.

Many parents will arrive at a kids football class or toddler activity session and feel that they have no choice but to accept who the coach is.  There are however, some tips that I would recommend before committing to a particular class.  Below are some pointers to reflect on as you enter any kind of kids or toddler activity session… Football Coaching

What are Your First Impressions of Your Coach?

How does the coach or instructor welcome you and your family to the class?  Does the coach address you and any family?  Does she or he communicate with the child at their eye level on arrival?  Does the instructor put you and your family at ease on arrival and settle your child’s nerves?

Can the Coach Communicate With Each Age Group? 

Parents know instinctively that children of different ages need different types of communication.  In a toddler activity class, a child may become distressed at sudden loud noises, while a child of 5 years of age might laugh and buzz with excitement.  The way that the coach adapts to different children within each age group is also vital.  Remember, for many of us, this is our little ones’ first experience of a structured setting – it is vital that our coach can adapt to deal with a shy child that’s hiding behind your leg.  Equally, can the coach entertain a group of 15 children and have them hang on their every word? Female Coaching 3

Is Your Coach a screamer?

Tone of voice is perhaps the most vital attribute to any coach. In competitve sports there are a large number of screaming coaches.  Being loud and assertive can be a good thing, especially when controlling 20 teenagers, but yelling instructions for smaller children can really damage a child’s confidence.  Changes in pitch, pace and tone can grip the attention of even the youngest toddler, while an emphasis on positivity and praise when coaching a kids rugby match is vital to the well-being and confidence of the children participating.

Does your coach Nurture all of the children?

Does the coach spend time with only the most talented children and leave the rest to pick dandilions on the side lines? A good instructor has a genuine interest in the development of every child in their session.  Whether your child is destined to be the next Lionel Messi or Tiger Woods, every child is capable of improving their own abilities – with the help of their coach. Football Coaching (1)

Does your coach have a win at All Costs Mentality?

Is the coach obsessed with winning? Many individuals move into coaching as a way of continuing with a sport and try to use it as a method of fulfilling their own ambitions from when they used to play.  A good coach is somebody who will applaud a pass based on the idea, not just on it’s success.  They will encourage a child to try a skill that they have been taught during a game scenario and not just during the safety of practice time.

Is your coach a good role model to children?

Coaches need to be role models to our toddlers and children. We need coaches that are articulate, well-presented and conscientious in their approach in order to provide our little ones with a positive introduction to any activity.  Kids will often go home and pretend to be their favourite coach when playing acivities around the home – the behavior of the coach is therefore crucial.

Is your child enthusiastic about coming back?

Children are very easy to read and you will soon know whether your child has had a positive experience with a coach or instructor. Perhaps the best way to see this is whether your child is bounding towards the car with excitement before the journey for their next class?  If they are reluctant, this may not be exclusively to do with the coach, but a coach that is an instant friend to a child provides a strong reason for them to return.

How does the coach behave during matches or shows?

For our older children, they will often take part in competitive situations or demonstrations. Whether a dance recital or cricket match, the role of the coach is vital to the confidence and belief of your child.  Does the coach or instructor criticize players or performers in front of others?  Do they praise the children and try to build confidence and self-esteem?

Does the coach tolerate team-mates criticizing each other?

An insight into the environment that you and your child are walking into can sometimes be seen by the way that the coach reacts to players criticizing each other. Children can often lose their temper and vent their frustrations at a team mate, but a good coach will step in and mediate the situation.  They will ask the children why they are frustrated and explain to them that they are team mates and need to stick together. Football Coaching (2)

Does You Coach Give you Feedback?

An insightful coach watches the progress and development of each and every child. Your coaches feedback is invaluable for you to guage how your child is coping at the level of skills and how they are progressing. It will re-assure you that the coach is watching for areas to work on and picking up strengths. The best coaches are able to analyse and provide context for the journey you and your child are on. It is also crucial for building confidence and a feeling of belonging for the child. They will feel noticed, cared for and valued.

Many of us will reflect on our time playing sport and remember the winning times – which are certainly fun for everyone.  However, our favourite coach or teacher might not necessarily be the one who was with us when we were winning.  The coaches that valued and supported us when we worked hard, when we were team players and gave everything we had.
The vast majority of kids won’t go on to play professionally in their chosen sport or activity. They’ll remember their youth sports experience for a host of reasons—again, good and bad.  But when it comes to those that coached them, what they will likely remember most of all is the individual who taught them valuable skills, helped them get better and who found joy in the day to day process of working with youngsters rather than the result of a game.

If you find a coach that behaves like an adult in the relationship, applauds and praises the behaviour and attitude of the children throughout a class or competitive situation, treats your family and child with respect and engages them through fun and energetic activities – you have found the best coaching environment for your child.

Dr Mark GouldDr 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 written by Sport4kids and is a sponsored post.

Why do people die? Where do they go?

mnberksAwkward Questions Children Ask Part SevenGood 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.

So today’s question is:

Why do people die? Where do they go?

tshirt sat at tableAmanda says…..

Your answer to this will be heavily influenced by the age of the child, the circumstances surrounding the timing of question, their personal experiences and your own beliefs.  If a child is suffering from grief, it is important to provide reassurance in the answer.  Ultimately, honesty in many cases is the best policy.  Younger children tend to take things literally so explaining that the family has ‘lost’ someone or he/she has ‘gone to sleep’ could lead to problems such as sleepness nights as the child will be afraid to fall asleep for fear of not waking.  As children get older you can explain in more detail but using clear, simple and accurate details is recommended.

If it is just one of those questions, you can encourage children to be more philosophical and think about concepts such as the circle of life, overcrowding of the world and even issues such as quality v quantity of life with older children.  Religious explanations aside, a child will benefit from hearing an adult acknowledge their own uncertainty.  Encourage questions from your child but be honest if you are unsure of how to answer them.  There’s no right or wrong answers.  It is fine to say that no one really knows but lots of people have ideas that they believe and that it is ok to believe whatever you want to.

Young children don’t have a mature concept of the permanence and irreversibility of death so they need an explanation that they can relate to. The butterfly analogy works well – a caterpillar on the ground goes into a cocoon not having any idea that it’s about to grow wings and emerge from its sleep as a beautiful butterfly.  This explanation can help take away the fear of dying that many children experience at some point.

A note from the Mumsnet Berkshire Local Editor: I hope I am not asked this question any time soon. The only thing I can really add to Amanda’s answer is to learn about the signs of grief in children if they have lost a loved one (be that a family member, friend or pet). For example, a change in behaviour (this could be many weeks or months after the initial bereavement), fascination with death, anxiety over certain things i.e. going to sleep, being ill etc. Please feel free to add your comments or email thoughts to

Read more awkward questions here:

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?

Read Part Four: How do I explain that we can’t afford what their friends can afford?

Read Part Five: How does a baby get in Mummy’s tummy?

Read Part Six: My Friends say I am ugly. Is it true?

The Berkshire Show

mnberksMy Trip to the Berkshire Show

The Berkshire Show, organised annually by the Newbury & District Agricultural Society, is a weekend jam packed full of things of family friendly things to do and see all related to country life. There is so much to see including lots of animals, agricultural machinery, areas to shop for hand-made goods and so much more.

My husband and I took our two year old and our one year old to the Berkshire Show on Saturday 20th September. The first thing that struck us was that it was quite well organised. There are plenty of car parks (some that are free and one that charges £5 for the day) each labelled with a colour and they even had row numbers. They do pack you in and we did complain that there wasn’t a lot of room to reverse your car without risking hitting a car parked in the row behind. There was also poor sign posting for getting out of the rows of cars in the car park to leave the car park but that was our bugbear for the day.

My two year old was amazed from the start because we started off looking at some beautiful birds of prey and although we have plenty of Red Kite where we live, you don’t often get a close up view. We also saw a variety of snakes & lizards, enjoyed the petting zoo with goats, chickens, rabbits & donkeys, and enjoyed going to look at all the show animals including Lamas, pigs, sheep and poultry. On that note, I didn’t like the Poultry tent because all the animals were in very small cages and I felt quite uncomfortable about that. Whilst I appreciate it is only for a weekend event, the thought of them being cooped up and crammed in really rather upset me. The larger animals had a lot more space to roam about.

bs1There were tractors, diggers, combine harvesters and all sorts of machinery on show. Whilst it’s not really my interest, my husband and son both really enjoyed looking at them all. I was very entertained to discover that there is also a Police tractor – something I had never given any thought to.

As well as lots to see, there were many tents with kids areas for them to sit down for a bit and do some drawing, enter competitions and get some nice freebies! I was particularly happy to see a tent specifically for baby changing and feeding with a nice play area for the little ones to let off steam. I had been walking around for a few minutes trying to work out where I was going to change a nappy without being right in everyone’s way. There were also volunteers walking around telling parents where this tent was which I think was very handy.

The animals were in lots of competitions so you could listen to the judges and commentary on what was being looked for amongst the animals to pick a winner.

I was really impressed by and really enjoyed looking at all the hand made wooden crafts from benches and chairs to garden animals & walking sticks. The talent is fantastic. I only wish a few more had been Berkshire based!

Some of you would recognise them from Britians Got Talent – Bolddog Lings Freestyle FMX team were there doing a Motorcycle stunt display. We didn’t get to see it but heard from others that it was fantastic to see. The Main arena also featured show jumping and heavy horses.


Along with crafts, photography and cookery demonstrations there was something for everyone. We noticed that most of the people there were older and not so many families. That’s a bit disappointing for us because we thought it was a great place to take the children.

berkshire showThere was plenty of seating but not enough toilets. The toilers they did have always seemed to be a long walk from where I was and at one point I had a debate about whether I could hold it or not. So for future years they really need more toilets especially with the huge number of visitors attending.

Overall, a great day with lots to see and do for all the family. You can buy tickets in advance or on the day but it is obviously more expensive on the day. For more information on the Berkshire show, visit their website here:

My tickets were free but this in no way influenced the outcome of my review.

Low Expectations….left with Great Impressions!

mnberksGreat Expectations by London Contemporary Theatre

I was invited to the theatre at South Hill Park, Bracknell to watch the opening performance of Great Expectations by the London Contemporary Theatre group who are celebrating their second birthday!

I have to admit I haven’t been to the theatre in a long time and I wasn’t sure Great Expectations would really be something I’d enjoy. I have never read the book and I am sure I have seen one of the films somewhere many years ago but couldn’t tell you the story at all. So I decided to take someone along who would know all about it. My awesome Mum!

South Hill Park Arts Centre is one of my favourite places to go just to walk around its beautiful grounds and lake, take my kids to the sandpit and enjoy the nearby play park. Before the show Mum and I enjoyed a peaceful drink listening to some live music whilst sat outside overlooking these beautiful grounds. It set the scene for a lovely evening.

great expectationsWe went into the theatre which is a really nice size. It’s not massive so where ever you are sat, I think you’d have a good seat. But we were lucky to have our tickets in the middle. The stage was already set up with actors on it with a woman in a wedding dress laid dead on the stage. This sparked anticipation in me immediately. When the show started I was immediately drawn in to the story of a young Boy called Pip and the relationship he was to form with the cold hearted Estelle. I was so drawn in that when there was a break in the performance I was really disappointed so consoled myself with a nice ice cream.

The changes of scene were done to the sound of a clock along with music and the actors & actresses used dance to to move across the stage ready for the next scene to start. I thought it was really cleverly done. Great Expectations (or this version of) was a modern version, set in modern times and I felt it adapted well. I was able to follow the story line which I thoroughly enjoyed. I only got a bit confused near the end when the parents of Estelle were revealed. There was also a suitable amount of humour to break up from the seriousness of the story.

I have to say I was incredibly impressed with the cast. I thought the chemistry between Pip and his Mum was great and the portrayal of Miss Haversham was brilliant. Estelle was also portrayed brilliantly. I hated her but I could also see why Pip would fall for her and I was excited to see whether or not they would end up together! The performance was about 2 hours long which was just about right with the interval too.

I’d really recommend going to see Great Expectations by the London Contemporary Theatre. I can’t wait to see their up and coming versions performances including one by Roald Dahl. My tickets were free but this in no way influences the reviews I give.

Great Expectations is currently touring in the UK now. to find out more you can visit the website