Fireworks Display in and around Berkshire 2014

mnberksFireworks Displays in & around Berkshire

We all love bonfire night and organised displays are a safe way to enjoy some beautiful and incredible displays. Here is a list of firework displays in Berkshire & surrounding areas. I will be updating this blog post regularly so please feel free to email me details of any you know about

25 Oct –  Sue Ryder Fireworks & Halloween Night at Sure Ryder Care Home. Organised by the Rotary Club of Henley Bridge and held in the grounds of the Sue Ryder Care Home. Professional firework display, bonfire, Halloween fancy dress parade, numerous stalls, pig roast, soup, bangers, burgers, mulled wine and bar. Gates open at 5pm with fireworks at 7.15pm. Vehicle and all occupants £15, walking adults £5, child 5-16yrs £2.

31st October Fireworks to Music at Bradfield CofE Primary School

1st November Woodley & Earley Lions Club Display

1st November Ascot Racecourse

1st November Reading Lions Firework Display Tilehurst

1st November Newbury Racecourse

2nd November War Horse Fireworks Display Royal Windsor Racecourse

5th November Chievley Recreation Ground

8th November Pangbourne Firework Fiesta

8th November Wokingham Fireworks Evening


My friends say I am ugly. Is it true?

mnberksAwkward Questions Children Ask Part SixGood 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:

My friends say I am ugly. Is is true?


tshirt sat at tableAmanda says…..

No, this is definitely not true, no-one is ugly and it is not a nice thing to call someone or be called. Everyone looks different, and this is a good thing.  The world would be a very boring place we all looked the same.

When people are cruel to others they are often feeling unhappy inside, try to ignore the names and always be nice back and hopefully this behavior will stop. If it is a regular name calling, make sure you tell a teacher or adult who can ask them to stop. 

If your child is worried that people are not friends with them because of being pretty/ugly, it’s important to explain that people, children especially, are attracted to others who are happy and confident – not because of their clothes or hairstyle for example.  Encourage your child to be an individual and to enjoy developing their own interests.

 A note from the Berkshire Local Editor: The very fact this question was submitted in the first place upsets me. I wish that children could remain innocent from such things for a lot longer than they sadly do. I think it is also important to get your children to focus on what’s positive about themselves in terms of both personality and even how they look. Rather than focusing on things they may not like, I think it’s confidence boosting to talk about all the lovely things about them i.e. their lovely eyes or friendly smile. You can also encourage them to also see the lovely parts of all their friends and to always look at the positive. It’s important to empower children to believe in themselves. Sadly, children (& human beings in general) I believe, internalise things very easily and so the focus should be on growing their confidence and less focus on personal looks. Everyone has something beautiful about them. What do you think? Either comment here or email

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?

How does a baby get in Mummy’s tummy?



Awkward Questions Children Ask Part Five 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.

So today’s question is:



How does a baby get in Mummy’s’ tummy?

tshirt sat at table


Amanda says……

Obviously this answer depends on the age of the child…I have aimed it towards a younger child as the question uses the words ‘Mummyand ‘tummyso sounds younger.
When a Mummy and a Daddy love each other very much they make a decision to have a baby.

Daddy puts a special baby seed into an area in mummys body called a Womb. The Womb looks after the seed and helps it to grown into a baby.  It is well worth looking at some of the great apps and books out there which introduce the concept brilliantly to children of different ages.

A note from the Berkshire Local Editor: I think it is really important to stick to a version of the truth so I like Amanda’s answer. Most children are happy with whatever answer you give and won’t necessarily quiz you on every small aspect of baby-making. Please comment with your thoughts or email

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?

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?