Wednesday, 27 July 2011

That's Holiday: The National Trust? Gnashional Trust! Trust opens ...

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Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Kids Eat Free at Westfield

Westfield London Shopping Centre has launched a ‘Kids Eat for FREE’ offer as part of its Summer 2011 campaign. The campaign includes a six-week programme, filled with kids’ events, shows and other entertainment activities – what’s more, most of them are free!

The ‘Kids for Free’ vouchers can be used in a wide range of eateries including Benugo, Caffe Concerto, Ciao Baby Cucina, Comptoir Libanis, Crepeaffaire, Fire & Stone, Isola Bella, Jom Makan, Le Pain Quotidien, Mandaloun, Shawa, The Meat & Wine Company and The Real Greek - meaning that even the fussiest little eaters can find something to smile about. The Kids Eat Free vouchers can only be redeemed in Westfield London at the restaurants specified from 23rd July – 4th September 2011. Download yours now from:

As well as the concierge, personal shopping and home delivery services, Westfield London is also introducing a weekday evening car park rate where you can park up for a maximum £5 flat rate after 5pm Monday to Friday.

The kids’ events will be taking place in the main Atrium, Foyles Bookshop, the LEGO store and the VUE cinema at Westfield London which is the largest urban shopping centre in Europe. With 275 stores, 50 restaurants and a 14 Screen, state-of–the-art Vue Cinema there is something to keep the entire family entertained. Terms and Conditions do apply. Please check these beforehand.

For a full schedule of what’s on and the retailer discounts available see the Westfield London website ( ) or pick up Westfield London’s Summer 2011 brochure from any concierge desk at the centre.

Monday, 25 July 2011

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How safe is the pool you and your children are swimming in?

asks Chris Carr, Fellow of the Institute of Swimming Pool Engineers

We all like new ideas, especially ground-breaking inventions that save us money, improve efficiency and make life easier. Such an invention has hit the commercial and private swimming pool industry – recycled glass is being used to filter pool water instead of tried and trusted media like silica sand. But are all the positive claims about glass media true? There is a heated debate within the industry about the effectiveness and, more importantly, the safety of recycled glass being used in pool filtration systems.

Having been involved in the pool industry for over 30 years, I have extensive knowledge and experience of filter media like silica sand and zeolite and run filtration workshops on behalf of the Institute of Swimming Pool Engineers. It is, therefore, important to keep abreast of new developments that affect the way trainee pool engineers are educated. So, on hearing negative industry comments, I decided to investigate the use of recycled glass as a filter media.

To get an objective view I talked to installers - those on the frontline - to find out what the problems are for both installer and swimmers and discover any limitations glass might have for the use in filtering swimming pool water.

I spoke with pool installers who are regularly installing pumps and filters and change filter media. There were a range of concerns including the cost, the fact that glass expands more than traditional media resulting in a loss of glass particles when the filter is backwashed, glass migrating across the filter and a loss of quality water. Additionally, glass is more abrasive than sand and can have a detrimental effect on the inside of the filter. Others expressed concern about the claims of the longevity of recycled glass as a filter media; fearing that its lifespan is much shorter than sand which could lead to performance problems.

Some installers said they had used glass on several installations and had not seen any significant improvement in the water quality compared to using sand. Furthermore, there was no real reduction in chemical consumption either. On a more positive note, some installers had used glass on domestic pool installations and seemed fairly happy with the result. However, no formal monitoring seems to be taking place.

Several installers said they had experienced problems with glass. One commercial installer found that after a time, the glass started to clump together and no matter how he tried he could not eliminate this problem without changing the media completely – a costly exercise.

Another installer showed samples of glass media being used in a commercial pool in the South East. The support media looked like pieces of shattered glass similar to that of a car windscreen smashed by a major impact. The main difference was that unlike a car windscreen, this glass was multi-coloured and looked quite attractive, rather like uncut semi-precious stones.

One could imagine if a young child got hold of this they might think it something to play with or even sweets! More worrying, these glass fragments have very sharp edges - if you were to run your fingers through these fragments, you would most likely suffer from lacerations. The main media, although a fairly uniform size, are also multi-coloured and appear to have sharp edges similar to the support media.

I was shown fragments of glass which had been collected from an in-line strainer protecting the dosing equipment probes. These fragments ranged in size around: 5 to 20 thousand of an inch and were of a shape that would pass easily through the slots in a typical under-drain system. These glass shards are probably formed from the sharp edges of the support media which may be breaking off when the filter is rinsed.

On the installation from which these samples came, it would appear that there is a continuous stream of glass shards being emitted from the filter which float around the swimming pool, invisible to the eye.

When preparing a risk assessment for a pool, one of the key rules is to ensure that all items made of or containing glass are kept well away from the pool area. In a pool environment, glass can be lethal. Apart from the obvious risk of cuts, glass shards can be ingested or become embedded in a swimmer’s eyes, ears, nose and other vulnerable parts of the body.

Such risks need to be properly considered. What would be the consequences if a filter charged with this type of glass media had a fault with its lateral system and lost its contents into the pool? If this happened suddenly with a lot of young children in a pool, would they play with the media before the supervisor/life guard had a chance to get them out of the pool?

As mentioned, the samples examined were multi-coloured, but other suppliers are providing single colour, clear or slightly green-coloured recycled glass, which is equally problematic. Imagine if a filter fails and empties its contents of ‘clear’ glass into the pool, how could a swimmer see it? The pool would have to be closed and drained in order to vacuum out the glass. In addition to the obvious health and safety risks, there would be substantial cost to rectify the problem.

On viewing the samples, two senior health and safety advisers acknowledged that there are potential risks.

There are now several companies offering recycled glass as an alternative type of filter media. Some of these companies and their products appear to be of a physically superior quality than the problem samples observed so it would be unfair to tar all of them with the same brush.

My advice to anyone contemplating using recycled glass as a media is to consider all the potential risks if a fault arose. Examine the product carefully; check its sharpness and its visibility in a depth of water. And ask about written guarantees from the supplier - who is liable if an engineer or swimmer is injured by a glass fragment and who would cover the cost if a pool hand to be drained and cleaned of glass that escaped from the filtration system.

Ultimately, we want swimmers and engineers to be safe rather than sorry!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

That's Holiday: Still Time For Families To Get Active This Summer ...

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Calling all kids and families! Westfield London Announces a Sizzling Summer 2011

Summer for kids has officially hit Westfield London Shopping London Shopping Centre - throughout July and August, the temperature will rise in the Capital with back-to-back events taking over Europe’s largest shopping and leisure destination.

Westfield London will be transformed into a scorching hotspot for six weeks, with live appearances of favourite kid’s characters including Ben 10, Tinga Tinga Tales and Thomas the Tank Engine. What’s more, every Saturday and Sunday, kids and parents can watch selected films for 95p at Vue Westfield London with the Kids AM offer.

Once the kids have had their fun, why not treat yourself to a summer wardrobe with over 750 fashion brands to be found and summer sales throughout most stores. While Hollister & Co, The Apple Store and Topshop will no doubt keep the teen fashionistas in style this summer, The Little White Company, Mamas & Papas and Bebe Bisou will have newborns and toddlers looking tip top.


It’s Hero Time at Westfield London where you can meet your favourite alien heroes. Enter Ben’s world by getting a free green screen photo, see The Atrium taken over by a larger than life Ben 10 and receive a special gift. Enjoy all the Ben 10 activity at 11am, 12noon, 1pm, 2pm or 3pm – collect your wristband from concierge in the Atrium from 9am on the day.


During the summer holidays, come rain or shine, The Little Gym Westfield London provides holiday camps for children aged between 3 to 8 years. Discover our 2 or 3 hour fun-themed OFSTED approved camps for all children (from 3 to 8 years) during the summer holidays with a fabulous variety of fun, activity, learning and creativity.

Theme Week 1 25th - 30th July HARRY'S SCHOOL OF MAGIC
Theme Week 2 1st - 6th August UNDER THE SEA
Theme Week 3 8th - 13th August SPORTS SPECTACULAR
Theme Week 4 15th - 20th August SUPER SAFARI
Theme Week 5 22nd - 27th August DINOSAUR LAND
Theme Week 6 29th - 3rd September GYMNASTIC EXTRAVAGANZA


Meet Thomas at 11am, 12noon, 1pm, 2pm or 3pm and to make sure you don’t miss out, collect your wristband from concierge in The Atrium from 9am on the day.


Join Little Charley Bear on his imaginative adventures in this brand new fun-filled and action packed stage show. Children will get excited as they play guessing games with Charley and the presenter in Charley’s bedroom, interacting and laughing as he mimes different scenarios.


Every day throughout the holidays from the 25th July, the LEGO house elves are going to need your help. Fly down to the LEGO Store and create a wand to rival those sold at Ollivander’s, then use your new wand to cast spells on the Dementors. Expecto Patronum!


On 4th August join in specially themed mini-model building at LEGO Store. Available on a first come, first served basis.


Enjoy playing spinners - battling against your friends for your chance to win Ninjago goodies! Spinjitzu game challenges will be hosted by Ninjago demonstrators and you can have a go at the Nintendo game PODs with the latest Ninjago DS game to play and there will even be screenings of Ningajo films too.


Have fun at the Foyles Circus at Foyles Books on Saturday 27th August when a special visit from a circus friend means lots of candy-floss and storytelling


Tinga Tinga Tales is a land full of stories and surprises. Now you and your little ones can join in the fun with story time sessions that will bring an animal story to life, face-painting and balloon animals. Enjoy story-time in the Atrium at 11am, 12noon, 1pm, 2pm or 3pm. Don’t miss out – collect your wristband from the concierge in The Atrium from 9am on the day.

Don’t forget to pick up Westfield London’s Summer 2011 brochure from the concierge desk which includes a full schedule of what’s on plus discount vouchers on from retailers.

For more details and updates on Summer 2011 at Westfield London, visit

(NOTE: Wristbands given out on a first come, first served basis. Session capacity limited)

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Are We Nearly There, Yet? Free travel guide for parents

With the summer-term breaks getting underway, millions of families are preparing for long car journeys as they hit the road on holidays. However, new research from Peugeot commissioned to support the launch of the new Peugeot 308, reveals the full extent to which nerves will be frazzled and arguments ablaze long before the vast majority reach their destinations, as over half the UK’s parents (55%) admit to losing their temper with their kids on long car journeys.

A startling 62% of parents confess to being happier without their kids in the family car, while 43% admit to feeling anxious, irritable or simply angry when travelling with their children. In an age where family time is at a premium, this is a wasted opportunity for parents who could be making the most from close up time with their children.

Working with Peugeot on the study, expert Child Psychologist Professor Tanya Byron points to a number of highly effective and easy to implement ideas that stressed out parents can draw on in order to turn hours of angst and upset into quality family time.

“In order to ensure a happy holiday, it’s important to make sure the journey there can be part of the fun too,” suggests Tanya. “A stressful journey with whining and fighting kids can cause huge tension and lead to arguments and a bad atmosphere that can overshadow the holiday barely before it has begun.

“It’s only natural that being confined in a small space for a long time will lead children to become bored and in need of distraction and stimulation. However rather than leaving them to their own devices and allowing that frustration to build towards shouting and arguing, be one step ahead and prepare activities and games that will keep them occupied and their minds engaged.”

Even once the journey’s underway, there’s a lot that parents can do to keep boredom at bay and kids calm. While a worrying 60% of parents admit to lying to keep their children quiet and a further 71% confess to offering bribes of sweets to distract their kids, there shouldn’t be any need to resort to either of these potentially damaging quick fixes.

Tanya Byron goes on to say: “It is estimated that sustained attention to a task will range from about five minutes for a two year old to around 20 minutes for older children and adults. Given that children are frustrated by the lack of freedom in a car, it is vital that there are a variety of tasks and activities that they can engage with in order to reduce their frustrations and improve the quality of the long car journey for everyone.

“A car journey family tool kit should include activities and tasks that enable the following:
• Distraction
• Communication
• Relaxation
• Having fun!

“Time spent creatively preparing different activities and fun for the kids, with a variety on hand that can be rotated when the span of attention has finished, will ensure a smoother and happier journey for all. Try to vary the activities in terms of the senses engaged e.g. follow a memory game with a sing song which then leads into some creative play.

“Reward activities successfully completed with healthy treats and stickers on individual charts2, which can be exchanged for treats (a comic, pack of football cards etc.) during breaks in the journey.”
Are we nearly there yet?

Every parent will be familiar with the warning shot across the bow as wriggling children reach their patience thresholds and the first cries of ‘are we nearly there yet’ ring out from the backseat. Peugeot’s poll of more than 2,000 UK parents pinpoints 31 minutes into a long car journey as the moment when those fateful words can first be heard. And the first warning comes only two minutes earlier, 29 minutes into the average journey, as children first show signs of boredom, leaving parents little time to react if they haven’t taken steps already.

But the serious side to in car harmony is safety, as one in five parents say they have either had or almost had a car accident due to their children’s unsettled behaviour, making easy to follow tips and advice all the more important.

For Professor Tanya Byron’s full list of travel tips to make long car journeys something to look forward to rather than dread, visit to download the free guide.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

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Tuesday, 12 July 2011

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Monday, 11 July 2011

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A Micro Scooter For Every Child?

Anna Gibson and Philippa Gograrty, the co-founders of Micro Scooters UK, set out to improve children’s lives, one scooter at a time. However, knowing that not every family can afford one of their scooters, they decided to launch a Toy Library Donation Scheme to make them accessible to every child.

Pimlico Toy Library in London is the first to benefit from the scheme which launches on 12th July when the scooters will be handed over. With the school summer holidays nearly here, it’s perfect timing as the extends its service to 0 - 11 year olds during August with a range of exiting activities.

Situated in one of the most deprived areas in the UK, Pimlico Toy Library is also one of the busiest. It relies solely on charitable donations, which is why Micro Scooters has chosen Pimlico as the first to benefit from the scheme.

Not only are they fun, but scooters also help with a child’s development of balance, coordination and core muscle strength. Commenting on the scheme, Pimlico’s toy co-ordinator, Maggie Harper said:
“After discussions with the local Occupational Therapist, the Toy Library is working with hundreds of children with the aim of preventing the current situation where some children of school age are unable to cope with basic life skills like dressing and feeding themselves properly.

Micro Scooters donation will make a difference by improving children’s co-ordination and fitness as well as giving them a sense of achievement.”

John Lewis announces new arrival - “Pure Beginnings” skin care for babies and children

Britain’s top department store, John Lewis, has announced a new addition to its baby care range with the launch of one of South Africa’s most trusted organic personal care brands, Pure Beginnings.

This eco and vegan friendly skincare range comprises five pH-balanced products made to organic standards without using of petrochemicals, parabens, synthetic fragrances, colourants and sulphated surfactants so that they are good for children's sensitive skin.

Endorsed by Beauty Without Cruelty South Africa, "Pure Beginnings Baby and Children’s products combine certified organic and native fair trade African ingredients" that have been ethically sourced from Fair Trade Initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa, with traditional herb botanicals.

The products are also accredited by Phytotrade Africa, a non-profit trade association whose purpose is to alleviate poverty and protect biodiversity in the region by developing an industry that isn't just economically successful but also ethical and sustainable.

The Pure Beginnings product range comprises:

Baby Bum Cream with Baobab – £10.15/125ml – an effective daily barrier cream with natural anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. Made with baobab fruit extract and tea tree leaf oil, it can be used to treat nappy rash, relieve sores, stings and bites, and is also ideal for anyone suffering from eczema or sensitive skin conditions.

Baby Wash & Shampoo with Baobab - £8.15/200ml – a rosemary and geranium scented all-in-one baby wash and shampoo with baobab fruit extract, that is effective on cradle cap.

Baby Body Lotion with Baobab - £10.15/200ml – mildly scented with rosemary and lavender, and featuring anti-oxidant rich baobab fruit extract as well as skin-nourishing shea butter, this lotion will hydrate baby’s skin leaving it feeling silky smooth.

Bubble Bath – £7.50/250ml – created for children of all ages, this SLS-free citrus and ylang ylang scented bubble bath will help make children’s bath-time fun rather than a chore.

Berry Toothpaste – £3.60/75ml – designed for children of all ages and suitable for teething babies, this safe-to-swallow toothpaste is free from SLS and fluoride, and has a fantastic natural raspberry flavour to help encourage kids to brush their teeth regularly. It contains xylitol, which has been endorsed by dental associations worldwide for its ability to inhibit the growth of bacteria that cause tooth decay.

Pure Beginnings can be found in most John Lewis department stores and online at For details on this range you can visit or call 020 7602 2249.

FACTFILE: Founded by husband and wife team Bruce and Kate Moore-Gordon, Pure Beginnings (Pty) Ltd was established in 2007 and is headquartered in Durban, South Africa. The company is committed to Fair Trade practices, ethical sourcing and protecting diversity. The UK is its first export market.

The range should be available at: Bluewater, Brent Cross – London, Cribbs Causeway – Bristol, Cambridge, Cheadle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Kingston, Liverpool, Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Nottingham, Oxford Street – London, Peter Jones – Sloane Sq, Reading, Solihull, Southampton, Trafford – Manchester, Watford, Welwyn.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

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Monday, 4 July 2011

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Summer Holiday Safety: how to spot and treat a child's head injury

As schools break up and children go out on their bikes, scooters, rollerblades and skateboards, the risk of head injuries among youngsters always rises. The Child Brain Injury Trust estimates that during the summer holidays the number of head injuries among children will increase by 30%.

“A rise in head injuries and accidents is hardly surprising with many more children out and about during the summer holidays,” admits Lisa Turan, chief executive officer of the Child Brain Injury Trust ( But what IS surprising is the amount of children who set out for summer fun without wearing any protective head gear. Youngsters don’t think about the risk of brain injury when they jump on their bikes or head to the skate park. But if they saw some of the children we support whose lives have changed in a split second through acquiring a brain injury, they would definitely think again,” she says.

Play It Safe

One of the best ways to avoid a brain injury is to guard against the most common causes. Wearing a protective helmet could absorb up to 63% (Thomas S, Acton CH, Nixon J, Battistutta D, Pitt WR, Clark R. BMJ, 1994) of the impact. That could make all the difference between a mild or serious brain injury, or between life and death.

“At the moment it isn’t law for children to wear a helmet while cycling and skateboarding so it’s hard for parents and carers to insist on children wearing a helmet,” says Sally Dunscombe, director of the Brain Injury Group ( “We would like to see the law changed but, until it is, we would strongly urge parents to reinforce these dos and don’ts for safer summer fun,” she says.

• DO wear a protective helmet when cycling, rollerblading, skate boarding or using a scooter
• DON’T dive headfirst into lakes, ponds or pools
• DO up your helmet properly BEFORE you move off, get onto a horse or start to zip wire
• DO tell an adult if you hit your head
• DON’T leave your friends if they hit their head (and DO tell their parents what happened as they may not recall it).

How to spot a brain injury

“A brain injury can be sustained even if your child doesn’t lose consciousness,” warns neurologist and consultant to the Brain Injury Group Professor Lindsay McLellan. “In some cases, a child can continue acting normally for hours before they show any symptoms,” he says. “If a child is knocked out it’s pretty obvious they should go to hospital,” he continues. “But if they bump their head in a playground or while mucking about in the garden and don’t lose consciousness but continue to feel unwell, it can be tricky to know whether they have a more serious injury,” says McLellan. “If they continue to experience one or more of these symptoms, seek medical advice,” he advises.

• Headache
• Nausea or vomiting
• Dizziness or disorientation
• Trouble speaking clearly
• Irritability and/or tearfulness
• Blurred vision/dislike of bright light
• Extreme tiredness

“If one of more of these symptoms is severe, go straight to hospital,” advises Professor McLellan. “But if the symptoms are milder or come on more gradually you should see your GP.”

If you have been affected by brain injury, the provides comprehensive support services for brain injured individuals and their families.

The Child Brain Injury Trust is a national charity that provides support for families following childhood acquired brain injury.

Find out more at or call the helpline 0845 601 4939 (