LEAF Open Farm Sunday, 11th June 2017


Make a date to discover the world of farming

On Sunday 11th June 2017 hundreds of farms across the UK will throw open their gates to welcome the public and showcase the fascinating world of farming.

As well as being a fun and informative day out for all the family, LEAF Open Farm Sunday also gives visitors the opportunity to see first-hand all that farmers do and the impact their work has on all our lives.

This so often misunderstood industry has a vital role in not only producing safe nutritious food, but also using the latest science and technology to farm sustainably – that means increasing production whilst managing the environment for wildlife and enhancing our natural resources for generations to come. Since the first Open Farm Sunday in 2006 over 1.8m people have visited a LEAF Open Farm Sunday event.  This year, farms across the country, from Cornwall to Orkney, will provide young and old with an opportunity to see farming in action and learn more about the work farmers are so proud to do.

The mostly free events will offer a range of activities from tractor trailer rides, farm walks and bug hunts, to feeding lambs, sheep shearing and milking demonstrations.  The technology and science behind farming and food production will also be a focus; providing visitors with a fascinating insight into the world of farming.

Open Farm Sunday is managed by LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming); the leading organisation delivering more sustainable food and farming.


Annabel Shackleton, Open Farm Sunday Manager at LEAF commented: “Modern farming is incredibly diverse and impacts on all of us – from the clothes we wear to the medicines we take and the food we eat.  Farming plays a vital part in each of our lives. LEAF Open Farm Sunday gives us the rare opportunity to see farming in real life and to learn about the hard work, care and pride that goes into the work farmers do, which is so vital to the environment, our lives and the economy.’ 

So circle the date in your diary, visit www.farmsunday.org to find your local open farm, pull on your wellies and get set to discover the world of farming!


You Are What You Eat: How Food Can Affect Your Child’s Mood


The terrible twos don’t always subside after the toddler years, and sometimes it can be hard to understand the cause of your child’s latest tantrum.

It may not just be down to coincidence that your child’s mood changes shortly after a snack – here are the most common mood-changing foods:




The number one culprit that doesn’t need an introduction. From diabetes to obesity, sugar is notorious for causing trouble when not consumed in reasonable amounts.

Sugar to an extent is unavoidable, as it is in just about everything the average child eats. Sugar can be found in ketchup, salad dressing, yogurts (one of the biggest culprits) and cereals to name a few. Things that are labeled fat free or low fat are usually jam packed with added sugar to make up for the loss of flavour from the removed fat.

Monitoring sugar intake is extremely important, as consuming large amount spikes insulin levels and sets the liver on over-drive. This process will throw off your child’s system, first making him/her extremely hyperactive before leading to the downward spiral of irritability and lethargy.

And if the mood-swings weren’t enough, sugar has been shown to cause long-term health damage, and a diet high in processed foods has been linked to depression, cognitive delay, and sleep problems.

Food Colouring


This one isn’t quite as obvious as sugar. Food colouring has been linked to causing mood changes in kids. Recent studies suggest that food dyes, such as those found in sweets like Skittles and certain breakfast cereals can have a dramatic affect on child’s cognitive function, causing hyperactivity and loss of focus.

Surprisingly, artificial colouring is also often hidden in unexpected foods like bread and yogurt.

Sodium Benzoate

Sodium Benzoate is a preservative found in many foods and sodas. In the very same study that found that food dyes were mood-altering, sodium benzoate was also noted as a culprit that was linked to causing kid’s to lose focus. Look out for Sodium Benzoate in juices and soft drinks.



Not necessarily a mood-changing food, but it can have negative affects on your child’s behaviour or mood if your child is either lactose intolerant or allergic to the proteins found in dairy. Many children become irritable, cranky, or aggressive. Children with dairy allergies or intolerance also tend to suffer from frequent colds and ear infections.

The Good Stuff

Whilst some foods can have a negative impact on your child’s mood, others can do the opposite by boosting cognitive function and helping to maintain a steady insulin level in the body.

High Fibre Foods & Complex Carbohydrates:

Be sure to feed your children foods that wont break down into sugars instantly, such as slow-to-digest oatmeal. Foods that are high in fibre and packed with complex carbs digest slower, which means no more spikes and crashes in energy for your children, and a happier, more consistent mood throughout the day.

Adding flaxseed and chia seeds to their morning oatmeal is a good way to promote this. Also, try substituting white rice and pastas for their healthier brown alternatives.


Studies suggest that foods high in Omega-3 promote better moods. Foods such as salmon, broccoli, blueberries, avocado and kidney beans can help maintain a healthy brain and keep your kids smiling.



Could You Help Make a Difference in Essex?


It’s National Volunteer’s Week 1-7 June and Action Medical Research is asking people across Essex to help them in their bid to save little lives.

Action raises funds for desperately needed research to tackle the diseases that devastate the lives of so many of our children.

It has been funding medical breakthroughs since it began in 1952 including helping to introduce the first polio vaccines in the UK, developing the use of ultrasound in pregnancy and testing the rubella vaccine.

The charity is currently funding research into conditions including asthma, prematurity, epilepsy, meningitis, cerebral palsy, brain cancer and some rare and distressing conditions.

Launched in 1952, the charity now organises a number of local, annual events in and arounds Essex including:

• London to Paris (https://www.action.org.uk/action-london-paris)

• Essex 100 (https://www.action.org.uk/essex-100)

• Action in the Autumn (https://www.action.org.uk/action-autumn)


Action London to Paris bike ride fundraising challenge

Action has a number of committees across the UK whose members not only help with the charity’s established events, but some also organise their own.  These can range from cake sales, to casino nights to plant fairs; they’re fun, social and help provide additional fundraising for the organisation.

Jane Charlton is the Volunteer Development Manager at Action: “We have around 1,000 volunteers across the UK who currently help us throughout the year. They are amazing and we honestly couldn’t function without them.

“We organise such a diverse range of fundraising events and activities which offer a variety of opportunities to help.

“Could you give a talk at a local school? Perhaps help marshal at one of our many bike rides or even organise a fundraising event of your own?”

Think you could help make a difference?

You can find out much more information about volunteering for Action Medical Research here https://www.action.org.uk/volunteers.


Sun Safe Playtimes

One of the best bits about being at school is playtime; fun with friends out in the fresh air. But it’s also a time when children are exposed to the sun’s harmful rays.

Take a look at some sobering facts:

  • Skin cancer is now one of the biggest cancer killers in 15-34 year olds.
  • Sunburn in childhood can more than double a person’s chance of developing melanoma in later life
  • Over exposure to UV is responsible for 86% of all skin cancer cases and 4 out of every 5 melanoma deaths.
  • There are more deaths in the UK from skin cancer each year than Australia – the UV capital of the world.

NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidelines for skin cancer prevention insist that children should never be allowed to burn and should be made aware of how important it is to protect their skin.

UV is a known carcinogen and damage from UV is accumulative and irreparable. This means burning as a child can dramatically increase a person’s risk of developing skin cancer in later life. With peak UV hours between 11am and 3pm, when children are most likely to be playing out, it’s imperative to ensure that they are adequately protected.

With all this information taken into account, it becomes clear that a good sunscreen is a must when sending our children out into the sun. We’ve picked out some of the best sunscreens on the market, suitable for all kinds of skin!

For children:


Vichy IDÉAL SOLEIL Anti Sand Kids SPF 50

With broad spectrum UVA and UVB filters to absorb the sun’s radiation and reflect the rays away from the skin. Enriched with Vichy Mineralizing Water, Ideal Soleil Anti-Sand for Children helps to hydrate skin and fight against free radicals caused by exposure to the sun. Non-sticky and pleasant to apply, it helps ensure a dry finish allowing sand to be easily brushed off skin and not stick. In the form of a mist, this sunscreen is easy to apply and fast to sink in. It also promises to be water resistant.

For babies:


Garner Baby In The Shade SPF 50+

You know to keep little ones out of direct sunlight, but make sure they’re protected in the shade with our first ultra-soft, high protection sun cream for babies. Ambre Solaire’s baby sun cream has a hypoallergenic formula that’s free of perfume and parabens, specially developed for a baby’s delicate, sensitive skin. The patented formula is enriched with a mineral filter for advanced protection against damaging UVA and UVB rays. Let Garnier’s baby sun lotion with SPF 50+ put your mind at rest while shading infants from the sun.

For sensitive skin:


Ultrasound SPF 30 Family Ultra Sensitive Sun Cream

Sensitive Skin Ultrasun Family 30 delivers very high all day protection (UVA 93% and UVB SPF30) with just one application per day. Its super sensitive formulation is ideal for very sensitive and children’s skin and helps to prevent ‘prickly heat’ reactions. It provides extra protection for vulnerable areas such as shins, noses, shoulders etc. it is free from oils, emulsifiers and perfume reducing the risk of allergy and making it especially suitable for sensitive skins. This sunscreen also promises to be non-greasy, water-resistant and easy to use.

For the face:


Kiel’s Ultra-Light Daily UV Defense Sunscreen SPF50 PA+++

Sometimes sunscreens typically made for all over the body, can feel heavy and leave a white cast on the face. Kiehl’s daily, ultra-light formula intensely moisturises the skin and utilises a high level of sun filters Mexory SX and Mexoryl XI, to provide the skin with effective UVA and UVB broad-spectrum sunscreen protection. This moisturizing oil-free lotion helps protect against the appearance of dark spots and wrinkles and is also suitable for sensitive skin.

Further protection:

An additional way to protect your child in the sun, is with some protective headgear – a legionnaire-style safari cap to shade the face, ears and back of the neck.

Sun safety - safari hat child.jpg

“The safari caps are practical come in bright, fun colours which mean they’re great for play out of school too.” 

Check out http://www.yourschooluniform.com/products/view/safari-cap in five different colours.  They retail at £3.95 each.


Supernanny Jo Frost’s Best Tips on Getting Your Children to Help Out More


We all need to get our errands done and the difference between having a good experience and not when kids are involved is exactly how much we get them involved. We all know what it’s like being home with the little ones and needing to get the laundry done, with your toddler all too eager to prize you away to do something else. 

Follow the advice of Supernanny Jo Frost to help stay on top of this and make sure your kids are involved as much as they can be. It is equally important for your children to understand that they also have a responsibility to play a part in living together as a family.

First – Assess how you can get your children involved:

  • Look at the task at hand and work out how your children can help. Look for tasks which will be achievable for them and also make your life easier. For example, separating the socks from the vests, taking out the food from the shopping bags, tidying up the bath toys as getting out of the bath.
  • Be mindful to keep the chores short and sweet depending on the age of the child.

For younger children:

  • For younger children, having them match up socks together is a great early educational game as well as allowing you to achieve your task of folding the laundry. It’s a win win!
  • The supermarket shop is a classic example of getting your children to know their food and simultaneously avoiding the public tantrums by keeping kids occupied. Have them cross off items on the shopping list as you go along and direct you to items that are still left to buy.

For older children:

  • For older children, give them an actual task to complete, or a daily job which is solely their responsibility.
  • This can range from peeling vegetables, setting the table, actually putting the clothes away,or being your second pair of hands while you work on any other chores around the house.
  • Have them take part in family fly-bys before you go to bed: straighten out the sofa cushions, fold the blankies and make good for the next day. Tidy away remote control units and tidy newspapers and magazines, either placing them to one side for the recycling bin or stowing them in a stand or basket.

Reward them!

  • Compliment the efforts of this teamwork and how it makes you feel. Expressing your gratitude is extremely rewarding for any child to hear how they have been of help to you. This also encourages the willingness to help again.
  • When the job is done feel free to reward your little ones. If they have a behaviour chart give them a star, or give them an incentive to work towards. You should always make a point to show them the positive end result – all hands lead to a job well done!



WIN 6 Months Subscription to Super Geek Heroes

Having fun in turn with a mission to learn! 
Meet The Super Geek Heroes, an interactive and fun way for your children to learn.
There are seven heroes to choose from:
Super Geek Heroes2
Their seven friendly ‘super-powers’ are derived from the three prime and four specific development areas of the ‘Early Years Foundation Stage’.
Which hero will your child pick? Watch here at https://www.youtube.com/supergeekheroes
Parents can learn more about Super Geek Heroes at http://www.supergeekheroes.com/parents.html

Want to win a £15 Amazon voucher and free 6 month subscription to KidsCast APP where you can download and view Super Geek Heroes on the go or cast to your TV? For a chance to win, comment below with what you think of the Super Geek Heroes and the answer to this question:
In the first video on the playlist – which continent is number 7 in Peter Planets lesson?


Competition ends Monday morning (15/05/17)  


The Best Eye Creams For Your Budget

The skin around the eyes is the first to show signs of ageing and with all these late nights and early morning school runs, the lack of sleep can really take a toll. As skin under the eyes is far more delicate than the skin on the rest of your face, we recommend giving your eyes some extra TLC.

Whether you’re after the best eye cream to banish dark circles, puffiness or keep wrinkles at bay – we’ve got you covered.

The cream of the crop:

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La Mer The Eye Concentrate, £150

If you fancy splurging on an eye cream which promises dramatic results, La Mer’s The Eye Concentrate is one to invest in.

Retailing at £150 this little pot doesn’t come cheap, but it promises to visibly diminish dark circles. Enriched with hematite, a naturally magnetic mineral which works to stimulate the production of collagen and improve circulation.

The Eye Concentrate comes equipped with a specially-engineered, silver-tipped applicator which helps cool the skin and immediately gets the circulation going around the eyes.

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Zelens Triple-Action Advanced Eye Cream, £75

Want to give your eyes some extra lift and luminosity? This eye cream is packed full of botanical extracts and amino acids.

Active amino acids within the eye cream have anti-swelling properties which are proven to reduce the appearance of puffy eye bags as well as reducing water retention and protecting collagen.  Alongside this are some impressive clinical results including a 45% improvement in wrinkle depth and a 44.4% improvement in skin moisture levels.

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By Terry Cellularose Liftessence Eye Contour, £65

Next we’ve got the winner of 2017 Glamour Beauty Awards for Best Eye Cream.

This product from By Terry promises to maintain optimal water content in cells. The formula is packed with Rose Native Cells, which intensively activate collagen and elastin production to help lift, firm and tighten the eye area for a more youthful appearance.

The budget friendly:

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Clinique Pep-Start Eye Cream, £22

If you’re after a good eye cream that won’t break the bank, Clinique’s peptide cream is at the top of our recommendations.

This eye cream contains caffeine – which surprisingly shows amazing results when applied topically, as well as Shea butter and glycerin, two ingredients which work together to retain and lock in moisture.

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Nip+Fab Bee Sting Fix Eye, £14.95

Don’t let the name scare you! A tiny dash of bee venom has been added to this formula to help plump and firm the eye area, whilst amino acids will help brighten up your peepers and leave them looking instantly refreshed.

Grab yours at Superdrug for half price!


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Nivea Cellular Anti-Age Eye Cream, £15.75

Nivea’s Cellular Anti-Age Eye cream promises to give you youthful skin and younger cells. Their star ingredient, hyaluronic acid, keeps skin stable, safeguarded, and constantly renewed. Hyaluronic acid also has the capacity to attract and hold vast amounts of moisture.

The old wives tale:

If you Google Haemorrhoid cream, you’ll see that women all over the world are using it for their under eyes. Creams such as Preparation H work by restricting blood vessels – making an area less inflamed. They often contain an ingredient called hydrocortisone, an anti-inflammatory that can also reduce puffiness.

So does it work? For a short term fix – yes. However, other ingredients in the cream could cause some serious damage if they get into your eyes so if you’re going to try this at home, please practice caution!

By Saman Javed