Friday, 26 September 2014

New squirrels go into hiding on Brownsea

This autumn, visitors to Brownsea Island will be taking part in an unusual squirrel quest. One toy squirrel will be hidden each day during half term, and the lucky person who finds one can take it home. 
There are also real red squirrel walks, taking place daily from Monday 29 September to Friday 24 October at 11.30am and 2pm, as well as special walks for children every day during half term. 
“We wanted to continue the adventure that was started last year and carry on the fun,” said Claire Dixon, Visitor Services and Enterprises Manager on Brownsea Island.
“Our squirrels are always particularly active at this time of year and more easily spotted. We thought it might be fun to let a few toys ones be equally active and make a break for freedom across the island.”
The island’s red squirrels are one of the few colonies left in England – the isolation on the island having protected them from the squirrel pox brought by their grey cousins, which have removed the red squirrels from most of the rest of England.
The National Trust is working to ensure the squirrel’s long term survival, including removing wild rhododendron to allow the natural re-growth of heath and pine trees – ensuring there will be a food supply into the future. Thinning some of the pine trees allows them to grow more pine cones containing the nuts the squirrels eat – as well as giving room for the trees to naturally regenerate.
Chris Thain, Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Reserve Manager on Brownsea Island said, “One of the most magical things about Brownsea Island is that visitors can get up close to wildlife all year round. As summer turns to autumn we’ve seen an increase in the amount of squirrels foraging for food, so this is the perfect time to visit the island for a wildlife experience you won’t forget.”    
At 500 acres, the island is large enough to sustain a thriving population of red squirrels, and unusual in not having any natural predators – encouraging them down to the ground to feed where they can be more easily seen. It’s estimated by conservationists that the island population is doing so well that it is currently at about the maximum the island can sustain.
“This is a good time to see them when they are busy gathering food for winter which is why we have our squirrel walks on the island. You are almost guaranteed to see one of them at this time of year when they are active and busy collecting food for the winter,” continued Claire Dixon.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Make Homework Heavenly With Poole Libraries New Homework Club

Poole Libraries are pleased to announce that a free homework club for children has started in all Poole libraries.

Run after school during term time, the clubs are open to all children but specifically those aged 8-14 years old. They offer a safe and friendly environment to work in with help on hand from library staff to access books and find information. There is free use of computers with internet access, as well as free photocopies and print-outs, and online resources linked directly from Borough of Poole website.

Storyteller John Kirk helped launch the homework clubs with a fun workshop at Hamworthy Library. Children from Twin Sails Junior School and Carter Community College took part in an interactive espionage-based story session which involved using library resources to progress the narrative. They all played detective and honed their research skills in an effort to root out ‘the mole’ and rescue BH17 from a crime-wave! Library staff used their vast experience as ‘information detectives’ to help them solve the necessary clues.

Cllr Xena Dion, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for a Prosperous and Sustainable Poole, Borough of Poole, said: "This is a great way for children to make new friends and get their homework finished in a friendly environment. I'd also like to encourage adults who can spare a few hours a week to volunteer and help make a positive impact on children's lives."

So if your child is struggling with spellings, hating history or just muddling along in maths, please encourage them pop in and see us. Sessions are free and there’s no need to book, just check with your local branch for days and times.

For more information about clubs in your local library, speak to a member of staff or visit

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Great Wessex Dinner 2014

Dogs’ dinner will help children’s hospices

Smallholder Janey White will have her ‘hounds full’ when she hosts a party as part of the Great Wessex Dinner on Saturday, 4th October. For not only will she be feeding 25 guests, she’ll be dishing out din-dins to their dogs, too.
Janey, from Holt near Wimborne, will be serving up one of her home-reared lambs to friends, with the ‘leftover sheep bits’ being braised in jelly with chopped up Boneo biscuits for the pets. “A sort of posh Pedigree Chum,” laughs Janey.
The dogs, which include a black Labrador, a hound, a dachshund, a King Charles spaniel and an assortment of terriers, will feast on this confit of lamb along with a mackerel pate starter and a carrot cake with a bone marrow cream for pud.
The pampered pooches can expect silver service and bone-shaped napkins. “I love cooking and this is just an extra bit of fun, plus it means we won’t we wasting any food.”
As well as enjoying entertaining, Janey has a more poignant reason for wanting to support her local children’s hospice. “I lost a son 14 years ago. He was born and died in October, just before his second birthday. When I saw the date of the Great Wessex Dinner it just felt like the right thing to do, in memory of him and to help other families.
“And I know how much children love animals, how much they would love the idea of a dogs’ dinner.”
Janey is among 200 people from Dorset and the surrounding counties hosting a dinner on the same night to raise money for children’s hospices, Julia’s House in Dorset and Naomi House and Jacksplace in Hampshire.
Other notable hosts include Charlotte Townshend of Melbury House and the Earl of Shaftesbury. Dinners of all shapes and sizes are being planned from grand affairs in stately homes to simple fireside suppers.
Everyone is welcome to host a meal in return for a donation from their guests - £50 per head is the suggested amount. To register your dinner please call Di Pestell on 01202 644220 or email

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Nana's knickers - Children's book review

It's time for bed and time for the bedtime story, we find it very difficult to find a story that appeals to both of our youngest girls who are 5 and 8 years old. The 8yr old will often complain that the book her sister has chosen is too childish while the 5yr old gets bored without pictures to look at.
This amusing story is all about Nana and her family trying to find her missing knickers!


When the new book Nana's knickers arrived both girls were keen to listen and were giggling as I read the title. I think most children find words considered 'naughty' amusing, and the title engaged them instantly.
The book is a good size and large enough for several children to look at together and the pictures are large and colourful. The children enjoyed having just a small amount of text on each page and were keen to see what happened next. Both girls laughed when Nana shouted "I can't find my knickers" and really enjoyed the ending where they were found.

We think this book would appeal to primary children of all ages and one I would choose over others to read to a group of children due to it's large engaging pictures and amusing story.

written by Nico Russell and illustrated by Charlie Meyer

You can find out more about the book here



Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Annie Get Your Gun review

Annie get your gun brings the wild west to Bournemouth. This Irvin Berlin's classical musical comedy has bundles of energy and a sweet story.

Buffalo Bill's Wild West show comes to town and country girl Annie Oakley falls for Frank Butler.  Both competitive characters, they fight to win the best shot and each other's hearts.

Emma Williams brings an outstanding voice to the part of Annie Oakley and Jonathon Wilkes is charming as Frank Butler.  Lovely to see Norman Pace as Buffalo bill and Ed Currie amusing the audience with his comic timing as chief sitting bull.

Great show tunes 'There's no business like show business' and 'Anything you can do i can do better' bring Broadway to Bournemouth and the performances of the cast make this musical the heartwarming show that it is.

Bournemouth Pavilion  19 – 23 August 2014

Ticket Prices

£25.80 – £37.63

Sunday, 17 August 2014

The Clay Studio

Last week we were invited to visit The Clay Studio and ceramic café in Christchurch.  The Clay Studio is situated on the corner of the Fountain roundabout and has it's own dedicated parking bays.

We were surprised by how much space they have, downstairs is a dedicated room used for children's parties where they are able to supply their own food. They also hold  mother and baby days and are very accommodating of parents with pushchairs. There is a baby change area and they are happy for mums to breastfeed their baby.

The girls painted a mug each and were able to choose their own colours and make a design of their choice and it was a welcome change in pace from the busy theme parks and endless car journeys. There are lots of items to choose from and we were impressed to watch a family paint in silence, mum dad and little girl were all quietly painting their own pieces and engrossed in their own work.

The Clay Studio offers much more then you realise, popular as a venue for a hen party yet somewhere relaxing to sit with a coffee and watch the world go by. You don't have to paint, it's a café in it's own right offering a range of food and drinks and seating both inside and out.

Something I wish I had done with my own babies is the first impressions clay imprints, the child's hand and footprints placed onto clay for a keepsake. This is a also a great place to make your own unique gift or holiday souvenir. Take a look at the website to see what else they do.
Here are the finished mugs after being glazed.
See what else you can paint at The Clay Studio
The Clay Studio
The Fountain
1 High Street
Dorset BH23 1AE
Tel: 01202 475000


Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Review - Cats the musical

 Cats at the Bournemouth Pavilion

So, as a cat lover myself and also a fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber's other musicals, this show was much anticipated. 

The story tells of one special night when the Jellicle cats meet at the Jellicle Ball, where their leader Old Deuteronomy decides which of the cats will be reborn into a new Jellicle life. The storyline feels like it lacks something and I felt it difficult to remain engaged with it.

Brilliant staging and highly impressive performances from the cast are what this show is all about, the musical numbers - with Memory getting a special mention - really showcase Andrew Lloyd Webber and the talent of the performers.

The cats danced in the aisles involving the audience and Old Deuteronomy stayed on stage in the interval to sign autographs.

A great high energy show with spectacular set designs, stunning costumes and breathtaking choreography, CATS is a magical musical like no other.

Cats is at Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre from Monday 11 – Saturday 16 August 2014.