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The 34th East Grinstead Triathlon on Sunday 12th May welcomed a 21 strong team of fun, fundraising women, who,  connected by Monkey Music, were taking part to raise awareness and funds for Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy Charity.

Monkey Music pre-school music classes have been running in the area for over 15 years, so the aim was to £15,000 for Monkey Music’s charity partner Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy Charity.

Most of the team borrowed bikes to take part in a women only event called Try-a-Tri which is there to encourage more women to try a triathlon. The distances are smaller at 200m swim; 11km bike ride; 2.5k run.

The team members were local mums Gina Baylis, Emma Calvert, Vicky Daniell, Jasmine Hollamby, Louise Massett, Chris McNeill,  Alison Norman,  Anna Raymond, Hannah Roberts,  Kat Rogers, Natalie Sharp, Jen Turnbull, Laura Woodward-Hudson, and other Kent mums Kat Brown, Ellie Fletcher, Jules Jukes, Laura Miller,  Natasha Philpott,  Helen Whitaker, Kate York.

One team member Ellie Fletcher (who is a former Kent Monkey Music teacher and now training with Nordoff Robbins to become a music therapist), took an adult bikeability intensive course to help her overcome her fear of riding on the roads.

Alison Norman, whose brainchild this was said, “ I am so thrilled that everyone was able to complete their Triathlon in style and enjoy the event in the knowledge that we reached our £15,000 fundraising target at 10pm on Saturday night. It was awesome and we’d like to thank every single sponsor as this was a huge team effort including local businesses, our families and friends, our Monkey Music customers too.  We have raised enough to provide over 320 1-2-1 music therapy sessions to vulnerable people with complex needs. If you’d like to learn more about the important work music therapists do, in a wide variety of settings, with all ages, please visit the Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy Charity website and facebook pages where you’ll see moving videos which will show you more.

Please take a good look at all our photos, updates and incredible fundraising at, there’s still time to donate.”

More photos here:


Wednesday 24th & Thursday 25th July               

                       We’re going to the theatre …. We’re going to see a Bear Hunt

                             What a beautiful play!    We’re not scared….

Illustrations © 1989 Helen Oxenbury from We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

The smash-hit production of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the much-loved picture book by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury with a 2019 UK Tour and will be coming to the EM Forster Theatre Tonbridge on 24th & 25th July. Sally Cookson’s hugely inventive production set to Benji Bower’s lively musical score is a mischievous celebration of play, utilising everyday objects and materials to capture the imagination and propel audiences into the world of the family favourite.

A fun filled frolic’ The Guardian

Join our intrepid family of adventurers and their musical dog as they wade through the swishy swashy grass, the splishy splashy river and the oozy squelchy mud, in search of a bear. Expect plenty of interaction and a few surprises along the way. Music, laughter, rhythms, rhymes and repetitions together with puppetry, paint, water and mud… not to mention a bear – we’re not scared! – make this fun-filled adventure the perfect treat for families with children aged 3 and up.

Michael Rosen says of the live theatre show: ”This production of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt takes everyone on the journey – not under, not over, oh no – through it! – in a funny, exuberant and loving way. It’s a show full of laughter, music, silliness and thrills that I promise you will excite and delight all young children. This is a must-go show.”

Wednesday 24th July 4.00pm

Thursday 25th July 11.30am & 2.00pm

EM Forster Theatre, Tonbridge School

Tickets £12.50, £10 Group Rate 10+ 01732 304241


We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is presented by Kenny Wax Family Entertainment and is created by the critically acclaimed production team including director Sally Cookson, composer Benji Bower, designer Katie Sykes, lighting designer Tony Simpson, sound designer Jason Barnes, associate director and puppet designer Marc Parrett





Seven of the region’s most sought-after chefs join forces for The Ultimate Pop Up at Hush Heath Winery to raise funds for children’s charity, Tree of Hope

Local foodies are in for a treat this Summer with the chance to feast on a six-course tasting menu prepared by seven of the region’s most sought-after chefs and served in the beautiful surrounds of Hush Heath Winery.

Fresh from being crowned Kent Chef of the Year, The Small Holding’s Will Devlin will be cooking alongside star of the Great British Menu and Head Chef at Verdigris, Scott Goss and proprietor and chef at The Compasses Inn, Crundale Robert Taylor. Former Kentish Hare and MasterChef the professional’s personality, Bobby Brown, chef-proprietor of The Michelin listed Wheelwrights Arms in Matfield for 6 years, Rob Marsh and Hush Heath’s Executive Chef, Fabio Vinciguerra will also be creating very special dishes at the pop up while The Bicycle Bakery’s Jamie Tandoh will be responsible for producing the exquisite dessert.

Tammy Jackson, the Leigh based mixologist behind For Cocktail Sake, a blog which has gained a huge following since it was launched at the end of 2018, is devising a delectable cocktail especially for the evening which will be served to guests on arrival along with a selection of canapes.

This one-off special event, sponsored by CCLA, is set to take place on Thursday June 20th and will raise funds for Tonbridge based charity Tree of Hope, who support families of disabled and seriously ill children across the U.K. to raise funds for treatment, therapies and equipment recommended by their healthcare teams.

“It is a privilege to work with such a brilliant local charity who are achieving great things,” comments Scott Goss.

Over the last year the charity has capitalised on the food frenzy that has taken over the nation hosting a series of fundraisers aimed at food lovers. Dine and Donate, their annual fundraising campaign takes place throughout the Spring and encourages individuals, corporates and community groups to host anything from a simple coffee morning to an elaborate banquet. The campaign raised over £12,000 in 2018. Following the success of Dine and Donate, The Cook Book – Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells, a collaboration with over 20 local eateries and producers in the area, was compiled and has so far raised £16,000 since it was published in November.

Tree of Hope’s Fundraising Manager Kate Bourne, who is organising the Ultimate Pop Up comments “We are extremely lucky to be based in a region with a thriving food scene but the opportunity to indulge in a meal prepared by some of the area’s very best chefs using the finest local produce, in stunning surroundings is rare and we’re delighted that such a special night will raise funds for Tree of Hope. With over a million children now registered as disabled in the U.K., we are so aware that the hundreds of families we currently assist is just a drop in the ocean. The Ultimate Pop Up will enable the charity to reach more families that so desperately need our help.”

The Ultimate Pop Up will take place on Thursday June 20th at Hush Heath Winery. Tickets can be purchased online

 To find out more about the work of Tree of Hope go to

Mindful Parenting, by Rachel Hawkes

We are absolutely delighted to have a copy of the wonderful new book by Rachel Hawkes ‘Mindful Parenting’ to give away.  For the opportunity to win copy visit our Competitions Page.

Being a parent today is no walk in the park.  Our children are in a whole new world, facing not only more academic pressure and increased exams from a much younger age, but also the joys of social media.

Of course, we want our children to thrive, socially and academically, but most of all, what we want is for them to find happiness in a stressful and, sometimes, overwhelming world. Research is abundant on the many benefits of Mindfulness; boosting happiness, reducing anxiety and depression, improving focus and building emotional intelligence.  All of the traits and skills that we wish for our children.

In Mindful Parenting, Rachel Hawkes, mother of twins, children’s yoga teacher and massage therapist, brings together some of the most well-known techniques to create 40 easy to use Mindful Techniques that you can share with your child.  Written in Rachel’s relaxed style, this book is easy to pick up and acknowledges the ‘imperfect parent’ in us all.  Her varied approach brings a great sense of fun to mindfulness and the result is a wonderfully engaging collection of experiences for you to share with your child.  Dip in, or read it all the way through; the chapters are simply set, with styles of mindfulness that will appeal to children across a wide range of ages and learning styles.

With the added benefit of a comprehensive resource list and lots of free downloads, Rachel has provided everything the reader needs to create their own ‘mindful toolbox’. Mindful Parenting offers ample material to keep any parent equipped with mindful activities well past the reading of the book.  So sit back, take a breath and get ready to enjoy some fabulous Mindful Moments with your child.

For more information or to purchase click here

The amazing Monkey Music are celebrating their 15th Anniversary by trying to raise £15,000 for the Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy Charity

Alison is bringing together a team of their customers (past and present), Monkey Music teachers (past and present), along with her colleague Helen, and are entering Triathlon events in East Grinstead this May.  The majority will Try-a-Tri, a mini-triathlon to encourage more women to try a triathlon. For others it’s the Sprint Triathlon and one team member is taking on the Aqua Bike!  

Nordoff Robbins is the UK’s leading and largest independent trainer of music therapists and provider of music therapy services.  Monkey Music share Nordoff Robbins belief that music changes lives.

You can read more about the training they provide, and see examples of the work they do with people from all backgrounds and with a huge variety of needs on their website and facebook pages.  Here’s their website and facebook page:

On the facebook page  there are lots of little clips of the work Music Therapists do, and the kinds of settings they work in.

Do have a look at the video of an elderly woman called Dot and her music therapist Richard  – posted on 20th February – just beautiful

Monkey Music are hoping that the full £15,000 can be raised as follows:

£7,000 individual team members from their own supporters

£1,500 Monkey Music colleagues in the National Franchise network

£4,000 from our Monkey Music customers locally and across the country

£2,500 local businesses and local musicians

Here’s the link to the team page so that you can see the whole picture.  They’ve just hit 20% of their total which is just brilliant:

If you would like to donate to this incredible charity and support Monkey Music with their great efforts visit


The Boing Boing Bushes

Book 3 in the Pasta Kidz Series

By Bryony Supper

For your chance to win a copy of The Boing Boing Bushes visit our Competitions Page!

The Pasta Kidz and Pasta Petz Adventures introduce a magical Pastaworld with different Pasta Languages, Pastaball, Pasta Games, Pasta Musical Instruments and The Pastamobile, for children up to around eight years of age to immerse themselves in! Pasta is a mealtime favourite of children around the world, and the lively and fun-packed Pasta Kidz series taps straight into our love of this Italian-turned-global failsafe food. Bryony Supper, the creator of the Pasta Kidz brand, has teamed up with incredible illustrator, Julian Bray, to build a host of characters with their own unique personalities with the aim of showing children (and their parents!) that differences in appearance and language don’t matter when it comes to playing and having fun! The Pasta Kidz form solid friendships that help them along the way in their many adventures, encountering Pasta Beings and Pasta Beasties, challenges and hurdles of all shapes and sizes.

Designed with young readers in mind, the Pasta Language, vivid illustrations and easy to read stories (with a subtle moral/educational message added into each book, a bit like that hidden veggie sauce on the pasta for lunch!) combine to create a recipe for success. The first two books in the Pasta Kidz series have been very popular, not just with children but librarians, teachers, even football teams and celebrities! The third book – The Boing Boing Bushes – is due for release in February 2019 – just in time for World Book Day (7th March 2019)..

Bryony’s energy and ideas, combined with the 350+ different types of pasta in the world, mean this is a series with a lot of potential! Bryony has already written 25 Pasta Kidz stories and is inspired daily by her work with parents, grandparents, teachers, carers, bloggers and reviewers around the world.

About the author

Bryony Supper (pictured with actress Su Pollard, Maggie Falconer from the When You Wish Upon A Star charity and ‘Wish Bear’), the creator of Pasta Kidz, trained as a professional actress at the Drama Studio, Ealing. From there she played a series of comedy roles and has a wide range of experience from the ‘Rocky Horror Show’ to stand-up comedy and children’s television – Bryony was a regular on Tyne Tees’ Gimmee Five with Ant and Dec, writing all her own material. For the past three years, Bryony has been working on developing the Pasta Kidz books and brand.

In Book 1, The Inventing Tubes, she created a Pastaball for her characters to play with, and is proud to say it has been made into an actual game! This will be played for the first time in a primary school in England, using a real Pastaball, which was made by Gilbert, the leading sports equipment manufacturing brand! Book 2, The Sorry Sticks, was published in March 2017, showing children that apologising for mistakes can sometimes be a lot of fun!

An East Midlands-born project, Bryony is partnered with When You Wish Upon a Star charity, Nottingham Forest FC, and is in conversation with an animation company to bring the Pasta Kidz to life! Her ‘Pasta Language’ has been a great hit in local schools and, ultimately, Bryony’s aim is to raise money to help children with life-threatening illnesses.


Title: Pasta Kidz – The Boing, Boing Bushes

Author: Bryony Supper

Genre: Children’s to 7 years

Publisher: Troubador

Publication: February 28 2019

Availability: Paperback & eBook, International

ISBN: 9781789018585

Price: £4.99 paperback





Press folder:





Following Hever Festival Theatre’s hugely successful 2018 season, 2019 sees a return with a programme of vibrant and varied performances from 4 May to 30 August. The popular annual open-air summer Festival, now in its 36th year, takes place in the spectacular award-winning gardens of Hever Castle, childhood home of Anne Boleyn, one of Kent’s top tourist attractions.

Highlights this year include Britain’s Got Talent winner Lee Ridley aka Lost Voice Guy, supported by BGT semi-finalist Jonny Awsum on Wednesday 24 July, broadcaster and national treasure Jeremy Vine will be making an appearance with What the Hell is Going On? on Saturday 24 August.

In addition the programme of family shows and events has been extended this year to include productions to appeal to a broader range of ages. Horrible Histories: Brand New Barmy Britain (Saturday 4 May) and the Wimpy Kid Show, based on the Jeff Kinney books (Wednesday 7 August), will keep the older kids entertained whilst the younger ones will enjoy Elmer the Elephant, presented in association with the Tunbridge Wells Puppetry Festival (Thursday 25 July), Illyria Theatre’s Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (Tuesday 28 May), Immersion Theatre’s Alice in Wonderland (Thursday 1 August) and Beautiful Creatures Theatre’s Fizzlebert Stump: The Boy Who Ran Away From The Circus (and joined the library) based on AHF Harrold’s much loved children’s book (Wednesday 28 August). For the first time there will be a family music performance; the Adriamus Ensemble join author of the much-loved Willy The Wimp stories, Anthony Browne, for some musical games and storytelling on Wednesday 21 August.

This year for the first time, a discounted theatre and castle gardens joint ticket is available to buy in advance to enable patrons to make a day of it and visit the castle gardens before the theatre shows. Otherwise gates for evening performances open at 6.30pm, performances start at 8pm. Gates for matinee performances open 45 minutes before start time.

Tickets are bookable online or the Box Office is open for telephone bookings Monday-Friday 10am – 2pm on 01732 866114.

The Festival Theatre is an open-air venue set in the grounds of Hever Castle in Edenbridge, Kent. The theatre, set in the Two Sister’s Lawn Garden, is fully covered and the seating is tiered with the vast majority of seats under new seating canopies. This means, if the sun doesn’t shine, the audience can still enjoy the spectacular setting with protection from the weather. Audiences can picnic prior to performances on the Two Sister’s Lawn and admire the breath-taking views over the Hever lake. 

For more information visit









Introducing Wimmelbooks

For a chance to win two of these fantastic books visit our Competition Page

Where every spread is a new panorama bustling with life. Already massively popular in Germany and around the world, now we can enjoy these one-of-a-kind picture books, too!

Publication Date: 1 February 2019 | Board Books | 225 x 298cm | Price: £9.99 each

The My Big Wimmelbooks Series

By Stefan Lohr and Max Walther

Beginning readers (starting around age two) will have a blast seeking out things and actions already familiar to them—a blue tricycle, a piggyback ride, or a funny uh-oh moment like a character dropping an ice cream cone.

As kids grow up, they learn to engage with the book at the next level. Children around 3 to 4 years old can identify and find the characters in each new scene. Then kids around 4 to 5 years old take it even further, creatively crafting the characters’ stories as they follow them along from scene to scene.

Wimmelbooks are virtually instruction-free, inviting kids (and parents!) to use their imagination and create stories they think fit. Plus, with so much going on, there’s always something new to discover. Wimmelbooks offer hours upon hours of fun—and an effortless introduction to literacy!

‘wimmel’ means ‘to teem’ and these oversized board books are teeming with life! The first page of each book introduces a unique cast of characters who are hidden in plain sight on the pages that follow.

Children as young as two will delight in just finding familiar things – a blue tricycle, a hungry dog or five balloons. As they grow up, Wimmelbooks grow with them and children learn to engage with the book at the next level. At 3 to 4 years old they start to identify and find the characters in each new scene, and then at 4 to 5 years old take it even further and craft their own stories following characters from scene to scene.

Wimmelbooks are virtually instruction-free, inviting children to use their imagination and create and share stories they think fit. Wimmelbooks offer hours upon hours of fun—and an effortless introduction to literacy!

My Big Wimmelbook – At the Construction Site – Sarah the architect is very busy, whether she’s consulting her blueprints or helping with the heavy lifting!

My Big Wimmelbook – Animals Around the World – Meet a colourful cast of characters: a pair of wildlife photographers, a daredevil adventurer, and more.

My Big Wimmelbook – On the Farm – whether he’s transporting a pig or showing it off at a fair, Grandpa Earl is determined to use his old tractor no matter what!

My Big Wimmelbook – Cars and Things That Go – Kevin meets mishap after mishap in his shiny new sports car.

“I have to resist listing all the activities crammed into the pages on my favourite Wimmelbooks…these detail-laden scenes defy both photography and film. They’re human constructions for satisfying the cognitive pleasures of collecting clues, exploring and telling stories…my family reads our Wimmelbooks so much, we’re loving them out of their bindings.” – Michael Erard, The New York Times

 My Big Wimmelbooks by Stefan Lohr and Max Walther is published by The Experiment

on 1 February 2019 at £9.99 per title.






Daniel is only 18 months, but he already loves finding all the trucks, flags, and of course, cats!





Hudson and Austin just turned 3. They love buses, so ‘Cars and Things That Go’ is their favourite bedtime book.





Sam, age 4, was really excited when he found all five balloons in every scene!
Lily is 5 and enjoys “reading” the stories to her little brother, and they get more elaborate every time.








A great way to introduce 8-12 year-old children to the importance of wildlife conservation through beautifully illustrated stories

By R. D. Dikstra

Courtesy of Literally PR we have a copy of ‘Tigeropolis – The Grand Opening’ to give away, just pop over to our Competitions Page for a chance to win!

  • A great way to introduce 8-12 year-old children to the importance of wildlife conservation through beautifully illustrated stories.
  • Always amusing with a vital message as a foundation.
  • Written by a conservation expert with decades of experience.

Tigeropolis, a vast tiger reserve in the foothills of the Himalayas, is home to a family of vegetarian tigers – tiger cubs Bittu, older sister Matti, their mother Tala and Uncle Raj.  For years, they’ve hidden from humans deep in the forest and have adopted a very modern lifestyle – they don’t hunt, they don’t roar, they live in a snug cave, furnished with things they have found in the local dump including a comfy sofa, a TV and even access to the Internet.

Their pleasant lifestyle is interrupted when they are forced to reappear. Tigeropolis is threatened with closure – people have stopped coming – they don’t believe there are any tigers left to see. The tigers know they need to reappear to encourage visitors to the park. Visitors will generate income and help keep the park (their home) open. But the humans meant to be running the park (the Forest Guards, Mr Mistry and his assistant Akash) prefer sitting in their guard-house drinking tea and eating chocolate cake. The tigers take it upon themselves to run

About the Author

Richard Dikstra is passionate about travel and wildlife having visited all seven continents and some 40-plus countries. His interest in wildlife started on a week-long trip on a cabin cruiser in Alaska’s Inside Passage surrounded by humpback and orca whales. Since that first trip he has, amongst other things, trekked in China in search of pandas, sat with mountain gorillas, camped out in the Canadian tundra watching polar bears, helped save a wounded water buffalo in Swaziland and visited nomadic reindeer herders in Russian’s Chukotka Peninsula.

A keen traveller and wildlife enthusiast, he helped found pioneering travel company Discovery Initiatives, and since 2000 he has been a shareholder and Non-Executive Director of specialist luxury travel operator Steppes Group. In 2010 he produced the First TOFT Tiger Tourism Awards in Delhi – the event is now an established feature in the tiger conservation calendar – and a year later, in 2011, Richard helped set up citizen science site ‘Tiger Nation’.

He wrote the first Tigeropolis book in 2015, inspired by his first ever sighting of a tiger in the wild. The second book was published the following year. The audio book of Tigeropolis is narrated by Richard E Grant and Belle Media produced a tie-in Tigeropolis video game, available on Apple TV and iTunes. Richard also found time to write a lively comic strip series for Hull City football club (‘Tigers’), based on his Tigeropolis characters.


Title: Tigeropolis – Caught in the trap

Author: R D Dikstra

Genre: Middle Grade, Children’s

Publisher: Belle Kids

Publication date: April 15th 2019

Availability: Paperback, eBook

ISBN: 978-0992746230

Number of pages: 176

Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8

Price: £7.99

Author website:

Twitter: RDDikstrabooks


Press folder:

Online profile:—Tigeropolis-Caught-in-the-Trap.php


Cooking for toddlers, pre-schoolers & young families

(Chocolate & Banana Loaves recipe below!!)

Baking with Mrs Bun the Baker—the Revised and Expanded recipe book—contains 34 recipes (16 are brand new to the new edition released in August 2018).

This easy-to-follow, child-friendly cookbook is packed with toddler favourites and tried and tested, approved and munched recipes from the Young Buns who attend the award-winning cookery school for children and parents/carers, run by Angela Johnson AKA Mrs Bun the Baker!

The new book ‘Baking with Mrs Bun the Baker – Revised and expanded’ includes photos from Mrs Bun’s classes, and allows you to take away the magic that children have cooked-up in her kitchen. Enjoy a sprinkling of “bun fun”, to make and bake these delicious and easy recipes for all the family and help toddlers and pre-schoolers learn confidence in the kitchen.

“The goal for this book is to show that toddlers/children CAN cook, that they love to get involved in the preparation of food, they needn’t be kept out of the kitchen, and that they learn a lot from preparing food.” — Mrs Bun the Baker

About the Author

Five years ago, Angela established her award-winning cooking school in South Oxfordshire to teach cooking skills to all. In cooking classes children get to “Make, Bake and Take Home” all their goodies, gaining confidence and inspiring them to bake at home. Mrs Bun the Baker works with schools, nurseries, charities, communities, garden centres, food festivals and her own independent classes for toddlers, children, teens and families.

Recipe examples…

Snacks: Breakfast Roll Ups, Cheesy Biscuits, Potato Tortilla, Picnic Pies
Mains: Pizza and Dough Balls, Enchiladas, Orzo Veggie Bake, Curry in a Hurry
Sweets: Anzac Biscuits, Bakewell Cakes, St Clement’s Cheesecake



These little loaves are free of added sugar. They are sweetened with the banana, chocolate and a drop of honey.



  • 50g Butter
  • 100g SR Flour
  • 25-50g Chocolate
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Ripe Banana
  • 1 tablespoon Honey
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract




Preheat the oven to gas 5/190c/170 Fan

You will need 4 mini loaf tins.



Cut the butter into small pieces. Using your fingertips rub the butter into the flour until it looks like a breadcrumb mixture. Shake the bowl and, if any lumps come to the top, continue rubbing them into the mixture.

Break the chocolate up into big or small chunks and add them to the flour.



Crack the egg into a jug and beat with a fork.

Use one thumb to make the crack in the egg bigger then, with the other thumb, open up the hole.

Peel the banana and chop it into slices. Mash the slices with a fork.

Place the mashed banana into the jug with the egg. Measure in the tablespoon of honey and the vanilla essence and mix them all together.



Mix the egg mixture into the flour mixture. Using a spoon, divide the mixture between loaf tins.



Place them in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.



  • If you cannot get your hands on mini loaf tins, use a muffin tin, just grease round with some fat to stop them sticking.
  • Use dates instead of chocolate
  • Add a spoon of sugar if you need them a little sweeter