Category Archives: Uncategorized

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 https://www.treeofhope.org.uk/event/the-ultimate-pop-up

 To find out more about the work of Tree of Hope go to www.treeofhope.org.uk

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 https://www.nordoff-robbins.org.uk/ and facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NordoffRobbins/

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 https://www.facebook.com/NordoffRobbins/videos/399831383922372/

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: 

https://www.justgiving.com/teams/MonkeyTriTeam

If you would like to donate to this incredible charity and support Monkey Music with their great efforts visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/teammonkeytryatri

 

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.

ESSENTIAL DETAILS

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ThePastaKidz

Website: www.pastakidz.co.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThePastaKidz/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thepastakidz/

Press folder: http://bit.ly/2S3IXQN

 

 

HEVER FESTIVAL THEATRE RETURNS BIGGER, BETTER AND LONGER THAN EVER BEFORE!

4 MAY TO 30 AUGUST 2019 – HEVER CASTLE, EDENBRIDGE, KENT

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 www.heverfestival.co.uk 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 www.heverfestival.co.uk/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

www.MyBigWimmelbooks.com

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Tigeropolis’

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.

ESSENTIAL DETAILS

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: www.tigeropolis.co.uk

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ RDDikstrabooks

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rddikstrachildrensbooks

Press folder: http://bit.ly/2KoVI5w

Online profile: http://www.literallypr.com/public_relations/file/Richard-Dikstra—Tigeropolis-Caught-in-the-Trap.php

 

MRS BUN THE BAKER
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

 

BANANA & CHOCOLATE LOAVES – RECIPE

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

 

INGREDIENTS

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

 

HOW TO MAKE

 PREPARATION

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

You will need 4 mini loaf tins.

 

CRUMBS & CHOCOLATE

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, MASH, MIX

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.

 

COMBINE

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

 

BAKE

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

 

 VARIATIONS

  • 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

Diary of a Brilliant Kid is the tweenager’s atlas for navigating life

 

FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A COPY, VISIT OUR

COMPETITIONS PAGE!!

You can read an article by Andy Cope about HUGGS at the bottom of the page

 

This interactive collection of stories, quotes, theories and yes, science, guides you through the difficult years between ages 8 and 12 to help you make sense of yourself and the world around you. Everything is changing! And that’s okay! It’s actually more than okay it s exciting. These changes are the opening salvo of your gradual transition into grownup, and it’s the perfect time to define who you are, how you think and how you choose to face the world. Is it a lot? Yes. But this book can help you sort things out and come out the other side shining.

The journal format gives away the plot; Spoiler Alert: the Brilliant Kid is you. No matter how you feel, no matter what’s happening in your head right now, you are not broken. You are a unique collection of talents and dreams and wants and surprises, and you have an entire lifetime ahead of you. Aren’t you curious to discover just how awesome life can be? This book takes you inside your own head, out into the world and everywhere your dreams may take you.

  • Learn how to make the kinds of choices that make you feel alive
  • Conquer the three Rs of happiness: relationships, relationships and relationships
  • Get a handle on today, tomorrow and what comes next
  • Bounce back from the tough stuff, and discover the seven words that will change your life

There’s a lot to learn, but one lesson is clear: never be afraid to shine. Stand up, stand out and be spectacular whatever that means to you. Diary of a Brilliant Kid gives you the map and compass so you can start your own journey today.

For more information visit Diary of a Brilliant Kid 

 

 

‘HUGGS’!!

Why your children need HUGGs (and you do too) by Andy Cope

 

If you want to be truly world class, we advocate that you take a bit of a gamble, go against the tide of traditional thinking and set massive goals. In ‘Diary of a Brilliant Kid’ we call them huge unbelievably great goals, or HUGGS. A HUGG is something that is currently out of reach – you have to grow, innovate and engage in order to achieve it. A HUGG is on the edges of achievability but it’s not out of sight. It might be that you only get half way there – but your achievements will reach far beyond having no HUGG at all. A HUGG isn’t something to be afraid of – it’s something to aspire to.

Maybe a better name would be ‘Everest goals’? Has Mount Everest ever been conquered? Yup. But only by a committed few.

Because, you see, stretching yourself is good. But to maintain your motivation you need to know where you’re stretching to. You need a goal, a mouth-wateringly exciting thing to aim for, and that’s where our HUGG pyramid comes into being.

Rewind. A few years ago I went on a training course run by an heroic genius called David Hyner and he introduced me to HUGGs. So I got home and did one. At that time I had an idea swirling in my head about a children’s book based on my pet dog. What if while I was at work and my kids were at school, my mutt went around town catching baddies and solving crimes? What if she was secret agent, a bit like James Bond but a dog, undercover as an ordinary family pet. What if she was a Spy Dog?

A million ‘Spy Dog’ books sales later, I’m telling you, this HUGG thing works.

It works well with children from age 10 upwards. The trick is to write your huge unbelievable great goal in the bubble at the top of the page, and to make it compelling. That means not only is it a big ambition, but that you really want it. It has to excite you. And when you’re written it, stop and have a think. Chances are, you can write it better. We’re hoping that you’ll ‘get’ that to be an OSCAR winning actress elevates the goal to a HUGG. As does, to smash my A-levels and get into a top 10 Uni. Or to get one of the lead parts in my school play.

Once you’ve nailed what your huge goal is, you then start at the bottom of the pyramid and work out what you’ve got to start doing EVERY SINGLE DAY OF YOUR LIFE – to stand any chance of that goal ever happening. The thing about HUGGs is, of course, that they’re jaw-droppingly big. You aren’t going to get into a top University by accident. Ditto becoming a Prem footballer, top scientist, #1 YouTuber or A-grade mathser.

Life is a never-ending upward spiral. If you think you’ve ever allowed to stop climbing, I’m afraid you’ve missed the point. The joy is in the climb itself. Plain simple English yet again, that means a re-think of your thinking so that when there’s a challenge you move away from rolling your eyes and huffing that ‘it’s not fair’ to a steely-eyed nod of ‘bring it on’.

So, when the bottom rung is filled in, you go to the next level of the pyramid. When you’re started doing the things on the bottom row, what next? And next? And after that?

When you’re finished, you will have a proper HUGG, in all its motivational glory. Stick it on your fridge. It will tell you what the huge goal is and give you a simple set of things to do or habits to adopt, that will move you forward.

There are no guarantees. You will need some luck along the way.

In fact, let me change the guarantees sentence – there is only one guarantee – your huge goal won’t happen by accident. It will only happen if you take sustained action.

And guess what, even if you don’t quite achieve your Huge Unbelievably Great Goal, you’ll have taken some massive strides forward. You’ll be way ahead of the version of you that had no idea what their goal was!

Pass it on…

Will Hussey, Andy Cope and Gavin Oattes are the co-authors of Diary of a Brilliant Kid, a personal development book for 8-12s available now on Amazon.

Seriously ill children and their families across the UK enjoy Starlight’s Summer Escapes!

Starlight Children’s Foundation hosted a series of summer events for seriously ill children and their families across the UK. The children’s charity, which provides support to families through extensive hospital entertainment and wish granting, held a total of five Starlight Escapes to give children and young people with serious and lifelong conditions some much-needed time away from their hospital beds and treatment.

The Escape season kicked off in June with two boating parties at Sonning and Hampton Court. Here children got dressed up in pirate gear and enjoyed a host of pirate themed games, including walking the plank, before families set off on a real pirate adventure down the River Thames.

The next memorable day out was the charity’s Sky-High event at Preston Capes in Northamptonshire. Both children and their families from the surrounding areas, enjoyed the thrill of helicopter rides, plus rides on a vintage bus, fire engine and tractors when back on the ground.

Sam Hines, mum to Starlight wish child Brandon who has quadriplegic cerebral palsy said ‘It was the most enjoyable day we’ve ever had, the lads absolutely loved it, especially the helicopter ride.

It was amazing from start to finish. We struggle to get both boys out and about due to them both being in wheelchairs, but everyone was so helpful. It was so refreshing for us all to get out as a family and make memories. It will definitely be a day we won’t forget”.

Starlight then held their annual Summer Party at Belmont Farm in London on one of the hottest days of the year at the end of July. The outdoor fete-style party has become a much-loved day out for Starlight wish children and their families, as well as families from local hospitals and hospices.

The jam-packed day included clay pigeon shooting, an animal petting area and pony and trap rides to arts and crafts, a bouncy castle and fete games.

The charity then rounded off their summer of fun with their biggest event of the year at Popham Airfield in Winchester. The event, which was attended by almost 700 people, included helicopter and aeroplane rides at what was an unforgettable day of adrenaline fuelled action!

The fun didn’t stop back on solid ground, with pony rides, magicians, entertainers, face-painters and rides on some very special motorbikes and supercars. The day also finished with Starlight’s first ever ‘Floss off’ with children, families, volunteers and staff all taking to the dance floor to show off their best moves!

Starlight’s Escapes are supported by volunteers, who offer their time, expertise and vehicles to create a truly special day for the families. The events have become crucial days out for families with seriously ill children, as they provide them with the opportunity to spend memorable days together at a time when they need it the most.

Roberto’s mum, who attended the boating escape at The Upper Thames Yacht Club at Hampton Court, sums up the Starlight Escape experience as;

“Days like today are a great moment to pause and remember the gift of being a family, to have

time together that isn’t about trips to hospital, needles or bad stuff. They really are ‘respite days’ – a way in which to escape and feel a million miles away from the normal stuff”.

For more information and to find out how you can help Starlight provide more days out for seriously ill children and their families visit www.starlight.org.uk