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Top tips for pregnancy-friendly wedding guest dresses

When choosing a dress for a wedding, it is important to not only consider the colour, but also the overall shape of the dress, particularly if you are expecting. Although there is a vast amount of maternity clothing on the market it can be difficult to find the perfect dress for a formal event. In this article, we are giving you a selection of pregnancy-friendly wedding guest dresses to help you celebrate in style. 

The Simple Navy Dress 

Finding the perfect dress when attending a wedding can take time. However, this can be made much more difficult if you are expecting, as you need to accommodate your growing baby bump. 

If you are finding it difficult to find an elegant dress, the Navy Plunge Maxi Dressis the perfect choice, as the lightweight material stretches to cradle your growing bump. The plunging neckline and frilled hem also helps to create a stunning silhouette, perfect for both the wedding ceremony and the reception. 

To complete the look, pair this dress with nude heels and a small clutch bag, giving you the very best of both formal fashion and comfort.

The Mint Green Dress

If you want a dress that is slightly more unique, then the Mint Green Bird Print Wrap Dress is the perfect choice for you. Not only is this dress flattering on all body types, it also has ¾ length sleeves, an elegant style that is perfect for a formal event. In addition to this, the waist tie can be altered, allowing you extra room should you find yourself feeling uncomfortable throughout the day. 

To style this dress perfectly for the ceremony, pair it with heels, a simple clutch bag and statement earrings. If you are also attending the evening reception, pair this dress with a light jacket for added warmth.

The Formal Floral Maxi Dress 

The Mia Floral Wrap Maxi Beige Dress is the perfect dress if you want a flattering and elegant style. This wrap-around design is perfect for those that are expecting as it will help to hide the bump whilst the lightweight material provides you with the comfort that you need throughout the day.  

To complete the look, pair this with a pair of nude heels and golden hoop earrings to keep attention on the dress. Whether you decide to keep your hair tied back or long and flowing, this dress is perfect.

5 things to ask yourself when choosing a private tutoring course

Since 2016, private tutoring has risen by almost a third – and now more than a quarter of parents across the UK now choose to use private tutoring as a way to boost their children’s education. So, if you’re considering private tutoring for your child, here are a few things to consider.

What do we want to achieve?

Before you embark on a relationship with a tutoring company, be sure you know the answer to this question. Consider the level of help you might need and whether it’s for a specific purpose, such as support to pass the 11+or GCSE revision– or whether it’s more general confidence building. It’s worth having a very clear idea beforehand and making sure you share these with the tutor. 

How does the tutor engage the students?

It's helpful to ask the tutor how the lessons are constructed. At Peepal Tree Learning, we encourage children to revise and prepare for the 11-plusexams based on the curriculum followed by the child’s school. A typical class might include looking at past papers, exploring the techniques required to answer the different question types and helping your child develop effective study skills. We help your child to grow in confidence, encouraging them to think creatively and analytically, rather than ‘spoon feeding’ the contents of the curriculum. This approach is essential to success in 11-plus, as the exams require children to think for themselves as opposed to simply regurgitating information.

How is progress measured? 

Tutors' assessment methods will all vary, as different practices work for different people, so be sure to ask what approach they use. You should expect regular feedback and for the tutor to explain clearly how progress will be measured. In terms of homework, you should expect that your child will be asked to complete some work outside the class schedule, but make sure this works alongside their existing workload and commitments. Be sure they will not become overwhelmed! 

What’s the best setting for us?

For some parents, the idea of 1:1 tuition can be attractive, however this can be very costly and for some children, a little too intense. The benefits of a classroom setting mean that children often ‘bounce’ off one another, enriching the experience. If you are looking for a classroom setting, take a good look at the locationand make sure it’s conducive to learning. Class sizes are also important, so make sure you ask this question. 

Is my child comfortable and happy? 

If you want success, your child must be comfortable. Watch the interaction between your child and the tutor and ask your child for feedback. Results are important, but they will only come if your child feels comfortable in the surroundings and with the teacher themselves. 

Peepal Tree Learning offers 11+ preparationand GSCE revisioncourses in three comfortable and welcoming setting, located in Richmond, Kingston Upon Thames and Sutton. Get in touchto find out about out class schedules, fees and our approach to learning success. 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.| 0208 274 9489

WIN two tickets to In The Night Garden show at New Victoria Theatre in Woking


We are giving a lucky reader the chance to WIN two tickets for the Sunday 12th May 10am performance of In The Night Garden at New Victoria Theatre in Woking + 1 goody bag. 

Igglepiggle, Upsy Daisy, Makka Pakka and friends are back in their brand new live show Igglepiggle’s Busy Day! Join Igglepiggle as he looks for his friends in the Night Garden by following their funny sounds until he finds them all!

You’ll see all your favourite characters beautifully brought to life with full-size costumes, magical puppets, and enchanting music. The show lasts just under an hour and it’s a completely new production for the very first In the Night Garden Live UK theatre tour.

Now in its 10th year, In the Night Garden Live is one of the UK’s favourite family events. Over 1 million people have seen it so far and it gets 4.8 out of 5 stars based on 12,844 parents' reviews.

There are other shows for young children, but as The Independent wrote,“there’s nothing quite like In the Night Garden Live.”

Pip-pip, onk-onk!

To win please answer the following question, filling in the form below:

What is the name of one of the characters from In The Night Garden?

a) Ickypiggle b) Igglepickle or c) Igglepiggle?


  • Tickets are non-transferable and cannot be exchanged for cash.
  • The competition closes on Monday 6 May at 8pm

How to cope with the clocks going forward when you have a baby

Just when you thought you had mastered the art of the baby sleeping pattern, British Summer Time has once again crept up on us, and the clocks will be springing forward on Sunday 31stMarch. Originating way back in 1916, the switch from Daylight Saving Time (DST) to British Summer Time (BST) has long been in effect, yet many people are still caught out by the change.

To some, a simple switch of the alarm clock, and a ‘loss’ of an hour’s sleep may not seem too much of a big deal, but to those of us with babies and young children, the change in hours can have huge, and often difficult to navigate effects on our routine, with mood and body clock both affected. 

When the clocks move forwards, there is a switch in daylight timings, meaning the evenings will be lighter than usual. To adults, this creates an opportunity to get out and about and enjoy a longer day, yet for those of us with toddlers and babies, the lighter evenings can play havoc with bedtime routines. Lighter evenings can signify to a child that it’s still daytime, at which point it’s normal to expect some protesting when bedtime comes around. Sticking to a routine where possible and preparing your child for the switch in slow increments, can reduce the negative effects of this all-important clock change on your little one. 

Baby and Nursery retailer, Kiddies Kingdom, outline their top tips for helping your child adjust their bedtime. 

1. Make the change gradual 

Rather than expecting your child to stay up a whole hour later on Saturday, in the hope that their routine will simply switch back an hour, start the process around 4-6 days before. By putting your baby to bed 10-15 minutes earlier than their usual bedtime, and increasing by an extra 10 minutes each day, eventually your little one will be hitting their slumber an hour earlier than usual. This means that come Sunday, there shouldn’t be too many issues.  

2. Keep the light out 

It goes without saying but darkness and sleep go hand in hand. Sunlight is a natural sleep-stirrer, and with the clock change comes an earlier sunrise. By ensuring that your little one’s room is appropriately blacked out, they’re more likely to wake up at a suitable hour. 

3. Stick to normal daily routine 

All children are fans of routine, as routine supports a sense of security. By sticking to your child’s everyday routine, they are more likely to feel like little has changed. It’s important to schedule in time to wind down throughout the week leading up to the clock change, and baths and stories can be utilised to signal bedtime is on the horizon, even if this is a little earlier than usual. 

4. Schedule nap times 

It’s well known that overtired babies actually find it more difficult to get to sleep, due to the urgency in which sleep quickly becomes required. By planning appropriate nap times in the lead up to the clock change, you can ensure that your little one isn’t too tired, and fussiness should be at a minimum. 

5. Don’t worry!

Understanding and expecting your child’s routine and sleeping pattern to be affected throughout this period is important, but it’s nothing that a few days won’t settle. Don’t get too caught up in worrying about how the change in timings will affect your baby, as little ones are well known for being able to sense when you are tense or concerned.  

By implementing these preventative measures in the lead up to Sunday 31stMarch, you should be able to minimise the effects of the clocks going forward, and look forward to enjoying both the extra hour in bed, and the extra daylight hours that come with British Summer Time. 

Top bargains and discounts in Surrey for March 2019

With winter almost out of the way and spring just round the corner, the folks at CashLady have been busy picking out the top bargains and discounts in Surrey for this March. From relaxing spa getaways to amazing retail bargains and treats for kids, read on to find out what amazing deals you can get his month.

Mother’s Day Treats

With Mother’s Day fast approaching, it’s time to start dropping those hints about the presents or treats you’d like to receive. The perfect gift would to be pampered with a 45-Minute Deep Tissue Massage at Back to Health Wellness in Guildford. You can remove all those aches and pains, while also improving blood circulation to feel right-as-rain once again.

Village Hotels in Farnborough are also offering a 50 minute spa treatment for as little as £39 per head. You get a Love ESPA Facial, along with any of the following: File & Polish for fingers or toes; Muscle Melt Back Massage; Scalp Hero Massage; Lighter Legs Treatment – along with a robe and towel hire included.

Retail Discounts 

For anyone living in Guildford there is a fantastic discount offer available with the free Privilege Card. You get instant access to an amazing array of offers, and you can even use their app instead. You get large discounts off a huge range of retail shops around the town centre, along with bargains related to leisure and lifestyle, as well as stacks of eating and drinking locations. 

Retail stores in Surrey Quays are always offering fantastic deals for eagle-eyed shoppers and March is no different. Mid-season sales are in full effect, which means there are some great bargains to be had. 

In March you’ll find big name brands like River Island, New Look and Boots offering special deals. You can even pop down to Card Factory whose prices are starting from as little as 29p – saving you money on Mother’s Day cards so you can spend more on presents!

You’ll also find a ton of deals to enjoy at Woking Shopping this March. There’s clearance sales, free parking offers, beauty treatments and much more available, so be sure not to miss out. 

Kid’s deals 

There’s also plenty of amazing deals available on a range of kid’s toys. Toy Barnhaus have a string of retail stores across Surrey and Sussex, and there are always some great savings to be made, especially this March. 

The Netherlands National Circus is coming to Esher at the start of April, and tickets need to be booked in March to avoid disappointment. An £8 front row ticket will allow kids to enjoy clowns, trapeze artists, jugglers, acrobats and much more, in fun family night out everyone can enjoy.

LEGOLAND Windsor always makes for a great day out and there is great offer currently available for families in March. Buy and admission ticket and you’ll also get a Burger Kitchen Meal Deal, which means not only do you keep the little ones happy with an extra treat, but you save money at the same time!

WIN a family ticket to see Dr Seuss's Cat in the Hat in Guildford

ONE for the whole family to enjoy, a brand new production of Dr Seuss’ classic story of mischief and chaos, The Cat in the Hat comes to Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre from Thursday to Saturday, March 7 to 9.

We are giving away a fantastic prize, a family ticket (4 seats) to the performance on Thursday March 7 at 6.40pm. To win this fabulous prize you just need to answer this question. Entry form at the bottom of this page and please remember to include your details so we can contact you if you win.

Who wrote the Cat in the Hat?

a) Dr Puce b) Dr Noose or c) Dr Seuss

When the Cat in the Hat steps onto the mat, Sally and her brother are in for a rollercoaster ride of havoc and mayhem! The Cat can rescue them from a dull rainy day, but what mischief do they get up to along the way?

Based on the much-loved book by Dr Seuss that has captivated generations of readers, The Cat in the Hat is packed with feline frivolity aplenty, with his acrobatic accomplices Thing 1 and Thing 2. 

The show features original music and riotous rhymes that have delighted children for over fifty years. With infectious humour and spectacular circus for the grown-ups, the wonderfully anarchic Cat in the Hat comes to Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre.

Nana Amoo-Gottfried plays the show’s chaotic Cat, while actor and opera singer Charley Magalit plays the role of the fearful Fish.

Joining the cast as the children whose house the Cat visits are Sam Angell as the Boy and Melissa Lowe as Sally. Completing the company as the Cat’s energetic companions Thing 1 & Thing 2 are acrobats Celia Francis and Robert Penny.

This is sure to be a purrfect treat for all the family. Most suitable for ages 4+.

Tickets for The Cat in the Hat are on sale now!  You can book yours by calling the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre Box Office on (01483) 44 00 00 or by visiting the website

How to make some cash ahead of Christmas by selling your clutter

We could all do with a bit of extra spending money in the lead-up to Christmas. And having a clear-out will help to ensure there's plenty of space for all the new toys your little ones will receive on the big day. It will also help you to get your home in shape so you're proud to show it off when all your friends and family stop by. So, why not take the opportunity to sell some of your existing clutter to make some extra cash and create space for the new?

There are steps you can take to give your unwanted items the best chance of selling to make the most profit possible. I'm going to outline these here.

Know what's going to make you money

When you're having a clear-out with the aim of selling items to make money, it's worth finding out what's likely to sell ahead of time. This will save you time, energy, and space, because you can donate everything else and only save what's going to make you money.

Clothes, books, DVDs, CDs and shoes typically receive a lot of attention when sold second-hand, according to House Beautiful. You can also make a pretty penny by selling on cuddly toys, kitchen appliances and gadgets, records, and unwanted computers too. So, if you have any of these lying around — and they're in good condition — selling them online or taking them along to a car boot sale is likely to be worth your while. 

Choose the right places to sell your items

It's important you put plenty of thought into choosing where to sell your items, because this can have a huge effect on how well they'll sell, and how much you could make from them. 

If you're interested in selling online, it's best to use specialist platforms wherever possible. For example, if you have clothing in good condition, apps such as Depopcan be a goldmine. Similarly, if you have antiques or vintage items collectors might be looking for, Selling Antiquesand Vintage Cash Coware both great.

Many of us have old jewellery and scrap gold hiding away in our jewellery boxes and selling this on isn't always easy — especially if it's personalised, broken, or old-fashioned. In this situation, consider selling your gold to a pawnbroker, as this is often the quickest and easiest way to make a decent amount of cash. At H&T we even have a tool that allows you to enter what kind of gold you have and the weight, so you can see how much money we'll give you in advance.

Make sure everything is clean and in working order

When you're trying to make some quick money by selling your unwanted items, the last thing you want is for someone to ask for a refund. You should be able to avoid this by checking everything is in working order and by giving an accurate description of your items.

It's also a good idea to make sure all of your belongings are clean and in good condition before you send them to their new home. If you're selling online, giving everything a once over before taking your photos and then again before posting your sales should keep your customers happy.

All of us go through periods when we could do with some extra cash, luckily many of us are sitting on atreasure chest of unwanted items that we could sell on. As long as you choose what you're going to sell wisely, think carefully about which platforms you're going to use, and make sure everything's clean and in working order, you should have no trouble making some quick cash. 

Michael Ayres is the Valuations Manager at H&T. Here, he shares his top tips for making some money in time for Christmas by selling your clutter.

The top ten toys to buy this Christmas 2018

Cute, slimy, high tech, magical and scary – this year’s list of must-have toys has it all. So if you are wondering what the latest toy craze is this year, the annual top 12 toys list should be able to give you a few ideas for your Christmas shopping.

Barbie Ultimate Kitchen, by Mattel - £49.99

Cook up fun with a kitchen playset featuring lights and sounds, food moulds a sandwich maker and many more ingredients for imaginative play with Barbie.

Paw Patrol Ultimate Fire Truck by Spin Master Toys - £69.99

An ultimate rescue needs an ultimate vehicle! Save the day with Marshall’s Ultimate Rescue Fire Truck! This vehicle is equipped with an extendable 2ft ladder, flashing lights and sounds! Using the water cannon launcher at the bottom of the cab, you can send up to three water cannons (included) flying into the fire!

Cra-Z-Slimy - Super Slimy Studio by Character Options - £29.99

A kit to make your own amazing Super Slimy Creations! Includes everything you need to make your own slime combinations – glitter-effects, rainbow colours, plus much more. Mix, invent & create! Encourages STEM learning.

Fingerlings Untamed Jailbreak T-Rex Playset by Jazwares/WowWee - £24.99

A ferocious T-Rex in a cage for you to release and try to tame if you dare. This interactive character has glow-in-the-dark eyes and of course, being a Fingerling, sits on your finger.

Harry Potter Hogwarts Great Hall, by LEGO - £89.99

This present idea combines two crazes that are never going to go out of fashion! Build your very own great hall with a fireplace, benches, tables and reversible house banners, plus the Grand Staircase tower with a spiral staircase, potions room, treasure room, sorting hat, Mirror of Erised and lots of magical artefact accessory elements. This fantasy role-playing castle toy includes 10 minifigures and buildable Basilisk and Fawkes creatures, plus Hedwig and Scabbers figures.

Harry Potter Wizard Training Wand by Jakks Pacific - £24.99

Learn 11 different spells with the help of this interactive training wand. Each wand includes five modes of play: two modes of standalone play and three modes to play with a friend. The light-up button allows them to select which mode to play.

L.O.L. Surprise! Pop-Up Store by MGA Entertainment - £39.99

This is a three in one playset, display and carrying case. Take your dolls out on the town! Play areas include chic café, fashion boutique and pizza parlour. The display holds over 55 dolls and accessories. Set includes an exclusive L.O.L doll.

L.O.L. Surprise! Under Wraps, by MGA Entertainment - £14.99

Each doll has 15 surprises. Unbox the spy glass to find codes and unlock surprises. Each doll is dressed in a mystery disguise, unbox each layer to discover who's inside. The disguise becomes multiple fashion accessories. Mix and match outfits for tons of looks.

Lazer X Twin Pack by Character Options - £49.99

The ultimate high tech game of tag! Play inside or out, day or night. Works up to 60 meters away with pinpoint accuracy. Gameplay allows unlimited players. As you are blasted your receiver vest will gradually change colour, hit ten times and you’re out!

Monopoly Fortnite Edition, by Hasbro - £21.99

In this edition of the classic game, players claim locations, battle opponents and avoid the storm to survive. The gameplay, design, and components of the board game include elements inspired by the video game including Fortnite locations and loot chest cards. Instead of MONOPOLY money, players earn health points.

Boxer – interactive AI robot toy, by Spin Master toys - £79.99

Equipped with multiple IR sensors, Boxer responds to hand movements and interacts with you using real-life responses, funny expressions and sounds.

Poopsie Surprise Unicorn by MGA Entertainment - £49.99

Poopsie Surprise Unicorn magically poop slime! Each time you feed your surprise unicorn and sit her on her glitter potty, she creates surprise, collectible unicorn poop (slime)! Transform your unicorn poop over and over again with Unicorn Magic! Over 20 magic surprises included with each Surprise Unicorn!

Please note the prices are all the RRP and you may be able to find different prices, deals and offers.

The top 12 list has been compiled by Dream Toys - the official toys and games Christmas preview. The Dream Toys Association represents the majority of the toy trade.

Pantomimes and Christmas shows in Surrey 2018

The custard pies are being made, sequins being sewn on and lines are being learned – panto season is on its way.

For many of us, Christmas isn’t Christmas without a good pantomime: a few cheesy songs, silly jokes, slapstick humour, chants of he’s behind you a loveable baddie and of course a happy ending.

There are plenty of pantomimes to see in Surrey, as well as some lovely Christmas shows for the little ones as well as a nativity play.

Strictly Come Dancing star Craig Revel Horwood, TV’s Michelle Gayle and Eagle Radio’s Peter Gordon are among the stars appearing this year.

Here’s our round-up of shows – don’t forget to book your tickets early.

The Big Enormous Present – Yvonne Arnaud Theatre Mill Studio, Guildford, Nov 17 SOLD OUT

A mysterious present has appeared in the school playground. Who can it possibly be for? Jack, Dot or Polly? What could be waiting inside? The Big ENORMOUS Present explores the pressures of fitting in, where we find happiness and how giving can sometimes feel as good as receiving.

More info:

Dear Santa – Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking, Dec 5 – 24

Santa is determined to deliver the most fantastic Christmas present to Sarah. But he doesn't get it right straight away! With the help of his cheeky Elf, he finally settles on something ‘perfect', just in time for Christmas Eve. This is an ideal introduction to theatre for those aged 2 to 7 years old. There is an opportunity to meet Santa himself after the show.

More info:

Cinderella – New Victoria Theatre, Woking, Dec 7-Jan 6

You shall go to the ball next Christmas with the spectacular family pantomime Cinderella starring the fab-u-lous Craig Revel Horwood as The Wicked Stepmother and Paul Chuckle as Baron Hardup. Featuring laugh-out-loud comedy, stunning scenery, beautiful costumes and plenty of boos and hisses.

More info:

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Harlequin Theatre, Redhill, Dec 7-31

Huge helpings of laughter with a generous serving of traditional pantomime audience participation, mixed with stunning scenery, spectacular costumes, a dashing prince and the fairest Snow White of all. Add in seven dwarfs full of mischief and merriment, sprinkle with Woodland Fairy magic dust and it’s all the winning ingredients for a pantomime that’s simply wicked, simply wonderful and simply must be seen!

More info:

Peter Pan – Richmond Theatre, Dec 8-Jan 6

Join high-flying hero Peter Pan as he transports the Darlings on an adventure they will never forget, filled with evil pirates, a very hungry crocodile and the meanest man in Neverland, Captain Hook (BAFTA, Tony Award and two-time Olivier Award winner Robert Lindsay). Joining Robert will be Comedy Impressionist and Britain’s Got Talent finalist, Jon Clegg, West End star Rachel Stanley and Harry Francis as the boy who never grew up, Peter Pan.

 More info:

Santa’s Christmas Party – Epsom Playhouse, Dec 8-24

Christmas is the busiest time of year at the North Pole, when Father Christmas makes presents to deliver across the whole world…and when everyone gets ready for Santa’s Christmas Party! But this year somebody has been up to mischief…Dotty the Elf’s decorations have gone missing, Dasher the Reindeer’s party games are broken, and what has happened to Pompom the Penguin’s Christmas music?

More info:

Sleeping Beauty - Camberley Theatre, Dec 10 - 31

A brand new adaptation of the classic fairy-tale Sleeping Beauty with singalong songs, high energy choreography, beautiful scenery and a host of side-splitting jokes!

Note: An accessible performance takes place on December 28 with a BSL signer, no pyrotechnics or loud noises and softer lighting.

More info:

A Christmas Carol – Nomad Theatre, East Horsley, Dec 11-15

The famous tale of Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey from miserable miser to generous benefactor. Exciting, terrifying, amusing and always moving; this story is a wonderful prelude to Christmas.

More info:

Santa Claus and the Night Before Christmas – G Live, Dec 12-24

It’s Christmas Eve and whilst most children are hanging up their stockings, there are a few boys and girls who are not! They don’t believe in Santa and, with Christmas morning fast approaching, cheeky elves Charlie and Kara must help Santa prove that he is indeed real! With magic tricks, songs and stories, can they make them believe before it’s time to board Santa’s sleigh and deliver the presents?

More info:

Cinderella - The Harlington, Fleet, Dec 12-28

Packed full of song, dance and fun for all the family, Cinderella is a traditional pantomime fit for 2018! With a fabulous cast, beautiful costumes, and spectacular live band, you’re all invited to party in the palace at Prince Charming’s Royal Ball!

More info:

Nativity Play – Wintershall, Dec 12-16

Experience the Christmas story in a barn with a large cast of players and animals. The show lasts for 90 minutes with mince pies and hot drinks available before the show.

More info:

Snow White on Ice – Guildford Spectrum, Dec 14-16

Spectrum Ice will be transported like never before by a magical fairytale wonderland as the popular pantomime Snow White takes to the ice. The festive ice show will feature performances by some of the region's rising skating stars, along with some special guests!

More info:

Jack and the Beanstalk – Epsom Playhouse, Dec 14-Jan 6

A thrilling tale of adventure... magic beans... a mysterious land way up in the clouds... a hidden treasure.

More info:

Beauty and the Beast – Dorking Halls, Dec 15-29

Expect plenty of fun, laughter and audience participation. Packed with sensational songs, dazzling dance routines, spectacular sets and fabulous costumes, this is a tremendous treat for all the family.

More info:

Peter Pan at The Electric Theatre

Peter Pan – The Electric Theatre, Dec 20-22

Join Peter Pan and Wendy in their adventure against Captain Hook and his pirate crew. Follow Tinkerbell, the Lost Boys, a giant crocodile, mermaids and redskins to a world where anything is possible and where dreams and imagination have a power all of their own. Performed by 5-18 year olds.More info:

Aladdin – The Leatherhead Theatre, Dec 20-30

Can the urban urchin Aladdin win the heart of the beautiful Princess Jasmine? With plenty of sparkle - and a truly amazing set with plenty of jaw dropping illusions - this marvellous mix of magic, comedy, puppets, music and adventure will provide some good traditional panto family fun.

More info:

The Night Before Christmas – Yvonne Arnaud Theatre Mill Studio, Guildford, Dec 20 – 26

On the night before Christmas, Emma stares out of the window, hugs her teddy and waits excitedly for the morning, while in the corner a little mouse called Eddie can’t understand why only humans are allowed to celebrate and get presents. So he sets off in search of Father Christmas to find out for himself.

More info:

Cinderella – Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, Dec 7 – Jan 6

This year’s pantomime features recording artist, actress, songwriter and author Michelle Gayle as Cinderella’s fairy godmother. She is joined by cabaret performer Kit Hesketh-Harvey as Dandini, Eagle Radio’s Peter Gordon and his partner in Panto crime Nick Barclay as the Ugly Sisters and Jamie Brook as Buttons.

More info:

The Big, Enormous Present – Haslemere Hall, Haslemere, Jan 5

A mysterious present has appeared in the school playground. Who can it possibly be for? Jack, Dot or Polly? What could be waiting inside? Find out in this 50-minute play for the age range 3-8. The Big ENORMOUS Present explores the pressures of fitting in, where we find happiness and how giving can sometimes feel as good as receiving……

More info:

Cinderella – Haslemere Hall, Haslemere, Jan 11-19

All the glitz, glamour and spectacle which have come to be expected from Haslemere’s favourite pantomime will be present, not forgetting the fun, jokes and audience participation!

More info:

Have a great time and don't forget to join in!

How to spend like a savings pro this Christmas

The season of goodwill is breathing down our necks and if you have mixed feelings about Christmas because of the penurious January and February, it’s time to get a handle on your finances.

Too many people let their spending get out of control, or they give into impulse purchases that they’ll “…pay for next year…”. It’s also common to forget how much the little extras, like wrapping paper and gift cards cost and this all adds to the big bill.

Make this Christmas different

This year, you’ll tip the balance between seasonal spirit and new year regrets by getting your finances in order. You can start by heading to Creditfix and using their handy budget calculator to plan your spending – right down to the last penny if you need to.

Once you’ve done that and you know how much you’ve got to play with, you can start spending like a pro – cutting corners, sniffing out bargains, thinking ahead and bringing home the goods with money to spare. It can be done – here’s how.

Don’t forget your loyalty cards

If your loyalty cards tend to languish in the darkest recesses of your purse, then get them out, shake them off and put them to work! Chances are there’s already a few pounds on them so if you watch out for points promotions when you start shopping, you’ll probably be able to earn enough to afford a few extras nearer the big day.

Think about next year as well

The most convenient thing about Christmas is that it’s predictable – December 25, every year! If you don’t manage to accumulate loads of loyalty points this time around, start next year’s campaign! Similarly, buy your wrapping paper, cards, ribbons and gift tags in the January sales and stash them away, ready for action in 12 months’ time.

Make a very strict list of presents

This list might as well be carved in stone. Do not deviate from it unless you see something that’s better and cheaper! Don’t make any impulse purchases because such-and-such a person will love it, unless you’re prepared to cross them off the list.

Book train, plane or bus tickets as soon as you can

People can focus too much on the presents and the food at Christmas and forget about the travel expenses. If you’re travelling to see relatives, or you pay for someone to come to you, then book as soon as you’ve got your dates so you can get cheaper fares. The nearer Christmas gets, the more prices shoot up, so don’t hang around!

Try a bit of benign neglect

If there’s a branch of the family that you don’t see until after Christmas, or for New Year’s Eve, then don’t bother rushing to get their presents. The Boxing Day sales can offer some deep discounts, so if you can hold your nerve and be ready to take a bit of a chance on the items you had planned still being available, then you could be on a saving streak. You’ll have to be more flexible with your ideas, though, as not everything you wanted will still be on the shelves, but…savings!