The thing I fell in love with this week

Love and Misadventure (RRP £7.99) and Lullabies (RRP £9.99) by Lang Leav – Amazon I first discovered the work of Lang Leav when I saw this romantic quote on Pinterest…  

Lovely eh?

After that I looked for more quotes and fell in love with her wistful, romantic, heady work. I love to read a few poems before bed to relax and always have her books sitting in my reading pile on my bedside table. I find her words very true from a female perspective for all who have been in love, lost love, are looking for love, or are lucky enough to be deeply in love and loved back.  

I recently added her second book ‘Lullabies’ to my collection and her new book ‘Memories’ is out now and will definitely be on my Christmas list. 

What have you bought recently that you love?

Childrens Book Review: Mr Cleghorns Seal by Judith Kerr

This is a new story by Judith Kerr, partly based on a true story which happened to her father and is about a man rescuing a seal pup, falling in love and ultimately finding a new purpose in life.

Our family very much enjoys the work of Judith Kerr and our nursery bookshelves have always been filled with her work – The Tiger who Came to Tea and the Mog the Cat series being particular favourites.  The story is aimed at children 7 years plus but could easily be read to children younger than that. I think that any child older than 12 years or so might find it too old fashioned and twee but I personally found the book charming and would read it to my youngest child quite happily. My eight year old enjoyed the seals antics and the zoo parts and definitely liked that there was a happy ending as he looked a bit worried after the seals mother never returned! Phew! Its a story that feels like its from another time in the very best way, with communication via letter, travels by train and an old fashioned courtship that reminded me a little of Esio Trot by Roald Dahl. Without giving the story away its a lovely adventure with a happy ending that all children (and adults) will smile at. Plus a story featuring a cute seal pup can never be a bad thing! Its 88 pages are peppered with lots of lovely pencil drawings by Kerr so is a relatively quick story to enjoy too. I also love the fact that at the back there’s details of the real story which although did not have the happy ending is still a fascinating read. My 8 year old was very interested in this particularly as it based based on how he puts it, ‘a real life story like a reality show but a book!

If you are looking for a new bedtime story that is gentle, sweet and wistful with a slight vintage vibe to it then this would be a great addition to your childrens bookshelves. It’s presented beautifully too with a dust jacket with gold embossed type so would also make a nice gift.

Mr Cleghorns Seal by Judith Kerr* is priced at £12.99 published by HarperCollins and available at all good bookshops

Roald Dahl Day 2015

When Puffin Books got in touch to ask if Reuben and I would like to make part in the Crafty Twits Challenge for Roald Dahl Day today (Sunday 13th Sept) its fair to say we were pretty excited. We both love Roald Dahl and for me, its fantastic to see your child enjoying reading particularly when its a book that you also enjoyed when you were their age.

The Twits has been reissued to coincide with this years Roald Dahl day and we were kindly sent 3 versions to review – a beardy one, a smelly one and a techy one! Plus Reuben was given the challenge to get crafty and create a Mr Twit style beard!!! He started thinking of what type of beard he would want and how it might look almost immediately, but more of that later…I love the book ‘the Twits’ – it is funny, not too long, grotesque (in the best way) and like all Dahl books has a very strong life message. In fact it contains one of my favourite book quotes ever which I’ve shared a few times via my social media –   Photo via my Instagram : @Blueskygirlie
Its a pretty good message don’t you think?

So, what about the books?  Reuben and I are both familiar with the story but a great story can be read again and again (another of the joys of Dahl) and where it is quite a short book it can be read together in just 2/3 days (we usually read together before Reuben goes to bed). The new style books themselves are lovely and definitely bring a new vibe to a well loved storybook.

‘The beardy one’ (available at all good booksellers rrp £9.99): this is a lovely chunky hardback book with a furry style beard on the front cover. This makes it very tactile and caught the eye of our almost 4 year old so could be a good one to buy for a younger child that you’d like to read to. It would definitely make a lovely gift.

As well as the story itself, theres a section at the back full of Roald Dahl trivia, writing tips and other fun tit bits. We loved these bits and definitely makes this version feel quite special.

The smelly one (available at all good booksellers rrp £5.99): this is a paperback version but has the added attraction of a selection of scratch and sniff stickers of Quentin Blake illustrations. And they do smell…awful! Being a typical 8 year old boy, Reuben loved the grossness of it!
The techy one (available via the App Store/Google Play – free): I knew Reuben would love the fact there was an app game and sure enough within minutes he had downloaded it and was playing it! You basically have to swipe away pieces of rubbish/food/ goodnessknowswhat coming from Mr Twit eating and stop them hitting and waking up a sleeping Mrs Twit while getting them to lodge back in his beard. If she wakes up she is not happy! Theres special missions to complete too and its great fun.
And finally onto our Mr Twit style beard…
Reuben loves his tech and gadgets and decided the perfect beard would be one not with hidden bits of lost food within it, but with hidden compartments for his ipod touch, video camera, ipod, Xbox controller and even a charging point! And here it is!!!
We had great fun making it together – it has hidden headphones, a chocolate bar for energy and sunglasses…because, well sunglasses are just cool according to Reuben!  
I reckon we could be into something here…we’re claiming copywrite now!!!

Have fun this Roald Dahl Day and spend some quality time maybe having a party, being silly, getting crafty with the Craft Twits challenge, baking some Roald Dahl inspired cakes and embracing the magical world of Roald Dahl with your kids….

Find more details of what you can do today and throughout the month here.

All books via Puffin books*

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School

My 8 year old son Reuben is an avid ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ fan and was thrilled when I was asked to blog about him getting the chance to read and review an excerpt of the yet to be released new book – Old School, the 10th book in this very popular series. I love seeing him read for pleasure and get engaged by the stories.

Reuben with his ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ collection

So Reuben, how did you find the new book?

I really liked it and think it will become a great book. I really like them anyway, Jeff Kinney is definitely one of my favourite authors ever. 

What was your favourite part?

Thats hard!!! I really liked when at the end the ‘fitness water’ supplies were raided to water the flowers – that was really funny.  But when he squirted lemon juice in his eye I nearly feel off my chair I laughed so much!

Why do you love Diary of a Wimpy Kid books?

The story always gets better for Greg through every book and I really love the pictures…they’ve really improved as each book has come out. I also like when its written like ‘GASP’ and ‘SCREAM’ as its fun and easy to understand whats happening.

What would you like to see Greg do next?

Ooooh *thinks*.  I’d love to see him become a celebrity for a week from say writing his autobiography or something and the world goes crazy for him. But he does something silly and it all goes wrong and he’s back to just being Greg again *laughs*

Next, we decided to have a go making the homemade Lemonade as featured in the book.  Here is the recipe courtesy of Puffin Books –  

Reuben was on recipe reading duties and my step sons were my kitchen assistants and taste panel! Apart from the cutting of the lemons they could do everything themselves which they loved.

The finished product was delicious!   And finally, here is Reubens selfie of us enjoying it as a family! If you fancy a fun activity during the summer holidays why not have a go too?

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School is released in the 3rd November and is available to preorder via Amazon here. We can’t wait to find out what happens next!!!