Sunday, 31 March 2013

A Spot of Snow

Last weekend we had the pleasure of visiting Oswestry right when it was due to snow.  A quick look at the weather forecast actually showed that Oswestry was pretty much at the centre of the biggest downfall so taking our lives into our hands (not really!) we travelled the two hours through the snow with minimal trouble; we only had to push one car up the lane to our accommodation!

It snowed all through the night on Friday and the next morning I was astounded by the total whiteness that surrounded us.  I have never seen that much snow, and I grew up with the moors just a hop, skip and a jump away!  My dad later confirmed that it's been around 30 years since he had seen that level of snow.  It was truly amazing.

The minute Meg saw the snow through the window, she was determined that she was going to go out and play in it and that she was absolutely going to make a snow angel (her current favourite book being Charlie and Lola 'Snow is my favourite and my best') 

It continued to snow throughout Saturday but we didn't let that put us off, Meg was positive she needed to make her snow angel so we got ourselves wrapped up, pushed our way through the very deep snow and found a place where she could drop onto her back and make angels to her merry delight.  The look of joy on her face was brilliant, personally I would have hated to have a cold wet back but she loved it!

We also decided on the major task of making an igloo.  We borrowed a shovel from Grandad and with the help of some friends and my Other Half's expert engineering opinion we made a little fort.  Unfortunately the children all lost interest before it ever gained a roof but we still had fun playing out!

I don't often enjoy playing out in the snow but even I have to admit that I don't know when we'll see so much snow again so I wanted to take advantage of it.  It didn't seem that cold either although when I was hit in the face by a snowball which slowly crept it's way into my clothes I did have to retreat back inside (and I will not be forgiving the thrower of that snowball easily!)

My attempt to show the snow
coming right up to the top of my wellies!

All in all it was a fabulous time.  I don't think we could have asked for more adventurous weather.  Not the weekend we had planned for but lots of fun nonetheless.  

Just a shame that the next day our snow fun consisted of digging our cars out so we could go home!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Don't Say The 'P' Word!!

Yesterday as I was collecting the kids from nursery, Eli's key worker told me that he had said 'wee-wee' several times in the day and she wondered whether he was starting to show interest in being potty-trained.  I almost fell over from the shock!

There is no way on this green earth that I would even think about potty training Eli now.  

For starters:

- He thinks the toilet is a great storage place for toys and has no idea (at least I like to tell myself) that it's actually not a very nice place to put your favourite fire engine toy.  Especially when you then expect mummy to come along and fish it out for you.  

- The potty is not at all for toileting use but it is a superb battering ram for his sister, especially if he holds it in front of his body like a shield and runs at her full pelt.  He can knock her clear across the room if he gets a big enough run up!

- He has no interest in bribes whatsoever so sticker charts or chocolate rewards are out of the question.  If you try to offer him food stuff in exchange for good behaviour he just looks at you as though you've lost the plot because he knows he'll get food whether he puts his coat on or not, so why bother?!?

And as if I needed any more convincing that he isn't ready yet, on Monday evening after bathtime we were practising our body parts.  On being asked where his tinkle was, Eli pointed at his he very definitely hasn't got the necessary skills just yet!!

Deciding to potty train Meg was easy, by her 2nd birthday she could hold full conversations with you, could tell you when she needed to go to the toilet and was susceptible to every type of reward chart going.  She put up some resistance but not enough that it made life difficult, although at one point in the early stages she stood and wet herself in the middle of the lounge, looked at me and said "nappies now mummy?" which almost swung it in her favour.  Really though we were quite lucky with how it went.  

Unfortunately, Eli strikes me as the kind of child who will enjoy the naked part of potty training but not so much the making it to the toilet in time part!!

So no, Nursery Lady, we will not be potty training Eli any time soon.  Ask me again this time next year and we might be starting to consider it!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Wot So Funee: Little Interpreter

Wot So Funee?

A couple of weeks ago I posted about how Eli's language has come on in leaps and bounds and how he has stopped looking to Meg to answer any question directed at him.  This has been so so good for us to be able to work out what he is saying about 60% of the time.  For the other 40% it's a bit of a hit and miss situation, suggest what you think he might be saying; if it's right you are rewarded with a big beaming face, if it's wrong he will say it again and again and again!

Meg has obviously been feeling a bit left out of the loop by this progression as she has taken it upon herself to act as Eli's interpreter, whether we already know what he's saying or not!

On Tuesday I was standing at the fridge with Eli choosing a snack.  At some point during our discussion that tomato ketchup is not a valid snack choice, Meg popped up behind us and said "I think Eli wants some cheese and grapes."  Eli, who was very clearly now pointing at the yoghurts, shook his head at this.  "I think he'll be alright with just grapes, thanks Meg."

"No, Mummy, Eli is saying he wants cheese, aren't you Eli?"

Eli frowned slightly, shook his head and said "no no no!"

Meg (never one to be put off) giggled and said "Oh Eli is such a joker, he really does want some cheese though." 

This conversation must have gone round in circles for about 5 minutes so in the end, just to get them away from the fridge, I put a little bit of cheese in Eli's bowl. 

A couple of minutes later I heard Meg say "What's that Eli?  You don't want your cheese? Ok, I suppose I'll eat it then." 

What a tinker.  Clearly Meg thinks she's onto something here and Mummy and Daddy won't realise what she's up to!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Wot So Funee: Daddy

Wot So Funee?

There's a long standing agreement in our house that if something gets broken I will say "let's ask Daddy to fix it when he gets home" which is really code for "I'll put it in the bin when you're not looking and we'll never speak of it again!" 

Apparently though, this week Daddy did actually fix something which was broken!  Meg proudly brought me one of her princess shoes which had (apparently) being 'rattling' - she had asked Daddy to fix it and hey presto, now it wasn't rattling any more! 

"Sometimes, Mummy..." she informed me, "Daddy is a very good boy." 

"I see, Meg." I replied, "and what is he when he isn't being a good boy?" 

She rolled her eyes, let out a big sigh and replied "hopeless." 

Oh dear Daddy, seems Meg has got the measure of you already!!  Although I suspect that may always have been the's a photo of a discussion I walked in on when Meg was just two years old.  She definitely looks like the one laying down the rules!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Perspective: Comic Relief

I've been umming and ahhing over writing a post recently about some of the stuff we've been going through over the last 18 months.  It's been a hard 18 months and we've struggled a lot in our personal lives with various elements of it but more recently we've experienced a surge in hope.  Wheels have been set in motion, decisions have been made and situations have turned around which have led us to stop looking backwards and down at our feet and to start looking forwards.

I am hoping to share the post with you in the near future but I have to admit that yesterday I was thwacked around the face rather sharply by my good old friend perspective.

Watching Comic Relief is always difficult, especially now I've become a mother myself.  I wholeheartedly agreed with Davina McCall's choice of phrase that when you become a mother you join hands with other mothers around the world and you do feel their pain.  I cannot even begin to imagine the pain a mother must feel having to carry the body of her son home in a plastic bag.  My brain can't even begin to formulate being faced with that scenario.

That isn't the point where perspective set in.  That moment came when Bill Nighy said "these people didn't ask to be poor.  We just got lucky.  They're not asking you for anything." and I could have just cried.  They haven't chosen this life for themselves.  But it is their burden to face every day. 

I was surprised at how short-sighted I had become.  I've been to Africa, I've visited a shanty town in Zambia, I am fully aware of just how beyond poor these people are.  The term 'less than nothing' is only understandable I think when you've witnessed it with your own eyes.  Poor in this country does not mean the same thing as poor in a third world country.  It doesn't even come close.  It's so far beyond the can't even see the line.

No matter what situation we are facing here, it doesn't begin to compare.  

So that dispute you're having with someone else and it's causing you stress?  As you fill your glass with fresh water to swallow down your headache tablet consider that children are dying every day because they don't have access to clean water.  

Not being able to buy the latest piece of technology and feeling downhearted because seemingly everyone you know has it?  Totally incomparable with not being able to protect your child from being bitten by mosquitos whilst they sleep because you don't have the £5 to buy a mosquito net.

Your husband working long hours and thinking how awful it is that you have to be at home with your children on your own all the time.  At least you get to be with your children.  The risks of your children dying from malnutrition, diarrhoea, tetanus and a whole host of other preventable diseases are so minute it's not even worth considering it as a possibility.

Yes, these are first world problems and they are real problems.  Of course it's important and vital to take care of our mental well-being and our physical health.  To build good and long lasting friendships and to try and succeed at tasks we set our hands to.  I am particularly guilty of complaining about the last one, as my husband works horrendous hours in a horrible job with awful people but put into perspective: at least he has a job, is able to provide for his family and that we are, for the most part, entirely safe and secure.

The alternative doesn't bear thinking about.

But I am asking you to think about it, and I am asking you to consider giving to a very worthy cause. 

Earlier this year 3 bloggers went out to visit Ghana and to see for themselves some of the amazing projects that Comic Relief have funded and how their work has made a difference.  If you haven't yet donated to Comic Relief please think about visiting their giving page and doing just that.  It could honestly change someone's life.


Gain some perspective and make a difference today.

Earlier in the week I also posted about Syria and the work Tearfund are doing to help.  Charities providing aid in third world countries has always been something close to my heart and given my new dose of perspective you are probably going to see me writing and tweeting about these things more often.  I'd apologise but considering I think it's so important, I'll just ask you to bear with me and keep these people in your thoughts and give when and where you can.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Book Love: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn


This week I'm linking up with a book recommended by Mummy Barrow for her book club.  I was a bit wary as I don't often read 'thrillers' - I find my imagination overtakes me and I end up freaking out at the slightest noise(!) but I thought the premise sounded too interesting to pass up.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
There are two sides to every story...

‘What are you thinking, Amy?’ The question I’ve asked most often during our marriage, if not out loud, if not to the person who could answer. I suppose these questions stormcloud over every marriage: ‘What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Who are you? What have we done to each other? What will we do?’ Just how well can you ever know the person you love? This is the question that Nick Dunne must ask himself on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police immediately suspect Nick. Amy’s friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn’t true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they aren’t his. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone. So what really did happen to Nick’s beautiful wife? And what was in that half-wrapped box left so casually on their marital bed? In this novel, marriage truly is the art of war…

It's difficult to review this kind of book as in order to tell what happens, you have to reveal the secrets of the plot which is what makes these types of books so clever.

It is an incredibly well thought out storyline, brilliantly written.  I was completely drawn into the world that Gillian Flynn created and fell hookline and sinker for the plot which meant I didn't see several of the unexpected twists which is a good sign I'm invested in the story! 

I will admit that I thought the ending was a bit weak.  To me, it just seemed to come out of the blue as quite a neat way to tidy up the story but not very fitting with the emotions we'd previously seen in the characters.  I do think there was scope to weave it into the general story a bit more.  But you can't have everything!

I would recommend it if you like psychological thrillers.  Even if you don't I would give this a go.  I didn't find it as creepy as some of the other thrillers I've tried such as James Patterson - I felt I could be a bit more detached with this story.

A very very good book.  I'm so glad I decided to read it actually!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Helping other children...what is considered normal?

Today I took the kids to soft play after Meg's gymnastic class.  There was a dad there on his own with a young baby boy, just toddling, so I'd estimate his age to be around 1(ish) 

At one point during the time we were there, the dad asked another mum if she would watch his son whilst he went to the toilet (which are not located near the soft play) - she agreed and as his son was happily playing with some blocks, he slipped out.  

About 2 or 3 minutes passed before the little boy looked up to see where his daddy was.  And, realising he had gone from sight began to cry.  At first the mum crouched down to try and comfort the little boy telling him that his daddy would be back soon but this didn't really seem to help as he quickly became hysterical and reached wailing point.

I was surprised to see this mum looking so bewildered at the rapidly escalating situation.  She began to look around at the other parents, expectantly almost.  Would we do anything?  Say anything?

My first thought was "why hasn't she picked him up?"  She's a parent, everyone there was a parent...what would your first instinct be if your own child was crying? Pick them up, offer them some physical comfort.  I wouldn't even have thought twice about it but this mum looked distinctly uncomfortable.

It felt like about 10 minutes passed of this poor boy crying with no one moving.  The room had fallen silent and all eyes were now on the mum and the baby.  My instinct to move and intervene had begun to wane and I'd actually started to get nervous.  Would it be strange for me to now go and pick him up?  No one else had done so.  I wasn't even the one who was asked to watch the boy even though I was sitting closest to his dad.  Where was his dad?!?

My heart was beating fast and I felt like I was caught.  I wanted to go and confidently pick him up but it now seemed like a strange course of action.  As I stood there wavering,  I was saved by the appearance of Meg who, unphased as always, walked right up to the little boy, bent down into his face and said "don't be sad, my mummy will give you a cuddle.  She gives the best cuddles." and turned to look at me expectantly.  So, naturally, I had no choice but to go and pick him up.  He didn't immediately stop crying (I'm no supernanny!) but his crying didn't seem quite so shrill and within a couple more minutes his dad reappeared, and thanked me profusely.

The weird thing is, why did nobody else think to do this?  I could see it written across the face of every mum in the room that they desperately wanted to go and pick him up.  That it was a twitch all of us were feeling.  But the fear of the dad reprimanding us when he returned held everyone back.  I don't know what I would have done if when he returned he had behaved as though I'd done something wrong.  Even thinking about it now gives me the quakes a bit as literally every eye was upon me as I walked across the silent soft play and picked the child up.  It could all have horribly backfired and it could have made the situation ten times worse, I feel lucky that it didn't!

It has however really made me wonder: at what point did we all become so afraid of what is socially acceptable that we won't even offer a child some basic human interaction when he's upset?  

I often talk to other children at soft play and the park, I find other children seem to gravitate towards me out of all the parents to come and chat with.  I've seen other mums and dads literally tense up when a child chooses to talk to them as though somehow, in answering their simple questions they could be accused of something awful.  When did it get like this?

I can't even judge if this is normal or abnormal.  If I saw a child had fallen and hurt themselves I would, and have, bent down to help them up in the playground.  I reacted without a second thought that perhaps the parent might be offended by my assistance.

Do parents really get offended by someone helping their child?  If I couldn't get to Meg or Eli in time and another parent stepped in I would definitely be thanking them not criticising them.  Am I the only person in this camp?  

There must be a reason why parents are becoming afraid to help...a reason why our actions seem stilted and awkward...why we feel like if we do intervene we are judged by other parents.

I don't know, I have honestly never thought about it until today but there was a very tangible feeling of tension in the room as we all stopped and considered what we would do about this upset child.  What would be the right thing to do?

And, had Meg not forced my hand, I don't know if I would have built up the courage to step in.

What would you have done?

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Syria: Crisis Appeal and Candlelit Vigil

Earlier this week I tweeted about the fact that Eli was almost two.  Almost two years old!  On the one hand it feels as though it has gone in the blink of an eye, but on the other, so so much has happened in that time.  Because two years IS a long time.

I gave him an extra big hug this morning and thought about how different it would be if for the entire two years of his life he had suffered displacement, hunger, been witness to acts of violence or even been shot at.  Truly a horrendous thought for any mother.  But it is estimated that nearly 2 million children have been affected in this way by the civil war currently raging in Syria.

This week it is two years since the violence in Syria began.  Two whole years.  A heck of a long time.  Can you even imagine what it would be like?  

I was sent an interview by Tearfund, of five families who are currently living in a three bedroom apartment and have been affected by the civil war.  It is an unedited interview, just the raw information and I've played with it and shortened in but in the end, it didn't feel right.  I think it's most powerful when you read it as it is.  Because it's reality for these families.

Image courtesy of Eleanor Bentall/ Tearfund

Katie (Head of Media at Tearfund, who visited these families in February): Thank you for inviting us into your home.  We feel very honoured to be invited.

Aamil*: You are most welcome and we’re sorry that we cannot offer what you really deserve.  We are living in very bad conditions and things are very difficult financially. Only God knows what is happening to us in this house.

*name has been changed to protect people.

Katie: We’ve come from London and we bring greetings from British people who care about what is happening to Syrians.

Aamil: Thank you, we are very grateful for you.  You are most welcome.

Katie: Could you tell us your story of how you came here from Syria and who came with you?

Aamil: We were living in Deraa when something like 20,000 soldiers came into our neighbourhood.  They started shooting and killed about 300 people. They also burned our houses.

So we left our homes carrying nothing, no money, no food, no clothing, only the things that we are wearing, that’s all.

They were pursuing us with tanks so I took my whole family and left that neighbourhood. We left immediately and went to Zaatari in Jordan.

(Zaatari is the big official refugee camp.)

Katie: How long did you stay at Zaatari?

Aamil: One week.  We stayed for one week.

Katie: Why did you not stay longer?

Aamil: The main reason was because of my father who is blind.

My son is sick and he couldn’t stand the weather there. He couldn’t stay there because he was sick immediately.

(His son is small, has Downs Syndrome and had a protruding hiatus hernia in stomach.)

My sister who also has Downs Syndrome was sick too and she suffered from something in her eyes so she couldn’t see at that time.

[She appears still not to be able to see since her sickness.]

Katie: How many children do you have?

Aamil: Five.

Katie: There are more than five children here. Did they all come with you or separately in different families?

Aamil: We all came together.

Katie: And when you left Zaatari, where did you go from there?

Aamil: There were very harsh conditions in Zaatari and we couldn’t live there so we left and came to this house immediately. We borrowed money so that we could rent this apartment.

We pay 400 dinars [approx £400] for this apartment, and we have to pay every two months, so £800 for each payment.  If we don’t pay, they will throw us out.

Katie: How big is this apartment?

Aamil: There’s a living room and three bedrooms.

Katie: So three bedrooms for five families. Is that right?

Aamil: Yes that’s right.

Katie: Is there enough food?  Can you stay warm?

Aamil: No.  We don’t have any food at all.  Nobody has helped us and we suffer from cold during the night especially.

Katie: Have you been able to register with UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency)?

I have an appointment with UNHCR but not until 11 June though we received a certain sum to help for the first three months. 

I already have a yellow card [ID] but we really need the registration card from the United Nations. Nobody accepts the yellow card.  They always demand that card from the United Nations.

My sister is 23.  She used to pray every day but since she got sick with her eyes she is doing nothing.

I went so many times seeking help for the treatment of my sister but so far I didn’t receive anything and it costs me a lot for transportation, going back and forth.

And my son is sick too.  He is fourteen years old [this is the boy with Downs Syndrome who looks about seven] and he is still wearing nappies.

And the bad thing there [the lump protruding from his stomach] is getting bigger and bigger every day.

Katie: Do you hope to go back to Syria one day?

Aamil: With the situation that is taking place right now there in Syria, we don’t want to go but we hope that in future when it’s safe we will go back.  We hope to go back to Syria and to receive you in Syria as our guests.

Katie: Thank you.


Last week UNHCR registered the millionth Syrian refugee.  At the start of the year it was predicted that the 1 millionth mark would be hit in June.  It's only March.  The situation in Syria has grown steadily worse and nothing is changing.

Image courtesy of Eleanor Bentall/ Tearfund

Last September I wrote a post about the Untold Atrocities that the children of Syria were facing.  Nothing has changed.  Nothing.  

We need to shout louder.

Tomorrow a number of agencies will join together to hold candelit vigils around the world to highlight that the conflict in Syria is still ongoing.

What can I do?

We need people to make some noise, to make sure that our politicians know that it's time to do something about this crisis and we need to keep on making noise until they act to save Syria's children, save the families, save all those who have been and are being, and will be affected if they don't.

If you are the praying sort, pray!!  Pray for the people of Syria and for peace. 

Join the vigil and light a candle tomorrow.

You could sign up to the Save the Children, and leave a message.  Throughout tomorrow they will be flooding social media with the messages, demanding that world leaders do something about the Syrian crisis.

If you want to donate to the campaign, providing much needed help, you can do so here.

You can tweet about the crisis, or share a Facebook status using the hashtag #syriacrisis

If you have a blog, you could write about it and share the message that this time, we will be heard.  

Image courtesy of Eleanor Bentall/ Tearfund

We will let the people of Syria know that they have not been forgotten.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Wot So Funee: Little Performer

Wot So Funee?

If you know us at all (and some of you may!) then you will know that we're a family of performers.  I veer towards the dramatic, usually in the form of an exaggerated, well rehearsed retelling of an event that happened several years ago.  My Other Half is a guitarist, took expressive dance as a GCSE and will generally do anything to ensure he is the centre of attention!

So it's no surprise really then that Meg loves playing the clown and making sure all eyes are on her.  It used to be just a case of her doing silly stunts; throwing herself on the floor, pulling funny faces etc but now we have moved onto a whole new playing field: The Performances.

Since we went to see Sofia, she has taken to singing out parts of her day and what she is getting up to or holding onto door frames and serenading us all with her latest escapades.

There was a great moment last week when she appeared dressed in a tutu and announced "I'm going to dance my WHOLE life" and then proceeded to do some movements which can only be described as body flailing. 

About two minutes in she stopped, looked thoughtful and then said "well, maybe just a few years." and flounced out. 

Is this our future?!?

Somehow I don't think we've seen the last of The Performances by Meg!!

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Project 365: Weeks Nine & Ten

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

I appear to have gone the other way with my Project 365 photos; I'm remembering to take one a day but then when it comes to posting them up on a Saturday I don't leave myself enough time to do it!  So apologies, but this is two weeks in one again.  I will try harder next week!

55/365: Meg stepping in for Eli and posing using the Toddlebike we've been sent to review.  Our thoughts on this coming soon!

56/365: Action shot of Meg and Eli at soft play. 

57/365: Counting the number of teeth the stone lion has (as you do!)

58/365: One poorly night time visitor.

59/365: Is there a better view in all the world?

60/365: I don't often take pictures of myself and I especially don't often like photos of myself but this was one I took to show OH the dress I wore to work (I don't often wear dresses either!!)  Apart from looking like I've got a dodgy smell under my nose I don't hate this!!

61/365: Enjoying a doughnut after our mad dash around IKEA to change some items I bought last week.  And, if you look closely you can just see the start of the horrible eye infection Meg has been battling all week :(

62/365: Apparently this is Eli's 'thing', find a piece of doll's furniture...climb into it!

63/365: Taking the gang to bed.

64/365: I hope this isn't cheating but when I saw this it really resonated with how I'm feeling at the moment about writing so I took a photo of it!

65/365: My rather large 5 month old puppy trying to pretend he isn't too big to clamber onto my knee for a snooze.

66/365: The worst of the infection has set in.  One very run down and sleepy Meg cuddled up with one little boy completely awestruck by Cars 2 (as though we haven't watched it 100 times already!)

67/365: Hanging out.

68/365: On our walk today, Grandad holding down the fort with Eli and two excitable dogs!!

Win a copy of The Mummyfesto


So here it is, my last competition of my World Book Day blog hop.  We've had some brilliant ones over the past week and I'd like to say thank you to everyone who has entered!  Also, to all those who joined in with the blog hop too.  It was great to see so many blogs taking part.  

The blog hop and the competitions are still open so there's still time to join in if you'd like to!  Remember that the post can be anything related to World Book Day even if it's just a post letting us all know whether you celebrated it or forgot about it!

Back to the competition and Quercus Books have kindly offered one copy of The Mummyfesto!

If you haven't yet heard of The Mummyfesto, here's a short snippet from the press release:

Adaptable.  Dependable.  Good at clearing up mess.  Surely being a mum is perfect training to run the country…?

When Sam, Jackie and Anna successfully campaign to save their children’s school lollipop lady, a TV reporter asks them if they fancy standing in the general election.

It is, of course, a crazy idea: Sam’s youngest son has an incurable disease, Jackie is desperate for another child and her mum is struggling with Alzheimer’s, Anna’s teenagers – and marriage – are in danger of going off the rails.

But sometimes the craziest ideas turn out to be the best.  And just think what the three women could achieve if they did get into power…

Funny and thought-provoking, THE MUMMYFESTO is the perfect Mother’s Day read.

If you 'd like to enter to win a copy of The Mummyfesto, please use the rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 8 March 2013

Win: Pip & Posy books and a signed copy of The Grunts


I hinted that I would be running another competition today and that it would be as fab as the one yesterday and it truly is!  Nosy Crow have offered a set of hardback Pip & Posy books and a signed copy of The Grunts for one lucky person!

If you have small children you will no doubt have seen the drawings of Axel Scheffler either in The Gruffalo or one of the other many stories he has illustrated!  He also illustrates this new series about Pip & Posy; two friends (a rabbit and a mouse) who have to deal with the dramas of toddlerdom!  

This is a competition I am particularly excited to share with you all as we have "Pip & Posy: The Big Balloon" and both Meg and Eli love it.  The pictures are so colourful and bright and the story is one that Meg can relate to, especially how Pip feels when he loses the balloon he is so proud of and how Posy makes him feel better.  She loves telling me how she would try to make her friends feel better if they were sad too!

Nosy Crow are offering five books from this series.

The Grunts is a story illustrated by Axel Scheffler and written by Philip Ardagh.  It's the tale of Mr and Mrs Grunt, who live with their adopted son, Sunny, in a donkey-drawn caravan.  The family find themselves embroiled in all kinds of amusing and improbable adventures.

If you've been keeping up with my blog over the past week you will know that I am running a lot of  competitions in honour of World Book Day and I don't like to make you all jump through hoops so it is very simple to enter this brilliant competition, just use the rafflecopter below. 

And whilst you're here, why not check out the other competitions I've got running?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Win a signed series of Noodle Books


Yes that's right, another competition!  And a brilliant one to boot.  

The fabulous people at Nosy Crow have offered a signed series of their Noodle books to one lucky reader and another very exciting competition which will be going live tomorrow so keep your eyes peeled!

The Noodle books are aimed at babies aged 9 months + and feature an adorable little panda. 

Meet Noodle!

The books are all brightly coloured with different themes, and are touch and feel board books (perfect for little hands!) with rhyming text.

Noodle gets up to lots of interesting things which babies and toddlers will also experience; visiting the farm, going to bed, playing at the park etc and I think this will capture the attention of babies perfectly.  I am a big fan of rhyming books and have often found Meg and Eli learn the rhythm of the books quite quickly (read: know when daddy is trying to change the story!)

These would make a fantastic addition to any little person's library or, would also be a perfect gift especially with the nice added extra of them being signed copies.

If you want to read more about the series, you can see all the books here and as with all the other competitions, if you'd like to enter, please use the rafflecopter below :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This competition is part of my World Book Day blog hop which is running all week.  If you'd like to know more about it and maybe join in, read here

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Wot So Funee: You Can't Catch Me...

Wot So Funee?

On Sunday afternoon we were sitting at the dinner table as a family.  During these times Meg often comes out with random comments, especially if we're paying a bit too much attention to Eli but today was a slight exception!

She suddenly announced "come back here you little ginger-head!"

I was more than a bit surprised that she would say something like that as we only know a handful of people with hair colour of that persuasion and I don't think anybody would refer to them in such a way, so I asked her: "Who says ginger-heads?"

Meg: "A nursery book."

Becoming increasingly concerned that nursery were teaching politically incorrect things through use of books (I was already planning out the firm discussion I would be having with the staff come Monday morning) I said "WHAT nursery book?!?"

Meg: "Oh the one about 'you can't catch me I'm a gingerbread man' "

Cue a BIG sigh of relief round the dinner table!

Star in your own book this World Book Day!


This World Book Day love2read are offering one lucky person the opportunity to star in their very own personalised book!  

If you aren't familiar with love2read, they offer a fantastic way to use your own photographs and encourage your children to read.  Their books are themed around national curriculum keywords and are designed to stimulate a child's interest so that they really want to read.

Love2read's website has lots of different templates to choose from such as "my family..." "my daddy..." "my gran..." and all you have to do is upload ten digital photos and add some text.  It really is very simple to use and you can save your book as you go along.

If you have young children then you will undoubtedly know that they love to look at photographs, especially of family and friends, so a love2read book is perfect as a bedtime story.  It's also a lovely memento for families to treasure in years to come.  

If you'd like more information about love2read and the different ways you can assist your child in learning to read, do have a look at their website.  And if you'd like to win your very own personalised book, then you can use the rafflecopter below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This competition is being hosted in conjunction with my World Book Day blog hop.  If you've written a post about World Book Day why not link it up here?

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Win a set of Mammoth Academy books


Do you have or know a child aged 5+ who might be interested in a funny, captivating and quirky series of books?

If so this set is for you!!  

Kindly gifted by the lovely folk at The Book People in honour of my World Book Day blog hop you can enter below to win the set of 4 books: Mammoth Academy, Mammoth Academy on Holiday, Mammoth Academy in Trouble and Mammoth Academy Surf's Up!

As I don't have a child of this age I can't speak from personal experience but if you fancy reading some reviews of this set of books there are some here or check out some of the ones on amazon - they are all positive!  These seem ideal bedtime stories for younger readers, particularly those who are a bit reluctant when it comes to books.  I've had a quick flick through and they have interesting cartoons on every page to go with the story which seem amusing (even to me!)

If you fancy winning this set of books, you can use the rafflecopter below.  I've included lots of options for entries but only do the ones you wish!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
If you don't know what the World Book Day blog hop is all about, then you can read all about it here.  Why not consider joining in?

Monday, 4 March 2013

World Book Day Blog Hop 2013


Love it or hate it, this week is World Book Day and as I mentioned here, in it's honour I am hosting this blog hop as a space for others to come and share book reviews.

Throughout the week I have been revealing a number of competitions, you can see them below.


So without further ado - if you have a favourite book, a review of a story you've read recently, your child's favourite bedtime story or any book review at all, please do link up below.   

If you'd like to add the badge to your post, the code is: 

<a href="" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" target="_blank"><img alt="WORLDBOOKDAY" border="0" height="252" src="" width="320" /></a></div>

If you want to tweet your links using the hashtag #worldbooklove I will retweet them for you as well.

And finally, if you do add your link, try to hop over to two or three of the other blogs joining in.  You might find some more lovely blogs to read!