August Kids Reads

Hi all. I hope you have had a good summer….I can’t believe it is nearly over. Next thing we know it will be Christmas….hasn’t this year just flown by???? So this time last month I was pretty intimidated by the prospect of a summer looking after a 6 yr old, a 3 yr old and a newborn. Well I am proud to say I survived relatively unscathed. My days were sponsored by berocca in the morning and a glass of wine at night and then bed fit me at 8pm. Book wise, August has been poor and for this I apologise. I am sad to say that after a day of fun-filled activities with 3 kids, I have fallen asleep before story time on numerous nights or if not asleep, I am feeding the baby so have plonked the other two in front of the TV. I am hoping September will be an improvement.

  • Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam. The Diamond Chase by Tracey Corderoy.

There are diamonds galore at the grand ball and detective dogs Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam are cooking on the job when disaster strikes!

Somebody’s swiped Lady Kate’s Tiara! But who can it be? And can the doggy duo catch the thief before he scarpers?

My girls and I love this series. Good pictures and brilliant rhymes. Always a moral in the story and always encourages the conversation about apologies helping to make things right. Ceci, 3 is definitely not a fan of the wordsorry.’

My girls love a search in a book and it becomes pretty competitive to find the little πŸ•·. As a mum I am happy as there are lots of opportunities to practice my acting skills and work on my accents. πŸ€£πŸ€£πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ

  • The Great Fairytale Search by Chuck Whelon.

A truly magical search book brimming with enchanting scenes from kids’ favourite fairytales. Children can find Cinderella’s glass slipper, seven little lamps in the cottage of the seven dwarves and even the Big Bad Wolf hiding in the forest.

  • Spot the dinosaur on the Island by Stella Maidment.

From spiky stegosauruses to speedy velociraptors, there is so much to see on Dinosaur Island!

With a hidden baby T.Rex to find in every scene and fun facts to discover throughout, step inside for hours of entertainment.

  • Where’s the Mermaid by Chuck Whelon.

Join Meria and her friends on their exciting adventure around the world.

Explore 16 amazing locations -from the Mer- Kingdom deep under the waves, to a paradise island, the frozen Arctic, a hectic circus and a scary sushi bar.

I thought I would curb my jealousy of those who are jetting away to sunnier climes and feature some books that could while away some holiday hours or times on the plane. ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️My kids love a book with a search. I give them each about 5 things to look for and it keeps them quiet for at least 5 mins until they try to get super competitive with eachother. πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ Ceci 3, loves the dinosaur and fairytale book. πŸ§šπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ¦–πŸ¦•πŸ§šπŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ§šπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ¦•πŸ¦–πŸ§šπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ§šπŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ¦•πŸ¦–πŸ§šπŸ»β€β™€οΈEdie 6, loves a bit of πŸ§œπŸΌβ€β™€οΈ action. All 3 are massive hits and give me enough time to drink a hot cuppa or a chilled glass of white.

  • The Queen’s Orangutan by David Walliams.
  • David Walliams born 20th August 1971.

Written exclusively for Comic Relief 2015 by David Walliams. From Number One bestselling picture book duo, David Walliams and Tony Ross, comes this spectacularly funny story for children of 3 and up.

A bored queen.

A birthday wish.

An outrageous orang-utan.

Everything’s about to go bananas!

Written by David Walliams as an exclusive children’s picture book especially for Comic Relief – David will be giving all of his proceeds from the book to the charity. The illustrator, Tony Ross, will waive his royalties and HarperCollins UK will also donate all profits from the publishing of the book – at least Β£3 from each copy sold will go to Comic Relief.

The Queen’s Orangutan is our book du jour at the moment. This basically means that I read it to my kids every night.πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’ Usually reading the same book EVERY night makes me want to kill someone but I honestly find it impossible to have murderous thoughts about the wonderful Walliams. This book is a really fun read with tons of opportunity to work on your royal voices!!🀣Illustrations by Tony Ross are brilliant as always and pokes fun at the royals…Prince Phillip is a little red-nosed and looks like he enjoys the occasional bevy. 🀣. As you can see from the pic, Cill thinks it’s hilarious…or it could be the fact that Maisie had just filled her nappy!

Thanks for reading all. It is now 18:25 so I am going to get ready for bed!!πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ

July Beauty

Ooooooh I am feeling the need for a good old pamper this month! Sleep deprivation thanks to a newborn is making me look a little like a zombie. I am also constantly covered in vom or puke….not my own. Sadly, I am too tired to care.

  • L’Oreal Absolut Repair Lipidum Masque. Β£16.05 for 500 Ml.

Yes the hair saga continues. During pregnancy my hair was a bit nuts. Not so much the texture (it was a little drier than usual) but the colour went mental. Yes, yes the blonde moaner again!! πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ. You know as a blonde when your mascara wand slips and you paint a bit of your hair by mistake???? Yes so I had a completely random black streak….black….in blonde hair. Also whenI got my hair coloured a few weeks ago, by the first hair wash I already had roots!!!!! WTF!?!? So my remedy, wash it less (yuk) and condition it really well. This deep conditioner is so gorgeous. I am a texture fanatic and it’s like smearing your hair with a Greek yogurt or custard! So thick, gloopy and yellow. It also only needs to be on for 5 minutes which is a bonus if you are pushed for time. As always there is a jargon word ‘lipidium.’ So ‘lipidium’ is a combo of lactic Acid, phyto-keratin and ceramides that when combined apparently ‘form a barrier film on hair to lock in actives and essential nutrients, which coats hair against new aggressors.’ πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ€¦β€β™€οΈNo one has time for aggressors!!!! Anyway all I know is…it feels lush, smells lush, lasts ages and works so buy it. Aggressors be gone! πŸ˜‚

  • Herbivore Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist. Β£28.00.

This is the brand that you will have seen all over Instagram. It is very easy to take a beautiful pic of Herbivore products because quite simply, they look lush.

This facial spritz contains coconut water to hydrate πŸ₯₯ , hibiscus flower to even your skin tone, rose to reduce redness 🌹, witch hazel to tighten and aloe Vera to heal and soothe. It’s totally gorgeous when it’s straight out the fridge and applied liberally to a sweaty face and it works a treat after applying makeup to fix it in place and to give a slightly dewy look. It also smells beautiful. I have to say however, it’s pretty punchy price wise and as much as it’s a lovely product, I’m sure I could find something just as good but a little cheaper.

  • Herbivore Emerald Moisture Glow Oil. Β£42.00.

Herbivore products really do get massive dressing table points. How lush do they look?!?!?!??

Facial oil is something I cannot and won’t do without. I think it is my way of apologising to my skin for using Oxy10 as a moisturiser in my teenage years. 😱😱😱😱😱

Let’s talk about cannabis. Recently it has become a bit of a buzz word in the beauty industry. I have to say that I was initially put off. It takes me right back to my student days of sitting in manky bedrooms eating dodgy takeaways while the stench of weed covered our hair, clothes and chicken with cashew nuts. Rank! Beauty manufacturers have extracted the non psychoactive (so not the bits that make you feel like a student again) elements of cannabis to provide a ton of good stuff to your skin. So what can it do????Right, got your clipboard ready????CBD is anti aging, helps to prevent acne, treats psoriasis and eczema, and is rich in omega 3,6,9 .

I haven’t been bothering with make up much this month so have been wearing it am and pm and enjoying the glow it gives me. If I was going to put on make up, I wouldn’t use the oil as it does take a while to sink in. Apart from a MAHOOSIVE mozzie bite on my face (thanks to an evening walk in the woods) my skin is spot free and looking pretty good considering I am so cream crackered!

Looking forward to August’s post. I am trialing a new face oil and a hair mask which I can already tell you isn’t a patch on the one above!!!

Thank you for reading.

July Reads

Well I have to say I am pretty chuffed with this months reading. I feel I got through a decent amount. The majority of reading happened before baby Maisie arrived and the other 2 girls were still in school and nursery. Since Maisie’s arrival, I think I have read a grand total of about 2 pages a day of Pachinko which pains me as I have been looking forward to reading it for ages but I just can’t keep my eyes open at the end of the day. Having said that, a less enjoyable book I would have kicked to the curb so that is a positive.

  • Still Life by Louise Penny. 4⭐️.
  • Louise Penny born 1st July 1958.

The award-winning first novel from worldwide phenomenon Louise Penny.

The discovery of a dead body in the woods on Thanksgiving Weekend brings Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his colleagues from the Surete du Quebec to a small village in the Eastern Townships. Gamache cannot understand why anyone would want to deliberately kill well-loved artist Jane Neal, especially any of the residents of Three Pines – a place so free from crime it doesn’t even have its own police force.

But Gamache knows that evil is lurking somewhere behind the white picket fences and that, if he watches closely enough, Three Pines will start to give up its dark secrets .

Happy Birthday to Louise Penny born on 1st July 1958 which is also Canada Day. πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦ πŸŽ‚πŸŽˆπŸŽ‚πŸŽˆπŸŽ‚πŸŽˆπŸŽ‚πŸŽˆπŸŽ‚ I finally picked up this book after frequent recommendations on my favourite bookish podcast @whatshouldireadnext. If you enjoy reading you should definitely check it out. Each week a guest talks about their three favourite books, one book they disliked and what they are currently reading. The host, Anne Bogle then gives them three recommendations. I really enjoy it as does my Amazon account.

So, onto Louise Penny. Can a murder mystery be comforting??? According to Hilary Clinton, Penny’s books gave her solace after her election defeat. I understand what she means. This was a really comforting read and according to google, there are still 19 I haven’t read!!!!πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ Inspector Gamache is actually a nice guy. He is happily married. He (so far) doesn’t seem dark and twisty with a substance abuse problem and skeletons in his closet. How refreshing! This book reminded me of the tremendous Agatha Christie. It wasn’t brutal and Penny is obviously going to take her time introducing us to the inhabitants of Three Pines. 🌲🌲🌲. If you like you murder mysteries without gore and smattered with picket fences, brioche and maple syrup, give this a whirl. 🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁

  • Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig. DNF.
  • Matt Haig born 3rd July 1975.

The world is messing with our minds. What if there was something we could do about it?

Looking at sleep, news, social media addiction, work and play, Matt Haig invites us to feel calmer, happier and question the habits of the digital age. This book might even change the way you spend your precious time on Earth.

Oh Matt, I am sorry to say I have given up!!!! I picked up this book after LOVING Matt Haig’s work. I adored Reasons to Stay Alive and The Humans was one of my favourite books of last year. I started it whilst lying in the bath brimming with anticipation. After 15 pages I felt a little irritated. I agree with a lot of his points….the world is going mad. We do spend to much time on social media. We are inundated with filtered images of people with perfect lives, families, jobs and bodies. I agree and I’m aware of this and I try not to let it bother me. Reading a book that constantly repeats this point left me feeling stressed, anxious and frustrated!!!! I decided that I needed to dilute my reading experience by picking up another book and reading a little of Matt every day. The other book I picked up was The Road. If you know this book you know it is a depressing read. It’s bleak. I found The Road less bleak than Matt’s. Picking up Nervous Planet made me grumpy so on page 86 I called it a day.

Matt says:

I am trying to write about the messiness of the world and the messiness of minds by writing a deliberately messy book.

It’s format is similar to Reasons To Stay Alive – short chapters, lists and musings, presumably to hold our attention in a world where we are so distracted. The point he makes is correct – modern life, the pace, the news, social media is having a direct impact on our mental health. All this I agree with. We need to take some time and regroup. My husband and I are aware of the fact that we shouldn’t sit in bed on our phones. But you know what…..sometimes, after a long day in work and an evening with the kids and the drama that ensues with bathtime, you just want to do something mindless like checking Facebook. I’m not going to feel guilty for that and it doesn’t make me in the least bit anxious. What did make me anxious was signing up to an app that constantly told me how much time I spent on my phone. I am aware, I don’t do it when my kids are around and I’m getting into the habit of leaving my phone upstairs.

The great thing about reading is that it’s so subjective. Looking on Goodreads, I am in the minority of people who didn’t get on with this book. If you are someone who struggles with anxiety, pick this up….seeing Matt express his worries may make you feel better. Also, by reading it, your mobile phone is hopefully on the bedside table and not in your hand so all is good!!!!!

  • Runaway by Alice Munro. 3⭐️.
  • Alice Munro born 10th July 1931.

The matchless Munro makes art out of everyday lives in this dazzling new collection. Here men and women of wildly different times and circumstances, their lives made vividly palpable by the nuance and empathy of Munro’s writing. Runaway is about the power and betrayals of love, about lost children, lost chances. There is pain and desolation beneath the surface, like a needle in the heart, which makes Runaway more potent and compelling than anything she has written before.

This is my second book this month which is written by a Canadian author and my second recommendation from the What Should I Read Next Podcast.

I really enjoy a short story. If I’m ever in a bit of a reading slump I find short stories so much easier to embark on as opposed to a novel. I always finish a short story compilation by asking myself is it harder to write short stories or a full novel???? When you think about books you have read that have been 5⭐️ reads, I am sure there are the odd 40 pages that didn’t work for you but you judge the book as a whole and still award it a good score. With short stories, I feel that the stakes are higher. If there are 40 pages that you dislike, that is often a whole story that left you cold. As an author you have less time to turn it around and make it right!

Right off the bat I want to apologise to Alice Munro. I read this compilation the week before my baby was born. I was grumpy, hot and not sleeping. I enjoyed it but I didn’t LOVE it. Solid 3⭐️ from me. Writing this, 3 weeks later, a lot of the stories I have forgotten. I really enjoyed Tricks, Passion and the three stories involving Juliet.

I feel in a less-sleep-deprived state I would enjoy Munro more. Maybe this isn’t her best compilation but I know I will give her more of a chance.

  • Pachinko by Min Jin Lee.

Yegondo, Korea 1911. A club-footed, cleft-lipped man marries a fifteen-year-old girl. The couple have one child, their beloved daughter Sunja. When Sunja falls pregnant by a married yakuza, the family face ruin. But then a Christian minister offers a chance of salvation: a new life in Japan as his wife.

Following a man she barely knows to a hostile country where she has no friends and no home. Sunja’s salvation is just the beginning of her story.

This is my current read and I’m sad to say there isn’t a hope I will finish it by the end of the month! Having been a reading machine at the beginning of July, baby Maisie has turned me into a zombie who averages a paragraph a day. So far, there hasn’t been a paragraph of this book that I haven’t loved so that is promising. Review to follow next month….or the month after that…..or the month after that. πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ€£

  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy. 4⭐️.
  • Cormac McCarthy born July 20th 1933.

A father and his young son walk alone through burned America, heading slowly for the coast. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. They have nothing but a pistol to defend themselves against the men who stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food – and eachother.

This book has been sat on my shelf for years! I have suggested it as a read for numerous book clubs and it has always been turned down on account of the ‘depressing’ factor. OK, yes. It certainly wasn’t a laugh a minute….I mean I don’t think I laughed once but obviously that is not the point of this book. There are pretty much only two characters, minimal fast-paced action sequences but I honestly could not stop reading. I LOVED this book. The writing was beautiful in an utterly unpretentious way. No long, flowery sentences for McCarthy, but quite simplistic prose that only emphasised the stark simplicity of the story….a father and a son’s struggle to live.

The word struggle is how I would describe this book. The imagery of trudging through all weather – shoes breaking, clothes sodden, starving, pushing a shopping trolley with all your worldly possessions and for what? To get to the coast and for what? What will you do when you arrive? As a reader, it is impossible not to be moved and feel complete pity for their hopeless plight. Brilliant, beautiful, moving book.

  • Educated by Tara Westover.

Tara Westover and her family grew up preparing for the End of Days but, according to the government, she didn’t exist. She hasn’t been registered for a birth certificate. She had no school records because she never set foot in a classroom, an no medical records because her father didn’t believe in hospitals.

As she grew older, her father became more radical and her brother more violent. At sixteen, Tara knew she would have to leave home. In doing so she discovered both the transformative power of education, and the price she had to pay for it.

Educated was this month’s bookclub choice. Unfortunately I am not going to the meeting due to the new baby but I know that it will be one of those meetings where everyone says how much they loved the book. This is our first non-fiction/memoir and at first there was a fair bit of resistance to it. However, even those who come to book club to read the Russian Classics enjoyed this. Maybe there are some similarities….Educated is certainly not short of heart wrenching passages but I love the fact that Westover writes without a hint of melodrama.

Westover is without a doubt a great female role model. Her resilience and strength she shows not only when faced with her physically and mentally abusive family but also with regards to her education is mind blowing. Westover is undoubtably a victim but this isn’t a ‘pity me’ memoir. What Westover has achieved is empowering.

Thank you for bearing with me this month. As I say I am a little sleep deprived but very happy.

See you next month.

July Kids Reads

Well July has been a crazy month. Maisie was born on the 3rd….thankfully I didn’t have to wait until I was 41 weeks. I am so relieved that she is finally here. The past 38 weeks were full of anxiety that I would be told those fateful words again….’I’m sorry but it’s not good news.’ I think the pessimist in me was always preparing myself to hear those words so when Maisie was born I was quite shocked. Ceci and Edie are being brilliant big sisters. Very hands on….VERY!!πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ. I have to say that I’m slightly daunted by 6 weeks of summer holidays with 3 kids buy hey ‘Go hard or go home.’

  • Heidi by Johanna Spyri
  • Johanna Spyri died 7th July 1901.

I remember having a VHS tape with the Shirley Temple film of Heidi. It was black and white and I thought it was mega dull. I mean black and white?!?!? I would always press fast forward to get to The Sound of Music which was also recorded on the same tape.

I have bought a few of these Usborne books for Edie. She loves them. Lovely pictures, short chapters and a simplified story. Since becoming a big big sister she has taken to reading a story to Ceci and Maisie at night. Although this adds an extra 20 minutes to the bedtime routine it is not something I want to discourage….in fact I hid outside their bedroom with my glass of wine feeling pretty proud! πŸ₯°

  • Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs by Giles Andreae and Russell Ayto.

When Flinn discovers a pirate hiding in a cupboard, it’s all aboard, me hearties, for a real live pirate adventure! But there are some mean baddies on the loose……

Will fearless Flinn be able to captain the ship and defeat the Pirate Dinosaurs?

The other day I did a post about what I look for in a children’s book. If I’m going to read it every night I appreciate a good rhyme, fun illustrations and the opportunity to indulge my inner actress with some epic voices. My lovely friend sent me these 3 books which were adored by her children. My girls LOVE them! No rhymes but brilliant pics and my Cornish Captain Stubble voice is already worthy of an Oscar…..sorry to brag. πŸ΄β€β˜ οΈ πŸ΄β€β˜ οΈπŸ΄β€β˜ οΈπŸ΄β€β˜ οΈπŸ΄β€β˜ οΈπŸ΄β€β˜ οΈπŸ΄β€β˜ οΈπŸ΄β€β˜ οΈπŸ΄β€β˜ οΈπŸ΄β€β˜ οΈπŸ΄β€β˜ οΈπŸ΄β€β˜ οΈπŸ΄β€β˜ οΈThese book are high-octane, swash buckling adventures so make sure you follow it with something suitably dull or the kids will never go to bed!!!

    Grandmas from Mars by Michelle Robinson. Illustrations by Fred Blunt.

Fred and Nell’s parents are off to a meeting. But first they tell Grandma, “Here’s what they’ll be eating. It’s school in the morning, they can’t be up late. So: homework, a bath – and in bed before eight.”

But, HANG ON, there’s something not quite right about Fred and Nell’s Grandma. In fact, she’s acting very strangely indeed. And is that a spare eyeball? A tail? A striped tongue? That’s not their grandma, it’s an ALIEN….RUUUUUUUUNNN!

Yesssssssssss! It rhymes, it’s pacy, it has opportunity for melodramatic voices and the illustrations are great. It’s a hit from the kids and more importantly from ME!!!! We love this book. Ceci (3) finds it just the right amount of scary and proudly told her Grandpa that her new favourite book is the ‘scariest thing in the world.’ It’s really not!

Thanks for reading and I hope you all have a great summer.

See you next month.

June Kids Reads

Hi all. Can’t believe we are almost in July!!!! We are currently having a bit of a heatwave in the UK and I am being typically English about it….I mean we complain when it’s cold AND when it’s hot. 🀣. No pleasing us Brits!

  • Richard Scarry born 5th June 1919.

When I was a child we had a second hand copy of What Do People Do All Day. It was hardback with a yellow cover and in my mind it was massive (it probably wasn’t, I was little). I remember on nights that I could sleep, this would be my go to book of choice. There was a story about a little bunny going to the hospital to have her tonsils taken out. After the op she had a big mound or strawberry ice cream to eat. I remember thinking that was the coolest thing ever.

A couple of years ago, I bought a pack of Scarry books to give out instead of party bags at Edie’s birthday. I still love looking at the books and spotting Lowly the Worm. My girls love them. The illustrations are brilliant and there is always something new to notice.

  • Kicking a Ball by Allan Ahlberg.
  • Allan Ahlberg born 5th June 1938.

For anyone who can’t see a ball without wanting to kick it, head it, shoot it, or boot it! ‘Not eating an ice-cream Or riding a bike No – kicking a ball Is what I like.’ ‘What I like best, yes, most of all in my whole life is . . . kicking a ball. A wonderful rhyming story to read aloud, Kicking A Ball will not disappoint fans of Allan Ahlberg. First written as a poem, the little boy in the story has been brought to life perfectly by artist Sebastien Braun. Every parent will be able to immediately relate to the simple joy felt by a boy simply kicking a ball, and how there is nothing else quite like it. The incomparable Allan Ahlberg takes us on a journey from childhood to fatherhood full of humour, warmth, friendship . . . and football.

Oh god this book!!!! Ok I am a bit of an emotional wreck at the moment. 3 weeks left of this pregnancy 🀰 and I am going through all those feelings of Will it be ok??? Will I turn into a grumpy monster??? Will my girls enjoy having a sister???😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍My husband Ozzie, is definitely a boys boy. Massively into football, cycling etc. I don’t think he ever would have imagined 3 daughters in his future. Thank god the dog is a boy!!πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚The reaction to expecting out 3rd girl has been an interesting one….will you try again for a boy?? Poor Ozzie??? And my fave….are you disappointed?!?! 😱😱😱😱My dream has always been 3 girls. If we had had a boy that would have been totally brill but I am overjoyed and grateful for my daughters. I know Ozzie is the same. I think Edith’s infatuation with lipstick and being in love baffles him slightly but its all a learning curve right?! πŸ’–πŸ’™πŸ’–πŸ’™πŸ’–My mum bought this book when Edie was born…I think mainly for Ozzie. It’s about a boy who loves everything about the beautiful game. As he grows up he still loves ⚽️ and his love of football is passed down to his daughter. It’s a beautiful book and means a lot to our family. So happy birthday to Allan Ahlberg 5th June 1938. Thank you for your beautiful book which means so much to us. P.S. Ozzie’s fave Father’s Day moment yesterday??? Kicking a ball in the pouring rain with our Edie who was wearing a beautiful pink lipstick. πŸ’„πŸ’„πŸŽˆβš½οΈπŸŽˆβš½οΈ

  • The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch.
  • Robert Munsch born 11th June 1945.

The Princess Elizabeth is slated to marry Prince Ronald when a dragon attacks the castle and kidnaps Ronald. In resourceful and humorous fashion, Elizabeth finds the dragon, outsmarts him, and rescues Ronald–who is less than pleased at her un-princess-like appearance. 

β€œRonald” said Elizabeth, β€œyour clothes are really pretty and your hair is very neat. You look like a real prince, but you are a bum. They didn’t get married after all.

πŸ€΄πŸ‘Έ πŸ‰πŸ€΄πŸ‘ΈπŸ‰πŸ€΄. Happy Birthday to the wonderful Robert Munsch born 11th June 1945. 🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈My mum read this wonderful book to my sister and I when we were little and it definitely stands the test of time. My girls love it. Munsch was preaching feminism long before the Spice Girls. If I could urge you to buy one book this month it would be this. I adore reading this to me kids although I have to repeat the last page about Ronald being a bum at least 6 times in each sitting. The girls think it’s hysterical.

    Stone Underpants by Rebecca Lisle. Illustrated by Richard Watson.

Pod lives in the Stone Age and finds that he often has a cold bottom! So he invents underpants! Unfortunately his choice of material is not always practical. Will he find something that is both warm and flexbile, so he can play with his friends? 

I have included these last two books because we have read them pretty much EVERY NIGHT. Do your kids ever get fixated on a book? This is a question I already know the answer to. YES. Not just books….films. I remember my youngest daughter going through a phase when she would quite happily watch Sing about 3 times a day….. I realise this doesn’t say much for my parenting….πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ€£. I guess that is why Peppa Pig does so well. Kids seem to be happy to sit through the same episode, film or read the same book again and again. For the last month, Stone Underpants has been Ceci’s favourite. I now know it off by heart. πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ

  • Ceci just LOVES this book. Is it the mention of bottoms? Pants??? I have no idea. All I know is that right now I hate it (sorry Rebecca Lisle) but that is only because we read it every night. In fact last night I was so desperate for a night off I paid my husband Β£5 to read it to her. πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ Anyway, if you have a 3 year old, buy it and know that you will be reciting it in your sleep.
    • Naughty Naughty Monster by Kaye Umansky.

    I’M A NAUGHTY NAUGHTY MONSTER! ARE YOU READY? HERE I COME! I AM HUNGRY FOR MY DINNER AND I WANT YOU IN MY TUM! The Naughty Naughty Monster is looking for for a tasty meal to fill his monstrous belly. He rampages through woodland, farm and town, scaring all of the happy little animals that he thinks could make a good snack, but he runs into a fairy who is NOT happy with him at all! Will Naughty Naughty Monster learn his lesson and change his naughty ways? Kaye Umansky has written over 130 books for children and her work ranges from picture books to novels. She is best known for the Pongwiffy series. Greg Abbott is a talented new illustrator. Naughty, Naughty Monster is his first picture book.

    Reading aloud with kids. As a parent what do you like to read to your children? Due to my kids obsessions with the same reading material, it’s always risky introducing them to a new book. If I know a book is going to be a good one I know we are going to have to read it EVERY night for the next few weeks. πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ˜±πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ˜±πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ˜±πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ˜±πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ˜±πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ˜±πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ To keep me entertained I need 2 things…a good rhyme and the opportunity for some entertaining voices. Naughty Naughty Monster by Kaye Umansky definitely has both of these. πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘I often find that with rhyming books there always seems to be one clunky page that doesn’t quite work…..not with this one. Ceci also loves the fact that she looks like the fairy. πŸ§šπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ§šπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ§šπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ§šπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ§šπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ§šπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ§šπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ§šπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ§šπŸ»β€β™€οΈReally brilliant book. Edie (6) and Ceci (4) LOVE it….as does their mum…..even after the 21st consecutive read. πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ

    Thanks for reading. See you in July unless I have melted!

    Synopses taken from lovereading4kids and Goodreads.

    June beauty

    Hi all. Welcome to the June Wrap-Up!!! Nearly July, the sun is shining and life is good.

    Just a few words about my beauty posts on the blog and insta:

    1. I don’t profess to be a beauty expert. I work in the theatre and spend my life putting make up on and taking it off. I know what I like and I know what works for me. I also do a lot of research.

    2. At the risk of sounding like ridiculous Nigella, I like my products to smell incredible and feel luxurious. I want a pamper to feel like a sensory experience….sounds really wanky!

    3. I will never review a product I haven’t used for at least 3 weeks.

    4. Skin care is my fave. After a show I can’t get my full face of slap off quick enough. I am more than happy to go without makeup for days but to achieve that I like my skin to look good!!! Open pores are my enemy also knackered mum skin.

    5. I am not one of those mums who put a full face on for the school run. CANNOT BE ARSED.

    Products in the pic above picture…..

    1. Exfolikate Cleanser. @katesomervilleskincare. New product.

    2. Rose Hibiscus hydrating facial mist and Emerald Deep Moisture Glow Oil. Both new products. @herbivorebotanicals

    3. Vitamin C 23% serum and ferulic acid. @gardenofwisdomskincare. Totally brilliant. Affordable, treats sun damage, evens skin tone.

    4. Esse ultra moisturiser. @esseskincareuk. Really luxurious.

    5. Botanics Hydrating eye cream. @bootsuk. Light and hydrating. #mumofgirls #instaglam #amroutine #skincare #products #productsthatwork

    • Milkshake Colour Care shampoo and conditioner Β£27.00 for both.

    I completely LOVE my hairdresser. Elthia has been cutting my hair now for about 7 years. Two years ago she moved to Leeds but she still jumps on a train every few weeks to maintain the barnets of a few lucky Londoners. On her trips to London, she does my whole family in the comfort of my kitchen so I get to wear my pjs- it feels very decadent.

    Elthia is a person I completely trust so when she gives my a bollocking for using cheap shampoo which isn’t formulated for coloured hair, I listen and do what she says….she has no reason to plug a specific brand as she is not affiliated with a salon. She was also right. Blonde hair is sodding hard to maintain and although there is nowt wrong with Tresemme, it wasn’t keeping my colour fresh or the condition of my hair in check.

    Elthia has undoubtedly been proved right. Since using Milkshake my hair is no longer frizzy and dry. This stuff smells AMAZING. It reminds me of American vanilla pudding and I am a complete sucker for a funky bottle. I purchased from Amazon and it came really quickly. So if you have coloured hair listen to Elthia…..don’t use cheap shampoo….it’s worth investing in something specifically for coloured hair!!!! Here endeth the lesson.

      Vitamin C Serum 23% and Ferulic Acid by Garden of Wisdom. Β£10.00.

    I have been using this for about 8 weeks now and it is a brilliant serum. GoW is based in Arizona but now sold at Victoria Health. It is massively popular with beauty experts not due to insta but well, just because their products work. πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘ Price wise it is comparable to The Ordinary but is less science-jargon based. I love The Ordinary but I feel a little like I am sat in chemistry class just to try to understand the label. 🧐🧐🧐🧐🧐🧐🧐🧐🧐🧐🧐 Is it just me or is skincare turning into a GCSE chemistry paper? I find all these percentages, BHAs and AHAs a little intimidating. I do think it’s important however to do your research and not let the scary words intimidate you!!! So for those of us who weren’t so hot at science and maths at school, here it all is in layman’s terms. Why use a vitamin C serum? Vit C makes sun damage and red spots less visible while brightening dull skin. 🍊It contains powerful antioxidants that help protect and heal skin from inflammation. 🍊. It also increases the efficacy of your SPF. πŸŠπŸ‘πŸŠ. Onto Ferulic Acid. This is an antioxidant found in the cell walls of rice and oats and in the seeds of 🍎and 🍊. In a serum like this it boosts the effectiveness of the vitamin C to help slow the ageing process. Basically, put together Vitamin C and Ferulic Acid are like Batman and Robin for your skin. πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘ I am no beauty expert and I haven’t tried enough other brands to compare but this stuff is affordable, works and is endorsed by people like Caroline Hirons whose opinions I totally respect. Give it a whirl, it won’t break the bank.

    • Kate Somerville. Exfolikate Daily Foaming Cleanser. Β£16 for 50 ml. Β£32 for 120ml.

    Oh Kate how I love you. ❀️❀️❀️❀️❀️❀️❀️❀️❀️❀️ I have been using this for about a month now and it’s fab. Contains glycolic and lactic acid and also 🍍, papaya and πŸŽƒ enzymes to exfoliate and help you find that elusive glow. The important thing is that it’s gentle enough to use everyday. Gets rid of all makeup and doesn’t leave skin tight and sensitive. It also has lasted bloody ages!! The lather feels really thick and luxurious…almost like a shaving foam. πŸŽƒπŸπŸŽƒπŸπŸŽƒπŸπŸŽƒπŸπŸŽƒπŸπŸŽƒπŸπŸŽƒ

    Thank you all so much for reading. See you next month!

    June Reads

    Hello all. I hope my June post finds you well. I am writing this in my bedroom which is hotter and muggier than the sun. I am also sipping raspberry leaf tea in the hope that it might kick start labour. Naughtily, I am eating a packet of haribo that I stole from my daughter’s party bag. I should feel guilty but I don’t. I just feel sweaty and cumbersome.

    Reading wise things have changed this month. No longer do I have two books on the go. Two books definitely worked better when I was commuting into work and sitting in the dressing room. Two out of three books this month have been MASSIVE. I usually avoid huge books for fear of reading boredom. Just by chance all three books have been set in the 1930s and onwards.

    • Out of the Hitler Time by Judith Kerr. 3.5-4⭐️.
    • Judith Kerr born 14th June 1923.

    Anna was a German child when she had to flee from the Nazis before the War. By the time the bombs began to fall she was a stateless adolescent in London, and after it was all over she became a happily married Englishwoman who had put the past behind her – or so she thought.

    In Judith Kerr’s internationally acclaimed trilogy When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, The Other Way Round and A Small Person Far Away, we see the world through Anna’s eyes as she grows up – from her much loved family to Hitler’s Holocaust.

    The death of Judith Kerr on 22nd May last month was so sad. Her books are utterly beloved. I remember reading Mog and The Tiger Who Came to Tea as a child and I now read them to my own children. I read When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit when I was a teenager and really enjoyed it but I had no idea it was semi-autobiographical or indeed that it was the first book in a trilogy. I am not someone who tends to read a series in one fell swoop. I tend to get distracted by what else is out there. However, this is a trilogy that I believe really benefits from reading in one go. My only concern would be that for me, as an adult the books became progressively more interesting but I think as a teenage reader, the opposite would be true.

    Pink Rabbit was much as I remembered it. The Kerr family fled Germany in 1933, just as Hitler became Chancellor. Anna (Judith’s) father was a theatre critic and author. He was known as a controversial writer and a man who wasn’t scared to say what he thought. As a result he was wanted by the Nazis. The family escaped across the border to Switzerland, then later to Paris and ended up in London.

    Kerr writes of her parents:

    Their lives were destroyed. My brother and I agreed that the childhood we had was infinitely better than the childhood we would have had if Hitler had never happened and we’d stayed in Germany. We loved the change, the interest of different places and learning a language.

    Whilst reading Pink Rabbit I was struck by how resilient Anne and her brother Max were. This was was undoubtedly due to their parents:

    “But it won’t be the same – we won’t belong. Do you think we’ll ever really belong anywhere?”

    “I suppose not,” said Papa. “Not the way people belong who have lived in one place all their lives. But we’ll belong a little in lots of places, and I think that may be just as good.”

    As a parent myself, I can only imagine the fear that Alfred and Julia went through….trying to protect their children whilst at the same time trying to give them as normal a childhood as possible. Indeed, in the novel, Anne says that as long as they are together, then they don’t really feel like refugees.

    The middle book, The Other Way Round, is also aimed at teenagers but I think has more appeal for adults. Anna is now 16 and the Kerrs live in London. The book chronicles the Blitz, Max at university, Anna having a job, joining art classes and falling in love. Alfred and Julia are living in a hotel in London with other refugees. Although, now safe from the Nazis, the impact of their refugee status cannot be denied. Thanks to their language skills, Anna and Max are able to transition to London life relatively easily. Alfred’s lack of English leaves him unable to work so Julia is the sole earner, earning almost too little to live off. I was struck that because of the effects of the war, the older generation were still just ‘surviving’ whereas life for the younger people kept on going. The exhaustion of the previous years, keeping the family safe, losing loved ones, causes a divide between the younger and older citizens and that is something I had never really thought about:

    Many weeks later she heard that Mrs James had become too ill to work and her scheme had been taken over by a charitable organisation.

    “What made her suddenly break down after all this time?” Wondered Anna.

    “Four years of war,” said Mrs Hammond. “And the news being better.”

    When Anna looked at her without understanding she said impatiently, “The thought of peace – when there’s no longer any point.”

    The above quote really made me think. While there were obviously many who rejoiced in the ending of the war, I had never thought about how bleak life was for those who had been so damaged by war that life no longer had any meaning. I guess the prevalent word is ‘hope.’ Younger people like Max and Anna has hope for a brighter future – marriage, children, lifestyles etc. For people like their parents, life would continue to be a battle to survive.

    “You remember,” he said, “what you used to say in Paris? That as long as you were with Mama and Papa you wouldn’t feel like a refugee?”

    She nodded.

    “Well, now I suppose it’s the other way round.”

    “How, the other way round?”

    Max sighed. “Nowadays,” he said, “I think that the only time they don’t feel like refugees is when they’re with us.”

    I think I found the last book A Small Person Far Away the most moving and I’m sad to say that I lost a bit of patience with Anna during reading. Alfred died in 1948. He had a stroke and his wife helped him to commit suicide. In this last book, Anna returns to Germany to look after her mother in hospital who has also tried to take her own life. Anna spends the majority of the book wanting to return to London to be with her husband rather than wanting to look after her mum. I found this really difficult and very frustrating. Julia’s fragility after all she has gone through is very sad. I guess humans can only fight for so long before they are just so exhausted. Julia fought to keep her children safe but as they grew up and needed her less she felt redundant. I can only imagine how exhausted she must have felt:

    I’ve made enough new starts. I’ve made enough decisions. I don’t want to make anymore.

    I loved all three of these books but my lasting thought was not for Anna and her brother. Naively , when you think of the war ending you think of scenes of happiness and celebration. Of relief and new opportunities. I am ashamed to admit that I have never really thought about those whose lives were so damaged by war, that there was nothing left to live for.

    Although the first book is aimed at teenagers, the last two definitely mean more to me as an adult and parent. Definitely worth a read.

    • The Mitford Girls by Mary S Lovell. 4⭐️.
    • Nancy Mitford died 30th June 1973.

    Even if the six daughters, born between 1904 and 1920, of the charming, eccentric David, Lord Redesdale and his wife Sydney has been quite ordinary women, the span of their lives – encompassing the most traumatic century in Britain’s history – and the status to which they were born, would have made their story a fascinating one. But Nancy, Pamela, Diana, Unity, Decca and Debo, ‘the mad, mad Mitfords’, were far from ordinary.

    β€œI am normal, my wife is normal, but my daughters are each more foolish than the other.” Lord Redesale, father of the Mitford girls.

    Each month I am now trying to read a non fiction. If it manages to tie in with my slightly OCD idea of reading authors who were born or died the month we are in then so much the better. This one does. Nancy Mitford died 30th June 1973.

    It was my mum who first peaked my interest in the Mitford girls. She received the hardback of this book a few years ago and I remember her telling me about Unity’s infatuation with Hitler. Now as a soon to be mum of 3 girls, anything about mad, interesting, female heavy families peaks my interest. This book has it all. On Goodreads it’s subtitle is Thr Saga of the Mitford Family. This is definitely a saga and reads almost like the plot to a soap opera set during one of the most interesting times in UK history. We have fascism, communism, suicide, fertility, infertility, illness (due to the fact that Mama Mitford was utterly against vaccinating her kids).

    Ultimately, I found this quite a sad book. Although the Mitfords had happy times, by the end of the book, there were so many estranged relationships that it was hard to keep up. On our journey back from Cornwall this month, my husband and I listened to Diana Mosley’s Desert Island Discs. This was broadcast in 1989. My husband who knew nothing about the Mitford’s was utterly appalled by Diana: her denial of how many were killed in the Holocaust and her fascination and respect for Hitler. Even 40 years after the war, she was still unable to grasp the sheer horrors of those who suffered at the hands of the fascist regime.

    My husband is currently a little worried about his house full of girls so this is one I’m not going to let him read! It’s a saga and a half and well if you love a complicated family, this is definitely one for you.

    • Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

    Apologies to New Yorkers but we appear to have lost the top of the Chrysler Building. 😱😱😱😱😱😱Rules of Civility by Amor Towles was our book club pick. Expectations were pretty high. Reviews have always been amazing and I was really looking forward to reading it. But…………..🧐🧐I am sure this will make me pretty unpopular but it left me a little cold. I just felt a little, well, meh. πŸ˜•. I didn’t really warm to any of the characters and the plot was a little lacklustre. Maybe it just wasn’t plot driven or character driven enough for me. It was an almost read for me….the characters and plot were almost interesting enough but not quite. I just didn’t really care!!!

    The writing was beautiful and flowed really well. The lack of speech marks did begin to bother me after a while. Call me a stickler for grammatical convention but I like a speech mark. “I like the fact that they are used to add commentary to conversation,” Ella complained. Complained is an important word here. Without this word it’s up to you, the reader to decide how I said it. You might make the wrong choice and think I said it jokingly. !?!? My point is do you lose an idea of the character without?? Is this why I didn’t really feel for any of the characters?? Did I interpret the conversations wrongly? In hindsight, I don’t think so but it did get me thinking. Also, for me, lack of speech marks makes conversation flow much quicker….too quickly I think, which then results in me skimming.

    I feel doubly disappointed because having listened to a lot of podcasts about the book, Amor Towles sounds like the most lovely man. He even writes at the back of my copy that if your book club meets near his house, he will try to come along!! ❀️I am sorry to have failed you Mr Towles it’s obviously not you, it’s me.

    As always, thank you for reading. Really looking forward to July….tons of good authors.