Choo-Choo Peekaboo Children’s Book

We were sent Choo-Choo Peekaboo to review, illustrated by Gareth Lucas and published by Little Tiger. Perfect for children aged 1 to 4 years this fun board book with flaps is an engaging adventure story.

Choo-Choo Peekaboo

Choo-Choo Peekaboo

Zebra is trying to paint but his hilarious animal friends are causing chaos! Lift the flaps to discover bouncing baboons, roller-skating rabbits, dirt biking salmations and even space-sheep in a spaceship!

Choo-Choo Peekaboo

Choo-Choo Peekaboo is funny and colourful throughout with fantastic illustrations, alliterative action, creative chaos, and a medley of motion with vehicles with added vroom! Poor Zebra just can’t catch a break and paint in peace. Can he find a solution?

Gareth Lucas

Gareth Lucas is an award-winning illustrator and designer living in his hometown of Essex! Having worked on a variety of projects, Lucas enjoys children’s book illustrating the most. In 2016 Lucas was the winner of the Sainsbury’s Childrens Book Awards for Peekaboo A to Z.

Gareth Lucas - Choo-Choo Peekaboo

Izzy’s Thoughts

Izzy thought Choo-Choo Peekaboo was a really funny book, giggling all the way through and trying to lift the flaps too soon! She has asked to re-read this book several times over the last week or two. Izzy has even taken it to bed to look through herself. Overall we think this a fantastic book.

Have you heard of either of Gareth Lucas’ Peekaboo flap books?

DINO KNIGHTS By Jeff Norton – Book Review

The girls received DINO KNIGHTS by Jeff Norton to review last week, a fun fast-paced middle-grade series. Illustrated by George Ermos throughout with some rather cool Dinosaurs! This fast-paced chapter book series will appeal to fans of How To Train your Dragon and Beast Quest, one of Eva’s favourites! Published by Awesome Reads, DINO KNIGHTS is available to buy now.

DINO KNIGHT by Jeff Norton

Dino Knights

Orphaned stable boy Henry Fairchild stops a vicious T-Rex from attacking his master, Lord Harding. Henry’s selfless act of bravery gains him an invitation to join the brave Knights of Panterra, AKA the DINO KNIGHTS. He finds himself on a daring rescue mission with the DINO KNIGHTS to save Lord Harding in an attempt to prove himself. Lord Harding has been attacked and kidnapped by a flock of pterodactyls though. Henry’s bravery is tested to the limits!

DINO KNIGHT illustrations by George Ermos

Jeff Norton

Jeff Norton is an award-winning Author of Metawars, Memoirs of A Neurotic Zombie, Stomp School and Alienated. He applies his trademark world-building and smart humour throughout each book. We have been lucky enough to meet Jeff Norton and own several of his books and love every one of them. Each one really appeals to the girls sense of humour!

DINO KNIGHT illustrated by George Ermos

Eva’s Thoughts

Eva thinks Harry is really cool and brave and loves how quickly the story moves along. She was astounded by the amount of different dinosaur species throughout the book too. As a big fan of adventure stories she absolutely loved DINO KNIGHTS. She agrees fans of Beast Quest will enjoy DINO KNIGHT too and was over the moon after reading the book to discover it will be a book series and a film. She’s already pestering me to find out release dates! I think it’s safe to say Jeff Norton has written another brilliant children’s book that encourages a love of reading, both girls enjoyed and finished the book so quickly.

Does this sound like a series your child would love too?

Tony Hawks – The A to Z Of Skateboarding Blog Tour

Tony Hawks has been mistaken for Tony Hawk the American skateboarder for 20 years. It is made clear on his website he is an English comedian and author. Yet he still receives messages from Tony Hawk fans, so one day he decided to write back in a pompous tone, goading his correspondents any way he can.

Tony Hawks - The A to Z of skateboarding

The A to Z of Skateboarding

I received a copy of A to Z of skateboarding for this blog tour full of entries on Pain, Disappointment, Underachievers, Quorn and the Vatican. Along with plenty of skateboarding tips from someone who knows absolutely nothing about it out of mischievousness. Perfect for fans of Joe Lycett’s Parsnips Buttered and The Timewaster Letters by Robin Cooper.

Tony Hawks

Tony Hawks - Author and Comedian

Along with being an author, aTony Hawks is a radio and TV comedian who makes regular appearances on ‘I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue‘ , ‘Just a Minute’ and ‘Have I Got News For You. He also wrote the Sunday Times bestselling Round Ireland With a Fridge which has sold more than 8y0,000 copies and been made into a feature film. His Second book Playing The Moldovans At Tennis has sold well over 100,000 copies.

The Worry Box Children’s Book Review And Craft

We received The Worry Box to review in time for Empathy Day, a day aimed at reading books to understand one another and to share feelings, thoughts and perspectives highlighting the power and importance of empathy.

The Worry Box Book & Craft

The Worry Box

The Worry Box is a lovely children’s book that encourages children to share their worries to overcome them. Written by Suzanna Chiew and illustrated by Sean Julian, this Little Tiger book is perfect for children aged 3 to 6 years.

The worry box

Mental health is an important topic which thankfully is being discussed more, however, children’s mental health still has a long way to go. Place2Be revealed that 2/3 children worry ‘all the time’. It is important to encourage children to open up and share their feelings, thoughts and worries.

The worry box - empathy day

The Worry Box is perfect for children who may be dealing with anxiety or feeling nervous. Murray bear has lots of worries, his sister invites him to the waterfall but he cant stop worrying! What if the waterfall is too loud?Or what if he’s not very good at climbing? And what if all his friends laugh at him? Milly, Murray’s sister, encourages Murray to make a Worry Box to keep all of his worries in. Can the Worry box really help him?

Murrays Worries`

Creating Our Own Box For Worries

The girls decided after reading the book, that they needed to create their own Worry Box, just like Murray. This is such a lovely simple craft for young children too.

Worry Box Craft

You will need

  • A box
  • Scissors
  • Glue/Sticky Tape
  • Paint/Paper ( We used wrapping paper)
  • Stickers/Labels/Decorations

We taped our box shut and I carefully made a slit along the top for the worry notes to go through. Next, we wrapped our taped box in wrapping paper, ensuring the paper was taped on the sides so the base was flat and the top was clear for cutting the slot. Then I carefully cut through the paper in the same place as the slot for notes. The girls then took over completely adding name labels and stickers! It took us less than 15 minutes to create our own box for worries.

Can you think of any other books for Empathy day?

The Path Keeper Book Tour

I received The Path Keeper by N.J Simmonds, the first book of the Indigo Chronicles to review. A mixture of fantasy and historical romance, I simply couldn’t put this book down!

The Path Keeper Book Cover

This book does come with a mental health trigger warning and contains sexual scenes. These will resonate with older teens (15+) and adults alike.

Mental health & sexual scenes warning.

The Path Keeper

What if our lives were mapped out before birth? Does anyone have the power to change their destiny?

Ella hates London, she misses her old life in Spain and struggles to get over her past. Then she meets Zac. He’s always loved her but isn’t meant to be part of her story., not now or ever. Ella doesn’t realise that Zac’s secret is the one thing that will tear them apart and force her to live in a world that no longer makes sense. A world full of danger, lies and magic. The Path Keeper is a passionate tale of first loves, second chances and the invisible threads that bind us. Can love ever be stronger than fate?

I absolutely loved The Path Keeper and will definitely be looking out for the rest of the Indigo Chronicles. N.J Simmonds writing just flows so well, piecing the story together bit by bit so you just can’t put the book down! Zac and Ella are such interesting characters with so much going on with each of them both in the present and the past. I’m not the greatest fan of romances but this is just so different.

N.J Simmonds

N J Simmonds Author

Natali Drake writes under the pen name of N.J. Simmonds and has written articles for various UK newspapers and online publications. In 2015 she cofounded the online magazine The Glass House Girls and is a regular contributor. Originally from north London, she now divides her time between her two homes in the Netherlands and Spain with her husband and two daughters.

New Summer Clothes

I was sent new summer clothes from JD Williams to review a few weeks ago. They have a fantastic clothing range to suit everyone! I’m not very girly and tend to opt more for hoodies and jeans but I wanted something a little nicer for this summer. You can probably see I felt a little awkward as I rarely take photo’s of me due to my acne and eczema but I love the clothes!

New Summer Clothes

New Summer Clothes

I received this gorgeous striped Monsoon linen Top, perfect for wearing with a white vest top underneath. The linen will keep you nice and cool in the hot weather and goes well with most trousers.

Linen cover-up

This Monsoon navy linen cover-up is absolutely perfect. I love how lightweight, soft and cosy this cover-up is. The top and cover-up go together nicely too!

JD Williams

JD Williams have a wide range of summer clothes available right now, I would definitely recommend checking them out. I’m looking forward to wearing this top and cover-up over the summer knowing I can pair them easily. Order before 11pm for Next day delivery and if you are unhappy with your items you can return them within 28 days.

Have you bought any new summer clothes?

The Amber Maze By Christopher Bowden – Blog Tour

I’ve been reading The Amber Maze by Christopher Bowden which I was sent in exchange for my honest review.

The Amber Maze Cover

The Amber Maze

A mysterious key found down the side of an antique chair in a Dorset cottage begins a search for answers. Hugh Mullion is determined to unlock the secrets of this unknown. No one knows how long the key has been there or what it opens but Hugh begins to investigate for himself.

During his search for answers, Hugh unlocks the secrets of a troubled life of a talented artist. Destined to be hailed a neglected genius fifty years too late, suppressed by a dark secret he could never escape.

The mysterious trail takes Huge from Edwardian Oxfordshire to 1960’s Camden Town where the ghosts of the past are finally laid to rest.

Christopher Bowden

Christopher Bowden is the author of six novels, each with a colour theme and lives in South London. The Amber Maze is his most recent novel, published in September 2018. His previous books have been praised by Andrew Marr, Julian Fellowes, Sir Derok Jacobi, an Shena Mackay.

My Thoughts

The Amber Maze draws you in from the start with the mysterious key being found. Bit by bit secrets quickly unravel throughout the story in an enchanting way. I loved the idea of a secret at the heart of The Amber Maze and was pleased the secret wasn’t spoilt until the very end. I had hoped for a slightly different outcome although this may be more due to my preference for thrillers! Overall I did enjoy The Amber Maze, it is definitely a page turn for mystery lovers. I love the colour theme idea behind Christopher Bowden’s novels, especially The Purple Shadow. I will definitely have to

The Amber Maze Blog Tour

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the blog tour posts!

Distilling Water With The Megahome Water Distiller

Distilling water offers many health benefits as it removes any contaminants within the water. We were kindly sent the Megahome Water Distiller to review this month and we love it!

Distilling Water With The Megahome Water Distiller

Distilling Water – Health Benefits

Drinking distilled water not only protects you from harmful contaminants it also helps prevent kidney stones, improves bodily functions and protects teeth from discolouration caused by too much fluoride in your water. Humans are made up of around 70% water, drinking distilled water is the best way to ensure you are drinking purer water than bottled or tap water with additional benefits.

Glass of Water

Tap water can contain potentially harmful chemicals such as pesticides, nitrates, fertiliser and contamination from lead or copper pipes. By distilling water with the Megahome Water Distiller, you can prevent long term exposure to these chemicals which could harm your body. You can read about more health benefits of distilling water here.

Megahome Water Distiller

The Megahome Water Distiller is really quick and easy to set up. Simply attach the handle to the glass jug first. Next, fill with 4L water ensuring you do not pass the FULL line. Then add a charcoal filter, folded in half into the nozzle. The nozzle easily clips in place on the lid. Ensure the nozzle and spout of the water jug are properly aligned to avoid any spills. Insert the power cord and plug it in the socket and switch to ‘I’ to start your first distillation.

Megahome Water Distiller

Cleaning Your Distiller

Cleaning your Megahome water distiller before use is really easy, simply wash with warm soapy water. Using a sponge or cloth, wipe the inside of the distiller, ensuring the body and outlet stays clean and dry throughout.

After distillation, you can use the cleaner provided with your distiller. Remove the lid and pour in hot water surpassed the residue build-up. Next, add 8-10g or 1 tablespoon of the cleaner into the tank. Turn the power button to ‘I’ position, the press ‘RESET’ and allow to boil over for 20 minutes. Allow the distiller to fully cool down, approximately 20 minutes before wiping out the residue with a nonabrasive cloth or sponge.

The Megahome Water Distiller is a quick and easy way to distil water for you and your family to ensure they are getting as many health benefits as possible from the water they drinking day to day. The distiller is easy to set up, use and clean and offers many benefits. You can really taste the difference when drinking distilled water compared to tap or bottled water too!

Have you tried distilling water before? Would you use a water distiller if you haven’t before?

Conversation Cards For Kids From Together Equal

We received a set of conversation cards from Together Equal. Together Equal targets families, with profits from every pack going directly to small, independent charities working towards equality.

Conversation cards for kids from together equal

As a family we often discuss equality and we were excited to use Together Equal’s conversation cards. Together Equal is a not for profit organisation which works with a number of charities supporting victims of abuse. Having had the support of Women’s Aid in the past, I personally love the whole idea and product.

Together Equal

Research has proven the power of conversations with an OECD study identifying the positive impacts of conversations between children and their parent or guardians. Using this knowledge, Together equal have created an enjoyable, engaging game that can be played at home or on the go. Then conversation cards have been developed for families with children aged 7-11 year although Izzy (4) has been joining in with us too! There is a variety of topics, some fun, some are thought-provoking and some touch on societal gender stereotypes.

Family Discussions

Equality - Is it ok for boys to cry?

We have used the conversation cards quite a bit to be honest, the girls love a good discussion! One of the first cards we discussed asked ‘Is it ok for boys to cry?’. Both girls instantly answered yes! It’s a topic we have discussed before so I wasn’t surprised by their answers. Eva happily explained to us why it’s ok for boys to cry too which was lovely to hear.

Together Equal - Conversation cards for kids

Another favourite card asked ‘If you could make a law that everyone had to follow what would it be?’. Eva answered that she would make it a law for everyone to be kind all the time. Izzy’s answer was funny, she said she would make it a law for everyone to drink one beer a day!

Tell the person next to you what you think makes them awesome

We have kept the conversation cards on my desk and quite often one of the girls will open them up and ask if we can pick one to discuss. I love this, it’s a really fun way to start a conversation. I love the card above, it’s a lovely way of making your friends and family feel good about themselves. Hearing the girls tell each other why they think the other is awesome was adorable!

Honestly, I think these cards are fantastic, you can take them anywhere to get a conversation going. Knowing profits after production costs all go to fantastic charities that help victims of abuse get their life back is reassuring. I know too well just how much donations can change peoples lives and Together Equal are doing amazing work to spread equality and help others.

Have you heard of Together Equal’s Conversation Cards before?

May Update

Here’s a May update as I have been a little quiet these last few weeks. Things have been going fairly well but a little busy!

May Update

From making money, learning more about autism, celebrating birthdays to a site tidy up and hearing issues. There are a few reasons why I’ve been quiet lately and it isn’t just books and crochet for a change.

Matched Betting

I started matched betting using OddsMonkey at the start of the month. I started off using £110 the Mr has saved over the last year from surveys. He had been saving for a new graphics card and monitor which would have taken another year or two!

I’m pleased to say I have made over £1,000 in my first month. I’ve also introduced two friends to matched betting too! Both friends have made a profit and I love sharing updates with each other. The Mr is pleased as the PC parts he was waiting on haven’t been released yet. Knowing that we’ve had a few treats knowing we can keep topping up the profit to cover the parts and more!

SEN Meeting

We met the SEN teacher who is lovely as Eva is showing quite a few signs that she is autistic. Whilst we have noted these in the past, it hasn’t been something we’ve had anyone fully agree with us on. Quite often Eva is just described as over emotional at school but her current teacher agrees she has spotted quite a few of the same signs.

I was directed to an online course on autistic girls before the SEN meeting. Doing the course meant I learnt Eva masks her autism in public. I’ve learnt I do this too, knowing this we wanted support in place at school for Eva. I set up the meeting in the hopes of being referred and came away feeling confident that Eva will receive a diagnosis without too much of a struggle.

Also, I am much more confident Eva will receive any support she may need in school. She was given a pair of ear defenders the same day as the meeting after I pointed out her sensory overload during class & music especially.

Eva’s 9th Birthday!

Eva turned 9 on 10th May and we celebrated as usual with a few close friends and some cake! Due to a few issues, the gift guide I had planned didn’t go ahead but she was overwhelmed by the Harry Potter gifts from friends and family and was utterly spoilt. The Mr got to work on a Minecraft cake as requested by Eva which turned out fantastic too! We will be meeting up with the Cupcake-Kitney’s during half-term for our usual joint celebration with James who’s birthday is just 9 days after Eva’s. These joint celebrations are always lovely and we can’t wait.

Updating The Site

You may have noticed one or two small tweaks across the site (made my by) and a few huge tweaks (mainly page loading speed, thanks to my friend!) this week. There will be more to come, along with a theme upgrade soon to improve your user experience (and possibly add more purple!). I may have been quiet recently but I’m certainly not going anywhere, anytime soon.

Hearing Issues

Unfortunately our concerns about Izzy’s hearing being similar to the Mr’s may be real. Izzy had her hearing test last week and we are booked in for a retest and possible referral as the frequency had to be turned up quite high before Izzy was able to pick it up. Until the retest we won’t know much more but it does seem she isn’t always ignoring instructions by choice and explains why she is quite loud herself.

Well, there’s our May update.

How has your May been?