Friday, 25 September 2015

Mister Cleghorn's Seal by Judith Kerr

A review of Mister Cleghorn's Seal by Judith Kerr

The Tiger Who Came to Tea is a firm favourite in our house so we were thrilled when we were asked if we would like to review the new book by Judith Kerr. Mister Cleghorn's Seal is Judith Kerr's first book in 37 years- which means she hasn't written any new books since before my Mum was born! Yet despite long break it was still just as good as I expected.

In our house we have quite a long bedtime process- after baths and getting ready for bed we play with Sam for a bit and then while Dad is giving him a bottle and putting him to bed Mum reads to me and Lottie. We start with a bit of something non-fiction or a fact book, then move on to a chapter of a fiction book or a short story either that Lottie chooses or that we can both enjoy and then finally Daddy puts Lottie to bed and Mum and I settle down for a chapter of something for me (normally Harry Potter!)

I was initially surprised to learn it was recommended for age 7+ but we decided to see how we got on and Mr Cleghorn's Seal was the perfect option for the three of us to enjoy together. It was a gentle book with some funny bits (imagine trying to do a long journey with a baby seal) but I think the reason it was recommended for age 7 plus is because it lightly touches on the death of animals and how humans sometimes treat them which could be upsetting for children that don't know about this. It really is just a mention though and my sister, Lottie (just turned 4) understood it, asked a couple of questions and then settled back into the story so I don't think it is too frightening.

We all really enjoyed the book which Mum read to in short bursts over three bedtimes and by the end we were very excited to hear how things turned out- although I worked out the ending I was still happy it ended the way it did as for a little while it looked like it could go another way.

I found the note from the author really interesting- Judith Kerr talks about how the story was inspired by her Father's story and this definitely adds something to the story.

I really enjoyed this book and think it will be one we go back to again and again. I would personally recommend it for children age 5-8 although many children younger will also enjoy it but perhaps their parents should read it first to make sure they don't feel parts of it would upset them before they get to the nice bits.

If you would like to read this lovely book you can order your copy here from Amazon

Friday, 18 September 2015

A Review and a Competition

Our review of LEGO Awesome Ideas AND your chance to win a copy!

LEGO Awesome Ideas book ©2015 The LEGO Group. Produced by Dorling Kindersley under licence from the LEGO Group 
As you have probably worked out by now I love my LEGO and it is rare when we are not building something or playing with something we have made so when I was offered the chance to review the LEGO Awesome Ideas book I jumped at the chance.
We have had the original LEGO Ideas book for a couple of years now so I was excited to see how the new one compared. I loved the last book as it had some great ideas and found it really interesting reading about the Brickmasters however I felt that it was full of things that most children wouldn't be able to make straight off- the new LEGO Awesome Ideas Book is completely different from this point of view- there is some amazing creations but there is also loads of tips as to how to make them and some really great ideas as to how to adapt things.

My friends and I had a great afternoon looking through the book and deciding what we would like to make over the next few weeks. I really feel that we could have a good go at a lot of the things and love the fact that because it is an 'ideas book' rather than an instruction manual you can easily adapt the ideas to suit the pieces you have available. Whilst I like the excitement of opening a new box and set of instructions and making the sets up I also really enjoy taking a few pieces and seeing what I can create from them so this books suits me perfectly as it gives a starting point and provides plenty of helpful solutions.

The book is set up in sections so you can work on one complete project- such as Modern Metropolis or Fantasy Land and there are lots of small things you can make in each section if you are pressed for time.

Lottie and I have been having a play and Lottie has been making her usual LEGO house so I have been making furniture for it like the sofa and the table with stools shown in the book. I am in the process of making a glass fronted building which will be a greenhouse. We have made some vehicles to go with the traffic lights, fire hydrants and other Modern Metropolis things we have been making too.


I can see we are going to have hours of fun using the book and am sure we will keep going back to it time and time again. We are really pleased to be able to offer you a chance to win a copy of your own but if you can't wait to get hold of it you can buy LEGO Awesome Ideas here on Amazon


Now for your chance to win a copy of this AWESOME book!

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Thursday, 17 September 2015

Danger Is Still Everywhere: Beware of the Dog

A Review of Danger is Still Everywhere: Beware of the Dog         by David O'Doherty and Chris Judge and a chance to win a copy

We have been sent some amazing books to review recently and I was thrilled to receive a copy of Danger is Still Everywhere: Beware of the Dog.

'Docter Noel is facing his most terrifying situation EVER - a little dog called napkin has come to stay. That may not sound particularly dangerous but every POD (Pupil of Dangerology) knows the only safe pet is a pet rock. So now Docter Noel is stuck in a wardrobe while Napkin wrecks havoc around the Dangerzone. And all the while Docter Noel is supposed to be writing his new VERY IMPORTANT handbook on Dangerology (Level 2). 

That is until the Pet of the Year competition is announced and Docter Noel hatches a plan to impress his neighbour Gretel. There's only one problem. Serial safety-flouter Max Wurst us the judge...

For Docter Noel, it's never been clearer that danger is still everywhere.'

I LOVED this book. I hadn't read the first handbook but it didn't matter I was still able to get straight into this second book- it was really funny and very silly and really made me laugh.

I thought the quiz was awesome and the pictures were fantastic. I would definitely give this book a score of 10/10 and would recommend it to any Dangerologist age 7+. Even if they were a grown up.

I am definitely adding the first Danger is Everywhere book to my 'must read' list!

We are delighted to be able to offer one lucky entrant the chance to win a copy of this must have handbook for themselves.

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Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Just for Fun!

Just for Fun!

Today baby Sam turned 5 months old and we realised he is able to sit up for a minute or so by himself- this was very exciting and we ended up on the floor with him sitting up looking very pleased with himself, opposite me and Lottie, but every so often he would wobble and Mum would have to catch him before he fell over, so we had lots of fun counting how long he was able to stay up for. This all became very silly and in the end we have to award him the World Championship Sitting Up Award but in order to improve his abilities Lottie and I came up with a list of important rules.


1. Find a comfy floor
2. Get someone to sit behind you holding you. Make sure they are awake.
3. Let go
5. Don't get distracted
6. Don't eat your hands
7. Don't try to eat your toes
8. Don't try to eat anyone elses toes
9. Don't laugh and get excited- you will wobble and fall over
10.You have now mastered sitting up. Now stay there and don't try to move and definitely don't try to play with, eat, destroy or put up your nose any of your brother's LEGO

Shouty Kid- How Harry Riddles got nearly ALMOST FAMOUS

Shouty Kid- How Harry Riddles got nearly ALMOST FAMOUS by Simon Mayle

When we got back off holiday I was really pleased to find I had lots of post- if there is anything for me it is normally good post not bills and stuff like Mum and Dad get stuck with- I wasn't disappointed as I was lucky enough for there to be several books waiting for me to read and review.

I decided to start with Shouty Kid- How Harry Riddles got nearly ALMOST FAMOUS by Simon Mayle because it looked like it would be really funny. I had not read either of the two previous Shouty Kid books but I liked the sound of it from the information on the back:

Hi there,

So I've joined a band with Jess and this new kid, Kevin, who is pretty annoying but also a REALLY talented guitar player. We've got a good shot at winning the Battle of the Bands competition for our school as long as Kevin doesn't get expelled first. But here's the thing, my Dad has this crazy idea to take me, my mum, my EVIL sister and twin brothers sailing round the world. For TWO years!!!! Swimming with dolphins and scuba diving would be pretty cool, but how am I meant to reach rock stardom if I'm stuck on a boat in the middle of the ocean?

Good luck and have fun.

Harry Riddles

Image result for shouty kid how harry riddles nearly almost became famous

I was really glad I picked this book to start with as it was awesome. Harry Riddles is so funny, the book really did make me laugh out loud.

I loved the way it was written with emails, texts, x-box messages, letters and lots of funny user names- it really kept my attention and wasn't like any book I have ever read before. Some of the people Harry writes to are hilarious- like a Nobel Prize winner and an Agony Aunt from a newspaper.

This was a really great book- I didn't want to put it down. I am definitely going to read the two earlier books now and hope Harry Riddles has some more adventures soon.

I would recommend this book to anyone age 7 plus who likes funny stories and would enjoy a different style of writing. I think it would be really great for people who don't want to sit and read huge chapters for ages and would like a book they can dip in and out of easily.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Roald Dahl Day- The Twits Review and a Competition

Roald Dahl Day - The Twits Review and a Competition

Today is Roald Dahl Day and there are loads of activities going on to celebrate his wonderful books.

I first started to enjoy his books a couple of years when my Mum read me Matilda. I instantly loved the way that Roald Dahl could make a story come to life and we began working our way through lots of different stories and rhymes. I now find it hard to pick my favourite and it often changes but I especially love The Twits and Fantastic Mr Fox and my Mum loves the retelling of Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs.

We are just re-reading a lot of the books now to share them with Lottie so it was great timing that we were asked to review The Twits and join in with the fun making our very own Mr Twit beard.

If you have never managed to read The Twits it is a really funny book about the disgusting Mr and Mrs Twit who play awful tricks on each other and getting what they deserve for their horrid treatment of Muggle Wump the monkey and his family (who they have trapped in a cage in their garden) and the poor birds who get caught on the glue covered dead tree to use for Bird Pie Day. Mr Twit is a horrible bearded man (Roald Dahl didn't like beards!) He is dirty, nasty and always has lots of disgusting things trapped in his manky beard. I have had lots of fun making my own Mr Twit beard.

Lottie's doll modelling our Mr Twit beard along with Mr Twit style hair!
Made with tea-stained string, pasta, rice, rice crispies and various other Mr Twit type leftovers

I would recommend this story to children age 4-5 upwards. It is a great introduction to Roald Dahl for confident younger readers or fun to enjoy with a grown up as Roald Dahl appeals to people of all ages. 

I know my friend's Mum, Diana really loved this book so asked her what it was that she liked so much about it, she told me 'Roald Dahl was not my favourite author growing up, that was Enid Blyton, but one of my favourite books ever is The Twits. I clearly remember my childhood revulsion, amusement and disquiet at the vile characters and reading it as fast as I possibly could to reach the end to see if they got their well deserved comeuppance. It spoke to my vivid imagination, reinforced my sense of right and wrong and made the Sunday night cold bath-time a little easier to bear'.

I am thrilled to be able to offer two of my readers the chance to win a special edition copy* of the Twits so they too can enjoy this classic Roald Dahl story too.

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*Please note one winner will receive the 'bearded copy' (shown above) and the other will receive the version with 'scratch and sniff stickers'

Friday, 11 September 2015

SportFest 2015



SportFest 2015 

It seems like it was ages ago now but probably my favourite thing about our Summer holidays and the part of it that I have been writing about for my school work this week was going to SportFest.

We heard about SportFest last year when our friends went so we were really excited when we found out Mum had won some tickets from Jeep UK. We knew it was going to be a really good weekend but hadn't realised exactly how amazing it was!

We traveled down on the Saturday morning and picked up our tickets and Lottie and I were given some cool SportFest T-shirts. We then quickly put our tent up and then went off to join the fun.

There were lots of sports sessions for everyone to join in with and the groups moved around so you could try everything and then there were some extra sessions you could sign up for if you wanted to switch the normal sports for something different.

I had a brilliant time trying Boxing- it was really hard work and the coaches were really good. My little sister did gymnastics and was helped by Gymnast Beth Tweddle. There were lots of famous sportspeople there helping coach the children, it was great because they were all really enthusiastic and keen to help you learn new skills. Dad and I are Liverpool fans so it was quite exciting to see John Barnes involved but sadly he was coaching the older football group so I didn't pick up any tips 

from him, although the other football coaches were fantastic too. 

Over the two days we had an amazing time, I loved football, boxing and cricket but I think my favourite was hockey and I am actually going to start lessons this weekend now- yay! (Mum is very worried about my teeth after seeing how my Uncle's are after years of playing hockey!) Lottie was too young for the proper groups but still got to try a few things including martial arts and the gymnastics and she now can't wait until she is old enough to do gymnastics at school. It was such a great time to try new sports and learn new skills but it was also so much more than that.

There was loads of other things going on- we got to do a driving simulator, which was awesome, there was a climbing wall which moved and was sloped- it was so much harder than it looked and there was lots of other activities to take part in. It was amazing seeing the I AM Invictus team playing sit down volleyball and the sporting legends playing a 15:15 cricket match in the evening. This was followed by a band who were really cool- we had an amazing time dancing until late and then went back to the tent to get some sleep ready for the next day. Baby Sam actually slept all night even though Mum and Dad weren't sure if they were mad taking a 15 week old baby camping but he stayed warm and was perfectly happy and we woke up bright and early ready to go again. 

Amazing Legends cricket match

The food was delicious and was all included in our prize, it was made by Jamie Oliver's restaurants and we got some really yummy things. There were also apples all round the grounds for snacks and then Jaffa were there giving away delicious oranges and fresh orange juice and Weetabix were doing things too so we definitely couldn't have gone hungry!

We also got to see the FA Cup and do a fitness test with Vitality which was quite funny (my Dad came out older than he really is and my Mum didn't dare to do it!!) There was plenty of activities for grown ups too.

It was such an amazing weekend, I really would love to go again and would definitely recommend it to anyone with children who enjoy being active- just hoping Mum can be lucky enough to win us tickets again for next year!