To Celebrate World Book Day #giveaway

Where to buy books in St Albans, Herts

I think it’s absolutely shocking that 3 in 10 kids in the UK do not own books.  I’ve never counted them but I’d hazard a guess that there are between 75-100 books upstairs in my daughters room.  She has everything from picture books to non-fiction.

I appreciate for some that this is down to financial circumstances but there are cheaper alternatives.  We often have book fairs in town,  local charity shops have shelves of them and there are a few book swap schemes around.

Libraries are eventually going to fade away. (via Forbes)

If I’m completely honest I tend to buy her books.  I should make more use out of our public library but I’m dreadful at remembering to return them on time and end up paying a reasonable amount in fines.

As a busy mum, I don’t really have time to be searching through all the books online, catalogues or in the bookstore so I tend to get my books from Lisa Nichols from Usborne.  She is passionate about books/literacy, very knowledgeable and full of personality.  You have not lived if you haven’t had the chance to have a cuppa with Lisa.  I simply tell her what topics she is currently doing at school and what reading level she is at.  I haven’t once been disappointed with her choices.

One of our best investments was the Box Set of Usborne Very First Reading Books, which is a collection of 15 books.  They start with parents and child alternating reading pages and you progressively move towards your child reading independently.  There are enough books in the set to cover at least a term, possibly more.

Usborne First Reading Books, St Albans

To celebrate World Book Day on the 6th March 2014, Lisa has kindly offered one of my readers a chance to win a Beginner’s Animal Pack New from Usborne this Spring which consists of 20 titles.

Beginners Animal Pack Usborne, St Albans

Simply enter using the Rafflecopter form below.  Full terms and Conditions can be found at the bottom of the form but in short, it’s open to residents of the UK 18+ and closes on the 6th of March.

Good luck and happy reading!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This competition is listed on Loquax, Prize Finder and Competition Hunter.

Do you read to your kid’s every night?

‘83.6% of Mums spend time reading to their children at bed time, despite studies showing a growing number of Mums returning to work’

As a working mum, I’m often tired after being on the motorway and fairly stressed by the time I get home, but the one thing I make sure I do every night is to read to and with my daughter as part of her bedtime routine. Around 1 in 10 parents admit that they find the bedtime routine very stressful, it is certainly a lot easier, when after the bath, hair brushing and teeth cleaning to focus my daughter’s attention with the promise of a story together.

Reading to your kids Even as dads get more involved in parenting, bedtime is still mums domain, with 51% of mums in charge of bedtime each night compared to just 15% of dads’

We are lucky that our childminder does our daughters school reading with her, because often by bedtime she is too tired to read by herself and it can turn into an unwelcome battle. She is now at the age where reading is a pleasure for her and as long as the pressure of having to read is removed; I find she often takes over from me whilst I read her, her bedtime story. Dad is very involved with parenting and shares the bedtime routine, especially on those nights that I’m just too tired.

Our daughter has a wide selection of story books, she is keen to read some of her school reading book to me to show me how well she is doing and will select the book she wishes me to read to her before going to sleep. We do have our favourites, one of my personal favourites is Winnie the Witch.

I find it important to prioritise the bedtime routine with my daughter, especially as a working mum. Whether it’s the reading or the routine, our daughter certainly settles to sleep a lot quicker than she does if the reading is missed out of the routine.

I’m going to miss the bedtime routine when she’s older.

Do you read with your kids every night?  What are your favourite books?

Disclosure:  This post was inspired by research undertaken by Fairy Non-Bio about children’s bedtime routines and we did receive a bottle of Fairy Liquid and a lovely bedtime blanket for our daughter.





Struggling to read messages on your phone?

I thought this was pure genius so I wanted to share it with you.  I’m now in my 40s and a few months ago I started noticing that I was struggling to read text messages on my iPhone.  I was having to progressively hold my phone farther and farther away until it came into focus.

Oh the joys of getting older!

However, I noticed a friend had rather large text on her phone the other night, so I had a little look in the settings and worked out what she had done.

These are instructions for an iPhone.

How to change font size on an iphone

Go into Setting>General>Accessibility

The select Large Text and choose the font size you would like but don’t go to mad or anyone in a mile radius will be able to read your texts.  I chose 20pt and it’s making the world of difference.

Hope this helps in some way.




Bud & Roo’s Spectacular Adventures – The Beach by Jessica Valentine

Fostering a love of reading

I do love a book that inspires a bit of Art.  Bud & Roo’s Spectacular Adventure is about two doggies who dig up treasures and sniff their way to where it has come from.  The Author, Jessica Valentine wanted to create a book that her 5 year old could read on her own from front to back and feel good about reading a whole book on her own and she’s done just that.  Madame who is also 5 and has just started reading can read it from front to back and was also inspired to do this picture based on the Artwork.  Isn’t it brilliant?


Reading with Kids


Kill me now!

Just the other night, I was having a right moan about how painfully dull, the reading scheme books are from school and quite a few parents came back in agreement.  I particularly felt for those parents with several children and have been subjected to the same books year after year after year.

So, who’s up for the challenge?

This is not a reflection on our school, this tends to be across the board.  I do appreciate they’re a necessary evil and her readings coming along nicely, but someone somewhere must be able to write a better scheme than what’s on offer.  I wonder if Jessica’s up for the challenge?

Luckily, we have a huge collection of books at home to supplement what comes home and still manage to foster a love of reading.  Again, I must emphasize, this is not a dig at our school.

I’m looking forward to seeing what Bud & Roo get up to next.

Do you have any other books that you’d recommend for this age group?

Disclosure:  We received a copy of this book for review purposes.



1 in 3 children in London do not own a book!

I was absolutely horrified to read in a paper a few weeks ago, that 1 in 3 children in London do not own a book!  One child, when asked to bring a book into school, brought an Argos catalogue as this was the only book in the house. Bloody hell! I believe this stems to busy parents, economics and the advent of technology.  Kids prefer an X-box/Playstation to a book any day.  I’m not pointing fingers, as working parents ourselves, we’re guilty as well but personally I think this is very sad.

My hubby and I are not book worms, it’s not that we can’t read we just don’t read a lot, we prefer online magazines, newspapers, twitter and blogs.  I also belong to a book club and have done so for 10 years but to be honest I rarely make it through a book.

However, ever since Madame was very young we’ve always emphasized reading and read her 3 books every night religiously, unless it’s a really long one then maybe only two.   Even when we can’t be arsed and skip a few pages, sadly she’s at the age now that she pulls us up on it!  As an ex-teacher you’ll be amazed at the benefits of reading to your kids for a mere 10 minutes a night.  Sorry, I’ll get off my soapbox now!

Like with anything, including wine, moderation is the key.  I’m an IT consultant who works in education and have done so for the past 10+ years.  I don’t know how many times I’ve said that technology is to compliment what you’re doing and not to replace.  My daughter is 3.5 and is a complete whizz on my iphone, I have it loaded up with games, music and videos for her…but the difference is they all have an educational element, she’s none the wiser.  You won’t find Angry birds on my phone.

Nothing compares to breaking the spine on a new book, turning the pages and losing yourself!

This weekend, we sorted out Madame’s reading corner.  I was inspired by Trapped in North Jersey.  We’re very limited on space but I think it’s perfect.    They’re picture ledges from Ikea (115cm) and only £8 each, bargain! What do you think?