Learning The Importance Of Friendship With – The Way Home For Wolf

[AD] Being five may seem to us adults a bit of a breeze. I mean you are fed, clothed, watered and the most challenging part of your day is which cereal to have in the morning.

But in reality those first few years are pretty tough as there are all sorts of hurdles to overcome, lots of boundaries you need to work out how and if you should push and just knowing how to fit in with your peers is all pretty tough going when you are so small.

I know for Oscar who has reached the grand old age of five, the determination to do things for himself and his self belief is pretty strong…not sure where he gets that from! So it’s good to try and explain to him that sometimes it takes a team to get through life and it is important to learn to accept help from others, and also be there for other people in your team; and this is the message the lovely new book – The Way Home For Wolf by Rachel Bright and Jim Field is trying to get across.

Rachel and Jim, who are also the creators of The Lion Inside, The Koala Who Could and The Squirrels Who Squabbled, have created a fantastically fun and easy to read picture book that tells the story of the uber confident wolf cub. Wilf is determined to take the lead when his wolf pack move on one cold and dark evening. Despite being told by his elders this wasn’t a good plan he finds himself lost, alone and not knowing what to do until he is found by a whole host of strangers that reach out a helping hand to him and help him find his way back to the safety of his family.

I love to encourage my children to be forthright and fearless, but in reality we all need a hand sometimes and should also always be there to keep an eye out for others needing that little bit of help too.

This is a lovely book that would actually make a fantastic gift for those of you with little ones starting school this year and it had come out just in time for this so go and take a look.

*Disclosure: This review is based on a free sample.

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Forty Six

This week on ‘celebrating the small things’ we’re talking Christmas books, Wagamama and Sunday roasts.

Christmas Books – We love bedtime stories in this house and at this time of year we dust off the Christmas books every evening to get into the Christmas spirit! I think I actually love this more than the kids!

Wagamama Trip – Frankie spends a lot of time at different hospitals for all his ailments bless him. A hospital he doesn’t seem to mind visiting though is St Thomas’s in Westminster.

We visit for his allergies a few times a year and he always get treated to a trip to Wagamama as it’s one of the best allergy friendly restaurants you can visit.

Sunday Roasts – Dinner times in our house are pretty erratic and during the week we never get to sit together and enjoy an evening meal. Now the colder weather has set in we try to make sure we sit down to a roast every Sunday and spent some quotient together…even if it is more like a chimpanzee tea party!

The Tree, The Key And Me:Personalised Book Review

Personalised books have always been a huge favourite with all of my children. They love the ability it gives them to transport themselves into the heart of the story and really connect with the tale.

Personalised books are a great way to get reluctant readers to engage in a story and open up their minds to the potential rewards they can reap from reading. In turn this passion can help greatly with their speech and vocabulary and who knows might even help them to become a little book worm.

For me though I think it takes a special type of personalised book with a good story and beautiful illustrations that keeps you wanting to turn the pages and discover more, allowing them to get excited about finding themselves at the heart of the narrative.

All my children have been reluctant readers and it takes a lot to get them engaged in reading. My biggest challenge however has been Frankie who resists reading for different reasons to the other others. He has in fact struggled with his reading and is currently being kept an eye on as he is showing signs of dyslexia.

For him the written world is a scary place and so anything to make his reading journey easier is a bonus for us. So when we were asked by Librio to review their personalised book – The Tree, The Key and Me I had high hope this would be something Frankie could fall in love with.

I am sometimes overwhelmed by creating personalised items online and can often be disheartened that the character I am creating doesn’t look as I want. Libro however have created a configurator with over 8000 possible combinations so you can get an incredible likeness – glasses and wavy hair included for Frankie. They have everything covered so your character can be created using their own gender, skin tone, eye colour, hair colour and even hairstyle.

Something that I have also never come across before to is the ability to have the book written in 18 different languages and dialects, including UK and US English, French, German, Swiss, Italian, Spanish an Welsh.

As well as creating your own little person there is also the opportunity to add a special message at the beginning of the book which is yet another fantastic personal touch.

The personalisation took very little time and our book arrived in a matter of days. We went for the paperback version that is made from high quality, 100% recycled paper from the award winning printers Pureprint Group. This offers a top quality finish to the beautiful book which came with stunning illustrations and a story of a little boy who finds a key whilst digging for treasure which opens up a door to a very special forest which is home to all kinds of adorable animals that need help to save their home from losing its colour.

Frankie’s eyes lit up the moment he saw the picture on the front cover and realised before even opening the first page that this was him. It was an absolute pleasure to see him try and read this story and find out with each turn of the page where his was going to be off to next and what kind of adventures he would be getting up to.

If you are looking for a story to is going to be a keep sake for many years to come then this is the book for you. Librio also give back a huge amount by planting a tree with Trees For The Future for every book sold and on top of that for each book sold they donate £1 to literacy charities who do some amazing work to encourage children to find a love of books.

I now have to create one for Oscar who is keen to be part of the magic trees adventures too and if you order two or more books you can get a 15% discount by entering the code YAY15 which is perfect for the run up to Christmas.

*collaborated post

Super Start To School With PJ Masks

Over the past few weeks the reality of Oscar starting school has set in and I can safely say that it is me with the butterflies in my tummy and the waves of anxiety on a daily basis.

Oscar however seems pretty relaxed about the whole prospect and is eager to get started, make new friends and start his new and exciting journey into school life.

After five children I know all to well that even the most confident and self assured children can have trouble with coping this massive change and it is our job as parents to make this transition as easy as possible.

One thing I know that mine have all had trouble with is the more structured day they have compared to nursery. Although the majority of their learning is still done through play a lot of it is tailored to help them learn and this is something I have been helping Oscar to get used to with the help of PJ Masks.

Oscar has been a huge fan of the lovable charters Owlet, Catboy and Gekko for some time now and their inspirational super powers are the perfect way to motive children to learn and give them confidence to battle through their fears.

Oscar really needed some practice with his hand writing skills and the PJ Masks First Writing book has been a fantastic aid for him. the wipe clean pages allow him to try over and over again without wasting endless sheets of paper.

We have also been learning in a more interactive way with the PJ Masks Leaning Headquarters that has three different modes of play that allows Cat Car, Owl Slider and Gekko Mobile to complete different missions. The catchy theme tunes and familiar faces make challenges such as memory skills, problem solving and much more all the more fun.

A learning tool that is pretty familiar to our house is the Leap Frog range. Oscar was trilled with his Leap Start which is just like bringing a book to life. He didn’t even realise that through the touch and talk games he was building his reading, numerical and problem solving skills.

Lunch time at school can be a pretty daunting experience too with all the hustle and bustle of so many children and the noise levels going through the roof. With school encouraging independence having a lunch that is easy to get into is of great importance. Oscar will be able to get off to a great start with his PJ Mask lunch box filled with his easy to open…and leak proof drinks bottle and super cool snack pot that can be filled with different treats everyday.

All thats left now is for some of those PJ Mask super powers to rub off onto my little superhero and hope this will get him and me through those tricky first few weeks.

*collaborative post

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Eight

This week has been a pretty quiet one but some small changes in different areas of our lives have bought some joy to this pretty miserable time of year.

Spring Has Sprung: There has been a little bit of sunshine peeping through the clouds and my favourite daffodils have been showing their pretty heads which always gives me a bit of light relief after the harshness of winter.
It has got me thinking about festivals, holidays and getting outside more and I really can’t wait.

Big Improvements In Frankie’s Reading: For a long time I felt that Frankie was progressing slower than he should as far as his reading and writing was concerned. I tried not to compare him to his siblings and his peers but it is always something thats hard not to.
Thankfully though a few months ago his teacher had had the same concerns and felt that he was showing signs of dyslexia and this was why he was struggling so much.
With the help of a special coloured filter that he places over his books his reading has really improved and with this so has his confidence and I am so grateful that he has such a wonderful teacher that has picked up on this so early on in his schooling.

Getting Back Into Crafting: I’ve has a love hate relationship with crafting over the years. With my older children is wasn’t something I ever did at home as I couldn’t stand the mess and always wanted things to turn out perfecting, not allowing the children to use it to express how they feel and interpret their own ideas.
Things have certainly changed as I got older and I now love giving the children free reign, even if it does involve a few glitter explosions!
This year I was chosen as a Bostik Blogger which allows me to get crafty with the kids every month and its something we have all loved getting involved in.

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory Themed World Book Day With Party Delights UK

World Book Day is one of the favourite days of the school year for my lot…well and for me actually. I love going through all their most loved books and choosing which characters they want to become.

There has been a huge variety of different characters chosen over the years and I have to say some have been easier to create than others. One author that is always top of the list though is Roald Dahl.

He brings back so many found memories of my childhood and I would get completely immersed in his tales, from the shenanigans of the evil Witches to the heart felt adventures of The BFG to the trials and tribulations of the mischievous Twits and the troubled life of darling Matilda.

His thought provoking tales have bought so much enjoyment to myself and my family over the years that it would be rude not to honour his work on such a special day.

On paper as well as on screen Charlie And The Chocolate Factory is alway a hit and the boys were lucky enough to be sent a Charlie Bucket and Willy Wonka outfit each from the lovely people at Party Delights UK.

They are certainly the people to go to to get kitted out for World Book Day, and its not only the children they have thought of, there is also a section for the teachers too.

There are way to many costumes to list on here but there are some firm favourites such as Harry Potter, David Walliams, The Gruffalo, Alice In Wonderland and many more.

Frankie was thrilled will his costume that had all the finer details that are often left out such as Willy’s cane, a super cute bow tie and of course the spectacular top hat.

Oscar’s Charlie Bucket outfit came complete with authentic grubby patches and a little attachment inside the jacket to hold the all important golden ticket!

Head over and take a look yourselves at the fantastic range and get your little ones kitted out in style for this very special day.

*We were given these outfits for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Celebrating The Small Things:Week One

When I first started blogging it was a subject I knew very little about, and to say that I went into it blindly would be an understatement; but through the encouragement of family and friends I began my blogging journey and haven’t looked back since.

Over the past few years my blog has gone from strength to strength, it has now become my full time job and has bought me and my family some of the most amazing opportunities and allowed us to meet some wonderful people…some of which I would now class as good friends.

My blog is a place that I come to when I want people to find out about a great day out we have been on, somewhere I can give advice on great new products I have tried out or to celebrate big milestones in our lives; but as the New Year sets in and we naturally evaluate the different parts of our lives I have realised there is one area I have really overlooked when it comes to writing…The Small Things.

There are so many small moments in our lives that we take for granted or miss all together, moments that although may seem small and insignificant they give us great pleasure and we should learn to cherish and show our gratitude for them all.

I have decided to now do a weekly post highlighting all those little moments that would normally pass me by as a document to look back on in years to come and remember fondly.

Brotherly love: When it comes to the youngest two its always been a bit of a love hate relationship, with the latter certainly being more predominant, so when a special moment such as Frankie requesting to take his little brother out to share his birthday treat is an occasion that should be marked.

Lego: This may seem like a strange one, but the wonderful world of Lego has bought us all so much joy since Christmas in many ways. It dominated the youngest two’s christmas lists this year but has brought the whole family such pleasure and brought us together for some much needed quality time as we all muck in trying to make the next creation.

Storytime: Its been more than a few years since Izzy has requested a bedtime story, and to be truthful its not very often she willingly picks up a book! So after buying her the fantastic Goodnight Stories For Rebel Girls it has been an absolute pleasure to see her engrossed in reading and sharing what she has learnt about a whole host of ‘kick arse’ women.

We’re Going On A Bear Hunt Screening

Sometimes you can open a book and immediately get lost in it; It can capture your imagination with every word and you can become completely immersed in the whole story.
This is what ‘We’re Going On A Bear Hunt’ by the fabulous author Michael Rosen has done for each and every one of my children…well I should include myself too really!

I’m sure there are not many parents out there they haven’t squelched and squirched though the mud at bed time or wadded through the swishy swashy grass whist keeping a little one occupied in the doctors waiting room.

This book has truly been a saviour to me on many occasions, and over my nineteen years of parenting this is a book I have never tired of.

When we were asked along to the screening in Leicester Square of this timeless classic that is due to hit our screens on Christmas Eve I’m not sure if it was the children or me who were more excited!


The animation that has been produced by the masterminds behind the Snowman and The Snowdog started and within the first few minutes I knew I was going to be hooked.


The siblings are left at home by their parents under the supervision of their eldest brother, and after getting a little restless set out on a walk to try and discover a grizzly bear, encountering all the familiar obsticals along the way.

There is the same hurried journey back home, but this time little Rosie forms a bond with the friendly bear and finds it hard to say goodbye.

To turn this short story into a thirty minute long adaptation the story has or course been added to a little but has in no way detracted to much from the original story.

With the enchanting storyline, magnificent illustrations and fabulous music dare I say this could be set to become a festive favourite and even knock The Snowman off of its pole position for me!

We’re Going On A Bear Hunt will be showing on channel 4 at 7.30 on Christmas Eve and repeated again on Christmas Day at 5.25pm

Dr Seuss And Nick Butterworth At Discover Story Centre

I had the delight of visiting the Discover Children’s Story Centre last year and fell in love with everything about it.

Since our last trip they have undergone a refurbishment and everything has only been bettered!

The Story World now spans two floors where the children can explore flashing lights and music inside a cool cave.

Sit quietly in the book corner and let their imagination run wild by creating their own story to stash away for others to read.

Weave through pathways whilst encountering lettered stepping stones.

Jump onboard the sail boat or climb and slide to your hearts content on the ropes and slides.

If quiet crafting is your thing then they still have the beautiful trees full of spoon people that you can create and leave in the trees.

Or if concentrating on crafts is not your thing like number four then they are also fabulous to balance on your nose!

We had booked ourselves into The World Of Dr Seuss exhibition and were hit by an explosion of colour and a very enthusiastic story teller as soon as the doors were open.

The children were taken over and read the famous Dr Suess Cat In The Hat book and even with all the exciting surrounding that they must have been itching to explore every child sat captivated by the animated story teller who had them hooked on her every word.

They were then free to explore!

They could take part in crazy golf, climb aboard the Once-let Wagon, dance along to the music of the boomband, dress up as Thing 1 or 2 and much, much more.


We made our way into the Story Garden from here where they were free to run around and let off some steam before our next adventure.

Not only does the Discover Children’s Story Centre have a whole host of activities to amuse the little ones inside their own centre, they also put on some fantastic events at the nearby Stratford Library.

For me this was the highlight of the day as the legendary author Nick Butterworth was there for a book signing.

Nick Butterworth and his classic stories have been a part of my life since I had my eldest child nineteen years ago and through his great writing and beautiful illustrations we have all become very fond of his books.

I was a little apprehensive upon walking into a very formal looking set up and realising I was going to have to keep the children in one spot for an hour.

These feelings soon past as Nick took to the stage to talk about his life and works that was interesting for the adults and still fun and engaging for the children.

It was so nice to meet the man behind the stories and find where he found his inspiration.

He was a very humble, down to earth man that just ozed passion for his work and his readers.


For me Discover Children’s Story Centre offer a space for children to forget about technology, learn bundles through play and let their imaginations run wild and grow in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.

It really is a place you need to see to believe and I love it more with each visit!

Keep an eye out for all their upcoming events and I know I can’t wait to see what they have to offer over Christmas.

*we were given tickets for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

The Mysterious Apples Book Review

A while ago Swankypants Books got in touch with me to review the first of their new series of books A Little Owl Called Hooty.  We were really taken with it and we’re really pleased when we were asked to review the next book – The Mysterious Apples.

My youngest two still love board books and were really taken when I showed them the shiny, new book with Yasmin and Yo-Yo, two super cute squirrels on the cover.

They throughly enjoyed reading about the adventures of this two cheeky squirrels that came across a beautiful apple tree that were perfect for them to harvest and  store for the long winter ahead of them.  The problem was neither of them had bargained on what was going to happen next!

Why don’t you take a read to find out the mysterious tale to this great story!

We were given this book for the purpose of this review and they are all my own honest opinions.