What we’re reading: The Folk of the Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton

Folk of the Faraway TreeRecently, I’ve been reminiscing about the books I enjoyed in childhood. So when I stumbled upon a dusty copy of The Folk of the Faraway Tree in an Oxfam shop, I couldn’t resist parting with a couple of quid to take it home for Toby. This was a book I can still remember loving to this day.

Connie’s perfect clothes and perfect hair left an imprint on my memory that’s not faded in almost 30 years. Moonface, too.  Continue reading


We’ve finished! Dino FC – Transfer Troubles

This is our third Dino FC book, and we’ve become familiar with the characters and the story formula.

I was initially sceptical about stories that involved dinosaurs playing football but author Keith Brumpton writes so authentically about the sport that I can get past the fact that the characters are all prehistoric beasts, and that herbivores play alongside carnivores in this rather good-spirited and harmonious team that is Dino FC. Continue reading

Me-time reading: Freedom’s Child by Jax Miller

Freedom's ChildI always believe that the best way to encourage your children to enjoy reading is to practice what you preach so I generally always have a book or two on the go.

I was delighted to be given the chance by the lovely people at Mumsnet to review debut crime thriller Freedom’s Child by Jax Miller. I’m more of a literary fiction than a crime fiction type of reader but I’m broad minded and like trying out new books.

Plus, it was pretty exciting receiving a brand new hard copy edition through the post. Since I’ve gone all Kindle, I miss holding a physical copy of a book in my hands, even if this one was a bit heavy for the handbag. Continue reading

What we’re reading: Dino FC – Transfer Trouble by Keith Brumpton

Dino FCIn case you hadn’t noticed football has begun to form a large part of our family life, so I’m always seeking out books about football to keep Toby interested in reading.

Recently, we stumbled upon the Dino FC series in our local library, and after a brief break from these books, Toby spotted Transfer Trouble during a recent trip to Kirkcaldy library (instigated by him, I’m proud to say!).

It was not surprising he was drawn to a football-themed book. We’d just finished visiting Stark’s Park, home of Scottish Championship division side Raith Rovers, for the club’s annual open day. We got to look around the ground and meet players, and had a very enjoyable time. Continue reading

We’ve finished! Horrid Henry’s Cannibal Curse

We simply had to read the final Horrid Henry book. Missing out just wasn’t an option, especially since I credit Francesca Simon’s series with encouraging Toby’s enthusiasm for reading when it was showing serious signs of waning.

Is it just one book too many, though? Or is Horrid Henry on as fine form as ever?

After reading numerous Horrid Henry tales this year I was wondering if there was any more mischief left for Henry to get up to. But Simon has cleverly created four tales that acknowledge current popular culture, pay tribute to Henry’s back catalogue, identify completely fresh ground and poke fun at the whole series (and its critics).  Continue reading

Is it time to ditch the parenting guilt?

Are we having fun yet?

Are we having fun yet?

The other day Toby told me that I was not fun, and he told someone else that I never laughed (only at the television).

Being told you’re not fun is up there with having poor personal hygiene in terms of popularity stakes. Let’s face it most people would probably rather choose to spend half an hour with a psychopath rather than a dullard; at least the former is fascinating.

So it’s fair to say I was a tiny bit bothered about it, and after a bit of soul-searching I decided that he was right; I probably am not a fun person. I don’t really like all those conventionally “fun” activities like fancy dress (ugh), dancing to bad pop music (really?) or any group celebration (organised fun, purr-lease). Damn it, I’m not even much of a fan of Christmas. Continue reading

What we’re reading: Horrid Henry’s Cannibal Curse

Horrid Henry's Cannibal CurseNote to self. When gifting a child a book as an impromptu present do not ever say anything like: “guess what I got you today?” The result will only be disappointment when you produce the last ever Horrid Henry book instead of a replica pair of Lionel Messi’s football boots.

I should know better, really. Next time I’ll just say “here, this is for you” and just hand him the book casually, like it was no effort at all. That’s if there is a next time because as you’ve guessed my gift of Horrid Henry’s Cannibal Curse – Francesca Simon’s last ever Horrid Henry book – wasn’t exactly met with bundles of enthusiasm. Continue reading