The birth of an independent reader

This evening in our house, a miracle took place. For approximately one hour the TV was switched off, nobody was playing the Xbox, and the Youtubers were mercifully silenced.(And it was nothing at all to do with the fact the wi-fi connection was down!)


Caught reading.

Instead, what was happening was that Toby was reading. Not for homework. Not to find out how to perform a football skill. And not because he’d been coerced into it by me. He was finishing a book he’d chosen to read because he was enjoying it. Continue reading


10 reasons to thank books

To celebrate Book Week Scotland this week, the Scottish Book Trust is inviting people to write a thank you letter to a book, author or fictional character that has made a difference to our lives.


‘What a lovely, idea’ I thought, except I find it hard to pinpoint just one book or character that deserves my thanks. Books have been an integral part to every aspect of my life, so here are my 10 reasons why books deserve a big thank you from me. Continue reading

My brush with an online scam

I am guilty of going around pretending that I’m sort of superwoman who can do absolutely everything and anything without any help at all. Of course that’s utterly ridiculous, and it transpired this weekend that I have a particular blind spot when it comes to all things IT related.


So when I called up what I thought was the support line for my printer’s manufacturer seeking advice on how to set up a printer, some cyber criminals sitting in a murky office in, I suspect, India may have thought all their birthdays had arrived at once. Continue reading

What we’re reading: Football Academy: Boys United by Tom Palmer

Eeny meeny miny mo: Toby decides which Football Academy book to pick.

Eeny meeny miny mo: Toby decides which Football Academy book to pick.

A random school in-service day provided Toby and me with a rare day off at home today, which is always welcome. We spent part of it at our local library and book store in search of a novel Toby has been requesting for ages.

He’s been reading Jeremy Strong’s There’s A Viking In My Bed at school and it’s made such an impression he wants to have it at home too. Now, that’s worth dragging ourselves out into the remnants of a storm for.

Except we couldn’t find the book in the library or in Waterstone’s, and yes we could always order it from Amazon, but instead a shiny football book shouting “buy me” from the bookshelf caught Toby’s eye.  Continue reading

We’ve finished! The Grunts All At Sea

The Grunts

He could try to look a bit more pleased about reading this one.

If the Coen Brothers did children’s books, I reckon you’d end up with something like Philip Ardagh’s The Grunts All At Sea.

Delivered in a fresh, witty voice, this madcap adventure story is populated with a cast of eccentrics so perfectly crafted that each and every one is brimming with life.

The Grunts are an odd couple who live in a caravan with their sort-of son Sunny. They enjoy exchanging creative insults, which flimsily conceal a deep-held affection for one another. At first glance the Grunts resemble Roald Dahl’s Twits but as you delve into the story you realise that Ardagh’s creations are utterly original and that this book has very little in common with Dahl’s iconic tale.  Continue reading

The 10 everyday acts that make us all parenting heroes

father and sonYou’ve got to hand it to brand Beckham. This is a family that has successfully reinvented itself from 1990s tabloid fodder to Britain’s most famous celebrity export to bona fide national treasures.

Now David Beckham has given up football he seems to be publicly embracing his role of dad of four, which of course is lovely to see. Male parenting role models are always welcome.

However, let’s get a bit of perspective, people. Any time Becks is pictured in the same room as one of his offspring it seems to invite floods of gushing praise celebrating his wonderful fathering ability. Continue reading