Jacky Ha-Ha book review

Jacky Ha-Ha is the book we used to launch our mini-book club for myself and her daughter. We also reached out to home education friends and it was great to hear that young girls wanted to get involved.

The book club

I have always wanted to set up a book club loving  the idea of having a great reason to read and then an opportunity to discuss books with other people. I also like the idea as it helps my daughter build her self-confidence. We have done the initial setting up and decided that a first meeting did not need a posh venue and could be done at home or even better at a café during quiet periods so that there was cake and refreshments to hand. With so many mums feeling isolated, reading and eating are great ways to make new friendships after your children are that bit older and baby groups and soft play don’t cut it any more.

The book

Jacky Ha Ha

“With her irresistible urge to tell a joke in every situation – even when she really, really shouldn’t – twelve-year-old Jacky Ha-Ha loves to make people laugh. And cracking wise helps distract her from thinking about not-so-funny things in her life, like her mum serving in a dangerous, faraway war, and a dad who’s hardly ever home.
But no matter how much fun Jacky has, she can’t seem to escape her worries. So one starlit night, she makes a promise to keep her family together… even if she has to give up the one thing that makes her happy. But can she stop being Jacky Ha-Ha, if that’s who she really is?”


Thoughts from the book club

The book stays in Jacky’s POV, which makes it much easier to know who’s speaking.
The best thing about this is likely the fact this allows her to make jokes to say to the reader, without the author having to force them into her conversations, which can happen when a book is in third person.
My favourite character is definitely Ms. O’Mara, as she seems to have this ability to know how Jacky is, and mirror it to keep in charge (If only teachers were really like that).
The length of each chapter is very short for someone who is used to seeing 50 page long chapters, however this is probably because each chapter is an event.
The pictures fit very well, as they are seemingly from Jacky’s point of view as well.

https://www.penguin.co.uk/puffin/books/1110557/jacky-ha-ha/

“I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. [I have received a voucher in return for writing this post]”.

Read With Me

Jacky Ha-Ha Book

Spider Chocolate Cup Cakes can be decorated with liquorice legs, great for Halloween!

Makes 12 cakes

Spider Chocolate Cupcakes

 

 

Spider Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe

100g plain chocolate
4tbsp golden syrup
150g unsalted butter, softened
80ml double cream
150g caster sugar
100g milk chocolate
20g cocoa, sifted
100g plain chocolate
3 eggs, beaten
3 tbsp Rachel’s Greek Style Natural Bio Live Yogurt
125g self raising flour
1 ½tsp baking powder

Decoration 2 tbsp Rachel’s Greek Style Natural Bio Live Yogurt Chocolate sugar strands Smarties or similar sweets (for the eyes) Liquorice laces or Catherine wheels

Method

1.Pre-heat the oven 180°C, gas mark 4 and line a muffin tray with paper cases.
2.Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and microwave on medium power for 1 minute until melted, alternatively place over a pan of simmering water.
3.In a mixing bowl beat the butter, caster sugar, cocoa powder and eggs, until soft and creamy. Add the flour and baking powder. Lastly add in the yogurt ensure the mixture is well combined.
4.Spoon the mixture into the cases and bake for 20 minutes until risen and firm to touch. Leave to cool.
5.Meanwhile in a small bowl gently heat the icing ingredients, except the yogurt either do this in a microwave, medium power or over a pan of simmering water until the chocolate has melted, leave to cool then add the yogurt. The frosting should be soft but not runny.
6.Spoon the frosting onto each cake and carefully spread with the back of a knife. Dip each cake into chocolate sugar strands then place the Smarties for eyes, cut the liquorice laces into 8 equal pieces and push into the icing – work quickly before the frosting sets. To make the eyes stand out and a mouth simply place some of the frosting in a piping bag with a small plain nozzle and pipe for the desired effect.

Nutritional information

PER SERVING: 388kcal, Protein 5.4g, Carbs 39.6g, Fat 22.6g, Sat Fat 13.3g, Fibre 1.9g, Sugar 30.8g, Salt 0.4g COST PER SERVING: £0.25p

 

Jacky Ha-Ha Book

This easy Halloween Jelly is great fun to make and kids love to decorate their own – the spookier the better!

Halloween Jelly Recipe

 

Halloween jelly recipe

Ready in: 4 – 6 hours or overnight

Serves: 4

Halloween jelly ingredients:

4 leaves of gelatine

8 tbsps bottlegreen Cox’s Apple and Plum Cordial

2 clementines

Selection of jelly sweets, i.e., wriggly worms, false teeth and snakes

Halloween jelly method

· Place the gelatine in a bowl, add 3tbsps water, leave to soak for 10 mins.

· Peel the clementines, removing any pith and seeds, segment.

· Place the bottlegreen cox’s apple and plum cordial into a large measuring jug, add the softened gelatine, pour on 500ml boiling water, stir until dissolved, cool.

· Divide between 4 serving dishes; add the clementine segments, leave to set in the fridge for approx 4-6 hours or overnight. Decorate with the sweets.

Cook’s tip: To stop the clementine segments floating to the top wait until the jelly has set a little then press them in.

Link up your recipe of the week

Simply follow our step-by-step guide and create the scary spiders in their glow-in-the-dark web! All you need is your Dremel Glue Gun and some special glow-in-the-dark hot glue sticks which are re-activated by light to make this spooky addition to your porch or window.

Materials required :

Dremel Glue Gun
7mm Glow-in-the-Dark glue sticks x 5 packs of 15 sticks
38cm wide non-stick baking parchment
Black marker pens, standard and thick
Long ruler or straight edge

Difficulty rating :

One star – easy

To make the spider’s web

Step One
Cut a 70cm piece of the baking parchment and fold it in half lengthways. Make a mark on the folded edge approximately 3cm in from one end. Then measure 62cm along the fold from this first mark. At right angles from this point, measure in 17cm on the parchment and mark this. Then simply draw a line to connect the 3cm mark on the fold with the 17cm in mark using a straight edge and marker pen, as shown below.

Step Two
Then, turn the folded paper over and trace the line to transfer it onto the opposite side of the paper so that you end up with a V shape, as shown below. Using our picture as a guide, draw five slightly curved lines between V shape, making sure they begin and end at equal points on the V.

Step Three
Now, insert a 7mm Glow-in-the-Dark glue stick into your Dremel Glue Gun and set it on the high temperature. Turn the paper over and ‘pipe’ lines of glue along the long lines marked, repeating the process two or three times to thicken the lines and create a stronger result. Connect the long lines of glue by ‘piping’ the short curved lines in between, making sure the lines connect effectively where they meet. Repeat this process five more times to make a total of six web sections.

Step Four
You need to end up with 12 sections, so place a section of web either side of another V drawn onto the paper parchment as before, matching the edges. Use more glue to ‘pipe’ the curved lines in between the two sections to connect them together. This will create the first quarter of the web. To complete your web, repeat with the other sections, then join the three larger sections altogether using the same technique of aligning the sections on either side of the original drawing and using more lines of glue to fill in the gaps. Your web should be complete.

Hanging up your cobweb
To hang up your cobweb, use a staple gun to staple the ends of your web onto the corners of an outside porch or stick over a window.

Attaching your toy spiders
Now, buy either a giant toy spider or lots of small black furry ones from your local toy shop or online, and highlight them with glow-in-the-dark glue. Attach them to the web by tying them to lengths of black cotton or black wool.
Beyond that it is simply a question waiting for darkness to fall! Your web should automatically start to glow as darkness falls because it has absorbed daylight. It may only last for around 30 minutes at a time but you can reactivate it by taking pictures of it using a strong camera flashlight.

The Dremel Glue Gun is available from DIY and craft shops and also online at http://www.dremel-direct.com

Frankenstein Fingers and Sheep’s Eyes

For a bit of Halloween fun, try these spooky ideas! They are quick and easy and get the kids eating veg too!

Fill a small bowl with ready-made guacamole, houmous or other favourite dip. Take 5 baby carrots and take a thin slice off the tip of each. Then use the knife to make a small incision at the base of this cut and push a flaked almond into the slot to look like finger nails! Arrange the carrots into the dip so they look like fingers.

For the sheep’s eyes, peel 4 carrots and thickly slice. Slice a few green stuffed olives and red grapes. Top each carrot slice with a blob of sour cream and the sliced grapes or olives. Arrange the eyes in pairs on a serving plate.