If you are looking for a good read for children aged 3 to 8 years, check out the utterly delightful Granny Butterfly books.

Granny Butterfly

Firstly, the books are a treat for the eyes with colourful illustrations throughout.

Secondly, children will learn about nature and butterflies in particular as they read.

Thirdly, the stories are great and with life lessons to be learned along the way.

I recently read the Granny’s birthday one where you can savour the bluebell woods and get to know some interesting butterfly characters set on having an adventure come what may.

Bertrum a clouded yellow butterfly takes his friend Boris off limits for a fun time. They escape Granny’s eyes aboard a bus which takes them to the village fair and a fair amount of mayhem. This includes sticky candyfloss, chaotic donkey rides, crashing eggs and a disappointing tug of war.

Although Bertrum has learned from a previous adventure, Boris is new to adventuring and gets himself into trouble. Initially this annoys Bertrum but later he is just pleased that his friend has a great time.

In fact, although great for children, the books are an escape to a magical and safe world and we all need more of that in our lives.

Jean French, the author, comments:

“My goal from the outset has been to write something that will engage children with the wonderful world of nature that surrounds them everyday, and empower them to explore with open minds,” explains Jean. “They’ll hopefully read the books, and then head out into their garden, or out into the countryside with their parents, to put their newfound knowledge and appreciation into practice.”

Continuing, “Our cast of butterflies is extremely diverse – from Betsy who is very sweet and tiny, all the way to Bertie who is very bossy and has a thing or two to learn about manners! In all, the characters represent the cross-section of people children will encounter throughout life. It’s an extremely humbling read for all.”

Granny Butterfly’ – http://amzn.to/2FSMzik

‘Granny Butterfly’s Birthday’ – http://amzn.to/2HwA2hW

For more information and resources, visit the series’ official website: http://www.grannybutterfly.co.uk.

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Read With Me

I truly believe that although things are nice, and there’s nothing wrong with having them, it is much better to collect moments and experiences. Those of you who like to travel will go exactly what I mean by that. There’s nothing quite like experiencing new cultures and seeing new sights to show you what life should really be about – long after that Macbook has died on you and those killer shoes have worn, you will have those amazing memories of that Caribbean cruise or the time you went swimming with dolphins, and it will mean so much more to you than that stuff ever did.

Travel Idea

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So, experiences are important, but where do you find them? You can find amazing experiences everywhere, including on your own doorstep, but there are some travel experiences that are just that bit more special – the kind of things that should be on everyone’s travel bucket list – here are some of them:

Diving the Great Barrier Reef in Australia

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, and some people would argue that it is the most beautiful of those wonders. Whether you agree with that or not, there is no denying that the world’s biggest coral reef is a colorful cornucopia or delightful marine life. You’ll see whales, dolphins, some 1,500 species of fish, not to mention numerous kinds of coral and you will be blown away.

Marvel at the Northern Lights

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The Northern Lights, or the Aurora Borealis to give it its proper name, is a natural phenomenon whereby the sky is lit up in beautiful shades of blue, green, purple and pink. It’s nature’s greatest air show, and it is something that you need to see at least once in your life because you will not be disappointed. You can see the lights in numerous places from Alaska to Iceland and although it can be difficult to predict exactly when they will appear, you should probably try to the Northern Lights in Autumn when they are not going to be blocked out by the summer sun and when the skies are generally clearer than they are in the winter. That being said, some people spend weeks, even months chasing the lights, so more than one trip may be required.

Helicopter Over the Grand Canyon in the United States

The Grand Canyon is another marvel of nature spanning some 277 miles and measuring one mile deep. Although you can get up close and personal with the Grand Canyon on foot, perhaps the most spectacular way to see just how amazingly beautiful it is is during a helicopter ride that will allow you to see its vast expanse. You can of course, always explore on foot once the trip is over, too!

Be Wowed by Kyoto’s Golden Pavilion in Japan

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Kyoto’s Golden Pavilion is just one of seventeen sites that make up the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto. Although they are all beautiful World Heritage sites, the Golden Pavilion, which is an amazing golden temple worshipping the Buddha is arguably the best thanks to its awe-inspiring style, and it’s immaculately maintained Japanese gardens.

Make Friends with Elephants in the Jungles of Thailand

Thailand is well-known for its stunningly beautiful beaches and fabulously fragrant food, but all of that pales in comparison to its majestic elephants. You can get up close with them at Khao Sok National Park’s jungle camp which is also home to some wonderful floating tents, or you can visit one of the local elephant sanctuaries where you can help to look after abandoned animals and really get to know them.

Stay at a Texas Ranch

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Texas ranches are world famous. They have featured in so many cowboy movies, and TV shows that we all think we know what a traditional Texas ranch is like and many of us would love to experience a little slice of the Wild West for ourselves. Luckily, there are lots of ranches, such as Wildcatter Ranch that are open for guests and allow you to live out your cowboy or girl fantasies in the real world. You’ll have a blast.

Visit Unique Wildlife on the Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are one of the most unique places on earth quite simply because they are home to lots of flora and fauna that you would not find anywhere else on earth. From Galapagos Sea lion and giant sea turtles to Frigatebirds and Candelabra Cactus, you will be blown away by these rarest of the rare specimens.

Take the time to explore any of these attractions or see as many of these sights as you can, and you will make those precious memories that truly last forever.

Cuddle Fairy

Working from home is tough. You’re isolated from work colleagues and can only communicate with online friends. It helps, but it’s not the same thing. While you won’t have to deal with many major crises that come up, when a mini-crisis hits, you’re the main gal or guy who’s got to roll up their sleeves and handle it. No one’s coming to your rescue (unless you call someone to help).

Here are a few mini-crises that can hit and how to manage them.

Your PC’s Hard Drive Just Failed!

The hard drive is a critical component of your computer. For PCs – usually 2-3 years and older – the hard drive is one of the first parts to fail. It happens with laptops more often than desktop PC’s because all that movement while traveling around on business can cause damage to a hard drive (solid state drives hold up better).

When you’ve had a main hard drive fail on you or it’s an external hard drive, you’ll need the assistance of Secure Data Recovery. They have vast experience dealing with recovering files and rescuing hard drives that look like they’ve given up the ghost. While the hard drive is being repaired, see if you can borrow a friend’s PC to get work done. If it’s only going to take a few days to fix it, your mobile device at least let’s you communicate with clients even if you have to delay delivery on orders in the short-term.

Your Home Office Phone Line Just Went Down!

Sometimes workers in the area dig up the road for roadworks and take out the local landlines at the same time. You’ve got to love when that happens! It can take several days for phone companies to get out there and resolve the issue. Meanwhile you’ve got no phone service including your office phone line too.

Call up your phone service provider and have them redirect your office line to your cellphone. You could normally set that up yourself, but with the landline down, you probably cannot. It could be possible to do so from your account on their website if the provider is set up to allow customers to do so, otherwise you’ll need to call their customer service. There will likely be a charge per call or per minute (or both) for each redirected call, so plan for the extra costs. Ask if the service provider will credit your account towards the cost. They may say yes.

Your Business Website Is Offline!

You will experience a time when your business website goes offline. The web host has a problem with the web server and it crashes. Or, they have an issue with their internet backbone connection and all their websites are currently offline.

You can check the uptime status by using an uptime verification site rather than having to visit your website periodically. Bear in mind that when loading your own site, you may often get the cached (saved) version of the site which won’t confirm its status. It’s better to check the uptime independently to be sure. Verifying every morning is good practice.

When your site is down, you may get complaint phone calls, or it could reduce the number of contacts that you receive. It depends how your business operates. Adjust your expected income that month to reflect the downtime. Most web hosts have an uptime guarantee. If they’re outside of it, ask about a credit against future web hosting fees to compensate you.

Being prepared for every eventuality is not possible. However, you can take sensible precautions to cover the most damaging things that could happen and have a plan for how you’ll recover should that happen. This will avoid the panic setting in, because you’ve already got it covered.

Confessions of a New Mummy

One of the most stressful points in life is moving to a new home. It doesn’t matter whether you are moving from your parent’s house to college, from college to a place of your own and then in with a new partner, moving is stressful. You have to consider so many different things to be able to stay as organised as possible while coordinating the schedules of real estate agents, movers, the bank: you name them, you’re going to be the one organising them.

Buying a home is a long process. From comparing the mortgage calculator on every bank website to get the best deal for you, to finding the right home and discovering that it’s going to be a while before you can move in. The most stressful move? The one that you do after you’ve expanded your family. Children bring so much joy into our lives. Their very presence is enough to make your whole life feel complete – but my goodness if they’re not the hardest part of a house move! Trying to explain to them, no matter their age, the change that’s about to happen and what it will mean for them isn’t easy. Toddlers and babies are the easiest to transition to a new home, but they’re also the hardest to predict in terms of mood and actions when you actually get to moving day. Teenagers will likely be the ones who resist a move, especially if it means moving to a new school and making new friends again but will also be the easiest to coordinate on moving day. There’s really no winning combination here, but there are a few things that you can do to make it as smooth as you can. Being a parent isn’t easy, but being a parent on moving day could be easier with the tips that we have for you below:

House Move

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Get Them Involved. When we are talking about a baby, the most involved that they could be is to stay asleep on you or nearby while you coordinate the movers and the removals. For older children, they will need a level of preparation. You should aim to start discussing the house move with them at least a month or two before you start looking for properties. They could come with you to viewings if you get them excited enough. This way, they can see the places that they could be living and the new area that they could be living in. It allows them time to think about the process ahead and think through it. They can also see any attractions like parks and pools in the local area, so that they can imagine the fun that they could have in the new area.

Relinquish Control. You’re a control freak. You know it, I know it, your family knows it. When it comes to life, probably not, but when it comes to moving to a new house? You have that military precision that makes things run smoothly. So, when you think about giving the kids a little control over the move, watch out for coming out in hives. Don’t worry, I’m just kidding. Giving the kids an element of control in this change in their lives is going to make a huge difference to their experience. When you are buying a new home, you get the chance to give them the opportunity to splash their personality over their new bedroom. Let them help you with the décor and paint colours if they are old enough to have an input. Stick to colours rather than themes, though, as it will be so much easier to change a colour than strip back and sort out a theme every time they get a new favourite character!

move

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Avoid Mid-Semester Moves. School is a constant in the lives of your children, and if you want to move to a new area and start them at a new school, avoid moving to a new house in the middle of the semester. You need to make this transition a smooth one, so moving away AFTER the semester or school year has ended will not only give them a few weeks to settle into the new area, it allows them to be ready to settle into a new school with a fresh year. Not many children enjoy being the ‘new kid’ on the block, but time and conversation can help them to move smoothly and with a lot less anguish.

Play Happy. Sure, a move is stressful on you as a parent, but it’s going to be less stressful all round if your kids don’t know about it! If they see you worried, stressed or panicking, they’re going to start worrying about that and feeling stressed. You need the kids to feel as relaxed as possible so that they can move to a new home without worrying that it will all fall through. There’s a lot of build-up involved in buying a new house, and that’s not just for you, either. The move itself should be a huge adventure for all of you, and the more that you make it so, the happier all of you will be. Kids will always look up to you to see what their own emotions and feelings should be. They’ll want to make sure you are okay, but that’s not really their job, is it? They’re your children and you need to play at being happy, even if you’re not feeling it right now.

House Move

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Children don’t often have a say in the big decisions in their lives, so the only thing that you can really do is make the whole process as bump-free as possible. You are the constant that your children have in their lives, and you need to be the person that they look to for their happiness and excitement. Make the move a smooth one, and you’ll all be settling in and headed to school with smiles on your faces. It’ll happen; don’t worry!

Winnettes

My favourite interior styles have changed over the years inspired by trips to salesrooms but also antique fairs, flea markets and charity shops.
Minimalism does appeal to me although you would not think so if you visited my home. I have an image of myself in some dazzling career living the single life in a loft apartment full of light and clean lines. There would be no pets or children so I could have lots of clean white things like Egyptian cotton sheets. Who knows? Perhaps my retirement retreat will be just like this. There is a lot to be said for not living with clutter and knowing that memories remain even when you get rid of stuff.
My close male friend once had a urban styled flat and although I could enjoy visiting that look would not suit me as a home. It just comes across too harsh for me and I like my comforts.
The English Garden look is OK and I could live with it so long as I used bold and vibrant colours. I do love the idea of having lots of real flowers around at all times. In fact, I recently started a new rule that I would treat myself to flowers every Friday.
My love of the bold and vibrant means I do like elements of luxe style in my home but not as the all-encompassing theme. You often see luxe looks in my bedroom though especially when it comes to bedspreads.
The Scandinavian look is not for me perhaps because I associate it too much and unfairly with IKEA. Having said that I do love the idea of not having carpets which are the worst dirt collectors in my opinion.
France could do it for me in some ways with shabby chic and a distressed look. This is one style that is so easy to accomplish via car boot sales and charity shop finds so it can be very affordable to do.
I am a huge fan of the seaside so I am always attracted to anything to do with the coast. I would be quite happy with a Coastal style with deckchairs and a lot of white, reds and blues. You will find pictures of lighthouses and shells in my home. I absolutely love the idea of having bigger coastal items on display such as a wooden oar.
So you can see there are styles I dislike and ones that I like a little or a lot. The truth is I have eclectic tastes in fashion, art, writing and music. I guess that is why the Modern Bohemia look is the one that suits me best. I like to throw different colours and textures together and often from different eras too. My favourite colours are orange and purple so this look is so much a match for me. It also gives me an excuse to retain a little clutter and to have mismatching colours and shapes. Life is messy and I quite like my home to reflect that.
If you want to investigate these styles in more detail and find out which one is for you check out Julian Charles and get revamping your home today.

clairejustine