My Rich Prince appealed to me as it claims to offer valuable advice to teenagers and young adults. I have a teenage boy and  teenage girl. As with most chapters of my children’s lives the time where they are on the cusp of adulthood has crept up on me and I feel quite unprepared. What are the right answers for them? Is it up to me to find them or should they take the  lead? Perhaps a combination of the two would be best

The author offers life advice on many issues and with some vital ones coming  back to them more than once throughout the book. I found it more of a rambling than structured read but that did not bother me as that is probably how I write too.

The book effectively brings together notes given to a son by the author over the years and covers love, money  and self-belief.

I agreed with some of the guidance, disagreed with some and was not at all sure either way on some matters. I take that as a good thing as it means the book made me think and reflect deeply on some occasions.

You can dip in and out of the book or read it all in one sitting as it is quite short. I have finished it but will keep it on the bookshelf to read again. I  know my teenage son is already interested in reading it too.

The author comments;

 “I believe that I am suitably placed to write this book because of what I have gone through in life and the observations made along the way. I was, for instance, able to leave behind a life of struggle in Africa, to face other forms of challenges in Austria on my own, learn and study in a new language, finance myself through medical school before leaving for London.”

Finally,  I would say that I don’t think anyone has all the answers and this book seems to purport to do that and sometimes verged a little on the arrogant in my opinion.  This is interesting as perhaps it suggests I have more faith in my own values and answers that I thought.

https://www.troubador.co.uk/bookshop/childrens-non-fiction/my-rich-prince/

 

 

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

“Was this in the plan?” How often have you said that or something like it when life did not follow that path you expected when you were a child or young adult?

For a fair few years now that saying has meant something different to me and many bloggers. It is the title of an inspirational blog by the very lovely Steph Nimmo. I was very honoured when she kindly asked me to read and review her book of the same name.

When the book arrived, I hesitated to start it. I thought I already knew what it was about and certainly had an idea of how it would end. No rushing to the back page this time then, Kate!

Let’s put some context on this. I met the beautiful Hayley from DownsSideUp at a blogging event many years ago. We connected at a heartfelt level very quickly perhaps aided by a wine or two. It was Hayley who introduced me to Steph in an insistent way as if it was vital we met. My first impressions of Steph were that she was warm and friendly but also stunningly beautiful and well-groomed. Those impressions have stayed the same although of course I feel I know her a little better having read the book.

It seems to me that like myself and many of us Steph identified as a career girl and hard worker first and foremost. The along came a husband and children as they will. Steph’s last pregnancy was challenging and there was a sense that all was not quite well confirmed when her second daughter Daisy was born with multiple special needs.

There’s a fair amount of medical terminology in this book because there has to be. Steph and her husband Andy and their children entered that world where things are not quite clear, where decisions have to be made about procedures often quickly and where blue-lighting becomes a common feature of life.

I defy you not to fall a little in love with the family as you read. They are not saints. They are rocked many times by twists in the road. They are human and inspirational not by choice but by what life throws at them and how they handle it.

I was interested to learn how Steph sometimes finds the learning issues of her boys far more difficult to contend with that the huge physical issues experienced by Daisy. It was also so lovely how Steph realises that her other daughter had special needs of her own as the “normal” child in the family.

It was wonderful to see that Steph could draw on the support of family and friends. Thank goodness she had a support network already in place.

What came out very strongly was how many magical memories Steph creates with her family perhaps all too aware that life can be too short. There are three huge losses in this book the first being the loss of Steph’s Dad and that was the first point when I cried as it brought back memories of losing my own father.

So what do I take away from the book?

It has made me want to be more proactive about living fully with my children making memories. This was already important to me but it is so easy to have a lazy day when we should be actively relishing our family moments.

It has made me want to encourage Steph to write more as I feel she has other valuable lessons to share perhaps with the children involved in the new book/s if they were interested in doing that.

When my Mum died she said she was OK with dying as she had visited all the places she wanted to and done all the things she had hoped to. Very few of us can claim that but we can work proactively on making it happen and/or cherish the blessings that have come our way as Steph’s husband does.

I went to the bar the night after reading the book and “Starman” by David Bowie was played. There is more to this life (and the next) than we know. Read the book and you will know why I end my review with this.

Highly recommended and might just shake up your life a bit!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Was-This-Plan-Stephanie-Nimmo/dp/0995780625

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101 games to play before you grow up is a book title that certainly piques the interest if you are like me and worry your children spend way too much time on video games. Another issue I struggle with is that when they do want to engage in some quality family time, my mind has this annoying habit of going blank on occasion. However, I am keen to promote fun and imaginative play and 101 Games To Play Before You Grow Up is a powerful tool on that score.

Games To Play

The first thing that I noticed about the book is how colourful and attractive it is. There are really relevant illustrations and there is a cool design detail where the description of each game is outlined with a track like you see on many board games with boxes including the number of players, the equipment if any you will need, where to play, the activity level involved and the point of the game.

It is so fun to flick through finding retro games you may have played as a child such as Rock, Paper, Scissors and Cat’s Cradle.

Playing games is part of growing up if we have to and also brilliant for learning whilst having fun too. This book really can claim to be THE guide to playing, whether that be with pen and paper, a cup and a ball or some playing cards.

There are lots of games to play in solitude or with friends and family. They are divided into useful categories including party games, role-playing games, card and dice games. There are good recommendations for board games and trading card games There are games to suit every sort of weather too.

This book is your answer to entertaining the children and persuading them off their telephones and X Boxes even if only for a little while! Perfect for school holidays and for anytime when you want to ensure your children are having great quality time and preferably with you because sometimes we need to step back and forget all about growing up! It is great for our emotional wellbeing and for family relationships.

I highly recommend this book and give it a score of ten out of ten.

By Walter Foster Jr Creative Team
Illustrated by Diego Vaisberg

What are your go-to games to play with your children?

We're going on an adventure

Chasing the Sun with Henry is a novel I probably would not have chosen and for a quite embarrassing reason. It is written by a man and written in the first person with a man as the protagonist. I would normally go for a female author which is ridiculous because some of my favourite authors are men but there you have it. I may as well be honest.

Chasing The Sun With Henry

I read the blurb on the back of the novel which was sent to me for review. I was told that Eddie was a children’s entertainer and close hand magician who was bored in his marriage. I still did not feel inspired thinking from the look of the fact that he meets a beautiful stranger this would be just about some affair.

The novel starts with a familiar enough scene as Eddie returns from a dog walk on the beach with his Collie-Spaniel cross, Henry. His wife Sally moans and he takes it in stride for once as he is excited having met a woman whilst out. The marriage seems to be stale perhaps and also troubled but it is not clear why but I sensed something big would be revealed in due course. I liked both Eddie and Sally and also enjoyed how the affection and memories between them are still there although threatened by a number of things including domestic irritations, family dynamics and stress.

We are introduced to the couple and their friends quite quickly. All are drawn really well including Henry the dog. I was interested in each and every one of them and not quite sure where their stories would take them. The book held my attention and I was keen to return to it regularly.

The woman on the beach who attracts Eddie’s interest remains an enigma to the reader and to Eddie for that matter until about halfway through the book when their paths cross again although this time Cerys’ dog is missing and this is going to tie different aspects of the book together.

I am about halfway through the book and I love it. I would want to return to the same author again and look forward to sharing more of my thoughts with you soon.

The author comments:

“My novel portrays the various guises of love that we encounter in life; from parental, platonic and sexual, to a love of nature and the natural world. The story offsets the positive influences we gain from such relationships against the losses we are also forced to face,” says Gary.

So far, I think that is a good description and these themes surely would appeal to most of us.

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