Fudgy bear and the twinsHalf term week and you need some interesting things to do with the kids right? So when we were invited to meet Fudgy Bear I got very excited, I mean I LOVE his name and I knew the twins would too.

Fudgy Bear being a kind and considerate soul decided that Westfield, the super shopping centre at Shepherd’s Bush, was to be our meeting point. I hadn’t yet had the pleasure of browsing this fabulous shoppers paradise so my excitement was increased even more and I fell in love with him before even meeting him just for that reason! One very clever bear I’d say.

Fudgy Bear met us in Foyle’s bookshop, he’d laid out a large mat for us all to sit on and Sarah Marley, the author of his tales sat and read us a couple of his books. The children weren’t quiet at all, they were quite the opposite constantly butting in, each one itching to shout out the answer first because one of the unique points of Fudgy Bear’s Books is they are interactive and by asking questions as he goes Fudgy Bear keeps the little ones gripped and their attention doesn’t waver a second.

Sarah Marley the author of Fudgy Bear

I must admit Fudgy Bear is an incredibly good looking fellow, he’s hand stitched and has his name on his golden bow and embroidered on his right paw. Both the girls and myself were instantly smitten and it took me forever to get out of the shop without taking two bears with me.

‘Mummy, I need a Fudgy Bear too!’ tears rolling down pink cheeks, eyes getting redder by the tear and voices louder and more insistent by the second. I managed to get out of the shop with just a book each and a Fudgy Bear biscuit each but next time I know I won’t be so lucky, he’s so desirable.

Fudgy’s books introduce colours, numbers, shapes and make learning fun from birth to preschool and for slightly older children he has an activity book with dot-to-dots, mazes and counting games to play.

Child psychologist Dr Amanda Gummer says

“Reading the books with the bear helps children to engage with the character in the stories, fostering empathy and adding a sensory dimension to the visual and auditory activity of reading a book.

Learning is more effective when a child feels calm and secure. If parents spend time reading, whilst the child cuddles the toy, the child will associate Fudgy with positive feelings of security, calmness, love and happiness. Cuddling Fudgy can recreate those feelings and help a child cope with challenges they face.”

Fudgy Bear has won a host of awards including Loved by Parnets (2011) silver award for Best Soft Toy and Best Stimulative toy, Gurgle magazine had him down as a Christmas Must have and The Baby Website  gave him an unbeatable 10/10.

 

Proud little shoppers with their Fudgy Bear books

Walker Jane AlexanderA while back I saw a shout out for preteen readers to review a book written by Jane Alexander. Walker. Immediately I thought of my book devouring niece Rosie, ‘She’ll know in a jiffy if it’s any good or not’ I thought confidently to myself and I contacted her to put my case forward.

Thankfully she jumped at the chance (she really is a bookworm, it runs in the family) and before we knew it Jane had sent over a copy of Walker, her book.

I forwarded it on to Rosie and sat back to wait, I didn’t want to push her or lay any pressure on and she told me she was mid book at that moment but would read it as soon as she could.

Time went by and I emailed her to see what was happening. I was painfully aware that any author waiting to hear news would be crawling across the ceiling wondering what on earth the verdict was, well I would be that’s for sure!

Rosie came back immediately she’d forgotten all about it – typical teen – and sat there and wrote her review for me. Here it is copied and pasted…out of the mouths of babes so to speak View Post

battle hymn of the tiger mother amy chuaI was asked a couple of weeks ago by Bloomsbury if I would like to review Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and seeing as reading is one of my favourite pleasures and one that I sadly had to put aside to look after the twins until now as there just wasn’t enough time in the day, (or my energy wouldn’t stretch to it) I agreed and waited excitedly for the book to arrive.

I was initially attracted to the title which is fabulous in itself and then a little research online showed that Amy Chua is in fact daughter of Chinese immigrants who immigrated to the U.S.A where the culture clashes she encompassed were enormous.

Amy Chua has received a lot of criticism for writing her honest and often brutal account of how she raised her two daughters. Her idea was to write a story showing how Chinese parents were better at raising their kids than Western ones but she ended up with quite the opposite.

One thing I appreciated from the word go is Amy’s voice. She’s frank, honest and you know exactly where you stand with her, I like people like that. She is also not afraid to take the mickey out of herself when she recognises she has overstepped a line. View Post

Stuff every Mom should know - QuirkI was recently asked if I would like to review a book entitled ‘Stuff Every Mom Should Know’ and although I winced at the Mom instead of Mum I was intrigued enough to say ‘Yes, what should I know?’

During all of my pregnancies and after I have read book after book after book and in all honesty I can never get enough books, I love to read. Also when you’re expecting it’s a time of ‘I wonders’ and ‘What ifs?’  that a book can help to solve somewhat.

It arrived swiftly and my first thoughts were – Nice! It’s a handy pocket sized book in purple and more importantly it’s well bounded because I flicked forward and backward stopping on pages haphazardly throughout the book and reading bits here and there I must admit I did put the book through a stiff road test.

It’s one of those books you can keep referring back to, it’s filled with useful information, funny stuff and How To’s as well like How to Rid a Bedroom of Monsters, How to get hair out of chewing gum and How to swaddle a baby.

It’s got tips on food, on tweens – Five things to do with your tween that you’ll BOTH actually enjoy and ideas for games and creative moments.

Written by two American ladies Heather Gibbs Flett and Whitney Moss (hence the Mom!) I’d say this was a perfect present for a first time mum (or dad) or for an expectant mum on the run up to her big day…how to baby proof her home for example.

I just wish if it said Mum and not Mom but I’m a fusspot , if you can get past that you’ll love it and certainly won’t regret spending your £6.99 to have it. It’s out in March

 

Remember me telling you I had written a short children’s story for a book in aid of Save The Children? Well this is my Christmas present to you (if I get it right that is) I have copied the story below and added a PDF for you to download for free (again if I get it right) The pictures were drawn by Billy Whooley my 10 year old nephew (the fabulous monster) and Rosie Whooley my 12 year old niece (the darling little girl) I hope you enjoy our good work…

 

This is the story of a monster.

He was very big with huge yellow eyes and green spikes down his furry back. When he was angry, which was very often, he turned purple with rage as he stamped his feet in anger on the floor.

His mouth was so wide when he roared that everyone ran for safety for fear of being sucked inside.

Oh he was a fierce and frightening creature and everyone stayed well away from him.

The trouble was the monster was very lonely. He was so good at scaring people away he had no friends.

He was so frightening that he didn’t even know his name as no one spoke to him. He had no one to play with and no one to talk to and no one to cuddle him when he got scared

because don’t tell anyone but even the fiercest monsters get scared sometimes.

In fact one day he got so scared he sat down and burst into tears. He wailed loudly as the biggest teardrops fell on his shiny fur.

A little girl heard all the commotion and came to see what it was. She saw the huge monster sat on the ground his head in his hands and sobbing. She walked over to him and put her arms around him

‘There, there, nothing is ever that bad.’

She stroked his soft fur and sat down beside him.

‘Would you like some cake?’ she offered

The monster was astounded. No one had ever spoken to him before. He looked at the little girl in front of him and nodded his head accepting a piece of her cake.

‘Why are you crying?’ she asked.

‘Because I have no friends, I scare everyone away and I don’t even know my name.’

‘I can be your friend if you like?’ suggested the little girl. This made the monster very happy and for the first time in his life, he smiled.

The smile made him feel all warm and he started to giggle.

The little girl giggled too and soon they were rolling on the grass laughing.

‘I know what your name is!’ she said ‘It’s Giggles.’

What a happy day the monster had a friend and a name!

 

I hope you liked it or at least your children will. This is a first time for me but I hope that if you click on the link below you are presented with a document to download, it’s a very basic text copy of the story and I’m going to learn how to make them more pretty and include pictures too.

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a wonderful 2012

Love Mari xxx