snuffles and the cloud peopleThe online community is a funny old place, I’ve been online now for a good 10 years and have used various forums for all manner of topics from Trying to conceive to camping advice to making the perfect buttercream for cakes.

Sometimes you meet and chat with people that stay in your life for a long time after even if it is reduced to snatched conversations on Facebook thanks to busy lifestyles.

I met Sula van Lelyveld online and we were part of a vibrant group of women spanning continents and enjoying all sorts of conversations as we supported each other in real life.

I always remember Sula being a bookworm with lists of books she was working her way through, it was always a joy to chat with her in South Africa as I stared out of my dull window a million miles away.

Sula has spent a great deal of time writing a book, a book for children and she was surprised at how many edits can go into 1000 words but after years of work her book is finally completed.

snuffles and the cloud people1

Her mum, Annice Whitehead is a talented artist and has completed an in-depth study of Ikebana floral art which is utterly breathtaking. Annice has drawn some beautiful images to accompany Sula’s words and I’m sure you will agree that they are stunning.

snuffles and the cloud people

The story focuses on a dragonfly who goes by the name of Jewel, Jewel notices his friend Snuffles the warthog looking very upset and Jewel discovers that Snuffles is unhappy as there are no muddy puddles to play in. Jewel thinks immediately of the Cloud People and sets off to ask them for their help.

The Cloud People include some delightful characters that represent various forms of cloud, some are unable to help as their clouds are too high or too icy but Jewel doesn’t give up and manages to find a way to make it rain for Snuffles with the help of the Cloud People.

snuffles and the cloud people

An excellent child’s story that also is enormously useful in helping the children understand the different cloud formations and the story of rain, something they will come across in the school curriculum at some point.

I love to read a good story to the children and I am really pleased that there is so much hidden learning in this tale too, my girls are learning something new without even realising it and that has to be the best way.

snuffles and the cloud people1

Our verdict: We loved it and would thoroughly recommend it. It’s currently available to download onto Kindle on Amazon for only $3.02 and it will make you smile.

Read Sula’s blog too, full of books, gardening, travel and parenting all the way from South Africa.



As of 1st July Google reader is no more, the end of an era. In all honesty I never personally got to grips with it but many readers used it and many of you may have read Mari’s World from your reader.


So what to do now? Look for Google reader alternatives. I have discovered BlogLovin which I LOVE, all you have to do is click the follow button and add all your other favourite blogs and presto, you have all your reading material in one place. It is so easy to use and really cuts down on my time as I have grouped my blogs into different categories and can visit and comment directly from BlogLovin.

What’s new in Mari’s World? Well the tab at the top has grouped posts where to make life easy you can find all the recipes in one place, all the travel posts and all the toy reviews too.

Mari's World header

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Mari’s World has been going 3 and half years now and has come a long way from the tentative start, your comments are always appreciated and every like, follow or share means the world to me so I thank all of you for being so supportive whilst I learn more and more every day

Thank you, I hope you’ll stick around.

the girl with a brave heartI absolutely love it when Barefoot Books send us one of their books to review because I know I’m going to be reading a beautiful story with gorgeous illustrations in it and The Girl with a Brave Heart is no exception.

This story is a tale from Tehran by Rita Jahanforuz who is also a well known and highly respected singer in Israel. she tells the story of Shiraz who doesn’t think of herself as brave at all but one day she drops her ball of wool from the balcony and has to muster all her courage to go and retrieve it. Her ball of wool lands in a neighbour’s garden and the old lady turns out to be a very unusual person indeed.

My girls were gripped to the story line and as I put it away and kissed them goodnight they asked if we could read the same story the following evening too which shows just how much they enjoyed it.

This book also carries a message to young readers, one of being a nice person, a kind person and these qualities will one day be repaid whereas if you choose to be a spiteful and selfish character this may also come back on you.

The hardback version of The Girl with a Brave Heart retails at £10.99 or you can choose the paperback for £5.99

Barefoot Books is the brainchild of Nancy Traversy and Tessa Strickland who started in 1992, they were young mothers with four children between them. They wanted to create meaningful, creative careers where they could make a difference in the world, while also keeping their children at the centre of their lives. For over twenty years, they have created bright, colourful books for children that combine beautiful artwork with captivating storytelling. “Our books capture the imagination, spark curiosity, inspire creativity and instill a respect for cultural, social and ecological diversity.”

Disclosure: Barefoot Books sent me a copy of The girl with a brave heart. they didn’t ask me to review it, I did because we loved it so much

Snowdon Been2BooksShortly after we were all back in our homes having descended quite gloriously from Snowdon back in March and having made such a phenomenal racket we were contacted by Been2Books, an online book making facility that preserves the memories of your travels and days out.

Unlike normal photo books, Been 2 Books also have included pre-designed pages with photos and written text, in our case of Snowdon.

You can write your own title on the cover and then upload photographs on 10 of the 32 pages. The other 18 pages are the pre-designed ones I mentioned. Been2Books can be used for sports events, tourist attractions, public events and of course travel including cities and destinations throughout the UK and Europe.

If you like writing – look out for the opportunity at the bottom of this page and create some books for them ;)

This means that when you return from a fabulous holiday, event or attraction you can upload your photos to the site and make your very own souvenir of your experience including useful facts and info that are nice to look back on and make for an interesting album to show family and friends.

Snowdon Been2Books

I think it’s a fantastic idea and having my Snowdon book here to flick through and show people, not only does it bring the day back to me and the experience but it’s a beautiful book to leave on your coffee table with it’s hi gloss laminated cover

If you have climbed Snowdon (well done fellow climber! Tough going isn’t it?) Been2Books are donating 10% of their online profits from sales of Snowdon to Llanberis Mountain Rescue PDF.

Snowdon Been2Books

Lastly I must mention Been2 are currently advertising on Gumtree for freelance writers/photographers to produce books for them. As parents you know what you want in a souvenir book, so who better to produce a book? Anybody interested, send an email to for more information.

RedTed Art craft bookAren’t we just the cleverest people on the planet?

Ok well maybe not that clever but look what we made, some Juggling Chooks from Maggy’s recently published Red Ted Art book and some felt strawberries too.

Maggy asked me to have a look at her book and review it for her and you know what it’s like reviewing something for a friend, it could be very awkward indeed but as soon as the book turned up I let the girls turn the pages and watched them closely.

They stopped on a number of pages “Can we do this one mummy?’ and would go back to the book again and again for a quick peek. In fact there are so many ideas in there you’ll be blown away and they are all laid out over two pages with lots of beautiful  photographs and Very. Clear. Instructions. Which makes it easy for parents like me to get organised for a crafting session.

One of Maggy’s own top tips for crafting is Get organised. If you have everything to hand before you start you’ll cope marvellously, another tip of hers is ‘Step Back’ and let the kids get on with it. This is a tricky one for me but well worth forcing yourself as my girls surprise me again and again with their curiosity.

Red Ted Art craft book

Juggling Chooks

I will admit to being the major crafter on this one as there was cutting (precision cutting you understand) and sewing and I haven’t yet brought myself to let the twins loose with needles yet. I made them over a few days rather than all at once. I cut the fabric and the felt bits one day, pinned them together another, sewed them up another and stuffed and finished them on the last day.

red ted art craft book

Then I let the girls loose with them and tried to teach them to juggle, it was a lot of fun and of course when my Chooks are no longer required they can sit pretty in the bedroom waiting for their next turn of play

The cost to make them was minimal, I used an old summer dress of the twins they’d outgrown and a pair of pyjamas (penguins – er mine) The felt was scraps leftover from a previous crafting project, cotton and needle I had and I used pinto beans left over from the Bags of Happiness and stuffing leftover from my KISS cushion to fill them with.

juggling chooks

I have some felt strawberries to sew up and then some dolly pegs to use to make princesses and fairies with. Then we want to make the long giraffe, a stone family and oh so much more.

felt strawberries

Have a look at her book on Amazon or try and win one over at Red Ted Art it’s dead easy to enter and you won’t regret it if you’re the winner I promise

felt strawberries Red Ted Art

If you are on the lookout for crafts for kids then do please take a look at this fabulous 100 crafts for kids post, that should offer some inspiration!