Me: “Dinner’s on the table girls.”
Alice: “Not yet mum, I can’t put this book down!”

Separate occasion
Me: “Don’t forget to take a book in the car for the journey.”
Bessie: “Oh brilliant, I can read Kaspar Prince of Cats!”

Kaspar Prince of Cats book review

What more proof do you need that Kaspar Prince of Cats by Michael Morpurgo is utterly compelling? I have yet to get a look in but judging by the twin’s reaction this book is very, very good and on my half term reading list!

There is nothing more satisfying than seeing the twins engrossed in a book. They get comfortable on the sofa, sinking into the cushions with Baxter cuddling in on the scene too as close as he can, happy for the warmth of a soft lap.

Silence reigns in the house and my two little people start to take an adventure via the printed words forming pictures in their mind as the story develops.
Is there anything better?

The fact that they are huge animal fans – any picture or video of an animal on my Facebook stream is always met with very long ‘awws’ – meant that the book was already set up to be a hit. However, some books can disappoint. I have had to write in the girl’s school reading books twice now asking permission to exchange their books as they found them boring.

Not the case for Kaspar Prince of Cats though. This book, read to date by two people, is already well thumbed and has lost its ‘brand new’ look.

The story is about a cat, which you obviously gathered by the title. A special cat that arrived at the Savoy hotel in London in a basket. Carried in by Johnny Trott, the bell boy, who carried all of Countess Kandinsky’s belongings.

Now I can’t tell you what happens as I haven’t read the book yet, not to mention it would be a huge spoiler but, suffice to say that Johnny ends up with Kaspar. The two of them become great friends with Lizziebeth, a spirited American heiress and Johnny and Kaspar find themselves travelling around the world. They encounter all sorts of troubles on their journey – theft, a shipwreck even a rooftop rescue!

It is said that he goes by the official title of Prince Kaspar Kandinsky, Prince of Cats.

It is said that he is a Muscovite, a Londoner and a New Yorker.

It is said that he is the only cat to survive the sinking of the Titanic…

I’d say they are the perfect ingredients to cuddle up on the sofa for a good read, wouldn’t you?

You can win a signed copy simply by entering the competition on the Rafflecopter below

PS. **Puts on detective hat** I thought you’d really interested to hear about how Michael Morpurgo was inspired to write this story

Kaspar Prince of Cats book review

We are delighted to be invited by Harper Collins to take part in the #MorpurgosAnimals blog tour where each blog is focusing on a separate book. Other books to look our for are: – The Butterfly Lion, The Fox and The Ghost King, The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips, Born To Run, An Elephant in the Garden, Toro! Toro! Shadow and Running Wild reviewed by some of my favourite bloggers.
For up to date information follow Harper Collins on Twitter and Facebook

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Eternity Rose

Photo by Oana Dascalul

Soon, there won’t be any getting away from it… Christmas is on the way and coming fast. Everyone’s going to be on the lookout for the best gifts to give. If you have a loved one to think of and have no idea what to buy, take a look at the Eternity Rose as an option…

When I lived in Italy there was (and still is) an artist who lived in the town called Maestro Paolo, an eccentric guy – as most artists are, who was always coming up with really good ideas. He’d build wooden huts throughout the village and fill them with interesting things to look at and the tourists would stop in awe as they walked the cobbled streets. He’d organise really fun town carnivals and when you walked past his jewellery shop you could see birds flying around and baby rabbits in the window chomping on fresh grass and carrots. (I must add no harm was ever done and he would take the utmost care of them.) But there was one idea of his that I simply fell in love with – silver handmade roses.

They were beautiful to look at and looked as delicate as a real rose. A tall stem with a couple of leaves and a fresh rosebud at the top just starting to open. I admired them so much, I decided to buy one for my mum to remind her how much I loved her. Living so far apart was difficult for us both and this would be a constant reminder of my love for her.

I also bought one for a very good friend of mine for a special birthday, I thought the silver rose would live on whereas real flowers would soon pass and be forgotten.

When Eternity Rose got in touch and asked me if I would like to review one I accepted, simply because it reminded me of that special gift and that special time in Italy. They make them in gold too but I went for the silver as a reminder of Mastro Paolo’s roses.

Eternity rose

Photo by Oana Dascalul

I must say, the rose is packaged in the most beautiful wooden box which really adds a touch of luxury to the opening of the gift. Inside the box is lined with a soft blue velvet-like fabric and the rose sits in a specially carved out space making sure no damage comes to the flower and delicate petals.

The Eternity Rose is a real rose. It has been taken at its most perfect stage and dipped in silver (or gold) It is then hung to dry and the finished product is a delicate and beautiful flower that will stand beautifully in a single stem vase.

I am very impressed. I think anyone opening this gift will love it. It is an object of beauty which is unusual and still maintains the deep meaning behind the gift of a rose. Plus it will live on for years and years.

Who would you buy an Eternity Rose for?

Disclosure: I was sent an Eternity Rose for the purpose of this post.

Project Mc2 doll

The twins love the Project Mc2 girls and I am happy to let them watch as they are inspiring. The Project Mc2 characters are proud to be nerds, proud to be geeks and show that intelligence is something cool. A way of thinking that is close to my heart and I am keen to encourage too.

As Year 5 has kicked off, we are looking forward to a successful year with their new teacher, where they slipped last year I am encouraging them to catch up and do extra at home. I am bribing them with pocket money to sit down and do an exercise or two of Mathletics each day, call me harsh but they are liable to burst into tears over maths as they totally lost their confidence last year. I am of the idea that if I can beat that fear over the next few months, I will have won the battle and they will be more confident in maths as they go through the remainder of their school life. It’s worth it for me and I am determined to get them to the best of their ability again.

The Project Mc2 doll series help me on that journey and as I encourage the twins to do extra, they are reminded that these girls do too and yet they look great, they are funny and intelligent too.

Project Mc2

The new set of dolls added to the fun existing list are the Project McExperiments with Dolls. Each doll comes with her own experiment using ingredients found at home and can be performed over and over again.

The experiments include: Make your own Lava Lipgloss with McKeyla McAlister, |Create your own Gummies with Adrienne Attoms, Make your own Light Up Earrings with Bryden Bandweth, Design amazing Tie Dye with Camryn Coyle, or Create Glitter Tattoos with Ember Evergreen

The dolls, based on the girls in the show are fully movable and can be dressed and undressed. Their hair can be played with and they inspire hours of fun play. Do you know someone who would be happy to receive a Project Mc2 Experiments with Dolls? I have one doll up for grabs in the competition below.

Good luck!

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wheres wookiee star wars

Have you seen the latest Where’s Wookiee book by Egmont? We were sent a copy to review and feedback our thoughts and I have to wait for the girls to go to bed to get a look in, that’s how much they like it!

In fact, Bessie asked to take her copy into school last week; first she wanted to show her new teacher and secondly, she wanted to show her friends. That is the best indication of how impressed she is with the book, it is cool enough to show her friends. Star Wars is hugely popular in the tween generation, both boys and girls love it.

wheres wookiee book

Kids discuss various parts of the film or even makeup Star Wars based games on the playground at playtime. Like…er…Wookiee dabs for example

wheres wookiee dab

Talking of games, Egmont also sent us two Wookiee onesies – which I haven’t been able to get off of the girls to wash yet. They asked us to play our own version of Where’s Wookiee?

You can imagine the fun that went into that! The twins were raring to have fun in their onesies. We were down at our caravan in Thanet, where there are fields, parks and lots of open space, so we popped on the Wookiee suits and off we went… er to the zipwire. Of course, where else would Wookiee rather go?

wheres wookiee zipwire

“Mum! take a photo of me on the zip wire.”

wheres wookiee

“Mum, take a photo of us in the arcade.”

wheres wookiee

“How about playing Airgame mum?”

wheres wookiee

“Mum! Take a photo of us behind this bush.”

We had a lot of fun and it was really good to see the girls getting so excited about a blog post which is another indication of how much they loved this task – quite something for tweenhood, trust me.

wheres wookiee

My personal favourite Where’s Wookie

The book is not just for children, I’ve seen Dad pick it up too when he thinks we’re not watching, in fact, I think all Star Wars fans (and non) will love to have a look at the cleverly drawn pictures and try to work out Where Wookiee is. There are two copies of Where’s Wookiee now, the first Where’s the Wookiee and the most recent, Where’s the Wookiee 2 both available from Amazon.

Your chance to win a copy of Where’s Wookiee 2 and Where’s Wookiee (original) using the Rafflecopter widget below.

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Disclosure: This is an honest review of a review copy of the book, provided by the publisher Egmont UK Ltd

I realise how early it is to be talking about Christmas but we all know that before we know it, it will be knocking at the door. Trust me, if you are in retail or marketing you have already started speaking about Christmas and laying down plans to make your business boom in this period.

On that note, I am starting to receive ideas to share with you and of course, those that appeal to me are the ones that get a mention.

This post is all about family games because it is something my family make a big part of the day when we are spending time together. We have ping pong, a dart board, Pass the Pigs and many other fun games to play together… who didn’t have a go at Pie Face?

The Very Merry Christmas Game

very merry christmas game

Christmas crackers, Carol singers, Christmas presents and Brussel sprouts go into making the Very Merry Christmas game. The idea of the game is to scheme your way around the board to get all the best presents which you can only open at the end of the game. What lavish gifts will you find in your stocking? Or will it be full of naff tat?

Suitable for age 8+. 2 – 4 players can enjoy the game or it can be played in teams. The board game has 42 Cracker cards and 32 present cards to land on and collect, you can use the Christmas cracker cards to steal a better present from someone else’s stocking and if you land on a carol singers space you have to sing your favourite festive song to prevent losing one of your gifts.

As with all games, there is always the card you want to avoid – in the Very Merry Christmas game it’s the dreaded sprout cards which have a bad effect on you, watch out for those!

The Very Merry Christmas Game will be available from Debenhams and Amazon for £19.99

Mr & Mrs Family Edition

Mr and mrs family game

Think you know your partner, family and friends well? The Mr and Mrs Family game will put that knowledge to the test!

The game is aimed at players aged 10 and above and requires 2 or more players. It is based on the popular family TV show hosted by Phillip Schofield and has 100 question cards plus some blanks for you to write your own questions on.

Work your way through the questions and the Paddle round questions before arriving at the It’s a Match stage. There is sure to be a lot of laughter as you play, plus some blushing and some blank looks too!

Mr & Mrs Family Edition RRP £19.99 from Debenhams, John Lewis, WHSmith, Amazon, Next, House of Frasier

Mr & Mrs Pocket Edition RRP £9.99 from Debenhams, John Lewis, Amazon

Disclosure: I was sent the board games to review for the purpose of this post.