Stuff Every Mom Should Know

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


The Scary Monster With No Name

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

Bookworm moments

Books were one of the nicest re-discoveries during my recent holiday in Sardegna. After three long years where all my free time was taken up by two very demanding little madams (which I thoroughly enjoyed and am not complaining about but that’s how it was!) I finally managed to enjoy some snatched moments where I could collapse into a chair and get my nose stuck into a good book.

I don’t know about you but for me a book has to grab me in the first pages and if it’s successful then I escape into another world and can devour pages, chapters even without realising how much time has gone by. Sometimes, if a book has been recommended I can persist with it  but if after a good try it still hasn’t caught my attention I will put it to one side and never try again, so is life.

So, what did I read?

Well I am way behind on my commuter days of buying/borrowing three books a week to while away my train or coach journey into London, in fact I have a shelf of books passed on to me since the girls were born from my mother, my sister in law even my grandmother each exclaiming

‘Oh, you must read this. You’ll love it!’ So I’m on catch up.

As I packed our suitcases this time round I very boldly threw in three books. Three? I hear you ask, yes 3 AND ladies and gentlemen I read them all – I can hardly believe it myself. So just in case you need an idea of what to read, these books are ‘old’ in the eyes of publishing but they kept me captivated

Testimony – Anita Shreve

I adore Anita Shreve’s style and she never fails to surprise me. I always find myself thinking ‘Oh My God – NO!’ Please don’t make that happen. But she does and I stay gripped to the end following each character as they get more and more pulled into the mess surrounding them. In this book, it’s young lads, drinking, smoking and having sex at school parties, what they don’t realise is it’s being filmed and will go on to internet creating a situation which will have enormous consequences on them, their families and a whole range of other unsuspecting people. An easy, brilliant read.

The Witch of Portabello – Paolo Cohelo

I am a great fan of Paolo Cohelo, I have read the majority of his books and keep going back to some of them time and time again, that is how good they are. In The Witch of Portabello Paolo writes about a young girl and how she realises she has certain abilities that not all of us have or ever will have. These abilities drive her life journey and her discoveries enforce a stubborn nature to try and make the world a better place but of course in this sceptical world we live in she comes up against some formidable characters that will cause her downfall.

I have turned back the corners on various pages for words that struck a chord deep inside so they may be easily found again when I need them. This is not chick-lit, it’s not light reading of girl meets boy and falls in love. This book goes deeper touching on the spiritual questions that we all harbour but never have the opportunity to explore.

The Other Bolyne Girl – Phillipa Gregory

Quite a large book and in small print. When I first opened it I thought ‘You’d better be good.’ Already threatening to put it to one side. Well, I couldn’t put the damn book down. I stopped talking to my family, ignoring it was lunch/dinner time. I was consumed by her words and the tale of two sisters who loved and despised each other at the same time, a brother who had many dark secrets and the King of England who had to be kept happy whatever the cost. I couldn’t push this book enough. If you haven’t already read it, get it and open it up, you may come away three hours later and still want to go back for more.


So there, I am so happy to announce I ahve actually read some books this year, it was on my list of Things To Do in 2011 and I hope to fit some more books in by the end of the year, please let me know if you have any suggestions for me to add to that list as I’ve missed out on three years of reading!

World Book Day 2011

So how did your World Book Day day go?

I received a book ‘Toast’ by Nigel Slater, the story of a boy’s hunger to read. I find it really something special that 1,000,000 books have been printed and distributed randomly with the intent of encouraging reading. What with news that we’re losing our library’s thanks to cutbacks this at least restores some faith in the countries education.

I got my book from Northern Blokes Ramblings who incidentally I have added to my blog roll so I hope you’ll pop over and have a look. I was invited to leave a comment – what was my favourite toast topping ? Well it couldn’t be anything else than Mature Cheddar could it? Melted and ready for the evenings viewing once the girls are in bed, I couldn’t have a Sunday evening without it!

What a brilliant idea to share books. In our family it’s quite the norm to pass a book around sayign ‘Oh, you’ll love this one!’ in fact I have a pile of unread books from various generous family members that I’m just waiting for time to read them as I know they’ll be brilliant but the beauty of this copy is I register it at World Book Night and once read I pass it on. that person in turn will register receiving it and passing it on after. How fabulous, like an upmarket and friendly chain mail, well maybe there aren’t any friendly chain mails but a wonderful initiaive that I am proud to be part of.

Schools across the country have been preparing and Dotterel has a writing competition going for kids, so if your child would like to try their hand at writing something why not prompt in this direction? You never know you may have the next J.K. Rowling on your hadns and not know it!

Take some time out tomorrow and treat yourself to a read, lose yourself in the web of a story and enlighten your brain to some well deserved feed.

Have you read anything interesting lately?

Following on from yesterday’s post where I mentioned the lack of time I have had over the past two years for indulging in one of my favourite pastimes – reading, I thought I’d go one further and show you just half of the books waiting to be read. A few I have bought myself as they are of favourite authors, a few have been passed to me by mum, Nan, my sister-in-law Tracey (devourer of books) and others I have discovered during the house move having been put somewhere ‘safe’ until I had time. If I had a pound for everything I had put in a ‘safe place’ and then promptly lost I’d be a millionaire but I digress.

You see the top book in my photo is The Outcast by Sadie Jones and has been in and out of at least three suitcases, has been dusted off on more than one occasion and has even moved house and not been completed BUT with only a 100 odd pages to go I’m already on the lookout for my next culprit, who I would like to believe I will finish at least by the end of this year!

In an ideal world I would like to have them all read, plus the other pile I haven’t photographed (they’re all in ‘safe places’!) and others too by the end of the year but I must be honest with myself. I Don’t Have The Time. This is why actually coming to the end of a good book (it has been an excellent read) I’m excited enough to share it with you! This is the girl who could do at least a book a week on the commute into London. The girl who would pack at least four books to take away on a two-week holiday for ‘By The Pool’ moments or ‘On The Beach’. The expat who ordered 10 books at a time from Amazon and learnt to read in Italian so she could feed the need to read.

Yes, my life is definitely missing something when I can’t lose myself in a good story when I can’t visualise myself as the heroine, the victim, the lover, the cheater, the wild one (every now and then). I believe a healthy brain needs nurturing with words and now the girls are getting that little bit more independent I’m getting my books ready to hand.

Tell me what I’ve been missing. What are absolute must reads for you that I should be adding to my pile?