Paragon are well known for their excellent cookery books and recently I reviewed their Make Bake cupcake book which had some great ideas in. Here are another two you will see on the run up to Christmas that could make the perfect Christmas gift if not for your own library.

Classic Baking

cookery book classic baking

A book that covers the classics; carrot cake, lemon drizzle and chocolate flapjacks can all be found inside. This is a great book for returning to the classics and finding them all in one place time after time. An excellent idea for a novice baker who wants to start up as it gives very easy to follow directions and recipes are accompanied by beautiful photos that are very inspiring. £16

The Juice Bar

cookery book

Now I am not a juice person but I realise I may be in the minority here and there are plenty of people who love juices out there. Making your own varied juices really boosts your 5 a day too. The Juice Bar by Sara Lewis contains over 80 recipes and there are a few pages at the beginning of the book that explain the health benefits – did you know that eating fruit and veg is the second most important cancer prevention? Juices also play a vital role in weight loss, you can kick start a diet by replacing breakfast with a power-packed juice £10


So if you know someone who loves to spend time creatively in the kitchen, these books could be for them.

spaghetti with the yeti

Egmont have published Spaghetti with the Yeti in September and they sent us a copy to review. It is the first in a new picture book series from Adam and Charlotte Guillan and is a rhyming tale around a little boy called George who sets off to find the yeti with a tin of spaghetti.

Of course George doesn’t know what a yeti looks like and every time he meets someone that could be who he is looking for he discovers he’s wrong again.

Lee Wildish has illustrated the book and the pictures are packed with lots of things to look at. In fact the girls will get the book out just to look at the pictures.

I read the book first time to the girls and they loved it. They thought the story was funny and now I am encouraging them to read it themselves as the words are simple and easy to follow, perfect for Year One read-aloud time.

 A great book for pre-schoolers, Reception year and Year 1 children who are practising their reading as it’s a fun book with a simple read aloud style

The buddah in the atticI loved it.

I have just spent 3 weeks lazing around on holiday and one of my favourite holiday pastimes is reading as I rarely get time to read and get engrossed in a book properly. As a member of the BritMums Book Club, I asked to be sent a copy of the Penguin paperbook with the intriguing title The Buddah in the Attic by Julie Otsuka.

It was brilliant. It was the kind of book you pick up and don’t put down until the last page. The kind of book you find yourself thinking about even when you’re not reading it and it also has an enormous historical and humble message that unless you read it you won’t ever know about it.

So what’s it about? 

It’s based on true stories, between the two world wars a group of young, non English speaking Japanese women (I think the youngest was 12) travelled by boat to America. They were picture brides who had been corresponding with their so called husbands and they were excited at the prospect of what their new life would hold. They’d been sent photos of gardens, beautiful houses and were made promises of wonderful lives for ever.

Reality, they find, is completely different as they step off the boat and meet a man who looks nothing like the handsome photo and realise he doesn’t have a house net alone a garden.

The story is told in a collective fashion each telling their own memoir but wrapped up into one thread which is simple, captivating and heartbreaking to follow.

They tell of the work they had to do, the children they gave birth too, the racism they came across and their experience of the United States during that time.

A book that will leave it’s mark on your soul.

I can’t wait to pass this book on to the next reader but at the same time it’s a book I’d like to keep on my bookshelf because of the beautiful way it is told and because it touched me so deeply.

Read it, you’ll love it and yes that’s me reading by the pool *sigh*

poolside camping la briquerie

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.

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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.