Mama's Favourites. October 2015.

Last week I shared Daniel's favourite books this month, this week it's my turn. I read a lot, mostly children's books as part of my PTE degree. I read James and the Giant Peach with the boys as their bedtime story, and they both loved the craziness of the talking bugs and cloud men! 

Wonder by R.J. Palacio.
An incredible, heart warming story told by August Pullman and the people who surround him. Starting a new school isn't easy, especially if you're Auggie. Following him through fifth grade is an awesome experience, and you grow to love him just like everyone else does. The fact it is written in an informal, chatty text gives more of an insight into his childlike mind, and the various storytellers gives the book an interesting complexity. Would definitely recommend for children and adults alike, particularly in a school environment for it's themes of disability and bullying

Phoenix by S.F. Said
Finished this in a matter of hours, I didn't want to put it down! I completely fell in love with the characters, the twists and turns & the mystery of Lucky and his Alien friends. I would never have picked this up if it wasn't a recommendation from a friend, as this isn't my usual genre of choice, but I will definitely consider more in the future!

The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan.
An incredible book, written entirely in verse, telling the raw story of a young girl called Kasienka. Her mother has brought her to England to search for her missing father, who simply left one day with no explanation. They trail the streets, sleep together in a one-bed flat and try to make it work. Kasienka also has to deal with the trials and tribulations of being a teenager, including some cruel bullying and her first boyfriend. The water theme is literal and metaphorical, as she finds solace in swimming but feels like she's drowning in the everyday. An incredible insight into teenage girls, and a great discussion point for similar issues.

The Dreamsnatcher by Abi Elphinstone
I knew from the get-go I was going to enjoy this book. A mixture of magic, mystery and animals always gets a thumbs up from me, but Abi takes it even further with her characters and description, making this book an absolute joy to read, even through the scary bits. Moll knows something bad is happening, something she doesn't quite understand, in the next camp to hers. Her family are keeping secrets from her, and she's determined to find out what they are, even if it puts her in danger. I especially loved the way the gypsies are portrayed, their relationships were rich and it was clear they all adored Moll, I found their ways fascinating. I cannot wait to read the sequel, and may have even pre-ordered it already!

Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer
Another adventure with Holly the fairy LEP officer and Artemis Fowl, the teenage criminal mastermind. As soon as I'd read the first instalment I wanted to read the next. This time, law and lawbreakers are working together but with no less attitude from either side. Artemis wants to rescue his kidnapped Father from Russia but need the People's help, luckily they need his help too, to track down a human smuggling weapons to their underground world. The adventure that transpires is nothing short of hilarious. I love the world Colfer has created in these books, the seriousness of the surreal really appeals to me, right down to the fine details and magical jokes.

The Imaginary by A.F. Harrold, illustrated by Emily Gravett
An interesting and slightly dark take on imaginary friends. Amanda Shuffleup is an unusual girl, quite a demanding friend to poor Rudger, who doesn't seem to mind. All is well until Mr Bunting comes knocking at their door. A nightmare from the world of imaginaries, but when something terrible happens to Amanda Rudger's problems get even worse. Separated from his best friend, his fate is unsure, as a true friend would he sets out on his dangerous adventure to find her. A good starting point for talking about friendships and relationships with older children.

This post contains affiliate links, thank you for supporting this little space. What have you been reading this month?




 A spaceship out of a cardboard box and tin foil, for day one of #dinovember! 
 Toad in the hole, spaghetti carbonara, chicken fajitas & meatball pasta bake are on the menu this week.
 Coffee, without sugar! I feel this is a life event, obviously.
Eating: The boys' Halloween sweets. Sorry not sorry boys. 
 Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, several science textbooks, The Wizard of Oz (plus a whole host of picture books with the boys) & Little Women (as an iBook, which is taking forever)
Playing: Transformers, constantly. 
Drawing: Letters for Joshua to trace. Daniel's super independent right now and Joshua isn't a big fan of drawing. 
 Some motivation for the science assignment I need to write, plus the planning for it. 
Wearing: All the black, comfy jumpers and ankle boots. 
 At Christmas present ideas for the boys. Halloween's over, here comes the Christmas onslaught. 
 So much valuable sleep time. I keep waking in the early hours for one reason or another and struggling to get back to sleep! 
 All the adorable costumes gracing IG, freshly painted nails and a tidy bedroom. 
 My ironing pile magically disappears overnight & ends up hung up in wardrobes?! I can dream eh. 
 At Joshua's stubborn streak, and strength. Not a good combination. Kiddo's acting like Jekyl and Hyde, amusing absolute destruction one minute and super duper sweet the next! 
Teaching: The boys patience (& failing miserably 97% of the time). Joshua his alphabet & phonics. 



Happy Halloween!

Daniel & Joshua decided on fairly easy costumes this year (one year we'll do homemade family outfits...) D wore his skeleton pyjamas and a 50p mask from Tesco, J wanted to be s pirate so we recycled a t-shirt from 2013 and grabbed a hat from the toy box. Armed with pumpkin buckets they were ready to. I borrowed a vampire outfit from a friend (thanks love!) & managed some fairly impressive eye make up, though I didn't take a picture so did t even happen? I made Colin up to look like my victim after he spent an hour trying to put contacts in! Joshua was so excited to "trickle treat" but we only found a few houses with pumpkins outside so we stopped for a sneaky sweetie break at Nanny's before going to two parties. The boys aren't accustomed to late nights so we were back home and in bed, eating sweets, by 10pm. Perfect! 


Books on my TBR. November 2015.

Excited to get some serious reading done this month. Trying to branch into a variety of age ranges and genres, and apparently loving the colour blue!


Daniel's Favourites. October 2015.

We are BIG on books in our house. I have read to the boys since they were newborns, and they are constantly bringing me books to curl on on my lap and listen to. I am an avid reader, and understand the importance of reading to children. It's such a big part of our everyday, it makes sense to incorporate it into our blog too. I thought it would be fun to explore books from another angle with Daniel, who is 5 and a half, by doing book reviews with him. I asked him to choose five of his favourite books, and tell me what he liked about each one. 
Daniel thinks: “I like it because it’s a finding book and I like finding things.”
Mama thinks: "Daniel can spend a long time independently searching for Wally and getting super excited when he does, perfect for when I need to get things done!"

A Squash and A Squeeze by Julia Donaldon, illustrated by Axel Scheffler
Daniel thinks: “I like it because the old man tells the old lady to take all the animals in and at the end she thinks her house is enormous. It is very funny!”
Mama thinks: "I have such a soft spot for Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, even I giggle my way through this story!"
Daniel thinks: “I like Spiderman because it’s got lots of stories in and it’s super cool.”
Mama thinks: "This is a graphic novel with lots of small writing, a little too tricky for Daniel to understand but he is often looking at the pictures."
Daniel thinks: “I like it because Norman finds a doughnut shell and it’s really funny!”
Mama thinks: "Both the boys love this story and think it's hilarious!"
Daniel thinks: “I like this dinosaur book because it has got puzzles in and it tells you the dinosaur names.”
Mama thinks: "I'm always a fan of the Usborne books, this one has a puzzle on every page showing where the dinosaurs lived, and a breakdown of the dinosaurs with their names, which is pretty interesting. The jigsaws are about 20 pieces, perfect for D to do by himself."

I have a post full of my favourites coming up next week. This post contains affiliate links to Amazon. What books have YOU been reading this month?



The One with the Fire Engines.

Today our local fire station had an open day, with a whole bunch of emergency vehicles that we were allowed to climb on and ask questions about. Joshua insisted I went on ever one with him, often complete with helmet. Daniel safely strapped himself into every vehicle and refused to talk to anyone else. I found it all very interesting. The pictures are pretty poor because we used Daniel's camera, my phone was out of charge after spending all morning reconfiguring it and deleting a whole load of photos. But, memories, right.