Wednesday 29 November 2017

Books that have inspired my travels

I've always been a reader, and I've always been interested in travel - and I've found that many times something that I've read has inspired me to visit a place. I wanted to share how some of my favourite books have inspired me to visit different cities and countries, and while I was putting the list together I realised that there are many more places that I've not yet managed to visit inspired by my reading!

So here's my list, both of places that I've visited and places that I haven't. Do you have a reading inspired travel wish list?


I had always been desperate to visit Australia, and after our visit back in 2007 it's definitely my favourite place that I've been, I'd love to go back! I first read On the Beach by Nevil Shute many years ago, and although it's not the most cheerful of stories (it's a post-apocalyptic novel following the last survivors of a nuclear world war, as they wait in Melbourne for the deadly radiation to reach them). I was fascinated reading about a country that seemed so similar to the UK and was yet so different. Further reading, in particular A Town Like Alice, further sparked my interest, I found it amazing to learn that to get to Australia in the 50's you used to have to take something like fifteen different flights hopping about the globe, and even now it's still quite a mission. Especially I would imagine with small children, but I really hope we can take them one day!

I was also further inspired by Bill Bryson and Down Under, where he takes a three day train ride across Australia. We investigated when were planning our trip but it was so expensive to get a decent cabin - maybe one day!


I went through a phase of reading Jules Verne, and of all his novels it was Journey to the Centre of the Earth that really captured my imagination. The protagonists find the entrance to the centre of the earth on Snæfellsjökull, a glacier capped mountain in Iceland. When we visited Reykjavik a few years back we hired a car and drove a little way around the coast. Unfortunately we didn't get as close to the mountain as I would have liked as we were turned back by snow, but we did catch a glimpse!


I've always loved the novels of Daphne du Maurier and I've read most of them several times. I enjoyed the classics Rebecca and Jamaica Inn but my favourite is her first novel, The Loving Spirit. It tells the story of a family over four generations and the changes that they experience over time and it fascinates me, I've read it over and over. I've visited Cornwall several times

And here are some of the books I've read that have inspired my future travel wishlist!


I recently finished The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell and I really enjoyed it. I will be paying a brief visit to Copenhagen next year as part of a cruise and I'm really looking forward to it, but reading this book has made me want to settle down for a bit longer and indulge in some Danish hygge!

Hammerfest and the Appalachian Trail

I mentioned Bill Bryson above, he is absolutely my favourite travel author and has written about so many places that I'd still like to visit. Hammerfest in Norway is the first place that he visits in Neither Here nor There, a book about his travels around Europe, and for some reason it has really stuck out to me as somewhere that I want to go! He begins in Hammerfest because it is the northernmost town in Europe, and at the time he wrote the book he had to take a thirty hour bus ride from Oslo. I think that it's a little more accessible these days (the book was published in 1991) and my parents were actually lucky enough to visit on a cruise last year, but it is so remote that it requires a special trip and I can't see me making it there any time soon!

I'm also inspired to hike the Appalachian Trail after reading A Walk in the Woods, I'm not sure it's a realistic goal and you do need to set aside a good amount of time, not to mention equipment, but maybe I could try part of it one day!

Mount Everest

This is one that I think is very unlikely to happen, but after reading Above All Things by Tanis Rideout I developed a sudden interested in Mount Everest, and even started researching how one goes about climbing it. I quickly realised that it wasn't something I was going to manage. Especially after I followed up my reading with Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, which is a personal account of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster when a major storm claimed the lives of eight climbers. So I've accepted that I'm not going to climb it, but wouldn't it be amazing to at least visit Base Camp?!

I'd love to hear what books have inspired your travels, I'm always looking for some new reading!

Tuesday 28 November 2017

Gorgeous new books for children from Lonely Planet Kids

I'm a huge fan of the Lonely Planet Kids books, and today I'm sharing two gorgeous new books which would make fantastic stocking fillers this Christmas.

First up is The Incredible Cabinet of Wonders (affiliate link)

"Twelve super-collectors have gathered together some of the weirdest, strangest and most incredible objects on Earth for your delights. Each collector has a specialist subject and has created a cabinet filled with their favourite things."

Lonely Planet Incredible Cabinet of Wonders book review

This book is the world's greatest little museum, in book form. Author Joe Fullman has picked the strangest, weirdest and most fascinating objects that he could find, from museums all around the world, and grouped them into twelve different cabinets. They include the Naturalists's Cabinet, the Sailor's Cabinet, the Toy Maker's Cabinet, the Make Believer's Cabinet and more fascinating collections. Each double page spread is packed with decorated flaps in different shapes, which you can lift up to discover the wonders underneath.

Lonely Planet Incredible Cabinet of Wonders book review

It's an absolutely fascinating book, and as well as reading the story behind each object you can also find out where in the world you can see the object for yourself, a brilliant way to inspire your travels!

Lonely Planet Incredible Cabinet of Wonders book review

Secondly, the The Big Earth Book (affiliate link) helps children to discover how our planet was shaped by earth, air, fire and water.

Lonely Planet The Big Earth Book review

The book is divided into the four different sections, and uses illustrations and photographs to present the facts in a fun and accessible way. There is plenty of information to support your child's particular interests as you discover how earth, air, fire and water created everything that exists today. It's a tour of the past, present and future of our planet and it's a brilliant book for children to sit down with, and dip in and out of.

Lonely Planet The Big Earth Book review

I received these books in exchange for a review.

Monday 27 November 2017

Blog post ideas for Christmas

Christmas blog post ideas

Christmas is such a busy time of year that I find it hard to keep on top of everything that needs to be done, especially when it comes to keeping on top of my blog. If you are looking for ideas for your editorial calendar over the Christmas season I hope that you'll find some ideas in this list to inspire you!

* What are your Advent calendar traditions? Pictures, chocolates or larger gifts? Does everyone have one, or just the children?

* Ten (or more!) things that you love about Christmas

* Review a local Christmas attraction - whether it's a big trip to see Father Christmas or just a visit to the local garden centre

* Do you have a real tree or an artificial one? What are your reasons?

* Share your favourite seasonal recipe

* List your favourite Christmas songs, you could even embed the videos from YouTube

* Favourite Christmas films - both recent ones and ones that you remember from when you were little

* Give readers a tour of your Christmas tree and share some of your favourite ornaments and decorations

* Do you keep the same Christmas decorations from year to year or do you like to keep update with new themes and colour schemes?

* Share a Christmas craft or two

* What Christmas traditions do you remember from childhood?

* What Christmas traditions have you started with your own children? You can read about our traditions here!

* Ask a family member or friend to write a guest post with their own Christmas memories. My Mum wrote about her memories of a 1950's Christmas.

* If you've been blogging for a few years, link back to some older posts. For example you can see the evolution of our gingerbread houses

* There are plenty of controversial Christmas topics that you might have an opinion on, keep an eye out in the news and parenting groups to see what people are talking about. For example, do you limit the presents that you buy for your children or do you go overboard? How do you split present giving between family and Father Christmas?

* How do you spend Christmas day? Snuggled up in onesies, out for a bracing winter walk, driving around between different relatives?

* What Christmas crafts do you remember from your childhood? I remember spending hours creating elaborate card and tissue paper decorations for our front door!

* Interview your children with some Christmas questions, for example 'what time will you be getting up on Christmas morning' and 'what do you think Mum or Dad would like for Christmas?' Share their answers, and then tag some other bloggers to join in asking their own children.

* What are your Christmas Eve traditions? What do you leave out for Father Christmas?

* Who are your fantasy Christmas dinner guests?

* Does the Elf on the Shelf visit your family, and do you love or hate it?

* Gift guides - the possibilities are endless. Ideas for yourself or other family members, gifts for a particular hobby or interest (for example, gift ideas for crafty Mums), gift guides with a particular theme (for example Minecraft or Pokemon). You can include items that you already own so that you can recommend them honestly, and it's a great way to include some affiliate links.

* What are your favourite seasonal treats, foods that you only eat at Christmas?

* Do you make a traditional Christmas cake? How do you decorate it?

* Do you have any special Christmas memories? For example, have you spent Christmas in another country, or done something out of the ordinary at Christmas time?

* Can you share some Christmas tips to help others? Perhaps adapting a traditional Christmas dinner for young children, how to save money on food, drink or presents, dealing with spending Christmas away from home

* The Nativity play - are your children taking part? Did you have a star role as a child? Do you prefer a traditional Nativity or one that retells the tale from a different viewpoint?

* Ways to keep children happy when travelling if you will be spending time visiting friends and family

* Christmas cards - do you send them? How do you display the ones that you receive?

* How do you decorate your home for Christmas? Subtle or over the top?

* Are there any places near you to visit to see some awesome decorated houses? Take the reader on a tour of your neighbourhood.

* Do you have any older posts that can be combined into a roundup? For example Hama bead Christmas crafts for children or Christmas jigsaw puzzle inspiration.

I hope that these ideas were helpful!

If you are taking part in Vlogmas this year, you might also find this list of Vlogmas inspiration ideas useful. 

You might also like this list of Christmas journal prompts.

When it comes to seasonal inspiration for blog posts I've also written some ideas for Summer blog post ideas, Autumn blog post ideas and Winter blog post ideas. You might also like my lists of blog post ideas for craft blogs and blog post ideas for travel blogs.

Photo credit Bruno Martins via Unsplash.

Sunday 26 November 2017

Asda's Chosen by Kids toys Christmas campaign

When it comes to choosing which Christmas toys to stock this year, instead of using traditional product buyers Asda has launched a whole new range of toys chosen entirely by children. The Chosen by Kids toys were selected after a toy testing event in Harrogate, and they are now available in stores in plenty of time for Christmas 2017.

Asda Chosen by Kids toy reviews

I was invited to take my children along to our local Asda store, Asda Ferring, to head to the toy aisle and see what they thought of the toys in the range. They also had the chance to take home their favourite toy to review. We headed over one evening after school, when I knew that it would be quieter so we could have a proper look around.

Asda Ferring at night

The children were absolutely thrilled at the opportunity to choose their own toys, and very excited. We don't normally spend long browsing in the toy aisles, and there was plenty to choose from!

Toys in an Asda store

Both children were first drawn to the toys that were from brand names that they recognised, like the Lego, Playdoh and toys based around their favourite television programmes.

Children looking at toys in Asda

Harry spotted what he wanted almost immediately - he has been after a drone for a while having played with one at a friend's house. There are two in the range to choose from and he settled on the Little Tikes My First Drone. He chose a smaller one because he liked its appearance, and it didn't look too complicated.

Mia spent a lot longer deliberating. She's instinctively drawn to anything pink, purple or fluffy, and there was plenty that appealed to her.

Children browsing Asda toy selection

When I spotted the Little Live Pets My Dream Kitten - Muffin on the shelf I knew that it would be perfect for her. I wasn't wrong, as soon as she saw Muffin the kitten she couldn't be parted from him, and she couldn't wait to get home and unpack him!

Child cuddling LLP Dream Kitty

We left the store with two excited children!

Children buying toys in Asda

So here's what we thought of the toys:

Review - Little Tikes My First Drone (£30)

Here is what Harry thought of the drone. Ratings are on a 1-5 scale, with 1 being poor and 5 being superb. 

Ease of use - 3. An adult is needed to put batteries in, but once that is done it's easy to get going. The drone charges from the controller pack, and although it did work straight away it performed better after it had been charged for a little while. The controller is easy to hold and has large buttons so it's simple for even young children to operate. The drone itself looks a little flimsy as it is very light, but it has stood up well so far. Harry didn't have any problems working out how to control it, but he did find that he couldn't get it to fly as high as he was hoping.

Value for money - 3. I think that the price is reasonable.

Fun factor - 3. The drone is designed for indoor use which Harry was very pleased with, especially at this time of year when he's not so keen on playing outside. This did mean however that it doesn't move very fast or high, and he sometimes struggled to keep it in the air for very long which frustrated him. 

Longevity - 3. It's a fun toy and I think it's something that he'll keep coming back to. Although it's supposed to be used indoors I think we'll be taking it out into the garden in the summer, it doesn't fly high or fast enough to worry about losing it over the fence. 

Aesthetics - 4. Harry loved how the drone looked, he really liked the bright colours and how it lit up in flight. It also makes fun noises.

Child playing with the Little Tikes My First Drone toy

Review - Little Live Pets My Dream Kitten - Muffin (£38)

Here are Mia's views on her Dream Kitten. As above ratings are on a 1-5 scale, with 1 being poor and 5 being superb.

Child playing with Little Live Pets Dream Kitten toy

Ease of use - 5. Once removed from the packaging and switched on, Muffin was all ready to go with no extra set up needed. Mia has used it a lot and we are still using the original batteries that it came with.

Value for money - 4. It's perhaps a little pricey, although I do think that it's a fab toy for the money.

Fun factor - 5. Mia absolutely loves Muffin. The kitten makes a variety of different noises and has sensors in different places, for example on his back and his cheeks, so you can elicit different responses by stroking and cuddling. There is also a little food bowl, and when you hold it to his mouth you can hear lapping sounds. He's a sleepy kitten, and Mia is thrilled when he decides that it's time for a nap, she's been making him up little beds with cushions and blankets.

Longevity - 5. Mia has been playing with Muffin for a few days now and shows no signs of boredom. She does particularly love her stuffed animals anyway, so it's the perfect toy for her, and she has been incorporating him into her games beautifully. Even when he's turned off she's still happy to play with him.

Aesthetics - 5. He's lovely and soft and also weighted nicely, so you can cuddle him and he does feel rather like a real kitten. He has a sweet little face and a lovely collar with a pendant to write his name. He also comes with an adoption certificate and a little promise to make saying that you'll look after him, which makes it all very special. He's not designed to be slept with but it was difficult to part them at bedtime, and I couldn't resist snapping a quick photo once she'd fallen asleep before moving him to a bed on the floor!

LLP Dream Kitty Muffin review

This is a collaborative post in association with Asda. 

Friday 24 November 2017

Decorating the home with some Christmas paper crafts from Twinkl

Christmas printable decorations from Twinkl

If you need some fun and simple ways to decorate your home this Christmas, Twinkl Resources have a huge range of full colour printables which you can print and assemble for some easy Christmas crafting. Today I'm sharing a few of my favourites! Please note that these printables are all Platinum resources which means that you need a paid subscription to download them. Scroll to the bottom of this post for some links to some free Twinkl Christmas resources!

This Simple 3D Christmas Lights Decoration (Twinkl subscriber resource) allows you to make some Christmas lights in three festive colours which can be strung together and used as bunting. Here you can see it across our fireplace, and it would also look great hung down the banisters or across the top of the room.

Christmas printable light bulb bunting

It was super easy to put together and looks really effective!

Christmas printable bunting from Twinkl

In the middle I have hung a 3D Christmas Wreath Display Printable (Twinkl subscriber resource). Once again, this printable was really easy to assemble and makes a great little Christmas decoration.

Printable Christmas wreath decoration

The children had a lot of fun making and playing with these 3D Christmas Fortune Tellers (Twinkl subscriber resource). They don't have any complicated cutting or folding, so even little ones can put them together once they've been shown how to, and they are great for Christmas role play or just to use as a decoration.

Christmas fortune teller puppets printable

Finally I had a go at some Christmas Origami Paper Crafts (Twinkl subscriber resource). There are lots of different designs to choose from, and they vary in complexity, so you can choose the design most suitable for the children or adults that you are working with. The finished pieces are very sweet and look lovely on display. You could also punch holes in the top and use them to decorate the tree, or embellish them further with glitter and sequins.

Christmas origami printables from Twinkl

If you want to try out Twinkl for free to see if a subscription is right for you, there are also lots of free resources available to download. For example, you can find some fab Christmas themed printables here - Free Twinkl Christmas Resources.

I have also previously shared some more Printable Christmas Decorations from Twinkl which includes crafts using both Platinum and free resources. 

I have been provided with a Platinum Subscription to Twinkl in exchange for sharing their resources across social media.

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Disneyland Hong Kong for Halloween

Disneyland Hong Kong at Halloween

On our recent trip to Asia we spent a couple of days at Disneyland Hong Kong. We've been lucky enough to visit a few Disney parks around the world, so we were very keen to see how Disneyland Hong Kong compared. Our visit coincided with the Disney Halloween Time celebrations, which this year ran from the 14th September until 31st October.

It's a small park, and Hong Kong Disneyland doesn't host a separate Halloween event like Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party in Orlando. Instead all the Halloween attractions are included for all visitors. It's not such a big thing as elsewhere - we didn't spot any visitors in costume for example - but there was still plenty of extra theming and attractions with a spooky theme.

Disneyland Hong Kong at Halloween

Disney really does go to town on the seasonal decorations. There were pumpkins scattered throughout the park, as well as Autumnal wreaths and other Fall decorations. In Toy Story Land I loved the scary toy theme, and Main Street, U.S.A. was beautifully dressed with autumnal colours galore.

Disneyland Toy Story Land decorated for Halloween

There were two parades during the day - the Flights of Fantasy Parade and Mickey's Halloween Time Street Party. Both were excellent as usual, and we found that we didn't need to wait around for too long beforehand, we easily found somewhere to sit with a good view. The Halloween Time Street Party parade stopped for a while so that children could join in and play with some of the characters, and it was nice to see characters like Mickey and Minnie in their seasonal costumes.

Disneyland Halloween Parade Hong Kong

One particular attraction specific to Halloween was the Maze of Madness: The Nightmare Experiment Continues. This was a haunted house style attraction where visitors progress in a small group through a series of rooms, being entertained by different characters and special effects. There was plenty of audience participation, but the cast members were very good about not picking on anyone that wasn't enjoying the scariness. Harry found it a bit overwhelming as there was a lot of darkness with people jumping out at you, but he loved the magical effects. Most of the dialogue wasn't in English which did make it all a bit confusing for us, although it was generally pretty obvious what was going on.

Disneyland Maze of Madness for Halloween

There were some fun Halloween activities for younger children in the Halloween Time Festival Gardens. Children could decorate a bucket for trick or treating or have their faces painted, and in the evening there were dressed up cast members with some magical pumpkin cauldrons dispensing treats for children and adults alike.

Disneyland Hong Kong at Halloween Time

It was really fun to watch and the children were thrilled with their spooky Disney sweets.

Halloween sweets from Disneyland Hong Kong

The whole area was beautifully decorated, with plenty of opportunities for seasonal photographs! At night it all looked amazing, with pumpkins that lit up and coloured lighting effects, including projections on all the buildings down Main Street U.S.A.

Disneyland Hong Kong Halloween theming

In the evening, Villains Night Out! Chapter 2 took place. This was a parade of Disney villains and also incorporated a castle show with spooky projections and a live action show with plenty of smoke and fire. On our first evening we sat along the parade route and missed a lot of the action, so on the second evening we were more prepared and found ourselves a spot in front of the castle so that we didn't miss anything. Then later on in the evening we enjoyed the usual fireworks at the castle before the park closed.

Disneyland Hong Kong castle at Halloween

As always there was plenty of seasonal merchandise to purchase, both food and drink and gifts to take home. We are quite stingy I'm afraid when it comes to buying the merchandise, but we had a lot of fun looking at it all!

Disneyland Hong Kong Halloween merchandise

Finally, something that we've not encountered at other Disney parks was sticker collecting. Most of the staff members at Hong Kong Disneyland were carrying a little bag filled with stickers, and if you asked them they would give you some - usually one each but occasionally a handful - and we ended up with loads! Many of them were Halloween themed with Disney villains, and there were also some lovely Hong Kong Disneyland stickers - brilliant free souvenirs and great little gifts for friends back home.

Disneyland Hong Kong collecting stickers

I made a short video showing some of our Halloween highlights at Hong Kong Disneyland, including some of the Halloween Time festivities like Mickey's Halloween Time Street Party, Villains Night Out! and the Halloween Time Festival Gardens. Enjoy!

Monday 20 November 2017

Filling up the calendar

It's that time of year again, when everything suddenly becomes very busy. I'm lucky to have friends across several different circles, and it's always nice to get a few people together for a Christmas meal or catch up. It's also a very busy time at school with lots going on. Especially this year because the children break up on the 15th December - a full ten days before Christmas - so there is plenty to be crammed in. It also means that the children are completely hyped up for Christmas, and then have over a week waiting around at home getting impatient!

I've managed to get most things scheduled in now, but there are still a few dates that we are trying to get sorted. I always get a bit anxious planning things far in advance, I worry that I'm going to end up double booked somehow, or forget about the regular activities like swimming lessons in my excitement to find a date that is free. But it does feel good to have everything scheduled in and to know what needs to be done and when.

I have stressful memories last year of 'bad week', the second week of December when everything seemed to collide all at once, coinciding with Ram spending the week travelling up and down the country. It looks as though we are headed for similar this year, with that week being a blur of Nativity plays, a swimming gala, carol service and several nights out. I'm trying to prepare better mentally this year, and at least now that the children are settled into the school the activities are a bit more familiar.

I am generally an organised person and I'm usually on top of things. We both have a Google calendar which is shared across our devices, although unfortunately the syncing can sometimes be a bit hit and miss, and it also doesn't link to the work calendar. At the beginning of the week I copy over our week's activities to the week to view calendar so we can all see what we are up to. It doesn't always help though - twice so far this term I've had to trek back to school with a forgotten swimming kit!

I'll be quite glad when this winter term has finished, although I am very much looking forward to all the lovely festive activities. I'm just hoping that we can have a bit of time to relax at home before the big day itself!

Open calendar, photo by Eric Rothermel

Photo credit Eric Rothermel via Unsplash

Sunday 19 November 2017

Introducing the children to some classic books - Heidi and The Secret Garden

I'm really glad that both my children are now avid readers. I have so many happy memories of the books that I enjoyed when I was young, and it's been lovely to see my own children discovering them too. Recently I was sent a couple of classic books that I remember reading over and over when I was little, and I'm looking forward to seeing what my own children make of them.

Classic books for children - Heidi and The Secret Garden

Heidi: Lessons at Home and Abroad (affiliate link) by Johanna Spyri is a timeless classic of Swiss literature. It tells the story of Heidi, orphaned at an early age and brought up by her mother's sister in Switzerland. Her Aunt is forced to send her to live with her grandfather, a recluse who lives alone up in the mountains. He is reluctant at first but Heidi soon wins him over and Heidi also learns to love her new surroundings. I love reading about their simple life together, and how they cope with the challenges that they face.

This new edition from Alma books is a brand new and unabridged translation by Peter James Bowman and illustrated by Susan Hellard. The book also comes with some handy notes at the end for readers - a summary of characters, a glossary and also some suggestions for other books to read with a similar theme which I thought was a really good idea, and it gave me some ideas for books to add to our collection!

The Secret Garden (affiliate link) by Frances Hodgson Burnett is one of these suggestions, and another classic that I remember reading over and over. The story follows Mary Lennox, orphaned after her parents die in India, and sent to live in a gloomy house in Yorkshire. Her new home is full of secrets, including a locked walled garden and a sickly cousin who is hidden away. Mary is a determined child, and with the help of the new friends that she makes she gradually she brings both the garden and the household back to life. It's a powerful story, and despite being first published over a century ago it's still an exciting tale for children today. This edition is illustrated by Peter Bailey and also contains some fun extra material for young readers.

I received these books in exchange for a review.

Friday 17 November 2017

My gorgeous Birthday presents

Just before we went on holiday I celebrated my birthday! It was a funny day as I was very busy doing the packing and getting last minute bits and pieces sorted for the blog - I celebrated in the evening with a trip to Asda to pick up a few things! But I did take some time to myself during the day to sit down with some cake and chocolates, and a couple of new episodes of Red Dwarf.

I received some lovely presents this year so I thought I'd share them with you, because if you read my blog you are likely a similar sort of person to me and it might give you some inspiration as you put together your Christmas list! So in no particular order, here are some of the lovely things that I received.

My brother bought me this awesome Cross Stitch Map (affiliate link) which I had seen advertised constantly over my social media - I'm clearly firmly in the target demographic! It's a dark blue and white map printed on cross stitch fabric, and you can customise it however you like. As you can see I've got quite a way to go yet, but I've got lots of plans. I'm intending to use different shades of green to colour the countries that I've visited, then I'll mark out road trips and cruises in different coloured threads. I also want to add in extra pictures of landmarks or other things that represent that country to me. Although I guess it will never actually be finished!

Cross stitch map kit

Sticking with a crafty theme, my parents bought me a circular weaving kit which my Mum bought at a knitting show. It's from The Threshing Barn and comes with a metal hoop, lots of different textured pieces of yarn and some instructions. It's not something that I've ever tried before, so I'm looking forward to getting started!

Circular weaving kit

My sister bought me this fab mug that attracted a lot of interest over on Instagram - Little Miss Blogger (affiliate link). Perfect for my morning hot drink while I'm working! I've also seen around a Little Miss Social Media mug, maybe one to ask for next year!

A post shared by jenniferjain (@jenniferjain) on

Ram cleared out my Amazon wishlist with some book purchases, along with a couple of extras. I've already read The Year of Living Danishly (affiliate link) and I enjoyed it very much, now I'm working my way through The Little Book of Hygge (affiliate link). I'm a couple of years behind the times on the whole Hygge craze but it's definitely a concept that appeals me as winter approaches!

Collection of books I received as gifts

The children bought me some Malteser chocolates which are always very much appreciated. Then Mia chose a lovely sparkly bracelet for me and Harry bought me some crafty bits and pieces for the craft box - I love getting things that they've chosen themselves.

Finally my friend bought me some lovely crocus bulbs that I need to get on and plant along with a bottle of wine. I felt very spoilt!

Crocus bulbs

Now people keep asking me what I want for Christmas and I have no ideas left!

Wednesday 15 November 2017

Books for older children from Gecko Press

Today I'm taking a look at two fantastic new books from Gecko Press which would make great stocking fillers for older children.

Impossible Inventions: Ideas that Shouldn't Work is a witty and fascinating collection of ideas, plans and patents that will spark the imaginations of both young and old.

Impossible Inventions book review

The book is packed with ideas for inventions - both ancient and modern, some revolutionary and some that are simply impossible. There's a flying bicycle, passenger clouds and passenger birds, and my favourite, the Concentration Helmet. Each invention comes with diagrams showing it in action and notes. Some are purely fictional and hypothetical and others solve a definite need, particularly from periods when science hadn't yet caught up with the problem.

Impossible Inventions book review

It's a fascinating book to browse through for both adults and children!

Secondly, Follow Finn allows the reader to follow along with Finn through a story, completing search and find mazes and absorbing puzzles.

Follow Finn maze book review

Each double page spread in the story is packed with detail, and while going through the book the reader is given tasks along the way, for example to find Finn's clothes when he wakes up in the morning, to match keys to a lock, and to find the way through a maze. There are also a selection of objects which need to be found on each page.

Follow Finn maze book review

Some of the puzzles are easy and some are more challenging, making it a fun book to read together and great for chatting about together.

If you have younger children, they might enjoy these picture books from Gecko Press for younger readers.

I received copies of these books to review. Amazon links are affiliate.