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Posts from the ‘Life and other stuff’ Category

Alternative uses for books #1 : trains

Propping up Milo’s train set.

Happy Monday folks. Hope you’re having a good day. If things are feeling a bit glum, pop on over to Clara Vulliamy’s blog Sunny Side Up and take a look at this bear falling out of a tree. It made me laugh for a full five minutes!

Oh, and it’s your last chance today to get your hands on a rather fabulous Silent Scribble in the Book Aid International auction. The bidding deadline is 21.00 tonight.


World Book Night and Book Aid International’s Silent Scribble

It’s World Book Night tonight. Are any of you doing anything to celebrate? It’s a bit of a tough one when you have children as it’s not entirely easy to go out in an evening without doing the merry dance of getting babysitters etc… For us today was also Milo’s first day of kindergarten so tonight is all about staying home, snuggling up and getting ready for day two of his new school adventure. I expect we will be reading a few more books than we usually do at bedtime to celebrate getting over first day nerves and meeting new people.

If I were to be going out, I’d probably be heading to Book Aid International’s event at Canada Water Library – free book giving, live music, readings, a Live Literature event with Iain Sinclair and, most excitingly, a chance to see their Silent Scribble lots in person.

If you’ve not heard of the Silent Scribble now’s definitely the time to take a look at it. The good folk at Book Aid International asked a whole bunch of writers and illustrators to do something very difficult. To sit down in front of a blank piece of paper and scribble. The bet bit is that these scribbles are now being auctioned off to raise money for Book Aid International and you (and me – I’ve bid on one lot and am very likely to bid on a second!) can secretly bid on whichever lot you really like the look of to be in with a chance of winning it. There’s a whole week left to do this as bids close at 9pm on the 30th April and the winner is drawn on 1st May.

This is a pretty amazing chance to own your own piece of original artwork by a famous author or artist. There are lots by Quentin Blake, Nick Sharratt, Jilly Cooper, James Mayhew and Alan Bennett. Exciting hey?! You can take a look at all the scribbles on either  Book Aid International’s website, or on their Facebook page.

James Mayhew

There are several that I would LOVE to have for Milo’s bedroom to go alongside his original Sarah MacIntyre (as we like to call it when people drop by his room!)

So, which scribble do you think you might bid on? And, are you up to anything for World Book Night tonight?

{reading moment of the week}

A friend of mine lent me her copy of Playful ParentingWe’re having a few”outburst” issues at the moment! Happily reading away, not taking much of it in but trying at least and Milo chose to turn my reading session into a car park for his cars. Kind of felt ironic.

Bookish Bites : Last day cupcakes

Not a Bookish Bites exactly, and not made with Milo, but for him. It’s Milo’s last day at his nursery today before starting at the kindergarten in his new school next week. I wanted him to have some cupcakes to share with his friends before leaving and took my inspiration from some of the Spring reads we’ve been sharing recently (more about those in a future post).

Milo’s been at his nursery for two years and will miss his friends a lot. And the pink car apparently. And the garden. And his carers. And…. well, you get the picture. He’s feeling excited, sad, nervous and a whole bundle of emotions as are we to be honest. It’s going to be a big (good) change for all of us.

There are a fair few children in Milo’s nursery class so I made a quadruple batch of vanilla cupcake mix using the recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. I like this recipe but I find that the final result can be a bit sticky and it often comes up a touch short when using cupcake cases, hence the quadruple batch to ensure there were enough for kids and staff.

Milo’s extremely excited about Spring and Summer time at the moment and we’ve been reading, talking about the change of seasons a lot recently (although today is much more akin to Winter – sigh!) so he asked that I cover the cakes in flowers. I spent an evening with my feet up in front of the television cutting out little sugarpaste flowers.

Once the cakes were baked I set about making a quadruple quantity of buttercream icing (oh, how his friend’s parents are going to love me for their child’s sugar high tonight!). I divided the icing up and coloured the buttercream in Milo’s favourite colours; lilac, lemon, white and pink and piped onto the cakes.

Onto the decorating. Yay! Favourite bit of course. Vermicelli, sugarpaste flowers and butterflies, a few sugar roses bought from the local supermarket, some little sugarpaste hearts, sunflowers (we’re growing them in the garden just like in Monkey and Robot… Milo’s very excited!), silver dragees and of course edible glitter.

Our kitchen floor now sparkles with the glitter which I rather like but should probably clean.

And finished.

I really, really hope that Milo’s having a fantastic last day. He has a surprise this evening as his dad’s coming home early from work to collect him with me and we’ll be having a high tea before bath time as opposed to the usual hurried snack. Things will probably be a little quiet on this little blog over the next couple of weeks as we adjust to new routines and schedules but bear with us. I have some great ideas for future posts – just need a little time to do them!

Hope you’re all having a happy day.

Do you have a middle name?

Not to worry if you don’t – those stories are interesting too and my other half would really like to hear them. He’s been collating a tumblr of people’s middle names for a few years now and it makes for pretty interesting reading. So, I asked him a few questions so he could tell you a bit more about the middle names project.

What is the middle names project and how did it come about?

You know the answer to this one! Before Milo was born, we knew what his middle name would be long before we knew what his first name might be. His middle name is Walter, after your granddad, and the thought occurred to me that middle names often connect us to another person, a place, or an idea. But because middle names fall down the cracks between your first and last names, the world is missing out on some beautiful stories.

Do you have a favourite middle names story that has been shared with you?

I think they are all great for different reasons. Two that stand out for me are Ben’s very recent contribution, which is an email conversation between him and his mum, and Lea’s, simply because there’s a really healthy chunk of stories from people who had some sort of middle name envy as they were growing up.

What’s your favourite famous middle name?

Kenneth Charles Williams, for creepy whodunnit reasons, and ET The Extra-terrestrial just because it’s so definitive.

How can people get in touch with you if they want to submit their middle name?

Anyone can submit their middle name story via the project site.

What’s next for middle names?

I’m excited that a couple of magazines and websites have spotted it and want to feature it in some way or other. But most of all, I’m excited about collecting more middle name stories!

So there you have it – a little bit more information about The Middle Names Project. James would love it if you popped on over to his tumblr and shared your stories. He’s a bit nosy like that.

Oh, and we also found these famous middle names in the world of children’s books to inspire you:

JK Rowling : JK Rowling actually has no middle name, she added in the “K” herself in honour of her grandma Kathleen.

Jacqueline Wilson : Also has no middle name but interestingly was almost called Harriet. You can read more about that here.

Dr Seuss : So Seuss is actually erm… Dr Seuss’ middle name. Well, his full name is actually Theodor Geisel and you can read a bit more about that over here.

Here we are, elsewhere!

Rather exciting news at the end of last week that this little blog was chosen as one of Tesco Magazine’s Top 10 children’s book blogs. I was quite surprised! And what fabulous company I’m in too with Playing by the Book, Library Mice, The Book Sniffer, An Awfully Big Blog Adventure, Fantastic Reads, WAHM BAM!, Babbleabout, March House Books Blog and Trapped By Monsters all on the list. If you’ve not come across these blogs before, be sure to check them out.

Also, our Monkey and Robot in the Garden cake popped up here on the Monkey and Robot blog! How fantastic is that! We’ve eaten all of it now, it’s only taken three weeks – gingerbread is so great for lasting ages! This week’s Bookish Bites will be a Spring and Easter inspired creation so be sure to pop by on Wednesday.

Hope you’ve all had a great weekend!

All things bookish…

Loving finding fabulously creative objects made out of books at the moment.

This book caught my eye on a trip to Foyles at the beginning of the year.

The Repurposed Library (Abrams Books). I’d very much like to own it some day and see what we can make out of some of our old books.

Also loving Bookish England and the fabulous items they make out of books. I ordered a card and some cute little paper hearts for Valentine’s Day from them (I know, soppy, but any excuse to make a nice meal and some cake in this house) and look how beautifully packaged they arrived. And with a Book Aid International bookmark also. In fact, at the moment you just need to enter BOOKAID at checkout and you’ll get a 10% discount. And if you like them on Twitter or Facebook, for every 20 new followers they’ll donate a £1 to Book Aid International. Pretty good excuse to go shopping methinks.

There’s also this amazing artwork by Brian Dettmer. Each page is individually handcarved using knives, tweezers and surgical tools. Each page! You’d need to have pretty good eyesight hey so not a job for me probably!

Mrs MacCready pancakes :)

Happy Shrove Tuesday!

We made Mrs MacCready pancakes for breakfast… yum!

And it reminded us of making pancakes from Pancakes, Pancakes! by Eric Carle, which I think we’ll be reading together tonight.

Have you made any pancakes yet?

International Book Giving Day, part 2

Last Thursday we completed our little task for International Book Giving Day. After Milo’s appointment at asthma clinic we popped downstairs to the hospital cafe for a quick coffee before the walk home. While there we donated a selection of our picture books – all in good condition, some brand new that Milo has a duplicate of or has grown out of or just never got on with but another child easily might.

Totally forgot to get a photo of us donating the books so here’s one of Milo having his juice near the hospital shop.

The books will either be sold in the shop with money going towards the hospital or to be used on the wards. Either way, this was such a simple thing to do and something I’m sure we’ll do again in the future.

Amy at International Book Giving Day gave a really lovely mention of Book Aid International over on their blog, so please do head over to check that out.

And what about you? Did you get up to anything for International Book Giving Day?

International Book Giving Day, today!

Hello! Good Morning and a happy Valentine’s Day to you all. Or is it? Well, traditionally the 14th February would most definitely be Valentine’s Day and that alone. However, thanks to two lovely ladies, Amy over at Delightful Children’s Books and Zoe at Playing by the Book this year it is also known as International Book Giving Day.

The idea is simple. Try to get as many used, new or borrowed books into the hands of children as possible.

So, Milo and I had the idea that our house is a little crowded with picture books and that it would be really nice to give some away for International Book Giving Day so what we are doing is this. On Thursday, Milo has his regular asthma clinic at hospital so we plan to gather up a few of our books and take them with us to give to the children’s ward. I’ve written about the importance of books in hospital before and while our local hospital is well stocked, the books have been read many times and could be replaced with some new ones.

There are lots of ideas for how you could share or give the gift of books on the International Book Giving Day site and Facebook page. And rather wonderfully they are supporting Book Aid International, which is a fabulous cause. If you’ve not come across Book Aid before, here’s a little more about them:

Book Aid International increases access to books and supports literacy, education and development in sub-Saharan Africa. They send over 500,000 brand new books annually to 2,000 libraries, benefiting 2.4 million people every single year. Overall, They’ve sent more than 20 million books to partner libraries since 1954.

And you can take a look at their website for further information: I’ll be blogging a bit more about BAI and World Book Day 2012 in the very near future.


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