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Book review : The Teeny-Weeny Walking Stick

The Teeny Weeny Walking Stick by Karen Hodgson, illustrated by Sally Anne Lambert (Hogs Back Books)  is a lovely, gentle book that Milo and I have very much enjoyed reading together. It’s rare I think, though please do comment and let me know of any, to find a book about little people and magic fairies with a little boy as the central protagonist so it’s been great to share this together.

Edward is a little boy who believes in fairies, elves and little people and when he finds what he thinks is a teeny-weeny walking stick in his garden he runs straight to his big sister to show her. Unfortunately, being older and busy with her homework she is not so convinced. She wants Edward to bring her some better proof.

Edward makes many trips into the garden to find proof (and to try and tear his sister’s attention away from her homework), coming back with an assortment of different items including fairy wings and fluffy slippers but his big sister has a rational answer for everything he brings her (sycamore tree seed, catkins). His finds all go on his special shelf in his bedroom. I won’t tell you what happens at the end of the book but needless to say, it doesn’t disappoint if you want both children to end up believing!

The illustrations are truly endearing as magic in the form of fairy folk, toadstool, mushroom houses and tree houses are present in every image but are not seen by either children. I always believed fairy folk were there. I just couldn’t see them, or it was the wrong time of day for them to come out!

This image is lovely  with its tiny little steps and doors carved into trees. These delight me still as an adult as much as they would have done as a child. Completely enchanting.

If you’re looking for some real-life inspiration, I’ve spent a lot of time recently, drooling over the pictures on the Green Renaissance Facebook Page. If you’re on Facebook, check out their photo albums, but be prepared not to be able to move away from your computer screen for a little while. There are some quite breathtaking images, and lots of gnarly trees and beautiful forests where fairies and elves are bound to live.

(I received our copy of The Teeny Weeny Walking Stick from Hogs Back Books but all views and thoughts are of course mine and Milo’s very own!)


Bookish Bites : Fairyland toadstool cakes

Well, what with all the chitter chatter in my post yesterday about fairies, elves and the like, it would have been wrong to let this week’s Bookish Bites go past without a Fairyland extravaganza. A small word of warning, there is sugarpaste and food colouring a plenty in this post. We try and keep the sugar stuff to a bare minimum in this household but sometimes, just sometimes, a cake begs to be as bright, bold and well, kitsch as it can possibly be.

So here’s a little glimpse of part of the finished cake.

No recipes for you this time. Not necessary as it’s all very basic stuff… just a simple guide to constructing it and a few cute photos. I’ve always , always wanted to make a toadstool cake similar to the toadstool houses and other “little people” houses found in my childhood books. Making one house though felt a bit of a big task to then eat just between the three of us and family and a bit too much like a birthday cake, so I opted for making some smaller toadstools. A little village of them!

You will need a basic sponge or madeira mix with whatever flavouring you prefer. We went with a vanilla madeira sponge as it’s a bit more pliable than a normal sponge. To bake the cakes you will need either some small pyrex bowls or some small bun tins like I’ve used or a muffin tin filled close to the top. Milo helped make the madeira sponge by sieving the flour, adding the sugar and slicing the butter ready for the mixer. We then baked our tins for approximately 40-45 minutes.

Milo helped get the cakes out the tin.

Next, I simply cut the tops off of the cakes and turned the bottom half upside down to form a more toadstool shape.

Whip up some buttercream and slather it on the whole of the top half of the toadstool, and around the edges and top of the base. Smooth the buttercream off with a knife that’s been resting in warm water.

Then onto your sugarpaste covering. Cover all the bases with white sugarpaste. I tend to roll this quite thinly but it’s best to do it fairly thick if you want a really smooth covering. I tuck the sugarpaste under the bottom but a neater finish would probably be to cut around the bottom edge.

Then, cover the top of the toadstools in red sugarpaste and be sure to tuck the paste under the bottom of the toadstool top. You can build up the middle of the toadstool top to make it higher with a little extra sugarpaste as I’ve done below.

With a little reserved white icing, cut out some round shapes and stick with edible glue or apricot glaze to the top of your toadstool.

At somepoint, cover a large cake board with green sugarpaste. It’s best done a day before you put anything on it so the paste has time to harden but I totally forgot so it was a bit rushed!

With Milo’s dad out on Saturday night I spent an evening in front of the TV watching some cheesy movie cutting out all sorts to decorate the houses. No templates I’m afraid for the doors and windows as I just cut these out of chocolate icing free hand and I wanted them all to be a bit different to each other. I cut out little flowers, hearts and leaves, made some little toadstools, a picnic area and small bench for one of the houses. I then decorated the main toadstools sticking everything on with edible glue.

I needed Milo to help finish off the cake so in the morning on Sunday he set about making the grass. This is a simple and fun task to set a toddler. Simply pour a big heap of dessicated coconut into a bowl, add copious amounts of green food colouring and mix very well.

Sprinkle all over the green base, add a few more flowers into the grass for decoration.

Then stand back and admire your finished fairyland cake.

What was rather lovely was that Milo, despite having taken part and watched the process of the cakes being baked in the oven, covered in sugarpaste and finally decorated, asked what was behind the doors in the little houses! If only there had been some little fairies or elves sat at a small table eating some cake themselves. Alas, it was just sponge and icing. Tasted good though!

Milo’s verdict: “Is this a real toadstool mummy? Is it a real fairy house? It tastes nice, can I have some more? I want a door.”

These little toadstools would also make a really lovely present for someone, wrapped up in a doily. We gave this one to Milo’s Nana and Granddad.

Next week’s Bookish Bites will also be a fairy and elf inspired creation so be sure to pop back then!

Sharing a sprinkle of childhood fairy dust

The lovely Zoe over at Playing by the Book has set up a rather fabulous linky (I’m a week late to this particular party – been a little preoccupied with work recently!). Once a month Zoe will post on a specific topic in her “I’m looking for a book about…” series and invite other bloggers to contribute a link to a blog post with reviews or references to books that fit in with that month’s topic. The idea is brilliant and designed to create a wonderful hub of books for anyone searching on a particular theme or topic.  This month is “elves and fairies”… and well, writing this post has been ever so nostalgic. Ever so, ever so nostalgic.

Let’s get started. In this post I have chosen to get a little gooey eyed over some of my old favourites, and on Thursday I’ll introduce to you a new book that Milo and I have been enjoying a lot recently.

I imagine that there are lots of bloggers sharing Enid Blyton’s books as part of this month’s topic, but there is absolutely no way that I couldn’t include them myself. Well, one series in particular; The Enchanted Wood / The Magic Faraway Tree series. For anyone reading this blog who knew me as a child will remember that I was completely and utterly obsessed with these books. It would seem that my tattered copy of The Enchanted Wood was read by me in Junior 2. I can assure you that my handwriting is much neater now and I know where to put my apostrophes.

The reasons I loved these books so much were:

A magic wood people, magic!
A tree with little houses in (tree houses were and still are, in my opinion, the best thing ever)
Moonface’s slippery slip (which just sounds a bit dodgy when you write it down doesn’t it?)
The food, the wonderful, wonderful imagery and inventiveness of Enid Blyton’s food…
The illustrations (in my copies at least)

The illustrations in my copy of The Enchanted Wood were drawn by Lesley Smith and I absolutely adored them as a child and still do. They completely shaped in my imagination what Moonface and Silky the fairy looked like and for me, later illustrations paled in comparison.

I read the first chapter of The Enchanted Wood to Milo recently as he’s been a little bit pre-occupied with fairies. Namely the fluff fairy… a daft story I told him one night when he was exhausted and had popped the blue sock fluff that he’d rescued from his toes, kept in his hand throughout books, bath, getting pjs on, blow-drying his hair, more books and into bed, next to his head on his pillow. I was worried that he’d be sad when he woke in the morning to find it gone so I said the fluff fairy would come and take it and maybe turn it into a jumper or dressing gown for another fairy. Well, he rather liked that so at about 11.45pm that night when I suddenly remembered what I’d said, I made a little card from the fluff fairies to say thank you for the blue sock fluff (they’d turned it into a duvet cover), and left some shredded cotton wool fluff for him with a little fairy dust on (edible glitter!) on his bedside table. Well, this was terribly exciting. As was the fact that his blue sock fluff was still on his pillow (how?!) the next morning. And so, a little curiosity about fairies was born. Yay!

I also have this copy of Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree.

The illustrations are by Rene Cloke and I do like them a lot, not quite as much as the illustrations in The Enchanted Wood but so much more so than the very modern versions. For me fantastic illustrations carry as much weight in story books as they do in picture books.

Milo asked me to include this one of the train. He thinks it’s the Little Red Train!

My other favourite fairy book as a child was this one… A Visit to Fairyland by Barbara Hayes, illustrated by Mary Brooks (Purnell Books).

This book reminds me completely and utterly of reading with my mum. I remember her reading it to me again and again, I remember pouring over the illustrations together, I remember trying to recreate the illustrations myself either through drawing or making. But most of all I remember the naughty little bear and the gorgeous little brother. Oh, they were such delights.

I think A Visit To Fairyland is now out of print. Sob. So for those of you who didn’t own this as children, here’s a snippet to give you a hint of the tone of the book …

“They say that Fairyland is over the rainbow,” Mummy had remarked – and then she had hurried on with her shopping. Mummies are usually in a hurry, aren’t they?

But the thought of Fairyland had stayed in Debbie’s head.”

Debbie then goes to bed, drifts off to sleep and embarks on an amazing adventure in Fairyland. Her brother David joins her and they are both later joined by teddy who is a bit naughty in Fairyland.

“Afterwards, naturally, the grown-ups said that it had all been just a dream — and perhaps it was; but Debbie couldn’t help believing that what happened that night might have been real.”

I just love the illustrations in this book, the detail, the imagination, the colours and the soft tone. They are utterly delicious.

I used to look for little houses in trees like this. I don’t think I ever once presumed that they didn’t exist, I just assumed that the fairies didn’t come out during the day and only at night so that’s why I couldn’t see them. I”d also make little houses like this for my Flower Fairies to live in.

I’m excited about sharing these properly with Milo as he gets older. In the meantime though (when we are not reading Oliver Jeffer’s books) we are ploughing through Ladybird’s classic Fairy Tales at the moment and he is just loving that experience. Last night’s bedtime book was The Elves and the Shoemaker which I hadn’t read before but knew the story well. I honestly think that he completely believes that fairies, elves and little people are real. He has no reason not to. He is not so keen on the wolves he is meeting in these books, but then, neither am I!

Tomorrow will be an extra special Fairyland inspired Bookish Bites so be sure to pop back then.

When bedtime reading backfires #1

We hadn’t read this for a while, so I was pleased when Milo chose Up and Down for his bedtime reading choice the other night. We read, we laughed hysterically at “Bam!” and the sight of the penguin and the boy laid out on the floor and then Milo got into bed, said goodnight to his clock, told me what he was grateful for that day (school and imaginary pancakes), listened to mummy singing to him and snuggled down.

All was fine. I was beginning to think about my dinner. Until…

“Mummy, what caught the boy and the penguin’s eyes?”

“The poster did, asking for a human cannonball, giving the penguin an opportunity to fly.”

“But, how did the poster catch their eyes?”

“Oh! I see… ‘caught their eyes’ is a saying, it just means ‘grabbed their attention’ or ‘they spotted it’ – it didn’t actually catch their eyes. Rightho, time to settle down now.”

“Mummy, why was there smoke coming out of the cannonball?”

“Well, because you have to blast out of a cannonball to be able to fly and well, blasting sometimes makes smoke.”

Cue hysterical laughter for some reason.

“Mummy, is the penguin asthmatic?”

“No. Time to go to …”

“So, the smoke won’t hurt him?”

“No, it won’t hurt him. Right, now Milo, it really is….”

“Mummy, was it a jumbo jet that the boy wanted to go on?”

“I can’t remember – did it have four engines?”

“I think it did. Wow! A jumbo jet. He’s a lucky boy.”

“Well, the boy wasn’t going on the jumbo jet, he was just looking for the penguin in the airport in case the penguin wanted to go on a jumbo jet.”


“Because he wanted to fly, remember. Now, it really is time to…”

“But mummy, why didn’t he like flying in the end? The penguin, why didn’t he like flying?”

“He found it a bit scary didn’t he. And then the boy had to catch him and they fell.”

Cue hysterical laughter, obviously remembering  the penguin and the boy laid out on the floor.


Argh! And so it continued, delaying my dinner remarkably. Thank you to Oliver Jeffers, genius of picture book creations that my boy loves to read and ask questions about!

Bookstart 20

You may have noticed this little badge pop up on the right hand side of my blog and you may be wondering what that’s all about? Well, let me tell you.

The very lovely folk at Booktrust (and I know that they are very lovely as I’ve had the pleasure of working with a fair few of them), approached me to ask if I’d mind helping to spread the word about Bookstart 20, and the answer was of course, yes and absolutely!

This year is a celebration of 20 years of Bookstart, the book gifting programme in the UK that gives free books to babies, toddlers and 3-year-olds. Booktrust are going to be celebrating everything that the programme has achieved, including the 30 million free books they’ve given away since its inception in 1992.

Here’s what Michael Rosen has to say about Bookstart:

“We now know that if we share books with children right from the time they are babies, we are helping them enormously to understand the world. It’s all about looking, listening and talking. Bookstart offers the perfect way in: free books in your hand with all sorts of great suggestions about keeping up the habit of sharing books with our children. It’s a great scheme.”
Michael Rosen, poet and former Children’s Laureate

It is a great scheme and one that we as a family have benefitted from enormously.

You can read all of our Bookstart posts here and a whole bunch of ones about Booktrust right here.

Bookstart is here to give every child in the UK the opportunity to engage with books from an early age, but it won’t be around to do this without help from all of us to secure its future. This is where the Bookstart 20 pledge comes in. Just hop on over to the Bookstart website, click on “make a pledge” to join in the 20th year celebrations. The pledge means that you’ll be committing yourself to sharing 20 books in 2012. There are so many ways to do this; reading picture books with your children, reading to a group of children, posting a book review, recommending books to your friends. These are such easy things to do, but by clicking the “make a pledge” button on the Bookstart website before you get started you are showing your support for a scheme that gets books into the hands of children at crucial ages and often where they otherwise wouldn’t  necessarily have access to them.

For my Bookstart 20 pledge I shall be sharing books with Milo as we always do, but we’e also going to choose some books for review here on my blog, and give some more books away to Lewisham Hospital as we did for International Book Giving Day. So, whenever you see the pledge badge up the top here on a post… you’ll know that we’re thinking about Bookstart while we’re reading.

What are you going to be doing to celebrate 20 years of Bookstart?

Bookish Bites : Apples, apples, apples, apple crumble

Milo started Kindergarten a few weeks ago and, after a few initial wobbles, he seems to be settling in nicely. He’s also starting to enjoy the food which is good. Even to the point of declaring that Kindergarten’s porridge is better than mine. Rude. But, when he came home saying he’d had apple crumble but hadn’t eaten any of it because apple crumble is yuck (seriously, I am loathing the word “yuck” at the moment) I was enormously confused.

Fair enough I suppose, we don’t eat crumble very often at home. When we do I tend to make a pan fried apple crumble for Milo’s dad and I as it’s quick and is enough for just us.  The recipe below is the same as the one we use, but rejigged slightly to increase the quantity and to bake in the oven.

So, to encourage Milo that apple crumble can only be a good thing, we snuggled down with two of our favourite “apple” books. Ten Red Apples by Pat Hutchins (Greenwillow Books, HarperCollins) and Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett (MacMillan Children’s Books).

Orange Pear Apple Bear is such a fabulously simple and brilliantly playful book. Emily Gravett rearranges the four words from the title to accompany her witty illustrations. Milo still finds this book hilarious. Ten Red Apples is another favourite. Possibly slightly selfishly because I adore Pat Hutchins delightful illustrations, but after a read of Ten Red Apples Milo loves to say “Fiddle-dee-fee” as often and as loudly as he can! After a snuggly read with daddy, Milo and I set about making apple crumble together.

For the crumble:
100g butter (chilled)
175g plain flour
75g light brown sugar
75g chopped almonds (or other nuts… we’ve used a mix in the past of walnuts, pecans and almonds to use up what we have in the cupboard, but Milo’s not a fan of walnuts or pecans so we stuck with almonds)
One teaspoon of cinnamon

For the apple mix:
2.5lbs Granny Smith apples
Approximately 30g butter
Grated zest of lemon
50g fine brown sugar
About half a teaspoon of cinnamon

Start with the crumble topping. Warm your oven to 200 degrees. Using your fingertips, or your toddler, mix the butter and flour together until you have a breadcrumb consistency.

Then add the sugar, cinnamon and chopped nuts.

Mix together thoroughly again with your fingertips then sprinkle your mixture into a baking tray and pop in the oven for about 15-20 minutes.

While your crumble topping is baking, crack on with the apple mixture. Peel and core your apples, then chop into chunky pieces.

Melt the butter in a saucepan. When it’s fully melted and bubbling, add your apples. Cook until they’re beginning to soften, then add your sugar, lemon zest and cinnamon. Cook for approximately 20 minutes or until you have a puree surrounding the apple mix.

Once the apples are cooked pop them into a baking dish, sprinkle your now baked crumble topping on the top and pop into the oven for about 20 minutes or until the apple juice is bubbling and your crumble is brown.

Be sure to serve with custard. Lots and lots of custard.

He looks happy doesn’t he! Milo loves to eat apples. He love almonds. He loves crumble topping. He’s oddly obsessive about cinnamon. He adores custard. What’s not to like eh?

Apple crumble it would seem.

Milo’s verdict: “I’m only eating the custard okay? Not this apple in here and not this crumble. Apple crumble is yuck.”

This recipe makes enough for about six people. Or two people if you want it for pudding three nights in a row! It really is very tasty despite what Milo has to say about it.

Maurice Sendak

As most of you have probably heard, today is an incredibly sad day for children’s literature with the news that Maurice Sendak has died at the age of 83. This New York Times article was how I found out. The Guardian has written this lovely tribute on the author of Where the Wild Things Are and they also have this fantastically opinionated interview with Sendak from 2011 that is definitely worth reading.

I read Where the Wild Things Are a lot during my time studying for my masters; understanding its influence, appreciating the illustrative technique, the simplicity of Sendak’s words but it wasn’t until sharing it with Milo after a particularly hard and difficult day together that I truly understood it. It’s a comforting book in this house and I’ll be reading it with my boy tonight and trying not to feel sadness at the passing of a brilliant, contentious and often fierce man but of everything he’s given this little household and millions of others.

Bookish Bites : Maisy Makes Lemonade, lemonade

An easy peasy lemon squeezy Bookish Bites for you this week. We’ve been busy. And we’ve eaten a lot of cake and sweet treats recently so we needed a bit of a rest. Also we really want Spring and Summer to arrive, with sunshine preferably and well, nothing says Spring like fresh, home-made lemonade. Shame about the rain.

We have several Maisy books including a few from this paperback series; Maisy Makes Lemonade, Maisy Makes Gingerbread (a future Bookish Bites I’m sure) and Maisy goes to the Library. I used to work at Walker Books and Maisy was one of the key brands I worked on and while there I grew quite attached to that little mouse. Milo has always enjoyed Lucy Cousins’ bright, bold illustrations and likes to see what Maisy gets up to with her friends. In Maisy Makes Lemonade it’s a hot summer’s day and Maisy’s friends are thirsty so with lemons from the garden, a little sugar and water Maisy sets about making a large jug of lemonade for everyone. Alas, we did not have the hot summer’s day. It was grey, windy and rainy. But, the rather fabulous thing about three year olds is that they just don’t care what the weather’s doing so we were absolutely able to pretend.

Milo’s dad and Milo begun with a reading of Maisy Makes Lemonade.

And then we all set about making some lemonade to accompany our diner. Here’s the recipe we used.

1/2 cup sugar (we used caster but granulated is just fine)
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of lemon juice
About 2-3 cups of water to dilute

It comes up a little sweet so I would add some extra lemon should you want too or just reduce the sugar syrup. Taste it and see. We normally add a little mint to our lemonade but unfortunately we don’t have enough mint in the garden at the moment to do this, but I would highly recommend.

Make the sugar syrup with the 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water by heating them up together in a small pan. Once all the sugar is dissolved set the syrup to one side to cool.

Then get on with a little lemon squeezing. Milo enjoyed this immensely.

Sieve your lemons to get rid of the pulp and pips.

Next pour both the sugar syrup and lemon juice into a pitcher. Add a little lemon rind for decoration and serve in the prettiest glasses you own. Ours are from Lovely Lovely and I truly love them.

This makes enough for about three big glasses of lemonade.

Milo’s first taste of lemonade and his verdict was: “I like lemonade and we made it just like Maisy. Can I have some more please?”

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.

Bookish Bites : Bloomin’ Doodles

If you are familiar with Socks by Nick Sharratt and Elizabeth Lindsay (Random House) you will also be familiar with the term “Bloomin’ Doodles!” If you are familiar with Milo, you will also know that this is also one of Milo’s favourite sayings at the moment. He says it a LOT. Especially when he drops things or knocks things or breaks things. It’s pretty funny! It took Milo’s dad and I a good while to work out where he’d got the phrase from and we were baffled with his use of it until a re-reading of Socks reminded us!

I should mention here that you could be in with a chance of getting your hands on an original illustration by Nick Sharratt so keep reading to the end of this post if you’d like this on your wall.

You do, don’t you. So do I.

We like this book in this house very, very much. It’s choc full of silliness, rhyme and language play. Like Octopus Soctopus and Elephant Wellyphant (another firm favourite in this house), this is so much fun to read aloud and Nick Sharratt’s trademark, gorgeously bright illustrations just bring the daftness to life. The world in this book is created by socks. You have Goldisocks, socksophones, a hipposockomus, socktown and numerous other delights. Silly fun that cracks Milo up every read, and we love picking out our favourite socks from the endpages. Endpages people, they really are such a great opportunity to extend the book.

I love the inscription in the front of the book too:

“The refrain in this book was inspired by the wonderfully named Choccywoccydoodah, a chocolaterie in Brighton”

I’ve never been there but I seriously want to having taken a look at their website and seeing their little TV show for the first time last night. It’s pretty impressive what these guys can do with chocolate.

Onto our bake. I asked Milo what he’d like to bake for this Bookish Bites, sock cookies or cake. He went with cake. Good choice. We had Milo’s Auntie Claire coming round for a visit so we wanted to make something socktacular for her. Because we had a busy Saturday morning planned, I got a little prepared by baking the giant victoria sponge traybake in advance.

And I mean giant. We wanted to get at last four pairs of socks out of our cake so eight eggs, 400g self raising flour, 400g butter,  400g caster sugar and several drops of vanilla extract later we had our starting point.

Of course you don’t need to make such a big traybake. You could get a couple of pairs of socks out of a 9x9inch square cake tin. Once the sponge was made I cut out our sock shapes in different shapes and sizes.

I also prepared early by making a few decorations for our finished cakes. This is always a good way to spend an hour with feet up on a Friday night (while your other half cleans the bathroom!)

Milo’s dad and Milo read Socks together before we got cracking with the icing and decorating. In case you didn’t know this about Nick Sharratt, he is a big fan of socks, all kinds, especially brightly coloured ones. Did you watch The Biggest Show on Earth for World Book Day? If you didn’t, it’s still available to watch over on the World Book Day site and approximately an hour and a bit (well, 1.16 mins to be exact) into the primary event, Nick discusses his love of socks with Jacqueline Wilson. When they first met in Jacqueline’s publisher’s office 21 years ago (can you believe that!) Nick was wearing bright canary yellow socks. Fabulous! On the World Book Day live stream Nick also draws some fantastic pictures from Socks (the book!). Well worth taking a look at.

In honour of Nick Sharratt’s own love of socks we all decided to celebrate our fun day by wearing our favourite pairs of socks! Milo likes these ones because they are blue and red stripes and have blue bits on. Milo’s dad likes his socks because they are orange and black striped and orange is his favourite colour. These are my favourites because they are Milo’s dad’s socks and for some reason that makes them more comfortable.

Milo likes to pull his socks right up to his knees just like his granddad does. It keeps your shins warm. Like this see.

Onto the icing. Milo and I made fondant icing in three different colours, lilac, pink and blue. I let Milo pour the icing over the cakes. Or just dunk the socks into the icing (his preferred method).

I’m pretty sure that most of the icing ran down the sides of the cake onto the baking parchment under our wire rack. It was a bit gloopy!

Next we moved onto decorating and readied the edible glitter. We each took a pair of socks to decorate and then went to town. Milo wanted to share his pair with Auntie Claire later so he sprinkled lots of green glitter over hers as its her favourite colour and put on lots of green leaves.

And then they were finished. Brilliant!

A short while later, Auntie Claire came round and showed us her favourite pair of socks. Her weekend socks (because she has to wear boring black ones at work throughout the week). They are her favourites because they have penguins on and were a pressie from her sister (Milo’s Auntie Gina!).

Milo gobbling his sock. His verdict: “I like to eat the socks and I will have all the decorations won’t I? I will, won’t I?”

So, earlier, somewhere around the top of this post, I mentioned that you yourself could grab your very own original Socks illustration drawn and signed by Nick Sharratt as part of Book Aid International’s Silent Scribble. All you have to do is email the lovely Emily at or give her a ring on 020 7733 3577 to place your bid. The highest bid will win the “scribble”. Here it is:

I feel slightly loathed in giving you all this information as I’ve already bid on this particular lot and I really want it. BUT Book Aid International are fantastic, they do fantastic work and so I will not be disappointed in the slightest (well, maybe a touch), if one of you lot outbids me. Go on, go for it. Deadline for bids in April 30th.

What socks are you wearing today? Either way, I hope you have a socktastic, sockywockydoodah day!

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