Saturday, 10 March 2012

Happy weekend!


Hello, happy weekend to everyone :)

I've been better these last few days about keeping up to date with @FatMumSlim's Photo A Day Challenge (see the post below the one below), and I'm really enjoying it. I love taking pictures anyway, and the added challenge of trying to be creative with this is really fun.

Picture Eight - Window

Not especially creative, but it is the window in my bedroom. I never open the main blind because I'm on the ground floor, so the world and his wife could look in and see...well, just me faffing around on the computer, but it feels a bit weird, so I leave the two at the side open for daylight haha. As you can see, there are more pictures, my boxes (with cakes on!!) for my jewellery and stuff, a few random cards, fairylights, my Eeyore mug, some sunflowers and pretty Diet Coke bottles that I keep meaning to put flowers in. On the walls surrounding it, you can see even more photos, my noticeboard with lots of random things on it and my Take That calendar. All in all, a pretty good snapshot of my life, just by looking at a window. I didn't know I was so easily summarised haha!

Picture Nine - Red

As you can probably tell, I just picked up the first few red things I saw in my room. My cherry body butter (I love the stuff but always forget to use it, so I currently have 5 different types piled up on my shelf!), my Poppy purse from Octopus which I love (does Octopus even exist anymore, it was my absolute favourite shop for a while, and now I can't find it anywhere??). The third item is a hat in the colours of the Mali flag, which I bought in my first week out there, when we went to watch Mali play in the semi-finals of the women's Afrobasketball tournament. The atmosphere of that game was incredible - Vuvuzelas, drums, singing and chanting, all for women's basketball! - and a really good memory.

I know it's time for the 10th photo, but I'll have to post that tomorrow, as the theme is 'loud' and I know what I want to take,  but can't do it until later.

I've decided that I really enjoy blogging! I like waffling anyway, and usually no-one listens to me, but here it doesn't matter whether people listen to me or not! Happiness on both sides :)

The perks/perils of having a Mum who's a teacher, is that she often brings things home/reminds you of things about being a kid. One of my favourite things when I was little (and now) was reading. I've been told that I taught myself to read before I went to school (no idea how true this is, as I don't remember, obviously), but one of my first, vivid memories of school is of being sat in the Reception class, and being told I was the first person to move on from those little word cards you used to get, onto actual books. Looking back now, I'm not sure how that's progression, because those books (Biff, Chip and Kipper, remember those??) only had about three words in them!

But anyway, I thought I'd take this opportunity to show you my favourite books for each stage of my life, because books have always been really important to me, and still are :)

Books from when I was really little

Despite the slightly suspect title (I'm fairly certain that Shirley Hughes knew nothing of dogging when she wrote it), this is the sweetest, most amazing book ever. For those who haven't read it, it's about a little boy who loves this messed up, scruffy little stuffed dog, and loses him at a school fair. No other toys are the same, even the big fluffy bear that his sister wins, and he's really sad because he can't find him. Eventually, he sees Dogger at one of the stalls, but is too late and another little boy wins him. He's really upset because the other kid won't give him back, but then his sister swaps her new fuzzy bear for scruffy old Dogger. It's so sweetly written,  and brilliantly illustrated and just the cutest thing ever!

The Bad Tempered Ladybird

This book is again beautifully written, and beautifully illustrated as all good childrens' books should be. The Bad Tempered ladybird picks a fight with every animal he sees, never satisfied that they are big enough to fight with, even as the animals get bigger and bigger with every one he meets. He soon however, learns the importance of being nice to animals (it gets late and he gets hungry) and it ends with him sharing a nice dinner of aphids with a friendly lady ladybird. Love it :)

The Rainbow Fish

The first time I read this was in primary school, and it captured my imagination brilliantly, as I imagine it does to every child who reads it. It's not so much the story I remember about this book, as the illustrations, and the beautiful shiny pieces on the fish. My Mum, for her classroom, had a piece of fabric that looked like the rainbow fish, and even at the age of 15 I really wanted it!
For those who want a brief synopsis of the story though, basically the Rainbow fish is beautiful, but he has no friends. He then makes these friends by giving them one of his beautiful scales, until he has none left either, so he is no longer as beautiful but is much happier. A good moral I think.


One of my favourite books of all time, EVER! I don't really know why (apart from the fact that Mick Inkpen is fabulous), and again it had wonderful illustrations. (I just remembered Kipper, another wonderful book by Mick Inkpen, but I don't think I have space to include that as well). Threadbear has always had a squeaker in his tummy that has never squeaked, and it makes Threadbear sad. He travels to the North Pole to see whether Father Christmas can fix it for him!

Alfie and Annie Rose

Shirley Hughes is such a magnificent childrens' writer that I just had to include two of her books. Alfie and Annie Rose are brother and sister, and Shirley writes several storybooks about their adventures. The ones I remember the most, are when they set up a stall selling things they found in their garden, or when Alfie camped out all night and found things really scary, even though it was just his back garden.
My little brother (he's two in May) is called Alfie, so this was obviously one of the first things I bought him (in fact I bought him all of these! The only one I couldn't find was Threadbear!).

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Now here's a book that needs no introduction! Everybody knows The Very Hungry Caterpillar! Again with beautiful illustrations, pull out sections and just really well written, this book is a classic and definitely should be! For those of you who haven't read it (have you been living underground??), it's about a caterpillar who turns into a butterfly, but he gets very hungry along the way so eats lots of things. You have to see it to realise why it's so amazing I think.

The Jolly Postman

I forgot this book existed until last Christmas when I saw it in Waterstones, and immediately wanted to buy it (I just managed to resist sadly). It's a wonderful, interactive book about letters. The Jolly Postman delivers letters to classic children's characters, and it has actual post within the book! It's incredible, and just talking about it makes me want to buy it again! It's written by the same people who wrote Funnybones (another incredible book), Please Mrs. Butler and the Ha! Ha! Bonk! jokebook, all of which I had when I was a kid.

Books from when I was a bit older
When I was a bit older, I started enjoying books even more, and wanted something with more of a story. I was an avid reader, and so there are far too many to name all of the ones that I loved, so I'm going to name a few authors, and a few individual books I think.

Dick King Smith

Dick King Smith is one of the best children's authors ever, and I was really sad when he died last year. I loved Sophie's Adventures (I would imagine this was helped by the fact that she was called Sophie haha), and in my opinion, Hodgeheg is one of the best books ever written. Ever!

Flat Stanley
Flat Stanley

Flat Stanley is a brilliant book, and one that I read over and over again. It's about a boy called Stanley who got squashed flat one day, and about all the adventures he subsequently got up to. He pretended to be a painting to catch a burglar, he posted himself in a letter and he let his brother use him as a kite before he returned to his original size again. Clever and funny.

The Worst Witch
The Worst Witch (Young Puffin Story Books)

This book was brilliant, and really got me into reading series of books. It's also one of the only books that I enjoyed the TV adaptation of. It's a book about Mildred Hubble, who attends Cackle's Academy for Witches. She's a rubbish witch and always ends up in trouble, and has a deadly enemy by the name of Ethel. Jill Murphy also wrote some incredible books for younger children, including 'Peace at Last' which I might have to dedicate a special section to!

Charlotte's Web

Charlotte's WebbThe first book I read in which I realised books could be emotional and make you cry, and in fact some of the best books do so. For those who haven't read it, go out and buy it now. It's about a pig called Wilbur, a spider called Charlotte and a little girl called Fern, and is an emotional rollercoaster of a story that really makes you think, laugh and cry, even as an adult.
Tom's Midnight Garden

Tom's Midnight Garden
Tom's Midnight Garden is, and will remain one of my favourite books ever. It's about a boy who goes to live with his aunt for the summer, and resigns himself to boredom, but instead finds mystery and adventure. When the clock strikes Thirteen, and mystical garden appears outside the house, with all manner of strange people and adventures.
Stig of the Dump (Puffin Books)
Stig of the Dump
This is another book that should need no introduction. It's about a boy called Barney, who meets a man called Stig, who lives in a disused chalk quarry. The man is a little odd though, as he looks a bit like a caveman, and can speak in nothing but grunts. Nobody believes Barney when he tells his family about Stig, so he spends his days visiting the man, bringing him presents and teaching him the ways of modern life. In return, Stig teaches Barney, and they have many adventures together.

Dear GreenpeaceDear Greenpeace
This book should probably be with the little kids books above, but I love it so much that I just have to include it here, because I read it over and over for as long as I can remember. It's again got beautiful illustrations, and is about a little girl who has a whale living in her pond, and believes it is unhappy, so sends many letters to Greenpeace asking advice. Greenpeace initially don't believe her, but finally help her to set the whale free. 

Jacqueline Wilson

I love Jacqueline Wilson with all my heart, and believe that she is an amazing, brilliant, fantastic author for older children, because she touches on real life issues, such as eating disorders, divorce, mental health issues and children in care. And she does so in a way that is phenomenally touching, funny and interesting, and keeps children hooked. I love her. I can't name all of her books that I love because there are too many, but some of my favourites are:
* Tracy Beaker
* Girls In Love
* The Lottie Project
* The Suitcase Kid
* The Illustrated Mum
* Double Act
* Bad Girls
* The Bed and Breakfast Star

Roald Dahl

I couldn't do a list like this and not mention Roald Dahl. I know it's a bit of a cliché to include him, but that's because he is so amazingly incredible, and I love his books so much. I also love the illustrations by Quentin Blake, and don't think his books would be the same without them. Again, some of my favourites are: 

* Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
* Esio Trot
* Fantastic Mr Fox
* James and the Giant Peach
* Matilda 
* The BFG
* The Witches
* The Enormous Crocodile
* The Giraffe, the Pelly and Me
* The Twits

Everything about Roald Dahl is amazing; he's got so many children into reading, and may he long continue to do so. 

Enid Blyton

I couldn't not put Enid Blyton on here. She was my absolute favourite author when I was a kid, even when I was too old to read her stuff, and even now she brings back fond memories. I've been sure to continue that by buying her books for my little cousin, who is almost as into reading as I was. Here are some of my Enid faves: 

* The Magic Faraway Tree
* Malory Towers
* Famous Five
* Secret Seven
* Wishing Chair Adventures
* St Clare's

And I have a lot to thank Enid Blyton for really. I'll share a little story with you; when I was in Year 4 at primary school (about 9 years old), we used to go to the library every week to choose a book. As I've said, I was a tad obsessed with Enid Blyton and would, without fail, pick one of her books (I can still picture where the shelf was in the library), even if it was one that I'd read a million times before. My teacher knew that I was capable of reading much more challenging things, and wanted to push me out of my comfort zone, but despite him telling me millions of times, I always, always chose Enid. One day, he'd had enough, and banned me from getting an Enid Blyton (I was devastated). He asked the librarian to choose a book for me that was still fun, but more challenging, and (bearing in mind that this was 1999 and before all the hype), she came out with......

And the rest, as they say, is history! I was hooked, and continued to get all of the books as soon as they came out, dying with anticipation, even as a small child. I got the Prisoner of Azkaban as a present for a good report when it came out in July 1999, so I must have devoured the first two pretty quickly! Of course I would have gotten into them eventually, but I have Mr. Cockroft, the librarian, and of course Enid Blyton for showing me the ways so quickly, so I could enjoy them as much as possible!

I have so much more I want to say about books (because I'm a saddo), but I feel this post is getting a little long now, and people are probably getting bored and I want my lunch. Therefore, I'll post more this afternoon or tonight. Please leave your comments on your favourite books, or your favourite memories about reading, I'd love to hear them, as it's something that's very close to my heart!

Lots of love xx

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