• Book Review: A Day with Dogs by Dorothee de Monfreid

  • Book Review: Roo The Roaring Dinosaur Best Playday Ever! By David Bedford and Mandy Stanley

  • Film Review: DreamWorks Trolls

  • Book Review: Martin Brown’s Lesser Spotted Animals


Book Review: A Day with Dogs by Dorothee de Monfreid

adaywithdogs_cover_medThis is the ideal book for any little children who love dogs. Its a cute book featuring nine dogs who go about their daily lives. Essentially this is a book of descriptive illustrations which provide the stimulus for lots of interesting conversations with children. However, there are also lots of little vignettes and funny conversations which add to the book.

There were several illustrations which my kids particularly enjoyed; The Alphabet which features dogs and different names for all the letters, Sports which is frankly hilarious and The Kitchen in which the dogs cook their dinner stand out.

We like books which encourage storytelling and thinking and these activities form the basis of good reading and comprehension skills. If you like Richard Scarry’s books then you’ll love this as its a similar more modern version.

You can find out more here.

Book Review: Roo The Roaring Dinosaur Best Playday Ever! By David Bedford and Mandy Stanley

roo-the-roaring-dinosaur-best-playday-ever-9781471145032_hrRoo The Roaring Dinosaur is a delightful little character and we loved the first book which introduced him. This new book takes Roo on an adventure with his new friend Erik the Polar Bear.

This is an ideal easy, bright, colourful read for under 6 year olds. Its a great story to introduce the concept of how you can be different to somebody but still friends and navigating ups and downs of friendship generally.

These sorts of books are really nice to share with children, this book in particular is perfectly pitched for nursery/ reception age kids and it was great to read with little (4 year old) Ned. With lovely illustrations which provide lots of opportunities for discussion and an interesting story this book has provided some lovely mother/ son moments in our household.

You can find out more about the book here.

Film Review: DreamWorks Trolls

TrollsDreamWorks make some of the best children’s films. Their movies are the ones which frame childhoods and create memories and Trolls is no exception. If you’re looking for a frenetic, joy filled musical extravaganza then this is the movie for you.

I should say that Fifi was a little bit worried about the Trolls being scary (she admitted this when we were halfway to the screening) but she soon realised how silly she was being and is now a massive fan. They really are the cutest little movie characters, possibly ever and the scenes which involve what can only be described as fuzzy felt to explain what might happen are a stroke of genius.

I was excited to see Trolls as I remember having the little dolls when I was little and they really were a feature of my childhood. I still have them and I even have a little jewel box which sat on a wrist band and held a Troll- something which is referenced in the film for uber fans of a certain age like me.

Despite being 41 instead of 7, there was no stopping us getting a photo with the Trolls at the gala screening. In all honesty I don’t think I could have been more excited!


This film is a musical and the soundtrack is awesome, we were all jigging about it our seats and singing the songs all the way home. These Trolls are cast as little Party People with pink haired Poppy Troll (voiced by Anna Kendrick) in charge. She’s a sassy little girly troll with an attitude not unlike my daughter and there were some brilliant almost teenager like one-liners from her.

The film is a roller coaster ride of emotions, particularly for younger kids. The bad guys (Bergens) are a little bit scary. Branch  the boy Troll (voiced by Justin Timberlake) reminded me of my eldest son in attitude and latent musical talent.

If you like Shrek, then you will like this movie as it has a very similar sort of feel about it. However, we thought it was better than Shrek, its much more visually stimulating, the comedy is more contemporary and the music really takes it to the next level.

It is without doubt the perfect movie for a rainy autumn half term and will serve to raise the spirits of even the battle hardened parent. I defy you not to feel happy once you’ve seen it. We all love it and the soundtrack is now a fave on our Spotify playlist.

Have a look at the trailer:

The Blurb:

DreamWorks’ TROLLS is a hair-raising comedy filled with unbelievable adventure and incredible music.  Known for their crazy, colourful, and magical hair, Trolls are the happiest, most joyous creatures ever to burst into song. But their world of rainbows and cupcakes is changed forever, when their leader Poppy (Anna Kendrick,) must embark on a rescue mission that takes her far beyond the only world she’s ever known.

TROLLS stars Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, James Corden, Kunal Nayyar, Gwen Stefani, Russell Brand, Ron Funches

DreamWorks TROLLS is released in cinemas from October 15 in 3D and 2D.

I’d love to hear about your childhood memories of Trolls and if you see the film yourself don’t forget to leave a review here.

Book Review: Martin Brown’s Lesser Spotted Animals

lesser-spotted-animalsThis is a fabulous book from the illustrator of Horrible Histories. Its basically a book about animals, except these are all unusual animals. Instead of your usual hippo’s and giraffes you can learn all about sand cats, the yellow-footed rock-wallaby and the banded linsang.

I must admit, i’ve always loved a book about animals- as does my daughter. We both pounced on this when it arrived and its been sitting on our coffee table attracting much attention for the past couple of weeks. Not only is it a brilliant conversation starter, it is one of those books which you delve into and then get lost in. We absolutely love it and you wont be able to beat us in an unusual animal pub quiz, trivial pursuit or scrabble now. I can guarantee there wont be anyone else you know familiar with the Cuban solenodon.

Sometimes its hard to get children really interested in a non-fiction book, you need something modern and usual and this fits the bill. The illustrations are brilliant, its perfectly pitched and really well written. If you want to make sure your children value and respect the world around them this is a great start. The book is based on a list of threatened species and its a great way of introducing concepts of environmental awareness.

Fabulous, you must get hold of this! Find it here.


Your Last Social Media Update…

stonehengeOne of the things I’ve become very conscious of since i’ve had children is that I don’t want to leave them with a terrible mess to sort out should anything happen to me. I know that sounds morbid and i’m only in my early forties, but I couldn’t imagine anything worse than having to sift through endless bits of paper and stuff whilst really distressed. To that effect I am very slowly trying to weed out and de-clutter my things, this is a good thing as it helps life move more smoothly anyway. After all, who needs the manual from a fridge we bought 15 years ago?

I recently read an interesting article (and I cant remember where) about social media legacy. I started thinking more about this whole issue. There are lots of strands to it; its sobering to think about every Facebook and Twitter post as your last. Who can honestly say they haven’t stalked a dead celebrities Twitter feed, its just something that happens. Imagine if someone stalked yours and your last Tweet was a rant at [insert company] for failing to deliver,  something detailing how fed up you were with parenting/ your husband/ your best friend, or a succinct message about how much you hate cleaning, people who talk on the bus etc. Is this how you’d like to be remembered in eternity? Would you like people to see a small animated picture of a cat doing a wee on a toilet as your last Facebook post? You catch my drift.

This also has implications for blogging, I’ve always been fairly aware that one day my kids will read this blog and i’ve never mentioned them by name. At the start I didn’t use their images, but I do now with their permission- in fact they often ask to be pictured. However, i’m really conscious that I do need to go through and have a good weed (de-clutter) of my posts. Some of them were quite important and personal at the time, I didn’t really have anyone to talk to and I needed to get things out of my system. Some were (and are) just silly. Many don’t really reflect me if you know me and lots of them don’t say things I’d love to say or talk about purely because I don’t feel that it would be appropriate to do so.

When I started blogging it was essentially a digital diary, a way of sharing thoughts and experiences. It was quite a small world and not many people read blogs. I imagine it in my mind as Jane Austin probably did with her diaries; I simply didn’t think it would be of interest and read so widely.

There has been a rise in ‘honest parenting’ blogs and I’d like to think that a lot of it is a brilliant way of getting the message across of what parenting really is like. I’ve certainly tried to be honest. However, do all these bloggers ever consider that the post they have just written- perhaps moaning about their children- might be the last they write? If one of their children had to read through the last thing they wrote about them and it was a rant about their inability to potty train would it be quite so funny?

Personally going forwards I’m going to think really carefully about what I tweet, Facebook or blog. Imagine someone standing up at your funeral and reading your last Tweet or that Facebook post and then think if thats how you’d like to be remembered. I’m going to continue my on going project to weed my blog and also consider what i’m going to write anywhere.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, is this something you’ve considered. Do you have a blog weeding project?