Usborne Book Review: Late Night at the Zoo

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

How was your summer?

I've got back-to-school feelings today, mostly because we're settling my daughter into a routine with preschool, and now I'm finding myself doing things like laying out little outfits the night before, and making sure her bag is sorted, and helping her find her peg at pre-school. This time next year I will be waving her off into primary school and I'm genuinely not sure how this has happened so fast.

I've got another book review for you today: Late Night at the Zoo, an Usborne Very First Reading book.

The Very First Reading series has been developed with literary specialists, and designed for adults and children to read together. It has brilliant rhythm and colourful pictures, which means Jellybean is occupied despite not being old enough to read it herself yet.

As well as a fun story, the book contains puzzles at the end, which help to see how much of the story the child understood, as well as word games, like 'find the opposite word', extending the opportunity to learn.

It also has guidance notes, which explains the spelling patterns introduced in the book, and ideas about good times to read and what to do if your child gets stuck.

If you have a child who is beginning to learn to read, I really recommend the Usborne Very First Reading Books. You can see the range on Sarah Keller's page here.

I received this book from Sarah Keeler, independent Usborne book seller in exchange for an honest review. If you are interested in purchasing this or any other Usborne books, check out her page. Also, be sure to check out her VIP group, where she runs competitions and holds special offers on lots of lovely books. Thanks Sarah! :)

A hiatus?

Tuesday, 25 July 2017


So, we're coming up to the end of July, so really, only a few months away from my 5-year-blogging anniversary (!) and I'm writing to say I'm taking a break.

Mostly this is due to a number of things: wanting to spend more time with my husband in the evenings, as those moments have been scarce since the baby arrived. Wanting to spend time reading the giant stack of books that I bought with my birthday money. Wanting to take the pressure off so I don't feel guilty all the time about not blogging. Wanting to finish off some stuff I've started around the house.

But, to be totally honest: there's things about blogging I don't enjoy so much. Firstly, the self-advertising side of things. I don't like the idea that I am rubbing my blog into people's faces all the time (LOOK AT WHAT I DID!) but that is the nature of the beast, really. If I want people to read it I have to advertise it. But I find it tiring at times, and occasionally I need to take a break from it.

Secondly, I find the constant upkeep of social media annoying sometimes. For example, I really like Instagram - I like taking pictures and editing them and finding interesting new accounts to follow. I like that. But when it becomes like a job, my gosh, it is not as much fun. I feel constantly guilty for not keeping up with it, because I know that's what successful bloggers do - people seem to be on social media all the time. And it's not that I don't have time for that, it's just that sometimes I don't want to be doing that. And at the moment, this blog is just for me: for fun. It's not as though my livelihood depends on it. I want to keep it that way (as in, fun). Which also involves occasionally stepping away.

I mean, how can I possibly keep up with successful bloggers? These people are posting at least three times a week. Some of them post daily. They are posting on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter several times a day. They are constantly interacting with other bloggers. I just can't keep up with that.

I'm not moaning (because what a ridiculous thing to moan about!) I'm just explaining why I need a breather. I'm stuck in a rut right now, creatively, and I don't really know which direction I want to take. I need a few weeks to have a good think about it. I want to write things that are good and meaningful and that connect with people, ultimately. I don't want to write stuff that just fills space.

I'm aware of how pretentious I sound.

Anyway, I'm waffling now. I've got a book review scheduled for next week which will go up as normal. I also plan to blog for the Motherload during this time. Plus, I'll probably pop up on Instagram/Facebook every now and again. So I won't be totally silent ;) You can see my Motherload posts here, if you're interested.

Other than that ...

See you all in September!

Pursuing Peace: Quick quick slow

Friday, 7 July 2017

(Just as a warning, I'm going to be peppering this post with some of the best Leslie Knope quotes I can find, not because they necessarily match up with what I'm talking about, but because I love her. Not in any way sorry.)

This quote really sums up my whole blog.

I'm proud of you

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

A short post to say this: my daughter is growing up.

Without going into too much detail for the sake of her privacy: something has clicked over the past few weeks and she seems happier, very contented, and very ...


Things that used to scare her no longer do. She's pushed herself a little bit, gone beyond her comfort zone, and found that it is okay there. That in fact, she can thrive there.

Who knows why children develop the way that they do? It seems to happen in waves. Everything is normal and then suddenly, one day, they've overcome a hurdle that they've been faltering at for months.

24 things I have learnt from watching Pretty Little Liars

Friday, 30 June 2017


*Clears throat*

That's right: I watched ALL SEVEN SEASONS of Pretty Little Liars.

Pictured: my face after the finale

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