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My Top Five Laughs this week
My Top Five Laughs this week

My Top Five Laughs this week

Melissa over at The Mommyhood Chronicles runs a Blog Hop, “Saturday’s Top Five Laughs”. I’ve had a strange sort of week, so I thought I’d join in.

1. Book I bought because the title made me laugh

Annabelle, the Reluctant Fart Fairy

Annabelle the Reluctant Fart Fairy

With the tagline, “A Fairy. A Dream. And a Bean Burrito.” I had to buy a copy of Annabelle, the Reluctant Fart Fairy by M.T. Lott. Will let you know if the story is as funny as the title.

2. Quote that made me laugh

Giles does show don't tell

I came across quotes from Giles, the paperback writer, whilst trawling through some old files. OK, so this is probably only funny if you’re an author, but I must dig out some more of his words of wisdom.

3. Random misfortunes that made me laugh (or cry)

  • The sudden icy weather caused a burst pipe in my summerhouse which flooded the place and fused all my electric so I woke up to no heating, no hot water and a flat phone battery.
  • It was also responsible for a leak on the mains supply in the road outside. The same afternoon the water board men arrived and turned off all my water. (Shame they didn’t do it before the flood above.)
  • Finally, that night I went to turn off the light in my bathroom but the switch was stuck and I had to resort to taking out the bulb.

Maybe this isn’t funny at all but it’s made me slightly hysterical.

4. Hilarious spelling fail laugh

Sand Witches

My daughter snapped this pic whilst out and about in London. Damn those Sand Witches!

5. Laughs with my grandson

And if all those aren’t funny, here’s my grandson laughing at his mum. Who’d have thought fake sneezes were so amusing?


Note: there is no video to this just an audio file but it didn’t seem to upload and play like that. Told you I was having one of those weeks 🙂

Keep laughing everyone.

Suzie xx

My Random Musings
Dear Bear and Beany
Christmas books for children to win for Free with Goodreads
Christmas books for children to win for Free with Goodreads

 Did you know there are free books to win everyday on Goodreads?


If you didn’t know, Goodreads is a great site that lets you connect with other readers, see what books they’re into, and read reviews. It also runs some awesome giveaways. There are books from both the Big Six traditional publishers and books from Indie authors … and they’re all paperback or hardback copies for you to keep. Some are even signed. What’s not to like?

Here are a selection of children’s titles that you could win in time for Christmas.

Christmas Book 1. Christmas at Come-alive Cottage

Christmas at Come-alive Cottage

The Blurb: A fun chapter book for young children.
Aunt Kitty is a witch and sometimes-cat. Kellie never knows what might happen when her aunt is around!
“Christmas at Come-alive Cottage is a book of madcap adventures, spells gone crazy, lovable witches, laughs, fun. “

“Christmas at Come-alive Cottage” is the 4th book in the series by Wendy Unsworth. There are 4 autographed copies on offer to readers in several countries including the US, Canada and Europe. You can enter here.

Christmas Book 2: The Christmas Spirit is Born

The Christmas Spirit is Born

The Blurb:The city of Clausville is hidden away in the mountains of the North Pole, where elves, reindeer, and happy children play all day. Here also live Big Papa Claus and his son, Little Santa. There is so much for Little Santa to learn- from teaching reindeer how to fly to rescuing elven friends! This is the story of how the Christmas spirit was born, and with it, who we now know the wold over as Santa Claus!

Enter here to win “The Christmas Spirit is Born” by Perry Johnson. There are 15 copies available. 🙂

Christmas Book 3: Sally Steamy the Christmas Engine

Sally Steamy the Christmas Engine

The Blurb: Sally Steamy is an engine who doesn’t seem to like Christmas at all.

Sally wants to keep herself busy and believe Christmas is just another day. Can Little Titch and a magical Christmas adventure somehow change her mind..?

Only one copy of “Sally Steamy the Christmas Engine” by Ian Shimwell on offer here but it’s signed by the author and it’s a lovely glossy hardback. Available to readers in the UK, US and Canada.

Christmas Book 4: The Night Before Christmas The Night Before Christmas

The Blurb: ‘Twas the night before Christmas and Santa’s late night visit has a man and his curious kitty investigating. Did you know that Santa can play the guitar? Well, he can! Each page is filled with thoughtful details, luscious color, and a joyful whimsy.

Four and a half years were spent illustrating the mosaics for the book, which were made by hand cutting thousands of pieces of stained glass and fitting them together to form the images.

This giveaway is for a signed copy of “The Night before Christmas” by Clement C. Moore and illustrated by Christine Brallier. It’s available to readers in just about any country you can think of. Try your luck here.

Christmas Book 5: 24 + 1 Christmas Tales: Butterfly Adventures in Santa’s Secret City

Christmas tales

The Blurb: 24 + 1 Christmas Tales tell of the fabulous adventures of butterflies Martha, Darfo, Sonya and Johnny at Santa’s Secret City. They are accompanied by their friends the three electric blue fireflies and the fearful phoenix. Whether it be helping to check wish lists, granting a white Christmas or manufacturing magical Christmas presents, the butterflies can be found everywhere: their mission is to make Christmas bigger, better and more perfect.

Enter here to win “24 + 1 Christmas Tales: Butterfly Adventures in Santa’s Secret City” by Alexander Ruth. Open to readers in lots of countries, there are 5 copies up for grabs.

Christmas Book 6: Santa’s Search for the Perfect Child

Santa's Search for the Perfect Child

The Blurb: Santa finds a special gift that he had put up because he could not find the child who deserved it. His head elf Percy notices that Santa is a little down in the dumps and ask what the problem is. When Santa tells him, Percy offers to go out into the world and see if he can help Santa find this Perfect Child before Christmas, so that Santa can finally give be happy again. So Percy goes out to look for this child and is about to give up until he meets someone he thinks might be the one.

My last book on giveaway on Goodreads Is “Santa’s Search for the Perfect Child” by Donna Faulkner Schulte. There are 10 copies for readers in US, CA, GB, and AU.

So there are six Christmas Books that could be yours for the click of a mouse. If you’re not already a member of Goodreads, it’s easy and free to create a Goodreads profile.

Good luck.

Suzie xx

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My Random Musings
Dear Bear and Beany
Talk of the Town
Picture Books about the Moon
Picture Books about the Moon

Picture Books about the Moon

In honour of the 2016 Super Moon on November 14th (which I didn’t see because it was too cloudy here in Wales), here are some of picture books about the moon to share with your little star-gazers and would-be space-travelling astronauts.

I Took the Moon for a Walk

I took the Moon for a walk

“I Took the Moon for a Walk” by Carolyn Curtis is a gorgeously illustrated, gentle book which is just right for bedtime.  The moon follows a little boy as he walks round his neighbourhood and then waits outside his window until the morning. And this book contains some seriously gorgeous artwork.

Kitten’s First Full Moon

Kittens first full moon

“Kitten’s First Full Moon” by by Kevin Henkes. Kitten thinks the moon is a bowl of milk in the sky. This cute story follows her attempts to reach it.

The drawings are black and white but they are very sweet, as is the story. Kitten attempts to lick the milk/moon but she gets a bug on her tongue, falls off the porch, gets stuck up a tree and, after seeing the reflection of the moon in the pond, gets terribly wet when she jumps in. Happily, there’s a real bowl of milk waiting for her at home.

Little readers will love the silly kitten.

On the Moon

On the Moon

The books so far have all been fiction but “On the Moon” by Anna Milbourne is a fantastic book which combines artist’s drawings with real life images from NASA which shows what it’s really like on the moon. There are also actual facts that my grandson found really interesting, like it takes four whole days to fly to the moon. He also got very interested in the rocket that takes the astronauts to the moon and we’ve had to re-enact the blast off procedure several times with many of his toys lol.

If you decide to go to the Moon

if you decide to go to the moon

If you decide to go to the Moon in your own rocket ship, read this book before you start … so starts “If you decide to go to the Moon” by Faith McNulty. This book has a lot of advice and hard facts for future astronauts; what to take, how long it will take to get there and the information they’ll need to get themselves back.  There is quite a lot of text in this book but there are also great illustrations to talk about with younger space enthusiasts. It ends with the explorers returning and promising to “protect all life on our beautiful Earth.”


Hope you’ve enjoyed this round-up of picture books picture books about the moon, even if, like me, the good old British weather obliterated your view of the biggest super-moon in nearly seventy years.

Suzie xx

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My Random Musings
A Cornish Mum

The Pramshed
Haynes Thomas the Tank Engine workshop owners’ manual

Haynes ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ Workshop Owners’ Manual by Chris Oxlade.

Haynes Thomas the Tank Engine owners' workshop manual

As firm Thomas the Tank Engine fans, I was interested to get hold of a copy of the Haynes Workshop Owners’ Manual by Chris Oxlade for my grandchildren. I thought it was another great book to share for #NonFictionNovember.

Of course, it was only me that appreciated the fact that the cover looks exactly like the Haynes manuals I’ve used when working on real cars (Yes, I’ve done my share of mechanic-ing in the past). My three year old grandson just thought it was a good book about one of his favourite characters. Mechanic-me was slightly disappointed that the inside didn’t strictly follow the Haynes take-it-apart formula but I can’t imagine how that would work for little ones anyway.

So, whilst you don’t get step-by-step instructions to rebuild your own steam engine you do get a lot of information in a child-friendly way. Such as How a Steam Engine Works.

how a steam engine works

And how to drive actually Thomas.

driving Thomas the Tank

After reading this, my grandson rushed off to check his model. Sadly it didn’t feature the handles and regulators to ‘make it work’ but he conceded it was only a toy. I promised a visit to a real steam engine to see the controls in action sometime soon.

The book’s recommended for readers 3 – 8 although I think it’s probably more suited to the younger age range.  It’s a firm favourite in our house.

Suzie xx

P.S. Forgive the generic pictures of this book. Grandson had taken it home with him!

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My Random Musings
The Pramshed
Talk of the Town
Five little Monkeys jumping on the Bed – #PictureBookMonth – Nov 3

picture book month“Five little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” by Eileen Christelow

…#PictureBookMonth – Nov 3

November is Picture Book Month – a celebration of great picture books with a daily theme.

Today’s theme is Monkeys.

My choice of book for today is “Five Little Monkeys jumping on the Bed” by Eileen Christelow.

five little monkeys

This is a fun take on a story that we all know. It has lovely illustrations and a twist at the end that doesn’t usually feature in the words that I remember 🙂 .

Here it is in a great video from Grandma Annii

Five Little Monkeys is one of Amazon’s top selling picture books. A classic for little ones. The only problem is, you may have to read it multiple time.

Suzie x


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Miss Bindergarten Celebrates the 100th Day of Kindergarten #PictureBookMonth – Nov 2

 picture book month“Miss Bindergarten Celebrates the 100th Day of Kindergarten” by Joseph Slate…

…#PictureBookMonth – Nov 2

November is Picture Book Month – a celebration of great picture books with a daily theme.

Today’s theme is school.

books about starting schoolI wrote a post about books for children preparing to start school back in the summer. Hopefully, all those new students (and their parents) are well into the swing of school by now and enjoying it. So, today my book choice has the incredibly long title of “Miss Bindergarten Celebrates the 100th Day of Kindergarten” by Joseph Slate.

OK, so this year’s September starters haven’t been in school for 100 days yet, but this is a fun read on many levels. It won’t be long before they will be having their own 100 day celebrations.

miss Bindergarten

The story starts as Miss Bindergarten tells her students that their homework is to bring

100 of some wonderful, one-hundredful thing.

picture book month calendarIt then documents what each of the pupils (who have names for every letter of the alphabet) will bring, so one builds a fort with 100 lolly sticks, one makes a 100-link paper-chain, whilst another covers themselves with 100 stickers. At the same time, Miss Bindergarten is getting ready for the celebrations with her class. She devises all sorts of great number games for them to enjoy which reinforces the concept of 100 whilst they are having fun.

The book is told in rhyme and the illustrations have lots of detail for you and your child to talk about. As well as that, there are alphabet and number concepts too.

I think the 100 day celebration is a great idea. Hope you enjoy the book.

Suzie xx

My Random Musings
Something About a Bear – #PictureBookMonth – Nov 1

picture book month“Something About a Bear” by Jackie Morris…

…#PictureBookMonth – Nov 1

Happy November 🙂

November is Picture Book Month – a celebration of great picture books with a daily theme.

Today’s theme is Bears.

There are so many picture books about bears it was hard to choose just one. Inspired by children’s cuddly animals everywhere, bears in books play games, try to delay bedtime, have fun at school and just about any other thing a regular child can do.something about a bear

There’s Old Bear, and Paddington Bear, Winnie the Pooh and Sam Bear from my grandson’s favourite, “Kiss Goodnight, Sam” to name just a few. However, I decided to feature a book a picked up the other day from the library. “Something About a Bear” by Jackie Morris has become a quite a hit at our house and I can see I’ll have to buy a copy of our own.

Unlike most of the other bear stories in children’s literature which project human qualities onto animals, “Something About a Bear” focuses on eight types of real bear.

So let me tell you something, something about a bear.

There is the Black Bear, Polar Bear, Sloth Bear, Spectacle Bear, Sun Bear, Panda, Moon Bear and the Brown Bear. (Yes, me and the grandchildren are now something of bear experts)

something about a bearReaders follow the bears doing normal ‘bear’ things such as hunting, caring for their cubs and swimming. The illustrations are gorgeous watercolour paintings of them in their natural habitat; the forest, jungle or icy waters.

Swimming through the water where the ice-flow meets the ocean, lives the great, white Polar bear.

picture book month calendarWe particularly like the picture of bear-sized paws to compare with your own hands on the last page. (They are as big as my grandson’s head!)

There is a fascinating story of how “Something About a Bear” was written over on Jackie’s website. It’s well worth a read.

We’ve really enjoyed this book and would recommend it as a change to cuddly, humanized bears often found in children’s books.

Suzie xx

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Problem with the Amazon link to “Things Evie Eats” paperbacks
Problem with the Amazon link to “Things Evie Eats” paperbacks

Problem  with the Amazon link to “Things Evie Eats” paperbacks.

Yikes! I just discovered there’s a problem with the Amazon link to the print copy of “Things Evie Eats”. It’s disappeared. Arrrrgghhhh!!!!

Things Evie Eats

I am trying to find out what has gone wrong.

In the meantime, the link to the Kindle ebook version works fine and, of course, Kindle Unlimited members can still download the book for free.

However, if you would like to buy a paperback copy of the book, please email me and I will send one out to you straight away.

Suzie xx


Meet my “Reading Mother”
Meet my “Reading Mother”

I’ve talked a lot about the value of reading with your child. In the early years it helps with bondingbrain development and develops empathy in forming minds. A child who can read, can learn anything it wants. It’s a vitally important skill for success in life. Not to mention reading is fun … it’s also a very difficult job for parents to get right. (Are you teaching your child NOT to read for fun?)

There’s a wonderful poem by Strickland Gillilan that sums up the importance of reading with your children.

The Reading Mother.

by Stickland Gillilan.

I had a mother who read to me
Sagas of pirates who scoured the sea.
Cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth;
‘Blackbirds’ stowed in the hold beneath.

I had a Mother who read me lays
Of ancient and gallant and golden days;
Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,
Which every boy has a right to know.

I had a Mother who read me tales
Of Gelert the hound of the hills of Wales,
True to his trust till his tragic death,
Faithfulness lent with his final breath.

I had a Mother who read me the things
That wholesome life to the boy heart brings-
Stories that stir with an upward touch.
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!

You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be –
I had a Mother who read to me.

So, today I want you to meet someone who nailed the job. The person who nurtured my own love of books.

Meet my mum.

my Reading Mother

My mum talked to me, read books to me and sang to me from the moment I was born. We negotiated the murky waters of the ABC books and phonics together so that, by the time I started school, I was already an independent reader and I’ve never stopped. (Well done, Mum)

At bedtime, she made up her own stories for me. My favourite was about a cow called Twinkle. She tells me I always insisted it had a sad ending … which is a little disturbing for a pre-schooler lol.

my reading motherI remember vividly a book she wrote for me; hand-written and illustrated. It was a ‘make your own adventure’ style book, where you could choose different actions for the hero at the end of each page. Depending on which option you picked, you turned to a different page. It was a triumph of book planning. (Must tackle one of those myself some-day)

I was a rather sickly child. You name it, I caught it, and held on to it for an unpleasantly long time. This meant I spent a lot of time tucked up on the sofa with a book and a glass of Lucozade (in the days when it was a drink you gave to invalids, not sports persons). It also meant Mum had to walk almost daily trips to the library. (Sorry about that, Mum.)

My mum also encouraged me to write my own stories. I’d get notebooks with pretty covers for birthdays, special ‘writing’ pens for Christmas. She read my first book (entitled My Uncle the Ostrich) and helped me design a cover and bind the first ‘print run’ for my family. (Thanks, Mum)

reading mother

Photo by vintage19_something

Later, Mum bought me a typewriter (it was exactly the colour of the one in the picture) along with a book with exercises on the Querty keyboard.  I didn’t appreciate the rather tedious exercises in the book much but, yes, I do type with all my fingers. (Another thank you due there 🙂 )

Mum is the reason I am a reader … and a writer. She has always encouraged my writing and been an enthusiastic beta-reader. It was a no-brainer to dedicate my first book to her.

shockwaves dedication

Lillian Dawson

But Mum is also a trained artist. At over 80 years old, she still paints and sells her work.

lillian dawson painting

When I said, “Let’s write a picture book”, Lillian Dawson stepped up to the mark. The illustrations in “Things Evie Eats” are hers.

Things Evie Eats

I was lucky to have a truly awesome creative ‘reading mother’. What about you?

Suzie xx

Oh no! I just found out that Amazon has ‘lost’ the link to the paperback version of “Things Evie Eats.” If you would like to buy one while I sort out what’s going on with them, email me and I’ll send one to you straight away.  

Writing Bubble

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Dear Bear and Beany
A Cornish Mum
Talk of the Town
The Pramshed
Colouring/Activity pages based on Better Buckle Up

Picture from a fan of Better Buckle Up

I received some lovely colouring today from a fan of Better Buckle Up. I think they’ve done a great job, don’t you?

colouring pages

Download your own colouring sheets

If you would like your own activity pack based on the book, you can download it for free here.

There are colouring pages, spot-the-differences and finger puppets of Ollie and his mum as they go on a journey to discover all the exciting things you can do if you wear your seat belt. Once you’ve finished your pictures, why not email them to me at I love to see them and I’ll display them on my site.

Better Buckle Up activity sheets

Have fun 🙂

Suzie xx

P.S. There’s also more pictures for you to colour based on Things Evie Eats to download too.