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Things I have learnt from blogging- two years and counting…

It’s hard to believe it has been over two years since I started blogging. I was only 7, didn’t really like writing much and needed quite a lot of help to finish my posts. Even then I loved reading though and my Mum found asking me to write book reviews was a good way to get me to practise writing and not complain about doing it.

Before long I was doing book reviews through Love Reading For Kids and saw some of the children on their site had blogs which I quite liked the idea of doing so we decided to give it a go and set one up. I soon realised writing wasn’t too bad when you could write about almost anything you want to! Two years later I now quite enjoy writing most of the time but am still not that keen on practising spellings!

I have learnt and experienced some brilliant things since I started blogging and we have done things together as a family that we would never have had chance to do without blogging but it has also been hard work at times. These are some of the things I have learnt over the last two years.

Writing is fun

Sometimes I just set a timer, sit down and write for ten minutes about anything, it doesn’t matter if it isn’t for the blog but it is something good to do when I am bored or grumpy and often I will feel better afterwards.

Blogging is hard work

I love blogging and am really amazed and grateful that people will send me fun things to do and review but sometimes it gets hard to get everything done quick enough for the company with school and clubs. I know I am incredibly lucky but sometimes it is hard to squeeze everything in, especially when you need to get photos taken and the weather doesn’t let you!- I think that lots of people are jealous of grown up bloggers who get to try amazing things without actually realising how hard they work.

Sometimes it is difficult to think of something to write.

Sometimes I have pages of ideas as to what I might want to write about and others I really can’t think of anything. My Mum says that is called writers block and that even grown ups get it from time to time but when I catch it I am very glad I just do this for fun rather than a job.

Earning your own money is amazing.

I have been lucky enough to do a few posts that I have been paid for now, it is so exciting to have the chance to earn some money myself. I have put this away for the Summer holidays and am going to use it to get some fun things for me and my sister to do.

You have to be honest…and sometimes that isn’t very nice to do!

The most difficult thing about reviews is when you don’t like a product. Normally I can find something good to say- even if it isn’t suitable for my age group my little sister or brother might be better suited and we can test what they think of it instead of me but sometimes you get something that just isn’t right for any of us. I have had to give up on a couple of books that I just didn’t enjoy and tell the publishers that I didn’t enjoy them and I have had to turn down things from companies that I would have liked to work with because the product they are wanting reviewed is just not suitable for any of us- it doesn’t look very truthful that a 9 year old would be reviewing a 12 month old toy- and even my little brother is two and a half!

I really want to be honest on my blog- if someone buys something because I have recommended it then I want to be sure I actually like it and genuinely think they should buy it!

Not everything you write needs to be published.

When I first started blogging I would sit down to write a ‘post’ now I just write whatever I think of and sometimes decide it’s either just for fun (mostly about Star Wars or LEGO) or that it’s more personal than I want to share at the moment. My Dad has been very poorly over the last few months and has had to have lots of scary tests. Before Christmas I was very worried, I found it helpful to write it down but decided not to publish it. I might publish it later as it might be helpful to other children who are worried about their parents health but for now we are still in the middle of things and although everything looks a lot better I am not quite ready to share it yet. Other times I might just plan out a post in my head to help me get my thoughts straight about something that is worrying me.

It’s OK to decide you don’t want to do something you aren’t comfortable with.

Lots of kids my age have YouTube channels and do vlogs, I really liked the idea of it but sometimes find it uncomfortable being filmed as I never know what to say, so at the moment I am not doing that even though I would like to try again at some point soon. My sister loves the idea and just chats away but my Mum says she is a bit young at the minute!

People are mostly very nice!

I have to be very careful not to share too much personal information online which makes me a bit wary sometimes but everyone I have meet from blogging either in real life or through the internet has been really nice and encouraging- I am obviously not going to stop being careful (or supervised by my parents!) but it’s nice to know there are lots of normal people behind keyboards!

I have loved the last two years of blogging- even if I have had a few breaks along the way.

Thank you to everyone who has read and commented on my posts- hopefully there will be lots more to come!

 

 

 

 

Twin Mummy and Daddy
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Book Review- On The Trail Of The Missing Pets by Marianne Su Yin

It’s always great to come across a new author who you haven’t seen before and I love it when I find a book that is very different to any others I have read before so was pleased when Marianne Su Yin contacted me and asked if I would review her new book- On The Trail Of The Missing Pets, A Mystery In History.

I really like history and have enjoyed reading fact books about World War Two for a long time but I haven’t read any fiction before so this was something a bit different.

It follows the story of Violet Vintage and her dog Spike who travel back in time by using a wardrobe of magic clothes and accessories and this time they find themselves in 1944 in bombed London. All the pets have run off in fright when the bombs were going off and Violet and Spike make friends with their owners and promise to track them down. The mystery is where could they have all gone?

Spike and Violet hatch a plan and travel around London hunting down the person who appears to be taking the pets but will they track him down?

I really enjoyed the style of this book- it’s written in rhyming though the whole thing which is really clever and the drawings are brilliant with lots of detail-my favourite drawing was the very last one, I won’t say what it was off but I like the way it was mainly black and white with certain things in colour.

On The Trail Of The Missing Pets is a good story, suitable for younger children, especially because of the rhyming style it is written in but it’s also got quite a lot of facts in so it’s good for older children too- I didn’t know Buckingham Palace was bombed nine times in a row and that the Royal Family decided to stay.

After the story there was several pages of information about WW2 that was really interesting and had lots of facts that I didn’t know so I especially enjoyed this addition to the story.

I enjoyed this book very much, it was a quick read for my age but I would go back and read it again and my sister loved it being read to her so I would probably suggest it was suitable for children age 6 to 10.

I am looking forward to Violet and Spike’s next adventure!

 

Family Fever
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Clever Tykes Books Review and Free Books for Primary Schools

I was pleased when a set of Clever Tykes books arrived in the post for me to review recently as I love having something new to read.

This set contains three books- Walk-It Willow, Code-It Cody and Change-it Cho and all three feature stories about children using their skills for a project or venture, facing challenges along the way and how they overcome them.

My favourite was Code-It Cody but my sister liked Walk-It Willow best, we both thought this one was quite funny, but they were all good and we both enjoyed all three.

I liked the way there were lessons within each story that the main character learnt and also that they made the point that even grown ups make mistakes when trying something new so it doesn’t mean you have to give up. I also enjoyed the way that the books encourage you to come up with new ideas of things you can do using your own skills. There were lots of ideas and advice within the stories for children wanting to learn a bit about running a business but because it’s in the story it doesn’t feel like you are learning which is great for children my age.

The books are easy to read for my age group and are a nice fairly quick story to enjoy, they are a little harder for my sister’s age but she enjoyed them being read to her. I think because of the message within them the books are correctly aimed at KS2 children but they are also good for slightly younger children to enjoy the stories. The illustrations are great too and there are plenty throughout to break it up for less confident readers. I also really like the type of print they have used in the book as it is very easy to read.

The books are sponsored by an initiative by Lloyds Banking Group which means they are offered free in Primary Schools- I had actually already seen one of them on my class bookshelf!

To find out more about the books you can visit the Clever Tykes website where you can buy them individually or as a set to read at home but if you are a primary school then you could visit the Clever Tykes Primary Enterprise Education  page where you can sign up for your school and access free books and teaching materials.

 

 

 

Disclaimer: I was sent a set of Clever Tykes books for review purposes but all comments are my own

 

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AniMalcolm By David Baddiel- My half term read!

I was lucky enough to review a The Parent Agency by David Baddiel last year and loved it so was thrilled to be asked to review his new book AniMalcom.

The problem with really enjoying a book is that you never know if the author will be able to pull it off again, so whilst I was looking forward to reading AniMalcolm I was a bit unsure as to whether it would live up to my expectations. I needn’t have worried!

Animalcolm is about a boy called Malcolm whose parents LOVE animals. Malcolm is not so keen. His birthday is coming up and he really wants a laptop, he gets… a new pet! He is amazed that he is also allowed to go on the school trip- however he soon finds out they are heading for a farm- not exactly ideal for someone who doesn’t like animals!

When Malcolm arrives at Orwell Farm he meets a goat, called K-Pax, who the farm owners claim is very wise, although Malcolm doubts that! He changes his mind though when the magical goat hypnotises him!

 

Suddenly Malcolm is changing and AniMalcolm appears- will he ever be himself again?! It’s quite hard being an animal when you are not used to it and AniMalcolm has some difficult times –  being stuck on his back as a tortoise (it takes a very long time for another tortoise to help you from that position!) discovering that humans can no longer understand him and coming up against a cat who really doesn’t want to share her spot with another cat.

I was so pleased with this book- David Baddiel is just as funny as ever and really ‘gets’ children’s humour. I read this book in two sittings – I barely put it down and I literally laughed out loud so many times! My very favourite characters are The Dolly’s – Dolly 1, Dolly 2 and Dolly 3 but there are so many great characters that you get into the book really quickly.

The illustrations were great too and really added to the story.

Whether you are an animal lover or not this book is a brilliant read. I would happily give it 10/10. I think it’s perfect for kids age 8 plus to read easily on their own and am definitely going to recommend it to all my friends, but I think younger children would also enjoy sharing it with an adult- my sister is 5 and has just started reading it with my Mum and she loves it.

AniMalcolm is out now in paperback published by Harpur Colins and is available to purchase from Amazon

I can’t wait for David Baddiel’s next book!

 

 

Please note this is a sponsored post and contains an affiliate link but I read the book, loved the book and all views are my own!

 

 

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The Imaginary by A.F Harrold

Review of The Imaginary by A.F Harrold

I recently received a copy of The Imaginary by A.F Harrold to review and when it first arrived I wasn’t sure I would really like it as it looked quite different from the books I normally enjoy but I decided to give it a go and read it with Mum as my bedtime story over the last week-I was really surprised but after a few chapters I couldn’t put it down.
 
‘Rudger is Amanda’s best friend. He doesn’t exist, but nobody’s perfect.
Only Amanda can see her imaginary friend – until the sinister Mr Bunting arrives at Amanda’s door. Mr Bunting hunts imaginaries. Rumour says that he eats them. And he’s sniffed out Rudger. Soon Rudger is alone, and running for his imaginary life. But can a boy who isn’t there survive without a friend to dream him up?’
I thought this book was fantastic- I liked the way Amanda created whole new world’s with her imagination and how this was her huge strength in the end. I loved the loyalty that Rudger shows to Amanda and how even though you grow up and out of imaginary friends you can still see them again when you really need to if you try hard enough. I loved the idea that when a child doesn’t need their imaginary any more there is somewhere for them to go until someone does need them.
 
The illustrations in the book were beautiful, really descriptive and are worth a good look on their own, I kept turning back to look at them in between reading the story. I liked the way the words on the page also reflected the story – such as when there was a power cut and the words were in white written on a black page so you felt like you were there in the power cut.
 
The story was really quite scary in places and kept your attention as you wanted to know what happened next and the ending was really dramatic. I think this is definitely one of the best books I have read this year and would really recommend it to anyone age 7+ up to any age at all – my Mum really enjoyed it too so I think it would appeal to nearly everyone who enjoys a good book.
 I just wish I had an imaginary friend now!

You can order The Imaginary here
 
 




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It’s the Weekend!

It’s the Weekend!

I am so glad it’s Friday. It has been a really busy week and I am looking forward to a good rest.
This weekend I plan to chill out with a good book and have plenty to choose from- I have two Timmy Failure books, The Parent Agency by David Baddiel and also a manuscript from LoveReading4Kids all of which I will be reviewing on here soon- we also have a competition coming up to win both a copy of the new Timmy Failure book and a copy of The Parent Agency so keep an eye out for those.

I am also looking forward to our school fair this weekend- they normally have lots of fun games and plenty of sweets to win!

We are also hoping to go and pick up our new car this weekend and I can’t wait to be able to get out and about again.

Finally I am looking forward to Father’s Day when we will give Dad our home made gifts as well as the shop brought ones and cook him something yummy for breakfast. If anyone has any other good ideas of how they are going to spoil their Dad I would love to hear them.

My favourite reading spot… sadly this is on holiday though
so I won’t be curling up here this weekend!

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Book Review- Puppy Academy: Scout and The Sausage Thief

A Review of Puppy Academy- Scout and The Sausage Thief by Gill Lewis

I am a member of the LoveReading4Kids review panel and I have just had my first book to read and review which was awesome.

Scout is a dog excited about taking her Care in the Community badge to become a police dog but it all goes wrong and Scout is left on her own while her friends take their tests. Scout needs to try and put things right and make up for her mistakes and clear her name. There is  also a sausage thief on the loose who needs to be caught. 

I love having something new to read and thought I would share my review with you-
I really enjoyed Scout and The Sausage Thief, it is a mystery book with lots of very funny parts. 

There were some unexpected twists and turns which meant I couldn’t put it down and ended up reading it all in one go.

I loved this story and think it is one of the best books I have ever read that is aimed for children my age to read to themselves. I am looking forward to reading others from the same series.

If you like the sound of this book then look out for it from July.