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Ivy’s Guest Book: Julia Barker, Founder, Zen With Julia

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

I’m Julia Barker, the owner of Zen With Julia. I’m a professional organiser and trainee KonMari consultant working and living between Yorkshire and Malta. My wife and I have one child, a chirpy little fellow called Ciccio (say chee-cho, it’s the Italian short version of Francesco which only gets used when something Dreadful has happened…). He’s nearly 3 by the way.

What is your son’s favourite book?

At the moment it’s A Whale of a Tale – one of the Dr Seuss books (Bonnie Worth et al). We picked it together from the library and he really loves the rhyme. Now, whenever something big or exciting happens he says ‘mummy, it’s a WHALE OF A TALE’ and is generally very pleased with himself. I was quite surprised he got so into it actually as it’s quite detailed about the ol’ cetaceans.

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Sarah Birchall, Founder, Cub & Pudding

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

I’m Sarah – juggler of two kids aged 6 and 3, founder/designer of Cub & Pudding – my unisex kidswear brand (named after the mini’s baby bump nicknames) and wife to a Graphic Designer who came south to uni from Bolton and hasn’t left yet. We live in Crystal Palace where we spend half our time proclaiming its amazement and the other half cursing & vowing to escape London to the coast somewhere.

What are your children’s favourite books?

Urgh. I’m going to forget Peppa Pig books exist and bypass them to instead mention The Something by Rebecca Cobb. It’s the story of a mysterious hole appearing the garden and wondering what ‘The Something’ is that might live down it.. a dragon? a mole? a hungry troll?

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Elinor Perry, Founder, Biddy and Bear

Biddy and BearTell us a little bit about yourself and your family

I’m Elinor, maker of children’s clothes and mother of four, based in Leeds. My eldest is all grown up now at 19, and my young ones are 5, 4 and 14 months.

What are your children’s favourite books?

My 5 and 4 year old adore the whole Oi Frog series by Kes Gray. They howl with laughter every time, and they can recite them now too as we’ve read them so often. We love the rhymes and it’s been great for widening their vocabulary. When we meet new people, they want to find a rhyme to see where they would sit!

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Meg Hill, Founder, Stockport Birth Services

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

Hi I’m Meg from Stockport Birth Services. As you can tell from the name, I’m based up in Stockport but I cover lots of the Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Derbyshire area, providing pregnancy and postnatal services. I live up here with my husband Ed (38), three children Sam (10), Emilia (7) and Adelaide (3), as well as being owned by 3 cats.

We’re all big book lovers, with a huge variety of tastes between us. It makes me so happy to see the children settling in over a good book. I used to stress over what they read and try to push them to expand their selections but a wise person told me it’s better that they read what they love rather than be turned off reading so I really make an effort only to make suggestions if my advice has been asked for. That said, I can’t WAIT for them to read some of my favourites.

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Books With Goodbyes by Corrinne Averiss

We are really excited to be part of the blog tour for the fantastic ‘My Pet Star‘ by Corrinne Averiss and Rosalind Beardshaw. In this exclusive piece, Corrinne reflects on her favourite children’s books which feature goodbyes…

I wanted to write a bit about books with ‘goodbyes’ in. If you’ve read My Pet Star you’ll know that once the little girl nurses her star back to health, he’s well enough to return to his home in the night sky and so, the two friends must say ‘goodbye’ as he takes his final flight from her bedroom window.

A ‘goodbye’ is often a sad event, so as parents keen to see smiles on our children’s faces – it’s likely we won’t deliberately seek out a book which features separation and farewell. Or, we seek it out only at a time when it can help us talk about a very specific or serious loss experienced by the child.

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Danni Perkins, Founder, ZaZa’s Storybox

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

Hi!  I’m Danni and I live in Hampshire with my husband and our two children.  Zara is a busy 2 year old and Ashton is just about to turn 4 months.  I’m sure the time goes even quicker the second time round!

I run ZaZa’s Storybox which provides a convenient, fun way for families to get more books into their homes and inspire their little ones to love reading, setting the foundations for their development.  I am passionate about getting more families to understand the importance of reading to their littles ones from day one.  Babies develop so quickly, from the moment they are born they are developing skills they will need to read and write.    

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Anna and Daphne Paley-Smith, Founders of Offshoot Studio

Hi Anna! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

Hi, I’m Anna and I live in Clapham, London with my husband, Greg and our two children, Charlie who’s two years old and Sophia who’s two months old.

Alongside my mum, Daphne, I am a co-founder of Offshoot Studio, an art studio specialising in handmade limited edition archival giclée prints for children. Mum is the artist and I run the studio.

The natural world is a huge source of inspiration in the studio. It’s endlessly fascinating and appealing to mum, and we think to most children too. Our prints are illustrations to stories waiting to be told.  Things are happening up in the sky, deep in the jungle, out in the desert, and under the sea.  All it needs is a little imagination, and a child wanting to hear or tell their own special story. Our prints let you escape into their world together …

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Jess, Social Media Manager & Blogger at abouttheseboys.co.uk

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

Hi, I’m Jess and I live in Tonbridge, Kent with my lovely husband and our four sons Gabriel (8), Flynn (7), Theo (5) and Jude (2).  I work as a social media manager and when the boys aren’t keeping me busy I blog about family life with my boys at abouttheseboys.co.uk.

What are your sons’ favourite books?

Books are a huge part of our lives and we have them everywhere!  Gabriel and Flynn have grown out of picture books so I’m spending as much time as possible reading them to Theo and Jude, as I know how quickly this special time will go.

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Katie Ryde, Director, And Other Memories

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

Hi, I’m Katie, soon to be a Mummy of two, but currently loving life with our 2 year old Theo, and our other ‘child’, a lovely rescue dog called Anna. I live in Emsworth, Hampshire, having recently relocated from London – a decision that has been amazing as we all love being by the sea. When I’m not parenting I’m kept busy running And Other Memories, an album design company.

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Hannah Brooke, Founder, Hannah Brooke Photography

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

I’m Hannah, Wife, Mummy, Photographer and HR person! I live in Wetherby, Yorkshire and I absolutely love the fact that I’m close to the countryside but not too far away from the city! I have two lovely children – Thomas is 5 and Ellie is 3….and a Labrador called Lottie, aka my 3rd child!

What are your children’s favourite books?

Thomas absolutely loves Superworm by Julia Donaldson – he’s completely fascinated by all things wildlife and creepy crawly stuff at the moment. Ellie loves fairy tales and her favourite story is Goldilocks and the 3 bears as it features a cheeky little, curly blonde haired girl, just like her!

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