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Ivy’s Guest Book: Dr. Pragya Agarwal, CEO, The Art Tiffin

The Art TiffinTell us a little bit about yourself and your family

I am Pragya, CEO of The Art Tiffin and Organiser of TEDxFPWomen events. I live in the north-west near the sea with my two-year-old twin girls, my eldest daughter who has just graduated from Cambridge, my Scottish husband, and our cat, Belle and dog, Taylor.

I did my PhD from Nottingham and was a Senior Academic in the US and UK Universities, and now run a social enterprise and think-tank about gender diversity, creativity and mental health. I am a TEDx speaker and I write about parenting, feminism, art and mental health for Huffington Post and Forbes. I run an active facebook group for parents ‘Raising Creative Kids’ and an art subscription which is a comprehensive learning programme to introduce children (ages 4-10) to various artists.

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Charlotte Khan, Owner, Moo Like A Monkey

Moo Like A MonkeyHello! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

I’m Charlotte and I live by the sea in Folkestone with my husband and two children Mabel (3) and Luna (1.5).   I’ve recently opened a Children’s Boutique in Folkestone’s Creative Quarter called Moo Like a Monkey.  We stock clothes, books and toys that are a unique, colourful unisex, eco-friendly and generally very cool. I quit my job in London earlier this year to run the shop full time. I work in the shop most days with my youngest, Luna.  I spend my days in the shop cleaning up crumbs and changing nappies. In the evenings once the girls are in bed, I stay up looking for new stock and trying to figure out my accounts.

What are your children’s favourite books?

Mabel’s bedtime favourite at the moment is ‘A Bit Lost’ by Chris Haughton.  She finds it hilarious that the baby owl falls out of the nest at the start of the book.  The illustrations make me smile and with so few words the squirrel’s character comes across really clearly. You can’t help but put on a silly voice for the over-eager Squirrel who tries to help the owl find it’s Mummy.  Such a sweet book that still makes me giggle. Mabel picks up on the fact it amuses me too, so reading it at bedtime it always nice as we have a laugh together. Hmmm maybe this is my favourite book, not hers… Another Favourite is ‘Press Here’ by Hervé Tullet, perfect for some quality one on one time with Mabel. Luna isn’t into that one yet, she’d rather chew it.

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Chrissy Crozier, Owner, Pipsqueak

PipsqueakTell us a little bit about yourself and your family

Hello! I’m Chrissy. Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, I now happily call London home with my husband and three year old son (we’re hoping to adopt a cat soon too!). I’m a former youth worker turned textile designer. I recently launched Pipsqueak, my little business hand printing kids bed linen that also aims to support charities working to help children. I launched in June (2018) so it’s still very much a work in progress!

What is your son’s favourite book?

We’re currently loving all things dinosaur related but my son’s enduring favourite is The Barefoot Book of Children (by Tessa Strickland, Kate DePalma & David Dean). It’s a fantastic celebration of children around the world. He loves the vibrant illustrations and talking about all the different activities children do.

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Maria Bateson, Owner & Maker, Maria Made It

Maria Made ItTell us a little bit about yourself and your family

Hi, I’m Maria, owner and maker at Maria Made It.  I make silver handprint and fingerprint jewellery and keepsakes. Everything is made to order, by hand, by me.

I have 3 children: a boy and two girls aged 8, 6 and 3 and we love reading, we also have a lot of books!  We are currently living in Belgium, but we are from South East London. We will be heading back there next year.

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Maxine Kerley, Owner, Digital Bon Bons

Digital Bon BonsTell us a little bit about yourself and your family

Hi, I’m Maxine. I live in Kent with my husband Patrick, our daughter Ava who’s 4, two kittens called Polly & Tigger and a snake called Kaa. I’m a digital marketing consultant for family focused brands and businesses.

What is your son/daughter’s favourite book?

For Ava it’s  The Gruffalo and Stick Man by Julia Donaldson – we have read these to her ever since she was super little and The Gruffalo was one of the first books she started to recite by herself at 22 months, she knew all the words – we couldn’t believe it. She loves the stories. Plus going on the hunt for a Gruffalo or following a Stick Man trail if we’re out for a walk. She will always pick up a “Stick Man” to take home.

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Ellie Thouret, Writer & Family Travel Blogger, Five Go Exploring

Five Go ExploringHi Ellie! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

I’m Ellie and I live in South Manchester with my husband and three children: Lucas (6), Aurora (3) and Jake (3). I am a writer and family travel blogger. My dad is a librarian and my mum was an English teacher, so a love of reading is in my genes! I have been a bookworm for as long as I can remember. My dad says I taught myself to read before I even got to school – I just couldn’t wait!

As a child I made my large book collection into a library for my friends, complete with membership cards, a date stamp, and record book. Naturally, one of the things I was most excited about when I had children was sharing books and reading with them.

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Nell Nash, Founder, Tatty Rose

Tatty RoseHi Nell! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

I’m Nell. I’m originally from Birmingham but Edinburgh became my home 9 years ago. I now live in an old mining village just outside Edinburgh with my husband  and 3 children aged 7, 6 and 3 years. I own the newly launched children’s clothing brand Tatty Rose. I adore reading and my happy place is snuggled up reading to my children.

What are your children’s favourite books?

My eldest son is a fantastically independent reader who has a real love of curling up with a good book. By far his favourites are from the DogMan collection by Dave Pilkey. I love the sound of him giggling away as he reads his hilarious books.

My daughter who is 6 is growing in her confidence reading alone and I will find her still awake reading at night. Her favourite book is The Day The Crayons Came Home.

My youngest son is 3 and his favourite is Oi Frog. We do have Oi Dog also but Oi Frog has remained the firm favourite. It’s such a fun rhythmic book, what’s not to love?

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Kirsty Moore, Owner, Roly Poly Pillow

Roly Poly PillowHi Kirsty! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

I’m Kirsty, mum, founder of Roly Poly Pillow and part time teacher. Myself, my fiancé, daughter and golden retriever live in beautiful West Sussex. We regularly take advantage of the woodland walks on offer as our 3-year-old is obsessed with squirrel spotting. I started my business, Roly Poly Pillow, when my daughter was 18 months. I worried about using a loose pillow in her cot-bed, so I designed a sheet with an inbuilt pillowcase for over 1 year olds. It takes away the danger of loose pillows and helps parents and toddlers get a great night’s sleep.

What is your daughter’s favourite book?

My daughter loves Monkey Puzzle by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. It’s about a monkey looking for its mum. A butterfly tries to help but keeps taking the monkey to the wrong animal (they get back the monkey mum eventually though, phew). It’s a great book to start discussions about the way we describe something, it’s noises, features and colours, and also encourages children to think about phrasing questions. The illustrations are also really lovely. 

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Gemma Harper, Montessori Directress & Children’s Yoga Teacher


Hi Gemma! Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do

I am a Montessori Directress working at ‘Kids Love Nature’ Kindergarten, where we follow Forest school, Montessori and Reggio Emilio ethos. The nursery is located within a country park. I also teach Children’s Yoga every Saturday morning. I teach Yoga to children from 3 years – 9 years old.

How do you incorporate books in to your children’s yoga classes?

I love hunting for good children’s books in charity shops and at the library. I choose books that have animals or a nature theme as I am very much in to the outdoors. With my younger class I tell the story and we do poses which are relevant – for example with Dear Zoo we do elephant, frog and snake poses. The children often have read the book already or I choose what I think is a new book. Today I choose ‘The Old Lady That Swallowed the Sea’. The children had all read ‘The Old Lady That Swallowed A Fly’, but not this one.

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Clare White, Owner, Calladoodles

CalladoodlesHi Clare! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

My name is Clare, I own an independent card and gift shop on Carshalton High Street called Calladoodles. When I set up the shop over eight years ago I wanted to bring a bit of the colour and the feel of Brighton to Carshalton. Although we have had to change and adapt over the years it’s stayed true to that dream in a lot of ways, but the children’s books and gifts have become more of a focus with the arrival of my children. I live in Carshalton, Surrey with my two children Chloe (5) and Zak (2). 

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