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Guest Post: Creative Writing
for Creative Mothers
by Sarah Parrott, Owner of Write Sparks

I’ve met lots of wonderful women since starting my blog but without doubt one of the nicest is the lovely Sarah Parrott.

Sarah runs Write Sparks, a small business based in South East London which offers creative writing clubs for kids as well as learning support for schools.

In this guest post she talks about how creative writing has helped her cope with the trials and tribulations of parenting, and why she thinks you should try it too. 

 

“Throughout our IVF adventure, a complicated pregnancy and a fairly turbulent time with our son’s medical needs, it was writing (and an unholy number of bourbon biscuits) that kept me going. I bought a cheap notebook early in my pregnancy, which soon became one of the most valuable things I own; filled with writing for Joel, for me to give to him when he grows up, or if he chooses to have children of his own.

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Happy 10th Birthday Albie!

Can you believe that the very first Albie book was published 10 years ago? In that time, the much-loved character has starred in 10 different stories and has been a very busy little boy. He’s been to Alien School, ridden a polar bear, caught a dragon, found egyptian treasure and even swum with pirates!

His latest adventure – How to Drive a Roman Chariot – sees him whisked back in time to ancient Rome where he finds himself at the helm of a runaway chariot. Can he get the situation under control before it’s too late?

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Sharan Hartley-Sagoo, Founder, The Happiest Brownie

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

I’m Sharan, I’m 41.  I live in South Wales with my husband (Tommy) and our two daughters, Iona (5) and Ada (2).  I grew up in Bedfordshire, but moved to South Wales for University and have pretty much been here ever since.

During the day I work in Public Protection, when I’m not trying to home school.  When the house is quiet I am the Founder and Chief Baker at The Happiest Brownie, a postal brownie company.  Tommy helps me out a lot, I couldn’t do this without him. He makes sure that he keeps the kids distracted for long enough periods of time, so I don’t have to bake with a small child hanging off my legs, or shouting “Brownies” at me and standing there with their mouth open until food is given.  He is also chief printer.

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When A Dragon Goes To School
by Caryl Hart & Rosalind Beardshaw

If your little one is headed to ‘big school’ later this year then I would definitely recommend grabbing yourself a copy of this gorgeous book to read over the summer holidays!

Before Ivy and I read this together I asked her a question – how do you think a dragon would behave if they went to school? She immediately answered ‘NAUGHTY’, which was exactly what I was expecting her to say! This set the scene perfectly for the story as it turns out that dragons are better behaved than she realised…

The story follows an adorable dragon as she navigates her first day at school. We see her say goodbye to her mum and dad and greet her new friends. She eats her lunch, reads some stories and plays in the playground before preparing to head home. These are all scenarios which a child will encounter on their own first day and with Dragon’s help they will learn how to meet each new challenge with a smile.

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Meet the Author: Inshra Sakhawat Russell

Hi Inshra! Thank you so much for chatting to me about your very first picture book ‘Tiny Jumps In’.

Hello! It’s a pleasure, thank you for offering the opportunity.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m a multi-platform content creator, a working mum and illustrator for hire. I grew up in Dhaka, Bangladesh and have been living in London over 10 years with my husband, 3.5-year-old son and a little dumpling growing in my belly.

In my case the platforms are illustration, design, photography and filmmaking, and content is children’s books, flashcards and posters, music videos, stop motion animations and short films.

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Early Chapter Book Reviews Are Here!

The eagle-eyed among you may have spotted that I have recently made a change to my logo. It used to say ‘Bite-Sized Book Reviews for Babies and Toddlers’ but now it says ‘Bite-Sized Book Reviews for Kids’.

Why?

Well, I opened this account back in September 2017 and started my blog in February 2018. Back then Ivy was just 2 so board books and picture books were our sole focus. Now she’s 4.5 and our reading landscape has shifted a little. We still read just as many board books and picture books, but a few months ago we started devouring chapter books at bedtime.

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Rachel Notarbartolo,
Owner & Designer, Ivy White

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

Hi, I am Rachel! I am the owner of Ivy White, a luxury stationery and design studio. I am a graphic designer specialising on branding for small businesses and creating beautiful wedding stationery. I absolutely love my job! Having a home business is also great as it allows me to be with my little ones more.

I live in Windsor with my husband and our two children, Eva who is 4 and a half (the half is very important!) and Leo who is 2 and a half.

What are your children’s favourite books?

Eva loves so many books its hard to choose. She adores fairy tale stories, any princess falling in love with a prince and living happily ever after is right up Eva’s street. One book she does always go back to that isn’t a Disney tale is Room On The Broom by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. It’s a funny, rhyming story of quick wits and friendship. It starts with the witch and her cat flying happily around on their broomstick until strong winds hit, leading them to make new friends along the way and a dragon!

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Interview: Ruth Redford,
Author of ‘That’s My Daddy!’

Hi Ruth! Thank you so much for chatting to me about your latest book ‘That’s My Daddy!’’

Could you give us a quick overview of what the book is about?

It’s all about daddies and is a celebration of them everywhere, in all shapes, sizes and forms. We wanted to encourage children to identify their daddies in a fun and interactive way. It covers everything from favourite foods, what they’re like in the morning, to jobs and hobbies and what they do around the house. Hopefully it’s silly and fun but also a really nice book to share and talk about what your daddy is like.

What inspired you to write this story?

I came up with the idea for That’s My Daddy when I was out running one day, one of the lines popped into my head and it developed from there, it was initially called The Daddy Catalogue! I did a first draft of the text and left it in my collection of unpublished stories for about six months. Then I happened to glance at it and thought there is something here so I sent it out on submission to a couple of publishers.

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Tricia Keracher-Summerfield, Founder, Portrayed Photography

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

Hello!  I’m Tricia, – photographer, wife and mum to Mia (12), Isla (9) and Tristan (7).  I grew up in Canada and moved to London more than 22 years ago.  Over those years, I’ve had a few different jobs but nothing that really satisfied me.  After the arrival of my third child, I decided it was time to follow my passion and turn my hobby into my career and launched Portrayed Photography.  With three children under five years of age, the early days were a struggle and my time was very limited.  Now that all three children are in school, I’ve been able to grow my business and expand from family photography to include personal branding and headshots for small business owners and freelancers.  I photograph on location across London and the South East whether that be my client’s office, home or local park and in my South East London studio.

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Interview: Clare Helen Welsh,
Author of ‘The Perfect Shelter’

Hi Clare! Thank you so much for speaking to me about your gorgeous new book ‘The Perfect Shelter’.

Could you give us a quick overview of what the story is about?

Hello! Thank you for hosting me on your blog and for helping us to celebrate our new story. The Perfect Shelter sets out to unravel the difficult emotions we face when a loved one is diagnosed with a serious illness, such as cancer. It is not a book about loss, but rather living with life’s uncertainty. I hope that it brings love and support to others going through difficult times.

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