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Guest Book

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.

At the moment Jude’s favourite book is Supertato by Sue Hendra.  He was given it by his Auntie on his second birthday in February, and we’ve been reading it nearly every days since!  Jude loves his food so is very appreciative of the bright, playful storyline and illustrations – he has a lot of fun pointing out all the veggies and freezer foods.  And thanks to Supertato, Jude is obsessed with peas and potatoes!

Which book do you most like reading to them?

I love reading Oliver Jeffers’ books to the boys because his stories are so simple and heartfelt, and his illustrations just gorgeous.  “Here we Are” is very special and makes me emotional to read – it talks about how incredible Earth is and what it means to be a human on this planet.  Its message is as beautiful as the images.   And it appeals to all my boys on different levels – Jude loves the pictures and his big brothers love reading it too.  It really is a book that we’ll treasure as a family for many years to come.

What was your favourite book when you were a child?

It would have to be the classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.  I remember my mum reading it to me at bedtime when I was very little and it’s been a real joy seeing my boys fall in love with the story too. It’s such a wonderfully simple concept and really captures little ones’ imaginations.  Jude has a copy of The Hungry Caterpillar’s Birthday Party and gets very excited when he sees the birthday cake!

Who is your favourite illustrator?

It has to be Axel Scheffler – his stories are all over our house – from Jude’s noisy bath time books and Flip Flap Safari to most of his stories with Julia Donaldson.  His illustrations make the boys laugh and make looking at his stories a pleasure to read.

Last year we were lucky enough to attend a talk with Axel Scheffler as part of Sevenoaks Literary Festival.  Axel read from some of Julia Donaldson’s books, drew her most popular characters and talked us through his creative process. And at the end he signed books for all the children – I had taken four books along and he was kind enough to write a message to each of the boys and draw them their own book character.   Jude has his own Gruffalo illustration!  I’m looking after the books until the boys are older.

Last month we had the pleasure of meeting David Litchfield at woodlandsfestival.co.uk and discovered all his wonderful stories.  We are enjoying reading ‘The Bear and The Piano’ at the moment.

What do you look for when shopping for a new book for your child?

A great book will create magical memories for children to remember for a lifetime, and I don’t think there’s anything more special than sitting down together with a good book.  We are spoilt for choice nowadays – there are so many wonderful titles out there.

I try to choose picture books that have a moral or teach the boys about others outside their little worlds.  And with four boys, I’m very conscious about showing them healthy male and female role models – I want them knowing that boys can be sensitive and nurturing (not just superheroes!) and that girls are also adventurous and fearless.  Even with picture books it’s important to get this right.  We love Julia Donaldson’s Zog and The Smartest Giant in Town for this reason.

 

Jess’s blog All about the Boys can be found at facebook.com/abouttheseboys, instagram.com/abouttheseboys and twitter.com/abouttheseboys

Her website is abouttheseboys.co.uk

 

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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Ivy’s Guest Book: Amanda Overend, Founder, Books & Pieces

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

I’m Amanda and I live in Leicestershire with my husband and three boys, ages 4, 6 and 8. I run independent online bookstore Books & Pieces which specialises in brilliant value books and gifts for 0-6 year olds.

I’ve always been a big fan of books, and I love to read in my spare time, so I’m really delighted to be sharing my love of books and helping other families find books and activities to enjoy together through my online store and community.

And I love that my boys share my passion for books and reading – it’s something nursery workers and teachers have always commented on right from being babies, and I hope they continue to love books just as much into adulthood.

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Sara Tateno, Founder, Happity

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

Hello! I’m Sara – I have 2 kids – aged 4 and 7, and I’m the founder of Happity.co.uk. We live in Forest Hill, SE London.

Happity is a startup helping parents to find and book local baby & toddler classes. I originally built the site myself after being made redundant and retraining as a web developer. I raised angel funding to grow the team and these days I run the business working flexibly from home, serving around 1,000 class providers and some 150,000 parents.

Reading has a big role in our family life. Bedtime stories happen every night without fail, for about half an hour with each child. The worst punishment for naughty behaviour in our house, would be to lose a bedtime story!

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Dr. Rebecca Moore, Co-Founder, Make Birth Better

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family 

My name is Rebecca Moore, I am a psychiatrist working with women in London to support their mental health through pregnancy and early motherhood, infertility or PMS and I am also the co -founder of Make Birth Better a national collaborative working to reduce the life changing impact of birth trauma.

I have two wonderful kids, Dorothea who is 12 and Arthur who is nearly 10 years old. I live in South East London which I love!

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Sarah Botting, Head Sparkle for Brockley, Forest Hill & Crystal Palace, Lucy Sparkles & Friends

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

Hi, I’m Sarah and I’m based in Honor Oak Park in South East London, along with my husband and children – Edward (aged 5) and Alice (who is 2). Last year I decided to take the plunge and start doing something I’ve always wanted to do – teaching preschool music, drama and dance! It’s been a whirlwind of a year, but I’ve absolutely loved meeting so many local children and parents – and I’ve had a lot of support from my two most demanding fans at home!!

What are your children’s favourite books?

Reading together is often our most special part of the day, and we love sinking into our imaginations in different books. My son has a book called ‘Magic Beach’ by Alison Lester that he loves reading to me – the story intersperses between what an adult might see happening on a beach and the kingdom of imagination that children possess! We’re also big fans of Everybunny Dance by Ellie Sandall, for which we’ve invented actions and songs!!

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Marisa Westcott, Owner, Milk & Mustard

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

Hello! My name is Marisa and I live in Wimbledon, London with my husband Jonathan and our 3 children Madison, Finlay and Felix (aged 6, almost 4 and 2). I also run Milk & Mustard, designing wall art prints for children and the home.

We had been quite rigorous about reading before bed with the older two, but it was hard to retain the same kind of focus once Felix arrived as bedtime was total chaos for a while. However it is easier now Madison can read to both herself and her brothers, which she loves doing!

What are your children’s favourite books?

Madison is quite into non-fiction at the moment. She is reading the Frozen Planet (the book that accompanied the BBC series) which is a bit unusual for a bedtime book. The photos are stunning though. She does struggle with some of the words but it is great to see her so interested in the natural world in this time of climate emergency.

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Claire Winter, Owner, Making Words Come Alive

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

My name is Claire and I live in Maidenhead in Berkshire with my husband and three girls, 11-year-old twins and a 16 year old. We love being outdoors, walking, running and of course reading.

I help businesses make their word come alive in print, online and on social media. I teach businesses how to write and create content so they can reach more customers. I’ve worked as a journalist and copywriter for twenty years. I love the written word and I hope my passion for reading has been passed on to my girls.

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Stephanie Sadler, Owner, Little Observationist

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

I’m Steph. I live in southwest London with my husband Jorge, our 2-year-old daughter Emilia and a lazy cat called Oakley.

I’m a freelance social media strategist and content creator with a focus on small businesses in travel and the visual arts, plus a wonderful charity that advocates for disability inclusion. I’m from New York, but have lived in London for 12 years. Jorge is from Spain. He’s a garden designer, manages a local garden centre and teaches garden design to university students.

What is your daughter’s favourite book?

Emilia’s favourite book is one that I dug out of a box in my parent’s attic last year. It’s called I’m Not Sleepy by Colin and Jacqui Hawkins. It was written in 1988 and was one of my favourite books when I was a child.

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