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Guest Book

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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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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Ivy’s Guest Book: Jennifer Warwick, Paediatric Speech & Language Therapist

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

Hi, I am Jennifer Warwick, I am a paediatric speech and language therapist and mama to two girls aged nearly 3 and nearly 5. I live with my girls and husband Alex in South East London. We love exploring the libraries and great selection of local independent book shops in our area. Books are something that I have always loved to buy so we are lucky to have a huge selection at home.

What are your daughters’ favourite books?

A longstanding favourite of my elder daughter’s is ‘Creaturepedia’ by Adrienne Barman. She was given it nearly a year ago and she returns to it at least a few times a week. It’s a pretty big book for a 4-year-old which I think she likes as it makes her feel grown up carrying it around!  The book groups the animal kingdom into different headings with beautiful illustrations and unusual facts which my daughter loves to share with people, I mean who knew that an elephant seal could held their breath for 100 minutes!

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Michelle Wiseman,
Founder, Little Wise Toys

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

My name is Michelle.  I am based in South East London and live with my nine year old daughter who goes by her very own business name of Little Wise Junior (she is my Artistic Director too!).  I am also the creator and owner of Little Wise Toys where I have designed and developed a range of screen-free educational and home learning toys for young children aged 3-6 (with a new product for 6-12 year olds focused on emotional development in the pipeline).

As Michelle’s daughter is in a slightly older age bracket than the usual focus of this blog series, they’re both going to cast their minds back to some of the early books they used to enjoy together in the pre-school years.  Little Wise Junior is going to kick things off…

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Alice Boland, Co-Founder, Tiny Treat Boutique

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

Hello! I’m Alice and I run Tiny Treat Boutique with my sister Caroline. I live Hastings and I have a daughter aged 4.

What is your daughter’s favourite book?

We love reading ‘Diary of a Wombat’ by Jackie French. It’s about a wombat and his struggles with his humans. It is very funny and has a great rhythm, which we can take turns reading and reciting.

She is also a big fan of Don’t Put Your Finger in the Jelly, Nelly! There’s a hole on every page for her to poke her finger through and upset the monster on the other side.

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Sam O’Neill, Founder, Balance the Load

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

Hello my name is Sam, I’m founder of Balance the Load, parent of a 3-year-old firecracker called Sally and a 10-month-old meatball called Frank. We live in Nottingham but are originally from the south where houses cost too much for us. My partner and I are attempting to split childcare right down the middle – especially now we are on lockdown – which is making for some interesting conversations and challenges but also means we’re getting a lot of quality time with the kids and plenty of time for reading together.

What are your children’s favourite books?

My daughter Sally absolutely loves Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love. Julián’s daydreams of being a mermaid are made reality when he smears on his grandmother’s lipstick and tears down her curtain to use as a tail. The beautiful watercolour illustrations and fantastic character designs captivate Sally each time we read it together. It also helps that she’s as fanatical about mermaids as Julián is.

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Janine Green, Founder, Janine Green Coaching

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

I originally hail from Yorkshire, but have been in London for nearly half my life now. I live in Sydenham, South East London, with my husband, our 8 year old daughter and our 5 year old son.

What are your children’s favourite books?

Together, they absolutely love the ‘You Choose’ series of books, by Pippa Goodhart. They provide endless options for telling their own stories, and are accessible to all ages, so they can read them together. They can get lost in them for hours (I may be exaggerating there…), creating their ow worlds. They provide lots of opportunities for questions and discussion too.

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Nicky Woodward, Operations Manager, Enso Martial Arts

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

Hi Shelley! My name’s Nicky and I am a mum of two toddlers, Milo (3) & Summer (1). I run a children’s martial arts company with my husband, Lee in the North West of England. Lee has studied martial arts since he was young and I have followed with his passion since we got together 22 years ago! We originally met at university in Preston where we both studied graphic design, which is our other passion.

What are your children’s favourite books?

Summer has just started to enjoy books, but at the moment she only understands the pictures and shouts out the words. She loves ‘Ten Wriggly Wiggly Caterpillars’ by Debbie Tarbett. It has raised caterpillars throughout that she likes to count and a fantastic pop-up butterfly page at the end. Milo understands a bit more now and we are starting to help him recognise the letters and words in books. His current favourite is ‘Dave’s Breakfast Blast Off!’ by Sue Hendra. The toilet humour makes him laugh every time!

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Georgina Durrant, Founder, The SEN Resources Blog

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

I’m Georgina, I’m a mum of two little ones under 6 and a former teacher/Special Educational Needs Coordinator. I now run The SEN Resources Blog which is a site for parents and teachers of children with Special Educational Needs. My website provides advice, recommended resources, learning activities and (most recently) home learning videos for those who are now home schooling due to the school closures.

What are your children’s favourite books?

My eldest’s favourite book is Captain Flinn and The Pirate Dinosaurs. He mostly loves non-fiction books so we were delighted when one of his friends bought him this book and it became such a hit. It felt like when we were reading these books together that we’d suddenly made the jump from toddler books into more grown-up childrens books. He loves that they are a bit scary…and obviously that they include dinosaurs!

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Kat Brown, Founder, Mama Brown & Co

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

Thanks for having me! I’m Kat Brown, mama to two lively but loving boys Louis (6) & Max (3) and wife to Papa Brown. Having enjoyed working in publishing for the last 12 years, I left after having my youngest son and in September I launched Mama Brown & Co. We are the online magazine and marketplace dedicated to making parenting more playful and helping you get more fun out of family life (however tired you might be!) My husband and I originally hail from Yorkshire but moved down to London to work after university and somehow never ended up leaving. We now live just outside London in Kent but often find ourselves back up in Harrogate visiting family and friends and staying in touch with our Northern roots!

What are your sons’ favourite books?

My eldest Louis’ current favourites are The Christmasaurus & The Winter Witch by Tom Fletcher (yes we are reading it in March!) and Bear Grylls Adventures. He is 6 and in the past year has found a love of chapter books, ever since we read The Famous Five together by Enid Blyton. I read a chapter a night to him at bedtime but he can’t wait until his reading is strong enough for him to read them himself!

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