Archive for May 27th, 2013

A must read.

Put it in Writing

The Night Rainbow by Claire King

Night Rainbow

a powerful and poignant story of a childhood summer

 I read this debut novel when I was ill in bed with flu – and I was transported. I was taken away from my aches, pains, shivers and sweats to a wonderful, warm, French summer. Even better it was a childhood summer.

I was quickly immersed in the sights, sounds and scents of five-year-old Pea’s world. And the story this engaging young narrator tells is moving, powerful and oh so vivid.

As the summer passes Pea and her younger sister, Margot are left to fill their days as they please in the meadows and fields near their house. Pea’s widowed and pregnant mother is so pre-occupied with her own grief that she is unable to carry out any mothering duties. Indeed she spends most of her time in bed engulfed in and weakened by…

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I like this.

Mrs. Hubbard's Book Fairy


The Story

In Zita the Spacegirl, Zita was just playing around when she presses the button on a mysterious box that fell from the sky. Before she knows it, her best friend Joseph is abducted by a mysterious object that pours from the earth. She bravely decides to follow on the hopes she can save him but she finds herself on a planet very different from home. Robots and other odd creatures make things challenging for a bit until Zita finds her wits and strength to navigate it all to save her friend. She is quickly thrust into the role of super hero. Throw in a con man who seems to want to help Zita, plus lots of action and adventure with some great new friends, and you have one exciting story. Zita is one tough kid! Her adventures continue in The Legend of Zita the Spacegirl, where…

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Sub Plans


It was Children’s Book Week a few weeks ago and I stumbled upon Half Price Book’s list of 40 Books Every Child and Adult should read. (There’s also a list on the site of 21 Books to Start Baby’s Library.) Check out the printable lists on their summer reading site.

How many of these 40 have you read?



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Lovely. I am looking for an illustrator.

Tansy Hutcheson-Lovett

Here’s a pair of pencil drawings I did in my sketchbook of badgers in April. Here’s the first one.

Here’s another. What a lovely pair of badgers.

These little sketchbook drawings were inspired by a petition I signed against the proposed badger cull in the UK, seeing photos of badgers reminded me of how cute they can be, especially when rendered in pencil on paper. I’m particularly fond of the second drawing, what a handsome badger! (Both are drawn from photos found via Google image search, as I don’t see many badgers in the wild near me.) Regardless of opinions on the cull, I think everyone can admit that badgers make great subjects for drawings. Lots of black and white for contrast and big fluffy fur texture!

If you want to show your interest in the cause, there are petitions on 38 Degrees and the official e-petitions gov site.

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Good advice.

a seriously writing woman

writing promptAs my blog title suggests, I believe the only requirement to be a writer is to write.  To be a good writer one must write a lot. To be a great writer, one must write constantly.

I’m often scouring the internet, reading writing books, opening the newspaper, the dictionary, the phonebook, looking for good prompts that will stir my creative juices, allowing me to produce something daily. I’m not saying that what I produce is always praiseworthy. Often times it’s the opposite: cringeworthy. But it’s something.

And if you don’t write something, well, then you’ll never get to that sweet spot where you feel the words coming from somewhere deep inside yourself, a place you didn’t realize existed, with a voice you didn’t realize you had. But it takes mining the imagination exhaustively to uncover that euphoric gem, that paragraph or sentence or phrase that hastens your pulse, produces goose bumps, makes…

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Memorial Daze

Rick Townley dot com

memorial-day2Memorial Day is here. It’s the unofficial start of summer and a day of firsts for the season – first sunburn, first charred burgers on the grill, first hangover and first opportunity to put on a swimsuit and show off our caloric intake over the winter.

The original intent of Memorial Day, previously called Decoration Day, was to honor soldiers who died in service by marking their graves with wreaths and flags. It started after the Uncivil War and continued to grow into a major holiday and ultimately became one of our cherished three-day weekends. Like most other American holidays, it amazingly always comes on a Monday, which of course gives us the following day at work to rest and recuperate.

Non-Americans are quite puzzled by our holidays. I have a few English friends living in the states who don’ t make much of the holiday except to sit and…

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Horse Boarding



Unlike the title might suggest, Horse Boarding is NOT a form of torture.

It is an equestrian sport and it is tremendous fun!!

And what’s more, I can’t believe I have been in the dark about this fantastic sport for the 5 years since it was originated in the UK.

There is a horse boarding association.

They have a Facebook page.

There are national horse boarding championships.

There is membership, a magazine, courses and endless videos but I still didn’t know about it until yesterday!!

We went to Burghley Game and Country Fair which we have done for a couple of years now.  It is a good opportunity to stock up on all things country and country sports. There is more camo and green clothing than you can shake a stick at but there are also great fun demonstrations and competitions.

We always watch whatever is on in…

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Jack and Laura on Central Beach, Great Yarmouth (c) Great Yarmouth Tourist Authority

Family Fun at the Seaside

A day out at the seaside is fantastic fun for all the family, whatever your age! Enjoy an ice cream on the pier, stroll along the promenade, sunbathe on the beach, and have fun at the amusements or on the rides. Explore the many Norfolk visitor attractions at the seaside, or simply have fun on the beach with a good old bucket and spade!

Seaside fun with a bucket and spade (c) Gerry Balding http://www.flickr.com/photos/8929612@N04/

Seaside towns

Norfolk’s seaside towns are full of activities, attractions and fun for all the family. Try Great Yarmouth‘s famous golden mile of attractions, with rides and amusements for children of all ages along the seafront, from crazy golf to thrilling rides at the Pleasure Beach. Or have a family day out on the beach, playing rounders, flying kites, building sandcastles, or just kicking back and relaxing. There are over 15 miles of beaches in the Great Yarmouth area, including the seaside village resort of Hembsy, meaning space for everyone to enjoy the sands. And with beach wheelchairs available from Great Yarmouth TIC, it means that all the family get to join in the fun on the beach.

Take in some seaside family entertainment on the pier at Cromer, or visit the traditional and picturesque towns of Sheringham and Hunstanton, and also Sea Palling and Mundesley, all of which were awarded the Blue Flag in 2011 for the safety and cleanliness of their beaches. Children can also enjoy a traditional donkey ride along the beach at Hunstanton or Great Yarmouth.

Find out more information about Norfolk seaside towns

Great Yarmouth Sea Life Centre (c) Great Yarmouth Tourist Authority

Family attractions at the seaside

For 100 years of British history, take a trip to Yesterday’s Worldin Great Yarmouth. This extensive museum covers the era from Queen Victoria’s reign to the 1960s and with spectacular light and sound shows the past is brought to life. Browse the old fashioned sweet shop, have fun in the Hall of Mirrors and then enjoy a good old fashioned English cream tea in the café.

If you’re in Sheringham, then a must for all the family is a trip on the heritage North Norfolk Railway or Poppy Line, an exciting journey for all through Norfolk’s spectacular countryside. Be amazed at the marine birds and animals at either Hunstanton’s Sea Life Sanctuary or Great Yarmouth’s Sea Life Centre.

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