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https://www.atlanticblankets.com/

Coral herringbone wool blanketSome years ago I purchased a blue and white blanket from Atlantic Blankets. I regretted not buying a double size almost immediately, but thought it an extravagance to order another.

Then back in August last year I decided to try to lose some weight. Chocolate vanished. Bread disappeared (though I still have two wonderful multi-seeded loaves in my deep freezer), butter evaporated, as did marmalade. Chocolate biscuits went too. So did all my nibbles. Pasta is in my cupboard and might one day be turned into a collage. I set a challenge of 75 kg – and have been trying to lose weight ever since. Half way through I decided that if I managed it – I would buy myself that new blanket..and so it went on.

Recently I reached 75.2 kg…then 75.5, 75.9, 75.8, then I got down to 74.9 kg – I was SO excited. Went to get the camera, but by the time I returned my scales informed me I had put on some weight and was now back up to 75.2 k – AGAIN! In the time it took me to walk across my bedroom and back! It seemed I was never going to get my blanket…that was a few days ago.

Then this morning I woke, stoked the cat (essential first job of the day), went to the loo (always go to the loo before weighing yourself, you never know) and it said 74.9 kg. I didn’t believe it. I went for  my camera (if it didn’t go up again, THIS was IT) – and finally I got a photo. of my scales confirming I had achieved my first (I have another) weight goal!

I am so proud.

So I went out to forage food for my parents – both in total isolation, being in their late eighties and then returned home and placed my order for my new blanket at 14:00

By 14:08 I had an email to say ‘My Order is on it’s way’ – Just 8 minutes after I placed my order. I have been advised it should arrive TOMORROW! I rang them – they live in Cornwall, by the sea – a family business and spoke to Gemma – who confirmed she was determined to get my order out on ‘this shipment’ – and so had run to get the blanket for me and to make sure it went off. They are trying to limit the times the post office come to collect their orders to one per day…

I AM SO IMPRESSED.

If you would like to buy a gift for someone special. Something a bit different – visit their site. Their blankets are thick, not scratchy (in my opinion, anyway) and are BEAUTIFUL.

There MUST be someone out there who you know who would like one – or may be you would. Just buy one. Just keep it for yourself and those who would understand the need to buy a good quality item whilst the rest of the world goes mad…

https://www.atlanticblankets.com/

Who's in the Loo?: Amazon.co.uk: Willis, Jeanne, Reynolds, Adrian ...

Published by Anderson Press

Essentially this is a book about a queue (not something we should be doing in quite the way it is depicted in this pre-virus publication) and something else that is rather important at the moment – with a couple of youngsters waiting to use the facilities.

They have to wait. The queue is long. They aren’t keeping their distance, but the message in this book is clear for now and after this has dissipated…wash your hands.

The children try to guess who is in the loo and come up with reasons why they are taking so long.

Is it an elephant, doing a poo?

A tiger who needed a tiddle?

A snake who’s just sitting there…sucking a sweet?

The number of strange and rather eccentric characters who might be using the loo is long and rather wild…but the book ends with the current incumbent calling out that ‘I’m in the loo,’ and that he’s just doing what his mother demands, that it takes him a long while…it is Octopus, washing his eight little hands.

A story to encourage hand washing – for the little ones out there…

Keep safe, keep your distance, stay home and read to one another…your cat or to yourself, if no one else is about…

Waterstones are still sending books out – if you don’t have this one – order one today!

Do have a look at Jeanne Willis’ other title too – my favourite (not for the feint of heart) Tadpole’s PromiseMine’s Bigger than Yours (now, I think OP – but worth searching for) – amongst others…

 

 

Image result for winterborne home for vengeance

Published by Hachette Children’s Books

Just getting back into reviewing books after the initial confusion that has taken over the world. This should have been reviewed a few weeks ago – came out on 5th of March.

‘But you’re dead,’ she reminded him and

the scary glare

morphed into a mischievous gleam.

A heroine waiting for her Mother to come and collect her. April has lived in several homes over the years. It doesn’t matter, her mother is going to collect her and take her away. There would be some explanation. This is an adventure filled with bravery, friendship and a missing orphan

What’s more – and this is important, it’s the start of a new series! Which is fantastic.

I love the starts of series. The cover (UK cover) of this one, doesn’t really inspire me – the American version is much better – no matter. Order one from your friendly Waterstones / Independent web site today and get it soon – something to enjoy whilst the rest of the world runs in circles.

Image result for accidental wizard kimberly pauley

Published by Scholastic

NYP – Due out September 2020

I read this a little while ago, as a proof (for which many thanks) – and loved it. Since then the world has turned a little nuts for everyone, so I haven’t had a chance to review it.

This is due out in September – you should place an order on Waterstones.com – or your local independent bookshop’s site. Something special for when, hopefully this will all be in the past and we are back to the new ‘normal’ – whatever that might turn out to be.

A story of an apprentice magician caught in the cross-fire – and becoming…well – it seems he becomes something quite extraordinary. Many adventures are had – there’s some issue with transfiguration (of the Harry Potter sort) – not to be attempted at home…and wizards – oh, and some fantastic hags too. Including one rather beautiful one. Can you be a hag and beautiful too? There’s a conundrum! A great adventure, funny and uplifting!

Brilliant. Even better this has been beautifully illustrated too – by Jason Cockcroft no less (of Harry Potter fame), and has a map as well – what more could you wish for?

 

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Published by Oxford University Press

A charming adventure with a new heroine who has moved with her parents to a new house, to be closer to the hospital, where her little brother has spent most of his life.

At the bottom of the garden is a wild area, forbidding and mysterious. At night there are strange noises and something howls in the darkness.

This is a stupendous new addition for this age group. Filled with wonderful wild illustrations by Rebecca Bagley of the wildness at the bottom of the garden, and the swamp. A brilliant tale with wonderful new characters…a new type of literary witch and ‘Wildthings’…

Just the right size – 15 chapters and super for those just getting into reading themselves, to be read to, or for those of us who enjoy a good adventure. A story of new friends, bravery and mystery…

I really hope we will see more of Willow Wildthing and that this isn’t just a one off tale…

Image result for You won't believe this adam baron

Published by Harper Collins

By the author of Boy Underwater. 

Firstly Veronique Chang did not get a distinction in her Grade 5 Piano examination.

Then there was the issue of the blue jelly in Mrs Martin’s shoes.

Then Cymbeline actually won a game of scrabble…

and at the end of it all there were the sisters.

A story of history. Vietnam. Boats and a school…and one or two heroes & heroines too.

It made me laugh out loud. Made me cross when people would just keep talking to me when I was OBVIOUSLY deeply engrossed… Why DO people do that?

Buy this AND Boy under Water.

 

 

Demelza and the Spectre Detectors (Paperback)

Chicken House

Demelza is into inventing. In a big way. She can be found late at night, with a torch fine tuning her latest project, tinkering away until her grandmother hears her walking across the floor and demands she settles down. She’s being doing it for years. Then one night she is woken by weird noises. There seems to be something in her room, something live…

Demelza is not exactly the most popular girl at school – and her only real friend is a boy who is home schooled not far from her. He, though deemed delicate by his father encourages Demelza’s more wild escapades and they both set about investigating what is happening…

A fun tale of inventions, magic and the dead… I was entranced by this brilliant tale with a twist…

 

Image result for mud emily thomas

Published by Anderson Press.

Lydia’s father drops a rather large bombshell on the family when he tells them that he has sold their family home and bought a boat…an old Thames Barge The Lady Beatrice on which he proposes the family will live along side his girlfriend and her children.

It seems finances are a little tight. There are other things happening too – which aren’t clear. Lydia though, will need to change schools – things are changing and not necessarily for the better.

This is a book that attracted my attention when a customer bought it – I live near the Grand Union Canal – and there are a few old barges moored near me. Larger than the usual Canal Boats – but none the less, not exactly large…and I sometimes wonder about the pressures of bringing up children in a home on the water.

This is brilliant. A touching story of a family struggling to survive from the perspective of a determined and opinionated teenager…

 

 

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Published by Egmont Modern Classics.

THIS is what dreams are made of.

The fictional tale of a young girl entering the Grand National.

This is frankly one of the best books I have read for years.

The passion, pace and the use of language are wonderful. The use of colloquialisms (this was published in 1935) perhaps a little strange, but add colour to this gorgeous book about a young girl’s dreams…

‘They’ made a film of it in 1944 (Elizabeth Taylor was in it) – but I suddenly remembered the book last week, realised it wasn’t in stock, had the ‘powers that be’ order some and bought a copy.

I can’t put it down.

‘She bent slightly and held him firm and steady, her hands buried in the flying mane firm on the stout muscles of his neck. She urged him no more, there was no need, but sat him still. He was a natural jumper. She did not attempt to dictate to him. They cleared the wall together, wildly, ludicrously high, with savage effort and glory, and twice the force and power that was needed…’

I so wish that I had read this when younger – a powerful book of the culmination of dreams and determination against – well – read it!

In 1935 women weren’t allowed to ride in the Grand National. In 1976 the Sex Discrimination Act was passed and Charlotte Brew entered the National in 1977 on Barony Fort.

In 1982 Geraldine Rees, on Cheers – finished the course. In 1988 three female jockeys entered. In 1994 Rosemary Henderson (riding Fiddlers Pike) finished in fifth place as did Carrie Ford (on Forest Gunner) in 2005. More recently in 2012 Katie Walsh rode Seabass and finished third…and Nina Carberry has entered the race five times… They have and are taking on the world…

There has been a plethora of books written about fictional and non-fictional tales of young girls/women who have done something remarkable. This precedes them all, both in age and in wonder, but is so much more than that – it’s glorious. I am SO pleased that Egmont have kept it in print. It is such an important volume.

Full of hope and horses…

What more could anyone want?

The cover above is that of the first edition hardback (no longer available), however, this is the cover Egmont have given this edition (17th) – just as powerful, but I wanted to acknowledge the age of this one – it is so very special.

National Velvet

 

 

Image result for troofriend nosy crow

Published by Nosy Crow

This is the story of a Troofriend. The advertising by line is that they are the friend you never had. Adults are told that Troofriends don’t bully. They don’t harm, lie, covet, steal or envy. They are the ideal friend for children – especially if their parents are busy.

Sarah’s parents are. Her mother believes this might just be the companion that Sarah should have, her father is not sure. As for Ivy – well she wouldn’t know, would she?

This is touching, thought provoking and dare I say it a little quietly disturbing. Who knows what the future will bring? Things change so fast and we seem to be moving away more and more from real face to face interaction.

I see a little of it when I serve some people in the store. Little or no eye contact – worse ignoring their children / their employer’s, whilst staring down at a screen, often resulting in an unhappy exasperated child and a plastic toy tossed onto the till – the fascinating conversation continuing all the while.

As I said this raises many questions.

A look to the future, perhaps.

The cover above may not be that with which the book is published. Then again it may be. Out in April – they have plenty of time to change their minds…