Author Archives: mumjd

Guest post: 9 Best Eco-Friendly Books for Children

There are not that many books for children, which would regard the topic of environmental threats and can help with bringing up an ecological conscience within them. However, there are still some and this article is going to tell about these eco-friendly books.

Trash Revolution. Breaking the Waste Cycle written by Erica Fyvie

Have you ever wondered what happens to the trash that we throw away daily? Where does the garbage truck go and what happens to the chocolate wrapper after you throw it in the bin? More often than not, we simply throw away unnecessary things, thereby polluting the surrounding nature more and more.

Trash Revolution. Breaking the Waste Cycle written by Erica Fyvie

How We`re F***ing Up Our Planet written by Tony Juniper

What impact do we have on the planet and what challenges will we face shortly? How to use the latest technology to save the planet from disasters? How to provide the planet’s population with water? How to increase literacy in third world countries? How to meet the increasing demand for food? What to do with uncontrollably sprawling cities? Where to get energy without damaging the earth?

Our Planet by Tony Juniper

Storia dell` Immondizia [original title] written by Mirco Maselli

Begin your journey through time on the history of garbage! From the Athenian landfill and the Roman Big Cloak, through the stench and plague infection of the Middle Ages, to the smog of the first industrial revolution and mountains of plastic waste in our time. Find out how humanity took care of the planet since the time of the mammoths, what was done with garbage before and why it is important to recycle today’s waste right.

Storia dell` Immondizia by Mirco Maselli

Captain Crankie and Seadog Steve written by Vivian French

Captain Cranky and his dog Steve love to live clean. And their neighbors throw garbage right on the street! Then the captain came up with an excellent plan to collect all the garbage and take it out to sea. But Cranky and Steve did not think about marine life. Another plan urgently needed! Finally, a great idea comes to the sea dog, Steve.

Captain Crankie and Seadog Steve written by Vivian French

Tidy written by Emily Gravett

The funny, witty and kind story of Bobby Badger who is a lover of cleanliness and order will appeal to both children and adults! The author of the book is Emily Gravett, a talented British artist who not only paints great but also writes great stories.

Tidy written by Emily Gravett

Norton and Alpha written by Kristyna Litten

One day, Norton the robot collector found something amazing. He had never seen anything like it before. What is it?

Norton and Alpha written by Kristyna Litten

Eco-books series written by Katrin Wiehle

Eco-books are the first dictionaries in pictures of natural shades, which are printed on the eco-cardboard with care for nature. Eco-books introduce kids to biotopes and their inhabitants, instill a taste for natural materials. Thanks to the use of an eco-cardboard, 11 trees on this planet were not cut down.

Eco-books series written by Katrin Wiehle

The Blue Whale written by Jenni Desmond

The Blue Whale picture book was created for those who do not like the encyclopedia with their dry set of numbers and facts. It is filled with scientific knowledge, which is presented in the form of a fascinating cognitive bedtime story. Atmospheric illustrations immerse the child in the world of marine giants, and clue details allow him to make a lot of interesting discoveries.

The Blue Whale written by Jenni Desmond

Sofis trade expedition written by Stefan Casta

Do you know what tree the paper on which this book is printed is made of? And what trees make musical instruments and warships, toothpicks and charcoal for drawing, ice cream sticks, and skis?

Sofis trade expedition written by Stefan Casta

About the author

Melisa Marzett is an eco-friendly person and loves children very much. She is much of a reader, do crafts, an animal rights activist, a traveler and a citizen of the world who is currently working as a freelance writer writing articles for http://resumeperk.com. As a Gemini, she may be a lot of things.

Guest post by Melisa Marzett

Taming My Christmas Rogue by Tammy Andresen

Disclosure.  This post is a review of e-books that I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book Taming My Christmas Rogue by Tammy Andresen to review. And I have also received a free e-copy of the book A Lady’s Christmas Rake which is a collection of 6 romantic seasonal stories by various authors including Taming My Christmas Rogue.

Taming My Christmas Rogue by Tammy Andresen

Here is the book blurb for Taming My Christmas Rogue.

A roguish lord and an innocent lady…

Lord Andrew Maddox is a rogue of the first order…he’s the last man Dani should want. Yet her eyes are drawn to Drew every time he enters the same room as her, which is often since her family and his are spending Christmastide together. Dani just has to avoid him for a week and then she can go back to her orderly life and her almost husband hunt. Being shy does make it difficult to search. Except for her rakish rogue has other ideas.

Miss Danielle Frazier is far too virtuous for his tastes… so why can’t he stop thinking about her? He must take drastic measures. His plan? Steal one kiss. He likes a woman with a certain amount of knowledge and Dani clearly has none. One botched kiss and he’ll be over this ridiculous infatuation. Except for from the moment their lips touch, nothing goes the way it’s supposed to and kisses under the mistletoe rarely end romantic fantasy. Now Drew has a new problem entirely… for the first time in his life, he might be falling in love.

I already knew when I agreed to review this book, that it was book 11 of the “Taming a Duke’s Heart” series of which I’ve previously read and enjoyed several other titles, books 5, 8 & 10, but when I looked on Amazon, I also discovered that it is book 2 in the Miracle Express series. These are romantic Christmas titles, each written by a different author. This is not the first time that Tammy has been included in a series with other authors. This was also the case with the Wicked Earls Club series.

Lord Andrew Maddox, Drew has been infatuated with Miss Danielle Frazier since the day he first met her the previous spring. He could hardly take his eyes off her, whilst she always looked away and frowned, although she was so kind to everyone else. But now he is going to have see her again for over a week at Christmastide.

Meanwhile Danielle prefers to sit quietly in a corner. She would rather men like Drew didn’t pay attention to her. Those gazes make her feel very uncomfortable. And other eligible bachelors have been invited too. There are Lord Christian Marks and Mr George Keene, both looking for a wife, something Drew certainly isn’t after.

So Drew comes up with a plan of a kiss under the mistletoe. That will surely cure him of this lust, so he can get back to his usual roguish behaviour won’t it?

Taming My Christmas Rogue is available on Amazon, currently priced at £2.34 in Kindle format. A nice Christmas romance from Tammy.

Here are the links to the other titles I’ve read in the Taming A Duke’s Heart series.
book 5 – Taming a Savage Gentleman
book 8 – Taming a Defiant Duke
book 10 – Taming an Unrepentant Earl


I haven’t had time to read any of the other stories in A Lady’s Christmas Rake yet, but I wanted to share the details with you now, in order to give you the opportunity to check it out yourselves before Christmas.

A Lady's Christmas Rake

Here is the book blurb for A Lady’s Christmas Rake.

From USA Today and Bestselling authors comes a hotter than hot historical romance anthology guaranteed to keep you warm and jolly this holiday season.

Taming my Christmas Rogue by Tammy Andresen
Miss Danielle Frazier is far too virtuous for his tastes… so why can’t he stop thinking about her? He must take drastic measures. His plan? Steal one kiss. Except for from the moment their lips touch, nothing goes the way it’s supposed to and kisses under the mistletoe rarely end romantic fantasy. Now Drew has a new problem entirely… for the first time in his life, he might be falling in love.

His Lady Smuggler – by Tamara Gill
May Stanford, lady smuggler is forced to go up against the Earl of Grandison, her father’s guest for Christmas and a man who’s determined to see her and her merry bandits brought to justice.

Christmas Seduction by Samantha Holt
In a time when arranged marriages had little to do with love, Alexander
never expected a love match. Neither did Emma–but she had hoped for more
than being abandoned instantly! However, Alexander is back and if there is
ever a time for romance and second chances, it’s Christmas.

Winter Wishes by Scarlett Scott
A duke in need of a bride meets his match in a lady who has no intention of becoming his duchess. Will their hearts find love before Christmas?

Devil at the Gates by Lauren Smith
A duke with a dark past rescues a the daughter of a fencing master. What begins as a battle of wills becomes a battle of heart as Christmas works its magic.

An Unwelcome Proposal by Bree Wolf

A chance encounter. An unexpected proposal. And an undeniable love.
All his life, WESLEY EVERETT has watched other men fall in love. Now, when he finally does find a woman who brings a flutter to his heart, she could not be less interested. Will Wesley take ‘no’ for an answer? Or will he be able to convince Christine that marriage is far from boring?

A Lady’s Christmas Rake is newly published today on Amazon, currently priced at £3.24 in Kindle format. I notice that it also includes a title by Scarlett Scott. I’ve previously enjoyed reading Her Deceptive Duke by this author. The other four authors will be new to me.


About the author

USA Today Bestselling Author, Tammy Andresen lives with her husband and three children just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. She grew up on the Seacoast of Maine, where she spent countless days dreaming up stories in blueberry fields and among the scrub pines that line the coast. Her mother loved to spin a yarn and Tammy filled many hours listening to her mother retell the classics. It was inevitable that at the age of 18, she headed off to Simmons College, where she studied English literature and education. She never left Massachusetts but some of her heart still resides in Maine and her family visits often.

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MamaMummyMum

 

An eco Christmas Gift Guide ad

Disclosure.  This post mentions products I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.
This post is classed as an advert because I have been requested to include a specific URL

It is getting to that time of year to start thinking about Christmas presents, so I would like to share some of my gift guide ideas. Regular readers will know that I’ve tried to adopt a much more sustainable philosophy this year, so I’ve been keeping an eye out whenever I’ve been in the charity shops. I’ve got quite a few toys, games and books as stocking fillers for the boys. Some of them even look brand new. Of course I still plan to get them at least one thing that they each specifically request.

Sous Chef salt plate

However you can also get some nice new sustainable gifts and when I was browsing the cookware section of the Sous Chef website, I discovered some great finds, which they kindly sent me for free. First up is this fab Himalayan salt plate. It comes in two sizes and this is the smaller 21cm x 10 cm. Salt is naturally antibacterial, so there is no need to use soap to clean the plate. Just wipe with a damp cloth, and dry well before storing. You can heat the plate in the oven or chill it in the freezer, and it will season the food you are serving on it. Just imagine frying scallops on it or using it to serve your caramel ice cream. What a wow factor at the table!

Sous Chef grow your own sunflowers and kale

And for the gardener in your life, there is a great range of grow your own products. I chose these grow in the bag Towering Sunflowers and Gigantically Good Dinosaur Kale (cavolo nero). The instructions on the reverse indicate that you start the seeds off in the natural biodegradable jute bag, then transplant the whole thing outside to mature. See I’m also thinking about the bees with the sunflowers, as I had been contemplating making my own bee bombs.

Sous Chef grow your own sunflowers and kale

I’m planning to make some homemade foodie gifts for the extended family, so the final two items I chose from the cookware range are early Xmas gifts to myself to assist in that process. There is a large Cook’s Muslin Square 93cm x 100cm that I’m hoping to use to strain jellies and steam Christmas puddings. Two things I’ve never tried previously, but I can remember as a child watching my mum tie her jelly bag onto a kitchen drawer handle overnight when making crab apple jelly. You never know, I might even try making my own cheese with it. Muslin is a natural fabric which can be washed and reused time after time.

Sous Chef Cooks Muslin

And after any cooking, there is the cleaning afterwards, which is where this copper washing up sponge will come in very handy. It is made by Andrée Jardin, a traditional French family business where everything is produced in small batches, using artisanal techniques. The company’s motto is Simplicity, Quality, Sustainability.

Sous Chef copper sponge

Do take a look at the Sous Chef site here https://www.souschef.co.uk/collections/cookware. There are so many more fabulous items. I’ve got my eye on the dehydrator. It would be great to make my homemade fruit snacks and vegetable crisps, avoiding all the plastic packaging that they tend to be sold in. The trays are stainless steel, so no need to worry about toxins from plastic either.

My other big sustainable gift suggestion is to give someone a memory. I’m thinking of paying the entry fee for a swimming race for my partner, but it could be buying a membership of say Woodland Trust or adopting an endangered animal via WWF or tickets to an event. The list is endless.

I’d love to hear what you would like to give or receive for Christmas. I’m especially looking forward to hearing about sustainable ideas.

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Too Wicked to Woo by Tammy Andresen

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book Too Wicked to Woo by Tammy Andresen to review.

Too Wicked to Woo by Tammy Andresen

Here is the book blurb.

He’s dark and dangerous and so delicious, how can she resist…

Miss Penny Clearwater considers herself a sensible woman. After all, she’s navigated her mother’s death, her father’s financial ruin, and her own fall from society with all the grace she could muster. So when her friend, Lady Chloe Dryden suggests they make a chronicle teaching young ladies of London all about the elusive rake, Penny refuses. It’s a silly idea that could end in absolute disaster. Except, she’s almost nothing left to lose. And when the perfect rake crosses her path, why not do a little research on Lord Preston? So he’s handsome and dashing… she’s only interested in the book, of course. Isn’t she?

Lord Wesley Preston hasn’t had much by the way of successes since he left the military. A failing earldom, a bad accountant, and a drinking habit have left him in tatters. He desperately needs a break. And when Miss Clearwater stumbles into his life, he discovers that she had just inherited a large piece of land perfect for farming, if only she had someone to help her do the work. Wes makes her a proposition he hopes she can’t refuse. Accept his proposal of marriage, become a countess, and make both their lives better.

The problem? Penny takes one look at him and declares him the worst sort of rake. She’s right of course. But how far will he go to prove to her that he can change?

Although this is book 1 in the Chronicles of a Bluestocking series, Penny is a friend of Chloe, heroine of The Earl of Dryden which I read recently. And I have to say that, it felt like a continuation, as its starts with Chloe trying to convince her friends that they should make a chronicle about rakes. However it is perfect as a stand-alone read too.

Miss Penny Clearwater has been ruined by her father gambling away all their money. Meanwhile Wes, the Earl of Preston, too has fallen on hard times, also due to gambling the remainder of his cash away after a series of investment and farming misfortunes. As a last resort he calls on his old friend The Earl of Dryden for help. By chance, this is at the same time as Penny is visiting Chloe, Lady Dryden.

Lord Dryden has some good news for Penny. When Penny’s mother died, she left Penny’s childhood home directly to Penny, so it has escaped her father’s debts. But it will need a lot of work as it has now been uninhabited for many years. Lord Preston overhears and offers to fix the house and land, suggesting they marry and split the proceeds.

What should Penny do? Lord Preston is clearly a rogue, like her father, isn’t he?

Too Wicked to Woo is available on Amazon, currently priced at £3.26 in Kindle format. As usual, another nice light romantic story from Tammy.


About the author

USA Today Bestselling Author, Tammy Andresen lives with her husband and three children just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. She grew up on the Seacoast of Maine, where she spent countless days dreaming up stories in blueberry fields and among the scrub pines that line the coast. Her mother loved to spin a yarn and Tammy filled many hours listening to her mother retell the classics. It was inevitable that at the age of 18, she headed off to Simmons College, where she studied English literature and education. She never left Massachusetts but some of her heart still resides in Maine and her family visits often.

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MamaMummyMum

 

Jewellery box giveaway for Christmas

Disclosure.  Although I am hosting this giveaway, I have not received any products.  All opinions are my own.

Songmics jewellery box

Now that we are in November, I hope it is okay for me to mention the C word. Are you starting to think about Christmas presents? Well if you’re looking for the ideal gift for a special person in your life, then read on for details of a great prize.

Songmics jewellery box

I’m hosting a giveaway to win a fabulous 8-layer large white jewellery box with plenty of space to store rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets and watches, keeping them all organised. This is a sturdy wooden box with a synthetic leather cover and soft velvet lining, which currently retails on Amazon for £56.99.

Songmics jewellery box

This prize is supplied by Songmics, who specialise in a variety of storage items including the ottoman that I reviewed a couple of years ago.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear what you would like to give or receive for Christmas.

Songmics Advent Calendar giveaway

Plus more chances to be lucky every day with Songmics early Xmas Advent Calendar giveaway which is already live! No need to wait until December for Advent to begin this year.

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Brushd ecofriendly dental review and giveaway

Disclosure.  This post is a review of products I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Brushd dental care

I started trying to address the amount of plastic in the bathroom earlier this year including dental products, but it did feel a little hit and miss regarding where to locate alternative products and would I like them. For instance the first plastic-free toothpaste I purchased, a Georganics jar of paste tasted horrid. So I was pleased to discover the dental care brand Brushd via the Ethical Influencers network, as they seem to have a wide choice of eco-friendly oral care products. Brushd are aiming to help reduce plastic pollution without compromising on good oral health, and they are dentist approved.

So I received the following products free to review.

1. Bamboo toothbrush with charcoal infused bristles.
2. Toothpaste Tablets (Fluoride-free)
3. Dental Supplements
4. Mouthwash tablets
5. Interdental Brushes
6. Electric toothbrush heads.
7. Natural Corn Dental Floss

The charcoal bamboo toothbrush was fine. The bamboo handle is biodegradable and can be composted or put in your food waste bin, but you would have to break off the bristles first. I won’t know how easy or difficult that is until the toothbrush comes to the end of its life. And Brushd do say that they are working on a solution for the bristles. But I do have a question. I couldn’t find any mention of why the bristles are charcoal infused. I’d love to know what benefits does that give?

Toothpaste tablets is a swap that I successfully made earlier this year. These are the third type of toothpaste tablets that I have tried, but I have to say unfortunately these are the ones I like least. A toothpaste tablet works on the principle of you chewing the tablet before brushing. These had a rather unpleasant taste as I chewed, although less noticeable once brushing. A shame as I have really enjoyed using toothpaste tablets until now. I don’t know if it is because these fluoride free and I have always chosen to purchase ones containing fluoride. Brushd do also sell a fluoride version, but I didn’t receive this. There are 62 tablets in the jar which is a nice touch, since it means there is enough for a 31 day month. This product was almost entirely plastic free apart from a “sealed for your protection” disc inside the lid. I’m not convinced that this was entirely necessary as the similar mouthwash tablet jar did not have one. And there was also one of these discs inside the dental supplements jar too.

Which brings me on to discussing the dental supplements. Do you know that although I’ve taken multi-vitamins for years, I never realised that you could purchase vitamins and minerals specifically targeted at healthier teeth and gums, which is the purpose of these daily dental supplements. They are suitable for vegans and contain calcium and potassium along with vitamins A, C, D3 and K. Simply take one a day with water. Perfect. 60 tablets in the jar.

Mouthwash tablets is a swap that I successfully made back in January. And these ones were just as good. In fact, they seemed to dissolve even better than my existing brand. Just pop a tablet in about 20ml of water at the start of your dental routine and it will be dissolved by the time you reach the mouthwash stage. Then gargle for about 30 seconds before spitting out. Easy. 120 tablets in the jar.

The Interdental brushes come in packets of 5. The ones I received were 1mm brush width, but they also come in a 0.8mm size. Personally I would like to see some even narrower widths added to the range, as although this size was great for my back teeth, I struggled to insert the brush between my front teeth, which are very tight together. Perhaps down to 0.6mm would be good. However I was very pleased with the short handle length and how flexible the brush head was, making it much easier to reach the inside of my teeth. The handles are bamboo, but I’m not sure whether the bristles are still plastic. I assume they are. Also personally I do like a little paste on an interdental brush which I haven’t come up with a solution for yet. Since swapping to toothpaste tablets, I’ve been using the kids toothpaste for this purpose, as they have refused to give tablets a try. The box states that these are recommended by dentists, are BPA-free, vegan and 100% recyclable. However it doesn’t say how to recycle them, as presumably it will be different for the bristles to the handle? I would like to see more information on how to recycle them. Also this product is not suitable for children under 8, but I think you would be hard-pressed to get kids to do more than just brush their teeth anyhow.

I was very excited about the idea of recyclable electric toothbrush heads, as I expect that a large proportion of the population, myself included, already possess an electric toothbrush. I was envisaging that this would also be bamboo, but sadly not. Also there is no indication of whether they have perhaps been made from recycled plastic, so I’m guessing not. It seems to just be that they have their own recycling scheme, so not really any different from TerraCycle. The heads are compatible with OralB electric toothbrushes but not with Colgate ones. It also mentions that the bristles are charcoal infused, but as already mentioned I have no idea what that does. But why have the toothbrush heads got individual plastic covers over each one? Those seem totally unnecessary. I’ve certainly never seen anything similar previously. And apparently every order comes with a pre-paid compostable mailer bag so that when the brushes come to the end of their life, they can be sent back for recycling. Sounds great but I didn’t receive one of these bags, so can’t comment further. Again not suitable for children under 8.

The corn dental floss is 100% biodegradable so can go in your home compost. It does seem slightly thicker than standard floss, so although it was perfect for my back teeth, again I did find it a struggle to get between my tightly packed front teeth. This meant it did seem to break more easily too. It comes in a handy jar, but there doesn’t seem to be an option to purchase a refill. That would be a logical addition to the range in my opinion.

brushd dental care

Oral hygiene is very important. So it was great to read that not only are Brushd focussed on helping to reduce plastic pollution, but that each time you buy a toothbrush from them, they gift one to someone in need on your behalf. This is via two charities – A Reason To Smile and Dentaid.

And I also read that they plant a tree for every subscription via Tree-Nation. I’ll be investigating this site myself, as I wish to offset CO2. By subscribing, you would save 25-30% on tablets and toothbrushes. The products would be sent to you every 4 months.

It would be fabulous to see these products in my local zero waste store, but I can’t find any mention of stockists on the website. A great range and hopefully they will address my few concerns.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition courtesy of Brushd to giveaway 6 months supply of toothpaste tablets to one lucky winner.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear what is your favourite product from Brushd or your suggestions for additions to the range. I’d particularly like to see them branch out from just dental supplements to a much broader range of vitamins. For instance I’m still searching for a plastic-free multi-vitamin and mineral tablet including iron.

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The Meerkat Murders by R J Corgan

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Meerkat Murders by R J Corgan to review. You may find out more about the author on his website.

Meerkat Murders by R J Corgan

Here is the book blurb.

After an old friend calls in a favor, geologist Kea Wright joins a team of biologists studying meerkats in the Kalahari.

Seduced by the expedition’s luxurious accommodations, state-of-the-art equipment, and daily baskets of fresh muffins, Kea begins to wonder if she picked the wrong field of research. Until people start dying…

This is the sequel to Cold Flood which I reviewed last year, again with Kea Wright as the central character, but works as a stand-alone read too.

In the previous book, she was in Iceland. Now she is in Botswana in the Kalahari desert at a meerkat colony. Her friend Tamaya and husband Addi, who are in charge of a team of biologists studying the meerkats, had invited her to join them. It will be their last season in the field before Addi retires.

But middle of the next night there is a scream. Addi has been bitten. Is it a snake? Scorpion? Whilst three of the team drive Addi to the hospital, Kea, Katherine and Gwen search for the creature. Kea succeeds in capturing a furry spider, which they identify online as a sand spider, the deadliest spider in the world. But no details of an anti-venom.

Kea is immediately suspicious that it is no accident. Even before they hear that Addi is dead, she is playing detective and coming up with motives.

Meanwhile rhino poachers keep knocking out the camera feeds, and then kill one of the meerkat colonies. Why would they do that?

And then another of the team dies. What is going on?

As well as being an entertaining read, the story is also educational as regards meerkats, a species I certainly didn’t know much about.

The Meerkat Murders is available on Amazon, currently priced at £12.21 in paperback or 97p in Kindle format. An interesting premise for a story.

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MamaMummyMum

£100,000 for BBC Children In Need

Disclosure. This post mentions an event I attended for free. Plus I received a free goody bag. All opinions are my own.

Bassetts Vitamins support BBC Children in Need

I recently attended a press lunch event at the Good Hotel in London hosted by Bassetts Vitamins. They have partnered with BBC Children in Need this year and have contributed an amazing £100,000 to support this fantastic cause.

BBC Children in Need is the BBC’s UK corporate charity, and the number one children’s charity in the UK. Since 1980, they have raised over £1 billion to change the lives of children & young people in the UK. Their vision is that every child in the UK has a childhood which is safe, happy and secure and allows them the chance to reach their potential. This is achieved by finding and funding inspiring ideas that change children’s lives.

BBC Children in Need

BBC Children in Need are currently supporting over 3,000 projects across the UK, in every region. In the last year they helped improve the lives of 600,000 disadvantaged children and young people. And in the last grant year, they awarded £63.3m to 1,516 projects. Just one of the main grants might pay for a therapist, a specialist youth worker or a bereavement counsellor. It might pay for three years of residential trips, or specialist sports equipment, breakfast clubs, afterschool clubs or an outdoor play area. It might mean the world of difference for a family struggling to cope.

We heard from staff at one such project, the Discover Children’s Story Centre in Stratford. This is the UK’s first hands-on story centre focusing on stories, language and imagination, which opened in 2003 in consultation with local regeneration funders, educationalists, children and parents. They had over 140,000 visitors in 2018/19.

Discover Children's Story Centre

The aims of the Discover Children’s Story Centre are as follows.

  • To provide young families, particularly those in East London, with a safe space to play and learn.
  • To transform outcomes for children by improving literacy and communication skills, particularly those who are underachieving.
  • To promote children’s literature and reading for pleasure to one of the most diverse communities in the UK.
  • To increase the parents/carers’ confidence in engaging with and supporting children’s education.
  • To provide accessible activities for children and families with disabilities.
  • To provide teachers with the skills and techniques to adopt innovative, effective approaches to the learning and teaching of literacy.

A BBC Children in Need grant has been funding the Mighty Mega Special Needs Club at the Discover Children’s Story Centre. This club is a weekly session for children aged 5-14 years with disabilities and special educational needs, and their families. Mighty Mega is a place where a child with a disability isn’t just tolerated but positively welcomed. The children can have the kind of time they want to match their different moods.

And that is just one of many projects at the Discover Children’s Story Centre. Another is Story Sandwich, which is storytelling for children aged 0-5 facing homelessness or transience. Families attend an interactive session, with lunch, free books and free tickets to Discover. Helping to reduce the negative impact on families of living in temporary accommodation. Providing families with stability and improve social engagement in their locality.

There is also Story Worlds – immersive environments to stimulate curiosity, creativity, and imagination. Story Building – a child-led, collaborative way of developing children’s literacy skills. Author and illustrator events. Storytelling for 0-3 year olds. Exhibitions Installations bringing acclaimed books and illustrations to life.

The main fundraising date for BBC Children in Need this year is coming up shortly on Friday 15th November, so whether you’re dressing your kids in spots, baking spotty cookies or something more ambitious, do have lots of fun and let’s hope that plenty of funds are raised for this great work to continue. Don’t forget to tune in to the TV show on BBC1 at 7.30pm.

BBC Children in Need

It was great to network with some of the other bloggers and influencers after the formal presentation. Sorry I didn’t get to speak to you all, but I would like to say thanks to Helen of KiddyCharts, Anna of Twins and Travels and Gemma for some great tips. And we each got a goody bag to take home too. Plus I got to meet Pudsey Bear.

With Pudsey Bear of BBC Children in Need

And finally a huge thank you to Jade and team from Hill+Knowlton Strategies who coordinated the event, including colouring entertainment for infuencers’ children and a delicious buffet lunch.

Bassetts Vitamins support BBC Children in Need

I’d love to hear about how you support BBC Children in Need or other charities?

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The Earl of Dryden by Tammy Andresen

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Earl of Dryden by Tammy Andresen to review.

The Earl of Dryden by Tammy Andresen

Here is the book blurb.

A dangerous lord and a desperate debutante…

The Earl of Dryden knows all about the debutante who refuses to speak a word to anyone but he never expected she’d be so lovely, nor did he anticipate that he’d catch her confiding her secrets to a marble statue. Even more surprising, he wants to help her. Which is a mistake. A man like him shouldn’t go anywhere near a woman as lovely as Miss Chloe Finch. She’s too alluring by half and his soul holds real darkness, the kind that would swallow such a lovely creature whole.

Miss Chloe Finch is in grave need of a hero. But when The Earl of Dryden offers his assistance from behind a statue while she is attending a ball, she is well aware she shouldn’t accept. His darkly handsome looks make him look more like a pirate than a lord and his reputation is even worse. Still, she can’t deny the heat that scorches her skin with a single sweep of his mysterious gaze. Nor can she deny that despite everything inside her screaming that she shouldn’t trust him, a tiny bit of her is tempted. So very tempted.

The Wicked Earls Club series is different to most, in that the titles are written by different authors. The common theme is that each is about a Wicked Regency Earl. Initially it was going to be one book per author, but this is actually the second title from Tammy and of course, I’ve already read her original book The Earl of Sussex. I haven’t read any from the other authors though.

This story only seems to have a very tenuous connection to the Wicked Earls Club as the Earl of Dryden is now reformed. It certainly works well as a stand-alone read.

Shy Chloe who refuses to speak is hoping to stay hidden at the dance between a fern and a statue. Meanwhile, Fin the Earl of Dryden ducks behind the statue to avoid Lady Angela Stark and overhears Chloe actually talk to the statue.

Fin escorts Chloe onto the dance-floor and for once she finds her tongue, until horrid Lord Parks appears leering at her. But Dryden saves her from Lord Parks’ request for the next dance. They go outside where Dryden persuades Chloe to explain her fear of Lord Parks, in exchange for the tale of his own dark opium filled past.

Is Chloe actually talking? Why and when did she previously stop speaking? How is Fin a trigger?

Fin, the Earl of Dryden is the cousin of Tricia, heroine in another of Tammy’s books which I have also read, My Duke’s Seduction.

The Earl of Dryden is available on Amazon, currently priced at £2.46 in Kindle format. Another short light romantic read from Tammy.


About the author

USA Today Bestselling Author, Tammy Andresen lives with her husband and three children just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. She grew up on the Seacoast of Maine, where she spent countless days dreaming up stories in blueberry fields and among the scrub pines that line the coast. Her mother loved to spin a yarn and Tammy filled many hours listening to her mother retell the classics. It was inevitable that at the age of 18, she headed off to Simmons College, where she studied English literature and education. She never left Massachusetts but some of her heart still resides in Maine and her family visits often.

Website – http://www.tammyandresen.com

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Blindsided by Narc Narcisse

I have received a free e-copy of the book Blindsided by Narc Narcisse to review. To find out more about the author, you may see his Goodreads page.

Blindsided by Narc Narcisse

Here is the book blurb.

“I’m excited, I’m nervous, I’m curious. What will he be like? What will he look like? How tall will he be?” Tonight, Emma embarks on her first-ever blind date. Mark’s not what she expected. Emma’s not what he expected. Whoever set these two up knew this beforehand…1-Tattoos. 2-Wine. 3-Pills. 4-Blindfolds. 5-Handcuffs. 6-Sex. In twenty-four hours, Emma experiences five of the six; Mark, two. This innocent rendezvous has guilt written all over it!

I wasn’t sure whether I would like this book as the blurb makes it sound a bit kinky, but as the author had assured me it was not an erotica genre read, I decided to give it a go. And so pleased that I did.

The story starts with a blind date between Emma and Mark arranged through the secretive referral only BlindSided dating company (BSD). Neither of them is what the other expected, as BSD deliberately blindside their clients, which they twigged once they met, but the two of them certainly clicked.

However they are only two of a larger number of characters, all central to the story, which encompasses death and rape, not graphic through. So many suspense filled twists and turns throughout, with plenty of sub-plots too. What a page turner.

But I wasn’t entirely sure I liked the style in which this book was written with narrative and flashbacks interspersed, but luckily it didn’t detract too much.

Blindsided is available on Amazon currently priced at £7.86 in Kindle format and is also available in paperback. A gripping read. Highly recommended.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.