Sunday, 21 January 2018

Book Review: I Swapped My Brother by Jo Simmons



The Blurb:

'I can get a new brother? On the internet?' Jonny muttered. 'Oh sweet mangoes of heaven!'
Everyone has dreamed of being able to get rid of their brother or sister at one time or another - but for Jonny, the dream is about to become a reality with SiblingSwap.com! What could be better than someone awesome to replace Ted, Jonny's obnoxious older brother.
But finding the perfect brother isn't easy, as Jonny discovers when Sibling Swap sends him a line of increasingly bizarre replacements: first a merboy, then a brother raised by meerkats, and then the ghost of Henry the Eighth! What's coming next?! Suddenly old Ted isn't looking so bad. But can Jonny ever get him back?

What we thought:

We loved this book! Both Midge and I had a real giggle reading I Swapped My Brother and we even shared a few chapters with A before bed. We all thought it was funny that Jonny swaps his brother Ted and gets all these ridiculous sibling replacements. The illustrations are perfectly suited to this book, are a lot of fun and we loved the style of writing. 
 Midge decided it would be fun if we could all think about who we would swap our siblings for! 
As a youngster I often wanted to swap my siblings. I'm not sure what or who for exactly, probably a bar chocolate to be fair, but A had no trouble in revealing his choice...A Pokemon. Like we didn't see that one coming! Midge decided she would simply just want a girl so she had a sister to play with.

Midge really found this book a light and good read. She is moving soon and will gain 2 brothers and has just learnt she will be having a baby brother in a few months so I think she may come back to this book when she gets fed up of her 3 bothers up in Kent and a newborn very tired one in Cornwall!

A must read book that will make you laugh out loud.

We give this book 5/5! 

About the author:

Jo Simmons began her working life as a journalist. Her first fiction series for children, Pip Street, was inspired by her own kids' love of funny fiction, and two Super Loud Sambooks followed. In addition to children's fiction, she co-wrote a humorous parenting book, Can I Give Them Back Now?: The Aargh To Zzzzzz Of Parenting, published by Square Peg. Jo lives in Brighton with her husband, two boys and a scruffy formerly Romanian street dog. I Swapped My Brother on the Internet is her first book for Bloomsbury.



About the illustrator

Nathan Reed has been a professional illustrator since graduating from Falmouth College of Arts in 2000. He has illustrated Christopher Edge's How to Write Your Best Story Ever and the Elen Caldecott's Marsh Road Mysteries Series. His most recent picture book is Samson the Mighty Flea by Angela McAllister. He was shortlisted for the Serco Prize for Illustration in 2014. When he's not illustrating he can be found with his two boys and a football on Peckham Rye Common.

Book Info:

Title: I Swapped My Brother on the Internet
Author: Jo Simmons
Illustrator: Nathan Reed
Release Date: 11th January 2018
Genre: MG Humour
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Format: Paperback

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Monday, 15 January 2018

Our Year: 2017 A Look Back

Hello! Happy New Year to all my lovely readers, I hope January is treating you well. It's well known for being the toughest month in the year so if you're having a rough time; I do hope the future is looking brighter.

I wanted to share a little re-cap of my families year. It was a hard year 2017; we lost my much loved Uncle Michael in January, my marriage broke down completely in March, our lovely dog Peppa had several illnesses (she's okay but the bank balance is going to take a while to recover!) and my mental health went pretty much from one end to the other and back again a few times over. Stressful! 

However, there was a lot more good to 2017 and I want to share them with you all here.


 

My Midge turned 9 in 2017 and had an awesome little sleepover and tea party. She got all the little presents she wanted and had an amazing day. I got to spend time with her and her cousins which was lovely. This week my baby girl will be 10. TEN! 



My Little A turned 6 and in a few weeks he will be 7, super scary. He had a party at home with some friends from school, an Iron Man cake and lots of goodies. Shortly after his birthday he went on a school trip with his class to Heligan Gardens which I volunteered to go on as well. It was a great day for everyone who went.



In March my Aunt had her big 6-0 which I was chief organiser of. I could not have done it without other family members helping but it was done and was a lovely night. On her actual birthday my brother came down and we surprised her by meeting at a lovely restaurant in Marazion for lunch and homemade birthday cake.
Little A was put forward to take part in his schools' sports event which is an all inclusive sports day for all children of different abilities throughout all the year groups. All the children who took part got a special lunch and drink plus a medal to remember the day.



April was Easter! It was tough because Easter fell pretty quick after the children's dad left but we picked ourselves up and went over to my parents for a night. They loved their Easter eggs from me and from Pops and Grandma and even got some from their Aunt who made a surprise visit.
We also had Trevithivk Day in April which I always enjoy. I actually managed to get my parents over for this too and they both enjoyed themselves. We loved all the steam engines and the vintage cars plus the stalls and Cornish acts in the market. A lovely day to remember!


Our pooch became poorly in May! We found some lumps and she wasn't herself. Luckily the vet saw her really quickly and removed everything. She was back to her normal self shortly after and the lumps were nothing to worry about; phew! 

The children had their sports event in June and they both did well. Midge is not very sporty at all (like me!) I got a photo of her after doing 3 laps of the school field, she did so well. I even did the parents race which was a total failure. My trousers started falling down and every man, woman and child saw my butt crack...and some of my butt..for shame.


Although newly split I had been talking to many friends who were helping me over the initial shock of my break up. It only took me a few weeks to realise that my ex leaving was the best thing for us as individuals. We had lost a lot of love and care for each other and although we had got stuck before, this was one rut we weren't getting out of. You get a lot of clarity after even just a short space of time, my friends were there to hear all of this. One person was Martyn, the more we messaged and then phoned the more we got to know each other without anything being there. 
I soon realised that I wanted to meet Martyn and see what he was like in person. We had a date in June, our first meet up ever and got on so well. It was a real moment of realising you've been with someone all this time who is never interested in you and you them and then there is this person who has similar interests to me. Wonderful! 

In August I got to spend some of the holidays in Kent with Martyn and his boys. Our children met for the first time and got on really well. After the fun in Kent we met up with my brother,sister and my parents in Nottingham for my mums birthday. My brother caught a lovely photo of the children and I:


September was back to school month! Midge entered year 5 and A started year 2. Both got on really well and had really great first days. I have always taken the back to school photo just as my mum did with my siblings and I each year. It's so great looking back on their photos and seeing how they have changed.



October was ace. In the half term it was my birthday and we were all in Kent again. A birthday treat for both Martyn and I was a tour of Harry Potter Studios from my Mum and sister. We had an awesome time and I hope to do another tour (my fourth!) again soon.


Finally we had Christmas. I thought it would be odd going away and not being near family at this time of year but I saw my Aunt and Gran before I left and then we had a wonderful blended family Christmas at Martyn's with the boys too. It was a fairly standard family Christmas and I enjoyed myself as did the kids. Martyn came back to Cornwall with the boys and I and I so loved being tucked up in bed with someone and seeing the new year in with them. I can't remember when I last did that!


2018 is going to be one busy year! We are making our big move to be a blended family in April so I am already in moving mode. We have applied for schools but have our eyes open here and know that home schooling for a short period of time may have to happen for one or both of my children. There will be times when being away from family will be difficult but I am excited to move away from Cornwall and start a new journey.

What are your plans for 2018?

Hannah

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

The Dickens Festival 2017

A few weeks ago I travelled up to Kent to visit Mr K and the boys. We like to try to see each other at least once a month and I decided I would travel up to see him this time. We did our usual thing of chilling out, doing some odd jobs around the house and entertaining the boys. They showed me their neighbourhood's Christmas lights which was lovely and they took me to Rochester for its annual Dickens Festival.

I had so much fun despite the crowds. It was really hard to see the stalls in the castle ground so sadly I missed out on that. There were so many people and in these situations it's hard enough for able bodied people to get around let alone Martyn who was in his wheelchair for this day trip. We moved away from the castle pretty quickly (okay, as quick as we could!) I got to sample some homemade jams from Joannes Preserves they were delicious. I bought fig jam and rhubarb jam which was mine and Will's favourite. 

Joanne makes so many delcious goodies! I can't wait to try more

We walked around a little to see some other stalls and stopped briefly to listen to the band playing some popular songs. It felt very festive. I took the opportunity as we went through town to get a photo of the house Charles Dickens stayed in when he wrote some of his famous novels.


We all had a nice stroll down through the town. There were snow machines which were blowing 'snow' out every few minutes much to the boys delight. We saw so many people dressed up in some amazing outfits; it's so wonderful to see so many people get into the festival spirit and doing so simply for the love and joy; even stopping to take photos with us and many others around us.

The boys loved the snow!



Faboulous steam punk outfits!

We saw some of the parade which was very busy but there were even more people dressed up looking amazing. We all got pretty cold around this point and decided we should head home to all warm up and grab some fish and chips. Walking home as the sun was starting set was beautiful.

An almost family photo! I'm looking forward to taking one next year and squeezing us all in!

The sun starting to set over the River Medway

I had a lovely day despite how crowded it was and how difficult it was to get the wheelchair around. I'm looking forward to going to the summer festival which I hear is really good too. Hopefully we can plan when the days will be less busy; a Saturday was never going to be not busy but it was worth going just so I could experience a bit of the place I am soon going to be living in!

Cupcake Mumma

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Our At Home Christingle

I remember doing Christingle services as a child in our local church. I loved them as a child but it's not something I carried on doing as I grew up nor with my two; we just never felt very at home in our local church so never went back. 

Now though we go to a lovely church when we stay with Mr K and the boys and we all love it there. Mr K was with the boys at their Christingle service on Sunday which they attend every year. I decided to teach L and A about Christingle but we did it in the comfort of our home. 

Here's what you'll need:  


An Orange, which represents the earth.

A red ribbon to tie around the orange representing the blood of Christ.

Dried fruits skewered on cocktail sticks (we used Dolly Mix too!) Which are pushed into the orange, representing the fruits of the earth and the four seasons. 

A lit candle, usually white, pushed into the centre of the orange, representing Jesus Christ as the light of the world.


We worked together with me letting the children have a go at what they thought all the different elements meant. They did really well actually and it was a lovely activity which allowed me to feel closer to my children and share my faith with them. L in particular identifies as a Christian and enjoys church a lot. 

After we made them we lit the candles and all said a prayer. I started off and the guys chipped in with things and people they were thankful for.  It was such a lovely moment. Next year we will be able to do this as a proper family at church, although I must admit I quite liked our homemade service! 

Friday, 1 December 2017

Visiting Father Christmas 2017


The children and I  were looking for something to do last weekend when I came across a post online from a local shop. The quirky little teddy bear store at the top of town, Dylan's Bear Necessities was going to be playing host to a very special visitor! 

Monday, 27 November 2017

What's on my Christmas Wishlist?

Don't run! It's not a gift guide! Although my children's book selection went down well I don't think I need to add to all the other gift guides in the blogosphere, there are plenty of great ones out there.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Our Books for the Kids This Christmas

My children love their books. It has to be said Midge is the real book worm (okay, she comes second to me!) in this family. Both of my children have asked for some books this year both from myself and from Father Christmas.