Children’s Book Review: The Little Boy Who Lost His Name By David Cadji-Newby & Pedro Serapicos

As parents, we all know how important it is to spend quality time reading to our children.  It’s a chance within a busy day to create a safe space and a pocket of time just for parent and child to bond over a shared story.

And what better way to make the story even more special than by giving a child a book that is personalised with a message just for them?  It adds an extra bit of mystery and fun.

As we go towards Halloween and start to focus on all things mystical and spooky, younger children may prefer a story that is a little less scary and a little more magical.

The Little Boy Who Lost His Name fits the bill nicely. (Or The Little Girl …)

This lovely story is about a child (boy or girl) who loses their name and goes on a magical journey to find it. They find their name again by being given each letter by a magical or mythical creature – and when the letters are put together their name is spelt out.

So, for example, on Ieuan’s journey he meets an Imp, an Elephant, a Unicorn, an Aadrvark and a Narwhal whale.

I would say that the story is suitable for children up to about Ieuan’s age (7) but probably better suited to children a little younger who are just beginning their reading journey.

The book can be further personalised in the front page with a letter from their parents (or a message from the giver of the book which would make a lovely Christmas present, or a non-sugary Halloween gift).

It also comes in a beautiful paper wallet to keep the book in good condition.

The Little Boy Who Lost His Name is independently published and produced in as environmentally friendly a way as possible.

The story has really resonated with parents and children and the book has sold over 1.7 million copies in 176 countries.

The book retails at £19.99 with free shipping worldwide and you order and customize online at the Lostmyname website.  You enter the child’s name and gender, pick an avatar which reminds you most of them and enter your dedication.

A preview is then generated for you to check and approve before checking out.

Although the price isn’t cheap, the quality is superb and the book is really designed more as a special keepsake with a personal touch. I think it would even make a lovely Christening / naming gift to be kept for the special moment when bedtime stories begin.

Before settling down for the night with Yoda (who needs lots of early nights because he’s 900 years old apparently), Ieuan remarked that the dedication in the front was “really cool” and he enjoyed the story.

High praise from a 7 year old.

New Releases, Free & Bargain Books Link-up Week 39

How are you all this week?  We’ve been really busy.  Ieuan is preparing for his next Tae Kwondo grading (green stripe) and when he’s not practising for that, we’ve been making sure that we read the school library books from cover to cover.

I’ve been reading to the kids in different accents and they think it’s now hilarious to talk in a variety of new dialects each day.  I’m not quite sure they’ve mastered the Scottish or Irish accents as they mostly sound American or Australian!

I’ve just finished the latest crime thriller from one of my new favourite authors, John W. Mefford – At Dusk – which features a female detective for a change – Alex Troutt.  If you’ve not read any of John’s books I highly recommend them. This latest features a really creepy serial killer who is obsessed with eyes. You can find my review here.

Happy bargain and freebie hunting on this link.

Have a great week!

Sharing the Love of Books
Enjoy our selection of New Releases / Free & Bargain Books this week

Authors please feel free to add your own books
Readers please free to add your own finds
(any genre except erotica welcome)

This weekly link up is hosted by Beck Valley Books & these awesome book loving blogs…
Monday
Life as Leels | IrishdaisylovesRomance | Book Babble | All Romance Reader
Tuesday
It’s My Side of Life | Celticlady’s Reviews | First Time Mommy Adventures
Wednesday
Beck Valley BooksCinnamon Hollow Reviews
Thursday
Miki’s Hope | Nicki’s Nook
Friday
Ebook Addicts | I Love Romance | Mother Distracted | Colorimetry | The Ultimate Fan Blog
Saturday
Totally Addicted to Reading | 3 Partners in Shopping | Angie’s Angle | I Create Purty Thangs | Wishful Endings
Sunday
Lynchburg Mama | LibriAmoriMieiAli – The Dragon Slayer | Wondermom WannabeDeal Sharing Aunt | Rambling Reviews

For Pre-orders post – PRE-ORDER / genre / title /author

For New Releases post – NEW / genre / title / author

For Free Books post – FREE / genre / title / author / end date

For Bargain Books post – SALE / price / genre / title / author / end date
(Strictly no Erotica please.  Steamy romance is fine but watch those covers people, incase any underage child is viewing it!)

Click here for this weeks awesome selection!

Inspirational Design Ideas That Parents Will Love

If you’re busy juggling the school run with work or other commitments, you may not have time for DIY and interior design. 

Thankfully, you don’t have to devote a lot of time to shopping or hammering with these inspirational design ideas. If you’re a parent looking to give your home a mini makeover, why not give these suggestions a try?

Image Credit

Displaying children’s artwork

Have you got folders of paintings lying around in boxes in the spare room? Have you run out of room on the fridge? Or are you struggling to find enough wall space to hang your children’s masterpieces? If these scenarios sound familiar, it’s time to find some innovative new ways to display your kids’ artwork.

One idea is to create a wall-mounted gallery. Buy a series of frames, and select your favourite works. Put up some tacks in the wall and hang your frames. This idea works really well on staircases or landing walls. You can choose frames that are all the same size and colour, or mix things up with different sizes and styles. You don’t need to spend a fortune on your creation. Take a look online and compare prices. Sites like Best4Frames offer a range of cheap picture frames.

Another idea is to create a washing-line style gallery. Put up a piece of string or tape and then use mini pegs to hang your pictures. Once the line is in place, you could add personalised wall stickers to finish off the look. Go for your child’s name or a quote from a famous artist.

Wallpaper with a difference

Are your kids always drawing on the walls or adding their own touches to your wallpaper? If so, why not create a chalkboard wall? Your new wall will look stylish, and your children can be as creative as they like. You can use chalkboard paint or buy a ready-made sticker. This is an excellent idea for family kitchens, playrooms, and children’s bedrooms.


Sensational storage

Storage issues are commonplace in family homes. Are you constantly tripping over building blocks or trying to cram as many books as possible into your shelving units? The good news is that there are some fantastic child-friendly storage ideas out there. You can buy units, which look like toys and invest in clever solutions. Think giant Lego brick storage boxes. Or wardrobes and beds fitted with pull-out drawers. If you have older kids, bunk beds with desks underneath are an excellent space-saving option.

Family photos

Every parent loves to display photographs of their kids around the house. There are various ways you can do this. You can stand frames on units and chests. You can hang canvases on the wall or buy giant multi-aperture frames. You could create a photo wall in the same style as your artwork gallery. Or you could put up a series of shelves and fill them with your favourite images.

Image credit

If you’re a parent looking for simple but effective design ideas, hopefully, you’re feeling inspired. Try these quick and easy tips, and your home will look beautifully unique in no time!

Why You Should Choose Greece For Your Next Family Holiday

In southeastern Europe, across the water from Turkey, lies Greece and the Greek Islands. Greece continues to be one of the most sought-after destinations for vacations. Read on to find out why Greece is the last word in family holidays.

family holidays in greece
Image credit: Nikos Roussos

Promotional feature

Greece is the word for your family holiday

The Aegean Sea

First of all, one of the biggest pull of all those little islands is that they are situated in the beautiful Aegean sea.

The Aegean sea is like the ocean that you see on postcards. It’s blue and deep and surrounded by beautiful sandy beaches and quaint little towns.

It’s also so clear that you can see the fishes and marine life that surrounds you in the water.

In fact, in most places, the weather is so good and the current so favourable that the sun actually gets the chance to warm up the water.

This makes it more like a pleasantly warm bath, instead of the freezing endurance test we are used to in the UK.

Another huge boon for taking the family to Greece is that many Greek beaches slope slowly away into the sea.

This creates warm shallows in which the kids can play and swim.

They can also learn to snorkel here and check out the underwater activity that is common at that shoreline.

snorkle-79385_1280.jpg - family holidays in greece
Image credit

Food

Of course, food is a major part of any family holiday. If you are concerned that there won’t be enough choice for your little ones, don’t worry. In fact, there are a lot of English style dishes on offer that will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.

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Image credit

However, it’s unlikely that you’ll need to resort to pie and chips as the Greeks are known for their excellent cuisine.

Many a holidaymaker has returned from the islands having realized that they do in fact enjoy all sort of culinary delights and the Mediterranean Diet is recognised as being extremely beneficial for the health conscious, with the possible benefit of a longer life too! Fruits and vegetables such as Kalamata olives, tomatoes and pepper are all sweet from being grown in the glorious sun.

So your kids may return home with a far more sophisticated palate than when they arrived.

Accommodation

Accommodation in Greece varies in style and type depending on your needs.

There are bed and breakfast accommodation in places such as the local taverna or hotel rooms in towns like Lindos and Lardos, suitable for couples or friends sharing.

Then there are plenty of self-catering apartments for families in the larger centres of the islands like Rhodes or Mykonos town.

Or if you are looking for more privacy then you might choose one of the Santorini villas on offer, most of which include a private pool.

Activities

If your little ones get bored, easily there is plenty to see and do in the Greek Islands.

There are plenty of long coastal walks to pretty villages on most islands that you can do. Or what about visiting a live volcano or some ancient ruins?

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Image credit

There are also plenty of water sports to take part in. Jet skis can be hired from stations on the larger beaches.

Or how about taking a day trip on an old-fashioned sailboat. One of the highlights is getting to jump into the ocean from the deck, but be warned the sea isn’t always quite as warm that far out!

And if you’re looking to travel about in the comfort of a hire car, try rental-center-crete.com who will be happy to help.

Family holidays in Greece offer something for everyone.

Review: HelloFresh Meal Subscription Service

GIFTED: We tried the HelloFresh Meal Subscription Service for two weeks.  Here’s what we thought.

Being a so-so cook, I find that deciding what to have for tea is rather difficult – despite having a collection of cookery books that would fill a library.

If I do find a recipe, there will be at least one ingredient I don’t have to hand, or the ingredients will be far more exotic than our local supermarket will offer.

This means that the kids’ weekday teas tend to consist of pizza, salmon, spaghetti bolognese, fish fingers and ham sandwiches.

Over the summer holidays we got into a bit of a rut with rather more of these than was good for us. Now autumn is here and it’s getting colder, I find myself wanting proper, hot, nutritious food – particularly for the kids.

But I’ve discovered HelloFresh who offer a food box subscription service with fresh produce, all the stocks, sauces and spices you’ll need and recipe cards with instructions even the most hopeless cook can follow.

HelloFresh meal subscription service

We were sent the family box to try over 2 weeks.  This feeds 2 adults and 2 children for the price of £64 per week for 4 meals (that’s £4 per head per meal).

These were the 8 meals we were sent:-

Week 1

  • Jamie’s South Asian Chicken Curry with Fluffy Rice
  • Mushroom, Broccoli and Pancetta Gnocchi
  • BBQ Sausage Skewers with Cheesy Wedges
  • Chorizo Crusted Tilapia with Miniature Roasties

Week 2

  • Creamy Leek and Mustard Chicken with Stir-Fried Green Beans
  • Jamie’s Sizzling Steak Stir-Fry with Tenderstem Broccoli & Noodles
  • Sweet and Sour Pork with Bulgur Wheat Courgette
  • Broad Bean and Feta Orzotto with Pork Meatballs

Once you have signed up (and there are other boxes to choose from), you select your delivery day and then wait for your box to arrive.

Each box contains a variety of vegetables, a bag of all the spices and condiments you need to make the recipes, your meat and fish (carefully wrapped in wool with ice packs) and the recipe cards.

HelloFresh also offers a box for vegetarians and a classic box with more adult and spicier meals.

With the possible exception of a splash of olive oil, milk or water, there is nothing else you need to provide.

You can cook the meals in any order and the produce lasts for one week so there is no need to panic and cook them 4 days on the trot, although I did find I began to get into a routine.

Whilst the meals are easy to prepare, if you don’t do much cooking I would allow yourself extra time for chopping etc.

As experienced cooks will know, a small block of time for food prep in the morning (unless your school mornings are complete chaos) or just after you’ve put the kids to bed will give you a useful breathing space when tea time comes around – particularly if you are taxiing the kids back and forth to various clubs and classes.

Not only are the recipe cards clearly written and easy to follow, but the quality of the produce you are sent is also incredibly high.

All the food is carefully packaged and clearly marked with the use-by date.  There is nothing processed and you add the seasoning yourself so there is no danger of too much salt.

The cooking time for each meal is around 25-35 minutes, designed specifically for busy mums and dads who need to get tea on the table pronto.

Caitlin is an excellent eater but Ieuan is a lot pickier. To my surprise, I found that they both tested everything.

I did substitute the bulgur wheat for rice with the sweet and sour pork and Ieuan wasn’t a fan of the orzo pasta.

I also managed to undercook the Gnocchi which could have been better had they been crisper – but I’ve learned to cook in batches rather than chuck everything in a frying pan and hope for the best!

I was really impressed with HelloFresh and we have now subscribed because

  • No more bulky main meal food shopping
  • No cupboard full of condiments and pickles that never get used
  • No stress about thinking “what’s for tea”
  • Cooking is actually quite enjoyable (don’t tell the Husband)
  • I feel like a much better mum for feeding my kids decent meals each tea time
  • We all feel quite a bit healthier due to less processed food

Of course, there are still another 3 tea times to cope with but the recipe cards are punched so you can store them in a folder for a quick idea or two.  I feel far less guilty about pizza and fish fingers when the kids have already had 4 proper meals that week.

Currently, if you sign up to HelloFresh there is £40 off (£20 off each of your first 2 boxes) and if cooking is your bugbear, I heartily recommend you take a look.

In terms of value, I think the £64 is very reasonable. You could probably cook 4 meals a lot cheaper but it’s the removal of the stress of planning, shopping and storing that adds value to HelloFresh.

Their subscription plans are flexible too – you can stop your subscription when you need to or cancel it at any time (as long as you give about a week’s notice).

It’s going to be a much healthier, and tastier winter in the Hobbis household.

For more information visit www.hellofresh.co.uk. Read our review of the HelloFresh Christmas box here.

Have you tried the HelloFresh meal subscription service?  What did you think?

Beck Valley Book Tour: At Dusk – An Alex Troutt Thriller (Book #5) by John W. Mefford

New Release….
Alex Troutt Thriller, Book #5
AT Dusk

A little boy makes his first kill—and he likes it. He is cunning, charming, and without remorse.

He is a sociopath.

As boy turns to man, what lies inside takes root. He will make a mark on Boston unlike any other, and FBI Special Agent Alex Troutt must figure out how to stop him.

But when she and her close-knit team move in closer, the stakes become much higher as the case takes on a more personal tone. It’s a frantic race to stop a manipulative killer before his web of deceit and destruction escalates into a blood bath of haunting proportions.

 

Available to buy from…..

Amazon.com    Amazon.co.uk    Barnes and Noble    iBooks   Kobo   

“Alex Troutt is quickly becoming one of my favorite fictional characters. I love how she’s constantly having to balance her family life and her job, even though her job is continually threatening to take over.” – Sonya N

“I simply love every single one of John Mefford’s novels. They keep you on the edge of your seat reading late into the night.” – Michele B

“Intrigue and attempts at revenge for long held grudges – the twists and turns keeps your adrenalin pumping.” – Tracy C
above reviews from the Alex Trout Series



Also available in the series…
      


 

 

My Review

Alex Troutt is rapidly becoming one of my all time favourite detectives – all the more so because it’s quite unusual to find a convincing, ballsy and likeable female detective in crime fiction. In this latest foray into the city of Boston and its crime scene, Mefford has created a deeply unpleasant killer and given us hardly any suspects.  I spent the almost the entire book questioning whether Alex’s team was on the right track, whilst being convinced I knew who the killer really was.

The usual characters we’ve grown to love are there, the hunky but possible too young Brad, Gretchen, Alex’s partner Nick (who has undergone quite some transformation), loveable Ezzy and kids Luke and Erin. And this time Mefford gives us a second feisty female detective in the form of Terri who makes Alex look positively restrained.

I’m not going to give the game away but At Dusk moves at a lightening pace and is very difficult to put down.as the reader becomes as obsessed with finding proof as Alex and her team are.  Although part of a series, At Dusk works equally well as a stand-alone story but I recommend that you read the rest of the Alex Troutt thrillers.  You’ll find yourself gripped.


About the Author


A veteran of the corporate wars, former journalist, and true studier of human and social behavior, best-selling author John W. Mefford has been writing novels since he first entered the work force twenty-five years ago, although he never put words on paper until late 2009.

John writes novels full of intrigue, suspense, and thrills, but they also evoke an emotional connection with the characters.

When he’s not writing, he chases three kids around, slaves away in the yard, reads, takes in as many sports as time allows, watches all sorts of movies, and continues to make mental notes of people and societies across the land.

John lives in Frisco, Texas with his beautiful wife, three opinionated kids, and a feisty fat cat who rules the world.

Find the author on the following sites….

Website   Facebook   Twitter   Google+   Goodreads   Amazon Author Page

 

Join John’s Readers’ Group and receive the first novels in both the Greed and Booker Series 

FREE for a limited time!

OTHER BOOKS FROM JOHN W MEFFORD
9578899

Follow the book tour

I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.

NOW FOR THE AUTHOR’S GIVEAWAY

Win AT Dusk by John W Mefford ebook
5 Winners!!
Ending on Sunday 1st October at 11.59pm CST

Open Worldwide 


Enter HERE


Good Luck !!

Relationship Dilemmas – What Was I Asked In Week 38?

Relationship Dilemmas is back. As usual, the questions I am asked can be about any aspect of relationships – this week “why does my ex boyfriend keep texting me?”, and sometimes parenting and health.

If you would like any advice, feel free to message me or pop a comment in the comment box at the end of this post. I promise to be gentle.

Why does my ex boyfriend keep texting me? Heart shape made of multi-coloured stones on a sandy beach

Here are just some of the questions I’ve been asked this week.

Q: Why does my ex boyfriend keep texting me? How do I reply to him as he keeps texting me saying that he hasn’t done anything bad to me? The reason we aren’t together is precisely because of the fact that he won’t stop texting me!

A: If you want this man out of your life then do not respond to him.

If he is your ex-boyfriend then his insistence that ‘he hasn’t done anything bad’ is irrelevant. The relationship is over and he needs to move on. Responding to his texts will just give him hope.

I’m more concerned though by what you mean when you say “anything bad”. I’m hoping you mean that your ex doesn’t understand why you have split up rather than anything more sinister.

If the reason you split was due to his neediness and clingy-ness, did you explain this to him when you split up? I’m assuming it was you who did the dumping.

If his contacting you becomes more frequent then firstly I would urge you to make someone else aware of the situation for your own safety (better to be safe than sorry) and secondly to change your mobile phone number and cut him out of your life.

If he starts turning up at your place or following you, you must tell somebody and explain what’s going on.

But this sounds like a man who hasn’t quite got the hint – and not responding to him will help him to get it.  You have to stand firm.

Q: How do I answer a text from a guy which reads “it was nice to meet you?

A: It depends on how you met. Did you go on a date?

In my experience, if a man isn’t interested he won’t bother to get in touch. It sounds like he is expressing an interest in you and the ball is in your court.

You could say that you enjoyed meeting him too and you’d be happy to meet up for a drink (or similar).

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Q: It’s been over a year since we broke up. Is there any hope left?

A: It depends why you split up. If you or your partner were unfaithful then possibly not. If you just drifted apart, then maybe.

But if you have not heard from your ex for over a year then it doesn’t look like they are pining for your relationship.

Have you done anything in the last 12 months to re-establish contact? Has something happened recently to make you yearn for your old relationship? Has a new relationship just bitten the dust for example?

Relationships always look better, happier, more romantic with the benefit of nostalgia when, often, they were anything but and splitting up was the best and healthiest thing that could have happened.

You could write a letter or email your ex explaining how you feel and asking whether there is a chance to reunite – or invite them out for a drink for old times sake – but I think you need to be realistic about this.

They may well agree to see you to talk about old times but that doesn’t mean they will want to leap back into your old relationship.

You may well find that you are both different people now.

All you can do is take a chance, be ready to put your heart on the line but if it’s a no, then accept that it is finally time to move on.

Q: Should I just let go of my boyfriend even though I love him if I just don’t feel that he needs me any more?

A: To paraphrase your question, I think what you’re saying is that your boyfriend doesn’t seem so interested in you so you want to dump him before you get dumped?

If you do mean that he doesn’t seem to NEED you anymore then I would suggest that it’s not a very healthy relationship.

Don’t you want a boyfriend who wants to be with you because he enjoys your company and you add to his life?

Either way, it would be madness to let someone you love go because you are feeling insecure.

Far more sensible is to have an open discussion with him about how you’re feeling and where he feels your relationship is at.

If you suspect his interest is cooling then it may be hard but at least you will know where you stand and can make a decision about your relationship based on facts and what is right for you, rather than doing something hasty out of panic.

Q: How can I forgive myself for the way I treated my ex boyfriend?

I took advantage of his love. I even made him cry once. Once I even fell for another person but denied it. I went to the prom with another guy. I can’t forgive myself and I can’t move on. I know I don’t deserve to though.

A: Yes, you were unkind but you know we all have choices.

It takes two to make a relationship and your ex had the opportunity to leave you at any time if he found your behaviour unacceptable. This doesn’t condone your behaviour but the wider question is why did he put up with it?

Obviously, he loved you and hoped that things would work out but we teach people how to treat us and it’s not as simple as heaping all the blame on yourself.

You were quite young, I’m guessing, when all this happened and what you describe is perfectly normal for teenage relationships. We are all learning how to love and how to relate and of course, we make mistakes.

If you feel awful then contact him and just say you’d like to say sorry for being horrid during that time and hope things are good with him now.

If you are not interested in rekindling the relationship though, you need to be very careful you do this in a way which doesn’t raise his hopes again.

If it were me, I’d just tell myself that I’ve learned through the experience, I’m now a nicer person and a stronger person – and your ex probably is as well.

You don’t say if you know how he’s doing but he may well be perfectly happy and settled in a new relationship and if so, the last thing he will want is to have to deal with your guilt.

I think this is one of those times when you have to ‘woman up’ and vow that in future relationships you will behave in better ways.

But beating yourself up for being young, naive and thoughtless is pointless – it’s just part of growing up for many.

Q: What do you do if your boyfriend is hitting on your eighteen-year-old daughter through texting? Does this mean he fancies her?

A: I think you know the answer to your question but, understandably, don’t want to accept what’s happening.

I’m assuming you have read the texts – either on your daughter’s phone or you have been reading them on your boyfriend’s.

It should be pretty obvious whether there is any sexual flirtation going on and, in any case, it is pretty odd for your boyfriend to be texting your daughter if you are not living together or he is not about to become her stepfather.

If you are sure he is hitting on your daughter then your first responsibility is to your DAUGHTER – unless she is actively encouraging him in order to get at you. Are there problems in your relationship with her?

In your shoes, I’d ask him exactly what he thinks he’s playing at and if you are unhappy with his answer, get rid of him.

And change your daughter’s phone.

Q: How do you handle it if your boyfriend has a friend who is a girl?

A: How close a friend is she? If she is one of the ‘crowd’ or an old school friend then I think you just have to accept the friendship and be mature enough to be gracious about it.

A strong relationship is built on trust and you should be able to talk to your boyfriend about this and he should want to reassure you that she is no threat. I’m wondering why you haven’t done this?

If, on the other hand, there is a secretive element to the friendship – he is constantly texting/phoning or breaking dates to be with her, then you need a frank conversation with him about what is going on.

But however uncomfortable it makes you feel, you can’t expect him not to have female friends – as long as the boundaries between friendship and romance are clearly defined and stuck to!

I think you need to speak up.

How would you have responded to these questions? You can find more advice on my problem page.

Want the answers to last week’s questions?  They’re here.

All materials included in this post are intended for informational purposes only. This post/information is not intended to and should not be used to replace medical or psychiatric advice offered by physicians or other healthcare providers. The author will not be liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, special, exemplary or other damages arising therefrom.

Simple Children’s Crafts For Halloween

We love Halloween.  In fact, apart from Christmas, it’s my absolute favourite time and we make sure the house is fully decorated.  Last year, the Husband gave up resisting and even donned a vampire cape and some fangs.

picture hanging solutions - Caitlin crafting with Mr Bones, the family skeleton

In terms of picture hanging solutions, I usually stick things to walls and any other surface I think needs it with blu-tack or white-tack but versatile though these are, sometimes you need something that will take a bit more weight.

picture hanging solutions - the range of Command products

So we’ve discovered a range of ingenious adhesive strips and hooks from Command Products from 3M that allow home lovers to hang decorations and much more without the hassle of nails, screws and tacks, throughout the home. Better still, they stretch cleanly away, leaving no surface damage.

[amazon_link asins=’B000OF6X48,B01FEJ3OA4,B00OI6NQUI,B00OI6F67O,B000HHI6MA,B01H2T7H66,B00A1KV52Q’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’mothedistr-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’1d90ab75-c5b6-11e8-ac54-6f6cdde7c3c2′]

Picture hanging solutions for Halloween

There’s Command Brand Balloon Bunchers (for 3 balloons), Ceiling Hooks, Poster Strips, Decorating Clips and Banner Anchors which all promise damage free hanging.

We tested the poster strips and decorating clips and they certainly stick firmly and offer a more reliable grip than blu-tac!  You do have to be careful about where you put them – you can’t use them on wallpaper and you’re advised not to use them, for example, on anything antique or that you wouldn’t be able to repair – but we found they stuck fine to a painted surface.

picture hanging solutions - scary poster and hanging green skeleton
We tested the Command poster strips and decorating clips

When you remove them, you simply stretch the strips which releases them from the wall – no risk of those annoying marks you can get on some surfaces when decorations have been left in place a little too long. (You can tell I’m a decorating pro, can’t you?!)

For Halloween crafting, Caitlin insists on doing her own thing with the help of Mr Bones who was a bit startled to be disinterred a bit earlier this year. But if you’re stuck for ideas for your Halloween decorations, here are three ideas you might like to try.

Gliding Ghouls

picture hanging solutions - three hanging ghostly skulls

 

For these ghastly ghouls, you’ll need some polystyrene mannequin heads, coloured netting, a spray adhesive and clear fishing wire. Simply spray the heads with adhesive, cover with your choice of netting and attach the wire – three heads have been used here and hung at differing lengths to create this ghostly effect! Once you’re happy with the terrifying faces, suspend from a fireplace, ceiling, or dark corner using Command Party Ceiling Hooks… and listen out for the screams!

Bat-tastic

 

picture hanging solutions - bats cut out of black card

 

For some scary wall décor, add some 3D flying bats to your wall. Fold an A4 sheet of black card in half, then draw a slim half-sausage shape starting from the folded edge, to form the bat’s body, then sketch one simple batwing shape leading off from this. Cut around it all, then open out and fold each wing out from either side of the body, leaving you with a flat body shape with fluttering wings. Adhere each bat to your wall using Command Poster Strips.

Web-tacular

picture hanging solutions - spider's web made of wool and string

 

Add a giant spider’s web to give your Halloween décor a little more substance.

Working at a table, cut six lengths of wool to equal lengths and lay them out to create the spokes of your web, tying the ends together at the centre, then tape each outer end down onto your table top with a little masking tape to form the web’s structure.

Cut another length of wool and tie it to one of the structural lengths with a knot, around 5cm from the centre. Move along to the next structural length and knot your wool down here too, keeping the wool relatively taut between the two knots. Continue working your way around the structure of the web until you’re back to your original knot- cut off any excess. Repeat the process with a new length of wool, around 5cm further out from your first circle, then continue working outwards in the same way for several more circles until you are happy with your web shape and size.

Command Clear Decorating Clips are ideal for attaching these to your wall or ceiling – simply tie a knot at the end of each length and place this over the hooks. Play around with your web’s position with masking tape before sticking down with the Command Decorating Clips.

Hanging Horrors

picture hanging solutions - orange paper pumpkin decorations

Command Decorating Clips or Command Party Ceiling Hooks are ideal for hanging spooky items from your ceiling… whether it’s a giant spider, witches hats, or a pumpkin lantern. Simply attach a long piece of white wool or cotton to your items, secure with a knot and hang.

picture hanging solutions - Caitlin and Mr Bones the skeleton dressed as a pirate

What picture hanging solutions have you tried?  Do you risk your paintwork and wallpaper?

For more information, visit www.commandstrips.co.uk. You can buy Command Strips at Amazon.co.uk, Asda, B&Q, Hobbycraft, Homebase, Robert Dyas, Ryman, Sainsbury’s, Staples, The Range, Tesco, WHSmith, Wilkinsons and 3Mdirect.co.uk.

No skeletons were harmed in the production of this post.

*PR samples were received for this post




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Parents: Do You Want To See An End To The Traditional Primary School Report?

Research from Capita SIMS has revealed that over half of parents (57%) feel primary school reports are either too generic or do not contain enough information about how their child is doing.

Capita SIMS is the leading supplier of information systems to the education sector, providing a range of software and services to schools and local authorities to help raise standards and reduce administration.

The survey,  undertaken by Opinion Matters, interviewed 1014 parents with children at state primary schools in England, as well as  850 teachers at state primary schools in England.

More than a third of primary school teachers (35%) agree with the findings, despite the fact that schools are now recording more information about the children they teach than ever before.

Knowing whether their child is happy and confident in class tops the list of information parents want to know from teachers, suggesting that mums and dads do not just want academic results on their reports.

And although three quarters of parents (74%) stated that it was very important to have information on happiness and confidence, less than half (46%) reported actually receiving it from their child’s primary school.

Teachers too felt information on a child’s happiness was crucial, with 75% stating it was very important for parents to have this information.

The results suggest that primary schools’ communication with parents needs to evolve.

Phil Neal, a director at Capita SIMS, commented “The vast majority of parents believe teachers are doing a great job, but the research does indicate that information about how a child is doing in school needs updating.

“Schools should look at the type of information they send home. Details such as whether a child helped a friend in class or is working hard on a particular project is often just as important as test results”.

Jayne Mullane, headteacher at Mersey Vale Primary School in Stockport, said: “We need to listen to parents to find out what information they want to receive. In my school, parents gave us feedback on our reports and we changed them as a result. They now include information about how much effort a child makes in class as well as details of academic performance.”

A guide for parents and schools is available, entitled, ‘Could do better: is it time to change the school report?’ It can be downloaded from www.capita-sims.co.uk/evolution, and contains a list of questions parents should ask schools about pupil progress and tips for schools on improving reporting.

New Releases, Free & Bargain Books Link-up Week 38

How are you all this week?  The nights are drawing in, as my dad would say and we’re swamped by apples from his two old apple trees.  I’ve got my ‘crumble on’ as there’s nothing like a warm pud to cheer up a school night, is there?

I’m not sure what Paul and Mary would say about my efforts and I’m trying not to be too annoyed about The Great British Bake Off’s impending move to Channel 4.

If I’m not lost in the latest novel from Beck Valley Books, I’m wading through my extensive collection of cookery books.  If you enter the author giveaway here on my review of  Late For Fate by Lori M. Jones, you’ll have enough to treat yourself to a new cookery book.

Or you could just go bargain and freebie hunting on this link.

Have a great week!

Sharing the Love of Books
Enjoy our selection of New Releases / Free & Bargain Books this week

Authors please feel free to add your own books
Readers please free to add your own finds
(any genre except erotica welcome)

This weekly link up is hosted by Beck Valley Books & these awesome book loving blogs…
Monday
Life as Leels | IrishdaisylovesRomance | Book Babble | All Romance Reader
Tuesday
It’s My Side of Life | Celticlady’s Reviews | First Time Mommy Adventures
Wednesday
Beck Valley BooksCinnamon Hollow Reviews
Thursday
Miki’s Hope | Nicki’s Nook
Friday
Ebook Addicts | I Love Romance | Mother Distracted | Colorimetry | The Ultimate Fan Blog
Saturday
Totally Addicted to Reading | 3 Partners in Shopping | Angie’s Angle | I Create Purty Thangs | Wishful Endings
Sunday
Lynchburg Mama | LibriAmoriMieiAli – The Dragon Slayer | Wondermom WannabeDeal Sharing Aunt | Rambling Reviews

For Pre-orders post – PRE-ORDER / genre / title /author

For New Releases post – NEW / genre / title / author

For Free Books post – FREE / genre / title / author / end date

For Bargain Books post – SALE / price / genre / title / author / end date
(Strictly no Erotica please.  Steamy romance is fine but watch those covers people, incase any underage child is viewing it!)

Click here for this weeks awesome selection!

Simple Tips For Hot Healthy Hair

All women are probably guilty of looking at another woman’s hair at some point and wishing they had it. Our hair is considered our crowning glory, and can make a huge difference to our appearance. 

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Some women are born with naturally gorgeous tresses, but others aren’t. Some have thin, lifeless hair. Some even have less than desireable hair because of the things they’ve subjected it to over the years. Good news! With these methods, you can finally have hair other women are envious of…

Don’t Wash Your Hair Too Often

Washing your hair too often strips it of the all important natural oils it’s infused with. Moisture will leave your hair, and it might even become greasy more often. Your hair will get used to not being washed as much. If you’re worried about grease, a good dry shampoo can help to combat that. There are some people who rarely wash their hair at all, and have incredible locks!

Stay Away From Heat

Using too much heat on your hair is a one way ticket to snap city. Unless you want split ends, frizz, and other problems, you shouldn’t use heat on your hair too often. When you do use heat on your hair, use a protectant spray to ensure you’re not damaging it too much.

Take Supplements

Supplements can be amazing for hair. There are supplements formulated especially for the skin, hair, and nails. Obviously, you should make sure you’re eating a healthy diet alongside your supplements. Getting plenty of healthy fats in your diet should improve the condition of your hair. If supplements just aren’t cutting it for you, you may want to try a medication. Looking at a price comparison of propecia hair loss tablets could help you to figure out if it’s the right route for you.

Use The Proper Type Of Brush

Make sure you’re using the right kind of brush for your hair type. You should also make sure you’re selecting the right brush depending on whether it’s wet or dry. Tangle Teezers are great brushes and can minimize damage. Never tug on your hair with your brush!

Protect It Before Bedtime 

Protecting your hair before bedtime can be a good way to nourish your hair as you sleep. Rather than tying it in a bun or plaiting it, try using a silk scarf or head wrap. Pile your hair on top of your head before putting on your head wrap. The silk will evenly distribute your hair’s natural oils, giving you a natural conditioning treatment. Not only that, you should notice an improvement in thickness, split ends, and other problems. When we toss and turn on our regular pillows all night, we can damage our hair in all kinds of ways!


Use Products That Suit Your Hair Type 

Make sure you know your hair type and you’re using products to suit it. You can find products for thin hair, fine hair, colored hair, and so on. It’ll help the condition and enhance your locks!

74% Motorists Fear Being Ripped off by Garages – Can You Trust Yours?

We’ve been pretty lucky with our cars so far.  The Husband has an 8 year old Beemer and I have my beloved and equally old Skoda Roomster.

In the absence of much mechanical knowledge and having an inherent distrust of garages, we tend to stick to where we know (i.e. the local dealerships).  Whilst the service is reliable, the price is reliably higher than some of the smaller independent garages.

But how do you know who to trust.  We’ve all heard the horror stories about parts not being replaced, or replaced with second-hand bits.  Then there are the tales of oil not changed or topped up, brakes not checked and unnecessary repairs undertaken to make a quick buck.

Let’s be honest – when the car is in for its service or MOT, everyone dreads that phone call from the mechanic where they start listing everything that needs to be fixed.

How do you know if they are telling the truth?

74% of respondents to a survey of 1,000 car owners, by BookMyGarage.com, an online booking directory of UK garages, stated that either hidden costs or being oversold were their main worries when using a garage.

Depending on where we live, mind you, we seem to be more or less relaxed about being ripped off

The survey found that those in the North East feared being oversold the most, with 74% of respondents stating this as a concern. Northern Irish respondents fretted the least about being oversold, with just 22% stating this as a worry.

People living in North West appear to be the most worried most about hidden costs, with 43% of those surveyed indicating that this was an issue for them. However, only 22% of Welsh respondents said that the chance of garages hitting them with hidden costs was a major concern.

I am not one of the 22%!

As Karen Rotberg, director of BookMyGarage.com, says: “Our survey shows that garages have a long way still to go to build trust with their customers. As cars become more complicated, due to new technologies, many motorists don’t always know what maintenance their cars need and feel that mechanics take advantage of this lack of knowledge.”

“This is why we launched BookMyGarage.com. By being able to compare prices of local garages and see genuine customer reviews, garages and customers can start to trust each other again.”

What customers want from their garages?

• 53% of the UK population uses a preferred garage because they trust them to resolve the issue or because they have used the same garage for years

• Only 3% of the UK population selects its garage because it is a well-known brand

• Only 9% fear poor customer service when booking a garage, which suggests that financial issues, rather than customer care concerns, are at the front of customers’ minds

• 51% of respondents book a car service by phone with 31% doing so in person. Only 18% book a car service online

• Reputation is the key deciding factor when choosing a new garage, according to 54% of the UK sample.

BookMyGarage.com is a nifty website which gives you a list of garages according to your postcode, together with the services they offer.

Just by popping in my postcode I’m told there are 66 garages near me and the date of my MOT renewal. There’s a map of their location and I can compare three garages side by side. I can then book online and there is a contact number which allows me to talk to an expert mechanic.

Some of the garages already have customer reviews available to read which is just what you want to have to hand.

Certainly worth a look if you have the dreaded MOT or service approaching.