Deer with a Beer: Day 4

Sunday. The day of rest.

Unless you’re a parent of small children that is.

Why oh why did the toddler have to wake up at 6:30am this morning and smack my face until I got up to make him juice?!

Minature demon.

In other news, we got our Christmas tree today.

Hurrah!

The Children helped decorate it. It was as much fun as sitting on a thorn bush in your birthday suit.

Pass the Gin.

Here is day 4 of Deer with a Beer.

Enjoy!




Deer with a Beer: Day 1

How is it December 1st today?!

How I ask thee?!

I hope your younglings enjoy opening the first door on their advent calendars today…

(“Why can we only open one door each day?!”)

…and that you all have a wonderful run-up to the big day!

To help you guys make it to Christmas day without loosing the will to live, I have devised a little story.

I wrote the story last Christmas but I only had 2 readers then (thanks mum & dad!) so I’m sharing it again!

Yay!

(Sorry in advance…)

It’s a take on the Elf on the Shelf but I called my version, Deer with a Beer. See what I did there?!

So, tune in each day between now and Christmas Day for a new addition to the tale. I promise it’s (kind of, maybe, probably not) funny.

Click here to read Day 1!




The Book Corner: The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell (a Book Review)

“There are a whole lot of things in the world of ours that you haven’t started wondering about yet…”

The Old Green Grasshopper, James and the Giant Peach.

 Front cover of the wolf wilder book by katherine rundell

For some kids, reading a book can be a bit of a chore. I found that with my eldest until recently. Despite my best efforts to help him and to encourage a love of reading, I wasn’t having much luck. This changed however, when he picked up a book about a young Wizard we all know very well. He has read 4 of the books so far and is keen to read the others. And that is what I think the secret is with some children, capturing their imagination. If you have that, that’s half the battle won. I still wouldn’t say he is a book-worm, not like I was at his age, but he is getting there.

My friends daughter however, Lily, is a book fiend. She loves them! So much so, she has to be torn away from her book at bedtime to make her go to sleep. I think it is wonderful, and her mum does too to a certain extent but I can see how it becomes a bit of a nightmare and it must also seem completely bonkers to have to demand your child to stop reading!

Because Lily is such a book-worm, when I was sent a new book to review, I asked her if she would like to read and review it for me, which she jumped at, obviously!

So, here is a very comprehensive and articulate review of a new book (it is out now) called, The Wolf Wilder, by Lily. Age 8.

Thanks Lily, my new book review assistant!


 Rundell’s Amazing Book: The Wolf Wilder

By Lily, age 8.

A child's handwritten review of a book called The Wolf Wilder

What is the book about?

Lily: “Feo and her Mother, Mama, tame Wolves to be wild again but, one night, Rakov’s men burn down Feo’s house and take Mama to jail. With her new friends, Ilya and Alexei, can they get Alexei’s town to start up an army and get Mama back? Find out more in the book…”

Life is Knutts: As Lily says, The Wolf Wilder is a book about a young girl called Feo, who lives with her mother, Mama, in the woods. The book is set in Pre-Revolutionary Russia and is written by Katherine Rundell, and illustrated by Gelrev Ongbinco. We are told the tale of how the rich upper classes in Russia loved to have wolves as pets, as wolves are thought to be precious and magical animals. To kill a wolf, is to damn the person who did so to a fate worse than death. Sadly, because Wolves are wild animals, they inevitably end up going mad in the confines of their aristocratic homes and end up hurting people. Because the wolves are too precious to be killed, even if they have killed a human, they are sent to the wolf wilder in the woods (Mama) who attempts to re-teach the wolves how to  be wild again. The book is full of mystery and almost feels like a Gothic fairy-tale.  It’s a story about standing up for yourself and what you believe in (a very important life lesson) and takes the reader on an adventure in a truly gripping way.

What did you think about the book? Did you have a favourite part?

Lily: “It’s a really interesting story of how Feo and Mama keep wolf wilding a secret, but how long will it last? I liked the drama and how Feo survived the weather whilst she was on the run. I also liked reading about how she escapes Rakov’s men. Halfway through, poor Feo meets Ilya and then a young boy called, Alexei. They make an army, set Mama free and escape. But what about Rakov? Read the book to find out more…”

(She is good Lily, isn’t she?! Is she making you want to go and buy the book to find out what happens for yourself? I think she definitely has a future career in book reviews or sales…)

Life is Knutts: As Lily has said above, her favourite parts of the book seem to be the parts where there is action and suspense aplenty. It certainly made Lily want to keep reading and she finished the whole book in 3 days. Pretty impressive, eh?! 

Thank you for your lovely review Lily! I am really glad you enjoyed the book.

The back cover of the Wolf wilder book.


 On a personal note, I loved the illustrations in this book. There were just enough of them to break up the text and to help the reader visualise what the author had in mind for that particular scene in the book. They were all black and white, but I loved that about them. The book is set in the depths of the Russian woods in the bleakest of winters and this is really portrayed in the atmospheric and wispy ink/pencil sketches you see dotted throughout. They completely draw you in…

 In conclusion, I would say this is a wonderful book for anyone aged 8 upwards to read. I loved it and Lily loved it too. It captures the imagination, it sucks you in (making you want to read it all in one go) and it also teaches you a bit about Russia history in the process. An adventure book with a twist, which is sure to be a hit, regardless of your age.

The descriptions are so vivid by Rundell that you can almost feel the snow and ice under your feet. To be able to make a reader feel such emotion and so at home in a story is quite a feat. I truly believe this book, in time, will become a modern classic.

The perfect book to snuggle up with under a blanket this Winter, or perhaps to fill a young person’s christmas stocking.

I know I would be happy to receive it from Father Christmas.

You can buy your own copy of The Wolf Wilder in all good bookshops and online.


Disclosure: I was sent a free copy of The Wolf Wilder to review. All words, thoughts, opinions and photos are my own…oh, and Lilys’!



The Book Corner: A review of, Spot Goes on Holiday

Image from funwithspot.com

Growing up in the 1980’s, I was a HUGE fan of the Spot ‘lift the flap’ books and watching the animated version on TV.

Written by Eric Hill over 35 years ago, Spot has become a firm family favourite all over the world. The books have been published in over 50 languages and are now also available in sign language and Braille editions.

His toddler-like behaviour, getting up to mischief and exploring the world around him resonated with children and parents alike, making him the superstar pup he is today.

I vividly remember sitting with my Nan at her house and her reading the book, “Where’s Spot?” to me as I sipped a cup of warm Ribena and chomped on a packet of Quavers (we only ever got a treat like Quaver’s at my Nan’s house…). In fact, when I think of Spot, more often than not, I think of my Mum and my Nan. Precious memories.

The novelty of having a flap to lift on a page, to encourage you to investigate and find out what was hiding behind it, was always so much fun. I was a very careful child and I always ensured I was gentle with my books. I liked things ‘just so’ and that’s something that hasn’t really changed. My youngest cousin however, well, she was a bit different. When she came along, I can recall one of the flaps getting ripped out of the book and having to be stuck back in with sticky tape. I was very upset, she thought it was funny. I still love her though and I suppose I will let her off now after over 20 years… 😉

Teaching children how to handle books is a very important life skill in my opinion. To be careful with the pages, to treat the book gently, to learn the fine motor skills required to turn the delicate pages over without tearing them. A life the flap book is another, fun way of teaching the children how to do this.


When I was offered an opportunity to review a re-release of a Spot ‘lift the flap book’, I jumped at the chance.

We don’t actually have any Spot books (all my childhood ones are lost somewhere in the abyss of my parents loft) so I took this as a wonderful opportunity to pass my childhood love of these books on to my youngest boy, Ben. He’s 2.5 and the perfect age to enjoy a Spot story.

The book we were sent was, Spot goes on Holiday. Again, this is a book I remember well from my childhood and it’s delivery was timely as were were due to go off to Wales on a Camping holiday that same week. Perfect! It would help explain to Ben what we were going to do and what he might see on our trip to the Welsh seaside.

Every night that week, me and Ben sat down together at bedtime and read the book. He loved it as much as I recall loving it.

We also ended up taking the book with us camping as a bedtime read because he loved it so much and he even recognised some of the pictures in the book from our own days out.

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He turned the pages carefully, he was excited to see what was hiding under the flaps on each page and was actively seeking out the part on the page where the flap might be after just a couple of pages. He was repeating the names of things back to me as I said them and he also began pointing at Spot and saying his name on each page when he found him. It was just adorable.

The story lines are simple, the characters are lovable, the illustrations are really colourful and child-friendly and there is a kindness about the books that I can’t quite explain but I know is there. Like seeing a friendly face, someone familiar, someone you know.

The book simply tells the story of Spot being told he is going to the beach for the day by his Mum and Dad. It shows them getting ready for their day out and it also shows what adventures Spot has at the beach. Ben thought it was really funny when Spot took the wrong persons towel near the end, this part has him giggling his head off most nights at the moment, accompanied by some mummy sound effects of a disgruntled hippo of course 😉

 I cannot recommend the Spot books enough if you have a little one. I would hazard a guess and say any child up to the age of 5 or so would love these books, and then, even once they are 6 or so and reading for themselves, I am sure they will still enjoy it to a certain extent. My middle one did, because the books are fairly simple language with bold print, he was more than capable of reading it to his little brother by himself. He then prompted his little brother to lift the flaps, to seek out the characters in the pages and loved sharing the story with him and was really proud of himself afterwards for being able to do that on his own.


 

Colouring Sheets

Image from funwithspot.com

 

Spot has had a bit of a rejuvenation online too and now has his own website!

We didn’t have that in the 1980’s! 😉

You can find the link to the new website here.

Once on there, you are able to download and print off some Spot colouring sheets, play a dressing up Spot game and find out more about the world’s most lovable puppy! My middle one loved playing the online game and we took some of the colouring sheets away camping with us.

If you are local to Cheltenham, UK, there is a Spot event being held at the Cheltenham festival in October 2016. Details can be found here.


 *Competition time*

If you would like to get your hands on your own Spot ‘Lift the Flap’ book, just enter my competition!

All you need to do is enter this Rafflecopter!

Competition closes Friday 19th August.

Winner will be announced on Saturday 20th August on my Facebook page so do swing by to check out if it was you who won!

I will then be in contact to organise sending the prize to you.

Spot says good luck! Woof!

contact-us

Image from funwithspot.com

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Do follow me over on Facebook to see if you’ve won!




The Deer with a Beer: Story and Day 1

Now, I don’t know how many of you have heard the tale of, “The Elf on the Shelf?” If you haven’t, where the hell have you been?! Oh, and well done.

If you don’t know about him, let me explain…
He’s a jolly little fellow, called a scout Elf, who comes out on the 1st of December, in his festive best, and leaves on Christmas Day.
He is to sit upon a shelf, and not be touched, otherwise his magic and all he has seen will disappear and he won’t be able to report back and tell Santa if you’ve been naughty or nice upon his return to the North Pole.
You get the jist.
Cute eh? Or creepy. I’m leaning more towards the creepy camp.
So, seen as its officially the run up to Christmas now, I thought I’d do my own take on things.
Ladies and Gentlemen, sober and un-sober, I give you…

The tale of The Deer with a Beer.

(Bet you didn’t see that coming did you? Neither did I truth be told).
Over the next 24 days, we shall follow The Deer with a Beer on his festive escapades and peek in on his high-jinx.
Let me set the scene if you will…
The tale of The Deer with a Beer is a tragic one.
A tale of fame and misfortune, coupled with a fetish for alcoholic beverages.
His name was Rudolph, he was one of the most wonderful reindeer you could ever have set your eyes upon.
A glossy fur coat, impressive antlers and he wore a cashmere scarf to die for.
Snazzy.

via GIPHY

He was the star in Santa’s fleet – one of the fat man in red’s chosen few and even had a song written about him (tell me you’re not singing it…you are aren’t you). Life was pretty darn good.
Presents were delivered on time, his internal sat-nav was working perfectly, he had a brilliant diet of organic carrots and triple distilled glacier water and he had muscle definition to die for.
As the years went by, and Rudolph began to hit middle age, he found things a bit harder.
He had a wife and family who he had to support, he was working ridiculous hours, he was forgetting the way to places he’d traveled to for years and his muscle definition had diminished enormously, resulting in him having to use a slender-tone on a nightly basis.
He began to struggle, became exhausted and just wasn’t getting the same satisfaction from his diet of carrots and water that he used to.
One snowy Christmas night, when Rudolph was on the present run in Belgium, Rudolph found a family had left a bottle of drink out for Santa. He read the label which said,
“Beer. Made from 100%, All Natural Ingredients.”.
“This stuff can’t be too bad if Santa drinks it. And it is 100% Natural,” he said to himself, “I’ll give it a go”.
He drank the bottle in one and let out an enormous belch.
(Down in one. Bravo! Very impressive for a first go).
Then, a few moments later, he began to feel as light as a feather. He felt an overwhelming sense of happiness, he felt like he had the ability to fly through walls and amazingly, he felt young again.
He felt better than he’d felt in years.
This drink was magical!!
From that night on, Rudolph vowed to drink 5 bottles of ‘all natural ingredient’ beer every day.
Forever.
To start with, he had his mojo back.
He felt fit, young and he was still the jewel in Santa’s festive crown.
He even harnessed a new magical power thanks to the beer. He found that drinking it caused his nose to glow bright red and it enabled him to light the way for Santa’s sleigh, saving Santa an immense amount of money in electricity bills.
The more beer Rudolph drank, the more his nose glowed.
And all thanks to this magical beverage.
But as time went on, Rudolph became dependent on the beer to get to work every day and it’s magical effect began to wear off.
It no longer made him feel happy, it no longer made him feel like he could fly though walls, he felt old. And tired. And drunk.
His marriage broke down and his wife left him for some other reindeer called, Blitzen. What a stupid name Rudolph thought to himself, her loss, and to make matters worse, the vet told him the red nose was not due to magic, but due to burst capillaries in his nose because of all the beer he had drunk.
(Not such a cheery festive song about him now is it…? Shame on us for singing it earlier on).
Rudolph’s performance nose dived so much, Santa had to make the tough decision to retire him early.
Santa was kind to Rudolph though and allowed him to stay at the North Pole to see out his retirement.
He now lives a playboy lifestyle there and only drinks one beer a day in the 24 day run up to Christmas.
So there you have it.
A Christmas story revealed.
One to share with the kids maybe??
No?
Alright then.
We’ll just keep this one to ourselves.
So, as promised, here is day one of; “A Deer with a Beer”.

Deer with a Beer: Day 1

Rudolph decides to have a dip in his chocolate filled hot tub, with a beer in hand of course, to kick off the 1st day of December.
Having one chocolate a day from an advent calendar is no fun. Have a sodding hot tub full!
“Look at my chocolaty balls!”
(Naughty Rudolph).
Tune in again tomorrow for day 2!