Reading With Jack | Goodnight World by Debi Gliori

We were sent this book to review as part of the Boolino Friends programme. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

I’ve decided to start a new series on the blog called Reading With Jack. Jack has always been a big book lover just like me but since he started Reception and began his reading record, his thirst for reading has become even greater. He loves books even more and is always disappointed if the teacher or teaching assistant forgets to change his book for a new one. His reading itself is coming along great – he’s been learning plenty of ‘tricky’ words and really tries his hardest to figure out every word before asking for help.

When asked if we would like to partner with Boolino and review some books, I had to say yes. Nothing brings me more pleasure than a new book and Jack is very much the same. We were recently sent Goodnight World to review. So what were our thoughts?

Goodnight World is described as ‘a magically rhythmic bedtime book that will calm and comfort children in the evening‘ and that’s something I can definitely do with after Jack’s been at school all day. He’s often extremely tired but desperately tries to fight sleep so we need a book that is going to calm him rather than make him more energetic.

I personally find this book absolutely beautiful. The wording is absolutely stunning and the illustrations are breathtaking. The soft rhyming lends to a calm and peaceful atmosphere and Jack likes to join in saying goodnight to everything in the world. He’s a big fan of nature and animals and all that so was keen to rhyme along.

When it comes to some picture books for children, I don’t always find that the illustrations accurately depict what is going on in the text but this book certainly does. In the above picture, you really get the feeling of the boats rocking on the tide.

Jack really enjoyed reading this book and has asked for it to be read to him and for him to attempt to read to me multiple times since. He’s also planning on reading it to his little sister when she arrives which I think is oh so cute! I love that my son has such a passion for reading and that books like this ignite the passion even more.

This book currently retails at £11.99 here and is suitable for ages 0-5. If you sign up to Boolino and share your opinions on books you have read, you receive a free book after 20 comments! A great resource if you have a big reader in your life.

What’s yours or your child’s favourite book right now?

Blogging Your Way To Riches | Book Review

This post contains affiliate links

I love a good blogging book so when I found out that Emma Bradley from Emma & 3 and Lynn from Mrs Mummypenny were bringing out a book, I knew I had to pick it up. Released a couple of weeks ago, I read it within a day and wanted to post a little review today as well as share a little Q&A with the authors themselves. Their book is called Blogging Your Way To Riches and can be bought via Amazon in paperback or on Kindle or via their website.

About The Bloggers & The Book

Emma Bradley and Lynn James are mum’s of 3 children each.  Both exhausted by their previous careers in teaching and finance they decided to make blogging their full-time careers. Both had spent 15 years working before deciding they had had enough. Emma has been blogging for seven years and full-time for two years. She has appeared on The One Show as a direct result of her award winning blogs. Lynn has blogged for three years and was recently shortlisted for 3 awards in the UK Money Blog awards.

When Emma and Lynn met at a conference in September 2016 they started chatting and immediately became aware at just how similar their lives were panning out. Blogging has given them the elusive work life balance that many crave in addition to the freedom of being their own boss. Both share the recipe for success in Blogging Your Way To Riches.

Q&A

Tell me a little bit about you

Lynn James writes the blog Mrs Mummypenny. She has been blogging for 3 years, starting the blog  whilst on maternity leave with her third child. She writes about all things personal finance and lifestyle and loves sharing ways to get the best value for your money. Mrs Mummypenny is run on a full-time basis, prior to writing she was an accountant working for EE, Tesco and HSBC.

Emma has been blogging for seven years and has two successful blogs Emma and 3 and Mums Savvy Savings.  Emma started blogging on a whim never anticipating that it would lead to a change of career!  Emma left teaching where she was Head of Sociology two years ago to work as a full time blogger.  Emma also has three children and is often found writing about parenting teens and empowering young people.

Why Blog?

Blogging gives you a voice where you can talk about anything you want. Whether that be your favourite hobby, your passion, documenting your life or helping people, the subject area can be blogged about. With time and dedication blogging can make you income. Do not underestimate the amount of time and hard work it takes but Emma and Lynn tell you in the book ‘Blogging Your Way To Riches’ how to achieve it.

Why are you working together?

Working in a partnership is such an amazing way to work, particularly after being used to single blogger life. You can motivate each other, bounce ideas off each other and share the workload. They found that their skills complemented each other perfectly for a book project. Emma is an expert at pitching to brands with a huge wealth of experience in the blogging world. Lynn is an expert at negotiation, pricing and goal setting. The split of chapters for the book was perfect matched to their expert areas.

Lynn was great at organising and keeping to a schedule and sorting out the admin from getting book onto Amazon to the commercials. Emma gathered the quotes from her network of amazing bloggers and oversees the sales and PR program. We already have around 40 guest posts planned and all the blogger networks interested in content.

Most importantly we have the similar outlook on work, family, life, a great basis for a working relationship.

Why write a book?

Writing a book felt like the right thing to do. There hasn’t been a book written by leading UK bloggers and at that perfect time of meeting Emma and Lynn decided writing a book was what they wanted to do. The knowledge was in their heads and the timing was perfect to turn it into a book. The paperback is just £14.99 and gives you all the tips you will need to start a blog, improve a blog or make a living from your blog. A great point of reference that isn’t going to break the bank but will give you much food for thought. This must be said from two personal finance bloggers!

And if we didn’t do it, well someone else would have done it some, and probably will publish soon.

What are your 3 top tips for blogging?

  1. Write lots of great content that people want to read. Post regularly and get into a posting routine.
  2. Network as much as possible. Meet other bloggers, brands, PR agencies. Go to events and meet people in person.
  3. Engage in collaborations, linkys, guest posts, blogger Q&A’s. Collaborations will get you different readers to your content, more social following and back links that will help your web authority DA. Plus collaborations feel good, it’s great to help each other out.

What’s your biggest lesson learnt in blogging?

For Lynn, it is to go in high on negotiations, there is nothing worse than feeling like you have sold yourself short and done some work for less than the agency or brand would have paid. What’s the worse that can happen, maybe they say no your fee is too high? Well then you negotiate to the right level.

Networking and being nice is the best way to get on in the blogging community.  Having a good reputation is your biggest asset and by always being professional you will be remembered and PR’s will want to work with you time and time again.

Who are your favourite bloggers/social stars?

Lynn’s favourite blogger is Cash Carraway (The Comeback Mum). Her posts are always thought provoking and insightful and her writing style is simply amazing. Brummy Mummyof2 is fabulous for vlog content, she is so funny and makes her feel happy about life and its troubles.

Emma has so many favourites but the blog she has to read is More Than Toast by Alice Talbot Judge.

If could start your blog again is there anything you would do differently?

Lynn would have Search Engine Optimised her posts correctly from the very first post. Her traffic would be far higher now if this had been done properly. It is so time consuming to now repair the 110 badly SEO’d posts from the past.

Emma wishes she knew to categorise her blog posts by topic from the start.  This would have made it easier for readers to find other related posts.  She still hasn’t managed to go back and correct this rookie error as it would take so long.

What is the best thing you have spent money on with your blog?

Lynn’s best investment was the logo and photoshoots from the early says of the blog. This cost £150 but the self-hosted blog (another great idea to self-host from day 1) looked professional and welcoming.

Having a blog redesign is the best money Emma has spent. Over the years Emma has kept the blog fresh by having various headers that have grown with the blog.

Where do you want to be in 5 years’ time?

Lynn would love to be running a successful Mrs Mummypenny business with turnover more than £200k (yes aiming high, and it will happen!). With flexibility to continue to spend as much time as possible with the boys and keep going to all their football matches.

Future plans for Emma include more public speaking and media opportunities where she can empower and educate others.  Emma remains passionate about young people and wants to raise the image of teenagers through her blog.

My Review

 I’ve been blogging now for almost six years. For the first year or so, I had no clue just what blogging could bring but over the years, I’ve watched the blogging scene change and grow and seen so many people make the leap to becoming full time bloggers. I myself earn most of my income via my blog with the odd freelance work on the side so I was intrigued to see what information Emma and Lynn could share that I could take on board as well as other newer bloggers. Both Lynn and Emma blog around their families like I do – I often see bloggers who don’t have young families sharing their stories so its refreshing to read about people in the same situation as me.

What I love from a book like this is personal anecdotes and there are plenty in this book which tie into the point the authors are making. I loved reading about how they met at the UK Money Blogger Awards (or SHO-MO’s) and the idea for the book came about. I liked that they could tell their own stories – Emma able to talk about the blogging scene back when she started seven years ago and Lynn talking about blogging when she started three years ago.

Whilst having blogged for almost six years means I have learned a lot as I went along, I loved that this book was able to offer even me some fresh information that I could take on board and use to improve myself and my blog. For newer bloggers wondering if it is possible to make money from their blog, this is a great resource as there’s a wealth of information from not only the authors but numerous other fantastic bloggers, many of whom I have had the pleasure to meet over the years and who really know their craft.

Would I recommend this to a new blogger? Definitely – its jam packed full of information that will be incredibly helpful. For someone who’s been blogging for quite some time? Yep. Even if you’ve been blogging since the beginning, I’m sure you’ll find out something new and also find the authors stories and journeys very interesting.

Have you read this book?

The Silver Bells Christmas Pantomime by Lynsey James | Blog Tour & Review

Today I am glad to be one of the stops on the blog tour for The Silver Bells Christmas Pantomime by Lynsey James. I’ve reviewed the book below and you can even find a giveaway that ends tonight!

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Synopsis

This Christmas pantomime is about to be the talk of the town! Luna Bay’s festive preparations are well under way and the much anticipated annual pantomime is to be, once again, the highlight of the season. Too bad that the village’s very own actress and darling of Broadway, Alice Woods, isn’t feeling in the mood for Christmas.

Until the pantomime comes under threat and a grief-stricken Alice is forced to push her personal pain aside and step up to direct – after all, the show must go on..

So with (more than) a little help from her new found friends, not to mention one very gorgeous Hollywood A-list celebrity, the play begins to come together, but will Alice finally believe that Christmas is a time for miracles after all?

Find it on Amazon // Find it on Goodreads

My Review

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Well you all know just how much I have loved Lynsey’s previous offerings – I’ve spoken about both The Broken Hearts Book Club and The Sunflower Cottage Breakfast Club previously – so of course I wanted to get involved with the blog tour for her Christmas offering. So what did I think?

Well let me just say I did love a certain Mr Fox. After Twitter chats whilst Lynsey was in the process of writing this book, I had an inkling of who he was based on (and Lynsey recently confirmed I was right!) and thus this person stayed in my mind throughout the book as Ethan. I couldn’t imagine anyone else as him so if this book gets snapped up for a film, they better cast said person to play him!

I loved getting to see characters from Lynsey’s other books make their appearance in this book – it was nice to see Lucy and Emily being such good friends to Alice – and I felt that Lynsey told Alice’s back story very well. If I remember rightly, we were treated to a little teaser about Alice hiding something big back in The Sunflower Cottage Breakfast Club so it was nice to see how Lynsey seamlessly wove the two tales together and expanded on the story for us all.

Alice has certainly been through a lot in her fairly young life and I think Lynsey told her story well – delicate and sensitive where she needed to be and humorous where it was needed too. I know the book mentions Christmas in the title too so of course there is a lot of Christmas themed stuff going on – Alice’s job in the grotto, the Christmas pantomime and so much more – but it was just the right amount of festivity without it going completely over the top as some books have a way of doing.

I found myself cheering at the very end when a certain scene happens and I may even go as far as to say that this is my favourite book by Lynsey yet – the characters and their stories are wonderfully developed, Alice’s back story is a biggie and is treated as such rather than being pushed to the sideline and a certain Mr Fox literally epitomises what you would expect a UK born Hollywood actor to be like – very into the LA scene but it doesn’t take him long to get back to his roots.

A great read, I gave it 5 out of 5 stars.

About Lynsey James

Lynsey James was born in Fife in 1991 and has been telling people how to spell her name ever since. She’s an incurable bookworm who loves nothing more than getting lost in a good story with memorable characters. She started writing when she was really young and credits her lovely Grandad- and possibly a bump on the head from a Mr Frosty machine- with her love of telling stories. She used to write her own episodes of Friends and act them out in front of her family (in fact she’s sure she put Ross and Rachel together first!)

A careers adviser at school once told Lynsey writing wasn’t a “good option” and for a few years, she believed her. She tried a little bit of everything, including make-up artistry, teaching and doing admin for a chocolate fountain company. The free chocolate was brilliant. When Lynsey left my job a couple of years ago, she started writing full-time while she looked for another one. As soon as she started working on her story, Lynsey fell in love and decided to finally pursue her dream. She haven’t looked back since.

When Lynsey’s not writing, eating cake or drinking tea, she’s daydreaming about the day Dylan O’Brien FINALLY realises they’re meant to be together. It’ll happen one day…

You can find her on TwitterFacebook and over on her blog.

** GIVEAWAY **

For your chance of winning £25 to spend on a theatre voucher with the ATG theatre group (check venues here) which ends TODAY, enter below. It’s UK only.

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The Other Wives Club Blog Tour & Extract

Today I am very happy to bring to you my stop on the The Other Wives Club by Shari Low blog tour – I even have a fab extract for you all. Read on to get a snippet of this fab new read from Aria Fiction.
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Book Synopsis
 Three women thrown together on a surprise Mediterranean cruise to celebrate a milestone birthday of the man they all once loved. What could possibly go wrong?

Tess Gold – the current wife. 
When Tess married Drew Gold, she knew his two ex-wives were still in his life.

Now Drew has planned a luxury cruise to celebrate his birthday … and the former Mrs. Golds are all coming too.

Mona Gold – the second wife. 
When it comes to style, fashion editor, Mona, never puts a Louboutin wrong.

Now it’s time to reclaim the only man she ever really loved … if she can tempt Drew away from his new wife for a second time.

Sarah Gold – the first wife, the original. 
When Drew left her for Mona, Sarah’s emotions went into hibernation.

Now she’s decided to shave those legs and start living again…

EXTRACT

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(Find it on Goodreads // Buy it on Amazon)

1. All Booked Up

Tess Gold

Tess put her coffee cup down with a sigh. ‘Mum, I have to go – an email has just popped into my inbox that I have to reply to.’

‘OK, lovely, I’ll call you tomorrow or the next day. And if I can find a hotspot I’ll scoop you.’

‘Skype, Mum. It’s Skype.’

‘That’s what I meant. Stupid name. Anyway, hasta la vista baby, as they say here.’

Tess smiled. ‘They don’t say that anywhere, Mum.’

‘Well, your dad does. Every time I leave the van. He thinks he’s hilarious.’

Tess suddenly pictured her mother’s slightly sunburned nose wrinkling with affection as she said that and felt a distinct tug on her heartstrings. Retirement had been an adventure for Evelyn and Alan Campbell. A former nurse and policeman, they’d quit at fifty-five, jetted off to Brazil and were currently travelling around the nations of South America in a camper van. Tess tried not to think about it. It went against the natural order of things. Her parents should be fretting over their twenty-eight-year-old daughter having wild adventures, not the other way around. The only thing that was likely to catapult her into mortal peril in Anderson & McWilliam Marketing were the rock cakes that Beryl the cleaner insisted on inflicting on them every Friday.

‘Bye, Mum. And give Dad a hug from me. Miss you.’

‘We miss you too, sweetheart. Love to Drew.’

As Tess put the phone down and reread the email, she was overcome with an urge to head straight to Glasgow airport and catch the first flight out to join her parents.

It was sure to be more enjoyable the current plan. Ten days on a cruise with her husband, celebrating his fiftieth birthday. So far, so fabulous. Add in two adult children by one of his previous marriages. Could potentially be a little uncomfortable, but still bearable. Add one ex-wife, and the dread factor started to rise. Add in another ex-wife, her husband and step-kid and the shivers ran all the way to her toes.

Suddenly, taking on gangs of brutal drugs smugglers in the hills above Bogota seemed like the preferable option.

“Civilized” Drew called it. Modern. Functional. ‘‘We’re all grown-ups,’’ was his favourite saying, as he surveyed his multi-generational extended family at birthdays, Christmases and assorted special occasions. He was proud of the fact that he still worked with Mona, ex-wife number two, and took Sarah, ex-wife number one, out for lunch on the anniversary of their divorce every year.

Tess would be lying if she denied that it had taken a while to get used to. But then, she’d known what she was in for. Marrying Drew Gold, a newspaper editor, a man almost twenty-two years her senior, was always going to come with a set of unique baggage.

And now it had come to this.

For his fiftieth birthday, she’d envisaged a romantic week in Venice. Or perhaps a gorgeous, intimate weekend in Rome. But no, Drew had ambushed her – yes, ambushed was the right word – with a two-week Mediterranean cruise with both his previous families, and no matter how much she tried to persuade herself that she should be grateful she was going on such a luxurious break, she was still anticipating the trip with all the excitement of, say, ten days with chickenpox scabs.

‘You’re thinking about it again, aren’t you?’ Cameron put a fresh coffee in front of her and sat down on the corner of her desk, squashing the artwork for the Doggie Doo Bags campaign. She’d slaved over a concept for the print ads, but the truth was that if she just put Cameron in a shot, surrounded him with cute puppies and wrote the name of the product along the bottom, every female in the country would be lining up to buy them whether they had a pet pooch or not.

If genetic scientists found a way to combine the DNA of Orlando Bloom and Channing Tatum, the prototype would look something like Cameron. Razor-sharp cheekbones, a thoroughly masculine jawline and dark eyes so intense that only the fact that he was always laughing kept him from looking like a brooding yet undeniably attractive serial killer.

‘I am,’ she admitted. ‘It’ll be fine though. Great. Sun, sea, and apparently the ship is gorgeous. I know I’m really lucky to be going.’ There was a tone of conviction that didn’t necessarily reflect how she was feeling.

Author bio
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Shari Low writes a weekly opinion column and a Book Club page for the Daily Record. The latter is her dream job because it means she gets to lie on the sofa with the latest Harlan Coben novel and call it work. Over the years, Shari has decamped to Shanghai, Hong Kong, New York, London and LA, but now lives in Glasgow. Thankfully, she has been married to a very laid-back guy for twenty three years and has two athletic sons, aged 14 and 15, who think she’s fairly embarrassing, except when they need a lift somewhere. For this reason, she regularly writes while sitting in sports centre car parks drinking coffee from a styrofoam cup.

My 2016 Reading Challenge | An Update

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I’ve been woefully bad at updating you in regards to how I am getting on with my reading challenge for 2016. I wrote about it here, way back in January. I talked about my goals for the year – I wanted to read 125 books as I managed 118 last year. So how well am I doing?

Well – my reading challenge for 2015 was 50 and I surpassed that with a massive 118. This year so far however I’ve managed just 49 so far so I very much doubt I will manage 125 by the end of 2016, do you?

Its been a busy busy year with work and tons of other stuff going on so I am surprised it is even at 49 considering how busy 2016 has been. My full list of read books for 2016 so far can be seen here on my Goodreads page and apparently I am over 40 behind schedule, whoops. I know I’ll get a few read on holiday but I think perhaps 125 was perhaps a little too ambitious!

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My favourite books of the year so far include Down On Daffodil Lane by Rebecca Pugh which I read very recently, Poirot and Me by David Suchet which I found fascinating as a big fan of both the actor and the character and I also adored The Broken Hearts Book Club by Lynsey James too.

I have also had a few that I am not too keen on such as an Agatha Raisin short story that was pitifully short (think nine pages long! I am so glad it was a Kindle freebie) and some Kindle freebies that desperately needed an editor for various reasons.

I very much doubt I will make 125 books this year but I am going to try my hardest – trouble is there are so many books, so little time! Did you set yourself a reading challenge for this year?