Guinness World Records

A little email dropped today.

Funnily enough, my nanny child, G8 was reading her Guinness World Record book the other week.

Why not hold your own World Records?

Use the book or the website, to see what crazy things people have been up to and do your own?

Can you make the biggest pizza you’ve ever made?

Count who has the most teddies? Which kind of teddy do you have the most of?

Who can eat the most <insert food of your choice> in 30 seconds?

Walk further than you ever have before!

Guinness World Records 2021

Show me your World Record attempts!

Why not make your own certificates for the whole family? Everyone is great at something!

Love Kat x

The Wombles

Wimbledon Common Windmill

I always get inspiration from activities that I do with the children in my Nanny job. As you know, we haven’t really been going anywhere due to lockdown. So as I live in Wimbledon and I frequent the common often, I had thought about doing a quick blog on the loveable Wombles.

Then it snowed!

The snow was magical in Wimbledon Park.
A photograph of a Snow Womble made this weekend, photo taken by Corinna Osmann-Deane from Nextdoor app

More to books…

The Snow Womble by Elisabeth Beresford, illustrated by Nick Price

(Photo taken from: books.google.co.uk)

The Wombles by Elisabeth Beresford, illustrated Nick Price (photo taken from worldofbooks.com)

I am missing libraries and book shops, so my go to website is world of books.com. It’s a second hand website with good quality books.

There is a mural of the Wombles in Wimbledon centre, across from the station.

Why not share the Wombles with your little ones during lockdown?

A sad part of lockdown is the litter being left behind, especially overflowing bins and coffee cups discarded. Perhaps litter picking isn’t advisable in these times, but we can encourage our little ones to take their litter home and be good examples, as children really are our future!

The Wombles are rare but sometimes you can get a sneaky peak of them!
When lockdown is over, hopefully, the annual half marathon will be back on, it’s such a fun day. You can cheer on all the runners and maybe spot a Womble.

Show me your snow creations or Womble fun.

Love Kat x

Zoo

I know we can’t go to the zoo. I had members tickets for the Monday that Lockdown 3.0 was announced. It was a lot of fun! It was socially distanced and we wore masks. I’m so grateful we got a tiny bit of normality before everything was shut again.

I am a meer KAT, do you get it?

If we can’t go to the zoo, why not bring the zoo to you? Go through the teddies and organise them into zoo animals and non- zoo animals with your child. Hide them around your house and visit the “zoo”

With every animal you “see”, make a fact card. Depending on your child’s age, maybe they can research using books or the internet. I know I’m all about books, but any form of reading counts. If you don’t have a book on that animal, using different forms of literature is still reading. If they can, use it as a writing opportunity too.

Penguin

Why not do some artwork from the animals in your zoo?

This is my attempt. I’m practising as I would like to illustrate my own children’s book, I am thinking.
I think he is sick of lockdown too!
Did you know Winnie the Pooh was based on a bear that was in the zoo in 1914?

More to books…

Usborne’s Peep inside the zoo illustrated by Simons Dimitri
Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
For older readers, there’s a whole series of Zoe’s recuse zoo by Amelia Covb and illustrated by Sophy Williams
For younger learners, Usborne’s That’s not my sloth…

Nb I took these photos of the books on my birthday in December…the shops and cafes were shut on Monday.

Don’t forget books can be fiction and non- fiction, use magazines and the internet!

Also, you could watch Andy’s animal adventure, set in a zoo! Or even Our Planet by David Attenborough, I find even little ones are mesmerised by these.

Show me your pictures with your little one’s favourite soft toy or drawing or a zoo animal!

Love Kat x

Apple Pie

I can’t say enough how amazing cooking with children is. Home schooling is better when it’s an experience. Not only does this combat all the senses but it targets several subjects in one.

Give them a writing opportunity with a shopping list.
Peeling is a technique they’ll need when they are older.

Speaking of things they need to know how to do, my 14 year old nanny child had never used a tin opener until I taught her! I know some have ring pulls these days…I always think of apocalyptic movies when the people need to open cans!!

Melting butter safely…

I once nannied three children after school while I was a teacher and the 11 year old and I were making pancakes. The father came home and was in shock that she was at the hob…I really believe it’s our job to show them how to do all this safely at any age…

A little bit of maths

Using a scales to measure the sugar helps them put their maths into practice.

We cheated with the pastry but it’s no less fun.
She used her fingers to make the indents.
She cut out diamonds safely and I put markings on them to look like leaves.

This is where creativity may take over. I believe baking is as much an art as it is a science. The end product is their bit of creation which tastes so much more satisfying.

I love eggs! I let even really young children have a go at cracking eggs. Don’t worry about them getting shell in there. Top tip, use the bit part of the shell to fish a little bit out, it cuts through the white of the egg easily.

Glaze with egg! It’s like painting. Your really littlies can get involved!

I love when it looks like a child has made it! It’s their beautiful creation.

Also, it’s a moment to reflect on the good and bad things. What went well? What could you improve on? Make it again a few months down the line.

And enjoy!

More to books…

We used the Humming Bird Bakery book for our pie. We looked through many recipe books before settling on this one.

Books don’t have to be just for children. In baking, you’ll be supporting them. Any book is a reading opportunity.

Junior Bake off is also a great way to inspire your children to try and bake more. I love their resilience when something goes wrong. They can bake better than me!

What are your favourite recipes to do with your little ones?

Love Kat x

The Spanglish Girl by Natalia Simons

Natalia Simons

Today’s blog is shining the star on a bilingual author who is seeking to support those children growing up in two cultures. I have been lucky enough to interview her about her book and her journey.

How did the book come about?
Rewind to over 2 years ago I was in a coffee shop in Spain doing some writing for a non fiction book I’d been working on for a while. Writing has always been a passion of mine but for a good while I hit writer’s block. While I was daydreaming, I spotted some children running around, they were speaking in Spanish then one of the mothers spoke to her daughter in English. That’s when it hit me, why don’t I write a children’s book about growing up with different cultures where children from different backgrounds can relate and base it on my own experience? I always wanted to write about it and show people the advantages of growing up bilingual and spending my summer holidays in a magical village in Spain. So that’s what I did, I made a plan and got writing. I didn’t realise how much I would enjoy it!


What do you think children learn from your book?

Children that speak 2 different languages or come from different backgrounds can learn to be proud of their heritage and know at times it can be difficult switching from the two. In this book it’s aimed at children who speak Spanish and English. Children who speak one language can learn that being different is ok. It’s better to be kind and help others feel good about themselves. Afterall, kindness always wins. I’m in the process of publishing the English version only.

Illustrated by Alessia Fraschetta

And a little about your journey?
So I finished the book and had doubts. I knew being a children’s author was very competitive but it didn’t stop me from sending over my manuscript to literary agents. One by one I received replies saying it wasn’t the sort of thing they were looking for. This set me back and made me think maybe my writing wasn’t good enough. So I forgot about it. 2 years later the pandemic hit and I was on furlough from work then later made redundant. This gave me a lot of time to think and rekindle with my writing. My friend’s sister is an illustrator so I hired her to do the drawings. I was overjoyed with her illustrations so I really believed my story could work. I began the process of publishing it on amazon and so happy I did. So far I’ve had really good feedback especially from Spanish parents who live in the UK who are teaching their children Spanish. It really has blown up! I’m already thinking about the next children’s book to write, watch this space.

If you’d like to follow Natalia, here is her link for Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nats_spanglish_diaries/?hl=en

More to books…

I love that it combines two languages. Even for children who are not bilingual, I know when I worked in Italy with English children, they loved to devour the books that we got for them in Italian.

Having books children already love in other languages can help children learn effortlessly.

I love the message of Natalia’s book that it is ok to be different.

Gingerbread

Merry Christmas my lovelies. If you’re lucky enough to be with loved ones this Christmas, give them an extra squeeze and a little hug from me too. (Only if they are in your bubble, obviously)

I’m stuck in tier four on my own and genuinely have started talking to the spiders in my house, they are both called Bob.

So here is a gingerbread blog about Christmas, and how to make it educational, if you want to.

Ginger bread house

So, because food shops are allowed to be open, if you can get yourself down to IKEA, they have sets to fill a little time. They also sell a decor-kit and baking glue making the process a lot easier. Morrison’s usually do snowmen/Christmas tree sets complete with coloured icing and sweets.

Decor-kit from IKEA

Or of course, you could make your own gingerbread. Encourage your child to look at the recipe book. Reading different forms of writing is in the National Curriculum and no matter the age they can enjoy Recipe Books. For our youngest learners, they can look at the pictures, maybe identify some letters and sounds and as they get older, maybe they can identify some words or short phrases. For our oldest learners can follow the instructions for themselves.

For the baking, you can also differentiate it accordingly. I would measure out the ingredients for our littlest learners in bowls and put them in the order they need to go in, or tell them which is next, up to supporting them to measure for themselves. All children can be part of the baking process, even if it’s practising cracking an egg or talking about the changes that happen when you mix two or more ingredients. It’s a great time to explore describing words/adjectives with them.

And it also helps to add sounds/spellings to make learning memorable, perhaps use words relating to Christmas

When decorating the gingerbread, you can also relate it to learning patterns and colours or just let them run wild with creativity!

More to books…

I was always told when teacher training not to re-invent the wheel. So when researching for books about gingerbread house books I came across a lovely little website https://thekindergartenconnection.com/17-fun-gingerbread-books-for-kids/#

So please enjoy!

Show me your gingerbread creations

Love Kat x

Laiq (aged 4) Rochdale, making ginger bread from scratch at a cooking class

More to Books

“There’s More to Books than Reading- how to help your child bring stories to life” follows the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum sharing books and activities for your child to learn all subjects at home, in your garden (even in the cold and rain) or park.

This is the perfect book for Lockdown life.

There’s More to Books than Reading by Kathryn Lord
Celebrating a Magazine article in New York at My Nanny Circle annual Nanny Ball 2017!

As some of you may know, I was set to speak at London Olympia for the Childcare and Education Expo. It obviously didn’t go ahead. I had expedited 300 books ready for the event.

So I would like to offer a signed copy for £10 plus P&P, via PayPal, ready for Christmas.

I won an award in ‘Inspiring Creativity within children’ in Amsterdam, 2016 and another for ‘exemplary work in the Nanny Industry, New York, 2019.

If you know any parents with young children, or nannies with under 7s, this is the perfect book for them in our new lockdown world.

Alternatively, head to http://www.Moretobooks.com and click on the Amazon link.

The book won in the Creative Play Awards in 2019!

Love Kat x

Aisha Bushby

For the last month or so, I’ve been happily (and virtually) working away with Aisha Bushby and 14 other aspiring children’s authors on the Prepare for Submission course run by WriteMentor.

I’ve mentioned WriteMentor several times before and I’m delighted to have such inspirational, established authors to look up to and learn from!

I have been lucky enough to interview several authors linked to WriteMentor.

So the blog this week is with the amazing Aisha Bushby…

Aisha Bushby

How did your book/s come about?


Whenever I approach a new story, I always start by thinking about what sort of themes I want to explore. So far it’s been grief (A POCKETFUL OF STARS), anger (MOONCHILD: VOYAGE OF THE LOST AND FOUND), and emotions in general (MOONCHILD 2). I then spend some time thinking about what sort of setting and story I want/need to explore these themes in an entertaining way. I’m finding myself leaning towards magic and fantasy more as I go along.

Moon child: Voyage of the Lost and Found by Aisha Bushby, illustrated by Rachel Dean


What do you think the readers learn from your book/s?

I would hope they learn a little about the themes I’ve chosen to explore, or at least, start thinking about those sorts of things! I’d love my books to start conversations, and introduce different ways of thinking and being.

A pocketful if Stars by Aisha Bushby


Tell us a little about your journey?

I was lucky enough to be selected as one of four winners in a short story competition aimed at BAME writers in 2017. My short story was featured in a collection called A CHANGE IS GONNA COME, published by Stripes. Since then I’ve been working on novels with Egmont. I’m just about to finish editing my third book with them, and then swiftly moving onto my fourth!

If you are interested in following Aisha on Twitter or Instagram, she is @aishabushby

As you all know, I believe that there’s #moretobooks than reading, and I agree with Aisha that they are a great tool for starting conversations. It is so important to support our little ones with feelings grief and anger.

Love Kat x

Roald Dahl

There really is #moretobooks when you can become so inspired. I can not deny that Roald Dahl was a massive part of my childhood and one of the authors that has inspired me to become a Children’s writer.

As I learnt from Jane Austen when I nipped to Bath a few weekends ago, “If adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek the abroad” so I had a little journey north of London. Not quite abroad but adventurous enough. (Socially distances and wore a mask the whole time)

Great Missenden

I booked on a Meet Up group of a tour with places related to the life of Roald Dahl.

Great Missenden
This garage inspired the description of the garage in Danny the Champion of the world.
This is apparently the Library Matilda would have gone to when her mum went to bingo.
This is the building that inspired the orphanage where BFG blew dreams in through the windows.
We went to see the grave of Roald Dahl.
And saw the footprints of the BFG!

The Splendiferous Museum

Disney gave the Museum these gates as a gift. They wanted to give the Willy Wonka gates but they wouldn’t fit through the tunnel.
The museum

Sadly, the Museum was fully booked for tours. I didn’t even know it existed. I shall definitely be coming back! I’ll do a part 2 when I do.

It is only 41 minutes on the train from Marylebone.

In the courtyard, there is a statue of Matilda.
Mmmm chocolate!

More to books…

We all know of Roald Dahls’ very famous titles but there are a few less known ones published too.

The Minpins by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Patrick Benson

It is weird to me to see a Roald Dahl book not illustrated by Quentin Blake.

Billy and the Minpins, illustrated by Quentin Blake

I am very much excited for the release of the new ‘Witches’ film. I have a great fondness for the first and don’t think it can live up to it entirely. I’m sure it will be good. Different but good!

Sophie Dahl

Sophie Dahl said that when she stayed at her Grandfathers, he used to blow dreams through the door with bamboo just like the BFG did. Apparently, when they became the age when they started to wonder whether it could be real or not, Roald stayed up at night to write the BFG in the snow, so when they woke up, they could see it from their bedroom window. I bet it was magical.

Following in her Grandfathers footsteps, Sophie is also a writer.

Madame Badobedah by Sophie Dahl, illustrated by Lauren O’Hara

And writes about food…

Miss Dahl’s voluptuous delights by Sophie Dahl

I did know that Roald Dahl wrote for adults too, but it is not until I visited the museum gift shop that I’ve been intrigued enough to read some for myself. I’ll pop what I thought about it on my twitter page when I have finished it.

It’s not really a title to put on a blog about children’s books!! Maybe do a google for yourself!

If you do make it to Great Missenden, there is a Splendiferous Afternoon Tea on offer in the museum cafe.

Show me your little ones favourite Roald Dahl book!

Love Kat x

Baths of Bath

From the sunny Roman Baths

Last week, I decided to do a solo trip to Bath.

I hadn’t written many blogs it lockdown due to being even more busy working as a Nanny and supporting home schooling, but as Jane Austen said, if adventures don’t befall me, I must seek them elsewhere. Bath isn’t abroad, but I certainly went back in time.

Celts

The legend of Bath comes from a Celtic story where Prince Balddud was banished from his kingdom after contracting leprosy. He became a pig farmer and wandered the hills around. Somehow, his pigs also caught leprosy, but after basking in the hot springs of Bath, came out healed! Legend has it that he was welcomed back into his kingdom and started the city of Bath because of the healing powers of the hot springs.

More to books…

The story of Prince Bladud- a tale of Bath by Jane Samson
For that and other stories of the Celts, you can’t beat a good Horrible Histories. Cut-throat Celts by Terry Deary, Illustrated by Martin Brown

Roman Baths

The Roman Baths and the Abbey

As some of you may know, I am redrafting my middle grade manuscript of an adventure in Roman Britain, and for that, I love to get actual facts from historical places which drive my plot.

Little Tales from Aquae Sulis- Life in Roman Bath. G Getty McKeown
Athena- the story of a Goddess by Imogen and Isabel Greenberg

Love Kat x