Jane Austen

I don’t know what we are looking at!
Jane Austen and I being pensive.
Two writers on the steps of the Jane Austen Centre in Bath!

After a long lockdown of no blogs, a little trip to Bath was just what I needed to spark up some inspiration in my quill!

Someone else who got lots of inspiration from her time at Bath was Jane Austen. While she only actually lived here for a short time, Bath are so happy she did that they even have a Centre for her.

Thank goodness I get to use a laptop to write with now, instead of ink and quill! Why not try and do some writing with your own feathers and paint?

Whether you are a Jane Austen fan or not, you can’t deny that her books have lasted the test of time, with more films set to come out soon!

I especially liked Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but that is not one for our little ones!

More to books…

Fear not though, I bring you the Jane Austen children’s books because there really is #moretobooks than Reading when you have 21 activities to enjoy:

Jane Austen for Kids by Nancy Sanders (photo credit: WHSmith.co.uk)

Or learn about her life:

My first Jane Austen Little People Big dreams (photo credit amazon.co.uk)
Little People Big dreams Jane Austen by Ms Isabel Sánches Vegara, illustrates by Katie Wilson (photo credit: Amazon.co.uk)

Asking in the souvenir and gift shop of the centre, the helpful lady said that they had sold out of childrens but she recommended Little People Big Dreams, I have heard of these! But what I didn’t know, was they have board books for even younger children! Cute! She also directed me to an amazing book shop just around the corner!

Awesomely Austen, Jane Austen’s Emma retold by Katy Birchall and illustrated by Églantine Ceulemans (photo credit by Amazon.co.uk)

Awesomely Austen, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, retold by Katherine Woodfine and illustrated by Églantine Ceulemans (photo credit by Amazon.co.uk)

And if your children get excited by reading about the author, they can even read child friendly versions thanks to Katherine Woodfine and Katy Birchall.

Please excuse me while I get to know Mr Darcy!

Why not have a dress up day, make a fan and practice dances from the Regency era?

Love Kat x

It’s o FISH al. I love playing with words!

So, it’s my Daddy’s birthday today. It also happened to be my nanny kids Dad’s birthday too!

Birthdays always mean we get a little crafty. But also, it’s fun to play around with words.

Under the sea scene
Playing with words

We also played around with words and G8 came up with cardfish/codfish! You get it?

This is a cardfish!
Happy Birthday!

More to books…

Commotion in the ocean by Giles Andre and David Wojtowycz (photo credit: Amazon.co.uk)

Not a joke, but interesting to me!

Ghoti spells fish!

If you take the gh in enough, o in women and ti in motion! The English language is so tricky!

What’s your best fish joke?

Pizazz by Sophy Henn

I am so excited to be a blogger that was selected to receive a sample of Pizazz BEFORE THE RELEASE DATE. And I am so happy to tell you all, it doesn’t disappoint!

Pizazz By Sophy Henn

I was hooked from the beginning. Pizazz is a totally relatable 9 and a 1/4 year old. And I should know, I’ve nannied a few. But I can’t say for certain if any of my nanny kids have been SUPERHEROES!

She even has an annoying little sister, and with sibling rivalry being my main point to focus on with two girls atm, this is also relatable. (Heads up, as a caregiver I’m reading “How to talk- siblings without rivalry” https://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Talk-Siblings-Without-Rivalry-ebook/dp/B00EF1MJMM/ref=nodl

Pizazz is funny new series for 7+ readers and also has comic strips as well as amazing black and white artwork, making it perfect for reluctant readers as well as our little bookworms. I am a huge fan of giving our children “a wide range of reading material” (National Curriculum) which includes different forms of fiction as well as poetry and non-fiction.

The great thing about comic strips is that they are fun and easy to replicate so your children can make up their own! Google “free comic strip printables” to choose a frame, or they can draw their own!

“Pizazz” comes out on the 6th of August and in January 2021 “Pizazz vs the New Kid” comes out. I don’t even care what my Nanny kid thinks, I CAN’T WAIT!

Sophy Henn is an amazing children’s author and illustrator. I was lucky enough to meet her in a lovely bookshop in Richmond where I got one of my favourite books signed from her.

Signed copy of Pom Pom gets the Grumps by Sophy Henn
Speaking at NannyPaloozaUK, Nov 2017

Pom Pom features in my book!

Pom Pom and “There’s More to Books than Reading” by Kathryn Lord.

Sophy even gave me a quote for my own book on her favourite book as a child!

Quote from Sophy Henn featured in “There’s More to books than Reading”

If you’d like to read about more activities to do with books across the Early Years Foundation stage Curriculum, head to www.moretobooks.com and click on the amazon link!

Bees and bugs and butterflies (and birds and bears)

I am so happy that Kew Gardens is open again. It was amazing to be outside all day with my Nanny Kid, G8.

As a nanny who started out in Kew, I know the Gardens like the back of my hand. (We used to go weekly) There is so much to explore and I love sharing it all with each of the children from my families that I care for.

Chalkboard with a welcome sign on
The Hive

All the way round, G8 was telling me she wanted to go to the hexagon that she remembered seeing on a school trip several years earlier. I was mixed up with the Tree top walk as that’s a little like a hexagon, but she was so happy when we found this. She is actually obsessed with bees at the moment because she plays a game on Roblox called Bee Swarm Simulator. It was so quiet that we actually got to be in the Hive on our own. G8 twirled around, we did some dancing. It was so wonderful to just be. (Bee, get it?)

There’s more to books…

Love bees by Vanessa Amaral- Rogers

I think it’s important to encourage the next generation to help bees. Bees are so important to nature and if you want to show them the Bee Movie also is quite good at showing what would happen if bees didn’t do their important job.

We saw so many butterflies!
Can you see the camouflaged butterfly? It just looks like a leaf!!!!

I love taking children to the bear in the woods, it’s just by Queen Charlottes Cottage. Sadly, the badger set was closed due to Covid but we got to see so many things in nature it didn’t matter, plus, it’s a wonderful reason to return as soon as things are more open!

We made a nest for a GIANT bird!

Absolutely not my idea! G8 loves gathering sticks and other natural objects to create things. We tried to write More to Books with little dead blossoms on the tree top walk but the wind blew it away before we had finished. It actually made us laugh a lot!

Here is another one she made on a social distance play date with friends last week.

My G8 knows not to pick flowers. She has to use things that are already on the ground. The way I explain it is if you like something, and pick it, then it will die, but if you love something, you let it stay and grow! (Although I said that to g3 in my last nanny job and she said “well, I only like this flower, I don’t love it!”

But also, it’s about instilling the ability to think of others. If everyone picked one flower from Kew Gardens, there would be none left!

Look at this “beast”! The conservatories were open and had a one way system in place. The iguana said hello, G8 was convinced it was not real but we could see his tummy rise and fall from breathing.

More to books…

But excuse me that is my book by Lauren Child (photo credit: Amazon.co.uk)

I know this title doesn’t look like a big book but Lola love the book “Beetles, bugs and butterflies”

Why not encourage your children to read books on all sorts of beetles, bugs and butterflies? Or any mini beast they love?

Show me pictures of your little ones enjoying nature!

The Perfect Shelter by Clare Helen Welsh

As with last weeks blog, some of you may know I’m a huge fan of WriteMentor. After participating in two of their live writing weekends, when an online weekend was on offer, I jumped at the chance.

I wasn’t let down. I’ve come away with such motivation. I was lucky enough to be taught by Clare Helen Welsh who kindly agreed to be interviewed for this weeks blog.

If you’d like to follow her, here are her social media handles:

@ClareHelenWelsh www.clarehelenwelsh.com@LittleTigerUK @AsaGilland Facebook: BooksByClareHelenWelsh

Tell us about your book

The Perfect Shelter is beautifully illustrated by debut talent, Asa Gilland, and is published by Little Tiger. It’s a story that explores the complicated emotions we feel when someone we love is diagnosed with a serious illness, such as cancer.

What lead you to write The Perfect Shelter?

It’s a special book for me and our family, since it was written after my Uncle was diagnosed with a brain tumour. He very sadly died 5 months later and it was an especially hard time for my children, then 7 and 8yrs old. They understood enough to be scared, but not enough to be able to process how unfair it all felt. I find writing hugely cathartic, so I penned The Perfect Shelter late one night. My agent, Alice Williams, sent it on to my editors at Little Tiger Press soon after, and I was delighted when they found the story beautiful, powerful and moving. The text became even more important to me and my family when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019.

What does your book bring to the readers?

I hope it brings love and support to others going through difficult times – it’s essentially a book about hope, living in the present and making the most of every day, which we could all do with remembering during the challenges of lockdown.

Pre order your copy by clicking here

Thank you so much for being part of my blog.

I think it’s so important for childrens books to tackle subjects such as cancer. Books help children understand things more easily but also start to ask questions that they may not have been able to formulate other wise. Also, a little like a perfect shelter, gives the child knowledge that it’s a safe time/place to talk about things on their mind.

Love Kat x

Milton the Mighty by Emma Read

A couple of weekends ago, I attended a Write Mentor online weekend. After attending to in-person weekends and getting so much out of them, when I saw this, I thought why not! It’s not like I had plans to go anywhere, or do anything, or meet anyone!

I wasn’t sure what it would be like but I’m pleased to let you know, it was AWESOME.

Emma Read

One of the tutors was Emma Read, author of Milton the Mighty. I learnt so much from her and was motivated to write a lot. I came away brimming with ideas.

As with Alexandra Sheppard (author of Oh My Gods)


and Emily Critchley (author of Notes on my Family)


Both of whom presented two amazing weekends earlier this year, I interviewed Emma Read for this weeks blog.

Milton the Mighty- the teeniest superhero by Emma Read

How did your book come about?

I was mulling over how the media is changing the way young people view celebrity. These days anyone can become famous, not by being an actor, a singer or a sports star, but simply by accident. It got me thinking about finding unwanted fame, like publicly shamed dogs in fancy dress on YouTube, or humiliated local cats on missing posters. Then I remembered the unfairly vilified spiders in the tabloids and I thought maybe I would like to tell their story. I wrote the first book in the series – Milton the Mighty, while my youngest was still at home so it took a while. I was fortunate that it caught the eye of the junior judges at the Bath Children’s Novel Award and was shortlisted for that prestigious award. It was there I met my soon to be editors from Chicken House Books.

What do you think the readers learn from your book?

I’d love to help ‘spider worriers’ begin to overcome their fear and become ‘spider warriors’ – and have fun at the same time! But as well as talking about facing fears and promoting a love of wildlife, Milton is also a series about tolerance, friendship and courage – no matter your size. I hope readers will see how to find their inner strength and begin to believe in themselves, even if they find the world overwhelming.
Milton the Megastar develops those ideas further and shows children how important our environment is and how they can help protect it. It also shows children how varied families can be, and whatever makes up a family, we are stronger together.

If you’d like to follow Emma Read on Social media, here are her handles.

Twitter: @emmydee73
Instagram: ediereadie
Facebook: emmareadauthor
youtube: Emma Read
website: emmareadauthor.com

Milton the Megastar- the teeniest superhero by Emma Read

Thank you so much to Emma for sharing her journey with us. I’m looking forward to receiving my signed copy in the post which I will share as soon as it’s arrived!

If you have this book already, please post a pic of your little one with the book below.

Love Kat x

Star Wars

Hello! Happy May the 4th be with you!

A perfect way to get boys reading is to choose a topic that they love. Some girls love Star Wars too, but statistically, boys are more reluctant than girls to pick up a book!

Star Wars- A New Hope (Logo and Disney) photo credit: Amazon.co.uk

There really is more to books than reading when the book itself is an amalgamation of Star Wars and Lego. See if you can make a space ship out of Lego, and send a picture to moretobooks@gmail.com to feature in this blog!

And for our younger learners, why not learn your numbers and alphabet with the Star Wars Gang!

Star Wars Obi 1 w e by Calliope Glass and Caitlin Kennedy, illustrated by Katie Cook. Photo credit- amazon.co.uk
Star Wars ABC – 3PO by Calliope Glass and Caitlin Kennedy. Illustrated by Katie Cook. Photo credit: Amazon.co.uk

I’d love to see your Star Wars antics today. Send in pictures of food/dressing up/colouring or simply reading/watching anything Star Wars related to moretobooks@gmail.com.

Love Kat x

Uk Nannies Matter

I am one!

Shout out to all nannies in the world right now! To those who have been furloughed or those, like myself that are working even harder in these strange times.

More to films…

DVDs with Nannies in!

As a child growing up, my favourite films were The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins and Harriet the Spy. All of which have nannies in them!

As an adult, I love Uptown Girls and The Nanny Diaries. Obvious in the title of the latter, but again, nannies!!!

More to books…

Mary Poppins is perhaps the most loveable Nanny. By PL Travers.

Nurse Matilda by Christianna Brand, illustrated by Edward Ardizzone (photo credit: world of books.com)

Nurse Matilda is a set of three books that were written on the 60’s and 70’s of a Maternity Nurse turned nanny who looked after the naughty Browns children. Heard that story line before? That is because it was adapted to Nanny Mcphee by Emma Thompson!

Nanny Mcphee and the Big Bang by Emma Thompson (photo credit: worldofbooks.com)

There is a very important reason this blog is on Nannies this week.

UK Nannies Matter Campaign

I am proud to announce that I am a founding campaign partner of The UK Nannies Matter Campaign.


It’s all about helping Nannies be recognised as Professionals. The campaign is founded by the wonderful Nannies at UK Nanny Ltd, Helen McCarthy and Maria Culley and Laura Hellfeld, founder of KoKoPie Families.

Together, Nannies are stronger.

The campaign is to empower nannies, regulate it as a profession to give a clear career path and safety for Nannies as well as showing the parents the safeguarding of the children and value, quality and standard they can expect from a Professional Nanny.

Love Kat x

Minecraft Home Schooling

You all know my motto is that there’s more to books than reading, well, there is also more to Minecraft than screen time.

If you are at home and wanting to help educate your little ones, here are a few ideas (that I used via Skype lessons) When planning things for G7, I wanted to choose something that she was intrinsically motivated about which is half the battle, hey!

Minecraft Manual

Writing a Manual can be about any subject that your child loves.

What I love about a manual is they get to tell you all they know and they are excited to learn more about the subject.

We did a fun facts page where we used different shapes for information boxes.

We learnt the key features of a non-fiction text, having a title and subtitle, writing a caption under our pictures, making a contents page and glossary.

Examples of bullet points

When adding in instructions for someone else who has never played Minecraft, they start to use bossy verbs naturally.

Using their actual mine craft maps to make a map of our own

Taking an actual interest in what they are doing online, can take it offline. I definitely don’t advocate lots of screen time but as a child who grew up on theme hospital and the sims, I think it’s worth using what they love to help.

G7 told me all the features that she has in a map that she had built on Minecraft. So we mapped out the coordinates and placed the items on our own map.

Key for map

Using the map, have your “skin” character go on an adventure. Use the coordinates to say where they go from and to.

They can write out their adventure, use their senses to explain where they are, where thy do and choose some mobs to create something exciting, perhaps they need to go to the cave to find some diamonds or defeat the Enderdragon.

More to books…

Unofficial Activity book for Minecrafters by Blockboy. Although unofficial this has lots of activities that will take up some time in lockdown life!
Minecraft Maths Volume 1 by Gameplay Publishing (Photo credit: Amazon.co.uk)
Also unofficial but I’m excited about the arrival of this book, we ordered it for g7! There is even a volume 2. Children are more likely to want to learn if they are motivated and using a subject that excites them will do just that!
There are also lots of official books from Minecraft too to get your little screen time monsters hooked on books!
Minecraft- the survival collection (Photo credit: Amazon.co.uk)

MineCraft Earth app

And to get them outside, download Minecraft Earth, like Pokemon go a few years ago, but they collect things as they walk around and then have adventures and “build” things for other people to find in augmented reality! Also, when they are holding the phone, it keeps their hands from touching benches and fences and gates etc! (Do practice safety when crossing roads- I take the phone off her when we are crossing a road to keep us extra safe!)

Please send in your Minecraft fun.

Love Kat x