Write Mentor and Oh My Gods by Alexandra Sheppard

As many you have read, I’m taking a pro active approach to writing my upcoming lower MG novel and I have been to my second Write Mentor weekend.
I genuinely love them. I get so much writing done and get clarification on where I want to go (or need to go)
You also get to speak to an agent who reads some of your work and answers all your questions.
If you are a writer, I really recommend them.
I’m looking into doing another one around London in the upcoming months! I have dreams of nipping to Dublin or Edinburgh or Coventry too but I have to be sensible being a full time nanny working 57 hours plus a week too!

Not only do I get to meet other upcoming writers, I am taught by fully fledged published authors. This week is Alexandra Sheppard!

So this blog, like with Emily Critchley’s Notes on my family is for your older siblings.

How did your book come about?

OH MY GODS is a fusion of the things I loved reading about the most as a teen. It combines my love of Greek mythology with the angsty teen diaries I couldn’t get enough of (think Adrian Mole, The Princess Diaries and Angus, Thongs & Full-Frontal Snogging). I came up with the concept when I was watching an old movie with my family one Sunday afternoon – it was called Down to Earth and starred Rita Hayworth as one of the Greek muses, who ends up coming down from Mount Olympus to play herself in a Broadway musical. It got me thinking: what if the Greek gods lived on earth? What would they do for a living? And how would it feel to be a half-mortal in that family? I wrote the first chapter not long after that!

What do you think your readers learn from your book?

I hope my readers learn that there’s no such thing as a ‘normal’ family. That Bad Things might happen but it’s possible to pick up the pieces and keep going, even if things will never be the same again. And that no matter how annoying their siblings get, I hope they’re grateful that they don’t have Aphrodite for a big sister!

And a little bit about your journey. 

I’m not sure if there’s a typical author journey. But if there is, I certainly didn’t take it. I dropped out of my English Lit degree in the first year and I’ve worked in social media and advertising ever since. I started writing OMGs six years ago after being frustrated at myself for putting it off for long enough. I wrote in the early mornings before work and occasionally on weekends, revising drafts until a literary agent contacted me on Twitter requesting to see the full manuscript (there’s nothing like an interested agent to get you motivated to finish a draft…). I signed with them not long after sending over my fourth draft. 

I’m currently working on my second novel, balancing writing with freelancing and school visits.

If you’d like to learn more about her, look at her website or follow her on social media:

My website: https://www.alexandrasheppard.com/
My Twitter: https://twitter.com/alexsheppard
My Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alexsheppard19/

More to books…

Thank you to Alex for hinting at the books that inspired her to mix them up to make Oh My Gods!

Angus, thongs and full frontal snogging by Louise Rennison
The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
The secret diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend

Show your older siblings with their favourite book at the moment or even better, with copy of the books in today’s blog!

Chinese New Year

Oh I love this festival.

I went to Chinatown to get some fortune cookies for my whole Nanny family (and a play date friend)

When I was a teacher, I did a whole class assembly based on the story of how the years got their animals. All my pupils dressed up as the animals and acted out the crossing of the river.

The Great Race by Emily Hiles (photo credit: eBay.co.uk)

If you don’t already know the story, do check it out with your little ones.

CBeebies have made this sweet video that is only a few minutes long.


Fortune Cookies

Fortune cookies give reading opportunities.

Why not make your own fortunes up with your children and pick them out, leading to writing opportunities too!

Chinese Dragons

I drew this dragon by copying a line drawing on the internet but there are templates you can download and print. I used card for the middle, it’s great for their fine motor skills to try and fold the card like that, and I stuck two straws on so they can dance around with it!

I made the dragon from a dog cutter and got a little creative, using cucumber for the body and tomatoes for the fire.

G13 and I followed an easy recipe for sweet and sour chicken, she chopped garlic, squeezed lemons and cooked up a delicious storm. It was a big hit with MB too who ate our leftovers!

I always find children are more willing try new things on a play date and if they’ve made it themselves they also are more excited. Cooking from scratch makes it healthier, as well as a reading/maths and science activity. Skills for life too, cutting veg and not cutting yourself.


These are super simple to make. There are templates on the internet but once you get the hang of it you don’t need templates anymore. I draw lines for the children to cut, great to hone in on those fine motor cutting skills!

Children can decorate them too!

Why not let them try some yummy desserts?


All though I am essentially against worksheets, Twinkl do these great activities where you can choose the topic, key stage and area of learning. G7 was so proud of her Comprehension she took it to the teacher to show her what she had learnt and the Code Breakers give purpose to the times tables and it helped us learn things about Chinese New Year!

(Photo credit: twinkl.co.uk)

More to books…

Mr Men Chinese New Year by Roger Hargreaves

Who went to celebrate Chinese New Year?

Show us pictures of your fortune cookies or dragons!

Nanny Hellen Prideaux did fine motor skills with chopsticks and coins with Chinese Lanterns too! Thank you for letting me feature your activity on my blog!

Love Kat x

Winnie the Pooh

Being National Winnie the Pooh day tomorrow, it felt right to do this weeks blog on Winnie the Pooh.

Definitely a loveable bear who’s friends are in many hearts, but this blog is More to Books so here are some books you can enjoy with your little ones that are a little bit different to the usual stories.

Touch and feel

Pooh and friends- a touch and feel book

For our youngest readers, this gorgeous book is a little like the “That’s not my…” series. Not only is it interactive, as your children start to talk it can encourage description, compare how things feel with their teddies/clothes/cushions etc.


What’s the time, Winnie the Pooh?

As our readers start to learn the time, this is a great book for supporting children with the hour hand and the minute hand. Why not talk about different times that are important in your day to day routine, set the time on the clock and take a picture, print them to display them somewhere you can see to help your child recognise what the clock looks like at those times. The children could label them with “wake up”, “breakfast” etc


Winnie the Pooh’s 50 things to do before you are 5 and 3/4

This book has ideas to do outside the house, let your child choose something from the contents and find the page. It says for before you are 5 and 3/4 but I’m sure older siblings would love to join in.


Winnie the Pooh’s 50 things to do on rainy days by A A Milne and E H Shepard

And for days when you need to stay in the house, check out this. Why not take pictures of the things you do from either books (with or without teddies from Winnie the Pooh), stick them in a notebooks. For our younger learners, ask them to describe their day and scribe for them.

Depending on their ability, encourage them to label the photograph, write a caption or if they can, a sentence or paragraph.

These activities can be done with siblings and differentiate accordingly.

This is my Nanny Baby’s new toy, B7 months.

Show me your pictures of your little ones with Winnie the Pooh and friends

Lorelei, 5, Oregon, USA

Notes on my Family- Emily Critchley

As some of you may know, I am currently writing a lower/middle grade novel and last weekend I went to a Write Mentor weekend lead by the wonderful Emily Critchley. I learnt so much and have been fired up to write on average 700 words a day since.

This blog, therefore; is for the older reader. So something for the older siblings.

I interviewed Emily about her book.

How did your book come about?

I knew I wanted to write a humours novel about a modern, dysfunctional family. At first, I thought I might write from the perspective of the different family members. I began with Lou. I knew that, at thirteen, she would be the youngest family member of the Coulson family. Lou’s voice was so strong, and her observations on those around her so interesting, that I decided to write the entire book from her perspective. When I started, I didn’t even think about whether I was writing young adult fiction or not but it was suggested to me that teen readers might be able to identify with Lou. The novel encompasses such themes as bullying at school, divorce, friendship, coming out and acceptance of difference. Notes on My Family has been published with two covers – as contemporary fiction and as a YA novel. 

What do you think readers learn from your book?

I think readers learn that it’s okay to be different. The book is a comedy and doesn’t take itself too seriously but there are some more serious issues beneath the humour. The novel is about accepting those who are different and who think differently from us. The reader is able to see the world through Lou’s eyes. It was important to me, especially knowing the book would be read by teens, that readers were left with a sense of hope. And as Lou’s art teacher says, ‘It’s the people who are different who make the difference.’

And a little bit about your journey. 

I’ve always written and wanted to be a writer. As a child I wrote stories and plays. When I was a teenager I wrote a lot of bad poetry (who didn’t?). I studied creative writing at university including an MA at Birkbeck and completed two practise novels before writing Notes on My Family. I’ve also always been a voracious reader. I think you have to be if you want to write. 

If you’d like to learn more about Emily or follow her on social media, here are her handles.

My website: emilycritchley.com https://www.emilycritchley.com

Twitter: @EmilyMCritchley  https://twitter.com/EmilyMCritchley

Insta:  emily.critchley   https://www.instagram.com/emily.critchley/

Facebook: Emily Critchley author https://www.facebook.com/emilycritchleyauthor/

I have got my G13 a signed copy of this book so we will update the blog with her review when she has read it!

Show us pictures of your older siblings enjoying their favourite book!

Love Kat x

Periodic Table

Let me start you off with my favourite periodic table joke. Yes, I have one of those!

Two! Actually.

They go like this:

What fish is double sodium?

Now you might have to use an American accent but first of all, what number would double be? If you times something to double it?

And then you might have got it? If you think of a fish beginning with that…or you may need to have a look at a periodic table!

Two Na

Not NA squared as some clever clogs tried!

Yes! It’s tuna. Pat yourself on the back of you got it!

I asked my friends if they had any other sodium jokes and they said “na”

(Telling jokes helps children play with words and in this case, remember the chemical symbol for sodium! But can lead you to picking up a joke book or one on tuna fish?)

Photo credit: accentuategames.com

I’m a huge fan of Scrabble and this new game which has won lots of awards, classes itself as Science meets Scrabble.

The idea is you write as many words down against the timer and then you match your words to the symbols on the periodic table. You earn points based on the chemical symbols.

What I love about this is it’s encouraging spelling. But also, it’s a fun way to learn not only the chemical names and letters but their numbers too.

My soon to be G8 is getting this for her birthday. Mainly because I want to play!

Have you got this game?

All board games are great for helping children learn taking turns, how to be a good loser and problem solving. They are also great for bonding with family and conversation.

More to books…

My nanny child is on free choice with books for reading from school. It’s hugely important that we don’t just read fiction. While any reading exposure is great, if you tune into the child’s likes, reading won’t feel as much of a chore for reluctant readers.

Usborne lift the flat Periodic Table

With this book, there were many big words that G7 didn’t understand and many that were difficult to pronounce even for me!

We looked at the chemical symbols and matched the initial letter to the initial letter of our names. I am krypton. (Which means hidden in Ancient Greek- and can lead you to read about Superman)

By doing this, for them and members of their family, it gave another purpose to our reading and made it more personal. In other books, you could use this to help use the contents or index to go and find information about that chemical.

We also found out about Iridium which was named after a relative of hers; Iris. And she was the Greek Goddess of rainbows.

(Which can lead you to read books on rainbows or Greek Godesses)

Show me a picture of your little ones enjoying science!

Hellen Prideaux and her nanny children are the science museum!

Send a pic of you involved in a family board game!

Hellen Prideaux and her nanny children playing Exploding Kittens

Here is another periodic table joke just to have a giggle!

Mary Poppins

Last weekend, I went to see Mary Poppins. I was thoroughly disappointed by the interval but they more than won me round by the end. I totally understand that they had to change things such as the hunting scene but other changes I was actually fairly creeped out by (toys that come alive who are not Buzz and Woody!)

On the whole, I loved it, they totally redeemed themselves.

Take your little ones and let me know what you think! Nb children under 5 are not allowed.


More to books…

Speaking of changing things, I always find it hard when I read the book and then watch the movie as for me, the film rarely does a better job than my imagination.

I never read Mary Poppins as a child, but I have as an adult (and a nanny) I can definitely say I would be fired if I did some of the things that she does, but of course I love Mary Poppins.

Photo credit: amazon.co.uk
Mary Poppins by PL Travers, illustrated by Lauren Child

On researching Mary Poppins I found this gorgeous version illustrated by Lauren Child. I have mentioned before about author/illustrator signings. They are an amazing way to excite your child into reading a book but may also inspire them to write or draw themselves.

I met Lauren Child at a cute little book shop in Kew when I first moved down to London as a Nanny.

Lauren Child and Myself in a bookshop in Kew

Totally nothing to do with Mary Poppins other than I am a Nanny, I had priority tickets to Loose Women last week, so with the help of the amazing compere Lee Peart, I gifted my book to Stacey Solomon and the Loose Women ladies.

Look at my book making a sneaky appearance in an audience shot!

Show me pictures of you at the theatre! What did you see?

Post a pic of your little one at a book signing!

Happy New Year New York and the Nanny Awards

To finish off an amazing year for More to Books and my work as a Nanny, this blog is a whistle stop tour of the Nanny Awards and New York.

Earlier this month, I was invited to New York to receive an award for exemplary work in the Nanny Industry!

It was an absolute honour. I feel so honoured to be recognised for everything I do as far as America.

My ethos that there is more to books obviously still stands but there is more to nannies too.

Alene Mathurin is the founder of My Nanny Circle, has organised 5 Nanny Balls and does amazing work for the Nanny Community. On top of ALL that, she is also a Children’s Author. I am excited to announce that we are connecting for a blog in the new year on that.

New York and Brooklyn


Me outside of New York Library
Me outside of Brooklyn Library

While in New York, I dragged my lovely friend to a couple of libraries. Loving books means I also love libraries. Can I just say, Brooklyn Library is the most beautiful library from the front. And for the nannies; I found this:

I did contact them but they have not replied yet, as soon as they do, I’ll keep you updated. But if you are a Nanny in Brooklyn, and you’re interested in writing, go check this out.

I also dragged my friend to a lot of bookshops and souvenir shops in the Museums and Exhibits we visited. If there are books, I want to be there!

More to books…

City Blocks by Christopher Franceschilli and Peskimo
Night Night New York City by Katherine Sully and Helen Poole

This book reminds me of the Good Night series which I have recommended before.

NYC ABC’s by Mr Boddington’s studio. Brand New in 2019!

This is beautifully illustrated and beautifully written.

New York City Monsters by Anne Paradis

A Where’s Wally for New York, but with monsters.

My first book of New York by Ingela P Arrhenius

This is New York by M. Siseck

I’ve definitely shared him before, it was actually a lovely friend who shared these books with me a while back, but there is one for London with a Nanny in it, and one for Paris, as I know I shared that in my Paris Blog.

This was my first trip abroad in a long time that I’d don’t send postcards back. I would definitely advise adults to write to the children in their life from anywhere that they are. Not just when they go for trips. I currently write for my little cousin, and it brings me great joy when I get a reply in the post. I remember as a child I used to write to an old lady .

Reading and writing improves with opportunities.

This is the perfect time to write thank you cards, for relatives and friends after Christmas. I don’t mean To Aunty and Uncle…, thank you for my present, love so and so.

Encourage extended sentences with what they have received, why they like it, how it makes them feel! A personal little note will improve their writing. Being a nanny, meaning I am the one that is responsible for the thank you notes, I know how difficult it can be to write so many at once. Why not let them draw a picture of them playing with the toy and labelling it. Take a picture of your child with the toy, print it for them to write a caption underneath. Do a couple at a time so it doesn’t get too laborious for you or your child.

Happy New Year. I wish you happiness and lots of books for 2020!

Love Kat xx

Show me pictures of your little ones writing letters, postcards and posting them!

Winter Wonderland

Ice sculpture experience

I got to take my G7 to the ice sculpture experience which was the story of A Christmas Carol! Proving there really is more to books than reading but wrap up warm because it’s -10 degrees in there!

Do you want to build a snowman?The story was written in sentences as you followed the route around. Not only did she have questions about the story but also about the properties of water and what would happen if it all melted. There was a video at the beginning saying it took them weeks to chisel the sculptures. There’s less to books than reading when your books are made out of ICE! This is a sculpture of a book shelf and books. Obviously, my favourite bit!

There’s even a street of shops made out of ice.

This place truly is magical. We were very lucky to be there first thing so we were able to see everything really clearly with no crowds.

There is an ICE SLIDE!

The Disney Version of A Christmas Carol is amazing but I love A Muppets Christmas Carol.

Upside down house

This really spiked G7s imagination.

Of course, I found there’s more to books than reading when they are upside down.

Speaking of upside down things, sometimes, I read books back to front and from bottom to top, try it, children think it’s hilarious.

Hilarious it’s think children, it try!

Elf on the shelf

I am sure many of your houses have been over taken by that Elf!?

G7 was desperate to buy all the Elf on the Shelf memorabilia!

Show me your elves!

Send a picture of You and Your child in a Christmas Market from where ever you are in the world?

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

love Kat x


Kidzania is AMAZING!


This is an “indoor city run by kids” and they have them all over the world. What I’m most excited about is that they have Careers fairs coming up for children in January and March in London so they can start to think about what they’d like to be and what they need to do to get there.

When I was younger, I didn’t realise there was a different option other than going to University. I think it was my Secondary School, being a Grammar school, we were never really told about other options to getting to the career you wished for.

I always wanted to be a teacher, and I was! For 6 years, when I got disenchanted with our Education system. Having a Kidzania when I was younger might have meant I had different ideas. But I’ve ALWAYS wanted to be a writer.

We got to experience Kidzania in an adult only evening. (There may have been Prosecco for us big kids)

In Kidzania, the children can be newspaper reporters and even host a radio show!

They earn Kiddos which they can spend in the shop or save. Some experiences such as the Smoothie making or Burger building, means the children have to pay to take part.

There’s an amazing experience where they dress up as Emergency services, ride in mini Fire Engines or Ambulances to work together on the scene of a burning building.

There’s fashion designing opportunities.

And it wouldn’t be More to Books without sharing the KidZania National Library!

More to books…

Raz, myself and Mary attempting to deliver all the Christmas Presents in Kidzania Town

For the postal deliverers, excite them with The Jolly Postman at Christmas. An interactive book with envelopes. One for supervised reading with your younger readers. A book to cherish forever.

More to Reading…

It is a great idea to give our children a plethora of different material to read, from fiction to non- fiction, from books, to leaflets, to recipe books to newspapers and magazines.

To inspire our older readers. The Week Junior is for 8 to 14 year olds and is available as a subscription.

My favourite part is the Book Club which recommends a book of the week, a reader recommendation, and ask the author sections as well as a column for books about a certain topic. This particular issue that I picked up for free at Kidzania also had a “Books for Christmas” 7 page section, of which Lego Christmas Iseas were recommended. I totally bought that for a few of my Nanny children, past and present.

Photo taken from The Week Junior Newspaper- books for Christmas Section

What do your children want to be when they grow up?

Send in a picture of them with a book or dressed up as what they would like to be when they are older?

Love Kat x

Excitable Edgar

It’s not Christmas until you’ve seen the John Lewis Christmas Ad (or the Coca Cola ad- which I’ve not actually seen yet- but I don’t watch live TV anymore so I have to look up adverts these days! But I did see it in Picadilly Circus last night)

I thought this years ad was wonderful, and yes I did cry at the end- because of the slogan “show them how much you care”

Excitable Edgar by Lucy Feather and Jo Lindley

Watch the advert here at https://youtu.be/r9D-uvKih_k

In this radio clip, The Additional Needs Blogfather speaks about how he sees Edgar as having additional needs. He says it’s a story about acceptance saying we need to “think about the Edgars that we know and what it’s like to be an Ava”


So I thought this blog could feature books to support us and our little ones to understand children with additional needs.

I met, author, Janet O’keefe. Her book, The Ordinariness of Impairment- has inspiring stories about children with special needs.

More to books…

I also spoke to a wonderful Mum who has a child with additional needs, Michelle Miley, who recommends the following books to help support your little ones.

My Super Hero Brain by Christel Land (photo credit: Amazon.co.uk)

For older children, the author was 13 when he wrote it, answering questions on why he behaves the way he does.

The Reason I jump by Naoki Higashida (Photo credit: Amazon.co.uk)

Michelle also really recommended anything by Temple Grandin who has lots of books for adults on supporting your children.

On further research, I found a book with a foreword by Temple:

The Spectrum Girls survival guide by Siena Castellon (Photo credit: Amazon.co.uk)

The book is due to be released in March of 2020 and the author is a 17 year old advocate for autism and anti bullying and is award winning and internationally recognised. I can’t wait for this to come out. For ages 12 and up.