Time for a dose of happiness in #HighlightsofHappy blog linky #42 ~ because life’s for the good stuff

It's Time For A Dose Of Happiness In #HighlightsofHappy 42 Blog Linky Because Life's For The Good Stuff Reading Books

Your weekly dose of happiness…

Let’s spread the happiness!

It’s a common phrase isn’t it?…

“Bad things come in 3’s”

or words similar to that!

So, let’s flip it because everyone deserves a little happiness … (you know how I love to spread happiness and turn a negative into a positive with positive thinking !)

Let’s spread that happiness and find 3 things to be grateful for (or even more… well, why not?!)

It's Time For A Dose Of Happiness In #HighlightsofHappy 42 Blog Linky Because Life's For The Good Stuff Reading Books

In my weekly feature, I look back over my gratitude journal because that’s the great thing about gratitude and using my gratitude journal – it gives me the opportunity to look back and be grateful all over again 🙂  And that’s what I do here, in my weekly feature, I look back and on my #HighlightsofHappy.

I round it off with one word that sums up my happy…  why not do the same?

If you’re a blogger, why not share your happy post from the last week or so in the linky below?

If you’re on instagram, why not tag your happy snap #HighlightsofHappy and link up your pic in the linky below?

If you’re on twitter, why not tweet your happy with #HighlightsofHappy ?

If you’re all 3, why not do all 3??  The linky is below. (To link your insta happy snap, simply click on your insta pic, copy the url and paste into the linky tool!)

(If you join in with my #HighlightsofHappy community on instagram, I post up my favourite snaps every Monday on instagram.)

…so what’s been making ME happy?

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5 Ways to Share the Happiness of Books with your Child ~ #IfShesHappyImHappy

5 Ways To Share The Happiness Of Books With Your Child And Lay The Foundations For Literacy #IfShesHappyImHappy

5 Ways To Share the Happiness of Books

I recently introduced a regular feature #IfShesHappyImHappy and this week I’m talking about sharing the happiness of books with your child.  #IfShesHappyImHappy is all about the cycle of happiness – you being happy, making your child happy and it coming full circle to make you happy again!  You can read it here if you missed it.

5 Ways To Share The Happiness Of Books With Your Child And Lay The Foundations For Literacy #IfShesHappyImHappy

Laying Foundations

I’m passionate about encouraging children to read.  Laying a good foundation in literacy really does have its advantages – increases vocab, increases interaction and increases bonding.  With enjoying books comes the joys of bedtime reading and mini libraries.  You don’t need much to instil a love of reading into your child – just grab a book, and away you go!  These books (see the picture below) hold such a special place in my childhood and the warm, fuzzy feeling I got when our daughter began to read about Silky, Moonface and Saucepan Man in The Magic Faraway Tree was beyond words.

5 Ways To Share The Happiness Of Books With Your Child And Lay The Foundations For Literacy ~ #IfShesHappyImHappy

Encouraging reading

  1. Read the book to your child ~ From an early age, we read to our daughter every single day.  As a newborn, it doesn’t matter if you read them something that’s not a board book or that goes way over their heads; the point here is that reading to them is a bonding experience and increases their vocab, laying vital literacy foundations as they grow.
  2. When your child is old enough to read themselves, give them the books you read (and that were read to you).  We did this when my Mum unearthed some of my childhood favourites (as seen in the picture above).  My copies are well-loved and that just adds to the charm for me.
  3. If you don’t want your own copies to be used, consider borrowing from a library or buy another copy.  But also consider that charm of seeing your child read the very book that you read and that was read to you.
  4. Ask your child what their favourite part or character is.  And then tell them yours.  Our daughter was amazed that I had read the same books that her Grandma had now given her!
  5. Do a ‘Create Make Do’ activity around your child’s favourite book from your stash of ‘oldies’ (or if they haven’t got your stash, choose their favourite from their own collection).  Perhaps a puppet show, thinking of a different ending to a chapter (what could happen in the next chapter now?), a new take on a pivotal point in the story…

The only limit, as they say, is imagination!

 What happy memories have you got of reading to your child(ren) or being read to when you were a child?   What was/is your favourite childhood book?  And your child’s?  Please share your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me @AllSortsHere



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Join in with #HighlightsofHappy on Instagram 27 ~ share your happy!

Join in with highlights of happy 27 instagram blog linky blog hop blog party gratitude happiness share sunset skies winter days bookworm reading herbal tea

Anyone who follows me on Instagram will know that I started out posting a few smiley faces using random objects.

What started out as a totally random moment turned into a lightbulb moment… to share our #HighlightsofHappy on instagram!  I love how the little HOH community is growing.  Please spread the word and we’ll get even more happiness being shared 🙂

To join in, simply post a pic of your ‘happy’ on IG and remember to tag it #HighlightsofHappy (so we can all find it!)  It’s open all week and every Monday I will choose my favourite to showcase on IG and in a dedicated blog post…

As long as it’s your happy and you’d like to share it, then go ahead!  Branching out into making smiley faces is optional 😉

If you’d like to, you can also include a line or 2 telling us why it makes you happy :

Don’t forget that it’s also the opportunity to link up your favourite IG happy pic to the blogpost (by copying the url of the photo you choose in your instagram).

Thank you so much for helping to spread the happiness by sharing your highlights and I’ve got an exciting giveaway for a #HighlightsofHappy in 2017 which goes live on 6th February so if you’re not already subscribed, whizz over to the right hand sidebar so that you don’t miss it 🙂

Here are my favourites from last week…


@jerseykay1 shared this beautiful shot of a pastel pink sky


Reminding us of the beauty of a crisp, winter’s day from @becomingaSAHM


Ellen from @babiesbiscuitsandbooze shared this cosy pic of her sharing a book with her son.  Magical moments!


Sharon @aftertheplayground made my tastebuds tingle with this warming photo…


Thanks so much for sharing your #HighlightsofHappy on instagram everyone 🙂  Please do come back for more next week…

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#PaperyPeep ~ mini libraries, colouring tables and a little collage

It’s been a while since I joined in with Papery Peep so here’s a collection in pictures (mainly).
I’m starting off with the main blog pic; our daughter left this little lot on the table just as you see it here.  A perfect photo opportunity!  I love the cat, don’t you? 🙂
 I’ve shared a few pictures on instagram lately of our girl’s reading matter…
It’s a daily occurence for her to come downstairs to breakfast with a book under her arm or in her hand.  In between mouthfuls and general chat, she always reads a book.  I can’t remember when this first happened but we’ve never discouraged her from bringing a book to the table.  Sometimes our days are so busy in the week that the ‘only’ reading she does (apart from at school, which I don’t get to savour!) is at breakfast and bedtime.
I truly hope she never loses her love of reading.  Strange really – I embrace that she can read to herself but a part of me misses sitting down every day like we used to and me reading to her.  I think that stage is withering out now…  But strange because I embrace with pride this newest phase of her reading journey 🙂
On to the pic below and who in the UK remembers the Griffin savers dictionary?  The you got free when you opened a Midland Bank young savers account?! (Showing my age!!)  Our daughter has claimed mine, which I don’t mind at all.
You can just about see the cat diaries top and bottom in the end column there.  Chosen by our daughter, of course (had to be cats!)  The ‘best mummy ever!’ card totally melted my heart and is on the wall next to my desk.  The final picture is of the Message in a Bottle postcards.  I’ve been involved in the launch of this book for children and it’s coming to end now…
Finally, it’s been while since Stephanie from Lifeat139a very kindly sent me this book as a random act of kindness.  And it’s been a good few months since I finished it.
Our little girl was at a birthday party, hubby was at work that same afternoon and I took myself into the garden to read ‘Missing, Presumed’ by Susie Steiner.  I chilled out and got stuck in.
This was definitely one of those books that I found very hard to put down due to its readability.  Each chapter effortlessly flowed into the next, with questions being raised and left unanswered from the beginning.
I didn’t make any notes when I finished this (which is what I would normally do when reviewing a book) and because it’s a while since I read it, I’m not going to attempt a ‘review’.  Suffice to say that I felt a little lost when I’d finished it (you know it’s a good one when that happens) and there was satisfaction at reading it quite quickly – around 3 weeks.  (Unlike Jocelyn at The Reading Residence who seems to get through one in 3 days!)
Aside from wanting to thank my virtual friend for kindly posting it out to me, I genuinely feel it deserves a good mention.
Pop it on your reading list!


Have you been writing, reading or even colouring recently?  Do you remember that dictionary?!  I’d love to hear!  Please comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere


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This post contains affiliate links which means that if you buy something from clicking on a link from my blog, I get to receive some happiness too… at no extra cost to you 🙂 Thanks..

The Library Archives and a Love of Books

Our little girl has a love of books and was really excited to browse the books at her school’s week of hosting the travelling book fair.  She had been promised a new book from us and after a quick perusal of the shelves, made a bee-line for What the Ladybird Heard Next
by Julia Donaldson.

The library archives and world book day reading literacy history books 2

This surprised me a little because she tends to be much more into chapter books than picture books these days.  She even got a new book storage cushion for Christmas!

It must be the very clever rhymes and therefore the rhythm of Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len’s misdemeanours!..

We’ve just recently moved house and joined the local library.  With our little girl enjoying reading so much, we were keen to get registered as soon as possible.

The ‘switch over’ from our old library got me to looking at the history of our old library accounts.  You might call them ‘the archives’.

The library archives and world book day reading literacy history books 1

You can just about barely (!) see in our little girl’s account that she has borrowed 289 books since she joined as a baby.  And that’s not including the books she’s got a home, some of which she has read over and over and over again!

Thankfully, the world of books is still at her fingertips and she loves to go along with us and using the machine to take out and return books.


Do you visit your local library very often?  What does your child like best about it?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments below 🙂 

*This post contains an affiliate link which means that if you happen to purchase something from the link you click, I get to have a little happiness too! 🙂 


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A novel book storage idea

When our little girl unwrapped a cushion from her Grandma and Pop for Christmas, she was really excited… and so was I!

Book cushion a novel book storage idea reading nook library organisation

Having been to a Christmas Fayre, my lovely Mum saw these brilliant cushions that double up as a novel book storage idea!

When our little girl saw that her cousin had a similar cushion, she was even more excited.

When she unwrapped 5 new Rainbow Magic books, she slotted a couple into the little pockets on her new cushion.

What a neat idea!

The cushion now flits between her reading nook and her bed, as do the cats most days.  I’m convinced that the cats enjoy a read when she’s not there!  She’s even been known to take it in the car with her over the Christmas break!

Our little girl chose to spend some of her Christmas money on a Rainbow Magic bookmark, which arrived just after Christmas.

What I love is that our little girl is being so very patient (mostly) because she’s pre-ordered another Rainbow Magic book for delivery in March…

Whereas I… well I haven’t got a lovely book cushion but I have managed to explore our new (to us) library and brought a couple of books home 🙂

To be perfectly honest, I was really disappointed with ‘Shadows of the Workhouse’ by Jennifer Worth.  Having devoured a couple of her other books, I had high hopes for this one but just couldn’t get past the first couple of chapters which seemed more like character studies than the interesting insight into history that I was expecting.

So I tried a different genre, recommended by Maddy at Writing Bubble.  This one is by Liane Moriarty ‘Big Little Lies’ and I am enjoying it.  It’s hard to put down and I’ll hopefully report back in a few weeks 🙂


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Books for children – developing speech and language

books for children to help develop todder's pre-schooler's toddlers preschoolers childs kids childrens children language speech parenting literacy blog early years main abc pic final edit

I make no secret of my passionate belief that reading books to your children every day helps to develop their speech and language skills.  Right from when Our Little Bear was only just home from hospital as a newborn, I would read her cloth books while she happily kicked and gurgled under her play gym and at feeding time, in fact any time really.  Then she moved on to board books and took her abc’s and her 123’s in her stride.

Fast forward to 5 years later and there is no denying that all of this has stood her in very good stead with her literacy.  While in her first year at school, she has learnt her phonics, learnt to read and write and just recently her teacher told us that she is doing ‘fantastic’ with her spelling.  All of this reading to her and with her in the foundations of her early years can surely be no coincidence…

So, which books are recommended to develop your child’s speech and language skills?  Kimberly’s blogpost at MommyEdition talks us through a comprehensive list of books to do just that.

From read-aloud, nursery rhyme and picture books like ‘A Child’s Garden of Verses’ by Robert Louis Stevenson…

books to help develop todder's pre-schooler's toddlers preschoolers childs kids childrens children language speech parenting literacy blog early years 1

and books for the late talker like ‘The Einstein Syndrome’ by Thomas Sowell…

books to help develop todder's pre-schooler's toddlers preschoolers childs kids childrens children language speech parenting literacy blog early years einstein syndrome thomas sowell 1


to books about animals and classic stories like ‘Sammy: The Classroom Guinea Pig’ by Alix Berenzy…

books to help develop todder's pre-schooler's toddlers preschoolers childs kids childrens children language speech parenting literacy blog early years sammy classroom guinea pig alix berenzy 1


Do pop over to Kimberly’s post at MommyEdition for more information on the above books and follow MommyEdition on Twitter, Facebook, Google + and Pinterest

…and let’s not forget the role that letter blocks and flash cards play like ‘Read with Biff, Chip & Kipper: Fun with Words’…

books to help develop todder's pre-schooler's toddlers preschoolers childs kids childrens children language speech parenting literacy blog early years biff chip kipper flashcards 1

Indeed, we used flashcards when our little bear first started her reading and it helped immensely.  It also helped that we had picked up the flashcards through hubby’s work book club that happened to be the same series that our bear’s class was using – the Biff, Chip and Kipper series from Oxford Reading Tree.  By turning it into a game, our bear had no idea that she was learning!

Of course, along with reading books to and with your child, talking to your child is a great stepping stone to great vocab, literacy and speech.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post but all words and opinions are my own.

So tell me, which books did you or do you enjoy reading with your child?  Were/are any of them the same ones that you read as a child?

Share in the comments below the link badges!


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Blue Planet Tales interactive stories app for children ~ giveaway

Hello and welcome to an interactive giveaway!  Yes, you can win 1 of 20 promo codes to use at Blue Planet Tales app store on ‘The Secret of the Pyramid’.  How exciting is that?!

So, who are Blue Planet Tales? Well, they’ve created an educational app for tablets with stories based in history and real life events for 3-9 year olds. With 17 stories to choose from, including ‘The Secret of the Pyramid’, it may be difficult to choose just 1!  But with the affordable prices, your choice is that much easier.

The range includes the following titles and as you can see, there is something there for children of all ages:

-The Extinction of the Dinosaurs

-The Boy Who Wanted to be a King (about the footballer Leo Messi’s life)

-The Secret of the Pyramid

-Davy Crockett

-The Bird Migration

-Laika the Little Astronaut Dog

-The Race to the South Pole

-The Discovery of America

With ‘The Secret of the Pyramid’ I found that I learnt a thing or 2, along with Our Little Bear.

giveaway Blue Planet Tales interactive stories for children education learning app history parenting The secret of the Pyramids 6There are 3 options for the re-telling of the story: The ‘read it to me’ and ‘autoplay’ options moved at just the right pace for our bear, with the accompanying simple illustrations helping to bring the story to life.

giveaway Blue Planet Tales interactive stories for children education learning app history parenting The secret of the Pyramids 3


The interactive questions peppered throughout the story were a little difficult for our bear at 5 years old and she needed prompting (and it tested my grey matter!) but she still engaged with the stories.  The score-keeper on the home-page is a nice touch and is good for ‘keeping tabs’ on your progress.

Another good feature is the ‘category’ drop down menu on the homepage, enabling you to browse stories by genre.

giveaway Blue Planet Tales interactive stories for children education learning app history parenting The secret of the Pyramids 7

I can see this interactive library being an app that we dip in and out of with our little bear on rainy days.  It’s a great little tool to explore topics that we wouldn’t perhaps have considered without the app.

You can find Blue Planet Tales at: Twitter, Facebook, Google +, You Tube and also take a lot at their website
Go and say hello! 🙂

Now, onto how you can win 1 of 20 promo vouchers for The Secret of the Pyramid!  Just enter by using the rafflecopter (below).  The giveaway is open to UK entrants only and ends at 12am on 23rd June 2015. Good luck to you 😉

Disclaimer: I received these promotional codes to give away on my blog but all opinions are my own.


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The benefits of reading with our children ~ May #PaperyPeep

library benefits of books reading blog literacy imagination

On one of our most recent visits to the library, I had a chat with the librarian who knows our faces very well.  We go regularly, in between work, school and general life.

We used to go several times a week when I first returned to work after maternity leave.  Back then, I had 3 clear days off and we had more time to ‘play’ with.  As a result, our little bear absolutely loves our library and it’s been really lovely to see her go from the ‘book bus’ reading corner which contains board books, to chapter books like the Rainbow Magic series by Daisy Meadows (which she’s reading in this post).

On this visit, the librarian asked if I wouldn’t mind completing a short survey because they were looking to reduce the manned hours there.  Understandably, the librarian was very concerned, from her own personal (and financial) viewpoint but also for that of the community.

While Our Little Bear was at pre-school I remember one of their information posters which outlined the benefits of reading to and with children.  I was very pleased that we were already doing the suggested activities (and more) for the suggested amount of time.  We’ve been very fortunate that our little bear has a passion for books and has thrived in her reading at school.  She recently went up to stage 4 in the Biff, Chip and Kipper Oxford Reading Tree series.  (Proud Mummy-and-Daddy Moment!)  And read the whole book from beginning to end with no help – no mean feat with 24 pages at 5 years old, in my opinion…

Her love of reading has shown in her writing and spelling, too.  Just this week, she has got 40 out of 40 in a spelling test on high frequency words (also known as ‘tricky’ words).  You can see why I argue that literacy in our children is a bit like a jigsaw puzzle – the reading’s connected to the spelling to the writing…

With that in mind, it’s a real shame that part of the library ‘experience’ is likely to be affected by taking away that ‘stamping’ of the library book due to more self-service…


Do you visit your library regularly?  Have you seen the benefits of reading to your little ones?


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My Word of the Week is… devouring !

wordoftheweek devouring writing blog reading books

Aside from my Featured Author’s reviewed book, It’s been a fair while since I’ve had a chance to read a proper book.  Lately, I’ve noticed various books with recommended reads.  And when I saw ‘Elizabeth is Missing’ by Emma Healey, I immediately wanted to read it.  (I will be looking at why in the book review in the coming weeks, so look out for that! A whole blog post in itself!)  It being in 2 book clubs’ recommended reads did help because I tend to have so little time for reading books for pleasure, I’d rather read a recommended one than feel that pang of disappointment when a book I’ve chosen doesn’t hold my attention.  I’ve been dipping in (and very nearly not putting down on each occasion) and I’m hooked!

I’m working on another project at the moment.  A proper ‘deadlined’ writing project so I did wonder if I should have started it yet.  However, it’s all about the discipline and willpower!

I’ve also been sent a book to review, which I’m also thoroughly enjoying.  More on that in a few weeks too 🙂

So with reading blogs and books, my word of the week is most definitely ‘devouring’!

Linking up with Word of the Week

The Reading Residence


Read my emotional and inspiring true story ‘Diary of a Complicated Pregnancy’. Available here. 50% of sales go to the charity Action on Pre-Eclampsia. …and visit my facebook page or follow me on twitter @ComplicatedPreg

Also available – my indispensable guide to avoiding ‘Working Mum Guilt’. Whether you are about to return or have already started back, this book offers practical solutions and feedback from real Mums with real families in real situations. Covering topics such as Post Natal Depression, childcare options, yours and your child’s development and time management – Ditch the guilt today! … and visit my facebook page or follow me on twitter @WorkingMumGuilt

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