Book review : East End Tales by Gilda O’Neill

East End Tales book review Gilda O'Neill literally speaking history bygone days

Today I’d like to share with you a book review.  One of my favourite genres to read falls under the category ‘tales of bygone days’.  It feeds my intrigue of days when life wasn’t as easy as it is for many of us now.  Gilda O’Neill’s ‘East End Tales’ satisfied my curiosity.  The front cover alone drew me in: two young girls spinning around a lamp post, on a rope, skirts tucked into their knickers.  The look of sheer glee on their faces, the blissful ignorance of any health and safety or any grown-up decency.  Not an i-anything in sight!  No phone glued to their hands…

Just throwing caution to the wind and living in the ‘now’ (or then!) and enjoying the moment.

Despite the over-riding theme of hardship, poverty and squaller running through the ‘tale’, O’Neill manages to paint a wistful picture of East End London life.

These days it’s difficult to really fathom how financially restrained the majority of East Enders were.  Even more difficult to imagine the squaller.  To them, weekly baths (at best) were the norm.  They knew no different.  But to us, it’s ‘squaller’.

You can smell the smells, you can taste the grit as O’Neill touches on the main points of life back then.  I really felt that I’d lived a tiny part of her East End life with her.

As the front cover suggests, this is a ‘quick read’ and if you don’t read it quickly, then it’s very readable and perfect for dipping into when you get the chance.

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So tell me, do you like reading about the bygone days?

Share in the comments below the link badges!

This post contains an affiliate link which means that if you decide to buy this book through this blogpost, I earn a few pennies…

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Family Fever

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Getting down with nature ~ poem #WonderfulWorldofWriting

poem getting down with nature digging for worms outdoors outside explore parenting garden mud wonderful world of writing blog linky

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Getting down with nature

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The soil under my fingers

Is a sign of fun;

I dug around in the mud

And unearthed a worm!

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He’s a friendly little fella,

With his long body he wriggles around;

Not sure what he thinks to this tub though,

No soft furnishings to be found!

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But does he think? Is he a she?

If we know, I’m not sure how!

With soil and mulch to feast on,

These are his home comforts for now.

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Back to the earth little wormy,

It’s been good to explore your home;

You’re not like my dolls or My Little Ponies,

No clothes to change, no hair to comb!

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I like to explore in the garden,

Get grubby and dig around;

Yes there’s lots to do outside,

And grubby things to be found!

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Join in with #WonderfulWorldofWriting and link up with any genre of writing… I’ll share every post on twitter and other social media.  Tweet your post direct to me @AllSortsHere and I’ll retweet (it’d be great if you could use #WonderfulWorldofWriting too!)

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The Imagination Station ~ #WonderfulWorldofWriting

WonderfulWorldofWriting blog writing linky nursery rhymes books by a little bear aged 5 primary school learning education literacy

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This week, the last in our little bear’s Reception year at ‘big’ school, I’m not penning a poem (like I did last week).  Instead, I’m handing the spotlight over to our little bear (aged 5) and her imagination station!

Hubby and I are passionate about reading to our little bear.  She has a desk that will grow with her as she goes through the various stages of development in literacy at school.  When I was blogging as Mummy Bear, I wrote this poem about changing her cot into a desk.  And she uses this desk daily.  At this stage of her life, she uses it for colouring, writing, sticking, crafting ~ being creative.  As she goes through school, I’m sure it will be used for more ‘focussed’ activities…

As the end of Reception approached, we began to sit at it (me/hubby teetering on the edge of a little chair!) while doing her homework.  This meant that it needed a good tidy up but it has also put her in the homework mindset.

Her desk gives her ready access to all things creative, ready access to all things that fuel a 5 year old’s imagination and this is what she came up with.

nursery rhymes book writing literacy inspired creative humpty dumpty wonderfulworldofwriting 1 edit collage

As I was pottering around, she asked me how to spell the odd word.  But really, the majority of this is her own work.  And that’s what makes me oh-so-very-proud 🙂

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Join in with #WonderfulWorldofWriting and link up with any genre of writing… I’ll share every post on twitter and other social media.  Tweet your post direct to me @AllSortsHere and I’ll retweet (it’d be great if you could use #WonderfulWorldofWriting too!)

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Goodbye Reception, Year 1 here I come! ~ poem #WonderfulWorldofWriting

WonderfulWorldofWriting blog writing linky poem prose goodbye reception year 1 one primary school learning education

Goodbye Reception, Year 1 here I come!

Just like the hungry caterpillar,

You’ve fed me, you’ve taught me, you’ve watched me grow bigger…

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Now I’m ready to come out of my cocoon,

It’s time to spread my wings, time to bloom…

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I’ve grown into a beautiful butterfly,

I’m off to year 1 now, time for ‘goodbye’!…

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An ode to Our Little Bear’s teacher, teaching assistants and all the amazing staff who were involved in her vital first year at ‘big’ school.  I do not know where the last academic year has gone…  good job I didn’t blink 😉 

By Carol Cameleon 2015

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Join in with #WonderfulWorldofWriting and link up with any genre of writing… I’ll share every post on twitter and other social media.  Tweet your post direct to me @AllSortsHere and I’ll retweet (it’d be great if you could use #WonderfulWorldofWriting too!)

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Giveaway: Reiki distance healing session ~ #TheZenZing

#TheZenZing relax realign reiki energy healing flow calm chi balance harmony light giveaway final edit

Yesterday I spoke about how I am now reiki level 2 attuned, about how I treat family and friends and also myself.

Now it’s time to offer one of my lovely readers (it could be you!) a 30 minute reiki distance healing session.  Just enter by using the rafflecopter (below).  The giveaway is open to Worldwide entrants and ends at 12am on 9th July 2015. Good luck to you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Going underground ~ poem #WonderfulWorldofWriting

WonderfulWorldofWriting blog writing linky poem prose going underground tube

Going Underground

When you’re down underground you get swept along

In the heat and the draught and the busker’s song

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When you’re down underground you’re pushed here and there

You can people watch, you can stop and stare

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When you’re down underground you’re jostled about

There’s no room for manners, of that there’s no doubt

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When you’re down underground with your earphones in

You’re escaping the bustle, you’re escaping the din

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When you’re down underground it’s a lonely place

Surrounded by your species in the ‘rat race’

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When you’re down underground there’s a rat or two

Running the lines but they’re more scared of you

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When you’re down underground you might panic, not breathe

When the train stops mid-tunnel, you rasp and you wheeze

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When you’re down underground in the bowels of the city

Impersonal space, ignorance, what a pity

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When you’re down underground in the jaws of the earth

Your space invaded with the smell and the mirth

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When you’re down underground you can choose your line

You must mind the gap, you must follow the sign

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When you’re down underground don’t forget to pay

The world’s your oyster, you can go your own way

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When you’re down underground don’t follow the herd

Go against the flow, be free like a bird

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When you’re down underground you can write your own story

Hop on a train and find your own glory

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By Carol Cameleon 2015

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Join in with #WonderfulWorldofWriting … I’ll share every post on twitter and other social media.  Tweet your post direct to me @AllSortsHere and I’ll retweet (it’d be great if you could use #WonderfulWorldofWriting too!)

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How to create a pet safe garden with #SafeSeeds

We’ve got 2 cats that Our Little Bear adores, as they do her.  We’ve also got a nice big garden which they roam freely every day.  So when I saw the list of plants and flowers that are poisonous to cats and dogs, I was surprised and alarmed in equal measure that our cats could potentially be in daily contact with several on the list.
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Of course, we had a good clear out, pronto and the cats (and Our Little Bear) are free to explore to their heart’s content again.
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Research showed that a whopping 43% of pets needed urgent care after eating these plants and thanks to MORETH>N, not only have we diverted a very unnecessary emergency trip to the vets, and unnecessary additional stress for our pets (and us), we’ve also avoided the unnecessary accompanying bill to get our cats back to a full ‘bill’ of health…
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But how many other gardens look similar to this ‘MoreThan poisonous Pawtanical Garden’, as designed by Ian Drummond, 2015 RHS Chelsea gold medal-winning garden designer?
is your garden pet safe poisonous toxic plants for cats and dogs MORETHAN Charlie Dimmock RHS 2

MORETH>N poisonous Pawtanical garden designed by Ian Drummond

Now that ours no longer contains any toxic plants, we need to look carefully before we pop any more plants into our garden.
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Thankfully, MoreThan have launched their PetSafe campaign, fronted by Charlie Dimmock, for better plant labelling to show us just what IS safe for our pets in our gardens.
how to create a pet safe garden with safeseeds is your garden pet safe poisonous toxic plants for cats and dogs MORETHAN Charlie Dimmock RHS 1

Charlie Dimmock is fronting the PetSafe campaign for MoreThan

Pet owners can also win free pet friendly flower seeds via MORE TH>N on Facebook and Twitter.
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Disclaimer: Written in collaboration with MORETH>N.

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So tell me, which of these plants are in your garden? (Share in the comments right at the bottom of this blogpost, below the link badges!)

PLANT NAME

POISONOUS FOR CATS

POISONOUS FOR DOGS

ALOE VERA
AMARYLLIS (BULBS)
ANGELS TRUMPET (BRUGMANSIA)
APPLE (SEEDS)
APRICOTS (KERNELS)
ASPARAGUS FERN
AVOCADO (FRUIT, PITH, LEAVES)
AZALEA (ALL PARTS) Rare
BABY’S BREATH
BEGONIA
BIRD OF PARADISE (PODS)
BISHOP’S WEED
BLEEDING HEART (DICENTRA FORMOSA)
BLUEBELL
BUXUS / BOX (ALL PARTS, MOSTLY LEAVES)
CARNATION
CLEMATIS (ALL PARTS)
CORDYLINE (GRASS PALM)
CROCUS (ALL)
CHRYSANTHEMUM (ALL PARTS)
CYCLAMEN (FOLIAGE, FLOWERS, STEMS)
DAFFODIL (ALL PARTS)
DAISY
DAHLIA
DAPHNE (BERRIES, BARK, LEAVES)
DEADLY NIGHTSHADE
DELPHINIUM (ALL PARTS ESPECIALLY THE SPROUTS)
ELEPHANTS EARS (LEAVES, STEMS, ROOTS)
ELDERBERRY (LEAVES, BARK, ROOTS AND BUDS)
EUCALYPTUS (ALL PARTS)
FOXGLOVE / DIGITALIS (LEAVES, STEMS, FLOWERS, SEEDS)
GARLIC
GARDENIA
GERANIUM (ALL PARTS)
GLADIOLA (BULBS)
GRAPE PLANT/VINE N/a
HELLEBORE
HIBISCUS
HOLLY (LEAVES, BERRIES & STEMS) Rare
HOSTA Rare
HYACINTH (BULBS, LEAVES, FLOWERS)
HYDRANGEA (ALL PARTS)
IRIS (BULBS)
IVY (ALL SPECIES – LEAVES, BERRIES) Rare
JAPANESE YEW (NEEDLES, SEEDS, BARK) Rare
LABURNUM (LEAVES AND SEEDS)
LARKSPUR (ALL PARTS)
LILLIES (ALL PARTS) N/a
LIME
LILY OF THE VALLEY (ALL PARTS)
LEOPARD LILY N/a
LOBELIA
LUPIN (ALL PARTS) Rare Rare
MALLOW
MARIGOLD (NEW LEAVES, STEMS)
MISTLETOE
MONKSHOOD/ ACONITE (ROOTS, FOLIAGE, SEEDS)
MORNING GLORY (ALL PARTS)
NARCISSUS (ALL PARTS) (DAFFODIL)
OAK – ACORNS (ALL PARTS)
OLEANDER (ALL PARTS)
ONION (ALL PARTS)
PERIWINKLE (ALL PARTS)
PEONY (FOLIAGE, FLOWERS)
PHILODENDRON (LEAVES, STEMS, ROOTS)
PINKS
POINSETTIA
PRIMROSE (ALL PARTS)
PRIVET
PRUNUS ROTUNDIFOLIA LAUREL
POPPY (ALL PARTS)
POTATO (SPROUTS, VINES, UNRIPE TUBERS) N/a
PRIVET
RANUNCULUS  (BUTTERCUP)  ✔
RAGWORT (ALL PARTS ABOVE GROUND)  ✔  ✔
RHODODENDRON (LEAVES)
RHUBARB LEAVES
SNOWDROPS (ALL PARTS)
SWEET PEA (ALL PARTS)
SWEET WILLIAM
TOBACCO PLANT
TOMATO PLANT (FOLIAGE, VINES, GREEN FRUIT)
TULIP (BULBS)
VERBENA (FOLIAGE AND FLOWERS)
WEEPING FIG (INDIAN RUBBER)
WILD CHERRY TREE
WISTERIA (SEEDS AND PODS)
YARROW
YEW
YUCCA

…that’s one long list!

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Post Comment Love

Make a Night of it ~ poem #WonderfulWorldofWriting

WonderfulWorldofWriting blog writing linky poem prose make a night of it

Make a Night of ‘it’

You know when you’ve got tons of ‘stuff’ to do?

But you need to sit down, take ‘5’ just for ‘you’?…

A nice cuppa, take stock… another day done,

But the evening’s just started, there’s a battle to be won!

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Be it the kids, the washing or ironing pile,

Your work’s not done yet, it could take a while…

So forget the cuppa, it’s not hot anyway!

Grab a glass of your tipple without delay…

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You’ll need sustenance, nibbles, your wits about you,

Have you seen your list?!  There’s plenty to do!…

OR you could take that 5 minutes, make a night of it,

Have a date with the sofa and there you’ll sit,

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Go on, kick back, relax, do whatever you please,

Have a night off with some nibbles and Netflix cheese!

Crikey, you don’t often give yourself free rein,

Feels good, doesn’t it? Remember to do it again!…

By Carol Cameleon 2015

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Join in with #WonderfulWorldofWriting … I’ll share every post on twitter and other social media.  Tweet your post direct to me @AllSortsHere and I’ll retweet (it’d be great if you could use #WonderfulWorldofWriting too!)

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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 daughter was born and 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?

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

…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.

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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The Twinkle Diaries

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The Time for What? ~ Flash fiction

not just a flash in the pen writing flash fiction short story creative writing blog literally speaking write imagination the time for what pregnancy journey

My accidental fiction has been rekindled… Before we go into the story, a quick run-down: – Frank and Louise are pregnant… with twins!  Louise is extremely excited but Frank is very uneasy about the whole ‘twin’ thing.  He was over the moon about the ‘baby’ but appears to be feeling resentment towards Louise’s twin baby bump… let’s catch up –  the ‘Footnote’ that inspired this instalment:

The chief requirement of the good life, is to live without any image of oneself.

And the next instalment:

Frank found himself clock-watching with anticipation in a plush waiting area.  Louise wouldn’t tell him what they were waiting for and Frank wouldn’t stop asking questions.  Nor would Louise give any definitive answers.

On arrival, Frank had given the inside of the foyer a quick once-over.  To him, it looked like a slightly above average office block with a slightly above average looking reception area.  At least, he assumed it was a reception area.  It was difficult to tell without a receptionist manning ‘it’.  Being Sunday, there was no-one else around.  Just Frank, Louise and the ever-growing bump.

Louise’s phone had been beeping, announcing an incoming text randomly. By the look of excitement building on her face, it was clear to Frank that the time was getting close.

The time for what?

He was just relieved that they were spending some time together, and not surrounded by baby shop magazines or stockpiled nappies that were on offer.  Time with his wife was precious indeed.  It was certainly getting increasingly difficult to be intimate due to practicalities of bumps and also Louise’s lagging energy levels.  Not to mention Frank’s growing resentment interfering with his libido.  In fact, intimacies were very low on the agenda these days.

“Here she is!” came Louise’s voice, breaking into Frank’s thoughts.

‘She’ entered the foyer with a broad smile that was slightly too corporate.

Offering a hand out to Louise she said, “Good morning, are you both ready for your 4D scan?”

Frank could have given several reasons for not being ‘ready’.  The cost of the scan for one.  With twins on the way, there were a whole host of other, more practical things to spend money on.

And they would be meeting the babies soon enough; why did Louise have to allow ‘their’ precious time together to be invaded by baby talk?  Again.

Purely for an easy life and to keep the peace, he gave a false smile that rivalled this woman’s.  The truth was, he was dreading the twins’ arrival.  He’d have been quite happy with one baby.  Louise was so wrapped up in the pregnancy that she didn’t seem to notice Frank’s mood swings.  And he couldn’t blame the hormones.  Not pregnancy ones in any case.

Any outsider could clearly see that Frank needed to open up to Louise about his feelings but would he?  Or would he continue to grimace for the remainder of the pregnancy journey… and most probably beyond?

…Find out as the story continues…

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 My ‘Accidental Flash Fiction’.  It’s not just a flash in the pen…

not just a flash in the pen writing flash fiction short story creative writing blog literally speaking write imagination