Inspire the children around you to read.  Nurture their creativity.  Guide them in caring about our planet.

Welcome to my 'Barefoot Journey' ....

Thursday, 20 December 2007

christmas cheer

wishing you peace........

(learn how to make something like this here!)


and happy times..........

and may you find many lovely things in small boxes......


Friday, 30 November 2007

a mother's lot

So, this morning I spent an hour at our local hospital with our 3rd pebble - nothing urgent, just an eye exam due to family history.  She didn't play game however as she has a stinking cold and didn't want anyone fussing with her, so we have to return in 4 months. On leaving the hospital I picked up an urgent message from school - 1st pebble needs medical attention.

I drive back to the school, pick up 1st pebble with a swollen wrist from a playground accident, drive all the way back to the hospital to spend 2 hours in X-ray and A&E (thanking our lucky stars that I made him a packed lunch this morning as all 3 of us had to share those lovely ham sarnies and smokey bacon crisps!).  Luckily no major breakage, although some trauma to the radius near the wrist so he's splinted for 2 weeks.   Phew, he only broke his other arm 18 months ago!  On leaving the hospital I picked up an urgent message from school (hang on, haven't we been here before!) - 2nd pebble needs medical attention.

Can this really be happening to me?!!!!!

I drive back to school, drop off 1st pebble and collect 2nd pebble who's suffering an allergic reaction to some insect bites (nice!).  After dosing him with antihistamine and packing him back to his class (mean Mum huh?) I manage to get a feverish 3rd pebble home and to bed, make myself a nice cup of tea and then ponder over the last 4 hours.

How wonderful that my kids can manage to squish all their medical emergenices into such a short span of time. Now we can kick back and enjoy the weekend safe in the knowledge that if bad things come in threes then ours are up for now.


'My Rock' returns on Monday.   I'm looking forward to that hug.

Friday, 19 October 2007

all the leaves are brown...........

Well I've got that cosy autumnal feeling going on.  The nights are drawing in, the welly boots and woolly jumpers are coming out and the leaves are crunching underfoot.  The bright skies at the moment are helping to keep the mood cheery and the desire to "all get outside for some fresh air" is still strong.

The boys collected conkers on the walk home from school yesterday and this little number just sums up that autumn vibe for me

Look at him all nestled in there warm and cosy but at the same time kind of tempted to venture out into the big wide world.

Barefoot Books has a lovely new title, 'Listen Listen' which is an audible romp through the seasons.  It really captures young readers, and listeners alike making them think about everything around them.

There are also some fabulous titles for the festive season that will make great gifts for under the tree or for when paying visits.  I shall do a feature on one of my favourites soon, but if you know someone who loves to sew then this is an absolute must for their family bookshelf:  'the fabrics of fairytale'.

My hot chocolate is beckoning, I have my cosy socks on, so I shall settle in for a read.

Monday, 24 September 2007

anyone for chocolate?

There is no denying that I love chocolate but lately I have a brand new kind of chocolate craving.  I'm busy trying to persuade 'my rock' that we need one of these in our lives........
How he can even begin to resist I have no idea?  I grew up with dogs, he on the other hand did not so I have some convincing to do.  I'll keep you posted.
I'm quite hopeful that a beautiful chocolate lab will soon be ours!  

Friday, 21 September 2007

world peace day

So, until recently I didn't even know who Jeremy Gilley was, let alone the fact that in 1999 he founded Peace One Day.  I am so inspired by the vision, dreams and motivations that can lead individuals to make such huge interventions.

Peace One Day is non-profit organisation, impartial and independent of any government, political persuasion, corporation or religious creed.  In 2001 it achieved it's primary objective with UN member states formally establishing an annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence, now fixed in the global calender on 21 September

Look at the website to see what difference one day of peace each year could make to this planet.  Food, vaccines, other supplies can reach those in need.  Differences can be made by small gestures and we can all look at our own lives and consider what action of peace we can offer up on a day like this.  Even if we just think about peace and talk to our families about what it means and try to live in more peaceful way in our own day to day lives we can make a difference.

Barefoot Books has a beautiful new title encompassing the spirit of world, peace and family. We are donating a copy to our local school library to mark World Peace Day 2007.

Wishing you a peaceful day, wherever you are.

Monday, 10 September 2007

dame anita roddick

I salut you.  What amazing things you did with your life, what a difference you made.  You opened the eyes of a generation - women can make it in business, fairtrade is the only way to go.   You reached out and inspired, and your memory will continue to do so...............

"If you do things well, do them better. Be daring, be first, be different, be just."
Anita Roddick

Tuesday, 17 July 2007


"Imagination is more important than knowledge" - Albert Einstein

This is a favourite quote of mine discovered through Barefoot Books. 

On the subject of imagination let me share with you a fabulous book published by Tate Publishing :

'Imagine'by Herve Tullet

I'll let the pages speak for themselves.  

My boys (age 7 and 6) adore this book and I have other much loved Herve Tullet titles that I will share with you in other posts. In the meantime, enjoy and 'imagine'......

Monday, 9 July 2007

blow the dust off

Dear blog, forgive me - it has been over 2 whole weeks since my last post.

I always think that I will have more time to do 'my things' when my husband is home with us all but of course it never works out like that - we all get too busy just being together and making the most of being our unit of 5 for a while.  He left in the small hours for a further 3 weeks so I find myself with more time to myself again (boo).

Talking of 'my rock' I really should have put this photo into my last post.  It's a pretty dramatic shot of one of the oaks in our garden and I'd forgotten all about it until flicking through picasa earlier today looking for something else entirely. 

Aside from my adoration of trees, I also have an ongoing fixation with old books and have been stocking up my collection of penguin orange covers, king penguins, and not forgetting Ant and Bee.  I also found  a lovely early copy Shakespeare's Sonnets in Oxfam on a recent visit to Cambridge (always a great town for finding quality second hand books).

I spied a lovely antiques shop whilst out the other night with lot of old books tucked away into dark corners, so shall be returning there shortly to see if there are any treasures to unearth.  I love the history of old books - the textures, the smell, the dust, the scribbled names, addresses or class numbers.  I like to wonder about who has read the books before me and what their lives were like and how the book may have influenced them.  

Oh, and I haven't given up on my sewing machine yet either!  More of that in the next few weeks too (I can tell you can't wait!).  Tif bought me a lovely Japanese craft book on her trip home to the UK so I can't fail to be inspired now.  Whilst I wait for that inspiration to transpire into physical activity though I shall eat some of these utterly devine choccies that I received as a little homecoming treat.  Yummy.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

my mighty oaks

On travelling in West Africa several years ago with 'my rock' we learned that the Senegalese are a nation of tree worshipers.  It is not that hard to understand why when you stop for a moment to consider all that trees offer us and our planet.
This is a favourite view of mine in our back garden.
It is taken from a wonderful vantage point, and something that no garden should be without in summer....
Of course having 2 mighty oaks exactly 3.5m apart in our garden is a distinct advantage, but you can rig hammocks up in all sorts of places.  Ours is fair-trade from Mexico.  Look here for hammocks and other fair-trade goods from Mexico.
So with thoughts of all that trees have to offer, here are a couple of books to enjoy and share whilst swinging in your newly acquired hammock...

A unique collection of folktales making us look at trees in new ways, retold by storyteller Rina Singh and illustrated by Helen Cann

I recently gave this book as a christening gift.  Told simply in words and pictures this is a truly beautiful tale about the growth of a young boy, through his youth into adulthood and finally old age.  His friendship with a tree through these times is a moving parable about love & giving.
More than enough to bring a tear to my eye.

Take a moment to think what a tree has to offer our planet.  
I regard them with some awe.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

me and my machine

Here is a sample of the most often caught glimpse of my 3rd pebble.  She is constantly on the move having only recently mastered the fine art of walking.  Added to that is her frequent need to rush off to see Daddy now that he is home.  Yes, 'my rock' has returned after being away working for 3 weeks.  Sods law I guess that the computer broke down when he was away, but I did manage to get it fixed the day before he returned, so now I have some photos and news to share with you too.

Well we've been eyeing each other for what must more than a couple of weeks now. You know, that kind of interested but a little bit too scared to approach directly kind of eyeing. I was finally tempted into it by some gorgeous inspiration found here
(on Tif's recommendation)
and here 
I finally took the bull by the horns, so let me introduce you to my new 'friend'.......

The instruction manual was an experience in itself and thank goodness for diagrams. I felt like I was on an introduction course to a foreign language. "dropping the feed dog"?
hello? help!

A short while later (ahem - 2 hours later) I had made progress. A bobbin wound and a machine threaded and raring to go. 
Please note the empty glass of wine and devoured packet of twiglets (a woman needs sustenance in hours of need). OK, I'm not a complete numpty - I did partake in a 90 min phone conversation during that 2 hour period as well.

Here is some lovely material that I bought to attempt to make something simple but lovely. Hopefully next time I'll be able to share some success with you.

I can't help thinking that as an adult I am utterly rubbish at persevering and learning new skills. I watch my daughter as she learns about life.  Her repetition of activities until she perfects them is astounding (although sometimes quite tedious!). Apparently a baby will fall over an average of 244 times before they manage to walk for the first time. As an adult I don't think I'd cope well with that many failures, I'd probably give up after 10 or so attempts, and say "it's not for me". It just goes to show that if we apply ourselves to something with determination we can usually manage it. Lets hope it will work for me in cracking this sewing lark.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

the world is in our hands....

Just wanted to raise awareness of the LIVE EARTH event on 7.7.07 (concerts for a climate in crisis).

Why not do your own live earth 'thing' on 7.7.07 and raise awareness in your own communities? Click here for something fun that will give you some great tips and ideas of things to do.

Here are some more fantastic organisations that may interest you, all of whom receive proceeds from Barefoot Books 'Whole World' publication.
and 2 lovely magazines to look at:
together we can make a difference

Friday, 15 June 2007


No I'm not going to write about pants (in either the British or the American sense). "Pants" just describes how my last few days have gone because swear words are not allowed in this house with so many young ears about.

Suffice to say I have a very very dead computer. Derek is man who works for BT Broadband support office up in Scotland, and although he seems like a very nice man, spending 4 hours a day on the phone to him for the last 3 days is definitely trying my patience and I won't be missing those conversations when (????? IF!!!!!) my computer finally gets fixed. Keeping my fingers crossed for their latest attempt which will now occur next Monday.

So I can't post any of my pictures, and I had something lovely to show you all prior to UK Fathers Day this coming Sunday, and I was going to update you on relationship progress with my new purchase.

Hope to be back next week. My rock is back on Thursday (yes that 3 weeks has quite whizzed by). Can't wait for some semblance of normality to descend upon our household again.

Can I just say a big "hooray" to my dear friend Tif . The sales in her little shop have just tipped over the big 100. Fab news Tif and we'll all 'do a little dance' for you too. x

Friday, 8 June 2007

"you don't bring me flowers"

Title is courtesy of Neil Diamond. Is is sad to admit that I like Neil Diamond? Is it even sadder to admit that I've actually seen him in concert?

Well unlike the song, lucky old me does still have somebody to bring me flowers. My rock has however been out of the country working now for over a week and we all miss him loads. Only 2 more weeks to go though - yipppeee. Whilst he's away I buy my own flowers and today I got some of my very very favourite ones.

First we have the substantial, but at the same time graceful, peony.

And next we have the strong, architectural, and yet amazingly delicate and intricate, alium.

Don't flowers just make you smile?

I couldn't share my flowers without introducing you to a gorgeous Barefoot Book, and one of my favourites:

This is a beautiful, touching tale that uses humour and metaphor to promote acceptance and ultimately shows us that what makes us different also makes us beautiful.

"every little snip of the scissors made a sad little tweak"

Written by Jen Wojtowicz and illustrated by Steve Adams.

In my post about tagging I told you about a recent purchase of mine. I'm being brave and it will be making its debut appearance at the weekend. Wish me luck, I'll let you know how I get on next week.

Farewell to the ever elegant and graceful Darcey Bussell as she retires from the Royal Ballet.

Here's hoping somebody is bringing you all flowers this weekend.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

"all the world's a stage" (William Shakespeare)

An interesting fact for you: there are currently around 540,000 words in the English language. That's about 5 times as many as during Shakespeare's time. I wonder what writings he would come up with today?

Well Summer is finally here and it's time to lie around on picnic blankets listening to birdsong and reading to friends and loved ones from glorious books, and what better books to read that Shakespeare?

Today I am introducing you to my JUNE BOOK OF THE MONTH:

Shakespeare's Story Book (paperback and story CD)

You'll find no dumbing down of the Bard's materpieces here. This book very cleverly introduces readers to the stories that are at the heart of his writings. Professional storyteller Patrick Ryan brings us action-packed adventures that are lively as well as informative giving insights to local traditions and politics that influenced Shakespeare. As always in a Barefoot Book the art is beautifully considered and here James Mayhew's illustrations add to the depth and warmth of the tales.
Their love grew. But they dared not tell anyone about it, even family or friends.— The Hill of Roses

A brilliant read for ages 6-10 (read together) and 8-10 (read alone) and I know many families who have this in their book collections. The added bonus is the story CD's which are great for quite moments, bedtime or for in the car.

Usually £9.99, this title is currently in the Barefoot Books Summer Sale for only £6.69. You can purchase it here.


"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more"

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

oh tagging hell

I mentioned that I'd been tagged in my previous post. I'm not really one for self revealing so in order to get this over and done with as quickly as possible, here are my 7 potentially interesting things about me.

1. My most most most favourite nibble is the humble twiglet. I know it’s a love it or hate it thing by I could simple not live without it and woe betide anyone who tries to make me.

2. At the age of 38 I have just bought myself my first ever sewing machine and I have no bloody idea how to use it!!!! ‘The machine’ is sitting watching me waiting for me to dare approach it, teasing me with my huge incapability in this area. I am determined though. Any tips from sewing veterans are warmly welcomed.

3. I made my modelling debut with
Tif in The Cambridge Evening News. We modelled knitwear on the streets of Cambridge with, oddly enough, a small kitten and a dog. Photo evidence can only be revealed of course with kind permission from all participants.

4. Bizarre but true. I escaped unscathed having had an AK47 fired in warning and then pointed directly at me in extremely unfriendly circumstances in Angola during the civil war.

5. I am an orderliness freak. I am at my most content when everything has a ‘place to live’ and is tucked away neatly and in its correct position. My wardrobe is arranged by colour, by CDs are arranged alphabetically, my books by type and then alphabetically, and my pantry is always stocked with the essentials (neighbours use me like a local store!). Friends are scared to fall asleep on my sofa lest I file them away somewhere.

6. Despite the above I infuriate myself by having all sorts of pending piles all over the house that I have yet to allocate a ‘place to live’. This does make me a complete hypocrite because my perfectly ordered world is clearly more imaginary than reality, however I still constantly tell the rest of my family off for not putting their stuff away.

7. I love to learn and I always include things to learn in my new year’s resolutions but somehow I never ever stick to them. I have discovered that day to day unexpected learnings are much more realistic so I always look out for them in whatever situation I am in (like the AK-47 thing - lesson learned - never get myself in such a ridiculously awful position ever again!).

OK, I'm done now excpet for my remaining task to tag 7 people. I'm new to blogs so don't know many people yet so I'll find some and include their links next time.

Sunday, 3 June 2007

one for the crafters...

OK then, I have been 'tagged' by my very dearest friend Tif who is a crafter and sells her beautiful creations on Etsy. Apparently by being tagged I now have to tell you all 7 interesting things about myself (I'll work on that one and come back to you) and then tag a further 7 bloggers myself (watch this space).

So thinking that many of Tif's readers are also crafters and may be popping over here as a result of my being tagged, I thought I would share some crafting within the Barefoot Books range.

If children's books are not your bag then please bear with me, the artwork I'm about to share may surprise you. If you're new to Barefoot Books then I do urge you to take a look at their website. They even have a section called the 'artists cafe' where you can meet all the 'barefoot artists' AND learn about submitting your own work for consideration in publications. Had you ever thought about that as a business opportunity??? Go on, take a look, who knows where it may lead to?

In the meantime, I'll share a couple of my favourites with you.

First up is Siobhan Bell who creates her pictures from cotton bedsheets. This picture is taken from 'Ship Shapes' - I'm sure it's not big enough for her work to be appreciated but if you go over to the website you can zoom in and see more detail:

You can find out more about Siobhan and her techniques here.

Next we have Clare Beaton who is a self professed hoarder and collector of craft books, fabrics, buttons etc. etc. (sounds like some of the people I have come to learn of through Tif's blog!!). She has a particular interest in old craft techniques and folk art from all over the world. This first picture is taken from 'Mother Goose Remembers':

and this one is from 'I dreamt I was a dinosaur'

Again you will be able to zoom in and see more detail at the website.

Before I came across Barefoot Books I seldom appreciated the artwork in children's books but at Barefoot it holds equal importance and the artists are truly appreciated. For me it adds to the whole story telling experience and it also opens the minds of children to think of visual imagery in a multi-dimensional way. I'd love to hear what you all think and I'd also love to be introduced to other 'art rich' children's books if you know of any.


Wednesday, 30 May 2007

rainy days and wednesdays......

I know it's meant to be Mondays that get you down according to the song, but today is Wednesday and my last day with hubby (aka 'my rock') at home, as he departs at some unearthly hour in the morning for his job, to return 3 weeks later. Yes 3 whole weeks - boo.

Anyway on a cheerier note I have now fathomed the technology and can show you the beauty within a barefoot book. Here for you to feast your eyes are 2 pages from 'We're Sailing to Galapagos'. Now these bright colours and cleverly crafted images are enough to cheer anyone up....

The book is written by Laurie Krebs who also wrote the award-winning 'We All Went on Safari: A counting Journey through Tanzania' (more of that another time) and the illustrations are by Grazia Restelli - her debut publication in the English language. Her beautiful collages have gained much critical acclaim in her native Italy - it's easy to see why.

I read this book at story club last Friday (4-7 year olds) and after just a few pages in they were all chanting along with 'we're sailing to Galapagos, Galapagos, Galapagos' - magical. And we had a great chat at the end about the Galapogas islands, volcanoes and all the animals and birds. Lots of the barefoot books have really helpful information pages at the back which serve as a great aid for parents/carers/teachers and inquisitive young minds.

So, until next week - when I will bring you news of the Barefoot Books summer sale, my book of the month for June and other news, including my must have item for every garden this summer.

Friday, 25 May 2007

first post but Story Club calls.....

Hello. This is my first post so I'll be brief. Through this blog I can hopefully share with you my involvement with children's books and why I think they're so important. I'd love to hear your thoughts too so please post comments. I'm just about to leave for 'Story Club' at our local primary school where I 'storytell' every Friday lunchtime to any Lower School children who feel like listening to a story. I read to them from the Barefoot Books range which I shall introduce you to over time. The joy of Barefoot Books is that not only is the storytelling magical but the artwork is beautiful too and adds an extra dimension to discussing the content of the books with the children. The questions and comments from those bright ,young and eager minds never ceases to amaze me.
Until next time when I'll have some stories to tell.