25 July 2016

Pom Pom is Super!

We are huge fans of Sophy Henn in our house and have been since first setting eyes on Pom Pom the Champion last year. This week I interviewed my favourite new kid's author to celebrate the release of her brand new Pom Pom book, Pom Pom is Super!

Have you been secretly filming my life for the last 3 years? (If not, how are your books so incredibly true to toddler life?)

 Ha Ha! No! But I have been there with my daughter and her friends! That was a while ago mind you, but, worryingly, I can revert to toddler surprisingly easily! I think it's pretty tough being a toddler, constantly flung into new situations and having to try to work out the 'right' reaction to everything. I think if I was faced with that all day I would fling myself on the floor of Sainsburys too! But the flip side of everything being new or newish is that it's all so exciting! ALL THE TIME!!!! WOOOO HOOOOO!

How do you start a book? Do you sketch and get ideas from drawings or do the words always come first?

My books have started in a different ways, I long for a 'method' or 'routine', but sadly none seem forthcoming! My creative style could be described as 'haphazard' at best.... Where Bear? started as a doodle of a white bear in a forest, looking worried and a bit lost. Pom Pom came from an 'incident', where a lovely little person was shouting and telling everyone to go away. She really got the wind her sails and kept saying it, so everyone went away. As soon as they had she got a bit worried and wondered where everyone had gone! And Pass It On was just about wanting to write a happy book, so the words came first. 

If you weren't an author what other job would you have liked to do?

Well, I studied fashion, worked in advertising and had a greetings card company so I would be lying if I claimed to have always done this. But as far as dream jobs go it would have to be....tap dancer. With LOTS of sequins and hats!

Who are your top tips for other brilliant new writers for young children? 

OOOh that's super tricky!!! There is so much fantastic work out there, with amazing new writers and illustrators coming along all the time. Among many others I really love Victoria Turnbull's work. It's like no else's and extremely beautiful. She's got skills!

Great recommendation! These look amazing!

What about the classics? What's your favourite children's book of all time?

Oooh I couldn't possibly pick one. When I was little I love Janet and Allan Ahlberg's 'Cops and Robbers', with all the mischief and detail in the illustrations. I went on to love Milly Molly Mandy, Secret Seven and Nancy Drew. But I also love I Capture the Castle, Eloise, Oh, and Saul Bass' Henri's Walk to Paris. Argh, this answer could go on and on.....

If a CBeebies big-wig approached Pom Pom and wanted to make him into a TV superstar would you let him go or keep him safely in your books? 

WOW!  I LOVE a lot of children's animation and watch loads (even though I no longer have the excuse of a small child!) so the idea does appeal. Though I would like it to stay true to the books, the style of illustration and his character. Despite his ups and downs I see Pom Pom as lovable, a character we ultimately root for, I would hate that to change. And I would really like a cuddly Pom Pom. Please.

[OMG I totally want a cuddly Pom Pom now!]

Will we ever see Where Bear again? (Other than hiding in Pom Pom's room?)

Never say never! Where Bear was written as a one off book, so there was no sequel in mind. But I have had a few ideas, though it would have to be the absolutely right story for Boy and Bear get back together, so there's nothing planned. Yet.

The boys (aged 2 and 4) also wanted to ask you some questions...

Where is Pom Pom's Daddy? (I suggested probably at work, so to follow up...)
Where does he work?

That is a very good question, and one I have been giving some thought to recently.  I think so far he has been at work or possibly in his shed or maybe in the kitchen. I am almost sure he wears a suit to work, and has some very snazzy cardigans to wear at home. And tartan slippers, he definitely wears tartan slippers. But not to work, that would be ridiculous!

Who is your favourite Superhero? (Ours is "Batman-Hulk-Robin-Flash-Spidey")

WONDER WOMAN! Fighting for our rights, in her satin tights! It's always good to remember girls can be super too! Pom Pom's super hero head band on the cover of Pom Pom is Super might have been slightly inspired by Wonder Woman, but don't tell him that! I also like Batman, the fact he doesn't have any 'super' powers as such makes him very likable, even if he is a bit grumpy.

[I like Wonder Woman too! Also LOVING Baxter showing his fabulous side as Twinkly Twirly Tornado Bear in the book... SO gender neutral!!]

Is Pom Pom going to go to big school in September or is he only 3?

Hmmm Pom Pom's age is a bit of a mystery, which I realise is a rather rubbish answer. But he is in that pre-school/reception age group. It's a very busy time, as I am sure you know, so I am hoping that means there will be lots more adventures for Pom Pom.

What do you think we should call our new baby? (We think "dinosaur lion superhero".)

POM POM!!! Obviously! But I can see the merits of "dinosaur lion superhero", there's something in that name for everyone!

[Pom Pom is going on the shortlist, along with all the other characters from your books, my personal favourite being Scout!]

Thanks for talking to us! We are all huge fans of the books and are very excited about the release of Pom Pom is Super! Also thanks for introducing the word Harrrrumph into our household, it's one of my favourite things to say at them when they've got the grumps! 

My pleasure, thank YOU for all your marvellous questions and for liking Pom Pom! And I am delighted you use "HARRUMPH", HOORAY for that! x

Pom Pom is Super is available to pre-order now and released on 4th August. We were sent a copy by the lovely Sophy and have read it most nights since it arrived, it's definitely a keeper!

If you have never read the Pom Pom books (you SHOULD) you can win ALL THREE BOOKS by liking and commenting on the Facebook post below...

Good Luck!!!

22 July 2016

The Big Baby Fear

I'm pregnant with my 3rd baby after a what-I-call GINORMOUS 2nd baby.

2 days old in a size 3-6month baby grow. Weighing more than the Christmas Turkey!
Here's how the conversation about my giant baby usually goes down:

1. Someone mentions babies.
2. Someone mentions weights of babies.
3. I tell them my baby weighed 10 pounds 6 ounces (or 4.7kg if they speak new money)
4. Everyone in the vicinity winces.
5. Someone asks if it was "a natural birth"...
6. I say yes, at home in a birth pool.
7. People audibly gasp.
8. Everyone makes a comment along the lines of

b) OMG
c) God, I thought MY labour was painful
d) NO WAY.
e) So this one will probably weigh, like a STONE!

9. I smile and nod amiably and internally scream at everyone to shut up.

So far in my 3rd pregnancy the only person to so much as entertain the idea that this baby isn't going to be a behemoth is my consultant who said "well, mathematically, everything errs towards the mean so it might be closer to your first baby's weight" (Which by the way was 7lb 9oz). Thank you maths guy.

But, given that we don't know, I'm preparing for the fact that this so far tiny creature in my belly may well come out the size of a 3 month old like his or her big brother did.

With my last baby, I went in to the labour, having had one fairly easy, fairly quick labour previously, with no worries about "having a big baby" and the birth was (honestly) brilliant.Yes it hurt, because giving birth hurts, but the big baby certainly didn't hurt any more than the average sized one. The labour was no more arduous. The pushing was no more tiring. The whole experience was better than my first experience.

And yet... now I suspect (and keep having people loudly supporting my suspicion) that this baby will be big, I've got the fear! The big baby fear, that comes from decades of people wincing at the mention of a large baby. My brain knows, from experience, that it doesn't hurt more, yet the message I hear over and over again is that it just MUST do and somehow that message is starting to override what I know I experienced!

So in order to quash this stupid myth, that it hurts more to give birth to a big baby than a small one, I asked a group of other mums who've done both to reassure me that big baby doesn't equal painful delivery... and here are their answers:

Thank you Chloe, Jenny, Danielle, Mandi and Emma for your words of encouragement!!! They are much appreciated!

So this is what I shall come and read when yet another well meaning acquaintance winces at the very thought of me giving birth in a few months time. I especially love Danielle's Mum whose 10lber JUST FELL OUT. If I read that enough times my baby will get the message that he or she should just fall out too right?! Good!

If you've had a giant baby and the labour was blissful, easy and/or pain free please comment below and make me feel better... If you've had a traumatic, awful labour with a big baby PLEASE BE QUIET AND DON'T SAY ANYTHING! Thanks!!!


30 June 2016

5 of the best picture books of 2016 (so far!)

We've been reading so much recently. The boys literarily love story time before bed (get it?). They've been so keen to read that we might have started skipping bath time in favour of longer story time. Sometimes...Yes, ok, we prioritise literacy over cleanliness in our house, what of it??

Despite the gazillions of books in their room, it can be easy to get stuck in a rut of reading the same old stories night after night so if you're in need of a few new books to keep your interest at bedtime, let me recommend my top 5 new children's books to have been released this year...

Goodnight Spaceman
by Michelle Robinson and Nick East

This is a lovely bedtime story about two little boys with an astronaut Daddy. My boys love the pictures of their space-themed bedroom especially. I love the tone of the book, it's got enough of an exciting plot to capture their tired little brains but is gentle and calm enough for a peaceful quiet bedtime read. For an added bonus we saw Tim (actual spaceman) Peake reading it on the CBeebies Bedtime Stories programme (you can probably find it on YouTube!).

Little Tikes Ride and Relax Trike


12 May 2016

My Birthday Wishlist

Not that anyone's asking but if money were no issue, here's what this soon to be mum of three would like for her 30th birthday:


11 May 2016

The twelve worst things about early pregnancy

So you're pregnant! 2 blue lines on the wee stick! Amazing!.... Sort of.

Don't get me wrong I love being pregnant! I love the bump, the scans, the smiles from old ladies in the street. I don't even really mind the odd belly rub. But I HATE the first trimester.