Category Archives: Competitions

Book review and giveaway: My Stinky New School

starting school

It’s that time of year again. The time when, amidst overturned boxes of toys and washed out camping holidays, parents’ thoughts start turning to September. If you’re a parent who is getting ready to send a little darling to school for the first time then you are probably oscillating between dread and joy. Perhaps you’ve passed through denial and are looking for ways to ease the transition. For me, as with solving so many things in life, that means turning to books.

We’ve read about Topsy and Tim’s and Maisie’s first days at school countless times now, so it was a delight to be asked to review something new. My Stinky New School by Rebecca Elliott introduces your child to the prospect of something potentially scary with humour and beautiful illustrations.

The book tells the story of Toby as he starts school and tackles worries about making new friends. According to Toby, his new school “stinks of pigeon poop, ogre armpits, and sadness”, yet he makes it through his first day thanks to a string of characters: spacemen, aliens, pirates, mermaids and dinosaurs. Throw in “astro poop” and bad smells and you have everything a 4-year-old loves.

At the end of the day, Toby claims not to have made any friends. Really? When my kids have done any activities without me, I ask “And did you talk to anyone?” and the answer is always “No”. Yet without fail, it eventually emerges that they did indeed make friends without realising. The same is true for Toby who, through sharing his wild imagination with other children, leaves on his first day with a wave to his troop of new pals. This bit does need some explaining to 4-year-olds (who tend to take things literally) but with a couple of reads they soon grasp the idea.

My Stinky New School is a lovely book to add to your arsenal of preparing-for-school-tools. Just make sure your child isn’t expecting there to be any real pirates at school. They’ll either be racing into their uniform several weeks too early or refusing to go without a cutlass.

My Stinky New School by Rebecca Elliott, Lion Children’s Books, hardback, £9.99. For more information visit the publisher’s website.

WIN!

I’m giving away a copy of My Stinky New School. To enter please scroll down and leave a comment telling me who you’d most like to meet – dead or alive, famous or infamous – who would it be?

The closing date for entries is noon on August 18th, 2015. Entries from the UK only. Only one entry per person. The winner will be chosen completely at random.

Disclosure: A big thanks to the publishers for giving me the opportunity to review the book and give away a copy.

Little Waitrose at John Lewis Watford – win £150 of vouchers

John Lewis Watford

There are few shops that I can say hold memories for me. (Or at least pleasant ones – my mum will remember the unfortunate incident in Cresta Cards that cleared the shop.) As a child I remember wandering around the John Lewis (or Trewins as it was in Watford in those days) haberdashery department marveling at the rainbow walls of cotton reels. John Lewis was where my big brother had his first grown-up job. I shopped for my wedding list there and then three years later was back buying for my first baby and wondering who could afford a Silver Cross pram. I shall resist any mention of the Royal Baby … And, of course, there was many a time I got my boobs out in the baby department.

For both old-timers like me and the yet-to-be-converted, the great news is that the John Lewis store at Intu Watford (formerly the Harlequin Centre) has just got even better. Not only are there 4 glorious floors of whatever you fancy to peruse – you can now tickle your taste buds at the same time because John Lewis’ tastiest family member, Little Waitrose, has moved in with its big brother. 5,500 square feet of John Lewis has been converted into the new Little Waitrose space giving you the chance to shop for your favourites whilst enjoying everything John Lewis has to offer.

Convenience is all. Little Waitrose is the ideal place to choose something for dinner, pick up a snack or top up your regular food shop. Alongside fruit, vegetables and deli products you can find fresh meat and fish counters and a bakery. Get some flowers if you need to say sorry to someone. Choose from the wide range of wines and beers if you want to celebrate something. And for the more mundane days when not much is happening and you’ve been neither insulting nor successful, you’ll find store cupboard essentials from washing powder to cereal. Why go anywhere else? Happy days.

To celebrate the arrival of Little Waitrose at John Lewis in Watford I’m giving you the chance to win a fabulous £150 worth of John Lewis vouchers (which can be spent in any John Lewis, Waitrose and Little Waitrose or online). For your chance to win please see below. Good luck and happy shopping and eating – both at the same time, marvellous!

TO ENTER
To enter please scroll down and leave a comment telling me how you’d spend the vouchers. Of course, if you don’t want to tell me and just want to say “hello” that’s fine – I’m just being a nosey-bones. Either way, you’ll be entered to win.

THE RULES
Entries from the UK only. Just one entry per person. No entries accepted after 5pm (GMT) on August 31st, 2013. The winner will be chosen completely at random and will be announced here on September 1st as well as contacted individually. If the winner doesn’t respond within 5 days then an alternative winner will be chosen.

Disclosure: A big thanks to the John Lewis Partnership for giving me the opportunity to offer these vouchers.