Tag Archives: author

Here’s a List of Things You Can Buy for 99 Cents

Do you have 99¢ to spare? Then let me help you spend it. Take your pick from one of the following:

  • Three quarters of a small serving of McDonald’s fries.
  • A manicure for one of your fingers at a cheap backstreet salon.
  • 9 minutes viewing of an average length movie in an average priced Manhattan movie theatre (yes, I did the math).
  • Anything from the 99¢ store.
  • A book comprising a collection of science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal short stories to intrigue, surprise and entertain you. WHAATT?! NO WAY! Yes way! Only 99¢. Courtesy of author C.S. Boyack, who you might recall helped me make bread rolls a while back.

The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack. Don’t you just love that title? And don’t you just love the cover? Designed by Rachel Carrera.

Experimental notebook cover

I had the pleasure of reading an advance copy of this book and really enjoyed the range of stories. Some of the comments I gave Craig were:

“This story is deliciously macabre!”

“Ha! Good unexpected twist!”

“I’ve never seen something like that before, I think it works really well.”

“I could imagine this as part of a full novel that I would want to read.”

“This story really carried me along, eager to find out where it was going to go!”

Tempted? Then why not pop along to Amazon, and order your copy now? (UK residents go here to buy). Unless of course you’d rather have three quarters of a small serving of McDonald’s fries, but quite frankly they’re cold now, whereas Craig’s book is hot off the press!

If you want a bit more of Craig, and why wouldn’t you? Here are his links…

Blog: http://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com
Novels: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00ILXBXUY
Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/Virgilante
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9841203.C_S_Boyack


Waffling With Mike

Mike 3-D

Today the fabulous author, Mike Allegra, has invited me over to his place to stuff my face with waffles and have a little chat with him. Do come on over and chat with us!

I’ve closed out comments here so that you’re not faced with the dilemma of where to comment – Here? There? Both? (Psst, the answer is ‘there’). See you over there…

Guest Post: Author, Nicola Baird

Nicola Baird with dogHomemade Kids front cover

This week I am delighted to welcome my first guest poster: Author, Nicola Baird, who is going to share with us some ideas for getting the most out of the school summer holidays. Nicola is a writer with two daughters (11 and 14 years), three hens and a dog. She lives in London where she blogs about low-carbon family UK travel http://aroundbritainnoplane.blogspot.com and thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children, http://homemadekids.wordpress.com. Nicola has written seven books, see her Amazon page here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B001K7R1UY and her website here: http://www.nicolabaird.com/

Over to you Nicola…

5 ideas for getting the most out of the summer holidays

When the school term ends everyone in my house takes a turn suggesting about 10 things they’d like to do during the holiday. Lists may include big wishes like going to see a show, eating ice cream every day or getting a new-to-you outfit (i.e, in a secondhand shop or from Ebay). By the time there are 40+ ideas it offers loads of choice about what might be fun to plan, or do “spontaneously” on a free day when the sun’s out (or rain’s coming down!).  We pin this list on to the fridge, knowing our youngest will keep reminding us if something still needs tackling.

Holiday activity list

We try to adapt the ideas to fit into the thrifty and eco-friendly way we try to live our life (mostly one long staycation), so no mini-breaks which need an aeroplane get added. With imagination these travel restrictions are no problem at all, see my family travel blog at http://aroundbritainnoplane.blogspot.com

Generally this family wish list can be bundled into categories –
•    Have fun
•    Learn/practice a skill
•    Stuff with animals
•    Trips
•    Time with friends/granny

Chores (eg, gardening, jam/chutney making, mending/sewing and cooking) don’t make it on to the list but I try to work improved life skills into daily acitivites without us really noticing.

Here are some ideas about how this summer you too could turn a family wish list into inexpensive, memorable treats or a full-day extravaganza – which don’t break the bank or damage the planet.

My guess is that climate change is going to have a big impact on my children’s adult lives. That’s why I’d love them to have a heap of survival skills, and ideally the ability to be generous too. To build up these skills, see if during the summer you can use the garden/balcony for a night sleeping under the stars. Try it in a hammock (can you borrow from a neighbour/friend?).
£-saving tip: Start or join a neighbourhood e-newsletter so you can get to know your neighbours and local area even better. This also makes it much easier to lend/borrow equipment that you might only want to use occasionally.
Eco-friendly skills learnt: Weather nouse, plus cooking and sleeping outside.

See more Shakespeare – this was on my list (as a nod to the 2012 http://www.worldshakespearefestival.org.uk/). Lots of Edwardian and old-fashioned children’s stories include shows at home (e.g, Christmas with the Savages). If you can act out some of the best scenes or start using dramatic phrases around the house before you go it makes the play much more memorable. Here’s a full list of your nearest Shakespeare this summer: http://www.touchstone.bham.ac.uk/performance/shakespeare%20productions.html
£-saving tip: Joining The Globe, in London, being a family member lets you book tickets early (important if the talented Mark Rylance is in the cast) and also allows you to go free around the Shakespeare Exhibition – a wonderful exhibition and a great way to be a histronaut (explorer of past times).
Eco-friendly skills learnt: Worst case scenario, it’s time away from Facebook and gives a GCSE leg-up. DIY entertainment is a big part of green-living – could this fire up your kids’ imaginative play? Theatre is also something to look forward to, important in an age of instant gratification.

Animal training seems to be a new craze – from dancing dogs (Pudsey on Britain’s Got Talent) to rehoming hens. It’s also a great way for children to learn bravery and responsibility. Improve your child’s animal know-how by visiting friends with pets, talking to dog walkers, playing “spot the dog” with toddlers in the park, offering to pet sit when a neighbour goes on holiday, visiting or volunteering at a city farm (or equivalent country set-up), going to a county show or maybe adding a sheepdog training day or llama trek into the experiences you have during the school holidays.
£-saving tip: Learning to ride (or even to keep a dog in food, vaccinations, worm and flea treatments for a year) is more expensive than you might think. Is there a granny who’d be willing to subsidise lessons/pet-care expenses? This might make a great Christmas present, but would need some explaining now.
Eco-friendly skills learnt: Low-carbon ways to get around (riding) and planning (caring for a pet).

My kids love ice-cream, so where better to eat a cone than by the sea? Our dog loves it too (though many beaches ban dogs from Easter – September). Before you go, find an i-spy seashore guide (in a charity shop), check when it’s high tide and have a go making your own ice-cream (perhaps by borrowing a machine or getting a friend with the equipment to demonstrate).
£-saving tip: Go by train using a Family & Friends railcard. Or set yourself a challenge: could you bike to the beach?
Eco-friendly skills learnt: How far you live from the sea, tides, DIY cooking and learning how to cook a recipe with a friend and possibly bike maintenance.

Could your child make a trip to Granny on their own? Or could they invite Granny to their home and be responsible for all the catering from the first cup of tea to the last spoonful of pudding? Or could they devise a treat grandparents or a favourite relative/godparent might enjoy?
£-saving tip: Not sure there is one, instead spend time making sure your children know all the travel methods they can reach their grandparents/relations (not just in the back of a car). Study maps, look up train times and even cycle routes and see if they can turn it into an adventure?
Eco-friendly skills learnt: Empathy, local knowledge, travel skills.


Thank you very much to Nicola for guest posting today, and sharing her great ideas. Do you have any ideas for low lost, eco-friendly ways to entertain the kids over the summer?