Taking photos on a woodland walk

We are working on our next book set on an adventure in the woods at the moment. It’s a challenge given the little “free” time we have after work and family…and twitter of course!

We found a stunning ancient woodland the other day and took some snaps while out with the children. We’d already got together photos of a wood from previous adventures out, but many of the images were too dark and grainy. I guess I could have used a tripod and a decent camera, but part of the magic of writing these books is capturing family days out. It’s more about the composition and a feeling than taking an award winning photo. In any case these new snaps are looking great but I must have got a bit carried away as I now have to trawl through 150!

Fossil Hunting on Yaverland Beach

Spent a sunny down on Yaverland beach, in Isle of Wight with the kids fossil hunting, but mostly playing on the beach. We found fossilied wood with iron pyrite inside but no dinosaurs today. We don’t really know what we’re looking for at the moment as I’m not too hot on geology, but I’m picking it up. right now I could have easily found a dinosaur bone and not realised it judging from these photos of finds on the uk fossils network website.We try not to do too much damage, simply hunting for rocks on the foreshore rather than breaking huge chunks off the cliff as many people seem to do. Still, a fun challenge for family and children, but do some homework before so you know where to look and what to even look for!

Pity the day was spoilt slightly by a nuisance that seems to plague every beach, street, footpath and stretch of grass in the uk – dog poo! With all the dog owners not clearing up their foul lumps, in a few million years from now, people will find fossilised poo as common as…well muck. To be fair I did see several dog walkers with little bags of the stinking stuff, so shame on you others – how would you like it if I let my children do the same? Sermon over.

The amazing discounting machine does it again!

For some inexplicable reason amazon.co.uk has decided to reduce our book again for the second time in  a few weeks to the incredible price of £6.10! Giving you a huge saving of £1.89 off the full £7.99 retail price. We’re not complaining as we still get the same cut – it just means you all get a better bargain, so thanks amazon!

There’s also a reduction on the US version on amazon.com down 15% to $10.71.

If anybody can explain how amazon.co.uk decide to discount then we’d love to hear. Must be some complex algorithm I assume, but I cannot work out whether it’s to do with recent sales or visits to the page or reviews? Answers on a tweet please.

Bedtime reading – 70s gems and other classics…

I didn’t fall asleep tonight while reading to my daughter, but I yawned loads.  It really is catching, and she did fall asleep eventually after reading the following picture book selection, which includes several old 70s gems…

Dinosaurs and all that rubbish by Michael Foreman – a classic Puffin book published in 1972 about dinosaurs who come to life to teach a selfish man a lesson about looking after the planet.

The Magic Wallpaper by Frank Francis – published in 1970. Animals in a boy’s wallpaper come to life.

Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins – an absolute classic. A lesson in, show don’t tell.

Monster! by Angela McAllister and Charlotte Middleton. Very, very funny. No jokes as such, but a great switch in the middle that always made my little boy laugh when he got what was going on. My daughter also loved it, but I’m not sure she really gets it yet. Brilliant.

Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy by Lynley Dodd. Rhyming doggy antics.

Mrs Pirate by Nick Sharratt. Simple, but fun.

Family Easter Fun – Building sandcastles on Ventnor beach IOW

Today was glorious. Spent some of the day on Ventnor beach IOW with family and children. Kids buried my feet in the sand and pretended my toes were worms making earthquakes under the sand. My daughter got carried away and almost pulled my big toe off – ouch! I help the kids build a sandcastle and watched other competitive dad’s build ever bigger, stronger, firmer sandcastles. Ours was more of a ruined English Heritage castle and then it got completely levelled when my youngest stamped on it. Was almost hit twice by a frisbee, but a Minghella ice cream while we watched the waves made a perfect day.

Family Easter Fun – Tree and Log Balancing

Over the Easter weekend the children and I found some felled trees on the edge of a wood, which made a fantastic “natural” playground for the children to climb, crawl and jump on. Before too long I was up and balancing on the logs with them. We played a game of making our way along without touching the ground, only using the tree trunks and branches. The children were entertained for almost 2 hours! They usually get bored in a playground fairly quickly. They reported back that they liked the “way they are all different”, the “challenge”, and especially when some of the smaller cut trees moved they loved the added “danger and excitement!” So what are you waiting for? Go find some fallen trees to balance on…but, please don’t cut any down though 🙂 If you are in town then garden walls make a good challenge…enjoy!

Bucket of Treasures down to £6.99 on amazon.co.uk – bargain!

It’s beachtime weather this easter holiday so grab yourselves a copy of Jack & Boo’s Bucket of Treasures now down to £6.99 at Amazon.co.uk – making a grand saving of £1.00 of your earth pennies. Bargain! 3 in stock at moment, so you’ll get a quick delivery. We are print on demand (POD) so if you order you will always get a book, even if Amazon says out of stock – it’ll just take about 10 days, maybe sooner. Thanks.

Books I’ve fallen alseep to while trying to get my children to go to sleep…

We’ve all done it. Admit it.

Fighting to keep your eyes open, slurring your words, reading whole sentences that aren’t there, dribbling. Of course, I’m describing a common condition that affects parents of young children – falling asleep while reading to them!

It gets you on repetition – reading a book for the millionth time. Or on quantity – reading more than 3 books. Sometimes both. Laying down reading is the deadliest as the book can drop out of your hands and, if the corner is pointing down, you can get a nasty eye injury if you’re unlucky. Further injuries can often be received from you child prodding/poking/slapping/punching you awake.

In celebration of this phenomenon, I’m going to post the children’s books I’ve fallen asleep to while trying to get my children asleep. It in no way reflects how interesting or otherwise the book is, nor is meant to be derogatory to the author/illustrator. In fact I’ve fallen asleep to some much-loved classics.

Tonight’s sleepy selection includes:

Alice in Wonderland (Disney Ladybird edition)

The Little Apple Tree

The Story of Slug

Cockatoos