J’s Christmas Reads: GIVEAWAY James and the Birthday Balloon

James and the Birthday Balloon front cover. James with blonde hair and blue t-shirt and Ruby with red hair and a purple top holding big balloons in a garden with a table and a birthday cake and a present in the background. Ruby has a red balloon, James' is blue.

J loves books, but he hates chocolate, so it makes perfect sense to give him a book advent calendar instead. Some of the books I have chosen are ones which we already own, some will be borrowed from the library and some will be new but we will read a new one each day and call them our special Christmas books. Although many of the books will have a Christmas theme, some will just have a nice message or lesson in them that we can talk about with J. I will blog about many of the books between now and Christmas so you have ideas for stories to read to your own children, or ideas for Christmas gifts for them or family and friends. Next in J’s Christmas Reads series, I have chosen the heartwarming, ‘James and the Birthday Balloon’ by Nicola J. Rowley. ‘James and the Birthday Balloon’ is not a Christmas themed book, but it sends beautiful and important messages about being a good friend, being kind and the importance of thinking about others, which is perfect for this time of year.

 

‘James and the Birthday Balloon’ is the second book in a series by author, Nicola J. Rowley about James. With a huge smile that can warm all those around him, James enjoys making other people happy. ‘James and the Birthday Balloon’ introduces us to James’ best friend, Ruby. It is Ruby’s birthday and James goes to her party. They have a fabulous time celebrating with their friends and the balloon man even blows up special balloons for Ruby and James. But then poor Ruby falls and hurts herself and has to go to hospital. She feels scared and lonely. Can James cheer her up and help her to feel better?

 

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J’s Christmas Reads: The Night Before Christmas Mustard’s Christmas Wish

Mustard's Christmas Wish A photo of the front cover of the book. Mustard the sausage dog is walking through deep snow with a satchel around his tummy. Snowflakes are falling from the sky and there is a tree behind him to the left.

J loves books, but he hates chocolate, so it makes perfect sense to give him a book advent calendar instead. Some of the books I have chosen are ones which we already own, some will be borrowed from the library and some will be new but we will read a new one each day and call them our special Christmas books. Although many of the books will have a Christmas theme, some will just have a nice message or lesson in them that we can talk about with J. I will blog about many of the books between now and Christmas so you have ideas for stories to read to your own children, or ideas for Christmas gifts for them or family and friends. To start off J’s Christmas Reads series I have chosen the fabulous, ‘The Night Before Christmas Mustard’s Christmas Wish’ by Sophie Scribble.

 

We welcomed a new addition in to our family at the beginning of the year, Orion the black labrador. It was incredibly tough going, which considering we have owned a puppy before was rather a surprise. For a start, we had not expected to spend two weeks coaxing J off the sofa because he was so afraid of the bouncing, biting, toy eating creature that had invaded his home! Anyway, as a result we still like to reinforce positivity of dogs and books are a great way to do this because they are given human emotions and characteristics that make them even more relatable for children. When I saw that new book, ‘The Night Before Christmas Mustard’s Christmas Wish’ was being published by author Sophie Scribble I thought it would be a great opportunity to encourage some puppy affection.

 

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House Hunting: With a Toddler!

Large detached house

So now that the house has sold and I know what I am looking for we can get out and start looking at potential future houses. House hunting is fun! I am nosey, so looking at someone’s home is interesting for me. I love to see how they have arranged their furniture, what kitchen they have, the layout of their home, how the garden has been designed. It gives me inspiration for the future. However, when you are looking for your own future home it can also be rather stressful and frustrating as you are so keen to find something you like, that matches my mummy criteria and is in budget. Plus this time around I have am house hunting with a toddler in tow!

 

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House Hunting: The Mummy Criteria

When did you last move house? Did you have a house hunting criteria?

 

Moving house is something I have experienced many times in my life. I moved countless times as a child, then as an adult from one uni house to another before upgrading to several rented flats and a house before finally buying my first home. I now live in my second ‘owned’ home and after 5 years we decided to put it on the market.

 

There are parts of moving house that I have always loved – looking at Rightmove to see which properties are available, visiting houses to look in more detail, getting excited about different layouts, new areas to discover, furniture to buy, decorating schemes to create etc. This time, however, things are different… this time I am mummy.
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House Hunting: Selling a House

Large detached house
I have moved house so many times, I partly wonder if I will ever be happy staying in one home for a longer period of time. However, part of me craves for a family home where J can grow up and when he is older a home he can look back on with full of happy memories. I had a family home from the age of 12, but prior to that I moved every couple of years and to be honest I loved it. New bedroom, new friends, new garden. It was something that I enjoyed from a young age and as an adult I have moved many times myself. I get itchy feet and a desire to have a new experience. I always thought the next move would be abroad, but since foreign visas and employment markets are not as they were 15 years ago it seems that this is not a realistic prospect any time soon so a family home here seems like the natural next step. However it means having to deal with selling a house.
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