Sunday, 21 October 2018

YOUR FRIENDSHIP STORIES...

We asked you to tell us about your very best friend(s)... and we loved hearing about the different friendship styles you had to share!


Julia says:
Sana and I first met in Year Three in school. We were in the school choir but I tripped and fell over, so Sana went on the floor and lay down with me to cheer me up so I didn't feel so bad. She wasn’t in my class during Year Three so I didn’t really know her much but as the end of the year came up, we got mixed up for Year Four and she happened to be chosen to go to my class - that is how our friendship started. We then went to Spain together with the class and we shared a room! We had our ups and downs then but we really enjoyed it! When we moved to Year Five, we were so happy because we were on the same table! We were a bit too chatty since we were such good friends and our teacher had to move our seats but it was OK because we were still able to meet up and plan pranks on other people (they were nice pranks not mean ones!) and play together. We are now in Year Six and still happy together as friends after three years of friendship!

Lana says:
I have two best friends, Wictoria and Ruby. I met Wictoria in Year Five and Ruby in Year Seven, and now in Year Nine we are still best friends. They say three is a difficult number for a friendship but we are not jealous and allow each other the freedom to have other friends, and we trust each other. We always get together out of school, just the three of us, whenever we can. I think we know that we have a strong, special friendship and we'd stick up for each other against all the odds. I hope these two will always be my friends, I can't imagine being without them.

Sophie says:
I had a best friend in primary school but we have drifted a bit in secondary, and I don't feel as though I have a 'best friend' now. You might think that's sad but I don't mind, I have friends in most of my classes and there is always someone to sit with or talk to. I value these friendships but I hope that one day I will have a best friend again, someone who understands you better than you do yourself, but until then I am happy with a big group of mates.

Lauren says:
I am part of a group of four friends at school, and they are brilliant, but my best friend is actually  my sister Jayde, who is a year older than me. We do fall out sometimes and get on each others nerves but but most of the time we are really close and always have been. I know my sister will always be there for me no matter what and that she is one friend I will have forever. We have been through so much together and we know each other so well, it goes beyond any other friendship.

Cathy says:
Aww... such cool stories! Do YOU have a best friend who means the world to you? COMMENT BELOW to give them a shout-out!

Friday, 19 October 2018

'IT WAS THE BEST!'

More lovely readers share their reviews of SAMI'S SILVER LINING... aww! 

Deborah says:
There's something about CC books - they are just effortlessly amazing. Not only is this story an eye opener to the hardships that refugees face, emotionally as well as physically, but it also is a reminder that the little things in the world add up to true beauties. Sami shines in this story, from his culture to his influence on the band and I see him in an entirely new perspective in this series now. Anyone and everyone must read this book. That's an order!

Rachel says:
I just finished reading SAMI'S SILVER LINING - it was the best!! It was so heart-warming and although it made me aware of some of the horrible things going on in the world I am so glad this book is out there spreading awareness. I was at the Edinburgh book festival and found Cathy's talk very informative as I myself love writing and CC books are my inspiration. I once met CC at Newarthill library in 2017! I would give this book - well, all CC books - 5 stars or 10/10!

Hannah says:
I think that Sami's journey from war conflicted Syria to the safety in the UK is very emotional. When he arrives, he has a new home, new friends, relatives that support him... and a band that he joins in with. When I read this book, I couldn't help but think about the refugee crisis and I'm grateful that this book helps to raise funds for the refugee charities that help them. I am planning to do something to help them too, maybe  a sponsored event for Save The Children.

Beatrice says:
Recently, I have read SAMI'S SILVER LINING and have loved every second of it. I was so captivated by it. I admired how Sami was the main character of it and how the book might change the way people think about refugees. I am hoping to enter the photo competition soon and I have been telling my best friend about CC books, so she is going to start reading them. I have also read LOVE FROM LEXIE and BROKEN HEART CLUB.

Orla says:
I have just read the book SAMI'S SILVER LINING and I loved it. I found the last few pages heartwarming (I won't say what happens, because **spoilers** but it's amazing!). The first few pages were really sad as you start to understand what Sami has been through, but I LOVED this book and I can't wait to read LOVE FROM LEXIE. (It's the first one in the series, so I'm reading them the wrong way round, but it doesn't matter, I am just SO glad I have found this series!)

Cathy says:
It means so much that readers have given such wonderful reviews for SAMI... little things like this help a writer to keep going! Do YOU have a fave CC book? Tell me in a COMMENT BELOW and send in a review and a pic... it might just appear on DREAMCATCHER!

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

NOLA: I THINK MY DAD IS HAVING AN AFFAIR

A very tricky problem from reader NOLA... let's see what COCO TANBERRY has to say!

NOLA SAYS:
So I think my dad is having an affair. He spends so much time on his phone and the worst part is, my mum has a chronic illness called ME so doesn’t have the energy to notice a lot of the time. How else could you explain why he’s on his phone all the time? He evades my questions about it and says it’s none of my business. Sometimes I hate my life.

SUMMER SAYS:
I understand why you are worried - I remember when my own dad was having an affair - or several affairs, I suppose, over the years - and it was horrible. There were lots of arguments and stony silences and he was away a lot, and when my parents eventually broke up it was actually almost a relief, although I suppose I'm not supposed to say that. The point is, I DO remember how stressful the not knowing part was. So yes, the mysterious phone calls may be a sign that something bad is going on - or perhaps just a sign that your dad is stressed and worried and out of his depth and needs someone to talk to? When someone in the family has a chronic illness, things can become difficult and stressful. I say that because I saw how my family struggled when I was ill. Plus, we are all reliant on our phones more than ever now - perhaps your dad is using his phone to juggle work or research ME or chat to other people with a partner going through the same illness?

OK, so how do you find out what's happening? Talk to him again and let him see that you need answers... that unless you know the truth, you will jump to the very worst conclusions. Hopefully, if he sees how scared you are, he will be honest and reassuring, and no matter what the truth is, it's better to know than to imagine the worst. If your dad still won't talk to you, speak to your mum - she may be ill, but I guarantee she still cares very much about you and will find the time to talk and set your mind at rest. If neither option seems possible, talk to a trusted relative who can get to the bottom of this for you.

I know that life seems very bleak for you right now, and I think you probably need some extra support at school - talk to a trusted teacher or school counsellor so that you have a safe place to unload all these worries. Bottling up the fears and anxieties is never a solution - trust me, I know. I hope you get some answers - and good luck.

CATHY SAYS:
Summer's advice is good - what Nola needs is to talk honestly to her parents and find out what's really happening. Do YOU have any extra advice for her? COMMENT BELOW to add your thoughts!

Sunday, 7 October 2018

YOUR STARS FOR OCTOBER

With her head in the stars, Skye Tanberry predicts the shape of things to come this October! 


LIBRA: Sept 22 - Oct 22
You’re often prone to making promises you can’t keep… you are easily distracted and often let your imagination run away with you. While imagination is important, so is setting yourself realistic goals. Think small, and build on it slowly.

SCORPIO: Oct 23 - Nov 21
There is a surprise waiting around the corner so try to approach new things in your life with an open mind. Accepting change is a fine way to free your mind from stress and anxiety. Something you may not usually have been open to before now will change your life for the better.

SAGITTARIUS: Nov 22 - Dec 21
The weather is getting colder and curling up inside with a hot chocolate has never been more inviting, but don’t forget the beauty of an autumn walk, feet crunching on fallen, orange leaves. Staying indoors can leave you feeling stagnant, whereas getting out and about can freshen your creativity.

CAPRICORN: Dec 22 - Jan 19
Don't forget how valuable time with yourself can be. There's lots going on in your life right now and lots of people are trying to guide you but don’t forget to tap into your own needs. Only you know what’s best for you.

AQUARIUS: Jan 20 - Feb 18
You seem very caught up in what others think of you this month. For some reason you have been in the spot light recently. It’s ok to socially hibernate for a while. If a plan isn't working, letting go of it may be just the kind of freedom you need.

PISCES: Feb 19 - Mar 20
You’ve always been a harbourer of other peoples secrets, and people trust you but you can’t seem to open up in return. You keep things bottled up and it takes its toll. Even if you can open up to one other person, it will be a huge weight off your shoulders.

ARIES: Mar 21 - Apr 20
You are getting a lot of attention this month from admirers and enemies alike. Be flattered by your admirers, they are harmless. Your enemies may be stirring up some negative emotions in you but try to remain strong and calm. You are bigger than them.

TAURUS: Apr 21 - May 20
You have been a bit all over the place recently, emotions flying up and down, a whirlwind of action and not much time to process. Use this month to bring it all back home and channel your energy into the present moment. This will help improve your mood.

GEMINI: May 21 - Jun 20
After a hectic few months, things are finally starting to settle back into their original routine. This will clear your head a little and allow you to strategically think out your next move. Next step: world domination!

CANCER: Jun 21 - Jul 21
You are feeling more passionate and emotional this month, a festive atmosphere will bring you closer to your loved ones in an intimate and lighthearted way. Take this time to be there for the ones you love, the rewards for this are endless.

LEO: Jul 22 - Aug 21
You may unintentionally be the cause of an argument among those around you, putting you in a very tricky position. Tread carefully and consider everyone’s feelings before you make any rash decisions.

VIRGO: Aug 22 - Sept 21
You are naturally quite shy around new people, but this month may bring quite a lot of new faces. First impressions count for a lot, so try to approach people with confidence and a dazzling smile. You’ll be the belle of the ball and the envy of all.

Cathy says:
WOWEE! Lots in store this month! Do Skye's predictions ring true for YOU this month? COMMENT BELOW to let us know!

Monday, 1 October 2018

TEN THINGS TO DO IN OCTOBER!

We're back with a list of ten cool things to do in October... how many will you be able to tick off YOUR list?

1: Look for fallen leaves and make a list of all the different colours you see! And don't forget that if you catch one, you get to make a wish!

2: Pick some wild blackberries and make a pie or crumble... or just eat them fresh with cream! Will you eat more than you gather?

3: Get together with a friend and try out some cool Hallowe'en facepaint ideas! Check out CHOCOLATE BOX SECRETS for lots of good ideas and inspirations, plus some cool costume ideas!

4: Pick some autumn branches with berries, hips and red-gold foliage! A surprise bouquet for your mum, maybe?

5: Go old-school and have a game of conkers with a little brother or sister!

6: Make toffee apples... and then eat toffee apples... yum!

7: Get in the mood for Hallowe'en with a horror movie sleepover.... WAAAAH!!!!!

8: Carve a pumpkin... but try something different from the usual Jack o' Lantern design. See how creative and imaginative you can be!

9: Exchange ghost stories with your friends... or get creative and write a fictional one!

10: Re-read MARSHMALLOW SKYE and re-live Hallowe'en - Tanglewood style!

Cathy says:
I think I'll be trying some of these... especially the blackberries and toffee apple ideas! What will YOU be up to this October? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Friday, 28 September 2018

WHEN IS A FRIEND NOT A FRIEND?

Reader KRISTINA shares some tips on how to recognise when your friend isn't really being a friend..

Kristina says:
I've been asked to write a little more about friendship, and I thought I'd explore what happens when a friendship goes wrong and for one reason or another you find yourself in a relationship that just isn't healthy. The question is, how do you recognise this? Here are some of the warning signs!

The friendship feels uneven - you're doing all the work, she's just along for the ride.
She tries to put you down, even in front of others
When you succeed at something, she doesn't share your happiness; she seems dismissive or even jealous
She takes advantage of you
She's really hard work - you run around in circles trying to keep her happy
She demolishes your character and says she's just being honest and is only trying to help
She can't keep a secret
She makes you feel like second best - or worse
She tries to conrol everything you say, do, wear, think
She only wants to hang out with you when she's got nothing better to do
She lets you do all the running
She's too full-on and demanding - you feel smothered
You couldn't turn to her in a crisis
You notice she's quite spiteful about others, even those who are supposed to be friends
You can't trust her
You dread her texts, messages and calls
You tread on eggshells when you see her - everything seems stressful
You feel flat and tired after seeing her

Sometimes, a friendship can go through a bad patch, but if you know things aren't fixable, it may be time to step back from a toxic friend. This happened to me when I was thirteen, and in a friendship with someone who made me feel really bad. I out up with it for longer than I should have because I was scared of being lonely, but actually once I made the break I felt a million times better and made new friends quite qucikly... it turned out my classmates had kept their distance because they were wary of her!

Be your own friend and don't put up with a toxic friendship... you really do deserve better.

Cathy says:
Great advice from Kristina! Have YOU ever found yourself tangled up in a toxic friendship? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more!

Monday, 24 September 2018

YOUR STARS FOR SEPTEMBER

With the shifting of seasons, we all need a little guidance from the stars. Skye predicts once more, your future! 

LIBRA: Sept 22 - Oct 22
Let yourself dream freely, it will inspire a creative new project. Have you ever tried keeping a dream journal? Often the best ideas come at night, just before sleep, so keep a notebook to hand so you don’t forget!

SCORPIO: Oct 23 - Nov 21
Be there for someone you love, they may need it more than ever this month. Rewards come in all different shapes and sizes, the cycle of karma works its own magic in its own time. With this in mind, never neglect your own needs and happiness.

SAGITTARIUS: Nov 22 - Dec 21
You will reconnect with an old friend this month, they may come bearing big news! Interest in a new hobby will enable you to explore this friendship more comfortably than ever before.

CAPRICORN: Dec 22 - Jan 19
A flash of inspiration will come from an unexpected place this month, something to ignite your creative fires and help you overcome an obstacle in your life. Channel it and sit back and watch the magic happen!

AQUARIUS: Jan 20 - Feb 18
Ever had a spinach and kale smoothie? No, me neither. Being healthy doesn’t always mean sacrificing tasty food. Exercise is a great way to feel healthier and happier! Walking instead of getting the bus is an easy way to feel better. Mentally and physically.

PISCES: Feb 19 - Mar 20
It’s officially autumn. Time to get your slouchy cardis and fair isle jumpers out! While there are a lot of changes happening, make sure you make time to curl up with a good book and relax. Switch-off time is so important for your mental well-being.

ARIES: Mar 21 - Apr 20
Be impulsive, go out of your comfort zone. It will pay off in unexpected ways and things you might never have dreamed of doing will become some of your biggest achievements. This month in particular will be full of opportunities!

TAURUS: Apr 21 - May 20
You like being in control of your actions but try and cut loose and let your mind wander. Sometimes the magic happens when you let go a bit. Be bold and confident but don’t be upset if your efforts don’t pay off all at once.

GEMINI: May 21 - Jun 20
This is a month of new experiences. A lot of changes are taking place and not just with the shift of seasons. Embrace these changes, the good and bad, the scary and familiar. This month in particular will shape a new path in your life.

CANCER: Jun 21 - Jul 21
Nature is your first love, these autumnal colours bring not only joy but a breath of fresh air. Like an imaginary reset button, this is a month to start afresh. Go for a walk, feel the crunchy leaves beneath your shoes. Breathe.

LEO: Jul 22 - Aug 21
You are full of energy this month but it is erratic and comes in waves. Make sure you use it wisely. Take care not to hurt others around you. A friend in need may come to you, be kind and selfless.

VIRGO: Aug 22 - Sept 21
A bit of confidence in your own abilities will pay off this month. You are usually very humble and shy, but try it out for size! It feels good to be sure of yourself and you can achieve anything with the right amount of confidence.

Cathy says:
WOWEE! Lots in store for the weeks ahead! Do Skye's predictions ring true for YOU this month? COMMENT BELOW to let us know!

Friday, 21 September 2018

SEPTEMBER BOOK PICK - THE HATE U GIVE BY ANGIE THOMAS

Reader and blogger Coco&chats tells us about an amazing YA novel that you'll never forget...

Coco&chats says:
I love nothing more than getting lost in a book.... sitting absolutely anywhere and just getting so engrossed in a story. I have been really busy this year with school so this summer I planned to catch up on all the books on my to- read list. I thought it would take a while to find a really good book but I was wrong. I picked up this book from the library as it was part of this year's Carnegie Award and I knew from the first page that it was going to be amazing. It is THE HATE U GIVE  by Angie Thomas. I don't know what it is about this book that grips me - it's just written in such a unique way.

The story follows sixteen-year-old Starr Carter as she moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangster. Protesters take to the streets in Khalil's name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

What Starr does or does not say could upend her community and endanger her life. I think this book is amazing because it tackles real world issues. I think Angie is an amazing writer and I really felt a connection with down-to-earth Starr, being a teenager like her. In summary I would say this book is a gripping, interesting, must-read book. It kept me hooked and I loved every bit of the storyline. I can't wait to read more of Angie's books!

CATHY SAYS:
Thank you Cocoa&chats! Like you, I absolutely LOVED this book... it was moving, powerful and genuinely eye-opening. I think that Angie Thomas is a huge new talent. What's the best book YOU have read this year? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Friday, 7 September 2018

GABRIEL: MY SUMMER VOLUNTEERING IN GHANA!


Student Gabriel wanted to make her summer count - so she embarked on an adventure volunteering with other young people to build accommodation in a small village in Ghana!
This summer I decided to spend five weeks volunteering in Ghana with Lasallian Developing World Projects. The opportunity to become involved came when one of the charity's organisers came into school for interviews. I decided that such an experience would be so special - I could not waste the opportunity! I wanted to do something to help counter the poverty and inequality so prevalent in the world today. Of course, I could only make a little difference, but it made me realise that if everyone put in a small effort, big changes could be brought about.


The thought of venturing off to West Africa with eleven other students I didn’t yet know absolutely terrified me, but after a lot of thinking and talking to others, I decided to jump headfirst into this crazy adventure. To go on the expedition, I had to raise £1,600 (very good value, I reckon!). Raising the money was much less painful than I thought it would be. I wrote letters to many relatives and family friends who send generous donations. I also held two cake sales in school which was easy and enjoyable! My main fundraiser was a meal I held in a hired venue: about thirty people came and I made a good profit from that to achieve my target.
When I first arrived in Ghana, I felt very homesick, which was unsurprising given my introverted nature. But with the support of my group, I began to settle in and enjoy Africa. We were based in the village of Kaleo, near Wa, in the Savannah region, and our task was to help build accommodation for nuns, who were soon to be teaching in the school next door. Working in the heat every day was tough, but with good music and great company it was also fun! We made mortar, plastered door frames and formed water chains for the local builders.
I gained a huge sense of independence during my time in Ghana: walking into the town on my own to buy provisions; being cautious of health worries such as malaria; and cooking for ten people! It benefitted me personally in so many ways, whilst giving me the rewarding knowledge that I was helping a less privileged community. The local people we met were all so welcoming and friendly, making us feel at home all the time, and we made many friends from whom it was so difficult and sad to part!
Being in Ghana for five weeks certainly changed me and made me discover more about myself. I threw myself in far beyond my comfort zone, which showed me how strong and confident I could actually be. My eyes are much more open to the diversity which exists in the world. Being in Ghana also made me realise the importance of human connection: friendship is a huge part of the community in which we were staying.
I would highly recommend getting involved in a summer expedition such as this; it is rewarding and memorable, and has changed my outlook on life.

You can find out more about the organisers of this project here: http://www.delasalle.org.uk/ldwp/4586745771

Cathy says:
Wow... what an amazing experience! Those five weeks in Ghana must have been a challenge, but how  satisfying to know you've contributed something genuinely worthwhile! Do YOU ever dream of volunteering to help others? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more!

Monday, 3 September 2018

WHAT'S THE BEST THING ABOUT SUMMER?

We asked YOU what your fave thing about summer is? Here's what YOU said!

Julie says:
 Simply the sun!

Ro says:
Everything slows down... time to read, rest, plan adventures!

Zara says:
This summer it's all about sunshine... I'm loving the heatwave, it feels like we haven't had a proper hot summer for so long. I think I am designed to live in a hot climate! Long may it last!

Katie says:
The best thing about summer is the release of new Cathy Cassidy books!!! *hugs Sami’s Silver Lining to my chest*

Sharon says:
The glistening of the sun on my face followed by rain drops cooling my skin.

Lindy says:
Longer days...

Priya says:
Travelling to see old friends and faraway family... and days spent doing fun, cool, unusual stuff. Holiday time is the best!

Helen says:
Reading in the sun!

Bev says:
Time to inhale whole books without pesky work getting in the way 🤣

Sophie says: 
The Edinburgh Book Festival! 😀

Sade says:
Having an excuse to drink fruity cocktails with ice!

Olivia says:
The best thing about summer is having tons of free time to read and relax...

Jodie says:
School holidays... otherwise known as FREEDOM!

Caitlin says:
Relaxing win the sun and bbqs with the family!

CATHY SAYS:
My fave summer things are festivals, friends and sunshine... and this summer has been packed with all three! What is YOUR favourite thing about summer? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

ROMESSA: DATE NIGHT WITH YOURSELF

Reader Romessa reminds us how important it is to leave time for yourself and that being by yourself is ok!

Romessa says:
I will let you into a little secret... date days or date nights with yourself  are basically days where you show yourself love and you appreciate yourself even if you feel like you can’t or that you don’t deserve to.

Let me tell you - and please believe me - you deserve lots of love and care. The whole idea of date days or nights for yourself is to let yourself heal from whatever you’re going through or it may be to help you feel better from those rough days. It will enable you to look at yourself and see that you do deserve more love, much more love than you are currently giving yourself. 

It is also up to you how many days or nights you set aside, I usually have one every Friday where I watch movies and just do things I enjoy like reading! Also Sundays are my date days where I will read, have a long bath and just eat lots of tasty food. Once or twice a month I will visit a coffee shop by myself. They make me so happy and I just sit there for a while with a nice book and switch off from the world around me. I love this time alone as it makes me feel happy and I realise that I do deserve to be alive and I do deserve these things. 

Dates by myself started when I started losing people, losing friends, losing people close to me... I got to a point where I wanted someone to just chill with or speak to. That was when I realised you need to enjoy your own company first before expecting anyone else to. Don’t get me wrong I love being around people and love going out with people and enjoy time with others but sometimes I need the time to revaluate what is going on in my personal life and just look after myself.

You may be in a relationship or seeing somebody and sometimes things get difficult and you need a time out.  It's ok. Go pamper yourself, get a coffee, eat junk food, sleep extra, go for a run, go for a walk, spend time with family (this is not by yourself but still healthy), binge watch a series, get to know yourself. 

Personally, I think spending some time away from others and by yourself will make you feel less stressed and will show you that no matter what goes on you still have yourself.

Cathy says:
What a fab idea! Introvert or extrovert, we all need time to ourselves and a lot of us tend to forget that. I love going on solo coffee dates, with a good book or to catch up on my emails. How do YOU like to treat yourself? Is it something you could be doing more? Let us know in the COMMENTS SECTION below...

YOUR FRIENDSHIP STORIES...

We asked you to tell us about your very best friend(s)... and we loved hearing about the different friendship styles you had to share! ...