Monday, 10 December 2018

CHRISTMAS REINDEER COOKIES!

Cake queen Helen has a great recipe for Rudolf cookies - guaranteed to get you into a Christmassy mood!


You will need:
 8oz self raising flour 
4oz caster sugar 
4 oz butter or baking margarine like stork
one egg, beaten
Optional flavouring - ground ginger, vanilla essence, lemon flavouring... whatever you like!
Gingerbread man cookie cutter (turn it upside down and it's a reindeer cookie cutter!)

Method:
- Mix sugar and flour then rub in the butter until it forms a breadcrumb-like texture. 

- Combine dry mixture with the beaten egg 


- At this stage, you could add a flavouring like vanilla, almond or lemon... or even a good pinch of ginger!

- Bring the mixture together to form a dough.

- Chill In fridge for one hour 

- Roll out the dough on a floured board and use a gingerbread man cutter to cut out the cookies.

- Place cookies on a greased baking tray and bake at 175 for  10-15 mins. The cookies should be a nice golden brown... don't let them burn!

- Allow the cookies to cool on a wire rack.


- When cool, turn the gingerbread man shapes upside down - they now look like reindeer faces!

- Decorate using chocolate writing pens or icing pens from any good supermarket, a bit of red 'royal' icing for the nose and edible googly eyes!

- Only one thing left - test out your cookies! Perfect for sharing with family and friends. Mmmm!

Cathy says:
Oooh! These look easy enough even for me to try... this is a perfect pre-Christmas baking project! Do YOU have a favourite festive recipe? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Sunday, 2 December 2018

HONEY'S PERFECT HOT CHOCOLATE

Honey Tanberry shares her recipe for the perfect winter warmer... 

YOU WILL NEED:
  • 1 mug of whole milk (skimmed and soya both work fine, or try oat or cashew or coconut...  but whole milk is my fave)
  • a small, non-stick saucepan
  • 1/2 medium-sized, good quality chocolate bar, roughly grated (I used leftover chocolate from Paddy's workshop)
  • a wooden spoon
  • squirty cream
  • cocoa powder
  • a candy cane, to stir (optional!)
TO MAKE:
1) Pour the milk into the saucepan and place it on a low heat.

2) Add the grated chocolate and stir patiently with the wooden spoon until the milk heats and the chocolate begins to melt. This is the only difficult bit (patient? me?) but you have to watch milk because it heats very quickly and can boil over or even burn. Get an adult to supervise if you're a kitchen klutz!

3) Once small bubbles begin to form on the surface, take the pan off the heat and pour the chocolatey milk into your mug.

4) Top with a squirt of cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder, plus a little grated chocolate and a candy cane to finish.

Serve with a long spoon and a big smile!!

CATHY SAYS:
Honey's recipe makes the perfect, decadent hot chocolate... I have a feeling we'll be needing it this December! Give it a go and COMMENT BELOW to add your fave extras! This and many other cool projects is from CHOCOLATE BOX SECRETS... a perfect addition to any Christmas list!

Saturday, 1 December 2018

YOUR STARS FOR DECEMBER!

Your stars, as read by our own Skye Tanberry, to set you up for a month of Christmas cheer! 

SAGITTARIUS: Nov 22 - Dec 21
The cold winds seem to be blowing, as winter settles. Things may appear a bit drab in the run up to Christmas, but remember there is magic in the wind. As it blows away old ideas, it brings fresh and exciting prospects for you!

CAPRICORN: Dec 22 - Jan 19
Your friends offer opportunity this month - they're in the mood to celebrate, so get out there and check out those Christmas parties!  Balance this with quieter, more meditative moments and you'll sail though the month!

PISCES: Feb 19 - Mar 20
Scattered and stressed? Doesn’t sound like your normal self - you are usually very organised and ‘on it!’ Don’t worry about this too much, it is just your heads way of dealing with some significant changes, and of course Christmas just piles on the stress too. You will come out of it all with a much clearer vision, promise!

ARIES: Mar 21 - Apr 20
You are usually quite an active, sporty person but this month you have gone beyond! Not only with exercise, you have been busy as a bee socialising and making the most of Christmas and New Year celebrations. Remember a bit of quiet ‘me’ time is always healthy too!

TAURUS: Apr 21 - May 20
A new found confidence may come your way, with reinforcements from those around you. Revel in it, you deserve it! It isn’t your abilities that have changed, it is your attitude - and this will ensure you have a festive season to remember!

GEMINI: May 21 - Jun 20
Your artistic side is shining this December - use it to create something beautiful! If you are not usually creative, test out your abilities… pick up a paint brush, sketch your best friend or sing a Christmas song! You could even make some creative prezzies for your pals...

CANCER: Jun 21 - Jul 21
You may not always be the most outgoing person in your friend group, but you are the one who brings people together. Why not organise a Christmas sleepover with your besties and take a moment to celebrate your friendship? Good work!

LEO: Jul 22 - Aug 21
You seem to have your head permanently in a book these days, and rightly so - they are arguably the best learning resource going! However, remember there are those around you who need a little bit of attention too! Christmas may challenge your organisational skills, but the hard work will be worth it.

VIRGO: Aug 22 - Sept 21
Your home life is very important this month, there are a few creases to iron out with certain relations - the run up to Christmas can be a notoriously stressy time! A bit of time and TLC will do the trick... try having a Christmas movie night, or baking a cake to cheer everyone up!

LIBRA: Sept 22 - Oct 22
Fed up with all the Christmas madness? Time to set aside material objects and get back to nature. The crisp winter air has settled and the winter sun shines kindly on your face! Take a stroll in the park or the countryside, either solo or with a choice friend or relation!

SCORPIO: Oct 23 - Nov 21
Winter is sometimes a time where people can get stuck into negativity - defy this and focus on happy thoughts! Christmas is around the corner, which means family, fun and fabulous food! Your headspace is sacred, so pay it some overdue attention.

Cathy says:
Lots in store for you this festive season! Do Skye's predictions ring true for YOU? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Thursday, 29 November 2018

BOOK REVIEW: DIZZY

Readers Kelsie, Ava, Ellie, Milly and Emily share their personal review of CC book DIZZY and how it helped to form their friendship! 

Kelsie, Ava, Ellie, Milly & Emily say:
So... we actually met in a library over this book! We’d all heard of the book and then Ava was reading it in the school library at lunchtime. Emily met with her and instantly sparked a conversation about the book. She introduced the rest of us to Ava and we gradually formed the great friendship we have now!

Our favourite part of the story is when Finn, Mouse and Dizzy go for a day in town and then to the beach because we think it sounds like a perfect day! We have our own favourite characters, Emily and Milly love Mouse because they say he’s so cute, Ava and Ellie like Finn, they say he sounds really cute and Kelsie loves Dizzy because she says that she’s the strongest most believable character she’s met yet. We all think it’s because we can relate to our favourite characters because we’ve been in their situations before.

We have a meeting every week and we can all tell each other what’s going on in our lives and a couple weeks ago Ava told us that her parents were splitting up. She said that being good friends with us and reading DIZZY will hopefully help her get through any tricky times ahead.

At the meeting we also always come up with alternate endings to CC books and we emailed one as an idea for a new book - it was about Finn and Dizzy growing up and getting together, we thought that it would be a good in between story for people who wondered what happened to Dizzy, Finn and Mouse in the years between DIZZY and LUCKY STAR!

We all feel that DIZZY is an honest, open book, one we will read at ninety years old and still enjoy. Describing it in three words we’d say it was: outrageous, caring and strong. We loved it so much!

CATHY SAYS:
Love this... the story of a friendship that began with one of my books, what could be cooler? Do YOU have a friend who loves books as much as you do? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more!

Sunday, 25 November 2018

HOW TO MAKE AN ADVENT CALENDAR

Honey Tanberry shares how to make your own advent calendar... with a cute home made twist! 

HONEY SAYS:
An advent calendar is an essential for December, right? When you're little it has to be chocolate, but now Mum and Paddy run a chocolate business so chocolate isn't as rare or exciting as it used to be! Recently we came up with an idea for a different kind of advent calendar and it's so easy to make...

YOU WILL NEED:
  •  24 small squares of brown paper (approx 6 x 6cm)
  • scissors
  • a fine paintbrush
  • white and black paint
  • 24 multi-coloured envelopes 
  • a glue stick
  • white PVA glue and glitter/stick on stars 
  • 24 chocolate coins (optional)
  • squares of coloured paper
  • fineliner pens
  • several metres of bright or striped cord
  • 24 wooden clothes pegs
TO MAKE:
1) Cut out the brown paper squares. Using the fine brush, paint the numbers from 1-24 on the squares, alternating white and black paint. Allow to dry.

2) Set out the coloured envelopes in an order that pleases you. Use the glue stick to stick the number squares on to the envelope fronts.

3) Spread a thin layer of white PVA glue randomly on the envelope fronts and sprinkle glitter over them... or stick on gold stars!

4) If you want to include a little bit of chocolate, slip a chocolate coin into each envelope.

5) Now it's just a case of what to write on those squares of coloured paper! It could be inspiring quotes or compliments, or maybe challenges, jokes or even dares! You decide!

MINI PREZZIE IDEAS:
  • lip balm
  • nail varnish
  • earrings
  • key ring
  • glow stick
  • bookmark
  • mini notebook
  • fake tattoos
  • cool pen
  • candy cane
  • hairclips
  • bracelet 
  • Christmas decoration
  • badge
  • stickers
CATHY SAYS:
Love this... we are big fans of a 'home made' Christmas at our house, too! You'll find this project and LOTS more festive fun in my book CHOCOLATE BOX SECRETS... track it down to save yourself some pennies this Christmas, or put it on your prezzie list! Have YOU got an advent calendar this year? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Saturday, 24 November 2018

READER REVIEW: CHOCOLATE BOX SECRETS

Reader Maria reviews CC's book CHOCOLATE BOX SECRETS... take a peek! 

MARIA SAYS:
I am a big fan of Cathy Cassidy books and the CHOCOLATE BOX SECRETS is the first one that I owned. I borrowed it from the local library so many times that my parents got it for me! I was ecstatic when I saw it and quickly looked through it, folding down the corners of pages that I thought would be useful or fun to experiment with. It is very precious to me as I met Cathy Cassidy in Dublin not long ago, and she signed that book for me!

CHOCOLATE BOX SECRETS has tons of ideas inspired by the Chocolate Box Girls series, from cookery to crafting, and the instructions are clear and simple to follow. It is separated into seasons, with suggestions for things that would suit each season (and month) of the year. The seasons are like chapters. It can be used for lots of things: hairstyles, recipes and it has top tips for making tops (top tips…ha ha.) There are also gifts ideas for family and friends. You can try out some fab Christmas gifts to surprise your BFFs!

I don’t like most cakes, so I was happy that there was a fridge cake recipe in the book. I made it and it was AMAZING!!! (I had to swap cherries with mini marshmallows as I don’t like cherries.) However cake fans, do not despair as there are some other great cake recipes inside too. The book has SO many ideas and best of all, some of them involve chocolate!

When I met Cathy Cassidy she told me that she especially enjoyed writing this book as she got to try and test out everything, and it is my favourite book too as it can really get your creative juices flowing!

Cathy says:
I LOVE this review from Maria... and she's right, CHOCOLATE BOX SECRETS is definitely a favourite for me! It's the perfect book for my arty, creative, extra-awesome readers (that's all of you, let's face it!) and the sisters from the CHOCOLATE BOX GIRLS series introduce each project! Put it on your Christmas list - or buy it now and save a fortune by making your own cool Christmas prezzies! Would you like to see some projects from the book on DREAMCATCHER? Just COMMENT BELOW to let me know!

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

FORTUNE COOKIE - GOODBYE TO THE CHOCOLATE BOX GIRLS!

Readers share their verdicts on the last novel in the CHOCOLATE BOX GIRLS series... read on to see what people think about FORTUNE COOKIE!


Ebony says:
FORTUNE COOKIE is a great read and a good addition to the CHOCOLATE BOX GIRLS series. I will really miss the books which first got me interested in Cathy Cassidy as an author, but all good things have to come to an end! I think Jake Cook, the main character, is a confused boy who just needs something right in his life - or something good. I loved the book because it took a boy's perspective which was a change from the girls' stories. I have loved the way Cathy creates a problem that each character has to overcome, like Jake's secrecy and clumsiness, Cherry's lying, Honey's temper and Summer's eating issues. I love the way the characters manage to overcome these challenges! I have told many of my friends about the books, and lots of them are now reading the series too!

Charlotte says:
FORTUNE COOKIE is my favourite book of the whole series because it ties up the loose ends and gives us a hint of what the sisters will do next. I could not believe it when Ash turned up art the festival (oops, **spoiler** sorry!). The story has magic and you could see the spell that Tanglewood cast over Jake. I am sad that just as the sisters discover a new half sibling the series is ending, I think there should be more books... hint, hint! I am so entranced by the world of the series I don't want to leave it. Also I think Cathy should make the series into a TV show or a film! FORTUNE COOKIE gets five stars from me. I have read it three times already!

Daria says:
FORTUNE COOKIE was brilliant, I actually read it before the rest of the series and had to go back to CHERRY CRUSH and read the whole lot because it was a series I got hooked on! Then when I read FORTUNE COOKIE for the second time, I loved it even more. Jake is my favourite boy character ever, he is very real, I like how he is clumsy and makes mistakes and does not try to be some sort of hero. I wish he was real! My best friend has just read LOVE FROM LEXIE and told me that Jake is in that book too. I didn't know the two series were linked together. Guess what"s going on my Christmas list?

Cathy says:
Aww, I have a soft spot for FORTUNE COOKIE too! Do YOU have a fave CC book to recommend? Send me a review in a COMMENT BELOW and it could be used on the blog!

Sunday, 18 November 2018

KATIE: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD

Reader Katie reviews awesome film FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD and now we're all itching to see it!

Katie says:
Firstly, here’s a PRO TIP for you! DO NOT whisper during the Warner Bros. logo!!! I heard you, people in back of me, who were whispering as if one of the most iconic moments of the film hadn’t already happened! The Warner Bros. logo was beautiful, I think. I was blinking away the tears while these people were whispering. If you were disturbed by me making inhuman noises for the whole film, you shouldn’t have disturbed the opening moment!

Right, I admit I did break a few cinema rules when I watched Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, but IT ALL FELT SO REAL. The Wizarding World logo, which I had only seen on, maybe, like a little screen before, was RIGHT THERE. We were in the WIZARDING WORLD. Boy, is there a lot inside that world! This film is was super zoomy but super fun but also terrifying and breathtaking and exhilarating. It was the cinematic experience I knew it would be and I had been waiting two years for. It also helps if you’re a big Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts fan. Muggles may get confused, but Potterheads know it’s all magical! In order to #protectthesecrets, I’m going to mention a few of my favourite parts and a little bit about each.

Hogwarts: Uhh the FIRST TIME I have seen MY SCHOOL on the BIG SCREEN. I missed all the Harry Potter cinema releases, so Fantastic Beasts is a big deal. Also there is a surprising cameo from cough mumble mumble. Also JOSHUA SHEA adds more “awwww” to Newt’s character, which already has a lot of “phwoar,” which leads me to my next favourite part....

Bunty! Every author/magizoologist needs a willing assistant, and Bunty is willing to do A LOT for Newt, even giving him helpful suggestions like cough. Man, I’ve really got to get this tickle in my throat sorted! I’m a regular Call The Midwife watcher, and I loved seeing Victoria Yeats in this role, all the Newt fangirls like me would have applied for Bunty’s job. The job does have some perks, like cradling an arm full of....

BABY NIFFLERS! A cameo suited to their size makes the whole cinema burst with cuteness! I’m so glad I already have three! My Newt collection is also growing, which is good because he, as always, was also one of my favourites!

Newt: One of the BEST lines in the film of course goes to our Hufflepuff hero! He is every bit as gorgeous as in the first film, but sometimes he’s sad and angry too, and I think it’s important that we go deeper into  these characters for the second film. Speaking of character depth....

Queenie! She was amazing in the first film, but Alison Sudol was a stand-out actor in this one!

Credence! I am beginning to think that Ezra Miller is not of this Earth, not just because of his amazing FASHION SENSE! I grew to love Credence more after first watching Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. I didn’t think we’d see much of Credence, just him looking dark and mysterious. Well, there was that, but also more!

Side note: There are a LOT of cat-like creatures in this film, so the inclusion of biiiig kitties made Crimes of Grindelwald even more enjoyable!

That’s all for now, but I have more over on my Instagram, @katiethequibblerreporter. Come geek out with me, and GO WATCH THIS FILM!

Cathy says:
Sounds amazing, Katie, can't wait to see it!! Have YOU seen it? What did YOU think? COMMENT BELOW to have your say...

Saturday, 17 November 2018

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A YOUNG LIBRARIAN?

When Cathy met this crew of Young Librarians on a recent school visit, she decided to interview them on what was involved... read on to find out more!

How did you first become a librarian at your middle school? Did you have to interview for the job?
We didn't need to have an interview for the job, we simply filled out a form and we got offered the job.

What was involved in the job? What kind of work do you do and how often are you in the library?
We do lots of jobs - we mainly put books away in thei right place or we patrol. Patrolling means we go around the library are and check nobody is breaking the rules or having technical difficulties on the computers.

What is the best thing about being a young librarian? Or the worst?
The best things are the bribes (in sweets) but we all agree the worst thing is patrolling!!!!!

What kind of person might be suited to help out in the school library?
The person needs to be:
  • Interested in books
  • Helpful
  • Slightly mad (in a good way!)
  • Someone with imagination 
  • Someone who is willing to give up on one or more of their lunchtimes.
Are there any perks to the job?
The perks of the job are the rewards at the end of the term, the bribes, going on library trips, sweets and donuts.

I'm guessing you're all keen readers... how would you encourage others to use the library?
  • By reading your books and changing them as reading is not a punishment
  • Reading is fun... you can learn so much
  • I would get people to use the library to try and calm them down
  • If you want to get more books to take out
  • Say NEW BOOKS ARE COMING AND BETTER THAN BEFORE!
  • Take more quizzes
  • To help them get into a series of books
  • We do quizzes
Book Recommendations:
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
David Walliams books
Cathy Cassidy books!
Jaqueline Wilson books
Love from Lexie
Harry Potter Books
Any animal books
Books by John Boyne
Samiy’s Silver Lining
Worlds Worst Children 3
Rick Riordan books – Kane Chronicles and Trials of Apollo
Each term, the Terrible Trio + One (that's us, Mya, Bea, Grace and Amelia!) are going to give you an update on what's happening at the library along with our favourite reads! See you soon!

CATHY SAYS:
Wow... I loved meeting Mya, Bea, Grace, Amelia and the other fab young librarians... and I LOVE their brilliant interview! Can't wait to see their termly updates and book recommendations! Do YOU love your school/ local library? COMMENT BELOW to give it a shout out!

Sunday, 11 November 2018

YOUR STARS FOR NOVEMBER

Skye Tanberry reads the stars once more and tells you all to expect in the coming month!

SCORPIO: Oct 23 - Nov 21
You are spiritual, emotional and have a good heart. This month, certain things may test these qualities but you must stay true. Meditation is a good way to sustain mental stability, keeping you soft and kind on the outside and as strong as a lion on this inside.

SAGITTARIUS: Nov 22 - Dec 21
You are in a playful mood this month, full of energy, love and vigour! You may find it hard to focus on your projects but if you can focus this energy into your creative pursuits, you will find great rewards!

CAPRICORN: Dec 22 - Jan 19
You are a very social being, always the life of the party! However, you may gain valuable insight by moving in new circles for a change. It is empowering to explore every part of yourself.

AQUARIUS: Jan 20 - Feb 18
You have a lot on your mind, this month. Not all bad, not all good. Just thoughts. It is important to put your thoughts somewhere so you don’t bottle away dangerous emotions. Try talking to someone, or jotting things down in a diary. A clear head is a happy head.

PISCES: Feb 19 - Mar 20
You may clash with a loved one this month and things they do may seem to annoy you more than usual. Try to think about what you say and how you say it before you hurt them. The real reason you are upset may not be their fault.

ARIES: Mar 21 - Apr 20
You are gearing up for adventure. The traveller within you is getting restless. Why not arrange a trip away with a friend or loved one? To feel the wind in your hair is nourishing and priceless. Let the quiet put things where they are supposed to be.

TAURUS: Apr 21 - May 20
Things are looking romantic for you, a stranger will make themselves known in the coming weeks. However, stay focused on what you love and save romantic escapades for later. They will still be there.

GEMINI: May 21 - Jun 20
You are wise beyond your years, and always have a lesson for others. However, this may get you into trouble when advice isn’t always wanted. Try to take on board other people’s ideas and maybe you could learn something from them.

CANCER: Jun 21 - Jul 21
There is music everywhere, you just have to listen. How long was it since you went to the beach? Heard the ocean’s song? It may be the inspiration you needed to complete that project left undone!

LEO: Jul 22 - Aug 21
You live much inside your own head, often missing out on important things such as socialising. Try going out of your comfort zone and get out and see the world. Talk to people you wouldn’t normally talk to… rewards shall be great!

VIRGO: Aug 22 - Sept 21
You are naturally very organised and efficient, ever the envy of your friends. Keep this up, help others find stability. Someone may come to you with a difficult decision; you may be just the person to guide them onto the right path.

LIBRA: Sept 22 - Oct 22
You have been working hard recently, trying to achieve your goals. Maybe it’s ok to splurge a little on yourself. Have a ‘me’ day and celebrate. Relax with a good book, a face-mask and a mug of hot chocolate. Maybe even sprinkle marshmallows!

Cathy says:
Wise words!! Do Skye's predictions ring true for YOU this month? COMMENT BELOW to let us know!

Friday, 9 November 2018

THE BOOKLING'S PODCAST

Reader Jess shares her experience of creating her very own podcast, with interviews from the likes of Chris Riddell and of course, CC herself!


JESS SAYS:
I’m Jess and I love reading books, so just before the summer holidays last year, when my friends and I were given a chance to be part of our school library’s new podcast and meet the most incredible authors, we grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Thanks to our outstandingly dedicated and passionate school librarian, Mr Maxwell, we were given a £500 grant to get some super fancy equipment to play around with. Now all we needed were the authors…

We were exhilarated to have the well-known illustrator and children’s writer Chris Riddell in for our very first podcast. Everything was so professional: we went to a proper recording studio with sound-proofing foam on the walls, a mixing desk longer the size of a dining table, two rooms next to each other with that window so we could see the interview, and record covers pasted everywhere. The interviewers were great, they didn’t seem nervous at all with the massive responsibility of doing our very first episode or intimidated by the padded microphone in front of them.

Fast forward a couple of months to September and the day of Cathy Cassidy’s visit, where it was my turn to run an interview! That morning, rather than hitting snooze on my alarm, I practically leaped out of bed, counting down the hours until recording time. Finally, she arrived. I still can’t believe that I was a few feet from my absolute favourite author, let alone having a full 30-minute conversation with her. Seeing her in front of me for real, the reality sank in that she really was there, waiting for me and the interview. By this time, the equipment had arrived, so we were able to set up all the mics in the library, which is much more relaxed than the studio. It went by so quickly, Cathy gave astounding advice and answers, everyone got so into it that we ran out of time. The whole experience was breathtaking.

After recording, post production is needed to clean everything up, so we had the school’s music production expert in to show us how to use the editing software. It’s a lot less complicated than you would think, piecing together all the different sections like a jigsaw. We also thought that music would add a nice touch to the introductions, so some of the team and I have been working on upbeat parts and chords, almost like Lost & Found band. The library’s book club were asked to create a logo; all of them are stunning. Before the podcast started, I didn’t realise how much work needs to be put in to get everything ready to go online for people to be able to listen to it. It has been extraordinary to meet so many inspiring authors - and you can read Cathy's Bookling’s Podcast through the link below! Enjoy!

https://soundcloud.com/user-409655217/episode-4-cathy-cassidy

Cathy says:
It was so much fun to meet Jess and her friends and take part in the podcast... I loved every minute! Have YOU ever interviewed someone? Or been on the radio or a podcast yourself? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

CHRISTMAS REINDEER COOKIES!

Cake queen Helen has a great recipe for Rudolf cookies - guaranteed to get you into a Christmassy mood! You will need:  8oz self rais...