Tuesday, 19 February 2019


Thousands of school kids all over the world stand up for their future by missing school in protest to government climate change inaction!

Kate says:
The seed was planted when inspirational Swedish school pupil, Greta Thunberg, decided she'd had enough! She woke up one Friday, last year, and instead of attending her school, she went and stood outside the Swedish parliament in protest at the government's lack of action on climate change. She knew her future and the future of her peers was at risk, so why weren't those in power doing anything about it? Every Friday since then, Greta continued her strike and in doing so she has managed to kickstart a global movement.

On Friday 15th February, thousands of UK students from primary age upwards followed suit by dropping their pens and pencils for a day and picking up a placard! As part of the movement Youth Justice 4 Climate, these school kids felt that their voice wasn't being heard and the government was not doing enough to make their future seem secure. The attitude of those involved was, what use is it learning facts when the future is in jeopardy?

As well as calling for immediate and critical action to be taken regarding climate change, students also made it clear the government should lower the voting age to sixteen.

Support came from all ages, with kids as young as three or four in attendance all the way up to proud grandparents, cheering their grandkids on. True enough, however, there has been a mixed response to the strike action; many schools have condemned the strikes and have told children NOT to attend while the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, stated that these school children are "wasting lesson time" and the Education Secretary Damian Hinds said "missing class won't do a thing to help the environment."

But the protestors are determined and not about to give up! Another strike is set to take place in the UK on the 15th March. Will you be joining them?

Cathy says:
I have so much respect and hope for today's young people, and the strike against Climate Change is really inspiring at a time when world politics looks quite grim. What do YOU think about the young strikers? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Thursday, 14 February 2019


We asked readers to tell us about their favourite romantic scene from a CC book... this is the result! 

Kayleigh says:
My favourite love scenes from a CC book will always be the scenes in CHERRY CRUSH when Shay goes to visit Cherry on the steps of the gypsy caravan. Especially the first time, when he just happens to be wearing a werewolf mask! Don't ask me why but it's just so lovely, and Shay is my favourite CC boy character of all time.

Matilda says:
My favourite couple in a CC book has to be Jude and Carter from SUNDAE GIRL. Carter is so cute and so funny, and very believable. I like the bit where they are walking home in the snow and Jude thinks he is going to kiss her, and instead he shoves a snowball down the back of her neck! It made me laugh out loud because it is just the sort of thing the boys I know might do. I also like the romance in LUCKY STAR where Cat and Mouse have a picnic sitting on top of a bus shelter! I like that the romantic bits are funny and not too mushy, and the boys are always cool.

Fantine says:
My preferred book from Cathy Cassidy is LES CINQ LETTRES DU MOT COEUR for I prefer a book that is sad and the characters I liked very much. I like the scene of the paper cranes, and how you see that the boy is much gentler than you think, when everyone thinks he is very bad, but really in fact misunderstood and very kind. It is a book of friendship more than love, which I like very much. The book is perfect for me.

Sara says:
LIFE IS SWEET is my favourite CC book as it shows so many behind the scenes glimpses of my favourite characters and an insight to how they think. My best characters are Summer and Skye who have a birthday on St Valentine's Day but are such very different characters even though they are identical twins. Summer is very girly and Skye not so much. I like the story where Alfie is trying to organise a Valentine's Day treat for Summer because it is so sweet and actually made me  cry a bit the first time I read it.

Leah says:
For Christmas a couple of years ago my mum got me a copy of LOVE, PEACE AND CHOCOLATE from eBay, a quite rare CC book from a few years ago. Quickly it became my favourite of all the books, even though it is short. It is a book about two best friends who fall for the same boy, and how their friendship is shaken by that. It is also a book about why a boy should never be allowed to come between two best friends! It is the opposite of a 'romance' in many ways, it is a book about girl power and friendship and not being taken in by losers. (I am nineteen now so maybe I can just see the message more clearly now!) Also it has the best title ever, because what more could anyone want but love, peace and chocolate?

Cathy says:
Aww I love these comments! Do YOU have a fave CC book? If so, which one - and why? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Monday, 11 February 2019


Reader Nallie felt so strongly about the plight of refugees after reading SAMI'S SILVER LINING that she decided to use her art skills to raise money for a refugee charity...

Nallie says:
I've been a big fan of CC books since we read INDIGO BLUE at primary school and I remember emailing Cathy once to tell her I loved it; I was so excited when she replied! I'm an adult now, but still love CC books. I've just finished reading SAMI'S SILVER LINING for the fourth time and I think it's one of my favourite books. As a vintage fashion and music lover, I adore all the references to The Kinks, The Small Faces, The Beatles and more - the character of Louisa Winter sounds like she could be a future me, to be honest!

The more serious undertones of the story in SAMI'S SILVER LINING focuses on the plight of child refugees and the war in Syria, and this got me thinking about how I could help. Like Sami, I like music and doodling, and I already sell my artwork on a website called RedBubble. So I decided  to make some music-themed Valentine's day cards and to donate the money from these sales to the refugee charity Safe Passage, mentioned at the back of the book, who help child refugees find safety. So far I've got Marc Bolan, Morrissey and Beatles themed cards, and I'm hoping to add more designs.

I'm also sharing my artwork on my Facebook and my Instagram asking people to buy prints or donate to the charity, so I thought I'd let you know how I'm helping! My art designs are on my RedBubble page, HERE   and my Instagram is @theblondeberet... please do follow and if you can buy a card or donate, that would be amazing!

Thank you Cathy Cassidy for writing such an amazing story and inspiring people to think about and help out with the refugee crisis. I'm looking forward to reading the next chapter of the Lost and Found!


Cathy says:
Nallie's response to SAMI'S SILVER LINING just blew me away... I love that she's been inspired to raise money for SAFE PASSAGE and I also love her gorgeous retro music-themed cards and artwork! Can YOU help by donating or buying one of Nallie's cards? Click the link above to find out how... and make Valentine's Day a day of spreading the love for everyone!

Monday, 4 February 2019



The pig is the last in the twelve year zodiac cycle in the Chinese calendar. When the Jade Emperor called for a great meeting, eleven animals came racing along including a monkey, a rooster, a dog (to name but a few) and just as the emperor was about to call it a day, an oink and a squeal was heard and along came trotting the pig! Here are ten cool things you may not know about Chinese New Year!!

1) In the distant past, there was a legendary great beast named Nian that would come every New Year’s Eve. The people lived in fear of this beast that had the head of a lion and the body of a bull. Eventually, it was found out that Nian was afraid of three things: the colour red, loud noises and fire! With that in mind, villagers started to decorate their houses in reds and scarlets, set fires in front of their doors, and stayed up all night making loud festivities and celebration. When Nian next came to visit, it scuttled back into the mountains in fear. Everyone celebrated, and though Nian never returned, the traditions persist just in case!!

2) More fireworks are set off that night than any other night of the year! Firecrackers are supposed to scare off monsters and bad luck for the coming year, so people stay up on New Year’s Eve and set off firecrackers at the strike of midnight. In the morning, firecrackers are used again to welcome the new year and good luck.

3) Showering just isn’t allowed New Year’s Day and sweeping or throwing out the bins isn’t allowed before the 5th! This is to make sure you don’t wash away the good luck! The list of taboos are endless, here are a few more:
- Hair cutting (before February 2)
- Using scissors, knives and other sharp things
- Arguing, swearing
- Saying unlucky words (such as “death” and “sickness”)
- Breaking things

4) Your 'benming' year is the year of your zodiac animal. And of the 12 year cycle, it is the unluckiest for you. There are several reasons for this... the Chinese believe that children can easily be taken by demons. And your 'benming' year is your rebirth year.

5) Chinese New Year ends with a lantern festival. This festival dates back thousands of years to when Buddhists during the Han Dynasty hung lanterns in their temples. It usually occurs on the very last day of the festivities and on the New Moon. Signifying the coming of spring and family reunion.

6) Red envelopes  - containing money is an old tradition. The colour symbolises energy and fortune. Many carry several in their bags just in case they run into someone they wish to gift it to. It is frowned upon to open them in public and it is polite to receive them with both hands.

7) Black AND white clothes are considered a bad omen. Both these colours are a symbol of death in Chinese culture and therefore should be avoided. The best colour to wear is red, as it is a symbol of good luck.

8) Cherries are one of the most popular foods in this festive period! Its red colour obviously ties in with the prosperity and fortune theme; and its roundness symbolises perfection and eternity. Watch supermarkets stock up!!

9) 'Nianhua' or New Year pictures, are traditionally hung on doors during the festive period. The practice is particularly popular in the countryside and was recorded as far back as 800 years ago. The images are brightly coloured scenes of prosperity and good luck. Symbols such as birds and different fruits are popular, with one of the most common scenes being a plump baby with a really big fish!!

10) Everyone has a birthday on the seventh day! That's right, happy birthday to us all!! It is the celebration of Renri, the birthday of all humans. According to tradition, the goddess Nuwa created human beings from clay on the seventh day... so we all get to celebrate!

Well I've learned something new!! Have YOU got any cool stories or traditions you'd like to share? COMMENT BELOW!

Friday, 1 February 2019


The reviews for SAMI'S SILVER LINING keep on coming, and this month the book goes PAPERBACK, so take a look at these reviews and get your copy on order!

Sophie says:
SAMI'S SILVER LINING by Cathy Cassidy is an excellent read.  It is tear provoking (yes, it made me cry) and emotional but also has a thrill to it and lots of excitement. It helped me understand more about refugees and the conditions they have come from, and how we should help them. My favourite character in the LOST & FOUND series is still Lexie, because she is in this book a lot too, but I liked Sami and the new character Bobbi Jo also! Cathy’s style of writing is gripping and SAMI'S SILVER LINING will leave you begging for more of her books. My rating for this book is five stars!

Hannah says:
I really enjoyed SAMI'S SILVER LINING. I think that Sami's journey from war conflicted Syria to the safety in the UK is a very emotional subject. When Sami first arrives, he has a new home, new friends, relatives that support him... and also the LOST & FOUND, 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 children like Sami. I am planning to do something to help them too. Maybe I can do a sponsored event for Save The Children?

Mel says:
I just want to say how much I loved SAMI'S SILVER LINING. I loved how emotional the book was - especially towards the end - I can't explain what happens because, well, spoilers, but like I said, it was amazing. I could kind of relate to the story in some ways, with the bits where Sami found it difficult to let people in, and slowly learned to trust his friends more. This book is so good, so gripping, and I can't wait for the next book in the LOST & FOUND series - I'm really impatient to see whose story it will be!

Cathy says:
Thanks to Sophie, Hannah and Mel for their fab reviews for SAMI'S SILVER LINING - they've really made me smile! Have YOU read this book yet? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Wednesday, 30 January 2019


There's something about snow... it brings a special kind of magic to the greyest of winter days! We asked readers of all ages to tell us their favourite snow memories...

Anna Bella says:
I remember one winter with epic snow - we had so much that in our back garden we built a snow slide against the garden wall. We literally piled it up and even made snow steps at the side of the slide. We spent hours playing on it! Best snow memory of my entire life!

Katie says:
We hit the slopes with a toboggan when I was eight on a holiday in the Swiss Alps. I remember the croquettes afterwards being amazing. When I was even younger than that, five maybe, we went to the Grand Canyon and Mum thought she saw a dog in the trees... but it was a reindeer!

Rowan says:
I remember many snowy winters as a child in Hertfordshire. I remember tobogganing down a hill with my brother and my dad, and I remember long icicles hanging from the drainpipes. Every morning there'd be a hole in the milk bottle tops where birds had pecked at them to get to the milk. My brother, sister and I used to trek to the local shop with the sledge to get basic supplies!

Jodie says:
I remember a few years ago in London, where I live, we had a snow day and all the schools were closed. This hardly ever happened so it was very exciting! My brother and I went outside to go sledging - just one problem, we didn't have a sledge! We used binbags and they worked quite well. We built a snowman on the corner of the street, and when we looked out next day someone had built a snow woman next to it!

Mairi says:
I live in Scotland and we get snow every winter really, sometimes the school has to close early so everyone can get home safely and sometimes it doesn't open at all. We always make slides in the playground (even though we're not supposed to) and we have snowball fights on the way home, with gangs against each other. Once my friend and I tried to make an igloo, which was good. There's a hill on the edge of my village where everyone goes sledging - snow days are the best days ever!

Janelle says:
I live by the coast and we rarely get snow, or if we do, it doesn't settle for long. When I was small we lived in Derbyshire and we did get brilliant snow there, so it represents magic to me and I miss it a lot. Last week, we had a rare flurry of snow after dark and I ran outside in scarf and mittens and twirled around in it, and snowflakes landed on my hair, my eyelashes, even on my tongue. You're never too old for magic, are you?

Cathy says:
I have some great snow stories which I'll share with you one day... and I totally agree with Janelle, you are never too old for magic! What are YOUR fave snow stories? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Saturday, 19 January 2019


Skye Tanberry is here with some mystical predictions and advice for a MAGICAL year ahead!

CAPRICORN: Dec 22 - Jan 19
You are super ambitious and work towards your goals no matter what cost. This bodes well for you in 2019, you will see great change. Some will be good and some bad - take it all in your stride, for the best things in life are never easy and it's all a learning curve. A stable house first must have solid foundations... and 2019 will see you take the first steps towards building an awesome future!

AQUARIUS: Jan 20 - Feb 18
Artistic and spiritual guidance will be at the forefront this year. You will meet someone new, someone important who will help you realise a part of yourself you haven’t discovered yet... and you'll learn things about yourself which will help to shape and cement your future hopes and dreams. You like to respect tradition and can be very set in your ways but this is a good year to be adventurous!

PISCES: Feb 19 - Mar 20
You are a sensitive and trusting soul and you care for others sometimes more than you do for yourself, no matter the cost. Well, this year is a chance for you to focus on what makes YOU happy! Whilst being there for those you love is undeniably admirable, it's essential to look after yourself too so that you can go on being the kind, caring person you are.

ARIES: Mar 21 - Apr 20
You are bold and spontaneous, full of life and vigour! Show the world your true colours this year - adventure will find you, and all you really have to do is relax and go with the flow. Let go of your need to plan and control and see where 2019 takes you - there will be a few surprises! You are naturally competitive so use this to your favour by being the best version of YOU!

TAURUS: Apr 21 - May 20
For all your ambition and goals for this year, never underestimate the value in philosophical reflection. Where do you really want to be? What is the best way to get there? Ask questions! Be inquisitive! Try things out! By questioning your path you will find a greater understanding of the things that really make you tick... and suddenly the way forward will be clear.

GEMINI: May 21 - Jun 20
Step outside your comfort zone this year, go with your gut instincts. You are naturally very intuitive,
so let this guide you forward. For Geminis, logic isn't always what is needed... your extra perceptive people skills and communication talents stem from a much more emotional place. Follow your heart - it may take you to places you never even dreamed!

CANCER: Jun 21 - Jul 21
You are naturally a bit of an introvert, retreating to your shell when things get hard... just be sure you don't allow this trait to send you into hibernation mode! 2019 brings great opportunities and unexpected joy, but only if you dare to live life to the full. Though crowds and parties aren’t your thing, keeping a select few trusted loved ones around you will keep you right!

LEO: Jul 22 - Aug 21
You will experience great changes this year. You may have been sitting a bit too comfortably recently, so try to welcome this change with open arms... what may seem confusing too others is actually just your way of taking ownership of your true hopes, dreams and wishes. You're doing great, so keep the faith. Show everyone who you are and who you can be - many chances are there for the taking this year.

VIRGO: Aug 22 - Sept 21
Ever practical, Virgo! This year is no change, you methodically create your own path in life. You have many new projects to embark on in 2019… scope out those around you, see who will help you succeed and don't be afraid to put the work in to make those dreams happen. Be open to surprises, too - there may be a blessing in disguise from someone you wouldn’t expect!

LIBRA: Sept 22 - Oct 22
Improving your personal relationships may be your focus this year. Friends and family are important and may make your already powerful self unstoppable! There may be some challenges to negotiate, and perhaps you'll have to bite the bullet and stay quiet when you would like to speak out, but put yourself in the other person's shoes and tread carefully. Sometimes small sacrifices can result in large rewards.

SCORPIO: Oct 23 - Nov 21
Health in mind and body will bring about real benefits to you this year. It can be hard to shrug off the January blues, but eating well and exercising has untold rewards to your mental health. Once you're feeling balanced and content, there's nothing you can't do this year - expect friendship, fun, adventure and newfound respect from others for a new skill! Look out 2019!!

SAGITTARIUS: Nov 22 - Dec 21
2019 is all about expanding your knowledge! You are naturally inquisitive and fascinated with the world around you, so why not share that fascination? Start debates, ask a stranger how their day is, be inspired to make new connections! Lessons are everywhere... and this is a learning year, but it will also bring new and unexpected friendships which will broaden your horizons. Cool!

Cathy says:
2019 is shaping up to be something special! Do Skye's predictions ring true for YOU? COMMENT BELOW to let us know!

Friday, 28 December 2018


1) Which British monarch introduced the Christmas tree to the UK?
A )King Alfred The Great
B) Henry viii
C) Queen Victoria

2) Who was the author of A Christmas Carol?
A) Cathy Cassidy
B) Jaqueline Wilson
C) Charles Dickens

3) In which direction should you stir mincemeat for good luck? 
A) Clockwise
B) Anti-clockwise
C) Equal amounts in both directions

4) Which of the CC books does NOT contain a Christmasy scene?
A) Marshmallow Skye
B) Sundae Girl
C) Sami’s Silver Lining

5) In medieval Britain, which dish would NOT have been part of a nobleman's traditional Yuletide feast?
A) Turkey
B) Roast goose
C) Roast swan

6) On the night of the first Christmas, where did Mary and Joseph take shelter so that Jesus could be born?
A) An inn
B) A Stable
C) Bethlehem B&B

7) How do you say Happy Christmas in French?
A) Joyeux Noël
B) Feliz Navidad
C) Fröhliche Weihnachten

8) On which day did Good King Wenceslas go out?
A) The first day of the January sales
B) The Feast of Stephen
C) The Winter solstice

9) What treat do the carollers in ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’ demand to be given?
A) Chocolate yule log
B) Trifle
C) Figgy pudding

Raymond Briggs, author of The Snowman, book and film, also wrote… ?
A) Father Christmas
B) How The Grinch Stole Christmas
C) The Polar Express

Jot down your answers and email them to me at:
mailcathycassidy@googlemail.com to be in with a chance of winning a cool festive prize! Closing date: January 13th.

Saturday, 22 December 2018


Reader Cara explains various traditions around Christmas-time and how they came to be... read on!

Cara says:
On Christmas Eve, all across the country and beyond, excited children are hanging their stockings at the end of the bed, or sometimes, like the sisters in the CHOCOLATE BOX GIRLS, on the mantlepiece around the fire. Where did this custom come from? How did it start? Like many of our Christmas traditions, folklore mixes in with Christianity to form a Christmas Eve custom.

One old story tells of a poor man unable to buy clothes or food for his three daughters. In some versions, the problem is a lack of ‘dowry’ without which the girls would never be allowed to get married. A kind neighbour decided to help, and to avoid making the poor man embarrassed, he threw three gold coins down the chimney, which then fell by accident into three stockings drying by the fire! The neighbour later became known as St Nicholas.

A different legend, from Holland, describes a character called Sinterklaas travelling around on his white horse. He would stop to let his horse feed on carrots or hay which children would leave out on the doorstep in their clogs. In return, he would leave presents and sweets. But it was not until 1823 that the poet Clement Clarke Moore wrote the verse ‘A Visit From St Nicholas’ which included the lines: ‘The stockings were hung by the chimney with care in the hope that St Nicholas soon would be there.’

The tradition became a firm part of Christmas - all long before the arrival of the Coca Cola lorry - and families still hang stockings or sacks for Father Christmas to fill, almost 200 years later!

Cathy says:
Love this - thank you, Cara! What are YOUR Christmas Eve traditions? COMMENT BELOW to tell all!

Wednesday, 19 December 2018


This easy to make hot choc mix tastes fab and looks amazing too - PERFECT for a last minute home made pressie! It'll keep for two weeks in a sealed jar so make it just before you gift it...

  • a beautiful home-made label (let your creativity go wild!)
  • a clean jam jar with the labels scrubbed off
  • a grater
  • 125g dark chocolate
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • a parcel label and curling ribbon

1) Stick your label on the jam jar. Experiment with brown or black paper with 'Hot Chocolate' painted or collaged on.

2) Coarsely grate the dark chocolate. Mix the caster sugar and cocoa powder together, straight into the jar, and stir in the grated chocolate (or layer each ingredient separately for a striped effect.)

3) Screw the lid on tightly.

4) Write instructions for making the hot choc on a parcel label: 'Place a heaped table-spoon of hot chocolate mix in a mug and top with hot milk or a mixture of milk and boiling water. Stir and serve!'

5) Tie the label round the neck of the jar and store it in the fridge until you're ready to gift it. Cheap, cheerful and super-yummy hot choc mix makes a perfect pressie for friends or family - make one just for YOU, too!

Cathy says:
Another fab idea for a homemade Xmas pressie from my CHOCOLATE BOX SECRETS book... which would make a pretty awesome Xmas gift itself, now that you mention it! Have you done all YOUR Xmas shopping? COMMENT BELOW to tell us how you're getting on!

Saturday, 15 December 2018


Coco says:
Grandma Kate told us that kids went carol singing a lot when she was little, so we decided to revive the tradition. We made a list of our favourite carols, dressed up warm, carried lanterns and went singing from door to door. Shay played guitar and I played violin; we had a great time and collected almost £40 for one of my favourite animal charities. A whole new tradition, I think!

Christmas Carols to try:Away in a Manger
  • O Little Town of Bethlehem
  • The Holly and the Ivy
  • While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks
  • Little Donkey
  • In the Bleak Midwinter
  • Once in Royal David's City
Or try a traditional Christmas song:
  • White Christmas
  • Santa Claus is Coming to Town
  • Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer
  • Jingle Bells
Or mix it up with a more modern cover:
  • All I Want For Christmas Is You
  • Fairytale of New York
  • Last Christmas
  • So Here It Is (Merry Christmas)
  • I Believe in Father Christmas

Cathy says:
Aww... love these Tanglewood Christmas traditions! Why not read MARSHMALLOW SKYE to find out more about how the CHOCOLATE BOX GIRLS spend Christmas? Now, tell me YOUR fave Christmas song... COMMENT BELOW to have your say!


Thousands of school kids all over the world stand up for their future by missing school in protest to government climate change inaction! ...