Followers

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

LISA: MUSIC IS MAGIC!

A while ago, I asked what music meant to YOU... and one of my lovely grown up readers sent this lovely reply! If you're looking for inspiration and a little musical magic, read on!

Lisa says:
I started playing the cornet at the age of six and by nine I was playing recorder too. I started to march with a local brass band until I was about twenty-one, when I met my husband - at the time he played baritone! We got married and started out own competitive marching band, which was very successful! When my daughter came along, she too started to play trumpet and to march, and we continued on for a long time - it was a way of life really!

Today, my husband plays the tuba and my thirteen years old son plays baritone and euphonium. My daughter is now twenty and has almost finished her degree - she has trained to be a professional singer and she also plays trumpet, cornet, flugel horn, piano and ukulele! She is extremely talented and very beautiful too!

These days, I work in a primary school and teach a choir, a brass group and a recorder group. I also play trumpet, cornet, flugel horn, recorder and ukulele! I love teaching music as I have seen for myself how children who may not be particularly academic can really thrive and often excel at music. Also, the enjoyment they get from it is hugely rewarding, for them and for me! I would encourage anyone, young or old, to learn how to play a musical instrument as it can be a great stress reliever. It brings people together and for some people, playing in front of an appreciative audience can really boost confidence and self-esteem. Music really is magic!

Cathy says:
Wow... that's just amazing! I love the sound of brass instruments, so joyful! Do YOU play a musical instrument? Tell us more in a COMMENT BELOW!

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

IZZY: MY BEST FRIEND IS JEALOUS

Reader Izzy shares her problem with Skye Tanberry on today's problem page post. Read on to hear Skye's advice!

Izzy says:
I have just started secondary school and it’s going really well! I'm not in the same class as my best friend from primary, K, but I’m fitting in great and making new friends. There is one new friend, L, that I am especially close to… the thing is, K is getting jealous and acting weird around me. She keeps making sarky comments to us when we’re together and acting quite mean. It's really upsetting me. What should I do?

Skye says:
K is clearly feeling threatened by your new friendship, and perhaps worried about losing you. Could it be that she hasn't found settling into secondary school quite as easy? If she's struggling, she may be relying more than you think on old friendships, and feel your newfound confidence and popularity to be some kind of dig at her own uncertainty. If she feels she is losing you, her actions may become irrational and unfair, hence the sarcasm and nastiness... she's trying to get your attention, even though the mean streak is actually more likely to drive you away. Think for a moment how you might feel if things were reversed, and you were watching K make new friends while you were alone. If you value your friendship with K, talk to her about this and explain that you value her and would hate to lose her, but need to spread your friendship net a little now that you're in secondary school. You may decide to try getting her together with L, although any potential friendship certainly hasn't got off to a good start, so you'll have to judge whether this will work or not. Perhaps choose instead to make time to see K on her own, both in and out of school, to reassure her that the bond between you is still strong. Making new friends is brilliant, but hanging onto the old ones is even better... and with a little thought and care, you can do both!

Cathy says:
Some great advice from Skye... let's hope Izzy can get this dilemma sorted! Have YOU any suggestions to help her? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Monday, 23 April 2018

APRIL BOOK CLUB: NEVERMOOR

This month, reader Caitlin recommends the book Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend...


The reason I loved Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow is because it is an entertaining, magical, intriguing and mysterious read! I picked this book up the other week from Asda after hearing brilliant reviews about it. I admit, the reviews just don't do it justice! I also heard it recommended for fans of Harry Potter so I had to get it because I mean, who doesn't love Harry Potter? I loved everything about this book, from Morrigan Crow being a cursed child, to the Hotel Deucalion.

The name of the author is Jessica Townsend and I'd have to say the genre is probably adventure or fantasy. The story is basically about a girl called Morrigan Crow who is cursed and destined to die on her 11th birthday. On that particular night, a remarkable man named Jupiter North whisks her away to a land called Nevermoor in the free state. Security could be hers although first she has to partake in four trials to receive a place in this wondrous society. Will she succeed? What twists and turns will lie ahead? You'll have to read it and see! I'd say that the age is probably nine-ten and upwards.

I couldn't put this book down, and parts of it had me biting my nails - which I don't normally do! I had the desperate urge to meet the characters in the book and experience just one more day of Morrigan's life. This amazing book definitely deserves five stars and I seriously recommend it... if you are looking for a new, exciting adventure, this is the book for you!

Cathy says:
It sounds captivating... thanks for the recommendation, Caitlin! Have YOU read this book? What are YOUR thoughts? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Saturday, 21 April 2018

MANDA: WAITING

Reader Manda shares her touching poem which left us with a tear in our eye! Read on...


Dressed up, like I used to
Like you’ll appear any moment
Waiting

Twinkling, they ask
Who I’m all done up for
I say -
Does there have to be a ‘who’?
Waiting

Vain, insane
And maybe all in vain
I am waiting

Gold watch ticking away
The minutes since you left
Waiting

Counting the hours til you come home
Home from far away
Waiting

Heart full of promises
Weighs heavier than your patched-up knapsack
And far less useful
Still waiting

Months and years
Smudge and blur
With the weight
Of waiting

Last rays of sun
Drain away from the horizon
Until I stop waiting.

They tell me: never.
You’re never coming home
What is there left to wait for now?

Cathy says:
Beautiful, Manda... just lovely. What did YOU think of this evocative poem? COMMENT BELOW to have your say.

Monday, 16 April 2018

KATIE: INSPIRING TEACHERS

Reader Katie shares wonderful stories of her fave teachers and how they have inspired her! 

All of my favourite teachers, the most inspirational teachers I’ve had, are Ravenclaws. Mr Hill is Head of Ravenclaw House. He is.... eccentric. He wears all black every day, and had a philosophical conversation with me about fandoms on a bus in Italy. He was my Drama and Classics teacher, and with his guidance I skipped a year of Drama and still came top! He helped me through Classics and it came to be a subject I really loved. I don’t think my school has a Classics teacher any more, which is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard, because both of them are gone. Mr Hill went to follow his dream of being an actor, because teaching drove him crazy, and Mrs Fitzpatrick retired.

So yes, Mrs Fitzpatrick was also a Classics teacher, but I only had her for Spanish. Mrs Fitzpatrick joined forces with the French teacher and attempted to drag me back into languages (heaven knows where I was going!) and after choosing Mrs Fitzpatrick’s Spanish class, I have never looked back. Mrs Fitzpatrick is also eccentric. She knows just the right way to get burned at the stake and not feel as much pain. She would always shriek when I shrieked and told me “You must write a blog, Katie!” She was a teacher in all forms of the word.

Mrs Knapton is a Maths teacher. Maths, I know! Shudder. Every lesson I would walk in worried that I wouldn’t understand anything and walk out late because I had been too busy discussing Harry Potter with her. Sometimes all it takes is a shared passion. I passed my exams without anybody’s help but Mrs Knapton’s and may never have to do algebra again!

I have just inadequately described three people I will never forget. They are the reason I see secondary school teaching as a viable option and I want to educate more than anything. I would say I hope they never forget me but I think my voice is still ringing in their ears from the last time I was overly exuberant in one of their classes! (Mrs Knapton is still a teacher here and just last night was discussing Cornelius Fudge’s middle name with me over text!)

Cathy says:
Teachers have such a big impact on the way students develop, it's great to hear such lovely stories!! Do YOU have any cool stories of your fave teachers? COMMENT BELOW!

Sunday, 15 April 2018

PINK: WHAT LOVE FROM LEXIE MEANS TO ME...

Reader Pink offers a very personal response to LOVE FROM LEXIE... and explains just why it means so much to her!

Pink says:
I'm seventeen and have been a huge fan of CC books since I was in primary school, and an avid reader of DREAMCATCHER for these last few years. I am also bisexual, and wanted to let you know how happy I am that you've made a character in one of your books gay. Growing up, I often tried to imagine that various CC characters might be LGBT+ and even wrote fanfic about them... it helped me, I guess. This time, I had suspicions that one character could be gay, but didn't dare think I might be right. I was - I won't tell you the character, because no spoilers, right? Let's just say that when I came to a certain point in the book I began to cry, because I knew that this time it wasn't just wishful thinking, that it wasn't just me hoping for a character like that. I cried so hard I had to put the book down for a few minutes. It seemed momentous. It sounds silly, an almost-adult crying over a young teen book, but I do not care as Cathy Cassidy books mean so much to me and finally, to see someone like me represented in a book by my favourite author... it made me happier than you can imagine!

So thank you, Cathy Cassidy, thank you so much - not just from me. Thank you for all the young LGBT+ kids who can read the book and see the love and support the characters give to the gay character. It means that those kids are not alone, they are normal, that there are other people like them, and that they too will always be loved.

I hope it's not too much to ask, but can this character not be the only LGBT+ one? Could there one day be more? THAT would be amazing! For all the gay kids out there who need reassurance that they are perfectly ordinary, that they can pick up a book with a life changing story, a story that reflects THEIR life somehow. It would mean so much to me, and to others. Thank you Cathy Cassidy for writing LOVE FROM LEXIE, an absolutely wondrous book from start to finish. I fell in love with each and every one of the characters... and I can't wait for the next book in the series!

Cathy says:
Wow... that's an incredibly moving review! THANK YOU so much Pink! I can't say too much without giving away the storyline, but the character Pink mentions has had SUCH a warm reception from my readers, and that's just plain AWESOME. Do YOU feel there should be more diversity in teen and pre-teen fiction? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Saturday, 14 April 2018

MY HERO: COCO CHANEL

Reader Stefi writes about the inspirational fashion icon Coco Chanel and how she changed the course of fashion history forever.


A girl should be two things, classy and fabulous


Fashion designer, revolutionary fashion icon and all round (YAS) queen Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel changed the course of women’s fashion forever by designing non-contriscting clothes. In a retaliation against the corset she introduced loosely fitting clothing with a low waist-line so women could move around freely. This liberated the female silhouette,helped to create the iconic 1920s flapper look and launched Chanel on a career as fashion guru and legend.

Coco Chanel was born in to abject poverty in 1883 as an illegitimate child. When Coco was just twelve, her mother died of tuberculosis, leaving her and her sisters with their father who shortly after chucked them into an orphanage and legged it to live the life of a pedlar. Growing up in a very strict Catholic children's home run by nuns seemed to harden Coco and spurred her on to take control of her life... and to rebel against all the strictness.

She developed into an eager, intellectual and dramatically beautiful young woman and found herself having love affairs with men who lived a far more privileged life than she had done. She first started her career 1906 when she met a French textile heir and racehorse owner who used his money to set herself up as a milliner. Arthur ‘Boy’ Capel showed her the life of a the upper-class, how they talked, lived and most importantly dressed! By 1916, Chanel had made such a success of her business she was able to repay the loan, and had branched out from hats into fashion design, helping to create the ground-breaking flapper look of the 1920s.

Her career spanned her whole lifetime, with Chanel acknowledged as a visionary fashion leader. Her most iconic looks are the Little Black Dress which has proved to be classy and timeless and one which generations of women have tried, tested and loved! It is said that the inspiration for this outfit came after the end of World War I when, for a vast majority of women, there was a need for mourning. Mothers, wives, sisters…most women were were directly affected by the death of a loved one. The black dress was also a celebration of simplicity in a time with so much chaos, and of course it proved to be an enduring and timeless design.

Her other well-known look is the Chanel suit - which consists of a collarless suit jacket and a slim-fitting pencil skirt, pearls and nautical shirt. This originated in the 1920s but remained an iconic design right up until the 1960s and beyond. She was also the creator of a number of perfumes, including the famous Chanel No.5. Chanel designed the clothes that took the women of the 20th century through their journey of increasing freedom, and they did it with style and class.

There are a few things about her personal life I don't admire, but in spite of this, from rags to riches, Coco Chanel was truly a force to be reckoned with. She inspires me to believe in myself and keep going when things get tough and one day hopefully design the kind of clothes that will become legendary too. Be your own woman, but do it with style!

Cathy says:
Chanel was indeed a fashion legend... and her influence remains strong even today. Do YOU have a female hero you'd like to tell us more about? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more and you might even be invited to write about it for DREAMCATCHER!