Tuesday, 31 October 2017

DO YOU BELIEVE IN GHOSTS?

I asked readers if they believe in ghosts... this is what they said. Spook-tastic!

Trish says:
I've seen several. The most vivid was actually in a public toilet... I was checking my hair in the mirror and there was a young girl behind me. She was holding her arms out and her wrists were cut. A local friend told me the girl had been out with friends, had a fight with one of them and cut her wrists with broken glass. Her friends didn't reach her in time and she died in the stall. They no longer put locks on them for that reason. For some reason I wasn't scared, just so very sad for her...

Leanne says:
When my grandfather passed away, all the clocks in the house stopped at the exact time he'd passed away. I also smell my nan's perfume sometimes, and the smell of cigarettes as she used to smoke. At work, I've had hassle with the alarms going on and off randomly when I'm the only person there, and I've seen figures there that couldn't possibly have been there.

Rowan says:
When my daughter was seven, she pointed to the staircase and said, 'Why is that man there?' There was nobody there at all, but my daughter went on to describe a man in a long grey coat...

Mary-Ellen says:
I haven't seen ghosts exactly, but I was staying in Canada and I went out for a walk in the woods. I was thinking about a problem that had been worrying me for a couple of years, and suddenly I came to a clearing in the woods and a very powerful calming feeling swept over me. I can't describe it - I've never felt anything like it, before or since. The next morning, the property owner told me the place I was walking had been an old native American burial ground. Soon after I got back from Canada, the problem I'd been worrying about was resolved - this was life-changing and I'll be forever grateful.

Sara says:
I grew up in a house full of witch-marks and mystery... of course I believe in ghosts!

Lucy says:
This is my cousin's story... when she was fourteen, she was trick or treating with friends and met a girl called Charlotte who had got separated from her friends and joined up with their group. They all thought her costume was a bit extreme, an old-fashioned white nightdress that was actually wet and a really convincing facepaint bruise on her temple. They kept trying to give her a jacket or a jumper because they thought she'd get pneumonia, but she wouldn't accept anything. They asked if she wanted to come back to my cousin's house where they were having a sleepover, but she said no and ran off. It was my auntie who told the girls that a teenager called Charlotte Browning had drowned in the river in the 1930s... and that sometimes, on Halloween, her ghost could be seen. I think I'd have been petrified if that had happened to me!

Cathy says:
Oooh... some seriously spooky stories here, especially the first one and the last one! Do YOU believe in ghosts? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Monday, 30 October 2017

FOR THE LOVE OF AUTUMN...

Readers share their favourite things about autumn...

Katie says:
**Puts on Ravenclaw scarf** Well arutumn means my first day back at Hogwarts, of course! I ride the Hogwarts Express, ruck into a feast in the Great Hall. watch the Sorting Hat and listen to what Dumbledore has to say, all while catching up with friends at my table and from other Houses. Then I curl up in my tranquilly decorated room, ready for a whole new term of classes, Quidditch try-outs and Halloween, before December even arrives!

Michelle says:
Walking through crunchy leaves, warm coats... and Halloween!

Anna says:
Autumn means snuggling up by the fire with a mug of something warm and comforting. Waking up to see the grass sparkling with the first frost, carpets of auburn and golden leaves with conkers shining amongst them for delighted children to collect. Autumn means cosy scarves and woolly hats, big coats and new boots with fluffy socks. It means the smell of woodsmoke and toasted marshmallows with fireworks popping and fizzing all around. It means cosiness, and the anticipation of winter's Christmas magic!

Ali says:
To me, it means panicking slightly about getting through the winter... and lots of dark dog walks! It also means taking out a second mortgage on fairy lights, candles and snuggly clothes to restore my sense of calm!

Violet says:
Autumn means flannel shirts and boots... what else?

Anastazcia says:
Snuggling up on the sofa with my little boy, making the most of it before my new baby arrives - due December 24th! The next few weeks will be filled with candles, movies, hot chocolate, homemade soup and finishing off the baby's room!

Kellie says:
This year autumn means school, friends and happiness to me. I  had a difficult time in Year 5 and 6, trying to handle a bullying problem that just wouldn't go away no matter what I did. Now I'm at a new school and it really has been a fresh start. For the first time in ages I have friends I can trust and I can feel my confidence and personality coming back. All the usual autumn term things are brilliant to me this year, and I'll be trick-or-treating with friends on Halloween and going to a big bonfire party with them... this year, autumn means the start of being happy.

BeeBee says:
Autumn means the old melting away like falling leaves!

Gemma says:
Crunchy leaves, frost on the ground, the way your breath hangs in the air before you like smoke. Having to wear hats and gloves and scarves and boots. And the return of porridge and honey for breakfast and hot chocolate at night!

Cathy says:
Love these... what does autumn mean to YOU? Tell all in a COMMENT BELOW!

Saturday, 28 October 2017

WORK IT OUT: LET'S MAKE UP!

Katie has a full-time job in hospitality - as well as a 'side hustle' part-time job she adores! Find out more - and watch Katie's fab facepaint demo video - just perfect for Halloween!

Katie says:
At school, I changed my mind a million times about what I wanted to be - the one thing I did figure out was that I didn't want a regular 'career'. When I left, I did office work for two and a half years and hated it; I travelled for two years and now I work in hospitality, which I enjoy it. However, I have a 'side hustle' job that I REALLY love!

A couple of years back I noticed a friend was selling make up products online for a company called Younique... at the start, I almost unfollowed her because of all the posts, but gradually I became interested and started to pay attention to what she was doing! A year later, I decided to jump in myself and began to sell Younique products in between my shifts. I really fell in love with the job because of the culture and community of the company - the manifesto is: uplift, empower, validate - and I have seen that in action since joining! Loving the actual products is a bonus - they are high quality products that actually do the job and their longevity, versatility and wearability are awesome! The products aren't tested on animals and some are vegan friendly. I would 100% recommend them as they are suited to people with a variety of allergies, beliefs and skin types.

I think the most important reason I love selling for Younique is that this job has given me the confidence to be myself... that has been life changing. It has given me a tribe of amazing and supportive men and women to be a part of too, as well as giving me the ability to come out of my comfort zone! Those are just a few reasons why I love what I do so much. This job gives me the opportunity of financial freedom and the chance to work from home, and I very much hope to do it full-time one day. Those plus points are great, but knowing I'm doing something I love for a company that has given me so much self-esteem and satisfaction is the best thing of all!

Katie loves making little Facebook videos of cool looks, and I thought I'd share a cute Halloween look she's done that you might like! Just click here... https://cathycassidydreamcatcher.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/cool-reads-for-autumn.html
or follow Katie on FB HERE... 

Cathy says:
I love Katie's enthusiasm... when you love your job, nothing feels like 'work'! Check out the link to her facepaint demo too, it's brilliant! Have YOU got the best job ever? Or do you know someone who has? Email me here or COMMENT BELOW and you could be featured on DREAMCATCHER! 

Friday, 27 October 2017

COOL READS FOR AUTUMN...

I asked readers to share their fave reads for autumn... some excellent recommendations here! 


Helen says:
I'm reading THE BOOK OF DUST: LA BELLE SAUVAGE by Philip Pullman now, and MOONRISE by Sarah Crossan is next on the list, but LOVE FROM LEXIE would be a great choice too...

BeeBee says:
YOU CAN'T MAKE ME GO TO WITCH SCHOOL by Em Lynas and THE CALL by Peadar O Gullin are great!

Soumia says:
EVERYTHING EVERYTHING by Nicola Yoon!

Violet says:
I'm reading a YA book called MIRROR MIRROR by Cara Delevigne (yes, THAT Cara Delevigne). It reminds me of LOVE FROM LEXIE because it's about a group of misfits who form a band, but it's quit dark... I'm enjoying it!

Gergely says:
DIZZY by Cathy Cassidy or HOLES by Louis Sachar...

Jasmine says:
Anything by CC of course, but also GIRLS FC by Helena Pielichaty, ARE YOU THERE GOD IT'S ME, MARGARET by Judy Blume, and THE NORRIS GIRLS by Nigel Hinton...

Bob says:
I'm reading THE CHOCOLATE BOX GIRLS series by Cathy Cassidy but also recommend anything by Tanya Landman, Alan Gibbons, Patrice Lawrence, Sue Wallman, Olivia Levez, Eugene Lambert and MORE OF ME by Kathryn Evans. Look out too for TALES OF NIBIRU by BB Taylor and MISFITS by Marie Cope, which will both be huge!

Hollie says:
Any CC books - or the RACHEL RILEY series by Joanna Nadin.

Bev says:
THERE MAY BE A CASTLE by Piers Torday or A STORM OF STRAWBERRIES by Jo Cotterill...

Karla says:
I read FISH BOY by Chloe Daykin a few months ago - every page is pure beauty. Soul-warmingly dream-like in style!

Rowan says:
Anything by CC of course, and also THE WOLF PRINCESS by Cathryn Constable!

Shirley says:
Two YA suggestions... LIKE OTHER GIRLS by Claire Hennessy and THE HATE U GIVE - so good!

Ali says:
THE OUTSIDERS by SE Hinton... I read it on an exchange trip to Germany aged 14 and still associate it with those good times!

Eva says:
THE WOLF WILDER by Katherine Rundell.

Cathy says:
Some great choices here... looks like I've got myself an autumn reading list! Is there anything YOU would like to add? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

VIOLET: FALLING LEAVES...

Reader Violet shares a cool short story with an unexpected autumnal twist...

The summer holidays were but a distant memory for Tallie as September drew to a close and the crisp autumn air rolled in; the emerald leaves on the trees turned to russet and gradually fell to the ground. Walking home from school, Tallie didn't join in with her classmates' chatter as they kicked through the crunchy leaves, their laughter already visible in the air.

'Hey!' A cheery voice broke her reverie. Startled, Tallie glanced up and met the eyes of one of her classmates. 'I love your hair, it's super cute. I've been wanting to dye my hair bright red too, but my mam won't let me, she says it's pushing the rules too much. It suits you, though!'

'Oh... uh... thanks!' Tallie replied.

'No probs,' the girl replied before squealing as one of her friends crept up behind her and shoved a handful of dead leaves down the back of her shirt. The girls ran off, laughing and throwing handfuls of leaves. Tallie reached down to pick up a leaf, running her fingers over its stark skeleton. With no connection to roots, the leaf would grow fragile and crumble. It would almost certainly be gone by tomorrow, not that anyone would notice as the trees shed more and more. Tallie clapped a hand over her mouth to stop the sobs threatening to rise up. As soon as she got home, Tallie slumped to the floor and buried her face in her hands as the sobs broke free at last. With a concerned expression, Tallie's mother stepped out of the kitchen, wiping her hands on her apron.

'Oh, sweetie,' she sighed, pushing the crimson fringe from Tallie's face and tucking a strand of her own red hair behind one ear. 'I know how you feel - I know you'd give anything to be like the others. Crying won't change it - believe me, I cried my fair share of tears over this when I was thirteen. It's not fair and it never will be - I know that as well as you do. It's no use wishing things were different. Might as well make the most of this until... well, until it happens.'

The 'it' in question happened every year. Tallie and her mother started out blonde and as spring turned to summer, their hair darkened. As autumn approached, their hair turned various shades or red and brown, from strawberry blonde to deep chocolate brunette, echoing the shades of the fallen leaves that lay strewn across the ground. Then came winter, and the hair that drawn compliments just months earlier would be gone, their heads as bare as tree branches. Tallie could wear hats, bandanas, anything to hide it, but it was obvious to everyone what she was hiding, and the cruel kids would pull her hat off and chuck it around the playground, smirking.

She heard the whispers. 'Sick,' they said. 'Cancer.' The teachers guessed at alopecia or trichotillomania and pulled her aside to ask if she was struggling with schoolwork, if everything was OK at home. Tallie knew she couldn't tell them that her hair changed with the seasons. Life had always been this way for Tallie but that didn't make it any easier - she wanted to blend in and be like the others, trying out new hairstyles, but her hair never got a chance to grow past her jaw before winter reclaimed it. That's how it had always been, and how it always would be... but Tallie was trying something different this year.

After a year of scrimping and saving, they had saved enough to buy a wig - a proper custom made wig, glossy and brunette and chin-length, It wasn't as long as she would have liked, but it was realistic and long enough for decorative braids or a ponytail. Both, maybe! Wiping her eyes, Tallie dredged up a smile. Every year brought the same loss - not just her hair, her identity too - but maybe this year would be different.

Cathy says:
I love this clever, twisty story... it's original and cool! Would YOU like to see more fiction on DREAMCATCHER? Just COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Monday, 23 October 2017

YOUR STARS FOR OCTOBER...

Skye Tanberry has been stargazing again... check out her fun predictions for the month ahead and see if they come true!

LIBRA: 23rd Sept - 23rd Oct
Don't make too many firm plans... life is going to take a few twists and turns in the weeks to come, so stay flexible and enjoy the ride! There may be surprises in store, but they'll be good ones, so let yourself go with the flow!

SCORPIO: 24th Oct - 22nd Nov
Changes are happening for Scorpio people, and not before time - it's hard for you to let go of the reins, but some things you cannot control. Interesting times lie ahead, so trust to fate and look out for unexpected opportunities along the way!

SAGITTARIUS: 23rd Nov - 21st Dec
You know what you need to do to move forward and build a better life, but knowing and doing are two different things! Even the best-laid plans don't always work out quite the way we imagine... but Sagittarians will enjoy the adventures ahead!

CAPRICORN: 22nd Dec - 19th Jan
New friends and possible romance are all on the cards in the months ahead, so enjoy this exciting time and try not to worry too much about the bigger picture. Sometimes, having fun is just as important as working hard... honest!

AQUARIUS: 20th Jan - 18th Feb
A project is starting now that may show real results in a few months time... have you got the patience and perseverance to keep working away at it? Whatever it is, it's something you care about with a passion, so don't give up... your reward will come!

PISCES: 19th Feb - 20th Mar
You've been pushing yourself too hard lately, and although in some ways that's just the way you operate, take care you don't go too far and end up burning out. If you end up exhausted and ill, you'll be back to square one... not good!

ARIES: 21st mar - 19th Apr
Whoa... things are really happening for Aries people this month! Energy levels are high and plans are about to create some truly awesome results. Take care to stay kind and thoughtful when it comes to those around you... they matter too!

TAURUS: 20th Apr - 20th May
Big things are happening... but they're not the things you might expect! It may feel like life has thrown you a curve-ball or two, perhaps even a serious challenge, but have faith - the events of the next few months will change your life for the better.

GEMINI: 21st May - 21st June
Impatient Gemini people don't like to wait around, but plans and journeys, whether simple everyday ones or big, life changing ones, are likely to include delays, detours and challenges. Stick with it... you'll still get your happy ending!

CANCER: 2nd June - 22nd Jul
You're in a very creative phase right now... enjoy it and let your imagination soar. Life may be taking some unusual twists and turns around you, but chill and trust to destiny - everything is unfolding exactly as it should.

LEO: 23rd Jul - 23rd Aug
You're definitely moving forward again after a difficult time... now is the perfect moment to work on self-esteem and confidence issues so that you are ready to take exciting chances and opportunities when they come along. You can do this!

VIRGO: 24th Aug - 22nd Sept
The path ahead is clear, even though you may not be able to see yet just where it is leading. Don't argue - put a smile on your face and step out with confidence. Slowly, you'll begin to see where life is leading you, and all your questions will be answered.

Cathy says:
Ooh... my horoscope says I need to be patient... not a quality I'm very good at! Do YOUR stars ring true? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Sunday, 22 October 2017

DAISY: HE LOVES ME NOT...

Reader Daisy shares her experience of a holiday romance that didn't end quite as she wished...

Daisy says:
It was right at the end of our holiday in Portugal when I got together with Mark. I'd spotted him right at the start, but both of us were shy and it was only on the last day that we got chatting and shared a quick kiss. It was very romantic but I didn't expect too much of it, so when he asked for my email, Facebook and WhatsApp details I was really happy.

Mark lives about two hundred miles away from me - I'm in Scotland, he's in England - but it felt like we were much closer because we spoke everyday and shared thoughts and feelings. Even though the actual romance had been so short and sweet, we were really getting to know each other now and able to tell each other anything and everything. When I fell out with a girl at school, Mark understood and encouraged me to put things right; when he had a massive row with his parents, I was the one he turned to. I felt closer to Mark than to anyone.

My friends were really impressed and knew he messaged me every day. And then, suddenly, he didn't. The messages faded away and my messages went unanswered. I had no idea what I'd done wrong. This was at the start of October, and I cried myself to sleep night after night because it was like losing a best friend. I couldn't let go, I kept messaging and asking what was wrong, and eventually Mark replied and told me he had a new girlfriend and I was getting a bit stalker-ish and I needed to get a life. This was the boy who'd poured out his heart to me about his parents just two weeks earlier. I haven't heard from him since, and I hope he feels a bit guilty for dropping me so abruptly and being so spiteful. It's not like I didn't understand that a long-distance relationship would be hard - he was the one who was determined to try. I saw him as more of friend than anything else, and I think I could have accepted that he was seeing someone, maybe, in time. I just feel sad that my first holiday romance had to end in such a harsh and bitter way... and I will think twice before trusting any boy again.

Beautiful photo by talented reader Hollie: many thanks Hollie!

Cathy says:
Daisy's had a bad experience - it sounds like Mark just didn't have the maturity to explain his feelings properly to her, then felt guilty and got nasty. I hope her next relationship runs a little more smoothly! Have YOU ever been badly hurt by a boy? COMMENT BELOW or email your story to me via the EMAIL CATHY link over on the CC website!

Saturday, 21 October 2017

SCARLETT-INSPIRED SWEET TREATS TO BRIGHTEN UP YOUR AUTUMN!

Looking for some sweet treats to try out this half term? Head to the bookshelf and check out some CC inspired recipes to brighten up your autumn?

Scarlett's Yummy Fairy Cakes...

You'll need...
12 medium paper cupcake cases
Baking tray
125g softened butter
125g caster sugar
2 free range eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
125g self raising flour
2 tablespoons milk

To make...
Preheat oven to 190c/ 375f/ gas mark 5.
Arrange paper cases on baking tray.
Beat butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
Add beaten egg gradually, mixing as you go, and then add vanilla extract and mix in.
Sift in half the flour, folding gently.
Add the milk and rest of flour and fold in until well mixed.
Spoon into paper cases and bake for 12 minutes until golden and risen.... cool for 10 mins on a wire rack.

To decorate...
Beat 115g icing sugar with 60g softened butter, adding a drop of vanilla extract to taste.
Add a drop of food colouring for extra cool cakes!
Spread buttercream over cooled cakes and top with a fresh strawberry and a mint leaf, Scarlett style... or sprinkle on hundreds and thousands!

Clare's Lemonade...
You'll need...
1 cup sugar
6 fresh lemons

To make...
Place sugar in a heatproof bowl and add a cup of boiling water, stirring until sugar dissolves.
Use a lemon squeezer to juice six lemons.
Mix sugar water and lemon juice together in a tall pitcher, adding 3-4 cups of cold water to taste.
Refrigerate for 30 mins and serve with ice cubes and lemon slices.
Or... slice up a bowlful of fresh strawberries and stir into the mixture to make pink lemonade!

Fab illustrations by talented reader Caoimhe - many thanks!

Cathy says:
Haven't read SCARLETT yet? It's the perfect book for half term week... check it out at your local bookstore or reserve a copy at your local library! If you HAVE read SCARLETT, share your reviews in a COMMENT BELOW to let other CC readers know what you think! And if YOU have some recipes to share, EMAIL CATHY via the link on the website cathycassidy.com and we'll use the best on here!

Monday, 2 October 2017

I LOVE LEXIE! MORE FAB READER REVIEWS...

More readers share their reviews of LOVE FROM LEXIE... it's flying off the shelves... have you got YOUR copy yet?

Aaliyah says:
Yesterday I loaned LOVE FROM LEXIE from my local library and read it for two hours... then another three hours until, past midnight, I finished it. It made me cry it was SO good, and the storyline kept me gripped throughout. I loved how Lexie took all the lonely people and made them feel like they belonged - and I took a great liking to Marley too! Every time I read a CC book I think how awesome it would be to make it into a film, and I think LOVE FROM LEXIE would be the perfect place to start. When the Chocolate Box Girls series ended I was so upset but Lexie is my new favourite character - all I can say is that it was well worth the wait!

Angharad says
I LOVED this book. It was a sensational, heart-warming story that made me sit up in my seat and beg for more. LOVE FROM LEXIE is all about a girl called Lexie who accidentally finds herself forming a band called the LOST & FOUND with some of the kids from her school. Lexie is lost and lonely because her mother abandoned her, moreover, she never knew the reason. I really liked the book because it has a strong musical theme and that's fab for me as I play piano, clarinet and violin (like Happi in the story). It's also a cool, fun and frankly very good book. There is a clever twist in the tale and I am really looking forward to reading the next one in the series!

Cathy says:
Thanks girls for such fabulous reviews... I really appreciate it! Have YOU read LOVE FROM LEXIE yet? COMMENT BELOW to have your say or email me to have your own LOVE FROM LEXIE review on DREAMCATCHER!

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 2...