Thursday, 30 November 2017

HELEN: I FELL OUT WITH MY COUSIN

It's problem page time again on DREAMCATCHER, and reader Helen has a problem for HONEY TANBERRY to sort out...

Hannah says:
I was upset a few weeks ago because my cousin Sara forgot my birthday. We're quite close and I felt very hurt, and I went on Facebook and posted about it. She was really upset and hurt and suddenly it was like I was the bad guy. I messaged my aunt and told her to tell Sara I forgave her and she did, so I think it will all blow over, but my mum told me I should be more careful in future. I don't think anyone is thinking about how I feel. What do you think?

Honey says:
First of all, I'll come clean. I forget birthdays. I've forgotten my friends' birthdays a few times, especially if they don't remind me ahead of time. I've forgotten my dad's birthday, and Paddy's, and even Coco's once, and she has never let me forget it. We live busy lives and we DO forget things sometimes, even things to do with people we care about. If your cousin is a great friend the rest of the year, what does it matter if she forgot one birthday? Second, and this is a life lesson - when you're angry, stay off Facebook. Posting things that will hurt or shame other people is NOT OK, and your cousin had every right to feel upset. I'm glad you've forgiven her, but I hope you also asked her to forgive you for the angry post! Lastly, and this is huge - the truth is, other people probably aren't thinking about how you feel, not all of the time, anyway. They all have so much going on that they can't put you first the whole time, and although as a teen it often feels that the world revolves around you, the truth is that it doesn't. Your pride took a dent and your lovely cousin made a mistake - it's time now to let go and move on. Nobody's perfect, after all!

Cathy says:
Good sense and some seriously straight talking from Honey on this. It can feel really hurtful and unfair when someone forgets your birthday, especially if you remembered theirs, but we do lead hectic lives and these things happen. Let your cousin know you don;t bear a grudge! Have YOU got a problem for one of the Tanberry/ Costello sisters to solve on DREAMCATCHER? Email your problem via the 'email Cathy' link on www.cathycassidy.com and your worry might be featured in a future post. And don't forget to COMMENT BELOW to add your own advice for Helen!

Saturday, 25 November 2017

BOOK PICKS: STAND BY ME...

My fab Irish author pal JUDI CURTIN has a new book out - a brilliant time-slip story that I think my readers will love! Take a sneaky peek...

Judi says:
STAND BY ME is the second book in the series about Molly and Beth, who have found a secret door to the past. This time, the girls are worried about their favourite uncle, Graham. He's still feeling sad and guilty about something that happened to his best friend in the 1960s, so the girls decide to head back in time to see if they can help him to fix what happened. They soon discover that life in the 1960s is VERY different... and that people could actually have a meaningful existence without mobile phones (!!!)

This series came about after a visit to my mum last year. She told me great stories about when she was young, and I found myself wishing I could go back to see what she was like when she was a little girl. That's an impossible dream for me, but with my characters, I can make anything happen!

The first book in the series, TIME AFTER TIME, was set in the 1980s which was a lot of fun to write, as most of the research consisted of trawling through my old photograph albums. I am tempted to set the third book in the 1970s, simply because I have a very cool dress to wear to the launch!

STAND BY ME is out now. 

Check out Judi's website at www.judicurtin.com

Cathy says:
I love the sound of this time-slip series - so cool! Have YOU read any awesome books lately you think CC readers might like? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more and have your say!

Thursday, 23 November 2017

ANNA: IT'S TIME FOR THANKSGIVING!

Reader Anna tells us why she loves Thanksgiving - and what the celebration actually involves!

Anna says:
Christmas is coming and I absolutely love Christmas... but first I want to tell you about the American celebration of Thanksgiving! The very first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the pilgrims - the first European settlers in America - after their first harvest in the 'New World' in October 1621. The feast lasted for three days, and as reported by one settler, Edward Winslow, it was attended by 90 Native Americans and 53 pilgrims. Thanksgiving is celebrated to this day in the USA, a unique and special way of showing thanks for the things we have and love.

These days,  there is always a huge Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, with giant character balloons and floats and celebrities and broadway shows. Macy's is a big department store in New York! My absolute favourite bit of it is the Sesame Street float, which has the cast of the Muppets and Sesame Street, and every year they sing a special song. Millions of people all over America watch the parade on NBC on TV and millions go to New York to see it for real, too! I watch the parade on YouTube, but I'd love to go along in person one day!

The actual Thanksgiving Dinner is pretty amazing. Millions and millions of families in America really love each other and care about each other, and Thanksgiving is a way to celebrate that. The centre of the celebration is a big dinner which usually includes roast turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie, and people give thanks for everything they have and love. I'd like to wish my dearest friends - whether they are American or not - a very happy Thanksgiving!

Cathy says:
Thanksgiving seems quite alien and exotic to us Brits, but the idea of giving thanks for what we have is a brilliant one! What would YOU give thanks for in your life? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Monday, 20 November 2017

HAT TRICKS!

Readers share pics of their fave autumn hats... fabulous, every one of them!

Blue says:
I'm not usually much of a hat wearer - my hair is fabulous and demands to be free - but I got this hat a couple of years ago and it has kitty ears, so it's perfect for me. I certainly did not chase a cat yelling 'Why won't you let me pet you? Are you offended by my hat?' OK, I did do that. But only once. OK, twice. I like cats a lot and the hat serves three purposes: 1/ It keeps my head warm; 2/ It covers up bad hair days - shocking, I know, but even I get these! 3/ It makes it easier to blend in with my cat buddies. Y'know, when I'm not scurrying after them, begging them to let me pet their floofy heads!

Katie says:
Ra ra Ravenclaw! What better way to show your Hogwarts House pride than by brightening up your wardrobe with a cool cap like this one? It's just one of many souvenirs I brought home from Armageddon, the New Zealand geek convention. It came from a small indie stall but the hats were officially licensed, and this one was so shiny I couldn't resist it. You actually wouldn't guess from the front what the crest and the colour symbolised if you were a Muggle, but Ravenclaw is written on the back. Subtle but shiny! I'm going to swap my two or three Harry Potter beanies for this once the weather gets warmer, but for now I'm going to take it out on the town and give them the ol' Ravenclaw razzle-dazzle!

Louise says:
This is my favourite hat right now because it's so easy to wear and so perfect for when autumn starts sliding towards winter! It's also my favourite because the big flower always makes people look and smile - and that makes me happy!

Cathy says:
Love these... and what very cool hats, too! I think I need to up my hat game a little now that the weather's getting cooler! Do YOU have a fave hat? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more!

Sunday, 19 November 2017

VIOLET: LOVE STORY

Reader Violet shares a very different kind of love story - with a twist in the tail!

I love her. I loved her the moment I saw her, and knew I had to make her mine. She doesn't know this, of course; I don't speak to her, but I love her, and I know she'll love me too if she gives me a chance. I've been watching her for weeks now, hanging around the places she frequents. I think she's come to recognise me because she nods at me sometimes and gives me that adorable grin that makes her nose scrunch up and melts my heart. She never approaches me though, and I can't work up the nerve to go to her... I just nod back briefly, then turn my head away and feign disinterest. Treat 'em mean, keep 'em keen, my mates say. I'm not sure about that, but they're far more street smart than I am so I guess they'd know.

Today, things are going to change. I've waited for my glacial coolness to reel her in, but it hasn't worked. Time to show her how I feel. She walks home from work through a small wooded area, so I head there and wait. She's approaching, humming a tune I can't quite place and kicking through the foliage.Taking a deep breath, I step out in front of her and she startles, lost in thought, but when she sees that it's me her face relaxes into that easy smile I love so much.

'Hey... Tom, is it?' she says, cocking her head to one side. She knows my name - she must have been asking about me around town. I take a step closer, my heart hammering in my chest. 'It's such a nice day, hey, Tom?' she goes on. 'Im going to stay here for a bit and read, but if you want to keep me company...'

Me! She's talking about me! She wants my company! I love how she talks to me, treating me normally. Most people talk to me slowly and simply, like you would to a very young child. They assume that I don't understand, but I know much more than I let on. I slink to her side; I can feel the heat from her body and the hair on the back of my neck rises because she's so close. She looks up from her book occasionally, smiling, and I chance my luck and edge closer. She glances at me again. I wonder if she can tell that I've been staring at her this whole time?

'Aww, Tom, you're so cute!' she exclaims, scratching under my chin. I weave through her legs. purring loudly to show my affection, and she strokes my head, oblivious to the fact I'm getting ginger fur on her dark tights. I love her. I loved her from the moment I saw her, and I had to make her mine. Every cat knows there's a perfect human out there for them, and I know I've found mine. It won't be long till she's putty in my paws...

Cathy says:
I love this story... clever and funny and very cute! Are YOU enjoying our weekly fiction slots? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Thursday, 16 November 2017

COULD YOU HELP A MOTHER AND CHILD IN NEED?

It's coming up to Christmas, the time of year when we celebrate the birth of a baby born in a stable, to parents who'd had to travel far from home. This year, there will be countless babies born to refugee mothers far from home and without even a stable to shelter in... could YOU help them?

Sally says:
We first started CRIBS International when it became clear that there was a real need for a house or flat for women at Ritsona Camp in Greece to go to after having their babies. It seemed obvious that for the few weeks after giving birth, a woman should not have the additional stress and physical effort of living in a tent, with the risk of flies, mosquitoes and snakes etc and poor hygiene facilities. Many women have had C-sections, which are commonplace in Greece but need proper rest and recovery time; another major risk is that of gastroenteritis for babies being bottle fed.

CRIBS first aimed to provide a safe house/flat where women with new babies could find some respite from the camps in order to heal, but we have now helped thirteen families to find long term housing. Who are we helping now?

Jumana, her husband and baby Riad, from Syria - now in a small apartment rather than the squatted room they previoulsy shared with three other families; Rwida and her family who came from a refugee camp next to a sewerage pit and now stay in a housing project with a school, clinic and community spirit; the family who escaped from the Taliban in Afghanistan and spent the winter in a tent in Serbia in temperatures of -20; a family escaping family problems after forced marriage in Pakistan, vulnerable, unwell and fragile; an artist and his wife expecting a child in Ritsona Camp; a couple expecting their first child and living in a container with no shower, toilet or  A/C.

We want to help more families... can YOU help? If you can help fundraise for CRIBS we can offer speakers and equipment/ ideas to help. Our team is based in the UK, Germany and Canada and we have donors from UK, Ireland, Germany, US and Canada. Could you make CRIBS your special charity this Christmas and help a mother and child in desperate need?

CRIBS International is a registered charity, no: 1173021
Website: https://cribsinternational.org/
Donate to CRIBS here: https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/cribsinternational

Cathy says:
Sally, one of the founders of CRIBS, is a new friend and a genuine hero of mine. I will be supporting CRIBS this Christmas and in the year ahead... can YOU? Can your class, year group, workplace or group of friends help with a small fundraiser or donation? Even the smallest contribution of money or goods can help. And to one refugee family, it could make all the difference in the world. #ChristmasSpirit #ShareTheLove #CRIBS

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

YOUR STARS FOR NOVEMBER!

Skye Tanberry reveals her top horoscope predictions for November... how will YOUR month unfold?

SCORPIO: 24th Oct - 22nd Nov
Life seems to be going at a hundred miles an hour lately... and although you've been known to have control freak tendencies, right now you're revelling in it! Give in to the fun of the season... and throw the to-do lists away, for this year at least!

SAGITTARIUS: 23rd Nov - 21st Dec
You love this time of year... first a birthday, then Christmas... what's not to like? Life can be bittersweet at times, but you know how to live it to the full and grab the good times when you can. The stars show lots of positive stuff in the areas of love, friendship and fun, so enjoy every minute!

CAPRICORN: 22nd Dec - 19th Jan
It's time to put your worries on the shelf and enjoy the gifts life has given you... that might be a new friendship, a loving family, a loyal pet or even a hobby or skill. Enjoy the little things and you might just find that the big things take care of themselves!

AQUARIUS: 20th Jan - 18th Feb
Hard work is starting to pay off, whether that's in the area of work, friendship, family or future plans! You've come a long way, but allow yourself some down time to have fun. The next few weeks will be packed with opportunity and entertainment, and you'll kick yourself if you miss out!

PISCES: 19th Feb - 20th Mar
If anyone deserves some pamper time, it's you - OK, it may be small-scale stuff, but a new haircut, a cute Christmas jumper or a new book to snuggle up with can really help to re-set your mood. Balancing work with fun stuff is key to getting through the months ahead, so make it a priority!

ARIES: 21st Mar - 19th Apr
A friend has been quite distant and distracted lately, and this may have hurt your feelings - instead of challenging her, be supportive and quietly accepting, because she may be going through a difficult time. Plan some fun stuff to do with your friendship group and put a little spark into winter!

TAURUS: 20th Apr - 20th May
You're struggling with work/ school/ relationships just now - something, somewhere isn't going according to plan and that's spoiling things all round. You can't always fix things or get the result you want, but do your best to make things right and then step back and let fate take care of the rest.

GEMINI: 21st May - 21st June
Confidence has been at an all-time low, and for a Gemini, that's seriously bad news - it makes you question everything. You're usually kind to others yet hard on yourself - time to be gentle with yourself and take some of the pressure off. Just do your best... it really is enough.

CANCER: 22nd June - 22nd July
You've spent most of the year quietly trying to help a friend in need. It's time now to put yourself first and ask what you really want from life - and how you can get it. This may mean changing a few things or even backing down on an issue, but it will make you happier and allow you to be a better friend.

LEO: 23rd July - 23rd Aug
You've been impatient at the small steps forward life has offered lately, but small steps are better than no steps! Time now to get pro-active and take matters into your own hands - be brave, be confident, be hopeful, even if you have to act the part at times. A life-changing opportunity is heading your way.

VIRGO: 24th Aug - 22nd Sept
You've got the Christmas bug a little early this year - but so what? That just prolongs the fun! Plan some wintry outings with friends to spread the festive cheer... you'll find yourself the centre of things and your confidence will get a boost as a result! Santa's little helper? Bring it on!

LIBRA: 23rd Sept - 23rd Oct
Life has had a few surprises up its sleeve lately, and you're beginning to enjoy the thrill of the unexpected... perhaps a few festive surprises might be in order to create a little magic for those you love?

Cathy says:
Ooh... some very interesting predictions here! Does YOUR horoscope ring true this month? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Monday, 13 November 2017

LIFE IS SWEET... AND SO IS THIS BOOK!

LIFE IS SWEET, the collection of short stories linked to the CHOCOLATE BOX GIRLS series, makes a perfect Xmas prezzie for CC fans! Readers share their reviews to whet your appetite!

Francesca says:
LIFE IS SWEET is a brilliant compilation of short stories that are all about the Chocolate Box Girls - and boys! My favourite is probably CHOCOLATES & FLOWERS (Alfie's story) because it is a perfect mix of surprise and sweetness. Romance is not a subject I usually read or look for in stories - I am more into action and mystery - but this book is different from any other in that genre. I would definitely recommend this book to my friends, because it is really interesting and has a few twists hidden away which you wouldn't expect. This keeps you entertained and alert for any more unexpected plot twists that could pop up at any moment!

Deborah says:
LIFE IS SWEET is one of those books that you adore. Not just because it has six different CHOCOLATE BOX GIRLS series linked stories for you to choose from, but also because the stories come together to create a world that you live in when you read them. Reading LIFE IS SWEET truly made me me believe the message that the title spells out is true! The new story with Ash in it was an unexpected bonus and made it an even better book... I loved it! Ash's story is so heartfelt and touching and really helped to wrap up the story of Honey and Ash and give us a peep at life after FORTUNE COOKIE! This book is an extra piece of Tanglewood and makes the world bigger and better.

Lindsey says:
I have a lot of favourite CC books, but LIFE IS SWEET is one I keep going back to because I love the little slice-of-life stories and the insights into background characters from the CHOCOLATE BOX GIRLS series. I gave copies of this book to my two best friends last Christmas and they both ended up getting hooked on CC books, so... this year I'll be giving it to my cousin, who is nine, and just ready to discover the magic of Tanglewood. My favourite story? It's the last one, where Ash and Honey meet up in Paris. Oops! Better not give any spoilers!

Cathy says:
Ooh... it's a bit early to be thinking of Xmas prezzies... or is it? I like the idea of giving books... which CC book would YOU recommend to a friend? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Sunday, 12 November 2017

UKE CAN'T BE SERIOUS!

Readers talk about their newfound love for one of the coolest musical instruments ever... the ukulele!


Esme says:
My mum bought me a bright purple ukulele for the Christmas before last, which wasn't that odd as she is always getting me unique gifts. I had been pining to learn an instrument and the ukulele seemed perfect! I didn't quite know what to do with the uke at first, but I started lessons at MMT in August and I was doing really well. The uke is not too difficult to learn, although some chords I still can't do, such as B flat! In January this year, my teacher decided I was good enough to perform in public, and despite my nerves, I performed 'Can't Help Falling In Love With You' by Elvis Presley. It was the best feeling - the whole room was in silence while I played. I accompanied the uke by singing the song, and this has inspired me to start voice lessons too. I am doing well in both, and enjoying it so much! I don't know if many people my age learn the ukulele, but they should as it's great fun! The photo is from January, just after the performance!

Taylor says:
Music is really important to me - it helps me to escape from everything going on in my brain and in my life. I have PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) because of something that happened in my past, and due to this I get horrible flashbacks. It seems that grabbing my keyboard or ukulele helps by getting rid of the memories for a while, and it just relaxes me and the stress melts away. The post performance buzz is something I will never get tired of - that feeling that you've done it is like nothing else, and it seems to last for days!

Deborah says:
When I was in Year Nine, I was in a music form, and one of the compulsory parts of being in the form was learning the song 'Stand By Me' on the uke, so that we could play it in assemblies. It didn't take me too long to learn it and we performed it quite often. Even though I've had a four year break in playing uke, I still love the instrument inside and out!

Cathy says:
Aww... I love these posts! I just wish I had a few musical skills, but hey ho, you can't win 'em all! Do YOU play uke - or any other musical instrument? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Saturday, 11 November 2017

CHLOE: THE BOOK THAT REMINDED ME THAT LIFE GETS BETTER

Reader Chloe writes about the CC books that shaped her teens and offered comfort when the going got tough...

Chloe says:
I started reading CC books at the age of nine when my cousin suggested I read her copy of LUCKY STAR. I read it, and I was hooked right away. I remember reading the books almost obsessively and running to the bookstore to get GINGERSNAPS when it was first released. When I was twelve, I wrote a letter to Cathy telling her she was my favourite author - well, I am nineteen now and very little has changed in how reading those books makes me feel.

If I feel trapped I read SCARLETT to ease my fear, and if I feel alone I know I can always turn to ANGEL CAKE. However, the book that I connect to most strongly is DRIFTWOOD. When I first read the book, I was too young to understand fully what Paul was going through, but by the age of sixteen my book was well worn as I turned again and again to those pages to find understanding and comfort. When I was at my lowest point, it was DRIFTWOOD that lifted me up again and reminded me that life gets better.

It's ten years on since I first picked up that copy of LUCKY STAR and fell into the world of CC books, and it seems like a good time to say thank you. I am grateful for everything that CC books have done for me, and because they do not completely sugar coat what it is like to grow up in less than ideal situations. I have learned a lot from these books over those ten years, and I hope to learn more as time goes on. Thank you!

Cathy says:
Oh... posts like this make all the hard work SO worthwhile! Thank YOU Chloe! Do YOU have a fave book that meant the world to you? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more!

Sunday, 5 November 2017

VIOLET: WHITE FEATHERS...

Reader Violet shares a startling and unsettling story... make yourself a hot chocolate and get reading!

I awoke with a start. It was pitch black in my room, aside from my alarm clock, a neon 3.07 glowing next to me... yet I felt wide awake. Clearly, I wasn't going to get back to sleep so I flicked on my bedside lamp to read and I knew instantly that something was different. It may have been the trail of feathers that gave it away, or the motionless heap in the corner, just beyond the reach of the lamplight. Perhaps it was just a pile of clothes? Then it stirred, shifting slightly and groaning. OK, probably not a pile of clothes, then.

I wanted to run from the room, from the house, possibly from the country itself... but I knew I had to be an adult and check this out. This could be an injured person - what they were doing in my room was a mystery, but I couldn't just ignore them. What about the feathers, though? Perhaps it was an ostrich? I grabbed my phone from the bedside table, switched on the flashlight and tiptoed across the room, feeling for all the world like the first one to die in a horror movie. I swept the flashlight across the corner. Bare feet, the hem of a lace gown (unusual attire for an intruder, I thought), a woman's face resting on delicate hands, tousled sandy hair and - Jesus, were those WINGS? The phone slipped from my grasp and landed next to the sleeping woman, the flashlight on her face. She shielded her eyes and pushed herself up into a sitting position, unfolding her wings and releasing another shower of white feathers. The thought that I'd have to vacuum the carpet flitted through my dazed mind.

'Ugh,' the woman muttered to herself. 'Not another dimension shift...'

Clearly, this was a dream. I was dreaming, I had to be. It felt like moving through quick-set cement, I reached down to pinch myself, sure I wasn't going to feel anything. Wrong! 'Ouch,' I yelped. rubbing the spot I'd pinched. The woman quickly snapped her head up and her eyes met mine as she realised for the first time that she wasn't alone here.

'Is this your house?' she queried, getting to her feet. 'Look, I'm sorry about this. My name is Deifilia, and I really shouldn't be here. I have to get home... but I'm going to need your help...'

Cathy says:
Ooh, I love a cliffhanger! Where do YOU think Deifilia has come from? And why? If you could write an ending for the story, what would happen? COMMENT BELOW to have your say! 

Saturday, 4 November 2017

WORK IT OUT... JODIE, HOTEL RECEPTIONIST

Reader Jodie tells us about her job as a hotel receptionist... could it be the right career path for YOU? 

Jodie says:
I left school at sixteen and did A levels in English Lit, history and textiles at college, but I had no idea what I wanted to do. I passed my A levels and decided I'd had enough of education, so I got a job as a receptionist in a beauty salon. I liked it at first, but the atmosphere between the workers wasn't quite right. I moved to my first hotel and learnt the ropes - how to use the systems and answering the phones, getting to grips with it all. I then moved to my second hotel and began doing extra training in order to work my way up to management level.Working in a hotel is always rewarding - you get to meet all kinds of people and hear their stories, as well as making sure they have the best holiday or stay possible.

There are challenges, of course. Something could go wrong maintenance wise and you have to bear the brunt of any complaints; or perhaps people aren't happy with their rooms and want things sorted out. You have to make sure you're strong enough for this! The thing I struggled most with at first was having difficult days myself - I suffer with depression - and having to put on a brave face and not allow it to impact on your work. You have to leave your troubles at home, in a way. I did get used to this, and there is something about having to put the guests needs first that does make you forget your own worries until the day is over. There is a lot to learn, especially with the booking systems which can be complicated, but if you take it step by step it all falls into place.


I once thought I'd be totally wrong for this line of work, being in the public eye all day and having to look after others when sometimes I struggle to look after myself, but in fact the job has given me such a confidence boost and renewed faith in myself. If you want to be a receptionist, you must ensure you don't mind being the first port of call for customers and staff - I find that there's a buzz about being the first person people see when they walk into the hotel. The main qualities you need are a friendly and professional telephone manner, so that people feel inclined to stay with you and feel they are being respected. Most places ask for GCSEs in English and Maths and some reception experience, and although some places have a strict uniform, I just have to wear a smart blouse or shirt. You must be able to stay calm under pressure and look after several things at once - but this can be learned, and if you put yourself in the situation and think things through, it's often much easier than you'd think. You must be good at admin and IT, but being friendly, courteous, professional and willing to learn are vital too... the rest will come with time.

I absolutely love my job and love having the ability to make others feel happy and cared for. I still have bad days - everyone does - but overall I am much happier. This job can turn the shyest, saddest, most nervous person into someone with a whole new sense of purpose... and that's exactly what it has done for me!

Cathy says:
I LOVE this post - Jodie has made me see a side of the hospitality business that I had never thought of before, and I love how the job has transformed her confidence and self esteem! Have YOU ever thought of this kind of career? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more!

Friday, 3 November 2017

CHOCOLATE BOX SECRETS: THE REVIEWS!

Readers review Cathy's  book CHOCOLATE BOX SECRETS… and the verdict is looking GOOD!

Zoe says:
I've read CHOCOLATE BOX SECRETS and it was amazing! I have already tried some of the projects in the book, such as the hot hot chocolate and the friendship bracelets… they are just so inspiring. The beautifully designed cover really jumped out at me and it obviously appealed to my friend because she bought it too. We have been able to do some of the tasks together, which is cool! I love the way the sisters from the CHOCOLATE BOX GIRLS series introduce a season each, and also tell you about the projects… and you find out more about them as they do! I would definitely recommend it for anyone who loves crafts, fun and sleepovers; there are just so many crafty things in there it's hard to choose which project to choose next. It's a really good book and I love it so much. It even inspired me to draw a picture of Honey, inspired by the gorgeous illustrations inside!

Mel says:
I love the whole CHOCOLATE BOX GIRLS series, but this book is my absolute favourite. It has so much to do and make and it gets you into a very creative way of thinking! Whenever I make something from the book, I end up getting ideas for other projects as well, which is brilliant! The book is set out like a yearbook so it takes you through the year and some of the projects are themed - for example, I used the ideas in the book to do Halloween make up looks for me and my friends, and we got costume inspiration from the book as well! We even made Halloween recipes! Now I'm flicking ahead to the Christmas pages because there are some amazing ideas for cool home made presents, which should save me a fortune when Christmas shopping! What's the best thing I've made from this book? The customised shorts I made at the start of the summer... I've worn them loads, got tons of compliments and I'm still wearing them even now it's autumn, over wooly tights! If you are arty and creative and a fan of the CHOCOLATE BOX GIRLS series, this is the book for you!

Tilda says:
My best friend got this book a few weeks ago and we have had so much fun with it already. In the half term holidays we made flower garland headbands - I've always wanted one! This book is going on my Christmas list, I love it!

Priya says:
I was given this book as a present last year and I love it. The fashion makes are my favourites but the recipes are great as well... I have even made the three tier birthday cake for my mum, and everyone was really impressed! I've done some of the other things too, such as book-gifting, which is such a simple idea but makes you feel great. I love that there is room for you to add your own designs and ideas... it's a book that anyone creative or fashion-conscious will love!

Cathy says:
This book was my favourite ever book to write... so much fun! It really is perfect for my arty, awesome extra-cool readers... and that's most of you, let's face it! Have YOU read CHOCOLATE BOX SECRETS yet? COMMENT BELOW and have your say!

Thursday, 2 November 2017

BOOK CLUB: COOL READS FOR NOVEMBER...

Readers review non CC books they've read and loved in the first of a new series especially for book lovers... take a peek and get inspired!

Katie says:
In RADIO SILENCE by Alice Oseman you meet a geeky fangirl called Frances Janvier, who does fan art for a science fiction podcast show in secret. On the outside, she's smart and studious, a 'study machine', Head Girl. But with the help of an intriguing boy called Aled Last, life becomes a lot more than school.

RADIO SILENCE gave me a whopping book hangover because for a thrilling 400 pages you are living someone else's life. Every day I wore patterned leggings and every night I went to bed under a cityscape blanket. The characters in RADIO SILENCE are so precious that the book is sometimes too hard to read, but that's a good thing... it shows how cleverly written this story is.

The characters are beautiful, simple yet complex and so very real. This is not a book that you just 'put down' when you're done... Frances Janvier will always be my BFFF (best fictional friend forever). RADIO SILENCE taught me that sometimes things in life are confusing and don't always go according to plan, but as long as you have special people in your life it will be a lot easier than it may seem!

Cathy says:
Love this review... I'm convinced, are YOU? Want to review a favourite book and bring it to a wider audience? Just email me via the 'EMAIL CATHY' link over on www.cathycassidy.com and share your recommendation, or COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

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