Saturday, 26 October 2019

ANAEL: HOW TO HOST A PERFECT HALLOWEEN PARTY!

Reader Anael has six simple steps to hosting a perfect Halloween party... read on and wow your friends!

Anael says:
Hosting a party doesn't have to be stressful or scary - it's all in the planning, promise!

STEP 1: INVITES
Set a date and venue, and check that with family (or teachers, if you're using a classroom at school) that this is OK with them. Next buy those party invites - the shops have a great selection at this time of year - or design your own, if you're the arty type! Hand out invites the week before the party so your guests can plan their costumes!

STEP 2: DECORATIONS
Even an ordinary living room or classroom can be transformed if you decorate it well. Again, the shops are filled with Halloween themed decos at this time of year, and supermarkets are a great place to gather some budget items. Drape fake spider webs, fairy lights, fake spiders and plastic skeletons from the walls and carve a Halloween pumpkin to set in the window!

STEP 3: FOOD
Make a shopping list - get organised! Stock up on paper plates and cups, cutlery, balloons and perhaps a spooky plastic tablecloth... plus basics like fruit juice, pop, sweets, cakes, popcorn etc. Plan some show-stopper specials like a scary Halloween cake and a spooky blood-red punch - check online or in recipe books for inspiration! Plain shop bought cupcakes can be transformed by icing spiders onto them using shop-bought black icing... easy!

STEP 4: MUSIC
Make a playlist with all your favourite tracks, plus a few scary ones thrown in for fun! Check out Monster Mash, Ringo Starr; Once Upon A Dream, Lana Del Rey; Thriller, Michael Jackson; Black Magic, Little Mix; Ghostbusters, Ray Parker Jr.

STEP 5: COSTUME
Make your own - or visit your local party shop for inspiration! Witches, corpse brides, black cats, zombies, ghosts and vampires are all popular - or mix it up! Last year I was a witch-vampire-corpse-bride! Check out the CC book MARSHMALLOW SKYE for how to make a ghost girl costume, or CHOCOLATE BOX SECRETS for top Halloween facepaint advice!

STEP 6: FUN!
It's only Halloween once a year... so enjoy it!

(Photos courtesy of Pexels)

Cathy says:
I love this... it's ages since I've done a Halloween party, but maybe this will be the year! Are YOU going to be celebrating this Halloween? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

WHO'S YOUR CC CHARACTER TWIN?

Readers spill the beans on the CC characters they have most in common with... 

Emily says:
I am truly, in every sense of the word, a CC superfan: I have read all the books, have most of them, and (no joke) Skye is totes my twin. When I first read MARSHMALLOW SKYE, both my head and my heart thought they couldn't ever want to be like anyone else, myself included, ever again. I always had empathy for Jodie - I'm a bit of a Summer-basher sometimes, and I think this is because I am almost jealous. Sure, Skye is awesome - I knew she was my favourite sister - but still, I was envious of Summer. She is perfect, whereas I - um - am not. MARSHMALLOW SKYE is my rock, but I love HOPES & DREAMS too, and I am probably more like Jodie than any other character. I would love to see a series all about Rochelle Academy!

Cerys says:
I have lost of favourite characters in CC books, but the character I am most like is Bex from LOVE FROM LEXIE. Bex is just like me... she dyes her hair turquoise and then red, I have had mine purple and silver. Bex loves Doc Marten boots, and I have three pairs, in bright colours and patterns. Bex is hot tempered and fiery and I am also, and yet like Bex I work hard at school and do well in my exams. Bex is in a foster family, and I am not, and she has a pierced nose, and I don't, but we do have lots of things in common. I loved reading about such a strong character and one I was very like. Bex is great and I can't wait for her installment in the LOST & FOUND series (if she has one!)

Louise says:
My CC character twin is probably Jude from SUNDAE GIRL. She is very quiet and worries about what people think of her, but underneath this she is a strong character who is quietly coping with lots of difficult stuff. Well, I don't have a mum who drinks too much or a dad who is an Elvis impersonator but I do live with my grandparents, for different reasons. There are some challenges in my life and I try to be positive about it all but like Jude I find it hard to let people get too close. I also go to a Catholic school and it was nice to see that detail in this story because you don't usually. All that's missing is that I need a secret admirer like Carter... but that's just a matter of time, right?

Millie says:
The CC character I am most like is - this will sound odd - Shay Fletcher from CHERRY CRUSH and the CHOCOLATE BOX GIRLS series. OK, he's a boy, but otherwise the similarities are there. Shay is a bit misunderstood and doesn't always get on with his dad, and my dad is strict and moody. Shay is very musical and plays guitar and writes songs, and I play piano and guitar and write poetry, and one day I hope I will write actual songs. Also Shay annoys everyone by finishing with his girlfriend to go out with someone else, and something like this happened to me but with friends. I have been told LOVE FROM LEXIE is about a girl who joins a band and writes songs, so I am getting that book next!

Cathy says:
I love this... so cool! Do YOU have a CC character twin? Who are YOU most like, and why? Tell us all in a COMMENT BELOW!

Friday, 4 October 2019

YOUR HOROSCOPE FOR OCTOBER...

Skye Tanberry here, with your horoscope for October... see if my predictions ring true for you!

LIBRA: Sept 22 - Oct 22
Balance in your life is definitely a good thing... but don’t feel scared if you find yourself in a little bit of chaos... the drama will pass!

SCORPIO: Oct 23 - Nov 21
Helping people is definitely a good thing, as long as you don’t try to control other people’s lives... try to support your friends and listen to their worries, but don't be tempted to interfere too much. They have to make their own choices in life!

SAGITTARIUS: Nov 22 - Dec 21
You're lucky enough to have some great supportive friends around you, but try not to take advantage of the people who offer you help. It’s important to give as well as take... try it and see those friendships deepen.

CAPRICORN: Dec 22 - Jan 19
If things are going well, don’t second guess them, because you will end up creating problems where none exist. Life has some awesome moments up ahead for you - open your eyes and make sure you don't miss them!

AQUARIUS: Jan 20 - Feb 18
The new school year has lost it's novelty and an edge of stress may be creeping in about some aspects of your work. Ask for help if you need it, and keep tje big picture in mind - take every day as it comes and make time for fun as well as study!

PISCES: Feb 19 - Mar 20
If you are feeling cornered or unappreciated by your friends, step back a little and don't give them such a big role in your life. Sometimes, you have to put yourself first and focus on your own happiness.

ARIES: Mar 21 - Apr 20
If you feel an old friend is drifting, make the effort to reach out and keep the bond strong. Yes, you both have busy lives, but a few texts, messages, calls or meet ups can keep things fresh and fun. Don't be scared to make the first move!

TAURUS: Apr 21 - May 20
If someone has gone out of their way to make you happy, let them know how much you appreciate them. Sometimes, a little thanks, can go a long way! A secret admirer has their sights set on you... but are they the person you're dreaming of?

GEMINI: May 21 - Jun 20
It’s good to let go sometimes! Don’t feel scared to put yourself first every now and then and share the work load - asking for help is a sign of strength, y'know! Build in plenty of downtime and fun days with friends to balance the stress!

CANCER: Jun 21 - Jul 21
It’s good to be ambitious, but remember to keep in mind how your actions make other people feel... and take time to make your friends feel valued and loved, too! If you're feeling low as autumn kicks in, make an effort to up your exercise and leisure time. It'll put a smile on your face!

LEO: Jul 22 - Aug 21
Don’t forget about spending time with your friends and family, even if you have a lot on your plate. Try not to jump to conclusions or assume the worst of others... a hasty judgement is rarely a fair one, and may cause real hurt to others.

VIRGO: Aug 22 - Sept 21
If things don’t go according to plan, relax and go with the flow! You may have a set idea of how things should be, but sometimes a little change can work out even better. Adapt and keep moving forward... you may get to your goal even faster!

Cathy says:
Do October's predictions chime for you? Do YOU follow your horoscope avidly, or just see it as a bit of fun? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Sunday, 29 September 2019

FRANCESCA: LOVING LOOKING GLASS GIRL!

Check out this fab review of LOOKING GLASS GIRL by reader Francesca...

Francesca says:
I have recently just finished reading LOOKING GLASS GIRL and I wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading this book. I thought that the way it was written was very clever - it didn't get confusing when referring to different times, places and characters. I also thought that the way this book had been put into modern times was very creative and I'm sure it must have taken a lot of hard work to think about the book and the story within.

At the end of each chapter I wanted to know the truth and find out more about the characters and the story - every night I would pick up this book and couldn't put it down! All the characters in the story are well described and have their own personality. I could picture them in my head as if they were real people, jumping out of the book and stepping into reality. The characters didn't know what it was like to live in a world where secrets, lies and the truth hide.

My favourite character in the story was Savvy - at the start of the book, she was unkind, bossy and wouldn't take no for an answer, but towards the end she became kinder.  Eventually she ended up becoming best friends with Alice -  I liked her more by the end of the story.

This year, I am starting secondary school and can't wait to meet new people and make friends. This book has taught me that some people hide things under a mask that not many can see through and see the truth. I have learned (from this book) that people are not always what or who they appear to be on the surface. I think Alice was too scared to tell her Mum about the bullying and it's a shame it took something so serious to put things right and leave the past behind. I think it's important to be kind to everybody - like Alice was to Lainey at the end of the story, when she noticed she was all alone.

Thank you Cathy, for writing LOOKING GLASS GIRL, because it taught me a lot of things. This modern version of Lewis Carroll's Alice in wonderland is different in a good way!

Cathy says:
Thank you Francesca for this lovely review! Any readers who love a thriller-style story with an Alice in Wonderland twist will enjoy LOOKING GLASS GIRL - have YOU read it yet? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Saturday, 24 August 2019

NIKKI: MY FIRST CRUISE!

Reader Nikki writes about her first cruise holiday... if you're not going anywhere this summer, curl up and read more... and start dreaming!

Nikki says:
I went on my first cruise just as I was starting High School. I really didn’t know what to expect, but it was incredible! All I’d heard about cruises was that they were for “old people” but that statement couldn’t have been more wrong - cruises are definitely for all age groups! I went with my mum, little brother and my grandparents and we each loved it for our own reasons. My little brother loved the cruise because he got to hang around in the kids club. It sounded pretty lame to me, but I spent a few days with them playing games and exploring the ship, and it was actually fun! My Mum loved the cruise because we went around the Canary Islands and it was super warm, so she got to relax by the pool and sunbathe all holiday. She doesn’t get a lot of time off work, so just being able to lie around and do nothing was the perfect holiday for her. My Nanna and Grandad had been on millions of cruises! My Grandad used to lecture on airplane crashes and since then, he has refused to fly, so a cruise was the perfect way for them to get around on a holiday.

I have many reasons why I love cruises… I feel like there’s a magic in the air. I love how everyone around you seems so calm and relaxed - we are all on holiday, after all! I love how cruises are like multiple holidays all in one, because you get to visit so many destinations in one trip. But my favourite thing is how much there is to do on a cruise. There are different activities and classes that you can do and constant entertainment and a show every night. You could never be bored!

I also love how fancy a cruise can be! There are formal nights that you can take part in and wear really fancy dresses and dine in a fancy restaurant. Or if you prefer, then you can eat at one of the many other food places on board ship and stay in your comfy clothes. The destinations are always incredible. When you dock in a port, there is always a beach nearby. On one of the stops, we took ourselves snorkelling at a nearby beach. I have never seen so many fish in my entire life! The water was so crystal clear that you could see everything - it was like swimming in an aquarium!

I guess cruises may not be for everyone - they would be pretty daunting if you were scared of water, or got sea sick. But they are so safe that sometimes you forget about being in the middle of the ocean. My Grandad often gets sea sick and sometimes they have to give him a needle in his bum to get rid of it! However he says that it’s definitely worth it for such an amazing trip. You’ll never know how much you love it until you try it, but for me, cruises are the perfect way to spend my summer holidays…

Cathy says:
Ooh... Nikki makes it sound so tempting! I have never been on a cruise - have YOU? COMMENT BELOW to tell us what you think!

Saturday, 17 August 2019

I'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A SINGER-SONGWRITER...

Fourteen year old Justin from Northern Ireland gives us the inside story on dreams, determination and starting out as a young musician...

Justin says:
I didn’t take many guitar lessons but I learnt to play through music groups like the Rock School at Ossia Music in Belfast, and I also used the internet. I have a bad memory about what the first song I ever learnt on guitar was but I'm pretty sure it was 'Know Your Enemy' by Green Day. I've pretty much always known that I wanted to be a singer-songwriter. I grew up with Hannah Montana and Big Time Rush and was obsessed with the idea since then, but as time went on, I got more into theatre and art until social media was introduced to me and I discovered a bunch of underrated artists who I wanted to be like.

I love pretty much any genre of music (except for country. Yikes) but I adore punk music along with pop punk and indie music the best.  My favourite artists though would have to be Cavetown and The 1975, although neither of them are punk or pop punk. I really connect with their words. I've been listening to Cavetown for about 4-5 years and once I figured out he started writing when he was extremely young, I was very inspired and began writing. The 1975 are just beautiful; they don't only motivate me to write but they also encourage me to think, read, and to live my life to the fullest. I love both of them and they inspire me every day.

A lot of things encourage me to make music, like for example, listening to music and thinking "wow wouldn't it be cool if I wrote a song and people could hear it through their headphones" but to be completely honest, what encourages me the most is my family and going to concerts. Every time I go to a concert I just let out all my raw emotions, I scream, I cry, I laugh, and (not to be too self-obsessed, but) I want people to do that when they see me live. My family just inspires me everyday and I want to make them proud of me. The best thing about being a young artist is just being able to express yourself. I can write about mac n cheese and call it the best thing ever and nobody will mind because I'm a child, and getting compliments like "You're so young! how do you do it?" is always nice.

The worst thing though would have to be the pressure I put on myself. I still want to do well in my education and I still want to have a social life so I attempt to make any free time I have about music. I feel like I'm running out of time and I know I'm young and I shouldn't worry but I can't help thinking about all of the talented kids in the media that started before me. I'm also deeply afraid of kids making fun of me but I'm working on slowly putting myself out there more so it'll seem more natural to me.

What keeps me going on is the fact that I could actually live my dream life. I know that's a one in a million chance but I dream of performing on a stage where people want to see me, I dream of looking back on all the people that put me down and showing them I did it. I dream of having my own music on vinyl. I dream of being interviewed. Just little things and little dreams like that keep me going.

You can see Justin perform here... support new talent and pop over to give his song a like! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTHQuOl8pOs&feature=youtu.be
You can also follow Justin on Instagram here: @justinmcmillxn

Cathy says:
Wow... as the mum of two young muso's myself, I can tell that Justin is the real deal - amazing talent and confidence! I'll be following his career with interest and rooting for him all the way! Do YOU have a dream career you'd give anything to follow? Or do you want to leave a word of encouragement for Justin? Just COMMENT BELOW!

Monday, 12 August 2019

ANNA SEWELL: BLACK BEAUTY

Another in our occasional series about children's classics and their creators... we look at the life of Anna Sewell, author of BLACK BEAUTY...

Anna Sewell was yet another literary lady who despite all that was against her, overcame the odds and managed to write a timeless classic. Overcoming injury, poverty and the hardships of being a woman author in a man’s world, Anna Sewell, author of BLACK BEAUTY, also became an influential voice on animal cruelty.

Born in Great Yarmouth in 1820, Anna Sewell spent most of her early life in London. Her mother, Mary Wright Sewell, was also a successful children’s author, but despite the popularity of her books, the family still couldn’t quite afford to send Anna and her little brother Phillip to school and educated them at home.

At the age of fourteen, Anna finally had a chance to attend school in Stoke Newington. However, on the way home from school one day, she slipped and severely injured her ankles. Due to the family's precarious financial situation, treatment for Anna’s injury was poor and she never fully recovered. For the rest of her life, she could not stand for very long without a crutch. She started using horse drawn carriages for greater mobility, which contributed to her love for horses and concern for their welfare. Anna also owed quite a lot of her inspiration to her mother, Mary, whose own books and beliefs looked at social issues such as the abolition of slavery and alcoholism. Anna would often help to edit her mother’s books, and so she gained invaluable experience of how to be a successful author.

BLACK BEAUTY was Anna's only book, an emotional and hard-hitting story that showed the hardships and cruelties horses faced in Victorian society - it was clearly a labour of love. Written towards the end of her life, when she was an invalid and mostly bedridden, the payment upon publication was a flat rate of £40. The book is still one of the top ten bestselling children's books of all time. Although now considered a children’s classic, her original intended audience were those who cared and worked with horses. She wanted to inspire kindness, sympathy and understanding for them.

An American review of the book said: “We require use of this animal more than of any other, and either from want of though or ignorance we forget that the horse is a very fine and delicate animal, sensitive as man to pain and hardships and almost human in its sense of hearing and understanding…A horse lacks words with which to express its feelings..”

BLACK BEAUTY was published when Anna was fifty-seven years old, in 1877, though sadly she would not live long enough to see its great success - five months after its publication, Anna Sewell died of tuberculosis.

Cathy says:
Have YOU read BLACK BEAUTY or seen the film? It's very sad... it definitely made me cry as a child! Which children's classic do YOU love best? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Saturday, 10 August 2019

FAIRYTALE...

How two girls at the turn of the last century took some amateur photographs that shook the experts... and made the UK believe in fairies. Was it real? Read on to find out more…

In 1917, down in the leafy Cottingley Glen near Shipley, West Yorkshire, sixteen year old Elsie and her cousin Frances, nine, claimed to have first seen fairies. Unsurprisingly, nobody believed the girls and in a bid to prove that the fairies were real, they begged Elsie's father to borrow his camera to take pictures so the family could see for themselves.

It was Elsie's father himself who developed the photographs - he was obviously astonished when the picture showed Frances, surrounded by a ring of dancing fairies! Once over the shock, helooked for a rational explanation and put the illusion down to cardboard cutouts that the girls had drawn.

It wasn't until 1919 that the photographs came to a wider audience. An expert commented on the photograph of Frances: "This plate is a single exposure. These dancing figures are not made of paper nor any fabric; they are not painted on a photographic background - but what gets me most is that all these figures have moved during the exposure."

Every little girl claims to have seen a fairy - but these girls had proof! The photographs were shown to the famous writer, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Doyle was a member of the spiritualist movement and happened to be writing an article on fairy lore; he was fascinated by the pictures and wanted to include them in his feature. This is what brought them to the public eye. His article received much criticism but it also sparked a debate that would never really be solved until 1981, when Elsie and Frances, now old ladies,  admitted that the photographs had been faked. In spite of this, they still staunchly claimed to have seen fairies by the beck and argued that the fakes had been made to make people believe.

Why they took so long to admit the images were faked - or indeed the possibility that they were lying in that interview - are questions which are still being asked today. We will leave it to you to decide  - are fairies real?

Cathy says:
I've always loved the story of the girls who saw fairies in Cottingley... and my kids, in turn, loved the film version of the story, Fairytale, when they were growing up. At the time, the photographs convinced the UK... do YOU think there was anything to their story? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

YOUR STARS FOR AUGUST!

Skye Tanberry is back with your horoscope for August... let's hope it's a sizzlin' one!

LEO: Jul 22 - Aug 21
If someone has upset you, remember that you are a strong person and can rise above the situation. Try to see the bigger picture and let go of the hurt and anger... it's time to move on.  You'll feel lighter and more energised as a result... don't let hurt or anger bring you down.

VIRGO: Aug 22 - Sept 21
Don’t stress about exam results and upcoming tests. Whatever the outcome, you can and will make it work for you! Now is a good time to think about future dreams and turn them into plans - if you work hard and find your passion, everything else will follow!

LIBRA: Sept 22 - Oct 22
Filling your holiday with adventure and fun is your priority, and quite rightly. School/ college seems like a whole world away, but don’t forget to stay on top of work and reading as well as all the fun stuff, so you can hit the ground running when you go back!

SCORPIO: Oct 23 - Nov 21
Trying different things can sometimes be fun! Why not challenge yourself and see if you can go vegetarian for a week? Or go plastic-free? Or walk 10k steps each day? Just thinking about which challenge to pick can help you find out more about yourself!

SAGITTARIUS: Nov 22 - Dec 21
If something is going wrong in your life, try to find the silver linings and concentrate on the positives, rather than the negatives. There is always a solution... and once you stop panicking, you'll find it, promise!

CAPRICORN: Dec 22 - Jan 19
The efforts you have been making recently have not gone unnoticed - keep it up and that passion will drive you through life. Meanwhile, take a moment to feel proud at how hard you're trying... your determination is pretty awesome!

AQUARIUS: Jan 20 - Feb 18
It’s okay if you haven’t figured out what you want to be yet. Some people don’t find their true passion for a long time... and some of us will find there are many paths/ careers that could make us happy! You have all the time in the world - which means you can enjoy every moment this summer!

PISCES: Feb 19 - Mar 20
Why not try a new activity this summer? Grab a friend and try your hand at tennis, squash, diving or cycling? It could even be as simple as perfecting your cake baking talents! Learning new skills can be loads of fun and the stars will help make sure you learn a lot, too!

ARIES: Mar 21 - Apr 20
If you always find yourself reading the same type of book, why not branch out and try something new? A new genre could surprise you and you may find something you love! Head for the library with an open mind and see what you can discover!

TAURUS: Apr 21 - May 20
Spending time with your friends and family is important, but if you've been feeling a little swamped lately, make sure to spend some quality time alone too. Quiet time can help top up your energy and keeps you in touch with your own feelings!

GEMINI: May 21 - Jun 20
Make sure to get out and enjoy the sun this summer! If you're not the sunbathing kind, gather some friends and head off for a picnic, a bike ride, a trip to a museum or gallery or a day trip to your nearest big city. Being a tourist in your own town can be cool!

CANCER: Jun 21 - Jul 21
It's easy to take those we love most for granted at times, but the last thing you want is for them to feel neglected. Let friends and family know that you appreciate them - it could be the tiniest gesture, but it will make their day!

Cathy says:
Ooh... some interesting predicitions here... do they ring true for YOU? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

NIKKI - MY FIRST MUSIC FESTIVAL!

Reader Nikki tells us about her first experience of a music festival... complete with waterlogged tent! And yes, she's a convert!

Nikki says:
I didn’t really know what to expect when I went to my first music festival, so I chose to start with one of the smaller ones. I went to Eden Festival in Scotland and after being told how dinky it was meant to be, I was blown away by the size of the place! I definitely think that I would have been overwhelmed at one of the larger festivals to start with, but this was a perfect size to start off with. There were thirteen different music venues on the site, almost all of the food stalls offered vegan and gluten free options and there were posters promoting recycling all over the place! It was amazing! Everyone was so friendly and inclusive, so we were all surrounded by the nicest atmosphere! Much to my delight, there was a whole array of circus equipment for people to try out - I had a great time, but I have learnt that the unicycle is definitely not for me!


After exploring all there was to see, including 2 humongous stages and many different food and crafts stalls, we headed back to pitch our tent. I had never camped before and found that pitching a tent was surprisingly easy! We shared some of the food that we had brought and headed back out to listen to some music.

We started our music journey at a stage called Rabbie’s Tavern. It was one of the smaller stages, but I don’t think there was a single moment of the festival were it wasn’t jam packed! The music was wonderful, it was calm and folky and everyone listening to it seemed really relaxed and happy. We loved it so much that we ended up staying there all night and didn’t manage to see any of the other stages! We’d had a long drive and decided after a lovely evening, we wanted to get an early night, so we headed back to our tent.

It was meant to be raining all weekend, but we managed to bring the beautiful sun with us, until we tucked ourselves in for bed and it started to pour. After about half an hour or so, we noticed that our pillows were a bit wet. After turning on a torch for closer inspection, we realised that our tent was not waterproof at all and there were puddles forming around the edges. Our pillows weren’t just a little wet, they were soaked! We grabbed all of our bedding and clothes and ran to the car, which was parked a few fields away. We tried our best to make a comfy bed in the car, but it was horrible! Just thinking about sleeping in that car makes my back ache!

In the morning, once we had eaten some breakfast, we forgot about all of that and headed down to the main stage to listen to some more music. We ended up falling asleep for half an hour or so before lunch and when we awoke we felt refreshed and ready for the day!

After lunch we went to the second largest stage to watch a man called Mr Motivator. He appeared on ITV back in the 90’s to motivate people into doing more exercise. Around a thousand people were gathered around this stage squatting and lunging while this sixty seven year old man put us all to shame with his athleticism and enthusiasm. People in banana costumes were weaving in and out of the crowd handing out bananas, and if I looked to my left, I could see a man dressed as a bear. If I looked to my right, I could see women dressed as fairies, handing out leaflets to try and prevent climate change. Dancing along to Mr Motivator was one of the greatest and weirdest moments of my entire life!

As we had no tent to sleep in, we decided to finish our day back at the small stage and head home early. I would definitely recommend a festival to anyone who is a fan of music and camping! I will always remember my time at Eden Festival and I can’t wait to do it all again next year!

Cathy says:
Wow... this sounds brilliant! Have YOU ever been to a music festival? What did you think? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Sunday, 28 July 2019

ADVENTURE: WHY WE NEED IT AND HOW TO FIND IT

Reader Katy blogs on why adventure is good for us... and why we all need to be be a little bit braver!

How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live
Henry David Thoreau


Daydreaming is one of the healthiest forms of escapism but what use is it if all you ever do is dream? I know a lot of you are budding writers so pay heed to Mr. Thoreau’s words… often the best stories come from experience.

Why do we need adventure? 
Humans love routine. It’s comforting, reassuring, safe... but is it really living? While all this is an entirely natural, human trait, so is the need for adventure. The balance between the two is where we find the secret to happiness. We are storytellers, collectors of memory. In the modern world, it is so easy to travel to far and distant lands, we have it so easy compared to our predecessors. Take a ferry to Amsterdam? Grab a £30 flight to Madrid? I mean, it’s rude NOT to. Not only does it feed into our own happiness, stories of adventure inspire others to reach outside their comfort zone. It is contagious!

How to find it?
Now… there are three ingredients when it comes to cooking up an adventure. Excitement. Risk. Experience. Getting out of your comfort zone, exploring and pushing your limits. We will never remember the time we caught the bus for the 176th time into town unless, say, we strike up a conversation with a stranger. Something as simple as that can turn into a wonderful adventure. Maybe you are meeting a new best friend!

A lot of it is down to overcoming fear. For a lot of us, the thought of talking to a complete stranger is quite terrifying… but why? They’re usually just going about their lives, just like you are. Not scary at all. I made a very dear friend last year, whilst travelling in Budapest. I was just in the supermarket buying fruit when a girl, roughly the same age, approached me and asked if I knew where the nearest post box was. Incidentally, I truly didn't. But we got chatting; she was visiting too. We arranged to meet for a coffee and that was it! The rest of my time in Budapest was spent hanging out in her flat, exploring the Buda hills, exchanging music… and we still talk now. I plan to visit her in her student flat in Amsterdam soon. What I'm saying is, some of the best experiences have come from pushing through this fear of talking to people, just saying yes.

I can only ever speak for myself, but I believe we humans are never meant to stay in one place for too long. There is so much world to see, so many things to experience. But if travelling isn’t your thing, adventure can be found anywhere... on the bus, in a supermarket, at school. Literally anywhere. What are you waiting for?

Cathy says:
I am all for adventure... it's just around the corner, after all, if you know where to look! What was YOUR last big adventure? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more!

ANAEL: HOW TO HOST A PERFECT HALLOWEEN PARTY!

Reader Anael has six simple steps to hosting a perfect Halloween party... read on and wow your friends! Anael says: Hosting a party does...