Tuesday 28 August 2018


Reader Romessa reminds us how important it is to leave time for yourself and that being by yourself is ok!

Romessa says:
I will let you into a little secret... date days or date nights with yourself  are basically days where you show yourself love and you appreciate yourself even if you feel like you can’t or that you don’t deserve to.

Let me tell you - and please believe me - you deserve lots of love and care. The whole idea of date days or nights for yourself is to let yourself heal from whatever you’re going through or it may be to help you feel better from those rough days. It will enable you to look at yourself and see that you do deserve more love, much more love than you are currently giving yourself. 

It is also up to you how many days or nights you set aside, I usually have one every Friday where I watch movies and just do things I enjoy like reading! Also Sundays are my date days where I will read, have a long bath and just eat lots of tasty food. Once or twice a month I will visit a coffee shop by myself. They make me so happy and I just sit there for a while with a nice book and switch off from the world around me. I love this time alone as it makes me feel happy and I realise that I do deserve to be alive and I do deserve these things. 

Dates by myself started when I started losing people, losing friends, losing people close to me... I got to a point where I wanted someone to just chill with or speak to. That was when I realised you need to enjoy your own company first before expecting anyone else to. Don’t get me wrong I love being around people and love going out with people and enjoy time with others but sometimes I need the time to revaluate what is going on in my personal life and just look after myself.

You may be in a relationship or seeing somebody and sometimes things get difficult and you need a time out.  It's ok. Go pamper yourself, get a coffee, eat junk food, sleep extra, go for a run, go for a walk, spend time with family (this is not by yourself but still healthy), binge watch a series, get to know yourself. 

Personally, I think spending some time away from others and by yourself will make you feel less stressed and will show you that no matter what goes on you still have yourself.

Cathy says:
What a fab idea! Introvert or extrovert, we all need time to ourselves and a lot of us tend to forget that. I love going on solo coffee dates, with a good book or to catch up on my emails. How do YOU like to treat yourself? Is it something you could be doing more? Let us know in the COMMENTS SECTION below...

Thursday 23 August 2018


Reader Jodie shares a gorgeous book review for SAMI'S SILVER LINING... read on and see why this book is making such a stir!

This book moved me to tears. Right from the start I was captured by Sami and his life journey. So many moments had me holding my breath in anticipation, and not wanting to put the book down. The way the coat becomes a link between Sami and his past is so beautiful, and I love the idea of him collecting silver trinkets and rubbish, in order to recreate the 'silver lining' idea. I loved all the note pages at the end of each chapter, taking us all back to those horrible days when life was so cruel and harsh and tragic and teaching us about the terrible refugee crisis. It made such an impact, just thinking about what things go on around the world, even today, that lots of us still have no clue about.

I have grown up reading Cathy’s books. Throughout my childhood they have helped me escape the struggles of my own life and lose myself in the lives of her wonderful characters. I love all of the Chocolate Box Girl series, and my absolute favourite books are LUCKY STAR and GINGERSNAPS. I can find myself relating to parts of each and everyone of the people in all of her books, and it made me cope with situations a lot better. Growing up with Cathy’s books to help me through made such a difference. I loved the fact that no matter what kind of day I’d had at school, or at home, I could just pick up a book, such as SCARLETT, and forget about my troubles, concentrating on the problems and tribulations of the character instead, putting my mind at ease, at least for a while, and escaping reality.

Growing up in a troubled home, and with a mental illness, I found my comfort in reading various books, and Cathy’s books always seemed to settle me the most, and were so easy to read. I adored reading, especially when I was going through primary school, and was into the young adult section before I even got into the double digit age!

Now, being twenty one, and reading Cathy’s books as an older reader, I can see so many more messages in the books that I perhaps didn’t always see as a younger reader. I love that even now, young girls can enjoy all of her books as much as I did, and relate to them. Cathy is my favourite author, not only because she is a super kind and cool person, but because no matter what age or gender you are, you can always get so much enjoyment out of the books, and recognise characteristics of yourself in the characters. They portray teenage life in such a realistic way, whilst at the same time sometimes being dramatic, and making you feel that maybe your life isn’t as bad as it seems.

Thank you for playing such a huge part in my childhood Cathy. Your books are going to be part of my collection forever.

Cathy says:
Oh wow... thank you Jodie for that amazing review! Have YOU read SAMI'S SILVER LINING yet? COMMENT BELOW to tell me more! 

Wednesday 22 August 2018


Reader Katie has some words of wisdom for anyone stressing out about starting secondary school...

Katie says:
Starting high school can be a scary thought, but trust me, it won't be as bad as you imagine! All summer long I was worrying about starting a new school and dreading the first day. I was constantly stressing and worrying about what it would be like, but at the same time I had an excited feeling, like butterflies in my tummy. I liked the idea of having a new uniform, pencil case and bag, and buying these new school supplies actually really helped me. Just going round the shop, filling my basket with pens, pencils and notebooks helped me to feel more prepared.

The days went by so fast, and before I knew it summer was over and it was the night before my first day at secondary school. I had a very sleepless night and woke early. I put on my new white shirt, my new pleated skirt and pulled on my new black blazer and did up my newly polished shoes. My dad drove me to school that first day and I remember walking into the playground and right into the building where I would be spending the next five years of my life. It was a hectic day, but as the hours ticked by my nerves began to ebb away.

I made new friends and by the end of the week I pretty much knew my way around the building. That first week was great and I've enjoyed the weeks that followed even more. Don't be nervous on your first day at a new school - you CAN do it. Take the advice of someone who has done it too!

Cathy says:
I love this - Katie is very honest about her feelings, and her gentle reassurance should help new Year Sevens everywhere! Were YOU nervous on your first day at secondary school? COMMENT BELOW to share your tips for new Year Sevens!

Saturday 18 August 2018


Reader Fay tells us all about her recent experience of auditioning for The Voice... wow! Read on to see what happened!

A few months ago, I spontaneously applied for The Voice UK after thinking,  I’ll be old enough next year why not? I put my name forward, sent a video clip in and applied. I completely forgot about it until a month or so later, when I got an email confirming that I’d managed to get an audition for the show in Manchester. By this point I was in the middle of GCSE exams and wasn’t sure whether to go ahead. I ended up calling one of my friends and explaining to them, and they basically told me do it or I'd regret it! I asked my mum if she would take me to Manchester  and she said she’d love to - which was good because as I’m under eighteen I had to have an adult with me. The audition date was two days after I finished my exams meaning I didn’t have much time to prepare, but I decided to go anyway just for the experience.

On the day we got up really early to get to Manchester for 11am. By the time we got to the audition I was really nervous, as it was hosted in a big, fancy hotel. We had to show our forms and our ID and were given name stickers and ID numbers before being directed to a waiting room. Every so often groups of ten people were called out for the first part of the audition. After fifteen minutes my name was called so my mum and I went to a smaller waiting room with my group of ten. I was nervous again because everyone else was over eighteen and I'd only just turned sixteen but I was determined do it anyway.

My mum waited outside while I went in. Once inside, there were chairs sat in a circle and a small table at the front of the room. The two people sat at the table were a vocal coach and a producer, both of whom were really lovely. We went around the circle including the two people at the table and said our names and an interesting fact about ourselves. Mine was that I was once in a pantomime with Basil Brush! After that we stood up to sing our pieces one at a time.

Because of the order of the list, I ended up being last out of my group to sing. Everyone was really good and I think all of them should have got through to the next stage. When it was my go, I stood up in the centre of the circle and said the name of the song - ‘Space Oddity’ by David Bowie. After I finished everyone clapped and then we all left for about five minutes while the producer and vocal coach talked. When we came back in we were told that only one person from our group had got through to the next stage, so we were told the name of who had got through and told that we should all come back next year If we didn’t get through this time.

I didn’t get through to the next part of the audition but I didn’t mind because for me it was a really good experience and proved I could hold my own with adult singers. Everyone in my group was really lovely and they had all wished me good luck before we went in and complimented me on my singing afterwards. All in all, the audition was a really good experience and I’m so glad I got the chance to go to it as it was so fun and wasn’t anywhere near as scary as I’d thought it’d be.

Cathy says:
Wow... what an experience! I hope Fay gives it another shot in the future, as her enthusiasm, talent and determination are sure to help her succeed! Have YOU ever had to audition for something? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more!

Thursday 16 August 2018


If the summer holiday is rolling on and you're running out of things to do, check out reader Lucie's list of ten things to take life up a few gears!

1: Sleep in as late as you want to... and remember that in a few weeks, all this will just be a blissful memory!

2: Go swimming in the sea... it may require a trip on train or by bus to the nearest beach, but pack your swimsuit as well as your sun cream and catch some waves while the sun is shining!

3: Go to a music festival and dance in the sunshine to live music, even if it's just a small festival in your local town... or get together with some mates and put on your own live performance, 'LOST & FOUND' style!

4: Make your own ice lollies by freezing fruit juice with lolly sticks in... or if you have an ice cream maker, get creative and invent your own ice cream flavours!

5: Meet a friend in town and share an old fashioned 'Knickerbocker Glory' or 'Banana Split' ice cream sundae!

6: Play tennis in the park... it's great exercise and even better fun!

7:  Get together with friends and go on a bike ride to somewhere you've never been... take rucksacks with packed lunches, water, fruit and a map and make it an adventure!

8: Make lanterns from old jamjars and tea lights, and hang in the trees to brighten up the summer evenings... solar fairy lights work well too.

9: Take little brothers/ sisters/ cousins/ neighbours to the local paddling pool... and make a splash!

10: Make your own flavoured water by adding crushed mint and sugar to a pitcher and filling with cold water and lots of ice; or try adding lemon slices, orange slices or halved strawberries! Yum!

Cathy says:
Love these ideas from Lucie... August is a special month, so don't waste it... enjoy every minute! What are YOUR 'must do' things this month? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Tuesday 14 August 2018


Reader MAWISH really wants a pet dog but her parents don't agree... will Coco find a compromise for her?


I really want a pet dog and keep mentioning it to my parents but they won’t listen! They keep making excuses why it wouldn’t be suitable. It makes me really sad because I’d look after it and walk it all the time. Is there a way I can show them how responsible I’d be?

I like that you are trying to find a solution to this dilemma by finding ways to show your parents that you can be responsible... and a great way to do this would be to volunteer at a local animal shelter. The animals always need walking and cleaning out, and you'd soon see how much work is involved in having a dog and know for sure whether you'd be up for the task! This may convince your parents that a new addition to the family would work - in which case, I'd recommend a rescue dog, as they're often every bit as adorable and loving as a pedigree.

However... what if your parents still say no? They may just not want a dog, and perhaps no amount of campaigning on your behalf will change that. Not every family is suited to keeping a dog... perhaps someone is allergic, or you live in a small flat, or everyone is out at school or work all day and there's nobody to exercise the dog? If your family remain against the idea, the only way forward is to accept their decision and keep on volunteering at the animal shelter, or offer to walk the dogs of neighbours who may appreciate an extra hand. That way you get to bond with the dogs and deepen your knowledge of how to care for them, and one day when you have a household of your own you can welcome a pet in, safe in the knowledge that it will be wanted, loved and well cared for. Good luck... let me know how it goes!

Good advice from Coco... do YOU agree? COMMENT BELOW to add your own advice for Mawish!

Wednesday 8 August 2018


We asked CC readers with very cool names to share the stories of how they came to have those names... their stories are just awesome!

When my mum was pregnant she thought I was going to be a boy. She had picked out a name and chosen all the stuff for my room but when she discovered I was a girl she said she wanted to pick a name that would be different. She also wanted my name to be strong and independent just like she hoped I would be. (She says I am!) Her favourite TV show NCIS had a character in called Ziva who was very independent and never took any messing - but she was also very kind. So that is how I became Ziva. My name is from the Hebrew and it means brilliance/ brightness. If you spell it with an e instead of an I it means 'warrior princess' and that is appropriate too... when I was a baby I was very poorly and I nearly died. The staff at the RVI said even though I had an i and not an e in my name,  I was still a warrior princess to them!

My name is Amazing. I was called this because when my mum went to the hospital to give birth to me I wasn't forthcoming... the doctors decided to allow some time for things to progress, but agreed to decide on a plan in case the birth was not going to go well. So the doctors came back with a plan of what to do - and then at the last minute I was born naturally after all, and the doctors said, 'That was amazing!' And so I was called Amazing! I love my name because it's unique and I love the sound of it. The good comments people make about my name are nice, like 'That's a lovely name...' This just makes me feel special! Buuuuuut the thing I hate is when people make puns and jokes using my name on PURPOSE. Sometimes people do this by accident which is OK and I don't mind that, but you can always tell when they are doing it on purpose. Anyway... I love my name and I will never ever wish for any other! 

My name is Brocha. If your having trouble reading my name, don’t worry as most people generally do! Brocha means 'blessing' in Hebrew, and even though my parents aren’t at all religious, I guess they just seemed to like the name, and it clicked. Throughout my life I’ve been called everything, and now at this point I tend to expect to laugh when people say my name. Because by now I just know they won’t say it right! When I was younger I hated my name. I hated being different and not having a normal name like most girls I knew. But now I'm older, I guess having such a weird name helps get my voice heard. People can’t ignore me, And I definitely make most people look twice when my name is on a list of some sort. But then again, my name suits my personality, as I am loud and unusual and there certainly are very few like me! I guess it took me a while to get used to having to repeat my name to most people before they properly know me, but now I’ve just grown into it. Everyone knows me as 'Brocha' and they accept me for 'Brocha.' My name is just a label... in reality it’s your personality that matters most!

Such lovely stories... and great insights into three wonderful personalities! I love unusual names... do YOU have a cool or unusual name? Would you like to tell us more about it for the DREAMCATCHER blog? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Wednesday 1 August 2018


We loved catching up with writer Vanessa Harbour about her new book FLIGHT and how she approached writing it... what a treat!!

I am an academic which means I work at a university and I lecture on creative writing. Best job in the world! Almost everything I had written until FLIGHT had been linked in some way to my academic work. I was talking to my editor, Imogen Cooper, and she told me to go away and write whatever I wanted as the novel I was working with her just wasn’t working.

Sounds great doesn’t it, but don’t you find when someone says to you that you can write whatever you want, you suddenly start panicking. Well so did I at first, just a little bit. I thought what shall I write? What if I can’t come up with another story? Scary isn’t it? But then I thought, this can be great fun. I can enjoy myself. I am lucky that I have lots of friends who are authors like Cathy and I knew that sometimes they felt like this too, so I reminded myself just how much I love writing and got on with it.

The story of FLIGHT is a combination of things I love... horses and history. More specifically a story based towards the end of Second World War. It is an adventure story as my characters must lead Lipizzaner horses across the mountains in Austria to safety. This is because a Nazi officer has shot one of the horses while searching for Jakob who is hiding. He is hiding because he is Jewish. His guardian has helped him hide for a long time and wants to continue to keep him safe. As they start to ride across the mountains they are joined by Kizzy, who is a Roma girl, and has also been hiding from the Nazis. They must overcome several obstacles on their way. Can Jakob and Kizzy save the dancing horses?

I had great fun writing this story because it was about things I am passionate about. I’ll tell you something though. I did have to edit about five chapters out of the story as they might have been fascinating if you loved horses like me, but they’d be of no interest to anyone else! Sometimes this is what you must watch for when writing. You need to remember who your audience is likely to be and what they might want to know about. It is the same with writing historical fiction as you do loads of research and it is easy to bog the story down with all the details you have found. It is important that your research appears with a light touch in the narrative. Sometimes it is so hard because you want to share an intriguing detail, or so you think, with the reader but it is not relevant to the story, so you can’t include it.

When I was young I used to love reading and I would escape into books often reading a book in a day. I confess it is my dream that one day somebody feels the same way about my books, they curl up and get so engrossed in the story that they also read them in a day. Happy reading everyone!


I can confirm FLIGHT is a fantastic read... a real adventure classic, and a must-read for anyone who loves horses or historical fiction. And it's out NOW! Have YOU read a book recently that really hit home? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more!


Reader Emily, aged ten, explains how a Cathy Cassidy book inspired her to raise money for a refugee charity... Emily says: The Cathy Cassidy...