Friday 16 October 2020


With more restrictions being imposed all around the UK, we're all in need of a cheer-up. We asked CC readers what they love most about October... here's what they said!

Amelie says: October means Halloween and you definitely need a pumpkin for that - we went to a farm nearby to choose ours. I looked around to see pumpkins of different shapes and sizes, round, knobbly fruits of orange, red, green and white. I never knew there were so many different types! I pushed my rose pink wheelbarrow into the never ending maze, not knowing which way to go first. A tingle of excitement ran down my spine. Crisp, fresh air made my cheeks blush as I weaved in and out of the pumpkin maze, trying to find exquisite autumnal treasures!

Amanda says: I love rainy October days when I don't have to go out or do anything. I can just curl up with a cat on my lap, a book to read and a cuppa within reach. Reading while the rain clatters down - I still get to travel, but I don't get wet. Perfect!

Rosie says: Big coats, boots and cosy knitted jumpers!

Hayley says:
 The colours, the smell of solid fuel fires, scouring for conkers, cosy afternoons under fluffy blankets... and get excited about Christmas!

Lisa Marie says:  Crisp autumnal leaves and the smell of the night air!

Rowan says: My daughter loves the smell of bonfires, the colours of the leaves, the colours of the sunrises and sunsets, and cosying up with candles lit, hot chocolate and a good film... snd I love making natural art from the beautiful autumn leaves!

Trish says: Bright red leaves on the maple trees and the first pumpkin spice latte of the year!

Olivia says:
My favourite thing is the sound of the leaves crunching under my feet as I walk!

Katie says: Halloween... and the uni year ending! (I'm in New Zealand...)

Jade says: Autumn leaves, sunsets and the smell of woodsmoke... it reminds me that we're getting near to Christmas!

Michelle says: Halloween! Dressing up, eating sweets and watching scary movies!

Ellie Anne says: The chestnut seller, pumpkin soup, Halloween. Plus, where I live, it's cool in the evenings but still warm enough to paddle in the sea!

Photo of Amelie in the pumpkin field by mum Nicola; Leaf art images from Rowan McManus.

Cathy says:

This is just what we need to cheer us up... thanks, everyone! What is YOUR fave thing about October? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Sunday 11 October 2020


Imagine a shy American teen who longed for her own happy ending... meet Rose!

Rose says:
Ten years ago I was browsing the young adult section in my local library in Oregon, USA. Guess what I found? A book called Scarlett. From the red cover down to the description I could feel the excitement fire in me. This was my book! I was 13 then, a troubled and lonely girl. Reading was my only escape - I was trying to find where I belonged in this world. Being thirteen can be awkward, wouldn’t you agree?

I decked out daily in black platform shoes, mini skirts with patterned leggings and glossy pink lipstick. Men thought I was older and peers thought I was weird. I wanted to read something I could relate to, not the picture perfect Nancy Drew or the annoying princess stories that the librarian would recommend.

I felt understood when I read about rebellious Scarlett. I also felt a release living vicariously through her relationships. I was grateful my life wasn’t as torn up as hers, and hopeful I’d meet my gypsy boy one day. I convinced my older brother to order me many Cathy Cassidy books on amazon. Each one I read over and over again. 

Here’s where my story gets interesting - buckle up! Four years ago, I was looking at photography on Instagram. I felt inspired by one particular account so I chose to DM  and let them know how the photography resonated with me.  Turns out it was this really cute guy. As we talked, our friendship grew and eventually I hopped on a plane to meet him... in England! I'
d wanted to visit England after reading Dizzy ten years earlier! Four years of  travel back and forth followed as friendship turned into something more. My ‘gypsy’ boy is Irish and Indian - he even fits the description of Kian. 

We married last year, the happiest day of my life, and I live in the UK now. I wanted to thank Cathy Cassidy for writing her beautiful stories. They are better than fiction... they are real life and I am evidence of it! 

Cathy says:
This is the loveliest thing I've read in a long time... like a Cathy Cassidy story come true! I wish Rose and her partner all the very best for the future. Awww! Has a book ever changed YOUR life? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more!

Saturday 4 July 2020


Readers Scarlett and Miriam are part of a cool lockdown project to help get books to those who need them... find out how their project has snowballed!
Scarlett, age 10, says:
Miriam and I are in the same class at school and we are both avid readers - I especially love Cathy Cassidy books and am in the middle of LOOKING GLASS GIRL! My mum also loves to read, and we have lots of books at home. The libraries were shut due to Covid-19 so my mum decided to put a box of books outside our house for people to choose and take. We asked people to donate any books they didn't want, and we got tons of donations. Miriam's mum did a box too and to begin with it was just a fun thing to do for the community. It gave us something to do. But then it got way bigger and we decided to call it The Little Local Book Hub and my mum made a logo, as her job is a graphic designer. Mum set up a Facebook page and the  idea just grew and grew and people in other areas joined in. We have over 24 hubs now! 

Miriam says:
The Little Local Book Hub expanded on it's own really, as people started hubs on their driveways. We gave them logos and now it's almost like a chain. Everyone is on social media so a lot of people could see our idea and like it and because of this we started a twitter, instagram and YouTube too. We set up a YouTube channel that has videos of different people reading picture books for their little kids to see! The YouTube basically started because we wanted to advertise the Little Local Book Hub, and for little kids to watch as they didn't have school. All the books we read have been donated from people.

Scarlett says:
When lockdown is over we might do something like a weekend  special of free books to keep as we now have so many books, and we will also give some to charities. We have  enjoyed meeting new people from around our areas as they have visited the hubs. We have had so many great conversations with people we might have never come across if we hadn't started these hubs. The worst bit is probably when we have just organised the books and then people come and take a book and then realise they don't want that book anymore and put it back anywhere!

Miriam says:
Being involved with the Little Local Book Hub is a great way to meet new people and although it can be hard sometimes, we still have a lot of fun.  It helps gets books to people in the community who want to read and it gives us something to do while we are not at school!

Cathy says:
I absolutely love Scarlett and Miriam's project... I've also had a box of giveaway books at my gate too on sunny lockdown days! I'll be doing a comp with The Little Local Book Hub soon, with a signed book as the prize. Have YOU found a project that's kept you busy during lockdown? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more!

Thursday 2 July 2020


Anusha, age eleven, lives in India... and writes about the hidden blessing lockdown can bring...
Anusha says:
Businesses have shut down, people are stuck in other countries, schools have closed, people’s salaries are being cut and people are losing their jobs. Who would have thought this could have ever happened? Did you ever even think of facing a pandemic? I did not. Being at home during my summer vacation, instead of riding a camel in the hot deserts... well, it seems I am now the camel on which my younger sister rides at home.

At first, I complained a lot about being at home, but then I realised. I am lucky I am at home; millions of people are stranded in places away from their home and they are struggling to get back. After this insight, I decided I would  make the best of it. So, during my vacation, I spent time with my family, learnt a new language (French!) and spent time on my hobbies - writing, sketching and of course, reading Cathy Cassidy books. 
I had fun baking with my mom and sister, too! I am grateful that me and my family and friends are all safe and healthy and at home. Now my school has re-opened online so I can continue with my school work. I can also catch up with my friends - we video call during the weekends and play games online. I also attend online art classes and I really enjoy them. 
During the summer, I started a hobby workshop to raise funds for charity. It did not work out so well, but at least I learnt how hard it was to teach! Now I am more grateful to teachers and understand their efforts. I have also started writing a novel. Lockdown has given us so much time to do new things and spend time on our hobbies. We just have to use it well. Could this be a blessing in disguise?

Photos with thanks to Pexels, drawing by Anusha.
Cathy says:
Wow, I love Anusha's energy and determination to make the best of lockdown - there's something we can all learn from this! What new hobby or pastime have YOU taken up during lockdown? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Saturday 27 June 2020


Reader Rebecca shares her experience of lockdown as the child of a doctor working on a Covid-19 ward...

Rebecca says:
I'm nine years old and I live in a small village by the sea in Devon. I live with my mum, dad, six year-old sister and four year-old brother, and I love dancing, reading and hanging out with my friends. When the lockdown was announced, I felt sad and a bit confused because I didn't understand what was happening. My mum, brother, sister and I went to stay at my grandparents house because my dad was a doctor on a Covid-19 ward and my parents felt it was safer.

I missed my dad and my friends very much, but some parts of lockdown were good. We played in the garden and helped with planting seeds (we don't have a garden at home) and went for long walks in the countryside. I did the Joe Wicks workout with my mum every morning. I read lots of books and Mum helped me with my schoolwork.

After eight weeks away from my dad, my mum got a new job as a Covid-19 tracker, so we came back home and started school as we were children of key workers. It was great to see some of my friends, but school was very different to how it had been before the pandemic. We do the same work that is sent out to the other kids in our year, but we play outside a lot more and it's easier than being at home all day. I don't get to exercise with my mum anymore though! Now things have changed again as the lockdown is eased and more kids are returning to school.

Reading has helped me a lot though the lockdown - if I am bored or sad or missing my friends, I can read. I got the idea for the Cathy Cassidy Scrabble board picture when I was playing Scrabble with my mum and she played the words 'Finch' and 'Honey' without realising they were characters in a book! Summer is my favourite Cathy Cassidy character because she loves to dance like me. I hope that after lockdown I'll be able to have lessons like her, and I look forward to seeing all my friends again!

Cathy says:
I absolutely love Rebecca's artwork, and I'm so proud of her courage during the lockdown... it is not easy to be separated from  family. What have YOUR greatest challenges been during the lockdown? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Thursday 25 June 2020


Student Emma is working in a shop during lockdown... and writing amazing poetry in her spare time! 

Emma says:
I used to wonder why we have scars.
The body was developed as an instrument of defence
If we cut our hair, it grows back
If we scratch our knee it heals and fades into the background
It raises the question...
Why do some battles mark us differently than others?
What is their purpose? It was then I realised
The scar wasn't the trauma,
But the healing that comes after.
When we see the unruly stain of permanent marker
That is merely the warning shot of what is to come.
A shot led by the unfaithful hand of insecurity
Offering a false sense of security and relief.
Just one shot and it'll be OK they tell you
Have you ever noticed that when you try to rise from their ashes
The unfaithful hand that whispered biblical tales into your ear
Is nowhere to be found. They do not want you to know
How powerful you can be without them
Seducing you to feel as hollow as the marks you bear
In the hope that you'll come back ravenous for their rotting fruit
And take solace in their sinister spell.
However, these whispers always forget that while they
Have borrowed the spell book, you own the wand.
Without that their spells are useless,
They need an instrument in order to live
But you... you are far greater.
You have lived through a million days of Adam
Survived the touch of poison ivy.
You open your eyes and at last you can see.
The explosives are in your hands but
They cannot hurt you unless you ignite them
They may light an enigmatic fire, but you
Are the dynamite of your own life.
You can rewrite these biblical tales in the water you tread
Leaving the smooth sand unscathed and warm
You may even find solace in the marks upon your skin
They act as a starting point... of where your story really begins.

Image - Pexels

Cathy says:
Wow, this gave me shivers... and got me thinking, too. Has lockdown got YOU writing? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more!

Wednesday 3 June 2020


Thirteen year old Safeeya from India writes about her experience of lockdown and explains how poetry helps her to express her feelings...

Safeeya says:
At first, I thought lock-down was going to be fun (no school, hurrah!) but I'm missing my friends a LOT although I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that way. This can be a time where you can learn new languages, pick up new hobbies, try your hand at writing poetry/stories or even learn some new skills like amigurami - the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small, stuffed yarn creatures. You can learn those skills you always wanted to, because during this lock-down we'll all have a lot of time on our hands. Why not make the best of it?

For me, writing poetry and stories help a lot. It's a way I can express my feelings through pen and paper, and the thought seems magical. Those words contain power, and bucketfuls of emotion. Writing a journal, diary or even your own story might help a lot too, because it lets you channel your happiness, fear, anger or sadness into something worthwhile, a piece of work that could change the world, rather than channeling it into a big tantrum. I've always wanted to be a writer, someone who could write something that brings out emotions from the readers, someone who could write something that could change the opinions of even the most headstrong of people. Each moment I spend writing, it feels I am closer to following my dream of becoming a writer.

I always start with a strong, special thought, experience or emotion and let my mind wander around it. Try to express how you feel, or which thought comes to your mind, when you think about the topic, and the feelings will become more specific as you work with the poem. Writing down a couple of words that are related to the poem also helps. Those words could rhyme, but remember, they don't have to. Keep repeating these steps and voila, you'll have your poem! Remember that getting the hang of this takes a bit of time, so don't hold your breath waiting for poetry to flow out of your head! Not to sound like your schoolteachers, but practice makes perfect! Here is one of my poems... I hope you like it!

This is who you are
The real you is never too far
This is who you're meant to be
This is you - your destiny

You might think you're beautiful - or ugly
But beauty is only skin-deep
Yourself is all you need to be
Because it's your destiny

Just hang on to your personality
That's what makes you so unique
Open your eyes, and you'll see
The whole world differently

Flap your wings, get off the ground
Soar up high into the clouds
Get out of that cage, be free
Fly on - to your destiny

Image - Pexels, posed by model

Cathy says:
This is lovely... it's comforting to hear that lockdown is just as challenging in India, and inspiring to hear how Safeeya is using the time to be creative! Have YOU tried something new during lockdown? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Sunday 31 May 2020


Fourteen year old Anoushka is a schoolgirl from India, currently in lockdown, reflects on how art and culture can get us through this difficult time...

Anoushka says:
The days seem to blur into one, distinguishable only by the sheer number of hours that we spend wondering whether the world as we know it will ever be the same again. As each day in isolation passes, we try to reflect on ourselves, become better people even. The role of art in this process is vital.

Whether it’s a TikTok meme or a heartwarming video of Italians singing from their balconies, there’s no denying that art is everywhere. Especially now, where we look to art for comfort like an old friend, weathered down by the tediousness of life in isolation. We pick up new hobbies, like baking or starting a book club, things that we’d never do on normal days. We find ourselves coming back to timeless movies and shows that never get old.

I recently saw a video of a pianist and a saxophone player performing a duet of ‘My Heart Will Go On’ from their balconies.... no matter how tough the situation is art can unite us all. Some neighbourhoods put rainbows in their windows so that kids on walks alone with their parents, know that this is a safe place and the situation isn’t going to last forever. The simplest of things can have  a long-lasting impact on us. A new grandfather seeing his grandson for the first time through a window. A little girl, finished with her chemotherapy getting surprised by all her friends and family in a wonderful, socially distant parade from their respective cars as she drives by.

These times have forced us to be creative. Time spent finishing passion projects, working on an aspect of ourselves that we never knew existed, even learning more about our family. I find myself  gravitating towards content that makes the situation lighter, urges us to make the best of what we have. The infamously terrible celebrity-infused cover of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ started by Gal Gadot was widely criticized as being privileged and out of touch with the severity of the current worldwide reality. But a YouTuber and musician, who happened to have a jazz degree, took that video and made it into something truly admirable. He arranged the song as the celebrities had sung it (albeit with 75 different key changes) and made a piece of art from something barely salvageable. A drummer created a song from a particularly impassioned speech by an Indian news anchor.

Art lends itself to a sense of authenticity within us. With late-night talk shows halting filming due to coronavirus restrictions, many are going online with special at-home editions. There’s something so genuine about these talk-show hosts when they’re not surrounded by a flood of cameras, lights and an ever-responsive audience. They’re at home, where they also have to deal with their children interrupting them constantly and are free to be their best, unfiltered selves. Here, they’re at their most vulnerable and most relatable. A heartfelt cover of ‘You Will Be Found’ from the Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen by the original and current casts of the show on the Late Late Show felt deeply personal. It resonated with many, as we all seek to be found, maybe sometime, days, weeks or even years from now, but, for now the best thing for us to do is to be ourselves, with art to guide us through these dark times. And till then, art is what we can depend on.

Photo thanks to Pexels.

Cathy says:
I agree with Anouska that art and culture can get us through the tough times... not just by keeping us busy but also by offering an outlet for anxiety and difficult emotions. Has art helped YOU to cope with lockdown? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more!

Thursday 28 May 2020


Fourteen year old British schoolgirl Ella has written a powerful, clever poem about her feelings on the theme of lockdown... just wow!

Ella says:
In the last few months, we have become characters in a boring dystopian novel.
Everyone thought that 2020 was going to be the year,
Because, I guess, it had a nice ring to it.
But now all our planners have been thrown into the abyss and we have become trapped.

2 metres

The roads lay empty
Vacant, mute, still
The feeling of guilt enveloping you if you think that you are driving
Somewhere that isn’t important enough.

2 metres

A year ago we wouldn’t have even thought about how lucky we are
To be able to hug people, go to school everyday
And walk into a shop without having to queue or wear gloves
That are becoming sticky in the summer heat
Words like lockdown and pandemic had never been used so frequently.

2 metres

Beaches lay empty
Untouched and unoccupied by man
Now they are full of turtles, protecting their eggs.
CO2 levels are so low, they can see the Himalayas

2 metres

At the start, everyone was hoping for time off of school and children
Were being sent home even if they coughed.
People were making Coronavirus memes
But nobody's laughing now.

2 metres

If we let the light in, we can see the rainbow.
If we stay happy, there is hope.
Even though we will mourn for those who have passed because of this,
This crisis will make us stronger.
And we will get through it.

Cathy says:
I love this... Ella first wrote a series of haiku poems and then built this piece around them, and I think it's very powerful indeed. Do YOU ever feel like you are living in a sci-fi novel? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more...

Monday 25 May 2020


Great advice on how to pass the time in lockdown without going stir crazy from Amanda, isolating in France...

Amanda says:
This virus seems to have temporarily taken over our lives, and like many countries, France has asked people to stay home as much as possible. Many events and activities are no longer allowed until the situation returns to normal. Thankfully, we're allowed to take a walk once a day (unless you're walking the dog, then it's more often). I take my walk once a week at sunrise when there are not many people up and about. It's safest for me to go out at sunrise, because I have a chronic illness and should avoid other people for now. We have to fill out a form each time we go out. We have to stay within a mile from our house and be back within the hour if we go for a walk. When I see the sun chase the night away, it reminds me that life goes on. No matter what. These crazy times will end someday. To help you through, here are some activities that work for me.

Most of the time, I stay inside. Since I have no garden or balcony, I often sit by the window. I read A LOT. My books take me to a different world. Isn't it wonderful that you can travel while comfortably curled up somewhere with a (hot) drink and a snack within reach? Add a Cathy Cassidy book and you're all set for adventure. Reading is relaxing. You could also try audiobooks if you fancy doing something else while listening to your favourite books. If you're done reading, don't panic. I have plenty up my sleeve for you!

Try writing. I do this every day. I've been keeping a journal for a long time now. The situation we're all in can be quite overwhelming sometimes. No matter how I feel, paper and pen bring me comfort. Paper is like a silent witness. It's with you. When you put pen to paper, it'll never betray any secrets you write about. It won't judge you. Instead, it soaks up your feelings and allows you to let go of them. Maybe a journal isn't your cup of tea. You could always try writing stories or poems. My inspiration for my own stories or poems comes from small things: a nice quote, an animal I see when I look out the window, people I meet, or something that happened... Go on, you try it! Let those creative juices flow!

The next thing I think of are arts and crafts. Creating something to decorate your room with or something you can use, drawing, colouring, painting... The list of possibilities is endless. This situation sparked my own creativity. Suddenly it went beyond words. I started painting. You could try making a jewellery box using some material you can find around the house. If you have a copy of Cathy's CHOCOLATE BOX SECRETS,  you'll find plenty of creative ideas for you to try out.

The next activity is watching your favourite series and films or listening to your favourite music. Maybe you play an instrument and you can make your own music. Songs have always meant a lot to me. Music makes me happy. Sing and dance. Stay as active as you can.

I live alone, but try this if you're with your family: see if they can help you get creative in the kitchen. Bake your own muffins, cookies... Or how about a pizza with your favourite toppings? When you're done, why not play some board games to make that quality time last just that little bit longer?

Lastly, use social media to stay in touch with friends and family who don't live with you. See if you can watch the same series or film together and discuss it. Or maybe you want to read the same book and discuss it together, like a virtual book club. Make sure your parents allow you to use social media before you try this idea! As you can see, there are plenty of activities to explore when you're stuck inside. I'll leave it up to you to find out what works best for you. Good luck. You'll get through this strange time!

Image - Pexels

Cathy says:
I love these thoughtful suggestions from Amanda... reading and writing are definitely helping me, but my attempts at baking were a bit of a flop alas! What would YOU add to Amanda's advice? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Thursday 21 May 2020


Irish schoolgirl Bláithín shares her experience of the ups and downs of lockdown - and explains how music is helping her to cope.

Bláithín says:
I am twelve years old and I am in my first year of secondary school, and I live in Northern Ireland in a place called Mullaghbawn in County Armagh. Mullaghbawn is a small village surrounded by hills and mountains, and the nearest town is called Newry, about ten miles from our house. When lockdown was first announced I felt scared, but I thought it was only going to be for a short time so I was excited to get two weeks off school. However, we soon found out it was going to last much longer than I anticipated and then I started to feel a bit frustrated about being home all the time and not being able to see my friends. I would give anything now to get back into school.

During the lockdown, I enjoy going on walks up our local mountain, Slieve Gullion. The forest park beside the mountain is now closed to the public, but me and my family know the secret paths up to the mountain,  so we can go there for our daily exercise. I also play Gaelic Football with my older brothers every day which is a good way to keep fit. I also practice music every day - I play the button accordion and the bodhrán (the Irish drum). Since lockdown I have been doing online lessons on the harp which is great fun. Playing music is an excuse for me tp get away from the day to day worries that lockdown brings. I worry about my nanny who lives three and a half hours away from us, and I worry about people losing their lives to the virus and the sadness this brings on their families. Music helps me to feel happy again because most of the music I play is lively music.

Whilst I have lots of time to enjoy these things, I have mountains of school work from Monday to Friday. One of my school projects was on 'amazing authors' and I chose to write about Cathy Cassidy as I love her books. We got in touch with Cathy via her Facebook reader page and she very kindly sent us a letter, bookmarks and newsletters. It made my project so much more exciting! My advice to other readers is to keep washing your hands (obviously!) and try and find something to do to keep yourself occupied. And don't get too stressed about schoolwork!

Cathy says:
I love how Bláithín is managing to stay healthy with country walks and Gaelic Football, and keeping her spirits high with music practice. What has helped YOU to handle the pressures of lockdown better? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Friday 15 May 2020


Amanda has been in lockdown in France, where quarantine rules are just starting to be relaxed. She tells us what lockdown has been like, French-style, and shares her thoughts on coping...

Amanda says:
This virus has turned our lives upside down. The government wants us to stay at home as much as possible to protect ourselves and others and to stop the virus from spreading. Whenever we do go outside, we must fill out a form that shows the reason why we're outside. Authorities can fine us if we fail to show them the form when they ask for it.

There are other rules we're supposed to follow:
- wash your hands often, and always with soap
- wear a facemask or something similar when we go out
- avoid going outside unless you really have to
- work or follow classes from home whenever possible
- keep a distance of 6 feet from each other (social distancing)
- stay within about a mile from your home if you go out for a walk

These rules mean that many daily activities are not possible until the situation returns to normal. We can't go to our friend's house to have tea with them. We can't go to the park or go shopping, many shops are closed. When we go to the supermarket, there's a queue and security guards let us in in small groups. Team sports are not allowed. I work from home and we have regular video team meetings. Via social media and the phone, I chat a lot with friends and family. There's one friend I can see when she's in her garden and I sit by the window, so we talk like that.

Maybe you're feeling angry, scared, sad, or unsure about what's happening where you live. You know what? That's perfectly normal. We all feel that way sometimes, especially when we're in unfamiliar places or difficult situations. No one knows when this is going to end, but someday it will. Trust me. I've always been a very positive person. When I'm going through a difficult time, I try to find at least one positive thought. This quarantine is a big opportunity to learn and to grow. I ask myself what really matters to me, how lucky I've been to have what I have. I appreciate nature even more than I already did. Even though these times may make you feel uneasy, I'm sure they'll make you an even stronger human being than you already are.

Now that the weather's getting better, it's harder for people to stick to the rules. It's important that we do. The more we stick to the rules, the sooner this will be over. I've noticed a change in people's attitudes - many have become more considerate and compassionate. They appreciate more what they had. We're in this together and we'll climb out of this together, that's a promise! In the meantime, try to keep yourself busy, stay home and stay positive. You got this! Why not grab the opportunity to read your favourite Cathy Cassidy books again (and again)?

With love from France!

Cathy says:
Amanda's words are calm, positive and reassuring - and give a fascinating insight to lockdown in France, too! Have YOU found any positives to the lockdown? COMMENT BELOW to let us know!

Tuesday 12 May 2020


Reader Hannah has done a round up of her favourite feelgood movies and TV to help keep you entertained through lockdown!

Hannah says:
Life in lockdown is very strange and it's easy to find yourself falling into boredom. If you are anything like me, boredom leads to over-thinking and then to anxiety... so best to avoid it! I try to fill my day with lots of different things, but when you really need to escape from reality there is nothing like a good movie or TV series. Here are some to try!

- MALORY TOWERS: Follow Darrel's progress at boarding school... the full series is now available on BBC iPlayer. I am hooked!

PRETTY IN PINK: 1980s movie, certificate 15, from £2.49 to rent on Amazon Prime. This is my favourite teen movie and also my Mum's favourite teen movie! I love it!

- THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER: movie, certificate 12, available free on Amazon Prime. Starring Emma Watson, a brilliant growing up teen movie.

- BLINDED BY THE LIGHT: movie, certificate 12, available free on Amazon prime. A teen boy finds his style and his confidence through music and friendship. Really fun and feelgood.

- BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: series free on Amazon Prime. Teen vampire series from the 1990s, totally addictive and fun with loads of action.

- THE SECRET GARDEN: movie, certificate 7+, available free on Amazon Prime. A new version of one of my favourite books, .

ANNE WITH AN E: three series which follow the story of Anne of Green Gables, available free on Netflix. Perfect escapism.

- MOONRISE KINGDOM: movie, certificate 12, available to rent on Amazon Prime from £3.49. A weird and wonderful film about two misfit twelve year olds who run away... funny and different.

- SCHOOL OF ROCK: movie, certificate PG, free on Netflix. An oldie but a goodie... Jack Black stars as a guitarist kicked out of his band who accidentally finds himself teaching high school... full of laugh out loud moments and quite inspirational as well.

Cathy says:
Loving these suggestions, some of my faves here! We all need some quality downtime, even in lockdown - but what would YOU add to the list? COMMENT BELOW to let us know!

Saturday 9 May 2020


Eleven year old Jinelle is a schoolgirl from Dubai in United Arab Emirates... here she tells us what lockdown is like for her.

Jinelle says:
I live in an apartment here in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, with my family. I first found out about the coronavirus pandemic through my friends but since then I have learnt and read about it in the newspaper, the Khaleej Times. I felt sorry for all the people who were affected by the virus and tried learning about the virus in detail. I was at first very shocked as I thought the new year  would be a time for fun, joy and festivities because of the Expo 2020 we were due to have here. It was a very sad moment for communities and the government who tried their best in making good decisions for the country such as starting social distancing. They have now enforced a strict lockdown and if you come out of your household or residence without good reason you will have to pay a fine. You need to fill out an online form stating where you’re going and the time you will take outside if you need to go anywhere - even so, you are only allowed to go to hospitals, pharmacies and to buy groceries.

Schooling in the lockdown is a very tough time for teachers and students alike. We have no school until this coronavirus pandemic is completely stopped - the schools don’t want to take any risks for the children, so we are learning from online classes. We have less school work and projects to do as teachers don’t want to stress the children out.

We have tried playing board games and cards but the way we live is totally exhausting and boring here. We literally don’t have much choice of play but we try passing the time by watching movies and episodes of reality TV shows. We write small books and try making bracelets and DIY things. One of the hard challenges we have to face is  trying to pass time out as sometimes we are left doing nothing and getting sleepy all of a sudden... the lockdown has us being lazy and is stopping us from doing exercise and walking outside. Another challenge is trying not to get too involved in phones and screens and do something else to pass the time. There isn’t a lot to do, so we use limited time for gadgets and devices. Another challenge is food as we don’t have many things to do so we start eating too much. Food gets scarce and we have to adjust to the limitation of food.

There are some plus points, like getting to spend more time with family and getting to know more about each other. We had less time to spend with families when we were at school, and parents were also too busy with work, so having family time is great. The lockdown has changed me a bit - I  want to meet  my friends and go back to school. We have problems and lots of them and I have learnt how to get used to it. It takes some time for me to get used to the feeling of the imprisonment at home and somehow my focus is on school and home which is mostly unbalanced... but now I see how to situate them both together and I can see the differences too. The lockdown has me all frustrated and unhappy but I try making a difference by situating the two  conditions and adjusting to them. After all, we have enough problems right now without creating more!

Recently I came across  my loom bands and started creating right away. I found some tutorials too so I started learning... it was a great experience. This lockdown has made me learn new things even in closed walls and has taught me to  show my true colors and tell the world that nothing is impossible without having a try! I love the creation of loom bands and I'd encourage others to also try new things that they haven’t done a while as the lockdown is the best time to do that!

Cathy says:
I love Jinelle's blog, taking us through boredom to the discovery of something creative and fun! What are YOU doing to lift the monotony of lockdown? COMMENT BELOW to have your day!

Wednesday 6 May 2020


Singer, TV/ film extra and muralist Nicole was stuck at home in lockdown and looking for inspiration... and it came from a very unexpected source!

Nicole says:
Like so many of us, I've been stuck at home during this lockdown and hating not being able to work or see my friends. Luckily, I'm staying with my mum and grandad, and one day when tidying up I came across a box of old dressmaking patterns from the 1950s/60s/70s... they had belonged to my nanna. She was the most inspiring woman I have ever met and the saying in our house was, "If she can't make it, we can't have it!"

Looking through the patterns I thought I would try to make something, and see if I can live up to my nanna's legacy. There was only one problem... where to get the fabric? Luckily, whilst clearing out my grandad's loft, I came across a very old pair of curtains and thought they would be perfect for some funky, new trousers!

My  brown spotted Dalmation, Malteaser, decided to help (not!) by snuggling up in the curtains whilst I was trying to measure them! That is the drawback of living with the snuggliest dog in the world I suppose... I managed to get the pattern pieces cut out and used my nanna's old sewing machine to stitch them together. The pattern was quite simple to follow and the end result wasn't bad... perfect lounging about trousers for lockdown, in a bright colour to cheer me up!

Of course, you won't be able to get your hands on the same pattern but don't despair... a quick google shows there are loads of free dressmaking patterns available online just now. One link that I will be checking our further is:

This was something new for me and I had fun with it! It almost felt as if my nanna was back with us, helping us to not get bored during this lockdown! If you fancy trying a new skill, have a go... the sense of achievement is great, and you end up with something fun to wear! Just remember to ask before you go chopping up the living room curtains, though...

Cathy says:
I love this... Nicole's resourceful, can-do attitude is an inspiration, and perhaps the start of a new hobby, too! I'm off to look for unwanted curtains... COMMENT BELOW to tell me what YOU'VE been up to in lockdown or to leave a comment for Nicole!

Monday 4 May 2020


What's it like to be in lockdown in Thailand? Reader Angel tells us what life is like for her right now...

Angel says:
When we first heard about the coronavirus outbreak here in Thailand, I didn’t take it too seriously because almost everything was continuing normally. But when the schools closed and the closure started getting longer and longer, I got anxious about where this was going. Now that we are all doing online classes, it’s harder to learn because some things just have to be taught by a teacher in front of you in an actual classroom rather than a virtual one. But everything has its own pros and cons.

And the plus points to this situation are that the lockdown is helping mother nature a lot. Since people don’t travel as much now, it is saving so many natural resources and its also helping the Earth in other ways. On the negative side, some things are just harder  and people are losing jobs and that’s definitely not good. When I think about those people, I realize that being bored is probably the smallest problem here. But there are also things to keep us occupied like reading, crafts, drawing, watching stuff, or even what I’m doing right now - writing a blog for Cathy Cassidy! Sometimes things might be hard but you have to keep trying!

I feel like I’m going to be really out of touch with a lot of stuff after quarantine ends and I probably would have gained a few pounds. In our building, where I live, they take our temperature before going in, there are hand sanitizers at a lot of places and even plastic over the elevator buttons which they change hourly. We should respect everyone who is trying so hard to keep us safe and especially hospital workers and social workers who are risking their lives to keep us safe. So be aware, don’t leave your house and stay safe! All of this will be okay soon!

Pic: the view from Angel's window!

Cathy says:
Lockdown is hard for all of us, but as Angel says, boredom is the least of our problems... things may well be very different on the other side of all this. What would YOU like to change once the lockdown is lifted? COMMENT BELOW to tell us, or to say hello to Angel!

Friday 1 May 2020


Schoolgirl Nell tells us how she's coping with missing friends, seeing her dad and keeping up with online lessons during lockdown...

Nell says:
Being in lockdown can be stressful. There is so much to worry about... school, friends and family...      but we ARE going to get through it. My parents are separated so to begin with I was concerned I might not be able to see one of them if we had to go into lockdown. However, in a statement released by the government, they said it was perfectly fine and understandable if children want to move between their parents houses.

Another worry I had at the start of lockdown was school. I didn’t know how to do work or submit it. A week in, the teachers were being very helpful and I was starting to understand. Now, at the end of week two, I feel like I have got the hang of it. Sometimes it is tricky to try to motivate myself - but that’s normal.

At first you tend to get anxious about missing or not seeing your friends. I’m lucky enough to be able to message or call most of them, and it helps me to be less stressed about the whole thing because ad long as we can be in touch we really are all in this together.

The news can be very scary to watch at times like these, but we have to remember we are better off than many people because of our brilliant NHS which does not charge us for the care it gives us. If the lockdown is getting to you,  remember not to worry. This will all go away eventually and you’ll be able to see your friends, school will be  back to usual and it will be OK.

Photo's thanks to Nell's Mum.

Cathy says:
I love Nell's positive attitude and ability to see the bigger picture! How are YOU coping with school work? Are you managing to stay in touch with friends? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more!

Monday 27 April 2020


Reader Katy sent this fab blog on how to pass the time in lockdown... some great ideas, and guaranteed to put the smile back on your face!

Katy says:
You're not in school, you’re not allowed to see your friends, you're not even allowed outside much, oh boy! This is big change for everyone, and while on paper it sounds great… I mean, no exams? This is the stuff of dreams! Well actually it’s quite hard to get used to, isn’t it? I’ve come up with a few fun activities to keep your wandering minds at peace... 

Host a virtual sleepover with your bestie...
If you have access to a computer, phone or ipad, a great way to stay in touch with friends is to video chat! Why not make a batch of popcorn, grab some hot chocolate and cosy up in your pjs? You could read each other stories , have a drawing competition or just catch up on gossip! If sopmeone in your family has Zoom or Houseparty, you can even include more than one friend!

There may be a shortage of flour in the shops, but if you do manage to get your hands on some, learning how to bake is a very rewarding activity. Plus, there are plenty of recipes that don’t even need flour - we recommend flapjacks, French toast, chocolate truffles, chocolate cornflake cakes, rocky road traybakes... the list is endless! I tested out some of recipes on the BBC Good Food website and they worked really well! Link below...

Write a short story...
A brilliant way to keep your creative brain dancing is to try your hand at a short story! Channel Jo March from Little Women! Even if you think it’s not getting anywhere, keep writing, everything counts... and writing your feelings down can keep the blues at bay!

Help someone else...
Currently there are lots of elderly and vulnerable people who have been isolating for weeks, so it's likely they are a little lonely. Why not write a letter to an elderly relative or neighbour, or maybe write them a poem or draw a picture? If they have email or text messages, you can send that way... even just picking up the phone to chat for a while can help someone feeling alone and sad.

Make a list of things you are grateful for...
I can’t be the only one who has realised how much we took for granted. Our health being a main one. Making a list really helped put things in perspective so I can appreciate things more when we go back to reality... there really is something to be glad about every single day.

Photo: thanks to Pexels.

Cathy says:
I love this, Katy! Not being able to see friends is hard for all of us, but perhaps for young people especially... these ideas should help us to stay connected and make the best of lockdown! What are YOUR suggestions for coping? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Friday 24 April 2020


French reader Héloïse, age twelve, tells us what it's like to be in lockdown in the French counytryside... 

Héloïse says:
The current situation is very strange but - I hope I'm not selfish - I am taking the opportunity to live my life. I can finally allow myself to strengthen the privileged links I have with my parents and my animals. Of course, I miss school and my friends. I do my homework. But I love my sweet home and all the people I live with, animals as well as humans. And I'm happy to spend time with everyone.

In France, you can leave the house only if you have to go to work - if you cannot work from home, or if you're a doctor or health worker etc ...) You must have a certificate which specifies why you're out, for example to do essential food shopping. If you don't have it, in case of police control, you risk a big fine. Some cities have imposed a curfew. We do not have masks here.

The French government has just extended the lockdown, we don't know until when, but beyond April 13 anyway. My father is partially unemployed but paid, and my mother has stopped work for childcare as proposed by the government if you cannot work from home.

I live in the French countryside, in a small village, in a  big house with a big garden. I am very lucky, even if a part of me worries about people suffering. Somewhere, in spite of all, nature found the way to breathe. At home, there are many of us: my parents, my dog I consider as my sister, our fourteen cute chickens and Bilbo the rooster, one of the nicest creatures of the world, our tamed fishes, my gecko and the snails I saved this winter. The gecko and the snails live in my bedroom! There is also our two Vietnamese pot bellied pigs, two cats and Samy the turtle. In fact, there is so much to do that I can't get bored, not like at school!

Cathy says:
Thank you Héloïse for an insight into lockdown in France... no wonder you don't get bored with all those lovely animals! How are YOU coping with the lockdown? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Wednesday 22 April 2020


Young Carer Adele talks about the extra pressures she and others like her face during the Coronavirus Lockdown... and she has some good advice for all of us.

Adele says:
Our parents are everything to us as we grow up. They give us every ounce of love they have and raise us to be the best we can be. When they become ill, we want to fix them so badly but all we can do is look after them and give them every ounce of that love back. I care for my parents, my Mum more recently but my Dad also, since I was just two. My Mum has Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, just like me, and my Dad has a brain injury and Intracranial Hypertension.

Right now, the world is in a state of fear. For Young Carers, there is a lot of responsibility because it’s not just themselves they need to protect and there will still be the usual caring role to carry on with. Even though I’m a young adult carer now, I still understand the feelings that younger carers have. I remember being at school, impatiently waiting to get home but also being thankful for the break. Now, I stay at home to get my degree through the Open University but even at home, I worry and when I go out, I sometimes feel thankful for the peace.

Going out is no longer an option. Now, everyone is at home and everyone is worrying. However, if you’re a Young Carer, you may be quite anxious so it’s extra important to take time for yourself. You could take time out to read your favourite books, have a bubble bath or phone family and friends. You can’t pour from an empty cup so make sure you look after yourself too. Most of all, focus on the here and now and try to enjoy this special time at home with your loved ones.

 Always remember, just like the people we care for, Young Carers are amazing warriors.

Cathy says:
Thank you for the thought-provoking post, Adele! Most of us know people who are coping with the lockdown in much harder situations than we are ourselves... like Adele, perhaps they are caring for others, or struggling with other issues on top of the stress of quarantine. What can we do to help those people stay connected? COMMENT BELOW to have YOUR say...

Monday 20 April 2020


Musical Theatre teacher Jenny has some top tips to help you stay fit and happy during the current lockdown... they might just put a smile on your face, too!

Jenny says:
HOLA! I'm Jenny, and I am a Musical Theatre nerd and Physical Theatre nut.  I love all things creative (and I adore Cathy Cassidy and her brilliant books.) I’d love to share some tips and tricks with ya on how to stay fit and upbeat during lockdown... I’ll attach some silly videos for you to watch as well!

I’m lucky in the sense that I already had a really solid routine in the morning, which I’ve kept to; I  shower every day, get dressed, have coffee, put a little bit of make up on and do my hair.  All of this gives me a bit of focus and I feel prepared for the day. Most of my lectures and classes are now via video call, so it would be a bit weird if I was in my jamas!

I don’t work out heavily every day – sometimes I just don’t feel like it, and that’s okay. I try not to pressure myself because then it just becomes a chore, but most days, I’ll stretch. It gets the oxygen and blood flowing around your body and makes you feel more awake and alert! It’s something you can do at any time – you don’t need to necessarily do it at the start/end of a big workout. My stretchy-movement comes from a massive influence in yoga and flow, with some contemporary dance practice in there too, but it just means I move with breath.

I stretch my arms up high around my body – I breathe in. I lower them around my body – I breathe out. That sort of thing. If you are working at the computer a lot, it’s really helpful to stretch on a tea break when you’re waiting for the kettle, or just having a walk about the house. Any body part that you feel like needs waking up, apply the same process; side stretches, forward bends – just be gentle with yourself.  Here’s a chilled physical video I posted online last week:

If you don’t fancy any of that, which is sound, then I’d 100% suggest just popping on a great playlist of upbeat songs and having your own dance party!  Twenty minutes of boogying is 1) fun 2) makes you laugh and 3) gets the blood pumping!

Another way I keep myself busy and happy is with music and theatre; I write songs, I play piano, I sing, I watch theatre and make theatre-y things.  I’m in a duo called Limerance with Cathy’s son, Calum. We were gutted to miss out this month on our favourite festival, Threshold Festival in Liverpool and we’re both missing playing music together.

I think it’s important to:
1) Talk to your friends – Cal and I speak every day, whether it’s posting silly quarantine videos, catching up or video calling each other.  It’s important that you’re reaching out to your friends and still making each other laugh!

2) ‘Do’ your passion – even though Cal and I can’t sing together right now, I’ve been trying to suss out more songs on the piano, been recording music videos, singing at any point I can - I’ve stopped caring about my boyfriend or the neighbours being able to hear me! I think the more you do it, the less you care!

I have quite a wide range of taste – sometimes I feel like singing folk/country stuff, sometimes my own songs... but most of the time it’s Musical Theatre. If you’re into Musical Theatre like I am, you’ll know the importance of acting and the journey of your character.  By exploring different MT songs, it can be a really good focus but also a very cathartic experience; a good outlet for your worries and anxieties.  It can also be really uplifting for yourself to get really into a positive or cheesy MT number! If you do any of the above, I’d love to see them! Please tag me in your vids on Insta @jencoylemt

Cathy says:
I love Jenny's ideas for keeping fit and happy in lockdown... I'm going to try the yoga breaths, I'm already doing the kitchen dancing, and the funny video links from Cal and Jen made me laugh out loud! I'm also doing an early morning dog walk while the streets are empty, and it's my fave part of the day. What are YOU doing to keep moving - and smiling - during lockdown? COMMENT BELOW to share your tips!

Friday 17 April 2020


Reader Ella Rose, age twelve, responded to the virus situation by writing a powerful, beautiful poem... with a gorgeous illustration to match. I asked her to tell us more...

Ella Rose says:
The reason I wrote this poem is, I didn’t have anything to do during the “school day” so I wanted to write a poem about what’s happening right now in the world. The poem took about fifteen minutes to write and it was written right at the beginning of quarantine but I do still feel the same way about the situation now. I love writing poems when I’m bored, and creating stories, but I’ve never really thought about writing as a career - I’m sure it would be amazing.

I’m feeling strange about the current situation as I’m not used to not being able to see my friends every day. I know a lot of other people feel this way but we need to stay safe. I’m turning thirteen in just under a month and it will be really strange to not be able to see my friends on my birthday... it’s really important that we stay safe though.

Lockdown Poem
Trapped inside and locked,
Frozen streets no people out
Eyes pressed up against glass.

Type down sweet rhythms
In hope that life will sing clear,
Isolated fear.

Silence broken by
The sound of laughter through sky
Piercing, sweet, quiet.

Main roads seem broken,
Only shadows in presence,
Minds controlled by power.

Families glued
Like dolls in a doll's house, trapped...
Months of repeating.

Amazing artwork by Ella Rose

Cathy says:
Ella Rose's poem really gives me shivers... it's really powerful... and I love the quiet melancholy of her illustration too! Have YOU found that you've been more creative in lockdown? COMMENT BELOW to have your say or tell us if you liked this post!  

Wednesday 15 April 2020


Reader Honor celebrated her ninth birthday during the coronavirus lockdown - we asked how she managed to make it cool and special!

Honor says:
I've been finding the lockdown a little stressful and weird - I'm not used to it. It's difficult when you need things and you can't go to the shops, and I suddenly feel very far away from my friends and my nanas and grandads. At first it seemed like a long holiday, but that has worn off now, and it just feels endless. What has been good is that I've realised how much you can do to have fun without needing to go anywhere... I've had more time than usual to read books and spend time with family.

My birthday felt very different, though. I had to cancel the arranged sleepover with my two friends but I guess I can look forward to having it when the lockdown is over. Instead, we had a tea party at home with Mum, Dad, my big sister Eleanor and my baby sister Evangeline. We had lemonade in a teapot and used proper cups and saucers and there was lots of party food. We all got dressed in our best clothes and mummy didn't do any of her work (she is working from home now) which all helped to make it special.

We also played board games - Cluedo and Exploding Kittens, which was fun. We video called my friend Evie and my nana. My other friend who lives on our cul-de-sac came up with her mum - they had made a Happy Birthday poster! They stood at the bottom of my garden and I looked out of the window and they all waved to me... that was great!

My advice to anyone having a birthday during lockdown is to not overthink it too much and be grateful for being safe at home with your family. There will be lots of time later to have celebrations. Have fun with the things you have in the house and enjoy your family. Cathy Cassidy is my favourite author and it was amazing to receive a happy birthday message from her... and of course, my lovely birthday cake was iced to look like one of my favourite books, SWEET HONEY, only it said SWEET HONOR instead!

Cathy says:
Honor's birthday cake is the coolest one I've seen in ages... and I love how she has made the best of a difficult situation to have a brilliant birthday no matter what! What things are YOU doing to get through the lockdown? COMMENT BELOW to let us know... or to wish Honor a fab birthday!


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