Red Letter Days

Over at Sticky Fingers, the theme for the Gallery this week is World Photo Day. We have to show what we were doing yesterday.

Well, I travelled up North to see a dear friend Jane Hewitt. She is a very talented photographer who has just published her first book ‘Learning through a lens’. It is a fabulous book that is not only a wonderful classroom resource but also great for would be photographers.

The reason for my visit was to start thinking about a project we could do together, combining 100 Word Challenge with Jane’s photography. By the end of the day we had the idea of a fantastic package which when ready, could to go out to schools which will use all the children’s senses.

Jane is always looking for simple ideas that she can share with teachers that get the children’s creative juices flowing. Over the past few days, she has come up with a collage challenge. She sets a theme and you make a collage ( possibly using an app like Moldiv ) to create a collage. Yesterday’s theme was RED and when I left Jane I went to Meadowhall which, for those who don’t know, is a HUGE shopping complex. I decided that it had been a red letter day so took appropriate pictures.

Here is an example of one of them using red letters from shop signs and names.

Do have a look at #collagechallenge and have a go. It is very easy.

Also, pop over to Tara’s place to see what other folks were doing on World Photo Day!


100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups – week#145

Those of you who follow me here, at Relentless Optimism and on social media will know we visited London recently and searched for the benches that are part of Books About Town summer celebrations.

Each bench represents a favourite book of the artist or famous person who has sponsored it. They will be auctioned on Oct 5th when the proceeds will go to the National Literacy Trust, a charity dedicated to raising the literacy levels of disadvantaged children and young people across the UK.

As we managed to see about half of the benches, I am taking every opportunity to show you them. Here it the bench for Paddington Bear

Each bench has a small explanation of why it was chosen. The prompt this week is for you to think of your favourite book and write that explanation. As always, you only have 100 words and you have to make it a creative piece of writing.

The link will close on Sunday 24th August.

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list.

  1. pTerry
  2. Emma loves Edgar


Pamper Parcels

My friend Rosie Shelley has just embarked on a wonderful new venture. It involves treating yourself or someone who is special to a little pamper time. Let Rosie explain herself:


The idea behind Pamper Parcels is to encourage us all to take time out from our busy lives, and enjoy a little me-time, by selling a range of pamper boxes.

As more and more of our time is dominated by work and the noisy demands of technology, with our heads crammed with information and conversations, it is even more important to switch off and relax before stress and exhaustion takes over, affecting our health, work and relationships.

We believe taking time out to relax and enjoy a little pampering is now essential rather than a luxury.

Each of our pamper boxes contains a mixture of carefully selected natural, organic and Fair Trade products, plus products sourced from independent businesses. The aim is that each product gives something back in some way – to the environment, to nature, to the community and to workers in the developing world.

Each pamper box also contains one small extra gift, boxed with the words ‘pass it on’ stamped on, for you to pass on to someone else, promoting the gift of giving and spreading the happiness a little further. We’re calling it Pass the Parcel.

The range includes a variety of pamper boxes for men, women and teens, for a variety different occasions at a range of price points so there’s something for everyone.

You can buy one for yourself or send it as a thoughtful gift to say thank you, good luck, take care of yourself, get well, happy birthday, or just because.

Boxes are hand wrapped with care and sent through the post with your personalised message.

The website also offers a free me-time download to help you plan your time out.


Me-time download:


You can see from these images that the whole project has been well considered for the environment. I love the idea that the packages do not give-away any hints of what may be inside! I also LOVE the idea of the ‘Pass It On’ gift. How wonderful to spread some happiness.

Do go and have a mooch on the site and pick something for yourself. What would you choose to pamper yourself with? Who will be at the top of your ‘to be pampered list’ (apart from you of course!)


Wind in the Willows

My husband is not a reader.

Despite going to one of the best known and well respected state grammar schools in Kent, much of his ‘youff’ was spent playing football and reading was only done when absolutely required. His regular reading now is limited to a certain newspaper on a Monday because ‘their sports coverage is very good’.

That said, he has a favourite book from his childhood which is ‘The Wind in the Willows’. He loves the way Kenneth Grahame depicts life at the turn of the twentieth century, albeit through the lives of the animal characters. This passion has stayed with him into adult hood. When he retired, he used to come into my school three times a week and take small groups of children for reading. They were usually readers who needed additional help and encouragement, although he did have a high-flying group of 11 year olds who were just about to take their SATs tests.

Once he had established a rapport with the children they would move away from scheme books to books that had more interest for them. So for instance, a couple of Year 4 (8 year old) boys looked at poetry about football. What all groups shared was the Wind in the Willows treatment. Nick would find a copy of the book at the appropriate level. Did you know there is a Ladybird version? Each group would find its own level of intellectual discussion particularly around vocabulary that is no longer used. How fabulous for them to hear ‘Onion sauce’ as a taunt to a rabbit trying to charge a sixpence for travelling along his part of the road!

On our recent trip to London to do the Books About Town Bench Trails, we just had to find the Wind in the Willows. It shows some of Toad’s mad adventures.


Of course, I had to take himself sitting on it!


The backs of these benches, all designed by local artists and famous names are also decorated. It was grand to ‘The Lads’ depicted so beautifully as the group of friends they were.


Is Wind in the Willows in your library? Have you a favourite children’s book that has stayed with you as you grew?