Are You a Boy or are You a Girl? | Book review

Many of my friends and most likely some of my readers will know that I completely believe in gender neutrality. That is, I am completely okay with my boys doing things such as wanting to try on my shoes, or play with what are considered girl’s toys. They have a doll they regularly play with and dress up, for example, and I have photos of them wearing my shoes! All it is down to, is imagination. Just because boys do these things, or girls want to do want are considered boy things (like play football) doesn’t mean they will grow up being attracted to the same gender – not that I have a problem with that either! But it seems that is where the problem lies and in a modern society it shouldn’t be so.

I think anything that promotes gender neutrality is a great thing and Are You a Boy or are You a Girl? does just that. Written by Sarah Savage and illustrated by Fox Fisher, it tells a mini story of ‘Tiny’, who we don’t know the gender of. Throughout the book Tiny does activities sterotypical to either gender such as playing football (boys) and dressing up (girls). Tiny gets picked on, but also makes new friends who really don’t care. I like that Tiny’s gender is asked about but never revealed in the book, as it lets the reader decide yourself. Even after reading it multiple times, I am still undecided. J thought Tiny was a boy though, obviously just like him as he does all of these things too and I personally have never taught him any different.

It is a great book for parents & education providers to read with children if they are at a stage of being told by others that they can’t do such a thing, or if they are confused why boys do ‘girl’ things and vice versa. It has great illustrations and isn’t complex to read, prompting discussions between adult & child.

Age – preschool to 7 years

Our rating – 4.5/5

I was sent a copy of this book free of charge to review. All thoughts and opinions are honest & my own.

I like to squeak, how do you speak? | Book review

Both of the boys love noisy books – well they’re noisy themselves so of course they would! – though N doesn’t quite get the concept yet so just presses buttons randomly, whereas J likes to match the noisy buttons with the book now. The newest book we have reviewed though is slightly different, in that it makes a noise by itself when you lift the flap!

I Like To Squeak! How Do You Speak? is the story of a mouse who goes around asking the farm animals how they speak as he thinks it’s strange and that his squeak is the best way to speak. On his travels he comes across a horse, a cow, a pig, and a sheep in all different scenarios.

There is rhyming in the sentences which I always love in a children’s book. I like that it also asks the child questions and J loves doing the noises and actions to all of the animals and will often run around the room while N chuckles his head off at him! There is also the anticipation of the animal noise before lifting the flap.

The only issue I found with this is that it was quite random when it made a noise; it didn’t seem to pick up that the flap had been lifted when the book was laid down, it had to be stood up for it to do so. It is also quite a heavy, thick book but obviously this is needed for the sound mechanism.

This has recently been J’s go-to book for morning, afternoon, and bed time reading, so I think it’s safe to say it has his approval!

RRP: £9.99
Age: 3+ 

Our rating – 4/5

We were sent this product free of charge to review. All thoughts and opinions are honest & our own.


Penwizard personalised Pirate Potty book | Book review

My regular readers will most likely know that J first began potty training over a year ago but he wasn’t really getting anywhere so we just decided to leave it for the time being. A few months ago he started showing an interest again but he was being quite inconsistent and I thought we were going to be back to square one again. Just as we were in the midst of potty training again we received a personalised potty training story book from Penwizard and I think it truly has helped J make great progress.
This boys version of the potty training story is based on a Pirate with the child’s name, and also personalisation to look like them. This is great because it’s more personal to the child for them to identify with the character. The story begins with the beginning of the potty training process when the child decides they want to be more grown up. The book is interactive with the child able to choose a potty from the pictures on the page.


It then goes through the whole process including experimenting with it being a hat (!), choosing pants (again interactive), practising with pants, and then finally doing the business on the potty! It also includes pirate potty rules – the process of emptying it and hand washing. It touches upon accidents and how much harder it is to do a poo, until the pirate is finally fully potty trained!


I love the whole concept of the book as it really encourages the child and helps them understand the potty training process more than just explaining it to them. The illustrations are great, colourful, characteristic, and situations really true to life!
Not long after the book arrived J not only did business on the potty, but also on the toilet! I think it’s a worthwhile investment if like us you have started potty training but don’t feel like you are getting anywhere, or if you are on the verge of it.
The potty training books from Penwizard retail at £14.99 and there is a choice of pirate, princess, or prince.
Our rating – 4.5/5
We were sent this book free of charge to review. All thoughts and opinions are honest & our own.

Love2read “Our Daddy” book | Book review & giveaway (CLOSED)

The boys take after their Mummy and love it when we get a new book to review. Recently we received a personalised ‘Our Daddy’ book from Love2read. I have admired these books from afar for a long time but have never got around to ordering one so as well as the boys, I was really excited when this one arrived on our doorstep (even though it was gift for Daddy!).

With Love2read you combine keywords with photos to create a beautiful book that can be treasured forever. There are so many categories to choose from to create your book but the Daddy selection is perfect for Father’s Day, which is just around the corner.

A Love2read book is so simple to create – you just choose your colour, upload your photos, and add your short sentences and the rest is done for you. I love that there is one photo on each page (with a collage on the front and at the back) so it is easier for the child to identify the sentence or keywords that go with it, and also that there are ‘corners’ on each photo so it looks like an actual photo album.

None of the males in this house can sit still for long at the same time so Daddy read the book with the boys one at a time. It was so lovely to see them sitting and reading a book about their Daddy; J has really taken to attempting to read the sentences with each photo, and N loves looking at the photos.

The quality of the book itself is excellent; the pages are thick so much harder to tear than a usual paper book, and the print quality is much better than I expected as some of my photos I uploaded were blurry on the preview but came out fine in print.

This is a book that all three of them can treasure forever and sit and read over and over again – I want a Mummy one now! It is such a wonderful gift idea for so many occasions and we will definitely be purchasing more at some point in the future as we wouldn’t be able to afford them for every occasion.

Love2read personalised books retail at £14.99 each, but the more you buy the cheaper they get!

Our rating – 4.5/5

We were sent this book free of charge to review. All thoughts and opinions are honest & our own.

If you fancy winning one for yourself (or for your children to give to Daddy for Father’s Day!) then just fill in the Rafflecopter below – good luck!

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Terms & conditions
Open to UK residents 18 & over.
Entries must be received by 11.59 pm on 11/06/2015.
The winner will be drawn randomly via Rafflecopter/ when the giveaway has ended and will be sent an email informing them they have won.
The winner has 48 hours to respond to the email or a new winner will be drawn – it is a short time frame as last order for Father’s Day are on the 16th June.
I will send the winner’s details on and the prize code will be sent directly from Love2read.

Kids Don’t Come With a Manual | Book review & giveaway (CLOSED)

When I was pregnant with J I never read any ‘parenting’ books – there were just so many on the market and it was a bit overwhelming. I’d had lots of advice from friends, and I knew I had lots to go to for advice once he had arrived. I’d heard of lots of parenting ‘experts’ and their books though and there were many differing opinions on all of them – I decided that we’d just go with the flow and we’d get it, somehow!

When we came home from the hospital though I joked that I wish they’d sent us home with a manual – we had absolutely no clue between us and we kind of just muddled through for those first few weeks! (Doesn’t everyone?…) The truth is though, there is no one type of parenting manual fits all, as all of them are different (as are parents – our ‘styles’ are very different and we’re always rowing about how to deal with certain behaviours).

I posted a while ago about trouble we were having with J’s behaviour and it had led to quite an unhappy family life of which we have been ‘suffering’ for the past few months and we were trying absolutely everything to deal with it, but not much of it was working. When I heard and read about a new book on the market, Kids Don’t Come With A Manual, I thought that I may as well give it a shot – what did I have to lose?

This isn’t the usual “from birth-what babies should be doing-what you should be doing” kind of book. It’s more of a toolbox on various methods of dealing with challenging behaviour from toddler-hood onward. The authors of the book, Carole & Nadim, also don’t claim to be parenting experts, they have just drawn on their many years of experience and research of dealing with children, to put together this ‘manual’. There are seven chapters with various tools in each one; just a few of the chapters are ‘how to prevent power struggles and other issues’, ‘how to listen so children will want to talk’, and ‘how to talk so children will want to listen’.

Not all of the chapters apply to us right now but I dived straight in there and read it all as I thought I would then be prepared as & when those situations arise. Each chapter has a blurb of what the child may be thinking, then each tool has the voice of the strict parent (Nadim) and the voice of the all-heart parent (Carole) telling us how they each applied the tool and worked together for a more harmonious household. Some of the tools have already started working for us though I think some may take a little more time. For example using ‘Uh-Oh & time-Away’ instead of the ‘naughty step’, after only a couple of days J has been telling me before I ask, that he wants the door left open. Limited choices is a good one for us too and (mostly) it saves meltdowns. Some of the tools I found we had already been using, so really the book is just about picking & choosing tools that apply to you. There is a handy troubleshooting section at the back for quick reference too. The only thing I’ve found is that some tools are easier to remember how to use than others, but after using them a few times I suppose it wouldn’t be a problem (hence the handy troubleshooting section) – plus there are even pages at the end of each chapter to write your own notes.

Overall I would really recommend this book if you are encountering challenging behaviour. It is really down-to-earth and Carole & Nadim aren’t telling what you should be doing, more what you could be doing differently. For us, so far, it definitely shows to be a worthwhile investment of £12.99 for a happier family life.

If you fancy winning a copy for yourself, I’m happy to be able to offer one to one of my readers – just complete the Rafflecopter below!

I was sent this product free of charge to review. All thoughts & opinions are honest & my own.

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Terms & conditions
Open to UK residents 18 & over.
Entries must be received by 11.59 pm on 26/04/2015.
The winner will be drawn randomly via Rafflecopter/ when the giveaway has ended and will be sent an email informing them they have won.
The winner has 28 days to respond to the email or a new winner will be drawn.
I will send the winner’s details on to the PR and the prize will be sent directly from the PR.