Merry Christmas!

Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas. Thank you for your support in 2016 – see you again in 2017!

In the meantime, here is my Christmas poem:

Christmas Wrap


Christmas cheer:
Guess who’s here?
Jolly fat man, red-nosed deer!

Early morning,
Not yet dawning,
Daddy’s grumpy, Mummy’s yawning

Tea is sipped,
Wrap is ripped,
Batman onesie, on and zipped.

Jingle bells,
Whoops and yells,
Yummy scrummy cooking smells

It’s fantastic!
(Dad’s sarcastic.)
Overwhelmed by so much plastic.

Corks are popping,
Needles dropping,
I like the cake, but not the topping.

Weather’s murky,
Grandma’s perky,
Roast potatoes, bacon, turkey.

Teenage pouts,
Brussel sprouts,
Lots of laughter, lots of shouts.

Lights and holly,
Talking dolly,
Think that Grandma’s getting jolly.

Cranberry jelly,
Excess telly,
Too much food inside my belly.

Battery’s dead,
All are fed,
Think it’s time to go to bed.


Fun first outing for Numberland

I had a fun first public reading of Isabella’s Adventures in Numberland at the Windmills Preschool event today. It’s always a little nerve-wracking sharing a book with members of the public for the first time, especially when they are as discerning as the group I met today, ranging in age from two (‘I’m nearly three. I’m nearly four. It’s my birthday soon.’) to sophisticated nine-year-olds.


It was a great relief that they all seemed to like the story; listening very carefully and laughing in all the right places (there was a lot of laughter, which is always good to see.)

Some of the children also made some lovely Isabella and Blot puppets. A really fun morning.


Isabella’s Adventures in Numberland is available to buy from Amazon.

Nerdish Mum gives Isabella the thumbs-up!

So pleased to receive such a lovely, five star, review from book blog Life of a Nerdish Mum. This is some of what it said about Isabella’s Adventures in Numberland:


The story is written in rhyme and is very easy to read, however the author hasn’t shied away from using ‘grown up’ words which I really like.

The artwork is absolutely beautiful in a very naive and childlike way and it matches the story perfectly.

I really enjoyed this book and I enjoyed reading it to my youngest Nerdling (aged 3) who really enjoyed the pictures and looking at all the numbers. I’ll definitely be going back and finding the first book in the series.

I gave this book 5 Stars.

Isabella’s Adventures in Numberland is available to BUY NOW.

Isabella’s Adventures in Numberland launched today!

It’s publication day for my latest rhyming picture book, Isabella’s Adventures in Numberland, and I’m very excited!



‘So what’s this new book about?’ I hear you ask. Well…

Can you imagine what it would be like if there were no numbers? If you couldn’t measure, count or weigh? In her latest adventure, accident-prone young witch Isabella falls down a hole and finds herself in a land where nothing quite adds up (because all the numbers have disappeared!) She makes new friends, encounters an old enemy and, though the odds are against her, finally saves the day. You can count on Isabella! More details are available here.

Isabella’s Adventures in Numberland, the perfect stocking-filler for the under-nines in your life, is available to BUY NOW.

One of the things that has made publication day so great so far, was waking up to this lovely review from Linda’s Book Bag.


Donald the Angry Octopus


Donald the angry octopus was keen to rule the sea;
All he had to do was get the others to agree.
He flattered all the flatfish, the flounders and the dabs.
He tried his very hardest to be civil to the crabs.
He used his twisty tentacles to tickle timid fishes,
(Though when they said that he should stop, he just ignored their wishes.)
For Donald didn’t truly care for fishes or for shellfish –
He only really loved himself; he was entirely selfish.
And very soon he found kind words were sticking in his gullet;
He didn’t want to chat up cod or parley with a mullet.
And when the catfish criticised and said that he was mean,
Big Don, he showed his temper (it was something to be seen).
He didn’t like Miss Catfish and made no attempt to hide it,
The tide was flowing his way and he was going to ride it.
Support for Don was growing in this underwater nation
(It’s hard to be warm-hearted when you’re only a crustacean.)
The limpets, in particular, supported cruel Don’s notion
Of keeping out the snappers from their special bit of ocean.
And when the mackerel challenged, saying: ‘How low can you sink?’
Big Don just smirked his meanest smirk and squirted him with ink.
Don was vain and mean and sneaky, but here’s the funny thing:
The fishes and the shellfish made that octopus their king.

Doggy diaries

archie pic

I have just returned home after pretending to go for a walk with my dog Archie. I have had to pretend I am going for a walk with Archie every morning so far this week. You see, Archie has very exacting standards. He believes that when he goes for a walk in the morning, the whole pack should come with him (as they do every school day).

He does not approve of half term arrangements which mean my poor husband attempts to take him on his own while the rest of us stay at home. Archie bounds out of the house happily enough, but as soon as he realises it’s just the two of them, he lowers his rear end with exaggerated slowness and sits on our front drive. The deliberateness of his action seems to say ‘I am disappointed in you. Do you really think this meets the requirements of a morning walk? I expected better.’


So I have taken to pretending I’m going too; walking the first 30 yards or so, subtly slowing down, then turning for home once Arch gets in his stride. Of course, if I turn too soon, he plants himself on the pavement and waits for me to catch up.

Archie is a character. He is a Jack Russell. Same thing. Quite a few people who’ve met Archie have said that I should write a story about him and for a while now I have been contemplating writing some kind of dog diary. ‘The Diary of Archibald Rainford, age 4 ½ (or 30 in dog years)’ maybe.

Of course I know there have been lots of similar books, but it wasn’t until a few weeks ago, whilst rummaging around in a secondhand book sale, that I discovered the delightful ‘A Dog Day’ by Walter Emanuel and Cecil Aldin. At first I thought I’d discovered a forgotten classic, but it turns out this charming little book is far from forgotten – it’s had numerous reprints since its first publication in 1902 and, if the reviews on Amazon are anything to go by, is still very much treasured by many people today.


What I like about it is that, while the lifestyle of the middle class humans that Emanuel describes is very much of its time, the characteristics of the terrier are timeless. The diary entry for 6.30 is one of my favourites. ‘Upstairs, past the drawing room. Door of old Mrs Brown’s bedroom open invitingly. I entered. Never been in before. Nothing much worth having. Ate a few flowers out of a bonnet. Beastly.’ Apart from a few period details (and the fact that he can’t actually write), Arch could have penned these words himself.

I must add that Aldin’s drawings are also timeless. And full of charm.

It would be nice to think that, if Arch and I do ever get round to collaborating on his diary, it might be similarly enduring.

The final push for my new book!

Feeling excited as I just put the finishing touches to the front cover of my latest book, Isabella’s Adventures in Numberland, due out later this Autumn. Thought you might like a sneaky peak…


What do you think? I’d be very grateful for your views.

Don’t forget, I will be giving away five copies of Isabella’s Adventures in Numberland to readers of my free newsletter, Dogpigeon Post. To be in with a chance of winning one, just fill in the subscription box in the sidebar on the right hand side of this page.

Any time is time to rhyme!

As you probably know, I love to rhyme.
I’ve had this passion for some time…

See what I did there? Anyway, I take the view that rhyme is like most things in life, the more you practise it, the better you get. That’s one of the reasons I write a monthly poem for my newsletter readers, it’s a good way to keep my hand in. (By the way, if you are not already a subscriber to my free newsletter, Dogpigeon Post, please complete the box in the sidebar and I’ll put you on the list.)

I have found, the more I write in rhyme, the more I think in rhyme, and have recently taken to keeping a kind of ‘rhyming diary’ – the equivalent of an artist’s sketchbook – of rhyming thoughts as they occur. In particular, over the summer, I produced a series of  ‘beach rhymes’ which I have been sharing on my Peta Rainford’s Books Facebook page.

I thought I’d gather them all together and put them on this blog. I am not aiming for Poet Laureate with any of these. As I say, I am just sharing my sketch book. These are my rhyming doodles.

Beach rhyme 30/7/16

We three
By the sea.


Beach rhyme 31/7/16

Sinky sand,
Sinky hand.


Beach rhyme 31/7/16



Beach rhyme 5/8/16

The day we drove
To Steephill Cove…


Beach rhyme 6/8/16

At low tide:
Nowhere to hide…


Beach rhyme 7/8/16

Today I’m on a horse,
Of course.


Beach rhyme 9/8/16



Beach rhyme 16/8/16

Ridges of pain!
Won’t go shoeless again.


Beach rhyme 16/8/16

(Drawn with a spade.)


Beach rhyme 23/8/16

Don’t scorn
The prawn!
He’s not a whimp.
He’s just a shrimp.


Beach rhyme 26/8/16

Not a single sole
Within this shoal.


Beach rhyme 4/8/16



Beach rhyme 28/9/16

A buoy!