Final Lockdown Special Offer!

It’s the final day of this latest lockdown and my latest and last Lockdown Special Offer. This week, you can get 10% off all purchases, plus free UK delivery on everything from my online shop.

To get the discount, just add the following coupon code when you check out: DQ2H94W4. Offer runs until next Tuesday, 8 December, so HURRY, HURRY, HURRY to get your discounted stocking fillers! Sorry, UK orders only.

All my books come signed by me – and I’m happy to add a personal dedication, just let me know what to say in the ‘order notes’

3 for 2 special offer on books from my shop

Oops. I’m a bit late posting this week’s Lockdown Special Offer. But fear not, it will still run for the full seven days. This week I am offering UK customers of my online shop three books for the price of two. And there’s no pesky coupon code this week: just add the first two books to your cart in the normal way, then, when you checkout, put ‘3 for 2’ in the ‘Order notes’ box, along with the name of the third book.

Don’t forget, you can also use the ‘Order notes’ box to request any personal dedications. Unfortunately this offer is only available to UK customers and closes at midnight on Wednesday 2 December.

My final Lockdown Special Offer will be posted next Tuesday, 1 December.

10% off everything plus free postage!

Hi! just to let you know about this week’s Lockdown special offer in my online shop: until Monday 23 November, I’m offering 10% off plus free postage on all purchases. Just click on this link and put in coupon code HB3SMST3 at checkout to grab yourself a bargain!

Look out for my Lockdown special offers!

In lieu of the usual round of autumn festivals and pre-Christmas fairs, I’m going to be running a series of Lockdown special offers over the next four weeks. To kick things off, I am offering 20% off all UK purchases from my online shop between now and Monday 16 November 2020. All you need to do is add the coupon code 6E5H2BZ6 at checkout.

Click on this link to visit my shop.

Fungi fun

So, this is where the fairies live…

I think I may be developing a new obsession! My Isle of Wight Story Festival pal, storyteller Sue Bailey, took me and fellow committee members Jules Marriner and Holly Medland for a fun fungi walk in the forest on Wednesday. Wow!

I have walked in similar areas many times, and maybe noticed the odd toadstool or mushroom, but when you have someone with Sue’s enthusiasm to encourage you, you can find SO MANY! We only walked for an hour or so, and I must admit, I didn’t count, but we must have spotted more than 20 different types of fungi, in all different shapes and sizes.

And, if that wasn’t excitement enough, Sue told me how to make a spore-print!

Isn’t this spore-print beautiful?

Forest walks will never be the same again! Thank you Sue for opening my eyes to the fun of fungi!

Jacob Starke Reading for Exmoor Dark Skies Festival

Because of all the current covid shenanigans, I wasn’t able to run any Jacob Starke Loves the Dark sessions at this year’s Exmoor Dark Skies Festival, but I was able to video a reading and craft session which premiered last Saturday, but which you can still catch here if you have little ones in need of entertainment this half term:

Hear the story, make the bookmark!

Peta’s fun things to do at home

Hello again! As you know, since lockdown, I’ve been posting fun activities to do at home every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (excluding holidays, I’m not a madwoman.) This is my 20th post, and I think this round number is a good point at which to take a break – hopefully I have built up a helpful bank of activities that you can dip into as and when you feel the urge!

For my last ‘fun thing to do’, I want to revisit the idea of creating pictures from nature that I shared as the third activity (for a reminder, click here), based on my book, Jacob Starke Loves the Dark. This time, the focus is on making rubbings from nature – using crayons, charcoal, chalk, whatever you have to hand – and using these rubbing to make a picture.

20: Making a picture from nature rubbings

During lockdown you have to make do with what you’ve got in the house. I would have loved to have done this with coloured chalks, pastels and charcoal, but what I had was wax crayons, so this is what I used.

To make up for this lack of variety, I used different types of paper, as you can see in the three step guide below.

Top tips:

  • if you’re taking your rubbing from an object that can be moved (eg a leaf, rather than a tree trunk), put it on a hard, flat surface first
  • use a variety of different mark-makers (chalk, charcoal, pastels, crayons) if you have them
  • use the side of your crayon etc for rubbing, not the tip
  • use a variety of different papers you have around the house – newspaper and brown paper work particularly well, but also baking paper, silver foil
  • you could always draw in some details, if you feel that way inclined

Have fun, and don’t forget: I’d love to see what you create – you can email a photo to, post it on my Peta Rainford’s Facebook page @dogpigeon, or Tweet me @PetaRainford

Peta’s fun things to do at home

Hello, and welcome to another week of lockdown! Undoubtedly, the most popular activities I do at festivals and other events, are those that allow children to transform themselves – whether this be into a superhero, clown, witch or badger. To put it another way, and to state the bleeding obvious: kids love dressing up!

19: Make an owl mask!

One of the activities I do around my book about the importance of dark skies, Jacob Starke Loves the Dark, is to make nocturnal animal masks out of paper plates. I’m sharing my template with you today, and you can see a printable version here. To be honest, you probably don’t need a template for this – I’m sure you can work it out for yourself.

All you need to make the mask is:

  • a paper plate
  • string or similar to tie it on
  • felt-tips or crayons
  • optional embellishments like feathers, sequins etc
Here is my template with printable version here

Have fun, and don’t forget: I’d love to see what you make – you can email a photo to, post it on my Peta Rainford’s Facebook page @dogpigeon, or Tweet me @PetaRainford

Peta’s fun things to do at home

18: Write a story!

I love the fact that, however a story starts, there are millions and millions of possible middles and just as many potential endings.

I have used the opening of my only non-rhyming book, Jamie and the Joke Factory, as the starting-point for writing activities in a number of schools: ‘Jamie was SO excited! He was going on a surprise outing with Grandad!’

At this time of lockdown, I think it would be fun to write a story about a surprise outing. Why don’t you have a go? Use my first line as the first line of your own story.

I’d love to see how different your story is from mine – you can email a photo to, post it on my Peta Rainford’s Facebook page @dogpigeon, or Tweet me @PetaRainford

Top tip: decide what type of story you want to write before you start: is it set in a ‘real life’ situation, or a fantasy world? Is it exciting/scary or madcap/funny? Or all of those things?!

Then think about the following:

  • Where is Jamie when he starts his outing? Who is he with?
  • Is it just Jamie and Grandad that go on the outing, or do other people/animals/things go with them?
  • What is the surprise?
  • What happens when they get there (something funny, exciting or scary)?
  • How do Jamie and Grandad get home?


What are you waiting for?

On this school visit, children told their stories through pictures, rather than writing. It’s a great way to encourage ‘reluctant writers’ to get creative!

Peta’s fun things to do at home

Hello again! Hope you had a good weekend. As you may know, my book, Jacob Starke Loves the Dark, contains a lot of nocturnal animals.

One of the most popular activities I’ve done with it are these nocturnal animal bookmarks that go on the corner of your book. I can’t claim that this type of bookmark was devised by me, but this is my version.

Don’t forget, I’d love to see anything you do – you can email a photo to, post it on my Peta Rainford’s Facebook page @dogpigeon, or Tweet me @PetaRainford

17: Make a nocturnal animal bookmark!

With these bookmarks, it’s all about the folding. Here’s how my lovely assistant made the badger. You will need:

  • White paper or thin card
  • Black and pink paper (or you could just colour with felt pens or crayons)
  • Googly eyes if you’ve got them – though, again, you could equally well draw the eyes with a felt tip

Here’s the fox and the bat versions; same basic folds, just a few different features!

Have fun! And be warned: these bookmarks are highly addictive; we’ve made loads of them!

I’m showing a surprising turn of speed at this workshop where we made nocturnal animal bookmarks!