YALC Prep

I am getting so excited about my upcoming date with YALC! I can’t wait to be surrounded by all those wonderful books, authors and influential people in the industry.

But London is expensive and a long day out for me so I’ve thought about what to take and wear.

What I’ll wear

I want to be comfortable so I will be wearing flat shoes. Not only will this trip involve a lot of travelling for me but also book festivals involve a lot of walking around visiting the stands. I couldn’t believe me luck when I discovered this cute T-Shirt in a sale at NewLook with the slogan “Don’t judge a book by its cover!”

I’ll also want my makeup to last all day so I’ll be wearing Pacifica waterproof mascara and Ere Perez lip stain in Joy. I’ll take my rose facial spritz in case it is sticky hot and sun lotion in case I am out in the sun.

What I’ll pack

I haven’t decided what bag to take yet but I plan to pack a notepad, and a reusable shopping bag for all the books I buy.

I will also pack my water bottle, snacks and, if I’m organised enough, a pack lunch.

And finally…

My last bit of prep will be to check my travel details and time with my friend. We’ll likely drive part of the way and the train/underground the rest. I’ll also double check I’ve got my tickets.

Also, someone I connected with on Instagram is going too. We are hoping to meet up. I’m super excited as I’ve never met an online friend before.

I don’t travel to London very often. What tips do you have for me to ensure my trip is a success? Are you going to YALC?

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Felixstowe Book Festival – Children’s Events

There was plenty of choice for kids this year with many events being free of charge and no need to get a ticket. This is great for parents with young kids who have no idea how their kids will be feeling on the day or even awake at the scheduled time. My biggest challenge was how to fit in activities for my children when there were so many events I wanted to go to for me!

Story Walk in the Woods

The first event we attended was at the Grove, out local woodlands.  The event was run by Elly Crichton Stuart who led the children (or get them to lead us) through the forest and hunt out spots for story telling.  During our walk she shared a total of ten stories.  She was animated in her story telling which appealed to the children and often got them involved.

Sitting on a log, the first story she shared was the Grufflao that she recalled from memory.  The children were all familiar with this one.  Later, sitting by a large oak tree, she shared a Scottish tale about a White Stag and  a girls trip to fairyland.  Next, the children sat on a tree stump whilst she shared with them a fable about a pigeon and an ant.  Finally, on the field she told a story about the Loneliest Giant and how the salt water shrank him.  She encouraged the children to not forget the stories she shared with them and to tell them to others.

You can find out more about Elly by clicking here.

Bread Babies

I had not planned to go to this event, but whilst at an event of my own, I was told about it and when I asked my son if he would like to go, he did.

This event was run by author Richard O’Neil and took place at The Bakery which was a very fitting venue considering the story being shared.  The children all sat beautifully at the back of the bakery, listening to a very imaginative tale of a Baker that decided to make bread babies for their customers but there was enough dough left over to make a life size baby. Once baked the big baby vanished only to turn up in the home of a couple that desperately wanted a baby of their own but never had such luch. Now the bread baby is alive and they adopt it.

It was a very entertaining story and Richard shared it in a way that engaged the children.  I was very impressed with how Noah paid attention and even whispered “Our baby isn’t made of bread?”

At the end, the owner of the bakery kindly shared some bread babies that she had baked for all the children – there were even some little redhead (jam) ones.  My compliments to the Baker – they were so delicious and didn’t make it home.

To learn more about Richard O’Neill and his books, you can follow him on Twitter or visit his website.

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Spotlight on Summer Literary Dates calendar

A local girls guide to Felixstowe Book Festival

What you need to know about Children’s Picture Book Publishing

Art and craft with Arty Mouse

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A local girls guide to Felixstowe Book Festival

If you have decided to attend Felixstowe Book Festival then you are sure to have a great time. The program will tell you about all the events taking place and ticket costs but I am going to tell you about how to make the most of your visit to Felixstowe!

Where to stay

There is a variety of accommodation in Felixstowe.

We have two caravan parks (Beach Holiday Park and Suffolk Sands). Look out for Sun Holiday deals to make your visit a very cheap holiday.

There is a large Premier Inn a few yards from the beach, pier and hill that leads into town. It’s a great budget option for short stays.

For Bed & Breakfast you may like to stay at Castle Lodge. This hotel starred in the TV Show Four in a Bed and was once home to award winning crime writer Ruth Dugdall. It is still owned by her mother.

If you want to be in the heart of the action then The Orwell Hotel will be your first choice as many of the events are split between here and the library. The next closest hotel to town is the Brook Hotel (Best Western).

If you want sea views then The Fludyers Hotel is an excellent choice. This Edwardian building has been beautifully renovated with modern amnesties.

 

Where to eat

All the places to stay serve food, with the best for sea views being The Fludyers.  In addition, both the Library & Orwell Hotel serve food so you could eat right where the action is taking place. However, here are some more worth checking out:

My first choice has got to be The Mad House (caters for vegan and gluten free diets). This is new to Felixstowe but  literary fans will adore The Alice in Wonderland themed decor and being so close to the library.

Another cafe by the Library is The Oaks Tearoom. This little cafe has a sweet country decor and often full of fresh flowers.

A lovely restaurant near The Orwell Hotel is Cafe Bencotto for sit down food or if you are in a rush get a healthy take away at Spud Hut (serves vegan food).

Whenever you visit a British seaside town you must eat ice-cream and chips on the beach and in Felixstowe you will find plenty of choice. For homemade ice-cream my favourite is The Little Icecream Co and for chips is The Regal Fish Bar and Restaurant.

For sea views you can’t rival Boardwalk Cafe on the pier with outdoor seating. Other hot spots is The Alex Cafe Bar & Brasserie that sells great food but also has an upstairs restaurant.

Or for a cafe on the sea front try One29 Bar at the bottom of Bent Hill. If you venture into the spa gardens you may find Cliff Top Cafe which is a hidden gem.

Where to eat your lunch

If you brought a packed lunch or bought a take away then you’ll be pleased to know there are some lovely spots close by to town to eat your lunch other than a bench at the Triangle (the island in the middle of town).

A short walk from the Orwell Hotel is the Grove. This is a little woodland area with paths through the forest or a big field to sit and eat your lunch.

Another option is the Spa gardens. At the end of town (towards the sea) turn left and go through the gardens. There are lots of steps but it is possible to avoid them if you have a pushchair or wheelchair, etc.

Of course, there is the beach with benches along the promenade or just find a spot on the beach. If you have transport, you may wish to go to Landguard Fort or the Ferry for a different experience.

Book Shops

You can buy books from Charity Shops, WHSmith or The Works but why not check out these local independent book shops:

Richards Books: Sells secondhand books.

Treasure Chest Books: Sells secondhand and antiquarian books

Stillwater Books: Sells new books and some are signed by the author.

Don’t forget the festival will be selling books. These are usually sold at The Orwell Hotel or after author talks (where they sign them).

Stationery shops

You can buy stationery from WHSmith, The Works or Poundland but I would encourage you to check out Pierrot, a small local stationery supplier.

A little maps of where to find these shops on the high street:

The Orwell Hotel

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Alwyn Hamilton at Felixstowe Book Festival

Making Books

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Winter literary festivals

Earlier this year, I wrote a blog post listing literary festivals taking place in the UK throughout the UK that have caught my eye.  To read the full list, please click here.

This post is to remind you of those taking place this Winter.

It looks like December and January are a downtime for book festivals so this list starts and ends with February.

February

Verve Poetry Festival

  • Date: 14-17 February 2019
  • Location:  Birmingham
  • Tickets:  Fee (£4 to £35)

“A four day festival of world class poetry and spoken word, with readings, performances, and workshops taking place in the heart of Birmingham.”

Faversham Literary Festival 

  • Date: 21 to 24 February 2019
  • Location:  Faversham
  • Tickets:  Various

“Our inaugural festival in 2018 was a great success with a line-up including Man Booker-shortlisted author Deborah Levy, journalist Martin Bell, psychogeographer Iain Sinclair and performance poet John Hegley. We featured over thirty events with writers from Kent and further afield, as well as writing workshops, poetry events, and more.

We hope you will join us again in February 2019. We have another exciting programme of events and activities planned for book lovers of all ages and persuasions, featuring author talks, discussions, creative workshops and spoken word events.”

Limerick Literary Festival

  • Date: 22 to 24 February 2019
  • Location:  Limerick
  • Tickets:  TBC

“The Festival, formerly known as Kate O’Brien Weekend, is this year celebrating its 35th edition. The event continues to honour the life and works of the Limerick author, while attracting prominent participants from all over the world. Building on this significant history, the Limerick Literary Festival seeks to promote Limerick nationally as a place of literary excellence and to provide a platform where readers can meet their favourite authors and other readers.”  

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Making Books

Making Books with Emily Rowe and Jeni Smith.

Originally, I hadn’t bought a ticket to this event, at Felixstowe Book Festival 2018, as I thought it was only for children and accompanying adults. When I discovered I could attend, I bought a last minute ticket and I am so glad I did.

This workshop covered different techniques for making books. We were given paper, pens, needle and thread.

We were shown three different techniques. First we created a simple folded book and they showed us how to use this technique to create a thin long book or a short wide book.

Then, we made a shaped book. The design they taught us was in the shape of a house. Inside we cut out doors.

We were encouraged to fill in our books. I choose to turn the ‘house’ book into Noah’s home with easy words for my son to read. Another attendee theirs into a row of beach huts, someone else had the house changing through the seasons and a girl drew each house belonging to her best friends. It was great to see how universal the design was for each person.

For the folded book, we were asked what our favourite word was. Mine is “banana”. We were then challenged to fill our books based on our favourite word. I decided to write about different colour bananas to the tune of “one potato”. Later, I gave the book to Noah to colour in. He was able to read the colours and word banana easily. As a minion fan, he found it funny that it was about bananas.

The final technique we were shown was a stitched book. They taught us how to gather a suitable number of pages and the right size cover. We were shown how to safely make the holes for binding and the pattern to use for the stitch using a waxed thread.

We then had time afterwards to try making any of the methods again or to continue decorating and filling in our books. I made another stitched book and used floral paper from their scraps box. I plan to use this as a notebook to records ideas for a best selling novel!

The scraps box was full of all sorts of different bits of paper ranging from left over card/paper to gift wrap and gift bags to wallpaper. For the cover you need something thicker than the paper used inside. It really demonstrates how creating your own books is very sustainable as you are repurposing stuff you may have otherwise thrown away.

Around the room were several books for anyone wanting to learn more about making books. They recommended:

The event was brilliant. Emily and Jeni worked well together to deliver an engaging and interactive workshop. I hope they continue to return to Felixstowe Book Festival to share their knowledge and enthusiasm of making books.

*****

I had planned to create a video to illustrate how to make these but haven’t had the time. Hopefully, I will one day.

Have you ever made a book – what style do you make and what did you use your creation for? I am hoping to do this with my son to encourage his writing. Please let me know if you’ve got any tips.

      

Art and craft with Arty Mouse

This was the first event of Felixstowe Book Festival I attended this year. I went last year too and loved it.

Parents with children aged 2 to 6 years old were able to drop in between 10am and 12noon to try out the Arty Mouse range. This is ideal for their age group.

This was a free event (no ticket needed). However, the books were available to buy at half price and I couldn’t resist.

Representatives of Arty Mouse (I think from Top That Publishing) and volunteers of Felixstowe Book Festival, had prepared tables with different activities for the children to try. The children were able to move freely between the tables.

Here is a pic of Noah trying out their Arty Flashcards. These cards enable children to practice their writing and develop their reading skills.

Afterwards, children were rewarded with a certificate and some Haribo sweets. Sadly, I left behind Noah’s certificate and drawing of a cat, although, I think I would have been in more trouble with him if I had lost the sweets (luckily I put them in my bag).

The Arty Mouse products are a little bit special and make lovely gifts (especially the box kit books). I told Noah he could have two for the summer but the box ones I’m saving for his birthday and Christmas. He was very good about me taking them away as I could tell he wanted them most.

Noah was excited to get started in his book right away and really loved the themes in the book. He’s very into anything with wheels and robots are trending with him at the moment.

As I mentioned earlier, I am already a fan of Arty Mouse after discovering the fabulous books during last years Felixstowe Book Festival.  I can’t believe I haven’t written a review of those we bought last year and I will make up for that later this month.

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Felixstowe Book Festival is nearly here!

Next weekend is… FELIXSTOWE BOOK FESTIVAL!

I can’t wait!

I have bought a ticket to an event and plan on attending some of the free activities. I will attempt to fit in as much as I can.

I love that each year the festival gets bigger and the events get better. Here is a flashback at my posts on previous years to give you an idea of what to expect:

Alywn Hamilton Tips.png

Alwyn Hamilton talked about her book Rebel of the Sands being traditionally published and gave great insight into the process and what to expect. She talked enthusiastically about her novel and gave some teasers of what is coming soon. I think everyone bought a copy.

Writing Picture Books.png

Top That Publishing gave an amazing talk on the picture book publishing industry and truly demonstrated their breadth of knowledge. I still have my PowerPoint slides from the event.

Top That Publishing also ran a free Arty Mouse event which my son loved.  Children were encouraged to try out their interactive activity books – I ended up buying two (review coming soon).

This year

I am confident it will be another amazing year as there really is something for everyone and I promise to share with you what I get up to this year.

Are you going or wish you were going? Let me know which book festivals you recommend.

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