5 Ideas for Reading with Your Children this Summer

*This post was carefully selected by me, and is delivered to you via WILF Books, a sharing­-based, children’s book delivery service.


Reading with your child is just a wonderful thing, isn’t it? There’s something, particularly in today’s digital age, that just feels so right. It’s that time where they can fuel their imagination for the next day’s play, foster their creativity as they lose themselves inside an amazing story and it gives us those moments where your heart just melts as your child starts to read those words back to you. They make us smile, they make us laugh, they make us cry, but best of all, they bring us together in those moments that can define our children. So, just how can we best enjoy those moments that matter?

Well, first and foremost, we think it starts with you. Children learn so much just from watching what their parents do. You are their role model, and when your body language and attitude is positive towards reading, it gives children a really great example to follow. You, as a parent, can always facilitate and encourage reading in everyday life at the right moment, and here are five more ways through which you can foster a culture of reading within your family:

1.) Talk about what is happening in the story:

Ask your child questions about the story and develop your child’s comprehensive skills without them even knowing it. “What was your favourite part of the story?”, “What would you have done if you had been stuck on the moon”, “Who was your favourite character?”, “What do you think would happen next in the story?” You needn’t overkill with questioning your child but one or two questions per book will certainly help your child’s imagination to run wild.

2.) Capture your child’s imagination and interests:

Talk with your child about the type of book they think that they would really enjoy. Picture books, character books, story books, books with morals? Whatever their choice, personalise their book choices so that the one you choose is a guaranteed winner, a book that is based on something your child loves will immediately ensure that they are happy and excited to engage in reading time. WILF Books can handle this for you, delivering you a customised, relevant selection of books every month.

3.) Read often:

Capture their imagination whilst it’s running wild! Building and developing a reading pattern will help your child become familiar with stories and also allow them to get excited about the next book installment. Let them know when you’ll be receiving new books to prompt their excitement. It will also help them realise the importance of books, realise that reading books equals happiness and builds that sense of curiosity and excitement.

4.) Read aloud together:

It’s never too early to start reading to your little ones. Even if they’re not able to read just yet, just hearing your voice can be soothing and bring happiness. For older kids, take turns reading each page of a favourite book. That’s a great relationship builder and you’ll find happiness in it too.

5.) Inspire that inner author or illustrator:

Take time with your child to summarize the story or work with them to create their own by making marks on a folded piece of paper or, if older, they could write or draw their own story. Perhaps they would enjoy writing a book review, and take it into school to share with their friends? Champion their love for reading by celebrating success.

This post was brought to you by WILF Books: In summary a children’s book subscription service delivering your child personalised and relevant books on a monthly basis, along with an opportunity for them to share your own. WILF Books

Our thought process is that many households have shelves full of children’s books that are no longer favourites for their children, but they could be for other children across the country. That’s where we’re looking to help. It’s our mission to recycle and redistribute the UK’s supply of children’s books to those who will love them the most.


You can register your interest with WILF Books ahead of their upcoming launch via their website. Enter their competition to win a year’s subscription here.

WILF Books are also on Twitter and Facebook.

*In collaboration with WILF Books. No compensation was received for this post.

Ty Hafan Family Fun Day – 6th August 2016

Updated: 09/08/2016 **

As part of my role as a blog ambassador for Ty Hafan, it is time I let you know about another event coming up. On Saturday 6th August, it will be time for everyone to have fun and laughs at the Ty Hafan Family Fun Day. Last year’s theme was Pirates and Jack Sparrow even popped in to join in with the fun. It was a huge success, raising lots of much-needed funds for Ty Hafan and their wonderful facilities.ty-hafan-logo

The theme this year is the Jungle Book. It is a chance for everyone to forget about their worries with Mowgli, Baloo and the other Jungle Book characters, have fun discovering the beautiful grounds of Ty Hafan, all while raising funds for Ty Hafan. It is going to be the biggest fun day to date for Ty Hafan with a chance to win some loot at the funfair and in the raffle. You could also pick up some lovely things at the local craft stalls which will be there, and there will be lots of attractions and a play area too. And the Battle Family will be there to enjoy the fun and frolics.

There is also a chance to join one of the hospice tours to see the amazing work Ty Hafan and their care team do. I’d highly recommend anyone attending to go. I was lucky enough to get a tour during my participation in the Ty Hafan Precious Moments campaign last Christmas, and the hospice and facilities blew me away. Seeing these first-hand made me realise how important Ty Hafan are to South Wales and those families who children have life-limiting illnesses and who avail of the facilities provided by Ty Hafan. I am going to try go on a tour again with BattleDad so he can see for himself why I support this charity with my blog.

On the day there will be lots to do and plenty to eat from a huge range of local food specialists, which can be enjoyed on the main lawn. If the sun is shining it’ll be a great place to munch some yummy food! On the main stage there will be a chance for everyone to join in some fun games or simply listen to the sea chanties, Ty Hafan’s fantastic live singers and bands.

Ty Hafan Family Fun Day:

  • games
  • fairground attractions
  • hospice tours
  • music and entertainment
  • face painting
  • food and craft stalls.

As you can see there will be lots to see and fun things to join in with for all the family, so why not pick up your tickets at the Ty Hafan Barry or Penarth shops, or buy online. Places are limited and there may be some tickets available on the day. however, to guarantee your place, it is advisable you book in advance to avoid disappointment. Gates will be open between 12 and 5pm and there will be parking available in a field on the hospice grounds. Entry costs just £2 per person and under 5’s go free.

I, for one, am looking forward to the Ty Hafan Family Fun Day and may even get my face painted. I am sure BattleKid is going to enjoy it as he has recently been watching The Jungle Book film. We may even film a little vlog of the day, if I get permission. So why not join us and have some fun at the Ty Hafan Family Fun Day on Saturday 6th August, between 12 and 5 in the grounds of Ty Hafan, Hayes Road, Sully, CF64 5XX.

I hope to see you there!

Cath x

**If you can’t make it down to the Ty Hafan Family Fun Day, you can still show your support by donating online.

ty hafan family fun day

**Unfortunately we were unable to make the Ty Hafan Family Fun Day due to my longer-than-expected recovery from an operation earlier in the week. We were absolutely gutted to miss this event as we had really been looking forward to it but I was too poorly to attend and BattleDad decided to stay with me to endure I was cared for in my recovery. By all accounts it was a successful day and we’re hoping to attend next year’s event instead to make up for missing out on this one. We hope all who attended had a great time. Cath x

The Importance of 5* Protection with Boots Soltan

What is one of the first things you pack when you are planning a holiday abroad? Well if you are anything like me it’s plenty of sun cream, such as Boots Soltan. We all know how important it is to protect ourselves, and more importantly, our children from the damage caused by the sun and sun cream is a must-have when planning a holiday abroad.

Now answer me this, how many of you carry a bottle of sun cream around with you in the UK? I’ll be the first to admit that it is not always the first thing I check is in my bag when out and about in the UK. Nappies, wipes and a change of clothes are first on the list. However, it is still vitally important that we include a bottle of sun cream in our handbags or change bags, such as Boots Soltan SPF50, to protect our children and ourselves at home here in the UK and Ireland.

BattleDad and I liberally apply sun cream to both BattleKid and ourselves while on holiday abroad, such as when we went to Lanzarote in May, but we are guilty of forgetting to apply sun cream while out and about in the UK. We were recently reminded of how important it is to remember to use 5* protection at home too when we saw temperatures reaching almost 30ºC here in South Wales. We ventured to the beach that day but I DID remember to bring SPF50 for BattleKid and SPF30 for BattleDad and myself. We applied it liberally and often to ensure both we and BattleKid were 5* protected against the suns rays that day. And boy was it a hot one!IMG_9854

When I was growing up in South Africa in the 80’s I don’t remember my parents using sun cream on my sister’s and I. Even when I was in my teenage years and should have known better, I got badly sunburned one summer holiday on Salthill beach in Galway. My sister, our friend and I thought we needed to get a tan on our last day and didn’t use cream, getting very badly burned and having a rather uncomfortable 4 hour drive back to Dublin the next day! I learned my lesson the hard way but I don’t want the same for BattleKid. Pasty Irish white skin is much better (and healthier) than pink, sunburned skin.

This is one of the reasons why I am sharing with you 12 facts from Boots Soltan below to highlight the importance of 5* protection and are facts I’ll be keeping in mind now, and in the future.

The importance of 5 protection with Boots Soltan

  • Sun damage is caused by two types of ultraviolet light, UVA and UVB. UVA penetrates deeper and is mainly responsible for ageing. UVB penetrates less deeply but also causes sunburn.
  • All of Boots Soltan products are 5★ rated, because they give the highest level of protection against UVA, the sun’s rays that cause deeper down damage.
  • The level of protection against burning is shown by the SPF. Higher SPFs give more protection.
  • The level of UVA protection a sun cream gives is shown by its star rating.
  • The amount of UV light present is less about temperature but more about the time of year and how close you are to the equator. The closer you are to the equator, the more UV there is. While UV light is still present on an overcast day, because it can penetrate cloud cover, it is higher the closer you are to midsummer’s day.
  • Did you know around 3 tablespoons of sun cream is enough to cover your whole body?
  • Wearing a t-shirt provides UV protection but only when it’s dry. Once it becomes wet it turns opaque so swimming in a t-shirt offers no protection from the sun.
  • Sand, concrete and even grass all reflect UV but if any of these surfaces become wet the amount of UV reflected can double. (I never knew this!)
  • The effects of the sun are cumulative so if you burn an area of skin it may be more sensitive next year.
  • Soltan can help you choose the best sun cream for you with the online SPF selector tool http://www.boots.com/en/Soltan/Find-your-SPF/
  • Boots Soltan is the No.1 5★ UVA sun protection brand.
  • With over 75 years of expertise protecting the nation’s skin, Boots Soltan has always been committed to giving you uncompromised sun protection.

So if you are planning to venture out during these school holidays, or have a lovely up-and-coming holiday abroad planned, make sure you stock up on Boots Soltan 5* protection before you go!boots soltan

*For highlighting the importance of Boots Soltan 5* Protection, I was kindly sent a family pack of Boots Soltan sun cream.

Together we can tackle child abuse – Case Study

As part of the ‘Together we can tackle child abuse’ campaign, the Department of Education have shared with me a case study of a new mum who made a report of suspected child abuse, and today I’d like to share it with you. This child abuse case study is the final of my posts in support of this very important campaign.

Mumfidential – Department of Education child abuse case study and signs to spot

Lisa, a mum from Manchester, reported suspicions of abuse and neglect to her local children’s social care team.

“I had noticed there was a large family living in the house opposite me, with six or seven children. I’m not often at home due to work and other commitments but I’d noticed this family – there was a lot of shouting – the parents were often shouting at the children.

On one occasion a parcel I was expecting had been left at the family’s property. The property did look unkempt from the outside, but this could have been for a number of reasons. However when the mother opened the door, what I saw inside alerted my suspicions. Once the door was opened there was a very strong unpleasant smell coming from the house. A very young child, less than three years old, also came to the door. It was their appearance that concerned me, the child was extremely dirty and unkempt. Obviously many children get dirty, as a parent I know this myself, but this child was extremely dirty as were their clothes – it was ingrained.

This happened on a Friday, I was really troubled by what I had seen, and I was concerned the children were neglected. Over the weekend I shared my concerns by speaking to my partner about it, who wasn’t sure I should get involved, but my gut instinct told me I had to report what I had seen. I don’t know if anyone else in the neighbourhood had noticed that something wasn’t quite right or reported what they had seen but I am glad I did. On the Monday I made an anonymous report to my local children’s social care team. I couldn’t live with myself if I had ignored it, I felt better once I had shared my concerns with a professional.

If you have seen something that you have concerns about, listen to your gut and report it.”

Research by the Department of Education has found that a third of people who suspect a case of child abuse do not report it. This statistic is alarming as that is potentially 33 extra cases in every 100 where child abuse may continue because people are afraid of reporting it for any number of reasons, including not wanting to “get involved” as Lisa’s partner said. There will be times that a suspicion comes to nothing but wouldn’t it be better to know you have helped even just one child by reporting your suspicions than potentially leaving them vulnerable because you do not want to get involved.

It is down to us, the general public, to play our part in protecting all children, not just our own, especially during times where the support network of schools and teachers are not available such as during the school holidays. If you suspect a case of child abuse, then please visit gov.uk/reportchildabuse to get the number to report your concern to your local children’s social care team.child abuse case study

*In collaboration with the Department of Education. No compensation was received for this post.