Rosa Parks, the Ordinary, Extraordinary Lady on the Bus

Sometimes a book comes along which totally blows me away… and Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World is just such a book! Kate Pankhurst, descendent of Emmeline Pankhurst, has created this wonderful and very readable picture book about women who really changed the world.

Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World


Bursting full of beautiful illustrations and astounding facts, Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World is the perfect introduction to just a few of the most incredible women who helped shaped the world we live in.

List of women featured: Jane Austen, Gertrude Ederle, Coco Chanel, Frida Kahlo, Marie Curie, Mary Anning, Mary Seacole, Amelia Earhart, Agent Fifi, Sacagawa, Emmeline Pankhurst, Rosa Parks and Anne Frank.

Today I’m thrilled that Kate Pankhurst has written for Muff and Teacake about Rosa Parks, over to Kate for a fantastically fascinating story…

Rosa Parks, the Ordinary, Extraordinary Lady on the Bus

My research into the great women involved going Pinterest crazy gathering references to inform the design of each starring woman’s double page spread. I wanted every detail in their clothing, pose and setting to give readers an insight into that particular great woman’s life.

Something that struck me looking at the iconic police mugshot of Rosa Parks that was taken in 1955 after her arrest for refusing to move out of her bus seat to make way for a white passenger, was that with a small pale flower tucked in her pinned up hair and smart buttoned up coat, Rosa really didn’t look like the sort of person to get herself into trouble with the police. The point, and the remarkable thing about Rosa, is that she really wasn’t.

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks mugshot (C)1955 Universal History Archive—UIG via Getty Images


Before working on Fantastically Great Women I didn’t know the whole story about what happened on that Montgomery Bus in 1955. I found out that Rosa was an everyday women travelling home from work until, in the split second after being told to give up her seat for a white passenger, she decided enough was enough.

What I love most about Rosa is that she didn’t shout or scream or use any sort of violence in her legendary protest. She simply refused to move, because why should she? As Rosa sat waiting for the authorities to arrive, with the eyes of the whole bus on her she could have quite easily relented. By making such a stand she wasn’t just breaking the law, she was putting herself in danger.



Making that decision in the moment made me think about the fact Rosa had no clue about how her actions would change the world or about how she would rouse thousands of other black people to boycott the buses in Montgomery. She had no idea that her actions would be a massive step towards a fairer more equal society.

More than sixty years later there’s, sadly, still a long way to go, but without ordinary people like Rosa taking that first terrifying step things can’t change for the better. It makes you think – the next person to start a change could be an ordinary person sat next to you on the bus. Or you.

Now that I look at that photo of Rosa after her arrest I can see past the sweet looking lady with a hat and glasses. There’s a definite determination in her eyes, a glimmer that she wasn’t going to take anymore nonsense from anyone, I hope my illustrative version of Rosa captures that.

(Although, had I been in her shoes on that day I’m not sure I would have been able to resist using that neat little handbag I’ve drawn her holding to take a swing at that guy who told her to move. But of course, calm protest will always achieve far more.)


Wow Kate, such a great testament to the power of peaceful protest! Thank you!

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Odd And The Frost Giants: A Review

As I’m typing this we’re expecting a heatwave! It therefore seems a little odd to be writing a review today about a thrilling, wintry Nordic tale of frost giants! This is no ordinary text though – it is a thrilling wintry Nordic tale, beautifully written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Chris Riddell. When Bloomsbury kindly sent me this book I was completely taken away by the illustrations and astonishing front cover… They say never judge a book by its’ cover, but in this case both the cover, metallic ink illustrations and the story which lies within won’t fail to disappoint!


Odd And The Frost Giants: A Review

Odd’s luck has been against him so far. He lost his father on a Viking expedition, his foot was crushed beneath a tree, and the winter seems to be going on for ever. But when Odd flees to the woods and releases a trapped bear, his luck begins to change. The eagle, bear and fox he encounters reveal they’re actually Norse gods, trapped in animal form by the evil frost giants who have conquered Asgard, the city of the gods…Can a twelve-year-old boy reclaim Thor’s hammer, outwit the frost giants and release the gods?

This story quickly transports the reader to another world and slowly reveals a life lived bravely through a humorous and wonderfully rich narrative.

Neil Gaiman is an amazing creative talent. He is the bestselling author of Coraline and Stardust (two favourites of mine!), both of which are major films. Neil also co-wrote the script for Beowulf starring Anthony Hopkins and Angeline Jolie. He is the creator/writer of the award-winning Sandman comic series and has written several books for children. His official website now has more than one million unique visitors each month, and his online journal is syndicated to thousands of blog readers every day.

A link to buy your own copy of Odd and the Frost Giants can be found below…

Happy reading!

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This Perfect Moment Hashtag August 2016

Where did August go?! Wow, the summer holidays seem to have flown by, and here we are back in the familiar school routines! I’d forgotten how hectic our weekly routine can be, so apologies for a later than planned summary of #thisperfectmoment images from August 2016. It is lovely to see even more of my Instagram friends and followers starting to use my hashtag with me.

I guess that it was fairly inevitable that I”d be drawn to summary images this month. Nostalgia is clearly setting in now the holidays are over and all I want to do is turn back the clock and be back on holiday again!

This Perfect Moment Hashtag August 2016

For August I opted for a stunning summer family image by Anna – I loved it, a beautiful family, a beautiful day and a beautiful beach – I really wanted to be there enjoying it too!

Anna has a gorgeous family inspired feed, with some beautiful fashion and interiors images thrown into the Instagram mix too. I love her photography style and if you want to follow her you can find her on instagram as @blossomingbirds.

This Perfect Moment Hashtag August 2016

We’re now coming into one of my favourite months of the year for photography, when everything starts to be bathed in the gorgeous autumnal golden light! I can’t wait to see your images for September’s #thisperfectmoment.

Happy Instagram tagging!

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Why I’m Using Instagram Stories

I have long been a fan of Instagram, but as a person who doesn’t necessarily like change, I was somewhat sceptical about Instagram Stories. I’ve never been a fan of SnapChat – apparently the closest thing to Instagram stories online…

Why I’m Using Instagram Stories

Having said that I have been pleasantly surprised by the enjoyment to be had from viewing and uploading these stories. It can be a bit of a challenge, there is something much more spontaneous about a story. It is less ‘polished’ and pre-planned, more instant and informal! I am still trying to work out how to approach stories, and how to use them to compliment my normal Instagram feed and grow my following. However, here are a few initial thoughts…


Instagram Stories allow users to create a ‘story’ of images and videos that is automatically deleted after 24 hours. You have the option to draw on photos and videos, and add text and filters. The basic concept is to document and share pictures and videos of your daily life (usually uneventful, hence why being deleted after 24 hours isn’t a problem) without clogging up your main Instagram feed.

To view someone else’s story, just click on their profile photo, and their story will appear, showing all the stories they’ve posted in the last 24hrs. Stories are shown in chronological order from oldest to newest. You can’t like a story, or place a comment on it but if you want to comment on something you see, you can tap and send a private message to that person on Instagram Direct. As with SnapChat, you can tap to move forwards to the next story or swipe back to move to someone else’s story.

Instagram Stories for Small Businesses

This is a new way for users to post content on Instagram. For example, you can post about limited edition offers, products or services as your story disappears after 24 hours. Instagram stories also provides opportunities to post behind the scenes content at events, run takeovers or partnerships with influencers, communicate more informally and quickly on a 1:1 basis by running live, real time and completely up-to-date content.

It also provides a clever opportunity to ‘beat’ Instagram’s new Facebook style algorithm which upset so many users, helping your images and videos to be viewed instantly and chronologically!

I’m hoping to get to the point where I post at least one photo and one story per day! What’s your story? Are you using Instagram Stories? I’d love to hear from you!

Please do connect with me on my Instagram feed, I’m looking forward to seeing your stories!

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A Blogging Break at Lake Annecy

I think one of the difficulties as a blogger is finding the right balance between life and blogging! As bloggers we do tend to feel guilty if we’re not blogging regularly, and always wonder what impact that will have on our followers and our ability to be noticed! Having said that life is often about balance, and as a blogger I constantly try to achieve the right balance between keeping an up-to-date blog and yet ensuring my posts are genuine and have something meaningful/relevant to say. I don’t want to write somewhat bland ‘time-filling’ pieces of possibly meaningless text.

A Blogging Break at Lake Annecy

I guess what I’m really saying is that this summer I have taken a rather spontaneous blogging break and feel so much more refreshed and focused for it! It’s surprising how when you stop trying too hard and simply relax you somehow become much clearer about your priorities and ideas for developing your blog and/or business and moving on! We have a family photography business and we have found the break has refocused us with this too, new ideas and aims seem to come naturally when you don’t try too hard! We’re even offering our wedding photography collections for Lake Annecy for 2017 and 2018!

So here are a few images from our summer holiday, it was short yet sweet and spent in one of the most beautiful areas of France – Lake Annecy. I also managed to tick something off last years birthday list too! We really were blessed with everything we wanted for a family holiday, opportunities to sightsee, time to relax by the pool, glorious hot sunny days and mountain cool mornings and evenings to refresh and re-energise! Needless to say, as two keen photographers we had to choose somewhere with lots of photo opportunities, and Lake Annecy provided them in abundance!

Lake Annecy

Lake Annecy

Lake Annecy

Lake Annecy

Mountains Lake Annecy

Destination Weddings Lake Annecy

Lake Annecy Flowers

Lake Annecy

Lake Annecy

Lake Annecy

We hope to return (for work and pleasure!) to what has become one of our all-time favourite holiday destinations!

If you are planning a visit to Lake Annecy we’ll happily provide some recommendations, please do get in touch!

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The Arty Book

If you’re anything like us, the holidays are now half over and finding activities to keep children interested (especially if you’re trying to work from home!) can be a challenge!

Bloomsbury recently kindly sent me a copy of their new publication The Arty Book, and it’s certainly come to my rescue this week as we’re back from holiday and trying to catch up with a few work related things!

The Arty Book

Whether you are a doodler or a drawer, a colouring expert or a painter, you will find plenty in this visually stunning and very innovative art book to extend your children’s artistic imagination.

A fantastic and highly recommended creative book for kids!

As you open the book you get to spend time with ‘Arty’, your creative buddy, who on every page will give you a starting point for simple yet extraordinary art activities. You can add stripes and spots, lumps and bumps, tape, paint, pencil and so much more to the pages of this book, to make your own ‘Arty’ creations. The colour palette for the ‘Arty’ pages is bold black and red, which provides the perfect backdrop for children to add their own colourful designs.

We took the book out for a couple of days to keep our children busy during long car journeys, and they both loved completing some of the activities. Some pages, however, require paint and glue and collage materials – so you just have to be selective about what you choose if you are out and about!

The Arty Book is simply perfect for a rainy day, for enjoying alone or with friends and family, and will supply hours of creative adventure. The book has the added benefit of Including lots of amazing Arty stickers too!

Thank you bloomsbury for a wonderful book and for saving my sanity on a number of occasions!

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This Perfect Moment July 2016

Despite the many changes of late, I really enjoy using Instagram and being part of the wonderful Instagram community! My own Muff and Teacake hashtag  #thisperfectmoment has been going for a few months now and it is lovely to see some of my Instagram friends and followers starting to use it with me.

This hashtag was chosen because it suits my own feed, and so many of the feeds I love to follow too! Whether it’s a summer flower, a beach scene or country landscape, a special summer holiday moment with family and friends, or a project you’re working on, I hope you will use and share your summer #thisperfectmoment hashtags with me and with the Instagram community!

This Perfect Moment July 2016

For July I opted for a summery image by Andrea – I loved it, a stunning sunset and a beautiful beach – surely the ‘s’ in the sky stands for sunset, or summer, sublime…?

The chosen image for July's #thisperfectmoment hashtag competition from Muff and Teacake...

Andrea has a gorgeous feed, and you can find her on instagram as @capetowngirl12

She captures the true spirit of Instagram, posting pictures of her daily life, travel, flowers, texture, colour, sky, and her many loves and interests – basically anything that brings her joy!

I loved This perfect Moment July 2016, what will you submit for #thisperfectmoment in August? I can’t wait to see!

Happy Instagram tagging!

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Visiting Penshurst Place

Penshurst Place is a beautiful and very historic building situated near Tonbridge in Kent. It is the ancestral home of the Sidney family (who still continue to live there), and was the birthplace of the great Elizabethan poet, courtier and soldier, Sir Philip Sidney.

A guide to visiting Penshurst Place in Kent

The original medieval house is one of the most complete surviving examples of 14th-century domestic architecture in England. Part of the house and its gardens are open for public viewing between March and October. During the winter months the gardens are open on select weekends and during the school half-term in February.

Penshurst Place for families

The orchard at Penshurst Place

Visiting Penshurst Place

Penshurst Place was built in 1341 and described as “the grandest and most perfectly preserved example of a fortified manor house in all England”. Visitors are able to take a tour of the 10 rooms open to the public including the impressive medieval Baron’s Hall. There are extensive gardens, grounds and parkland to explore, with lots of public footpaths, walking trails and a regional cycle route open all year.

Penshurst Place - Things To Do

Penshurst Place for families

Penshurst Place in Kent

Kent family days out

Attractions for children include a huge Adventure Trail play area (very popular with my two children!), a woodland trail and a maize maze which is also a major attraction in the summer. Open in the school holidays and half terms, The Old Coach House hosts free children’s craft activities providing hours of fun for parents and children to make and create together. There is also a toy museum, where you can browse a collection of toys from Yootha Rose, stage designer, artist and royal toymaker, as well as toys from generations of the Sidney family.

Kent Days Out

Kent Days Out with Children

The Porcupine Pantry is located next to the main Visitor Entrance and Gift Shop, serving light refreshments, it is open daily all year and free to visit. Set within the Gardens of Penshurst Place and close to the House entrance, the Garden Restaurant also offers a selection of quality home-cooked style hot and cold lunch menus during their seasonal opening hours.

If you are planning on visiting Penshurst Place in Kent, please visit their website to check opening times and for a comprehensive guide on accessibility and admission prices.

It really is a lovely place to visit during the summer holidays!

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The Famishing Vanishing Mahoosive Mammoth: A review

‘I’m so famishing I’m vanishing!’

The famishing vanishing mahoosive mammoth is a hairy beast who simply can’t think of anything but his tummy. So how, then, can his friend Bug distract him?

The Famishing Vanishing Mahoosive Mammoth: A review

The Famishing Vanishing Mahoosive Mammoth is a bright, bold, and completely hilarious rhyming picture book about one hairy mammoth with a ridiculously large appetite (he’s hungry all day!), and one loyal friend with a series of clever plans to help the mammoth. Essentially Bug tries different ploys to distract the mammoth, with very limited success – until he comes up with one final idea!

Book review for Bloomsbury Children's Books


The author, Hollie Hughes, is clearly a talented new picture book author. Having three children of her own, she is undoubtedly tuned in to the reading habits and tastes of younger children. The Famishing Vanishing Mahoosive Mammoth is Hollie’s debut picture book with Bloomsbury Publishers, and I’m sure there’ll be lots more to look forward to! Hollie currently lives in Essex with her family.

With oodles of rhyming fun and laughter, this is the perfect picture book for all fans of similar texts written by Julia Donaldson, Neal Layton, Alex T. Smith and Lauren Child.

Thank you to Bloomsbury Publishers for sending me a copy of this lovely post!

Happy reading!

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This Perfect Moment June 2016

I really enjoy the wonderful Instagram community which I’m a member of! A couple of months ago I launched my own Muff and Teacake hashtag  #thisperfectmoment and it was lovely to see some of my Instagram friends and followers starting to use it with me. It will be great to see even more #thisperfectmoment hashtags popping up all over Instagram in July too!

This hashtag suits my own feed, and so many of the feeds I love to follow too! Whether it’s a beautiful flower, a landscape, a special moment with family and friends, or a project you’re working on, I hope you will use and share your #thisperfectmoment hashtags with the Instagram community!

As the hashtag takes off I will continue to share with you some of my favourite images on Instagram and feature the Instagram account of my absolute favourite image each month on my blog here! I’m hoping there will be lots to choose from and I’ll be spoilt for choice!

This Perfect Moment June 2016

For June I opted for an image by Lilian Mackenzie which was both incredibly elegant, seasonal and simple – I loved it and it made me smile! Lilian had treated herself, and during what turned out to be tense and intense month for so many people, it was lovely to see someone who had something to smile about – we all need that!

June 2016 This Perfect moment hashtag winner!

Lilian is a sylist and photographer telling stories of elegance and grace. She is a lover of muted palettes, organic textures and romantic details, and you can find her on instagram as @lingyeungb

I loved This perfect Moment June 2016, what will you submit for this perfect moment in July? I can’t wait to see!

Happy Instagram tagging!

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Memory Bunting

I’ve been having a sort out and a declutter over the past couple of months, and have had the opportunity to go through lots of my children’s old clothes and toys! Many of them have a special sentimental value, and whilst Marie Kondo might not approve, I’m keeping them all as treasured childhood keepsakes!

Memory Bunting

My children’s baby clothes are carefully packed away but I did find some of my daughters toddler tops and dresses, and decided that I could use them to create something special. I have known for some time that I wanted to replace the Next bunting in her bedroom, and using her toddler tops seemed the perfect solution. I couldn’t have sent my children’s baby clothes away to be chopped up, but her toddler tops seemed perfect – especially as I’d kept the ones made from the prettiest of fabrics.

Memory bunting made from baby clothes.

I had a seamstress, Tamsin from The Patchwork Angel, recommended to me (I am absolutely terrible with a needle and thread!) and contacted her about my idea. She was so encouraging about the whole project that shortly after I sent a parcel of pretty tops and dresses to her, carefully posted by Recorded Delivery!

In no time at all I went to pick up my order and I now have some beautiful and totally meaningful memory bunting for my daughter’s bedroom. It makes me smile whenever I see it and I couldn’t be more pleased!

Thank you Tamsin for such beautiful work and for providing me with something to treasure for ever!

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Bewl Water for Families

Bewl Water is well known to those of us living in Kent, as it is the largest stretch of open water in South East England. The 800 acre site is set in an area of outstanding natural beauty in the heart of the High Weald and is open all year round.

It is situated near the picturesque town of Lamberhurst close to beautiful Scotney Castle, and is within an hours drive of Tunbridge Wells, Hastings, Tonbridge, Maidstone, Ashford, Eastbourne and Sevenoaks via the adjacent A21.

Reservoir Bewl Water

The reservoir Bewl Water

Bewl Water for Families

We were invited to spend a family day at Bewl Water, and were interested to see how it had changed since changing ownership at the beginning of the year. Phil, one of the Managers, was our host for part of the day and it was lovely to see his enthusiasm for such a stunning location with so much to offer families.

Bewl Water reservoir

Bewl Water reservoir

Bewl Water is already well known for offering a fantastic range of leisure and recreational activities, including fishing, cycling and boating on and around the reservoir with a centre, conference venue, restaurant and café on the shoreline.

Bewl Water, Kent

Our children loved the lakeside walks (we completed a mini walk as there was so much to see and do!) and visiting the adventure playgrounds, one of which has an absolutely enormous slide – surely the longest slide in Kent!

Bewl Water adventure playground

Play area, Bewl Water

Water Taxi Bewl Water

We were lucky enough to have a great ride on the water taxi, and this was possibly the highlight of the day for our children! A trip out on the pedalloes next time might change their mind though!

Bewl Water pedalloes

Our children are especially excited that this summer visitors to Bewl Water Country Park will also be able to enjoy a relaxing cruise on the water aboard a 70 seater vessel, to be named Bewl Belle. There are two new jetties too, so you will be able to be picked up and dropped off at whichever point you want.

New jetty Bewl Water

New jetty Bewl Water

We had lunch at the newly refurbished Waterfront Cafe, and were impressed by the quality of the food, friendly service and stunning lakeside views. We’re also considering a return visit (possibly without the children!) for a meal at the gorgeous Boat House Bistro – the freshly caught trout appeals!

Land train Bewl Water

There is also a new land train (always a winner with our son!) and a Kids Academy for learning basic driving skills. Bikes for adults and children are available to hire along with trailers and child seats, and free helmets. You can also learn to be a better biker with one-to-one Learn To Ride lessons, Mountain Bike Spin classes, Led Leisure Rides and Maintenance Courses for children and adults.

Bewl Water

A review of Bewl Water

There is no doubt that Bewl Water is definitely on the map for us as a family, and with parking at £2 for a day it’s also amazing value for money for visitors of all ages!

Bewl Water visitors

Thank you Phil for a great day out and for introducing us to the infinite possibilities we have to enjoy Bewl Water in the coming weeks and months – we’ll be back and probably spend quite a lot of our summer there too!

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