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1st March 2018
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My favourite books are those that I love to read as much as my babes love to listen to. My all time favourite book to read to my children is the classic Winnie The Pooh, by A.A Milne – it is so beautifully written, full of laugh-out -aloud moments, and contains stories that can be heard a million times over. In honour of World Book Day we are sharing some other of our favourite children’s books at the moment (in no particular order).

We love discovering new books so let us know your favourites in the comments below.


1.How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers

I am a big fan of Oliver Jeffers books but this is my favourite of all. It’s a sweet story of a boy trying to catch a star written in Jeffers’s usual quirky style.



2. A Fairy Friend by Sue Fliess

My girls adore fairies so this book really appeals to them as it lays out a plan to find your very own fairy.


3. In the Forest by Sophie Strady, Anouck Boisrobert, Louis Rigaud

This is a simple story with a strong message about looking after our planet, accompanied by beautiful pop-up illustrations, and a little sloth!


4. Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli, Francesca Cavallo

A must-have book on every bookshelf, for girls and boys a like. The one page, easily digestible stories of women who changed the world are inspiring.
Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty5. Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty

This is one of my all-time favourite books to read to my girls. The rhythm of the rhyming is spot on, the language fantastic, and the story simply wonderful. We also have Rosie Revere, Engineer, Ada Twist, Scientist, and Happy Birthday, Madame Chapeau, all by the same author, and I could read each of these books a million times a day.


6. Lost and Found by Barbara McClintock

This book has the most beautiful illustrations of scenes throughout China as two children explore the country with their uncle. Part of the story is finding a missing object on each page which adds a extra element to the story telling.


7. Tiger in a Tutu by Fabi Santiago

It’s hard to go wrong with a story involving a tiger, ballet, Paris, and friendship.

In the Attic by Hiawyn Oram

8. In the Attic by Hiawyn Oram

The magic of a child’s imagination is expressed so perfectly in this simple story about a boy who is cored with all his toys.

Book_a river

9. A River by Marc Martin

A River takes you on a journey through cities and farmland, mountains, and jungle, and finally into the sea as it and beautifully expresses the wonder of imagination.

Book_night box


10. The Night Box by Louise Greig, Ashling Lindsay

This story reads like poetry as it tells of all the changes the world undergoes as day fades to night and back to day again.


11. The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

I love this book as it’s inspired by the incredible High Line in New York, and tells the story of a little boy who transforms an entire city with one small act.

Book_extra yarn12. Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen

Kindness, generosity, individuality and intention are expressed so simply and subtly in this sweet book about a girl who finds a box of never-ending yarn.


13. Girl and Gorilla by Rick Walton

I used to call New York home, so I love reading stories set in NY to my girls to give them an inkling of this incredible city. I particularly love this book for it’s humour.


14. Willoughby and the Lion by Greg Foley

Greg Foley is a good friend of mine from New York so his books hold a special place in our bookshelves. This book, with images solely in black and gold, is about finding out what’s truly important.


15. Jack and the Flum Flum Tree by Julia Donaldson

I used to love reading this book to my niece so when I saw it the other day I nabbed a copy for myself. It’s Julia Donaldson at her best with fun words and silly rhymes.

The Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers

16. The Way Back Home  by Oliver Jeffers

Another Oliver Jeffers favourite about a boy and a martian, finding their way back home from the moon.

Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World by Kale Pankhurst

17. Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World by Kale Pankhurst

What a fantastic book to read to daughters!

Dreamweaver by Claire Freedman and Carrie May

18. Dreamweaver by Claire Freedman and Carrie May

The perfect bedtime story if you ask me, all about going to sleep for the night. We love the rhyming too.

Oi Dog by Kes Gray and Jim Field

19. Oi Dog by Kes Gray and Jim Field

This series really makes us laugh out loud. The rhyming is fantastic and we are introduced to animals we didn’t know before.

Thank you Bear by Greg Foley

20. Thank you Bear by Greg Foley

A simple story about a mouse and bear’s special friendship.

Theres a Tiger in the Garden by Lizzy Stewart

21. Theres a Tiger in the Garden by Lizzy Stewart

We love this tale of a little girl and her giraffe who explore grandmother’s garden – a polar bear, giant dragon flies? What’s next. Oh and the last page is our favourite.


22. A Great Big Cuddle by Michael Rosen, Chris Riddell

Described as poems for the “very young” which is great way to describe this book. The poems are funny, silly even ridiculous but we’ve read them over and over and love it.


23. Sparky by Jenny Offill, Chris Appelhans

The sweetest story about a little girl and her pet sloth.

Hairy Maclary and Zachary Quack

24. Hairy Maclary and Zachary Quack by Lynley Dodd

We are the hugest fans of Mairy Maclary so love all these books but these is something that makes us love the persistence of Zachary Quack.

The Everywhere Bear by Julia Donaldson

25. The Everywhere Bear by Julia Donaldson

Follow the adventure of the Everywhere Bear when he gets lost one day.


26. The Tiger Who Came To Tea by Judith Kerr

Fancy a tiger coming for tea? And then eating and drinking everything you have in the house.



19th February 2018
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I have recently introduced Francie to audio books and it’s the best thing, for both of us. As you know we are screen-free so handing Francie an iPad or letting her watch TV for a bit isn’t an option for us. She has always loved listening to music in the car, and some time ago I introduced her to stories in the car which she loved. It then suddenly dawned on me that I don’t only have to let her listen in the car! I remember loving to listen to tapes when I was a child and I guess it is the same thing.

Although she loves stories and reading books, listening to someone elses voice took some getting used to. Two main things helped to start Francie off on audio books:

  1. I chose stories which she already knows or characters she is familiar with
  2. I chose shorter stories, around 5 minutes – 10 minutes long

These are the times I find audio books most useful/ effective:

  1. Francie is transitioning to no nap so on those days we still have “quiet rest time” where she is in her cot, and I am either in her chair reading my own book (!) or in and out of the room. Our rest time at the moment is 20 minutes, and the last 5 minutes are usually taken up by an audio book.
  2. Today I had a dermatologist appointment, and had to take Francie with me. She sat quietly on the chair and listened to the story while I had my appointment, it was fantastic!
  3. That time when you just have to get something done but your toddler is hungry and tired and just needs to slow down for a bit. A quiet story, while relaxing on the bed/ couch/ floor is a great way to just calm down the energy and get those 5 minutes that you need.
  4. Travelling. We went overseas this month and there was plenty of travelling – buses, trains, and planes. She loved an audio story every now and then (I bought her a pair of headphones for the trip which caused great excitement!)

Our favourites: We use the Audible app which is linked to my Amazon account. Of course there are countless stories to choose from but these are our favourites:

  1. Any Julia Donaldson stories – especially Singing Mermaid, Paperdolls and What the Ladybird Heard
  2. The Very Busy Spider by Erid Carle
  3. Tales of Beatrix Potter, specifically Peter Rabbit and Mrs Tiggy-winkle (her favourite for us to read too).
  4. All Mog stories by Judith Kerr
  5. The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr

Here are a few new stories which we discovered through audio books:

  1. The Penny series by Kevin Henkes
  2. The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
  3. The Animal Fair and Other Stories by BBC Audio

I hope this inspires you to download some kids audio books and get those toddlers listening, and if you do already love audio books please share some of your favourites in the comment section.



7th February 2018
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I’ll be blogging each month about what I read, new books I’m looking forward to and other book news.
Let me start by stating what may be the obvious, I love reading. Reading is my ultimate downtime – ideally on my own, in a quiet place with a cup of tea and a piece of chocolate but 10 minutes snatched while the kids run in the garden works too!
I read a lot but somehow could not reach 50 books a year, which has been my goal since I started tracking my reads a few years ago. I blamed this on being busy and having two young children but then Bailey sent me this article at the beginning of the year and it has changed the way I think about my day and the hours I spend reading. By being more conscious of reading when I have some free time instead of scrolling Instagram (I still scroll obviously, just with a bit more discipline), even if it’s just for 10 minutes while I run the bath for the kids or wait for school pick up, I read 7 books in January! Disclaimer: I do not spend all day reading! I read here and there during the day for probably a maximum of 30 minutes total and then I read for about an hour in bed each night. A great way to start the year and it looks like I might reach 50 books this year, at last!
This month I read a few books I can recommend:
Promise Me, Dad by Joe Biden
Joe Biden’s memoir chronicles a momentous year in his life as his son battled brain cancer, he faces the decision whether to join the presidential race in 2016, and serves as Vice President. This book is moving on so many levels – his strong Catholic faith, deep love for his family, hope and grief for his son, and his true friendship with Obama.
What I loved: The insights into his dedicated parenting and his commitment to instill a sense of civic duty and service in his children is inspiring.
Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
I’m always delighted to find brand-new releases at my local library so I picked up Option B earlier this month. Sheryl Sandberg details her approach to life following her husbands sudden death. With two young children and a broken heart she was lost until Adam Grant proposes the idea of Option B, an alternative look at grief and recovery. When I face grief in my own life, my own or someone else’s, this is a book I will turn to.
What I loved: The idea of Option B, which can be applied to all life situations and the chapter on bringing up resilient children, this chapter alone prompted me to buy my own copy.
Run by Anne Patchett
My favorite non-fiction book last year was The Story of a Happy Marriage by Anne Patchett, which prompted me to read more of her backlist. Run is a short book that takes place over two days, with flashes to the past interspersed. It follow two adopted brothers, their father, brother and two strangers whose lives collide in a startling set of circumstances. Anne Patchett’s writing is outstanding and I don’t think any of her books would disappoint.
What I loved:  A beautiful and unexpected twist that changes everything.
Here’s a look at a few titles on my to read list this month.
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
My brother-in-law and a blogger I follow both raved about this Nike founder’s memoir so I picked it up at bookclub this month.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
I loved her first book Everything I Never Told You so I bought this in December and it’s on my bedside table waiting to be read.
The Last Mrs Parrish
This book has popped up so many times on my Instagram feed this month so I’m excited to read it when it’s eventually released in SA.
What have you enjoyed reading lately? Follow my bookstagram account @heygoodbooking for more quick reviews and recommendations.
Happy reading!
(all book images via Good Reads)


23rd January 2018

We have shelves and shelves full of story books but somehow favourites are favourites and those are the ones we read over and over. Francie Sugar (who is 2 years and 9 months old) got a whole lot of new books this holiday, some of which have made it onto our favourites list. Here they are:

1. The Everywhere Bear, Julia Donaldson

We love reading all about Everywhere Bear’s adventure,  spotting the bear on each page, laughing at which book the teacher is reading to the children (one of our other favourites) and of course the rhyming is always great too.

2. Gotta Go, Buffalo: A Silly Book of Fun Goodbyes, Haily Meyers and Kevin Meyers

Francie finds little goodbye sayings like “See you in a while, crocodile” hysterical at the moment so this book is right up her ally. We know them all off my heart now so when we say goodbye to anyone it’s a long rhyming farewell. The book is lift the flap too which is always nice.

FYI: I found this one on Amazon but ordered it through Exclusive books, it took a couple weeks but it worked really well.

3. There’s a tiger in the Garden, Lizzy Stewart

There are so many things that we love about this book: Jeff the giraffe, the grumpy polar bear, spotting the tiger and of course the last page is the best!

4. Pretty much any book by Sandra Boynton especially Pajama Time, Barnyard Dance, Belly Button Book and Thirteen Animals

These books are such fun, catchy and pretty funny too. We know them off by heart and are known to bust out a few moves for the Barnyard Dance and Pajama Time.

5. Thank you Bear, Greg Foley and Good Luck Bear, Greg Foley

The sweetest stories about a bear and a mouse and what friendship is. These books are heartwarming!



24th November 2017
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Do you know “Oi Frog!” and “Oi Dog” by Kes Gray and Jim Field? These are definitely two of our favourite books at the moment. Oi Frog is a “hilarious rhyming tale about a frog who discovers that all animals have their special place to sit.” Of course, the rhyming is super appealing and all the kids in our family love this book from 2 year old Jack to nearly 7 year old Honor. They’ve even learnt the rhymes themselves. I also like that it introduces us to some new words like “mules” “gophers” and “satsumas”.

Oi Dog is pretty similar only this time the frog takes charge and tells everyone their new place to sit. Again the rhyming, illustrations and repetition is such such fun.

These two are a fantastic addition to any Christmas list or Santa bag!

Another one of their books which we have tried is Quick Quack Quentin which is a bit advanced for little ones but our 6 year old loved it!

PS. I noticed when linking that they are on sale on Take a Lot at the moment.



21st September 2017
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We’re off to the bush tomorrow so I thought I would share some of the books that I have chosen to take along with us. Of course we have taken some of our favourite story books but I like to take some books which teach our babes about the environment that we are in. Here are six favourites, all about animals and birds.

  1. First 100 Animals Sticker Books – it’s great to have an activity book for the trip for plane rides, rest or quiet time. Francie loves sticker books like these.
  2. My First Book of Mammals – so that all antelopes are not just buck and to talk about the difference between animals before they disappear behind the trees or into a bush.
  3. Amazing Animal Babies – “Travel around the globe and meet some incredible baby animals as they begin their journey through life in this beautiful, fact-filled non-fiction picture book by wildlife expert, Chris Packham.”
  4. Amazing Animal Journeys – “Every year billions of animals migrate from one part of our planet to another. Travel around the world to meet some of the masters of migration as they take you with them on some incredible journeys.”
  5. My First Book of Southern African Birds – again so not everything that flies is a bird and that is it!
  6. African Wildlife Alphabet and Number Book – we love this one for it’s great pictures.


21st August 2017
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Since both Bailey and mine husbands are afrikaans, we are bringing up our children bilingual. We are always on the hunt for great Afrikaans story books and have had loads of mums ask us which are our favourite. So here is a list of Francie’s favourite Afrikaans books at the moment.

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  1. Die apies se dieretrein by Rosamund Haden & Tony Pinchuck
  2. Die krokodil wat vir water gegril het by Gemma Merino
  3. Hoera Beertjie by Julia Huberry and Coraline Pedler
  4. Die leeu wat saam was by Tiziana en John Bendall-Brunello
  5. Die Skilpad-besie se plan by Julia Donaldson*
  6. Die beer end die klavier by David Litchfield
  7. Tjokkie by  Julia Donaldson*
  8. Annabel en Beer by Lisa Stubbs

*All of Julia Donaldson’s books are a hit, the other we have are Kris de kat, Rower Rot, Stokman, Superwurm and Zok

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9th May 2017
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One of my favourite genres to read is the momoir, memoirs written by mothers are relatable on an intimate level and speak to our common experiences as mother, no matter how different our lives may be. Recently, I read and absolutely loved Elizabeth Isadora Gold’s The Mommy Group, my pick for our recent beach vacation. I’m now recommending it to all the moms I know who are looking for a light but meaningful read – easy entertainment was balanced by the heartfelt wisdom about parenting in today’s world.

Elizabeth tells her story of becoming a mother, not always the easy road imagined, and of finding strength and friendship in her mommy group. However, as a journalist the author examines parenting issues and challenges in an informed and informing way. The importance of a supporting group of women throughout your parenting journey, especially during those early baby days, rings true and reminds me of the love such groups have brought me. I’m fortunate to live near my sisters and mother, who have formed my mommy group as is the traditional way. When my daughter was a baby though my sisters were not yet mothers and I formed a group that met every Wednesday morning for nearly 2 years. Treading common ground at the same time is a uniquely bonding experience amongst mothers and you’ll see yourself in much of this book.
The Mommy Group explores many facets of parenting from the heartbreaking experiences of miscarriage and postpartum depression to the potential toll on a marriage and returning to work. Each women in the group has a different experience, some harder than others, but they all gain strength through belonging to a mommy group and somehow the group allows them to experience the joy of being a new mother at a deeper level. Perhaps it’s the shared wonder and love of their babies, the shared experience of having your life change in unimaginable yet wonderful ways, and the generations-old truth of the strength women find in solidarity.
Now when I need to take a gift to an expecting mom, The Mommy Group is what I’ll give as I’ll be passing on a book that offers so much more insight and honest advice than any baby book and that advice is definitely more valuable than yet another swaddle.
Buy your copy via Exclusive Books.


13th April 2017
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Liv Tyler with her babes Sailor Gene and Lula Rose

Happy Easter weekend mamas and bunnies. Wishing you one filled with family, love, sunshine, laughter and Easter bunnies and egg hunting that brings endless joy.

Here 10 links that we book marked this week:

Ford Designs Car Simulator for Babies That Will Help You Sleep

Becoming a stepmom

Let’s talking about pumping!

How to naturally die Easter eggs

Toy-free kindergartens in Germany

Kids who do chores become more successful adults

Create a pocket playground for your kids

16 Ways to Travel With Kids (And Enjoy It)

Great DIY free printable bunny mask for Easter

Love Emily Henderson! Here is her babe’s nursery



7th April 2017
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Beyonce, Jay Z and Blue Ivy visit the Grand Canyon.

WOW! What a day in South Africa – it was inspiring to see: matches, protests, and peaceful tributes.

I’m off to Cape Town this weekend for a little family get away… hence the busy bag post coming up next week and keep your eye on Instagram for what we get up to.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

Here are some links from around the web for when you get a moment to read…

How To Teach Kids Where Their Food Comes From

The Day I Decided My Daughter Will Not Choose Her Own Friends

Music Lessons Were the Best Thing Your Parents Ever Did for You

I’ve always wondered: Do Dairy Foods Cause Mucus Production?

The Day I Fell in Love With Having Two Children

Everyone is talking about this essay: You May Want to Marry My Husband

IVF: One Couple’s Funny, Heartfelt Story

People have seen my boobs 

Are you spoiling your kids?

Sing to your bump: lullabies to babies in the womb decrease crying when they are born

How much should stay at home moms earn? Work it out! 

Raising Gifted Children: 6 Simple Tricks to Maximize Happiness

Having Kids Means Less Sleep For Women, But Not For Men

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