Category: Books & Media

The magic of Julia Donaldson on ShowMax

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Julia Donaldon on ShowMaxIt was on a day when the kids were finally down for their midday nap. I sat down on the couch for a little break and found myself watching what was showing on the kid’s channel. It was The Gruffalo animation by Julia Donaldson, and it was brilliant. I spent the  time relaxing on the couch and listening to the voice of narrator Helena Bonham Carter as she followed a clever little mouse through the woods. I’m sure you have also found yourself enjoying animated shows even more than your kids, and get so involved you have to find out what happens in the end! Rest assured the little mouse does very well to escape the Gruffalo, and his daughter in the sequel.

Since then I enjoy reading Julia Donaldson’s books and watching the animated shows with the kids on ShowMax. Julia is a talented writer and she collaborated with illustrator Axel Scheffler for the books featured below. Together they have created stories which bring out various emotions and make you engage with the characters. The animations are available online with subscription service ShowMax, and can be viewed from any device and downloaded to watch anywhere. I recommend watching these shows with your children for the first time. The characters in The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child can be a little scary, my kids were very worried for the witch as she was chased through the clouds in Room on the Broom, and sad that Stick Man had lost is family and bitten by the dog. You may feel sad, happy, and even scared, and fall in love with the animation as go on a journey through the woods, over meadows and even out to sea.

The Gruffalo

Julia Donaldon's The Gruffalo on ShowMaxThere is a mouse who takes a walk through the deep dark woods. He meets a fox, an owl and a snake who would rather eat him, than have a nut for their tea. This little mouse outsmarts them with a tale of a Gruffalo, who turns out to be real. After convincing the Gruffalo that he is not little at all, but a Big Bad Mouse, he finally gets to enjoy his nut for his tea. Daddy also enjoys reading this book, but he doesn’t do the voices as well as mommy does. He knows it off by heart and whenever there is talk of a mouse, he recites the lines and how the Gruffalo has purple prickles all over his back! This book is a must read and to watch now on ShowMax.

The Gruffalo’s Child

Julia Donaldon's The Gruffalo's Child on ShowMaxThe sequel to The Gruffalo, this is the tale of the little girl Gruffalo who ventures out of her cave one night looking for adventure, ignoring her father’s warning about the Big Bad Mouse that lives in the woods. The little Gruffalo meets the same characters as she searches for the mouse through the snow. She finally discovers why her father is afraid of the Big Bad Mouse and returns home a little less curious and happier to be safe with him. The Gruffalo’s Child – watch now.

Room on the Broom

Julia Donaldon's Room on the Broom on ShowMax

Possibly my favourite of the four books, Room on the Broom has all the characters you could want. There is a friendly witch, a jealous cat, a keen dog, a green bird, a clean frog and even a dragon. The witch welcomes her new friends on to her broom, and they do something very special for her in return. You must also see the broom at the end! Room on the Broom – watch now.

Stick Man

Julia Donaldon's Stick Man on ShowMax

This is Stick Man. Stick Man loves his family and jogging in the morning, but not everyone recognises him as Stick Man. He ends up on a grand adventure as he tries his best to get home to his stick family in time for Christmas. It’s not an easy journey, and my kids were worried about him so I needed to be there to reassure them that it would all be ok. Santa Clause also makes a guest appearance. The award-winning film is an African success story as it was brought to life by South African animation company Triggerfish. Stick Man – watch now.

Which is your favourite?

Julia Donaldon on ShowMax


Storytime Club

Storytime Club by The Mommy CityWhat is your child’s favourite book at the moment? Ours is The Gruffalo – because “He has knobbly knees, and turned-out toes, And a poisonous wart at the end of his nose.” I have lots of fun reading it aloud for Paige and Ethan, who pretend to get scared and hid away from The Gruffalo. Julia Donaldson is very talented. So, we were especially pleased when we received her other book ‘What the Ladybird Heard’, from Storytime Club, along with other age-appropriate reads for the kids.

What is Storytime? It’s a monthly subscription book club for kids, where they receive 3 story and activity books to enjoy and build up their own library. The books are delivered each month by courier, and the kids have the excitement of opening up their parcel, to see what surprises they have. Look at little Ethan below, chilling out on their reading cushion with his leg resting on his knee! Want to know more? Check out their website and Facebook page for more info.

Storytime Club by The Mommy City

Peggy the Penguin takes a tour round our beautiful city in Cape Town Baby

Cape Town Baby by Martine AubinCape Town Baby is a beautifully illustrated children’s book in which Peggy the Penguin takes his friend for a tour of the Cape Peninsula. Whether you are a visitor or live in Cape Town, you will love reading about each of the top destinations in the city and spotting all the sights in the detailed illustrations. Keep a look out for the naughty seagull who follows them along their trip. The fun of a Cape Town visit can be shared with grandparents, family and tourists and the book is a lovely reminder which can be read over again and again.

The Author was born and raised in Cape Town and for many years was a Tourist Guide in the area. The inspiration for the book came from having grandchildren living abroad and the desire to share with them this magical trip around the Cape Peninsula. She remembers her mother Peggy sharing many of these places with her as a child.

Written by Martine Aubin and illustrated by Richard Mackintosh, all profits raised from the sale of this book are being donated towards study opportunities for underprivileged children of the Waenhuiskrans fishing community from Arniston, Western Cape. The book is available online at and from selected outlets:  Craftart & Gallery in Simon’s Town, I Penguin Ye Afrika at Boulders Beach, Equestrian Affair in Wynberg, Out of Africa Stores at Cape Town Airport, The Two Oceans Aquarium, the V & A Waterfront and Cape Point.

The Poofiest Pong by Katherine Graham

The Poofiest Pong by Katherine Graham“How do you measure the poofiness of your pongs? This is a question that baffles Max, the budding inventor. But with the help of his pong-o-meter and his little brother’s farts, Max and Billy are well on their way to blasting off for an adventure in outer space”

Your boys and girls will have a good giggle at Katherine Graham’s new e-book, The Poofiest Pong. This book is all about farts – Max and his mom’s and dad’s farts, and his brother’s smelliest stink bombs too. Find out how Max harnesses the power of farts and shoots to outer space for an out of this world adventure with his brother. Available on Amazon.

More e-books by Katherine Graham:

Alfonso, the Tooth Mouse is an early-reader chapter book about the Tooth Mouse, named Alfonso, and why he has been saddled with the job of collecting children’s teeth instead of the fat Tooth Fairy. Along the way, Pete joins him for his noctural adventures and discovers the land where both these creatures come from. Available on Amazon.


The Dummy Fairy by Katherine GrahamThe Dummy Fairy is a picture book about what happens when a toddler named Lily has to give up her dummy. There are much hysterics, but the tale told by her pregnant mother reassures Lily that her sacrifice will not be in vain. Available on Amazon.

More about Katherine Graham:

Katherine GrahamA journalist by training, Katherine writes regularly for a number of South African publications. She has published three children’s e-books, The Dummy Fairy, Alfonso the Tooth Mouse and The Poofiest Pong. The Lemon Tree, which was longlisted for the Golden Baobab Prize in 2014, is due to be published by Penguin Random House. She lives in possibly the world’s most beautiful city, Cape Town, is married with two boys and a ginger cat, and loves peaceful, uninterrupted moments sipping tea and reading. Visit her blog at

Your baby’s sensory personality with Meg Faure

Know your baby's sensory personality with Meg FaureMeg Faure has recently released a new toolkit on her website which allows parents to discover their baby’s specific Sensory Personality. To determine your baby’s sensory personality type, you are asked a few questions which takes about a minute and when I did it for Ethan, it was no surprise that he is a sensitive baby. You are then given the option to purchase a 4 page booklet that gives tips on sleep, routine and feeding for your baby’s specific sensory personality at R19.99. Take the test here.

Ethan doesn’t sleep or eat as well as other babies, is far more sensitive to touch and suffered from reflux and eczema. It has been challenging having a sensitive baby, and it has taken more patience and time for me to understand his needs. Meg’s advice gives a realistic expectation of what it’s like caring for a sensitive baby, and what you can do to provide an environment which best suits you and your baby. By understanding your baby’s sensory personality, not only will it help you care for your baby, it will also help others including grandparents, carers and friends, to better understand your child too.

There are 4 sensory profiles for babies:Sensory Baby by Meg Faure

  • Settled
  • Social butterfly
  • Slow to warm up
  • Sensitive

Meg Faure also discusses the mom’s sensory personality, and how we cope with the pressures of parenting. She offers advice on the relationship between mom and baby, specific to their sensory personalities. There are the same 4 sensory profiles for moms:

  • A laid back, settled serene mom generally copes with huge amount of stimulation without being overwhelmed.
  • social butterfly seeks sensory information and in fact is unsettled and irritable when not stimulated.
  • The slow to warm up person in fact is sensitive to sensory input but will settle as soon as they understand the stimuli and can process it as ‘safe’.
  • sensitive person has a low threshold for sensory input and becomes disorganized when faced with too much. And for these people, ‘too much’ is often just normal daily sensory input.

I would say I’m a slow to warm up sensory personality and for Ethan and I, are main challenges have been getting into a good routine, also with having a big sister to look after. Meg was spot on when she says that I have a tendency to try control my environment and that I need to allow others to help. We have good and bad days like everyone, and it is comforting to have advice from experts like Meg Faure, to help make the good days outnumber the bad.

Ella’s Kitchen & Cook Book Review

Ella's Kitchen baby food You may have already seen these brightly coloured Ella’s Kitchen food pouches on the shelves and wondered what they are about. They may be more expensive than some other brands but there is a reason for that – they are 100% organic with nothing else added. Their philosophy is that weaning should be a fun experience, not a scary one, for parents and little ones. Their range is from 4 months, and includes smoothies, fruits and veg, and protein dishes from 7 months up. The kids loved the smoothies we were sent to try, and Ethan now enjoys the independence of slurping his up straight from the pouch. The veg was also a hit, though the lamb with more texture will take a few tastes to get used to. The pouch will stay fresh for 24 hours in the fridge, but if your child is still learning to eat, you could squeeze them into ice-cube trays and freeze so there isn’t any waste.


  • Certified 100% organic
  • No added refined sugar or salt, no additives or thickeners, no E numbers or GM, no water and nothing artificial
  • Labelling gives clear guidance for nutritional needs at every stage of baby’s development
  • Picky eaters will enjoy the tastes and smells
  • Ideal for meals on the go

the COOK BOOK (the Red one)

Lately I haven’t been enjoying my cooking, mostly because it’s disheartening preparing meals only for your 3 year old to point her finger down her throat and pretend to gag (true story). I used to cook so much for Paige, and now that Ethan has said goodbye to purees and hello to finger foods, I’m determined to start enjoying the kitchen again. Ella’s Kitchen the Cook Book is just what I need right now as the 100 yummy recipes will introduce him to even more tastes and textures. This recipe book is not just written for mom and encourages older children to learn to cook too with fun instructions, plenty of pictures and easy to read instructions. There are tips for parents to get the kids involved and what your kids should be eating (whether they want to is another story!) They have really geared this book to little ones and have included little extras like stickers to decorate the pages and stick hearts and stars on their yummiest recipes.


  • 100 recipes, food guides and activities in the kitchen
  • Recipes include yummy lunches & speedy snacks, dee-licious dinners, perfect puds, scrummy treats and weekend foods.
  • Full colour with plenty of photographs and easy to follow instructions
  • Servings, prep and cooking times
  • Stickers

The Ella’s Kitchen range is available at larger stores including Baby City, Baby Boom, Toys R Us, Pick ‘n Pay, Spar and Clicks. BabyGroup and Takealot sell the range online.

Ella's Kitchen cook book

Poppet Post progress through play & Giveaway

Poppet PostSubscription boxes are becoming popular as an easy and convenient way to have age-appropriate toys and activities delivered monthly to your door. Newly launched Poppet Post was started by a mom who wanted to share what she learnt entertaining her daughter, and the great toys, books and activities they sourced with other parents. The boxes are put together with the advice of other parents, a dietician, occupational therapist, paediatrician and a teacher. Each month the toys will be chosen around a specific theme and for August it’s bath time fun and in September you can look forward to spring and flowers. Visit for more information and to order your box online.


  • Monthly subscription box filled with a combination of toys, books and craft activities tailored to your child’s developmental needs from R249 per month
  • Boxes available for newborns through to 3 years
  • Offers a 1 month, 3 month and 6 month subscription
  • Opt out of your subscription whenever you wish
  • Once-off gift boxes also available
  • Free delivery anywhere in South Africa

Share special moments with your children as they progress through play!

WIN a Poppet Post box for your little one by following the steps in Rafflecopter:a Rafflecopter giveaway

Entries close Friday, 1 August 2014 and the winner will be randomly selected via Rafflecopter and notified the next day. Usual terms and conditions apply. Good luck!