How to Win Friends and Influence People – YOC Bookclub

How to Win Friends and Influence People – YOC Bookclub

At the start of the year Lauren from Real Housewife of Suffolk and I decided we were going to start a Year Of Change Book club. One of the books I really wanted to read again this year was How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie.

I read the book a few years ago and found it really interesting. A lot of the information shared was common sense, but some of the tips and anedotes really struck a chord with me. So at the start of Jan, I found my well read, dog eared copy which I’d purchased in a charity shop and started reading it again with a pencil in hand ready to underline, make notes and highlight chapters.

How to win friends and influence people is referred to as one of the best selling self help books ever published, it’s sold over 15 million copies worldwide and seems to have some what of a cult following. I think I can proudly confirm I’m now a member of this cult. I know some don’t like the book and find it difficult to relate to due to how old the book is, but for me I found it talks to the part of my brain which is working on change.

How to win friends and influence people

The chapters are divided into sections with anecdotes and teachings which target different principles. At the end of the chapter you are left with a principle to think about and in my case underline and repeat to myself over and over. One of the principles affected me more than all the others. I have made sure I followed this principle as much as I could in Jan, “don’t complain, condemn or critise”. We can all be guilty of all three, if  you’re having a bad day it can be easy to moan, or tell someone they’ve done something wrong. But why make someone else feel bad just because you feel a bit crabby. Well it doesn’t take long to realise that not being negative towards people can actually make them happier around you and like you more.
principles how to win friends

I didn’t get to finish the book this month, but I have read it in full previously and know I will continue to pick it up and read further. If you wish to join our book club, we have a facebook group, just search for YOCBookclub.

Year of change, book club.

Beano celebrates its 75th anniversary

Beano celebrates its 75th anniversary

I’ve been a Beano fan since I was very small. Each week my parents bought me a Beano magazine and every Christmas I received a Beano Annual in my Beano sack. I had a Beano duvet set, school bag, pencil-case, mugs, t-shirts and many more items to show my love. When I heard the news that Beano was celebrating its 75th Anniversary, I just knew I had to get involved. My Beano sack had already been removed from the loft so that we could start filling it with presents to take round to my parents on Christmas Eve. It doesn’t look bad considering it is approximately 20 years old.

Beano Christmas Sack

Beano & Dandy annual

Reading the Beano was my little escape. Each Thursday I sat on the sofa and read my copy from front to back. My favourite characters were Minnie the Minx, Roger the Dodger and of course Dennis and Gnasher. A few years ago my mum treated me to the special annual pictured above. Which brought back many fun memories. So when this years annual arrived in the post I was really happy to give it a read.

Beano Annual 2014

The Beano is one of those cartoons that appeals to all ages. When we visited my family for a Christmas party a few weeks ago, my dad and niece sat reading it together. It’s a timeless classic that I can see myself introducing our little man to as soon as he can read. This year’s annual features the usual crew and also a few new additions I wasn’t familiar with, but they fit well with the rest of the team. I also loved the groan worthy joke pages and fun prank suggestions. It’s something most 6 – 106 year olds would love. I don’t think I will ever outgrow the Beano, in fact I might continue collecting the annuals for M to have when he grows up.

Beano annual inside


The Beano 2014 Annual is available in all good book stores RRP £7.99.

*We were sent the annual for review, all nostalgia is my own.

BabyCalm: A Guide for Calmer Babies and Happier Parents – Book Review

BabyCalm: A Guide for Calmer Babies and Happier Parents – Book Review

A while ago we were kindly sent a copy of BabyCalm: A Guide for Calmer Babies and Happier Parents to review. At first I was a little hesitant to read another baby guide book but once I started reading I was glad I had. It was the first book I’d read which shared my views and opinions.


BabyCalm: A Guide for Calmer Babies and Happier Parents - Book Review -

The book is divided in to easy to consume sections and once I started reading I found myself absorbed and wanting to read more. One of my favourite chapters to read was ‘A Toolbox of calming techniques’. One of the suggestions made was Babywearing, if you follow our blog you will know that C and I are very vocal of our love of Babywearing. Since we first started wearing M it was obvious it had a fantastic calming effect on him and still to this day he enjoys the closeness and soothing effect Babywearing provides. I loved the illustrations included on how to wrap a sling, it can be daunting using a wrap sling for the first time, but I recon armed with this book you could manage with a little practice.


BabyCalm: A Guide for Calmer Babies and Happier Parents - Book Review -

Another section I loved was on co sleeping, again C and I co sleep as we feel it’s best for all of us. I enjoyed reading someone else’s views and story of their successful co sleeping relationship. Quite often we hear the phrase “You’re making a rod for your own back” it was quite nice to hear someone say they hadn’t made that rod.

BabyCalm is a nice mixture of real stories, well researched information and bite size bullet points.

I wouldn’t say we followed all the information in the book as we’ve very much gone with the flow in regards to parenting. But I do think its a great guide for new parents and even parents with children already. I would definitely loan my copy to friends or family who were expecting. It’s the sort of book i find myself picking up every now and then and refreshing what I’ve read already. If you wish to buy a copy just click here.

*We were kindly sent a copy of this book for free.


Top That Publishing – Book Review

Top That Publishing – Book Review

The lovely Top That Publishing sent us 3 books to read and review, many moons ago. We had great ambitions of reading them to Monkey and him loving them. But he wasn't really that responsive, so to give them a fair review we waited until he was able to hold concentration and react to our voices.

The three books we were sent are called – Yappy, Happy, Dilly Dog – The Froobles, Little Jack Potato and the big surprise – Five Little Penguins.

Top That Publishing - Book Review -


The first book I looked at with Monkey was Yappy Happy Dilly Dog. I enjoyed the story and loved interacting with him with the puppet. The book allowed you to open each page and put your hand in to the dogs mouth to make it move. I've seen a few of the puppet books before and always wanted to get one when I had a child. It certainly made the story telling fun and I'm sure as Monkey grows he will enjoy the puppet more.

The Froobles didn't really hold Monkey's attention. C really didn't like this book as she felt it was kind of sinister. I don't wish to ruin any of the stories but this one involved a lesson being taught and neither of us agreed with how it was written. I've since found the Froobles app and looked up other books and decided we may have enjoyed the Froobles more if we'd been sent a different one. But this is one book we won't be reading to Monkey as he grows up.

Five Little Penguins was another odd one. Odd in the sense that it referenced one of the penguins getting eaten. Now I'm all for children understanding the circle of life and learning about food chains, but penguins getting eaten in a children's book, not for us. I enjoyed the rest of the story, but C just couldn't recover from the trauma**. On a positive note M loved touching the raised penguins and it even held his attention. We now read it with an alternative less traumatic scenario.

If I had to choose a favourite it would definitely be Yappy Dappy Dilly Dog, I can see us reading this for man years to come.

*we were sent these books free of charge for the purpose of review.

** C is an incredibly sensitive soul and is easily effected by particular topics. Please source other reviews of others with less of a sensitive disposition before you make any decisions. ;)

The Blossom Method by Vivien Sabel – Book Review

The Blossom Method by Vivien Sabel – Book Review

The Blossom Method is written by Vivien Sabel it’s a book written about a revolutionary new technique that helps you to understand your baby. The Blossom Method teaches parents to recognise the mouth and tongue movements of their baby to be able to communicate more effectively and also to understand your baby’s requests.

The Blossom Method Book

We were approached on twitter by Vivien, she kindly asked us if we would like to read and review her book. I jumped at the chance as I love to read but also because I’ve always been interested in non verbal communication and body language.

When the book arrived I was initially shocked by how thin it was. In comparison to all the guides and manuals that line our shelves The Blossom Method looked tiny. I began to wonder how it was going to be able to teach me a whole new technique of communication using very few pages. It was actually quite a positive thing that the book was quite short. The book informs you that it’s best read before baby comes along and trust me you don’t have much time to read when preparing for a baby to arrive. So I was grateful that it was of an easy to manage length to read.

The first section of the book was very interesting. Vivien writes very well and she gives you a great understanding of how she came about discovering her technique.

It then moves on to talk about the technique in depth and discusses how you can perfect reading your baby, with illustrations to help you visualise as well. I found these illustrations to be particularly useful, as having never had a baby I have never paid much attention to their mouth movements which is what the technique heavily relies on.

I found the section on signing to be the most important section for my wife. She has always had a keen interest in learning to sign and I see this as a first step she could initiate with our baby. Again the illustrations were very helpful.

There were some points in the book I found myself slightly distracted. Some of the pages contain speech bubbles with feedback from parents who have used The Blossom Method technique. Sometimes they were inserted in paragraphs which led me to forget where I was reading and I had to start over on pages a couple of times. I did find the feedback useful though as it was nice to hear from parents in their individual situations.

I really enjoyed reading the book as it helped me to understand the possibility of being able to communicate with our new baby once it arrives. I will be looking to use The Blossom
method and will attempt to get my wife to give it a go too.

There are a lot of books out there that tell you what you should do and what you shouldn’t do with your baby. But this is not one of those books. At no point did I feel Vivien was preaching at me, I also didn’t feel like she would think I was a terrible parent if I didn’t perfect her technique. What I did feel was this lovely lady had given me the tools to try and understand my baby better and to give them a chance to communicate with me.