Tuesday, 25 October 2016


Reader Jemma and her sister decided to make some origami paper cranes... find out how... and why!

Jemma says:
I got the idea of making paper cranes from Cathy's book BROKEN HEART CLUB. In the story, the friends make paper cranes and the cranes hold a lot of memories for them, including love, sadness and confusion. I looked up how to make the origami cranes on the internet, but it looked confusing so I gave up. My sister had a book on how to make them and I looked at that, but again I found it tricky and gave up. Then my sister began making them for me and suggested I do some parts while she did others parts, and we came up with a routine that suited us both. By the end, I was basically making them myself! I used origami paper which was great, and some ordinary paper which was a bit harder to use but did still work!

In the end, we made 82 paper cranes... it's not quite a thousand, but they look amazing. We have put them on string and hung them all around my bedroom, and I love them! I have stopped making paper cranes for now - after all that folding I am taking a break! I may do some for other people after a while, I'll see. There is a Japanese legend that if you make one thousand paper cranes you can have any wish you like granted to you, but I didn't make a wish as I didn't get that far! I'm not sure I believe the legend, but I guess that if I get to a thousand one day I may find out!

I loved making the cranes - the moral is to keep trying if there's something you want to master, and it was worth it! The cranes look great, and make my room seem so much brighter and really cool, like a festival or a traveller fair. It reminds me of the CC book DIZZY! I had lots of fun learning origami, and message to other readers would be to try it too... windmills and flowers are good to start with, and all of those things will look great strung up around your room! Get folding!

Watch a trailer for the book BROKEN HEART CLUB **HERE**
Watch a quick video tutorial on making a paper crane **HERE**

Cathy says:
I love this! Jemma is right, it helps to have some show you the method for making paper cranes, but once you've got it, you can pretty much make them blindfold! Have YOU got a cool or crafty spin on room decor? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more!

Sunday, 23 October 2016


It's movie review time again, and book blogger Kym reviews Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children... rated PG-13.

Kym says: 
Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children is a new Tim Burton dark fantasy film based on the book by Ransom Riggs. The film focuses on a boy called Jacob who as a child had heard stories from his grandfather all about the monsters he had battled on his adventures back when he was younger. Jake had always believed the tales, but as he grew up he took his father's word on the fact that his grandfather's adventures were just stories. One day, Jake gets a phone call from his dying grandfather who tells Jake he must find 'the bird, the loop and September the 3rd 1943.'

After discovering that his grandfather's stories may be real, Jake travels to Wales with his father under the advice of his psychiatrist to help with his grief. Jake finds the old children's home where his grandfather grew up. and here he finds the bird, the time loop and 1943. Well, that's all I'm going to say about the plot - clearly I'm not going to spoil the movie for you!

I'm a huge Tim Burton fan and as soon as I found out he was directing the film, I rushed out to buy the book. I was a bit worried when I saw the trailer - it gave the impression that the movie was tailored more towards young teens. However, the movie was fantastic and still had that Tim Burton touch to it. It was so good that I'm going to see it again!

Cathy says:
Ooh... I haven't read the books, but I have seen the trailer for this and having read Kym's review I think I will give it a try! Have YOU seen a cool film recently? COMMENT BELOW or email/ message me if you'd like to review a new release film!

Saturday, 22 October 2016


Readers pick their favourite CC book for the season of mists and falling leaves... make yourself a hot chocolate and settle down for a lovely, lazy, escapist read...

Rosa says:
My fave CC read for autumn has to be MARSH- MALLOW SKYE, because it starts off with Hallowe'en and all the sisters dressed up for trick-or-treating. I love the details about their costumes and this year I am going to try for something a bit like the look the twins did. So, inspiring, too! I love the bit where Alfie jumps out on them (so typical of his annoying-yet-lovable personality) and also the bit where they squash up in the gypsy caravan to tell ghost stories, and the tale of the mysterious Clara Travers begins to unfold.

Sam says:
My favourite CC story with an autumn flavour has to be MOON & STARS from LIFE IS SWEET, which tells Finch's story. It takes place at Hallowe'en and of course a Hallowe'en at Tanglewood is the most wonderful ever. Just perfect!

Faye says:
ANGEL CAKE was the first CC book I ever read and will always be the most special. The story begins in October in Liverpool and runs up until Christmas... and it is absolutely magical. Liverpool is not quite what Anya was expecting, but she finds friendship, family and true love there... what could be better?

Jenna says:
GINGERSNAPS is one of those books I keep coming back to, and as most of the action takes place in the autumn term at school, it fits with the autumn theme! My best scene is where Ginger goes to the canal and finds Sam Taylor, and spots the red fox... plus, blue lemonade! Read it and you'll know why I love this scene so much!

Cait says:
I am a sucker for sad stories and the one that never fails to break my heart is SUNDAE GIRL by Cathy Cassidy. The very last chapter... a long, hand knitted scarf big enough for two people to share, autumn leaves on the ground, a mad dog, a sweet boy with straw coloured hair and an October sky streaked with pink and orange. Best book ever.

Beautiful photo by book blogger Kym; thank you so much!

Cathy says:
It's fascinating to see which of my books have a cool autumn connection, and which books strike a chord with my lovely readers! Do YOU have a favourite CC book, autumnal or not? COMMENT BELOW to tell me more!

Friday, 21 October 2016


Reader Hollie has a cupcake recipe to share... and if the results are half as good as Hollie's, I think we'll all be happy! Cupcake heaven indeed...

Hollie says:
I made these cakes last night, and I was surprised at just how well they turned out. Have a go... they taste as good as they look!

You will need:
4 eggs
125g caster sugar
100g self raising flour
30g cocoa powder

Whisk the eggs and the caster sugar together until fluffy. Fold in 100g self raising flour and 30g cocoa, mixing until the batter is smooth. Spoon into muffin cases placed in a cupcake tray, and bake at 180c until the cakes look done. These took about 18 minutes, but it does vary depending on the oven... keep a close eye on them!

Place the cakes on a wire tray to cool. Once cool, cut a piece out of the top of each cake and fill with raspberry jam for a surprise sweet taste!

For the buttercream:
110g softened butter
170g icing sugar
55g cocoa powder, sifted
1 tablespoon milk

Beat the butter in a large bowl until soft. Add half of the icing sugar and beat until soft and smooth. Add in the remaining icing sugar, the cocoa powder and a little of the milk if needed, to loosen the mixture. Pipe or spread the buttercream onto the cakes and decorate with sprinkles or cake-toppers!

Cathy says:
Whoa... these look amazing! Thank you Hollie... these have gone straight to the top of my list of cool new recipes to try! Have YOU got a fun and foolproof recipe to share? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more!

Thursday, 20 October 2016


Blogger Beth posts about why she sometimes puts fantasy books aside in favour of contemporary YA...

Beth says:
Hi everyone! I'm Beth, and I own The Books Are Everywhere. Today's post is going to be an interesting one with a very specific focus - can you read fantasy when you're feeling down? I know this sounds very random, but it did stem from somewhere. I posted a couple of weeks ago about my preference of contemporary over fantasy, and ended up talking to Kourtni in the comments about how fantasy can actually be quite draining to read! It got me thinking - and she's right. One of the reasons I prefer contemporary is I find it easy to read whatever mood I'm in...where as I have to really focus on fantasy! But why is this? In fact, I think there's a lot of reasons. I'll discuss them more below.
  • Fantasy tends to be very fast paced
  • Things change a lot!
  • Not only do you have to focus on humans, but there's other beings too! How can I focus on all of these things?
  • Sometimes they're harder to get into or understand quickly - especially if some elements aren't explained well
  • Bad writing doesn't work...at all. You have to be descriptive.
  • I can't produce some of the character names!
  • Why are there made up words?
  • Why is there not a glossary?
Okay, I think you get it! Fantasy does tend to be...made up. It's imaginary, and it's sometimes hard to relate to our real world! For this reason alone, I find it hard to focus on fantasy when I'm feeling down or have other things on my mind, and it tends to be the reason I read a lot of contemporary. With contemporary, I'm able to delve right in. With a real life setting and real life people, it's easy to pick up on other things. But put me in another world, with a mixture of humans and fairies and THEN throw in some romance, complications and everything else...and my brain gets confused.

So, what do you think? Can you still focus on fantasy or do you have to switch to contemporary like me?

Cathy says:
Great post, Beth... and great question! I read a lot of fantasy as a teen but these days I hardly ever do... I just hadn't thought to question why! Do YOU still love fantasy or is contemporary YA your comfort zone? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Tuesday, 18 October 2016


Reader Katie has written a fab new fan-fic mashup that mixes Tanglewood with Hogwarts... a brilliant treat for both CC and Harry Potter fans!

Katie writes:
'We're going to school! We're going to school!' squeaked Coco, bouncing up and down on her bed.
'Eek... Sorting Day for Coco,' Summer whispered.
'You know, for a Gryffindor, you seem a little scared,' snarked Honey, standing in the doorway. Cherry rubbed her eyes and knocked over her glass of water in the process. Skye woke up to the sound of breaking glass and worried that it would be her Remembrall.
'And HOW are you not in Hufflepuff?' said Summer and Honey in unison, Summer jokingly and Honey seriously. The girls got ready and went to breakfast.
'Is it odd that we're all in different houses?' Coco asked, gingerly picking up her wand.
'The traits that the Sorting Hat looks for come from within, not genetics,' Skye explained. Coco and Cherry side-glanced at Honey, her Slytherin tie askew.
'The best wizards can come from Slytherin,' Coco said, giving Honey a hug, but secretly she didn't want to be Sorted into Slytherin.
Charlotte cooed 'Alohamora' at Coco's luggage to check that everything was inside, then waved the girls off as they made their way down the path. 'We'll send an owl every week... no, every day!' Charlotte promised as Paddy rolled his eyes and used a levitation charm to fit Coco's suitcase into the car.
The girls smiled with anticipation as they approached Kings Cross station a few hours later. Trollies loaded, brimming with smiles, Summer and Skye put a hand each on Coco's trolley and chimed, 'Are you ready?' They all pelted towards the solid brick wall between platforms nine and ten, and seconds later Coco's vision was hazy with the steam billowing from the large crimson train protruding from one end of a dark tunnel. Honey and Cherry popped through onto Platform 9 3/4 then quickly hid the fact that they'd been holding hands in their robes. There was a boy with floppy hair and unkempt uniform running around and setting of stink bombs from Weasley's Wizard Wheezes.
'Ew, who is that?' Skye asked, then excused herself on the grounds of getting a good seat on the train to go investigate.
Before they knew it, the Hogwart's Express began whistling and hooting to signal its departure. The Tanberry-Costelloes crowded into the carriage and squished up at the window to wave at Charlotte and Paddy before finding their friends in different compartments. Coco sat next to a frizzy-haired first year and they helped each other with their luggage so they could scurry into the boats that carried first years over to Hogwarts Castle.
The entry foyer was full of the excitement of being sorted. Professor McGonagall ushered them into the Great Hall and Coco understood at once why the other sisters loved Hogwarts so much. The whole room was full of golden light, like the church Charlotte and Paddy had got married in, even though it was just a school dining room. Coco barely heard the speeches and the singing but took in every inch of the teacher's table and searched for her sisters in the crowd. Cherry waved, and Skye and Summer and their friends waved too.
It was an agonising wait to reach the letter T... the frizzy-haired girl had been sorted into Gryffindor long ago... but 'Coco TANBERRY' was finally called. Coco approached the Sorting Hat nervously. Coco had wished and wished when she was younger that her pets would speak to her, and now here was an inanimate object speaking to her. A hat! Speaking! The hat mumbled, started singing a little, then fell silent. Then... 'HUFFLEPUFF!'
There was a shriek of laughter from all four tables. The youngest Tanberry, a Hufflepuff! The Hufflepuff table clapped and cheered, but there was bigger applause from the Tanberry-Costelloe girls.
Honey cornered the others as they stumbled out from the feast. The girls were surprised to see Honey was carrying a full goblet of pumpkin juice she'd snuck out of the hall, and she raised the goblet and made a toast. 'Here's to the Tanberry-Costelloe sisters, each unique in their own special way. And here's to Coco, our little Hufflepuff!'
'Hear hear!' The other girls clinked their wands against Honey's goblet, then moved away towards their dorms.
'Remember, you have to knock on the barrel to the rhythm of Helga Hufflepuff!' Honey called, and the girls threw smiles over their shoulders. Coco smiled back as she watched her sisters walk into the shadows...

Cathy says:
A fab story... I loved it! Well done, Katie! Have YOU got a story that might be cool on DREAMCATCHER? Email it through the 'email Cathy' link on www.cathycassidy.com to be in with a chance of having it on the blog! COMMENT BELOW to tell us how you liked this story...

Saturday, 15 October 2016


Heidi is a hugely inspirational young woman who speaks out on behalf of people with Down's Syndrome. Read her story... she has a lot to teach us all.

Heidi says:
I am twenty one years old and I have Down's Syndrome which is an extra chromosome. I find that some people are very negative towards people with Down's because they don't understand it. They think we are not equal. The things people say make me cry because people don't value us like they should.

Some say people with Down's Syndrome can't have relationships but they can have friendships and relationships just like anyone else. I have lots of friends who care for me in everything. I have a better social life than my mum and am always going out with my friends. Another misconception is that we cannot have a job - well that's rubbish! I have a job I love, working in a hair salon and I am loving it! Lots of people with Down's have jobs. People say mean things but I do not lose heart, I believe all life precious and everyone is fearfully and wonderfully made no matter who they are, and no matter what disability.

Some people say that those with Down's will never be able to live independently, this one especially makes me cry as I live on my own. I have done for nine months now and I am loving it and wouldn't go back to my parents in a million years (well, apart from on Sundays for my Sunday roast!). People say we cannot learn, but I went to two mainstream schools and gained GCSEs in English, French and RE, Asdan maths and BTECs in cooking skills and applied science. I then did courses in hairdressing and customer service. Even medical people say negative things to mums with Down's babies, that they will never walk and talk. Most DS children will, but they may just take a little longer. I started walking at two and a half and anyone who knows me knows I never stop talking until I'm asleep, it's the only time my support workers get any peace and quiet!

I think we should value everyone, and value people for who they are and not what they achieve. I don't know why people say these mean things, buy together we can spread the preciousness of life and perhaps change people's hearts and thoughts. Justice for everyone!

Cathy says:
Heidi is the sister of someone I know, and a totally awesome and amazing young woman who speaks up for what is right. Her words have made a big impression on me and I hope they will on YOU too. Have YOU got a message of support or a story to share with Heidi? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!