Friday, 29 August 2014

DEBORAH: AT THE QUEEN OF TEEN CEREMONY!

Reader Deborah, who was my superfan at the fabulous Queen of Teen ceremony recently, spills the beans on what happened there…

Deborah says:
The Queen of Teen Ceremony was amazing. When you put things like books, quirky authors, a pink carpet and a buffet with nothing but cake, you could make any girl smile! Meeting Cathy was a dream I had from the first hour I became a fan. I always imagined her signing my books and asking me what I want to do in life. The reality was ten times better than my dream! Cathy was super friendly and been worried I wouldn't get there in time (I was over an hour late because of bad traffic!). She gave me a notebook for my own stories - this reminded me a lot of when Charlotte gave Cherry a notebook in Cherry Crush! I am totally saving it for when I write a bestseller!

The ceremony was even more amazing. There were boards with all the shortlisted authors printed up on them - I have one with Cathy's signature on it! The cake stands in the food tent were overflowing with treats! There were piles of books on every table for readers to take for free and then get signed by the authors, and the rows of seats came right up to the front of the marquee where the throne was! The thought of my speech totally slipped my mind so when it was my turn to give a superfan speech I just resorted to telling the story of my life and how Cathy's books had helped me, and afterwards everybody  complimented me on how good my speech was. Holly Smale even wrote 'great speech' in my copy of her book when she signed it!

On the whole, the ceremony was a dream come true. I met the best author in the world and many of her colleagues, ate the best cakes ever and took in so much happiness I stayed in dreamland for weeks afterwards! I got a gift bag and books from the other authors and brought along EVERY Cathy Cassidy  book printed that I own to be signed! People wait a lifetime for a moment like that day and I honestly can't believe it all happened to me!

Cathy says:
It was a privilege for ME to meet such a talented and enthusiastic reader as Deborah - I couldn't have asked for a better 'superfan'! I may not have won the award this year - the new Queen of Teen is the one and only James Dawson, flying the flag for equality. Have YOU ever had a dream-come-true-day? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more, or to have your say on Deborah's experience!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

LES FILLES AU CHOCOLAT!

Did you know that the Chocolate Box Girls is a bestselling series in France? Mais, oui! We asked some French readers to review their fave CC books...

Zoe says:
I am thirteen years old and I love the books 'The Chocolate Girls'. I started reading the books a year ago. My mother gave me COEUR CERISE (CHERRY CRUSH) when I came back from a holiday with my grandmother. I love the books because there is so much suspense and I love the chocolate theme. As soon as I finish one of the books I want to learn more, I feel as though I am inside the story! I absolutely love the story of many sisters and I like that each sister has a book to tell her own story, which keeps it all exciting and unexpected. I wrote to Cathy Cassidy and asked for a signed photograph, which Cathy sent to me! Thanks to Cathy, I love to read!

Line and Jeanne say:
Line: I'm twelve and I live in the north of France. My favourite Chocolate Box book is COEUR SALE (BITTER SWEET). Shay Fletcher, fifteen years old, discovers that his brother is a much better person than he thought. He will even help him make his dream come true: become a famous singer. I liked this book because we get to know Shay much better and appreciate him even more!
Jeanne: I am fourteen, and Line's sister. I have read all of the Chocolate Box books… I loved all of the series but my favourite so far is the last one, COEUR VANILLE (SWEET HONEY). I like it because at last everything becomes clear about the family's split up. Honey starts to understand that Cherry and Paddy are good people and she slowly sees that her dad is not as perfect as she thought. Besides, there is a big mystery and lots of suspense… and also a love story!

Enora says:
I discovered the books of Cathy Cassidy by chance (a good chance!). I was passing a holiday with my grandmother and left all my books at home, so we went to the library in the next village. Many books did not look interesting, and then I read the summary of COEUR CERISE (CHERRY CRUSH) the first book of the Chocolate Box series. I finished the book the same evening and re-read it over and over. Since this day, I have bought all of the books a few days after they are released! I love the books because they have my favourite flavours in their names… and because I can 'find' me a little in each book and each character! A love story? A chocolate story? Totally my style! I cannot pick out any character as my favourite because I adore them all! Great books that I share with my friends.

Cathy says:
I think my French readers are AWESOME! I can't wait to visit Paris again this November for the Montreuil Book Fair and meet more French fans… tres cool! COMMENT BELOW if you are a French reader - or if you've ever been to France!

SUMMER STYLE REPORT: CUTE HAIR ACCESSORIES...

Looking for SOMETHING to finish off a special look, or to get the holiday vibe when you're heading for sunnier climes? Summer style reporter Manda has some suggestions!
Pic one…
Manda says:
I thought this one was lovely, it felt all royal and exotic - just different from everything else, which I loved! Don't know how well it would stay on in the long run, but with a few hair grips I could probably make it work! I'd probably leave it for special occasions as I don't see it going with everyday clothes too well (at least my idea of everyday, which is extremely casual!), but overall I like it… it makes me feel a little like an Asian princess!

Cathy says:
Very Eastern… I can imagine wearing this for a night out in Tunisia or Morocco! It's beautiful and very eye-catching, but it could be a little too ornate for a weekend in Blackpool…

Pic two…
Manda says:
Although it's pretty, this wasn't really one of my favourites. I kind of liked the little chiffony flowers, but at the same time I think I prefer the more realistic ones. It's a bit plain for my tastes, but it probably depends what you wear it with; I can see it looking good with more of a fancy evening dress, where normal flower crowns wouldn't be as fitting… as long as the colours didn't clash! It reminds me vaguely of a costume I had in a dance show once, so I can see it being part of some kind of ballet costume too!

Cathy says:
A simple flower crown/ headband in soft, flattering colours… this is the summer of the flower-crown, and this one isn't too over the top. It wouldn't be out of place anywhere. Ideal for a boho beach look, but just as much fun for summer in the city!

Pic three…
Manda says:
Again, all the shiny gold bits and the little gems make it more suitable for evening/party wear I think… probably worn with something fairly plain! I do really like this. I like that you can be all classy and elegant while still remaining in the spirit of summer - although I think you could still get away with this at other times of the year!

Cathy says:
Stay golden! This glittering headband has its own glitz and glamour appeal, but neatly avoids being flash or fussy. It suits Manda's colouring and would be cool for a swish city break holiday… or a party night back at home.

Pic four…
Manda says:
This one is just really girly, cute, simple and somewhat old-fashioned, so basically I love it a lot! I'm getting a bit of a vintage schoolgirl vibe from it, which is definitely cool! Again, I don't know how well it would go with the contents of my wardrobe, but if I could find something to match I feel like I might wear this one a lot. It seems like it could easily fit with both everyday and also more special occasions!

Cathy says:
This is my favourite. It's cute, fresh and fun with a great vintage twist, and though it's simple it really pulls Manda's look together. Anywhere, any place, any time… super-cute.

OK… your turn, now! COMMENT BELOW to cast your vote for YOUR fave accessory… which one would YOU choose, and where would you wear it?

Monday, 25 August 2014

THE BIG CLEAR OUT!

Reader Helena decided to have a big clear out of old and unwanted toys and junk… find out how her tidy-up turned into a charity fundraiser!

Helena says:
Back at the beginning of the summer holidays I decided to have a big clear out of stuff I no longer needed and had grown out of, but instead of taking everything along to our local community shop, I decided to raise money for Cancer Research UK. A friend of ours does LOTS and LOTS of fundraising for Cancer Research and organises the local Relay for Life event. That's a huge family event - people can camp overnight - which lasts 24 hours. There are lots of games and fun activities for children and we are all coming together as one group to raise money to beat cancer. I would like to be a medical scientist and a magician when I grow up, and help to cure diseases like cancer. This seemed like something I could do in the meantime.

I designed a poster and it went onto the local Relay for Life page, and friends helped to distribute it around town. Then basically, I took over the pavement in front of Mum and Dads bookshop. One day it rained really hard so I sat inside the door and still got some money! I sold a lot of games, toys, books and bits and pieces and people were really nice about it. I think they liked the idea that I was raising money for a good cause! I also had a 'guess the birthday' game, for a Minnie Mouse toy, which I am still going to do. I have raised over £100. It was a lot of fun, a bit of a challenge at times, but it was worth it!

Cathy says:
I love Helena's idea - sometimes the simplest ideas are the best! It looks like she had a lot of fun, too, and raised a lot of money… how cool? COMMENT BELOW to share YOUR charity find-raising attempts or to give a shout-out to Helena for her achievement!

Sunday, 24 August 2014

IMOGEN: MUM WORKS WITH HELICOPTERS!

Another in our occasional series about inspiring mums and daughters… we meet Imogen and Denise!

Denise (mum) says:
I work as a receptionist in a helicopter flying school. I oversee the business each weekend and sometimes deal with confidential paperwork as well as managing the electronic diary, bookings, cancellations and allocating aircraft; I take care of the visitors to the school, in short! I have a lot of responsibility and I thoroughly enjoy it!

Imogen is a great daughter; she's funny and she makes me laugh when I really don't want to! She's very kind, caring and compassionate, with both people and animals. She adores animals and wants to be a vet when she grows up - at her age, I was exactly the same! Imogen attends our local Stagecoach Theatre Arts School where she has classes in dancing, singing and drama. Every year around Easter, the students put on a show for friends and family. I love watching her and seeing how her confidence has grown over the years! She's a great swimmer, too, and swims for the local team, and I am so proud of her.

The two of us get on really well most of the time; things only go downhill if either of us are quite tired, and then we can become a bit snappy! It never lasts long, though… one of us will accept the blame, we have a big hug and the grumpiness is forgotten. I encourage Imogen to talk to me about anything she would like to; we both enjoy chatting to each other and I think this communication is the basis of a great relationship. My wish for Imogen is that she stays healthy and happy and achieves all her dreams… I believe she will!

Imogen (daughter) says:
My mum is totally the best in the world. She has inspired me in so many ways! She encourages me to be kind to animals - sometimes we rescue poorly animals and Mum teaches me how to nurse them in a caring and gentle way. We then let them go into the wild when they are strong enough. Mum also
encourages me to try my hardest at all times, no matter how I feel, and to stay calm as much as possible in tests.

I absolutely LOVE my mum's job as she works around helicopters, which is amazing - not many people get to do that! She brings me a cupcake that she saves for me every weekend when she returns home. There is a downside to Mum's work for me, because she works at weekends and this limits the amount of time I can spend with her. I think we are quite similar in some ways, as we like most of the same things and have lots of fun together. I try to support my mum in turn with her swimming, by showing her how at ease I am in the water to let her see there is nothing to worry about. I think my mum and I get on very well… we hardly ever fall out!

Cathy says:
It's clear the bond between Denise and Imogen is very strong - and I love that they share many of the same interests and values! Do YOU have an awesome mum? COMMENT BELOW to give her a shout-out or make a comment on this feature!

Saturday, 23 August 2014

JADE: I'M A YOUNG CARER

Reader Jade describes what it's like to have to look after your family… even when you're still a child yourself…

Jade says:
I'm seventeen years old and I'm a young carer from Scotland; I've been a young carer ever since I can remember, and have been attending the Young Carers support group since I was nine. A young carer is someone who looks after a family member with an illness, disability, mental health or substance abuse problem. Young carers tend to take on tasks involving practical or emotional support that adults would normally do.

In my family, myself and two of my sisters are young carers; we look after our brother, who has Autism and developmental delay, and my mum who has some mental health issues. My brother likes to stick to a schedule and if it varies or goes wrong he can get extremely upset and angry, which can be hard to handle. He also gets very anxious in a crowd and cannot hold his emotions in.

My mum has BPD (borderline personality disorder) so I have to look after my youngest sister so mum can get to all her appointments and groups. Sometimes there are just too many calls on my time and it outweighs my ability to do more than one thing at once. The friends I have made though the Young Carers support group get this completely, but not everyone at school is able to understand. Some did and some didn't, so often I kept quiet about what was happening at home. The teachers knew my background, and that helped.

The Young Carers support group helps people in my situation to meet others in the same boat and to make friends. There are also support workers who can offer one-to-one chat and support. In the summer there is a big Young Carer's Festival which hundreds of young carers attend. There are indoor and outdoor activities, a silent disco, music and things like Indian head massage. We can stay in a small cabin or a tent, like a real festival. This year will be my first time at the festival and I can't wait!

I guess people may think it is very hard being a young carer, and sometimes it is, but I appreciate the support from Young Carer's group and I love my family. This is my life - it's just the way things are for me, and a lot of the time I take it in my stride.

Find out more about Young Carers here: http://www.youngcarers.net

Cathy says:
Jade is a very strong and caring girl… her support and care make life a lot easier for both her brother and her mum. COMMENT BELOW if you'd like to share your support with Jade, or if YOU have ever had to act as a young carer yourself...

Friday, 22 August 2014

CLASS OF 2014: GETTING READY!

The second in our series following five girls as they prepare for secondary school… with term time getting closer, how are they feeling?

Carys says:
We went shopping for school uniform at the beginning of the holidays - I'm so small that they decided that if they needed to order anything specially, at least they'd have the whole of the holidays to do it! (Or maybe my mum just wanted it out of the way!) Our uniform is a maroon jumper and skirt, a white blouse and black trousers. The tie is clip on (my mums thinks that's cheating, what do you think?). I'm still really excited about starting school - seeing my old primary friends and making some new ones!d a bag too… it wasn't easy, as it had to be big, but not TOO big! Only two weeks now to the start of term! I'm a little sad about leaving primary, but the excitement of starting a new school has really kicked in now so I'm feeling less sad by the minute - I can't wait to see my old primary friends and make some new ones!

Emma says:
I've got my uniform sorted, which was super-scary - it's very different to my old one, and it even has to have my name on every single item! I'm still getting all my supplies ready - bags, pens, pencil case… but I need a lot more stationery because I have a feeling there's going to be a lot more work! I still have a few bits and pieces of uniform to find, too, but I'm almost there. As the days get closer I am getting more and more excited… not long now!

Imogen says:
As the time gets closer I am getting more and more nervous about starting high school - I am scared I won't be able to keep track of all my classes! But I know there will be people to ask, and I'll have a map. I will be walking in on the first day with my older sister - on the day I start high school, she starts sixth form! I have got most of my uniform now but I still need half of my stationery. I have got a clip-on tie which is great - I won't have to learn how to tie a tie! Mum got me a pocket-sized dictionary and covered it in Cath Kidston paper, which is cool… and it's my birthday soon, so I'm hoping to get some school stationery then!

Pippa says:
I'm happy to say that my negative feelings about starting secondary school have vanished. Any arguments with my old friends from primary have been made up, which I am really pleased about… we will be there for each other in secondary school, but we know we are all moving on too and that's the best thing, really. I have loved shopping for my new school supplies. I absolutely adore the colours and patterns on my new satchel - I can't wait to try it out for real. And my shoes are potentially the nicest shoes I have ever had! When I first tried on my blazer, I looked extremely odd… but with my shirt and a thick jumper underneath, I understood why I had to get such a large one! I also have a skirt, some trousers and new hair bows just for the fun of it! I can't wait to get my pencil case as well… I already have most of my other stationery. I can't wait to start!

Sophie says:
I am looking forward to starting school! I got my hair cut to my neck… I had eleven inches cut from it in February and now it's even shorter - Mum says it looks like an old lady's cut! I have a black blazer, white shirt, black trousers and black Converse trainers, The uniform cost loads. The shirts look like men's shirts, which I like. My uniform at primary was brown and we had to wear a skirt, so this new uniform is way better. I've got a new Green Day bag and some cool new stationery… I'm as ready as I will ever be!


Cathy says:
Time is ticking by… the girls will soon be starting their new schools! Check in soon to see how their FIRST DAY goes! COMMENT BELOW to tell us if YOU are ready for the new school term… or to wish Carys, Emma, Imogen, Pippa or Sophie luck!