Wednesday, 31 May 2017

AMEERA: VOICES FOR LIBRARIES

I first met reader Ameera at a library event in Devon, so I was thrilled to find out that a piece of writing about libraries had earned her a place in the final of the Young Journalist of the Year competition! Read what she had to say. So cool...

Ameera says...
All across the country, libraries are facing reduced funding and the possibility of closure. I spoke to Seaton Library in Devon to find out what this means for individual libraries.

As recently as 2011, all the libraries in Devon were run by Devon County Council. Facing cuts in 2015/16 of £50m to the council's budget, it was feared that half the libraries in Devon would have to close. The council had already saved £3m from its library budget and needed to save £1.5m more by last April. These cuts were achieved, and not a single library in Devon has closed so far.

So what happened? Devon Libraries separated from the council's administration and became part of a new charitable trust.This means that the libraries are managing themselves, and allows the trust to keep all the libraries open. However, Devon County Council are giving less money each year to the new management. To keep costs down, many top managers were made redundant and the offices they used were rented to provide income.

The libraries now have a lower budget to buy books and DVDs with, so less popular books will no longer be available to readers. Library staff are very worried that today's great authors (maybe the 21st century's next Shakespeare) will not be getting read. These libraries can no longer afford to run events as often and reduced staff means more limited opening times.

FoSeL (Friends of Seaton Library) stepped in where funding was not enough. They raise money for events and prizes, donate books and volunteer to help keep the library open. Even so, this is not enough - other local libraries are still threatened with closure. If this is the case for YOUR library, please go and help save the books today.

Cathy says:
Wow... this is a great piece of reportage from a very talented library lover! Readers may be interested to know that the characters in my new book LOVE FROM LEXIE (out June 15th!) save their local library from closure... in a very cool way! Do YOU use your local library? COMMENT BELOW to tell me more!

Monday, 29 May 2017

SWEETREAT'S STRAWBERRY CUPCAKES!

Blogger, baker and Chocolate Box Girls fan Sweetreats is sharing her gorgeous recipe for strawberry cupcakes... just the kind of project Summer Tanberry would love making for her sisters!

Sweetreats says:


You will need:
8 large fresh strawberries
2 free range eggs
200g caster sugar
75ml vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
A little red food colouring

Method:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 170c/ gas mark 3. Grease 12 holes of a cupcake tin or line with cupcake cases.

2. Place the strawberries into a blender and blend until smooth. Alternatively, you can simmer the strawberries within a pan of water until the strawberries grow soft, setting aside to cool for approx 10 mins before mushing with a fork. Pour through a sieve to remove all the seeds and set the puree aside.

3. In a large bowl, beat together the egg, caster sugar, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, lemon zest and strawberry puree until all well combined. Then stir in the flour, baking powder, salt and food colouring to reach the desired shade of pink. Ensure all is smooth and well mixed.

4. Carefully pour or spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases, filling them up to 2/3 full. (They will rise while cooking!)

5. Bake the cupcakes for 20-23 minutes until the cakes have risen and a skewer inserted into the centre of a cupcake comes out clean.

6. Allow the cupcakes to cool on a wire rack for half an hour before icing!

There are so many variations and possibilities when it comes to icing the cupcakes... plain buttercream, chocolate buttercream, regular fondant icing poured over the cakes... You can make your own or even buy ready-made! I opted to ice my cupcakes with vanilla buttercream and coloured it pink. If you like, decorate the cakes further with a little chocolate and a halved strawberry. And voilá!

Check out Sweetreat's inspiring baking blog here: www.bakingboutiquebirds.blogspot.co.uk/

Cathy says:
These look just amazing! Perfect recipe to try out at half-term... yum! Have YOU got a favourite recipe you'd like to share with DREAMCATCHER? Just email me via the EMAIL LINK on www.cathycassidy.com to be featured on the blog, or COMMENT BELOW to tell us what you think!

Friday, 26 May 2017

WHY NOT TRY... UNDONE BY CAT CLARKE

Reader Violet has a book recommendation for older teens and young adult readers... have a read and see what you think!

Violet says:
My current favourite book is UNDONE by Cat Clarke - she's a Scottish writer, and I'm always very pleased when my country-mates - I hope that's a word, it's quite sweet - do well. It's a YA book so please not, it is only suitable for OLDER TEENS and adults, but it is one book that will stay with you. It is told from the viewpoint of Jem Halliday, a girl grieving her best friend Kai, and trying to cope with the aftermath of his suicide. She decides to get revenge on the people she believes caused his death.

UNDONE is such an emotional read - I had to take a break after a few chapters as it was just too heartbreaking to read in one sitting. It's really powerful. Jem is relatable, she is just an ordinary teenage girl. She's not perfect, she doesn't have special powers, she isn't a courageous heroine. She's Jem, and she misses Kai, and that's all that matters. Even I missed Kai, that's how well written UNDONE is! If you think you are strong enough to deal with the heartbreak and the sleepless nights this book will bring, I strongly recommend you read it because it is an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish, in the best possible way. It's a book you won't forget.

'It doesn't get any easier. No matter what they say, time doesn't heal the wound. Time just unravels and shows you new and more painful ways to miss someone...'

Cathy says:
Love this YA recommendation... I love Cat's writing too, so this is one I will try. Do YOU have a favourite book you'd like to recommend to DREAMCATCHER readers? This is your chance! COMMENT BELOW to tell us, and email me via the 'EMAIL CATHY' link over on the main website, www.cathycassidy.com

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

HANNAH: MUM'S SO STRESSED!

It's problem page time on DREAMCATCHER again, and reader Hannah has a worry for Skye Tanberry to sort out...

Hannah says:
I would always have said that we were a happy family but things have changed loads in the last year. My mum has a new job which I know she doesn't like much, but we need the money. It seems to have changed her personality though. She is so snappy and mean with dad, and with my sister and me. Everything we do seems to be wrong these days. Last night she made my sister (who is eleven) cry, and told her she was useless and stupid. I hate being at home now, it's so stressy, and I go to my friend's house after school if I can, but that's not fair on my sister. Everything is going wrong.

Skye says:
I think stress is the cause of all this unhappiness, and talking is the way to try to unravel the problem. Talk to your dad and see what his take on all of this is... he may know much more than you about what is going on. Let him know you and your sister are upset and scared by the bad atmosphere and don't know what to do. Talk to your mum too... but not in an accusing or confrontational way. Explain you miss the family closeness and having time to do fun things together. Ask if there is anything you can do to help things run more smoothly. Let her know you love her, and want to help. Money worries, job stress, health issues or any number of other things could be the cause of this, but until you know you cannot help. Get talking, and good luck.

Cathy says:
Good advice from Skye - do YOU have anything to add? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Monday, 22 May 2017

CHLOE: LOSING A PET

Reader Chloe writes about the sadness of losing a much-loved pet... and finding the courage to move on.

Chloe says:
Oreo was the best pet I could ever have wished for. I got him from a rescue on April Fool's Day 2016, and he was a lovely and very crazy rabbit! Oreo liked to play in the house and was very cuddly. We went for walks together in the garden and boy did I get plenty of exercise... he ran all over the place and I must admit sometimes he was very naughty! Oreo sadly passed away in October - he had a heart attack, we think caused by fear because a fox was in the garden. Even though he was safe in his hutch, he must have been very frightened. I really missed Oreo but I knew he had had a good life with our family, and I felt that eventually I would want to move on and find another animal to look after and love.

That happened round about Easter this year. They came from a pet shop, but they'd been there for almost a year, so I thought they deserved a proper home at last. We had looked at other pairs of rabbits but these two were definitely the favourites, so we named them Eeyore and Bambi - Eeyore is the grey female, and Bambi is the brown male. We took these little cuties home with us on the bus, in a special pet carrier. Their cage in the garden was already set up and waiting, so as soon as we got home we put them in and let them get settled. After a while, we brought them into the kitchen for more exploring, so they could be nosy and have a look around. Now, in May, they have settled brilliantly and are the most amazing and loveable pets. I think they're enjoying themselves, too!

Rabbits like to live in pairs, but it is best if they are neutered or you could end up with a lot MORE rabbits than you bargained for! Most rescues offer neutered rabbits only, and Eeyore and Bambi were neutered already so we didn't have to worry about that. Rabbits mostly need love and affection, but not all rabbits are as cuddly as you imagine. When it comes to food, rabbits need a balanced diet of hard pellets and fresh veggies. My rabbits love apples and they get treat bars once in a while too! Not all pets have a long life, but with affection we can make sure they have a happy one!

Cathy says:
I have two rescue rabbits and agree that they are happiest in pairs. Ours live in a moveable hutch most of the year, moved daily so they can have fresh grass; in the winter, they live in the greenhouse! Do YOU have a special pet you love to bits, or have YOU lost a beloved animal friend? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Sunday, 21 May 2017

ZARA: ONLY DEAD FISH GO WITH THE FLOW...

Reader Zara speaks out about the way we are judged for our looks - and the way we are all pressured to conform to what society expects of us...


Zara says:
We are all different. We all look different. We are all individual and we are all unique. Not everyone always sees this though. Many see their differences as flaws and try to change them - or at least, some do. Make up is one of the easiest things we can us to change our appearance - but it won't change you as a person. You can apply as much foundation and mascara as you want, but you can never be truly 'perfect' - if there is such a thing.

We are all perfect in our own way, the same on the inside, but the world does not tell us this. The people we know don't always ell us this either, but now I am telling you! You don't need make up or money to be happy, you don't need good grades or the best house. You need people who surround you every day, who know - as you should - that you are beautiful. You are kind. You are strong. All your flaws and imperfections, they are a part of you too and you wouldn't be the same without them. You wouldn't be the kindest person with the biggest heart, the most perfect smile, the most radiant eyes that could light up any room. That personality of yours - wow! You are understanding, you are empathic, you are the best friend that anyone could ever have, and nothing could change that.

Nothing should change that, because I don't want you to change. I hate change. I hate it when my local pizza shop changes the box, I hate it when I move house or fall out with friends. I regret not telling people every day how much they mean to me, but you know what? I am afraid. I'm afraid I will be picked on because of my voice, my 'stupid' accent that is so 'funny'. I am scared that every time I say something or do something that I am not good enough, not worthy enough of you. Of the rest of the world who look down with such condescending eyes, who tell me I should have a prettier face, a whiter smile, that I should wear make up to make myself look better and solve my problems. That I should be smarter and slimmer and should dance and like everything that everybody else does. That I should just 'Go with the flow.'

You know what? Only dead fish go with the flow. I am not a dead fish. I am a human being just like you. I should be treated the same. We are all human. We are all different. We are all the same...

Awesome artwork by talented reader Tyler - THANK YOU!

Cathy says:
Wow... so much food for thought here! Do YOU have an opinion on what Zara has said? Should we conform, go with the flow? Or celebrate our perfect imperfection? COMMENT BELOW to have YOUR say!

Saturday, 20 May 2017

JASMINE: FIND YOUR COLOURS!

Growing up is hard to do... but Aussie reader Jasmine navigated her punk-girl teens and came out the other side feeling confident, bright and ready for a very different look! Read her awesome story here...

Jasmine says:
Growing up I always felt super uncomfortable with myself. When I got to about ten years old, I turned tomboy - this was influenced a lot by my new found love of punk music, and for a while it felt right. The thing is, once you've established yourself as a bit of a misfit, it's hard to break out of that mould. It felt like if I was any more different, I would be shining the beacon of bullying on myself even more than it already was. So... for years I stuck with being a tomboy, even though I wanted the world to know I really loved Hello Kitty, pretty dresses and the colour pink!

When I left school, I realised I no longer had to feel pressured to stay the same. I didn't have the same eyes on me, and nobody was there to question any sudden changes. It wasn't easy - I'd been wearing black jeans and band t-shirts for eight years, so putting on a skirt felt odd to say the least! Slowly, I gained the confidence to get girlier each day, and it felt a little bit more comfortable as I went along. I gained a lot of inspiration from amazing people online and wove all of that inspiration into my own style.

The fact that I loved pink never wavered. I had dyed my hair lots of colours in the tomboy years, but had never quite had the courage to do my whole head of hair. Now, I decided to bite the bullet and do it. Bleach sucks, and so does getting hair dye everywhere, but the end result was worth it! I love pink so much that I have had bright pink hair for four years now - I'm twenty one - and I even colour my eyebrows pink to match! Perhaps because of my sense of fashion, which is a mix-up of vintage/ pin-up/ rockabilly, and my hair, I get a lot of interesting looks from people. Most people are nice, but even if they're not it doesn't matter; this is the only way I really feel like me.

I'd like to encourage anyone I can to be their own authentic selves, whether that means dying your hair blue, pink like me, brown... wearing quirky dresses, wearing big boots or just wearing a different hat every day! Sometimes it is hard to feel comfortable enough to truly express ourselves, but take it one step at a time. You will find your colours, just as I found mine!

Cathy says:
I love this post SOOOO much. Jasmine first messaged me to tell me how much my books meant to her during her early teens - which meant a huge amount to me. I also loved her distinctive style, and asked her to share the story with you... I hope you like, and hope you agree that being yourself is ultra important, whatever form that may take. Do YOU have a unique and unusual style? Would you LIKE to? COMMENT BELOW to tell me more!

Friday, 19 May 2017

ARE YOU A WATER BABY?

We asked readers to tell us how they felt about swimming... this is what they said!

Katie says:
I'm a real water baby, I love a dip now and then. I get the urge to be in the water from my father - he's a surfer who has won competitions! He takes me surfing and body boarding, teaches me safety and jumps into the waves with me. I love water parks - few things fill me with adrenaline as much as sliding down a water slide! Water itself gives me an energy I often forget I have. One minute I'm calmly floating on my back, the next I am splashing around!

Jo says:
I go to a training club on a Monday morning before school and also on a Thursday evening. I could go more, but I'm fifteen and school is quite intense right now, so I choose not to compete or train more than twice a week. I love swimming because it feels like nobody is judging me (even though lots of the club DO swim competitively and the coach likes to push us, at the end of the day, to me, it's just me doing my best.) I find it very relaxing after the stress of school, and also love the way it stretches and works my whole body.

Kym says:
I used to be in a swim club in my early teens. As I got older, I started body boarding, but I haven't done that in a while now, though I still have the board somewhere!

Francesca says:
I LOVE swimming. I go twice a week, for a one hour session and then for an hour and a half session. I also teach now, for an hour on Wednesdays, and swim competitively for the Nuneaton Dolphins. We have so much fun!

Cara says:
I am quite a strong swimmer and I go to the pool once a week for a club with people of all ages. It's mainly a fun thing but the aim is to improve your stroke and style, and I started going as I wanted to learn how to put my head underwater when doing front crawl and breast stroke. I learned that and in the process I got the swimming bug! I like it because even when the pool is busy it often feels like it's just you swimming, if that makes any sense!

Violet says:
I haven't been near a pool in years, but I used to go swimming once a week. I don't want to swim competitively or anything but I want to swim for me, and I want to swim well. My mum was a very good swimmer when she was younger, so maybe she's passed that ability on - I have to be good at something, right? It's great exercise for the whole body as well as being relatively easy as the water supports your weight. Maybe it's just me, as I have to take my hearing aids out to get in the water, but I find swimming a very calm and quiet experience. I can't be distracted by conversation or music, everything is echoey and muffled. It can be quite meditative!

Angela says:
I love swimming but hate public pools - strip lights and chlorine and wriggling out of a wet costume in a tiny cubicle. I like to swim in the sea, I love the taste of salt on my lips and the way the water lifts you with the tide. There is an outdoor lido where I live too, and though it's not heated it's great to swim in on a hot day.

Fab illustrations by the very talented Helen Swan - thank you Helen!

Cathy says:
I love this! Swimming is my favourite kind of exercise, and I dream of living near a pool so I could go more often! Do YOU love to swim - or hate it? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more!

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

BELLA: WRITING IS MY PASSION

It's problem page time again on DREAMCATCHER and reader Bella has a dilemma for CHERRY COSTELLO to solve...

Bella says:
Writing has always been my passion, my talent, my destiny. Teachers at parent's evening say so and tell me I am a born writer. I know that now is the time to start writing real books - but I don't know how. I know how to write the book, but the whole aspect of publishing seems so daunting. I don't know how many times I need to do another draft, or how long it should take me to write it, or who to approach to publish it. Who will illustrate the cover? Will it cost money? These are the things that go round and round in my head. Please help!

Cherry says:
Writing is my dream too, and I have done some research and read up on this, so although I am not published yet either, I hope I can help. First of all, get writing - plan and write your book, and polish and re-draft until you are sure it's a good as it possibly can be. For some, the writing part can be rapid - 'Na No Mi Ro' month has proved it's possible to write a book in a month - but for most authors it takes a lot longer, anything from several months to years! We are all different, so find your own pace and write 'from the heart' as it will show! Next, get a copy of 'The Writers And Artists Yearbook'. This is in all big libraries or available in bookshops to buy, and it lists all UK publishers and agents and tells you which will accept manuscripts and how to present and send your work - it's invaluable. The advice is to find an agent and let them approach the publishers, as many publishers will not deal with unsolicited manuscripts these days. Then it is a waiting game to see if an agent likes your work, and after that to see if a publisher does. If you get as far as a publishing deal, they will pay YOU money and will help with any editing and design, book cover, marketing etc. In short, they do all the tricky stuff for you. Remember that many authors try for years and years before hitting it lucky, so be patient and determined. Self-publishing is a route some take now, and this can be a good step, but it is a different thing and it DOES cost you money, and I am not up to speed on how this works. You could investigate though! Good luck Bella... I hope the dream comes true for both of us!

Cathy says:
Great advice from Cherry. It takes me three to six months to write a book, in general, and I agree that persistence and resilience is essential. Good luck! Have YOU ever dreamed of writing a book, or do YOU have good advice for Bella? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

ELOISE WILLIAMS: GASLIGHT

My lovely friend ELOISE WILLIAMS has a fabulous new book out - GASLIGHT! I asked her to tell you a bit about it...

Eloise says:
Hello Cathy's readers! How are you? Well, I hope!

I don't know about you, but I have always loved the theatre. The lights, the excitement, the stories, the actors and the song and dance of it all. I loved it so much that I went to Drama College and worked as an actor for over a decade. Then, when I got a bit older, I realised I actually liked writing much more and I stopped treading the boards and very happily hid away in a little cottage by the sea where I wrote stories and walked my dog Watson Jones on the beach.

Little did I know that one day I'd be on stage in front of a thousand children talking about myself and my books. Gulp! That's exactly what happened earlier this year at The Biggest Book Show On Earth. You'd think that after years of acting I wouldn't be nervous but I had a serious case of stage fright and guess who was there to talk me through it and give me confidence? The lovely Cathy!

I told Cathy all about Nansi, my main character in GASLIGHT which is a mystery thriller set in Victorian times. Nansi isn't nervous at all when she's on stage and dreams of being a star one day. She works at the Empire Theatre for Pernicious Sid, but he makes her play little girl parts even though she is fourteen and he also makes her go out stealing so that she can earn money to find her mother who has gone missing.

'My mother disappeared on the 6th of September 1894. I was found at the docks in Cardiff lying like a gutted fish at the water's edge...'

It's a dark tale for only the bravest of readers and Nansi has more courage in her little finger than I have in my whole body, so I was extremely happy to have had Cathy there as a friend to see me through a knee-knocking, fingernail-biting, deep-breath-taking scary time. And, in the end, I loved it! So, thanks to Cathy! **Sound of applause.**

Cathy says:
It was fab to meet Eloise at The Biggest Bookshow On Earth this year - and though she was a bit nervous beforehand, she really blew that crowd away! Check out GASLIGHT... it's amazing! Have YOU got a fave book just now? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more!

Monday, 15 May 2017

MEGAN: ADAPTING YOUR BLOG TO MAKE YOU HAPPY!

Blogger Megan has some great advice on how to keep the passion and enthusiasm going when running a blog... awesome ideas!

Megan says:
Being a blogger is hard when you have to come up with creative ideas and keep up with a routine, but if you're not happy with your blog it's just not worth the effort. You should enjoy it! Here are five tips for staying happy with your blog by making a few simple changes!

Tip #1: Rethink your content and topics
If you're not feeling positive about your blog, perhaps you're just not passionate about your topics anymore? Create a mind-map of all the topics you write about currently; stemming out from these, state whether or not you're happy with how often you write on this subject. The areas you want to write about less often are topics you should re-think.

Tip #2: Encourage feedback
If you're unsure about changing things, ask for feedback! I like to ask a few questions at the end of each post for my readers to answer. Ask your audience things like: 'Did you enjoy this post?' 'How would you improve this week's post?' or 'Would you like to see new topics next week?' Alternatively, put a poll onto your blog and ask readers to vote!

Tip #3: Change up your design
The design/ layout of your blog can say a lot about your content. I like to change the background every season, but some prefer to keep a background they feel fits well with their content. If you're making content changes, re-design the background too and portray a different mood! Make your design look more sophisticated to appeal to an older audience, or go quirky and colourful for a cool look or a younger audience...

Tip #4: Re-write your description and 'about me' page
Once you've changed your content, it's time to introduce these changes to your readers! Start by making a few notes about what you will be writing about and include a few funny or interesting facts about you. An interesting description and 'about me' page engages your reader and tells them what they should be expecting to read.

Tip #5: Take your time
Changes don't happen overnight - it may take time to adjust and your current readers may take time to adapt too! That's why changing things gradually is a good plan. A few subtle changes here and there can bring a new feel to the blog without the drama of jumping from what you used to do to something totally different. If you want a drastic change, then perhaps starting a whole new blog might be best? If you just want to liven up your existing blog, then slow steps are key.

Good luck - and if you want to see the kind of things I write about in my own blog, take a look - and tell me what you think! 

Cathy says:
Great tips... for me too! Do YOU blog... or would you LIKE to? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Sunday, 14 May 2017

SARITA: FIRST CRUSH...

Reader Sarita opens her heart about a childhood friendship that evolved into a crush... or maybe something more?

Sarita says:
We were childhood friends, he and I. Not best friends, but we knew each other well. We had a bittersweet relationship where we cared for each other yet hated each other sometimes too.

Fast forward seven years, and the two of us were put in the same section, the same learning group. We quickly became best friends, always there for one another. Many of my other friends told me he liked me, perhaps as more than a friend, but I dismissed this. After all, I wasn't that special, I thought. Then, thanks to the wingman-ship of another friend, he asked me out. To say I was shocked was an understatement - I was beyond bewildered.

I did not want to hurt him, but nor did I feel able to get into something serious when I knew I wasn't ready for a relationship. I didn't share his feelings. I was still too young, so I told him to wait. Three years went by, and in that time... somewhere in the middle, perhaps - my feelings began to change. I couldn't help but smile at the sight of him, comfort him in his grief. I don't know if it was love, but it was definitely something. Immature or not, it was definitely something for me. A crush, a love... who knows?

What happened? Well, there came a point where we gave up on 'us' ever being a thing. He just moved on. He fell for someone new, and the first person to know about his crush on that new person was me. What could I do? After all, we had started off as nothing more than friends. I once thought - and I still do - that I may never truly love someone. I always imagined things would turn out like the stories in a CC book, but maybe that's what maturity does for us, it makes us believe that books are not like real life, that perhaps they are just an escape for people like me.

This was the story of a childhood friendship that turned into something more... my first and only crush. A story of confused emotions, a tingle of love maybe... and definitely heartache.

Artwork by Cathy Cassidy.

Cathy says: 
Sarita's story is bittersweet indeed... and it will be familiar to many of us, especially when trying to steer a safe course through the perils of friendship and first love when we are still trying to get to grips with our own feelings. Have YOU ever had a crush? Tell us more in a COMMENT BELOW!

Saturday, 13 May 2017

KATIE: GEEK LIKE ME!

Reader Katie talks about friendship and why finding a friendship soul-mate can be so awesome...


Katie says:
I do like people, but it's hard to find people I really connect with. Or it was, until I met my best friend Ashlan, one of my favourite humans.Yes, I did literally pick her and say 'I like you,' or at least it seems that way!

When I met Ashlan, it was in the first few days of Year Nine, which means we have now been friends for three years. Ashlan was reading a book a day, almost exclusively fantasy. The reading fascinated me, we realised we were both geeky fan girls and the rest is history! We are both Ravenclaws, and fan girls, and the fact that we don't fan girl about the same things makes no difference. We still find plenty of memes to tag each other in, and Ashlan got me into anime. It's really good - well, the mushy stuff I watch, anyway! Ashlan just KNOWS. She is a very intuitive person. Often I think she is actually a ninja, because she's so focused on her wonderful (like, seriously amazing) drawing, or her manga, or her computer game, but she can still sense when she needs to prick her ears up. I used to tease Ash, when she was absolutely crazy about dragons, by spontaneously yelling 'DRAGON!' and watching her head swivel, her ears prick up and her nose start twitching.

Ashlan is my Dragon Girl - fierce, fiery, can give you a smouldering death stare. She is also beautiful and sparkly inside and out! My favourite Ashlan memory is taking her to Wellington (the captial of New Zealand, where we live) for her birthday. We went to WOW (World of Wearable Arts) together and were awed by the costumes. We had lunch, shopped for books and took a tour of the workshop responsible for many of the special effects in movies such as The Hobbit. Ashlan and I sit together every day at morning break and lunch even though for two years we haven't been in the same classes - she's so good at the arty subjects, and they are not my forte! Ashlan is intelligent and beautiful - she even gave her Rapunzel locks a pixie cut and her hairstyle is PHENOMENAL - but most of all she is kind. I thank my lucky stars every day that I have my Dragon Girl in my life!

Cathy says:
Awww, this is so cool! Do YOU have an amazing friend who deserves a special shout-out on DREAMCATCHER? COMMENT BELOW or email me through the 'email Cathy' link on the homepage of the CC website, www.cathycassidy.com to tell me more!

Monday, 8 May 2017

YOUR STARS FOR MAY!

Skye Tanberry has been consulting the stars again to see what the month of May has in store for you... read your horoscope and see if the future is looking rosy!

TAURUS (Apr 20 - May 20)
May could be a long and tricky month unless you swallow your pride and make the first move to patch up a minor row... because unless you do, minor could become major! Let go of the moral high ground and remember why friends and family matter... and reach out with that olive branch.

GEMINI (May 21 - June 20)
You're full of good ideas just now, and if you can combine that creativity with good planning you could be in a position to make the most of it all. Apply this creative energy to school/ study too... it could pay off in the long run. A friend's happiness is hanging in the balance this month - can YOU be the one to support and encourage her?

CANCER (June 21 - July 22)
There may be a few bumps in the road this month, but if you stay focused and steer a steady path, you'll avoid the danger spots. Although not everything is going your way, with a positive attitude you will get the very best out of life and friends will be drawn to you. Can't be bad! Stay organised and your studies should keep ticking over nicely too.

LEO (July 23 - Aug 22)
Friendship, study, romance and life plans are all running according to plan at last, which is great - but sometimes just a tiny bit dull. Look out for the good things in every day and you'll find yourself spotting new opportunities and openings - just the thing to liven things up!

VIRGO ( Aug 23 - Sept 22)
There's a danger you may be feeling blue this month, but this will pass, so refuse to let it derail you. Friendships are well starred and there's a chance you'll find yourself so much in demand you can't quite keep up! Enjoy the fun - and keep an eye out for an unexpected love interest, too!

LIBRA (Sept 23 - Oct 22)
You've had a few dilemmas recently, and although things are pretty much sorted you are still feeling confused and undecided. Shrug off the tension and the anxiety about getting things wrong - an uncomplicated, positive attitude will attract more fun and success into your life. Study is taking up a LOT of your time just now, but the hard work will be rewarded.

SCORPIO (Oct 23 - Nov 21)
You're in a bit of a rose-tinted haze right now - long may it last! Your ability to see the best in people and find fun in the least obvious places is infectious... soon, you may find yourself the centre of an extra cool, supportive and fun-loving group of friends. Value them and they'll stick with you!

SAGITTARIUS (Nov 22 - Dec 21)
You have a stubborn streak at times, and this may be one of them! Family or friends are trying to push you in a certain direction, and you're digging your heels in... but something's got to give! Try to step back and see the situation clearly so you can make any decisions carefully, especially where school/ college/ work is concerned - this could affect your future!

CAPRICORN (Dec 22 - Jan 19)
You're feeling shy, but any attempts to build up your self esteem and confidence will pay off now - a new friend could take you in some very exciting directions if you just come out of your shell enough to give things a chance. Don't let anxieties cloud your judgement... this could be a brand new start!

AQUARIUS (Jan 20 - Feb 18)
If you've been daydreaming about a long-lost crush - or even a past friendship - beware. Sometimes, things finish for a reason, a raking up the past just means you have to handle all those awkward issues and problems all over again. Let go of the dreams and allow yourself to move forward - that's where the fun lies, promise!

PISCES (Feb 19 - Mar 20)
Drop the drama queen tendencies and resist the temptation to over-react this month. Your emotions are very close to the surface, but blowing things out of proportion will complicate life and cause trouble where there's just no need. Deep breaths and stay calm! Attention to study and a little hard work will pay off big time.

ARIES (Mar 21 - Apr 19)
Your friends may be driving you a little crazy right now... minor squabbles and indecisions are all around. Take the initiative and keep things rolling - your friends will thank you for it, and it could open up new opportunities and experiences too. School may be stressful - but you can handle it!

Cathy says:
Do YOUR stars ring true for May? Or are they way off this time? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!