Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Charming! Over 66,800 Cinderella products available on eBay!

As Cinderella hits the cinemas og the UK, it seems people who can’t have access to a Fairy Godmother of their own are flocking to online marketplace instead.

There are in excess of 66,800 ‘Cinderella’ related products from tutu-style dresses to blonde wigs. And what's more, has sold over 550 glass slippers and 1,000 Prince Charming costumes in the past three months.

And shoe listings on eBay seemingly to match the "real life" Cinderella story, as has over 260 “left shoes” 4,100 “right shoes” on sale.

As eBay Spokesperson, Laura Wilkinson-Rea says, “It seems you don’t have to be Lily James to star in your own Cinderella story. Far from turning mice into horses, a simple click could help you live happily eBay after.”

Sunday, 15 March 2015

MUM’S THE BOSS: Lady Robinson (and her daughter Kate) share the secrets on keeping it in the family

LA based novelist Therese (aka Lady Robinson) manages her husband’s speaking and writing career across the globe.

Her daughter Kate, a consultant to her parents’ business and an events producer, works closely with her on events for her dad (top TED speaker Sir Ken Robinson) and also promotes her mother’s books and blog. With Mother’s Day approaching, they both discuss tips on their working relationship.

Says Therese “ The mother daughter relationship is a complex one but like any other, when the chemistry is right, it can make for a great partnership. We might be divided by the Atlantic Ocean (I’m in LA and Kate is in London) but we have some clear rules of engagement that make for a powerful dynamic.”


1.     Dress for success.  At home I’ll be at the computer writing in my pyjamas, but I do my best to look pulled together when I’m at meetings. Kate always looks polished and professional. This helps set the tone for both of us when we’re in public mode.

2.     Work out your respective strengths and weaknesses. We’re lucky that we’re both good about deadlines and that’s a deal breaker for me. I’ve taught her that if you say you’re going to do something, do it to the best of your ability and deliver on time and she does. We also have very clearly designated areas of responsibility. Kate is in charge of specific aspects of a project. I really enjoy the creativity she brings to our planning sessions. While I have years of experience, she brings a fresh perspective and a youthful energy. She’s savvy about social media, and a great networker. We learn a lot from each other.

3.     Agree a cut-off point. We are both good at putting work to bed when we chat on the phone long distance over the weekends. Work happens in working hours unless it’s urgent. When I’m in London we enjoy having dinner and sharing a bottle of Sancerre but we have an embargo on discussing projects when it’s downtime.

4.      Agree the terms of engagement. Kate is paid a consultancy rate that is comparable with her other clients. This may be more difficult as you set out on a new venture, but in the spirit of things I think it’s important to agree the financial terms so that there are incentives and independence on both sides.

1.        Make it fun.  There's a lot of trust between us. We have conversations that are honest and know that we can throw out any ideas, no matter how ridiculous without judgment. We don't get self conscious about it.

2.        Try to keep the balance between work and other things. There are times especially at the start of a project when we run things by each other casually and have long 'work' chats, but what’s great is that we can leave things and move on, come back later when we’ve let thoughts and ideas develop organically.

3.        Use your gut instincts. I feel that I know what’s in my mum’s best interests and she allows me to make decisions on her behalf. She isn’t breathing over my shoulder. Sometimes I don’t bother mentioning to people that we’re related. It really isn’t relevant a lot of the time.

4.        Listening to each other is important. I value mum’s opinion even if I don’t always agree with it. We’re lucky that we’ve always had a great relationship and been very close (with a slight hiatus during my teenage years, but we won’t go there!)

Read more about Thérèse’s adventures at www.thereseblogs and pick up her latest novel ‘Letter from Paris’, published by The Story Plant and available from Amazon $11.71, as well as Kindle.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Ebay sees World Book Day surge in costume purchases

Over the last week, has sold over 100,000 fancy dress costumes, as homes across the country prepare for World Book Day. today, 5th March.

Costumes that fall under the ‘TV, Books & Film’ category have proved the most popular on

The online marketplace currently boasts over 10,000 listings in that category alone, making it the go to shopping site whether you are looking to get the look of the nation’s favourite wizard this World Book Day or a happy ending-seeking princess.

And when it comes to the actual reading, wizards and hobbits top the charts on the online marketplace with more than 9,000 Harry Potter books being sold in the past three months which comes as no surprise as sales of Harry Potter robes have risen by 1180% .

Harry Potter best conjures the nation’s imagination, with all seven books from the series featuring in the top 10, with one book from the franchise being sold every 15 minutes.

Other popular books include, The Hobbit, The Alchemist, and The Lord of the Rings.

(EDITOR: And do not forget, you can buy and sell books through eBay, too!)

Wordsmiths and Warriors

Wordsmiths and Warriors is an extremely well-written and erudite book researched and written by David and Hilary Crystal.

It is a most wondrous and wonderful book that is an English-Language tourist guidebook to Britain.

It is a spirited, evocative and highly entertaining exploration of the heritage of the English language throughout the places and locations within Britain that formed and shaped the English language.

This book tells the story of a real journey that was undertaken by David and Hilary Crystal.

They had a wonderful time driving thousands of miles to research the book, and to then prepare and write this captivating combination of what is a spirited travelogue and a mixture of English language history and facts and myths, covering Wales, England and Scotland.

David handled the words and Hilary took the many evocative colour  photographs that illustrate the book.

David and Hilary have included a guide for anyone who desires to follow in their footsteps. However, the book is so arranged as to reflect the chronological development of the language.

It commences with the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons in Kent and explores the places that show the earliest evidences for the development of the language of the English peoples.

It ends in London and employs the latest technological innovations for analysing English grammar.

This is all by way of the locations that are associated with such English luminaries as Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Chaucer, Dr Johnson and many, many more.

It touches upon the problems between the Welsh and the English languages,

There's even a photograph of a Wetherspoon pub in Urmston, Greater Manchester, called the Tim Bobbin, named in honour of a famed dialect poet. And there are complete directions to getting there, too! As with every other feature they mention in the book.

I first came across the highly important work of David Crystal when I found, by chance, an exhibition of his work at the British Library, several years ago.

The book is 424 pages and costs £12.99 in paperback, published by the Oxford University Press,

Dickens Study Guide

Author Lee Fisher Gray has produced a labour of love with his book Dickens Study Guide.

He presents a complete catalogue of all the characters of the stories of Charles Dickens. All the men, women and children who Dickens used to populate his novels.

He deals with in excess of 200 characters covering all of Dickens' 15 novels and three of his shorter fictional works.

He catalogues them all but more than that he gives a complete yet concise account of all of the characters, who or what they are, their place within the story and their influence upon the plot of the story.

He employs descriptions originated by  Dickens himself. Lee Fisher Gray resisted the temptation to provide over blown "littérateur" friendly characterisations. This book is obviously intended as a practical reference work for the serious scholar of the works of Charles Dickens and for those who love the novels of this great English novelist.

The That's Books and Entertainment Charles Dickens expert said: "The author has done lengthy and in-depth research of all of the works of Charles Dickens. It is a genuine Labour of love.

"The cross-referencing is excellent and the information is very well presented. I can recommend this to everyone who has any interest in Charles Dickens whatsoever."

The book also contains a quiz that will be a fun read for fans of Charles Dickens, but also serves a more serious purpose of offering puzzle-setters and crossword compilers a valuable resource.

The book is available in paperback from Matador and costs a remarkably reasonable £12.99. It's worth pre-buying for Christmas 2015 for the Christmas stocking of any Dickensophile.

Misadventures at Mosquito Mansions

Misadventures at Mosquito Mansions, or My Misadventures in Mudland is a recently published novel by playwright, monkey minder and sign writer Christopher Hedgethorne.

It tells the story of 12-year-old Alexander "Sandy" Drabb who, in the 1800s, finds himself living on a plantation in the Caribbean.

He meets and befriends a young slave girl, Quaneva, who is 'owned' by his Uncle's plantation.

Soon, Sandy and his new found friend find themselves caught up in a terrifying rebellion of the slaves on the island.

Without meaning to, they end up escaping the dangerous situation, together.

They become swept along the river in a canoe and find themselves involved in some high spirited and youthful escapades with the indigenous population.

Upon their return to the plantation Quaneva is devastated to learn that her father had been killed during the insurrection.

Whilst Quaneva is virtually crippled with unwarranted and undeserved guilt relating to her father's guilt, Sandy begins to put his mind to the knotty problem of who masterminded the rebellion.

When he realises who caused the rebellion he becomes aware that he is faced with many tough decisions including what he should do, if he should do the right thing or to do what his own heart would dictate he should do.

"This book is an extremely captivating book and touches on a number of important topics such as slavery and mixed-race families" said our book reviewer.

Although written for children aged 12 and older it is also eminently suitable for their parents, too. "As well as being a very good read, it raises many important issues which parents and children can discuss together."

It is published by 

In paperback it costs £8.99, hardback £14.99 and Ebook £2.99.