Free Course For Kids – Getting Your 4-8 Year Old To Create A Story Using Their Favourite Toy.

When Will and I started Loony Literature we hoped to get children writing more. Since starting this website, I’ve wanted to offer courses that would help kids to be inspired to write and also to give them the confidence that is often lacking.  I’ve gone through many ideas to make this happen and now, at last,with lots of help and support from Will,  I’ve got the courses going. To celebrate this and to get your feedback, I’m offering this first one free for the month of August.

Watch Captain Digger and Rory Rabbit learn how to write a story.

Watch Captain Digger and Rory Rabbit learn how to write a story.


What would you call this beast?

What would you call this beast?

The course is made up of videos for your child to watch and story mapping sheets for them or you to fill in. You can take as long as you like to do the course because it is divided up into small workable sections.  You can stop and start to fit in with your individual child.

When your child has done their story, you can upload it for me and the rest of the class to enjoy. I will also give feedback.  You can use the course more than once because there is a range of main character sheets and settings for your child to choose from. You can also print up a certificate to show that they have successfully completed their story.

Would you like your name on there?

Would you like your name on there?

You can do the course with your child even if they can only write their name. The reason for this is that, they can tell you their answers and you can fill in the sheets for them. When it comes to telling their story, there is a section that suggests ways that they can do this too.

If your child is a bit older and can write a bit then they will gain confidence in their story writing skills as the course offers step by step guidance on how to write a story.  Often children can handwrite but don’t know how to get their ideas down – the course will help them to do that.

I have wanted to use my education,  writing and teaching experience, ideas and techniques to help get kids writing in my own particular way and now I hope to finally pursue my dream.

All you have to do to enrol for free is to click on the link below and then press the enrol button.


Filed under About Loony Literature

Freddie Frog and The Superhero Scoop – an audio to encourage writing in kids

Can Freddie save the day?

Can Freddie save the day?

Coming soonFreddie Frog and The Superhero Scoop audio

For a few years now, we at Loony Literature have been exploring ideas to get kids writing. Quite often there is a dread of getting ideas down and developing them in kids. Unfortunately, this can last through into adulthood and it can prevent folks enjoying their own creativity. We want to do something about this and turn it into something that is done for fun.

This is why we’ve begun the Freddie audios. Freddie lives on the planet Fusion where animals and humans have evolved into a race called humalls. Freddie is a part frog, part human boy that sees himself as an ace reporter and has his own magazine ‘Freddie Finds’. The audios are going to be a springboard for online courses and a club that encourages kids to be ace reporters too.  The stories have been created with this in mind but the narrative is never compromised because of this.

In the first audio Freddie and the Superhero Scoop, Freddie is waiting to find out when Superhero Stan is visiting Papa Frog’s newsagents to sign Superhero annuals.  This is the scoop that Freddie has been waiting for. However, when Stan sets the date, Freddie can’t get his scoop because he has to do his ‘Importance of Swimming’ badge.  To make matters worse, Freddie’s arch enemy, Tarquin Toad has set up a rival magazine and Freddie knows that he will grab the scoop.

Find out how our ace reporter saves the younger ones in the swimming class from a vicious hound; rescues PC Wilbert from the death defying stench of Derek the skunk while up a chimney; stops a drowning and gets his scoop.  We hope that your children will love Freddie as much as we do.

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Filed under Children's audios, Creative Writing, Education

Ross Mountney Has Been At It Again.

A beautiful picture book

A beautiful picture book


I love picture books; I can sit and admire them again and again. They also help to raise my spirits if I feel that I need jollying along. When I received my copy of The Wrong Adventure by Ross Mountney, I was delighted because Ross is a very dear friend. It doesn’t get much better than one of your favourite types of book being penned by someone you love and respect.  I have a feeling that this picture book will get a lot of use.

The lovely lady herself

The lovely lady herself

This is the second book in the series where Little Harry – from a Home Educated family – gets into more bother. The book is delightful and full of the innocence of a small boy that is trying to make sense of the world. I love the way Ross echoes through Harry’s character that learning can take place anywhere. Young children learn as they encounter new things and this is the essence of Home Education – you go about the world and learn how it works. The illustrations are extremely charming too. These are done by a Home Educated young man, James Robinson and really transport us into the idyllic world that is on offer.

Reading books like this actually helps small kids to speak. They listen to the story over and over while gazing at the pictures and the reason that you have to read the book to them 200 times is so that they can learn what every single word means. Little kids are amongst the best students in the world; they are born with an ability to try and try until they can conquer a skill. Books like The Wrong Adventure are priceless resources therefore to our adorable tots. Enjoy!



Filed under Education

What Has Ross Mountney Been Up To?

There is only one thing better than reading a wonderful book and that is when you are reading a wonderful book that is written by someone that is dear to you. It gives me extreme pleasure to be telling you about A Home Education Notebook by Ross Mountney.

A Home Education Notebook

This is a book for anyone that is interested in education. Yes. I stand by that. Folks often think that books like this are only to be read by those that are on the Home Education journey. However, if you are truly interested in education, you will understand the need to explore all philosophies in the hope of getting a fuller picture.

A Home Education Notebook is divided in 52 chapters so that anyone who is educating their children themselves can dip into it whenever they feel a wobble coming on or they suspect that the earth is opening them up and swallowing them.  Basically, there is a chapter for every week of the year – however, I couldn’t wait that long to read it all.

Ross Mountney

I think that sometimes people get the idea that because writers write about education, it must be very serious and proper – or even downright dull. Let me tell you that if you want to read someone that is funny, opinionated and often outrageous then Ross Mountney is your girl.  She really doesn’t pull any punches – although Jane, her editor at Bird’s Nest Books often has to restrain her a little.

Joking apart, when I close A Home Education Notebook, I get the feeling of someone who cares vastly about people and their experience of education. Ross has been writing about Home Education for a long time and she’s experienced so many people exploring this avenue that it is part of who she is. Like me, she believes that learning is for life. The only time you should stop learning is when you are no longer here.


Filed under About Loony Literature, Education

How To Get Kids Writing Using Frogspawn

No - nothing's coming.

No – nothing’s coming.

Time and time again, I see young kids not wanting to write and teenagers having to write but struggling to get the words down. It’s not just the kids that suffer, staff in schools and colleges have trouble too as they try to get children to produce pieces of writing. This is because of the way the curriculum has gone, it’s all to do with ticking boxes instead of making writing the enjoyable pastime that it is. It is important then to give kids the desire to write while they are young.

If, at this point, you imagine that I’m going to suggest sitting down at a table and getting a workbook out, you can think again. Get some notebooks, pencils and a camera or phone that has a built in camera and get yourself outside.  You’ve heard of a bear hunt – well you are going on a frogspawn hunt.



Quick note – it depends what time of the year it is and where you are. The best way to decide what you are looking for is to have a quick look for nature sites on the internet and see what your children are likely to be interested in and if you might find them.  As an example, I will use frogspawn.

So how can finding frogspawn get your children writing?

They can take photos or draw sketches of the places that you looked to find the frogspawn. Underneath the visuals they can write where they went that did not produce any samples and where they found some. I visit a pond daily to get photographs.

Look what I found.

Look what I found.

After giving them a safety talk about being near water, you can photograph or sketch the frogspawn that you find. You can then either tell your children about the life cycle of the frog or let them research it themselves. They can put all their evidence in their notebooks alongside what they have actually seen.

The next step is for them to imagine the frogspawn going from tadpole to frog. What is he or she called? Once a name has been decided upon and written in the notebook, your child could think about five things that this frog really likes and five things that their frog hates. All this can go down in the notebook as well as a drawing of the fictional frog. I will be doing more posts about story writing at a later date.

I'm called George.

I’m called George.

All of this can be done out in the fresh air and your children can run about and get exercise while getting their notebook together. It is a good idea to encourage your children to take the notebooks on further outings so that they can keep a record of their adventures.

It is important never to criticise the handwriting, grammar or spelling in your children’s notebooks. The reason for this is that the notebook is there for them to express themselves. Handwriting, spelling and grammar will all fall into place if your children learn to love writing.  This will happen if you make writing a natural part of their pleasurable activities.

This website cannot take responsibility for any suggestions that may be followed. It is up to you to keep your children safe.



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Filed under Creative Writing, Exciting Excursions, For children, Help Your Child To Be Sucessful, Parenting

Writing a story – Make Sure That Your Characters Are Dirty Enough

Be whatever you want to be

Writing historical fiction is the closest encounter that you may get with time travel. Therefore, I would urge you to give it a go whether you see yourself as a writer or not.  Why? You may ask. The reason is simple – writing a story  is good for you. When you totally lose yourself in another world you forget outrageous bills; folks that you want to send to Mars and even the state of politics worldwide. It’s your world, you can control it and if you wish to be a gothic temptress or a swash buckling pirate you can be.  in other words, be whatever you want to be.

Fancy yourself as a gothic temptress? -Yes, you too could look like this.

Fancy yourself as a gothic temptress? -Yes, you too could look like this.

A word of warning however, don’t go overboard on cleanliness. To give you an idea of how dirty you need to get when you write your stories, we at Loony Literature, have given you some true examples that we have unearthed.

During the seventeenth century, folks did not favour a good wash all over.  In fact, baths were mostly public places and visited for health purposes as opposed to getting one’s body clean.  For some strange reason, if you did go to the baths to cleanse yourself there was superstition attached to it and it should only be done when the moon was in Libra or Pisces.

Although Samuel Pepys wrote his diary on a regular basis, he did not apply the same amount of drive to washing himself.  He boasted that he sometimes gave himself a vigorous rub down with a cloth which he believed made him clean.  Elizabeth, his wife, however, did visit a public bath house at least once because Samuel sniggered about that too in his diary.

Stay out of my bed, you filthy oaf

Although Elizabeth probably visited the public bath house for health purposes, it would surely have made her smell sweeter than Samuel.  This was what might have put her in a morally advantageous position when she banned him from their shared bed until he had at least ‘cleaned himself with warm water’.  Samuel also had an aversion to washing his feet but he did do it occasionally.  The reason for such behaviour was that flinging off one’s socks and wetting one’s feet could lead to all sorts of health disasters like getting a cold.

Would YOU kick him out of bed?

Would YOU kick him out of bed?

If you’d lived in 1909, you may have been tempted by a newspaper advertisement which suggested that you wash the ‘Witch’ way.  Housewives who had probably been tackling the household wash for years were staunchly advised that they should never rub clothes as that would make the dirt worse.  The secret behind proper clothes washing was simply to let clothes soak in Witch and all the dirt would be loosened out.  This promise was backed up by the boast that that was what clothes manufacturers did and, of course, they all used Witch.  No names were mentioned to back up this testimonial.

“Let your clothes soak overnight in the morning they’ll be white” was the sales slogan.  If you still were not convinced of Witches’ magical washing powers the manufacturers added that it was a hard soap dried by a secret scientific process and then powdered.  As an added gesture of selling to everyone who read the advertisement, whether scientifically minded or superstitious, there was a huge caricature of a ghastly looking witch on a broomstick on it.  It is really surprising that we are not still using that product today.

Washing clothes is obviously a lot more complicated than can be imagined.  In 1916, a meeting took place of the Camelford Board of Directors for the workhouse to determine if the number of staff could be reduced.  A Mr Boney suggested that they should do their own clothes washing during the war and this would save them the cost of paying a char lady to do it for them.

Me! Wash clothes! Are you insane?

Me! Wash clothes! Are you insane?

Mr Uglow, the Master, stated that he would not wash his own collars; neither would he go without wearing a collar.  When questioned why he would not consider washing his own clothes he wiped his brow and shuddered.  He informed the gathered party that it was out of the question as he had never undergone an apprenticeship to wash clothes.

For folks who lived during World War II, food rationing began in 1940 with clothes rationing closely followed in 1941.  Within just eight months, soap rationing meant that having a good soak became something to daydream about.  Even hair washing became a luxury.  Magazines at that time advised their readers to wash greasy hair every ten days but dry hair could go for three weeks before needing a shampoo.  No wonder Marlene Dietrich took three months’ supply of dry shampoo with her when entertaining the troops in Europe.

When you can't get your hands on a shampoo - wear a top hat.

When you can’t get your hands on a shampoo – wear a top hat.

No excuse now – writing a story will help you to get rid of stress and feeling glum because you will be in control. You don’t have to let anyone else read it either – so do yourself a favour, pick up a pen, open a new file or simply record yourself. Happy writing.


Filed under Creative Writing, The Peculiar Past

How To Succeed With Your Exercise Routine

Own up – is this you?

  • Joined a gym but only been six times and are still paying for it?
  • Spent too much on your credit card for that deluxe running machine?
  • Bought a jogging outfit that still doesn’t need washing a year later?

If any of that is even remotely like you – you’re in the right place. I’ve watched folks embark on exercise routines and fail so many times that I feel I’m not being nice if I don’t point out to succeed with your exercise routine.

Victorian exercises

Can't I get a servant to do this for me?

Can’t I get a servant to do this for me?

To get you into the swing of this and show you that you’re not the only one that has fallen into this trap, we need to look at a failure waiting to happen. During the first week of January, I was out on my daily power walk when I spotted what I thought was a pink flamingo in the distance. Getting quite excited, I got ready to take a photograph. However, on closer encounter I goggled at what it really was.

Before I knew what had happened a lady that obviously did not share her fairy buns out and would drive to the hairdressers even though it was only across the road was before me in all her glory gently bouncing along. She  cared a great deal about her appearance as she had an expensive blonde colour and cut, full makeup and brand new designer clothes on from head to foot. Being surrounded by fields and ditches, it was almost as exciting as spotting a flamingo.

The Pink Flamingo believes that dressing the part is the most important bit of her exercise routine.

The Pink Flamingo believes that dressing the part is the most important bit of her exercise routine.

Before you think that I am making judgement on my pink flamingo – I am not. She certainly gave me a lot to think about and I am simply describing what I saw. I know the heartache that excess weight causes with folks both with their health and their self-esteem. It’s something that I am deeply interested in and I want to help that is why I am writing this. As for the hair and make-up, anyone that knows me personally will vouch for the fact that I always urge everyone to make the most of their bods so that they will feel better.

The clothes, however, were one of the aspects that were causing her to fail in her quest to get fit and lose weight. It was a freezing cold day and moving at the speed that she was going meant that she would be cold and miserable. As her pink jazz pumps hit the ground, she grimaced – her feet were obviously freezing.

The sight of my boots made her shudder

As she passed me, her eyes widened as she eyed my heavy walking boots splattered with mud and my jeans that were also just as crusty. Her raised eyebrow suggested that I needed a pink makeover. However, the huge difference between us what that I was as warm a cat hiding in an airing cupboard and I adore walking in the countryside. It makes me feel fantastic. She, on the other hand, was trying to jog because she felt that she had to – it was patently obvious. Six weeks on and I haven’t seen my pink flamingo since. Perhaps she’s migrated but more likely she’s given up and made herself feel worse. I hope not.

I will enjoy myself whether I like it or not.

I will enjoy myself whether I like it or not.


The point that I’m making is that you should find a style of exercise that you enjoy. I would say that I am stating the obvious but I see too many people making the same mistakes over and over again. Don’t take up a form of exercise just because your friends or partner enjoys it. Only do so if you get the same excitement from it. Find out what you like – dance, swim or go rowing at the local park – but only do it if it gives you a buzz. There is a form of exercise for everyone; you simply need to find out what yours is and you will succeed with your exercise routine. When you do that, you will keep it up and naturally get fitter.


Filed under Being Buoyant

Being Buoyant – Enrich Your Life – Love Your Body

If there is one simple step that you can take to enrich your life, it is to love your body. Before you say that you have wobbly buttocks or a rotund tum, hear me out. It may change the way you view your darling bod and once that happens other changes will also take place.

Well those cheeks aren't bad, it's the others that I'm worried about.

Well those cheeks aren’t bad, it’s the others that I’m worried about.

Over my years of people watching and listening, I have noticed folks’ weight going up and down like an elevator sniffing substances. I have seen people suffering from depression because of their bodies and then adding more weight because of the depression. You get the picture; basically, bodies can cause more misery than looking at David Cameron’s face when he is trying to look sincere. Yet other folks love keeping fit and healthy – how does this come to be?

Baby, you have buttocks to die for

It is all to do with loving your body. I don’t mean stripping off to your knickers and saying “baby, you have buttocks to die.” I mean taking a moment and thinking about what your body does for you. It works 24/7 without a rest. All right, you may sleep but your body is still keeping you alive and digesting all that fat, sugar, protein, alcohol or whatever it was that you stuffed into it. It puts up with being stuffed in a car for hours on end when it needs to be exercising and it gets sunburned too. The list is endless – think of some of your own.

Must say, I am really impressed by how much exercise my index finger is getting.

Must say, I am really impressed by how much exercise my index finger is getting.

Okay, we’ve agreed that your bod is a good friend and worker and that it’s amazing that it didn’t quit years ago. However, you may still scowl at the thought of your stomach, thighs or big toes. You have to get over this by working on your relationship with your body. This is going to sound really whacky but tell your body ‘thank you’ for everything that it does for you. You can go further and massage yourself with lotion or perfumed cream too – your body will love that.

Hey! You! Stop peeking.

Hey! You! Stop peeking.

In essence, what I’m really getting at is that until you love and respect your body, you will continue to abuse it. If you love your body, you will think before you stuff it full of junk, alcohol or drugs. You will give it the exercise that it needs and you will feel happier too. The reason for this is that when you love your body, it responds tenfold. You will feel better and you will look better too. That’s the deal – love your body and it will love you back.


Filed under Being Buoyant

Scrooge or Sensible? True Thrifty Happenings

Illustrated by John Leech in 1843.

Illustrated by John Leech in 1843.

How do you view the thrifty? Sensible or like one of Dickens’ most famous characters, Scrooge. Perhaps this will help you to make up your mind.

Thrift For Thought

I first became interested in thrift when my late uncle sagely announced that he never let a grocer weigh the tomatoes until he insisted that the stalks be removed.  If that seems extreme, it soon becomes obvious that it is nothing to what has gone on in the past.

Thrift in the nineteenth century was a well-rehearsed skill from the highest seat of society down to the lowest.  One of the perks of being a ladies’ maid was getting the mistresses’ gowns whilst other unused pieces of cloth would be collected together in a ‘rag-bag’ and household servants would often be allowed to keep these.  They would be passed on to a street buyer, rag and bone man or rag and bottle shop.  Linen would be separated to be sold to a paper manufacturer as paper was made from linen and rag well into the nineteenth century.

Bring out your rags.

Bring out your rags.

Used tea leaves would be utilised to clean carpets and then passed onto cleaning ladies who sold them to dealers.  With a bit of artificial colour thrown in, the dealer would then put the tea leaves (which had been on the carpet) on sale as fresh tea.

Who claims the fat

Each servant appeared to have their own expectations of the booty they could claim and the fat from the roasted animals was earmarked by the cook.  The dripping, as the fat was called, would be used like butter by the poor.

Even bones were sold onto the rag and bone man for fertilizer and household ashes and dust were marketed to help make bricks.  It seems that nothing was thrown away, as soot from chimneys was vended for manure and insect killer.

As people were not aware of how germs were transmitted, it was a regular practise for the very poor to collect dog manure or ‘pure’ as it was politely called.  This was sold to tan yards for the processing of leather for the soft kid gloves so beloved by the rich.

Where there is muck there is brass.

Where there is muck there is brass.

Mrs Child, an American housewife, advised in 1828 that after old coats and pantaloons for boys had been cut up and were no longer capable of being converted into other garments, the housewife should slice them into strips and use the leisure moments of children or domestics in sewing and braiding them into door mats.

Waste is an act of treason

By 1915, thrift in the home was the order of the day.  “Waste is an act of treason when every penny saved helps to save your country.”  This reminder was on the bill announcing the opening of the Patriotic Thrift Exhibition at Hamilton Rooms, Park Street, Bristol 25 – 30th November 1915.  The exhibition was organised by the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies who offered a range of lectures on domestic subjects which represent war service in the home.

A familiar theme concerning thrift is that of the wealthy preaching to those less well off.  At the Exeter Society in 1923, the president, Lady Rosalind spoke on women’s extravagance.  She warned of the ‘melancholy spectacle’ of cheap pianos, cheap jewellery and cheap furs bought by women who could not afford them.

During World War II, women found it difficult to get hold of stockings.  Stockings were made of silk as nylon wasn’t invented until 1938 and initially only on sale in America from 1940.  As silk was used to make parachutes for the wartime effort, silk stockings became a rare commodity as both manufacturers and retailers charged high prices and asked for too many clothing coupons for them.

What you have to do.

What you have to do.

Snatched the stockings

In 1944, a bus conductress from Truro found herself in court after being thrifty over silk stockings.  On June 28th, she acquired two pairs from a bus driver without surrendering coupons.  Captain Craze for The Board of Trade snatched the stockings for disposal but they were later seized by the Customs and Excise Department.  Craze opposed this measure saying that he would have to take further instructions from The Board of Trade.  The case was adjourned for a fortnight; thrift can end up causing a lot of expense.

It seems that thrift is here to stay.





Filed under History, The Peculiar Past

Being Buoyant – Enrich Your Life – Don’t Forget Yourself

Don't give yourself a dog's life.

Don’t give yourself a dog’s life. Enrich your life.

If you’re feeling fed up or that life isn’t great, has it occurred to you that you might be neglecting yourself? You may praise your cat, your children or your partner and go that extra mile to provide all sorts of little treats for them but when it comes to you – zilch. Now be honest about this and I don’t mean that you have just bought yourself a lovely bottle of bubble bath – I’m not talking about shopping. We need to go much deeper.

Think back to being a child – what did you love doing? Really try hard to remember. Perhaps it was being in the woods or drawing. It could be anything but dig deep into those memories. Do you still do it? I can see you shaking your head. Next, you will start explaining that you don’t have time to do that anymore; it’s just for kids; you’re not fit enough or any number of other reasons. Lots of people say they don’t know why they don’t do the things that they enjoy anymore too. Yes, I do go about asking lots of questions.

Whoopee! We're having a great time.

Whoopee! We’re having a great time.

I could list more excuses because I’ve heard more of them than there are signatures on a popular petition both from other folks and from myself also. I won’t list them because I don’t want to fuel your reasons not to do the things you love.

The point is that doing the things that you enjoy will enrich your life. There is nothing like stating the obvious but it’s amazing how when we are battling through the jungle of life, we can’t see anything for all the trees and bushes that get in our way. For trees and bushes think bills to pay and time commitments to the day job, picking up kids from school and the dreaded dusting. It’s enough to make us all collapse in a heap.

if I could just get this washing done, I could go on Facebook for half an hour.

If I could just get this washing done, I could go on Facebook for half an hour.

This is not about collapsing in a heap though; this about you questioning why you don’t do the things that you love anymore. Let me give you an example. I love walking in the countryside. I am not talking 10 mile hikes; I am talking about a reasonably paced stroll that might take in between 30 minutes to an hour. When I home educated my son, I fitted these walks in between doing my  job and educating him because I wanted him to get fresh air and exercise.

When I finished home educating him and he was no longer at home all day, I stopped doing what I love because I felt guilty about taking the time from my desk. In essence, I made myself a self-imposed prison because it did nothing whatsoever for my physical or mental state of health. Since I have given myself the gift of going for a walk every day, I feel like a different person both physically and mentally.

A muddy but glorious walk.

A muddy but glorious walk.

Basically, what I am saying to you is to give yourself a daily gift doing something that you love. If other folks like family and friends start demanding your time while you are doing it, you simply have to tell them this is your gift to yourself – enjoy.


Filed under Being Buoyant