Friday, 23 November 2018

Book Review: "The Real Enid Blyton" by Nadia Cohen, published by Pen & Sword, Barnsley, 2018


BOOK REVIEW: "The Real Enid Blyton" by Nadia Cohen, published by Pen & Sword, Barnsley, 2018

Having been a life-long fan of Enid Blyton’s children’s stories, I was fascinated to read more about the woman who practically invented this genre of youth fiction. I had seen the BBC drama about her life and was, presumably like many other people, shocked to learn that her own family life was not quite as idyllic as those in the stories she told. That made me even more interested to read a less subjective account of her life. If you are a fan of Enid Blyton’s long-running series of children’s series – be it the Famous Five, Secret Seven, Noddy or, my own particular favourite, the Diana, Roger and Snubby books (which a lot of people refer to as the "Barney books") - then, like me, you will find this book a really interesting read.

Without giving too much away, Enid had a turbulent childhood and this had a profound effect on her relationships in later life. But also drove her to want to create an idealised world for her story characters to live in. She trained as a primary school teacher during the First World War and started off working in a small, private school. She discovered that she had a special way of interacting with children and devised special teaching methods centered around play and story-telling with which she gained a lot of success. Having only ever known her children’s stories, I was interested to discover that Blyton had been very highly regarded within the teaching profession and had contributed lots of strategic instructional articles to the professional teachers magazines over many years.

Like a lot of famous writers, Enid actually started off writing poems in her youth and enjoying the excitement of seeing them published in magazines. In fact, the first thing she had published was in fact a volume of poetry and it was only after her experiences of working with young children that she began to write children’s books. During the 1930s and 1940s, Enid became a prolific writer and set up her own companies to manage her affaris. She was such an important figure that during the Second World War she was able to command priority for paper for her books and magazines that was denied to most other authors due to war-time shortages.

In later years, she was criticized by libraries and teaching organisations for becoming out of touch with the real world. All I can say is that when I was a young child, I didn’t go to boarding school, didn’t go on camping/cycling trips with my cousins and didn’t keep finding baffling mysteries to solve. However, the escapism of being able to read about children who did, whether they were completely realistic or not, was a great pleasure to me then and still is today. If you have ever read any of Enid Blyton’s books, or want to know more about the woman behind them, this biography will be just right for you.

SEE MORE GREAT BOOKS ON ALL SORTS OF SUBJECTS ON THE PEN & SWORD WEBSITE HERE

Product details

"The Real Enid Blyton" by Nadia Cohen, published by Pen & Sword, Barnsley, 2018
  • Hardcover: 155 pages
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword History (4 Oct. 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1526722038
  • ISBN-13: 978-1526722034
Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 22.9 cm

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

A Great Place for Coffee, Cakes & Ship Watching!

The Cunard cruise ship Queen Victoria docked in Liverpool, as viewed
from the "Home" café at Woodside Mersey Ferry terminal






More details to follow shortly...

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Riverside Raiders and Sheffield Ice Tigers Ice Hockey Teams tribute to Manchester, Sunday, 28th May 2017


Photo courtesy of Ice Hockey Review taken just before the Minutes' Silence held at Widnes Silver Blades Ice Rink prior to the match between Riverside Raiders and Sheffield Ice Tigers on Sunday, 28th May 2017.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

New Book To Check Out: The Midlife Kitchen

The Midlife Kitchen: Health-Boosting Recipes for Midlife & Beyond
By Mimi Spencer and Sam Rice

Available from 4th May
ISBN 9781784723187
304 pages Hardback
Also available for Kindle

Published by Mitchell Beazley

Are you at a point in your life where health is becoming more of a priority? Are you confused by ever-changing headlines that contrive to make the simple act of eating a peril rather than a pleasure? The Midlife Kitchen has the answers.

Midlife is not a time to be concerned with food fads and foibles, but rather a glorious opportunity to wrest back control of your eating in the interests of health, happiness and a long life. Taste must certainly come first, but with health firmly snapping at its heels, underpinned by well-established nutritional common sense. Busy lives require simple, sustaining recipes that incorporate health-giving ingredients without too much fanfare or fuss. This book is not about 'clean-eating' or super foods, detoxing or restriction. Instead, it is about building up a balanced and diverse diet, with less sugar, better fat and good carbs.

Alongside each recipe is the Midlife Kitchen emblem, the star anise. With each of the eight seeds representing a specific Midlife Health category - such as Hormone Harmony; Mind, Memory, Mood; or Heart Health - authors Sam and Mimi are able to provide simple nutritional information. Health tips explain the benefits of certain ingredients, while 'Why We Love It' sections explore the advantages of cooking each dish. Midlife Must-Haves show how to create homemade essentials such as Midlife Grown-up Granola, Midlife Power Porridge and Midlife Sweetener.

From Seared Sirloin on Pan-roasted Veg to The Mother of All Greek Salads, Nurture Bircher to Three-ginger Fire Cake, the recipes in this book come together to create a vibrant menu bursting with mouth-watering flavours.

Available from all good book shops or order via Amazon HERE

Friday, 31 March 2017

NIHL North Play Off Weekend Videos - Available to Pre Order!


You can now pre-order your very own DVD or digital highlights of this year’s NIHL North Playoffs being held at iceSheffield on the 8th & 9th April.

This year you can also buy a copy of any full game on DVD or via digital version.

- Highlights: DVD £10 (+£1 P&P) or digital version £7.99

- Full game: DVD £5 (+£1 P&P) or digital version £3.49

All of these include match commentary, previews, analysis and interviews as well as replays, slow motion and goal cameras! Better still, you will be supporting British hockey with your order as the teams will receive part of every purchase!

Orders will also be able to be placed at the Playoffs weekend, though we advise purchasing online which you will be able to from until a month after the Playoffs have been held

For more information or to place your order – go to www.pyromedia.co/NIHL 

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Bandy "Try It" Event At Planet Ice Peterborough - Sunday 19th March

There’s a great opportunity to be involved in a little bit of ice sport history next Sunday 19th March as the first bandy event to be staged in this country for 100 years will take place at Peterborough Planet Ice arena – with an opportunity for ice skaters to go along and give the game a try.

It is a fitting venue for the renaissance as the game was originally played on the frozen fens back in the 1890s but lost its popularity in this country after the First World War, although it has continued to be a highly popular sport in many other countries to this day.

A new English Bandy Federation was set up earlier this year and members are now spreading the word and encouraging new people to become interested in the sport.

The driving force behind this project is new EBF President Lyn Gibb-de Swarte, a long term speed skater and coach who was also a founder member of the Streatham Strikers women’s ice hockey in the early 1980s.  She has announced plans for a purpose built 100m x 60m indoor bandy ice field – the only one in the country – at a new proposed “Littleport Ice Stadium” - to be constructed at Littleport near Ely in Cambridgeshire, which is in the very heart of fen skating country.

The facility will also have the only 400 meter speed skating track in the country, which will help introduce new people to that sport and also save British competitors having to travel to Holland for training and competitions – as that is where the nearest  full size oval track is situated.

The game of bandy has been described as both “soccer on ice, and ice hockey with a ball” and Lyn sums it up as” Bandy is a fast, skillful, non-contact sport that any skater can play - and the kit doesn’t cost a fortune either. It’s great fun to watch too, with similar rules to soccer.”

You don’t need have to have played any sort of ice sport before to be able to join in the session, although a basic level of skating ability is necessary.

The bandy try-it event at Peterborough runs from 8pm to 9.30pm on Sunday 19th March and includes a half hour introduction to the game followed by an hour on the ice.  The cost is £5 per person and FREE for under-16s.  Balls and sticks will be provided  

The event will be overseen by top bandy coaches from Sweden and also the Czech Head Coach Michael Bratt who has over 20 years’ experience coaching in Sweden, Holland& Russia and now back in his native land.

To find out more about the game of bandy and forthcoming events, check out the English Bandy Federation’s website HERE

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Antony Morris Memorial Cup Game at Widnes - 8th January 2017

There’s an early New Year opportunity for sports fans to enjoy an entertaining evening out and support two very good causes as the annual Antony Morris Memorial cup ice hockey game is staged at the Silver Blades ice rink in Widnes on Sunday 8th January 2017.

Antony (pictured left) was a recreational player with the Widnes Wildcats and he died after a fall on a night out in Liverpool in November 2015 aged just 29.

The game will be played between the two Widnes senior recreational teams, the Widnes Wildcats and the Riverside Raiders, and funds raised on the night will be split between the Ronald McDonald House charity which enables families to remain close by while their children are in hospital and the Cathie Stankevitch Foundation social inclusion charity. 

Admission to the event is free and face off is at 5.30pm.

There will be collection buckets on the door and a raffle. Other fundraising measures will be announced in due course and anybody interested in attending, donating a raffle prize or otherwise supporting the event can find out more information via the “Riverside Raiders (IHC) Widnes” or “Widnes Wildcats” groups on Facebook.