Once upon a time there was a children's author who spent her days thinking up stories while defending her home against splodgers, baking banana cakes and juggling tortoise. Read what I've been up to in my scrapbook - it's all in a day's work!

Where do ideas come from

26 October

Where do my ideas come from? Well, they come from anywhere and everywhere! I keep a note pad in my car, on my desk, in my handbag and on my bed-side table – so when an idea pops into my head I can write it down straight away ? even if it?s 3 am in the morning! It?s really important for me to write it down as an idea has a habit of popping out of my head just as quick as it pops in ? so if I don?t write it down I?ll probably forget it.

Most of my ideas come from actual events that happen to me and my family ? here?s how a couple of my stories were born!

The Welly That Wouldn?t Come Off

One morning before school, Connor and I had to put on our wellington boots to go out in the snow and feed our dogs. Connor had his school uniform on and tucked his school trousers into his boots. We fed the dogs and then, shaking off the snow from our coats, we returned to the warmth of the kitchen. I took off my boots and then helped Connor to take his off. The left one came off easily but the right one just wouldn?t budge!

Connor held his foot up in the air and balanced whilst I pulled with all of my might to get the right welly off his foot. No joy. Connor sat on the kitchen table and gripped the sides of the table tightly whilst I grabbed the welly and yanked so hard that I lost my grip and fell backwards against the door. No joy. Connor sat on the floor. I pulled him around the kitchen by his foot trying my hardest to free his foot from the welly. Still no joy!

I gave up and told Connor that he would have to go to school and do his lessons whilst wearing his wellington boot ? in fact it looked like he would have to wear the welly forever! He?d have to play rugby in it, go swimming in it, have a bath in it and go to bed in it! Panicking now, Connor begged me to have one more go at releasing him from his rubbery fate ? and being the lovely mother that I am ? I agreed. One more wriggle, one more push, one more yank and ?pop? the boot came off and I fell backwards through the open kitchen door, falling in the snow surrounded by our excited dogs! The welly was finally off, Connor was free, and we even managed to get to school on time!

Skinny, Wobble & Moo

This was the first series that I wrote and it?s still my favourite. We were having a family Halloween party and decided to dress up so we could scare the trick or treaters. Connor put on his skeleton outfit, my husband dressed up as a monster and I became a witch for the night. We played games, sang spooky songs and ate gooey party food. We thought up names for ourselves – Connor became Skinny the Skeleton, I was Wobble the Witch and my husband became Moo the Monster. We made up a song about Skinny, Wobble & Moo that night and danced around singing it. You can hear that song on the Skinny, Wobble & Moo animation page on the website ? we kept it and recorded it to go with the series.

A few weeks after the Halloween party we spent the Christmas holidays at the sea-side. One day we were walking along the beach and dared each other to take off our shoes and socks (brrrrr ? it was very cold!) and paddle in the sea! I did it and screamed in shock as the water was absolutely freezing. When asked what it felt like I replied, ?It was so cold that my feet started to sneeze!? And that was where the idea came from for the first Skinny, Wobble & Moo story which is entitled, ?Moo and the Sneezing Feet?.

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