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I’m very pleased to be on the Zak and Jen’s Astronomical Adventures – Tinsel Town book tour. Tinsel Town is written by Natalie Page and illustrated by Chris Rivers Nuttall. It’s a fantastic children’s book in the Zak and Jen Astronomical Adventures series. Which started with The Petal Planet.
As you know we are huge book lovers. I’m sharing that love for books with baby girl. She might not yet understand what they are about but at 9 months old she love’s to turn the pages when we read together.
Best friends Zak and Jen love exploring space using their magic umbrellas. This time, they find a Christmas themed planet, but there is one thing missing, the inhabitants! Join the characters as they make some festive friends, and realise how important it is to appreciate every day. Tinsel Town is written for children over five years old, however younger children will also enjoy the rhythm of the story and its festive theme.
Before I start with commenting on the story I just want to say how amazing the illustrations are. Chris Rivers Nuttall has a fantastic talent. Zak and Jen feel a bit like A Nightmare before Christmas with black and white as the main colours, but this contrasts the colour all around them throughout the book. Love their spiky unkept hair – but then they are flying through space under umbrellas!
Natalie has written Tinsel Town beautifully with lots of rhyme and this makes it more relevent this week as it’s World Rhyme Week. So a brilliant week to release this wonderful little story. I’m a huge Christmas fan and reading this book to my baby girl has got me into the Christmas spirit. I don’t want to spoil the story as that’s not what my reviews are about but you are in for a little treat!
Interview with Natalie
Natalie’s Top 5 Christmas Traditions
I was delighted that Rachel agreed to be part of the Tinsel Town Blog Tour and as part of the experience, I agreed to share my top 5 Christmas traditions with everyone!
I will say upfront that these traditions do not include the most important part of the holiday season, which is spending time with friends and family. However, they are the little extra’s that either take me back to my childhood, or are allowing me to create some new Christmas memories with my own family.
So, here we go!
I cannot remember a time when I did not get an advent calendar at Christmas. So much so, that my mum still insists on buying my sister and I one every year (even though we are in our 30’s) which I think is awesome! I have grown up with both the chocolate and the picture kind of advent calendar, but last year, I decided to do something different for my little girl. I bought this beautiful handmade advent calendar with pockets for each day from a lady on notonthehighstreet.com. I filled each of the pockets with a small toy and each day, when my daughter came home from nursery, she was allowed to open that day’s pocket and have the toy.
There seem to be all kinds of things that you can do for small children during advent if you don’t want to indulge in the daily chocolate option. One friend of mine last year made an advent calendar and filled each of the pockets with activities and things to do, so each day her son received a different ‘adventure’ which I think is a really nice idea!
Our family has always had stockings. I remember when I was really young waking up ridiculously early and opening mine with my sister only to go back to sleep afterwards (something we weren’t supposed to do). As the years went by, my sister and I used to go out with friends on Christmas Eve for a drink or two and come home in the early hours of Christmas morning (2am) to find our filled stockings waiting for us on our beds. In those days we would open the stockings together before we went to bed, which is probably a good thing seeing as back then we struggled to get up much before 10am!
Nowadays, as a parent myself, I have been determined to continue to the stocking tradition, not only for my husband, but also for my daughter. I love finding lots of little, interesting gifts to fill them with and it is usually the first thing we open together as a family on Christmas day.
Christmas Eve Mass
I don’t consider myself a very religious person, but I was brought up in a Catholic family and one of our family traditions was to attend Mass at the local church on Christmas Eve. It was always rammed with families, but there was such a lovely warm and happy feeling that it made the somewhat cramped conditions all worthwhile. The Christmas Eve Mass was always very much geared towards children and it was nice to experience the community spirit with everyone singing Christmas carols together. Sadly, my family and I all live quite far apart now so the Christmas Eve Mass tradition has dropped in the last couple of years, but it is certainly one that I hope to reinstate.
Christmas Eve Drinks
If you read the paragraph above about stockings you will know that I have been known to enjoy a Christmas Eve drink or two. However, these days that tradition has taken on a somewhat different focus. If you were to come to our home on Christmas Eve this year, you will either be treated to a glass of traditional mulled wine or a slightly alcoholic hot chocolate (non-alcoholic for younger ones, obviously!) This is something that we do once my daughter has finally gone to bed, we have made sure all the presents are wrapped and everything is prepped for Christmas lunch the following day. In truth, I often look forward to that point on Christmas Eve when I can sit down and relax in front of the TV, drink in hand, and watch something truly Christmassy.
Real Christmas Trees
Finally, we have to get on to the subject of Christmas trees, and for me, it has to be a real one. We live near this wonderful estate which grows trees every year in time for Christmas, and you just can’t beat it. The smell of the fir alone is incredible!
So that’s my top 5 Christmas traditions, perhaps they are not wildly different from most people’s but I know that I couldn’t have Christmas without them. Merry Christmas!
Thanks Natalie for sharing with us your Christmas Traditions.
Why not pop over and visit the other blogs on the Tinsel Town Blog Tour. They have lots of more exclusive content!
*I was given Zak and Jen’s Astronomical Adventures -Tinsel Town in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains an affiliate link.