Here are Minipreneur’s top picks of books about animal adventures in heart-warming tales and stories with lessons to learn.

Big Hedgehog and Little Hedgehog Take an Evening Stroll by Britta Teckentrup

Teckentrup’s signature combination of simple text and soothing illustrations in this story about Big Hedgehog and Little Hedgehog waiting for the world around them to prepare for sleep will appeal to both young readers and their grown-ups.

Minipreneur loves hearing this story at bedtime but this book is also perfect for afternoon naptime or for any time that asks that we take a moment and slow down.

£10.99 published by Prestel

My Dog, Hen by David Mackintosh

“Why should we get a brand-new dog when Hen is as good as new to us?” asks the young boy at the centre of this story. The adorable mixed-breed pup is brought home in a cardboard box, given toys, and some food-and then proceeds to enthusiastically eat up his loving home. When nothing can be done (and all the pocket money has been spent on new toys) the boy’s wise and thrifty grandmother finds a helpful solution.

Young readers like Minipreneur will laugh at Hen’s boundless energy and parents especially will identify with the challenges of training a headstrong dog. The story teaches a gentle lesson about finding value in our less-than-perfect belongings and loved ones.

£11.99 published by Prestel

Mouse & Mole: Clink, Clank, Clunk! by Joyce Dunbar & James Mayhew

Minipreneur is a big fan of the Mouse & Mole series and loved these three new stories highlighting the joys of everyday life written in Joyce Dunbar’s characteristic style full of charm and humour.

With its immersive text and beautiful illustrations, this book is perfect for teaching children the value of friendship and the importance of working together.

£12.99 published by Graffeg

Fletcher and the Stars by Julia Rawlinson & Tiphanie Beeke

This tale of friendship, adventure and overcoming fears encourages children to explore nature and provides an insight into some of the creatures that come out during the evening, including owls, badgers and foxes.

Minipreneur loved the uplifting story about Fletcher helping Badger combat his fear of the dark which also provided the perfect opportunity to have a conversation about fears and ways to overcome them.

£12.99 published by Graffeg

The Roar by Eoin McLaughlin & Polly Dunbar

There were so many things that Tortoise wanted to do. So many games to play and rocks to climb. Oops. Tortoise is stuck. Being stuck makes Tortoise cross. Tortoise is not having a good day and now he’s stuck on his back and is far too cross for hugs or anything else.

This adorable story from the creators of the best-selling Covid classic While We Can’t Hug teaches children that to cheer someone up you must try to understand what they are feeling – an important life lesson that both children and their grown-ups need to be aware of.

£6.99 published by Faber

The Robber Raccoon – Lou Kuenzler & Julia Woolf

Rosie Raccoon is up to no good, out and about in a grand neighbourhood… but she needs to watch out. The police are after her, and it’s not long before she’s feeling the furry arm of the law.

Minipreneur loved this exquisitely illustrated nighttime adventure starring an adorable and mischievous raccoon. Parents will also love the eco-friendly message of this lovely picture book.

£6.99 published by Faber

Agnes and the Sheep Elle Rowley & Clare Therese Gray

This entertaining story for 3-5 year-olds tells the tale of a Great Dane called Agnes, who is left in charge of the farm and has to keep everything in order. But when three troublesome sheep want to escape the farm, can Agnes stop them?

This book teaches an important message about how comparing yourself to others won’t bring happiness. Minipreneur loved the amusing story and the vibrant illustrations of farm animals in this engaging picture book that’s perfect for bedtime or indeed any time!

£6.99 published by DK

Here are some of Minipreneur’s favourite picture books this month.

No More Peas by Madeleine Cook & Erika Meza

Written by Madeleine Cook and illustrated by Erika Meza, No More Peas is the perfect picture book for encouraging fussy eaters to try vegetables. This humourous story about a boy called Oliver who rejects vegetables like carrots for being too orange and peas because they roll around the plate is filled with lots of laugh-out-loud moments to keep little ones entertained but also covers a wide variety of colourful vegetables with information about how they grow from seeds into vegetable plants.

By including a rainbow of different vegetables including blue corn and purple broccoli, fussy eaters will be introduced to an exciting world of food that they may have rejected at the dinner table or been unaware of previously. The book also promotes the message that it is important to try new things because you might just discover something you love. This book was one of Minipeneur’s favourites this month.

£6.99 published by Oxford University Press

How to Catch a Rainbow by Naomi Jones & Ana Gomez

Another favourite story this month for Minipreneur was How to Catch a Rainbow by Naomi Jones & Ana Gomez. The book explores colour, creativity, and problem solving as well as encouraging conversation about how rainbows are made. Minipreneur loved to hear about all the different things that represented the colours of the rainbow that the main character Freya collected around her garden.

Freya loves rainbows. She loves their bright colours and their curvy shape. More than anything, she wishes she had one of her very own. One that she can keep forever. So she decides to become a Rainbow Hunter! She searches high and low, but no rainbows are to be found, so she decides to make her own, collecting items in every colour of the rainbow from the garden. But when things don’t go quite to plan, Freya has to use her imagination and creativity to come up with a way to make her wish come true.

£6.99 published by Oxford University Press

Read with Oxford: Stage 2: Julia Donaldson’s Songbirds: Singing Dad and Other Stories

With a focus on building phonics skills, this collection includes seven fun stories with colourful illustrations. It is ideal for children who are developing early reading skills. Find out about Singing Dad and Viv’s Odd Pet, as well as Ron Rabbit’s job at the fish and chip shop! Tips for parents on reading together explain the letter patterns that each story focuses on and identify any words children may find tricky, helping you to get the most out of the collection.

Former Children’s Laureate and author of The Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson, has captivated children all over the world with her lively and engaging stories. Songbirds is a phonics programme carefully created by Julia to support children who are learning to read and is used in schools to inspire a love of reading. There are eight Songbirds story collections for you to enjoy. Parents can also find expert advice on reading together, free eBooks and fun activities to help children progress on oxfordowl.co.uk

£10.99 published by Oxford University Press

I’m The Bus Driver illustrated by David Semple

This fun and immersive book puts the child in charge as they take on the role of a bus driver encouraging them to follow instructions and solve problems. Minipreneur loved taking the driver’s seat and pretending to use the controls.

The narrative is embedded with early learning skills such as recognition of colours, shapes, and numbers. This makes it perfect to share with children as a fun way to practise these key skills while enjoying imaginative play. The story ends with a sense of achievement as the children are delivered to school right on time.

£6.99 published by Oxford University Press

I’m The Tractor Driver illustrated by David Semple

Part of the popular series, this latest book lets the reader imagine themselves as a tractor driver helping out on the farm. Minipreneur loves singing Old Macdonald Had A Farm so this book became a new favourite at storytime.

This book can help children build self-confidence and encourage teamwork, problem-solving and following instructions. The story also is a great way to use imaginative play to practise early learning skills like recognising different numbers, shapes and colours. It’s a fun way to practise these key skills with your child while they pretend to drive the tractor around the farm and help out with various farming jobs. They’ll feel a sense of achievement by the end of the book when all the jobs at the farm are completed.

£6.99 published by Oxford University Press

From t-shirts and shorts to dungarees and trousers, Frugi’s range of summer styles are made from soft and durable organic cotton, with clever extendable features allowing them to grow alongside growth spurts, and gorgeously bright and colourful designs, perfect for adventures in the sunshine. Here are a few of Minipreneur’s favourites which he was seen out and about in during his recent staycation to Eastbourne.

Rio Reversible Dungarees

Minipreneur loved wearing the Rio Reversible Dungarees when exploring the seafront and beach at Eastbourne.

As a parent, these 2-in-1 baby and toddler dungarees are an excellent choice for two looks in one. The dungarees feature a Rainbow embroidered patch pocket on the Chambray side and a vibrant Rainbow Check on the other.

Crafted from super-soft and breathable organic cotton, the elasticated waistband on the back ensures a comfy fit.

The clever adjustable popper fastenings on the shoulder straps allow these full-length dungarees to grow as your little one does making them perfect to carry on through growth spurts.

The Rio Reversible Dungarees start from £36

Busby Tees 2 pack

We love the bold bright designs from Frugi and these brand new Busby Tees are perfect for your little explorer to Ride The Wave into their summer activities.

The 2-pack of short-sleeved kids’ t-shirts are crafted from the softest organic cotton with a touch of stretchy elastane in the ribbed neckband – keeping them comfy, cosy and ready for anything. Minipreneur loved both styles.

The stylish contrasting Indigo Blue and Camper Blue Breton panel design has a sea-scene patch on the front and is a perfect match for any navy blue shorts or trousers like the Everywhere Trousers below. The other t-shirt comes in a Soft White ringer tee design with a colourful rainbow Wave print on the front and contrasting Indigo Blue trims.

The Busby Tees 2 pack start from £36

Everywhere Trousers

These brand new Everywhere Trousers from Frugi’s SS22 collection are great paired with a t-shirt for a smart casual outfit or styled with a button-up shirt for something more formal.

In a versatile Indigo Blue, these chinos have an elasticated waistband with an adjustable cotton drawcord for extra comfort and a fab fit.

The Everywhere Trousers start from £27

Colour Block Dungarees

Made from block colour Hotch Potch Chambray, these Colour Block Dungarees feature a fun panelled design in True Red, Fjord Green, Bumblebee Yellow and classic Denim Blue. Minipreneur had great fun playing in them at the Grand Hotel Eastbourne – you can’t miss Eastbourne’s famous Big Wheel in the background that stands at a whopping 160ft tall.

With a cheeky Snail character embroidery on the front, these baby and toddler dungarees are made from 100% super soft and GOTS-certified organic cotton.

The adjustable button fastening straps allow these short dungarees to grow as your little one does, and the button fastening sides make dressing easy too.

The Colour Block Dungarees start from £26

Aiden Striped Shorts

Perfect for days at the seaside, these Aiden Striped Shorts from Frugi’s new SS22 collection are crafted from super soft, lightweight and breathable organic cotton to help keep your little adventurer cool on warm days. The stretchy rib waistband with a drawcord ensures a great fit all day long and the pockets on the front and back are ideal for storing those all-important treasures from the beach.

The bold Sunset Stripe design on these kids’ shorts will help them reminisce about their trips to the seaside, spotting the sunset on the shoreline or watching it light up the sky with those deep reds, bright yellows and blazing oranges.

The Aiden Striped Shorts start from £18

Whatever the season, Frugi is always a colourful selection of must-have styles for your little one’s wardrobe. Check out their latest looks at www.welovefrugi.com

Here are some of Minipreneur’s favourite picture books this month.

Fletcher and the Rockpool by Julia Rawlinson & Tiphanie Beeke

When Fletcher tumbles happily onto the beach he is dazzled by the sun, sea and space. He soon finds a rockpool full of new friends… but as the sea disappears, they are stranded! Fletcher rushes to the rescue and manages to scoop up Little Crab… but do Fletcher’s new friends really need rescuing?

This new book in the well-received Fletcher series is filled with beautiful illustrations and is perfect for teaching children about natural phenomena like tides and the flora and fauna of rockpools.

£12.99 published by Graffeg

Gaspard: Best in Show by Zeb Soanes & James Mayhew

Gaspard, Peter and Finty are now the best of friends. They set out on a new adventure together and discover the local summer fete. When Gaspard inadvertently gets entered into the Dog Show, chaos and hilarity ensue in this delightful sequel to Gaspard the Fox.

This charming and humorous picture book celebrates urban foxes and their relationship with the humans and animals they share the city with. It is the second in a series of picture books following the adventures of Gaspard and his friends.

£12.99 published by Graffeg

Mouse & Mole: The Secret of Happiness by Joyce Dunbar & James Mayhew

Mouse and Mole’s charming, gentle and humourous adventures continue in this new addition to the much-loved series, perfect for shared reading with younger children and for older children to read independently.

The book contains three heart-warming and funny stories: A Good Read, This Way and That, and The Secret of Happiness.

£12.99 published by Graffeg

Ceri & Deri: No Time for Clocks by Max Low

Ceri the cat and Deri the dog are best friends who do everything together and love to learn new things. When Deri arrives late for lunch one day, their friend Gwen Green explains what a clock is and how it can help them organise their day.

Perfect for shared reading, this book is the perfect introduction for young children to understand the concept of time, what a clock is and how they can use it to tell different times of the day for meals like breakfast, lunch, teatime and dinner.

The Secret of the Egg by Nicola Davies & Abbie Cameron

Discover the delights of nature with zoologist, poet and top children’s book author Nicola Davies. Follow the young adventurer as she explores eggs of all shapes and sizes, where they may be hiding and what secrets could be held within.

This rhyming book is fully illustrated in colour by illustrator Abbie Cameron with zoologically accurate, bright and exciting illustrations. The book was longlisted for the School Library Association Information Book Award 2019.

£7.99 published by Graffeg

See What I Can Do! by Jon Roberts & Hannah Rounding

Suitable for slightly older readers aged 5 and above, this gently-told but immensely informative new picture book tells the stories of a number of children with a variety of differences inspired by the real-life experiences of the author’s daughter who is on the autistic spectrum, and some of her friends. A variety of conditions, including autism, LLD (Leg length discrepancy), dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, ADHD, Down’s Syndrome, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, epilepsy, osteogenesis imperfecta and asthma are introduced for young readers.

The characters talk about how the challenges of each condition affects them both in a school setting and outside and how they engage in activities they love. It’s the ideal book to help children with their understanding of difference and inclusion. It is beautifully illustrated throughout by Hannah Rounding.

£7.99 published by Graffeg

Series two of the global-hit animation Bluey is set to receive its UK free-to-air premiere on CBeebies and BBC iPlayer on Monday 1 August.

The first series proved a huge hit with UK fans, being streamed more than 97 million times on BBC iPlayer since its launch on iPlayer in April last year.

Widely lauded by parents and press alike for its heartfelt and funny portrayal of family life and celebration of play, the show follows Bluey, a 6-year-old Blue Heeler dog, who loves to play and turns everyday family life into extraordinary adventures that unfold in unpredictable and hilarious ways, bringing her family – including younger sister Bingo and parents Bandit and Chilli – as well as friends and community into her world of fun and discovery.

Bluey has won the hearts of kids and parents around the world since it first launched in Australia in October 2018 and has quickly become a global hit, becoming hugely popular with audiences in the UK – it was also the highest rating programme on CBeebies for Q1 2022.

The secret of its success is its appeal to children and adults alike. Stuart Heritage called it “the best thing on TV” in The Guardian, Rolling Stone listed it as one of the Best Sitcoms of All Time, Vulture called it the best kids’ show of our time and The New York Times said it was the kids’ show every parent can love.

It’s further cemented itself as a global cult hit with kids and parents and the third series (currently airing in Australia) has featured cameos from Lin-Manuel Miranda, Eva Mendes and Natalie Portman. It’s broken viewing records and spawned a number one album in Australia whilst also being named the #1 new toy property here in the UK last year.

The popularity of the show led to Airbnb building a real life replica of the house in Australia and the hugely popular stage show is set to launch at Madison Square Gardens in New York for its US run.

Bluey has also won multiple awards, such as the International Emmy Kids Award in the prestigious Preschool Category in 2020 and has picked up the AACTA Award for Best Children’s Program for three years running (2019-21). Bluey won four Kidscreen Awards in February 2021 and recently won a Logie for Most Outstanding Children’s Programme at the Aussie equivalent of the BAFTAs, the second time Bluey has taken home the award.

Bluey is produced by multi-Emmy award-winning Ludo Studio for ABC Kids Australia, co-commissioned by ABC Children’s and BBC Studios, and distributed internationally by BBC Studios outside of Australia. Bluey is proudly 100% created, written, animated, and post produced in Brisbane Queensland, Australia, with funding from the Queensland Government through Screen Queensland and the Australian Government.

Watch Season 2 of Bluey on the CBeebies channel and BBC iPlayer from Monday 1st August.

Here are some of Minipreneur’s favourite picture books this month.

Speak Out, Leonard! by Jessie James & Tamara Anegon

As part of DK’s increasing range of picture books, this quirky illustrated book for 3 to 5 year olds tells a story about a shy shrew who struggles to be heard as he searches for the courage to speak up. The book features a strong message about speaking up and the importance of standing up for yourself and to bullies. You may recall that we reviewed the first title in the series, Look Out, Leonard!, which has gone on to receive favourable reviews and has sold over 400 copies in the UK since its release.

The leading character Leonard is a bit of a clueless and softly spoken shrew who is shy and finds it hard to make his voice heard. This sometimes means he misses out on some of the exciting experiences life has to offer like tasty seed snacks, playing games with the other children at break time, or being the first in the class to answer a question he knows he has the answer
to. But when Leonard sees a friend being picked on by a bully in the playground, he needs to find the courage to speak out and save the day.

Speak Out, Leonard! aims to encourage self-awareness, confidence, compassion, and empathy in little ones and to help them understand the importance of using your voice to speak out against injustice. This makes it an invaluable addition to your child’s bookshelves and Minipreneur enjoyed the positive message about standing up for yourself and others in the face of bullies.

Speak Out, Leonard! by Jessie James & Tamara Anegon is £6.99, published by DK

Animal Teams illustrated by Charlotte Milner

Animal Teams explains how animals work together to survive and thrive in the wild, and teaches children how important teamwork is, no matter how big or small a creature you are. This non-fiction book takes young readers through a range of habitats, from snowy mountains to colourful coral reefs, to discover different groups of animals and how they work together to survive in their environments. Children will learn fascinating facts along the way. For example, one of the facts that Minipreneur learned was that flying in flocks means birds can sleep as they fly.

Charlotte Milner’s stunning illustrations blend with photographs to create engaging animal scenes that children will love to pore over again and again, spotting something new every time. Combined with gentle learning and simple, lyrical text, Animal Teams the perfect reading and learning experience.

Animal Teams is unique in its ability to educate children about the animal kingdom whilst also teaching them about the importance of teamwork in their own lives too.

Animal Teams illustrated by Charlotte Milner is £6.99, published by DK

Every Day by Gareth Peter & Jane Massey

Every Day is written by Gareth Peter, author of the much-loved picture book My Daddies, and is a celebration of fatherhood in all its forms. Gareth is passionate about children’s literacy and promoting diversity through his writing. With charming illustrations from talented Jane Massey, this is a gorgeous book that makes the perfect gift for any fathers of little ones.

The book features a father and his child on a day that is full of the everyday things that make life special. From silly stories and jokes to upsets and frustrations, this irresistible picture book is a celebration of the unconditional love between fathers and their children. Minipreneur loved the gentle rhyming text that’s perfectly reassuring and delightful illustrations. This is a perfect book to read aloud at bedtime or any time during the day when papapreneurs want to connect with their minipreneurs.

Every Day by Gareth Peter & Jane Massey is £6.99, published by Bloomsbury Children’s Book

Thank You for the Little Thing by Caryl Hart and Emily Hamilton

Thank You for the Little Things is an uplifting, reassuring picture book that is the perfect antidote to worries and anxiety. It encourages little ones to see the world in a mindful way with gorgeous illustrations by up-and-coming picture book illustrator Emily Hamilton.

Written by bestselling author Caryl Hart, the book is filled with warmth, humour and understanding making it perfect for our uncertain times, or any time when worries abound. With messages of practising gratitude and mindfulness, this story taps into timely discussions about mental health and managing our feelings. Minipreneur enjoyed listening to this book at bedtime and discussing the little things that he was grateful for before he drifted off to sleep.

Thank You for the Little Thing by Caryl Hart and Emily Hamilton is £12.99, published by Bloomsbury Children’s Book

This Tree is Just for Me by Lucy Rowland & Laura Hughes

This Tree is Just For Me is a delightfully charming and uplifting tale of friendship and sharing that will delight children and parents alike. Minipreneur loved the charming rhyming text by rising picture book star Lucy Rowland and exploring the gorgeous, bright artwork by bestselling picture book talent Laura Hughes who is also the illustrator of We’re Going on an Egg Hunt.

The text promotes the benefits of inclusive play and is packed with animal favourites including tigers, bears, alligators and more. Lucy Rowland is a rising star of the picture book world. Her charming, energetic and irresistible rhyming stories are becoming firm favourites with children everywhere. This book is also perfect for fans of Allan Ahlberg and Helen Oxenbury.

This Tree is Just for Me by Lucy Rowland & Laura Hughes is £6.99, published by Bloomsbury Children’s Book

Garden entertaining in the summer should be all about relaxing outdoors with friends and family, so the food needs to be kept simple. Here are a couple of quick recipes for busy Papapreneurs that you can prep ahead and are perfect for enjoying outdoors during barbecue season.

Sticky BBQ Pork Ribs with Tracklements Habanero Hot Ketchup and Slaw

Papapreneur Pit Masters can take their love of cooking over coals to a new level with these pork spare ribs. As meat cooked on the bone is often more flavourful and, the fact that ribs tend to be marbled with fat, more succulent, this is a real winner. No cutlery required! Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 5 tbsp Tracklements Habanero Hot Ketchup
  • 2 tbsp dark muscovado sugar
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 8 large uncooked pork spare ribs (approx. 1.2kg)
  • salt and pepper to season

For the slaw:

  • ¼ white cabbage, finely sliced
  • ¼ red cabbage, finely sliced
  • 2 carrots, finely sliced
  • ½ red onion, finely sliced

For the dressing:

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Tracklements Smooth Dijon Mustard
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method

1. Put all the ingredients, except the spare ribs, into a bowl, mix everything together and season to taste. Pour into a big plastic food bag, add the pork ribs and massage!

2. If possible, marinate overnight.

3. On the day – get the barbie started early – place the ribs bone-side down, on the cooler part of the grill (indirect heat). Cover and cook, rotating the ribs once, and basting with the leftover sauce, until the meat is tender and pulls away from the bones, about 2 hours.

4. You can also cook the ribs in the oven in a heavy based roasting dish at 180°C/350°F/ gas mark 4, turning every 20 mins for about an hour and a half.

5. In a large bowl mix the ingredients for the dressing together then stir in the slaw veg.

BBQ Aubergine with Tracklements Smoky Chilli Sauce

Al fresco dining doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes simple ingredients, grilled over coals or under the grill, make the most moreish of meals. In this vegetarian-friendly dish, the flesh of the aubergine efficiently absorbs the sauce delivering a hot, yet sweet and sour combo that, quite simply, tastes terrific. Serve with mixed salads and roast vegetable couscous. Serves 3.

Ingredients

  • 3 aubergines, halved lengthways
  • 150ml Tracklements Smoky Chilli

Sauce

  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 35g salted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • small handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Method

1. Light the barbecue (weather permitting, or use the grill)

2. Score the flesh of the aubergine. Mix together the Smoky Chilli Sauce and honey. Brush the skins of the aubergines with oil then brush half of the chilli sauce mixture onto the cut sides, making sure it gets into all of the crevices. Leave to marinate for 15 mins – no longer or you’ll get soggy aubergines!

3. Barbecue, skin side down, for 10 mins until the flesh is cooked and then baste the scored side with more of the chilli sauce mixture. Turn the aubergines over and barbecue flesh side down for around 4 mins until browned. Check the aubergines to make sure they’re not sticking to the BBQ grill.

4. Brush any remaining sauce mixture onto the aubergines and top with the nuts, spring onions and coriander

Tracklements Smoky Chilli Sauce RRP £4.05 for 230ml, Tracklements Habanero Hot Ketchup RRP £4.30 for 230ml and Tracklements Smooth Dijon Mustard RRP £2.50 for 140g are available from fine food delis and farm shops nationwide and online at www.tracklements.co.uk

On the first weekend of June, the Queen will be celebrating her Platinum Jubilee, marking an incredible 70 years on the throne. With the highly anticipated four-day bank holiday weekend, many are planning celebrations with family and friends and cooking up an array of special dishes to impress their guests.

British Apples and Pears (BAPL) are proud to join the celebrations, partnering with renowned celebrity chef, Raymond Blanc (Papa to 2 boys), to create a showstopping British apple mousse cake which rightly champions Britain’s national fruit – the apple.

Raymond Blanc and BAPL want to encourage the nation to try their hand at this impressive celebratory cake, whether it be at a Jubilee lunch or a local street party. This cake is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser, making the perfect centrepiece for any celebration.

The cake incorporates three delicious varieties of British apples: English Bramley, Lilibet* and Royal Gala. English Bramleys and Royal Gala can be found in British supermarkets, Lilibet are a little harder to find, but you can easily substitute Lilibet with any other British eating apple.

Commenting on the special recipe development, Raymond Blanc says, “I am very proud to be part of this historical event, partnering with British Apples and Pears to celebrate the delicious taste and versatility of our national fruit.

“Britain produces some of the finest apples in the world and I believe this spectacular recipe is the perfect showcase for this wonderful fruit. With the vibrant red colour from the Royal Gala apple, the uniquely sweet flavour of Lilibet apples and the cloud-like fluffiness of cooked Bramley apples, the cake truly brings out the best of British apples.

“Food is at the heart of any celebration, bringing close family and friends together, and this remarkable cake will be sure to impress and delight your guests”.

Ali Capper, Executive Chair of British Apples and Pears says, “We are proud to share Raymond’s delicious British apple mousse cake recipe for everyone to make and enjoy. Apples are our national fruit and no Jubilee celebration should be without them.”

Royal Jubilee Apple Celebration Cake

This very special cake is the ultimate in celebration. Created by renowned chef, Raymond Blanc, it not only celebrates our monarch’s great accomplishment but is also a tribute to the British apple. In fact, there are three British apple varieties in the cake, each with its own special properties. You will no doubt be familiar with English Bramleys and Royal Gala, but the Lilibet apple – Prince Philip’s nickname for the Queen and the name of Harry and Megan’s daughter – is not as common. In fact, Lilibet is the only green-skinned eating apple grown commercially in the UK. Don’t worry if you can’t find Lilibet in your local supermarket, any other variety of eating apple can replace it in this recipe.

There are six parts to the recipe, but the instructions are straightforward, and Raymond’s Royal Jubilee Apple Celebration cake makes the perfect centrepiece to mark this national occasion.

1. Pain d’épices

The pain d’épices (spiced bread) is commonly known as gingerbread. It originates from France and was specific to Reims. As a beautiful base it adds spice and texture to this cake. Should you wish to make the cake in advance Pain d’épices will freeze well.

Makes Two cakes using two tins, each 16cm diameter x 4.5cm deep (8 slices per cake)

  • ½ tsp Five spice powder
  • ½ tsp Vanilla puree
  • 2g Orange zest, finely grated
  • 160g Clear honey
  • 80ml Whole milk
  • 2 x Large eggs
  • 35g Caster sugar
  • 100g Rye flour
  • 60g Plain flour
  • ½ tbsp Baking powder

Preheat the oven to 170ºC.

Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper, and place the cake tins on the tray.

In a small saucepan over a low heat, warm the spice, vanilla, orange zest, honey and milk to about 50ºC. Do not boil. (This is the right temperature to activate the baking powder and start the infusion.)

In a large bowl, lightly beat together the eggs and sugar. Add the warm spiced milk and whisk well.

In a separate bowl mix the baking powder and flour and, using a whisk, fold them into the egg-milk mixture. When the mixture is smooth, divide it equally between the two rings.

Bake for 12 minutes.

Remove from the oven, and leave to cool on the tray. Release from the ring, sliding a knife blade around the edge. Trim the pain d’épices to make them level and about 1½ cm thick. Clean the rings and replace them around the pain d’épices.

Slide a thin cake board under each pain d’épices and lift onto the work surface. Reserve.

2. For the caramel crémeux

  • 75g Caster sugar
  • 25ml Hot water
  • 235ml Whole milk, brought to a simmer
  • 4 x Egg yolks
  • 25g Caster sugar
  • 20g Cornflour
  • 75g Butter

In a small saucepan on a high heat, cook the 75g sugar to a smoking point. You will now have a dark caramel.

Remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the hot water followed by the hot milk (to prevent the milk from curdling), then stir to ensure it is fully dissolved.

In a medium bowl, mix the yolks with the remaining sugar and cornflour.

Whisk in the milk caramel and return to a clean saucepan over a medium heat. Bring to the boil and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly with a spatula.

Remove from the heat, pour into a small jug and leave to cool to 45-50ºC. Using a hand blender, blend in the butter until completely smooth. This will give a perfect creamy texture.

Place two 13cm rings on a tray lined with greaseproof paper or a silicone baking mat. Pour the crémeux 1cm deep into 2 x 13cm rings. Freeze for 2-3 hours to set. Once frozen, remove the crémeux from the rings and return to the freezer until required.

3. For the caramelised apple slices and glaze

  • 5 x (800g) Royal Gala apples
  • 60g Butter, cold diced
  • 250g Caster sugar
  • 2tbs Calvados

Peel, core and slice the apples into ½ cm slices.

In a large saucepan on a medium heat, bring the sugar to a golden caramel and add the cold butter. It will emulsify and bind with the hot caramel. Carefully pour in the Calvados.

Add the apple slices, cover with a lid, and cook for 5-7 minutes, until the apples are soft.

Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool.

Divide the apples and caramel into two bowls. In a jug blender, blend the first half to a smooth purée and reserve for the glaze.

Keep the remainder of the apples and cooking liquid to build the cake.

4. For the poached apple slices

  • 1 Lilibet apple
  • 30g Caster sugar
  • 100ml Water
  • 1 pinch Vitamin C powder

Cut the apple from top to bottom 1cm either side of the core. This should leave you with two perfect semi-circles of apple, free from any core.

In a small, covered saucepan on a medium heat, bring the water, sugar and vitamin C powder to a boil. Turn off the heat, add the freshly sliced apple, cover and leave to cool for 15 minutes. The apple slices must be barely cooked. Drain and reserve.

5. For the mousse

  • 300g Bramley apples
  • 20g Caster Sugar
  • 100ml Whipping cream
  • 80g Water
  • 5 x Gelatine leaves
  • ½ tsp Vitamin C powder (or lemon juice)
  • 1 Lemon, juiced
  • 190g Caster sugar
  • 4 x Egg whites

Start by peeling, coring and cutting the apples into 1cm chunks.

Place the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water and leave them to soften.

In a medium saucepan on a medium heat, cook the diced apple with the vitamin C, 20g sugar and lemon juice for 10 minutes until the apples are completely soft.

In a jug blender, purée the apple until smooth. Cool the purée in a bowl sitting on iced water for 8-10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks and fold in the cold apple purée.

In a medium saucepan, bring the remaining sugar and water to the boil and cook to 120ºC (check this with a thermometer).

Using an electric whisk on a high speed, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Reduce the speed and add the syrup, pouring it between the side of the bowl and the whisk. Whisk for 1 minute at full speed. Squeeze the water from the gelatine leaves and add them.

Continue to whisk on a medium speed until cool, then fold the meringue into the apple purée and cream mixture.

To build the cake

Drain off the poached apple semicircle slices and place against the insides of each ring, with the cut ends resting on the pain d’épices.

Arrange the caramelised apples with their caramel across each pain d’épices, leaving a 1½cm gap around the outside.

Half fill the cake rings with the apple mousse; then place the caramel crémeux discs in the middle of each cake.

Add the remainder of the apple mousse.

Using a palette knife, smooth the tops to within 2mm of the top of the rings. Freeze for a minimum of 3-4 hours so the mousse can set before the glaze is added.

6. For the glaze

  • 2 x Gelatine leaves
  • 250ml Caramelised apple puree reserved

Soak the gelatine in a bowl of cold water for at least 5 minutes, until the leaves have softened.

In a small saucepan on a medium heat, warm the apple purée, but do not boil. Add the softened gelatine and stir for 1-2 minutes. Pour the glaze over the cakes and level with a palette knife, using the edges of the rings as a guide.

Refrigerate for at least 3 hours to set.

When ready to serve, warm the rings using a blowtorch and lift them off the cakes. I promise you will be the envy of all your guests when you present this cake to them!

Bluey has taken the world by storm and is now one of the most popular animations for preschoolers. The hit Australian animation is loved by kids, parents, Hollywood stars and UK celebrities alike.

Minipreneur loves playing with his Heeler 4WD Family Vehicle so I thought I’d get the Caravan that attaches to the back of the car to ramp up the fun.

Bluey’s Caravan Adventures Playset comes with 7 accessories and is loaded with things to do. Minipreneurs can flip and fold out the caravan to transform it into a fantastic playset.

Perfect for recreating the camping adventures from Bluey, the roof folds up to reveal a second storey and cosy bunk beds.

Minipreneurs can flip out the back of the van to open the kitchen. Bluey figures can sit around the table for dinner or toast a marshmallow over the campfire outside.

Bluey’s Caravan Adventures Playset is £29.99 from Smyths, Argos, The Entertainer and major supermarkets

Minipreneur loves practising early years maths and reading skills with the Hot Dots® Light-Up Interactive Pen and high-quality, colourful, spiral-bound activity maths and reading books.

The Hot Dots range helps children practise and learn independently and helps boost their confidence in reading and writing. Ideal for ages 4+, the Hot Dots® Learn at Home Reading & Maths Set 1 is something Minipreneur uses every day.

Hot Dots is easy to use – children press the tip of the set’s Hot Dots Light-Up Interactive Pen to the correct dot on the simple multiple choice questions featured in the books.

The pen provides instant audio feedback and lights up green for correct responses and provides gentle redirection and lights up red for incorrect answers. This allows children to self-correct and learn independently. (Sounds can be muted.)

Each spiral-bound book has 50 colourful pages and is durable and easy for young children to use. The set is ideal for learning at home or on the go and is a great way to support and practise what children learn in the classroom.

This set includes a Hot Dots Light-Up Interactive Pen, and a spiral-bound reading activity book and maths activity book, both made from durable card.

Hot Dots® Learn at Home Reading & Maths Set 1 is £35 from www.learningresources.co.uk

National Geographic Kids have teamed up with Schleich to create a range of toys that bring the wild into your Minipreneur’s playroom.

Budding explorers can experience exciting adventures with the Wild Life Ranger Adventure Station which provides plenty of inspiration for animal centred storytelling.

Along with Ranger Steve (who features moving arms and legs), the set includes a host of detailed and authentic wild animals including a black panther, a crocodile, two baby tortoise and a very cute baby gorilla!

Offering plenty of play potential, interactive functions include a rickety suspension bridge, a tree with slide, a crane which can be turned and swivelled and a burrow for the animals to hide in. A host of accessories are also included.

Schleich x National Geographic Kids Wild Life Ranger Adventure Station is £49.99 from www.schleich-s.com

Minipreneur loves the Design & Drill® toys from Learning Resources so we moved his pretend play up to the next level with the  Design & Drill® Toolbox.

There are so many ways to drill, build, and play with Design & Drill® Toolbox. Young builders can measure, hammer, screw, twist, and drill using kid-friendly tools made for little hands.

This durable play set includes a real working power drill with peekaboo window so children can see the gears turning. It also has a power screwdriver, 3 bits (Phillips, socket, and flathead), 50 bolts in 4 colours, retractable tape measure, wrench, manual screwdriver, hammer, 15 nails, and 2 building boards.

The tools store the toolbox for on-the-go building fun and easy clean-up and storage. Power drill and screwdriver each need 2 AA batteries, not included.

The Design & Drill® Toolbox is £57 from www.learningresources.co.uk

The park and playground are where it’s at for Minipreneur. He loves nothing more than playing on the swings, slides and roundabouts. However, on rainy days, the playground is not an option so Minipreneur needed to find another active play activity that got him moving while still offering all the fun of the playground indoors.

Edx Education’s Whizzy Dizzy provides the perfect solution as an indoor active play toy offering hours of thrilling fun long after you first bring it home.

The Whizzy Dizzy has a sturdy swivelling platform for your child to sit on as they use the central rotating steering wheel to spin themselves around for happy moments of giggly fun and excitement.

The Whizzy Dizzy is great for improving hand-eye coordination and gross motor skills, while also strengthening core, hand and arm muscles as children manoeuvre the moving platform.

Whizzy Dizzy is £109.99 from www.shopedx.co.uk

Minipreneur is very good at numbers. We were pleasantly surprised when he started counting to 10 before his second birthday and by the time he celebrated his third birthday, he was counting well passed 20.

However, it is important to offer balance in the learning journey of your toddler, so I needed to find an educational toy that brought the alphabet to life so that Minipreneur could work on his letter recognition and sounds, uppercase & lowercase letters and spelling.

Learning Resources came to the rescue thanks to their ABC Party Cupcake Toppers which help children to learn the alphabet, make simple words using the coloured alphabet and vocabulary toppers, to improve their early language skills and communication.

The set comprises of six pretend cupcakes which come ready to decorate with 52 letter and picture toppers that help kids work on learning the alphabet, mastering beginning sounds, building vocabulary skills, and more.

Minipreneur loves these ABC Party Cupcake Toppers which are a fabulous support to open-ended play. He can match the picture toppers to their starting letters, explore the difference between upper and lowercase letters, and the online word list provides a guide to spelling simple two- and three-letter words.

If the prospect of tidying up 52 toppers fills you with dread, fear not! When playtime ends, the toy cupcakes reveal their neatest trick yet – all 52 toppers can be stored inside the 6 cupcake bases and Minipreneur loves helping with clean up as we sing our tidy up song.

Learning Resources ABC Party Cupcake Toppers are £25 from www.learningresources.co.uk