Amazing as it is seems, this year is an incredible milestone in the world of children's literature because it marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter. Best known for creating The Tale of Peter Rabbit and the subsequent stories for children that make up a collection of 23 Tales, she has become a much-cherished national institution and many generations of children have enjoyed her stories.
I have fond memories of sitting down with my grandmother as she read me the tales of Jemima Puddle-Duck, Squirrel Nutkin, Mr Jeremy Fisher and Mrs Tiggy-Winkle amongst so many others, from the little white books. They were so well-thumbed that they ended up falling apart, which is a bit of a shame because I couldn't pass the originals on to my own children, but it is also the sign that the books have been enjoyed over and over again, which is much better than being neglected on a shelf !
Maybe I'm looking back with rose-tinted spectacles but back in the 1970's of my childhood, wildlife and nature seemed so much more accessible and we'd always love going off to look for the feathered and furry stars of the books in the garden or on nature walks. I remember being totally delighted to find a hedgehog hiding out in the woodpile before Bonfire Night, feeding peanuts by hand to the squirrels in the park or collecting newts and frogs from the garden pond and each time, our exepriences in the real world made the stories seem so much more enchanting and magical. This is something that I've tried to keep going with the Madhouse kids, with a few memorable moments.
We were totally astounded to discover a cheeky hedgehog in our local play area.
We got very close to the squirrels in another park.
A geocaching adventure resulted in a close encounter of the furred kind.
And we went pond dipping with a nature guide.
Beatrix Potter was so much more than just a children's author though, something that is particularly remarkable given the status of women over a century ago. She was an ambitious and successful businesswoman, fiercely guarding her creations and even pioneering the launch of the merchandise programme associated with Peter Rabbit. She was a revered scientist making important discoveries around mycology (the study of fungi) through her meticulous botanical drawings and was a passionate conservationist. Using the funds from the sales of her little books she bought land that was under threat from developers in her beloved Lake District, which she then bequeathed to the National Trust on her death. Beatrix was a fascinating woman and this anniversary allows us to celebrate her varied achievements and accomplishments, many of which went unnoticed during her lifetime.
To celebrate being part of the Beatrix Potter 150th Anniversary Easter Blog Tour, I have not one but two fabulous Beatrix Potter-themed giveaways going live today. Most of the other bloggers taking part are hosting giveaways too so make sure you head over to check out their blogposts and try your luck - tomorrow the blog tour will be stopping off at Sit Still Monkeys.
For the first of my giveaways, I have a lovely selection of Peter Rabbit merchandise to give away to one lucky Madhouse Family Reviews reader :
Mothercare Peter Rabbit Baby Range Peter Rabbit Bodysuit £8
Made from soft, snuggly cotton, this sweet bodysuit will take you back to your favourite childhood books which your little one will grow to love, with all over print of Peter Rabbit. With short sleeves to keep little arms cool on warmer days and handy popper openings on the shoulder and gusset for easy dressing and changing. (All poppers are nickel free to prevent irritation.)
Hat and Mitt set £8
Take a step back in time to the classically cute Peter Rabbit books with this perfect set for your hospital bag. The hat and mitts are made of a soft knit that will keep your beautiful newborn warm and snug. A cute matching set, the white hat and mittens look great paired with any outfit and are in neutral colours, making them perfect for a little boy or girl. Machine washable, 100% cotton
Grey Shawl £22
Wrap your little one up in the pram, pushchair, crib or for a cosy cuddle in this knitted shawl.This wonderfully soft shawl has been designed in a soft grey colour, making it ideal for your new little girl or boy - perfect for those snuggly first cuddles. Machine washable, 100% cotton
Link to purchase: www.mothercare.com
Twitter and Instagram: @mothercareuk
Charbonnel et Walker
A delicious children's classic, the Peter Rabbit milk chocolate novelty shows this delightful rabbit in his adorable blue coat and a beautifully illustrated bag with watering can print.
Link to purchase:
Facebook : Charbonnel et Walker
Peter Rabbit Baby Milestone Cards from Puffin Books
Hop, skip and jump through your baby's first year with Peter Rabbit. Contains 30 beautiful cards that mark the big events of your little one's life. Take a picture of your baby together with the milestone card to record and share these magical moments.
Link to purchase:
Founded in 1898, GUND has gone on to become America's oldest and most prestigious soft toy company. This gorgeous plush Peter Rabbit is 16cm tall and is suitable from age 1+. Perfect for little bunnies this Easter.
Available from HSamuel and FHinds
To be in with a chance of winning this fabulous prize package, worth over £70, just fill in your entries in the Rafflecopter widget below. I'll have another giveaway coming up shortly where you can win tickets to some fabulous Peter Rabbit days out too, so make sure you pop back to try your luck again.
UK only. Closing date : 4/4/16
T & C's : Entries close at midnight on the closing date. Winners will be selected with a random number generator and announced on facebook, twitter and in the giveaway post subject line. Please note, you will be contacted by email and/or twitter and if I haven't heard from you after 28 days, I'll have to pick another winner. Prizes will be sent out by the companies or their PR directly to winners. Madhouse Family Reviews cannot be held responsible for any prizes that go astray !
You may also like to enter my other giveaways :