Latest News

“Ben and the Bug” takes to the small screen

Natalie Reeves-Billing, children’s author, and I have teamed up to create a new video to help children understand the current Coronavirus situation.

The video, based on Natalie’s book Ben and the Bug*, helps to explain and stimulate discussion with young children through a beautifully written and illustrated narrative. In the tale, Ben visits the local park and meets a bug called Ben and brings him home. Ben causes people around him to get sick and learns how to protect people from getting ill.

I read the book to a friend’s young son and I was instantly captivated by the way Natalie had told the story of a virus in a simple and non-frightening way. I have now partnered with Natalie to bring the book to life for families to watch and share online in an entertaining and educational interpretation reading of the story.

I joined forces with fellow independent author Natalie Reeves-Billing to explain the complexities of Coronavirus to a young audience.

Natalie Reeves-Billing, the author of best-selling Ben and the Bug, believes that whilst the world struggles to come to terms with Coronavirus young children need help to understand what is happening.

Ben and the Bug by Natalie Reeves-Billing

About Natalie

Natalie Reeves-Billing is a social entrepreneur and children’s author. In February, she launched Split Perspectivz, a business helping schools and community centres in underfunded areas to access literacy aids. Natalie believes storytelling to be a powerful form of catharsis and self-growth, and an essential tool for accessing tough subjects. Her latest children’s books are an example of this. Natalie explores alternative viewpoints and multiple narratives to help families achieve connectedness and understanding. There’s never been a more important time to convey this message.

See Lollipop Lodge for more about Natalie and her books.

More storytelling

See The Complaining Cow storytelling for more stories for young children and parodies for adults.

Talking and reading about death in a way to help children understand when someone is dying/has died especially if they are unable to see them to say goodbye.

This story is suitable for children missing seeing people at any time. If they have lost someone or it’s been a long time since they have seen their friends or family members such as in Lockdown. Although apart we are still connected…

Helen Dewdney reads from The Invisible String

*Affiliate link


Latest News

From lockdown lows to High Street highs – a return to shopping at last?

Coronavirus/COVID19 has hit nearly every sector. And hit it hard. An already struggling High Street has been taking a battering and the move to returning to shopping will be a slow and painful one.

I asked my Facebook fans whether they would be returning to the shops anytime soon and this was their response:

yes 8.3% No 66.7% I

Generally, the people who responded didn’t feel as though they wanted to return. Many felt that they had learnt that they do not need to buy so much “stuff”.

For example:


It appears that the pandemic has caused people to shop more locally and that even if things cost more then they will continue to shop locally. For example:

A lot of people have moved to more online shopping and say that they will continue to do this and shop local. For example:

Some others have seen it as an opportunity for getting a few bargains:

However, for everyone except NHS workers going to some stores, there were no bargains to be had, as Andrew told me when I asked if he had got anything!

As well as people changing their shopping habits, others just don’t feel safe shopping. They say that this is due to people not sticking to guidelines now.

For example:

Others hope that people will return to shopping to support the economy. For example:

Many stores remained closed last week (15-21 June), including those that will never reopen unless a buyer can be found for them, as they go into administration.

Although there were long queues for many places, such as Primark, car parks were far from full, suggesting that people were still staying local. In other parts of Europe where retail has slowly returned it has been reported that people are spending more but not nearly enough to cover the losses incurred by retailers during the lockdown period.

As lockdown measures are eased it is likely that consumers will start to adapt. After all, if there is no vaccine for COVID-19 then we will have to learn to adapt to living with the virus threat and that includes shopping. We have to hope that stores will introduce and keep their risk assessments and protection measures under constant review.

If you are going shopping make sure you know your rights if things go wrong:

Posts which will help with various scenarios:

Don’t get tied in knots over wedding cancellation some venues are not fully refunding couples, charging them fees, not providing a like-for-like alternative next year etc. Here’s what to do about it!

Wedding venues and insurance getting refunds


Coronavirus and travel – who’s taking advantage? outlines the law and what the different relevant agencies are saying/doing about travel companies and airlines and refunds.

Travel in the time of Coronavirus – Your rights explained  outlines what your rights are and how to assert them regarding holidays and flights in this country and abroad.

Coronavirus related cancelled and postponed events your rights outlines your rights and how to assert them when events in this country or abroad are cancelled.

Coronavirus - how to ensure you gain redress when a venue cancels


Online shopping – know your rights during the pandemic explains your rights and how to assert them when things go wrong with an online shop.

COVID-19 scams – How to stay safe a guest post by Paul Newton about current COVID-19 related scams.

Further help with getting redress

Top 20 Tips How to Complain! Use these tips when you complain to be effective! is a site which gives you the contact details for CEOs. The CEO may not respond personally but it does get the matter escalated and you should get a response from one of the executive team.

Cover of How to Complain updated 2019 large cow logo


For more advice, tips and templates for complaining GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!