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Last weekend, we had the pleasure of travelling to London to spend time in the company of the terribly talented, award-winning author and illustrator duo, Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre.  They’re collaborators of some of our favourite stories, including their newest book, Jinks & O’Hare Funfair Repair. We were in fact awaiting our delivery of that very book on the morning we set off to see them.

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We went to see Sarah and Philip by invitation from Emirates, who are launching a new programme, Flight Time Stories, which seeks to harness the creative power of holidays and travel abroad and drive it into encouraging children to write and express their wildest, most exciting travel dreams in the form of stories – Flight Time Stories.

According to research, more and more young children are enjoying long haul travel destinations – in 2013, we took our two oldest boys who were then 3 and 20 months old, to Walt Disney World in Florida.  The memories we made as a family are more precious than anything I’ll ever own – and that time in the USA still inspires them to create stories and tales to tell family members and friends even 3 years on.

So, we spent an amazing day learning how to create a story from beginning to end [we used a board game template, and it was fantastic] how to draw animals, and the boys were in their element having their faces painted and balloon animals created for them.  They’re now putting together their own submission for Flight Time Stories – and you can too!



Parents are invited to visit the Flight Time Stories website with their children and together submit their own holiday-inspired story, along with a colourful front cover design. Philip and Sarah will be taking inspiration from the stories that are submitted in the site for a new children’s book, which will be available in early 2017 [and which we are so excited to read!].

Imagine seeing your own idea appear in a published book that so many other children and grown ups will read?  Whilst we were enjoying our day, Sarah and Philip created our idea of a candy stealing reindeer [above] and a drew a moose for us [below] – and then drew a beautiful poster of Jinks and O’Hare, along with our three boys in it.  It completely blew our and our boys’ minds. You can see that on our blog soon, it’s up very high for safe keeping at the moment!

What’s even more amazing is that as well as the possibility of your idea featuring in the book, one family will win a once-in-a-lifetime holiday for four to Dubai to provide them with even more fantastic inspiration for future stories.


We even learned how to draw one of Sarah’s Seamonkeys!


After all of our drawing came the face paints and balloons.  Best. Day. Ever.

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We chatted so much that we were soon the last people there – and as Jensen and Lyoto are such huge fans, Sarah and Philip created a special souvenir for them.  They never stopped smiling all day.

We can’t thank Emirates, Philip and Sarah enough – and not just for the fantastic event, but because these are the role models we want to surround our boys with – the talented, dedicated, inspiring and creative minds that will drive them to reach for their dreams – to believe in the “what ifs?”.  The word author is held in high regard in our household – and long may that continue.

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Good luck with your Flight Time Stories!  There are more photographs from the day [including the low-down on secret author shoes] on our Facebook page here:

The competition is open until November 6th – get writing!


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