3D modelling workshop

The Selfish Sailor 3D modelling workshop was a great success! It turns out that we collected far too much rubbish and recycling and ended up throwing half of it in the bin anyway. 

After sorting through endless bags of rubbish and recycling we found the goodies and arranged them on a trestle table at the front of the workshop. 

I started the workshop by reading the The Selfish Sailor book, followed by a slide show of facts and images showing the affects that plastic has on creatures who live in and around the sea. The children then went to have a good look at the 'stuff' we had collected before heading on to their design sketches. 

The children used; glue, tape, skewers and a hot glue gun to assemble their recycled items. 

I was very impressed with the thought that went into the models, every child showed a great deal of imagination. 

This is a wonderful rainy day activity at home and it costs next to nothing! Reuse bits and pieces that you would normally throw out to entertain the kids and get their creative juices flowing. 


The day has finally come where I can say that my book The Selfish Sailor is now published! 

If you have been following my story you will know that it has been a huge learning curve on my part. I started writing the story two years ago (almost to the day). I am the author, the publisher, the marketer and now the seller. I have had to learn the steps involved in this process as I go along. If truth be known, I'm exhausted from it. But the journey has in a way, just begun. 

THANK YOU to everyone who was a part of the process or supported me along the way, look at what we did!? I am so happy with the outcome. 

The Selfish Sailor Workshop

Calling all primary school children living in London who want something fun to do during the October half term! 
I have teamed up with local artist Lisa Price and together we are running a workshop in Harringay, North London based around my new book. See details below and check out the link to book in for only £6!


The Selfish Sailor: 3D Recycled Sculptures - Tuesday 24th October 10am-12pm

During this workshop the children will listen to author Rebecca Douglas read her newly published book- The Selfish Sailor. 

We will discuss the impact humans have on the environment and how we can make better use of our rubbish. The children will design and make a 3D sea creature, inspired by the book, using a variety of different recycled materials and techniques.

We will look at artist David Edgar who is an enthusiastic recycler and expert in model making.

***Signed copies of The Selfish Sailor will be available to buy for £10***





Marketing Madness

Marketing Madness... A bit of an alliteration cliche I know, but it really is MAD and by mad I mean difficult, unknown and confusing, to name a few. I could/ have spent hours reading through writers blogs on how to market a book. But when do I stop trawling and actually start promoting?!

When you're a writer you have to do a lot of research into your topics. You have to read to be able to write successfully, but at some point enough has to be enough, otherwise you will never get anything done. So I've stopped reading about it (for now) and am trying to actually do it!

I find Instagram difficult to keep up with, I don't seem to have enough cool/ artistic/ bookish photos to post. Am I even connecting with the right audience? Kids aren't on Instagram (WE HOPE) so I need to be connecting with all the Mummies, Daddies and teachers out there.

I've started promoting The Selfish Sailor at the school I teach at, *see previous blog post* which is a great start! Now I plan to share The Selfish Sailor and my environmental lessons with other schools, to spread the word. The word being THE SELFISH SAILOR IS COMING TO A BOOKSHOP NEAR YOU VERY SOON.

Local libraries, book shops, parks, literacy festivals... I want to be the face of this book and the face of RD AUTHOR. I want to get to know the readers, and for you to know me. I'll continue the social media drive to promote this book but I won't be hiding behind the computer screen. 

Word of mouth is the most effective way to promote a book. So get talking guys, and remember, the word is... THE SELFISH SAILOR IS COMING TO A BOOKSHOP NEAR YOU VERY SOON. 


This was a successful marketing strategy on dress up day at school. Gave the children lot's to talk about. 

The Selfish Sailor presentation

Arts week. Theme- making art your business.

Business means money and that is certainly not my goal for this book. Like I've said before, my goal is for a child to see The Selfish Sailor in a book shop or a library, pick it up and say "I want this book".

That to me is success. 

Over the last few days I have been presenting The Selfish Sailor in it's unfinished state, to the Reception and Year One children during lessons and assemblies. They were fascinated to hear that 38 million pieces of plastic have washed up to an island called Henderson Island, in the South Pacific. The impact this waste has on the creatures who live in the sea is enormous.

We looked at some photos of some very sad turtles and sea lions who have been let down by selfish people. 

I then read The Selfish Sailor, had questions and answers, and explained the long process of becoming a (nearly) author. The children were so inspired that they wanted to create their own books. So first off we completed a character description. You can't have a story without knowing all there is to know about your main character (thank you City Lit). 

We had superheroes, mermaids, captains and even bananas as characters. 

The children then set off to complete their books. The classroom has never been so quiet. There were so many lovely and well thought out stories.

Is it wrong to pinch a book idea off of a five year old?! 

There was even a re-edition of The Selfish Sailor! 


Self-publishing naivety

Write a book she said…


Well no one said it would be easy but I went in completely blind. I had no idea there were so many steps involved. Just to be clear, I’m not finished yet but so far it has not been a piece of cake.

I wrote the story with ease, over the Chirstmas break when I went home to New Zealand for a three month holiday. I had all the time in the world. Once the story was written I thought ‘hmm I could find an illustrator and get this published’. I seriously thought it was going to be as easy as that. Off I went with my holiday-mode, relaxed mindset, eager to make this a reality.


I did hours, days and weeks of research… because of course I had all the time in the world. I discovered that self publishing was the way to go to ensure I had full control over my very first book. I found an illustrator I was 110% confident with and basically handed over the responsibility for a few months.


Next step was sending it to a printing house to make books right? Wrong.


An editor... I’d heard of it but is it a must?

My partner, my best friend, my mum… does that count?


A book designer… to be honest I thought the printing house would have this part covered

Annabelle came to the rescue and we get started in just three days time!


Illustration scanning, duh of course but no one tells you these things. You just stumble across them as you go along.

Illustrations are currently being put through the machine and I pick them up tomorrow.


Printing house. Which one?  Where?

Inside paper weight? 70lb text… What does that mean?  

I feel super under qualified to be making these decisions.  I was totally naïve thinking this would be an easy ride but I’m thankful to everyone who has put their hand up to help me out. I definitely don’t have ‘all the time in the world’ anymore. Working full time as a teacher in one of the busiest, most tiring cities in the world leaves little time for book production.


Like the people say; if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. I guess that’s what separates me from the rest. I’ll keep going until it’s done and then I might even do it again.

Orphan Christmas Poetry

In 2014 I moved from New Zealand to London, for what I thought would be a year... two MAX. Nearly three years down the track I'm still in London and with no plan on leaving any time soon! My first Christmas away from home I spent with four girlfriends and it was a lot of fun! Back in 2014 I wrote a poem to mark the occasion. Here it is.


Family means everything this time of year, I miss them so much as Christmas comes near.
Thinking of home where the sun is hot, summer is there,
but here it is not.

Every Christmas we eat outside in the heat,
sipping on beer,
in togs and bare feet.

Swimming is a must on Christmas day, a kind of tradition that most kiwis play.

Bike riding down by the Arrowtown river, thinking of home, in bed I shiver.
Waking to darkness.
The days are grey.
Returning to darkness at the end of the day.

The nights are long, yet sleep is brief.
To close your eyes is such relief.

From working all day, cold through to the bone. I put on the one woolly jumper I own.
Externally cold but internally warm.
Watching the people,
the places transform.

Santa Claus features on most attire. A jumper of which I must acquire.
London at Christmas- it’s like a story come true,
and I’m actually living it. If only you knew…

How beautiful it is, the lights in the street
and the crazy, jolly old people you meet.
Carols are sung in stations around, and smiles on faces are easily found.

Even the man who sits on the street,
with his hat turned up, showing his very cold feet
Shouts out -Merry Christmas,
and asks for a pound,
to help him relocate for the day from the ground.

There’s joy in the air, despite the weather
everyone seems to come together.
Strangers exchange smiles and offer their seat,
to the man on the train who has old feet.

Although family’s so far and I miss them dearly, I’m with my friends who I value sincerely.
We laugh and we drink,
we eat and we think,
and each of us has a missing link.

So we understand it’s different, and it might be sad,
but it’s OK ‘cos we’re family,
so it’s not that bad.

How you know you're a writer


1.      The notes section in your IPhone is full.

Do you do this? … You’re sitting on the train on your way home from work right? Some odd-looking guy gets on the same carriage, northern line. He’s wearing a yellow, rubber ducky tie and he has odd socks.

You’re just thinking… what the?
Then bam! Quick, unlock your phone. Open a new notes page.

You write down his name, Tyron (sorry Ty).

You describe his attire. Eccentric… hmm unconventional.

This odd-ball who we've named Tyron, works in central London and he definitely doesn’t carry paperwork in his oversized briefcase.

And there you have it. Another notes page with yet another fabulous character to add to your never ending story ideas.


2.       You read a lot. Nobody ever has time for reading, or so they say.

If you have time to watch Stranger Things on Netflix, then you have time to read.

If you have time to chat on the phone, then you have time to read.

If you have time to upload a photo of your lunch to Instagram, then you have time to read!
You get the message.


It’s something so many people don’t MAKE time for. I’m guilty of this one myself. Although I read countless children’s books during the day thanks to my job. I guess for me that counts, as that’s the audience I write for.

3.       You refer to yourself in the third person. This is totally just storytelling, so you’re completely normal.

Perhaps you’re taking your own name for a test run, as it could be the perfect name for that character in your forever-never-finished-novel.

Or you’re a teacher and that’s always been a valid excuse for talking in the third person, right?


4.       You correct everyone! Are you that annoying person in the office when someone says aint you throw it right back down their throat with a forceful, loud “ARE NOT”

The annoying girlfriend who can’t just let it go when he says a double negative. I just can’t bite my tongue. It doesn’t make sense!

“I don’t know nothing about this”

Well actually mate, if you don’t know nothing, then you must know everything, and you sure as hell don’t know that two negatives make a positive.


I even cringe when my 5-year-old students forget to use finger spaces.

Yes Elmer the elephant is patchwork, and you wrote on the line. But come on kid put your finger down every once in a while! I can get over the fact that "he" has an extra e, because we just covered the ee digraph that day, so Master 5 must listen to me sometimes!

5.       You jump up and down with excitement when you walk past a book store

OK, you don’t walk past it, you walk straight in. Maybe you don’t jump up and down, but you spend at least an hour browsing and not buy a single thing.

And by browsing I mean reading. Is that even allowed?

A bookstore to a writer, is like a candy store to a child.

Christmas really can come more than once a year, but only to the lucky ones.  







Read to succeed

Read to succeed

There are so many opinions online about children and reading. Parents have so many questions, to which there are multiple answers. At what age should children be reading basic level books? At what age should reading be academically taught? I will start off by saying there is no right or wrong answer. There is evidence to say reading should be taught to very young children. Many nurseries begin to teach letter sounds which follows onto reading CVC words. For example, cat, pin, tap, mat. I know, it’s crazy to think your child might have only just learnt to talk and now they are beginning to decode written text. There is also evidence which suggests not to teach children to read until much, much later. As a Waldorf Steiner trained teacher my heart sits slightly closer with the latter. However, as I currently teach in an academic, independent school in London, I am more familiar with the first approach. I have put together some points which outline my personal philosophy on this topic and indicate what you as parents and educators can do to encourage a love for books from a young age.

1.       Read to your child from the beginning. I’m suggesting to a baby of just a few days old here. Fine, settle in back home from the hospital. Granted you just birthed a human and reading a baby book probably isn’t high on your priority list, but you get what I mean. Who said new born babies wont gain anything from it? Who said they won’t appreciate it? You could read the paper. Your own novel, your Facebook thread! Just read, and do so out loud. Babies love the sound of their parent’s voice. It makes them feel secure and comforted. Babies are little sponges soaking up information so do choose the content wisely. Not only that, they are adapting to their new environment earth side. Just like when animals adapt, they become one with their environment, learning customs and routines. If adults incorporate reading into everyday life, that becomes habit which the young will pick up.

2.       Let the child choose the material just as much as you. Have a bookshelf full of children’s books, adult books and everything in between. Fiction, non-fiction, fairy tales, newspapers, magazines, atlases, dictionaries… need I continue? I in particular love a children’s rhyming book, so my class of 20 are getting pretty good at ending a rhyming string. However, the children have a variety of books available for them to choose from. Maybe Master Four chooses the paper in the morning at breakfast as he is imitating Dad. Fantastic! I hear parents in the library directing their child to the picture books. when all they really want to hold in their hand is what their big sister is reading. Of course little Miss Two cannot read the text and therefore enjoy the story. But is that the point? Books are so much more than reading text. This young child in the library is doing exactly what I mentioned above, imitating and nourishing an understanding for the love and importance of books.

3.       Limit technology available for children. When a child says that they are bored, rather give them options which nourish their imagination. Boredom comes from limited imagination. If a child is able to imagine and create, then they can never be bored. Television gives the child the story and the picture. The animation tells the child how to feel. The colours used in the images are already decided and the movement of characters is given to the child. When a child reads, or is read a book, their imagination automatically engages. What is so wonderful about imagination is that everyone’s is different. Books nourish the ability to imagine and create. Just like so many other things, if we don’t use it, we lose it. Which is exactly why children have better use of their imagination than adults. The Harry Potter books for example. We imagined a unique and magical world from descriptive text. I don’t know about you but my magical Harry Potter world was totally different to the films.

4.       Teach children about books. When visiting libraries, children gain an understanding of the importance of books. Imagine it from a child’s perspective. A whole building filled with books… “Wow they must be important”. Teach young children to value illustration, and to understand that print carries meaning. Teach children that information can be retrieved from books and how to use books as a tool to do so. Giving credit to the authors and illustrators gives the book ownership and greater meaning, as well as inspiring children to tell stories and create themselves. Again nourishing their imagination. 

5.     Don’t push a child into reading! I don’t want to come across contradictory as I’m clearly an advocate for books so let me clarify. If your seven-year-old wants to look at the picture and be read to, that is OK. It is just as valuable. It’s not worth the risk of putting a child off reading by forcing it upon them. I’m a big believer that the skill to read will just come when it’s good and ready. That time will come with ease and at pace if the child is immersed in a literacy rich environment, with endless opportunities. Text is simply a code. Children are code breakers. If a child feels empowered when tackling the challenge of reading, they are more likely to pick it up. Remember to always praise their effort as well as their successes.


6.     Use books as a tool. As an adult, use books to help children through life’s challenging bumps in the road. Miss 5 refuses to eat peas, read I will not ever never eat a tomato. In the Charlie and Lola series by Lauren Child. Master 7 is frightened of the dark? Read What a bad dream by Mercer Mayer. Older sibling struggling to control anger? Read Wilma Jean the Worry Machine by Julia Cook. We know that traditional tales have underlying messages which teach morals. Modern-day stories are the same. You can almost turn any story into a lesson for a child if you wanted too. However, I’m not suggesting you do. Books are there to be used as a tool to teach a lesson but first and foremost books are an escape from reality.

I had 10 points written down and could definitely write many more on this topic. I’ve merely touched the sides with 6. Just know that reading to a child develops wonderful listening skills and that stories create inquisitive children. Remember to practise what you preach and to be worthy of imitation.