I’ll tell you a story about Johnny Magory. Will I begin it? That’s all that’s in it.

This rhyme was popular when Emma Jane Leeson was a child and it inspired her father to make up bedtime stories about the fictional character. Emma continued this family tradition when her first daughter was born, retelling the stories her father had told her and adding some of her own.

In 2019, she set up Johnny Magory Business as an independent publishing house so she could share these stories with the world. All of them are now available at www.johnnymagory.com.

The Johnny Magory books are aimed at children up to eight years old. They are written in rhyme, with bright illustrations, full of facts about Irish heritage, wildlife and culture to inspire children to go outside and explore our wild and wonderful country.

All of the books are produced in Ireland. They are eco-friendly and recyclable, and Leeson donates part of her publishing house’s profit to the Children’s Health Foundation in Crumlin. They would make a great gift for children this Christmas.

Jiminy Christmas! A truffle-making kit!
Jiminy Christmas! A truffle-making kit!

Not too many chefs

Making buns and biscuits can be a wonderful way of spending time with kids. Many of us have happily whiled away an afternoon making and later devouring Rice Krispie cakes. However, Christmas calls for something a bit more special, like this Craft your own Chocolate Truffle kit, which is made in Cork.

You’ll find it for sale at www.jiminy.ie for €36.90. The kit contains chocolate, a range of different toppings, coconut sugar, and cocoa powder, and instructions telling you exactly how to make 50 indulgent truffles. There are also five transparent bags with ribbons so that you can give your chocolate creations away as gifts once you’ve made them.

All of the packaging is biodegradable and recyclable. The ingredients are organic. Kids enjoy the hands-on process of making the truffles, and the end result is delicious.

Order by noon on Wednesday, December 22 to ensure pre-Christmas delivery.

Robin Seymour (11 yrs), Amelia Maughen (10 yrs) and Jacob Seymour (9 yrs) jostling for position launching this year's GOAL Mile at UCD's new running track.
Robin Seymour (11 yrs), Amelia Maughen (10 yrs) and Jacob Seymour (9 yrs) jostling for position launching this year’s GOAL Mile at UCD’s new running track.

Going for Goal

It’s easy to spend the Christmas holidays watching movies and tucking into chocolates while cuddling up with the family on the sofa. While this is all part of the holidays, it’s also a good idea to get fresh air and exercise outside.

Signing up for the Goal Mile is an opportunity to do just that and raise funds for an Irish charity. Running or walking the Goal Mile has become a Christmas tradition for thousands of families since the fundraiser started 40 years ago. More than 25,000 people now take part every year.

Goal CEO Siobhán Walsh says: “The Goal Mile offers a fantastic way to bring people together during the holidays and have some fun while supporting our Irish-born humanitarian aid agency. Last year, Goal provided aid to 18.5m of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable adults and children.”

All the money raised this year will be channelled into Goal programmes in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Ukraine, providing healthcare nutrition, livelihood support and safe water and sanitation facilities.

Goal Miles are run all over the island of Ireland, with most taking place on Christmas Day and St Stephen’s Day. To register with one near you, visit www.goalmile.org.

Keeping toddlers busy

If you have toddlers, you’re likely to be constantly looking for ways to keep them busy. For inspiration, visit the @happytoddlerplaytime Instagram account.

Run by mother-of-three Mandisa Watts and followed by 306,000 parents it shows you how to use cardboard, recycled materials, and all sorts of other household items to make art and craft projects. You will also find lots of sensory activities and early learning games.

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