Jack and the Bookstalk – my Usborne Adventure

Aaaaaaages ago I mentioned a “new venture” I had started doing and said I would blog about it later…. well finally, I am pleased to say that “later” is now!

Once upon a time…

One thing you should know about me is that I am a book nerd. I love them – always have done! I love reading, I love the feel of a book, the smell of the pages, the noise of the spine creaking as you open it for the first time, the slight resistance you get when turning a new page… just everything! I love going into libraries and book shops and just looking

At university when I studied foundation art and illustration, one of the modules we had to do was “book binding” and as part of that one of the projects was to turn a book into something different. We were encouraged to pierce, tear, burn, cut, screw up and ultimately destroy a book in an artistic fashion but the thought of that made me feel sick! How could I possibly hurt one of my “friends”?!

Since I can remember, my Grandad Sid (who Jack is named after), had always reiterated how books should be treated with respect – use a bookmark and don’t turn down the corners of the page, don’t squeeze a book into a gap on a bookcase that clearly isn’t big enough, don’t write in books and don’t lean on books to write or draw. So destroying a book was hard for me….luckily, I felt the Yellow Pages didn’t really count as a proper book so I ended up using that instead but you get the drift. I like books.

jack usborne
Jack helping me deliver leaflets on Friday

One (stupid) thing that I am worried about as Jack  gets bigger is when he inevitably rips one of his/ my books… I know that he won’t understand and that it’s all part of his development but I know I’m going to be a bit cross and a little heartbroken about it! Maybe that’s why I’ve put all his books (apart from the board ones) up on the top shelf of his room!



…there was a girl who loved books….

I have so many books at home and on my Kindle, many of which I still need to read, but even before I had Jack, a lot of my collection is made up of children’s books because of my affinity with the illustrations inside – Shirley Hughes, Quentin Blake, Catherine Rayner to name a few of my favourite illustrators.

A long time ago I dreamed of being a children’s book illustrator (hence the degree I suppose) but with a mortgage and wedding to pay for at the time, when I left uni, freelance work wasn’t really practical and I had lost my way a bit with it all. Maybe one day I will take it up again…

Anyway so six years later here I am at home with Jack thinking how useful it would be if I could find something I enjoy doing and am passionate about, that fits around looking after Jack and will help earn a little bit of extra money whilst I’m on maternity leave when I spot an advert on my Facebook that catches my eye.


Do you love books? Yes I really do.

Are you looking for work that is flexible around existing work and family commitments? Yes – how did you know?

Want free books for you and your family to enjoy? Er hello!!! Of course I do!

Join a fast growing, successful team building your own business selling Usborne children’s books! Alrighty then, where do I sign up!

…so she joined Usborne to share her love of books and reading to as many little humans as possible!

So I signed up for £38 and my starter kit box of books arrived three days later! I’ve called my business “Jack and the Bookstalk” (do you see what I did there? Ha ha!) and I’ve been doing it for 2 months now and thoroughly enjoying it! I love looking at the books, sharing different books with the followers on my page, coming up with competitions, planning and hosting parties, doing all the admin stuff like posters and business cards – it’s lots of fun and gives me just what I was looking for!

box sign
My lightbox for stalls and events!

I’m taking things really slowly with it at the moment because it’s a bit difficult to get things done when I’m looking after Jack 24 hours a day but that’s whats great about being an organiser with Usborne – I can just do it as and when I can. As he gets older, I will try and do more and more with it as it has the potential to go from being a hobby to a full time job but we shall see what happens! It also gives me a bit of adult “me” time in the evenings, plus I’ve met some really lovely people so and have some super lovely books for Jack so win win all round!

Usborne is a great company/ publishers/ employer/ children’s book guru anyway so I’m really happy to have joined the team. I actually went to apply for a design job with them before I was pregnant as my friend Laura works for them (so jealous) but the thought of commuting in and out of London every day really put me off. Still, maybe it’s something to consider for the future.

And they all lived happily ever after!

page cover photoSo there we go. I am officially an “Usborne Independent Organiser” – whoo hoo!! That also makes me a “self-employed business woman” – I like the sound of that! Looking forward, well dreaming ha ha, I would LOVE to have an actual book shop one day with a little cafe selling homemade cakes and pastries, an event space for people to host parties, meetings, poetry readings, creative writing classes, life drawing classes… it will be awesome! But for now, I am quite happy that I’m one step closer to actually doing it!

You can find out more about Usborne books via my page on Facebook – www.facebook.com/jackandthebookstalk 


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