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How to create a reading nook for children in your home

Nooks to inspire a love of books: It’s easy to create a space for little ones to pick up a page-turner

  • Every child should have somewhere to fall into a book at home 
  • The ideal kids’ reading nook requires three things: comfort, secrecy, and storage 

Children’s books should be enjoyed in private. They should be read under the covers by torchlight after the grown-ups think you’ve gone to sleep; or hidden in treehouses with a supply of chocolate biscuits – anywhere where monsters, pirates and school chums can climb through the window.

Every child should have somewhere to fall into a book. A book nook, if you will. And it doesn’t take a lot of effort to create one. 

As children’s book author and critic Imogen Russell Williams says: ‘The ideal kids’ reading nook requires three things: comfort, secrecy, and convenient storage for an array of books and snacks.

Reading space: A simple small chaise longue can create a comfortable spot for young ones to enjoy books

Reading space: A simple small chaise longue can create a comfortable spot for young ones to enjoy books

‘Enclosed, cosy and full of soft, warm light, the best reading dens provide the perfect launchpad for a child’s imagination.’

Here are some suggestions.

Swathed in cotton

You can go Princess And The Pea by curtaining off a little cranny with a swirling, regal canopy from The Handmade Scandi Company. These come in pink, white, lavender or ‘cloud’ and cost £56.

For added twinkle, string fairy lights around and switch off the main light. Hey presto: stars in a night sky.

Looking for a canopy in bolder colours? The Rainforest Reading Corner Canopy from TTS Group will brighten up the reading corner (£71.99).

Inhabit an alcove

Find an existing little cranny and put it to good use. Throw in a few cushions, put up some bookshelves and string a curtain across so the mini-reader can shut him or herself away. 

The Kura bed curtain from Ikea comes with windows so your offspring can pop their head out from time to time (£25).

In their own world: Clambering into a tepee in the corner of the bedroom feels like an adventure in itself

In their own world: Clambering into a tepee in the corner of the bedroom feels like an adventure in itself

Reading tent

Clambering into a tepee in the corner of the bedroom feels like an adventure in itself. And the little reader can fall asleep among the pages. 

Argos sells a lovely bear-themed tepee made by Chad for £40. Or if you want to build a tepee together, just six bamboo poles and bedsheets held in place with clothes pegs will do the trick.

Build it

Natural light is great, especially for picture books. If you have a big window and can construct some seating around it, it makes a fab place to read of derring-do while staring out to imagine the action. If the window isn’t low down, a ladder up to the seat will add to the fun.

What goes inside

Make furniture comfy and a bit flexible. Your offspring may want to read sitting up or lying down, so some kind of small chaise longue should work well. 

The Handmade Sofa Company’s child-size chaise range is from £425. 

Or if you prefer something that looks like a miniature armchair and pouffe, John Lewis’s £72 Stardust bean bag chair and footstool will look stylish.

Add a desk, and encourage the child to respond to the book — writing their own sequel starring themselves. Ikea’s Micke costs £50.

To kit it all out in matching style, The Great Little Trading Company has a series of themed book storage boxes, display racks, rugs and bean bags. 

Or, if space is limited, you can buy ready-made seat/storage combos, such as the Children’s Bookcase from Little Helper for £97.

Savings of the week! Throws 

Snug: Oliver Bonas's Ena Blue Hand Woven Throw is reduced from £45 to £27

Snug: Oliver Bonas’s Ena Blue Hand Woven Throw is reduced from £45 to £27

You can call a throw a rug or a blanket — which takes its name from a weave first made by Thomas Blanket (Blanquette), a Flemish weaver who lived in Bristol in the 14th century.

But, whichever you choose, you are sure to be snug in bed, or on your sofa if you select one of the reduced price options in cosy fabrics.

The Cotswold Company has a moss grey, chunky-knit blanket reduced from £55 to £40. 

Wayfair’s wide range includes the Christy Oslo throw in the same chunky grey knit, down from £80 to £66.99. 

Made.com has a faux fur throw in a rich cinnamon shade down from £62 to £40. Oliver Bonas’s Ena Blue Hand Woven Throw is also reduced from £45 to £27, a cut of 40 per cent. 

Faux fur is set to be hugely popular this winter. But if you don’t feel the cold, but want to add colour to a room, Habitat’s Paloma knitted cotton throw comes in cobalt blue and saffron yellow. Its price is £17.50, a saving of £20 (argos.co.uk).

Anne Ashworth 

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Become a real-life Baron! Eight-bedroom Scottish castle with golf course, cinema room and wine cellar hits the market for £2.3million – and offers buyers the chance to have their own noble title

Property buyers have the opportunity to become a real-life Baron with their very own castle for just £2.3million.

Kelly Castle, located in Arbirlot, Scotland, has recently hit the market and offers the noble title of ‘Baron of Kelly in Angus’ to its potential new owners.

This hugely impressive tower house is steeped in history and grandeur, offering eight bedrooms, nine bathrooms and its own golf course across its 33.37 acres of land.

Listed Grade B by Historic Environment Scotland, the property is arranged over four storeys in an L-plan and also features a wine cellar, snooker room and cinema room.

A range of Earls and Lords have owned the castle throughout history, with many historians believing it was constructed by powerful thirteenth century Scottish noble Philip de Moubray.

Kelly Castle, located in Arbirlot, Scotland, is steeped in history and grandeur

Kelly Castle, located in Arbirlot, Scotland, is steeped in history and grandeur

This hugely impressive tower house offers eight bedrooms, nine bathrooms and its own golf course across its 33.37 acres of land

This hugely impressive tower house offers eight bedrooms, nine bathrooms and its own golf course across its 33.37 acres of land

The property is arranged over four storeys in an L-plan and features a basement bar, snooker room and cinema room

The property is arranged over four storeys in an L-plan and features a basement bar, snooker room and cinema room

According to archives, Philip de Moubray, a Norman settler, obtained lands in Angus from William the Lion, King of Scotland.

De Moubray was an important noble north of the border as he witnessed many of the king’s charters and was often employed in State affairs.

It is probable that he was the first builder of a tower or castle on the south bank of the Elliot water, although the current tower was most probably built in the fifteenth century.

The Moubrays forfeited the property in the reign of Robert the Bruce and it was given to the Stewart family who owned it until 1402 when it was acquired by the Ochterlony family.

In 1641, the building was sold to the Irvine family who extended it by adding the courtyard and wings.

More than 50 years later, the property passed to the Maule Earls of Panmure. The Maule family forfeited the site after the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715 , leaving it to be purchased by the Ramsay Earls of Dalhousie.

The castle was abandoned for around 100 years and local legend suggests the Great Hall, currently the Dining Room, was used to store contraband from the Continent.

It was purchased by its current owners in 2001, who undertook a sympathetic renovation and made ‘significant improvements and modifications’, which were completed in 2009. 

The property is perfect for those who are frequent travellers, as it is situated close to airports at Dundee and Edinburgh

The property is perfect for those who are frequent travellers, as it is situated close to airports at Dundee and Edinburgh

In 1641, the property was sold to the Irvine family who extended the property by adding the courtyard and wings

In 1641, the property was sold to the Irvine family who extended the property by adding the courtyard and wings

The owners constructed a private nine hole golf course within the 33.37 acres of land

The owners constructed a private nine hole golf course within the 33.37 acres of land 

It was purchased by its current owners in 2001, who undertook a sympathetic renovation and made 'significant improvements and modifications'

It was purchased by its current owners in 2001, who undertook a sympathetic renovation and made ‘significant improvements and modifications’

‘As castles come, Kelly Castle is certainly a special one,’ said David Law, head of Strutt and Parker in Edinburgh.

‘In immaculate condition, the present owners have worked tirelessly to create a practical family home within these turreted walls.

‘Not only does a potential buyer have the opportunity to acquire a 16th century castle, and with this manageable 33 acres of grounds including a golf course, but the title of ‘Baron of Kelly’ to go with it.’

The property is perfect for those who are frequent travellers, as it is situated close to airports at Dundee and Edinburgh. 

‘The prime country house and estates market in Scotland has always held strong appeal, particularly to overseas buyers who are drawn to our romantic landscapes, ancient buildings, and historic tales’, said the agent.

‘With Kelly Castle close to airports at Dundee and Edinburgh, I expect strong levels of interest from overseas buyers looking for their own slice of Scotland.

‘With an estate managers flat on site, and the knowledge that the building is in excellent condition, it’s a castle you really can just ‘lock up and leave’ if you suddenly need to catch a flight.’

 

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Richmond home that had a starring role in Ted Lasso goes on sale for whopping £4.5million

Ted Lasso fans lusting after similar views to the ones the fictional football manager enjoyed in Apple TV+’s hit series are in luck – a property a stone’s throw from the apartment Jason Sudeiki’s character lived in has come on the market. 

The catch? It’ll set you back £4.5million, thanks to its plum spot in one of South West London‘s most desired areas. 

The popular three-series show followed inexperienced American coach Ted struggling to manage the fictional London football club Richmond FC – and much of it was set in upmarket Richmond-upon-Thames. 

The Grade II Listed Georgian, being sold by Savills estate agent, is steps away from the Crown and Anchor pub – known in real life as The Prince’s Head – and just around the corner from Ted’s flat at 9½ Paved Court.

The Georgian house (centre) was a regular backdrop in Apple TV's three series of Ted Lasso, which followed US manager Ted as he tried to revive the fortunes of fictional Richmond FC

The Georgian house (centre) was a regular backdrop in Apple TV’s three series of Ted Lasso, which followed US manager Ted as he tried to revive the fortunes of fictional Richmond FC

The property seen behind Ted Lasso, played by Jason Sudeikis, in series three of the football comedy; the area has become a hotspot for fans of the show to visit

The property seen behind Ted Lasso, played by Jason Sudeikis, in series three of the football comedy; the area has become a hotspot for fans of the show to visit 

And the house looks out across Richmond Green, once a jousting ground to the former Richmond Palace and now home to summertime cricket matches.  

The spot has become a popular tourist spot – particularly with US tourists – since the third series of the show aired, with the finale coming last summer. 

With 3,698 sq ft to enjoy, the home is described by the agents selling it as ‘exquisite’, with its ‘period integrity’ perfectly preserved. 

The four-bed property dates back to the mid 18th century and includes ‘fabulous fireplaces, ceiling cornicing, wide exposed floorboards, an elegant staircase and a panelled hallway.’

Drawbacks? There’s only a small courtyard garden…but the Green is just a short walk away. 

Quite the view: The living room of the £4.5million home looks out across Richmond Green - and has kept many of its 18th century features

Quite the view: The living room of the £4.5million home looks out across Richmond Green – and has kept many of its 18th century features

In the bathroom, there's a gleaming roll-top bath, with fashionable wood pannelling on the walls

In the bathroom, there’s a gleaming roll-top bath, with fashionable wood pannelling on the walls

Not much room for a kickabout...but still, location is everything - and Richmond Green is close by

Not much room for a kickabout…but still, location is everything – and Richmond Green is close by

The property was built in the mid 18th century - and is likely to go for asking price thanks to its plum location

The property was built in the mid 18th century – and is likely to go for asking price thanks to its plum location 

The current owners may have tired of seeing tourists gathered close to their home; since the show became a huge hit tourists, particularly from the US, have visited the location

The current owners may have tired of seeing tourists gathered close to their home; since the show became a huge hit tourists, particularly from the US, have visited the location

One of the house's four lavish bedrooms, which includes wide, exposed floorboards

One of the house’s four lavish bedrooms, which includes wide, exposed floorboards

In its three seasons on air, Ted Lasso became a global comedy hit, delighting audiences with its culture-blending take on the world of British football.

But while the show was set in Richmond, it was dreamed up in a small comedy club in Amsterdam.

Back in 2001, Jason and co-creator Brendan Hunt were both performing at an improv comedy club in the Dutch capital, called Boom Chicago.

While living in the Netherlands city, Brendan became enthralled with European soccer, and he tried to share his newfound obsession with Jason.

The only problem was, Jason knew nothing about the sport – so the two decided to start playing the popular video game FIFA together while Brendan attempted to teach the actor the rules of soccer.

The dining room of the home has natural light galore thanks to two sets of patio doors

The dining room of the home has natural light galore thanks to two sets of patio doors

The sweeping curved staircase - with a runner - takes you up to the second floor of the three storey home

The sweeping curved staircase – with a runner – takes you up to the second floor of the three storey home

A minimalist kitchen, in pale pink, boasts a pretty island feature and chic brushed gold lighting

A minimalist kitchen, in pale pink, boasts a pretty island feature and chic brushed gold lighting

Not only did his plan work – Jason learned everything he needed to know from the game – but their video game sessions also resulted in tons of laughs for the duo, and the idea for the premise of the show was soon hatched.

The Los Angeles Times reported that no American had ever managed a European soccer team before, and the two started thinking about how funny it might be if someone like Jason gave it a go in real life rather than in a video game. But their idea wouldn’t actually come to life on the screen for many more years to come.

It wasn’t until Jason was hired by NBC to play a soccer coach in a series of commercial for the Premier League in 2013 that he and Brendan decided to turn their video game endeavors into a show.

After the success of the advertisements, Jason and Brendan, along with TV producer Joe Kelly, decided to write a script in which they took the character from the adverts and the idea they had years earlier and combined them to create the first season of Ted Lasso.

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Congratulations, Privacy Just Took A Great Leap Out the Window!

Your Data Is Being Used Without Your Permission And Knowledge

The Voice Of EU | In the heart of technological innovation, the collision between intellectual property rights and the development of cutting-edge AI technologies has sparked a significant legal battle. The New York Times has taken legal action against OpenAI and Microsoft, filing a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court. This legal maneuver aims to address concerns surrounding the unauthorized use of the Times’ content for the training of AI models, alleging copyright infringements that could potentially result in billions of dollars in damages.

READ: HOW YOUR DATA IS BEING USED TO TRAIN A.I.

This legal tussle underlines the escalating tension between technological advancements and the protection of intellectual property. The crux of the lawsuit revolves around OpenAI and Microsoft allegedly utilizing the Times’ proprietary content to advance their own AI technology, directly competing with the publication’s services. The lawsuit suggests that this unauthorized utilization threatens the Times’ ability to offer its distinctive service and impacts its AI innovation, creating a competitive landscape that challenges the publication’s proprietary content.

Amidst the growing digital landscape, media organizations like the Times are confronting a myriad of challenges. The migration of readers to online platforms has significantly impacted traditional media, and the advent of artificial intelligence technology has added another layer of complexity. The legal dispute brings to the forefront the contentious practice of AI companies scraping copyrighted information from online sources, including articles from media organizations, to train their generative AI chatbots. This strategy has attracted substantial investments, rapidly transforming the AI landscape.

Exhibit presented by the New York Times’ legal team of ChatGPT replicating a article after being prompted

The lawsuit highlights instances where OpenAI’s technology, specifically GPT-4, replicated significant portions of Times articles, including in-depth investigative reports. These outputs, alleged by the Times to contain verbatim excerpts from their content, raise concerns about the ethical and legal boundaries of using copyrighted material for AI model training without proper authorization or compensation.

The legal action taken by the Times follows attempts to engage in discussions with Microsoft and OpenAI, aiming to address concerns about the use of its intellectual property. Despite these efforts, negotiations failed to reach a resolution that would ensure fair compensation for the use of the Times’ content while promoting responsible AI development that benefits society.

In the midst of this legal battle, the broader questions surrounding the responsible and ethical utilization of copyrighted material in advancing technological innovations come to the forefront.

The dispute between the Times, OpenAI, and Microsoft serves as a significant case study in navigating the intricate intersection of technological progress and safeguarding intellectual property rights in the digital age.


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