The Norwich mum who spreads happiness to everyone she meets
Being happy is as easy as ABC for Norwich mum Cathy Fiddy. Emma Harrowing finds out that her secret is the work of fiction - or is it?
Wouldn't it be nice to regain that lost innocence of youth where you live in the moment and have that glass half full nature?
Cathy Fiddy, from Spixworth Road, hasn't lost it; in fact, the 37- year-old mum to two has put all her energy into a new book with the intention of making other people feel positive about their lives.
'The Jingle Jangle Girl skips along spreading happiness and glee to all those around her,' says Cathy.
'On her journey she turns frowns into smiles and even makes the local honey bees laugh!
'It is a children's picture book for the young at heart whether you are a newborn or 100 years old and it is all about encouraging children to be compassionate, kind and empathetic with colourful illustrations and a positive story to boot.'
Cathy wrote what is her first book for children in 2009, inspired by her friend Sophie who was suffering from cancer and going through chemotherapy.
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'She was positive throughout her ordeal and always had a smile on her face,' says Cathy. 'If the Jingle Jangle Girl is anyone it is her.
'I wrote the book one sunny April morning while sitting in my garden with a snoozing Thomas my youngest son (Cathy also has nine-year-old James). I came up with her name first and then doodled a picture of her as I wrote her story.
'I knew from the beginning that I would love something good and positive to come from The Jingle Jangle Girl. I always had a vision of the character being a positive brand for children, so her book is just the beginning!'
The 10-spread picture book tells the story of the life of the Jingle Jangle Girl with her friends Clara the cow, Charlie the sheep and Bertie the bee. The Jingle Jangle Girl and some of her friends have already been brought to life in knitted characters made by Norfolk designer Sue Maton, of The Mercerie, and Cathy is already sourcing suppliers so that the characters will be available to buy in the near future. Cathy says: 'In 2010, I decided that I would like the Jingle Jangle Girl to come alive and approached Sue. When she heard the story she asked if she could knit her. Sue is a very talented knitter and within no time I was gazing into the eyes of the Jingle Jangle Girl, my Jingle Jangle Girl, looking exactly as I imagined her.
'Now I'm thinking about creating the characters from the book for people to buy and even toying with the idea of creating 'make you own Jingle Jangle Girl' kits.'
Each element of the Jingle Jangle Girl brand from the story to encouraging the use of traditional crafts such as knitting is all based on Cathy's belief that people need to be mindful of the here and now rather than worrying about the past or future.
'It's a simple notion,' explains Cathy. 'As why worry about something that you cannot change or about something that has not and may not happen? The Jingle Jangle Girl teaches you to embrace the moment and take joy in what you are doing right now.'
And many people agree. Last December Cathy's Qigong teacher Deniz Paradot put her in touch with Michaela Barber of Ferini Media in Pakefield, resulting in the company taking the Jingle Jangle Girl under its wing with the promise of a book deal.
'It's amazing that so many people can see what a positive impact the Jingle Jangle Girl has,' says Cathy. 'It's now my plan to take her into schools and libraries so that she can turn frowns into smiles and spread her positive message.'
As Cathy talks, there is the unmistakable air of happiness surrounding her. It's contagious as after only spending a few minutes in her company you cannot help but feel a little bit more positive about life. She smiles, and as she raises her hand to touch the brightly coloured beads around her neck, the layers of her bracelets on her arm give out a little jingle. It is then that it dawns on me – she is the Jingle Jangle Girl.
The Jingle Jangle Girl by Catherine Fiddy will be published by Ferini Media in August and is available to pre-order now for �5.99 from www.thejingle-janglegirl.com