Category Archives for "Fun and games"

Marty’s World: Meet Edmund

Illustration of Edmund, Marty's Brother - A Smart Way To Start

My bother is called Edmund.
He’s soon 12 years old.
He enjoys going swimming,
even when it is cold.
He loves going snorkelling
at the seaside,
and plays by the rock pools
when it is low tide.

He wants to protect
all the oceans and seas,
and make sure the water
is all plastic-free.
His dream is to learn
how to dive in the deep,
and see in real life
a pretty “leaf sheep”.
He loves the anemones,
sea snails and slugs,
and he’s equally friendly
to beetles and bugs!

Illustration of Edmund, Marty's Brother - A Smart Way To Start

Favourite Animals
Siamese fighting fish, blue angel sea slugs (glaucus atlanticus) and leaf sheep sea slugs (costasilla kuroshimae).

Favourite Quote
Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it.

Edmund is named after Edmund Burke (1723-1792), who was an Irish political philosopher and statesman often regarded as the father of modern conservatism. He wrote about the importance of moral stability and was a proponent of underpinning virtues with manners in society.

Marty’s World: Meet Beatrix

marty's world: meet beatrix. a smart way to start by mara catherine harvey

My grandma is Beatrix.
Her hair is all grey.
She has lots of wrinkles
that don’t go away.
Her blue eyes light up
whenever she smiles,
and her favourite thing
is walking for miles.

She might not be young
but she still is quite fit,
she strolls through the fields
and won’t stop to sit.
She loves taking photos
of birds in the sky,
and watching the swallows
that swoop as they fly.

She once owned a business
but now she’s retired,
and likes to write stories
at night by the fire.
Each single story
comes straight from her heart,
and I love all her lessons
on how to be smart.

martys world

Favourite Birds
Swallows, blue jays and red-cheeked cordon bleus.
And Francis, of course!

Favourite Quote
There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story.
You never quite know where they'll take you.

Beatrix is named after Beatrix Potter (1866-1943), who was an English writer, illustrator, natural scientist and conservationist. She wrote twenty-three wonderful children’s books featuring animals and illustrated her books with lovely watercolour paintings. She is the inspiration for the watercolours in A Smart Way To Start.

Happy International Day of The Woman

international women's day_Smart_Way_to_start
I want to celebrate this International Day of The Woman by acknowledging what we have achieved and what we can still achieve as women. 

This International Day of The Woman, I am celebrating the strength, willpower, and resilience of women all around the world and all the women who came before us: all the advancements we have seen in gender equality in the workplace as well as all the progress we have seen in labour market participation, political participation, in STEM education, in health and in women’s rights across the globe. At the same time, I invite all women to continue to make bold moves and choices that will further empower themselves, their families, their children and their communities - and take more control and ownership over their financial futures.

We are strong, we are worthy and we are capable. We are more than capable of shaping the brighter, diverse, creative and rewarding future that we strive for. 


And together with all the men who are encouraging us, supporting us and teaming up with us along our way. Keep going strong! For ourselves, for all our families, for our daughters and for their daughters and for all the generations to come. 

And we all know that sometimes it’s hard, and some days we feel like giving up, some days we feel it’s unfair, and some days we don’t want to always have to fight. But most days...well, most days it’s GREAT. It’s fun, it’s empowering, it’s encouraging and it’s joyful. Know that we are in this together and that we are making huge strides forwards. Because we dare. 

We are the change-makers, we are the dreamers, we are the doers. We make equality advance. Every time a woman takes a bold step forward, we all rise. 

In order to empower more women to reach their potential, we have to start young. We have to start with the girls. A Smart Way To Start helps girls prepare to enter the workforce on equal terms by helping them to know their worth, empowering them to talk about their pay, and guiding them to becoming savvy in managing their spending and savings.

As they become more and more independent and confident with their money decisions, they’ll also learn that every money decision in life is an expression of values: an opportunity to impact our world positively. 

So let’s raise our glass to an equal future and to the rise of girls in every nation. They are our hope. They are our future: the next wave of women who will rock this world, and may the whole world dance to their music! 

Happy Women’s Day!

Marty’s World: Meet Winston

Marty and pets

Winston is Marty’s 

new Labrador pup.

He runs very fast, 

she can barely keep up!

His light golden fur 

is as soft as can be,

and Marty likes stroking 

his ears endlessly.

He likes to play catch 

and run after a ball,

but he doesn’t come back, 

despite being called.

He’s still just a puppy and has lots to learn,

like sitting and lying and waiting his turn,

not begging for food, and going outdoors

instead of just peeing all over the floors!

Favourite Games

Playing fetch and chasing George, the cat.   

Favourite Quote

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. 

Winston is named after Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill (1874-1965),  who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. 

Marty’s World: Meet George

marty's world, george the cat

George, Marty’s kitten,
is all black and white.
He sleeps during day 
and goes crazy at night!
He races around 
at a neck-breaking pace,
and when Marty holds him, 
he scratches her face.
He can be quite vicious 
and hates being hugged.
He’ll bite you and claw you, 
then walk off quite smug.
But when he is hungry, 
he’ll sneak up and purr,
then there’s a chance 
you might stroke his soft fur. 
Once he is fed, he will curl up all day,
until it is dusk, when he wakes up to play.

marty's world, george the cat

A SMART WAY TO START DOING GOOD (Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs)


To celebrate WORLD EARTH DAY (22 April 2020) we are paying tribute to Greta Thunberg, who’s voice, heart and courage are exemplary to us all. 

These rhymes are dedicated to her, and to all the children and adults who are committed to saving our planet and making the world a better place.


You've heard Greta's message on climate, I'm sure:
our planet has problems we cannot ignore.
Can you save the planet if you’re just a kid?
I’d say: “Yes, indeed! It’s high time we all did!”

At school we learn all about our ABCs
so why don’t we also learn our SDGs?
The same way we need every letter to spell,
we need SDGs for the world to do well. 

Twenty-six letters to write every line:
they’re easy to learn when you read them in rhyme.
So just like the alphabet, let’s learn by heart
our 17 SDGs – come on, let’s start!  

All the world’s Nations United as one,
aiming to finally get the job done:
rethinking our actions and everyone’s roles. 

So here is rhyme that is easy and fun,
so everyone knows what we need to get done.
You can do your part, now that you know 
our planet needs all of us. Ready? Let’s go! 

The ABC of SDGs

No one ever should be poor
nor be hungry ever more,
nor be ill without good care:
so life is better everywhere!

Children need to go to school.
Equal treatment is the rule.
Everywhere you go you’d see
clean water and clean energy.

With decent jobs life’s more fun, 
so growth is good for everyone.
Infrastructure is the key 
to lower inequality

We must build sustainably
our cities and communities.
Choosing wisely when we buy,
means our planet will not die.

Save the oceans and the seas,
the animals and all the trees.
For the world to live in peace,
let’s all be good partners, please.

SDG 1: no poverty
SDG 2: zero hunger 
SDG 3: good health and well-being

SDG 4: quality education
SDG 5: gender equality
SDG 6: clean water and sanitation
SDG 7: affordable and clean energy

SDG 8: decent work and economic growth
SDG 9: industry, innovation, infrastructure 
SDG 10: reduced inequality

SDG 11: sustainable cities and communities  
SDG 12: responsible consumption and production
SDG 13: climate action 

SDG 14: life below water
SDG 15: life on land
SDG 16: peace and justice and strong institutions
SDG 17: partnerships to achieve the Goals

Copyright 2019, Mara Catherine Harvey

The United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
May every child grow up knowing about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and learning that they, too, can START DOING GOOD at a very young age.
Book 4, A SMART CHOICE TO MAKE will be all about SDG 12, and how our choices can make a difference to this world, every day.

Marty’s World: Meet Francis

Francis_Smart_Way_to Start_2 (1)

Francis is Marty’s inseparable friend!
Their friendship is strong 
and won’t come to an end.
Marty found Francis when he was just small
He fell from his nest in a tree very tall.

The poor little birdie lay flat on the ground,
He might have been eaten, had he not been found!
Lucky for Francis that Marty was there,
She took him back home and gave him good care.

She made him a nest and gave him some food,
he seemed to be happy and in a good mood. 
He chirps when he sees her, and whistles a song,
He follows her everywhere, the whole day long!

Favourite Food
Cake crumbs, tiny bugs and earthworms.

Favourite Quote
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.

Francis is named after Francis Bacon (1561-1626), an English philosopher and
statesman who is credited with developing the scientific method and who was influential throughout the scientific revolution.

A Christmas story…

Xmas_Marty_Smart way to start

A Christmas story...

A Smart way to Start 2019 Advent calendar:

December 1
One Christmas night, not long ago,
I woke up thinking: ho-ho-ho!
I tiptoed quietly in the dark.
No single light shone, not a spark.
It wasn’t even morning yet.
I went outside, my socks got wet.
The snow lay pristine all around
and covered every inch of ground.

December 2
The sky was black, the birds were still,
I tiptoed past the windowsill.
I shivered in the winter air,
the frost was stiffening my hair!

December 3
I tried to look up at the roof,
to see if there was any proof
of reindeer prints or sleigh ride marks...
I couldn’t see, it was so dark!

December 4
I ran back in, with frozen toes,
and suddenly felt all aglow!
I really wanted to rejoice
but realized... I’d lost my voice!
I could not shout: “Hip hip hurray!”
Nor cry out loud: “It’s Christmas Day!”
It was quite sad, I could not sing,
I could not say a single thing.

December 5
A Silent Night it is indeed.
This is the last thing that I need!
My voice is hoarse, I cannot call,
no sound, no word, no noise at all.
Just yesterday my voice was here.
Why did it have to disappear?
It can’t be something that I ate!
So maybe I stayed up too late?

December 6
Last night I watched The Santa Clause,
my favourite film and that’s because
it makes me smile and laugh out loud,
I feel as if I’m on a cloud!
What would you do if you had found
Santa’s suit lying on the ground?

December 7
I’d wear the suit, step in the sleigh,
And wish that I’d be whisked away!
I’d fly across the sky and cheer!
(And hope I just won’t grow a beard!)
I really wish that i could be
a little helper too, you see.

December 8
My very biggest dream of all
is to work up at the North Pole!
As chief of staff for all the elves,
and check the toys upon the shelves:
making sure that every toy
will go to the right girl or boy.
Wrapping each and every game,
all neatly labeled with a name.

December 9
We wouldn’t have a single muddle,
so every bear will get a cuddle!
A child who says: “I love you so!
Why Santa Claus, how did you know
that this is just the bear I need?
Exactly this one! Yes, indeed!”

December 10
There’d be no Naughty list this year,
so children needn’t ever fear!
We’d fill the sleigh at the North Pole,
without a single lump of coal.

December 11
The children on the list are Nice,
there’d be no need to check it twice.
Each stocking would contain a toy
so every child would smile with joy!

December 12
I then watched ELF and sang along…
that must be why my voice is gone!
I sang each single tune out loud
I felt so happy and so proud!

December 13
Each chorus line, each jingling bell,
I know all of the songs so well!
I sang out loud for all to hear,
spreading lots of Christmas cheer!

December 14
So now I cannot even speak.
Nor sing, nor shout, nor even squeak!
This very simply will not do!
It’s Christmas Day, there’s lots to do!

Enjoy the countdown to Christmas with our Advent Calendar and Marty’s
 Christmas Story on our Instagram account.

MERRY Christmas

Mara Catherine Harvey

Enjoy doing good this Christmas!


Christmas is approaching fast and it is the most wonderful time of the year! Maybe your children will be lucky enough to receive a gift of money from relatives and friends. So this is a perfect opportunity to put into practice the learnings from books 2 - A SMART WAY TO SAVE - and from book 3 - A SMART WAY TO SPEND.

When the excitement of Christmas Day is over, have children appreciate the gift they have received by explaining to them the value of this gift: 

How many a hours of chores (which chores and at what price per hour? ) would they have had to do, to earn the amount gifted to them? This is a great way to practice mental math (super important skill for future financial confidence!) and engage in a values-based discussion. Appreciating that other people had to work hard for the money gifted is an important part of the learning journey. 

How much of this amount will be saved and how much will be spent to fulfill a Christmas wish? Remind your child not to take all their money with them when they go shopping, so they don’t fall into the trap of spending it all in one go! Setting some aside is a wise way to start planning. 

What will you chose to spend your money on? Have you made a list ... and checked it twice? Even Santa checks his list twice! The smarter the planning, the less likely any pennies will be wasted on something of poor quality or that will be played with once and then neglected. 

What about donating some for a good cause? This is a great opportunity to think of people less fortunate and teach children that sharing is caring. And choose wisely which organizations you donate to. A great starting point can be to introduce your child to the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): pick a cause that is close to your heart! 

Does “Sustainable Development Goal” sound too complex for your young child?
No worries - we made it kiddy friendly with our “Start Doing Good” poem! It teaches children the SDGs in a simple way - and it’s as easy to memorize as the alphabet! 

Enjoy doing good this Christmas! 

Marty’s World: Meet Marty!

Welcome_ A smart way to start

Meet the protagonist, Marty!

How lovely to see you!
It’s great that you’re here!
I’ll tell you about me, 
and all I hold dear.
My first name is Marty, 
my surname is Banks
and all my friends 
nickname me… 
Miss Smarty Pants!
I really don’t mind though,
it’s cool to be smart,
That’s why my book's called 
“A Smart Way to Start”.

I’m soon 9 years old and I do love to read:
each book is quite like an adventure, indeed.
When I’m not reading, I go out and play
with all sorts of animals, day after day.
My dream is to study to be a great vet
so I can take care of anyone’s pet!
I’d have my own practice and be CEO,
I’d hire lots of people 
and make my firm grow.

My dad sometimes says 
I should run my own farm,
and rescue lost pets, 
so they come to no harm.
My friends think a start-up 
like “rent your own pet”
would be a great business, 
but I’m not sure yet…
My mum thinks I should 
make my wishes come true,
she says there is nothing that I cannot do,
If I am prepared to work hard every day,
do well at school and do chores to get paid.

That’s what I love least: 
doing my chores.
Some of them really do 
make me feel bored.
But chores must be done,
so I might as well smile,
do them well, do them fast, 
then play for a while.  
And for my big dreams, 
I know what I need:
some money to start, 
and a smart plan indeed!
I’ll share what I’ve learnt 
now my journey’s begun.
This is my story. 
I hope you’ll have fun!


Fun Fact

Did you know that if you search the internet, you’ll find lot of famous men called Marty, but not a single woman!

I think it’s time to change that!

One day, I hope I will be the first world- famous Marty for having done great things to support equality, financial literacy and nature

Favourite Animals
Squirrels, chipmunks and munchkin cats