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FloraFeatures is the home of the books created by John Stoke and Brenda Leese.

John first wrote the stories about his granddaughter Mary after observing her interaction with their pet cat Flora and thought it would be nice to read them to her when she visited their Lakeland home. Originally done on a word processor with photos popped in for illustration, the stories proved a hit with Mary so he decided to publish them in a series of books. To do this, he enlisted the help of a book designer and an illustrator, both local to the area, and ‘Mary’s Animal Friends’ soon appeared, to be followed shortly after by ‘Mary and Flora’ which had two stories: ‘Flora to the Rescue’ and ‘Mary’s Numbers’. The third book; ‘Mary’s Birthday’ was published in Summer 2018.


Flora is a real cat. She was a rescue cat who was found as a stray. We adopted her when she was about 5-7 years old – we could not be sure. She has clearly come from a good home and must somehow have got lost. She soon settled in but early on decided that she would be a house cat – and who could blame her?  Our conservatory is hot in summer and cold in winter. In summer she takes herself there and lounges in the warmth on a chair (see picture) and sometimes goes outside and finds the most comfortable spot to have a rest. Her favourite occupation (apart from eating) is sleeping!

One day, not so long ago, when we were sitting together on the sofa I’m sure I heard her whisper very very quietly that she very much likes being the star of the Mary and Flora books. How nice is that?

We sought the skills of local people to illustrate and produce our books. Both are situated in the Lake District, Cumbria and offer a wide selection of services.

Pixel Tweaks Publications can take the pain out of self-publishing. From advice about layout & size to setting up and outputting to PDF. Along with getting the book to print, we can even arrange the production of any promotional material to help spread the word.


Sophie lives in Oxenholme with her husband and 3 children. In 2009, after being a medical doctor for 12 years, she decided to take the plunge and try to make a living from her other passion: drawing. Sophie attended Kendal College and gained a Degree in Drawing, and hasn’t looked back.