Making Happy Work – Book Review

I was kindly sent Making Happy Work to review written by Mick Timpson. This book is a beginners guide to navigating the modern world with meditation. As someone who suffers anxiety and depression, meditation can be really helpful. Modern meditation is the art and science of being more aware of yourself, others and the wider world.

Making Happy Work

Making Happy Work

Mick Timpson has created a self-help book to take you on a meditation journey. This journey is broken down into eight parts. Step-by-step, Making Happy Work teaches you to meditate. Teaching you that the key to making happy work is not what you do in life that matters, but how you live through your life.

I know I often stress over the things I do or don’t do in live but reading Making Happy Work makes it easier to look at things from a different perspective.

We have all become a little disconnected from who and what we are. Living in an increasingly chaotic world, struggling to survive, let alone thrive! Unfortunately, we are doing so at the expense of being. If we make time to stop, notice, and learn to be, we can reconnect and link our being with our doing. We can learn to be and do differently. Making Happy Work gently guides you through how meditation works, practising meditation and different techniques.

Focus

Meditation helps you find direction and purpose in a chaotic world. Learning to slow down and Be instead of just Doing makes a world of difference. This practice of purposely focusing on the present moment at any time and place, observing and accepting without judgment, expectation or attachment reduces stress and anxiety. In turn, this allows you to focus on what really matters and that is being happy, having purpose, resilience, creativity and wellbeing.

Have you tried meditation before?

The Baby Detective Blog Tour

I received The Baby Detective by Sarah Norris to review, a parenting book unlike many others I’ve read. This book doesn’t dictate what is the right or wrong way to care for your baby. Neither does it tell you which parenting style to go with, instead, it gently guides you through caring for your newborn.

The Baby Detective

The Baby Detective

Sarah Norris gently guides you through investigating what the problem is and why it is happening. With 25 years experience as a maternity nurse caring for hundreds of new mothers and families Sarah developed a new method. The unique AIM (Assess, Investigate, Modify) method to help parents solve the challenges any new parent may face.

Sarah Norris

A Unique Parenting Book

New parents can often feel confused and overwhelmed with unasked for advice, tips and tricks to care for their newborn. This book encourages parents to use their own tuition rather than telling them what to do. This book will give you the confidence to care for your new baby with confidence. Solving each challenge you face from sleeping, feeding, routines and winding.

Different Case Studies

Each case study is unique and as a parent of 2 daughters myself, I’ve faced most of these problems. Looking back at my own experience these problems sometimes took month to solve due to conflicting advice, especially with Eva. Sarah’s explanations of looking for clues as to what affects your baby is fantastic for new parents. I honestly wish I had a book like this to hand as a new parent. Everything a new parent will face with their newborn is covered. From environmental factors, biological states,temperamant and emotional response.

Record Keeping

Sarah explains how record keeping can help new parents keep track and solve problems. From feeds taken, winding times and issues, sleep patterns and issues, nappy changes, Sarah makes record keeping seem a breeze . She also goes on to explain whilethis can be reassuring it can also increase anxiety at times. If this happens she explains what to do in that situation. This kind of book would have been helpful when I had Eva. I became obsessed with weighing Eva weekly until she was over a year old. Because she was born at 4lb 14oz, then dropped to 4lb 4oz due to jaundice, I was constantly worrying. Record keeping can be useful, but it needs to be kept simple and not become obsessive as Sarah explains.

How To Be Your Own Baby Detective

Rather than tell you which problems may arise with a newborn Sarah explains situations she has faced with new families. With each challenge the parents face The Baby Detective explains how to assess the situation, investigate the problem and make modifications. This method can be applied to big and small problems even those minor day-to-day issues.

Planning

The Baby Detective covers planning ahead using AIM. This can be applied to family gatherings at home, medical appointments or treatments. It can also be applied to Social events away from home, foreign holidays and as baby develops. This in depth look at planning helps you plan aheadwith ease to suit you and your babies needs.

Winding Your Baby

An in depth look at winding, why your baby gets wind, anatomy of babies stomach will help you understand what is going on with your little one. This will fill a new parent with confidence instead of leaving them feeling clueless. With an extensive look at winding techniques that will help your baby you will quickly become a winding expert!

Useful Tools And Equipment

As a new parent all the baby products everywhere can be really overwhelming. You can feel really unsure what will actually be useful day to day and how to use them. Sarah looks at each tool and why you may need it, reasons it can be useful. She also explains how not to overuse items like pacifiers and tips for sensible use. Each item is fully broken down again, filling a new parent with confidence that they are doing the right thing to comfort and care for their newborn.

What Is Normal

As a new parent knowing what is normal for your baby can be very confusing and scary. Again Sarah gives an in-depth look at every part of a newborn. From skin colour, umbilical cord, eyes, arms, feet, noises and crying. The Baby Detective also looks at head shape, appetite, wind, hiccups, breathing and temperature, febrile convulsions and sleep. A look at birthmarks, urine, feaces and constipation, menstrual blood in baby girls and skin rashes will leave you confident in caring for your newborn.

Where and How To Get Help

As you face new challenges you may require support and have no idea where or how to get help. Sarah makes this easier for new parents by point5ing out exactly where to get the help you need and how. From other peoples opinions, hospital, community midwives, health visitors, GP’s, consultants, maternity nurses and support groups. Whatever help you need, Sarah Norris has compiled an extensive list to make finding help easy.

Emergency Action

We have all faced a newborn screaming, having a total meltdown whilst feeling overwhelmed and exhausted ourselves. Sarah offers some fantastically useful advice and suggestions for this situation. Sarah provides comforting ideas for your baby, an emergency routine to reset and calm a baby. These aren’t long term solutions but will help you get back on track and continue with the AIM method in desperate times.

Genuinely Helpful Parenting Book

Having read The baby Detective, I love Sarah Norris’ way of looking at caring for a newborn. I remember too well how stressful those first few months with Eva were. I never felt confident that what I was doing was right and everyone felt I should try their way. It’s very overwhelming and stressful but The Baby Detective would make that time much easier for any new parent. I genuinely couldn’t recommend this book more, it’s unlike any other parenting book I have read.

Crochet Learn It. Love It. Book Review

I received Crochet Learn It. Love It. By Tracey Todhunter to review. As most of my readers already know I love crochet, so I couldn’t wait to review this book. I have to say before I explain any further, if you are looking for a comprehensive beginners guide to crochet then this is definitely it!

Crochet Learn It. Love It

Crochet Learn It. Love It.

The book contains a mix of essential crochet skills, patterns, tricks and tips to ease you into a life of learning and loving crochet!

Chapter 1 – Essential Skills

Essential Skills covers everything you need to know starting with different yarn types and weight. I was pleased to see a Ball Band explanation, something I haven’t seen anywhere else before. With different types of hooks available, basic accessories and even luxury accessories explained, any beginner is sure to feel knowledgeable.

Essential Crochet Skills

This handy book shows you all the essentials from holding and tensioning the yarn via various methods. It also shows you how to hold the hook, make a slip knot, foundation chain, count chains, work into chains and fasten off. All explained in great detail, accompanied by photos making it easy for any beginner to learn Crochet.

Basic Stitches

There is a great guide to basic stitches which will help you get started on most projects. To make this easier there is a full explanation on how to understand crochet stitches to help you make sense of your work and pick up on any mistakes, a huge help for any beginner. I remember looking at my first crochet attempts and having no idea what I was looking at or if it was correct. This book puts your mind at ease as you learn making it much more enjoyable.

Basic Stitches

Confidence Building

Crochet Learn It. Love It makes reading patterns and charts a breeze and explains measuring AND adjusting your tension! From joining yarn to working neat stripes, stripes with a difference and shaping your work, you’ll feel like a pro in no time.

You’ll find yourself knowing how to finish your work, different blocking methods, tapestry needle stitches, crocheted, slip stitch and conceal crocheted seams enhancing your work. I’ve been crocheting at least 2 years now and I had already learned so much from this book, without even passing this first section!

Quick Start Projects

There are several quick start projects throughout the book. These consist of quick and easy patterns which require little yarn. Each project states the finished size and tension along with the items you’ll need. These are items such as yarns, crochet hook sizes, yarn needles, buttons etc.

There is also a list of abbreviations and techniques used in the pattern along with the page no within the book to help you with stitches. Following pattern notes you can find the pattern itself with photo’s to guide you. Compared to other crochet books I’ve read I genuinely felt that I could try each project. This would have been perfect when I first started out. With such great explanations and notes you are filled with confidence to complete each project. I’ll definitely be making a few of these once I’m done with my current Crochet Projects!

Chapter 2 – Working In The Round

Working In The Round

Moving on to the second section you quickly learn how to work in the round. Learn the foundation ring, magic ring and finger wrap methods to start. This section will quickly show you how to crochet circles and spirals along with a gorgeous ‘sun in the center’ pattern to show off your new crochet skills!

Sun In Circle

Blocks and motifs are great for making various pieces and are also worked in the round. This books explains how to make a plain granny square block, granny motif, granny triangles and granny hexagons. These are useful from cushion covers, blankets, cardigans and more. You will also learn to crochet a circle or flower in a square. There’s a lovely pattern at the end of this section for a granny square cushion similar to the one I recently made too.

Granny Triangle

I love granny squares as they are nice and easy but I decided to try a granny triangle for the first time. I found the pattern easy to follow and can now tick it off my list of things to learn!

Granny Triangle

Learning tubular crochet can make things quite fun. Luckily this book makes it simple to learn with some fab patterns to go with it! This handy guide makes crocheting a beanie or Amigurumi fox a piece of cake

Chapter 3 -Stitch Patterns

Stitch variations really can change crochet, from working into just a front or back loop, extended stitches and alternate loops, this book covers it all. This is something I hadn’t found in my other books either and Tracey Todhunter explains it all so well.

Stitch Patterns

I was surprised to find so many beautiful stitches and patterns to go with each stitch enabling you to create impressive crocheted pieces instantly! It really is quite an extensive list for a beginners guide and will no doubt make falling in love much easier.

Chapter 4 – Finishing Touches

Finishing touches such as buttons, holes, edging stitches and more are explained in great details with some fantastic techniques shared. Whether finishing crochet work or adding a touch of crochet to a pillowcase or similar, you can use these finishing touches to pretty up just about anything!

Finishing Touches

Each section is bursting with enough crochet knowledge that you feel confident taking on new projects. I may not be a complete beginner but I still learned a good few tips and stitches. The patterns throughout are simple to follow and will have you falling in love with crochet in no time!

Chapter 5 – Taking Your Skills Further

The Final chapter shows you a few more advanced skills such as tunisian, broomstick and hairpin crochet. I will be attempting the Tunisian at some point as this guide looks much easier than other’s I’ve looked at. Detailed step by step photos with explanations make each technique seem doable.

Taking Your Skills Further

A Fantastic Guide To Crochet

Honestly, Crochet Learn It. Love It. is a fantastic guide to crochet and makes it so easy to learn, you really will love it! You can learn so much from this fab little book and I know I’ll be using it for reference in future. There are a good few stitches in the book I’ve yet to try. I can’t wait to speed through my current projects and try them.

The Kiss – Children’s Book Review

We were sent The Kiss to review*, such a heart-warming story of a Kiss brightening up the world with smiles, laughter and dancing. This beautiful book is written by Linda Sunderland and Illustrated Jessica Courtney-Tickle.

The Kiss

The Kiss

This lovely book begins with Grandma heading home from Edwyn’s house. He blows her a kiss which she catches and puts it in her pocket.

Edwyn blows Grandma a kiss

Spreading Happiness

On the way home, Grandma comes across people looking sad such as an old man at the bus stop. She makes the old man smile by taking the kiss from her pocket and showing it to him.

They begin to dance and make the people at the bus stop smile! Grandma blows the old man a kiss which he catches and puts in his pocket. Edwyn’s one grows heavier and bigger while Grandma uses it to spread happiness all the way home. Kindness and happiness make it thrive!

A Stolen Thief!

A man hears all about the kiss and asks to buy it from Grandma but she refuses. He tries all different ways to get hold of it but Grandma refuses. The man sends flowers, letters, even a brass band yet she still refuses. He decides to stal it!

The kiss - Book review

The man cages the kiss and it slowly begins to grow thinner, the skies turn mean and the sun goes to sleep. It withers in front of his eyes which makes the man sad. He eventually decides to return Edwyn’s kiss to Grandma. Thankfully when Grandma releases it from its cage it returns to normal!

The man looked so sad that Grandma blew him a kiss which he caught and smiled sweetly! When Grandma next sees Edwyn he gives her a hug and she puts it safely in her wardrobe for whenever she felt cold and lonely!

The kiss - Edwyns hug

A Beautiful Story

This is such a beautiful story showing how kisses and hugs can spread joy and happiness everywhere! It goes to show just how far a small act of kindness can go. Spreading the message that the act of sharing can be more powerful than taking what we want from the world through a beautifully written children’s book. Such a lovely uplifting story to read to children aged 3 to 6 years. Both girls really enjoyed this sweet story, a perfect bedtime read!

Do you love Children’s books that spread important messages like this too? Can you recommend others like this?

*We were sent this book to review but all thoughts and opinions are our own.

Smudge And Friends Children’s Book Review

We received a copy of Smudge and friends children book to review*. Written and illustrated by Andy Edwards based on an idea by Caroline Groves, this lovely book is full of confidence building stories.

Smudge and friends

Smudge And Friends

To begin you meet Smudge who is 5 years old and very nervous about his first day at school. This gave him butterflies and he really didn’t like it when his mum said it was time to leave for school.

He met his teacher who seemed friendly so he agrees to stay. As the day goes by he chooses to try and say hello to other children. Doing this he slowly feels more confident and notices two friends and heads over to them. One of them rushes over to him first and the 3 quickly becomes good friends. They have fun together and Smudge decides it’s been a brilliant day! He can’t wait to go back the next day.

Overall Thoughts

Chapter One and it’s Smudge’s first day at school. It is just one of a good few challenging situations that Smudge and his Friends face in this book overall. Four short stories tell of how the characters find ways to navigate through their new experiences and how they step-up to other challenges they meet in-school and in their daily lives.

Reading ‘between the lines’ there are messages about learning how to interact socially and to build self-confidence just like Smudge and his Friends.

We absolutely love this book and would definitely recommend it!

Have you heard of Smudge and Friends before?

*Whilst we were kindly send a copy of Smudge and Friends to review, all opinions are our own and an honest review.

The Girls Book Review

We were sent The Girls book to review, a lovely story about friendship. The Girls is written by Lauren Ace and illustrated beautifully by Jenny Lovlie. This is a story of four girls, but also of womankind. A perfect read for children aged 3 to 6 years. We love to review books and often work with Little Tiger and their imprints reviewing books. Whilst we are given copies to review our thoughtsd and opinions are always out own.

The Girls

Once there was a tree that grew little girls…

The Girls – Book Review

Four little girls meet under an apple tree and form an unbreakable bond that grows and grows across the years. The girls share their secrets, dreams, struggles and triumphs in this lovely book as the four girls grow together.

Four Friends

Friendships

This beautifully illustrated shows the girl’s friendship through their ups and downs, laughter and tears. Watch the girls friendship bloom throughout the years as they grow into women.

Empowering And Inspiring

This is a truly lovely story that leaves you feeling positive and empowered. It shows the importance of friendship, the love and support that helps you through every stage of your life. The gorgeous illustrations paired with Lauren Ace’s warm, heartfelt words is an inspiring read for young girls.

Friendships

As a parent you will find this book shows your children there are no limits on their dreams. For children, it is reassuring as well as a rallying cry. This book shows you can be different or the same and relationships will come and go but filling your life with love and friendship will get you through the best and worst times.

This beautiful book is available in paperback and is published by Caterpillar books, an Imprint of Little Tiger Group. It is a fantastic book to introduce to young girls especially as they begin to make friendships through school.

Supporting each other

Izzy’s Thoughts

I read The Girls to Izzy and she thought it was lovely story. She enjoyed it so much she asked Eva to read it to her several times after! Izzy noticed the texture of the book whilst holding it too and really liked the feel of it. This book got us talking about how different and similar we all are and discussing friendships.

Personally I love the fact the book shows that friends do occasionally spend time apart, working on their own lives. Yet they still come together to celebrate and support each other just like we do in real life. True friendships can last a lifetime and this book makes that point so clearly and beautifully!

Do you love empowering books like The Girls?


Driftwood By T.L. Wright – Book Review

I ordered Driftwood to start off my reading challenge this year. T.L. Wright is a lovely lady I occasionally chat to on Twitter and an amazing author! I really couldn’t wait to get started with Driftwood, the front cover is gorgeous!

Driftwood

As part of my reading challenge this year I vowed to read as many books by authors that I chat to as I can. Last year I read Free and What’s Mine by the lovely Fiona Morgan. To start off this year I wanted to begin with Driftwood and I am so pleased I did. This is a book that will no doubt be re-read too which isn’t something I do often!

Driftwood

Driftwood begins with a beautifully worded poem that instantly draws you in. This stunning gothic romance is simply amazing. You can’t help but notice T.L Wrights unique style of writing that entrances you.

Several stories cleverly combine into one as we meet each character. Each character has a unique story but one which pulls them all together in an enchantingly haunting way. With several references to certain bands (I won’t give the game away!) cleverly placed I found myself fangirl squealing a bit. Not something that usually happens in all fairness haha!

Driftwood back cover

An Amazing Read

Driftwood is unlike anything I have ever read. You instantly find yourself lost in the words, living and breathing each one which isn’t always the case. It’s been a long time since I came across a book like Driftwood. I honestly can’t wait to read the sequel and any other work written by T.L Wright.

I couldn’t recommend this more if you love a slightly darker and in-depth read. The way it is written is absolutely beautiful, I can’t stress that enough!

I’m now going to be hunting for more books like this as it has helped spur me on with my reading challenge. I have already managed 3 books this month which is great after years of barely picking up a book. It is becoming part of my self-care routine now to read for an hour a day at least.

Have you read anything this year? Does Driftwood sound like a book for you or have you read it before?

What’s Mine By Fiona Morgan – Book Review

I recently read What’s Mine by Fiona Morgan. Having picked up my love of reading again, I decided to support a few authors I know through twitter. I ordered both books by Fiona Morgan to get started. I recently shared my review of Free, her first book too.

What's Mine by Fiona Morgan

What’s Mine

Just like Free, What’s Mine pulls you in straight away. Bronagh finally seems to have it all, a flat and a fantastic new job. To top it all, her long-term friend Max finally confesses his feelings for her! It all sounds too good to be true. Bronagh is so excited to finally land her dream job and can’t wait to get started.

Elaine has lost her job and having been replaced by Bronagh, she is determined to get her own back and get back ‘What’s Mine’. A campaign of terror quickly ensues and Elaine does her best to scare Bronagh. Bombarding Bronagh with abusive texts, turning up wherever she goes and trying to get between Max and Bronagh. This quickly escalates leading to devastating consequences.

Strong Characters

Fiona Morgan has a unique way of writing, her characters personalities feel so alive. Bronagh is a tough, strong woman but Elaine does her best to try and wear her down. When the story takes an unexpected twist and Elaine gains an accomplice you can’t help but wonder just how badly things will end!

Max and Bronaghs relationship has just started out but Elaine does her best to weave her way in and cause problems. Elaine wants nothing but revenge, she’s too far gone to see any way out other than getting rid of Bronagh. That bitch has it all, friends, Max and now Elaine’s job too!

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed What’s Mine, it really is a powerful story full of love, hate, manipulation and control. I love how Fiona Morgan hits on every emotion and thought that would run through each person’s character. You can tell a lot of time and effort has gone into building each character up and Fiona tells the story so well!

Full of twists and turns, you never know how What’s Mine will end. Will Bronagh and Max survive together? Will Elaine get her own way? It’s a fantastic read and I couldn’t put it down!

Have you read anything by Fiona Morgan yet?

Animalphabet Book Review

Animalphabet is the latest book by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Sharon King-Chai. This beautifully illustrated book has an animal for each letter of the alphabet.

Animalphabet Book

Bestselling author Julia Donaldson is well known for her fabulous book The Gruffalo. Animalphabet is Julia Donaldson’s latest release and another fantastic book for children. Especially perfect for those aged 3 to 5 years, Animalphabet is a lovely hardback book. You can buy it on Amazon here.

Animalphabet Book Review

As we explored the animal world with this gorgeous book we learnt a lot! With peep-through pages and fold out flaps this glorious gift for animal lovers becomes an interactive guessing game. Find out who is faster than a Caterpillar, who can hug tighter than a nightingale and who can fly better than a pig!

Caterpillar - Animalphabet

With stunningly eye-catching artwork throughout, the Animalphabet book contains an exotic array of animals. They truly are stunnnig and something to marvel over. This is a book to treasure and stand proudly on display. Julia Donaldsons rhythmic words make the book flow beautifully making it lovely to read out loud.

Animalphabet book

With each page we discovered an amazing collection of beautifully coloured animals in their habitats. Comparing animals to each other to learn comparison words and adjectives makes learning fun. Finding out who is bigger, smaller etc makes it such an enjoyable read. Izzy loves guessing which animal is next as we ask each question.

We absolutely adore this stunning book, Animalphabet is fun to read with it’s rhythmic words and gorgeous artwork. Being such an interactive book makes it such a fun reading experience and would make such a lovely gift! We would definitely recommend the Animalphabet book for young animal lovers. We love children’s books, don’t forget to check our our Book Review page to discover more Children’s books we’ve reviewed.

Have you heard of Animalphabet?

One Snowy Night – Book Review

Eva read One Snowy Night, a children’s collection of winter-warmer animal tales by best-loved authors. Illustrated by Alison Edgson, this paperback is aimed at 5-8 years and published by Stripes. 

One Snowy Night

One Snowy Night

A cosy collection of short winter animal stories perfect for bedtime reading. Beautifully and highly illustrated by Alison Edgson makes the book interesting even for younger children.

One Snowy night is a charming collection of stories from authors Holly Webb, Jeanne Willis, Linda Chapman, Swapna Haddow, Leila Rasheed and Micheal Broad. Along with  Liss Norton, Cand Gourley, Katy Cannon and Sita Brahmachari. Together, these fabulous authors and illustrator have created a gorgeous book for children. What’s not to love about a book full of heart-warming winter stories by many much-loved authors.

In The Snowy Mountains – Linda Chapman

One snowy night begins with a girl who ventures off in search of the secretive snow leopards in mountainous Mongolia. Discovering a baby snow leopard leads to a big discovery. This short but heart-warming story is a lovely winter read.

One Snowy Night Animal Anthologies

A Christmas Star – Holly Webb

A heart-warming tale of a young girl desperate to nicely wrap a present for her parents. Written by well-known and loved author Holly Webb, this story shows the true meaning of Christmas. When Lucy’s mischievous kitten Star is making it difficult to wrap the presents she gets grumpy with Star. At bedtime, everyone suddenly realises Star is missing! Lucy gets upset, realising Christmas isn’t Christmas without her loveable mischievous kitten.

A Christmas Star

A Winter Surprise – Swapna Haddow

This lovely story is about a squirrel named Jumbie. He plans a surprise woodland party for his friends. Losing the invitation makes Jumbie really stressed out and just before the party too! I think this story is beyond cute and a good reminder we often worry about little things when the important things are right there! (Guilty!)

Jumbie

These cute winter animal stories make a perfect gift for animal lovers or young readers. With a total of 10 stories, this is a great read throughout December as a family.

Do you love Winter Animal stories too?