Book review: “Forest Therapy,” by Sarah Ivens.

Cover of book Forest Therapy by Sarah Ivens

I pre-ordered this book some months ago and I have been looking forward to reading this, after having a taste of it, in a magazine.
This book; “Forest Therapy,” by Sarah Ivens, gives you ideas to get back into nature, to help us feel calmer, happier and more energised.
As the author mentions in her introduction of this book, many of the ideas are common sense. We just need to be reminded.
The twelve chapters in this book are to encourage us and our loved ones, to get outdoors and reconnect with nature in a healing way.

Contents of book:
1 – Sold on Science and Statistics
2 – A Walk on the Woods
3 – Spring Cleaning
4 – Summer Lovin’
5 – Fall in Love
6 – Winter Wonderland
7 – Parenting in Plein Air
8 – Being at One with Nature
9 – Couples’ Countryside Cure
10 – Natural Beauty
11 – Food Glorious Food
12 – The Call of the Wild
Further reading
About the author

The book encourages you to use your senses, as you take a walk.
There are also other suggestions that would compliment, while you are out in nature. The choice is what you want to do.
No matter what the weather, just get out in nature and dress accordingly to the weather.
A walk in nature costs nothing, as this book says and something I have said myself in a blog post, or two.

You do not need to be fit, to use examples in this book. The book is to encourage you to get out, take it slow and for what you use out of this book, use it, to get out.
I like how there are even ‘mindful minutes’ in this book, where something is suggested and you do what is suggested for just a minute, like for example, choose a morning, or an evening that suits you best and appreciate the beginning, or ending of a day just for 60 seconds by looking at the sky. While doing this, make a note in your journal of how the sky looked and how you felt. Acknowledge those feelings and reflections, as it helps to gain power over them, linking them to something powerful as the sun and cycle of the day. It acts as a reminder to us that we all have a fresh start every 24 hours and that the world is bigger than us.

There is no excuse for any of us to not do something, that this book suggests. We all know nature does us good, when we walk in it, experiencing how we feel good afterwards and how relaxed we are.
It doesn’t have to be a daily thing. Once a month is better, than nothing. Have at least 10 minutes of silence in nature walking, with some sitting. But if you can do longer, you will feel even more benefits.
Stress will unwind from you and you will feel relaxed and energised.

Go on, take a walk today, whether a street lined with trees, the nearest park, or a walk in the woods. Even your own back garden is a start.
Observe, take it in using your senses and breathe deep.

I totally recommend this book. It’s a book you can refer back to, time and time again.

Book review: “The Art of Happiness – A handbook for the living,” by HH Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler.

This book is not something I would usually read, but because of the way my path is changing for the better, along with other things that have helped me to get where I am today, I chose to read this book.

This book, my mum is now reading, after waiting patiently. She was very curious as to why I was reading it, as well as interested herself. My mum does not really know everything I have been doing, to get where I am today. When there has been parts I have revealed to her, because I thought they would be helpful to her, she did not take them on board. Maybe she will, when she has read this book herself, although my mum has other qualities already, like easily showing empathy for other people.

This book should be read by everyone, as there is something we would all learn by reading it.
This book is not preaching religion and it doesn’t matter if you are religious, or not, or whatever religion you are, we all have something to learn from this book, to better ourselves.
I have enjoyed reading every page of this book and although I’m doing some things already, I still have lots to take on board.
Once mum has read this book, I shall pick up this again, reading it all through once more and maybe taking some notes along the way. Then later, it will be useful to read in parts where needed.
This book will remain on my bookshelf and prove to be useful, in the future.

Now don’t be put off with the contents of this very informative book, as it is easy to read in small doses and pick back up on where you left off. But that’s if you can put it down.

Contents of this book:

Authors notes

1. The Purpose of Life
Chapter 1: The Right to Happiness
Chapter 2: The Source of Happiness
Chapter 3: Training the Mind for Happiness

2. Human Warmth and Compassion
Chapter 5: A New Model for Intimacy
Chapter 6: Deepening Our Connection to Others
Chapter 7: The Value of Benefits of Compassion

3. Transforming Suffering
Chapter 8: Facing Suffering
Chapter 9: Self-Created Suffering
Chapter 10: Shifting Perspective
Chapter 11: Finding Meaning in Pain and Suffering

4. Overcoming Obstacles
Chapter 12: Bringing about Change
Chapter 13: Dealing with Anger and Hatred
Chapter 14: Dealing with Anxiety and Building Self-Esteem

5.Closing Reflections on Living a Spiritual Life
Chapter 15: Basic Spiritual Values


Book review: “Depression is a liar,” by Danny Baker

Danny Baker written this book almost two years after his last depression episode. The book is about everything he has felt and experienced with his struggles, to eventually his triumph over his depression.
Danny Baker wanted to tell his story, so that other people with depression will realise they are not alone and that there is recovery. He also wanted to share his lessons he’d learnt along the way, that eventually led to his recovery.
For four years he suffered from life-threatening bouts of depression, which led to alcoholism, drug abuse, medicine-induced psychosis and multiple hospitalisations. Since his recovery, these days he’s happy, healthy and loves life.

Reading this book you get to learn about what a person can feel when depression takes hold. As in this case, you are learning how Danny Baker felt and his experiences.
For those who have never experienced depression before, this book will raise awareness.
For those of us that have suffered depression of different degrees, you may relate to this book; the struggles getting out of bed, struggling with life, being a huge self-critic and low self-esteem, are just some of the examples.

Danny Baker has a website where you can find out more about him and further books he has written. This can be found at

(This post review is my own personal review. I have not been asked to write this.)

Book review: “Reasons To Stay Alive,” by Matt Haig.

This is a true story how author, Matt Haig came through his mental illness that almost destroyed him and he learnt to live again.

This book I believe, would be a good book to raising awareness of mental illness. He tells it as it was, for him, which many will relate to.
For something that was such a dark time for him, before he learnt to live again, the book is moving, funny and joyous, that will keep the reader engaged.

When I picked up this book to read, I learnt the author lived in Nottinghamshire. (I don’t know him.) He now lives in Brighton and he is the best-selling author of five novels, including “The Humans,” “The Radleys” and “The Last Family in England.” Matt Haig has also written some award-winning children’s books.

If you want to find out more about Matt Haig and his books, then visit

Book review: “Heartfelt,” by Pippa Middleton

“Heartfelt,” by Pippa Middleton is a book that Pippa Middleton worked alongside a team of experts to produce this book. All the proceeds from the book go to British Heart Foundation.
This book came out 2 years ago and I have had my own copy for about just over a year when I spotted this book for sale in The British Heart Foundation shop.You can still get this book here:, which will take you the The British Heart Foundation. The hardback book has over 100 delicious recipes and there is healthy eating advice.

Contents of book:

  • A Heartfelt hello
  • The foundation of a healthy heart
  • I Heart Breakfast
  • I Heart on-the-go
  • I Heart family
  • I heart date night
  • I heart hosting

Some recipes that are in this book:

  • Oaty drop scones with cranberries
  • Quinoa porridge with blueberry compote
  • Seeded soda bread
  • Spicy tomato and spinach baked eggs
  • Beef and lentil cottage pie
  • Terragon chicken goujons
  • Lemon, red onion and fennel cod traybake
  • Banana, blueberry and oat muffins
  • Steamed date puddings
  • Rhubarb and custard semi freddo
  • Berry roulade

Book review: “The Year of Less,” by Cait Flanders.

Wanting to see if there were new ways of spending less and after scouring the internet, I came across the mention of this book, “The Year of Less,” by Cait Flanders. From scouring lots of pages, I don’t know where I originally learnt of this book and the positive review that was given, but I looked on Amazon and read the reviews there, which mostly seemed all positive.
I have now read the book and although this review may start of negative, it doesn’t finish off that way.

I was excited when I received this book and I could not wait to start and read it. After a few pages in, I was feeling disappointed, but I continued to read, because I was enjoying what I was reading. Although several more pages, I was still slightly disappointed, as it was not what I was expecting. I then started flicking through the pages of this book and found what I was expecting, was more near the back. So the layout of this book was not what I expected. I then mindfully read this book for what it was and not how I was expecting it and continued to enjoy reading it.
As I have not come across Cait Flanders before, reading her story before the tips at the back I was expecting, was handy for me and so the book layout worked well in the end. You get to know Cait Flanders in this book, as to what she used to spend, the debt she incurred and how she changed it all.
Through her mindfully changing her ways, she cleared off her debt and also saved money, learning how to fix some things herself and she truly discovered what mattered to her.
After learning about her year of less, you then read about how you can do it too.

I don’t know how much I will take and use myself from this book, because I am doing most of these things already, but I will definitely be using some of her tips, like only buying something when I have run out. There is also another that is a good reminder for myself; asking myself, do I really need it? before buying it. There is a useful chart in her book with questions on this line, to get you really asking this question on something you may be thinking of buying.

Although this book won’t be staying on my bookshelf, I have made the notes I need and I have enjoyed reading the book. This book I am now passing onto a friend, for her to read and when she has finished with it, she is welcome to keep it, or pass it on.

Book review: “The CBT Good Habit Journal,” by Christine Wilding and Gill Hasson

This book is something I have been working on for some time, after coming across it in a bookshop in town. I am still working through this book, as this post airs.

This mindful book is ideal for anyone, because we would all get something out of it and it’s best to read at least two, or three pages a day, as you work through this book.

  • to clarify thoughts
  • to change the way you think about yourself
  • to express yourself in a creative way
  • to help reduce stress
  • to help solve problems more effectively
  • to help resolve disagreements with others
  • to help gain perspective

When using this book, I wrote directly in the pages, because this is my journal after all. This book is interactive and fun, while I learn good habits and build confidence, using the CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) in my daily life.

I in particular loved the tiny frogs story on page 84 of this book, as it made me smile and I wasn’t expecting it to end the way it did. The author who written the frog story is unknown, so whoever this was, it was very good for a short story and appropriate in this book.

The contents of this book:

1. Goals
2. Being aware of your thoughts
3. Challenging negative thinking and finding alternative way of thinking.
4. Thoughts and physical feelings
5. Beliefs
6. Behaviour
7. Emotions
8. Conceptualizing