#BlogTour The Wild Remedy by Emma Mitchell #BookReview @OMaraBooks #TheWildRemedy

A huge delight to be the latest stop on the wonderful Blog Tour for THE WILD REMEDY by EMMA MITCHELL.  My thanks to the author and Alara at Michael O’Mara Books for letting me be part of it all.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Emma Mitchell has suffered with depression – or as she calls it, ‘the grey slug’ – for twenty-five years. In 2003, she moved from the city to the edge of the Cambridgeshire Fens and began to take walks in the countryside around her new home, photographing, collecting and drawing as she went. Each walk lifted her mood, proving to be as medicinal as any talking therapy or pharmaceutical.
In Emma’s hand-illustrated diary, she takes us with her as she follows the paths and trails around her cottage and further afield, sharing her nature finds and tracking the lives of local flora and fauna over the course of a year. Reflecting on how these encounters impact her mood, Emma’s moving and candid account of her own struggles is a powerful testament to how reconnecting with nature may offer some answers to today’s mental health epidemic. While charting her own seasonal highs and lows, she also explains the science behind such changes, calling on new research into such areas as forest bathing and the ways in which our bodies and minds respond to plants and wildlife when we venture outdoors.
Written with Emma’s characteristic wit and frankness, and filled with her beautiful drawings, paintings and photography, this is a truly unique book for anyone who has ever felt drawn to nature and wondered about its influence over us.

Published by Michael O’Mara Books

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

hive.co.uk

Author Website

MY REVIEW

This is one of those books that not only looks good – it’s packed full of beautiful drawings and photos – but it’s also a wonderful reminder of what is around us all if we just take the time to look.  You don’t need to travel far to see something, or even just to hear the sound of bird song in your back garden, it all works in a way to help detract our minds from the negative aspects of life and can set us back on  a more positive outlook on life no matter what we are going through in our personal lives.

I really connected with this book through the positive aspect that I’ve discovered of gardening and nature while I’ve suffer with the illness M.E.  It is a very isolating and lonely illness at times, and there are many days when, like the author with her depression, leaving the house is impossible or a major struggle and just by spending a few minutes out in the garden looking at new things growing, or hearing the birds sing can make such a big impact on your frame of mind for the rest of the day and make those darker days seem just a little bit brighter.  Having something different to focus on instead of concentrating on what your brain is telling you is so powerful and often better than any medicine you can take, and I’m truly grateful for all things green everyday now, especially when the world we live in is seemingly becoming more grey and full of concrete.

In this book, the author takes us through her diary month by month to share her honest and frank experiences of how the depression affects her way of life and the way she thinks, and how each month she notices different things around her in nature which she draws, collects, takes photos of – it’s the little things in life that give you hope and clarity and she shows  how much the importance of noticing the smallest things can give the biggest amount of joy.  I loved the touches of humour too that she puts in – and the importance of Annie, her canine companion, in getting her out of the house when it all feels too much.

I’ve always taken photos of things around me that I see, but this book has inspired me to notice more and also start collecting leaves and flowers to press to keep an even more satisfying record of the world around us to help lift my spirits on the darker days when I’m unable to get out and about and this book is a beautiful reminder of how something as simple as birdsong, or the first signs of Spring can be so rewarding and a real benefit to your mental well-being and I highly recommend it as a must have on any bookshelf

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Things to look out for……

#BookReview The Woman Who Kept Everything by Jane Gilley

About the book

The Lady in the Van meets The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry in this uplifting, funny and moving debut novel about a 79-year-old hoarder who is convinced the world is against her.

79-year-old Gloria Frensham is a hoarder. She lives amongst piles of magazines, squashed cardboard boxes, surplus carpet rolls, heaps of towels and knick-knacks littering the stairs. She hasn’t left her home for years, until a loud bang and a sudden smell of singeing sets in motion Gloria’s unwilling exodus from her home…

That day is the start of a journey that will never return Gloria back to her beloved, hoarded possessions, nor to her son’s house to live. For it is the start of her journey to discover life again – and she’s going to make some good friends and defiant decisions along the way, with just one very small suitcase in tow…

Heart-warming and poignant in equal measure, this is a story about the loneliness of life, the struggles of growing old, the power of kindness, and the bravery it takes to leave our comfort zones.

Published by Avon

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

MY REVIEW

This was an enjoyable and easy read that follows the story of 79 year old Grace as she leaves behind her life as a hoarder and begins to enjoy life again, despite the best intentions of her son who just seems more interested in pound signs than the welfare of his own mother!

Grace never found the way she lived a problem. Yes she couldn’t reach certain parts of rooms as they were covered in clutter, and yes there was a smell, but her home was her safe place, where she led a very simple life since losing her beloved husband. A friend would bring shopping in for her and she made do with what she had. But when disaster strikes she is forced to move into a care home for a couple of weeks, and breaking out of this routine seem to set her off on an amazing journey to meet new friends and have new experiences. Life begins at 79 it seems!

This book does look at the issue of extreme hoarding and depression and it was sensitively portrayed, although I did feel at times it was a little rushed in how quickly it all seemed to get out of her system. She then met others who had the same issue and she was the right person to help them understand how they were living wasn’t helping them, and showed a touching and caring side that many who choose to live this way are just lonely and how the presence of friends or family can help them move on and escape this sadness.

I loved Grace and how she took to her new way of living so well! She was out to have a good time, and she did! Her son wasn’t a pleasant character at all and just highlighted the sadness of those people in the world that can just give up on elderly relatives – until there is money to be had.

I think the ending fell a little flat for me with so much happening so quickly but I did enjoy this book overall and it was a story that did well in its’ portrayal of a woman who had suffered for so long but managed to get her happy ending!

My thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the e-cop in return for a fair and honest review.

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#BlogTour The Thought Book 2 by Jay Mullings #GuestPost #Extract

Delighted to have been asked to share this Guest Post today by Jay Mullings to help spread the word about this new motivating and inspirational book – The Thought Book Vol 2.  Jay will be sharing his thoughts on how his writing helps him to combat depression.

Jay Mullings is a multiple award-winning screenwriter, author and commended blogger, on a mission. Motivating through personal experiences on how to achieve extraordinary goals whilst overcoming difficulties.

His books The Thought Book vol. 1 & newly released vol. 2, aim to encourage others to develop their self-belief, and pursue their own dreams. The books feature thought-provoking content, which combats the negative self-defeating dialogue we sometimes practice.

Despite being packed with Jay’s own original mantras, advice and guidance; these motivating books allow inference that applies to all walks of life. It covers important topics such as:

  • How to identify real friends and genuine people – “Being a true friend to someone usually attracts the same in return.”
  • How to boost your confidence every day – “Take the necessary steps towards your goals with confidence.”
  • Why being original is harder than you think – how to resist the urge to assimilate – “time to emerge from the shadows.”

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

waterstones

BUILT TO LAST

Jay has had his share of challenges in his life. Between the ages of 7 and 16, he lived in Jamaica, where his English accent at first made him an outsider. However, he quickly embraced his differences, taking in everything Jamaica had to offer, while learning important life lessons about friendship, fitting in, and staying true to yourself. He is the grandson of Windrush immigrants, and their guidance has been priceless in giving Jay the foundation to stay resilient through change and hardship. As a Black British writer in the creative industry, he has found it an often-unwelcome environment for his voice to be heard. Too many times being the recipient of coded language dressed as professional feedback at best and outrageous declarations that Jay will never be successful on account of his background at worst. Despite this Jay has gone on to win an astonishing 25+ international awards for his unique and authoritative voice..

He set up his website Written Mirror in 2012 as a place to express his creativity without limits. This has developed into a brave new start-up creative content business i.e. Written Mirror Ltd.

Jay is part of the ‘sleepless elite’, thriving on just three hours (or less) sleep per night. For the past six years, he has been using the extra time, to grow his creative media company, and pursue his passion for writing award winning original and truthful content fearlessly.

The Thought Book Vol. 1 & 2 aims to help others make the most of life’s challenges.

How Writing Helps Me Combat My Depression…

Here I am and here it is… I had to see my GP earlier this year (January). I tell him my appetite has been a myth (which is strange for me as I eat like a true Saiyan), my sleep is worse than ever, my back and shoulders are tighter than Wenger in the transfer window (Just saying! Merci Arsene!) and I am having trouble concentrating like Jean Grey before she mastered her use of cerebro. He asks some questions surrounding my mood and I am both baffled and feeling slightly annoyed at this point as I have just told him the 4-1-1…

He asks to check my blood pressure and I tell him what I always tell Doctors, “Stress doesn’t affect my blood pressure, the worse I feel the better it reads!” Low and behold it registers as normal. I side eye him; as far as I am concerned at this point we need to page House MD to solve this mystery…

He is talking again, without realising it I am now thinking about how long is left on the pay and display parking ticket I purchased? How much writing can I get done today? When was the last time I ate a proper meal? Is it healthy for me to have been up 23 hours straight by this point?

I catch myself with my nose pointed in the air like The Rock smelling what he has cooking. Chest all proud like Usain Bolt when he smashed the 100M records to smithereens. Then, I start hearing the Doc’s words again, “Your symptoms and even your demeanour tell me you’re depressed!” Wait…

I looked behind me so quickly it hurt a little bit! Who?!?! Someone else must be in this room.

He repeats half of his words, “Mr Mullings I think you’re depressed!” I retort, “Doc please you’re embarrassing me; call me Star Lord” He doesn’t laugh; personally I thought my timing and tone were both impeccable.

I shake off the lack of taste in comedy. Let us address his particular joke. Doc, run through my notes, I’ve gone through far worse, your diagnosis is only a few years late. Also, I’m an undiscovered Writer, my entire life is depressing. It doesn’t mean I’m depressed. “Yeah, combat that I thought…”

For some reason (yes I am a screenwriter) my mind goes straight to The Sopranos. All of a sudden I realise maybe I am the sad clown? I’m the one wondering what happened to the strong silent type? I’m asking about Gary Cooper types… Then I recall a line that tickled me, “Here we go, here comes the Prozac…”

I want to start you on a course of (I don’t care to remember the name) we will start on X dosage. Doc, you can stop right there! This is what I wanted to tell him in my Rock voice,

So let Jay get this right, you want Jay to take your pills and become a sleepy little shell of himself. You want to slow down The People’s brain? Well this is what you can do Doc. I bet you like pie, you look like you like pie Doc. I want you to get two of your favourite flavour pies, set them down on the table. Then I want you to take these pills, I want you to shine those pills. Shine them up real good put them in the pies, turn them sumbitch sideways and stick em straight up your candy ass!

Perspective

I was sleep deprived so my ideas about what was appropriate to say and funny were probably off, but hey that was very funny to me at the time. So I smile. Doc, I don’t want your pills! I have a super-secret plan for getting better. Hear me out, I’m going to go to Amsterdam for like a week. I think their medicine might result in a substantial breakthrough. He laughed…

He gives me a number and suggests counselling/therapy. Don’t know how (I do) but I lost it… I had a course of CBT sessions which I had to fight for with my car accident last year, and as much as I would love to sing its praises, the absolute truth is this; I only made progress out of necessity.

When you’re a Black man in a country that has almost no empathy for you and what you’ve been through, you better pattern up (Organise yourself)! You don’t get to be on the injured reserve list. As so many of my Jamaican elders would say, “Yuh haffi carry yuhself laka solja! Caan mek babylon defeat yuh!” Translation: You have to carry yourself like a soldier! You can’t let evil defeat you…

Fight Off The Dementors… 

The evil in this case is melancholy. You can’t tunnel so far into your own head that you don’t recognise happiness or triumph. I’m not suggesting there is an easy off button that you press and reset. However, you had better have your own back and not trust anyone else to fix it for you. It’s a matter of retraining your mind to let you lead and not have your mind lead you. I know what you’re thinking, “Why are you talking as if your mind is controlled by anybody other than you?” Okay, my response to that is simple, where does this self limiting voice you hear inside (sometimes) come from? If you have absolute control over your thoughts, then why would you allow yourself to think of anything that would dissaude you against total belief in yourself? Okay good…

My counter attack against this new enemy? Write twice as much and be twice as honest. I will not stifle my voice or my genuine feelings on things. For instance a few of my friends have asked me what I thought of The Avengers Infinity Wars, the look of absolute horror I got each time when I calmly said 6/10 was priceless. Anyway back to the reasoning…

Useful Habits

The more I sat down and poured out the things that were weighing me down, the better I felt and the more I realised that people everywhere go through some form of this. Even the most mentally healthy. I poured this energy into everything. My T-shirt designs, my blogs, my interviews, my book (details to follow) and of course my screenplays. Each day I stood a little more upright, ate a little more, I slept a little better and I laughed a little harder.

Unrelenting

This is why I will not relent in my pursuit of true success and a positive impact. I won’t let false prophets discourage me and I definitely won’t let people go around me as if I am a fool for wanting a fair shake and mutual respect. The disrespect is definitely nothing compared to what I’ve been through and come back from.

You can’t push me off my path because my calling is hardwired into my entire being. Even if I stepped away I’d be pulled back in…

Found The Formula?

Does all of this mean I am cured? No I wouldn’t say completely! Each time I level up and come back stronger. I definitely don’t get into the ‘why me’ as much as I say ‘it has to be me’. Frustration is natural, as is a longing for the day when success is cemented. However, I intend to learn and enjoy as much as I can on this journey. If you’re still reading at this point, it is safe to say you share this notion on a spiritual level. For that, I salute you and my third eye recognises the realness in you.

Jay Mullings his an award-winning screenwriter. His books The Thought Book & The Thought Book 2 are out now, available from writtenmirror.com. Follow Jay on twitter and Instagram @WrittenMirror

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