#BookReview ON GALLOWS DOWN by NICOLA CHESTER #NonFiction @chelseagreen


Part nature writing, part memoir, On Gallows Down is an essential, unforgettable read for fans of Helen Macdonald, Melissa Harrison and Isabella Tree.

Nicola Chester won the BBC Wildlife Magazine’s Nature Writer of the Year Award – this is her first book.

The story of a life shaped by landscape; of an enduring love of nature and the fierce desire to protect it – living as part of the rural working class in a ‘tied cottage’ on a country estate – and what it takes to feel like you belong.

On Gallows Down is a book about hope – from the rewilding of Greenham Common after the missiles left to how, as a new mother, Nicola walked the chalk hills to give her children roots, teaching them names and waymarks to find their way home. It is about the songs of the nightingale and cuckoo – whose return she waits for – the red kites, fieldfares, skylarks and lapwings that accompany her, the badger cubs she watches at night and the velvety mole she finds in her garden.

And it is also the story of how Nicola came to write and to protest – unearthing the seam of resistance that ran through Newbury’s past, from the Civil Wars to the Swing Riots and the women of the Greenham Common Peace Camps and to the fight against the Newbury bypass. A resistance that continues today against the destruction of hedgerows, trees and wildlife through modern farm estate management.

On Gallows Down is perfect for fans of H is for HawkThe Salt Path and Featherhood.

‘It is impossible to write with integrity about nature without protesting and resisting and waving a desperate red flag.

Isn’t it?’




Publisher Website



This is a book that inspires you to appreciate the nature around us as the author does a wonderful job of combining her personal experiences over the years, amidst the backdrop of the ever changing world we find ourselves living in.

This is a memoir of Nicola Chester, who has found herself protesting over the years to protect the environment in various locations whilst bringing up her family, and doing what she can to pass on the knowledge and love of wildlife and nature to her children and those around her. I have nothing but admiration for this woman after reading about her life experiences, and how she writes so passionately about the natural world. Her enthusiasm is infectious and I share the same anticipation as her awaiting wildlife sightings whilst you’re out for a walk.

I knew very little about some of the areas she talks about, but she brings them to life with her writing style and I also found myself googling pictures of the area to get more of a feel for the areas that meant so much to her over the years, and those areas that she fought so passionately to save and protect.

With her husband, she moved around the country over the years due to various job changes and there’s always that connection to nature and the outside world that allowed her to cope with change – the nature around always seemed to give her hope and it was lovely to see her passing that interest on to her children as she had them exploring local areas with her.

There’s lots of fascinating information about the wildlife she sees and how the changes in areas has impacted on the animals and their habitats, as well as the history of places she lived in, that it made for an absorbing read, and one that has made me more determined to do what I can for local areas and wildlife so that more can be protected and saved for future generations.


Thank you to the publisher, Chelsea Green Publishing, for the advanced reader copy in return for a fair and honest review.


#BookReview BE MINDFUL by KATE JAMES #AudioBook


Life is full of setbacks, big and small. We don’t have control over life’s challenges, but we can control how we deal with them.

This collection from Kate James – successful coach, meditation teacher, speaker and writer – is full of easy to digest insights and exercises that will help you bounce back from unexpected challenges and changes, and will help you discover more about yourself and what will make you happy. It will boost your self-belief, get you motivated and help connect you with a more creative and inspired version of yourself. This collection includes the following from the Kate James series:

Change How You Think and Be Happier Now

Build Resilience and Free Yourself From Fear

Believe in Yourself and Do What You Love

Be Mindful and Simplify Your Life

The perfect companion in stressful times, Be Mindful with Kate James provides the essential tools that will help you savour the good times and roll with the punches when things don’t go to plan. 


I listened to the audio version of this book.

This is a collection of 4 books, all under one banner, which makes it very easy to access. Full of lots of tips, hints and analysis, it explores our behaviour during difficult times and helps to find ways to quieten our minds and be more at peace on a daily basis!

It looks at defining happiness, understanding depression and exploring self care – time to be your own best friend and take care of yourself on those days when it all seems a little too daunting and overwhelming

It’s a practical and helpful listen, full of simple ways to help try and change your mindset. I liked the smaller, achievable goals that are set throughout. It did feel a little repetitive at times with the same points being made over the course of 4 books, but maybe that will help it stick in my mind a little easier!


#BookReview KAIZEN by SARAH HARVEY #Audiobookreview




Lifestyle changes can be overwhelming: It’s hard to take on major goals without falling prey to self-doubt. But with ‘KAIZEN’, big goals become small, approachable steps. This Japanese method first made waves in the business world by launching Toyota to success; it also adds magic to Marie Kondo’s life-changing method of tidying up. As Kondo puts it: “You can take the first small step toward your dream today, and keep taking small steps to grow your passions”.

Now, Sarah Harvey unlocks ‘KAIZEN’S’ amazing potential to enhance our everyday lives. Even the boldest intention (I should run a marathon someday) begins with the simplest step (Today, I’ll research local running groups). ‘KAIZEN’ is the key to improving our health, work, finances, relationships, habits, and – yes – homes!




I listened to the audioversion of this book.

This was my first introduction to Kaizen and I found it to be really informative and intriguing! It’s not a ‘go cold turkey’ kind of approach to life, but a more measured ‘slowly,slowly’ way to change habits and your outlook on life – overall, a more manageable way of changing set behaviour which often leads to more success!

The books that make you want to change everything about yourself overnight are enough to make you go running in the other direction, but I found this approach was so much more inviting! Just changing 1 thing about your routine a week – such as 5 minute mediation every morning, or once a week – is much easier to achieve and that repetition helps you reset your brain to accept that as part of your new routine!

The fact that you’re just thinking more about the choices you are making, really make you analyze that repeat behaviour that you wanted to change. Kaizen is used all over Japan in business and personal life, and the positive results there helped to inspire the author to follow suit and share her experiences and tips on helping you achieve the same.

There’s lots about sleep patterns, phone addiction, stress, morning habits, spending money, decluttering etc – and there’s some great little tips along the way that just make you eager to try them out as they appear to require little effort at all! Fascinating and I’m looking forward to keeping many of the changes I’ve already made in my new routines and seeing how else Kaizen can help me!




With the pace of modern life it can often be difficult to pause, reflect and find composure. We all need a quiet, still space we can go to recalibrate and regain calm.

This beautiful audiobook from bestselling lifestyle author Kate James is that quiet, still space.

Practical, warm and soothingly accessible, Create Calm provides all the tools you need to cultivate a more peaceful and positive inner world.




If you’re looking for an audiobook to soothe you, then look no further!! Not only does the narrator/author have an amazingly calming voice, this is also full of amazing little tips and tricks to help you cope with all that modern life throws your way!

I listened to the audioversion of this book from my local library and it was a really informative and helpful listen. How we are all feeling more connected thanks to the internet, but feeling more isolated than ever before and how we deal with that to improve our mental wellbeing and see us through those darker days when we all think the world is against us.

There are tips on sleep, breathing exercises and techniques to try and just finding out what works for you. I liked that the advice was ‘sensible’ and could easily be tried by everyone and it just made me feel calmer knowing that we’re all going through the same things and how the internet especially distorts our view of the world Time to focus inwards rather than out!!


#BookReview THE ART OF REST by CLAUDIA HAMMOND #nonfiction #audiobook


Today busyness has become a badge of honour. We want to say we’re busy, yet at the same time we feel exhausted. Instead we should start taking rest seriously as a method of self-care and this book can help us to work out how.

The Art of Rest draws on ground-breaking research Claudia Hammond collaborated on – ‘The Rest Test’ – the largest global survey into rest ever undertaken, which was completed by 18,000 people across 135 different countries. Much of value has been written about sleep, but rest is different; it is how we unwind, calm our minds and recharge our bodies. And, as the survey revealed, how much rest you get is directly linked to your sense of well-being.

Counting down through the top ten activities which people find most restful, Hammond explains why rest matters, examines the science behind the results to establish what really works and offers a roadmap for a new, more restful and balanced life. 



I listened to the audioversion of this book.

I found this to be a really interesting listen exploring the art of ‘rest’ and how we all interpret it, especially in this modern world where we all expect to be busy 24/7. Rest doesn’t mean sitting and doing nothing and this book explores the top 10 ways – the results from a rest test survey- of which we can all take a bit more time to rest and find a way of slowing our mind and bodies down.

I have M.E so am very aware of how rest can help me in my recovery. Whenever we are told to get some rest, I’m sure most of us think that it involves just lying down, watching tv, but this book shows that is not the case.. When is rest just being lazy? And more than ever how many of us never feel properly rested, even after a ‘lazy’ day with so many distractions.. yes social media, I’m looking at you!

I was pleased to discover that I’m doing rest right listening to this book! Just by switching off your brain you can find yourself resting, so just going for a walk, listening to music, getting in touch with nature are high on the list. And top of the list overall was reading!! And I can totally connect with that one! The world seems to disappear when you’re involved in a good book and that can only be a good thing for your mind and body

I liked the tips included throughout the book of helping you with resting and it was full of good common sense – something lacking in the world right now! Recommended!




Self-care and magic work together in this guide to help you become the best version of yourself. You’ll learn how to nourish your body and spirit with herbal remedies, spells, and rituals inspired by witchcraft in this unique, enchanted guide to self-care.

Self-care is a necessity for any modern woman. The goals of self-care are simple: healthy mind, healthy body, healthy spirit. This book helps you prioritize yourself with a little help from the magic of witchcraft. The Witch’s Book of Self-Care has advice for pampering your mind, body, and spirit with spells, meditations, mantras, and powerful activities to help you to keep healthy, soothe stress, relinquish sadness, channel joy, and embrace your strength. This book features such magical self-care remedies:

-A Ritual to Release Guilt: Learn to burn whatever causes you pain and process painful memories or work through heavy emotions in this therapeutic ritual.

-Green Space Meditation: Learn how to reconnect with the healing energies of nature, even in the middle of a bustling city, as part of a series of meditations based on the elements and your senses.

-DIY Body Butter: Create your own custom soothing and smoothing body butter, powered by crystal and essential oils suited to your intention, and sanctified by a ritual.

And much more! The Witch’s Book of Self-Care shows you how easy it is to connect to the earth, harness your personal power, and add a little magic to your everyday life for a better you!


This is a helpful little book for witches and non-witchy folk! It is full of information and tips on how to take care of yourself, body, mind and spirit – all so useful in these difficult times we find ourselves living in!

There are tons of ideas for you to pick and choose from in finding a way to help you cope with the stresses of life – from a 5 minute self care routine to start off your day with, to journalling, hygge, candle magic and guides to meditation. There’s even a few recipes to help with creating your own teas, sleep mists and even body scrubs and bath bombs.

I really enjoyed dipping in and out of this book for picking up little hints on how to treat yourself and how to slow down and take care of yourself.



Discover the power of natural magic and healing through herbs, flowers, and essential oils in this new guide to green witchcraft.

At her core, the green witch is a naturalist, an herbalist, a wise woman, and a healer. She embraces the power of nature; she draws energy from the Earth and the Universe; she relies on natural objects like stones and gems to commune with the land she lives off of; she uses plants, flowers, oils, and herbs for healing; she calls on nature for guidance; and she respects every living being no matter how small.

In The Green Witch, you will learn the way of the green witch, from how to use herbs, plants, and flowers to make potions and oils for everyday healing as well as how crystals, gems, stones, and even twigs can help you find balance within. You’ll discover how to find harmony in Earth’s great elements and connect your soul to every living creature. This guide also contains directions for herbal blends and potions, ritual suggestions, recipes for sacred foods, and information on how to listen to and commune with nature. Embrace the world of the green witch and discover what the power of nature has in store for you.


Another really helpful and enjoyable book that features the magic of nature and how it can be used to help us on a day to day basis in dealing with whatever life can throw our way!!

This goes into a bit more depth about what being a ‘witch’ means nowadays and how the use of nature can help heal, and how to be more aware of natural energy.

There are lots of handy hints on how to overhaul your outlook and surroundings, and how that being more aware of the local surroundings and nature can help focus your mind.

It’s a book that looks into seasons, tides, moon, stars etc are all playing a part in our moods and experiences and I really enjoyed learning a little more, as well as being surprised at how many elements of this way of life that I already practice!

There’s more recipes, a look at meditation, rituals, moon gardening and just becoming more aware of the world around us.


#BookReview Insomnia by Marina Benjamin

about the book

Insomnia is on the rise. More than a third of all adults report experiencing it, with the figure climbing steeply among those over sixty-five. Marina Benjamin takes on her personal experience of the condition–her struggles with it, her insomniac highs, and her dawning awareness that states of sleeplessness grant us valuable insights into the workings of our unconscious minds. Although insomnia is rarely entirely welcome, Benjamin treats it less as an affliction than as an encounter that she engages with and plumbs. She adds new dimensions to both our understanding of sleep (and going without it) and of night, of how we perceive darkness.

Along the way, Insomnia trips through illuminating material from literature, art, philosophy, psychology, pop culture, and more. Benjamin pays particular attention to the relationship between women and sleep–Penelope up all night, unraveling her day’s weaving for Odysseus; the Pre-Raphaelite artists’ depictions of deeply sleeping women; and the worries that keep contemporary females awake.

Insomnia is an intense, lyrical, witty, and humane exploration of a state we too often consider only superficially. “This is the song of insomnia, and I shall sing it,” Marina Benjamin declares.

Published by Catapult

Pages – 122

Purchase Links




This isn’t a book that will help you solve your insomnia, but it does go someway in helping you understand it and know that you aren’t alone as the author does a beautiful job of describing how she feels when she is suffering insomnia, and all the rational and irrational thoughts that go through your head while the rest of the world (so it seems!) is sleeping with no problems.

It’s only a short book but contains so many different thoughts, perspectives and attitudes towards the different stages of insomnia, how it has affected others and how you react to it when suffering. I found myself agreeing with the author on a number of occasions with the thoughts she had as she tried to overcome her insomnia and put that time to good use in whatever way she could.

It touches on the factors in modern life that cause it along with the world we live in that has an industry in sleep cures – all the pills and potions that are meant to help you in your hour of need!

I loved the way it was told in little paragraphs – the variety of thoughts and randomness of your mind when it is deprived of sleep, and found it to be an interesting book to read anytime of the day or night! Ooh and it has a beautiful sparkly cover! A very pretty addition to your ookshelves!


#BookReview The Little Book of Sloth Philosopy by Jennifer McCartney

About the book

Relax, unwind and soak up the wisdom of the sloth with the slowest page turner you’ll ever read.

From tidying and Hygge, to living Lagom, the endless pressure to be happier, live better, sleep soundly, and eat mindfully can be exhausting. But this year’s lifestyle trend finally delivers the perfect antidote – welcome to the year of the sloth.

Sloths are mindfulness in action. Contemplative, deliberate, relaxed, and focused. They resist the rat race, the incessant pressures from society to be more productive, and they don’t care how many steps they’ve logged on their fitness tracker. Long-limbed, a little bit shaggy, and a lot wide-eyed, they’re wonderful creatures, not to mention completely adorable.

Here you can enjoy take-it-slow wisdom inspired by sloths; including advice on sleep (more restorative than a 6am run), eating and ‘exercise’ (sloths are the original pioneers of slow food and yoga after all), work (did you know that lazy people have higher IQs?), family life, and love.

Dispelling over-complicated myths about productivity, this brilliant book confirms that it really is OK to be a sloth. 

Published by Harper Collins

Purchase Links

hive.co.uk  £5.89

waterstones  £3.49 in their sale!


Such a perfect little book!! I think the whole world needs to embrace the Sloth Philosophy and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed an afternoon reading this and there’s so much to take away from having a different approach to the frenetic, mad world we live in nowadays.

This book has a fun look at how we can all improve our wellbeing and outlook on life if we just take a few pointers from the Sloths of the world – and it all feels achievable! Just little mind changes and activities we can do that can really help us in not feeling so down on ourselves and situations we may find ourselves in. And especially with the advent of social media where outdoing everyone else seems to be the number priority for some, this book helps you figure out that moving at your own pace and doing things you like and not copying others is what we should all be striving for. 

There are also a number of very cute illustrations throughout which were just perfect and would make for some lovely t-shirts! There’s lists of books to read, songs to listen to, little quizzes to take as well and it was just a wonderful little pick me up read and the perfect gift for people you know who need to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life!