The Wild Remedy by Emma Mitchell

In the introduction to her book, author Emma Mitchell comes clean about the depression from which she has suffered for the last twenty-five years. The Wild Remedy How Nature Mends Us is a diary that shows how through nature Emma manages her ‘depression’ and her life. https://silverpebble.net/blog

         Emma’s description of how depression manifests itself is so poignant.

‘ Some days my brain feels as though it is mired in a dark quicksand of negativity; on other, layers of thick greyish cloud seem to descend, weighing down my thoughts and burgling my motivation. However the depression manifests itself, I find it difficult to move, and the urge to stay indoors beneath a quilt and near to Netflix is strong. I know if I do force myself to get up from the sofa, then the gloom can lift a little, and if I step outside and walk in the wood behind our cottage, the dreich thoughts may not leave entirely but they certainly retreat into the wings.’

She writes beautifully and descriptively with no sense of self-pity. Emma acknowledges that literature is peppered with references to using nature as a way of easing melancholy and is the first to admit that it may not help all, but it does help her.

The book is a joy to read it is both interesting and informative and full of discoveries both for the reader and for Emma herself. Set out as a diary, that starts in October when the weather in England turns and the first frosts appear. Emma’s adventures, in both the landscape where she lives and beyond are not big ones. She observes nature and draws us in with her observations. The creatures and plants are often small, birds, insects, rodents but for Emma they are important and noticed. She is both a keen observer and illustrator. All the drawings and photographs in the book are hers.

         Emma grew up in Liverpool but spent many summers as a child on the Pembrokeshire coast where she explored rock pools.

         As she says’ When I was small I didn’t know much about marine wildlife, but I knew that I could find VERY interesting things in rock pools: things that darted, scuttled and snailed about; that I could catch in my net if I was careful and they’d continue to dart: scuttle and snail about in my bucket.’

I grew up near Birmingham and holidayed in a caravan in Sandersfoot near where Emma stayed. Reading her description took me back to my own childhood, with memories of being curious about rock pools and what excitement and mysteries they held.

Emma has a degree in Zoology from the University of Cambridge. The book has a good bibliography that references papers such as ‘The role of the seratoninergic system on mood and mood disorders’

‘The benefits to humans of interactions with natural landscapes’

I highly recommend this book, if you are a nature lover or not, if you suffer from depression or not it will draw you in and inform you.

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As Emma has come clean, so will I, I have a son and a brother who both suffer from severe depression, and the son of a good friend killed himself two years ago. Anything that can offer help or a possible way through this misery has to be good.

I highly recommend this book, if you are a nature lover or not, if you suffer from depression or not it will draw you in and inform you.

Published by Michael O’Mara at £14.99 http:// www.mombooks.com

Do you need to get your house in order and sort out your life? Then Debora Robertson’s book DECLUTTER is your answer

Declutter

The get-real guide to creating calm from chaos

By Debora Robertson published by Kyle Books at £12.99

You need this book if you are doing any of the following:

  • You regularly buy things to replace items you already own because you can’t lay your hands on them right now.
  • You regularly lose your glasses, keys, phone and tv remote. Or if like me recently, when the night before I was to fly to Armenia I couldn’t locate my passport. It was 2 hours of anxiety and turning everything in the house upside down before I found it.
  • You have said any of the following in the last month:

‘ I have to go through those‘ ‘Someone might need that’ ‘It’s still got wear in it’ ‘It might come in usefulone day’

Unlike other books on this subject, Debora does not expect you to totally readjust your world to minimalist living. She offers practical advise including allowing a certain amount of time to clear up. She suggests buying a kitchen timer and using it. Decide how much time you can spend on a task on any given day and just spend that amount of time and no more. She suggests keeping a diary of what you wish to achieve and offers tips on what you need to do daily, weekly and monthly and even how to clear up if you  only have a spare ten minutes.

She gives information on how and where to get rid of useful unwanted items. I have made so many visits to charity shops during the last month!

I am a craft author and run workshops so I am a great one for collecting all kinds of tools, materials and ephemera. ‘Oh that will come in handy sometime”. Reading that Debra writes on cookery and gardening I realized that her pile of stuff probably bears a resemblance to my own. So I am even more impressed.

What this book does, is encourage you to create new habits that will enhance your life.

I knew this book was good because as I was reading it, my friends kept asking if they could borrow it after me. Well it is a great book based in reality and full of practical advise and No you can’t borrow it. I’m keeping my copy and authors like Debora deserve people to buy their words of wisdom. So go out and buy your own copy, you won’t regret it.

RELAXED COASTAL STYLE

 

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When I heard about the book Relaxed Coastal Style, by Sally Denning I was very keen to review it. I met Sally many years ago as she was setting out on her career as a stylist, and she used my house as a shoot location. Since then I have been very aware of her meteoric rise in the ‘styling world’ and so knew this would be a gorgeous book and I was correct.

The first part of the book consists of Sally’s unique take on coastal style, celebrating the colours and textures of the seaside: bare wooden boards, unadorned windows, and furnishings covered in robust linen or cotton that will endure salt water and the sun’s rays or gently fade with age. Sally also explores lighting, furniture and coastal decorative accents such as maps, charts and nautical-themed accessories.

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She draws inspiration from beach combing, displaying shells and driftwood to feel close to nature and the sound of the waves. Sally and her photographer have travelled far and wide to shoot a selection of glorious coastal houses, cottages and hideaways that are guaranteed to enchant and inspire.

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The second reason I was keen to get hold of a copy of this book is that it features the house of Jane and Martin Will who own the old Coastguards cottage on Deal seafront. I grew up in Deal although in those days it was less glamorous than it is today. It is now full of artisan shops, pavement cafes and galleries such as the homeware and gallery ‘Will & Yates’ that Jane co-owns with artist Caroline Yates. The Will’s house is as lovely as the gallery painted in soft greys and inky blues and furnished with simple functional pieces of furniture and ‘brocante’ finds.

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Wherever you live, Relaxed Coastal Style will inspire you to adopt the relaxed, informal simplicity of life by the sea.

Relaxed Coastal Style by Sally Denning (£19.99) with photography by Benjamin Edwards ©RylandPeters&Small.

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Wreaths by Katie Smyth and Terri Chandler from Worm London

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My last blog post was on making a floral headband wreath for Midsummer day celebrated in Sweden. This post is for those who wish to go larger and make a wreath for their home.

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It was the architect, flower loving,  boyfriend of my daughter Alice, who first introduced me to Worm London, the young hip flower designers and stylists.  They  design flowers for weddings, supper clubs and parties. They also work as stylists for magazines, books and TV Shoots. Katie Smyth and Terri  Chandler are inspired by seasonal wild, foraged materials and the meaning for flowers.

This is Katie and Terri’s introduction to making your own seasonal decorations. With natural materials and foraging having a renaissance at the moment, this book shows you how to use your finds in a most creative way. As they say in their introduction

“Nurturing that connection with the world around us and its changing seasons is important to us, and we want to encourage you to experience this too.”

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The authors use the experience of their global travels where they have  studied garlic garlands on the first day of May across the Greek islands, midsummer  wildflower wreaths in Scandanavia and flamboyant adornments to celebrate Thanksgiving in the US, wreaths can be a warn welcome, an original gift or simply a beautiful addition to your home.

Most of the projects in the book are relatively straightforward to make. The materials and methods of making are accessible and it looks very different from traditional formal floristry.

The book is divided into  four main sections, Fresh, foraged, dried  and  festive wreaths. Their is an introduction and basics on tools materials and making basic shapes. The book finishes with a  glossary, suppliers list and index. The midsummer wreath is glorious and I particularly like  the mobile made from honesty the enormous Christmas wreath and the kitchen herb bundles. I really enjoyed this book, particularly the lovely photos by Kristin Perers and very much look forward to making some wreaths.170724_Worm8645

Worm London

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Today we show you how to Cultivate, Dye and Create using INDIGO.

Indigo by

Kerstin Neumüller and Douglas Luhanko

Everything you need to grow, extract and use indigo.

Discover indigo; one of the world’s most mystical yet widely used dyes. In this practical and inspirational handbook, textile experts Kerstin Neumüller and Douglas Luhanko take the reader on a journey from plant to pigment to garment, sharing their passion for this powerful  and popular dye.

They have collected a variety of classic and modern dye recipes to suit every skill level and equipment, including more environmentally friendly alternatives. There are recipes for both synthetic and natural indigo, accompanied with handy gardening tips for those wanting to start from scratch and grow their own indigo plants.

The authors go on to explore indigo’s true potential in a variety of craft projects, ranging from Japanese resist-dyeing techniques (shibori) to embroidery (sashiko) and quilting. There is also advice on combining indigo with other pigments to create a kaleidoscope of hues.

Packed with tips and advice throughout and suitable for both beginners and more advanced dyers, Indigo is an essential book for everyone who wants to create unique indigo craft projects.

Kerstin Neumüller and Douglas Luhanko met when Kerstin was looking for someone to dye indigo with and, by chance, stepped into Douglas’s shop on the very day he had ordered a kit for natural indigo dyeing. Since then, they have explored indigo’s possibilities and limitations together. Douglas has a passion for denim and indigo and manufactures jeans in his own company Blue Highway. Kerstin is a men’s tailor with her heart in handicrafts. She has spent many years studying handicrafts

Published by Pavilion Books £15.99

Mad About The House

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As a keen follower of Kate Watson-Smyth ‘s blog Mad About The House, I have been looking forward to her book with eager anticipation. The book is written in much the same way as her blog: clear informative and witty, honest with a small amount of self-deprecation. As she freely admits she is not an interior designer and has never hired one. However she is a journalist who has been writing about interiors for the last twenty years, and who in that time has interviewed some of the best brains in the business.

If you are expecting a big colourful coffee table book, then you will be disappointed. There are a few lovely sketches and a few photographs including one of Kate’s own home taken by Paul Craig. What you do get is really good advice and help.

Since starting her blog in 2012 she has become the number one interiors blog and has won many awards for it.  Kate enjoys finding her own style, and in this book she gives you ways in which to find your style.

“Every room should have something that draws you in. An amazing piece of furniture, a funky light, a family heirloom.” As she says all homes have common elements whether it be a one bed flat or a ten bedroomed villa. In this book she guides on how to make your home tell your story.

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Much needed advice is given on how to use Pintrest, so that it is an effective tool when planning an interior space. The chapter on the various colours, their meanings and how to use them in interiors, and what goes with what is extremely useful. For those struggling with colour her idea of looking in your wardrobe to see the colour palette you love, is inspired. In the same way that outfits are put together with a main colour and then accessories in different colours, so a room is put together.

“Pick a colour-perhaps a neutral and put it on the largest area of your walls. That’s your clothes or main thing you are wearing. Choose a second colour for the largest piece of furniture say the sofa. This is your top or jacket. Add some pattern in the form of cushions: your earrings or necklace. The accessories- rugs, armchairs-are the final colour: your shoes and bag. The idea is basically 60 per cent one colour, 30 percent another and 10 percent the finishing touches.”OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA          Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Whatever your style, this book will guide you through everything you need to know to decorate your home with confidence and individuality. Kate reveals the rules of rug layout, explains how to buy a sofa, and shows how to get the lighting right in every room.

A must-have book for anyone who wants make their house a home.

 

Published by Pavillion Books £20

 

Blog: madabouthehouse.com

Instagram:@mad_about_the_house

#MadAboutTheHouse

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Studio – Creative Spaces for Creative People

 

by Sally Coulthard

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If you are a designer, or just love creative people and enjoy seeing how and where they work, then this is must have book.

It is full of inspiration. The author, Sally Coulthard, lives on a farm where she rents out barns to artists. As she says ‘it’s a scruffy space, but the people who work there have transformed the building into something truly special. Not only have the artists organized their studios into useful spaces, they’ve also created rooms that express who they are and inform the work they produce. Each space reflects the personality of the person who works there –studios are like fingerprints, totally unique.’

The first part of the book has inspirational pictures and descriptions of different kinds of studio’s. Included are brights, mono, natural, industrial and collected.AlunCallenderPhoto_SarahCampbell_31_0125.jpg

The second part of the book is divided into different kinds of artists and designers and includes crafters, fashion and textile designers. Fine art, graphics and illustrators studios are featured as are the work shops of bloggers writers and photographers and last but not least are workshops and up-cyclers. nathalie leté 20(1)

Different kinds of buildings are as unique as the artists and designers themselves. One artist works in a shepherds hut another in a barn others in industrial warehouses and lofts. Some work together others by themselves.AlunCallenderPhoto_SarahCampbell_02_0045.jpg

The final section of the book deals with practicalities of how to plan your studio, getting organized, desks, lighting and storage are all explored. As are work tops and drying spaces. If you want to set up your own studio you need look no further than here. The book is truly international showcasing designers and artists from many different countries.CathDerksema_FINAL_HIRES-7.jpg

A joy to read and a very useful handbook.

Published by Jacqui Small at £25

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