A Place to Reflect

Something Positive for Mental Health Awareness Week

This week, 10th-16th May 2021 is Mental Health Awareness week. But, to be honest, our mental health is something that we should all be looking after all year long. The theme chosen for this week is Nature because connecting with nature is so good for our mental health and there are lots of ways we can do this.

Going for a Walk

As someone who doesn’t get out a lot, I’ve noticed that when I do I take much more notice of the things around me. I used to rush to the shops, get what I needed and rush back, but even on those trips there is something that can make you stop and enjoy. Once, I saw a little robin in a bush and I just felt compelled to stop and look, he was so cute, for a moment I felt my spirit lifted. I connected with nature.

Of course a walk in a place full of nature is much more rewarding than a trip to the shops, and even in my wheelchair there have been places I could visit and just enjoy the scenery. From when I was very young, I’ve always enjoyed the bluebell woods.

For more than five years I’ve been stuck at home for most of the time, but there is nothing I like more than listening to the bird song at my back door when I get up in the morning. Or even just looking at the trees and wondering about the life they contain. I’m not very green fingered, but this year I am actually managing to keep some plants alive. I’m hoping for a garden in bloom for summer.

Mindfulness

One of my main tools for keeping my mental health in check is Mindfulness. I try to spend a little time each day just focusing on nothing in particular. I can be meditating or listening to Schumann Resonance just to ground myself.

But if keeping your mind really blank is a problem their are many other mindful activities. Colouring, breathing techniques, yoga, visualisation or even crafts.

I use my LSW Mind Cards to help me. They now have a New Mums edition as well as a Kids Edition. Their journals and notebooks are also lovely. I am an affiliate for Mind Cards so I may earn a little money if you click through and purchase something, even though it won’t cost you any extra, so thank you.

I’ve had my Mind Cards for over a year now and still use them every day.

Positive Mind Training

I recently tried a Positive Mind Training Course which I found really useful. It helped me to choose how I react to things differently and more positively. I even found some of the things I learned where helpful to my daughter who is currently doing her GCSEs. It’s a really good tool for mental health awareness.

The first part of the course is free, but still worth listening to. The Positive Mind Training course is Part of a bigger initiative called Change a Billion Minds a ‘not for profit’ company that has a big aim of improving the lives of many people and help change the world for the better.

positive mind training for mental health week

Learn Something New

Learning new things can be great for our mental health and I have recently completed a course at The Centre of Excellence. Again, I am an affiliate so if you click through and purchase a course then I may earn some money at no extra cost to you.

The Centre of Excellence offers so many different courses from Child Education, to Beauty Therapy, Life Coaching to Writing Courses, History to Business Marketing. You can even learn how to set up your own online course.

If you need a little extra help with your mental health you could always choose a course on Mindfulness or Reiki.

Some of the courses are expensive, but sign up for the newsletter and you will get some fabulous bargains. I got my course for just £29, and there are free courses on offer too.

What do you do to improve your mental health? If you ever need to talk you can always find me on Twitter or Facebook and message me for a chat.

Take care and stay happy and healthy x

A Place to Read

The Foundling by Stacey Halls, a book review

Today I have another book review for you. I’ve just finished The Foundling by Stacey Halls on Audible. I really enjoyed The Familiars so I was excited to read another of Stacey Halls historical novels.

The Foundling cover on audible
By: Stacey Halls
Narrated by: Laura AikmanHattie Morahan
Length: 9 hrs and 19 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 06-02-20
Language: English
Publisher: Manilla Press

The Blurb

Two women, bound by a child, and a secret that will change everything . . .

London, 1754. Six years after leaving her illegitimate daughter Clara at London’s Foundling Hospital, Bess Bright returns to reclaim the child she has never known. Dreading the worst, that Clara has died in care, Bess is astonished to be told she has already claimed her. Her life is turned upside down as she tries to find out who has taken her little girl – and why.

Less than a mile from Bess’s lodgings in the city, in a quiet, gloomy townhouse on the edge of London, a young widow has not left the house in a decade. When her close friend – an ambitious young doctor at the Foundling Hospital – persuades her to hire a nursemaid for her daughter, she is hesitant to welcome someone new into her home and her life. But her past is threatening to catch up with her and tear her carefully constructed world apart.

From the bestselling author of The Familiars comes this captivating story of mothers and daughters, class and power, and love against the greatest of odds . . .

My Review of the Foundling.

I sped through this book because it was so intriguing. From the very beginning I was taken with poor Bess who had to give up her child. Then when she went back to pick her up, she’d gone!

It wasn’t too difficult to work where the baby had gone and how Bess found her And even though Bess had changed her name it was obvious who she was, but it wasn’t meant to be a big secret anyway.

Split into sections we have the Story from Bess’s side and then from Alexandra’s. Two very different women, with very different lifestyles, but one major connection.

I love Stacey Hall’s story telling, you really get to know the characters and all about their lives. She knows how to take you back to that time in history and understand why they did what they did.

There is a little intrigue, a few questions that need answering, some tense moments and a lot of emotional involvement. All in all, I found it a really good story. I’ll definitely be looking out for Stacey Hall’s next book.

I listened to The Foundling on Audible but you can also purchase it from my bookshop or Amazon. All links are affiliate links so if you do purchase through them I may earn a little money at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog.

Great news, Audible have officially launched their new Discounted Membership offer as of the 6th May 2021.

 Offer: 50% off membership for 4 months
Description: Just £3.99/month for the first 4 months, then £7.99/month
Click Here for Offer

A Place to Read

My Husband’s Girlfriend by Sheryl Browne, a book review

My latest audio book was from one of my favourite authors, Sheryl Browne. I think My Husband’s Girlfriend has to be one of her best so far.

My Husband's Girlfriend book cover on Audible
By: Sheryl Browne
Narrated by: Katie Villa
Length: 9 hrs and 20 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 07-04-21
Language: English
Publisher: Hachette UK – Bookouture

The Blurb

Tucking her little boy Ollie into bed one night, Sarah notices his beloved teddy bear, which she bought him when he was born, is missing and in its place is a new toy given to him by her ex-husband’s new girlfriend, Laura. When she asks Ollie about it, he begins to shift uncomfortably before whispering, “Laura told me a big secret, and she said I can never tell you.” Sarah’s heart sinks.

But when she raises her concerns, nobody wants to listen. To everyone else, Laura is the perfect stepmother, and Sarah is just the jealous ex-wife. But Sarah knew the moment she met Laura she couldn’t trust her, from her overly perfect stepmother act to the way she evaded questions about her own history. 

Soon, Ollie is asking to spend more time with his dad and Laura, and shrinking away from Sarah. Then, when she calls to him in the garden one day, Ollie doesn’t answer back. The garden is silent. Ollie’s sandpit is empty. Ollie has disappeared. 

My Review of My Husband’s Girlfriend

After reading some of the other reviews about this book I found the biggest criticism was that there were too many characters, too much going on and too much repetition from each point of view. These were the points I actually enjoyed. I guess listening to the story on Audible does make a difference.

I think Katie Villa narrates the story perfectly, capturing the essence of each character and bringing them to life. As someone from the West Midlands (Like Sheryl Browne) I get the accents and feel like I’m in a story from someone I know.

Saying that, there was a lot going on. So many twists and turns, and so many characters that all had their own little things going on. The stories were all tied up together in the end which was both exciting and satisfactory.

Being a fan of Sheryl, I do relate to her story telling. She likes her readers to get to know her characters, she adds a little tension, but nothing to horrific or gory. She starts slowly and works up into a frenzy. Then, as I have already said, the story is all brought together at the end.

I’ve never had to deal with a husband’s girlfriend (mine ran off to another Country and they didn’t go and stay until they were teens…nice free holidays for the kids in the South of France though!) But, I can understand the apprehension, the suspicion and how things can all be blown out of proportion from the Mother’s point of view. I can also understand the frustration of others around who can so easily blame the Mother’s behaviour on jealousy. You should always trust a Mother’s instinct though.

I got through this book quickly and really enjoyed it. I will look forward to Sheryl’s next book.

I listened to the book on audible, you can also buy it on Amazon where it is only £1.99 (currently) on Kindle and £8.72 in paperback.

I hope you enjoyed my review you can read more here. Have you read this book or any other of Sheryl Browne’s thrillers. I’d love to hear your thoughts.