Category Archives: Reading List

Books I love

Calm, Mindful Mothering…?

Sometimes, the possibility of calm and mindful mothering can seem like a distant, unreachable tropical island in a sea of dirty nappies, whining, and tantrums. I recently finished reading an incredibly helpful, inspiring, and motivating book which is a practical guide, specifically for nurturing mothers and offering guidance and support for what can be an emotionally tumultuous time for a woman. The loss of a career, time to ourselves,  independence, freedom, desperate worries about if our children are “normal” are all significant and profound changes which can be difficult to integrate into our “new” life. The best bit? You don’t have to be a practicing Buddhist to get a truckload of useful, practical advice out of this book.

Buddhism for Mothers

Buddhism For Mothers – a calm approach to caring for yourself and your children by Sarah Napthali is a wonderfully reassuring,  comforting and practical handbook which offers a gentle and calm means of coping with the everyday challenges of motherhood.

Using Buddhist practices, Napthali (a mother and practicing Buddhist) offers empathy and instruction for parenting mindfully, finding calm, dealing with anger, releasing the grip of worry about our children, creating loving relationships, living with partners, finding happiness and losing our self image.

Basically, Buddha’s teachings are founded on the four Noble Truths:

1. There is suffering.

2. Attachment causes suffering.

3. Suffering can end.

4. There is a path to end suffering.

To quote Napthali “…suffering and unsatisfactoriness won’t end today, but by embracing some Buddhist practices you can start today planting the seeds to improve your life.”

Napthali focuses on finding the joy and bliss in mothering. By being in the present moment, mothering becomes a more rewarding and fulfilling experience. Buddhism For Mothers also explores the more reflective, inner workings of what makes us truly happy and offers guidance for developing inner resources to help nurture ourselves when our lives can feel like complete pandemonium.

Buddhism For Mothers is the kind of book, that once you’ve finished reading it the first time, you want to start at the beginning and read it all over again. I have found this book to be a wonderful reference guide when times are particularly challenging. Mothering a willful toddler is difficult at best. Doing most of the disciplining myself and not having a direct, open course of communication with his father, makes it even more challenging. Feelings of guilt and anger are peppered through my daily thoughts and at times are overwhelming. During these moments I head for Buddhism For Mothers (which I have conveniently left on my bedside table) and frantically flick to the chapter/s which are most relevant to the moment. Today it’s dealing with anger. Tomorrow? Who can say. All I know is that this little book is a gem!

Buddhism for Mothers

Fighting For Fish

Those who know me know that I’m a mad fan of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall of River Cottage fame (UK). Hugh owns a gorgeous organic farm in Dorset and apart from growing and producing amazing crops and free-range animals, he creates fabulous food which he shares with the public through his canteens in Axminster and Bath. He has created several television series, writes regular food columns, and has a range of books, DVDs and online courses. Hugh is an avid supporter of sustainable living and a campaigner for ethically produced food – the man is an inspiration and somehow strangely sexy in a geeky, earthy type way! (Did I write that and leave it in after a re-read? Call the Mental Health Team!)

Yummy recipes on the River Cottage Website!

An excerpt from the River Cottage blurb about Hugh:

A talented writer, broadcaster and campaigner, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is widely known for his uncompromising commitment to seasonal, ethically produced food and has earned a huge following through his River Cottage TV series and books.

During River Cottage Spring (2008) Hugh helped a group of Bristol families start a smallholding on derelict council land.

The experience was so inspiring he decided to see if it would work nationwide, and Landshare was created to bring keen growers and landowners together. The movement now includes more than 50,000 people.

“Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is quite my favourite of all the prominent food-writers and presenters. Never quite as shaggy, messy and disgusting as he first appears, his great knowledge, passion, insight, intelligence and skill are hidden under the silliest hair in Europe.” Stephen Fry

I laughed a lot at Stephen Fry’s quote – totally true!

Dead Fish Family

Hugh has taken on a new campaign called Fish Fight.

Half of all fish caught in the North Sea is thrown back overboard dead due to the current quota system imposed by the EU Common Fisheries Policy.

This is outrageous no matter what country you live in and how far removed you might feel!

Hugh is officially launching his campaign with a broadcast of  “Hugh’s Fish Fight” presented by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in January 2011.

Sign up to support Hugh at the official Fish Fight website.

Stay tuned for updates! (If they let me have a computer in the padded cell…)


Down Home On The Farm

“I hear the train a comin’. It’s rollin’ ’round the bend. And I ain’t seen the sunshine, Since, I don’t know when…” Sing it for me Johnny. Louder now!

“Farm Mama, Mama Faaaaaarm, Moo Moo’s Mama, Mama Moooooo Mooo’s, Ooh Neigh Neigh Mama, Mama Faaaaaaaarm, Farm Mama!”.

Louder Johnny – c’mon baby, not much further now.

Big sign – Ashmar Farmstay. Big sigh. We’re here! Gravel crunching under tyres, bull dust flying like a bridal veil behind us, heavenly emerald green pastures embrace us, tranquility is inhaled with every earthy breath I take. Meanwhile, a frenzy of farmyard possibilities is forming in Mr D’s toddler mind as he absorbs the countless unfamiliar sights worthy of pioneering exploration…

It Doesn't Get Much Better Than this!

As I swing the car into the small car parking area and turn the motor off, a man appears wearing an old baseball cap, a broad grin and smiling blue eyes. I open the door. “Hello, you must be Megan, I’m Ian”.  It honestly felt like we’d come home.

Ian showed us to the self contained heritage cottage set in a beautiful country garden with spectacular views across his property and beyond. It was so quaint – and absolutely spotless! The cottage has 3 bedrooms and can sleep up to 12. The best bit? It’s the only cottage on the property – you get to have your farmstay all to yourself!

Country Quaint A-Go-Go

Our 4 nights at the award winning Ashmar Farmstay was simply the perfect break for our little family. We were joined by some good friends with a couple of kids which made for plenty of laughs and adventures for all.

The pioneering explorer discovered a few new pieces of machinery – one particular item of focus was a brand new big red tractor! The joy on Mr D’s face was priceless! The highlight was definitely the hay ride around the 500 acre property – a big red tractor and just plain old good fun!

Brand New Shiny Tractor!

The highlight was definitely the hay ride around the 500 acre property – a big red tractor and just plain old good fun!

Hay Ride Shennanigans

The kids delighted in the amazing collection of baby and not-so-baby animals. The miniature horses and kooky looking alpacas were particular favourites!

Honey the Miniature Horse and admirers
All Together Everyone… Awwwwwww!

We loved it so much, we’ll be heading back next year! Thank you Gayle and Ian, we had a magical time.

Do You Like Shoes, Booze And A Great Story?

Me too!

Self confessed shoe addict and prolific word-smith Louise, fuses the most important parts of her life – shoes, booze and great stories on her blog shoboome to create entertaining, captivating and bloody clever yarns!

Louise has been writing for a long long time and this is her newest baby. Fresh, witty and edgy –  it takes the reader on journeys you never expected. It’s food not only for the reader but the writer too. Louise shares her gritty creativity and generously, she shares the methods and techniques of how she gets there. Writing exercises and hard-hitting pep talk for the procrastinators amongst us, round out this great new site.

Pop on over and check out shoboome – Shoes, Booze and Me. By Louise!

Oooh sparkly! (Image Courtesy of Getty)

All The Little Fishies

I just HAVE to give a heartfelt congratulations to This Australian and New Zealand online store sells books, music, movies, games, electronics, toys and stationary at heavily discounted prices.

The range is extensive if not exhaustive, shopping is easy, they have terrific and regular promotions (such as free shipping) plus they have THE SPEEDIEST DELIVERY I’VE EVER EXPERIENCED!

To quote “The big international players have ignored this part of the world because the market is too small. Local traditional retailers don’t want to risk a large investment online. We have taken up the challenge and will work hard to bring the people of Australasia a quality and convenient online shopping experience down under.” And this is true! Just click the link in the right hand column and shop till you need an extension your house!

Well done!! You rock my world!

Jump Over To (image courtesy of e-aquarium)