Who’s Been In Our Tree 

Who’s Been In Our Tree is a book written by Diana Batchelor and is designed as a support mechanism for children who are victims of burglary.

Diana Batchelor is an experienced practitioner and researcher in the field of criminal justice.

With the use of animals as the characters, Batchelor tells the story of the aftermath after their tree is burgled.

Fox, Badger, Hedgehog and Squirrel wake up to find that everything in their tree is upside down.

Furniture is empty where the TV and games used to be and they discover that a bag of their favourite things has been taken.

Batchelor has used the animals to depict different reactions that a child may experience and relate to.

A child will then be able to identify which animal they feel that their emotions relate with the most.

Batchelor has, in conjunction with Dr Fiona Snyder – a Clinical Psychologist, written about the strange things that start to happen after the burglary.

Again, each animal experiences something different – something strange.

Like a bad dream.

Or feeling frightened to be alone.

The story proceeds to tell of different coping mechanisms for each animal to try.

Again, a child reading this could identify the animal that their fears relate to the most and see how that animal coped with their experience.

At the end, there’s the opportunity for the child to reflect on their experience in the ‘What About Me’ section. It is here they can create their own plan on what steps they’re going to take to make themselves feel better.

There’s also a useful section for adults to consider in ‘Things To Talk About’. This encourages grown ups to listen to the child and ask them about their reactions and feelings.

I caught up with Diana Batchelor who told me more about the book …

Can you tell us what the story of Who’s Been In Our Tree is about? 

Who’s Been in Our Tree? is a book for 4-8 yr olds to help them deal with the impact of burglary. The story is about four animals whose tree has been burgled. It teaches children about a range of shock reactions, reassures them that feelings of anxiety and stress are normal following a traumatic event, and equips them to make plans to cope. The main emphasis is on letting out feelings – finding ways to share and express them. It was developed with the help of a child clinical psychologist. Feedback I have had so far suggests it could also be helpful following any type of stressful life event, and that older children appreciate it as well – perhaps up to 11yrs or so.

What motivated you to write this story?

It all started when I was supporting children who’d been victims of crime in London. One boy had been having nightmares ever since the family home was burgled. I met with him and his dad over a few weeks and we drew pictures together. One week he drew his front door that had been damaged, and then together we drew their shiny new one which helped to make him feel safe. It was clear that he could express his feelings through drawing, which he was finding hard to do with words.

His dad asked me whether there was a story book they could read with him, to help him understand what had happened and feel safe again. I was determined to find one! I searched high and low but had no luck. Fortunately, drawing helped the family communicate and they found a way out of the nightmares. But now some years later I’ve written this book with him and his dad in mind. It uses bright, simple drawings as a way to help children like him understand their own feelings and come up with their own ways of coping. He doesn’t need it anymore, but I hope it will help others like him!

You can find out more about the book on the Who’s Been In Our Tree website

The book is also sponsored by Victims Support. Read more on Batchelor’s interview with the organisation here.


~Social Media~

Twitter @WBIOT

Facebook 


~ Where To Buy Who’s Been In Our Tree ~

Amazon 


Love Missuswolf xxx

Disclosure – I received a copy of this book as part of this feature 

This post contains affiliate links 



This entry was posted in Books.

Cuppa and a Catch-Up – An Author Interview with … Deborah A. Stansil

 

Today I’m hosting fellow North Easterner author and blogger Deborah A Stansil.

Deborah kindly sent me a copy of The Mirror as part of her feature here today. 



Deborah is Author to The Joker, The Twisted Tales series as well as recently published The Mirror.

As you all know, I love to have a book to read, especially before going to bed.

I find it the ultimate therapy to relax after the chaotic days.

This month’s bed time read has been ‘The Mirror’.

The story centres around Amy and her daughter Lilly. They make a seemingly innocent purchase of a mirror that goes in Lilly’s bedroom.

But then Lilly’s behaviour starts to change.

It’s been interesting to read this from a parent’s point of view now that I have the Little Lady. Although I’m nowhere near the school days at the moment, the story involves not only the concerns of Lilly’s parents, but that of the school too.

There’s an underlying story that’s ticking over that’s fuelling Amy’s constant anxiety over her daughter, which comes tumbling out half-way through the book.

These are all issues that once upon a time I would have read on auto pilot and not really reacted too (cold-hearted I know but the pre-parent me could switch off).

Now, the motherhood side of my brain plays upon these topics and experiences and puts myself in that position.

It’s interesting to see Lilly’s character change and how it affects those around her; her parents, her teachers and even her best friend, Jessica.

At the time of going to press, I’m still reading (and enjoying!) The Mirror (life’s getting in the way a bit of my reading plans – imminent house move).

I’m at a part of the story where a link appears to be forming with the mirror and the family (no spoilers). I’m now intrigued as to what angle this is going to take and my heart goes out to Amy for what she’s experienced in the past.

Looking forward to getting tucked up tonight to read a few more pages. 

 

~Biography~

Deborah A Stansil Author Pic Missuswolf

Born and raised in the North East of England, Deborah A Stansil always dreamed of one day becoming a writer. As a teenager, she would write fiction but she rarely shared it with anyone, and as an adult, life got in the way.

She never forgot her passion to write creatively and now the dream is a reality, with both her books and her blog. Deborah has well and truly caught the writing bug and she is now a full time writer.

She enjoys reading, writing and she’s never far from a book or a notepad/laptop. She also enjoys travelling, both in the UK and abroad and one day, she would love to travel the world.

Deborah is best known for her love of the horror genre, both writing and reading, although she does enjoy writing in both the crime and fantasy genres too. She hopes you enjoy reading her books as much as she enjoyed writing them!

 

 

Hi Debbie welcome it’s good to have you here today.

 Congratulations on your fourth book – The Mirror. What was the inspiration behind it?

The Mirror Deborah A Stansil book Missuswolf

 

I actually started out with the intention of writing a haunted house type of plot (watch this space for that one in the future!). When I sat down to write it, the idea of involving a mirror kept nagging at me. I have always had a thing about mirrors being spooky, so I changed tack completely and went with the idea of the mirror as the central theme to the story.

 How would you compare writing The Mirror to anything you’ve previously written?

The Mirror was written in a very different way to my usual fiction. There was no real plan, no outline, it just poured onto the page. I loved writing this way, I felt like I had no limits and the story kind of wrote itself in a sense.

How do you organise your writing time?

I write freelance as my full time job, so I try to work on my own novels on a night time. I’m a bit of a night owl anyway so this works well for me as somehow I always seem to feel more motivated at night. Once I get into a story though, I do sometimes find it spilling over into my work time (oops!).

How did you start writing? Was there a particular book or moment in your life that spurned you on?

I’ve always said I wanted to write a novel, but it wasn’t until two years ago that I actually sat down to do it. There wasn’t really any big event that spurred me on, it was just a matter of stop saying it and start doing it!

Where is your best ‘writing space’; the place where you feel comfortably locked away from the world and are able to let your creative juices flow?

I mostly write on my laptop, perched on the top of my bed. All the advice says this is wrong, I should have a desk and some sort of office space, but this works for me.

And finally, tell us an interesting fact about yourself that not many people know

I had a poem published in an anthology when I was fifteen. I submitted it under a pen name because I was embarrassed in case people knew I had written it! The worst thing is I can’t even remember what the anthology was called!

 Thank you so much for having me, this has been great

       

Thank you for being here today Debbie and best of luck with the book.

~Where to find Deborah~

Missuswolf - Deborah Stansil My Random Musings

Blog: www.myrandommusings.co.uk

Website: www.deborahstansil.com

Amazon author page: https://goo.gl/FrXC4V

Twitter: www.twitter.com/randommusings29

FB: www.facebook.com/myrandommusingsblog/

Insta: www.instagram.com/debrandommusingsblog29

The Joker: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01JND8VY6

The Mirror: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01N9YWFBN/

Twisted Tales: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01H94D1MS

Twisted Tales 2: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01MSRDI4

Love Missuswolf xxx

Guest Post: The Books I Love Reading With My Boys

Today’s guest post is from the lovely Deb Sharratt from My Boys Club who is kindly sharing with us the books that she’s loved reading with her boys …

 

@MyBoysClub is a lifestyle, travel and food blog by Deb Sharratt all about enjoying life in a family of boys. Follow at www.myboysclub.co.uk or on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

  

The books I’ve loved reading with My Boys …

There are so many reasons why reading to and with your children is a good thing. Helps them learn to read, improves concentration, teaches them new things, improves vocabulary, encourages creativity, can develop empathy and is calming and relaxing. However as well as all this it’s fun. It’s a special time between parent and child and I’ll really miss it when my boys no longer want to read with or to me or indeed no longer want a bedtime story.

Maybe that’s the reason why I’m a keen buyer of kids box sets and series of books  – I’m trying to make the bedtime story last forever! Anyway here are my top seven series of books sets.

 

Julia Donaldson

The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child have been read and spoken so many times in out house that my boys can recite the entire books perfectly without having to read them. The books have inspired trails, such as this one in Hamsterley Forest,(http://www.myboysclub.co.uk/2016/10/all-leaves-are-brown.html) but other stories such as Tiddler, Stick Man, Monkey Puzzle and The Smartest Giant in Town too, with their flowing, soothing, rhyming stories are a favourite with toddlers and are just as delightful for older children as well.

 

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

My Boys receive their first ‘Wimpy Kid’ books as a reward for having 100% attendance at school and they have been hooked ever since. With both typed text and comic strip style illustrations, the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series by Jeff Kinney are all about a kid called Greg who fills in his journal (not a diary!!) of all the misadventures in his life. Everything Greg seems to do has hilarious consequences and his family are very funny.

My Boys couldn’t stop reading these books and thought they were funny and fun to read. They also laugh out loud at the films too.

Michael Morpurgo

Any collection of books by one of the nation’s favourite storyteller is one to treasure. The former British Children’s Laureate, Michael Morpurgo is known best for

children’s novels such as War Horse (1982) but has written over 100 books. His work is noted for its “magical storytelling” but also for recurring themes such as the triumph of an outsider or survival, for characters’ relationships with nature, and for vivid settings such as the war. We are now on our second collection of books. I was a little worried about the subject matter at first – the books cover wars, morality, death and what is deemed right and wrong but in doing have provoked many questions about so allows my boys to learn to share and express their thoughts.

 

Mr Men

Ever since the first books were published in 1971, Roger Hargreaves’ Mr. Men have been an enduring favourite with children (and parents!) of all ages. The likes of Mr. Happy, Mr. Tickle, Mr. Bump and friends must rank as some of the most famous characters in children’s books – and the boys love reading them as much as I did when I was a child. There are so many to enjoy and we love the bold, bright illustrations and simple storylines that make the Mr. Men stories fun and appealing for my boys to read over and over again. Every Mr. Men character has a key personality trait that provides huge entertainment as they head off on a variety of adventures but my favourite one remains Mr. Tickle.

Dr Seuss

Well, what can you say about Dr. Seuss’ wild, wacky and energetic creations? They are amazing. Entertaining. Loveable. And tell a great story too in rhyme making them easy to read and even easier to listen to. From The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, to How The Grinch Stole Christmas, these are timeless books of crazy rhymes and weird and wonderful characters that we never tire of reading.

 


Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl’s short stories are known for their unexpected endings and his children’s books for their unsentimental, macabre, often darkly comic mood, featuring villainous adult enemies of the child characters. His books champion the kind-hearted and feature an underlying warm sentiment. Some of his best-known books for children include James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The Witches, Fantastic Mr Fox, The BFG, The Twits and George’s Marvellous Medicine.

Read about our year of celebrating 100 years of Roald Dahl

(http://www.myboysclub.co.uk/2016/12/2016-year-celebrating-roald-dahl.html).

 

His stories have gone on to capture the hearts and imaginations of children and adults across the globe, Matilda has always been a firm favourite with me and my boys.

 

How to Train A Dragon

These books inspired the Dreamworks How to Train Your Dragon films. It is a series of twelve children’s books written by British author Cressida Cowell. The books are set in a fictional Viking world and focus on the experiences of protagonist Hiccup as he overcomes great obstacles on his journey of becoming a hero the hard way. The books have some illustrations, activities and also teach you how to speak Dragonese and train your own dragon to do tricks!

My boys love them all but they are perfect for children of any gender. Whichever books you choose to read, enjoy, it’s a very special time.

What’s your favourite book to read with your children?

Deb x

 

Story Corner: Baby and Lion Dog 

As I’m an avid reader, there was no doubt that the pushy mother side of me would inflict books upon the little lady.

So welcome to my new feature – Story Corner.

And the first book in this series is a fabulous new book called ‘Baby and Lion Dog: The Search for the Missing Nose’.

Missuswolf Story Corner Baby and Lion Dog Book

It’s written by a lady called Elizabeth Forbes, a deputy headteacher, whose dream of writing and publishing a children’s book has come true.

The book is a first in a series aimed at 3-7 year olds.

You can try to sit and read it to your babies, although mine won’t sit through longer stories at the moment (she’s a bit too young – only nine months).

However, I’m starting to build up her collection and I love supporting new writer’s.

Baby and Lion Dog will be added to her bookcase for when she’s a bit older.

Sooo – what’s it abooooot??

Baby and his pet Lion Dog have a special relationship. Each story takes them on a different adventure; searching for clues, helping people and solving mysteries.

What will happen on their special adventure this time?

Baby and Lion Dog attend the local circus whereby they come across a clown who can’t find his red nose (sob!) They must both help him find his red nose in order to save the clown’s performance!

I love the part of the book where they start their hunt for the nose.

The dialogue changes into short, snappy rhyming paragraphs. This picks up the pace of the story and I can imagine when Ella is older that she would love this – it emphasises the little mission that they are on.

Very well written and the illustrations are just superb.

img_1682

This book is fab if you’re looking for a last-minute Christmas gift, Christmas Eve Box or stocking filling for your little one.

Grab yours here:

 

Read more about Baby and Lion Dog on their website.

Love Missuswolf xxx

Please note this post contains affiliate links

Missuswolf Typewriter Compliments Disclosure

 

Lean In: A Must-Read Book For Working Mums (Career Loving Parents)

Friday 25th November 2016


The time is vast approaching when I will be returning to work full time following nearly ten months maternity leave.

I’m not going to lie. I’ve really struggled being away from work for this amount of time.

Since I was sixteen, I’ve worked full time.

Half my life in fact.

So to go from that to being at home with a baby all day has been somewhat of a culture shock for me.

I’m used to being busy. I like being busy. I’m typing this as I try and cram some ‘me time’ in as Ella naps. I’ve blogged to keep me sane.

I’ve got a brain.

I want to use it not lose it.

And it’s helped massively.

But what has spurred me on even more to make the decision (to be a full time working mum) is Sheryl Sandberg’s book ‘Lean In’.

Missuswolf Lean In Sheryl Sandberg Kindle cover with baby shoes and wand

I’m choosing to go back full time. I want to stay in this rat race.

I know Ella will be fine at nursery – heck nursery will prep her for school, which in turn preps her for the world.

At her visit last week she was craning her neck to see what was going on. She was desperately trying to wriggle out of my arms to join in.

I’m not worried about her going to nursery in the slightest. It will be good for her development – better than what I could ever provide her.

I don’t want her to have flown the nest and I’ve sacrificed my ambitions when I had the opportunity to chase them.

Missuswolf Mother and daughter walking on a country lane

Ella’s not mine to keep.

She’s mine to teach.

One day she will have a life of her own.

And I’ve thought this practically from the day she was born.

I’ll do my job with her and always love her beyond belief.

But we are both human beings and want the best for ourselves out of life.

In the book, Sheryl mentions Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller foundation, and the subject of how women choose to leave the workforce.

It would make sense for me to cut my hours. In essence I’m working to pay for my child to go to nursery and the household bills with very little play money at the end.

Missuswolf piggybank

But I’ve chosen to do this.

I don’t want to give up my career now when I was at the peak of it prior to maternity leave.

I’ve worked too hard. I’ve put in too many hours to just hold my hands up and step down.

Because in a couple of years, Ella will be at pre-school. Then actual school.

What do I do then? If I’d chose to leave the workforce, I’d be back in a position where I could go full time and not have to pay the nursery fees.

After discussing this with my OH, we are both acutely aware that the next couple of years are going to be hard financially.

But it won’t last.

Plus, we’ve struggled and survived on my maternity pay this year. We can make it through the next couple of years.

If I look back to November last year when I was twenty weeks pregnant, the time has flown over. I now have an eight month old.

Next November, I’ll have a twenty month old. Nearing that gap to fifteen hours free nursery care. Which will certainly ease the burden.

So I know I can do this.

I think maternity leave is the hardest part. You’re left alone to deal with this baby day in, day out, with little help and lack of money.

But come weekends and trips away, with the OH, family and friends – I don’t feel the stress and burden anymore. And bizarrely, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my KIT days. They’ve been welcome breaks.

I’m not saying this is what everyone should do – far from it. Every family set-up and circumstance is different. This isn’t a bash at parents who stay at home or work part time. It’s simply what I’ve chosen to do and I’ve found a book that’s supported my thought process.

This post is in case there are any like minded people out there struggling to come to a decision. I want them to read this and know it’s OK.

Sheryl broaches the subject that us women are often the breadwinners in our generation. So we do have to go back full time. Which is good. However, we’re penalised with nursery fees.

This was my case but I’m actually taking a cut when I go back to my new role. However, it’s still a promotion – and a development opportunity. I’m still in the game.

Sheryl’s point though is that if there was more help with childcare, more women would go back full time. For some families, it’s just not cost efficient to do so.

And I get that.

But what if those women really wanted to go back to work? That they were clever, hard-working and had ambition and drive?

Missuswolf woman at laptop working

Not only is it them missing out on bettering themselves and in turn bettering their families, but businesses are missing a trick. They are effectively losing out. Losing a strong member of staff simply because they can’t afford the childcare.

This is something that the government needs to look into and help with funding nurseries. But that’s a different topic for a different day.

However, Sheryl’s stance on this is that women mistakenly drop out of the workforce as their salary barely covers childcare. She promotes a different way of thinking. That we should measure the cost against our future salary rather than our current.

And with that in mind, I’m more than happy to go full steam ahead of working full time.

Sheryl discusses childhood bossiness and the neighbourhood. Looking back, I had similar drive. As an eight year old, I used to dance on our driveway with my sister and our friends.

 

img_1480We would put on shows.

Our favourite song to dance to was Two Unlimited’s ‘Get Ready For This’. I know. How cool were we?

I went so far as to type up tickets (on a typewriter too – no computers in those days) on yellow or green paper. Then we would march around the neighbourhood and sell them to people. To come and watch six girls in crop tops and cycling shorts dance.

And people actually bought them.

Could you imagine if we did that in this day and age??

Suffice to say our parents marched us straight back to return the money.

But looking back, you could say it was the start of business thinking.

When I was ten years old, I bought jewellery making kits and pulled together some earrings, necklaces and bracelets.

I packaged them and marketed them as ‘GG’s Gems’ and sold them at fayre’s at the local community centre.

Why I’ve never pursued this little trait I’ll never know but my god I wish I’d gone to University and done English/Journalism or Business and Marketing.

Never mind. I suppose it’s never too late.

My point being is that Sheryl Sandberg had a similar streak and ‘bossiness’ about her. Now I am no way comparing myself to her at all (I wish!) but her point is that it’s not bossiness as a little girl. It’s leadership qualities coming through.

And I’ve never seen myself as a leader. But maybes at this point in my life, it’s time to become one. Especially through the eyes of my little girl.

Missuswolf little girls taking photo

I want her to look up to me. To see her mammy working hard but playing equally as hard. Show her independence and drive. That mammy enjoys using her brain and contributing financially. See her mammy happy as she has a healthy balance in life.

And lead her to strive for that same well-being.

Leadership is also a quality to look for and nurture in little girls of our own. Which I’m going to do with Little Miss E.

Missuswolf little girl in princess outfit

#GirlBoss

Sheryl points out that thriving marriages appear to be ones where both parents work full time and have careers as well as children. There’s less guilt and good mental health. Some data also suggests that two working parents outside the home are advantageous to a child’s development – especially girls.

Missuswolf little girl reading

I agree with this statement for my set up. I’m used to being extremely independent – working full time, having my own money and coming and going as I please.

 

To say this has been turned upside down this year is an understatement. I’ve had to be dependant on someone else, had very little money and my schedule is dictated by a small human.

Who wouldn’t look back on their former selves with envy? Of course parenthood and maternity has probably been the hardest year of our marriage. So I’ll be welcome of a level playing field come January.

Missuswolf couple on top of mountain

Like I said before, there’s no question about my love for my child. I just know exactly what I want out of life and Sheryl Sandberg has shown me I can get it. Being a mother does not prevent me.

In fact, it fuels me. I’ve discovered a drive I’ve never had before.

I’m more determined than ever.

Caroline O’Connor refers to herself as a career loving parent instead of a working mum.

And I love this title.

From now on, I will refer to myself as a career loving parent. A woman who loves business and works to better herself as well as her family.

Like Beyonce says:

Missuswolf woman with child on her back in working fields

 

Who Run The World.

Girls.

Where you can grab a copy of Lean In:

Love Missuswolf xxx

Please note this post contains affiliate links

Images from Unsplash

How To Improve Your Physical and Mental Wellbeing: Love. Yourself. Lean. Journal

Monday 31st October 2016

Missuswolf Typewriter Compliments Disclosure

Improving physical and mental well being is a re-occurring theme on here. I had the opportunity to receive the Love Yourself Lean Journal and I thought it fitted in nicely with my blog.

Missuswolf Love Yourself Lean Box

Everyone loves a delivery right? Especially a super speedy one that arrives beautifully wrapped.

As a child on the cusp of my teen years, I kept a diary. And you could say that this blog is a form of online diary.

But this Journal is a diary

with a difference.

Missuswolf Love Yourself Lean Package

Pretty Packaging!

It focuses on Heartfelt Happiness and Harmonious Health.

I’ve never been so conscious of my physical and mental well-being as I have over the past fourteen months.

Since the moment I found out I was pregnant, I’ve had to mentally adapt.

Mentally adapt to:

  • the fact my body was going to change and I was more aware than ever what I was eating and drinking
  • the fact that there would be the painful labour process at the end of the pregnancy
  • the fact I would actually need to have a section instead as the baby was breach
  • that I would be responsible for this little person in our lives
  • going from a busy high-profile job to a slower pace of life, spending more time at home with a baby
  • my post-baby body
  • the constant of it all while I’m still on maternity leave. No matter how busy I make myself sometimes there feels like there is no break or no way out. And it feels worse the longer I’ve been off

The whole time – from becoming pregnant, to having the baby and then caring for this small human – it’s a lot to mentally process.

I’ve met people while I’ve been on this journey and it’s brought to light mental health awareness – particular Postnatal Depression.

I know some of my readers have experienced it, or are experiencing tough times in their lives right now.

Sometimes we need

to take a step back.

To shift our focus.

Before you can take care of someone else you need to care of yourself first.

Missuswolf Love Yourself Lean Book

When I heard about the Love Yourself Lean Journal, it resonated so well with where I’m at in my life. It’s come along at the right time.

I know I’m fortunate to have this time off with my baby and I should make the most of it (as I don’t intend on doing it again. I’ve made my contribution to the human race). But my god it’s hard! It becomes mundane. Especially when you don’t feel great when you’ve caught the usual Autumn lurgies.

So this Journal is a great way to pull me into focus.

There’s a section on How To Use The Book, which covers areas like breathing, trust, feelings and reflection to name a few.

This is followed by a Getting Started page that prompts you to take pictures every four weeks for a year. This includes a no make-up selfie – to document the effects that drinking water has on your skin and eyes.

It reigns in to focus on and capture the following moments over a year:

Mental Health #Keenbean

Spiritual Health #Serenebean

Physical Health #Leanbean

Emotional Goals #Dreambean

Eureka Moments #Eurekamoment

You can focus on one of these a day and capture what you are grateful for, as well as a Self Love activity. Although it’s encouraged to post through Instagram as well, you can do it on a private or public facing account. It’s however you feel comfortable.

Missuswolf Love Yourself Lean Journal Page of a diary example

In the Journal, there’s space to record how many glasses of water you drink, your food diary and how many hours sleep you have (I know – sore subject among the parent sorority).

It takes five minutes out of your day to fill it in. And it does make you more aware of what you’re eating and drinking.

I used to drink so much water when I was at work and now I find I don’t drink half as much. It’s affected my skin and even my lips. The lethargic feeling I put down to being a parent isn’t helped by the lack of water and the upped caffeine intake.

And sometimes I think it’s my own doing. I’ve got into the caffeine habit since Ella was born. While at first it was very much-needed, as the months have gone on (hate talking about this for fear of jinxing it) it’s an area that’s not too bad. So like I say – it’s just become habit.

Plus the coffee and cake get together’s don’t help. (Well, they do at the time. They save our sanity. But on reflection, doing this and not drinking a lot of water I tend to get headaches.)

As many of you know I’m a bit OCD and I can’t start this diary on a random date. So I’ve been doing practice runs over the weekend and I’ll officially start the Journal on 1st November.

However, I’ve drank my two litres of water a day and, despite being full of cold, my skin actually looks fresher and plumper. I know. Weird! But if this is the benefits that I completely took for granted as part of my lovely old working life then hell yeah bring them back!

I did get into a good exercise routine over the summer which I’m going to bring back. This was just a home workout in my make-shift gym (the living room once all the toy crap is shoved away for the night). Last night I forced myself to do my forty-five minute routine.

Missuswolf Gym ball and weights

My Makeshift Gym

And do you know what? I instantly felt better working out. My nose wasn’t as blocked while I was doing it and my mood lifted with all those lovely happy exercise endorphin’s.

On the spiritual side of things, suggestions are things like going for a walk, meditating or visiting a new destination to name a few. I’ve been using the Headspace App and doing some meditating that I’ve learnt at Postnatal Yoga.

For the emotional goals, simple things like a cup of tea in peace (I should be so lucky ha!) or rushing to help a friend in need.

The Journal also has a four-week review page. It encourages you to look back over the last twenty-eight days and count how many days you focused on each health area. This will show you areas that you need to focus on for the next four weeks. As someone who also loves stats and analysing figures, again – this is right up my street!

Missuswolf Love Yourself Lean Week Four Review

A lot of time, effort and love has gone into making this Journal.

As a super organised person who thrives on routine and structure, I love having this to focus on.

I’m interested to see where this journey will take me. What kind of person I’ll be this time next year and how my mental and physical well-being changes. I’d like to think that I feel a lot more secure and get more satisfaction out of life (by this I mean I have a balance).

So the year is going to be all about getting that balance right. I’ll experience going back to full-time work and juggling this with childcare. It’ll be interesting to see how my mental and emotional goals change.

If you want to improve your overall physical and mental well-being, this Journal is ideal.

Plus a visit off Santa Claus is not too far away so this is a fab pressie.

It could be your resolution – New Year, New You.

Love Missuswolf xxx

 

K. A. Richardson’s Time To Play: Blog Tour

Friday 30th September 2016

image

The book I’m currently reading is Time To Play by North East Crime Writer K.A Richardson.

 

I always like

to have a book

to read.

Missuswolf Time To Play K.A Richardson

For those of you who’ve followed this blog for a long time, you’ll recall the days when this was solely about books and writing.

It’s somewhat expanded in the last couple of months but my heart will always be with literature.

Crime and psychological thriller’s tend to be my forte.

 

K. A. Richardson

I used to work with Kerry a few years back and I’ve loved following her writing journey. Back then, she was busy writing her first book, With Deadly Intent (cheeky post plug – read more on my interview with her here).

She was also in the process of setting up her blog too Kerryannrichardson.com

2016 has been a busy yet exciting year for Kerry. Her debut novel, With Deadly Intent, was released in April, followed by I’ve Been Watching You in June and now Time To Play was released on the 22nd of this month.

Back in July, Kerry also won author of the month over at the UK Crime Book Club.

At the time of going to press, I’ve Been Watching You was number 2 in the free Kindle Crime Chart and no 6 in the overall free Kindle Chart.

Pretty impressive achievements while working in a (very important) full-time job.

Biography

Missuswolf K A Richardson Author PictureMy name is KA Richardson, and I am a crime writer based in the North East of England. I write around my other work commitments so am constantly on the go. I love reading many genres, love speaking to people and spend a lot of time people watching in coffee shops, though if I’m honest this is more for the purposes of character building and plotting. I enjoy watching ‘cop’ shows from both the UK and the USA, and am a fan of sci-fi. I began thinking about writing as a career in 2010 and completed my Ma Creative Writing in 2011. I love to be inspired, and enjoy spending time with friends and family, as well as other like-minded folk. My website has some more info on me, if you’re interested pop on over to www.kerryannrichardson.com, or I can be found on Facebook as KA Richardson.

Time To Play …

DI Alistair McKay is still reeling from the ‘one that got away’ but when he is called to deal with a potential murder at the water side, he must put his personal worries aside.

As police diver, Marlo Buchanan, starts pulling bodies out of the water, it becomes clear that something isn’t right.

Someone is torturing young girls and dumping them in the local reservoir.

Then the body of a man is discovered and Mackay and Buchanan are pulled into the seedy underworld of human trafficking.

As the team race against the clock tensions start to run high.

Can they overcome their personal demons to work together?

And will they find the killer before he strikes again?

The team are back in the third novel from the gripping North East Police series.

 

Missuswolf Time To Play K.A Richardson

You don’t have to have read

the previous books

to read Time To Play

Although the book is part of the ‘North East Police’ series, the beauty of Kerry’s work is that the books are stand alones in their own right.

They focus on a different character in each novel and, although they make reference to previous character’s who are bobbing along in the background, this doesn’t distract from the main storyline.

My favourite style in this book is that the sections are snappy; almost like an intertwined diary. In any chapter, the date and destination heading change allows us to follow different character’s; from the police dive team, detective’s and scene’s of crime officer’s to the horror of the human trafficking world.

Interlaced within all that are the sub stories of the police officer’s lives.

The pace is good, it keeps it interesting the technique that Kerry has used.

The topic is very raw and the level of research that Kerry has done on both the subject and the roles of the police teams involved is a real credit.

Richardson’s got a good knack of getting inside the mind of a killer and their thought process to justify their actions.

Chilling,

but thrilling.

I’m not going to give too much away on this one for fear of dropping any spoilers.

The nights are drawing in and what better way to get all snug and cosy than to get your nose in a new book.

Time To Read

Time To Play

Missuswolf Time To Play K A Richardson

Have you read any of Kerry’s books?

Love Missuswolf xxx

What I’m currently reading – I See You by Clare Mackintosh

I’m currently reading I See You, the second novel by Sunday Times Bestseller Clare Mackintosh.

Clare Mackintosh

You see, I read her first novel I Let You Go (see her interview here) in April last year when I was on a spate of reading psychological thrillers. It was a story so cleverly written that I got to a crucial point (I don’t want to say too much!) which made me fling my book on my lap and gawp open mouthed to myself (no-one else in the room plus hubby doesn’t read -scoff- so he would never get it).

So I’m unbelievably excited to be reading this! Unfortunately I can’t read it as much to my leisure as beforehand (in case you’ve not heard I’ve not long been thrown into motherhood and  yup I seem to use this as an excuse for everything at the mo. Must organise oneself and not harp on about it).I See You

What’s this book aall abooot then?

Check this out:

You do the same thing every day.

You know exactly where you’re going.

You’re not alone.

When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation; just a grainy image, a website and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.

Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . . .

Argh I’m terrified already! I’m a few chapters in and I’m looking forward to snuggling under my duvet on this wet and miserable summer evening to read a few more. I’m freaking myself out at the thought of someone watching every move I make …

I See You has been released today so grab yours here I See You

i see you

Love Missuswolf xxx

Please note this post contains affiliate links

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Cuppa and a Catch-Up – An Author Interview with … Kerry Ann Richardson

Monday 25th July 2016

Cuppa and a Catch up pic

Today I’m hosting an author to watch out for – the lovely K A Richardson.

Richardson is a Crime Writer who has just won the July author of the month over at the UK Crime Book Club woohoo! She released her debut novel With Deadly Intent back in April. Her second novel I’ve Been Watching You was released in June. Both novels are climbing their way up the Amazon charts and with the impending release of Time to Play (released 22nd September – pre-order here), you could say it’s been a busy year for Richardson.

She’s achieved all of this working while working in a (very important) full time job too!

KA Richardson Author Pic

I downloaded With Deadly Intent to read while I’m on maternity leave (ever the optimist I With Deadly Intentknow!) Well, optimism does get you somewhere – cue naptimes, bedtimes and throwing-the-baby-at-hubby-after-work times;  all of which provide ample opportunity to grab a couple of pages. But I didn’t want to grab just a couple of pages. I wanted chapter’s – I stayed up late and got up early – I wanted to get to the end of this story to find out exactly what that deadly intention was ;-).

Hi Kerry it’s fab to have you here!

 Congratulations on the success of your first two novels! It’s been an exciting year for you. I’ve just finished reading your debut novel – what was the inspiration behind With Deadly Intent?

With Deadly Intent started as the 15000 words I needed for my dissertation for my MA Creative Writing. I was a CSI (crime scene investigator) at the time of completing my MA and instinctively knew that writing crime was something that appealed – I decided to draw on my CSI experience and use the processes in the novel to make it a little less police procedural and a little more something that readers might enjoy. The characters just came alive and I carried on writing after I’d finished (and passed) my MA. Love that you’re enjoying it Gemma!

I've Been Watching YouHow would you compare writing With Deadly Intent to anything you’ve previously written?

I’ve always written – whether that be little handwritten books stapled at the sides for the teachers in primary school, or poems written to help deal with emotion through school and into adulthood – crime writing differs from that as it feels almost real to me – I create these characters who become my best friends for some time – though I’d never do to my friends what I put these poor characters through. My previous work was more focussed around emotion I’d say, where the crime novels are based around things that hopefully, are believable, scary, and give people a little insight into my characters and their lives.  

How do you organise your writing time around working a full time job?

With great difficulty at times! Sometimes it’s not so bad – I write a lot when I’m on annual

Time To Play

Available 22nd September 2016

leave so family holidays are always good writing times. I also try to structure my time when I’m on rest days – this tends to work and my friends and family are very understanding if I say I can’t go somewhere as need to finish a scene or a chapter. I also have an autoimmune disease so it can be a bit of a battle at times but I get there in the end.  

How did you start writing? Was there a particular book or moment in your life that spurned you on?

It’s a little clichéd but writing is something I’ve always done, either as a coping mechanism or to express myself.

Generally my earlier writing was just for me and would never see the light of day. I see a lot of things as inspiration – books especially. Enid Blyton is definitely one of my earliest inspirations – the books I mentioned making for the teachers were handwritten, stapled at the sides and usually full of cat characters (the teacher loved cats). There was always a little mystery though – I loved the famous five and secret seven. As I got older, John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men was introduced – this resonated with me – I had intense emotional feelings when I read this – and reread it I don’t know how many times. I remember sitting at school and watching the movie in English with tears streaming down my face – yes I was laughed at, but the point is it made me feel. Later I fell in love with the Sherlock Holmes series by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – I loved how he made someone like Sherlock, who is a sociopath, always in control, and quite dislikeable really, to life and made him into someone likeable who solved crimes with Watson. I think all of those impacted in some way on what I eventually would come to write.

famous-five-01-1991Ah we have very similar interests – I loved reading a good mystery adventure story like Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven too.  

Where is your best ‘writing space’; the place where you feel comfortably locked away from the world and are able to let your creative juices flow?

I have two places really – my office which is upstairs and in a state of messy chaos – I can lock myself away and bury myself in the book. It has my lovely book shelves in it, all my old writings, and I work at my grandad’s old desk.   

The other place I enjoy writing is, a little stereotypically, coffee shops. Primarily starbucks but I’ll happily write in any as long as the chairs are comfy and I have a plug for my laptop – I love the smell of coffee, and I love the background noise. It’s amazing what snippets of conversation you pick up when sitting there that could potentially form something for your novel!

And finally, tell us an interesting fact about yourself that not many people know.KA Richardson

Oooo tough question.

I’m a really positive person – I believe in the power of positivity and love inspirational quotes, living a positive life etc. But I also suffer depression, I have done for years, and am on antidepressants. I don’t mind raising awareness of depression and will mention this at random times but most people don’t realise I suffer with this as generally I come across as a really upbeat and positive person. I’m good at projecting that mask we all wear and I find people look at me incredulously when I say I have this disease. I deal with it by accepting that some days are just worse than others and living each day as if it’s a new one. I focus on the good things I have in my life as a rule and look both forwards and upwards which helps me cope.

You’re such an open, honest and positive person – thanks for sharing with us about your depression, I can imagine that’s not easy to deal with.

Thanks for your time Kerry and I wish you all the best with your books.

~

Grab your copy of With Deadly Intent here

With Deadly Intent

http://www.kerryannrichardson.com/

Find K A Richardson on Facebook

@kerryann77

Amazon Author Profile

Love Missuswolf xxx

Cuppa and a Catch-Up – An Author Interview with … none other than the super fab ‘The Unmumsy Mum’ – Sarah Turner (eeek!)

Sunday 10th July 2016

Cuppa and a Catch up pic

Please note – this post contains affiliate links

I am unbelievably excited that I have the one and only Unmumsy Mum featuring on my blog today! Argh! Sarah Turner is the author of Sunday Times No. 1 Bestseller The Unmumsy Mum, derived from her award winning blog ‘The Unmumsy Mum’.



 

 

Sarah Turner pic 2 Hi Sarah (or Unmumsy Mum – can I call you that? What do you prefer?! Sorry just super excited to have you here!)

Haha! Lady Unmumsy of Mums please. Just kidding, Sarah’s fine.

You describe your blog as a collection of honest outpourings about life as a mum. I was a mum-to-be when I started reading your blog and it was so refreshing to read something that wasn’t sugar coated and well, just real life. What made you decide to voice your motherhood experience on a blog?

Thank you! The slightly airbrushed accounts of parenthood had left me feeling a bit rubbish, like perhaps I wasn’t up to the job, so the blog was really my way of documenting that feeling and hoping (with everything crossed) that others were feeling the same. It turned out they were – in their thousands! – and aside from follower numbers and blog hits and the all the other madness that came with it, the on-going feeling of reassurance that I’m not alone has been the single best consequence of pressing submit on that very first post!

Sarah Turner picHow did you juggle motherhood and writing your book? For all the mothers who write or want to write out there, please let us in on your secret …

I wish I could tell you that there is a magic formula but the truth is ‘juggle’ is exactly the right word. I didn’t always juggle successfully either, some months I felt like I was letting the boys down by not giving them my full attention and other months I felt like I was letting my publishing team down by missing deadlines. The whole process involved a lot of late nights, copious amounts of prosecco and a few tears. It was hard work. That said, it was definitely the most fun I have ever had while working hard.

When you have time (!) to read (or should I re-phrase this to what did you read in your pre-unmumsy days?) Who are your favourite authors?  

I do try to read but it has definitely fallen by the wayside since I started writing my own! The last book I read was The Girl on the Train and before that I was sent a proof copy (author perks!) of A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart which explores the relationship of a dad and his autistic son. It was brilliant, actually. One to watch. 

Unmumsy

Me making Mat Leave look glam – faking the ‘supermum’ (washing on the line and reading in the garden, everything’s under control blah blah) that Lady Unmumsy talks about in her book. If this pic had audio there’d be a wailing baby and I’d be swearing under my breath.

How did you start writing? Was there a particular book or moment in your life that spurned you on? 

Not a moment as such but it was probably just my dad, who is a (now retired) English teacher. I always loved writing stories when I was little and my dad’s encouragement played a massive part in that. I kept diaries for years, so writing has always been part of my life. I think blogging is an extension of that.

Where is your best ‘writing space’; the place where you feel comfortably locked away from the world (if you can with small people around!) and are able to let your creative juices flow? 

Interestingly (or annoyingly, whichever way you look at it!) I don’t actually have a desk. With no spare room/office and the boys’ rooms full to bursting I just haven’t ever claimed a workspace as my own. However, I did write quite a lot of my first book at Exeter library and I feel relaxed there. Otherwise, I write on my lap in front of the telly. Not very glamorous I’m afraid!

And finally, tell us an interesting fact about yourself that not many people know

Oh god, I’m useless at these. I never know what sort of fact I’m supposed to provide. That I have a phobia of sharks? That I have terrible eyesight? Actually, a more interesting fact that not many people know is that I was a helpline volunteer for a rape and sexual violence charity for two years. It’s not something that comes up in day-to-day conversation but if I ever get the chance to shout about it I do, because the work undertaken by such charities (alongside the inspiring stories of the survivors themselves) is pretty incredible.           

Thank you for being here today Sarah and best of luck with the book.

Pleasure. Thanks for having me.

If you’re one of the few that haven’t read Sarah’s blog or book, check them out here …

Theunmumsymum.BlogSpot.co.uk

Love Missuswolf xxx