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Alison Bayne "There are many paths" (North Yorkshire)

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Parenting Plan 2.0: Different tools for different times
Parenting Plan 2.0: Different tools for different times
Price: £1.83

4.0 out of 5 stars Alternative view without being too crunchy, 9 Jan 2014
Many of us plan to raise our children differently from the way our parents raised us and this ebook is an ideal tool if you are looking for alternative, well-thought-out ways to pass on life survival skills to your children.

I particularly found the ways of performing a reality check as to whether something is morally right or wrong, without any reference to scripture or religious frameworks, useful (for myself as well as my children) and refreshing. The focus on "not wanting to be a parent for ever" is also very helpful and a different way of looking at things than most parenting books.

If you are looking for an alternative parenting style without having to knit your own hairshirt, this is strongly recommended.

Note: I received this book free in exchange for an honest review

The Book of Rubbish Ideas: An interactive, room-by-room, guide to reducing household waste.
The Book of Rubbish Ideas: An interactive, room-by-room, guide to reducing household waste.
by Tracey Smith
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rubbish? Anything but!, 1 April 2011
The Book of Rubbish Ideas is anything but rubbish. It is FULL of excellent tips to help eco-newbies and hard-core Greens see rubbish as a resource, cut down on waste, and save time, money and resources as a result.

Don't be put off by the quirky cover; author, Tracey Smith, a contented downshifter, aims to take the freaky out of eco, and her book is accessible, practical and positive. There's no holier-than-thou attitude to reusable nappies, washable sanpro and chicken-keeping; we are encouraged to ditch the guilt for what we are not doing and start feeling good about what we are doing.

Tracey takes you on a tour through the average family home, from bedroom and bathroom through to the kitchen and out into the garden, including the Usually Male Domain of shed and garage, which so often get missed out where decluttering's concerned.

Tracey's project boxes at the end of each chapter include creating an art/craft box for your very own Make Do And Mend moments, a luscious His & Hers body scrub for a sticky night in, and (back down to earth) how to clean all sorts of household items - from grubby grout to wooden chopping boards - without using chemicals. Her practical advice is backed up with case studies from every day folk who are making their personal contribution to waste reduction through their own downshifting initiatives, and there are contributions from several celebrity greens, such as Wayne Hemmingway and Kim Wilde.

But this is more than a book of eco tips. It also helps readers get politically active and involved in environmental issues, by providing templates for letters to supermarkets, local schools and political representatives. There's even an invite to send to your friends when hosting a Clothes Swap Party. So not only can you make changes within your own home, you can take steps to affect the wider world. The resources section is thorough and will have you hooked to the internet for days - there are websites, organisations and eco-products galore and a bibliography that is bound to fill up your amazon wishlist. One person's rubbish may be another person's treasure, but The Book of Rubbish Ideas is a gem for everyone

I Wish I Was the Person I'm Pretending to Be
I Wish I Was the Person I'm Pretending to Be
by Jack Gardner
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.76

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ruthless, bossy, disconcerting, 30 Mar 2011
Oh Jack. Lovely concept. Eye-catching cover with many fonts and colours. And a promising tag-line - "Transform your Personal and Professional Life and Become the Person you Really Want to Be". My self-help radar began to bleep; this would surely be about the various roles we play, the many facets of modern life and relationships, how we might adapt the best bits of our heros' characters to create the best possible version of ourselves. I've spent many a happy/unhappy hour wanting to be Madonna, Catherine Z-J in Chicago, and even, Neil Tennant. Or Prime Minister. So this neat and approachable-looking volume was appealing in its honesty and wishful thinking; we are all pretending to be someone.

How my heart sank, Jack, when I spotted the phrases "Relationship crap?" "kick ass, lie, back stab" and "Do not kill/ get rid of a bad manager" in your introduction. This was not the tone of a personal development guru who wanted to be taken seriously, and the zany choice of font echoed that.

Because I don't like the word "crap", missing hyphens or the concept of killing, I began to disconnect with the book, which was not a promising start, since I was only on page one. But, I persevered.

Jack Gardner's second book consists of his own words of wisdom in large font, filling half of each page, followed by a pithy explanation in a small and wacky typeface underneath. A bit like The Little Book of Calm, which I think we've all had on our bookcase at one time or other, but - unlike that mini tome - this is the size of a paperback novel, and has not yet topped the bestseller list.

Self-help books are sometimes accused of being drifty and whimsical, hard to follow and impractical. By contrast, Jack's tone is impatient, brisk and punchy. "You know who you want to be", he snaps. "Now let's get on with it."

Some of his advice is sensible: "'I don't know' is the right answer to most questions but the least used" he states, instructing the reader not to "guess at answers; either you know or you don't." Other pieces are less easy to relate to: "What frightens us the most is knowing that there are no ghosts", and several are downright unpleasant. "Where possible," Jack says, "aim for a bruise time after time".

A ruthless, bossy, disconcerting book which seems to be an instruction manual on how to emulate its military-minded, unrealistic author.

Think About Your Thinking: To Stop Depression
Think About Your Thinking: To Stop Depression
by Dr Nicola L. Ridgeway
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Little Book of Calm for those with depression, 30 Mar 2011
I'm a self-help junkie; my bookshelves are groaning with tomes, from You Can Heal Your Life: 20th Anniversary Editionto Happy Housewives: I Was a Whining, Miserable, Desperate Housewife But I Finally Snapped Out of it - You Can, Too!. Most of them are much bigger volumes than this small, neat, hardbacked book. This, coupled with the promise that the authors offer a "fast and simple" system to relieve distress, made me wary as to the value of its contents.

Before I opened the book, I thought it was going to be just another NLP/CBT gospel, written by clinical psychologists who have never personally encountered depression, who promise the moon and the stars if you'll only buy their hardback.

However, even in the first reading, I experienced a number of great lightbulb moments. Maladaptive environment is a phrase I've been looking for, but never heard before - it's one that fits my past really well. Sometimes it's comforting to be able to put a label on experiences. It was also interesting and helpful to read about the tendancy to withdraw, just when it's friends and distractions that would help us, not isolation. Being lonely and empty gives us more time to dwell on our depression and reinforces our low self-esteem.

It's hard to put across how much help and comfort is contained within the pages of this book. Because the narrative is set out as a conversation between a therapist and a client, it is easy to read, and the themes are broken down to make them manageable instead of overwhelming. Any "psychology-speak" is explained carefully and in a non-patronising way, and each session can be consumed and reflected on by the reader, even if he or she is in a bad place.

The authors don't claim to have all the answers - they say their book will serve you best if accompanied by therapy. There are certainly a number of points they've raised that I'm sure will be discussed at my counselling sessions over the next weeks. I'm going to try to be more mindful of the questions I ask myself, avoid ruminating, and examine the self-limiting beliefs that have resulted from my early life.

To me, Think About Your Thinking, is destined to become The Little Book of Calm for those with depression. A portable companion that will be invaluable on your road to recovery, read and re-read when times are bleak, and that will help you change the way you think for good.

Healing With Source : A Spiritual Guide to Mind-Body Medicines
Healing With Source : A Spiritual Guide to Mind-Body Medicines
by Dave Markowitz
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A third-eye opener, 30 Mar 2011
Dave. It didn't look good. On the cover, is that water? Ice? A tree? I'm guessing it's supposed to be Source. And the mystical symbol there, looks like a surfer's tattoo, not something I recognise. Then I read that you're a "medical intuitive, channel of Source energy and information". I wasn't feeling a connection, Dave, but I hadn't started reading yet. Still, your beguiling smile and the fact that I like your specs made want to. That, and the fact that you clearly know something I don't.

The concepts of Healthy Mind: Healthy Body and Physician, heal thyself are as old as the hills, but your message is going a lot deeper than that, Dave. I started off the book feeling a little skeptical about our "innate healing abilities". I'm also less likely to accept a man as a teacher, so you had your work cut out in convincing me I'm the key to healing myself. It's going to be You Can Heal Your Life Because I Say So, I thought, recalling the power of Louise Hay's bestseller.

So it's testament to your open, conversational style of writing, that I found myself nodding my head as I turned the pages, getting real insights and inspiration from the careful selection of quotations and the examples of healing you've encountered. What I need from a self-help book is not just understanding but the tools to apply that knowledge to everyday life, and these are included, beginning with exercises to raise awareness of the underlying causes of pain and illness, and followed by the Five Steps to Health. I'm glad to note that this work does not simply concentrate on physical ailments; it also applies to depression and mental disorders. The section on repression is a must-read and a lesson to us all.

Thank you to for your encouraging manner, Dave; the way you get me to envision a perfect day for example: "Go back right now and write something!", and the way you acknowledge that some of this work might be difficult. It was reassuring to know that letting go of things like anger, although positive, can be hard work as this involves thinking and living in a new way, and the Ego doesn't like change. ("Your Ego would prefer you to hang on to resentments").

I like the way you refer to Source and let your readers decide how they define the Divine, as this shows respect and acceptance for all religions and spiritual beliefs. Some of your ideas seem so simple; "Focus on a positive vocabulary" for example, and yet they are huge behaviour-shifts. There's a life-time's work in here but the humour may cover that up a little; it makes for easier reading, changing vast concepts into applicable wisdom for the mind, body and spirit.

Thanks for sharing your gifts in this third-eye-opener of a book, Dave!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 4, 2013 5:24 AM BST

A Woman's Way to Wisdom
A Woman's Way to Wisdom
by Pamela J. Ball
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.13

4.0 out of 5 stars A Map worth following, 30 Mar 2011
Whether they like it or not, everyone's on a journey of self-discovery; the only choice we have is whether we learn from our experiences or decide to ignore our selves. If you are open to finding out more about yourself and accepting that the process of change is constant, life-long and unavoidable, A Woman's Way to Wisdom is the equivalent of your ordnance survey map.

Not only does Pamela J Ball pay tribute to women through the ages, providing us with historical facts about female icons we can all look up to, she confidently steers the reader through their transformation from Maid to Wise Woman, referring to her own knowledge and experience as a counsellor and spiritual guide. Whatever stage of life you are at, this book will help you to assert your own individuality with confidence, warmth and clarity, without fear of yourself or others' reactions. Different ways of looking at womanhood are offered - physical, societal, emotional and spiritual - and Ball is not afraid of examining aspects of the Triple Goddess, the magick and mystery of being a woman - although this is not a pagan book as such. It is refreshing to read a book which does not refer only to patriarchal religious systems, but allows the reader to adapt the affirmations and prayers according to her own spiritual connection.

The workbook section of A Woman's Way to Wisdom enable each individual to take what they read and apply it to their own life, creating a path through change and self-realisation that is both challenging and achievable. Whether you wish to discover more about the various aspects of your own personality and how they affect your behaviour, why relationships may be difficult and what can be done about that, or how to develop and balance the emotional and spiritual self, these huge topics are addressed within these pages.

Ball is there to support you on this journey, not badger you, and the section she includes on ceremonies and readings for the dying, prayers to the Goddess and affirmations, is proof that she is a wise and caring companion with a map worth following.

The Atavist Tarot Deck
The Atavist Tarot Deck
by Rowena Shepherd
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.22

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A distraction, rather than a delight, 30 Mar 2011
This review is from: The Atavist Tarot Deck (Paperback)
During my search for a Tarot deck I was particularly drawn by modern, mixed-media decks, and the Atavist Tarot, published by Foulsham caught my eye. As you can see from the back of the card, the deck incorporates a variety of styles and the artwork is vibrant and non-traditional. I especially liked the use of photography in cards like the 10 of Cups, and the way that images were digitally manipulated by the artists. Several cards - such as Fortune and Moon - were compelling and magnetic in their intensity, reminding me of Rothco paintings. However, to work with the Atavist deck in its entirety was a challenge for a beginner like me. The images range from being fairly literal, such as the cups I mentioned above, to downright abstract, so much so that with the Major Arcana it can be troublesome to know which card you are looking at without referring to the text.

I do refer to written guides, such as Eason's, when working with the cards, but these often encourage the reader to use her intuition as well as referring to the established meanings of the Fool, the Magus and so on. For me, the abstract nature of this deck meant it was difficult to connect to the cards and interpret them psychically. I suspect I would need to refer to the companion book frequently, to make much headway; however, I prefer to use guides which are not related to a specific set of cards, such as Personal Development with Tarot (Personal Development Series) (Summers & Vayne).

So, with reluctance, I say that the Atavist Tarot is not for me. I felt as though I was visiting an exhibition at the Tate Modern, which I desperately wanted to enjoy, but didn't. Plenty of hidden depths, dark mysteries and striking images for exploration, but the Atavist artwork was a distraction rather than a delight. It would suit a much more experienced reader and one who is prepared to spend more time and effort interpreting the artwork, rather than concentrating merely on the Art of the Tarot itself. The search continues...

2012 and Beyond: An Invitation to Meet the Challenges & Opportunities Ahead
2012 and Beyond: An Invitation to Meet the Challenges & Opportunities Ahead
by Diana Cooper
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.88

21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A natural disaster, but not the end of the world, 26 Jan 2011
Are YOU ready for 2012? asks Diana Cooper. Having read this book, my answer would be: "probably not". So many disasters and such little time!

Cooper begins by outlining the numerous ancient prophecies for 2012, which stem from various civilisations, and talks of the 25 year period of purification which began in 1987, to move towards enlightenment. She foretells two cosmic moments, the first being at 11.11 a.m. on 11th November 2011, which should be a time of celebration. The second cosmic moment on 21st December 2012, also at 11.11 a.m., which will act as a further boost to enlightenment and ascension.

The transition period (2012 - 2032) is a significant challenge for all countries, including England. "Much negativity in London needs to be transmuted, and it is hoped by the Spiritual Hierarchy that the Olympic Games will bring in such light in 2012, that all karma will be dissolved and the land purified." Whilst the Games do seem to be a metaphor of hope and unity, there are many statements which could cause concern: "Much of London will be cleansed by water during the purification. We are encouraged to work with nature, protecting trees and taking steps to safeguard the bee, which is so essential to life as we know it. Cooper guides us in how to pray effectively, and ends most chapters with exercises and visualisations to send healing to the areas of the planet where it is most needed.

The goal outlined for us by Cooper is entry into the Fifth Dimension, and she lists several ways to help us do that, including ones which are familiar, such as "Treat others as you would like to be treated" and "Have a spiritual attitude to all things", as well as other which are perhaps slightly unusual to unenlightened souls like me: "Connect with Archangel Metatron". Many of the meditations and affirmations Cooper brings us will be familiar and quite easy to bring into everyday life. Others require more of a leap.

I am sure that Cooper believes everything she writes and that her intentions are pure. Aiming to attain unconditional love, enlightenment and abundant consiousness is a noble cause. However, there is a real Book of Revelation element here. I find it hard to read 2012 And Beyond as fact, passed on to her from her guide and the Archangel Metatron. What may be concrete for Cooper is not such solid ground for me.

The Witch's Almanac 2011: Practical Magic and Spells for Every Season
The Witch's Almanac 2011: Practical Magic and Spells for Every Season
by Marie Bruce
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Comfort and inspiration, 26 Jan 2011
Bruce aims to "help us rediscover the beauty of nature and the magic of the Craft and show us how to use it to make our lives better every day" and she is writing with newcomers in mind, so it is ideal for me.

The Witch's Almanac is a magickal guidebook through the seasons and is extremely comprehensive, including daily notes on the moon phases, appropiate colours, herbs and incenses and crystals. It contains spells for special days and details of festivals, rituals, runes and numerology. I think the Household Cleansing Ritual and blowing Wish Bubbles are going to bring great things to my household, and, in the absence of a teacher, I am pleased to have a book to refer to so I can have a better understanding as to what magick is suitable on which day.

Even in just the first pages, where Bruce writes about the fundamentals of Witchcraft, have given me both comfort and inspiration. For me too, my only previous experience of the God was the "stern, judgemental Christian one" and I'm now more comfortable with the fact that I will find my own way to Him in my own time. I was also very interested to read that in ancient times the word 'virgin' had an entirely different meaning from the modern one, and in the Craft, we look at virginity in its ancient context, i.e. it cannot be taken away or stolen from us.

Bruce's book of practical magick and spells for every season has already helped me be more at home in the Craft, and I look forward to the rest of 2011 with excitement and a long-overdue feeling of empowerment.

by Diana Cooper
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £9.99

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Radical release from the cords of past lives, 26 Jan 2011
The two meditations on this CD are a wonderful opportunity to achieve freedom and empowerment by letting go of the past. I became aware that there a many bonds, vows and connections we have made in our past lives which affect us in a negative manner, and that these cords must be cut. For me, there was a symbolic shedding of physical restraints, concentration camp tattoos, contracts and uniforms. But most powerful was the assertion that any pacts I had made with dark elements were now dissolved, and the darkness could no longer have any hold over me. I have to admit that my mind began to drift on occasion, particularly during the more fantastic descriptions of ancient Atlantis and other galaxies, but this is partly due to Diana's ideas about Atlantian technology and alien involvement being so new to me.

This is extremely deep soul work and requires time and mental fortitude. Although Diana doesn't mention it, I would strongly suggest a circle is cast beforehand, for psychic protection. It is very humbling but also satisfying to have the chance to claim divine dispensation for release of karma, not only for oneself, but for ones ancestors, future generations, and homeland. We are encouraged to think on a universal scale, as well as our own health, happiness and spiritual growth.

Although it is a radical concept, the karma release meditation ritual was an illuminating experience, and I'm glad I rose to the challenge of a fresh start.

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