Becoming Flawesome books on display

Thank you to Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani, co-founder of Mindvalley, and HayHouse for an advance copy of Becoming Flawesome.

Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani is the co-founder of Mindvalley, the world’s most powerful life transformation platform with an ever-growing 20 million-strong following. She is an entrepreneur, writer, international speaker, artist, and philanthropist based in Estonia.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading Becoming Flawesome which releases on Monday 10th July 2023.

Becoming Flawesome is described as “10 years worth of therapy in one book”, a celebration of our whole selves, warts and all, and the authenticity that is to be found in living in our truth.

In her book, Kristina shares her own journey from being the Co-Founder of the personal growth organisation Mindvalley to stepping aside, and walking her path towards being more honest with herself.

Kristina states “I was 40 when I started suspecting that I was living a lie. Not a bad lie. Not a complete and utter lie. Just a little pretending, a mask here and there, a little playing along to fit in.”

And adds “I walked my path to my true self, to understanding what makes me truly me . . . and what of that unique quirkiness is simply noise. You see, your flaws and your dragons are there for a reason—they make you who you are, but they also hold the key to your biggest value, to your mightiest strengths, if you choose to look your dragons in the eye.”

Midlife definitely sends curveballs and invites deep reflection. What may have served us for many years or decades, may no longer resonate or work. Rumblings deep inside us start to stir, quiet whispers which left unattended can become loud screams from our inner knowing.

“But what if that resistance you feel is your heart and intuition giving you signals that you are going full speed ahead…in the wrong direction?” asks Kristina

Becoming Flawesome explores topics such as vulnerability, authenticity, self-criticism, habits, quality of life, optimism, awareness, perfection, imperfection, social roles and masks, self-acceptance, dealing with emotions, self-care, self-love, healing, philosophy and honesty.

Kristina writes “The only person who’s rejection you have to fear is your own. As long as you can accept yourself, the world has no choice but to accept you as well. And if it doesn’t, you won’t give a damn anyway.”

Each chapter closes with reflection points and exercises to encourage readers to explore the essence of who they truly are, what their values are, and how to navigate the sometimes overwhelming world. We can use introspection, journaling, creativity and curiosity to explore who we are now, what is changing and what we need for our future roadmap.

“It is because you feel shame or guilt for prioritising yourself that it is so intimidating to voice your priorities to the world.” states Kristina.

The more we understand ourselves and the changes that are occurring, the more we can invite in the new and share our voice.

Change has three stages – Endings, The Neutral Zone where the world seems to slow and no movement is possible akin to winter, through to New Beginnings which occurs after the first two stages. The new growth can take root and flourish as the way forward is cleared. We can develop new habits that stick and map out our journey forward.

Kristina writes “If anything, life is spontaneous, unpredictable, unique, and ever-changing. Life is full of opposites and contradictions that beautifully coexist. Night follows the day, day follows night. Darkness follows the light and light follows the darkness. Spring follows winter and autumn follows summer. Death follows birth and birth follows death. And so it goes on in constant motion, eternally changing and shifting. Put simply, every opposite is birthed from the same source. And so, life must be embraced in its entirety, with both halves of duality, as a beautiful mix of the opposites.”

This book is about finding your way back to yourself, an invitation to explore the light and the dark, about understanding who you really are, accepting your dents and scratches, your quirky uniqueness and even your flaws. It is about thriving in being unapologetically you, most flawesomely.

Becoming Flawesome is available to order via or via all main book retailers.

Mindvalley Lives Author Dinner 2023

“Becoming Flawesome is a roadmap to deep self-awareness, radical self-acceptance and genuine self-love. An inspiring read for any individual prepared to embark on a journey towards their truest selves.” – Dr. Shefali, The New York Times bestselling author and clinical psychologist

“Becoming Flawesome is a refreshingly honest, insightful, and liberating book… one which frees you from the prison of beliefs and values guaranteed to destroy your Spirit and gently walks you back to the safety sanity and lasting success of your heart” – Sonia Choquette, The New York Times bestselling author of The Answer is Simple; Love yourself Live your Spirit.


Pistachio nuts for cardamom kheer recipe

I love cardamom kheer, it takes me right back to India.  One of my favourite places to order kheer is Ayur Pak restaurant in Tapovan, Rishikesh.  This restaurant is a hidden delight and is a tranquil place to escape the hustle and bustle of the surrounding streets.  The lush gardens are an escape from the sunshine and the peaceful environment always helps to reset your system.

The tasty and homely food served at Ayur Pak is prepared in the Ayurveda tradition.  It is believed that food is a medicine and their nutritious dishes are prepared following Ayurveda principles.  Their dishes avoid strong tastes and are simple and light.

Ayur Pak’s traditional kheer dish is highly recommended as well as the nourishing pumpkin soup with a side order of paratha.

Make your own tasty cardamom kheer at home.  It’s a super easy recipe to make.

Serves 4

Prep 5 mins / Cooking 30 mins / Chill in fridge


100g basmati rice
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
90g caster sugar, plus 1 tbsp to decorate
700ml whole milk, plus extra if needed
150ml double cream
20g unsalted pistachios
1.5 tbsp dried edible flowers (such as marigold, roses, lavender)


1.  Place the rice, spices, sugar, milk and cream in a large saucepan and set over a medium-low heat.  Bring to the boil ensuring it doesn’t boil over.

2.  Then turn heat down and cook for about 30 mins, stirring frequently to make sure the rice doesn’t stick and burn.  If the mixture is getting too dry, add more milk, a little at a time.

3. When the rice is nearly done, it will start to bubble more furiously and will need more attention.  When the the rice is tender (ie there’s no chalkiness in the centre), take it off the heat and spoon into a serving bowl.

4. Allow to cool, then cover and chill in the fridge until cold.

5. Just before serving, grind the remaining tablespoon of sugar, the pistachios and the editable flowers as finely as you can, using a mortar and pestle or electric spice grinder.  Sprinkle over the top, and serve.

Recipe Inspiration: Meera Sodha – ‘East’ cookbook

the practice seth godin

I don’t know about you but I’m enjoying the long stretch between Christmas and New Year to catch up on reading books, listening to podcasts, watching movies and taking rest.

I have finished Seth Godin’s new book, ‘The Practice – shipping creative work’ over the holidays.  An inspiring book that encourages creatives to do the work that matters.

The Practice Seth Godin

As we know creative work can be difficult at times and we need encouragement to keep going.  This book helps to drive creatives forward and helps people to get out of their own way.

This positive book is written in mini chapters so is a fast read and a perfect book to dip into when you need some inspiration.

Thank you Seth for mentioning “Morning Pages”, the creative practice featured in Julia Cameron’s ‘The Artist’s Way’.  I frequently use morning pages although I must admit I do dip in and out of this practice.  My focus can wander and I stop doing my morning pages even though I know that it is a valuable tool for discovering our creativity.  I’m now back to my morning pages practice.

Seth acts as supporter to all creatives and those wishing to explore their creativity.  It’s a call to action and is an easily digestible handbook for those taking this journey.  This book is about discipline and taking daily steps towards creative goals.  It is honest and supports creatives through the stages of self-doubt, fear, imposter syndrome and creative blocks.


Doing our creative work daily helps us move forward, work towards our goals, create new work, start a new business and get our work out into the world.

It’s Possible

This book is for people who want to lead, to write, or to sing.  For people who seek to teach, to innovate, and to solve interesting problems. 

For people who want to go on the journey to become a therapist, a painter or leader.

It’s possible.  The people who came before us have managed to speak up, stand up and make a difference.  While each journey is unique, each follows a pattern – and once you see it, it’s yours.

‘The Practice’ – Seth Godin

This is art

Not painting, but art: the act of doing something that might not work, simply because it’s a generous thing to do.  The combination of talent, skill, craft, and point of view that brings new light to old problems.  The way we change our culture and ourselves.

Art is the work we do where there is no right answer – and yet the journey is worth the effort.  We might make art with a keyboard, with a paintbrush, or with our actions.  Mostly, we do it because we lean into a practice, trusting we have a shot at making a difference.

‘The Practice’ – Seth Godin

How do we work with intention and create a regular practice?  According to Seth we can use this simple narrative

  1. This is a practice
  2. It has a purpose
  3. I desire to create change
  4. The change is for someone specific
  5. How can I do it better?
  6. Can I persist long enough to do it again?
  7. Repeat.

We can learn to trust – ourselves, our audience and our work.  This roadmap is designed to be revisited again and again as we do our practice and fine tune our creative work.

If you are ready to unlock your creativity and take daily steps to do your practice, I’d highly recommend this book to get you started and to encourage you on your journey.

zoom yoga


Neal’s Yard Remedies Wild Rose Beauty Balm is one of my all time favourite beauty products.  It’s an amazing all-round product that leaves your skin feeling radiant and it smells divine.

Here’s a DIY version of this beauty balm.  These natural ingredients are easy to buy and it’s really simple to make at a fraction of the price.

The ingredients help to repair, strengthen and balance the skin. This beauty balm can be used as a cleanser, moisturiser, hair conditioner, after sun balm and hand moisturiser.

This all-rounder natural beauty balm makes a perfect gift.

Recipe makes approx. 200g


4 tbsp Rosehip Seed Oil
1 tbsp Jojoba Oil
3 tbsp Hemp Seed Oil
1 tbsp Shea Butter
1/2 heaped tbsp Beeswax (I bought a small ingot of organic beeswax)
5 drops Geranium Essential Oil
4 drops Rosemary Essential Oil
2 drops Patchouli Essential Oil
3 drops Palmarosa or Rose Essential Oil
2 drops Frankincense Essential Oil


1.  Fill a medium saucepan with boiling water and place a glass pyrex bowl in the water.

2.  Add ingredients except the essential oils to the glass bowl and heat on a medium heat.

3.  Once the beeswax and shea butter has melted completely, remove from the heat.

4.  Stir or whisk (I used a tiny whisk used for frothing milk for coffee) to ensure the mix is blended.

5.  Add essential oils and pour into a glass container.

6.  The product will set quickly but you can put into the fridge to speed up the setting time.



To save costs you can omit the jojoba oil, rose essential oil and frankincense essential oil. If you drop the jojoba oil just replace with hemp or rosehip seed oil.  You can create your own mix adding your selection of essential oils.

As this is an oil based product there is no need to store it in the fridge and it should last about 6 months.


Laura’s ‘Big Emotions – Mindful Music for Little People’ book and audiobook couldn’t have arrived at a more timely period.  We are 10 weeks into lockdown and everyone, including children and their parents, are needing extra support at this time.

‘Big Emotions’ is a musical wellbeing book for 3-7yr olds (EYFS & KS1).

Emotions can be difficult to navigate especially for children.  How can they express feelings of excitement, surprise, fear, disgust, sadness, anger, trust and joy when they don’t yet have the vocabulary and understanding.

This beautifully illustrated musical book helps young children learn about their emotions and how to regulate them.  The delightful audio book provides a fun soundtrack to explore and understand the emotions.  Laura has written and recorded the calming and peaceful song ‘I am Calm’ to help soothe the emotions.

It’s a journey to understand our own feelings and emotions.  Children develop self-awareness and understanding as they learn and experience the world.  We learn how our emotions affect ourselves and those around us.  We learn that its ok to have feelings.

Children can explore and develop tools to help them navigate the emotions and to know that all emotions are valid.  This book creates a safe and fun way to explore emotions all supported by the wonderful soundtrack.

Singing and music can play a big part in a child’s development.  Parents instinctively know to use music to calm and soothe their child.  Music helps the body and mind to work together.  The book coupled with sound helps children to learn the sound and meaning of words including the big emotion words.

Laura Loft is a musician, singer-songwriter and educator based in Devon, UK.  Having enjoyed a portfolio career in music she now focuses on using music for wellbeing in children and young people’s lives.  The creative idea for this book came out of caring for her young son whilst dealing with her own challenging experiences with CFS/M.E/Fibromyalgia.  Together with her young son she spent a lot of time creating stories, adventures and games from the comfort of a bed or chair.  And this is how the story of the Little Boy and Cat was born.

Laura is a music educator using music as a creative tool for behavioural, emotional mental health and wellbeing.  “In order for children to regulate their emotions they need to be able to firstly recognise them.  They need to know that it is ok to feel these big emotions, that they will come and go and the need to know how to deal with them” said Laura.  Big Emotions has been a therapeutic tool for Laura personally, as part of her healing journey she would slowly, very slowly write the book and the accompanying music.

Internationally recognised artist and illustrator Nia Gould has provided the delightful illustrations for the book and audiobook.  This is Nia’s third book and unsurprisingly features a cat, something in which she focuses on in her art, books, pins, prints and greetings cards through her design studio and shop.

To find out more and to purchase a copy of ‘Big Emotions – Mindful Music for Little People’ visit this website.  School activity packs are available to accompany the book.  You can also access a free copy of the audiobook and instrumental track.  Check out Laura’s YouTube channel for a copy of the audiobook and workshop songs to accompany this project.  Laura is available to host ‘Big Emotions’ packages for schools in Exeter and the surrounding area.  Contact Laura directly at



It’s both embarrassing and frustrating when you discover your well-meaning attempts at heroic leadership have kept you and your team stuck in a cycle of mediocrity. You’re exhausted, they’re frustrated, and everyone’s underperforming. Dave McKeown draws on wisdom and experience to give you the insights to break the cycle, and a plan to actually change the way you lead.” – Michael Bungay Stanier, Bestselling author of The Coaching Habit.

We are in challenging and changing times. The world around us, the systems, global economy, our inner world, the planet emergency and technological advancements are all shifting and changing at great speeds. The old way is falling away and we are being called to examine how we operate in this changing world and to find new ways of being.

My interest in exploring new ways of being covers several aspects of my life, from personal growth and development, spiritual development, creativity, teaching, running an online business through to working in a larger organisation that is experiencing the early stages of change and future evolution.

We know that businesses and entrepreneurs are experiencing a range of challenges in the contemporary world such as economic pressures, downsizing, increasing productivity, keeping up with technological advancements. Alongside this leaders’ need to increase productivity possibly with fewer people and resources, operate within tighter deadlines and retain staff.

The Self-Evolved Leader by Dave McKeown is an easy to follow book with a 15 week guided plan to implement the theories and ideas contained in the book.  The book is aimed at primarily at individuals and it does not matter what your leadership position, industry or geography may be. This book is about changing the individual to lead to change in leadership. Dave quotes Robert Anderson and William Adams “The organization will never perform at a higher level than the consciousness of its leadership”. With this in mind The Self-Evolved Leader provides a model to follow in order to grow and set you apart as a self-evolved leader.

The ideas can be shared with leadership teams and this model can act as a catalyst for change in organisations. Change in large organisations can be difficult particularly if old methods and ways of thinking are embedded. The Self-Evolved Leader explains how new ways of thinking can be adopted and integrated into large organisations. This book signposts more effective ways of operating and how to make a bigger impact. This is an opportunity to get ahead of competitors and be a leader in the fullest sense.

The book is clearly structured to lead you on a journey of development. Firstly to shift the mindset away from heroic leadership towards leading with the intent to develop your team. The second part focuses on how to create a compelling vision to inspire your team, devise implementation strategy and develop key disciplines to sharpen your focus and elevate the team. The next stage is to build an implementation rhythm to get closer to your vision and finally develop key disciplines to keep you and your team on track.

The Self-Evolved Leader is designed as an instruction manual and a guide to getting the best out of yourself, your team and your organisation. You can work at whatever pace suits you but Dave is clear in his recommendation that you follow the book chronologically as he has designed the book to build your skills and knowledge on the journey, each step building on the next.

McKeown outlines five key disciplines within the book:

  • Reclaiming your attention: Protecting your headspace to give you more time to focus on the important things you need to work on rather than getting sucked into the urgent.
  • Facilitating team flow: Managing the inputs to, around, and out from your team in a way that keeps you focused on achieving your current goals and at the same time develops each team member.
  • Supporting high performance: Helping your team discover the root cause of their issues, so they can assess the options in front of them by themselves. Then, encouraging them to devise a plan of action and backing their decision.
  • Having symbiotic conversations: Having conversations that allow all parties the freedom to express their reality without fear of judgment. The focus should be to find the best outcome for the team as a whole and for the individuals within it, and the conversation will conclude with a clear next action that empowers people to opt-in and supports those who choose to opt-out.
  • Building shared accountability: Building the environment that allows your team to set, achieve, and celebrate their collective goals.

The Self-Evolved Leader is a practical book providing guidance and tools to help you get more done in less time, stop managing from crisis to crisis, get better results as a team and increase the value and impact your organisation can bring to your community. The 15 week plan provides a clear structure for developing and implementing the five key disciplines. There are free resources that accompany book such as videos and activities which support your learning and development. We can review and fine tune our actions so that we can move forward towards our goals and to improve as leaders.

We are in exciting and challenging times which can test us. This is a time to develop our creativity and innovation. We can develop and expand who we are individually and as an organisation. I would recommend using this book as part of your journey and development.

Dave McKeown is the CEO of Outfield Leadership and author of The Self-Evolved Leader – Elevate Your Focus and Develop Your People in a World That Refuses to Slow Down.  He has a wealth of experience in connecting individual and team performance to improved business results with a particular focus on fast-growing, complex organisations.  He speaks, coaches and trains on moving from execution to excellence. His goal is to help organisations build a culture of real, authentic but ultimately results-driven leadership. Dave is the host of the podcast ‘Lead Like you Give a Damn’ and writes a weekly column for Inc.Com.

The Self-Evolved Leader is now available to purchase on Amazon and other book outlets.

Note: I received an advance reader’s copy of The Self-Evolved Leader for review.

Libraries Unlimited and The Reading Agency launch ‘Reading Well for children’ book list to support children’s mental health and wellbeing.

The Reading Well for children booklist has been created in response to concerning data about children’s mental health in the UK. In 2018, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health reported that schools were on average making 183 Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) referrals every school day, with 56% of those referrals coming from primary schools.

Libraries Unlimited, the charity that runs Devon and Torbay libraries works in partnership with the Reading Agency to bring the Reading Well for Children project to our local libraries.

The list covers areas such as anxiety, bereavement and bullying with books by Michael Rosen, Tom Percival, Zanib Mian and Joseph Coelho selected by leading mental health experts to support the mental health and wellbeing of children.

This new Reading Well for children booklist responds to concerning data about children’s mental health in the UK. One in eight (12.8%) 5 to 19 year olds had at least one mental health condition when assessed in 2017.[1] In 2018, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health reported that schools were on average making 183 Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) referrals every school day, with 56% of those referrals coming from primary schools.[2] In 2019, BookTrust reported that over a third of parents of children aged 4 to 11 worried about their child’s mental health at least once a week.[3]

The Reading Well for children booklist contains 33 books covering topics relevant to the children of today, including grief, anxiety, bullying and staying safe online. In recognition of the potential impact of living with diagnosed conditions and physical disabilities, the booklist explores living well with conditions including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), dyslexia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and physical disabilities. The booklist is targeted at children in Key Stage 2 and includes titles suitable for a wide range of reading levels to support less confident readers, and to encourage children to read together with their siblings and carers. The expert endorsed reads are available free in Devon and Torbay as well as in other participating libraries across England.

Recognised by leading health bodies including the Royal Society for Public Health, the new Reading Well for children booklist has been developed by The Reading Agency, health professionals, and children with experience of the topics covered and their families and carers. The book selection panel included experts from public libraries, NHS England, Mind, the Royal College of GPs and the School Library Association. Created in partnership with Libraries Connected, the expert endorsed booklist is completely free to access from public libraries.

The books on the list, by authors including Michael Rosen, Tom Percival, Zanib Mian and Joseph Coelho, have been selected to help Key Stage 2 children (aged 7-11) understand and talk about their mental health and wellbeing. The books have been selected to encourage conversation about feelings between children and their parents or carers and to offer support outside of a clinical setting or whilst waiting for treatment.

Reading Well booklists have been created to add value to health services, and to support early intervention and prevention. The Reading Well for children booklist follows the success of the programme’s existing booklists: Reading Well for mental health, Reading Well for young people’s mental health, Reading Well for long term conditions and Reading Well for dementia. Since the launch of Reading Well in 2013, 1.2 million readers have borrowed over 2.3 million of the scheme’s expert endorsed books from libraries.

All 54 of Devon and Torbay libraries will be taking part in Reading Well for Children in order to support the wellbeing of children and their families.

Broken down thematically, the full Reading Well for children booklist includes:

Healthy minds

What’s Going on Inside my Head? by Molly Potter, illustrated by Sarah Jennings – through talking about positive self-image, emotional intelligence, relationships and mindfulness, this book develops healthy habits and good coping strategies

Healthy for Life: Self-esteem and Mental Health by Anna Claybourne, illustrated by Dan Bramall – stress reduction and mindful techniques to deal with topics such as mental illness, phobias, and eating disorders

How Not to Lose It: Mental Health Sorted by Anna Williamson, illustrated by Sophie Beer – healthy habits for staying in control of stress levels


How Are You Feeling Today? by Molly Potter, illustrated by Sarah Jennings – a dip-in book which allows children to explore and deal with particular feelings, including notes and strategies for parents and carers

Mindful Me: Exploring Emotions by Paul Christelis, illustrated by Elisa Paganelli – mindful exercises to encourage exploring a range of emotions and relieve stress

Feeling Angry! by Katie Douglass, illustrated by Mike Gordon – using everyday situations, this book explores different reasons why children might become angry and offers advice for remaining calm, including notes for parents and teachers

Sometimes I Feel Sad by Tom Alexander – this book helps to show children that feeling sad is part of everyone’s life, and they are not alone in feeling this way


Ruby’s Worry written and illustrated by Tom Percival – an exploration of anxiety which aims to open up discussions about feelings and show that a problem shared is a problem halved

Questions and Feelings About: Worries by Paul Christelis, illustrated by Ximena Jeria – a book to help children to recognise signs of worry, featuring mindful coping tips

Grobblechops by Elizabeth Laird, illustrated by Jenny Lucander – embodying fears to help turn them from frightening to friendly

Me and My Fear by Francesca Sanna – using the examples of moving to a new country and school, this picture book shows the importance of talking about feelings of fear and worry

All Birds Have Anxiety by Kathy Hoopmann – using colourful images, explanations and gentle humour to explore living with anxiety day-to-day and how to deal with it

Worry Angels by Sita Brahmachari, illustrated by Jane Ray – this fiction book looks at dealing with your own and other people’s worries, and is particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers

Outsmarting Worry by Dawn Huebner, illustrated by Kara McHale – practical advice to help shift from thinking about worries and fears to dealing with them

The world around you

At school

Dealing With Bullying by Jane Lacey, illustrated by Venitia Dean – an interactive book offering examples of verbal and physical bullying and methods to deal with bullies and peer pressure to bully others

Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet by Zanib Mian, illustrated by Nasaya Mafaridik – a fiction book about being different, growing friendships and dealing with bullying behaviour

Ella on the Outside by Cath Howe – in addition to dealing with change (new school, physical changes) this book explores the pressures of trying to please people and struggling to fit in


#Goldilocks by Jeanne Willis, illustrated by Tony Ross – a humorous cautionary tale for a new generation of internet users

In the news

Something Bad Happened: A Kid’s Guide to Coping with Events in the News by Dawn Huebner, illustrated by Kara McHale – offers advice for having tough conversations with children about world events such as natural disasters, terrorism and war. It addresses common questions and provides tools to calm fears

Dealing with tough times

When someone dies

Mum’s Jumper by Jayde Perkin – this picture book tackles coping with the loss of a parent. Developed in collaboration with Cruse Bereavement Care

Michael Rosen’s Sad Book by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Quentin Blake – acknowledging that sadness is not always avoidable, this book deals with death and loss

If All the World Were by Joseph Coelho, illustrated by Allison Colpoys – a poetic picture book about coping with the death of a loved one, specifically a grandparent

Clownfish by Alan Durant – this book follows a boy who believes that his father has been reincarnated seven years after his death as a fish and is now in his local, soon to be shut down, aquarium

Tough times at home

The Boy Who Built a Wall Around Himself by Ali Redford, illustrated by Kara Simpson – using a simple metaphor to explain how some children cope with painful and traumatic experiences, this book encourages exploration and communication around feelings

Up and Down Mum by Child’s Play, illustrated by Summer Macon – this book helps to understand the causes of mental illness and how to live with someone experiencing it. Developed in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust

The Colour Thief: A Family’s Story of Depression by Andrew Fusek Peters and Polly Peters, illustrated by Karin Littlewood – for children living with parents with depression, this book helps them to understand the causes and effects of depression, and offers reassurance that it can pass and that their parents are not lost to them

When you have a condition

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Can I Tell You About ADHD? by Susan Yarney, illustrated by Chris Martin – written from the perspective of someone with ADHD, this book encourages readers to learn about ADHD, how it feels and how others can help someone experiencing it

Check Mates by Stewart Foster – this fiction book explores dealing with ADHD and concentrating in school

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

Questions and Feelings About: Autism by Louise Spilsbury, illustrated by Ximena Jeria –practical help, tips and advice as well as exploring everyday situations living with autism

M is for Autism by The Students of Limpsfield Grange School and Vicky Martin – drawing on real life experiences, this book explores the highs and lows of being different in a world of ‘normal’


The Illustrated Guide to Dyslexia and Its Amazing People by Kate Power and Kathy Iwanczak Forsyth – by showing what dyslexia is and asking the reader how it applies to them, this book offers an engaging means of working out how dyslexia affects the individual specifically, and includes tools and tips to deal with it

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Double Felix by Sally Harris, illustrated by Maria Serrano – this fiction book explores what it is like living with OCD through the eyes of young protagonist Felix

Having a disability

Questions and Feelings About: Having a Disability by Louise Spilsbury, illustrated by Ximena Jeria – this hands-on picture book is designed to help children with their questions and feelings about having a disability

Cressida Cowell, UK Children’s Laureate says: “I’m delighted that The Reading Agency have put together their Reading Well list. The mental health of our children is vitally important, and books are a way into discussing lots of different issues kids and parents face every day. More widely, we know that reading anything for the joy of it gives huge mental health benefits: that’s why it’s so crucial children have access to new books in public and school libraries.”

There are additional Reading Well booklists for adults and young people on mental health, long term conditions and dementia. To find out more about this free resource please ask in your local library or visit

[1] NHS Digital (2018). Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2017 [PAS].
[2] Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (2018). School referrals for mental health treatment rise by a third.
[3] BookTrust, (2019). ‘New BookTrust research shows half of children in the UK don’t discuss their mental health and wellbeing with their parents.’

A wonderfully rich fish curry with coconut cream, butter and tomatoes.  Serve with basmati rice or naan bread and chutneys.

Serves 4

Prep 20 mins / Cooking 70 mins


1¼ tsp ground ginger
½ tbsp ground fenugreek
1 tsp ground coriander
8 cardamom pods, shells discarded and seeds removed and crushed in a mortar
½ tsp ground allspice
½ tbsp smoked paprika
⅛th tsp ground cinnamon
450g hake (or other firm white fish), skinned, boned and cut into 5cm pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and black pepper
350g small new potatoes, halved if large, skin on
3 tbsp unsalted butter
2-3 banana shallots, finely chopped
2 small green chillies, finely chopped (deseeded, if you prefer less heat)
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
300g cherry tomatoes
1½ tbsp tomato paste
220g coconut cream, plus 1 tbsp to serve
500ml fish stock

For the salsa
½ cucumber, cut into 1cm dice
1 small green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1-2 spring onions, finely chopped
3 tbsp lime juice
1½ tbsp coriander leaves, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil


1.  Put the first seven ingredients in a large, high-sided pan on a medium-high heat, and toast for a minute, until fragrant. Put the fish in a bowl with one and a half teaspoons of the spice blend, the olive oil and a quarter-teaspoon of salt, gently toss to coat, then leave to marinate for 10 minutes.

2.  Put the potatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with cold, salted water and bring to a boil. Cook for 20 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through but still holding their shape, then drain.

3. Return the saute pan to a medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of butter and, once bubbling, fry the fish in two or three batches, so as not to overcrowd the pan, for two minutes a side, until golden brown. Return to the bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving the butter and any released liquid in the pan. Turn the heat to low, add another tablespoon of butter, the shallots and chillies, and fry gently for six to eight minutes, until the onions are soft and golden. Add the garlic, cook for two minutes, stirring often, then stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, and the remaining butter and spice mix. Add the coconut cream, stock, potatoes and half a teaspoon of salt, mix again, and simmer for 25 minutes, until thick and reduced. Meanwhile, mix all the salsa ingredients with a good pinch of salt.

4. Return the fish to the curry pan, cover and cook for four minutes, until heated through. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of coconut cream over the top, then serve in the pan with the salsa spooned inside the pan or on the side.

Serve with basmati rice or naan bread and chutneys.

Recipe credit: Yotam Ottolenghi, Feast, The Guardian, 2018

Dhals (dal, daal, dahl) are perfect comfort food for the winter months.  Dahls, made with lentils and spice, make a healthy meal providing a source of  protein, while the vegetables, spice and herb ingredients supply valuable vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.

To create a warming dahl, it is recommended that it is cooked long and slow for maximum creaminess.  Spicy, aromatic tarka can be added to make a tasty garnish.  You can experiment with this recipe, you can make it as thin as soup or as thick as porridge.  You can add spices and vegetables to this versatile dish.

Serves 4

Prep 15-2o mins / Cooking 1.5 hours


400g mung dal (skinned yellow split mung beans)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
4cm piece of root ginger, peeled and cut into 4
1 tbsp turmeric
4 small green chillies, 2 finely chopped, 2 left whole
2 tbsp ghee or groundnut oil
2 shallots, finely sliced
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp crushed chilli
Fresh coriander, chopped to serve


1. Wash the dal until the water runs clear, then drain and put in a large pan and cover with 2 litres of cold water. Bring to the boil and skim off any scum that rises to the surface.

2. Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric and chopped chillies to the pan with a pinch of salt, turn down the heat, cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar, and simmer very gently for about 1½ hours, stirring occasionally, until the dal has broken down completely and become creamy.

3. Add boiling water or reduce the dal further to achieve your preferred consistency if necessary, and season to taste.  You can add 1 tsp salt but season to your taste.  Add the whole chillies and simmer for 15 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, heat the ghee or oil in a frying pan over a medium high heat and add the shallots. Stir until golden and beginning to crisp, then add the dried spices and cook for a couple of minutes until the mustard seeds are beginning to pop. Tip over the dal, stir in, and top with chopped coriander.

5. You can add vegetables to this recipe if you wish to experiment, sweet potatoes, potatoes, spinach.  Or oven-roast a whole cauliflower, chopped into small pieces, for 15-2o minutes and stir the roasted cauliflower into the cooked dhal, top with the tarka and serve.

6. Serve with plain rice or flatbreads.


In our uncertain times and rapidly changing world, ‘You Are Awesome’ is a real tonic.  Luckily for me this book arrived several weeks ago and I’ve been devouring the book’s wisdom.

‘You Are Awesome’ is all about resilience and Neil uses his life experiences and research to highlight the secrets to developing resilience in an era of increasing anxiety, depression and loneliness.

The book is an easy to follow read featuring 9 concepts that explain how we can navigate failure, reframe our own perceptions and how to become our most powerful and awesome self.

Of course life brings us challenges, some much larger and more devastating than others.  It can be overwhelming when we are feeling stuck and caught up in these overwhelming situations.  Neil champions the idea that we need a quiet courage to keep going, keep moving forward, knowing that we can move past the situation, seeing beyond the current dilemma.

“There is power in moving slowly through the motions.  There is power in letting the story continue.”  ~ Neil Pasricha, ‘You Are Awesome’

This book acts as a useful life reviewer, making sense of past failures and challenges.  Showing how to survive certain situations, learn and grow as a result and explaining why a continuing supply of resilience can help with whatever life throws at you.

Neil draws on his mother’s experience as a young woman in Nairobi, Kenya and her life journey taking her to a new life in Canada as well as his personal experiences in childhood and as he navigated his adult life.  The stories show how he has made sense of life and explores his valuable lessons.

It was refreshing to reframe failure.  Understanding that everyone fails, from low achievers to high achievers.  But what makes high achievers different as a group?  They fail harder and take it more personally.  What can help to address issues of failure?  We can learn to share our experiences, talk about our failures, ask for help and learn to support one another.  We can understand that successful people have more failures.  They may look as though they have everything sorted and in order but it is likely that they have experienced many failures before they have reached their ‘successful’ position.  They had the resilience to keep getting up, to keep moving forward and to keep trying something new.

This book is part life story, part research and part self-help offering ideas to help reframe challenges and tips to help you move through any challenging times.  It is useful to talk about failures, shame, mistakes, struggle and loss.  This book helps us to explore what it is to be human and how we can support ourselves on the journey of life.

I have been through struggle. I have been through loss. And I have had to get stronger. Resilience is a muscle that hurts to build. What would have made it easier? Neil’s words. This book. A recipe for thickening our skin in thin-skinned times.” ~ James Frey, author of ‘Katerina’

No one knows ‘awesome’ like Neil Pasricha, and here he explores how we can make our very lives more awesome. With real-life stories and a conversational style, he shows how we can move forward in the face of challenge to make our days more intentional and joyful.”~ Gretchen Rubin, author of ‘The Happiness Project and Outer Order, Inner Calm’

With Neil’s signature style of humor, research, whimsy and insight, You Are Awesome touches a chord and shows us the power of combining optimism and resilience to create more meaning at work, school and home…” ~ Shawn Achor, New York Times best-selling author of ‘Big Potential’

Neil Pasricha thinks, writes, and speaks about intentional living. He is the New York Times bestselling author of five books, including ‘The Book of Awesome’ and ‘The Happiness Equation’.  He hosts the award-winning podcast ‘3 Books’ where he’s on a fifteen-year-long quest to uncover the thousand most formative books in the world. You can visit him at,,, and

‘You Are Awesome – How to Navigate Change, Wrestle with Failure and Live an Intentional Life’ by Neil Pasricha is published on 5th November 2019.