De-stressed by The Teenage Guide to Stress

A new book coming through the post is always a reason to celebrate. But when it’s on your mat when you get home from an unexpected and rather stressful stint at work, it’s even better. And when it’s a book you’ve wonand it’s a good’un! – what could be better?

Not a lot (yes, that’s the right answer. You can put your hand down at the back). Coming home to a signed copy of Nicola Morgan’s The Teenage Guide to Stress on Monday was a great start to a busy week, and as you’ll see…

Teenage Stress

… Nicola sent three lovely signed postcards too, featuring her book covers; one for me and one each for ArtyDaughter and ConstructoBoy. I asked for the book to be signed to them because, well, they’re teenagers. I thought it might be very useful for them. ConstructoBoy was alerted to the book’s presence by TechieHusband muttering approvingly about it as he turned it over in his hands.

ConstructoBoy (glaring, jaw twitching, fingers drumming an irregular beat on the table): What? Why have you got us a book on teenage stress, hmm? So what are you saying? That I’m STRESSED?

Walks off stage, grinding teeth.

I jest. That’s artistic licence gone mad. He did make a fake unimpressed noise, though, and asked why I thought he needed it.

Of course, nobody needs a book on stress solely because they’re a teenager – and it’s not only teenagers that may need a book on stress, either! But I’ve already had a dip into several sections and read enough to know that firstly, it’s really good and full of sound, non-judgemental advice – I found myself nodding a lot – and that secondly, I wished I’d had a book like it when I was a teenager. When I was a teen, I didn’t know that I was stressed, but looking back, I’m not sure how I survived with my marbles intact (always open to debate, that one).

I do remember saying once that I wanted to go to the doctors because I thought I might be suffering from depression. I was asked what on earth I had to be depressed about. I didn’t mention it again.

Hopefully any teens out there experiencing similar problems to those I had (problems that unfortunately I can’t really go into here) will borrow, buy or download this book and not only be reassured, but steered towards getting the right information and help too.

The Teenage Guide to Stress is my favourite kind of non-fiction – the kind that genuinely helps, informs and makes the world a teensy bit better. If you want to scoop up a copy for yourself, try your local bookseller, or WHSmith, Waterstones,, the Hut… or those other South American river people if you must. You know who I mean.

If you’re in the Peak District, you could pop into the lovely Scarthin Books, which I wrote about here, to buy a copy. In the Marches/Herefordshire? Then pootle along to Aardvark Books instead (recommended here). You’ll get a warm welcome at both places and delicious food, too (plus, probably, several other books you didn’t budget for). What more could you ask for?


“On Holiday In A Bookshop!” Part One

At least, that’s what ConstructoBoy said he felt like one day.

He did have a point. We did visit a LOT of bookshops on holiday. But he stopped complaining in week 2 when he found a book on his beloved zeppelins in Hay-On-Wye.
But hey, that’s week 2.  We should start at the beginning (unless we’re writing a novel, where sometimes the beginning is too boring, forcing us to leap instead into writing the Action).

Week 1 was a fantastic week in the Peak District; just Techie Husband, Arty Daughter, ConstructoBoy and me. We stayed in this cottage that you would love to stay in too (unless you have joint problems or you’re pregnant. Long, narrow, steep, uneven, twisty staircase. take note).

This is Brook Cottage in Cromford, just a few minutes from Matlock Bath – and you can see how lovely it is inside and learn more about it here on the owners’ website. (2017 edit – sadly, you can’t anymore. It no longer appears to be for rent). The cottages part of Staffordshire Row, a row of cottages built in the 1720s for the Staffordshire workers brought in to work in the old smelting mill.

Not only was the cottage lovely – handy for a myriad of tourist attractions and lovely walks, located in a scenic village with a fascinating history – but it also had the marvellous advantage of being a 90-second walk from HERE.

Scarthin Books is, if you’ll excuse the cliche, a rabbit’s warren full of books on just about anything you can think of. There are new books, old books, calendars, postcards, a million staircases and tiny rooms off of other tiny rooms… sometimes there are even bookcases on the (million) staircases. And in the midst of this bibliophile’s cloud nine is a little cafe – complete with more bookcases and a magazine rack, so that you can read something intelligent over lunch. It serves the most amazing gorgeous vegetarian food and leads out onto a garden room (more books!).

If you’ve never eaten Homity Pie, make sure you have your first one there. It’s making my mouth water right now just thinking about it. They have a novel (haha) approach to the whole business of running a bookshop – and running a cafe – and the shop is a borderline community centre and tourist attraction in its own right. It’s been on TV, and in a recent edition of Booktime magazine. To see what I mean, pop over to their website, and for goodness sake – if you’re anywhere near the Peak District, pop in! If you spend all day there and they finally throw you out, weeping, as darkness falls, fear not. Wander down the road to the centre of the village and you’ll find The Marketplace restaurant. Not Brewers’ Fayre prices, but not exorbitant either, particularly if you go for one of their special offer menus and, most importantly, we all agreed it was one of the best meals we had ever had. We plan to visit both places again Very, Very Soon.

Tomorrow I’ll rave about the other bookshops we visited. But that’s quite enough excitement for now. And daydreaming about Homity Pie has made me hungry…