Christmas Tree Time Lapse 2017

Christmas Tree Decorating Time Lapse 2017 – Video Post

As some of you know, I’m well known for my obsession with Christmas and in particular, Christmas decorations, my partner and I decorated the tree together this year and recorded a time lapse video of the process. Please do check us out building and decorating it at 64x speed, Merry Christmas!


Hello! My First Video in Front of the Camera!

Hello lovelies, friends and family have been suggesting to me for the last 3.5 years to do Vlogs and I’ve never felt confident enough or had any particular desire to do it so I’ve always stuck to just blogging. However, I’m getting a bit bored currently and really want to branch out and get my voice heard just that little bit more and video posts seemed like the best way of doing this and after a fabulous pep talk on the phone with a Uni friend today, I decided to bite the bullet and record something. It was meant to be 2 minutes of me just saying Hi, but it turned into something a lot longer and a bit more informative. Please do give it a watch and let me know what you think of it. I’m hoping to use these videos to expand more on my blog posts, to reach a wider audience and to help you see the face behind mental illness and invisible conditions. The link to the post about Trichotillomania that I mention in the video can be found here.

“The craze for adult colouring books shows how we’ve all become infants” – A Response from an Adult Colourer

Dear readers,

This is a link to the article I’m responding to –


Dear Susan,

I read your article yesterday titled “The craze for adult colouring books shows how we’ve all become infants”, and my readers and I were deeply upset and offended by your assertion that activities such as adult colouring, and reading Young Adult (YA) fiction, are “infantile” and “childish”. Your article also seemed to have little coherent argument and by the end of it, I was unsure what point you were even making; perhaps you were too? Here are my thoughts.

There is such a vast difference between embracing your inner child and being childish. Studies show the huge importance of playing, even into adulthood. I’m not sure what activities you’d suggest involve playing or having fun within the adult world, clearly none of these must be undertaken by children or they’ll be classed as infantile, but as a society we have decided that play is intrinsically linked to children and I think you’ll therefore struggle to find a playful activity that isn’t undertaken by them. I certainly don’t get to play whilst filing my tax return, nor doing the washing or dusting, and no matter how many times I try to turn it into a game of “who can get it the cleanest”, my partner and I don’t manage to play whilst washing up.

What qualifies an activity as childish? What qualifies it as adult? I think we’re doing children a huge disservice by criticising the activities they undertake and only allowing participants to be Under 18s. Many of the activities you criticised have wonderful psychological benefits which clearly you must be unaware of. Colouring has now been found to alter brainwave patterns and shift the brain into a relaxed state, somewhat akin to mindfulness. It also helps with fine motor skills, something most adults who don’t work a creative job are unlikely to be working on or improving, especially those who are ‘correctly’ adulting and not playing any form of digital games. Surely we can’t play sports either, unfortunately children play those, and we wouldn’t want to be associated with that calibre of activity would we? You suggested that cooking or sewing would be better activities and yet most people who undertake these are following a pattern or recipe, surely that’s exactly the same as colouring within the lines? How uncreative and unimaginative!

As for YA fiction, I get a real hint of jealousy from you Susan. Unfortunately, the main reason people had to hide the fact that they were reading those books, the embarrassment they felt, was because of fear of judgement, from people like yourself. How do you know what little these books have to offer if you’ve not read them? They’re written for young adults, the hint is in the category, but perhaps that means the young at heart too? I’m 25 and I would class myself as a young adult, I’m nowhere near middle-aged yet; under 18s aren’t young adults, they’re legally classed as children, they can’t vote, drink, or buy cigarettes, so I certainly wouldn’t class them as any type of adult as they’re not allowed to make adult decisions, perhaps they shouldn’t be reading those books either? Game of Thrones was created as an adult series of books, and is most certainly not a television programme that children should be watching with the sheer amount of violence, death and sex portrayed each week. Is it fantasy that you have the issue with? Is fantasy and the desire to imagine just too childish for you? Perhaps it’s escapism you have a problem with but what’s wrong with that? Surely as a child you didn’t grow up dreaming of paying council tax and working at a desk, adults need escapism, play and fun to keep their minds active from the mind-numbing work many of them are doing at their jobs each day. I was always brought up not to knock it until I’d tried it and you give the distinct impression that you’re yet to try colouring in an adult colouring book. My readers and I all agree that you’re the perfect candidate for this sort of activity. I challenge you to set aside 30 minutes and actually be open-minded and give it a chance before you write an ignorant and offensive article in future.

Have you spoken to any adult colourers? Do you know anything about us or our stories? I’ll tell you a little bit about me. I’m a psychology graduate who went straight into working as a nursing assistant on an acute psychiatric inpatient ward after University. I loved my job, despite the high stress and pressure, and I was good at it. I ran groups for my patients, many of whom were very sick, and one of the most popular activities was colouring. The atmosphere in the room would noticeably calm down, people would quieten and focus and they’d be able to escape for a while. Fast forward 10 months and out of the blue I began having numerous panic attacks and then became agoraphobic pretty much overnight. I’ve now spent 2 years virtually housebound and turned to adult colouring for some escapism. I didn’t just do that though, I created a blog to review these books for the mentally ill community, a huge number of us are now colouring and getting great relief from it, we surely can’t all be infantile! In just over a year my reviews have received almost 1 million hits from over 100,000 people who are, according to you, trying to escape adult life. I simply don’t believe that’s true.

Filling in tiny spaces with felt-tips isn’t especially creative but you make no mention of the creative processes that go into colour choices, blending, shading, mixing media and the other aspects that make our adult colouring into works of art! Perhaps you’re unaware of the health benefits it offers but it’s used for so much more than not showing boredom in a meeting or just reducing stress. Anecdotal evidence from countless readers of mine, and thousands of people in colouring groups on Facebook suggests the numerous benefits include improving sleep, managing pain, improving concentration levels, reduction of mental illness symptoms and even increased confidence. You’re correct on one point though, colouring in someone else’s designs is easier than drawing your own, but why does that mean we shouldn’t do it? I can’t draw or paint at all, but I have a fair amount of skill for blending, shading, and bringing a picture to life. Surely writing a book would be better than reading one, performing in a play better than watching, creating a new drama rather than dramatizing a book? Where does it end? I do all sorts of creative activities, I crochet (with patterns), I embroider (using techniques from stitch books), and I bake (using recipes), all of this is just as creative, or uncreative, as “colouring inside the lines”. If it weren’t creative, why would so many artists and illustrators colour their own and others’ work? Johanna Basford, worldwide bestselling illustrator and colouring book queen, states that she creates books so we can create masterpieces and this quick google search proves that point!

What is it that you do that’s so superior to colouring or reading YA fiction? Is there some rite of passage that makes us become an adult because I’ve clearly missed the memo? I haven’t read Jane Eyre, Emma, or War and Peace, and I have no intention of doing so either, life is short and precious and I’d personally rather read Harry Potter. How are “adult” books any better for us than YA books? Which Classics is it that you think we should all be reading? The Hobbit and Alice in Wonderland are viewed as some of the very greatest classic books, they were written for children and yet they’re still some of the most read and most published books worldwide, should adults be banned from reading such infantile literature? Should anything based on fantasy be kept for the under 18s? Most Classics I have read, or have heard of are all based on fantasy, they’re fiction, they’re not based on real events. Books offer escapism, just as colouring and playing games do, who on earth are you to judge what’s childish, and what’s adult? I’d argue that people who constantly have their nose in a fictional book are probably trying harder to escape life than I am whilst colouring; colouring keeps me in the moment and stops me focusing on my anxious thoughts, books transport you to a completely different world, now doesn’t that remind you of exactly what you did as a child?

I can assure you that I, along with my readers, and countless other adults will be spending my time colouring, following recipes, crocheting from patterns, watching family films and reading whatever fantasy-based books I can get my hands on, not because I long to be a child, or because I’m childish, but because I want to play, I want to challenge my brain to imagine new worlds, think up new colour schemes, and most of all I want to have fun because being an adult doesn’t have to be the boring existence of reading out-dated classic books, being forced to write poetry, and trying to discover the well-hidden points that you described in your article.

Yours Sincerely,

Lucy (adult colourer and reviewer), Adult Colourers everywhere, and all adults who like to play, have fun, and connect with their inner child without being childish and infantile.

P.S. In case you’re interested, below are some examples of my efforts at “colouring in someone else’s tiny drawings”, as well as images coloured by my “infantile” readers.

Adult colourers and colouring book illustrators, a large number of you were deeply upset and offended by the original article, as shown by the comments on my Facebook post here. Please add your voice and thoughts in a comment below and share this post as widely as possible so we can be heard. As you’ll see from the gallery below, adult colouring IS art and is anything but “infantile” and “childish”! Thank you to everyone who offered their colouring for this post, it’s beautiful and greatly appreciated!

One Year of Reviewing – A Review!

Well, lovely readers, it’s been one whole year of reviewing and I thought I’d do what I do best, review the year! It’s hard to believe it’s been that long and that short a time, in some ways it feels like only yesterday that I sent off the first batch of emails to publishers explaining the aim of my new venture and asking for review copies of books, but it also feels like a lifetime ago.

So, what’s happened in a year? I’ve set up two Facebook pages, one for my original mental health blog, and a second for my colouring review blog. I’ve set up a Twitter account and have been trying to get to grips with Tweeting, being succinct (there’s not a lot you can say in just 140 characters), and learning to ask for things and not feel guilty for doing so. I set up a Goodreads account and now add all of my reviews there. I also add my reviews to Amazon where I’ve steadily climbed through the reviewing ranks from around 25,000th in the Summer to becoming a Top 100 Reviewer on the 12th of April with a current rank of 93rd on the whole of Amazon UK! I’m staggered that a colouring book reviewer could rise that high when most of the reviewers at that level have written thousands of reviews about a wide range of products. On my blog I’ve reviewed over 150 adult colouring books and colouring mediums and utensils, certainly not the highest volume of reviews online but potentially the most detailed and I’ve stuck to writing for my target audience – people like me who are housebound and entirely reliant on reviews because they can’t visit shops. My aim has always been to make it feel like you’ve looked inside the book, or used the pens or pencils yourself so that there aren’t any surprises when your purchases arrive, and particularly, aren’t any disappointments. I really hope I’m succeeding in that!

In the past year I’ve learnt A LOT! It’s hard trying to think up all of the things I’ve learnt but here goes: The biggest thing is how to review. Until a year ago I’d never really written a review or even thought about what made a good one or bad one, it was only becoming housebound and being entirely reliant on them that made me realise their value and importance when purchasing items and being unable to see the product in person. I’m sure a lot of people take one look at the length of my reviews and are put off because they want a quick overview of the item and then they head off to the shops to check it out themselves. However, for those of us that are housebound, this isn’t an option and so I set about writing the most detailed reviews I could about these books after discovering that most reviews on Amazon a year ago simply stated “Great book, must buy” or “Not what I expected, sent it back for refund” and other one sentence summaries that usually didn’t explain why they did or didn’t like the item. My reviews are lengthy, but it’s for a purpose, it’s to give you all of the information that you’d garner from looking at the book in the shop yourself, as well as the added benefits of me testing pens and pencils on the paper so that you know what sort of quality it is ahead of time without having to fork out money on a book that’s unsuitable for the mediums you’re wanting to use on it. Other things I’ve learnt include how to use coloured pencils, how to shade and blend, and I’m learning new colouring techniques every day. I’ve also learnt all sorts of marketing techniques to gain social media followers and increase my reach as well as my rank on Google searches. I’ve learnt important communication skills which I’ve used in emails to publishers, tweeting, social media, getting messages across in blog posts and reviews and generally communicating with you all without being able to speak or infer tone of voice.

So what have I achieved in the past year? I’ve created a blog with over 150 reviews of colouring books and mediums to help the housebound community venture into this wonderfully calming activity. I’ve advised countless people who’ve emailed me with their requirements about books that would suit them and pens and pencils that wouldn’t exacerbate any pre-existing conditions. I’ve become a Top 100 Amazon Reviewer, a goal I set for myself a few months ago that I never actually believed I’d achieve. I’ve gained loads of followers, many of whom have shared their stories with me which has been incredibly encouraging whilst on this journey. I’ve been interviewed for The Guardian newspaper, TV, online magazines and on radio, all from my home. This blog has now received over 700,000 hits from over 70,000 visitors and combined with my original blog where I also post all of my reviews, I will reach one million hits within the next 6 weeks or so, not bad for a colouring book reviewer who mostly only has access to the outside world through a laptop and an internet connection!

The biggest thing I’ve gained from all of this is a sense of purpose. I’ve found a place in the world where I can make a bit of a difference, even whilst ill and stuck indoors. I’ve been able to reach out to others and lots of you have reached out to me too, whether that be liking or commenting on my Facebook posts, messaging me, or commenting on my blog, it all means so much to me because it helps me know that I’m on the right track, that I’m giving you the information you want and need, and that I’m making a difference. Thank you all for your support whether this is the first post of mine you’ve read (where have you been? You’ve got some catching up to do!), or whether you’ve been with me from day one when I wrote my first colouring post – Keep Calm and Colour In; whether you’ve read almost every review like some of my very dedicated family and friends have (I’ll always be eternally grateful to you all), or you like to dip in and out, thank you to all of you from the bottom of my heart, you will never know the good that it’s done me. I’m currently further away from recovering from my anxiety disorders than I’ve been at any point through the last 2 years, but most of the time I’m distracted from that and don’t have the time to wallow in it or obsess over it, I’m too busy contacting publishers and colouring and reviewing books. This process has certainly created anxiety on plenty of occasions, and also challenged it and it’s given me a lot of opportunities to practice doing anxiety-provoking things like asking for things, saying no, and being critical. I still find those things incredibly difficult but I’m learning to do them and I’m really excited about what the year ahead holds. I’ve no idea when the colouring craze will calm down and I’ll be out of a job, but I do know that I’ll be sticking at this for as long as I can and I’m sure I’ll find ways of branching out when the colouring books do end up being published less frequently and I need more things to fill my time with.

Thank you all and I’ll leave you with some of my favourite colouring pages, favourite reviews, and achievements. Here’s to another colour-filled year, hopefully sprinkled with even more opportunities to reach out to the outside world about mental illness and get everyone talking about it just a little bit more! Colour On everyone, Colour On!

Doctor Who Colouring Book – A Review
Guest Post – Tangle Wood Book Launch
Lost Ocean, a US and UK comparision
Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom Deluxe Edition – A Review
Secret Garden Artist’s Edition – A Review
Tangle Bay – A Review
T’Gaal Adjustable Pencil Sharpener – A Review

An Interview with Claire Eadie of Colour With Claire Blog


Today my post is different from usual and I’m bringing you my first ever interview. Claire Eadie is a fellow reviewer who suffers from emetophobia and discovered an interest in colouring when trying to stave off a panic attack. A lot has happened since then and the Nottingham-based colourer has now reviewed hundreds of books and products on her blog – Colour With Claire. We recently connected online and I’m now proud to call her my friend and I’m interviewing Claire because she’s one of my favourite reviewers. Whenever I’m looking for books or colouring mediums for myself, I check her site and I’m sure to find the answers I need, she’s got to have the most extensive list of colouring reviews online and they’re extremely reliable and wonderful to read. I thought it would be great to introduce Claire to you, my readers, and find out a bit more about her, her reviews and what it’s like being a reviewer. So without further ado, Claire, it’s over to you!

If you were stranded on a desert island, what one colouring book would you take with you?

That’s a hard one, as I tend to get bored easily! I guess I’d take The Time Garden by Daria Song. Her books are so beautiful but I *know* I’ll never finish them so I suppose being stuck on a desert island would force me to!

What do you like most about reviewing?

Finding really great books that have fallen under the radar for whatever reason, and introducing them to colourists who may not have found out about them otherwise.

What do you find hardest about reviewing?

Finding the time, trying not to make each review monotonous or too similar, and colouring things I’m not really interested in but- in order to cater for a wide range of tastes- have to include.

Can you share your review process and what you wish people knew about reviewing?

The sheer amount of time and effort that goes into it. It’s  not just sitting at your computer tapping away and clicking the upload button. Just to give a sense of what’s involved, this is my basic review process: Scour Amazon for new book releases, contact the creator/publisher to request a copy, colour a page from inside the book, take example photos from the book (in the right lighting which can sometimes be very difficult on typical British overcast days!), upload all the photos onto a phone app and watermark/add a border (this takes a lot of time), upload them all to my computer, go online and research the book and its illustrator, write the review!, share it to all my social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), email the illustrator/publishers with a thank you and the review link, copying it over to Amazon—all of this whilst keeping the page up to date with the latest colouring news/sharing other people’s coloured pages, and more books dropping through my door every day, some of which I haven’t requested but are automatically sent out from publishers… Oh, and running giveaways out of my own pocket! It’s not as easy as you might think.

What book releases are you most looking forward to over the coming year?

There are so many good ones coming out this year, I think adult colouring has reached its height now and more great illustrators are producing books that showcase their amazing talents. Sommernatt by Hanna Karlzon, Imagimorphia by Kerby Rosanes, Legendary Worlds by Colorworth Publishing, Escape to Shakespeare’s World by Good Wives and Warriors, The Magical Journey by Lizzie Mary Cullen… oh and probably the most anticipated of all, Magical Jungle by Johanna Basford J

Who is your favourite illustrator?

Difficult! My top 3 would be Hanna Karlzon, Daria Song & Johanna Basford.

If you could have a colouring book created just for you, what would be included in it? What shape and size would it be?
Square and spiral bound, the same size as Secret Garden. It would have a mixture of realistic scenery, Scandinavian/Folk art, and JB’s gorgeous double page spreads. Paper would be a very thick card and the cover a soft-touch hardback.

When you’re colouring just for you, what book do you go to and what mediums do you use?

I change books all the time, as I say I get bored easily! If I want to get it coloured quickly, I usually turn to Staedtler Triplus felt pens, and if I want to make it really pretty and take my time, Faber Castell Polychromos pencils.

What are the elements that make up a good colouring book in your opinion?

Spiral binding, thick cardstock, crisp linework, variety.

Thank you so much to Claire for answering my questions and letting us all know a bit more about her reviews and her personal colouring. We have done joint interviews so if you’d like to read my interview by Claire then click here. Below is a selection of Claire’s favourite images that she has coloured over the course of nearly a year of reviewing. Enjoy!