Living Ayurveda: Nourishing Body and Mind Through Seasonal Recipes, Rituals and Yoga by Claire Ragozzino

EXCERPT: The word for health in Ayurveda is svastha. You know those people who radiate joy and literally glow? There is a juicy aliveness about them that is palpable and magnetic. This is svastha embodied – people who are confidently established in themselves. Our health isn’t just the absence of disease; it’s a dynamic state of harmony between our physical body, our mind, our senses, and our soul. Ayurveda teaches us how to care for these four aspects by paying close attention to the ways our surrounding environments affect our state of health, and how to use right thinking, diet and lifestyle to maintain an inner equilibrium. This book seeks to empower you with knowledge and tools for becoming more firmly established in yourself, using food, breath, movement and meditation in harmony with nature’s rhythms.

ABOUT ‘LIVING AYURVEDA: ALIGNING BODY AND MIND THROUGH SEASONAL RECIPES, RITUALS AND YOGA- A hands-on holistic guide to self-care based on the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda–including how to build a daily personal practice for each season with nourishing food, cleansing breath, and yoga practice.

Nourishment comes in many forms–it’s the food you eat, how you breathe and move your body, and the way you establish your daily routine. Living Ayurveda weaves together the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda and Yoga in a modern, accessible way to provide a season-by-season guide for living a vibrantly rich year. Part cookbook, part lifestyle manual, each chapter includes simple vegetarian recipes, seasonal rituals, and self-care practices to cultivate your inner wisdom and feed your body, mind, and spirit.

In this book, you’ll find:

– 90 delicious vegetarian recipes to balance the body and strengthen digestion through the seasons
– Illustrated pantry lists, menu guides, and cooking tips that demystify the process of building a balanced meal
– Yoga sequences and breathing techniques to help align with the energy of each season
– Seasonal rituals based on moon cycles to strengthen your intuition and develop a personal routine at home

Learn from ancient wisdom to know yourself intimately, be open to new discoveries, and see where this path takes you to allow a deeper wisdom to blossom in your life.

MY THOUGHTS: I started Ayurveda yoga classes earlier this year, and love it so, when I saw Living Ayurveda available, I had to have it. The yoga had improved my posture, given me better control of my breathing, and improved my sleep, and this book seemed like the next natural step forward.

Now, I am not going to claim to have read every single word. I have grazed, picking out bits here and there, skimming or skipping others, but feeling the positive benefits of what I have so far chosen to incorporate into my life. I am a firm believer in making small changes, and making sure each change is firmly entrenched before moving on to the next one. This method gives me far better results than trying to make several major changes all at once.

I have embraced the idea of living seasonally – it makes sense foodwise, but I had never entertained the concept of having different yoga poses for each season. I had, earlier this year, begun to make small changes to our diet, incorporating some vegetarian meals into our eating plan. I expected some opposition from my ‘meat and three veg’ truck driver husband and, initially, I was sneaking vegetarian meals in telling him that the tofu was chicken or cheese. I don’t need to do that any more. He is enjoying our new style of eating and often chooses vegetarian meals when I ask for his input for the menu for the week. We particularly the mushroom and lentil stuffed sweet potatoes, even though it’s a winter recipe, and summer is only days away here in the southern hemisphere. Other favourites of mine include the coconut chia breakfast bowl and the creamy coconut curry.

The photographs in this book are superb. Whether it be photos of the recipes, yoga poses or the beautiful calming and inspirational photos, they alone are worth buying this book for. And buy a copy I will. I want a permanent copy of this, a guide for making and maintaining positive change in my life.


#LivingAyurveda #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: CLAIRE RAGOZZINO is a certified yoga instructor and Ayurvedic practitioner with a background in holistic nutrition and natural cooking. Her work is dedicated to bringing yoga, Ayurveda and nutrition to a modern lifestyle. She is the author of the popular blog, Vidya Living, and also writes and photographs for online and print publications surrounding topics of food, culture and our relationship to nature. Claire works with clients around the globe and leads immersive workshops and retreats. (Amazon)

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Roost Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Living Ayurveda for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system, please refer to my profile page or the about page on

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Breaking & Mending by Joanna Cannon


EXCERPT: Up until that first day as a junior doctor, I had never met death outside of my own family, other than in the detached, leather cadavers of the dissection room and in the neat rituals of a post-mortem. As a medic, I had never found myself face to face with the end of someone’s life, at least not one that didn’t rest quietly upon a stainless steel table, but still I went to the ward on that day to fulfill my first task as a junior doctor feeling more than prepared for the experience.

And I did know how to feel for a pulse and how to look for signs of respiratory effort. I did know how to check for the presence of a pacemaker and fill out the death certificate. I had been taught all of this, and I could deal with it. But what I couldn’t deal with, and what I didn’t know, was how I would feel walking into a room at the end of someone’s life and seeing all the small details around that room that told me who this person was. The small details that told me this person’s story. The bag of knitting and the get-well cards, the half-eaten pack of Polo Mints, and the puzzle books. It was the paperback on the bedside table that stayed with me more than anything else. Closed shut, its bookmark resting forevermore halfway through a story. I took the sight of that paperback and kept it with me. It joined other small details I collected on the wards as I went through my days, not realizing that it was the weight of these details that would eventually break me.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: An intimate, urgent account of doctor burnout and life as a psychiatrist from bestselling author Joanna Cannon

“A few years ago, I found myself in A&E.

I had never felt so ill. I was mentally and physically broken. So fractured, I hadn’t eaten properly or slept well, or even changed my expression for months. I sat in a cubicle, behind paper-thin curtains, listening to the rest of the hospital happen around me, and I shook with the effort of not crying. I was an inch away from defeat, from the acceptance of a failure I assumed would be inevitable, but I knew I had to carry on. I had to somehow walk through it.

Because I wasn’t the patient. I was the doctor.”

A frank account of mental health from both sides of the doctor-patient divide, from the bestselling author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep and Three Things About Elsie, based on her own experience as a doctor working on a psychiatric ward.

MY THOUGHTS: I admire Joanna Cannon greatly. I loved her novels, Three Things About Elsie, and The Difference Between Goats and Sheep. Now I understand how she can write like she does, with such great empathy and understanding.

I have worked in both general and psychiatric nursing in New Zealand, as well as in private practice. I have seen a lot of people, both nurses and doctors, burn out for the same reasons – the hours, the stress, the lack of care and concern for those who care for the ill and dying. People revere actors and sports stars, but are often rude and dismissive of those who save lives. Somewhere, we have managed to get our priorities wrong.

Breaking & Mending is a short but emotional read. This is, as it says in the promotional blurb, ‘an intimate account’ of a woman’s determination to become a doctor, and what happens on her journey.

Next time I need a doctor, I hope that I get a ‘cardigan’, not a ‘coat’.

Thank you Joanna, for sharing your journey with us. I admire you even more than I did before I read Breaking &Mending.


#Breaking&Mending #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: Joanna Cannon is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling debut novel The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, which has sold over 250,000 copies in the UK alone and has been published in 15 countries. The novel was longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize, shortlisted for The Bookseller Industry Awards 2017 and won the 2016 BAMB Reader Award. Joanna has been interviewed in The Guardian, The Observer, The Sunday Times, The Times, and Good Housekeeping magazine, and her writing has appeared in the Sunday Telegraph, Daily Mail, and the Guardian, amongst others. She has appeared on BBC Breakfast, BBC News Channel’s Meet the Author, interviewed on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 5, and is a regular at literary festivals across the country including Edinburgh and Cheltenham. Joanna left school at fifteen with one O-level and worked her way through many different jobs – barmaid, kennel maid, pizza delivery expert – before returning to school in her thirties and qualifying as a doctor. Her work as a psychiatrist and interest in people on the fringes of society continue to inspire her writing, and Joanna currently volunteers for Arts for Health, an organisation bringing creative arts to NHS staff and patients. Joanna Cannon’s second novel Three Things About Elsie is published in January 2018 and explores memory, friendship and old age. She lives in the Peak District with her family and her dog.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Serpent’s Tail/Profile Books for providing a digital ARC of Breaking & Mending by Joanna Cannon for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my profile page or the about page on

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and

Watching What I’m Reading…

It’s easy to tell when I am having a bad week…I request/buy/borrow books to make myself feel better. And I have had a bad week this week; a combination of work, one son in hospital with blood poisoning, and the dismal weather have drained me, resulting in 9 new ARCs this week! Susan and Carla can stop laughing right now, I’m sure they were responsible for some of my requests.

I am about to start Dead Wicked by Helen H. Durrant, a series that I have been enjoying.


And I am a little over half way through All the Ways We Said Goodbye by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig and Karen White.


This week I am planning on reading One in Three by Tess Stimson of which Jayme of says ‘That. Was. Fun’


Both of them loved him. One of them killed him . . .

Louise has had to watch her husband, Andrew, start a new family in the four years since he left her. The ‘other woman’ is now his wife – but Louise isn’t ready to let Caz enjoy the life that was once hers, or to let go of the man she still loves.

As Louise starts to dig into Caz’s past, the two women’s pretence of civility starts to slip. But in trying to undermine each other, they discover more about the man they both married.

And when Andrew is murdered at a family party, both women are found standing over the body.

And when Andrew is murdered during the anniversary celebrations, both women are found standing over the body.
It’s always the wife. But which one?

I also plan on reading The Day She Came Back by Amanda Prowse


When her loving, free-spirited grandmother Primrose passes away, Victoria is bereft, yet resilient—she has survived tragedy before. But even her strength is tested when a mysterious woman attends Prim’s funeral and claims to be the mother Victoria thought was dead.

As the two women get to know each other and Victoria begins to learn more about her past, it becomes clear that her beloved grandmother had been keeping life-changing secrets from her. Desperate for answers, she still struggles to trust anyone to tell her the truth.

To live a full and happy life, Victoria knows she must not only uncover the truth, but find a way to forgive her family. But after so many years, is trusting them even possible?

And now (drumroll please!) my ARCs…..

Out of Her Mind by T.R. Reagan


One In Three by Tess Stimson, and yes I know that I wasn’t going to request any more books due for publication in July or August, but I love this author…


The Butterfly Room by Lucinda Riley


What’s Not Said by Valerie Taylor


The Night Whistler by Greg Woodland


A Pretty Deceit (Verity Kent #4) by Anna Lee Huber


Come When I Call You by Shayna Krishnasamy


The Ocean House by Mary Beth Hughes


and finally, The Bone Jar by S.W. Kane


There’s a lot of variety there, so I hope that you have found something to tempt your bookish taste buds.


Watching What I’m Reading . . .

Good afternoon from a chilly, grey and dismal New Zealand afternoon. I am currently reading, and loving, The Banty House by Carolyn Brown.


I am listening to the delightfully touching and humorous The Sparkle Pages by Meg Bignell.


This week I am planning on reading Stories We Never Told by Sonja Yoerg


Psychology professor Jackie Strelitz thought she was over her ex-lover and colleague, Harlan Crispin. Why should she care if Harlan springs a new “friend” on her? After all, Jackie has everything she ever wanted: a loving husband and a thriving career. Still, she can’t help but be curious about Harlan’s latest.

Nasira Amari is graceful, smart, and young. Worse, she’s the new member of Jackie’s research team. For five years, Harlan enforced rules limiting his relationship with Jackie. With Nasira he’s breaking every single one. Why her?

Fixated by the couple, Jackie’s curiosity becomes obsession. But she soon learns that nothing is quite what it seems, and that to her surprise—and peril—she may not be the only one who can’t let go. (

Followed by When Grace Went Away by Meredith Appleyard


‘Functionally dysfunctional.’ That’s how financial analyst Grace Fairley describes her family in the small South Australian farming community of Miners Ridge – a family fractured by tragedy and kept that way by anger, resentment and petty jealousies. As the eldest sibling, Grace tries to keep the family in touch, but now she’s accepted a promotion to the London office. Time-zones and an enormous workload mean she’s forced to take a step back, although she finds time to stay in contact with Miners Ridge landscape gardener Aaron Halliday.

Sarah Fairley, Grace’s mother, fled Miners Ridge and her embittered husband eight years ago. Now, in the absence of Grace, she finds herself pulled back to the small town where her estranged children and grandchildren live. Drawn into the local community, and trying to rebuild family relationships, she uncovers a long-kept secret that could change her world …

Can Grace, Sarah and their family find a way to heal? Who will have the courage to make the first move?

This week I have received 4 new ARCs:

Breaking and Mending by Joanna Cannon.


The House on Widow’s Hill by Simon R. Green


Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz


And The Lantern Men by Elly Griffiths


Wherever you are, I hope that you are enjoying your weekend. I plan on spending the remainder of the afternoon reading in front of the fire. Whatever you are doing, have fun, stay safe and be kind my friends.

Yates Garden Guide – seventy-sixth edition


Yates Garden Guide was first published in 1895 specifically for New Zealand gardeners and has been our gardening bible ever since. Throughout the more than 100 years this has been in publication, the entries have been continuously updated and revised making it as relevant today as it was 100 years ago.

It begins with a potted history of gardening in New Zealand, from the time of the Maori, who voyaged from East Polynesia bringing with them Kumara, taro,yam,gourd and the pacific cabbage tree. The first Pakeha (Europeans) to arrive in New Zealand gardened because they had to. It was a case of survival. Their basic ‘shacks’ were surrounded by bush, there were no shops and were often miles from the nearest neighbour. Although they had little time or resources for ornamental gardening, plants from their home countries would have brought a little comfort in familiarity. In the mid 1800s,creative gardening was fast gaining popularity and, at around the same time, it became fashionable for women to garden. The lawn also became popular in the mid 1800s, with borders of neatly spaced flowering shrubs and perennials. By the turn of the century, a more informal garden was replacing the formal geometric layout of the Victorian era, and reflected a newfound subtlety and prosperity. There were breakthroughs in plant breeding including the first hybrid tea roses and ramblers.

Through the 1920s, 30s,and 40s, gardens became simpler due to the influences of the war and economic depression. The advent of state housing meant smaller suburban sections, and a demand for more compact plants. As prosperity returned in the 50s and 60s, outdoor living spaces began to make an appearance with courtyards, pool and barbecue areas.

In the 70s, the ‘native’ or natural garden began to gain a strong following, symbolizing our new environmental awareness which continued to be popular into the 80s.

The 90s saw a return of the more formal garden, including the decorative vegetable potager garden. Now, in the 21st century, New Zealand’s gardens reflect many influences – cottage, English, subtropical, Mediterranean, and native among them.

This latest edition includes an invaluable month by month gardening calendar, handy hints from New Zealand gardeners, in-depth information on a wide variety of plants, ornamental, fruiting and vegetable, plus a guide to gardening in special conditions.

My Nana (we were never allowed to call her Grandma. Apparently her own grandmother, whom they had called Grandma, had been a bit of an old battleaxe) gave me my first ever copy of this book almost fifty years ago. I, in turn, gave my children a copy, and will do the same for my grandchildren should I still be alive.

This is an invaluable resource. I consult mine monthly to plan my planting and harvesting schedule. In particular, the guide to gardening in clay soil has been particularly useful. Never has my garden looked so good, and never has my vegetable garden been so bountiful. And while this may not be relevant to those of you living outside New Zealand, I am sure that there is something similar relevant to your country.


Fry’s English Delight #1


ABOUT THIS BOOK: Stephen Fry hosts four programmes on the joys of the English language – as heard on BBC Radio 4.

Current Puns
Why does our language groan with the weight of puns? What exactly is a pun? And who, or what, is the Thief of Bad Gags?

The English language is chock-full of maritime metaphors: cock up, taken aback, chip on your shoulder, and show a leg. And, with the help of a Greek removals firm, we also find the origin of the word ‘metaphor’.

The uses and misuses of quotations are revealed, and there is also a frank confession from a quotation compiler, which we cannot divulge here.

Featuring sick parrots and the cliché crisis that affected the writing of Flaubert, Joyce, and Eliot, and helped shape modern language and culture.

MY THOUGHTS: I have just spent a delightful hour and three quarters gardening with Stephen Fry. Well I gardened and he educated me on the English language… puns, metaphors, quotations and cliches.

My neighbours must think me demented… ‘there she is, wandering around her garden, laughing again,’ I can hear them say. A friend of mine once said that she could listen to Stephen Fry reading the telephone directory. I am inclined to agree.

A fun and informative listen. And I do hope that my library is going to get the rest of the series.


#FrysEnglishDelight #BBC

THE AUTHOR: Stephen John Fry is an English comedian, writer, actor, humourist, novelist, poet, columnist, filmmaker, television personality and technophile. As one half of the Fry and Laurie double act with his comedy partner, Hugh Laurie, he has appeared in A Bit of Fry and Laurie and Jeeves and Wooster. He is also famous for his roles in Blackadder and Wilde, and as the host of QI. In addition to writing for stage, screen, television and radio he has contributed columns and articles for numerous newspapers and magazines, and has also written four successful novels and a series of memoirs.

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of Fry’s English Delight, narrated by Stephen Fry, published by BBC Audiobooks, via Overdrive.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my profile page or the about page on

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The Cause of Death: True Stories of Death and Murder From a New Zealand Pathologist by Cynric Temple-Camp

The Cause of Death by Cynric Temple-Camp
The Cause of Death: True stories of death and murder from a New Zealand pathologist 

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: An exhumation! I had never done one before. I had seen many dead people, but I’d never yet had to dig one up out of the ground, and this was far from what I’d expected on my first day on the job in New Zealand.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: You won’t believe these stories happened in New Zealand…

Forensic and coronial pathologist Dr Cynric Temple-Camp lifts the lid on some of the most fascinating cases he’s worked on during his 30-year career as a corpse investigator. Written with all the gritty detail of a Patricia Cornwell novel, the intrigue of Making a Murderer, and the horror of True Detective, this is a brilliantly told collection of true stories from a rural pathologist, including the high-profile Lundy murders.

Told with great skill, full of suspense, cliff-hangers and bizarre and surprising twists in the narrative – most of the examinations are at crime scenes, and there’s a real sense of adventure as Dr Temple-Camp heads off, often in the middle of the night, into the unknown.

A forensic pathologist is, in Dr Temple-Camp’s own words: ‘Someone who cuts up the dead to find out why they died.’ Dr Temple-Camp’s stories of spontaneous combustion, a gruesome murder right beneath the control tower at Palmerston North Airport, a mysterious death in an historic homestead, rare diseases, drug-mules, devil-worshippers, cot-deaths, land-mark cases, exhumations, are all from our own backyard.

This book will shock and entertain, make you squirm but also occasionally pull at the heartstrings.

MY THOUGHTS: This is a book that I have dipped in and out of over the past weeks, each chapter relating something different. It was an interesting read, but definitely didn’t shock or make me squirm.

I found the writing style rather dry and detached, but then the author is a scientist. There are several chapters devoted to one of New Zealand’s most controversial cases, the Lundy murders. But if I was expecting to learn anything new, I was disappointed. It did, however, give me a much broader understanding of what a pathologist actually does.

For a commercially published book, The Cause of Death contained numerous errors, silly errors that ought to have been picked up and corrected prior to publication.

All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my profile page or the ‘about’ page on for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my page