Testimonials for ‘SPRING IN YOUR STEP’:
Having read Merry Midwinter (the author’s 2018 book) I was very excited to receive my copy of Spring In Your Step. Received on a gloomy, grey day it’s cover was enough to brighten my spirit!
I love the author’s companionable writing style, it’s as if she were sitting around the fire with you, imparting her knowledge, enchanting you with stories, sharing her past, and encouraging your future.

Spring In Your Step is a journey through spring time, a journey of education, inspiration and imagination.

The first chapter finds us in January and flows between descriptive memories, inspiring ideas, recipes, things to make, the wonderfully nostalgic comments from Joan (taken from the author’s Mother’s manuscripts from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s), knowledge of nature and the seasons, and contemplation. In January we are still in winter and looking forward.

Turn the page at the end of of the first chapter and what is before us? We are guided through all the festivals and elements of springtime – from Imbolc at the beginning of February through to the end of April and the book leaves us at Beltane at the start of May. Some of these festivals and special days and traditions we may know and some may be new to us. I had never really thought about how much there is to celebrate in this season. There is a useful calendar at the end of the book which lists all such days and summaries of their meaning, where needed.

This book is full of ideas of things to make and do and experience and think about – and the wonderful thing is that these can be established as your own traditions – and there really is something for everyone. The nourishing recipes evoke memories of my own childhood. There are stories to read aloud or quietly to yourself and a scattering of beautiful poems. There are wonderfully evocative memories of childhood and beyond. There is a focus on nature at this time of year when nature is surely at her most joyful and magical and I have found a much deeper understanding of this. This book will help to open your eyes and heighten your senses to springtime – and this year, maybe more than ever in most of our lifetimes, help us in the need to turn from the darkness of winter, to cherish each day and celebrate, and lead us on a path towards the light of spring.        Ruth R.

‘I think that this is a really inspiring, interesting and informative book. I love the ‘Joan excepts, the poems, recipes, the bits of history and tales of life at Drybones and in Wales and all the arty/crafty things. It’s the sort of book you can read from cover to cover and/or dip into for all sorts of info. I certainly can recommend it!’
                                                                                                                            Alison W.
Lovely book a reminder of what is important in life.       Amazon customer

Testimonials for ‘MERRY MIDWINTER’:

‘Great book, very sweet. It’s the same style as ‘The Wonderful Weekend Book: Reclaim Life’s Simple Pleasures’ (by Elspeth Thompson).        Sheila

‘I am reading this book with a book club. It is delightful and everyone is loving it. I also bought ‘The Alternative Advent Calendar’ which I shall be following shortly, (and I think other book club members will be too). We are currently thinking about reading ‘Spring In Your Step’ (the author’s new book – just published) in the New Year.’        Amazon customer

‘Beautiful book, was feeling a bit low before Christmas due to the commercialism but this took me back to all of the real traditions and ways to celebrate and show love for the ones you care about, leads from Halloween through to January with lots of nice recipes, cool things to do so that it’s a longer, more relaxed celebration of the midwinter season, I felt so much warmer inside after reading it and have made notes in my phone to review chapters again next year.’       A. C.

‘I am in the process of reading this book and am finding it delightful. Covering the whole period from late autumn through to after New Year, the author talks of varying celebrations/meaningful dates, snippets of history, ways in which to celebrate and enjoy this season and just generally gives a non-religious but spiritually and culturally poignant reflection on how to rekindle the joy of Midwinter. I love it.’       Mrs W.

‘I love this book, It made me feel warm inside. The book is very informative about the origins of Christmas, Halloween etc and certain traditions from around the world. Lovely home made ideas to make Christmas more about family and friends and less about the commercial side of Christmas.’       Mrs D.

‘I just loved this book with it’s inspiring ideas, interesting stories from a not so distant past, historical and mythological insights and the way the voice and character of the author was unique and clear throughout. It really got me inspired and excited to begin the Winter season.
Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys the build up to Christmas and the beauty of a cosy Winter.’       Grace

‘As a mum to a six year old who loves nature, I am about to light the candles like your mother did and spend some time with her after school. This is purely after you have given me the idea to do this. My daughter is so excited that I am about to tell her the story of the oak and holly king. Thank you for the lovely warmth that’s come across over the pages and the homely traditions that I’m hoping to bring about for my little family.’       Dee

‘I have longed for a book like this for many years. I am so grateful to you, dear Gillian, for writing it! I’ve only had it a few hours and I’m already feeling excited about Midwinter celebrations, rather than overwhelmed and fed up!’       Laura K.

‘Am currently reading your book and finding it comforting.’ Emma R.

‘I finished your book last night, and now I am rereading it. I wish it had been written years ago, it’s such a beautiful book. My Christmases are quite simple anyway, but your writing is a real reminder to enjoy the real beauties of the season.’  Jo K.

‘Twas the week before Christmas. I’d reached the stage where cards (late as usual!) were (reluctantly) written and posted at which I felt a mixture of relief and loathing. Relief they were done for another year and so the task was over. Loathing because I do not see the point in sending them to people I am in regular contact with. Having missed some years in the past and being riddled with guilt as a recipient. I continue. Reluctantly.
Twas the week before Christmas when the feeling of being caught in the headlights sets in along with a frozen panic. Will we have enough sprouts ! When will I find time to wrap the presents ! Have I got all the presents ! Better get the (artificial) Christmas twig out. And the decorations. Cringe ! No joy whatsoever ! Just the prospect of hard work !
Then on 20th December hey presto ! I read a newspaper article about Merry Midwinter. Getting back to what the time is really about going back hundreds of years and celebrating midwinter. The article changed my perception completely. First of all I ordered the book. Then I ditched the idea of the twig and instead brought in armfuls of ivy and other greenery from the garden. I started to look forward not to the hard work but of the pleasure of being with my loved ones and guilt free indulgence. I changed my perception as the end of Christmas not being the start of a long dreary winter but as the start of a period of rest and cosying up by the fire and of rebirth.
The book was delivered the next day and I feel wonderful.
Tis the day before Christmas Eve. I’m slowly wrapping presents and not worrying about a thing. I feel ‘in tune’ with the time of year rather than internally fighting it.
Merry Midwinter everyone ! Happy Christmas and a gorgeous restful, recharging winter 💛
So almost a year has passed since I purchased the book. It is November and as a result of re-acquainting myself with the book I feel light and lifted and way ahead with preparations. In addition I feel creatively inspired and have already started making natural decorations using foliage from the garden. The cards are ready to be written (weeks earlier than other years when there was much burying of head in sand !) all this with a smile on my face. A little life changer this book !
If the thought of Christmas fills you with panic this book is an absolute must !
Wishing you a Merry Midwinter 🧡’       Ex Ba Humbug

‘Congratulations on ‘Merry Midwinter! It’s a triumph! I’ve been dipping in and out and love it. It’s exactly what we collectively need and I feel it will be a huge hit and influential, turning us back towards the magic. You write with such passion, sensitivity and deep knowledge. I love the way it’s so personal with the real notes and messages from your mother. we are shipping it out to all we know for Christmas this year.’       Lee W.

‘A fantastic book. I will be adopting many of the customs in my own home. Handy reference calendar at the back. What a lovely author, her warmth and loving kindness just leaps from the pages. A truly feel good book for lovers of tradition who may want to know why so many of the symbols of Christmas and autumn/ winter events came about’.       D. D.

‘I am really enjoying reading this lovely book by Gillian Monks. it is all about celebrating the midwinter season, not through buying loads of stuff but by your attitude to life. I absolutely share the author’s love of the festive season but also the distaste of commercialism that comes with the season, but it can be hard to tune it all out. I love the idea of celebrating the whole season. The book is jam-packed with recipes, ideas and tips as well as the history of traditions and reminiscences. I thoroughly recommend!’       The Bookish Mummy

‘A lovely heartwarming read in the run up to Christmas. Loved it. Well written with warmth and humour interlaced with history and general information. Will read it every Christmas.’       Savvyshopper

‘Every year the festive season comes again and every year I got more and more disappointed with the magic disappearing. This book has brought the magic back and has shown me how to connect again with this most amazing time of the year. You feel like your transported to the magical midwinter world which you want to be a part of. I loved reading this book and I will now be using it to make this midwinter magical. Excellent.’       Helen Laughton

‘I really loved this well presented, attractive and full of great ideas. A good mix of the tradition and histories of midwinter, Christmas, Yule and the festive period we know, along with practical ideas for crafting and gift making. A useful book for anyone looking to go back to a simpler Christmas about family, love and friendship, not commercialism, thoroughly recommended.’       Tara K.
‘If you’re looking for a book to help you rekindle the magic of the Christmas season, to inspire you to celebrate in new ways, and set a little festive flame burning in your heart to keep you warm all winter long, then pick this one up! .
Merry Midwinter contains all the magic, inspiration, tips and tricks to help you fall back in love with the winter and festive period all over again!!
It features lots of helpful information, the history behind many of our celebrations, recipes and crafts to try out, and heartwarming stories and memories from the authors own childhood.
This books starts things off early in the season, beginning the celebrations off right at Halloween, and advises that you build up the excitement for the big day itself with a slow burn of smaller, just as lovely, celebrations throughout the winter. And it carries on the fun right through to Epiphany in early January.
I absolutely love this idea as I love any excuse for a celebration. I’d add some magic and wonder to every day of the year if I could, and will definitely be adding in St Nickolas day (December 6th) and St Lucia’s day (December 13th) to my own winter celebrations next year!
This isn’t a book filled with consumerism, advising you how to buy the perfect presents, how to make the perfect meal, or guilt tripping you about all the things you can’t afford to do this year, whether because of a lack of time or money.
This book is more about having wonderful experiences with those you love.
It’s about enjoying the little things and appreciating the magical in the every day.
It promotes memories and experiences over expensive gifts. And for the gifts you do want to give, it has plenty of handmade ideas that would be a joy to receive!
So if you want a more simple way to enjoy the festive season (but a much more magical way in my opinion!) then this is a book you’ll definitely want to pick up!
I can imagine reading this every year now as we head towards the years end, and I think it will make my winters even more magical from now on!’       Hollie Anne
‘ A wonderful book which does make you re-think how to celebrate the Winter season. Full of fascinating facts, history, folklore, craft ideas and recipes, this is a book you can return to every year and find something new and interesting. I would be delighted if the author produced a book like this for every season.’       Penelope 
‘I’ve almost finished your book and I’ve enjoyed it so much! I must say that some of my favourite parts are ‘Comments From Joan’ and the memories of your childhood. the whole book is really fun to read. I want to try out some of the recipes. I’ve had to make myself take it slowly  because I could have devoured the entire book in, like, three days, but I wanted to take some time to think on some of the things that you said. I’m not surprised more copies are on order! I plan on ordering a few more myself for Christmas gifts. You have done an amazing job!’       Nancy D.
‘Very well done with your gorgeous book – so full of wisdom.’       Ted C.
‘Brilliant book. Brings Midwinter to life.’       Winifred K. 
‘Made a really lovely present.’       Miss C. H.
‘Lovely book well written and has the history of Christmas in an informative way. Would recommend the book for anyone who loves Christmas.’       G.
‘I just want to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed both your Advent Calendar book and also Merry Midwinter. They both have inspired me to slow down and savour the season this year and to try to eradicate some of the busyness that comes upon us at that time of year.
I feel prompted to follow your alternative advent this year and also to share my experiences on my Facebook page. I would initially refer to your book, and explain what I am doing, using your chapter titles each day but I would not be quoting anything you have written or copying anything else from the book. My Facebook page is purely for friends and family and I think they could also be inspired and uplifted by your suggestions.’ Lydia W.
‘Wonderful book for parents, grandparents and children of all ages! It takes you through advent and pre-Christmas time with an activity every day, reminding us of the true joys of this lovely time of year.’        Amazon Customer
‘Truly delightful and unusual way to celebrate advent, whether you are religious or not. We shall be using this again this year.’        M. Richardson
‘Thank you so much for the gorgeous book; it’s amazing. We are doing the alternative advent and its great. Sunday, we smiled a lot, yesterday we lit candles and today I spent some time with my Gran. We have been checking the book every night before bed. We love it. Thank you so much.