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Johanna Basford's Enchanted Forest

We've all seen the hype around adult colouring books and I for one lapped-up the hype and couldn't wait to get my hands on one. I've come from a family who love a good colouring-in session - my grandma was notorious for buying a new colouring book for me and when I flicked through what I expected to be a fresh untouched book, there would be the odd coloured in page with the "by Grandma" signature next to it; the cheek of it. My mam has always done the same too and naturally, I followed the ladies in my fam.

Now I'm older, colouring wasn't something I did in my free time. I've always been into art and drawing/painting when I have the time to, but lately I haven't had enough time to dedicate to it or simply haven't had the confidence and enthusiasm to do it. So that's where colouring comes in. The big hype around these intricate colouring books has been because they're recommended for anxiety and for calming the mind. As someone who suffers from anxiety, I would say for me personally they heighten my stress levels because I turn into a perfectionist so the tiniest mistake can make me react like the world is ending, but they certainly keep me focused and most importantly, calm whilst I am focused. So they are certainly doing something right.

I received this Joanna Basford Enchanted Forest book for Christmas and had been waffling on about it for an age before then. It is a gorgeous, luxurious book which is perfect for gifting to someone. It's quite large so it's wonderful to colour, and the illustrations are rich and varied in their design and complexity. This is great because some days I want to colour but not get into a large and heavily detailed illustration as I will need to finish it, so the "easier" pages are great for those days. Even just colouring this first titled page in the images above took me a whole day - what a great amount of detail! It is also extremely good quality so if you're someone who prefers to colour using felt tips or other sorts of pens rather than pencils, the paper is great quality and thick so you won't have any colour transferring!

This book in particular would also be great for younger years, too. Although it is aimed at an older audience, there is a little game in the book which requires you to find animals/items which are hidden amongst the detail of the pages. Finding these hidden "Where's Wally/Waldo" types help "unlock" a "secret" in the book, so this would be a perfect book to work through as a family. I'm no where near finished filling it in, but I would highly recommend picking up one of Basford's books in particular. The market for these adult colouring books is big now and there's a lot of choice out there, but I will always argue that Joanna Basford's books are the most beautiful to complete.

- A.
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