Tea Cup Review of Johana Basford’s ‘The Secret Garden’ Colouring Book

For the past month, I have been experimenting with mindfulness colouring with Johana Basford’s illustrated collection called ‘Secret Garden.’ Mindfulness colouring has become a hugely popular activity to promote relaxation and eliminate feelings of stress, worry and anxiety. The art of repeating a single movement continuously, such as drawing, is supposed to help unwind the brain and improve productivity in other tasks. Mindfulness is all the rage for me at the moment and anything that comes under mindfulness therapy is something worth trying. With so mana adult targeted colouring books to choose from, I purchased Basford’s because it was the best selling book on bookdepository.co.uk The inky treasure and colouring book is filled with a numerous flowers, beetles, butterflies and animals for ‘colouring artists’ of all abilities to indulge in. I was so excited to start my mindfulness colouring and see what all this quirky and fun activity was all about.

I will admit dear reader, that when I first started colouring in I was extremely overwhelmed with the intricacy of the colouring designs. These pictures have got so much more game than the ones I dealt with as a Primary School student. Spirals, loops and connections flood the pages with beautiful scenes from Basford’s creative talent. I almost bought Basford’s colouring sequel ‘Enchanted Forest’ containing new themed designs, but I realised that I had purchased a colouring book which would last m a lifetime and more. When I started to colour, I became anxious about not choosing the right colour scheme! For an activity that was supposed to promote relaxation, I was not off to a good start! I wrote off the first picture attempt (which now that I look over is not all that bad) and developed a system of assigning my fresh set of Derwent Academy pencils to a particular flower, plant or an animal. That’s right, I treated myself with a beautiful new set of pencils for this activity. Once this system was in place, colouring in was like a dream. Now that I am getting better with the pencils, I wasn’t to advance onto fine liners. Some of the colouring images have messages such as ‘add inky details to the flowers,’ which just using colouring pencils alone will not be sufficient.  It has been a really good conversation starter for me when people ask ‘what’s been happening lately Ashleigh?’ I can reply with ‘I’ve been embracing my six year old self and enjoying colouring in again.


I have gotten a few of my close friends onto this new colouring craze and all have reported that they are enjoying it thus far. I did try to get my boyfriend to do some colouring. ‘Just try the beetles,’ I nagged ‘they aren’t as girly as the flower images.’ I came back after a few minutes and he had coloured in a single beetle (pictured above.) He found the activity tiresome and was also anxious about his colour choices. I also took my colouring book to work the other day and got busted by a colleague. She gave me a quizzical stare at first, but when she had a look over the beautiful images for herself she was captivated. ‘Where do you get those colouring books from Ash?’ she asked a few hours later. I love how such a simple activity has been brought to life with such enthusiasm and positivity.


Looking over the photos I have taken, I am a very light handed colouring artist. Some of my colouring hasn’t even shown up, particularly the light pinks and yellows. It was more relaxing for me to colour this way. I found when I used more force and speed with my colouring my mind wasn’t switching off. It was never a tedious task, but always something I looked forward to doing. I did take my colouring book away on holidays and it was really great to do sitting outside under the sun. I even stumbled across a gate that looked very similar to the drawings in the ‘Secret Garden’ colouring book pictured below. I still can’t get over how beautiful this overgrown fence looks!


Overall, I am extremely happy with purchasing my copy of the ‘Secret Garden’ colouring book. Although I don’t think it has solely contributed to my happiness, my feelings of happiness were always present. I would recommend anyone who loves to indulge in their creative side to have this book in their life. I also think it looks stunning as a coffee table book. It would also be great as a present for someone a loved one, or even someone you didn’t know too well. You do have to put time aside to do the colouring, but I really did enjoy just colouring while I was sitting on the couch. The illustrations are aesthetically pleasing and I am continuing to have so much fun with random sessions of mindfulness colouring.


Happy colouring,

Miss Book Dependent xo

4 thoughts on “Tea Cup Review of Johana Basford’s ‘The Secret Garden’ Colouring Book

      • I treated myself to a set of Derwent pencils to use oj the colouring book 🙂 However, I have seen on Johana’s website that you can use specific markers 🙂 I know that she was really specific about the paper she chose for the designs 🙂 Markers make the designs look like ink tattoos! 🙂


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