Slightly cheesy title, but a fun monthly box that gives you or a friend a new (often newly-published) book plus a clutch of treats for a very affordable price. Put it this way, the price of the book takes up most of the price, and postage is an affordable £2 a month. I’m not sure if I’ve got room in my house for this but it’s a fun way of getting a treat each month and reading something a bit different so I’m going to give it a go for a couple of months and the November box was a wonderful autumnal mix of some true life crime, camomile tea, chocolate treat and cinnamon-y bath oil.
Order now for December…
As you can tell, I like to read, so a blog all about reading will always be a winner with me. Macdonald is actually an academic who has published several fascinating-sounding journal articles and a book about the conservatism of John Buchan and Dornford Yates’ writing.
Since browsing her blog’s backlist, I’ve come across the autobiography of the man who painted the most famous portraits of Lawrence of Arabia, and who’s writing in 1940s Morocco decided to recall his Victorian life in Aberdeen, an HG Wells war book published in 1916 that criticised the generals and the public’s unthinking jingoism – despite possibly inspiring some of Churchill’s later speeches of WW2 – and has a very sympathetic portrait of a young German, a bizarre novel of post-civil war America that firmly upholds social and racial segregation (Macdonald compares it to being wowed by a 1930s German novella and then finding out that the author was seriously pro-Nazi), and the links of Buchan and WonderWoman. Her podcast sounds a blast too. Read all about it here.
(Shelfies of my own book collection, July 2017 / October 2013.)
I’m still completely absorbed by Sybille Bedford’s A Visit to Don Otavio, and these passages (dinner; setting up a hotel) show why. If it fuels your fever, you really must see Ben Pentreath’s blogs here and here. Normally I dial in to Ben’s pastoral idylls on Mon mornings, but these posts from his travels carry some heat.
Candy-sweet photos of Madeleine Dore on Cup of Jo a few weeks ago.
I love her style (colour!), and these shoes which are both pretty and good for your feet.
If you like more, check out Madeleine’s blog on outspoken individuals such as Yasmin Abdul-Megied (below). You can find it at Extra Ordinary Routines.
Well, sort of. This is actually Tweets of the week, as Helen posts @LBFlyawayhome on the Ladybird Books.
The illustrations range from the pretty,
to the of-their-time (I was tickled at how much Charles II and his courtier have faced exactly out of a mid-century illustration of sober lawyers), to the unintentionally amusing
and the completely barmy and opinionated:
As usual on a bank holiday, I spend a lot of time lying on (not in) my bed, still in my pyjamas, reading and planning lots of meals.
About 9pm I might start cooking some, getting to bed at 2am the next morning a bit too tired and irritable and completely mis-setting my body clock for the rest of the weekend. I am also very happy for finding new voices and stories.
This time it was Rachel Alice Roddy, whose tales of Testaccio and Sicily grabbed me (photos from Rachel’s Instagram above; link to blog here). For those of you around, head to Stoke Newington Festival & other sites in London this month to hear her talk about cookbook as memoir and taste her cooking.
Rachel’s feed then led me to Hanna of Building Feasts, whose supper clubs look divine, and whose weekly round ups include both makeup and books amongst the food. Both Hanna and Rachel feel like direct links to Nigella Lawson, whose writing and sheer enjoyment of food can’t be faulted.
Finally, here is the great idea of Kino Vino, pairing a cuisine and a film. Little Vera and Russian dumplings are still to come, as is a pairing of I Am Love with Rachel’s cooking. Full circle.
Top two photos my own; Building Feasts & Rachel images from their Instsgrams.
I’ve liked Claire’s main blog, The Captive Reader, which she writes from home in Vancouver, for some years, not least because she reads a lot of travel books. Also, who could resist a weekly post with the title Library Lust, featuring the most enviable shelves and chair corners.
But now there’s another blog, The Ambling Adventurer, and I seriously feel like Claire is writing for me. First there was a post on hidden gardens in Prague (where I recently saw the beauties of spring), then a post on expat memoirs that featured the book is just been reading and crying over, My Berlin Kitchen, and finally a post on Siena that immediately brought up memories of a trip with my mother to Florence. Heaven!
Photos of Ethiopia, Prague and Split by me. 2014-2017.
Sometimes you just need chocolate. Lots of chocolate. I first saw the recipe for this double-chocolate brownies here, and then searching for the image I also came across this blog here and thought I’d better link that too.
Try both, make lots: buy *all* the chocolate, and then come and see me. These are so getting made this weekend. I like the comment that they last 5 days. Um, more like one?
Anyway, the blog…after a recent trip to a Venezualan cafe (delicious, by the way), I was definitely intrigued by My Colombian Kitchen. There’s a spicy (savoury) orange salad, stuffed potatoes and hot avocado sauce. And chocolate. What’s not to like?
I was searching for something else which will feature on the blog soon when I came across the blog Ornamental Passions, dedicated to noticing all those small details on buildings’ windowframes and doormantels, carved plaques and now-baffling statues that London teems with. To my delight, one of the first posts I read shed light on this statue that I often pass in Lincolns Inn Fields.
I’ve followed Kristabel at I Want You To Know on and off for about three years now, and she’s the reason I’ve given Boden’s clothes a go again, after thinking of them as Country-Sloane-central all my life. She’s also a girl after my own heart with her love of travel.
However, apart from her style, energy and love of colour (yes! SUCH a relief to find a style blogger who’s not always mooching round in shades of beige, looking smug/sulky), what makes Kristabel hit it out the park is her blogging with a conscience.
Unlike other writers, whose “what I’ve learnt” posts breathe of carefully-constructed interview-style answers and humble-bragging, Kristabel is honest about the learning curve she’s out herself on and the challenges of being self-employed. Even greater to see are these deeply authentic posts about black, female entrepreneurs, ethical gift guides (with gifts that you actually want), and interviews with other business-women about being the different one in the room. For my vote, the entrepreneurs posts could be a series on a par with A Cup of Jo’s Motherhood Around the World: direct, honest and enlightening.
I particularly liked the point that whilst the fashion sector claims to champion difference, the money-trail is far more cautious. And I’d suggest that there’s an element of questioning to be done about if marketing commissioning editors and their teams actually know where to go and look for the new voices. Diagnostic algorithms on your own social media feed are hardly going to help…
Much to chew on, and always worth a read. Plus, what a great gallery wall!
(All images via Kristabel’s blog)