Putting pencils in the kids’ Christmas stockings reminds me of Ben’s fourth birthday, when our friend Daniel asked him if anything special had happened yet and Ben said, with his little eyes glittering with excitement, “Well, Daniel. Yes. I got juice without any water in it.” “Juice without any water in it!”, Daniel said. “You are living the dream.”
The excellent gift guides and game recommendations are only one reason that I’m enjoying the new to me blog, Ben and Birdy. The writing is the other! Happy Birthday to my mother, who is also happy with small presents to mark the day.
I should probably have known I’d end up booking a holiday in the Deep South when reading about this lemonade led me to
check out the whole For the Love of the South blog
(and then to buying the Charleston edition of Fare magazine and stalking a whole load of Charleston bloggers, but anyway.)
Do go and check out Amber’s blog as its full of tempting recipes (I dare you to read a few posts and not want to preserve your own peaches) or even buy the For the Love of the South cookbook…
It’s been a while since we had one of these posts, but I’d like to think it’s worth the wait.
First warning: The Modern Mrs Darcy blog will make you want to go and rewatch your favourite Pride and Prejudice adaptation.
Second warning: you will also want to go and buy a lot of new books, especially if you check out Anne’s summer reading list guides
Third warning: Anne’s Friday round ups also appeal to the same part of me that loves Girls’ Night In and other end-of-the-week compendiums. And when one of those posts links you to the fictional characters that embody each Myers-Briggs type then my cup overfloweth.
Basically its book nerd central, and I mean that in the best possible way. Sorry if that’s been not you…
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.