Supercharge Your Brain – James Goodwin

How to Maintain a Healthy Brain Throughout Your Life
Description: The definitive guide to keeping your brain healthy for a long and lucid life, by one of the world’s leading scientists in the field of brain health and ageing. The brain is our most vital and complex organ. It controls and coordinates our actions, thoughts and interactions with the world around us. It is the source of personality, of our sense of self, and it shapes every aspect of our human experience. Yet most of us know precious little about how our brains actually work, or what we can do to optimise their performance. Whilst cognitive decline is the biggest long-term health worry for many of us, practical knowledge of how to look after our brain is thin on the ground. In this ground-breaking new book, leading expert Professor James Goodwin explains how simple strategies concerning exercise, diet, social life and sleep can transform your brain health paradigm, and shows how you can keep your brain youthful and stay sharp across your life. Combining the latest scientific research with insightful storytelling and practical advice, Supercharge Your Brain reveals everything you need to know about how your brain functions, and what you can do to keep it in peak condition.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Supercharge-Your-Brain-Maximising-Nutrition/dp/1787633187

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
In this fascinating book, Professor James Goodwin describes how to maintain a healthy brain throughout your life by examining how, exercise, sleep, social relationships, stress, well-being and our gut, microbes and nutrition all affect our health and performance. Packed with well-researched and referenced information Supercharge Your Brain is a hopeful and optimistic book, demonstrating how with care and attention it is possible to nurture and sustain your brain health throughout your life. 


Latest News – March 2021

Latest News

Here is our latest round-up of thoughts for the future after lockdown, recent publications and some new and innovative products.

Fresh Start

Finally we are beginning to take steps along the path to regaining some of our freedoms. Many of us have been home schooling and working from home, and without doubt the past twelve months have bought enormous challenges; but now in the time before the different stages in the roadmap are reached, there are moments when we can pause, recognise what we have achieved and perhaps consider what we would like to do differently.

Try and think in the broadest context of all aspects of your life, not just your current, or previous job roles. Recognise that there will be changes, both in working patterns and opportunities for self-employment and flexible working. 

Everyone will be adapting to these changing circumstances, talk to other people, friends, family, local businesses, try and help, be responsive to opportunities that present themselves. 

Importantly take your time, don’t make rash decisions, if you are feeling overwhelmed, seek help and support, these are unprecedented times, but help is available. 

Also remember what you enjoyed about your previous role and if the opportunity is still there and you are happy to continue in a similar vein don’t feel pressured to change just for change sake. Many people are longing to return to the colleagues and friends and the working environment that they enjoyed previously.

Going forward, employment for many will be different, but one of the results of the pandemic may be the desire to work for yourself. So many new creative businesses have already been started, and it is never too late to start. 

Over the years we have worked with many new start-up businesses, and one of the areas that we have been developing during the last twelve months is building up our collection of resources that we can share through our Creative Brand Studio website. http://creativebrandstudio.co.uk

It is also the place where many of our ideas are first created and the anchor point for all of our businesses.We want Creative Brand Studio to be a place where anyone with an interest in exploring their creative side can come for inspiration, ideas and opportunities for collaboration.

Being naturally creative can be a lonely occupation, we seek to support the dreamers, the storytellers, those who want to collaborate with someone who says, “Yes, you can do it!’ We see every conversation as an opportunity to listen, explore and make creative suggestions.

So whether you are a creative person working for yourself, in a partnership, or in a business, we hope you will find things to interest and encourage you to explore your creativity.

One of our recent features is:

Employment 2021- What Next? 

Any change needs to be carefully considered and phased in such a way that you protect any current revenue, but if you are thinking about a fresh start, there are many ways that you can take tentative steps forward, for example, ask yourself the following questions:

What can I do? Right here, right now?

How can I extend this? Explore creatively the options.

What have I done in the past that I could teach, share, improve and develop?

What new skills have I developed, or could I develop – short term, medium, long term?

Talk to friends and family, what talents and abilities do they recognise in you, that you may not necessarily be aware of ?

 Look overall at your list and objectively categorise depending on need:

I could do this because it fulfills a short-term need.

I could retrain and do this.

I could do this, but for a short period of time.

I really don’t want to do this.

For each one there may be a trade off e.g. I could do this for 12 months but then I want to do this instead.

Every action will need a level of research, and careful review, it’s important to have a realistic understanding of your talents, you may have developed new skills during lockdown, you may have loved the freedom of not undertaking your regular commute. 

We explore this in more detail in the full feature:

http://creativebrandstudio.co.uk/employment-2021-what-next

But if you are excited about the future and want to make a fresh start: 

Where to start?

As a small business starting out, your first creative steps can be so exciting, even with very limited budgets the ownership you feel as you see your logo, the ‘look and feel’ of your website, your products, or your premises, and your first images in social media which announce to the world, ‘This is my business, how can I help you?’ can bring real joy and delight.

We also recognise that when you are first starting out with very limited budgets, there are so many things to consider, but how you source your materials, the packaging you choose for your products, your marketing, the ‘look and feel’ of your website, your use of social media, the way people can contact you, and many more choices all have an impact on your business but getting it right in the beginning will really help to grow your following.

In the current climate, it is also important to be cautious; it is very easy in the first flush of enthusiasm to overspend on premises, advertising, marketing, and other external support before you have really tested out your products, or services in the marketplace.

Always start with baby steps, so much can be achieved with very limited budgets, some of our best-loved companies were created from small beginnings. It’s also possible to start creating something new alongside other roles, so many people have risen to the challenge of juggling many aspects of their lives during lockdown.

If you are starting a new business you will find more help and advice in our feature Creating Your Brand – Ten Ways to be More Memorable

 http://creativebrandstudio.co.uk/creating-your-brand-ten-ways-to-be-memorable

Recently Published

How to Make a Dress – Adventures in the art of style – Jenny Packham

‘From inspiration to sketch, pattern to fabric, the making of a dress has been the structure that has held me, and my passion to dress others is the momentum of my life.’

Description:

Jenny Packham is one of Britain’s leading designers and most in-demand couturiers, known for her exquisite dresses made for brides, celebrities and even royalty. In How to Make a Dress, she explores her creative journey in a brilliant meditation on life and style.

Beginning with the search for creative inspiration and taking us into her studio then onto the red carpet and beyond, she asks the questions that have preoccupied us for centuries: What makes the perfect dress? What do our clothes mean to us? And why do we dress the way we do? 

Whether she is on the trail of Marilyn Monroe in LA, designing a bespoke piece for the red carpet or sketching for a new collection, Jenny documents her pursuit of the eternal truths of style. Decades in the making, How to Make a Dress is an unforgettable book for anyone who has ever loved a piece of clothing.

https://www.waterstones.com/book/how-to-make-a-dress/jenny-packham/9781529103021

Our review 

How to Make a Dress is a very personal account by Jenny Packhamas she shares her thoughts and observations on life and style.  We are given insights into her inspiration, her sketches, the selection of fabric, the embellishments and how her exquisite dresses are created; but it is her personal narrative that shares so much more. Honest and at times poignant, this fascinating book and her personal collection of photographs, make this a very special insight into her creative journey.  

Latest products

Here are some innovative and useful products.

The Easel Book and Tablet Stand 

Stylish all-wood design holds any sized tablet or your favourite book. Adjust to your preferred viewing angle. Collapses flat for easy storage.

The Zen Tea Infuser 

Modern glass bottle with infuser and secure bamboo lid, make your tea and drink it too.

The 3-in-1 Copper Pen Tool 

This handsome pen is exactly what you need to get things done. Comes with built-in spirit level, and screwdriver. Writes with black ink.

Uncategorised

Homes & Antiques – March 2021

Homes & Antiques – March 2021The most gorgeous homes we tend to admire and envy are all unique in their choice of decoration, collections and antiques, but one thing unites them all – their confident layering of patterned fabrics in varying sizes and colours. Inside this issue, we hear from top decorators and designers on their enviable approach to mixing and matching with florals, stripes and geometrics. We also take a tour of five houses all brimming with inspiration, from a medieval rectory to a Scandinavian folk-art farmhouse that has been in the same family since 1690. Plus, meet seven artists whose work is inspired by their antique collections to beautiful effect, and discover the secrets behind the comfort and longevity of Howard & Sons’ famous armchairs and sofas.

Homes
Five beautiful homes from a medieval rectory to a Georgian gem.

The Best Seat in the House:
Secrets of the Howard Sofa, a look at the legacy of Howard & Sons.

Playing with Print & Pattern
Mixing and matching scale and colour, decorators and designers share their knowledge.

Heirlooms of the future
Steve Harrison’s exquisite salt-glaze bowls and cups are already proving collectable today.

Shelf Life
Artists capturing their antiques on canvas.

Collecting Honey Pots
Ellie Tennant uncovers some sweet treats.

Focus on Utility Rooms
How to create an attractive, organised space for laundry and other household chores.

All this and much, much more!!

The March issue of Homes & Antiques is on sale now: www.homesandantiques.com


Latest News – March 2021

Here is our latest round-up of thoughts for the future after lockdown, recent publications and some new and innovative products.

Fresh Start

Many of us have been home-schooling and working from home, and without doubt, the past twelve months have bought enormous challenges; but now in the time before the different stages in the roadmap are reached, there are moments when we can pause, recognise what we have achieved and perhaps consider what we would like to do differently.

Try and think in the broadest context of all aspects of your life, not just your current, or previous job roles. Recognise that there will be changes, both in working patterns and opportunities for self-employment and flexible working.

Everyone will be adapting to these changing circumstances, talk to other people, friends, family, local businesses, try and help, be responsive to opportunities that present themselves.

Importantly take your time, don’t make rash decisions, if you are feeling overwhelmed, seek help and support, these are unprecedented times, but help is available.

Also remember what you enjoyed about your previous role and if the opportunity is still there and you are happy to continue in a similar vein don’t feel pressured to change just for change sake. Many people are longing to return to the colleagues and friends and the working environment that they enjoyed previously.

Going forward, employment for many will be different, but one of the results of the pandemic may be the desire to work for yourself. So many new creative businesses have already been started, and it is never too late to start.

Over the years we have worked with many new start-up businesses, and one of the areas that we have been developing during the last twelve months is building up our collection of resources that we can share through our Creative Brand Studio website. http://creativebrandstudio.co.uk

It is also the place where many of our ideas are first created and the anchor point for all of our businesses.We want Creative Brand Studio to be a place where anyone with an interest in exploring their creative side can come for inspiration, ideas and opportunities for collaboration.

Being naturally creative can be a lonely occupation, we seek to support the dreamers, the storytellers, those who want to collaborate with someone who says, “Yes, you can do it!’ We see every conversation as an opportunity to listen, explore and make creative suggestions.

So whether you are a creative person working for yourself, in a partnership, or in a business, we hope you will find things to interest and encourage you to explore your creativity.

One of our recent features is:

Employment 2021- What Next? 

Any change needs to be carefully considered and phased in such a way that you protect any current revenue, but if you are thinking about a fresh start, there are many ways that you can take tentative steps forward, for example, ask yourself the following questions:

What can I do? Right here, right now?

How can I extend this? Explore creatively the options.

What have I done in the past that I could teach, share, improve and develop?

What new skills have I developed, or could I develop – short term, medium, long term?

Talk to friends and family, what talents and abilities do they recognise in you, that you may not necessarily be aware of?

Look overall at your list and objectively categorise depending on need:

I could do this because it fulfills a short-term need.

I could retrain and do this.

I could do this, but for a short period of time.

I really don’t want to do this.

For each one there may be a trade off e.g. I could do this for 12 months but then I want to do this instead.

Every action will need a level of research, and careful review, it’s important to have a realistic understanding of your talents, you may have developed new skills during lockdown, you may have loved the freedom of not undertaking your regular commute.

We explore this in more detail in the full feature:

http://creativebrandstudio.co.uk/employment-2021-what-next

But if you are excited about the future and want to make a fresh start:

Where to start?

As a small business starting out, your first creative steps can be so exciting, even with very limited budgets the ownership you feel as you see your logo, the ‘look and feel’ of your website, your products, or your premises, and your first images in social media which announce to the world, ‘This is my business, how can I help you?’ can bring real joy and delight.

We also recognise that when you are first starting out with very limited budgets, there are so many things to consider, but how you source your materials, the packaging you choose for your products, your marketing, the ‘look and feel’ of your website, your use of social media, the way people can contact you, and many more choices all have an impact on your business but getting it right in the beginning will really help to grow your following.

In the current climate, it is also important to be cautious; it is very easy in the first flush of enthusiasm to overspend on premises, advertising, marketing, and other external support before you have really tested out your products, or services in the marketplace.

Always start with baby steps, so much can be achieved with very limited budgets, some of our best-loved companies were created from small beginnings. It’s also possible to start creating something new alongside other roles, so many people have risen to the challenge of juggling many aspects of their lives during lockdown.

If you are starting a new business you will find more help and advice in our feature Creating Your Brand – Ten Ways to be More Memorable

http://creativebrandstudio.co.uk/creating-your-brand-ten-ways-to-be-memorable

Recently Published

How to Make a Dress – Adventures in the art of style – Jenny Packham

‘From inspiration to sketch, pattern to fabric, the making of a dress has been the structure that has held me, and my passion to dress others is the momentum of my life.’

Description:

Jenny Packham is one of Britain’s leading designers and most in-demand couturiers, known for her exquisite dresses made for brides, celebrities and even royalty. In How to Make a Dress, she explores her creative journey in a brilliant meditation on life and style.

Beginning with the search for creative inspiration and taking us into her studio then onto the red carpet and beyond, she asks the questions that have preoccupied us for centuries: What makes the perfect dress? What do our clothes mean to us? And why do we dress the way we do?

Whether she is on the trail of Marilyn Monroe in LA, designing a bespoke piece for the red carpet or sketching for a new collection, Jenny documents her pursuit of the eternal truths of style. Decades in the making, How to Make a Dress is an unforgettable book for anyone who has ever loved a piece of clothing.

https://www.waterstones.com/book/how-to-make-a-dress/jenny-packham/9781529103021

Our review 

How to Make a Dress is a very personal account by Jenny Packham as she shares her thoughts and observations on life and style.  We are given insights into her inspiration, her sketches, the selection of fabric, the embellishments and how her exquisite dresses are created; but it is her personal narrative that shares so much more. Honest and at times poignant, this fascinating book and her personal collection of photographs, make this a very special insight into her creative journey.  

Latest products

Here are some innovative and useful products.

The Easel Book and Tablet Stand 

Stylish all-wood design holds any sized tablet or your favourite book. Adjust to your preferred viewing angle. Collapses flat for easy storage.

The Zen Tea Infuser 

Modern glass bottle with infuser and secure bamboo lid, make your tea and drink it too.

The 3-in-1 Copper Pen Tool 

This handsome pen is exactly what you need to get things done. Comes with built-in spirit level, and screwdriver. Writes with black ink.

Available from https://kikkerlandeu.com

———————————————————————————————

Building Hope – Creating Positive Ways to the Future – February 2021

Building Hope – Creating Positive Ways to the Future


Looking After Yourself

We all know the airplane message about looking after yourself first before you can help others, but it is so true in our daily lives. It is very easy to neglect looking after yourself, even the most seemingly resilient people can be guilty of a lack of self-care. Taking time to relax, to be mindful, to daydream, and to nurture yourself has never been more important than it is currently. Here are some suggestions about how you can find ways of moving positively towards a time when we can once again enjoy a little more freedom.

Food
Planning nourishing meals can really help during lockdown, everyone loves comfort food, and some of the simplest recipes can be the most comforting. Local restaurants are also supplying takeaway menus and this can also be a way of supporting local businesses as well as providing a special meal. Speciality teas can also help to energise at the start of the day, or relax at the end of the day.

If you would like to see a selection of delicious recipes and cookbooks visit our Cookery Book reviews , or visit Our Table category in our sister website

www.beautifulheirloomhome.co.uk

Sleep
One of the side effects of lockdown can be unusual sleep patterns particularly in the colder and darker months, try and keep as normal a pattern of sleep as possible. Having a routine of relaxation before bed can help, but also getting up at the same time in the morning, means that it may be easier to sleep at night. Switching from reading on digital devices to an actual book can also help.

Exercise
As above, exercise can help with getting to sleep, whether you are exercising at home, or going out for a daily exercise, many people have found having a routine of exercise, helps with their energy levels and sleep patterns. It’s also important for children and young people, and even if you struggle with movement there are many examples of activities, from exercising in a chair to gentle yoga which are safe for people unable to fully exercise.

Music & Dancing
One of the most uplifting and most popular television programmes towards the end of 2020 was BBC One Strictly Come Dancing. Music and dancing can be the most wonderful uplifting and fun activity. It’s so easy to forget about music and yet it has the power to relax, reduce stress levels, uplift and energise. There is also some evidence to show that it can also help people living with dementia. There are many sources of concerts, playlists, or playing your own collection that can bring music into your life, and dancing is a wonderful way of exercising.

Fresh Air
We have been told how important fresh air is, but as well as going outside for exercise, bringing fresh air into our homes is equally important. Opening windows, not only helps with our health, but also reduces condensation, which in turn can lead to the growth of mould and other problems.

Support
Even the most positive people find it difficult to stay positive all the time.

Lockdown has shown us that while everyone’s situation is different, one thing we do have in common is that we all need help from each other. As well as the amazing work being carried out by the NHS and other frontline staff; there are some wonderful examples of the support that volunteers in the local community have offered.

Home schooling has created a unity among all parents and a new-found respect for teachers. As well as support from schools, there are other sources of resources, both locally and nationally for learning materials, and technology.

Many local informal support networks have been created as a result of the restrictions, and there are organisations to help with specific support needs, asking for help is the first step towards lifting a heavy burden.

Also it is taking the time to make that phone call to friends and family, the opportunity to empathise with others in the same situation that can really help.

Escape
No one really knows when we may begin to travel freely again, but planning a visit can provide an element of hope. Visit your chosen venue’s website, or contact them and see what arrangements they have in place for future bookings.

There are also many webcams available in different locations, which can bring daily uplifting images.

While we may not be travelling abroad, there are so many beautiful places in this country that we can enjoy once restrictions are lifted. Also think about visiting areas that are away from the more popular tourist destinations. We have miles and miles of coastline and beautiful countryside, often within easy reach, when restrictions are lifted don’t spend all your time in a car, also explore your local areas, local businesses will be so pleased to welcome you.

Tackling annoying tasks
Most of us have a ‘To do’ list of activities that we keep putting off, and there is no satisfaction quite like crossing off items on this list. Using the enforced restrictions of lockdown to tackle some of these tasks will mean that you will have more opportunity to enjoy your freedom when it returns. Also build in a treat at the end of each activity as a reward!

Relaxation and Creating Special Moments
When everything seems bleak, planning special moments is even more important. The lockdown routines can become monotonous, particularly if you are working from home, or home schooling. Having to be online and available for classes, or working means that it may become difficult to separate your home life from your work. Also many parents are having to use their evenings to catch up with their own work.

Often it is the impromptu, unexpected treats that can bring the most joy. Whether you plan an indulgent evening, or weekend for yourself, your partner, or family, try and create times away from the everyday worry and stresses.

Being Creative
This is a more pleasurable part of a ‘To do’ list, learning a new hobby, finishing off a project.

The most important thing to remember about being creative is that it is not about perfection. Enjoying being creative for its own sake does not have to mean creating a masterpiece, there are so many ways to be creative, many crafts can be started with very little investment, e.g. drawing, watercolour painting, air-dried clay, knitting, crochet, embroidery, making friendship bracelets, sewing projects, not to mention being creative with cooking, gardening, or re-designing our home. We share some of the latest creative books later in this feature, but more book reviews and ideas can be found in one of our sister websites:

http://mycreativenotebook.co.uk

It is also something that you can enjoy as a family, much of home schooling is about subjects which involve online learning, taking a breather from these activities to do something more creative can be a release for both parents and children.

For activities with younger children it’s easier to get everything you need assembled first. If space is limited, cover the floor with old towels, use old shirts as cover for them. As the weather grows warmer, and if space is available, more messy activities can be taken outside.

It often only takes a few items to encourage their creativity, their natural enthusiasm will often carry them forward. Don’t try to be over-ambitious; many household objects can be recycled, and used to create artwork or containers for seeds, articles of clothing can be turned into new designs. Suddenly everyone in the family can have new roles, becoming designers, gardeners, chefs, keep fit experts, or making movies to share with grandparents, or online.

Being creative as a family, can help everyone to relax a little more and can provide reassurance for young children confused by the changes all around them.

Creating a more conducive work space
During 2020, many of us experienced working from home, and in the initial lockdown, many people just reorganized their space a little, but as the year progressed and as we have started 2021 with another period of lockdown, you may want to look more creatively at how you create a workspace. Importantly, if you can, find ways of making it a separate area, and invest in a chair and desk/table that will support you correctly and ensure that you can work comfortably. We featured some examples in our Home magazines see our Home page.

When it is cold and gloomy try and find sources of natural light, and also remember to get up and move around regularly.

Gardening
As we have mentioned in previous features there is a great opportunity, whatever your skill level, to start experiencing the joy of gardening.

Escaping to our own open outside space, however small, is good for our health and general well-being. Even if you only have a balcony, or a window box you can experience the fun of creating microgreens, growing flowers, or nurturing a house plant.

You may be reluctant to start if you have never grown anything before, but a love of gardening can start with the simplest of things, and with the most basic of materials, e.g. a bag of potting compost, some seeds and some containers to plant them in.

This is also something that you can share with your children, giving them the opportunity to create their own plots, or miniature gardens.

Distraction
In the current climate, we are all grateful for any source of distraction from our worries and concerns, and there are many ways of doing this, some of which we have listed above; but in addition, reading a book, watching a box-set, completing a jigsaw, a crossword, playing games as a family, becoming absorbed in an activity, not watching too many news broadcasts, can all help in alleviating stress and anxiety.

Here are a selection of some ways of relaxing and switching off:

Here are two wonderfully uplifting and inspiring books:

Creative Flow – A Year in My Mindful Life by Jocelyn de Kwant

The Happiness & Contentment Workbook – Opening your heart, embracing your natural joy by The Happy Buddha

Both books are published by Leaping Hare Press

Here are some of the latest creative books

Sewing for the Absolute Beginner by Caroline Smith

The Textile Artist: Expressive Stitches by Jan Dowson

Macramé for the Modern Home by Isabella Strambio

All published by Search Press

To see our full reviews visit

http://mycreativenotebook.co.uk

Start Your Day with Pukka’s NEW Fresh Start Organic Tea

Pukka Herbs, the UK’s largest organic tea company, has announced the launch of its new caffeine-free herbal tea – Fresh Start – expertly blended by Master Herbsmith and practising herbalist Sebastian Pole, with sustainably sourced organic herbs, delicious zesty organic lemon and warming aromatic fennel seeds to gently awaken your body and mind to a new day and help you feel your brightest self.

This stimulating yet soothing blend helps to strengthen the digestive system to support optimum metabolism and, like all Pukka’s herbal blends, is made with 100% organic and ethically sourced ingredients. Making a cup of Pukka Fresh Start tea each day enables you to create a simple, healthy morning ritual harnessing the natural power of organic plants.

You may also like other teas in their collection, available from many online retailers, health shops and supermarkets across the UK.

The Body Shop®
The Lemon Collection
Feel clean, confident and zesty with the purifying and protecting Lemon range. It’s vegan, made with lemon essential oil and combines steps that have either antibacterial, intense cleansing or protecting care properties

Lemon Protecting Hand & Body Lotion
Enriched with natural lemon essential oil known for its purifying properties, it leaves skin feeling protected and rehydrated after frequent washing.

Lemon Purifying Hand Wash
Enriched with natural lemon essential oil which is known for its purifying properties, it helps wash away bacteria and impurities, leaving hands feeling squeaky clean.

Make it part of your daily ritual when you start and end the day.

Wild Argan Oil Exfoliating Gel Body Scrub 
Give your skin a wake up call when you use our Argan Oil scrub. Complete with argan shell exfoliants to gently slough away dead skin cells, you’ll feel radiant and silky smooth after every use.

All items are available from The Body Shop® website: www.bodyshop.com

Refocus

Refocus are an amazing way to keep focus even in the most difficult and challenging of times. Their wristbands are available in a selection of stunning colours and designs to suit every preference. Refocus are reversible and on the other side is a message of your choice to help get you through any nervous moments, worries, anxiety attacks, or stressful events. Designed to help you realign, rebalance and refocus the brand holds the perfect message for everyone. They can be stretched to your ideal fit and they are fully washable. Available from

Richard Osman’s House of Games Board Game
Richard Osman’s House of Games Board Game – Based on the hit BBC2 show hosted by Richard Osman, the House of Games board game is the ultimate test of knowledge and skill. Enjoy some of your favourite challenges from the show in the comfort of your home. Team up to tackle some trivia or face off against each other in the iconic Answer Smash. Who will be the House of Games champion in this competitive compendium of games?
Available From John Lewis
Piece Together the Universe
Time travel into deep space with the officially licensed NASA jigsaw. The awe-inspiring puzzles uses amazing and inspiring imagery from the Hubble Space Telescope to help you piece together the ultimate jigsaw. With 3 to collect you can choose from stunning images from yellow, blue or pink. With 1000 pieces it’s a challenge but not as complex as space.
 

Celebrate the Hubble Telescope with the 1000 piece NASA Jigsaw from Thumbsup.com available in three colours.


Homes & Antiques – February 2021

Homes & Antiques – February 2021Plaster pink, distressed walls and plenty of antiques with patina are the hallmarks of a romantically pretty scheme, as Selina Lake takes us through some looks to refresh our homes this spring. We also take a look at the history and heritage of sailors’ valentines, Welsh Love Spoons and acrostic jewellery, while Luke Honey, our columnist, talks about Reverse or Vinegar Valentines – a phenomenon that began in the Georgian era and gave the recipient a rather unpleasant shock! This month’s houses are all full of intrigue and enchanting touches, from Annie Sloan’s colourful home to an apartment in Brighton owned by the director of the Pallant House Gallery. And if a new kitchen is on your wishlist this year, we highlight some favourite companies for whom quality craftsmanship is paramount.

Homes
All four homes featured this month display their owners’ eclectic tastes and love of antiques; from an 18th-century merchant’s house overlooking the Loire river, the successful fusion of two distinctly different decorating styles and collections, to Annie Sloan’s colourful home and finally to a bijou apartment in Brighton filled with folk art and elegant touches.

Faded Glamour
Romantic colours and accessories to give your home a softly pretty ambience.

We are the Champions
Art Fund’s Museum of the Year Winners.

Food News & Recipes
Warming fare from the Great Dixter Estate

Portrait of an Antique
Robert Kime’s Decorative Screen

Collecting Welsh Love Spoons
Discover the history of these beautifully crafted items.

All this and much, much more!!

The February issue of Homes & Antiques is on sale now: www.homesandantiques.com


The Plant Power Doctor – Dr Gemma Newman

The Plant Power Doctor - Gemma NewmanA simple prescription for a healthier you (Includes delicious recipes to transform your health)

Description

Are you ready to discover the power of plants? Let’s dive in.

Just imagine if what you put on your plate could not only improve your health right now but also make you healthier in the future. This book shows you, and your loved ones, how to make enjoyable, sustainable choices to futureproof your body and mind.

In this ground-breaking book, British family doctor Gemma Newman shares the transformative effect plant-powered eating has had not only in her life, but also in the lives of her family, her patients, and many people around the world. She explains the science that shows why plant-power works and how you can eat your way to a brighter future.

Dr Newman shares how in many cases your genes matter less when it comes to your health destiny than what you eat for dinner. Explore how many of the chronic illnesses we face – including heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, hormonal dysfunction, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity – can be helped with a plant-powered approach along with gut health and immunity.

Make some simple switches. You can still eat your favourite kinds of food and enjoy delicious meals – simply learn how to make them plant-powered. Banish the diets, the calorie counting and deprivation. Instead you can try a compassionate and powerful way of eating that everyone can enjoy.

Start cooking! This book includes over 60 mouth-watering meal ideas to kick-start your journey. Dr Newman includes a simple guide as to the principles of a whole foods plant-based approach and helpful meal plans for you to fill out too. Enjoy easy breakfasts, family favourites and meals on the go and so much more.

Everything you need to eat your way to a healthier, happier you.

https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-plant-power-doctor/dr-gemma-newman/9781529107746

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
As we start 2021 surrounded by all the worry and concerns about our health and our loved ones, this book is perfectly timed. Even without the pandemic many of us are perhaps more aware than ever before of the need to think more carefully about our lifestyle choices and the food that we eat.

Packed with fascinating and in-depth information, in this very accessible book, Dr Newman starts with a discussion of what a Plant Power lifestyle means and why a Wholefoods Plant-Based (WFPB) diet can help in numerous ways.

She then discusses how to switch to incorporating more plant based foods, and the final section includes a beautifully illustrated guide to a Plant Powered Kitchen with delicious recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Desserts and Snacks.

The evidence is compelling and perfect for lockdown reading, this informative book offers hints and tips throughout that encourages a complete view of health, and as Dr. Newman suggests ‘it’s not just what we eat, but how we live every day that can improve our health long term’

Highly Recommended!


Homes & Antiques – January 2021

Homes & Antiques – January 2021From a New Year’s feast inspired by the novels of Charles and Catherine Dickens, to seasonal decorating ideas from Selina Lake featuring rich pomegranate reds and swathes of natural greenery, to four homes brimming with personality and festive cheer, there’s plenty to delight and intrigue in this issue. We’ve also hand-picked 25 of the best online boutiques selling antiques, vintage and artisan goodies, and Caroline Wheater rounds up some key auctions over the next six months to pop in your diary. Plus we hope you’ll enjoy our collecting features on Bristol Blue glass, napkin rings, tartanware and glittering gold antiques. A Very Merry Christmas!

Comfort & Joy
Step inside four homes filled with festive cheer.

Shopping Made Easy
The best online boutiques for antique and artisan gifts.

Winter Spice
Berry bright seasonal styling, how to decorate with warming colours, jewelled tones and hints of pomegranate red.

A Glass Act:
The Beauty of Bristol Blue.

Join the clan
Celebrating tartanware.

Dining with Dickens
A delicious menu inspired by Dickens’ feasts.

Collecting Napkin Rings
A social history of this charming tableware.

New Season’s Sales
Key auctions coming up in the next six months.

All this and much, much more!!

The January issue of Homes & Antiques is on sale now : www.homesandantiques.com


One More For Christmas – Sarah Morgan

One More For Christmas - Sarah MorganDescription: Gayle is a highly successful and motivated business woman, but her success has come at a price – she hasn’t spoken to her daughters, Ella and Samantha, for years. But when Gayle has an accident at work, she realises she needs to make amends with her family.

And so she invites herself to join Ella and Samantha for their Christmas in the beautiful Scottish Highlands. The sisters are none too pleased that their mother has inserted herself into their Christmas plans. They have each other – and don’t need their mother back in their lives. Or so they think…

As they embark on their first family Christmas together in years, will the three women learn that sometimes facing up to a few home truths is all you need to heal your heart?

https://www.waterstones.com/book/one-more-for-christmas/sarah-morgan/9781848457959

Hot Brands Cool Places Review

We love Sarah Morgan’s books, she is a sublime storyteller, each year she creates a wonderful festive read, and One More For Christmas  is one of her best! It has all the ingredients of an absolutely delightful festive read; heartwarming romance, humour and drama in equal measures, set in a stunningly atmospheric location.

Snuggle up, switch off and escape with this absolutely magical festive read! We loved it, another stunning book to join our collection of our favourite festive reads of 2020! Highly Recommended!


A Surprise Christmas Wedding – Phillipa Ashley

A Surprise Christmas Wedding - Phillipa AshleyDescription: It’s been a year since Lottie’s fiancé walked out, leaving her heartbroken. But things start to look up when she lands her dream job at a beautiful Lake District estate, with a handsome groundskeeper for a neighbour.

So when Lottie is asked to organise a last minute Christmas wedding at Firholme, she can’t wait to get started. Until she meets the couple, and discovers that Connor, the man who broke her heart, is the groom-to-be.

As snow falls on the hills, can Lottie put aside her past to organise the perfect winter wedding? And will there be any festive magic left to bring Lottie the perfect Christmas she deserves?

Curl up with this gorgeous story about love and second chances.

https://www.waterstones.com/book/a-surprise-christmas-wedding/phillipa-ashley/9780008371609

Hot Brands Cool Places Review

We love Phillipa’s books and this is another delight, full of festive magic. She captures both the importance of family and the atmosphere and spirit of the Lake District estate in the lead up to Christmas. Her magical storytelling creates so many twists and turns and unexpected developments in this story, it will keep you turning the pages to the very end.

A heart-warming festive read! Highly Recommended!


Home For Christmas – Florence McNicoll

Home For Christmas - Florence McNicollIN PARTNERSHIP WITH BATTERSEA DOGS AND CATS HOME

Description: Kathy Brentwood is good at keeping it together – or so it seems to the people around her. But really, struggling with grief after the death of her husband, Kathy’s life has become small. Her days are organised, her house is neat, but she’s desperately lonely – and with her son starting to build a life of his own, she isn’t sure where she fits anymore.

On Christmas Day, a chance encounter with a man called Ben and a rescue dog leads Kathy to the door of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. She meets Milly, the shy greyhound in need of a loving home; Baxter, the friendly Staffie who brings everyone together and Archie the Jack Russell Terrier who is a true original and has a heart of gold.

Through a year of ups and downs, new friends – both two and four-legged – and even the possibility of romance, a new life beckons for Kathy, if only she is brave enough. Because at Battersea Dogs And Cats Home, it is never too late for a second chance – especially at Christmas.

https://www.waterstones.com/book/home-for-christmas/florence-mcnicoll//9781409192688

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
We love Florence McNicoll’ s books, The Nine Lives of Christmas was one of our favourites last year. Florence has this magical ability to share the wonderful philosophy of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in the most natural and endearing way and in this story she includes the poignant realities of some of the people most deserving of the support of animals.

While this book is a work of fiction, in writing this, Florence also shares Battersea’s policy of aiming to never turn away a dog or cat in need of help, caring for them until their owners or loving new homes can be found no matter how long it takes. They are champions for and supporters of, vulnerable dogs and cats, determined to create lasting changes for animals in our society.

www.battersea.org.uk

A heart-warming tale about loneliness, love, families and the importance of furry friends – perfect to snuggle up with this Christmas.

We absolutely loved it. Highly Recommended!


Homes & Antiques – December 2020

Homes & Antiques – December 2020Step inside four gloriously festive homes, filled with clever touches, from holly tied to banisters to pine cones, crackers and oranges tumbling from fireplaces. You’ll also find plenty to inspire your Christmas decorating in our beautiful shoot, which promises to make your celebration special, however bijou. From the hallway to the dining room, via the sitting room and kitchen, you can almost smell the aromatic scent of Christmas wafting off the pages. Elsewhere we explore the history of cut crystal, give you a guide to collecting corkscrews, hear from Luke Honey about Victorian tinsel pictures and toy theatres, and consider the appeal of Meissen’s famous Monkey Orchestra. And, finally, we hope you’ll have fun testing your knowledge with the H&A Quiz!

Homes
Warm and welcoming homes from a Suffolk cottage to a Northumberland farmhouse

Collecting Meissen Monkeys

The enduringly popular series of porcelain figures

Material Matters Cut Glass

The story of this practical and decorative field

Collecting Corkscrews

Why antique versions of these gadgets are so popular.

Home for Christmas

From small gatherings to family celebrations, here’s how to make this Christmas a special one.

Christmas Gift Guide

Our edit of beautiful old and new gifts to give your friends and family a warm glow.

The H&A Christmas Quiz
Test your antiques and design knowledge

All this and much, much more!!

The December issue of Homes & Antiques is on sale now : www.homesandantiques.com


The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse – Narrated by Charlie Mackesy

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse - Narrated by Charlie MackesyBrought to you by Penguin.

Discover the universal tale of four unlikely friends that has captured the hearts of listeners of all ages, now available in audio.

Experience the world of a curious boy, a greedy mole, a wary fox and a wise horse who find themselves together in sometimes difficult terrain, sharing their greatest fears and biggest discoveries about vulnerability, kindness, hope, friendship and love.

Charlie’s words have brought comfort to many and have been shared online by those around the world, as well as on t-shirts for Comic Relief, on magazine covers, on street lampposts in lockdown, in school classrooms, local cafés and hospital ward walls. They’ve even been used as screensavers for NHS hospital computers in difficult times.

The shared adventures and important conversations between the four friends are full of life lessons that have connected with listeners of all ages.

Enjoy the journey of The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse brought to life in audio by its author and illustrator Charlie Mackesy, with a beautiful music score and the real wildlife sounds of rural England.

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse, features an exclusive introduction by Charlie on why he decided to turn his words and drawings into audio, as well as music by Max Richter and a bespoke composition for the Fox written by Isobel Waller-Bridge

©2020 Charlie Mackesy (P)2020 Penguin Audio

https://adbl.co/3jf0bF2

Hot Brands Cool Places Review

It is almost impossible to quantify the impact that The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse, by Charlie Mackesy has had during 2020. We absolutely loved the book when it first arrived on our desks at the end of 2019. It became our Book of the Month, Book of the Year and recently we described it as our Book of the Decade. The beautiful book together with Charlie’s Instagram posts have bought so much comfort, hope and inspiration to so many people.

When we heard about the audio book we wondered how it would translate from an illustrated book to audio. However, Charlie has triumphed again, the audio version is exquisite, in his introduction Charlie explains how he hopes that it will be relevant to ‘Every one whether you are eighty, or eight,’ and it really is.

The production is magical, starting and closing with the most beautiful wildlife sounds, and including uplifting passages of music, Charlie’s voice is soothing and he has achieved the most natural way of translating his evocative drawings into a wonderful narrative.

Uplifting, inspiring, and absolutely beautiful, a perfect gift for anyone. Very Highly Recommended!


Christmas Wishes – Sue Moorcroft

Description: Hannah and Nico are meant to be together.

But fate is keeping them apart…

As soon as Hannah bumps into her brother Rob’s best friend Nico in Stockholm, the two rekindle a fast friendship. But Hannah has a boyfriend – and Nico has two children to look after.

When Hannah loses her beloved shop in Stockholm, though, she is forced to move back to the little village of Middledip – only to find Nico has just moved in too. Under the same snowy sky, can the childhood friends make a romance work – or are there too many obstacles standing in their way?

A heartwarming story of love, friendship, and Christmas magic.

https://www.waterstones.com/

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
We love Sue Moorcroft’s books, and Christmas Wishes is one of her best! Full of twists and turns Christmas Wishes is compulsive reading, full of action and even when dealing with difficult issues, these are handled with sensitivity. Partly set in Stockholm, Sue’s evocative descriptions make you feel that even though we may not be able to travel, we are on a journey with Hannah and Nico. Heart-warming and romantic, this is a perfect pre-Christmas read

Highly Recommended!


Christmas for Beginners – Carole Matthews

Christmas for Beginners - Carole MatthewsSPEND THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR AT HOPE FARM…

Description: Christmas is fast approaching at the new Hope Farm. Owner Molly Baker has been convinced to organise an open day to raise some much-needed funds ahead of the New Year, but the nativity tableau is proving challenging. With anti-social sheep, awkward alpacas and a seriously sequined Santa Claus to assemble, Molly is feeling overwhelmed, and in desperate need of some Christmas spirit . . .

Despite the chaos of the farm getting in the way of her event planning, Molly is looking forward to spending the holidays with Shelby and Lucas, hopeful that a happy family Christmas is exactly what they need to draw them all together. But while she is busy making plans on the farm, Shelby, it seems, has ideas of his own.

As the nativity draws near, the team are working hard to pull off a spectacular festive fete – and make sure the animals and humans remain on their best behaviour. Will this Christmas be merry and bright, or is there more than one surprise in store for Hope Farm?

https://www.amazon.co.uk/

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
We loved the opportunity to return to Hope Farm, which we first discovered in Happiness for Beginners, when Carole took her inspiration from a real farm that offers alternative education. For readers familiar with Happiness for Beginners there is a lovely feeling of recognition as we remember the antics of the animals and the different human characters, but Christmas For Beginners works equally well in its own right. Carole’s gentle humour and magical storytelling ensures that even when dealing with difficult issues, this delightful book is another Christmas must-read! Highly Recommended!


I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day – Milly Johnson

I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day - Milly JohnsonDescription: It’s nearly Christmas and it’s snowing, hard. Deep in the Yorkshire Moors nestles a tiny hamlet, with a pub at its heart. As the snow falls, the inn will become an unexpected haven for six people forced to seek shelter there…

Mary has been trying to get her boss Jack to notice her for four years, but he can only see the efficient PA she is at work. Will being holed up with him finally give her the chance she has been waiting for?

Bridge and Luke were meeting for five minutes to set their divorce in motion. But will getting trapped with each other reignite too many fond memories – and love?

Charlie and Robin were on their way to a luxury hotel in Scotland for a very special Christmas. But will the inn give them everything they were hoping to find – and much more besides?

A story of knowing when to hold on and when to let go, of pushing limits and acceptance, of friendship, love, laughter, mince pies and the magic of Christmas.

Gorgeous, warm and full of heartfelt emotion, I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day is the perfect read this winter!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day is such an exquisite and clever read, Milly has perfectly captured the spirit of Christmas in the style of a traditional fairytale, full of emotion and poignancy, but with lessons for life and relationships crafted into the most uplifting and magical read. Highly Recommended!


Finding Love at the Christmas Market – Jo Thomas

Finding Love at the Christmas Market - Jo ThomasDescription: Residential-home caterer Connie has had one online-dating disaster too many. Hurt in the past and with her son to consider, now she’s feeling hesitant. Then one of Connie’s residents sets her up on a date at a beautiful German Christmas market – with the promise she’ll take a mini-bus full of pensioners along with her…

Amongst the twinkling lights and smell of warm gingerbread in the old market square, Connie heads off on her date with a checklist of potential partner must-haves. Baker Henrich ticks all the boxes, but when Connie meets Henrich’s rival William, she starts to wonder if ticking boxes is the answer.

Will Connie’s wish for love this Christmas come true, and if so – with who?

https://www.amazon.co.uk/

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
This delightful book is such joy for the senses, we love the way Jo always transports the reader to different locations and in Finding Love at The Christmas Market, you really feel you have travelled on a journey from when you first buckle up in the mini-bus to the arrival at the most atmospheric Christmas market.

The description of the making of gingerbread is so realistic that this gorgeous book should really be read curled up with a hot drink and your own supply of gingerbread! Highly Recommended!


All I want for Christmas – Joanna Bolouri

All I want for Christmas - Joanna BolouriDescription: What if the love of your life was your best friend’s girlfriend, and you were the one that set them up?

When Nick loses his job and is dumped by his glamorous but demanding girlfriend, he is forced to grudgingly accept work as a Santa at a local Christmas grotto. As his friends are getting married or promoted, Nick spends his days being terrorised by unfriendly elves and cried on by snotty, spoiled children.

Then he meets 4-year-old Alfie. All Alfie wants for Christmas is for his mum, Sarah, to be happy again. Moved by the boy’s selfless wish, Nick arranges a date between Sarah and his best friend, Matt. But as Sarah and Alfie become part of all their lives, Nick realises that happiness for Sarah and Matt might mean heartbreak for himself.

https://www.amazon.co.uk

Hot Brands Cool Places Review

Both funny and heartwarming this delightful book is built on a slow-burning romance when the reader knows what should be happening, in the classic, ‘will they – won’t they’ relationship. Add in laugh-out loud moments, and a very charming 4-year-old, and a grumpy grown-up elf and you have the perfect Christmas read! Highly Recommended!


The Six Tales of Christmas – Anne Marie Ryan

The Six Tales of Christmas - Anne Marie RyanDescription: It’s almost Christmas and snow is falling in the Cotswolds. Simon and Nora are gearing up for the festive season – but their bookshop is in trouble.

Nora is delighted when a customer buys a book that’s been on the shelves for years, but that won’t be enough to keep the bailiffs away.

Fuelled by mulled wine and mince pies, Nora and Simon hatch a plan to rouse community spirit, sending out six books to lonely villagers. The books change the recipients’ lives, but is it too late to change the bookshop’s fate?

https://www.amazon.co.uk/

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
The Six Tales of Christmas is a delightful Christmas read, set in Cotswold village, it creates a village atmosphere, and also shares some of the realities of the issues found in village communities, but running through this gentle story is a spirit of kindness, the power of books and the love of two people. Highly Recommended!


Quite – Claudia Winkleman

Quite - Claudia WinklemanDescription: Funny, moving and truthful … Quite

Claudia Winkleman’s warmth, humour, no-holds-barred attitude and smoky eye have made her the favourite broadcaster of millions and a much-loved household name.

In this, her first ever book, Claudia invites us all into her world. This is a memoir with a difference (owing to its lack of a plot – genuinely, how do people do that?), and Claudia shares her observations on topics such as the importance of melted cheese, why black coats are vital, how it’s never okay to have sex with someone who has an opinion on your date outfit, how nurses are our most precious national treasure, and why colourful clothing is only for the under 10s (if you’re reading this sporting a bright red jumper and you’re 9, great! If you’re older, sorry).

This is a love letter to life – the real, sometimes messy kind. Quite celebrates friendship, the power of Art, the highs and lows of parenting, and of course, how a good eyeliner can really save your life.

Heartfelt, wry and unmistakeably Claudia, this book gets to the heart of what really matters.

https://www.waterstones.com/

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
We absolutely love Quite by Claudia Winkleman. As we wait for the full return of BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing, this is the perfect accompaniment to your Saturday afternoon preparation.

Curl up with a duvet, a selection of snacks, essential refreshments, the perfect eyeliner and a copy of Quite. Ideally with a best friend so that you can share the best of the laugh-out loud moments; of which there are many, the memory of which will stay with you for days after to brighten those dark moments in your day.

Quite is a like a conversation with Claudia as she shares her thoughts, observations and wisdom on all aspects of life.  Honest and at times moving, particularly when she talks about nurses and her children leaving home, but also hilariously funny with her descriptions of picnics, sports day, holidays, skiing, decorating, fitting rooms, and so much more!

This delightful book is funny, wise and uplifting. Highly Recommended!


Homes & Antiques – October 2020

Homes & Antiques – October 2020The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is upon us and, with it, our minds turn to hibernation and making our homes as cosy as possible. An easy addition is a new rug or runner and our colourful selection hits the right note perfectly. Our houses this month, from an exuberant Victorian B&B to a chic Parisian apartment, are brimming with individual style, and stylist Selina Lake suggest ways to add interest and warmth with natural textures. Elsewhere, we tell the story of tortoiseshell and reveal surprises about the humble breadboard. Plus, enjoy 48 hours in antiques hotspot Hastings.

Homes

In Praise of Victoriana
This flamboyant B&B is a homage to all things Victorian, from the wallpaper to the furniture.

Sophistication on a Shoestring
Keenly Fawcus has an eye for a bargain, and she’s revived her Victorian villa with thrifty touches.

Creating Cohesion
Camille Hermand’s Parisian apartment is cool, considered and packed with character.

Naturally Dramatic
The coastal landscape has inspired the interior design of this Hastings townhouse.

Kitchenalia
How to buy and collect antique breadboards

Meet the Maker
See Miriam Hanid’s shimmering silver designs.

Embracing Autumn
Stylist Selina Lake on creating a cosy interior

Grace and Flavour
A lavish Robert Kime interior under the hammer

Just Desserts
Delicious home cooking – autumnal fruit puddings

Fairs & Auctions
We welcome the return of live antiques events.

All this and much, much more!!

The October issue of Homes & Antiques is on sale now : www.homesandantiques.com


The Return – Nicholas Sparks

The Return - Nicholas SparksDescription: Trevor Benson never intended to move back to New Bern, North Carolina. But when a mortar blast outside the hospital where he worked as an orthopedic surgeon sent him home from Afghanistan with devastating injuries, the dilapidated cabin he’d inherited from his grandfather seemed as good a place to regroup as any.

Tending to his grandfather’s beloved bee hives while preparing for a second stint in medical school, Trevor isn’t prepared to fall in love with a local . . . yet, from their very first encounter, Trevor feels a connection with deputy sheriff Natalie Masterson that he can’t ignore. But even as she seems to reciprocate his feelings, she remains frustratingly distant, making Trevor wonder what she’s hiding.

Further complicating his stay in New Bern is the presence of a sullen teenage girl, Callie, who lives in the trailer park down the road. Claiming to be 17, she works at the local sundries store and keeps to herself. Discovering that she was once befriended by his grandfather, Trevor hopes Callie can shed light on the mysterious circumstances of his grandfather’s death, but she offers few clues—until a crisis triggers a race that will uncover the true nature of Callie’s past, one more intertwined with the elderly man’s passing than Trevor could have ever anticipated.

In his quest to unravel Natalie and Callie’s secrets, Trevor will learn the true meaning of love and forgiveness . . . and that in life, to move forward, we must often return to the place where it all began.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
The Return by Nicholas Sparks is a very gentle, yet compelling story, beautifully written.

We loved the way the story unfolds, and the pace that keeps the reader intrigued until the very end.

This is a deeply satisfying weekend read! We loved it.

Highly Recommended!


Mary Berry Simple Comforts – Mary Berry

Mary Berry's Simple Comforts - Mary BerryDescription: Find comfort with Mary’s easy home cooking.

In this brand new tie-in to a new BBC Two series, Mary Berry shares over 120 of her ultimate food recipes, all made simply and guaranteed to get smiles around your kitchen table.

Mary’s utterly reliable recipes are perfect for days when you want tasty and dependable food. Come home to the delicious simplicity of a Whole Roasted Squash with Garlic and Chilli Butter, or a warming Spicy Sausage and Red Pepper Hot Pot. Treat your family to Slow Roast French Lamb with Ratatouille, and spoil everyone with a decadent Frangipane Apple and Brioche Pudding.

Featuring all the recipes from Mary’s new series, plus many more fresh from Mary’s kitchen, every single dish is accompanied by a photography of the finished food, so you know exactly what you’re making. Each recipe includes Mary’s trademark no-nonsense tips and techniques for getting ahead, and has been rigorously tested to make your cooking stress-free.

https://www.waterstones.com/

Hot Brands Cool Places Review

If ever there was a time that we needed Mary Berry Simple Comforts it’s now; as the temperature starts dropping, the days are getting shorter, and we are faced with the current uncertainty in our lives.  So to bring us all comfort, Mary has created this delicious book full of the most gorgeous and mouth-watering recipes.

As Mary describes in her introduction,

’The very words, ‘comfort food’ are like a big warm hug for most of us. Comfort food means different things to different people. For many, it will be a roast Sunday dinner that says family and togetherness. For others it may be a perfect tomato salad that gives you the feeling of being in a sunlit Mediterranean cafe, or a home-made cake that fills the house with tempting aromas as it bakes in the oven’

This book is everything we have grown to love and expect from Mary, stunning photography of each dish, clear and concise details in the recipes and reassuringly helpful hints from Mary.

We particularly love Mary’s Recipe Finder, which takes every recipe and organises them into different categories e.g Soups, Simple Starters, Light Lunches & Sharing Plates, Salads, Make-Ahead Meals, Speedy Suppers, One-Pot Dishes, Pasta, Pastry, Weekend Specials, Feeding a Crowd, Accompaniments, Cold Puddings, Hot Puddings, Small Cakes & Biscuits, Large Cakes, Bread. So whatever your mood, or occasion, you can easily find the perfect recipe.

Featuring all the recipes from Mary’s new BBC Two series, plus many more fresh from Mary’s kitchen, this book is an absolute joy.

We absolutely adore it and that is why we are delighted to choose Mary Berry Simple Comforts by Mary Berry, published by Ebury Publishing as our as our Cookery Book of the Month.

Highly Recommended!


Homes & Antiques – September 2020

Homes & Antiques – September 2020Live fairs and auctions are back, and antiques dealers around the country are welcoming the public into their shops once more: our listings will lead you to your nearest antiques fix! Explore five unique homes, each one filled with beautiful antiques and charming vintage pieces, and find out what life is like for people whose homes are places of historic interest. Discover the fascinating story of chintz and the curious history of jelly moulds. Plus, Antiques Roadshow expert Lennox Cato reflects on his career and his continuing love of the trade.

Homes
This month’s homes are as varied as ever, include a loft apartment in New York, a live-work space in London and a rambling Italian mansion. In each case antiques and vintage finds take centre stage – meaningful reminders of family and friends, holidays and past events.

Meet the Custodians
Discover what daily life is really like for the people who live and work in a heritage property.

Kitchenalia
Collecting ceramic and copper jelly moulds.

The Edit: Beds
Update your bedroom with these sumptuous beds.

Material Matters
Embrace maximalism with return of chinz.

Profile
The Antiques Roadshow expert reflects on his fascinating career and love of the trade.

Meet the Maker
Molesworth & Bird’s hand-pressed seaweeds

Fairs & Auctions
We welcome the return of live antiques events.

All this and much, much more!!

The September issue of Homes & Antiques is on sale now : www.homesandantiques.com


If I Could Say Goodbye – Emma Cooper

What are Friends For? - Lizzie O’ HaganDescription: A heart-warming and uplifting story about love, loss and finding the strength to say goodbye, from the author of The First Time I Saw You.

Jennifer Jones’ life began when her little sister, Kerry, was born. So when her sister dies in a tragic accident, nothing seems to make sense any more.

Despite the support of her husband, Ed, and their wonderful children, Jen can’t comprehend why she is still here, while bright, spirited Kerry is not.

When Jen starts to lose herself in her memories of her sister, she doesn’t realise that the closer she feels to Kerry, the further she gets from her family.

Jen was never able to say goodbye to her sister. But what if she could?

Would you risk everything if you had the chance to say goodbye?

https://www.amazon.co.uk/

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
Emma Cooper’s books are always beautifully written and emotionally charged, and If I Could Say Goodbye is another powerful example.

It’s impossible not to be moved by this beautiful book about loss and love, as Emma takes you through every emotion experienced by all the characters, especially Jen, Ed, and their children.

Achingly poignant, heartbreaking and yet also with moments of real humour, you will be holding your breath until the very end.

Highly Recommended!


What are Friends For? – Lizzie O’ Hagan

What are Friends For? - Lizzie O’ HaganDescription: Everyone gives their friends advice when it comes to dating, but what happens when it all goes wrong?

Eve doesn’t have time for dating, but having watched her best friend and flatmate have her heart broken one too many times, she reluctantly volunteers to play her Cupid.

Max is too much of a hopeless romantic to find the algorithms of online dating anything other than clinical, but he lives with his romantically-challenged best friend who desperately needs his advice.

And after all, what are friends for?

As Eve and Max become more involved in their best friends’ relationship, they quickly realise there is a fine line between instruction and imitation, especially when they find they can’t stop thinking about their best friend’s date…

https://www.amazon.co.uk/

Hot Brands Cool Places Review

There is a real pace to this delightful book, it would transfer so well to the screen, the characters are well drawn and there is real depth.

With humour and poignancy, this is such a clever book, a beautifully written modern story of ‘will they, won’t they’, but so much more.

A perfect weekend read!

Highly Recommended!


Our Story- Miranda Dickinson

Description: Otty has just landed her dream job. She’s about to join the writing team of one of the most respected showrunners in TV. And then the night before her first day, she’s evicted from her flat.

Joe has been working with Russell for years. He’s the best writer on his team, but lately something has been off. He’s trying to get his mojo back, but when his flatmate moves out without warning he has other things to worry about.

Otty moving into Joe’s house seems like the perfect solution to both their problems, but neither is prepared for what happens next. Paired together in the writing room, their obvious chemistry sparks from the page and they are the writing duo to beat. But their relationship off the page is an entirely different story, and neither of them can figure out why.

And suddenly the question isn’t, will they, or won’t they? It’s why won’t they?

An epic and modern love story for our times, we will all see ourselves reflected in Otty and Joe. We are our own biggest barriers and this novel explores what happens when we get out of our own way. And it is glorious.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/

Hot Brands Cool Places Review

Miranda is one of our favourite authors and we always look forward to her latest book. We love the way she pours her heart and soul into her writing particularly when she weaves music into her inspiration.The attention to detail in her descriptions of locations makes them particularly realistic.

Our Story is one of Miranda’s best novels, an utterly delightful and heartwarming exploration of life and relationships with a beautiful and tender love story at its centre.

This is the perfect weekend read, settle back and escape with this gorgeous book.

We absolutely loved it, one of our favourite fiction reads of 2020!

Highly Recommended!


The Little Cottage in Lantern Square – Helen Rolfe

The Little Cottage in Lantern Square - Helen Rolfe
Description:
Step into the magic of Lantern Square…

Hannah went from high flyer in the city to business owner and has never looked back. In the cosy Cotswold village of Butterbury she runs Tied up with String, sending handmade gifts and care packages across the miles, as well as delivering them to people she thinks need them the most.

But when her ex best-friend Georgia turns up and wants in on the action, will Hannah be willing to forgive and forget? With her business in jeopardy she needs to maintain the reputation she’s established, and discover who she can trust…

Meanwhile, a mysterious care package lands on her own doorstep at Lantern Cottage. Who is trying to win her heart – and will she ever be willing to give it away?

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Little-Cottage-Lantern-Square/dp/1409191400/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1597933938&sr=1-1

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
The Little Cottage in Lantern Square is a charming book, Helen captures the heart-warming atmosphere of Lantern Square and the village of Butterbury to perfection. An uplifting and optimistic story, perfect for holiday reading. Highly Recommended!


A Paris Secret – Caroline Montague

A Paris Secret - Caroline MontagueA powerful promise. A terrible sacrifice. A second chance…

1952. In the fragile atmosphere of post-war Paris, Sophie Bernot is training as a heart surgeon. A young woman in a man’s world, Sophie is determined to bury her past and forge her medical career, whatever the costs.

Across the channel, Sebastian Ogilvie is burning with ambition for his first architectural project. As his schemes lead him to France, and to a chance encounter with Sophie, his future seems full of promise.

But when Sophie and Sebastian find themselves entangled in a brief, passionate affair, they each face a choice that will change their lives irrevocably, and a secret that will take years to be uncovered…

Sweeping from Paris to London, to the snow-capped peaks of the Alps, this is an unforgettable story of passion, heartache and forgiveness.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Untitled-Montague-2-Caroline/dp/1409180824/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1597934091&sr=1-1

Hot Brands Cool Places Review

A Paris Secret is utterly compelling, full of romance and heartache, Caroline Montague has crafted a beautiful and clever book with unexpected twists and turns, it captures the reader from the very first page and keeps you there until the very end.

A perfect weekend read.

Highly Recommended!


Dear Emmie Blue – Lia Louis

Dear Emmie Blue - Lia LouisDescription: Emmie Blue has a secret…

A long time ago, Emmie Blue released a red balloon with a secret message hidden inside – and against all odds, across hundreds of miles of ocean, it was found on a beach in France by a boy called Lucas.

Fourteen years later, on the eve of her thirtieth birthday, Emmie hopes that Lucas is finally about to kiss her. She never expected him to announce that he was marrying someone else!

Suddenly Emmie’s dreams are shattered and the one person in her life she can rely on is slipping through her fingers. But what if Lucas isn’t her forever? What if her love story is only just beginning…

https://www.amazon.co.uk/

Hot Brands Cool Places Review

In Dear Emmie Blue, Lia Louis has created a book that will take you and keep you completely absorbed until you reach the very last page.

Poignant, and sensitively written, expect to experience every emotion in this touching and uplifting story of love, friendship and relationships.

A very special book.

Highly Recommended!


Homes & Antiques – August 2020

Homes & Antiques – August 2020As lockdown begins to ease a little for many of us, we look forward to welcoming back live fairs and auctions so you can get your antiques and vintage fix, while helping dealers get their businesses back on track. Take a tour of five colourful homes, which beautifully reflect their owners’ characters, and hear three devotees of Piero Fornasetti tell us what they love about the designer’s unique style. Find out what leads some collectors to leave a lifetime’s work to cultural institutions and discover Prue Leith’s favourite culinary antique!

Homes
From a Cornish cottage to an East London Terrace, each one successfully demonstrates the art of mixing styles from diverse and surprising sources.

Collecting Paperweights
The fascinating history of collecting these glass orbs.

Collecting Embroidered Table Linen
The simple beauty of crinoline ladies.

A Living Archive
Inside Barnaba Fornasetti’s Milan townhouse.

Material Matters: Bakelite
The ‘material of 1000 uses’ proved revolutionary in the early 20th century, and many Bakelite designs have retained an irresistible aesthetic appeal.

Meet the Maker
Jo Sweeting’s hand-carved creations.

Left to the Nation
Key bequests and why they are made.

Travel: Great Escapes
Outstanding formal gardens open to the public.

Fairs and Auctions
We welcome the return of live antiques events.

All this and much, much more!!

The August issue of Homes & Antiques is on sale now : www.homesandantiques.com


Kate and Clara’s Curious Cornish Craft Shop – Ali McNamara

Kate and Clara’s Curious Cornish Craft Shop - Ali McNamaraDescription: Welcome to the glorious little Cornish town of St Felix – where romance and magic sparkle in the summer air

Kate thinks all her wishes have come true when she opens her own little craft shop in the idyllic harbour town of St Felix.

But she soon finds a mystery lingers in her new shop – a sixty-year-old love story told through beautiful paintings and intricate embroideries.

Jack, the owner of the nearby art shop, volunteers to help Kate unravel the mystery, but in doing so they realise their own lives share some uncanny similarities with Clara and Arty, their 1950s counterparts . . .

Can Kate and Jack put right a decades-old wrong, and maybe find their own happy ending on the way?

https://www.amazon.co.uk/

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
In Kate and Clara’s Curious Cornish Craft Shop Ali McNamara takes us back to our favourite harbour town of St Felix.

This is an exquisite book with all the elements that we love in Ali’s writing; glorious location, believable and lovable characters, a wonderful escapist story, plus a sprinkle of magic dust, all wrapped up inside a beautiful cover!

We absolutely loved it, one of our favourite summer reads! Highly Recommended!


The Women Who Ran Away – Sheila O’Flanagan

The Women who Ran Away - Sheila O'FlanaganDescription: Deira isn’t the kind of woman to steal a car. Or drive to France alone with no plan. But then, Deira didn’t expect to be single. Or to suddenly realise that the only way she can get the one thing she wants most is to start breaking every rule she lives by.

Grace has been sent on a journey by her late husband, Ken. She doesn’t really want to be on it but she’s following his instructions, as always. She can only hope that the trip will help her to forgive him. And then – finally – she’ll be able to let him go.

Brought together by unexpected circumstances, Grace and Deira find that it’s easier to share secrets with a stranger, especially in the shimmering sunny countryside of Spain and France. But they soon find that there’s no escaping the truth, whether you’re running away from it or racing towards it . . .

https://www.amazon.co.uk/

 

Hot Brands Cool Places Review

There are so many reasons to read a book by Sheila O’ Flanagan – her sublime storytelling, her wonderful ability to create realistic and honest characters, the evocative ways she describes her locations and that wonderful ability to weave it all together in a book that you will find irresistible.

From the beautiful cover to the very last page, The Women Who Ran Away is a gorgeous escapist summer read!

Highly Recommended!


A Table for Friends – Skye McAlpine

A Table for Friends - Skye McAlpineThe Art of Cooking for Two or Twenty

Description:

A Table for Friends celebrates the joy of eating with friends and family, with over 100 simple and wonderfully inviting recipes that allow you to relax with your loved ones whilst the cooking takes care of itself.

Drawing on years of cooking for more people than it ever seemed possible to squeeze into her kitchen, Sunday Times columnist and cookery author Skye McAlpine shares the secrets to her stylish and relaxed way of hosting, setting you up for success whether you’re cooking for two or twenty.

A Table for Friends has recipes for every occasion, from last-minute weeknight dinners to large celebratory gatherings. Skye’s recipes fall into four chapters, Stars, Sides, Sweets and Extras, which allow you to intuitively plan a simple and impressive menu, and, because juggling oven space is one of the biggest challenges when cooking for a crowd, each chapter is ingeniously organised into Throw Together, On The Hob and In The Oven so your menu works best for your mood, your kitchen and your time.

Alongside these beautiful, deliciously do-able recipes comes Skye’s practical, fuss-free guidance for hosting a stress-free gathering, from what to cook in advance to how to lay the table beautifully, allowing you to step out of the kitchen and relax with your guests.

For a super-easy roast why not try her Honey-roast poussins, Butter-&-sage roast pumpkin, Saffron fennel, A really good chicory salad with creamy mustard dressing and Winter fruit & mascarpone tart? Or for a wonderfully soothing pasta supper, Tagliatelle with gorgonzola, pear & walnut and Chocolate chestnut meringue cake is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

This is a cookbook to cook from: a helpful, approachable, down-to-earth kitchen companion that will give you the confidence to gather friends around your table and the inspiration to do so more often.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
Skye’s previous book, A Table in Venice has been one of our all time favourite books, and A Table for Friends is destined to join it in our collection of inspiring cookery books.

Skye writes in such a lyrical way and the photography that accompanies her writing throughout the book is outstanding!

We love the way that the book is created, Skye says that she wants the contents of this book to feel intuitive;

So I wrote it just as I cook.The recipes fall into chapters that take you, step by step, through my thought process in the kitchen: stars, sides and sweets. And then, should you need them, extras.’

It really is written in such an inclusive way:

‘Imagine we are sitting at the kitchen table together, planning a meal, choosing what to cook and scribbling down what we need to buy as we go. First we start with the main dish, what I like to call the ‘star’.This is the centrepiece of lunch or dinner, the main event. It might be a plump roast chicken, a decadently cheesy frittata, or macaroni baked into a flaky pastry pie crust – you choose – but this is what sets the feel and mood of the meal. Then we think about side dishes; as a rule of thumb, we’ll need two of these (three, if feeling extravagant). One should be a simple, fresh salad and perhaps you might want some potatoes (I always want potatoes).The rest is very much up to you. And pudding. Of course, we’ll need pudding. Then, should were in the mood for going that extra mile, we might consider baking a loaf of bread or making our own mayonnaise, say, or salsa verde, to complement the rest of the meal. A little something ‘extra’.

This paragraph sums up Skye’s approach throughout the book. However what sets it apart is the detail; each recipe comes with full details of its origin, the best way to prepare it and the wonderfully helpful timing details, e.g. ‘Hands on 15 minutes’, ‘Hands off 20 minutes, simmering’ Plus full details of the ingredients, preparation and the method, supported by gorgeously inspiring photographs of the finished dish.

The recipes are mostly Italian, many are Skye’s own, but she also includes recipes from her friends’ kitchens, from their family archives, as well as from her own childhood, plus some from her husband’s family. Above all what is collected here are recipes designed to be successful, so that you can concentrate on creating that wonderful table of food to share with friends.

But this book is so much more than delicious recipes, there are delightful details on how to set the scene for the meal, the way that Skye describes this is utterly charming, from the actual table, the tablecloth, the napkins, the mismatched tableware and cutlery, the flowers, candles, even the pans!

She has a rule ‘I own nothing that is too precious to be broken’, and has a caveat ‘that all plates should all be dishwasher-friendly: life is too short to wash things up by hand.’

After taking us through the most sublime meals, Skye completes the book with comprehensive details, including a summary of all her dishes arranged through the seasons, plus sample menus for cooking for different groups of people, and suggestions for meals to cook when you have different amounts of time available.

This is a magical book, we absolutely adore it and that is why we are delighted to choose A Table for Friends  as our as our Cookery Book of the Month. Highly Recommended!


Under a Starry Sky – Laura Kemp

Under a Starry Sky - Laura KempDescription:
It’s never too late to follow your heart
Wanda Williams has always dreamed of leaving her wellies behind her and travelling the world! Yet every time she comes close to following her heart, life always seems to get in the way.

So, when her mother ends up in hospital and her sister finds out she’s pregnant with twins, Wanda knows that only she can save the crumbling campsite at the family farm.
Together with her friends in the village, she sets about sprucing up the site, mowing the fields, replanting the allotment and baking homemade goodies for the campers.
But when a long-lost face from her past turns up, Wanda’s world is turned upside-down. And under a starry sky, anything can happen…

https://www.amazon.co.uk/

Hot Brands Cool Places Review

We loved Laura’s previous books; The Year of Surprising Acts of Kindness and Bring Me Sunshine, and Under a Starry Sky is another example of how Laura always creates communities full of delightful characters, realism, humour and warmth.

There are many storylines in Under a Starry Sky, with moments of drama, poignancy and raw emotion yet Laura weaves them all together in a wonderfully uplifting summer read!

Highly recommended!


The Footstool Workshop

The Footstool Workshop are an experienced team of skilled craftsmen, designers and upholsterers, having been in the furniture business for over 20 years.
Whether you want something to sit on, to rest your weary feet on, to stack your magazines on, to use as storage or just to look beautiful to fill a large space, TFW have loads of gorgeous products to choose from. Continue reading


Homes & Antiques – July 2020

Homes & Antiques – July 2020The world may still be in flux but that doesn’t mean the antiques trade is standing still. Across the country, dealers and fair organisers are shifting their operations online to ensure they can still buy and sell the unique pieces we crave to make our homes stylish and intriguing. As ever, our houses all exude personality and charm through their owners’ thoughtful choices in decoration and decorative antiques, and we also hear from six aficionados who reveal the shopping hotspots they can’t wait to visit. We’re also excited to be launching a brand new section dedicated to food, recipes and collectable antique kitchenalia. Step this way for tantalising cakes and ices from sun-soaked Sardinia…

Wish I was Here!
From sun-soaked Sicily to an Oxfordshire reclamation yard, six antique dealers share their favourite destinations they cannot wait to visit again.

Natural Beauty
Turn your garden into a tranquil oasis with the use of weathered and patinated antique furniture, tools and statuary.

Jewel Purpose
Tracing the intricate story of enamel

Design Icon
Why versatile Lloyd Loom still appeals today.

A Taste of Summer
Sweet treats from Sardinia that make the most of local olive oil and the citrus fruits that are grown in abundance.

Meet the Maker
Textile artist Emily Jo Gibbs reveals her processes and inspirations.

Living with antiques
We visit four inspiring homes.

All this and much much more!!
The July issue of Homes & Antiques is on sale now : www.homesandantiques.com


Homepage2020


Sunny Days and Sea Breezes – Carole Matthews

Description: Jodie Jackson is all at sea, in every sense.

On a ferry bound for the Isle of Wight, she’s leaving her London life, her career, and her husband behind. She’d like a chance to turn back the clocks, but she’ll settle for some peace and quiet on her brother Bill’s beautifully renovated houseboat, Sunny Days.

But from the moment Jodie steps aboard her new home, it’s clear she’ll struggle to keep herself to herself. If it isn’t Marilyn, who cleans for Bill and is under strict instructions to look after Jodie, then it’s Ned, the noisy sculptor on the next-door houseboat. Ned’s wood carving is hard on the ears, but it’s made up for by the fact that he’s rather easy on the eyes.

Bustled out of the boat by Marilyn and encouraged to explore with Ned, Jodie soon delights in her newfound freedom. But out of mind isn’t out of sight, and when her old life comes knocking Jodie is forced to face reality. Will she answer the call or choose a life filled with Sunny Days and Sea Breezes?

https://www.amazon.co.uk/

Hot Brands Cool Places Review

We have loved Carole’s books for many years, every time one of her new books arrives, it comes with a guarantee that from the first to the very last page the reader will be taken to another enchanted place.

Sunny Days and Sea Breezes is another wonderful example of her writing and particularly poignant this year as we all long for an escape. With her usual magical storytelling, this is a delightful escapist read.

An absolute joy, uplifting, warm-hearted, feel-good summer reading!. Highly Recommended!


From Venice with Love – Rosanna Ley

From Venice with Love - Rosanna LeyDescription: With her marriage in danger of falling apart, Joanna returns home to the beautiful but dilapidated Mulberry Farm Cottage in rural Dorset, where her sister Harriet is struggling to keep the Farm afloat and cope with their eccentric mother.

When Joanna discovers a bundle of love letters in the attic, written by a watercolourist named Emmy, she is intrigued and sets out to discover Emmy’s true story. Emmy’s letters take Joanna to the picturesque alleyways and bridges of Lisbon, Prague, and the most romantic place of all: Venice – where a whole new magical world seems to unfold in front of her.

Meanwhile, back at Mulberry Farm Cottage, a mysterious prowler adds to Harriet’s problems and interrupts her search for a perfect partner. Will she ever find true love? Where will Emmy’s mesmerising pathway lead? And more importantly, will Joanna and Harriet be able to rescue the cottage and finally be able to re-discover their sisterly bond?

https://www.amazon.co.uk/

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
We loved The Lemon Tree Hotel and in From Venice with Love – Rosanna Ley combines an intriguing series of mysteries with an exploration of family relationships and gentle romance.

At a time when we have been unable to travel, her descriptions of Dorset, Venice, Prague and Lisbon have been particularly evocative and transport the reader to these places with her imagination and vision.

Delightful writing, a wonderful summer read. Highly Recommended!


The Summer on Seashell Island – Sophie Pembroke

The Summer on Seashell Island - Sophie PembrokeDescription:

All you need is one summer to change your life…
Miranda Waters has always loved Seashell Island – while her brother and sister escaped it as soon as they were old enough. So when Miranda is left in charge of her parents’ Lighthouse B&B for the summer, the last thing she expects is her wayward siblings showing up at the door, seeking sanctuary.
It’s been years since they’ve all lived under the same roof. Now, they’re facing a whole summer together – and a crisis for the B&B and Seashell Island. With the Lighthouse filled with people – including two imaginative nieces, a four piece folk-rock band, and an unruly llama – and a lifetime of secrets between them, can the Waters siblings work together to save their home before it’s too late?

This summer it’s time to discover that home really is where the heart is, and what family really means…

https://www.amazon.co.uk/

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
The Summer on Seashell Island is a gentle exploration of family, relationships and island living.

Sophie’s writing full of warmth and humour, set in a beautiful island location, with a cast of supporting characters, including a llama!

This is a perfect summer escapist read! Highly Recommended!


The Summer We Ran Away – Jenny Oliver

The Summer We Ran Away - Jenny OliverDescription: A moment of madness. A summer of a lifetime.

It was meant to be the party of the summer…

In Cedar Road, everyone is preparing for Lexi’s ‘White Hot’ summer party. For one night, parking squabbles and petitions are put aside as neighbours sip Prosecco under the fairy lights and gather by the hot tub to marvel at Lexi’s effortlessly glamorous life with Hot Hamish.

For Julia, it’s a chance to coax husband Charlie out of his potting shed and into a shirt so they can have a welcome break from the hellish house renovation they’ve been wrestling with. And it’s a chance for Julia to pretend – just for a night – that her life is as perfect as Lexi’s.

But when, during the party, one of Julia’s WhatsApp messages falls into the wrong hands and reveals her most intimate thoughts, things reach boiling point…

And when all the neighbours know exactly what you’re thinking, there’s only one thing to do.

Run away.

It’s going to be a summer Julia will never forget…

https://www.amazon.co.uk/

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
In The Summer We Ran Away, Jenny Oliver has created a brilliantly funny and fast paced story as we follow the escapades of Julia as she runs away to France and becomes embroiled in a series of misadventures and personal discoveries.

There are so many twists and turns and unexpected developments in this story, it will keep you turning the pages to the very end. Highly Recommended!


A Perfect Cornish Escape – Phillipa Ashley

A Perfect Cornish Escape - Phillipa AshleyDescription: Summer in Cornwall is the perfect time for a fresh start…

Seven years ago, Marina Hudson’s husband was lost at sea. She vowed to love him forever – but when kind-hearted Lachlan arrives in Porthmellow, should she deny herself another chance at happiness?

Tiff Trescott was living life to the full as a journalist in London – until her boyfriend’s betrayal brought it all crashing down. Fleeing to her cousin Marina’s cottage, Tiff feels like a fish out of water. And when brooding local Dirk wins a day with her in a charity auction, she’s thrown headfirst into Cornish life.

This summer promises new beginnings for both Tiff and Marina. But are they too good to be true?

https://www.amazon.co.uk/

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
We love Phillipa Ashley’s books and A Perfect Cornish Escape is full of atmosphere with both familiar and new characters.

It was a delight to return to Porthmellow again, it made us long to visit Cornwall again!

A heart-warming summer read! Highly Recommended!


Homes & Antiques – June 2020

Homes & Antiques – June 2020Relax into summer This month we celebrate the wonderful places and resources that continue to inspire us, from favourite collections chosen by antiques dealers and designers, to five of the best virtual tours of museums and galleries around the world. As well as showcasing four elegant homes exuding unique charm, we take a detailed look at the key styles of the Georgian era and discover the people and places that sparked this quintessentially British design period. We delve into one of Spode’s most iconic patterns, and we head out into the garden to dine al fresco in the most stylish and decadent way possible.

Relax into Summer

Simple styling tips for dining al fresco.

Design Icon: Spode
Celebrate 250 years of the Stoke-on-Trent pottery firm and the Blue Italian design.

A Labour of Love
This rustic French retreat is full of personality including a Focus on Toile de Jouy.

The Collection that inspired Me
If you had to choose your favourite public collection, what would it be and why? Ellie Tennant put this question to 10 interiors & antiques experts.

The Edit:Conservatories & Greenhouses
All you need to know about creating a beautiful indoor/outdoor space in time for summer.

Cultural Connections
Hazel Plush visits the museums and galleries throwing open their (digital) doors for virtual tours.

All this and much much more!!

The June issue of Homes & Antiques is on sale now : www.homesandantiques.com


For Emily – Katherine Slee

For Emily - Katherine SleeDescription: A little dedication goes a long way.

That’s why Catriona Robinson, the country’s favourite children’s author, always dedicated her books to those who touched her life the most – not least Emily, her reclusive granddaughter.

Emily never thought too much about these dedications. But when Catriona dies unexpectedly, each one becomes a cryptic clue in a breadcrumb trail that apparently leads to her lost, unpublished manuscript.

It’s a mystery only Emily can solve. But to do so she will have to walk in her grandmother’s footsteps, into the wider world she’s spent her whole life hiding away from . . .

Hot Brands Cool Places Review

This is an intriguing and very clever book, we loved the structure of the story and the way Katherine entices the reader to want Emily to find the next clue and to develop her own discovery of herself. Equally poignant and uplifting we loved this beautiful story.

Highly Recommended!


Meet Me At Pebble Beach – Bella Osborne

Meet Me At Pebble Beach - Bella OsborneDescription: Regan is holding a winning lottery ticket.
 Goodbye to the boyfriend who never had her back, and so long to the job she can’t stand!
 Except it’s all a bit too good to be true…

When Regan gets pranked, she finds herself jobless, homeless and boyfriendless in one fell swoop.

Luckily her friendly seaside community provides a beacon of hope, proving to Regan that sometimes you really can rely on the kindness of others – and one local in particular, a handsome fireman called Charlie, helps Regan realise that this could be her chance for a fresh start.

Armed with a list of ways to change her life, Regan decides it’s time to step out of her comfort zone. Because – as Charlie knows all too well – life is for living . . .

https://www.amazon.co.uk/

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
Originally published in four parts, this is a deeply satisfying book, there are plenty of twists and turns to keep you reading. As Regan faces her own challenges, it will make you think about your own life and your own wish list, and running throughout is a gentle love story. Fabulous summer read! Highly Recommended!


Five Hundred Miles From You – Jenny Colgan

Five Hundred Miles from YouDescription: Lissa loves her job as a nurse, but recently she’s been doing a better job of looking after other people than looking after herself. After a traumatic incident at work leaves her feeling overwhelmed, she agrees to swap lives with someone in a quiet village in Scotland.

Cormac is restless. Just out of the army, he’s desperately in need of distraction, and there’s precious little of it in Kirrinfief. Maybe three months in London is just what he needs.

As Lissa and Cormac warm to their new lives, emailing back and forth about anything and everything, finally things seem to be falling into place. But each of them feel there’s still a piece missing. What – or who – could it be?

And what if it’s currently five hundred miles away?

https://www.amazon.co.uk/

Hot Brands Cool Places Review

What we love is when Jenny Colgan takes us back to the communities that she has created, and in Five Hundred Miles From You we return to Kirrinfief and pick up with some of the previous characters that we have met before. But as a standalone book this works equally well, and there is a very strong and powerful story about two people and their experiences in the frontline. Jenny compares and contrasts Kirrinfief and London with graphic detail, and then very gently weaves a beautiful and innocent love story within it. Highly Recommended!


A Wedding at the Beach Hut – Veronica Henry

A Wedding at the Beach Hut - Veronica HenryDescription: Escape to Everdene Sands, where the sun is shining – but is the tide about to turn?

Robyn and Jake are planning their dream wedding at the family beach hut in Devon. A picnic by the turquoise waves, endless sparkling rosé and dancing barefoot on the golden sand…

But Robyn is more unsettled than excited. She can’t stop thinking about the box she was given on her eighteenth birthday, and the secrets it contains. Will opening it reveal the truth about her history – and break the hearts of the people she loves most?

As the big day arrives, can everyone let go of the past and step into a bright new future?

https://www.amazon.co.uk/

Hot Brands Cool Places Review

Reviewing Veronica’s books is always a reading highlight of our year, but reading this book at the height of lockdown when all around us was fear and uncertainty made this book the most exquisite of escapes. Veronica’s writing is sublime; her characters always have such depth and her descriptions of the locations are so evocative, especially of the beach, it makes you wish you were there. A Wedding at the Beach Hut is uplifting and wonderful, we adored it!

One of our Favourite Fiction Books of 2020! Highly Recommended!


The Secrets of Sunshine by Phaedra Patrick

The Secrets of Sunshine by Phaedra PatrickDescription: A single father gets an unexpected second chance at love in the heart-warming new novel from the bestselling author of The Library of Lost and Found.

Only his daughter Poppy knows that behind his prickly exterior, Mitchell Fisher is deeply lonely. He may have sworn off romance, relishing his job cutting off the padlocks that couples fasten to his hometown’s famous ‘love story’ bridge… but underneath it all, he’s still grieving the loss of Poppy’s mum.

Then one hot summer’s day, everything changes when Mitchell bravely rescues a woman who falls from the bridge into the river. He’s surprised to feel an unexpected connection to her, but then she disappears. Desperate to find the mysterious woman, Mitchell teams up with her spirited sister Liza to see if she’s left any clues behind. There’s just one – a secret message on the padlock she left on love story bridge…

https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-secrets-of-sunshine/phaedra-patrick/9780008237677

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
We loved The Library of Lost and Found, and The Secrets of Sunshine is another delightful read, written by the very talented Phaedra Patrick.

Phaedra never disappoints, her books are always intriguing, she has a marvellous ability to create characters with real depth and around them weave stories which are totally absorbing.

The Secrets of Sunshine is an utterly charming and heart-warming story. We loved it, another delightful book to join our collection of our favourite fiction reads of 2020! Highly Recommended!


The Summer Villa – Melissa Hill

The Summer Villa - Melissa HillDescription: Three women. One summer reunion. Secrets will be revealed…

Villa Dolce Vita, a rambling stone house on the Amalfi Coast, sits high above the Gulf of Naples amidst dappled lemon groves and the fragrant, tumbling bougainvillea. Kim, Colette and Annie all came to the villa in need of escape and in the process forged an unlikely friendship.

Now, years later, Kim has transformed the crumbling house into a luxury retreat and has invited her friends back for the summer to celebrate.

But as friendships are rekindled under the Italian sun, secrets buried in the past will come to light, and not everyone is happy that the three friends are reuniting… Each woman will have things to face up to if they are all to find true happiness and fully embrace the sweet life.

https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-summer-villa/melissa-hill/9780008217198

Hot Brands Cool Places Review

In The Summer Villa, Melissa has created a fabulous cast of characters, each with their own back story, set in a beautiful location.

This magical book has enough twists and turns to keep you totally absorbed until the very last page.

We may not be able to travel at the moment, but this wonderful book is the perfect escapist read!

We loved it, another delightful book to join our collection of our favourite fiction reads of 2020! Highly Recommended!


Modern Container Gardening – Isabelle Palmer

Modern Container Gardening - Isabelle PalmerHow to Create a Stylish Small-Space Garden Anywhere.

Description: Whether you have a roof terrace, a tiny balcony or just a window sill, there’s no excuse not to do some gardening. In Modern Container Gardening, Isabelle Palmer shows just how easy it is to get started in the garden – and how to make the most of every little space.

Modern Container Gardening is the perfect book for novice gardeners who may have mastered the art of indoor plants and are ready to take it outside. The chapters include the basics, how to make a garden in a day, weekend projects, one-pot wonders, window boxes and finishing touches. It features 20 projects with a mix of small gardens, singular containers and window boxes, all of which are stylish and easy to manage. Isabelle also offers advice on how to upgrade store-bought containers with a lick of paint, transforming the look of your plants.

With clear step-by-step instructions and advice on which plants suit your space, as well as how to care for them, this is an accessible book for anyone looking to start their own small garden.

https://www.waterstones.com/book/modern-container-gardening/isabelle-palmer/9781784883133

Review
In Modern Container Gardening, Isabelle Palmer aims to create an all-round, easy-to-understand guide to container gardening whether you are a complete novice, or have some gardening experience and it certainly fulfils that brief.

It all started with one pot on a balcony; soon there were ten and then 30! From a simple desire to make the most of my small outdoor space. I’d soon created a container garden where I could sit and enjoy plants in the city’

Packed full of the most useful information, the content includes, Getting Started, The Basics, Preparation and Planting, Caring for Container Plants, The Projects and Stockists. Also included is a Calendar of Care, with details of seasonal tasks, as Isabelle describes ’seasonal tasks in the container garden are a lovely way to mark the various stages in the horticultural year’

There is also a really helpful glossary of gardening terms.

The beautiful projects are so inspiring, each project is an absolute joy with stunning photographs, plus details about the following:

How to get the look & how to achieve it – the plants, the containers, and a full description about the best way of creating each of the projects including:

Difficulty level – rated from one to three indicating how much effort/or skill will be required to create each project.
Seasons – which illustrate the best planting season
Sun & Shade – giving advice as to where the planters should be placed
Edible – indicating if they are edible
Watering – how much water the container will need
Feeding – How frequently the plants will need feeding

This is an utterly delightful book, from start to finish it is full of the most gorgeous inspiration.  Highly Recommended!

We loved it so much, that we are delighted to choose it as our Gardening Book of the Month!

Modern Container Gardening – Isabelle Palmer – How to Create a Stylish Small-Space Garden Anywhere.  Published by Hardie Grant Books (UK)