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Catriona dies unexpectedly, each one becomes a cryptic clue in a breadcrumb trail that apparently leads to her lost, unpublished manuscript.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)


Homes & Antiques – May 2020

Homes & Antiques – May 2020Let’s Brighten Things Up!

While our homes are the places the majority of us are spending most of our time at the moment, the need for them to be uplifting and inspiring places is more important than ever. In this issue we reveal five colour palettes that will create the right mood for your furniture and collections, we also show you 10 brilliant ways to shop for antiques from your living room, and explore four houses that we’re sure you’ll find as charming and restful as we do. Plus, Selina Lake takes us through four simple ways to style summer flowers to bring a little bit of the glorious outside in.

A day in the Life
A Chatsworth gardener talks us through his day.

Uplifting colour palettes
Five uplifting decorating schemes to liven up your walls and brighten the mood.

London’s Blue Plaques
Oliver Hurley delves into the history of London’s English Heritage blue plaques scheme.

How to style summer flowers
Selina Lake shows us four easy ways to arrange summer flowers at home.

Four antiques-filled homes
From a classic English country manor to a private palazzo home inspired by time spent living in Florence.

Heirlooms in the making
Gareth Neal crafts innovative wooden pieces from seating to sculpture.

Shop from your sofa
10 useful tips for buying antiques from home while we are all staying in more

All this and much much more!!

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


James Martin’s Islands to Highlands – James Martin

James Martin's Islands to Highlands - James Martin80 fantastic recipes from around the British Isles

Synopsis:
Since going on his Great British Adventure in 2019, James Martin has taken to the road again (and the sea and skies, too!) to bring us a new British recipes cookbook, featuring more of his favourite stunning – and occasionally remote – locations around the UK.

With a foreword by Tom Kerridge, this new celebration of the unique food of the British Isles sees James travel from islands to Highlands, cooking and eating everywhere from Cornwall to Scilly, Jersey and Guernsey, Isle of Man to Shetland, the Peak District, Lake District and Yorkshire Moors, and from Wales to Skye. He takes advantage of the best ingredients the country has to offer, making Poached Turbot with a Creamy Herb Sauce on a boat in Guernsey, BBQ Pork Burgers on the Isle of Man, traditional Singing Hinnies in Northumberland – and more surprising dishes like Hoisin Duck on beautiful St Martin’s in the Isles of Scilly.
It’s another inspiring culinary journey for fans of the show and there are 80 recipes from the series, along with details of the producers and chefs James visits, and exclusive photography from behind the scenes on this extraordinary food trip.

https://www.waterstones.com/book/james-martins-islands-to-highlands/james-martin/9781787135253

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
If you have been enjoying the ITV series James Martin’s Islands to Highlands you will love this beautifully illustrated book. The photography is stunning, particularly of the beautiful locations that James has visited during the series, literally travelling from one end of the country to the other.

The content is arranged through Light Bites, Fish & Shellfish, Poultry & Game, Meat, Pudding & Cakes. Each recipe is accompanied by a commentary from James, often describing which part of the country it was created in, plus full details of how to create it.

Also included is a very helpful list of all the producers and suppliers featured in the series.

This delightful book is a celebration of local producers, stunning locations and delicious food – a fabulous companion to the series.


The Switch – Beth O’Leary

The Switch - Beth O’LearySynopsis:

Eileen is sick of being 79.
Leena’s tired of life in her twenties.
Maybe it’s time they swapped places…

When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen.

Once Leena learns of Eileen’s romantic predicament, she proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire. But with gossiping neighbours and difficult family dynamics to navigate up north, and trendy London flatmates and online dating to contend with in the city, stepping into one another’s shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected.

Leena learns that a long-distance relationship isn’t as romantic as she hoped it would be, and then there is the annoyingly perfect – and distractingly handsome – school teacher, who keeps showing up to outdo her efforts to impress the local villagers. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, but is her perfect match nearer home than she first thought?

Buy from www.amazon.co.uk

Hot Brands Cool Places Review

We absolutely adored The Flatshare, and in The Switch, Beth has created another wonderful read.

This is a delightful and imaginative story, full of warmth with such a strong characters that you believe that they actually exist. Like watching a movie, this is a book to savour and where you can totally escape.

Utterly charming, this uplifting book is guaranteed to be another outstanding success. Highly Recommended and one of our Favourite Fiction reads of 2020!


Homes & Antiques – April 2020

Homes & Antiques – April 2020The Beauty of Handmade

The trace of a thumb print, lightly drawn brushstrokes and a puff of air bubbles in glass… these are the signs of a handcrafted piece, lovingly tended by a skilled maker. This issue of H&A celebrates the work of the artisan, both modern-day and from the past. From ways to dress your table to how to display ceramics and woven baskets, feel inspired by our beautiful ideas. We also tour four homes, each brimming with individual style, follow a day in the life of a conservator for the National Trust’s Knole house, and help you get the kitchen of your dreams. Plus, our guide to the best eco paints, wallpapers and fabrics…

Guide to Eco-Conscious Decorating
A beautiful reference to sustainable decorating.

A day in the life of a conservator
In the first of a new series, a National Trust conservator talks us through her day.

The beauty of handmade
Allow artisan antiques and rustic textures to take centre stage this spring.

Antiques-lovers’ homes
Four tranquil homes filled with beautiful antiques.

Material matters
We delve into the multi-purpose history of bamboo.

Design Icon
The story behind blue-and-white delft tiles.

All this and much much more!!

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


Family for Beginners – Sarah Morgan

Family for Beginners - Sarah MorganSynopsis: Who says you can’t choose your family?

When Flora falls in love with Jack, suddenly she’s not only handling a very cranky teenager, but she’s also living in the shadow of Jack’s perfect, immortalised wife, Becca. Every summer, Becca and Jack would holiday with Becca’s oldest friends and Jack wants to continue the tradition, so now Flora must face a summer trying to live up to Becca’s memory, with not only Jack’s daughter looking on, but with Becca’s best friends judging her every move…

The more Flora tries to impress everyone, the more things go horribly wrong…but as the summer unfolds, Flora begins pushing her own boundaries, and finding herself in a way that she never thought she needed to.

And she soon learns that families come in all shapes and sizes.

Buy now from Amazon.co.uk

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
We always love Sarah Morgan’s books, but Family for Beginners is one of her best.

Sarah writes in such a magical, heartwarming way creating believable characters, combining poignancy and realism, transporting the reader to the world that she has created.

This delightful book is a very clever, thoughtfully composed exploration of relationships.

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


Running Into Trouble – Elle Spellman

Running Into Trouble - Elle SpellmanSynopsis: A funny, uplifting and surprising novel about female friendship, motherhood, love and loss, and getting through a whole marathon.

With little over twelve weeks until race day, three women are trying their hardest to focus on their ultimate goal – to run 26.2 miles.

For Hannah, it seems near impossible, her first attempt leaving her pained, sweaty and full of regret. But intent on winning back her husband, Hannah is determined to at least try.

Malika signed up to the race after finding a running medal of her friend Abbie’s, who died only a few weeks before. She once promised Abbie she would run a race with her, and she plans to keep that promise.

When an accident with an unruly dog brings Hannah and Malika together, they soon realise they’re training for the same race, and experienced runner Cassie offers to help them out. But running becomes the last thing on their minds when life gets in the way…

Buy from Amazon.co.uk

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
Running into Trouble is full of realism, humour and warmth. Centred on three main characters, Elle cleverly weaves the three storylines together, so that the reader gains insight into the challenges each one faces. There is a sense of reality in the way they prepare for the race and the book itself has real pace.

A charming and uplifting debut novel.


Ainsley’s Mediterranean Cookbook by Ainsley Harriott

Ainsley’s Mediterranean Cookbook by Ainsley Harriott Synopsis: Join national treasure Ainsley Harriott on his culinary journey through the Mediterranean discovering the very best recipes to cook back home.

Ainsley’s Mediterranean Cookbook includes all the recipes from his major 10-part ITV1 series. Journeying through Spain, Sardinia, Morocco, Corsica and Jordan, Ainsley shows how easy and enjoyable it can be to make fresh, healthy, delicious meals.

From simple salads and dips to everyday favourites like pasta and risottos, satisfying meats, flavoursome vegetarian mains and light fish dishes, Ainsleys’s recipes are perfect for a relaxed gathering of family and friends or hassle-free midweek meal.

Recipes include:
Corsican mint omelette
Moroccan vegetable and sesame seed parcels
Courgette, lemon and pecorino spaghetti
Butternut squash and sweet potato tagine
Nutty pearl couscous with feta and dates
Aromatic fish pilaf
Pasta shells with sausage, tomato and fennel sauce
Hazelnut and chocolate cake
Orange and cinnamon hot chocolate

Buy now from Amazon.co.uk

Hot Brands Cool Places Review

Ainsley’s Mediterranean Cookbook includes all the recipes from his major 10-part ITV1 series. The content includes Light Bites, Veggie and Vegan, Fish & Seafood, Meat & Poultry, Desserts & Drinks, with a variety of recipes as mentioned above. At a time when ingredients may be restricted,    there are recipes with more simple ingredients.


A Patchwork Family – Cathy Bramley

A Patchwork Family - Cathy Bramley Synopsis: Love, friendship and family come in all different shapes and sizes…

Gina has been going with the flow for years – she’d rather have an easy life than face any conflict. She runs her childminding business from her cottage at the edge of The Evergreens, a charming Victorian house and home to three octogenarians who have far too much fun for their age.

But when The Evergreens is put up for sale, Gina and the other residents face losing their home. To protect her business and save her elderly friends from eviction, Gina must make a stand and fight for the first time in her life.

As Gina’s ideas for saving The Evergreens get bigger and bolder, she starts to believe it might just be possible. The only thing is, does she believe in herself?

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

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
This is such a heartwarming and satisfying book, totally absorbing, with so many delightful characters, and the way their lives intertwine is beautifully created by Cathy. It shows how love, friendship and family really can be created from a variety of circumstances.

We absolutely loved it, an uplifting perfect weekend read! We are delighted to add it to our Favourite Fiction Books of 2020! Highly Recommended!


In Five Years – Rebecca Serle

In Five Years - Rebecca SerleSynopsis: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Type-A Manhattan lawyer Dannie Kohan has been in possession of her meticulously crafted answer since she understood the question. On the day that she nails the most important job interview of her career and gets engaged to the perfect man, she’s well on her way to fulfilling her life goals.

That night Dannie falls asleep only to wake up in a different apartment with a different ring on her finger, and in the company of a very different man. The TV is on in the background, and she can just make out the date. It’s the same night – December 15th – but 2025, five years in the future.

It was just a dream, she tells herself when she wakes, but it felt so real… Determined to ignore the odd experience, she files it away in the back of her mind.
That is, until four and a half years later, when Dannie turns down a street and there, standing on the corner, is the man from her dream…

In Five Years is a love story, brimming with joy and heartbreak. But it is definitely not the love story you’re expecting.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
In Five Years is utterly compelling, it captures the reader from the very first page and keeps you there until the very end.

Intriguing and heartbreaking, Rebecca Serle has crafted a beautiful and clever book with unexpected twists and turns, definitely one of our Favourite Fiction Reads for 2020! Highly Recommended!


Homes & Antiques – Auction Special 2020

Homes & Antiques – Auction Special 2020 - Hot Brands Cool PlacesYour local auction house has a plethora of furniture and decorative antiques that will help you to create a uniquely stylish home for a snip. See what happened when we gave our novice a budget of £1,000 and sent her off with an auction catalogue and a paddle! We also ask a team of specialists for their thoughts on the antiques to snap up now at auction. Explore four elegant homes, filled with heirlooms and treasures, and get the fascinating lowdown on the history of the front door and beautifully crafted fall-front secretaries. Plus, book a stay in five British boutique hotels putting antiques at their core!

Homes
We feature four Homes, filled with heirlooms and treasures, and get the fascinating lowdown on the history of the front door and beautifully crafted fall-front secretaries.

Antiques
Style for a Song – Auction Rooms are great places to bag a bargain, but can seem daunting. We gave our novice a budget of £1000 and set her loose in the salesroom.

Salesroom Focus- Following the Trends
Not sure what to invest in? From jewellery to artworks, our specialist panel reveal all.

Design Icon
Let the sunshine in: we celebrate the Sole chair from the master of playful design, Fornasetti.

Material Matters: Marble
Track the varied history of this revered stone, from the Elgin marbles to modern lighting.

Heirlooms in the Making

In our new series, delight in the exquisite pietra dura of craftsman Thomas Greenaway.

Travel: Hotel Couture
Five special hotels putting antiques at their core.

Fairs & Auctions
Local auctions and fairs not to be missed.

All this and much much more!!

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


ConghamHall


My One True North – Milly Johnson

My One True North - Milly JohnsonSynopsis: Laurie and Pete should never have met.
But fate has pushed them together for a reason.

Six months ago, on the same night, Laurie and Pete both lost their partners.
Struggling to manage the grief, they join the same counselling group – and meet each other.

From their sadness, Pete and Laurie find happiness growing and they sense a fresh new beginning.
Except, the more they talk, the more they begin to spot the strange parallels in their stories.
Then Pete discovers a truth that changes everything.

But, as surely as a compass points north, some people cannot be kept apart.

My One True North is a story of friendship and what love means, of secrets uncovered, teashops on corners and the northern lights.

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

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
We love Milly Johnson’s books, and My One True North is another wonderful example of why she was honoured with the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Outstanding Achievement Award in January 2020.

Like a brilliant movie, this book will have you on the edge of your seat as the story unfolds. This is a book that you don’t want to share too much about in a review as the reader needs to discover it for themselves; full of emotion, heartbreak, humour, this beautiful book has it all. An outstanding book, we absolutely loved it, definitely one of our Favourite Fiction Reads for 2020! Highly Recommended!


Stork: The Art of Home Baking: 100 Years of Baking Memories – Stork

Stork: The Art of Home Baking: 100 Years of Baking Memories - StorkSynopsis: This mouthwatering cookbook celebrates one hundred years of baking with Stork, Britain’s best-loved margarine brand. Stork is a favourite with both the Queen and the Queen of Baking: Mary Berry, who has been singing the praises of this timeless brand for years. After a century at the heart of British baking, Stork shares their tips for bringing out the best in your creations, with recipes for cakes, biscuits, and other delicious teatime treats!

This book reflects Stork’s rich history while highlighting its innovative spirit, with recipes for everything from a scrumptious Victoria Sponge to a delectable Vegan Chocolate Cake. Between its traditional holiday bakes and dairy-free delicacies, there is something in here for everyone!

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

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
This is a delightful trip down memory lane, the content includes Bread, Scones and Muffins, Large Cakes, Small Cakes and Tray Bakes, Biscuits and Cookies, Tarts and Pies, Icings, Desserts, Occasion Bakes, plus a very useful Appendix including Troubleshooting Tips. As well as recipes for sweet treats such as Lemon and Elderflower Drizzle Cake, Simnel Buns, White Chocolate Brownies, Vegan Florentines, the savoury recipes include Garlic and Herb Tear and Share Bread, Vegan Roasted Vegetable Pizza Tart.

This richly illustrated book also has examples of some of the Stork advertisements through the ages. A wonderful celebration of 100 years!


Taking a Chance on Love – Erin Green

Taking a Chance on Love - Erin GreenSynopsis: One question can change everything.

Meet Carmen, Polly and Dana – all happy and successful women, with very different views on relationships.

Carmen has made a life with Elliot for the past eight years. She’s ready for the next step but a proposal seems to be as far away as ever.

Polly is devoted to her family. But after her parents’ bitter divorce, she’s wary of marriage – even after sharing twenty years and one son with Fraser.

Single mother Dana longs for companionship, despite her dedication to raising her son Luke. Finding the right person to bring into their lives feels impossible – until a unique way to select a potential Mr Right comes along.

With 29th February fast approaching, will they each take the chance this Leap Year to take control of their fates?

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

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
We loved Erin’s previous book, New Beginnings at Rose Cottage and Taking A Chance on Love is another delightful read. This book is totally engrossing, we love the way Erin takes three characters and develops their stories in such a way that you are able to follow their individual storylines. Full of humour, poignancy and ultimately uplifting this is an absolutely gorgeous read, especially for this Leap Year weekend. We Loved it! Highly Recommended!


The Godolphin

The Godolphin - Hot Brands Cool PlacesThe Godolphin is a bustling, beachfront restaurant with 10 comfortable, en-suite rooms at the heart of Mount’s Bay.

The Godolphin is part of St Aubyn Estates, a family business with 5000 acres including the Home Farm, tenanted farms, residential cottages, six-holiday cottages and a building company. Continue reading


Godolphin


It started with a Secret – Jill Mansell

It started with a Secret - Jill MansellSynopsis: Jill’s Mansell’s irresistible new book is the perfect escape. A beautiful Cornish setting, a chaotic family, a woman who’s had enough of romance – or has she?

The trouble with secrets is that you can’t guess what the consequences will be . . .

Lainey has lost everything. Luckily one little fib (OK, quite a big fib) helps nail her dream job. Soon she’s living in a stunning house by the sea, fending off obsessed fans for a retired – if far-from-retiring – actor and organising his charming but chaotic family. It’s definitely worth the challenge of keeping her secret.

At least Lainey isn’t looking for love. It’s time for a break from all that. And yet . . . Seth, the actor’s grandson, really is rather attractive. There’s growing chemistry and a definite connection between them. But how would he react if he knew she hadn’t been honest with him?

Lainey’s not the only one with a secret, though. Seth has one of his own. And everything’s about to start unravelling . . .

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

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
We love Jill’s books and It Started With A Secret is another delightful example to add to your collection.

Set in a fabulous location, Jill’s writing captures your imagination until you feel you are living in the beautiful coastal village. Add in the collection of realistic and delightful characters and you have a story that makes an absolutely gorgeous weekend read.

Another candidate for our Favourite Fiction Books of 2020! Highly Recommended!


A Springtime Affair – Katie Fforde

A Springtime Affair - Katie FfordeSynopsis: It’s the season of new beginnings for Helena and Gilly.

Gilly runs her own B&B business from her much-loved family home, which she doesn’t want to part with – at any price.

But that’s before she meets handsome estate agent Leo, and soon she begins to wonder whether selling up might not be such a bad idea after all.

Meanwhile Gilly’s daughter Helena has a budding romance of her own. A talented weaver, she’s becoming very close to her new landlord, Jago, who’s offered to help her at an upcoming craft fair.

It’s what friends do, and they are just friends. Aren’t they?

With spring in full bloom, Helena and Gilly begin to ask themselves the same question:

Might their new loves lead to happily ever after?

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

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
Katie Fforde is one of our all time favourite authors! It’s always a special time when one of her books arrives and A Springtime Affair is another delightful read.

Her storytelling is an absolute joy and makes for a wonderful escapist time. A Springtime Affair is something to be savoured and enjoyed curled up on a sofa with a cup of tea and some of Gilly’s delicious homemade shortbread biscuits.

We absolutely loved it, an uplifting and delightful perfect weekend read! We are delighted to add it to our Favourite Fiction Books of 2020! Highly Recommended!


Homes & Antiques – March 2020

Homes & Antiques – March 2020This month, discover how ecclesiastical salvage can make glorious centrepieces in your home, from wooden chapel chairs to stonework panels, via statues and vestments. We also explore four homes that are filled with lovingly treasured antiques and collectables, from a seaside retreat that doubles up as an artists’ gallery, to a delightful pied à terre in Barnes. We also have reams of brilliant expert advice to help you buy original prints, collect Newlyn copper, discover mochaware, choose antique dining chairs, and create a stylish and practical bathroom that sits well in a period home. Plus our resident antiques guru, Janet Gleeson, is on hand to solve your curio conundrums!

Homes
From a Victorian cottage filled with vintage furniture to a seaside home packed with a mix of art, folk pieces and heirlooms, to an urban home full of quirky antiques and bespoke furniture.

Divine by Design
Discover how salvaged items from deconstructed churches can look striking in your home.

Material Matters – Copper
Attractive, malleable and versatile, it’s little wonder that this warm metal has been a practical and decorative staple in our lives and homes since prehistoric times.

Meet the Makers
Juliet and Franki, design duo and founders of Bristol Weaving Mill, work together to weave sustainable textiles using traditional methods.

Design Icon
Once vessels found only in pubs and taverns, mochaware ceramics have risen through the ranks to be a lively and lucrative collecting field. Hailing from Stoke on Trent, but collected all over Britain, the unsung heroes of the ceramics world are still popular with modern-day buyers.

Travel

48 hours in Paris, for a sophisticated weekend filled with art, antiquities, showstopping architecture and delicious food, the French capital has it all.

Fairs & Auctions
A round-up of the very best antique fairs and auctions happening around the UK in March

All this and much much more!!

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


Gino’s Italian Express – Gino D’Acampo

Gino's Italian Express - Gino D’AcampoSynopsis: Gino’s Italian Express is a celebration of the delicious and authentic local foods Gino discovered on his train travels across beautiful Italy. Packed with 80 brand-new recipes, Gino shows you how to cook Italian dishes at home with minimal effort, pronto! Each recipe is in Gino’s signature easy-to-follow style and perfect for both weeknight suppers and dinner parties alike.

Including all the recipes from Gino’s major ITV series Gino’s Italian Express is the must-have cookbook for those wishing for a taste of Italy.

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

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
If you have been enjoying the ITV series Gino’s Italian Express you will love this book. The dishes he creates are quick and easy to prepare, and as he describes “express food” but also delicious and full of flavour.

The book is beautifully produced sharing stunning photographs of his journey and mouth-watering dishes such as Grilled Sardines with Tomato and Basil Salad, Farfalle with Mushrooms and Spinach, and absolutely delicious desserts such as Pears Poached in Red Wine with Vanilla, Lemon Tiramisu with Limoncello and the delightful Limoncello biscuits – Limoncetti.

If you want to brighten these grey winter days with some Italian sunshine, this is the perfect weekend read!


Somewhere Close to Happy – Lia Louis

Somewhere Close to Happy - Lia LouisSynopsis: Lizzie James is happy. She has a steady office job (with a steady stream of tray bakes), has had the same best friend since secondary school, and she sees her family every Thursday night for take-away and TV soaps. Granted, some members of her family she’d rather not see, and they definitely don’t want to see her after what happened back then… But on the whole she’s happy. Or somewhere close to it, anyway.

Until a letter arrives one day from her best friend, Roman. A letter dated 12 years ago, the exact day he went missing.

It brings all her painful memories flooding back: the new school she had to go to when she was ill, losing her beloved granddad, Hubble, and then losing her first love. As Lizzie uncovers the secrets of the letter, she starts to discover what really happened the year her life fell apart – and all avenues lead back to Roman.

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

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
In Somewhere Close to Happy, Lia Louis has written a very thought-provoking book dealing with important issues. Drawing on her own experiences, there is a realism in her writing which makes it a very powerful read. We also loved the insightful Author Q & A, but recommend not reading it until after you have finished the book.
A moving and beautiful debut novel.


The 24-Hour Café – Libby Page

The 24-Hour Café - Libby PageSynopsis: Welcome to the café that never sleeps.

Day and night, Stella’s Café opens its doors to the lonely and the lost, the morning people and the night owls. It’s a place where everyone is always welcome, where life can wait at the door.

Meet Hannah and Mona: best friends, waitresses, dreamers. They love working at Stella’s – the different people they meet, the small kindnesses exchanged. But is it time to step outside and make their own way in life?

Come inside and spend twenty-four hours at Stella’s Café, where one day might just be enough to change your life . . .

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

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
This is such a clever book, once started you just want to keep reading, such is the way that Libby builds the scenario inside Stella’s Café. The vivid descriptions of the café and the sharply observed descriptions of the people inside have such a reality that you really feel that café actually exists. Although it focuses on the two main characters of Hannah and Mona and their friendship; the stories of the other visitors to the café and the other members of the staff including Stella, have a poignancy and heartwarming quality that makes this such a standout piece of writing. Beautifully written, this is a touching and uplifting story of friendship, community and life.

We absolutely loved it and are delighted to add it to our Favourite Fiction Books of 2020! Highly Recommended!


How to Make it Happen – Turning Failure into Success – Maria Hatzistefanis

How to Make it Happen - Turning Failure into Success - Maria HatzistefanisSynopsis: Success is not final and failure is not fatal.
Maria Hatzistefanis should know. Having spent 20 years building her own company (described by the press as ‘an overnight success’), she acknowledges how hard it is to keep going and find your motivation, especially in the face of self-doubt, rejection and unexpected setbacks.
This punchy, easy to digest book spells out how to motivate yourself and harness your drive and energy to make things happen. With clear guidance, tips and celebrity stories throughout, Maria sums up her business secrets with three golden rules: set your goals; plot your trajectory; make it happen!

This book will help anyone looking to grow their business and enable readers everywhere to find their own ‘Make It Happen’ mindset. Everyone can learn from this book, no matter where you are in your career.

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

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
If you are looking for motivation to start doing things differently in 2020, there is a lot of inspiration inside Make it Happen by Maria Hatzistefanis. With chapter headings such as Nothing Fabulous Happens Inside Your Comfort Zone, They Want You to Quit, Don’t, and Your 6am Wake Up Call to Success, Maria shares her approach to finding motivation and keeping going in the face of self-doubt, rejection and unexpected setbacks.

Written in an accessible and conversational style, there are really helpful Step by Step guides on how to achieve success including: 10 Steps to Help You Get Started, 10 Tools to Deal with Rejection, 10 Tips to Fire You Up When You Don’t Feel Like Working Hard, 10 Steps to Develop a Morning Routine, 10 Steps for a Mega Make it Happen Day.

One of our favourite quotes from the book is:

Working hard means challenging yourself and always moving forward. If you are working hard and just doing the same thing over and over, there won’t be much progress.You need to think outside the box, or even better climb outside of the box and throw the box away, or recycle into a bigger, better, greener box, or just fashion the box into a range of cute accessories, Whatever you do just get outside of the box! Think differently. Spend time considering what other skill you could benefit from learning…. Get a new perspective and you may discover that eureka moment”

A refreshingly honest and helpful approach to running a business and how to motivate yourself to achieve more in life.


Homes & Antiques – February 2020

Homes & Antiques – February 2020As we enter a new decade, we look back 100 years to the 1920s, when the streamlined good looks of art deco began to take the world by storm. Be inspired by our elegant photoshoot and embrace the glitz and optimism of these energetic times. We also have a treat in-store for you with our four houses – from a bright, 15th-century beamed property in Rye, to a dark and dramatic Victorian flat in London. Unravel the rich history of silk, and discover what sparked the 1950s invention of the String Shelving System, today an icon of modern storage. If you’re seeking a cultural break with excellent foodie options, look no further than our feature on the small Somerset town of Bruton, and don’t forget to check our fabulous fairs and auction listings.

Homes
Our featured four houses include: A beautiful Brooklyn brownstone, An old malthouse, A characterful 15th-century home in Rye, A London flat featuring a captivating mix of antique and vintage finds.

Welcome to the Roaring Twenties
We look back at the dawn of the striking and fast-paced art deco movement.

Meet the Maker
Nick Hand of The Letterpress Collective is keeping the heritage alive from his traditional printing room in the heart of Bristol.

Material Matters
Explore the intriguing history of silk.

10 Ways to Freshen Up Ceilings and Walls
Create touchable texture with minimum fuss.

Design Icon
How the sleek and stylish String System revolutionised book shelving in the 1950’s.

Travel
48 hours in Bruton in Somerset, enjoy world-class design, food and culture in this delightful little Somerset town.

Fairs & Auctions
A round-up of the very best antique fairs and auctions happening around the UK in February

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


The First Time I Saw You – Emma Cooper

The First Time I Saw You - Emma CooperSynopsis
Lost:
Six-foot-two Irish man who answers to the name Samuel McLaughlin.
Has weak shins and enjoys show tunes.
If found, please return to Sophie Williams.

Before Sophie met Samuel she saw the world in grey.
Before Samuel met Sophie, he never believed in love at first sight.

When they first meet, something tells them they are meant to be.
But fate has other ideas.

Now they have lost each other and can’t see a way back.
But they’ve already changed each other’s lives in more ways
than they ever expected…

Buy from Amazon.co.uk

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
Emma Cooper’s books are in a class of their own. We loved The Songs of Us and The First Time I Saw You, is another beautifully written book. Incredibly visual, Emma’s descriptions of the situations and the people has such depth and creates a reality that is so powerful and totally absorbing as you read on, ignoring all around you, and even after you reach the end, the characters will stay with you.

Expect to experience every emotion in this absolutely stunning read, we loved it!

A very special start to Our Favourite Fiction Books of 2020! Highly Recommended!


Five Steps to Happy – Ella Dove

Five Steps to Happy - Ella DoveSynopsis: Life can change in a heartbeat…When struggling actress Heidi has a life-changing accident aged 32, her world falls apart. Stuck in hospital and unable to walk, her only companion is Maud, the elderly lady in the bed next to hers. Heidi misses her flatmate, her life, her freedom – surely 32 is too young to be an amputee? But when Maud’s aloof but attractive grandson Jack pays a visit to the ward, Heidi realises that her life isn’t over just because it’s different. It might not look like the life she dreamed of, but it’s the one she’s got – and there’s a lot she still wants to tick off her bucket list. With Jack at her side, will Heidi take the first step back to happiness? Or is there one more surprise still in store…? A feel-good read based on the inspiring true story of journalist Ella Dove. Sometimes all it takes is one small step…

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

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
As we near the end of 2019, this is one of the last books that we will review, but wow what a book! As a debut novel, Five Steps to Happy is outstanding, and because it is based on a true story every emotion is laid out on the pages of this amazing book. It is full of such a raw and open honesty that as you turn each page you gain more insight into how life can change so dramatically. Utterly compelling, this beautiful book will stay in your mind long after you have finished reading it.

Our Final Favourite Read of 2019!  Highly Recommended!


Snowdrops on Rosemary Lane – Ellen Berry

Snowdrops on Rosemary Lane - Ellen BerrySynopsis: Last winter she had a plan.

Lucy fell in love with tumbledown Rosemary Cottage as a child. So thirty years on, when she loses her city job and discovers the cottage is for sale, it feels like fate. She’ll raise her children in Burley Bridge and transform the cottage into a B&B with her husband.

But a year can change everything . . .

Now Lucy is juggling two children and a B&B, but on her own. Christmas looks set to be their last on Rosemary Lane – until she meets James, a face from her past and someone who might offer a different kind of future . . .

Should Lucy leave the cottage behind? Or could this winter on Rosemary Lane be the start of something new?

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

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
In Snowdrops on Rosemary Lane – Ellen Berry has created a very realistic village environment, full of different characters and although part of a series, this book can be very much read as a standalone. Although there are poignant and challenging moments, seeing how Lucy overcomes the different situations, makes this a heart-warming holiday read!


HartleyBotanic


Hartley Botanic

Hartley Botanic - Hot Brands Cool PlacesThe finest Greenhouses money can buy

Hartley Botanic is an English Greenhouse and Glasshouse manufacturer based in Greenfield, Lancashire. The company was founded in 1938 by brothers Vincent (RHS fellow) and Norman Hartley following their groundbreaking aluminium Greenhouse design, the first time (to our knowledge) aluminium had been used in Greenhouse construction and marking a huge improvement on its wood and wrought iron Victorian forerunners. Continue reading


Blackpop


BLACKPOP

BLACKPOP - Hot Brands Cool PlacesUnique, Timeless & Quintessentially British
Established in 2013, maverick luxury design label Blackpop create elegantly distressed wallpapers, plush velvet fabrics, furniture and rugs that punk up the rich tapestry of the past. Opulent yet random anarchic patterns on richly figured fabric and wallpaper, create bold designs for statement styling. Continue reading


Homes & Antiques – January 2020

Homes & Antiques – January 2020Christmas is a mere hop and a skip away and we’re busy decking our homes with foraged foliage, filling the larder with tempting fare and cosying up by the fire with a steaming mug of mulled wine and a good book. Our houses this month are packed with festive inspiration, from a craftsman’s cottage sympathetically furnished with Arts and Crafts pieces, old and new, to an elegant Georgian home that sparkles with Christmas cheer. If you’ve left the decorative festooning until the last minute, you’ll find our 10 tips for adding yuletide flavour a must-read, as is our selection of thoughtful gifts, from mindful workshops to personalised presents. We also look back at top auctioneers’ highlights from the salesroom in 2019, and look forward to 20 global cultural events in 2020.

Homes
Deck the halls
Majestic mid-century design in a Georgian Hampshire home that is all dressed up for Christmas.

The Sprit of the Season
In Belgium, a former forest warden’s house has a magical yuletide makeover

A Very Vintage Christmas
This Danish apartment is bursting with maximalist vintage style and flamboyant femininity.

Aesthetically Inclined
Antiques sit harmoniously with modern pieces in this Arts and Crafts-inspired cottage in Wiltshire

Gifts with soul
A wealth of Christmas present ideas to delight the collectors and creatives in your life.

Meet the Maker
Jeweller and silversmith Samuel Waterhouse

Spruce Up
Five statement looks to ensure your Christmas tree stands out from the crowd.

10 Ways: Last minute festive decorating
Create maximum impact with minimum fuss.

Travel 2020 Vision
The most exciting exhibitions and events around the globe taking place this year.

All this and much much more!!

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


Coming Home to Winter Island – Jo Thomas

Coming Home to Winter Island - Jo ThomasSynopsis: Wrap up warm and explore the breath-taking beauty of a remote Scottish island and an old house waiting to unlock enchanting family secrets.

Do you need to find out where you’ve come from before you can know what the future holds?

Ruby’s singing career is on the verge of hitting the big time, when her voice breaks. Fearing her career is over, she signs up for a retreat in Tenerife to recover.

But an unexpected call from a stranger on a remote Scottish island takes her on a short trip to sort out some family business. It’s time to go and see the grandfather she’s never met.

City girl Ruby knows she will be happy to leave the windswept beaches behind as quickly as she can, especially as a years-old family rift means she knows she won’t be welcome at Teach Mhor.

But as she arrives at the big house overlooking the bay, she finds things are not as straightforward as she might have thought.

There’s an unexpected guest in the house and he’s not planning on going anywhere any time soon…

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

Hot Brands Cool Places Review:
Jo Thomas writes the most sublime novels and always transports the reader to the places that she creates with such accuracy.

Coming Home to Winter Island is another atmospheric and evocative story where her descriptions have such a sensory impact that you can feel the island, the people and its scenery wrap itself around you.

Absolutely magical, brilliant pre-Christmas read! We loved it!  Highly Recommended!


Let it Snow – Sue Moorcroft

Let it Snow - Sue MoorcroftSynopsis: This Christmas, the villagers of Middledip are off on a very Swiss adventure…

Family means everything to Lily Cortez and her sister Zinnia, and growing up in their non-conventional family unit, they and their two mums couldn’t have been closer.

So it’s a bolt out of the blue when Lily finds her father wasn’t the anonymous one-night stand she’d always believed – and is in fact the result of her mum’s reckless affair with a married man.

Confused, but determined to discover her true roots, Lily sets out to find the family she’s never known; an adventure that takes her from the frosted, thatched cottages of Middledip to the snow-capped mountains of Switzerland, via a memorable romantic encounter along the way…

https://www.waterstones.com/book/let-it-snow/sue-moorcroft/9780008321796

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
Full of twists and turns Let it Snow is a roller coaster of a story, full of action and different characters. Partly set in Switzerland, Sue’s evocative descriptions make you feel that you if you stepped outside your own front door you would find snow! Heart-warming and romantic, this is a perfect pre-Christmas read


The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse – Charlie Mackesy

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse - Charlie MackesySynopsis: A reminder of the most important things in life. A book of hope for uncertain times.

From the author:

‘My hope is that the book goes some way to helping people live more courageously, more honestly and with more love for themselves and others.’  – Charlie Mackesy

Enter the world of Charlie’s four unlikely friends, discover their story and their most poignant life lessons. Charlie’s first book includes his most-loved illustrations and new ones too.

The conversations of the boy, the mole, the fox and the horse have been shared thousands of times online, recreated in school art classes, hung on hospital walls and turned into tattoos.

‘A wonderful work of art and a wonderful window into the human heart’ – Richard Curtis Continue reading


The Lost Orchard – A French chef rediscovers a great British food heritage – Stories and recipes by Raymond Blanc

The Lost Orchard - A French chef rediscovers a great British food heritage - Stories and recipes by Raymond Blanc‘I began to dream about an orchard filled with thousands of fruit trees… Today we have an orchard with over 150 ancient varieties of apple. Each one has its heritage in a village or a county that used to thrive on that particular variety. They tell the story not only of what we have lost in Britain but also what we could regain.’

Synopsis: Over the past seven years, Raymond Blanc has planted an orchard of 2,500 trees in the grounds of his hotel-restaurant Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire. Yielding about 60 tonnes of fruit for his kitchen each year, it is full of ancient and forgotten varieties of British apples and pears, along with quince, medlars, apricots, nectarines, peaches, plums, damsons and cherries. A further 600 heritage fruit trees have been added from Raymond’s home in the Franche-Comté region of France.

The Lost Orchard is a love letter to each of these varieties, complete with beautiful illustrations, fascinating information and historical anecdotes, along with a selection of recipes showcasing the best ways of cooking with the fruit. Lacing the whole book together is Raymond’s infectious enthusiasm and passion for his beloved orchard and the precious fruit that lies within. His stories and memories are a delight as he rejoices in the ‘lost orchard’ that he has created in a little corner of the Oxfordshire countryside.

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

MLPF0002-Mark-Lord-cpation

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
This beautifully illustrated book is an absolute treasure, there is so much about it to love; it’s like a very special conversation with Raymond Blanc, his passion and enthusiasm shines through on every page. We love the way he thanks his friends for their support including Anne Marie Owens who leads his garden team at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons.

The really comprehensive content includes sections on Apples, Pears, Quince, Fig and Medlar, Stone Fruits – Apricots, Cherries, Peaches and Plums.
Within each description he includes delightful anecdotes and historical information, here is how he describes one of our all time favourites e.g.

Cox’s Orange Pippin
54 trees in my English orchard
Buckinghamshire 1825
SEASON: Late September
APPEARANCE: greenish gold with orange/red flush
BEST FOR: everything

‘I will never forget the summer’s day, about thirty years ago, when I joined William Sibley at a tasting of heritage apples laid on by The Royal Horticultural Society at Le Manoir. That tasting stays with me for two reasons: first, it inspired me to dream about my beautiful orchard project, and second, one of the apples stood head and shoulders above the rest. Her beauty was not immediately obvious from the outside……. but once I took a bite I knew I was tasting the best apple of my life. I was overwhelmed with a sensory explosion of aromatics, clean, long, complex flavours, which balanced sweetness with acidity and a crisp texture’

For each fruit Raymond gives more information either from a historical perspective or a personal discovery in how he has grown the variety himself, culminating in Tasting and Cooking Notes as well as Growing Notes.

The level of detail is admirable, but written in a fascinating and very accessible style.

In the centre of the book is a delightful chapter about The Beautiful Orchard in which he describes how his orchard has developed focusing on, flavour, beauty and organic principles which begins with a healthy soil. This is supported by full colour photographs.

The book is completed with chapters on How to Grow Your Own Tree, plus advice on the Best Fruit for Growing in a Garden, and finally Recipes from the Lost Orchard which as you would expect, contains the most delicious recipes

This gorgeous book would make an absolutely beautiful Christmas present for people who love cooking with the best of ingredients, but also gardeners too, we cannot recommend it highly enough!

We are delighted to have chosen The Lost Orchard as our Cookery Book of the Year. Very Highly Recommended!


25 Days in December – Poppy Alexander

25 Days in December - Poppy AlexanderSynopsis: You can’t plan for the unexpected

Kate Potter used to know what happiness felt like.

A few years ago, she was full of energy, excited by every possibility. But that was back when everything was different, before Kate’s husband went away with the army and didn’t come home. She can’t even remember what it felt like to be in love.

Then Kate meets Daniel. Recognising her loneliness reflected in his eyes, Kate vows to try and help bring him out of his shell. But as Kate plans to bring life back to Daniel, she might have stumbled on the secret to happiness…

Can one chance meeting change two lives?

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

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
In 25 Days in December, Poppy Alexander has created a very special book with so many layers that are unwrapped as you become totally immersed in this magical festive story. While dealing with a number of poignant and tough issues, the thread of a beautiful romance keeps running throughout the story in a tantalising way. Will they, won’t they, all find their ultimate happy ending? An absolutely perfect pre-Christmas read!

We loved it! Highly Recommended!


Homes & Antiques – December 2019

Homes & Antiques – December 2019Celebrate the season

It’s time to dress your home for Christmas! Whether your preferred decorating style is classic, contemporary or full of vintage touches with clashing patterns and plenty of colour, we have all the tricks for updating your festive scheme for 2018. Our four homes this month are all individual and packed with inspiration – as you’d expect – from a snug Finnish veteran’s house to an interior designer’s opulent farmhouse in Hertfordshire. We’ve also hand-selected gifts for every antiques and vintage-lover on your Christmas list, and have oodles of stylish ways to make your celebration go with a bang! Plus, we pick our favourite UK-based cosy cottages and take a look at the history and magic of the department store Christmas window.

Meet the Maker – Alice Mary Lynch
From bunnies to princesses Alice Mary Lynch creates enchanting, unique dolls from her Somerset studio.

Dress to Excess
From bold velvets in berry tones to antiques that glisten in the candlelight, here’s how to serve Christmas with a flourish and an abundance of festive cheer.

Design Icon – Steiff Bear
The story of the Steiff teddy bear and the history of this beloved German toy company.

10 Ways to create a festive dining table

Inspiring and stylish seasonal schemes for the coming festivities.

Festive Antique Shops
From vintage decorations to antiques and curios, eight fantastically festive antique shops putting their own unique spin on Christmas.

Four enchanting homes
Our four homes this month are all individual and packed with inspiration – as you’d expect – from a snug Finnish veteran’s house to an interior designer’s opulent farmhouse in Hertfordshire.

All this and much much more!!

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


The Nine Lives of Christmas – Florence McNicoll

The Nine Lives of Christmas - Florence McNicollIN PARTNERSHIP WITH BATTERSEA DOGS AND CATS HOME

Synopsis: Can Battersea’s loneliest cat find a home in time for Christmas?

It’s Christmas at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and Laura is desperate to find a home for Felicia, a spiky, bad-tempered moggy with a heart of gold. Her boyfriend, Rob, can’t understand why she’s spending so much time at work, but for Laura, the animals aren’t just a job – they’re her life. She needs a partner who understands that – doesn’t she?

As the December snow falls, Laura encounters nine people, all of whom need a little love in their lives and find it in new pets. Everyone needs somebody to curl up with at Christmas, and when the handsome Aaron walks in, he takes not just Felicia, but Laura’s heart too…

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

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

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
The Nine Lives of Christmas is an adorable book, full of love and affection for cats, with such realistic descriptions, that you almost feel they are curled up in the room with you.

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.

https://www.battersea.org.uk

Affectionately written, Florence has cleverly created heart-warming stories about how cats can help people in so many different and difficult situations. A wonderful book combining romance and love for animals in magical Christmas story. We absolutely loved it. Highly Recommended!


One Christmas Night – Hayley Webster

One Christmas Night - Hayley WebsterNine lives. One street. And a secret behind every door.

Christmas is ruined on Newbury Street, Norwich.

Presents have been going missing from resident’s homes. There are rumours going around that it’s one of their own who’s been stealing from the neighbours. Festive spirit is being replaced with suspicion and the inhabitants of Newbury Street don’t know who to trust. The police presence isn’t helping matters, especially when they all have something to hide.

But Christmas is a time for miracles… and if they open themselves up to hope and look out for each other, they might discover the biggest miracle of all.

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

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
One Christmas Night is a different sort of Christmas story, poignant, tense and gripping and there are moments when you wonder how it will all end; but the very talented Hayley Webster has created such a well-structured novel that as you move towards the end she brings all the strands together in an uplifting conclusion. A novel about hope, trust and community.


Rick Stein’s Secret France – Rick Stein

Rick Stein's Secret France - Rick SteinSynopsis: Real French home cooking with all the recipes from Rick’s new BBC Two series. Over fifty years ago Rick Stein first set foot in France. Now, he returns to the food and cooking he loves the most … and makes us fall in love with French food all over again.

Rick’s meandering quest through the byways and back roads of rural France sees him pick up inspiration from Normandy to Provence. With characteristic passion and joie de vivre, Rick serves up incredible recipes: chicken stuffed with mushrooms and Comte, grilled bream with aioli from the Languedoc coast, a duck liver parfait bursting with flavour, and a recipe for the most perfect raspberry tart plus much, much more.

Simple fare, wonderful ingredients, all perfectly assembled; Rick finds the true essence of a food so universally loved, and far easier to recreate than you think.

https://www.waterstones.com/book/rick-steins-secret-france/rick-stein/9781785943881

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
Rick Stein’s Secret France is a wonderful celebration of the food that he loves as he goes off-road through hidden towns and villages in France. Packed with delicious recipes, the photography of the food and the locations is absolutely stunning. Throughout the book Rick captures the essence of his journey and his reasons for the inclusion of the recipes. The content is divided into mouth-watering recipes from the following: Eggs & Cheese, Soups, Salads & Appetisers, Fish & Seafood, Poultry, Meat, Vegetables, Desserts, Basics.

A wonderful addition to any kitchen library and if you are enjoying Rick Stein’s Secret France BBC Two TV series, you will love this book. Highly Recommended!

Real French home cooking with all the recipes from Rick’s new BBC Two series.