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.


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!

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.


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)

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.


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.

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

In Bloom – Clare Nolan

In Bloom - Clare NolanGrowing, Harvesting and Arranging Flowers all year round

Synopsis: Planting cut flowers brings that `grow-your-own’ excitement to a whole new level – being able to step out of the back door and pick a single stem for beside the bed or pull together a posy for a friend is a joy. In this beautifully designed book, brimming with inspirational photographs, Clare Nolan reveals her secrets for growing a bountiful harvest as well as styling spectacular homegrown displays that will fill your home with colour and the gorgeous scent of the garden year-round. She takes the mystique out of what to grow and guides you through the entire process – from choosing the plants to suit both your garden and home decor and laying out your cutting patch, to planning ahead so you get your perfect palette of colour, texture and shape to play with at the right time. A whole chapter on arranging will inspire you to create spectacular arrangements for your home without the need for complicated floristry techniques.

In Bloom by Clare Nolan is published by Kyle Books (www.kylebooks.co.uk). Photography by Clare Nolan.

Hot Brands Cool Places Review

To say that this book is beautiful is an understatement, In Bloom is an amazing, glorious, absolute joy of a book.

Packed full with the most beautiful photography, Clare Nolan’s enthusiasm for her flowers shines through on every page. The really helpful content
includes Getting Started, Annuals & Biennials, Bulbs, Perennials, Shrubs & Trees, Foliage & Fillers, Harvesting/Arranging.

We love the way that she combines inspiration with practicality, identifying what you want to grow, based on colour, scale, texture and scent, with how and where you are able to grow your plants. There is a very useful Seasonal Calendar and a summary of the flower grower’s year.

This is followed by in-depth sections about sowing and growing, collecting seeds, and then detailed information about the actual flowers themselves, describing her favourites, how to care for them in the garden, and how best to use them in a vase.

To complete the book Clare devotes her final chapters to Harvesting & Arranging with the most helpful advice and gorgeous imagery.

Whether you are a gardener, a florist, a stylist, or just have a passion for flowers you will absolutely adore this book, it is such an inspiration, bringing joy and colour to the dullest of days.

We are delighted to have chosen In Bloom as our Gardening Book of the Month. Highly Recommended!

Country Brocante Style – Lucy Haywood

Country Brocante Style - Lucy  HaywoodA Decorative Country Life

Synopsis: Lucy Haywood is the creator of The Country Brocantes – home and lifestyle fairs held in idyllic rural surroundings. In Country Brocante Style, she introduces her pretty and accessible signature look into the home, fusing two classic and enduring decorating traditions – English country style and French-inspired vintage styling. There’s plenty of classic French ‘brocanterie’ – old textiles, vintage furniture and decorative pieces – alongside lifestyle brands, gardenalia, handmade textiles, cottage-garden flowers and other homewares. In the first section, Country Brocante Style, Lucy leads you through the colour palette of the Brocantes and discusses key pieces of furniture and decorative pieces before presenting creative ideas for putting the look together. In the second section, Country Brocante Interiors, she pays a visit to the homes of the dealers and the buyers who flock to the fairs.

Decorative country style is more popular than ever and The Country Brocante will inspire you to create this romantic, timeless style in your own home.


Hot Brands Cool Places Review
We absolutely love this book!! In Country Brocante Style, Lucy Haywood has created a treasure trove of beautiful pieces, every page has the most exquisite items, with suggestions of how to display them. The photography by Ben Edwards is delightful, highlighting the beauty of the rooms and the pieces displayed.

This is a book of constant inspiration, as Lucy explains the Country Brocante Style with its colour palette of pale pinks, washed whites, seaside blues and soft greens. She then examines more about textures, vintage treasures, art, architectural antiques, decorative touches and how to pull it all together.

In the second section there are in-depth studies of actual interiors, again full of wonderful inspiration of how to achieve a Country Brocante Style. Finally there is a useful Sources listing.

This book is an absolute must-buy for anyone with a love of English Country and French Vintage, it is a book to return to over and over again, whenever you need to be inspired.

Country Brocante Style is one of our Top 10 favourite interiors books this year and we are delighted that it is our Home Book of the Month!

RHS How to Create your Garden – Ideas & Advice for Transforming Your Outdoor Space – Adam Frost

RHS How to Create your Garden - Ideas & Advice for Transforming Your Outdoor Space - Adam FrostSynopsis: “Creating a garden doesn’t need to be complicated.” This is the promise from Adam Frost, BBC Gardeners’ World presenter and winner of multiple Chelsea Flower Show gold medals.

Regardless of your experience or budget, with Adam’s help and know-how you can design your dream garden, whether it’s a small urban garden, a classic cottage garden, a suburban front garden, a low-maintenance space or a city roof terrace. His practical, no-nonsense approach strips away complex garden design concepts and focuses on your needs and preferred garden style to help you plan and build a garden that works for you.

Starting right at the beginning, Adam takes you step by step through the whole process, inspiring you with simple garden design ideasto tackle a full garden makeover or a simple revamp of just one part of your garden, perhaps a tired herbaceous border, the patio, or a water feature.

Learn how to design a garden that reflects your practical needs, lifestyle, budget, personality, soil, and climate.

Build it yourself following the clear, uncomplicated step-by-step instructions that show you everything from laying turf to terraces, planting trees or building a raised bed or water feature.

Enjoy it month by month with his simple checklist of what to do when to keep your garden in shape.

RHS How to Create your Garden is about designing an outside space that is real, achievable, and right for you.

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
Now is a perfect time to look creatively at your garden and How to Create Your Garden is a great place to start, and Adam’s passion and enthusiasm for gardening shines throughout the book.

Full of stunning illustrations and helpful advice he takes you through the key stages of creating a beautiful garden.

He starts with Design, including Understanding Your Space, Design for People, Find Your Style, Choose Your Plants, Bring it all Together.
He then focuses on How to Build Your Garden and How to Plant Your Garden. There are also really helpful ‘Ask Adam’ Q&A throughout the book.

We love the final section of the book which is about how to Enjoy your garden, which is a month by month summary of how to get the best out of your garden, with a quick checklist of tasks, what to do in your borders and vegetable garden, lawn, trees shrubs and climbers and any other jobs around the garden.

As Adam says, “Great Gardens are all about emotions and how they make you feel”

Whether you are creating a garden for the first time, or want to revitalise your existing garden this is a most inspiring book, we absolutely loved it.

We are delighted to have chosen How to Create Your Garden as our Gardening Book of the Month. Highly Recommended!
published by DK and available now dk.com

ART DECO CITY – Arnold Schwartzman

ART DECO CITY -  Arnold SchwartzmanThe World’s Most Beautiful Buildings

Synopsis: Featuring more than 400 detailed photographs from Europe, Australasia and the Americas, Art Deco City captures the very essence of Art Deco and its influences, providing a unique and comprehensive celebration of the elegant style that flourished around the globe.

Art Deco rose to popularity in the 1920s, making its way from France to New York to Australia. Its influence spread rapidly after the 1925 Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes brought the style to the world’s attention. Art Deco reflected the new industrial age drawing from a variety of influences including ancient Egyptian, Moorish and Mayan motifs and the Cubism, Fauvism and De Stijl movements. It was not only architects that embraced its new design ideas, interior and product designers and craftsmen also took inspiration and none more so than architectural furniture designers.

From the iconic Chrysler Building in New York, Palais de la Méditerranée in Nice and the Hoover Building in London to theatres, shopfronts, factories, fire stations and hotels, Art Deco City showcases the world’s most beautiful buildings, displaying the stunning and diverse range of Art Deco architecture and design that announced the movement’s aesthetic intent.

Arnold Schwartzman is an Oscar-winning film-maker, a renowned graphic designer, and the author of several books on the subject of Art Deco architecture.


Hot Brands Cool Places Review
This is a wonderful coffee table book, richly illustrated with the most stunning photographs of Art Deco buildings and reflects Arnold Schwartzman’s personal favourites from his journeys. With his introduction and narrative, the book is divided into Europe, Australasia, and the Americas, selecting some of the most iconic buildings, but also highlighting some of the details in the facades and interiors of the buildings.

This beautiful book would be a perfect gift for any lovers of Art Deco Architecture!

Dynasties – The Rise and Fall of Animal Families – Stephen Moss – Author – David Attenborough – Foreword

Dynasties - The Rise and Fall of Animal Families - Stephen Moss - Author -  David Attenborough - Foreword Synopsis:Family isn’t just important. It’s everything.

From lions hunting as a pride to penguins huddling together to keep from freezing in the bitter Antarctic winter, many animals are dependent on complex social relationships for their survival. Powerful dynasties lay claim to vast swathes of territory, fighting off rivals and securing their hunting grounds for generations to come.
Dynasties offers an immersive insight into the shifting hierarchies of animal families. Each chapter follows a different dynasty, from the Marsh Lions of the Masai Mara to rival packs of painted wolves, from a tiger protecting her newborn cubs to a chimpanzee troop and the penguin colonies of the Antarctic. Alongside tender moments when bonds are strengthened through grooming and play, the book charts the rivalries that tip the balance of power, when family members turn against each other and younger animals grow strong enough to challenge for control.

With over 200 stunning photographs and insights from the crew of the BBC series, Dynasties reveals in astonishing detail the intricate social lives of our planet’s most fascinating animals.


Hot Brands Cool Places Review
Dynasties focuses on five animal families, Lions, Chimpanzees, Painted Wolves, Penguins and Tigers. In his Foreword, David Attenborough explains that ‘Animals have families, just as we do, and that is exactly what this book and it’s parent series is about’ The photography in the book is outstanding, particularly the close-up shots of individual animals, and the narrative is insightful giving both the background to the filming and the lives of the animals.

This very special book is the perfect accompaniment to the BBC Dynasties series. Highly Recommended!

Strictly Come Dancing Annual 2019 – Alison Maloney

Strictly Come Dancing Annual 2019 - Alison MaloneySynopsis: Do do do do do do do, do do do do do…

Be swept off your feet by the Strictly spectacular.
Strictly Come Dancing sashays onto our screens again with a fantastic new cast of stars ready to brave the dance floor. Swot up on your dance expertise and go behind the scenes to discover how the Strictly magic is created. With exclusive interviews with the pro dancers, their celebrity partners and the fabulous judges, this is your perfect partner for this year’s Strictly extravaganza.


Hot Brands Cool Places Review
The arrival of the Strictly Come Dancing Annual is always a fun event and this year’s edition is no exception. It includes full details on the presenting team and the judges, the celebrities and their pro partners, plus other Strictly features, quizzes and fun trivia. Richly presented with full colour photography, glitz and glamour this is a perfect companion to the series. A delightful gift for any Strictly Come Dancing fan.

World of Flowers – Johanna Basford

World of Flowers - Johanna BasfordA Colouring Book & Floral Adventure

Synopsis: An abundance of fascinating florals awaits in the gorgeous new colouring book from Johanna Basford.

Join ‘colourist queen’ Johanna Basford on a floral adventure around the world and beyond, into the realms of fantasy and imagination. This sensational new colouring book is filled with countless new blooms and blossoms, from floating gardens of water poppies in South Africa to delicate cosmos in Japan, ready for you to discover and bring to life in colour.

Get ready to show your colours!

Johanna has picked a crisp ivory paper that accentuates and compliments your chosen colour palette. The smooth, untextured pages allows for beautiful blending or gradient techniques with coloured pencils, or are perfect for pens, allowing the nib to glide evenly over the surface without feathering.


Hot Brands Cool Places Review
Johanna says that this book was inspired by her grandmother, who was both a gardener and an artist, and the illustrations are exquisite. We have loved all of Johanna’s previous colouring books but this is one of our favourites! The presentation is stunning, the quality of the paper and the detail in the designs will make it a joy for anyone of any age who enjoys colouring. With Tips for Colouring at the front and a beautiful wrap-around cover this would make a wonderful gift as well as a very enjoyable and relaxing activity. We loved it! Highly Recommended!

Maison – Home – Book of the Month

Maison - Home - Book of the MonthSynopsis: Good friends Ines de la Fressange, the paragon of Parisian chic, and Marin Montagut, the acclaimed watercolourist of the charming Bonjour map and city guides, share a passion for vibrant interiors that artfully blend a variety of design traditions into harmonious and very personal living spaces.

The authors take readers inside fifteen Parisian apartments—including each of their own—that demonstrate how to imbue a home with a sense of well-being through a mix of vintage and contemporary styles. Each owner is passionate about home décor—whether in a studio, loft, or town house—and their interiors continually evolve with new treasures uncovered in flea markets, on world travels, at design fairs, or in the workshops of artisans.

With a robust embrace of high-low, the spaces they love most feature natural materials like wood, wicker and bamboo to create homes of warmth and personality enhanced with family antiques, humble, yet deeply meaningful objects collected over a lifetime, plus gorgeous textiles, handcrafts, art and lots of colour.

With extensive photographs, Marin’s watercolour illustrations, mood boards, colour palettes and practical advice on the indispensable objects that personalize each maison, the book is rich in inspiration for creating a Parisian chic home bursting with your own personality.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Ines de la Fressange is the best-selling author of Parisian Chic, art director of fashion and home accessories at Ines de la Fressange Paris, creative consultant for Roger Vivier, designer for men’s and women’s lines at Uniqlo and a model. Marin Montagut is a designer and an author and illustrator of the Bonjour City-Map Guides series. His Parisian garden-themed watercolors have been produced as wallpaper for Pierre Frey and ceramics for his own brand. His other collaborations include French brands such as Diptyque Paris, L’Occitaine, and Sézane. Claire Cocano is an award-winning French photographer. She works regularly for MilK Décoration and her photographs were published in Habiter Zingaro: Le fort d’Aubervilliers.

© MAISON: PARISIAN CHIC AT HOME by Ines de la Fressange and Marin Montagut, Flammarion, 2018.


Hot Brands Cool Places Review
We absolutely love this book!! Every once in a while a book arrives that makes you want to stop what you are doing and just immerse yourself in it, and this is one of those books. We love everything about it, but we particularly love the subtlety of the presentation of the book, even the book jacket unfolds into a mood poster to inspire readers to ‘infuse their homes with Parisian chic and elegance’.

There is so much detail, not just in the stunning photography, but in the inspiring advice, the gorgeous mood boards, Marin’s watercolours throughout, the colour palettes and the beautiful illustrations in the ‘Get the Look’ which follow each in depth look at the homes. Whether you are setting up home, or want to revitalise your existing home this is a most inspiring book.

This is one of our Top 10 favourite books this year and we are delighted that it is our Home Book of the Month!

The Sky at Night: Book of the Moon – A Guide to Our Closest Neighbour – Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock

The Sky at Night: Book of the Moon – A Guide to Our Closest Neighbour - Dr Maggie Aderin-PocockSynopsis: How well do you know our closest neighbour?

Featured on BBC Radio 4 Saturday Live

The moon has fascinated humankind since the beginning of history. But far from being just a big rock out in space, the Moon has a phenomenal power over the earth, with it‘s ability to create great waves, dictate the length of the day and summon the seasons. It is a key player in the story of our planet.

In this unique celebration of the Moon, lunar expert and space scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock takes readers on a journey through the Moon’s past, present and future. She uncovers the way the Moon has captured our imaginations, contemplates how it was formed, and uncovers why we need the Moon to protect our fragile earth. Drawing on the latest scientific research, she then looks forward to what might be to come – will we return to the moon or will it become a launch pad to go into the great unknown?

Filled with fascinating facts and anecdotes, and written with warmth and passion, The Book of the Moon is for scientists and stargazers alike. You’ll never look at our closest neighbour in the same way again.


Hot Brands Cool Places Review
The Book of the Moon is an absolutely fascinating book! Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock’s writing is very accessible and she writes with such passion in a book brimming with information, covering her own personal interest in the Moon, fascinating facts about the Moon, its characteristics, its place in our culture, how best to view the Moon, its future and so much more. Every page has something new to discover, if you are interested in finding out more about the Moon, you will love this delightful book!

RHS How To Garden When You’re New To Gardening – DK

RHS How To Garden When You're New To Gardening - DKSynopsis: Let the RHS guide you through the surprisingly simple steps to creating a garden you can enjoy with your friends, and even show off to them.
Are you surrounded by weeds? Is your lawn forlorn? Are the bushes deceased? Fear not! How To Garden When You’re New To Gardening shows you the basics to get your green space under control and keep it that way. With the expertise of the RHS, this book gives simple step by step instructions, with clear images to help you build your dream garden, no matter the size and scale. 

Take the pain out of planting, potting, and pruning and enjoy your precious patch of land.

Buy now from Amazon.co.uk

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
We love this book! As the weather improves and there are more opportunities to go outside into the garden, this book is packed full of really helpful information. The content includes, Getting Started, Flowers & Foliage, Lawns, Climbers, Shrubs, Grasses, Small Trees, Vegetables, Herbs, Fruit and a really useful final chapter on the Practicalities of Gardening. Each chapter has step by step instructions, clear photographs and  guidance on what you will need to complete the task, a jargon buster and is cross-referenced to other useful information. If you are new to gardening, or just need a refresher on some of the basic tasks this is a brilliant book. We are delighted to select it as our Gardening Book of the Month!

Drive – Giles Chapman – Foreword Jodie Kidd

Drive - Giles Chapman - Foreword Jodie KiddSynopsis: A car book which takes you through motoring history, from classic cars to how we enjoy driving today, and beyond. As Jodie Kidd says in her introduction “Sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride”.

From the public’s amazement at the idea of a horseless carriage to today’s excitement for driverless vehicles, find out everything you need to know about motoring from 1895 to the present day. Begin your journey through the history of motoring with Drive, and weave your way through the twists and turns of the early days, through to how the motorcar has shaped the modern world over the last century.

It also reveals the exciting and impressive advances in technology and design that have made cars faster, safer, and better to drive, and transformed them from a means of transport into objects of status, excitement, and desire. 

Speed through personal accounts of motoring throughout the years, and discover exciting new facts about the world’s most famous racing events. From the first service stations to the latest fuel cell, this book tells the full motoring story.

Buy now from www.amazon.co.uk/

Hot Brands Cool Places Review
This is a sumptuous book, it is described as “The Definitive History of Motoring” and it certainly has tried to achieve that aim. With over 300 pages from the first chapter on Inventing the Car until coming right up to date with Driving Into the Future it is packed with fascinating information and stunning illustrations. To complete the book it ends with suggestions for Great Drives across the world. A perfect gift for any lover of motoring, this is a book to savour and enjoy.

Art, Passion & Power – Michael Hall

Art, Passion & Power - Michael HallThe Story of the Royal Collection
Foreword by H.R.H The Prince Of Wales

Synopsis: The Royal Collection is the last great collection formed by the European monarchies to have survived into the twenty-first century. Containing over a million artworks and objects, it covers all aspects of the fine and decorative arts, from paintings by Rembrandt and Michelangelo to grand sculpture, Fabergé eggs and some of the most exquisite furniture ever made. The Royal Collection also offers a revealing insight into the history of the British monarchy from William the Conqueror to Queen Elizabeth II, recording the tastes and obsessions of kings and queens over the past 500 years.

With unprecedented access to the royal residences of St James’ Palace, Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace, Art, Passion & Power traces the history of this national institution from the Middle Ages to the present day, exploring how royalty used the arts to strengthen their position as rulers by divine right and celebrating treasures from the Crown Jewels to the “Abraham” tapestries in Hampton Court Palace. Author Michael Hall examines the monarchy’s response to changing attitudes to the arts and sciences during the Enlightenment and celebrates the British monarchy’s role in the democratisation of art in the modern world. Packed with glimpses of rarely seen artworks, Art, Passion & Power is a visual treat for all art enthusiasts.

Accompanying the BBC television series and a major exhibition at the Royal Academy, Art, Passion & Power is the definitive statement on the British monarchy’s treasures of the art world.


Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict
If you have been watching the BBC television series this is a wonderful companion, beautifully illustrated with stunning photographs and a fascinating commentary by Michael Hall, this is a sumptuous book to treasure for generations to come. Highly Recommended!

The Little Book of Calm – Dr Aaron Balick

The Little Book of Calm - Dr Aaron BalickTame Your Anxieties, Face Your Fears, and Live Free


This definitive book, written by a trained psychotherapist, who regularly appears on CBBC and BBC Radio 1, offers techniques, advice and inspiration on the best and most effective ways to manage anxiety.

From exercises to help you put your worries into perspective, to relaxation methods for when anxiety attacks, Dr Aaron Balick shows you how to feel more at ease and sustain a sense of calm.


Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict
There are lots of things to like about this useful little book; the size makes it very easy to carry with you, each page offers either a suggestion or technique to help you find calm, or a different way of seeing the world, that can help you address different challenges. Coupled with quotes The Little Book of Calm is a very practical and helpful way to slow down and find a sense of calm.

Daily Kindness: 365 Days of Compassion – National Geographic

Daily Kindness: 365 Days of Compassion - National Geographic Synopsis: With enriching quotes from celebrated luminaries and striking National Geographic photography, each page of this moving book will inspire you to live with sincerity, compassion, and benevolence. Each month, you’ll practice virtues like patience, respect, and generosity that will focus your mind and heart, creating fulfillment and contentment. Both inviting and motivating, Daily Kindness invites you to reflect on life’s big and small moments, providing a way to embrace new ideas–and enrich your life every day of the year.


Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict
This is a beautiful book, the photographs, as you would expect from National Geographic, are absolutely stunning. Taking a theme for each month, the daily quotes are inspiring and uplifting. Perfect to keep close and to read at the start of each day. It would also make a gorgeous gift for someone special. We loved it. Highly Recommended!

Blue Planet II – James Honeyborne, Mark Brownlow

Blue Planet II - James Honeyborne, Mark BrownlowSynopsis: Take a deep breath and dive into the mysteries of the ocean.

Our understanding of ocean life has changed dramatically in the last decade, with new species, new behaviours, and new habitats being discovered at a rapid rate. Blue Planet II, which accompanies an epic 7-part series on BBC1, is a ground-breaking new look at the richness and variety of underwater life across our planet.

With over 200 breath-taking photographs and stills from the BBC Natural History Unit’s spectacular footage, each chapter of Blue Planet II brings to life a different habitat of the oceanic world. Voyages of migration show how each of the oceans on our planet are connected; coral reefs and arctic ice communities are revealed as thriving underwater cities; while shorelines throw up continual challenges to those living there or passing through. A final chapter explores the science and technology of the Ocean enterprise – not only how they were able to capture these amazing stories on film, but what the future holds for marine life based on these discoveries.


Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict
With a Foreword by David Attenborough and exclusive behind-the-scenes accounts of how the team captured stunning underwater footage over five years of filming; this beautiful book gives a unique insight into the ambitious filming and the extraordinary marine life found off every continent and in all the world’s oceans.

With breath-taking photography this very special book is the perfect accompaniment to the BBC1 Blue Planet II series. Highly Recommended!

Ask an Astronaut – Tim Peake

Ask an Astronaut - Tim Peake Synopsis:Ask an Astronaut is Tim’s personal guide to life in space, based on his historic Principia mission, and the thousands of questions he has been asked since his return to Earth. It follows on from the record-breaking publication of Hello is this planet Earth?, a Sunday Times Number One Bestseller with sales of 250,000 copies in six weeks, and the fastest selling popular science book since records began.

Accessible, in-depth, and written with his characteristic warmth, Tim shares his thoughts on every aspect of his mission. From training to launch, from his historic spacewalk to re-entry, he reveals for readers of all ages the cutting-edge science behind his ground-breaking experiments, and the wonders of day-to-day life on board the International Space Station.

The public were invited to submit questions using the hashtag #askanastronaut, and a selection has been answered by Tim in the book, which will be accompanied with illustrations, diagrams and never-before-seen photos.

During his mission, Tim conducted numerous ground-breaking science experiments and engaged the British public in ingenious ways. Tim became the first British astronaut to complete a spacewalk and the first person to run the London marathon in space. He spoke to hundreds of thousands of school children back on Earth via events such as the Cosmic Classroom live from the ISS, engaging over 1 million children during the whole mission. He was also involved in other memorable events, such as presenting the BRIT Awards live from space in a dinner jacket. 24 million people watched Tim blast off and over 2 million fans continue to follow his updates across social media. Last year in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, Tim was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George, an award given to those who have given distinguished service overseas, or, in Tim’s case, in space.

Tim Peake said: ‘Since returning from the International Space Station, I’ve been amazed by the warm response from thousands of people wishing to know more about my mission and what it takes to become an astronaut. I’m delighted to be able to share my experiences in Ask An Astronaut and to give a unique insight into what life in space is really like.’

Tim is pleased to announce that, as with his previous book, royalties received from the book will be donated to The Prince’s Trust.

Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict
In Ask an Astronaut ,Tim Peake writes in such an engaging and inspiring way that readers of all ages will be  absolutely fascinated by his very personal account of his mission into space.

This beautiful book full of illustrations, diagrams and stunning photographs, is like a conversation with Tim as he shares his own experiences and answers the many questions that he has been asked since his return.

Included in the chapters, are details about the Launch, Training, Life and Work on the ISS, Space Walking, Earth and Space, Return to Earth, and Looking to the Future. This is a unique book to treasure for generations to come.

We are absolutely delighted that Ask an Astronaut is our Weekend Read Book of the Month.

Photo Credit: The photos below are from Ask an Astronaut by Tim Peake published by Century and is out now.

Buy now at www.amazon.co.uk

Tim Peake’s official ESA photograph

Tim Peake’s official ESA photograph


Astronauts standing on the steps: 15 December 2015, Launch Day.

15 December 2015, Launch Day.


Life on the ISS is extremely busy, but on Sundays we usually had some free time to call family and friends back home, whilst watching the world go by!

Life on the ISS is extremely busy, but on Sundays we usually had some free time to call family and friends back home, whilst watching the world go by!

Down to Earth: Gardening Wisdom – Monty Don

Down to Earth - Monty DonSynopsis: Written as he talks, this is Monty Don right beside you in the garden, challenging norms and sharing advice.

Month-by-month, Monty reveals the jobs he does in his own garden, that he hopes are relevant to you. Discover Monty’s thoughts and musings on nature, seasons, colour, design, pests, flowering shrubs, containers, and much more. Monty’s intimate and lyrical writing is accompanied by photos of his own garden.

The perfect gift for the gardener in your life.

“I have written many gardening books but this is the distillation of 50 years of gardening experience. It has all the tips and essential pieces of knowledge that enable you to make your garden grow well, and it also shares my view that gardening is the secret to living well too.” – Monty

Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict
This handy sized book is packed full with really helpful and sensible advice from one of our favourite gardeners. What we loved most is that it is like a conversation with Monty as he takes you through his thoughts on many aspects of gardening from the seasons, to different types of gardens, to practical tasks and so much more.

This is followed by a calendar of activities for each month of the year, plus throughout the book there are beautiful pictures of his own garden.

The title of the book is very apt as his advice really is down to earth, but what shines through is his love and passion for gardening and we are delighted that this beautifully written book is our Gardening Book of the Month! Highly Recommended!

Down to Earth: Gardening Wisdom by Monty Don, published by DK and available now for £17.99, dk.com

Tricia Guild Paint Box – Tricia Guild

Tricia Guild Paint Box - Tricia Guild45 palettes for choosing colour texture and pattern

Synopsis: So many people find choosing colours that work together to be the most challenging part of doing up their homes. The trick to putting together rooms that are good to look at as well as easy to live in is to start with a colour palette that suits you and your situation. Tricia Guild has spent her life working with colour, pattern and texture to create beautiful rooms and producing collections of paint, fabric and wallpapers – the colour palettes she uses to achieve them.

In this inspiring and practical book she’s lifted the lid on her ‘paint box’, providing visual inspiration, expert advice and 45 bespoke palettes. Each story describes its inspiration and features a room showing how it can be used. Hints and tips – such as how to use plains, patterns and texture, or how to alter the balance of the colours – spell out how to create different effects. Mood boards demonstrate how to ensure your chosen palettes will work. With all these elements at your disposal all you need to do is open up the Paint Box and get creative!


Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict
If you are looking for inspiration this Autumn for your home, this beautiful book is a delightful place to start. Each palette tells a story, of its inspiration, how it is created and with advice on how to use it. The book is full of stunning images showing the colours in their full glory, supported by mood boards where you can almost reach into the book and feel the textures. If you love colour you will adore this book, which is why it is our Interiors Book of the Month.

Gone For Lunch – Laura Archer

Gone For Lunch - Laura Archer52 things to do in your lunch break

Synopsis: Gone for Lunch is for everyone who wants to reclaim their lunch break – whether they have a whole hour, or just 30 minutes to spare. In this friendly, fun and inspirational book, there’s a challenge for every week of the year. Each activity is designed to be suitable for anyone anywhere – at home or at work, in the city or the countryside.

After failing to take a lunch break for several weeks, Laura Archer set herself a lunchtime challenge for every week of the year and began chronicling her escapades. Drawing buildings, trying yoga classes, volunteering, going for bike rides, handwriting letters: her challenges ranged from indoor to outdoor, active to sedentary, and the effect they had on her was magical. She discovered old flames, past joys, new hobbies. By claiming back that single hour in the middle of the day, Laura turned her life into something richer and happier – a simple change, with wondrous consequences. Now you can be inspired by her ideas too!

Buy now from Amazon.co.uk

Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict
We love this gorgeous and uplifting little book. As our summer holidays slip behind us and the children go back to school, this is a wonderful opportunity to reclaim some time just for you. However busy you are, whether you are self-employed, or work for someone else, there is inspiration here to take a break and do something different, even for just a few minutes.  Highly Recommended!

The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down – Haemin Sunim (Author) Chi-Young Kim (Translator)

The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down - Haemin Sunim (Author) Chi-Young Kim (Translator)Synopsis: The world moves fast, but that doesn’t mean we have to. In this timely guide to mindfulness, Haemin Sunim, a Buddhist monk born in Korea and educated in the United States, offers advice on everything from handling setbacks to dealing with rest and relationships, in a beautiful book combining his teachings with calming full-colour illustrations. Haemin Sunim’s simple messages – which he first wrote when he responded to requests for advice on social media – speak directly to the anxieties that have become part of modern life and remind us of the strength and joy that come from slowing down.

Hugely popular in Korea, Haemin Sunim is a Zen meditation teacher whose teachings transcend religions and borders and resonate with people of all ages. With insight and compassion drawn from a life full of change, the ‘mega-monk’ succeeds at encouraging all of us to notice that when you slow down, the world slows down with you.

Buy The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down: How to be Calm in a Busy World from Amazon.co.uk

Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict
The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down is a delightful book, with beautiful and tranquil illustrations. There are eight chapters, addressing various aspects of life, from love and friendships to work and aspirations, and how mindfulness can help us in each. Reading Haemin Sunim’s wise words is like visiting an oasis of calm in a busy day. Highly Recommended!

Hello, is this planet Earth? by Tim Peake

Hello,is this planet Earth? by Tim PeakeSynopsis: Hello, is this planet Earth? takes readers on a mesmerizing tour of astronaut Tim Peake’s historic and inspirational six-month Principia mission. Based on over 150 of Tim’s stunning photographs that he took on board the International Space Station, many of which have not been seen before, this lavish collection showcases the beauty of Earth from above, and is the perfect visual time capsule of Tim’s remarkable trip, which captured the imaginations of millions of children and adults across the world.

The book can be enjoyed by readers of all ages, and comes with a personal commentary from Tim, full of his characteristic warmth and charm. The book includes breath-taking aerial photos of cities illuminated at night, the northern lights and unforgettable vistas of oceans, mountains and deserts. The title of the book is inspired by Tim’s famous ‘wrong number’ dialed from space, when he accidentally misdialed a woman from the Space Station and inquired, ‘Hello, is this planet Earth?’

During his mission, Tim conducted numerous ground-breaking science experiments and engaged the British public in ingenious ways. Tim became the first British astronaut to complete a spacewalk and the first person to run the London marathon in space. He spoke to hundreds of thousands of school children back on Earth via events such as the Cosmic Classroom live from the ISS, engaging over 1 million children during the whole mission. He was also involved in other memorable events, such as presenting the BRIT Awards live from space in a dinner jacket. 24 million people watched Tim blast off and over 2 million fans continue to follow his updates across social media. In the Queen’s Birthday Honours, Tim was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George, an award given to those who have given distinguished service overseas, or, in Tim’s case, in space.

Tim is delighted to announce that all of his proceeds received from the book will be donated to The Prince’s Trust.

Tim Peake said, ‘It’s impossible to look down on Earth from space and not be mesmerised by the fragile beauty of our planet. During my mission I became determined to share this unique perspective of the one place we all call ‘home’. This book captures a journey of discovery, not just the discovery of planet Earth – a stunning oasis of life in the vastness of space – but also the discovery of a newfound passion for photography, which has had a major impact on me. I hope readers enjoy leafing through these pages as much as I enjoyed taking these pictures.’

Buy Hello, is this planet Earth?: My View from the International Space Station (Official Tim Peake Book) from Amazon.co.uk

Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict
‘Hello, is this planet Earth?’ is a wonderfully unique book. Tim’s very personal commentary and the absolutely stunning photographs give readers a once in a lifetime opportunity to see our planet in a totally different way. We loved the view of the UK and Europe at night with the cities illuminated, the mesmerising sunrises and sunsets, the impossibly blue oceans. This is a book to treasure, a perfect Christmas gift for all generations. Highly Recommended! We are delighted that Hello, is this planet Earth? is our Book of the Month.

Planet Earth II by Stephen Moss

Planet Earth II by Stephen MossSynopsis: On the 10th anniversary of the BBC’s genre-defining Planet Earth, this brilliant new book is an all-new look at our astonishing Planet Earth – from a completely new perspective.

10 years on from the first, groundbreaking, Planet Earth, we use the most incredible advances in technology and scientific discovery to bring you the most exciting and immersive picture of our world’s wildlife yet.

With over 200 breathtaking photographs and stills from the BBC Natural History Unit’s spectacular footage, this is an extraordinary new look at the complex life of some of the most amazing places on Planet Earth.

Each chapter reveals an environment – some never-before-seen, some astonishingly familiar – defined by a unique set of rules required for survival. From the most desolate desert to the depths of the jungle, from blistering heat and freezing cold to perpetual darkness and deadly UV, discover how a whole host of creatures have adapted to life in the most extreme conditions. And how they compete with one another to become the largest, the fastest, the most poisonous, or most devious – all in a bid to survive.

Planet Earth II includes the first in-depth look at the urban environment, and the surprising range of behaviours occurring right under our noses, as well as some previously untouched island worlds. Filmed with the latest  infra-red technology, these are the challenges, the confrontations, and the triumphs of some of the most extraordinary creatures in the natural world, told from their perspective.

This is our planet, as you have never seen it before

Buy Planet Earth II now from Amazon.co.uk

Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict
The photography in Planet Earth II is absolutely stunning; the book focuses on six very different environments, with fascinating new stories and characters, including the desert-dwelling blind ‘dune sharks’ and the pygmy sloths unique to one island, crab-killing crazy ants and pigeon- catching fish. From the most unlikely urban dwellers to mountain top survivors. This is a view of the world we are rarely able to see.

With a foreword by Sir David Attenborough, ‘Planet Earth II  gives us a greater understanding of the natural world, the way it works and what it needs if it is to continue to survive.’ This book is a fabulous companion to Planet Earth II,  a six-part series just started on BBC One. Highly Recommended!

V&A Twelve Days of Christmas

V&A Twelve Days of ChristmasSynopsis: Combining handpicked patterns from the V&A’s William Morris archive with stunning new illustrations in keeping with the timeless designs, this beautiful book brings the words of the classic Twelve Days of Christmas song to life. With a gilded fabric cover, thick matte pages full of gorgeous finishes and brilliantly bold end papers, this edition is made to be treasured by children, parents, teenagers and adults of all ages.

Buy V&A: The Twelve Days of Christmas from Amazon.co.uk

Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict
This is a very beautiful book, an absolutely delightful gift for all the family and an inspiration for all fans of art and design. We love the gorgeous illustrations and the production makes it a book that will become a special part of Christmas for years to come. Highly Recommended!

The Official Strictly Come Dancing Annual 2017

The Official Strictly Come Dancing Annual 2017Synopsis: Don your finest feather boa and be prepared to shimmy under the glitterball as series 14 of Strictly Come Dancing is back and more glamorous than ever…

Will Young, Daisy Lowe, Ed Balls and Laura Whitmore are amongst the all-star cast of celebrities this year. This annual is your perfect partner for the glittering world of Strictly with exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes exclusives.

Get a behind-the-scenes guided tour of the legendary Blackpool Tower, learn how to decorate your own ballroom shoes and get the lowdown on all of the celebs and dancers. The Official Strictly Come Dancing Annual 2017 is simply fabulous.

Let yourself be twirled around the dance floor by the 2017 annual, your perfect guide to drama and dancing.

Official Strictly Come Dancing Annual 2017 (BBC Books, £12.99)

Buy Official Strictly Come Dancing Annual 2017: The Official Companion to the Hit BBC Series now from Amazon.co.uk

Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict
If you love Strictly Come Dancing you will love this book! Packed full with details on all the celebrities and their professional partners, plus special Strictly features including, past winners, Strictly rituals, creating your own ballroom shoes, behind-the-scenes at Blackpool, ten years of the Strictly tour, and much much more! A perfect gift for all fans of Strictly Come Dancing!

How to Series by Thich Nhat Hanh

How to BooksFive pocket sized essential guides to Life

How to RelaxHow to Relax is part of a new series of books from Zen Master, Thich Nhat Hanh, exploring the essential foundations of mindful meditation and practice.

This book guides us in achieving deep relaxation, controlling stress, and renewing mental clarity. With sections on healing, relief from non-stop thinking, transforming unpleasant sounds, solitude, and more, How to Relax will help you achieve the benefits of relaxation no matter where you are.


How to SitHow to Sit
How to Sit provides explicit, simple directions on the mechanics of posture and breathing, along with instructions for how best to achieve an awakened, relaxed state of clarity to cultivate concentration and compassion.



How to EatHow to Eat
How to Eat explains what it means to eat as a meditative practice and that the results of mindful eating are both global and personal. Eating a meal can help develop compassion and understanding, reminding practitioners that there are things they can do to help nourish people who are hungry and lonely. It can however also encourages moderation and will aid readers to achieve an optimum health and body weight.


How to LoveHow to Love
How to Love shows that when we feel closer to our loved ones, we are also more connected to the world as a whole. Nhat Hanh brings his signature clarity, compassion and humour to the thorny question of how to love and distils one of our strongest emotions down to four essentials: you can only love another when you feel true love for yourself; love is understanding; understanding brings compassion; and deep listening and loving speech are key ways of showing our love.


How to WalkHow to Walk
How to Walk focuses on mindful walking, and explains how this technique can diminish depression, recapture wonder and help express sincere gratitude.

Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict
This delightful set of books from Thich Nhat Hanh, are pocket sized and easy to carry with you, and packed full of helpful advice and wisdom. Whether travelling, reading at home, or in the office, they can help you escape from the world and bring peace and relaxation. A perfect gift, or for your own use, one of our favourite collections this year! Highly Recommended!

The Great British Sewing Bee: From Stitch to Style by Wendy Gardiner

The Great British Sewing Bee: From Stitch to Style by Wendy GardinerSynopsis: For those inspired by what they see on screen, From Stitch to Style accompanies all levels of sewers on their creative journeys, from tentative first stitches to confident dress making, including 25 garments to sew for women, men and children, of which many appear in challenges on the show. Starting with the Foundation chapter, sewers can choose from a collection of garments that will ease them into the world of sewing. Moving on to the Inspiration chapter, sewers are encouraged to look around them and seek inspiration from alternative sources beyond the high street and look at ways of incorporating that inspiration in their fabrics choices and garment silhouettes. Finally, the Experimentation chapter brings everything previously learnt together and challenges the sewer to explore working with different fabrics, non-conventional sewing methods and tricky techniques.

Buy now from Amazon.co.uk

Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict
We love The Great British Sewing Bee series and the books that accompany the series.

The Great British Sewing Bee: From Stitch to Style is another fabulous example of how aspiring designers can take inspiration from the show to create their own masterpieces.

With over 25 garment designs for women, men and children, plus a wealth of sewing techniques, tips and tricks from the expert seamstresses and tailors that contribute to the series, The Great British Sewing Bee: From Stitch to Style is more than a project book; it is also an indispensable reference that will elevate your sewing to a professional level. We loved it! Highly Recommended!

Penguins and other Sea Birds by Matt Sewell

Penguins  and other Sea Birds – Matt SewellSynopsis: Did you know…

The Galápagos Penguin’s speckled markings make each of them as unique as a snowflake?

The Emperor Penguin weighs the same as a Labrador retriever?

The Adélie Penguin takes its name from the sweetheart of a Napoleonic naval captain turned explorer?

From tiny fairy penguins to the regal emperor penguin, street artist and ornithologist, Matt Sewell, illustrates one of the world’s favourite birds in this charming follow-up to Owls, Our Garden Birds, Our Songbirds and Our Woodland Birds. Matt captures the famously quirky characters of penguins through his unique and much-loved watercolours accompanied by whimsical descriptions. You’ll discover everything you’ve ever wondered about this enigmatic bird and his feathered friends from across the globe.


 Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict

We love Matt Sewell’s books, and Penguins and other Sea Birds is another example of what he does best, introducing us to a wide variety of sea birds together with his delightful descriptions and his very beautiful illustrations, There is also a Spotting and Jotting section at the back and while you may have to look further afield for some of the examples this delightful book can stimulate the interest about birds in general with your little ones this Easter Holiday. Highly Recommended!

Unforgettable Walks – Julia Bradbury

Unforgettable Walks - Julia BradburySynopsis: Ties into the major new primetime 8-part ITV1 series Best Walks With a View

Julia Bradbury takes us on eight of the UK’s best-loved walks, show casing the beauty of Britain. As she navigates the reader through the sights and sounds, the flora and fauna and the past and present of eight fascinating and relaxing paths, Julia reveals there are still discoveries to be made, even on some of on the more well-trodden paths, including some excellent pubs.

Both a practical guide and a love letter to walking and walkers, this book explores who walkers are and how walking across a landscape brings its people together, and show even those who don’t live in the countryside are never more than a train ride away from stunning natural beauty. Drawing on the great British nature writing tradition and accompanied with maps and illustrations, this beautiful book will fit as well on a bookshelf as in a rucksack.

Each of the walks featured in the book is under 10 miles. Collectively they cover the whole range of Britain’s diverse and beautiful landscapes, from the Jurassic coast of Dorset and the rich history of the South Downs to the breathtaking home-grown scenery of the Peak District and the Yorkshire Dales

The Walks
1 Dorset: The Golden Cap Walk
2 The Cotswolds: The Cleeve Hill Walk
3 Anglesey: The Snowdon View Walk
4 The Dales: The Malham Cove Walk
5 The Lakes: The Borrowdale Valley Walk
6 Cumbria: The High Cup Nick Walk
7 The South Downs: The Birling Gap Walk
8 The Peak District: The Kinder Scout Walk



Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict
Julia has a wonderful reassuring voice, which comes through this book full of anecdotes and describing the beautiful countryside and the people she meets on the way. Encouraging us to go and start discovering the magical walks that she describes. This delightful book is a perfect companion to the upcoming ITV1 series Best Walks With a View. We loved it! Highly Recommended!

The Simple Art of Origami – Mari Ono

The Simple Art of OrigamiThe Simple Art of Origami reveals the best of true Japanese design, focusing on understanding and using paper in a modern and authentic style to make beautiful gifts, decorations, and more. Tokyo-born graphic designer Mari Ono reveals the top Japanese origami techniques in a range of projects, each with clear step-by-step images and easy-to-follow instructions. Also included are 50 pieces of gorgeous origami paper to help you get started.

The projects range from traditional ideas to more contemporary designs. Give a card embellished with Oriental symbols of love and luck on a special occasion or fill a vase with pretty paper irises to decorate your home. Why not present some roses in your own handmade flower box, or if you are an animal lover, bring paper to life by folding a rabbit or a crane?

With tips and variations throughout, this is the book that will show you how to create truly authentic Japanese papercrafts using the best papers from the modern East.


The Simple Art of Origami ExampleHot Brands Cool Places Verdict

Take one 12 year old, one stunning book, beautiful paper, result – half-term creative activity sorted! The Simple Art of Origami is a delightful collection of very pretty and useful Origami creations. The designs are graded for levels of difficulty and the step-by-step photographs really help with the creation. Our young reviewer absolutely loved it.

With clear instructions, inspiring photographs, and gorgeous paper this book is a joy for all ages. Highly Recommended!

Accidentally Overweight by Dr. Libby Weaver

Accidentally Overweight - Dr. Libby WeaverSynopsis:
In a dynamic, fresh approach to weight loss, acclaimed nutritional biochemist Dr Libby Weaver shows that the ‘calorie equation’ – how much you eat versus how much you move – is not the only determinant of our body shape and size.
Drawing on her 17 years of clinical practice, her strong scientific background in both nutrition and dietics and her PhD in biochemistry, Dr Libby discusses the real factors that cause us either to lose or gain weight. These nine factors are calories, stress hormones, sex hormones, liver function, thyroid function, gut bacteria, insulin, the nervous system and emotions.


Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict
This is a thought provoking book, Dr Libby Weaver emphasizes the importance of reading this book all the way through rather than dipping into it, as there is a sequence to the way the book is presented. Looking first at Digestion she then describes the weight loss puzzle as having 9 elements including the following: Calories, Stress Hormones, Sex Hormones, The Liver, Gut Bacteria, The Thyroid, Insulin, The Nervous System, Emotions, which she examines in turn. Together with case studies this is a useful and helpful book in identifying a new and interesting approach to how our bodies work.

Stuffocation by James Wallman 

Stuffocation - James Wallman

In this brilliant and original book, James Wallman explains and analyses why Stuffocation is the most pressing problem of our time – and then goes in search of its solution. On the way, he goes down the halls of the Élysée Palace with Nicolas Sarkozy, up in a helicopter above Barbra Streisand’s house on the California coast, and into the world of the original Mad Men.Through fascinating characters and brilliantly told stories, Wallman introduces the innovators whose lifestyles provide clues to how we will all be living tomorrow, and he makes some of the world’s most counter-intuitive, radical, and world changing ideas feel inspiring – and possible for us all.


Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict
In Stuffocation James Wallman encourages the reader to focus less on possessions and more on experiences. Wallman suggests that rather than buying a new watch or another pair of shoes, we should invest in shared experiences like holidays and time with friends. It is an intriguing read with insights on psychology, economics and culture. Fascinating and thought provoking, full of questions and debate, perfect for a weekend read!

The Art of Typewriting Marvin Sackner – Ruth Sackner

The Art of TypewritingSynopsis:

The beloved typewriter – its utilitarian beauty, the pleasing percussive action of striking its keys, the singularity of the impressed page – is enjoying a renaissance across the creative industries.

In this authoritative book, the authors apply their experience to mine the collection they have created over four decades to present over 550 examples produced by more than sixty of the world’s finest contributors to the genre.

From the early ornamental works produced by secretaries in the late nineteenth century to more recent works that consider the uniqueness of the typewritten document in the digital age, there is an astonishing – and delightful – range of creativity in every artwork. The book features three main sections: an introduction to the history of the typewriter and its art; an expansive plate section showing key works, rendered in exquisite detail; and a reference section featuring biographies of the most influential artists and writers.

Designed by top graphic design studio and typewriter aficionados Graphic Thought Facility, this is a once-in-a-generation publication, carefully curated through decades of first-hand experience to inspire a new wave of designers and artists for the future. An authoritative and ambitious overview of the graphic art produced by artists and writers who have used the typewriter as a tool and a medium.


Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict

We loved the creativity in this beautiful book, it is an absolutely stunning collection of over 570 illustrations in colour and black and white. A very special book to inspire and treasure!

In an original approach to cover design each copy of the book is designed with its own unique cover. Highly Recommended!


Official Strictly Come Dancing Annual 2016

Strictly Annual 2016Synopsis: Dust off your sequins as series 13 of Strictly Come Dancing is back on our screens. Put your best foot forward with the 2016 annual, the perfect partner. 

Take a sneak peak into Craig’s dressing room as he discusses his Strictly Saturday, eat like a dancer with our tasty recipes and take a tan-tastic tour of the tanning booths. The Official Strictly Come Dancing Annual 2016 is as lively as a foxtrot! 

Featuring a dazzling new cast of celebrities, exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes stories this annual is a glittering companion to everything Strictly.


Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict
If you love Strictly Come Dancing you will love this book, packed full with entertaining facts and behind-the-scenes information including profiles of all the celebrities and their professional partners. This is the perfect companion to your weekend viewing.

A delightful gift for any Strictly fans! Highly Recommended!