A Fine Romance by Susan Branch

imageAt the weekend I finished reading ‘A Fine Romance’ by Susan Branch. A book about her voyage to England on the Queen Mary 2. The book starts off with the transatlantic crossing from New York, here she shares her experiences of life aboard the ship. A Fine Romance follows their journey throughout England, visiting places like the Cotswolds, Yorkshire and The Lakes. She also takes us to the homes of Jane Austen and Beatrix Potter.

The book travels back in time touching on when Joe and Susan met, and mentions how their relationship blossomed. The voyage to England starts on the remarkable ship ‘The Queen Mary 2’ embarking from New York. They will be spending two months in England travelling around various parts of the UK, where they will be visiting friends and national trust properties along the way. The book features beautiful illustrations and photographs of their travels. And this book wouldn’t be complete without the recipes!

It was an easy read which I couldn’t put down (I finished reading this within a week), it quickly became my bedtime reading. I was saddened when I turned the last page and the trip was over. So much so, I’ve just ordered Martha’s Vineyard and The Fairy Tale Girl. I plan on purchasing a couple of Susan Branch books each month as a treat to myself.

This would be the perfect read for anyone who loves the English countryside and historic properties belonging to the National Trust.

Have you read any books by Susan Branch? What was your favourite?

Rating – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book Review – L’art de la Simpicité by Dominique Loreau

I first stumbled upon L’art de la Simplicité by Dominique Loreau whilst shopping in WHSmith in January. When I returned home I downloaded the sample to my kindle app. A month later I decided to purchase the book from WHSmith as I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I must admit to judging the book by its cover, and it didn’t disappoint!

The book is split into three parts. The first part Materialism and Minimalism covers material excess, in praise of minimalism and ethics and aesthetics. Part two Body covers your beauty, minimalist beauty care and eat less but better. Part three Mind covers your inner ecology, other people and polish yourself like a pebble.

I found the writing style easy, never patronising, and because of this I wanted to continue to turn the pages. I will re-read certain parts of the book again and again.

If you enjoy reading self-help or self-improving books then you’ll enjoy this. If you enjoyed Marie Kondo’s writing style, this is on par with that also. If you’re wanting to curb materialism this a good place to start.

I will never be a minimalist with 100 possessions but I am being a more conscious consumer since reading this book. Part one of the book is something I will read on a monthly basis as I found that chapter of the book struck a cord with me. I’ve also found myself letting go of things since reading this and being picky with what I bring into my home.

Let me know if you’d read this or will read it. I’m interested to see what you think of it.

Daphne du Maurier – Rebecca

imageI decided to start off my 2017 reading list with Rebecca, after numerous recommendations from my IG friends. This is my first du Maurier book I’ve read and it didn’t disappoint.

Although the first few chapters were slow, I am pleased I persevered with the book. It just took me a while to get fully absorbed into the story. For a female writer, Daphne du Maurier’s writing style is dark. Rebecca has many twists and turns which keeps the reader wanting to turn the page to find out what’s going to happen next. This was evident at the latter stage of the book.

After reading Rebecca, I am looking forward to reading more of Daphne du Maurier. Initially I would have given the book 4/5 but after completing the book and thinking about the writing style, characters and how gripping it was I would now rate it 5/5.

Rebecca has quite a few characters all of whom were believable. The most memorable character for me was Mrs Danver’s.

Hygge: A Celebration of Simple Pleasures

The latest book I have read on Hygge is Charlotte Abrahams – Hygge: A Celebration of Simple Pleasures.

image

Having read Meik Wiking’s The Little Book of Hygge, I have found that nothing tops his book in terms of content.

Charlotte Abrahams book is written in a different way entirely, some areas of the book I found dragged for me and other chapters were mostly facts and figures and what furniture you should buy. A highlight of the book for me were her tips on how to add Hygge into your everyday. Hygge doesn’t have to be expensive. It can be enjoying coffee with friends, a nice meal with family or a cup of tea and a book/magazine under a blanket.

If I were to recommend one book on Hygge it would be Meik Wiking’s as it contains the best content in my opinion. As this is the final book I’ll be reading on Hygge I didn’t just want to do a book review of Charlotte Abrahams book I wanted to mention what I have been doing to make my life more Hyggelig, it is something I’ve being doing for years now, but I call it being cosy.

The things I do to be more Hyggelig are:

Reading before bed and when I first wake up. This to me is the perfect way to unwind after a busy day and a little self indulgence on a morning. I tend to wake up 30 minutes earlier to enjoy another chapter of a book.

Taking a break from social media for 24 hours. I tend to start this at 4pm on a Thursday afternoon. I know it’s cheating a little as most of the internet break will be spent sleeping, but it means that I have a full evening where I don’t have my tablet or phone glued to my hand.

Lighting unscented candles around dusk and warming my pyjamas on the radiator in my bedroom. On really chilly nights, I like to place a hot water bottle in my bed to warm my toes.

Making a pot of tea and savouring the moment. Thinking about nothing and just being in the present moment with my tea pot and tea cup.

Writing in a journal. Not only is this something personal that you can look back at, but also for future generations to see the kind of person you were and what your day was like.

A nice hot bath by candlelight with a lovely smelling foam bath or bath oil, music playing in the background, pjs warming on the radiator, a mug of hot chocolate and a book waiting for you in the lounge.

These are some of the things I enjoy doing to make my life that little more cosy and hyggelig.

The Art of Hygge…

I spent a cosy afternoon reading The Art of Hygge – How to Bring Danish Cosiness into your Life by Jonny Jackson & Elias Larsen. It’s definitely a cosy little read.

The images used throughout the book really conjure up a feeling of cosiness and shows that contentment really comes from the simple things and that those alone, can bring us the greatest of pleasures.image

The book itself is split into 6 chapters, topics include natural light, soft furnishings, fires, setting the table and candles. Craft projects include lavender bags, felt slippers, pom-pom’s, mug cosies and fairy light lanterns and much more besides.

The things needed for Hygge include candlelight, cosy blankets, a day spent in the wilds, log pile, hot chocolate and someone to share it with.

My favourite chapter was chapter four – Comforting recipes for cosy nights in. The mouth-watering treats include Iced Vanilla Cookies, Cinnamon Hot Chocolate, Roasted Chestnuts, Berry Jam, Gingerbread House, Fruit Crumble, Hot Spiced Fruit Punch, Mulled Wine, Mulled Cider, butternut Squash Soup, Popcorn, Chocolate Fondue, and Spiced Banana Bread.

This book isn’t as good as The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking, but I am pleased I purchased it nonetheless, as I do pick it up every now and then.

 

The Little Book of Hygge…

The Little Book of Hygge – The Danish Way to Living Well by Meik Wiking is one of the best books on Hygge on the market. Meik Wiking’s book is beautifully written, the pictures inside conjure up a feeling of cosiness, calm and contentment. Meik Wiking is the perfect man to write about the topic of Hygge as he works for The Happiness Institute in Copenhagen.image

The book isn’t just about interiors or what makes the Danes the happiest country on the planet, it features a lot more than that. It explains how ‘Hygge’ isn’t just about candles. It’s about spending time with friends and family and making the most of the time you spend together. You can ‘Hygge’ in all seasons and weather.

I’m looking forward to making the recipes in the book and making every moment I spend with family and friends more hyggelig.

If you wanted to purchase just one book on ‘Hygge’ you can’t go wrong with this one. This is a re-read for me and I score it 5/5. It’s excellent.

 

The White Cottage Mystery – Margery Allingham…

Whilst in Waterstones last week, I was looking at the crime section with no book in mind. The title The White Cottage Mystery by Margery Allingham caught my eye. Having read the back of the book, and seeing Agatha Christie and PD James, two literary greats in the crime genre endorse her writing style, I thought I’d purchase it.image

For the past week I’ve been reading this novella. The book was originally written in 1927 as a mini series for the Express newspaper. I have enjoyed this story immensely and would definitely re-read it, as well as recommending it to anybody who loves cosy mysteries.

Without divulging too much of the plot, Eric Crowther holds a secret of everyone who lived at White Cottage, which he held over them as a ransom. This puts everyone under the suspicion of murder. When the truth is finally realised and the real killer revealed, it is very surprising and unexpected.

I would rate The White Cottage Mystery 4 out of 5. I’ll definitely be buying more of Margery Allingham’s books in the future.