This & That: January 29, 2021

Jan 29, 2021

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Full of finds to entertain, to take you to France, to open your heart, to take you back to an intriguing time in history. Classic Jimmy Choos at a steal-of-a-deal, books for living simply, living well, making human connections and organizing your kitchen as well as so much more.


The Art of Stopping: How to Be Still When You Have to Keep Going by David Kundtz

Released last week, Kundtz’s book arrived at my house on Wednesday, and I have been enjoying a couple of chapters each night. With the premise we must actually stop regularly during our days rather than slow down, Kundtz’s approach asserts the quality of our lives will deepen when we do so. From the examples I have read so far, I would absolutely agree.

Let Me Tell You What I Mean by Joan Didion

Consisting of a collection of 12 essays written from 1968 and 2000, already a bestseller and raved about by critics across the board, “Didion touches on topics ranging from newspapers (‘the problem is not so much whether one trusts the news as to whether one finds it’), to the fantasy of San Simeon, to not getting into Stanford . . . Didion ponders the act of writing: ‘I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means.’ From her admiration for Hemingway’s sentences to her acknowledgment that Martha Stewart’s story is one ‘that has historically encouraged women in this country, even as it has threatened men,’ these essays are acutely and brilliantly observed.” I am intrigued and look forward to reading in the coming months. 

The Lonely Century: How to Restore Human Connection in a World That’s Pulling Apart by Noreena Hertz

Being released next Tuesday, Noreena Hertz’s book The Lonely Century, reviews are describing it as a “bold, hopeful, and thought-provoking account by ‘one of the world’s leading thinkers’ (The Observer) of how we built a lonely world, how the pandemic accelerated the problem, and what we must do to come together again”.

Written before the pandemic occured, The Lonely Century addresses how “the fabric of community was unraveling and our personal relationships were under threat. And technology isn’t the sole culprit. Equally to blame are the dismantling of civic institutions, the radical reorganization of the workplace, the mass migration to cities, and decades of neoliberal policies that have placed self-interest above the collective good . . .

“This is not merely a mental health crisis. Loneliness increases our risk of heart disease, cancer, and dementia. Statistically, it’s as bad for our health as smoking fifteen cigarettes a day. It’s also an economic crisis, costing us billions annually. And it’s a political crisis, as feelings of marginalization fuel divisiveness and extremism around the world. But it’s also a crisis we have the power to solve.” I am going to dwell on her final point and hang on to hope, open to her suggestions of how to restore human connection.

Martha’s Very Good Things: Clever Tips & Genius Ideas for an Easier, More Enjoyable Life by Martha Stewart

Released earlier this month, Martha Stewart’s new book is a compilation of her best ‘good things’—”the original life hacks for the home—to make your life easier, more fun, more delicious, and more efficient. These practical tricks cover all areas of Martha’s domestic expertise, including decorating, organizing, homekeeping, cooking, entertaining, and celebrating.”

A Year of Living Simply by Kate Humble

Released this past September, British writer Kate Humble shares a “fresh and frank exploration of a stripped-back approach to life is uplifting, engaging and inspiring – and will help us all find balance and happiness every day.” Reviews are mixed, but I am most curious to read it as she shares her gardening and cooking and everyday life in the countryside in England with readers.

British Finds

The Last Garden in England by Julia Kelly

Highly recommended from TSLL readers, Julia Kelly’s new novel, The Last Garden in England is receiving high marks from critics as well. A story of “five women living across three different times whose lives are all connected by one very special place, The Last Garden in England explores the unexpected connections that cross time and the special places that bring people together forever”.


The Capote Tapes

Released in the UK this month, and reviewed with 4/5 stars from The Financial Times, a new documentary spotlighting the author of Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood uses tape recordings from decades ago as well as new on-camera interviews with people who knew Truman Capote to explore the impact of Capote’s explosive unfinished novel ‘Answered Prayers’ which revealed the secrets and observations and ‘dirt’ many didn’t want anyone else to know. Have a look at the trailer below and look for it today on your streaming service.

The Dig

Much anticipated, The Dig is now available to enjoy on Netflix. Starring Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes, inspired by true events which took place in England in 1938, an archaeologist embarks on the historically important excavation of Sutton Hoo. Have a look at the trailer below.


Critics are applauding Justin Timberlake’s dramatic starring in the Oscar-winning director Fisher Steven’s film Palmer. With Timberlake’s character, a fallen hometown high school football star, who has just returned from prison, becoming the protective adult to a gender non-conforming young child, the film tells a heartwarming, if not heartbreaking storyline, the trailer alone had me in tears. The power of cinema is to grow awareness of what is, and it is my hope as a teacher to students whose journeys sometimes mimick what is portrayed in this film, we will strengthen our acceptance to embrace and celebrate children and all people no matter what their gender and natural inclinations for living life with joy whether it aligns with our preconceived notions of what ‘should’ be. Perhaps losing the ‘should’ for anything would be wise, non? 🙂 Have a look at the trailer below and watch the film starting today on Apple TV.

Francophile Find


Wow. Oh my goodness, wow. I will admit, I was hesitant to tune in to the rapidly rising top series on Netflix this month as I am not a fan of crime shows – primarily because they are unnecessarily gory and explicit in violence. Fast-forward to the premise of Lupin. A classic French story told in the most unique storyline for modern viewers, the screenwriter was adamant the series be “a violence-free series”. Phew! I tuned in. And it largely is.

The videography of Paris, especially in and outside of the Louvre in the first few episodes is breath-taking, and while I haven’t finished the entire first portion of the show (five episodes) yet, I hear they will be going to the northern French coast as well as into Musée d’Orsay. Cesar winning actor Sy Omar plays the gentleman burglar, and he is just that, emphasis on the former.

Learn about the series which puts a new twist on a classic French tale and discover the inspiration which guided the series as it came to be. Check out the trailer below, enjoy the first five episodes now on Netflix and look for the second batch of episodes, six of them (already filmed) to become available this summer.

Makers Paris by Carrie Soloman and Kate van den Boogert 

Released last April, but worth sharing if you haven’t come across it, Makers Paris introduces readers to “the locals behind thirty-five of Paris’s unique shops, studios, and more. Through beautifully illustrated spreads, immerse yourself in the daily practices of diverse creatives including fashion designer Isabel Marant; baker Apollonia Poilâne, whose sourdough loaves are the toast of the city; fourth-generation art supplier Sophie Sennelier; Palais-Royal shoe designer Pierre Hardy; jet-setting street artist and hotelier André Saraiva; bookseller Sylvia Whitman who continues her father’s literary heritage with flair” just to name a few. “Makers Paris takes you inside their businesses to show you how they invent, craft, and sell their wares, and demonstrates in the process how each maker’s own passions and talents splendidly intersect with their city’s hunger for quality, style, and substance.”

Paris in Winter: An Illustrated Memoir by David Coggins

Released in 2015, American writer and artist David Coggins’ “delicate and intimate drawings capture classic Parisian scenes as well as family and friends against the backdrop of the elegant City of Light under the cloak of winter. Across cafes and hotels, apartments and galleries, the family mixes with a lively group of Parisian and international actors, designers, writers, and students. Furthermore, Coggins weaves in fascinating bits of the city’s history and artistic lore, from Victor Hugo’s interior designs to the painting that legend has it started Impressionism, to delight Francophiles all over.”


Your Do-Anything Kitchen: The Trusty Guide to a Smarter, Tidier, Happier Space by Food52

Released this past September, “you’ll get to know which cooking tools are must-haves, discover new pantry staples for on-a-whim meals, and learn tons of tips to make your fridge (freezer, too!) work even harder for you. You’ll find strategies for tidying storage-container clutter and arranging all your cooking gadgets–and while you’re at it, maximizing precious drawer and counter space. Once you’ve gotten your kitchen in order, you can start cooking with a new spring in your step, thanks to a handy how-to on knife skills and a mini-guide to mise en place. A chapter chock-full of cleaning advice will keep your kitchen at its spiffiest.” So much to offer and while we are gearing up for the big spring cleaning tasks, this might be just the book to spark the taking on of the rewarding tasks.


The House Guest by Country & Town Home UK

In the middle of my primary bedroom redecoration, I have been looking to the expertise of trusted interior designers. In my searching, I happened upon a new-to-me podcast from Country & Town Home magazine – The House Guest. With nearly 100 episodes, each episode includes an interview of a trusted and established interior design expert as they share their wisdom. I throughly enjoyed the first episode with Nina Campbell, and look forward to tuning in to many more.


Jimmy Choo black Haywood 95 pebbled-leather knee boots (on sale -70% – many sizes still available)

Drastically reduced, Jimmy Choo’s pebbled-leather knee boots are a staple in the winter shoe capsule. At 3.5″ in height, and classic in their style, I scooped up a pair as on my list to update my own closet, a pair just like these was on my list. Shop now (the price reflects 45% off, and an additional 40% will be taken at the checkout).

Oscar de la Renta gold-tone cord and faux feather clip earrings

A statement earring is becoming the style must-do with the many Zoom meetings we have; however, statement earrings such as these, with hair pulled up and back and a simple neckline will look stunning in person as well as on the screen (and they are on sale!).

Satin Stand Collar Blouse

Simple, classic, stunning and eliminates nearly all need for jewelry when paired with tailored pants, flattering footwear and chic hair and a healthy glow. (available in lavender as well)


Firefly Lane

Premiering today on Netflix, based on the novels by Kristin Hannah (a two-book series), Firefly Lane is “the story of Tully and Kate, two unlikely friends from their meeting as tweens in 1974 to the present. Kate, the introvert, and Tully, the coolest girl in school, form a bond that weathers every milestone in their lives, leading up to a tragedy in the present.” Starring Sara Chaulk and Katherine Heigl, have a look at the trailer below.

~recipe for the Classic Lemon Cheesecake~

January moved swiftly it seems as we are now stepping into its final weekend. The past week brought two beautiful snowstorms prompting play and walks and wonderment by the boys and myself. I am thankful my sidewalk has a slight decline as there is much to shovel, so once I get up momentum, shoveling becomes quite easy and is a fun have-to. 🙂

Today is the last day of the month, so if you are a monthly newsletter subscriber, you will be receiving a packed-full email delivery in your inbox today – Friday morning (become a subsciber, it’s free! here). As well, TOP Tier subscribers, look for the monthly video chat of A Cuppa Moments this coming Monday as the new month begins. I am sitting down this weekend to bring the episode all together and have some exciting news to share as well as diving into a couple of topics I look forward to inviting you to explore with me :).

The weekend will be enjoyed at home with walks, writing, and really just reveling in the everyday (a couple of episodes of Lupin will likely be enjoyed as well :)). I hope you too are looking forward to a rejuvenating couple of days. Thank you very much for stopping by today and until Monday, bonne journée.

~For the first time in the 108-year history of the Chelsea Flower Garden, it will be held in late September [House & Garden UK]

~The Louvre begins to undergo a major restoration and clean-up [The New York Times]

~Virtual Cooking Classes, Food Events and Tutorials to Stream Now [Country & Town House UK]

~Discover how to be assertive rather than passive or aggressive [Life Hack]

~15 Rare Traits High-Flyers Utilize to Find Great Success [Life Hack]

~The Beauty of Buying Vintage Furniture Online [Vogue]

~Simple ideas for organizing your house for a peaceful home [Country & Town House UK]

~How to set boundaries with family and stick to them [NPR]

~Five simple strategies for sharpening your critical thinking [BBC Ideas]

~Five powerful qualities of those who are always mentally strong [Pick the Brain]

~Live in Britain? Discover the Best Afternoon Tea Deliveries in the UK [Country & Town House UK]

~Thinking about growing a cutting garden? 10 Plants for easy summer flowers [Gardeners’ World]

~I cannot wait! A Julia Child TV Series is coming to HBO Max [Food & Wine]

~Six chic ideas for decorating a studio flat [House & Garden UK]

~Are you ready to smile? Are you ready to tap your feet and just move without a care in the world? Then watch this video of talented musician Jon Batiste’s debut song from his upcoming jazz album. And if you aren’t ready to smile, but want to, watch this video 🙂

10 thoughts on “This & That: January 29, 2021

  1. Hi Shannon…thank you so much for another This & That definitely one of the highlights of my week I always find something interesting.

    But this week you knocked it right out of the ballpark with the Jon B video 😍omg it put me in such a happy place.


    1. Judi,
      Thank you so much for stopping by this week. 😌 Isn’t that video, the music and just everything about the story telling a joy to watch! So happy to hear you enjoyed it as well. Have a lovely weekend. 💛

  2. Oh my, Palmer! I shed a tear at the trailer and cannot wait to watch.
    Lupin and Firefly Lane also caught my attention – thank god for great things to watch during this pandemic. And read, and listen too! So much great inspiration in this weekly treasure trove!
    And those boots! Tres chic! Enjoy wearing them, a thing of beauty.

    Happy weekend Shannon! X

    1. Sarah, Good day and thank you for stopping by! Yes, thankfully, the online creative arts are abundant with lovely options as we seek our entertainment whilst staying at home. Have a lovely weekend. 😌💛

  3. So many ideas to investigate further! Thank you! I loved the Jon B video, just puts you in a happy place!! I have the Firefly Lane on my reminder list for Netflix. I clicked on those gorgeous boots, sigh…and now they are following me everywhere!! Maybe it’s a sign! Have a great weekend!

    1. Michelle, I think it might be a sign 😉 The final discount appears when you go to checkout, so rest assured, the price drops again significantly. Thank you so much for stopping by. Tickled to hear the video made you happy as it did me. 🙂 Have a lovely weekend!

  4. Thanks for the inspiration Shannon! I am going to check out many of the books! PS. Congrats, What a find on the boots 🙂

  5. Thank you Shannon for the recommendations. I am in the middle of enjoying Lupin. Omar Sy is a big favourite here in France. Sadly he has crossed the Atlantic. I would highly recommend another of his films” Intouchables” .A story about an unusual friendship between a street immigrant who is hired to to take care of a disabled French nobleman. More often than not I lean towards a cheesecake recipe for a dessert here in France as my french friends love it. The idea of ricotta cheese is interesting as it makes it that much lighter. Looking forward to ‘Cuppa moments’. Have a great weekend.

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