This & That: May 22, 2020, British-Inspired

May 22, 2020

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Ooodles and oodles and OODLES of British-inspired books, decor, viewing material, travel focused articles, a tour of a beloved British fashion designer’s home, Judi Dench, Jane Austen, and just all sorts of cosy living decor and clothing that is on sale for Memorial Day.


Confessions of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell

Shaun Bythell’s first memoir was released in 2018 – The Diary of a Bookseller– and to great success (talks of bringing it to the screen is currently in the works). Now he has released a new memoir with more to share about being a bookseller and owner in Scotland. Located on the Wigtown highroad, his business/bookstore named Bookshop is “inside a stone-faced Georgian townhouse, jammed with more than 100,000 books and one portly shop cat, Shaun manages the daily ups and downs of running Scotland’s largest used bookshop with a sharp eye and even sharper wit.” Enjoy one more year of his hilarious tales and observations.

~Support local and independent bookstores and purchase this title from here.

Country by Jasper Conran

One of my new favorite IG accounts to follow (thank you to a TSLL reader for recommending him) is fashion designer, as well as homeware designer Jasper Conran. His self-published book Country was released in 2012, and is well-worth having for many years to come as it is a beautiful escape to the English countryside and homes that are familiar to him “to portray a seductive way of life. Moving from one season to the next, from interior to exterior, from detail to landscape, this book shows life as it is actually lived in the British countryside today.”

Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown by Anne Glenconner

Coming highly recommended from many TSLL readers already and soaring and then staying at the top of bestselling lists, Anne Glenconner was Lady in Waiting to Princess Margaret, and served in such role until Princess Margaret’s death in 2002. Full of all sorts of royal secrets, humorous and playful moments as well as the tragedies and heartbreak, if you love royal history and British anything, you will no doubt enjoy this book.

Walking with Beatrix Potter by Norman and June Buckley

Since writing about the 20 Life Lessons Learned from Beatrix Potter earlier this week, and continuing to thoroughly enjoy her biography, I wanted to bring another book to your attention especially if you are curious about the beauty of the Lake District where Potter called home the latter part of her life.

“Follow the adventures of Jeremy Fisher, Squirrel Nutkin, Mrs Tiggy Winkle, Peter Rabbit and many others, actually walking in their footsteps and visiting their lakes and rivers, their houses and gardens. The 15 walks included in this book are all suitable for young and not-so-young walkers. All have direct connections either to Beatrix Potter stories or to her life as a farmer and conservationist. There are maps, illustrations and clear directions plus parking and refreshment suggestions.”


Sophie Conran’s Alvarado Tray

Having one of Sophie Conran’s green apothecary vases and thoroughly loving it (it has been in constant use since it arrived two months ago), I wanted to share two more items from her shop. The Alvarado tray is hand-crafted and painted in India. Perfect for serving a cup or two of tea, enjoy this unique and beautiful piece of decor all year-round.

Sophie Conran’s Food Cover

Since my summer in Provence two years ago, I have been on the lookout for attractive food covers to use during summer outdoor dining. Sophie Conran’s are exactly what I had hoped to find. Being able to still see the food and adding, not detracting, from the tablescape, they are simple and useful in keeping the bugs at bay.

Sophie Cook’s Warm Yellow Squat Pod (many more colors and style)

I learned of Sophie Cook’s pottery many months ago, and found them to be absolutely unique, simple and unassuming pieces of art. Place on the mantle, use as a vase or do not, on top of a dresser or paired on the floor in a vignette, these are treasures.

Susie Watson Designs & Homewares, Mitrid Hemp Rug (two sizes)

Full of textiles, furniture, and all sorts of home decor items, British-based Susie Watson Designs will have what you are looking for if you are decorating a cottage or country home. I love these hemp rugs as they are unassuming, neutral and durable with a touch of subtle design.


The Last Vermeer

Based on the novel by Jonathan Lopez The Man Who Made Vermeers (2008), the film premiered at the Telluride Film Festival last August receiving a warm reception. Based on the story of a man who has been as one of the best forgers of all times, it is a Resistance fighter a Dutch Jew, Joseph Piller (Claes Bang), who during WWII, learns of the witty, debonair aesthete, Han van Meegeren (Guy Pearce) who was hosting hedonistic soirées and selling Dutch art treasures to Hermann Goring and other top Nazis. Following the war, Piller becomes an investigator assigned the task of identifying and redistributing stolen art, resulting in the flamboyant van Meegeren being accused of collaboration — a crime punishable by death. But, despite mounting evidence, Piller, with the aid of his assistant (Krieps), becomes increasingly convinced of Han’s innocence and finds himself in the unlikely position of fighting to save his life. The film is scheduled to be released today. Have a look at the trailer below.


English Gardens: From the Archives of Country Life magazine by Kathryn Bradley-Hole (and foreword by the Duke of Devonshire)

Released last fall, if you are wanting to tour English gardens from all over the English countryside, this is the book to have.

~Support local and independent bookstores and purchase this title from here.

The Weekend Gardener by Monty Don (1995)

While an older book of Monty Don’s, I wanted to bring it to your attention. While I highly recommend his The Complete Gardener and Down to Earth, if you are a bit overwhelmed by gardening or do not have an abundance of time but want to begin somewhere, this is the book for you. Ease yourself into playing with the dirt and discover the joys throughout the seasons.


Vogue UK, June 2020, Judi Dench Covergirl

A new film was to be released this May starring Judi Dench, Blithe Spirit, and while it will still be released (now in September), she was already captured for the June cover of Vogue UK, and doesn’t she look magnificent! While the oldest covergirl for Vogue, she pays that no mind and reveals why her career is still going strong. Click on the link above to read the entire profile piece.


Wedgewood Homeware, Jasper Conran’s collection

Since I shared Jasper Conran’s book above (and I share a link to a tour of his home below in the links list), I wanted to share with you his homeware collection. Beautiful teacups and saucers of all designs. Be sure to have a look.

The White Company Memorial Day Weekend Sale

The White Company has my attention and has for some time. Quality items in both clothing, bedding and decor, if you too are drawn to Chrissie Rucker’s simple sophisticated style, be sure to shop the site this weekend using promo code MEMORIAL to save 15% when you spend $100 and 20% when you spend $200 or more. I have shopped a handful of items below.


Barefoot Contessa, new episodes of Cook Like a Pro

I know, I know. Not British whatsoever, but I forgot to share with you last week that a new season of Cook Like a Pro was to premiere last weekend (so be sure to view episode #1 as she shares what looks to be a delicious recipe for swordfish). Tune in to Food Network on Saturdays at 12:30 (eastern) to enjoy the new season in anticipation of her new cookbook which will be released in early October.

Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond

If you are interested in a whale of a mini-series telling the story of Ian Fleming and where much of the inspiration came for his famous James Bond character and stories, you will quite enjoy Fleming. While it aired in 2014 on the BBC, it was new to me this year, and I have been waiting to share it with this May during British Week. Be sure to take a look at the trailer as Fleming and his eventual wife have their own approach to falling in love; however, the filming of their scenes is tasteful and avoids nudity leaving it to the viewers imagination (the interviews with the actors is worth viewing about the directorial approach). Take a look at the trailer below and find the four-part series on Amazon Prime.

Happy Friday and welcome to annual This & That which is British-themed! In keeping with the British theme this week, at home I have used it as an excuse to watch many reruns of my favorite British mystery series. From Poirot to Agatha Raisin to Miss Marple to Midsomer Murders, I would be lying if I said I haven’t had them on in the background as I wrote most of my posts this week. The best inspiration, non? 😉 In fact, as I was watching both Midsomer Murders and Poirot, the Royal Sussex Trug was seen in a scene or two. Yep, they are quite common and used to garden! (Have you entered the giveaway to win your very own?)

While today is the end of the workweek, it is not the end of British Week. Be sure to stop by later today for the Grand Giveaway which is open to everyone, and stop by tomorrow for two more posts and the final round-up post on Sunday announcing the winners of the five giveaways. I do hope you have enjoyed this annual celebration of all things British. It is a pleasure to bring it to you, and I am sincerely enjoying all of your engagement here on the blog and on Instagram.

Below you will find a handful of articles to enjoy and one Jane Austen focused video. Until later today, bonne journée!

~Brilliant Independent Bookshops in London – that deliver [CN Traveller]

~Both a blog to follow for Anglophiles and Decor lovers, as well as a spotlight profile piece of fashion designer Jasper Conran’s home – captured and narrator by the designer himself – Friends, Not Chickens [Bible of British Taste]

~HipParis shares their Favorite English Bookstore in Paris

~The Best Beaches on the Isle of Wight [CN Traveller]

~Tourist Spots without the Tourists [The New York Times]

~What is Positive Thinking and How to Think Positively Each Day [Life Hack]

~12 Farrow & Ball Colors for the Kitchen [Laurel Home]

~Rick Steves Shares How to Keep the Travel Spirit Alive [Seattle Refined]

~On Tuesday a new novel – The Jane Austen Society will be released

~The NY Times’ Summer Reading List Has Just Been Released!

~Love Jane Austen? You may quite enjoy this video – The Wicked Wit of Jane Austen by TEDEd

18 thoughts on “This & That: May 22, 2020, British-Inspired

  1. Dear Shannon, Every morning I start with reading your post for the day and am always uplifted
    and inspired discovering fresh new delights and having my spirits lifted….so important especially
    now. You are a friend; a delightful friend. I do wish you well in every way. Blessings, Claudia

    PS Would love to win a garden trug as I see Thomas Smith is not shipping. Gardening has
    been a salvation this spring. Just bought Monty Don’s book and someday hope to attend the Chelsea Garden Show!

  2. My word, so much glorious stuff to dive into! Thank you very much my dear, I hope you and the boys have a fabulous weekend! XOXO

  3. I could simply dive into all these goodies and not resurface for days! I am especially intrigued by all the books and those movie/TV drama clips. I learned some about Fleming’s literary life while on a walking tour in London, but I can see there’s much more to discover. And the Last Vermeer movie clip–just wow! Awesome round-up!

  4. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again! The “This and That” is probably my favorite post of the week– your taste is impeccable, and it’s always a delight to see what items you’ve carefully curated for us. The Alvarado tray is GORGEOUS! Thank you for all that you do.

  5. Thanks for the I. Flemming movie tip. It looks wonderful. I am the biggest James Bond fan. Your book suggestions are always spot on. You have given me a few beach reads for this summer. I loved British week.

  6. This has been a great week full of inspiration!! Reading these British inspired posts every day replaces my morning meditation and sets me up for a good day! I’ve been immersing into British lifestyle from admiring AGA stoves, to ordering Cosy book and watching The English Game every evening with my husband. It makes me feel less sad about not being able to go to the UK this year, because you brought the UK to me instead =) I also started reading Stylist (the UK magazine), and it is amazing, I highly recommend!

    Thank you so much Shannon!

    1. Thank you for the recommendation Irina. I will certainly check it out. ? So delighted to hear you are both enjoying The English Game. The history was unknown to me and quite fascinating to discover. Have a lovely weekend.

  7. I have been listening to your second book and following this British week. I rarely comment but I love this blog so much. I look forward to the uplifting comments and beautiful items when the world seems ugly at times. Thank you

  8. Dear Shannon, Last year I wrote to you that I love all your postings but my favorite ones are your “This & That” posts. Happily, I opened my mail today to find your British “This & That” post. You do an amazing job suggesting books, movies, TV shows, etc. to share with us.
    In May, 1997, my husband and I went to the Chelsea Flower Show. Although he’s not an avid gardener, he was awed by the garden and flower displays. He commented that it was the “Super Bowl” of flower shows and it was the highlight of our trip to England.
    If I’m eligible to win a trug, I would love to have the small one.
    Best Wishes.

    1. Thank you for sharing Sally. That is a good descriptor for those who may not dabble in gardening. It is so lovely for him to notice and revel. 🙂 I do look forward someday to viewing this show and perhaps others. They look to be a delight and quite a memory to savor.

  9. Shannon, I read This & That every Friday. This one is exceptionally good! The Fleming movie, the NYTimes Summer Reading, & the full Judi Dench article, among other gifts. Thank you. Have a blessed, wonderful weekend!

  10. Loved the book Lady. In Waiting. English life is about rules and class is so different from our life. I really enjoy reading the books you have recommended.

  11. Shannon, I am so happy that you are looking at Jasper Conran’s Instagram account as I knew you would love it too. The views of his garden with the countryside in the distance are just BEYOND beautiful. Thank you for the reminder about his book Country which I am ordering. Here is a short 5 minute film of another one of his homes – New Wardour Castle in Wiltshire – so worth watching!


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