This & That: November 13, 2020

Nov 13, 2020

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A mini British week of sorts in many ways with books, films and a new series for Anglophiles. As well, winter style items, cookbooks, a new food series to take you around the globe, Oprah’s favorite annual reveal is shared and so much more.


Nothing Like I Imagined by Mindy Kaling

Available as audible essays through Kindle, Mindy Kaling’s six essays each share thoughts on topics that turned out nothing like she imagined. “The hilarious collection includes Kaling considering her new role as single mom, the perks of not having a husband, and her struggle with social anxiety. In between, the beloved actress, writer, and Hollywood power-bruncher gets Kanye West’d at her best friend’s birthday, thwarts an “only in LA” crime, and learns what it means to have it all.” Sounds like a wonderful listening experience to me. 🙂

Sweet Peas for Summer: How to Create a Garden in a Year by Laetitia Maklouf

British writer and gardner Laetitia Maklouf shares her beginner€™s’ guide to creating a garden from scratch together with inspirational plant recipes for all the seasons.” I first learned of Maklouf having purchased her most recent book – The Five Minute Garden. Direct, easy to learn from, her expertise is evident and her style easy to read.

These Truths: A History of the United States by Jill Lepore

Having been recently recommended to me by my mentor, a retired teacher, as soon as I read the synopsis of the book, I knew I wanted it in my library. Released two years ago, the positive reviews are in the thousands including praise from NPR, The New York Times and The Washington Post. “These Truths tells this uniquely American story, beginning in 1492, asking whether the course of events over more than five centuries has proven the nation’s truths, or belied them. To answer that question, Lepore wrestles with the state of American politics, the legacy of slavery, the persistence of inequality, and the nature of technological change. ‘A nation born in contradiction… will fight, forever, over the meaning of its history,’ Lepore writes, but engaging in that struggle by studying the past is part of the work of citizenship.”

What Kind of Woman: Poems by Kate Baer

Being released next Tuesday, Kate Baer’s Instagram account has become one to follow for how she takes the venom from the internet and turns it into gold with her poems. “Through poems that are as unforgettably beautiful as they are accessible, Kate proves herself to truly be an exemplary voice in modern poetry. Her words make women feel seen in their own bodies, in their own marriages, and in their own lives.” 

British Find

The Crown

The time has arrived! After much anticipation, the fourth season of The Crown premieres this Sunday on Netflix, and if you binge the entire season, I will absolutely understand. 🙂 As The New York Times writes, when it comes to scandals, there was nothing like Diana’s, and in the new season, we are in the heart of the late seventies and eighties, complete with Margaret Thatcher’s tenure as Prime Minister and how she and the Queen got along during their weekly Audience meetings. Have a look at the official trailer below. To say it will be an intense season is definitely understatement.

HRH: So Many Thoughts on Royal Style by Elizabeth Holmes

This week’s This & That has in some ways become quite the mini-British list. With The Crown premiering and the much anticipated book by Instagram sensation Elizabeth Holmes‘ So Many Thoughts account (specifically her Stories) being released next Tuesday, there is a wealth of royal entertainment in the coming days. Analyzing the sartorial choices, power and significance of four of the most influential, remembered and sought-after women in the British royal family – Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Diana, and the Duchess of Cambridge and Sussex – the book is full of photography and commentary about their wardrobes, lives and journey as royals. Read this article in The Wall Street Journal to see a glimpse of what will be found between the periwinkle blue covers – Why the Queen Should Be Your Style Icon.

Royal Horticultural Society Gardening Through the Year

Earlier this week I shared 11 gardening books I either recommend having read and enjoyed or will be looking to read in the coming winter months when I cannot be outside in my garden, and this is #12.

“A new edition of this best-selling, easy-to-follow guide for beginner gardeners. Let BBC Gardener’s World writer Ian Spence tell you month by month what to do when in your garden, and show you exactly how to do it too. This fully illustrated book takes you systematically through the year, each chapter looking in-depth at one month at a time. A handy “To Do” list, along with “Last Chance” reminders and “Get Ahead” tips, gives you an overview of the month’s tasks, followed by an inspirational gallery of “Star Plants” to showcase the visual highlights of the month. The rest of each chapter is packed with advice on plant care, maintaining garden features such as lawns and ponds, what to prune when, and illustrated step-by-step projects and gardening ideas.” 

The South Westerlies, AcornTV

I am thoroughly enjoying this new and original series on AcornTV set in a small coastal town in Ireland. And don’t worry, I know Ireland is not part of Britain, but as it is found on AcornTV which offers seemingly endless British programs, I wanted to include it in this category. I have watched two episodes of the six-episode series, and found it relatable for anyone who grew up in a small town, left to pursue the life they needed and wanted to live, but returns to be torn by the beauty and the weight of it all as well. Have a look at the trailer below and find it on AcornTV now.


A Modern Cook’s Year by Anna Jones

The Modern Cook’s Year will show you how to make the most of seasonal produce, using simple, hugely inventive flavours and ingredients. Divided into six seasons, Anna Jones’s long-awaited new cook book contains over 250 delicious vegetarian recipes interspersed with tips on everything from seasonal music playlists to flowers to look out for in each month of the year.

The Modern Cook’s Year includes: Start of the Year: Spelt with pickled pears and pink leaves and Chocolate and blood orange freezer cake; First Warm Days of Spring: Elderflower dressed broad beans and leaves with burrata and Chickpea farinata with slow cooked courgettes; Herald of Spring: Spring chickpea soup with salted lemons and Rhubarb and rose geranium frozen yoghurt; Summer: Smoked aubergine flatbreads and Beetroot tops tart; Autumn: Orzo with tomatoes and feta and Honey, lemon and coriander seed cake; Winter: Velvet squash broth with miso and soba and Chocolate rye porridge with quick honey pears.” 


Ella: Forever the First Lady of Song, online concert

If you are missing live concerts and love jazz, enjoy a live viewing of Ella Fitzgerald in a historically beloved performance for $20 tomorrow (Saturday) at 7pm eastern.


&Daughter Gray Ina cable-knit Geelong wool sweater

Sweater season. I do love having more than a handful of cozy, oversized sweaters, and this one caught my eye.

Oprah’s 2020 List of Favorite Things

Just in case you haven’t already heard, Oprah released her 2020 Favorite Things list earlier this week, and it’s worth checking out. Sharing 72 items and “because so many people want to support Black lives any way they can, [they]’ve found dozens of absolutely gorgeous gifts from Black-owned businesses that deserve to be celebrated, because we believe Black lives—and Black businesses—matter. So for 2020, most of my Favorite Things are from Black-owned or -led companies.” Let the shopping begin!

Paravel Cabana Tote

Having a quality canvas tote is an essential item to have on hand for travel, day or weekend excursions or simply a stylish, yet functional tote for carrying what you need. “In addition to leather handles eco-certified by the Leather Working Group, a total of 23 recycled plastic water bottles were used to create the tote’s canvas exterior, water-resistant interior lining, and straps. This tote features slip and zippered pockets to keep items secure, dry, and (if the seaside is calling) sand-free.” Choose between four different stripe colors, and add your initials for personalization.

Shopbop Holiday Sale

Many online shops are beginning their end-of-year sales earlier than ever, and ShopBop is one of them. Below are a few items I found, but there is much more to explore.


All Rise, Season 2 Premiere

I was happy and relieved to hear that CBS’s All Rise drama series was renewed for a second season. The finale of their first season concluded with a Covid touch as all scenes were done via Zoom. Thoughtfully done and actually quite engaging for not one actor being in the same room with each other. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire first season.

With season 2, the cast is back together in real-life presenting the reality we now see around us today – masks, distancing and much more. Check out the sneak peek here, and enjoy the premiere of the second season on CBS Monday November 16th, 9pm.

Eater’s Guide to the World, Hulu

New on Hulu, Eater has partnered with the online streaming platform for a new series that brings experiencing the world with five senses to life. “Join us and Maya Rudolph as we seek out the most delicious ways to eat off the hood of your car in LA, explore the jungle through your stomach in Costa Rica, stay up (and eat nonstop) all night in New York, taste the cultural crossroads of Casablanca, and so much more. Each episode showcases a whole new side of the cities and destinations you think you know, and some you may have never experienced before. Watch below — then scroll to delve even deeper into people, places, and one-of-a-kind foods featured on the show.” Have a look at the trailer below and find it available now on Hulu.

~recipe for Dulce de Leche Crepe Cake~

The past week brought snow for the first time ushering in cosy, magical, and calming vibes. Norman and I found a new trail earlier this week. Being covered in the early morning snow that lingered before the brilliant clear blue sky prompted the white dusting to melt, the natural beauty was captivating. As the week winds down, I am gearing up for a visit with my parents, so cleaning the house and planning meals and activities is on my schedule.

The past week on the blog was full of gardening posts – a tour of my new potting table and work-area as well as what I am doing as 2020 winds down + 11 gardening books to enjoy as we all stay inside (become a TOP Tier subscriber to view each of these posts), as well as the Outfit of the Month and a new podcast episode about choosing a life you enjoy living every day.

I hope this past week gave you moments to savor as well as a sense of productivity. And now as the week heads into the weekend, I have oodles of articles (17!) and three videos I think you might enjoy. Thank you for stopping by this week, and until Monday bonne journée. 🙂

~Keep Calm and Carry On: Britain’s Stately Homes on Lockdown [Britain Magazine]

~What French citizens can and cannot do with the new lockdown rules [HiP Paris]

~A wonderful article written by HiP Paris writer for The New York Times about how a handful of American expats are Loving Paris during Quarantine.

~10 Gentle Reminders to Help Prioritize Self-Care [Be More with Less]

~Loved it, liked it, hated it. Wherever you stand on the Netflix series Emily in Paris, all of the attention it received enabled it to be renewed for a second season and it announced the news in a unique way. [Variety]

~The key to healing our divide . . . regarding politics. [Zen Habits]

~How to grow bulbs indoors just in time for the holidays [House & Garden UK]

~Let’s escape to Provence and tour Les Ramades, shall we? [Habitually Chic]

~14 Daily Happiness Habits to Adopt Right Now [Tiny Buddha]

~How to look better on Zoom (and no, you don’t need a ring light – they are hard to find anyway at the moment).

~Where to spend and save on your home during lockdown [House & Garden UK]

~Thanksgiving is coming in the states. Are you traveling? If so, How to do so safely. [WSJ]

~And since we’re talking about our homes – how to decorate for happiness and mental well-being. [House & Garden UK]

~Having enjoyed one of my favorite dining experiences at Chez Panisse, I have been curious to know how Alice Waters’ restaurant in Berkeley is doing in the midst of the pandemic and now we know! [Nosh]

~How to stay motivated at work while working from home [LifeHack]

~French bookshops protest closures amidst second lockdown [Euro News]

~Dreaming about moving to France, specifically Burgundy? Discover how one couple made this dream their reality [Complete France]

~This video is exquisite to watch – step inside Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre.

~For those remaining open to new love, perhaps this is why it is so angst filled as well as hope-filled – Existentialism and Dating.

~Um, yum! This apple dessert looks as delicious as it does easy (and the bouncy, jovial music treats the ears as well as the tastebuds).

10 thoughts on “This & That: November 13, 2020

  1. Thank you so much for this weekly joy. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to seeing the new items, entertainment, and links! Still loving the discovery of Melody Gardot from last week & i’m looking forward to exploring her albums.

    This question may be more appropriate for your Cuppa video, but I was wondering if you could talk/post about how you manage your book collection? Between the books you review for This N That and those you purchase on your own, you must have a pretty big collection. Do you have a criteria for what you keep versus what you don’t, and what do you do with the books you choose not to keep? I am double stacked on some shelves right now, and have traded a few through BookMooch, but I’m afraid something more drastic may need to be done. 🙂

    1. Good question. I will keep that one in mind to answer in a future A Cuppa Moments. 🙂 So tickled you are enjoying what you find on the weekly This & That. Thank you for stopping by Debby. 🙂

  2. Wonderful post as usual. I shamefully admit that I have never watched to crown. I love England and the royal family. In fact, Buckingham palace was open to visitors for a couple of weeks in September while the Queen is on Holiday. It was breathtaking to look at a world most people will never experience.

    Have a great week,


  3. You lift me up, Shannon! I look forward to all your posts and am particularly enjoying your Garden posts. It has inspired me to renovate my garden and to think outside the straight lines and standard tall plants in back and smaller in front for borders; thanks to your suggestion of BBCs Gardeners World! I adore Monty Don and colleagues. My curious mind would love you to share how you manage it all from weekly posts filled with entertainment and knowledge, cooking segments, shopping, renovating your home, and working? Thank you for sharing your knowledge of travel, cooking, lifestyles, books, and entertainment. You have quite a great gift and I really do appreciate you sharing your gifts with us. Audrey

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