This & That: November 20, 2020

Nov 20, 2020

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Three films, a book on the social history of British food, an international bestselling book now available here in the states, lovely holiday attire, cosy everyday and home attire and decor, cookbooks, holiday decor and much more.


Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

An international bestseller, and now finally being released in the United States, if you have ever pondered either question – What would you change if you could travel back in time? More importantly, Who would you want to meet, maybe for one last time? – this might be just the book for you.

Set in a small back alley in Tokyo, “there is a café which has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. But this coffee shop offers its customers a unique experience . . . In Before the Coffee Gets Cold, we meet four visitors, each of whom is hoping to make use of the café’s time-travelling offer, in order to: confront the man who left them, receive a letter from their husband whose memory has been taken by early onset Alzheimer’s, to see their sister one last time, and to meet the daughter they never got the chance to know.” Critics and readers have been enjoying this book for over a year. I certainly am most curious about it.

The Land Gardeners: Cut Flowers by Brigette Elworthy

Released this past May, “The Land Gardeners provides vital information on everything you need to create your own cut-flower garden, from necessary tools and how to support health to what plants flourish in which seasons and advice on gathering, preparing, and arranging your blooms. Discover how to plan for growing flowers in all four seasons” – the perfect winter reading perhaps as we patiently, yet excitedly, look forward to spring.

British Finds

A Call to Spy

Critics are quite impressed with the new film set during World World II France and Britain – A Call to Spy. Available now on Amazon Prime video, the film depicts Churchill’s desperate order to try to maintain Britain’s sovereignty by enlisting women to train for covert operations. Written and produced by Sarah Megan Thomas and directed by Lydia Dean Pilcher, the film centers around three women’s stories, each a member of Churchill’s Secret Army. Have a look at the trailer below.

Cook, Eat, Repeat: Ingredients, Recipes, and Stories by Nigella Lawson

While already released in Britain last month (and being released in the states in April 2021), Nigella’s new cookbook/memoir and accompanying cooking series on the BBC looks to be precisely what we may enjoy during this extended time at home.

Nigella shared that while the title was chosen well before the pandemic struck, it clairvoyantly predicted what so many of us are doing on a daily basis – cooking, eating and then repeating again in our own homes every single day.

Sharing food from her life and her home, readers will discover “more than a hundred new recipes for all seasons and tastes from Burnt Onion and Eggplant Dip to Chicken with Garlic Cream Sauce; from Beef Cheeks with Port and Chestnuts to Ginger and Beetroot Yogurt Sauce. Those with a sweet tooth will delight in desserts including Rhubarb and Custard Trifle; Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake; and Cherry and Almond Crumble.” Learn more on Nigella’s website.

Scoff: A History of Food and Class in Britain by Pen Vogler

In Pen Vogler’s new book, readers will learn “the entertaining story of British cuisine and the hidden role it plays in our political, social and cultural lives. In this fascinating social history of food in Britain, Vogler examines the origins of our eating habits and reveals how they are loaded with centuries of class prejudice. Covering such topics as fish and chips, roast beef, avocados, tripe, fish knives and the surprising origins of breakfast, Scoff reveals how in Britain we have become experts at using eating habits to make judgements about social background.

Bringing together evidence from cookbooks, literature, artworks and social records from 1066 to the present, Vogler traces the changing fortunes of the food we encounter today, and unpicks the aspirations and prejudices of the people who have shaped our cuisine for better or worse.”


Flavor Equation: The Science of Great Cooking Explained in More Than 100 Essential Recipes by Nik Sharma

Recently while following Nigel Slater on Instagram, I was introduced to blogger and cookbook author Nik Sharma (check hout his blog A Brown Table), and his cookbook Flavor Equation. Slater shared how he had been enjoying a particular recipe from the book for multiple occasions as of late and raved about the cookbook as a whole. High praise indeed.

Described as an accessible guide to elevating elemental ingredients to make delicious dishes that hit all the right notes, every time.  From aroma, texture, sound, emotion— just a few of the elements that play into our perceptions of flavor, Sharma pairs his knowledge of food and the more than 100 recipes with stunningly vivid photography. Pick up this cookbook for the learner, the cook and the curious in your home.


From the Vine

I stumbled across this feel-good film on Amazon Prime last weekend, and wanted to share. Released last year in Canada, From the Vine is based on the novel Finding Marco by Kenneth Canio Cancellara and starring Joe Pantoliano as Marco Gentile, a burned-out business executive from Toronto who gives up on the corporate rat race, and moves his family to Italy to revive his grandfather’s vineyard in Acerenza. Have a look at the trailer below. I think you will enjoy.

The Life Ahead

A film that is already receiving Oscar buzz, starring Academy Award winner Sofia Loren and directed and written by her son, A Life Ahead is now available for viewing on Netflix. Loren’s character, a Holocaust survivor, runs a daycare business for children whose parents must make money in ways she too had to in her younger years. Befriending a young boy who has robbed her, their relationship is at the center of the film. Watch her interview on CBS Sunday Morning to learn even more about how Sofia and the young actor built their bond prior to filming.

Francophile Find

Bisous & Brioche: Classic French Recipes and Family Favorites from a Life in France by Laura Bradbury and Rebecca Wellman

Being released on December 1st, I wanted to make sure you saw this cookbook as it looks absolutely beautiful and delicious. From the author who brings readers her bestselling Grape series memoirs, now Bradbury is sharing the recipes for the mouthwatering recipes described in her stories about her life in Beaune, Burgundy.

“Together with her friend, photographer and cookbook author Rebecca Wellman, Laura shares recipes that have been handed down through her husband Franck’s family or passed on by French friends and neighbours, and that now feature regularly on the menu at her house.

Bisous & Brioche features classics like vinaigrettes, madeleines, crêpes, crème fraîche, tarts, cassoulet, coq au vin―dishes whose names alone will warm the heart of any Francophile. The recipes are served up with anecdotes about their arrival in Laura’s life and are accompanied by Rebecca’s sun-soaked photos of market visits, meal prep, and lazy lunches in the vineyard.”


Boden Morton Knitted Joggers, wool-cashmere blend

Black Friday sales have already begun, and I will be sure to share a long list on next week’s This & That, but I wanted to share with you a few beautiful finds worth shopping now.

Comfort and style, and now as we are entering into winter, warmth. Boden’s wool-cashmere blend jogging pants and top are slip, but not too, loose, but not too, which may mean they are just right as they offer a touch of style as well.

Finisterre in silk,Norte dress

No matter how few people will be sitting down for the holiday dinner, looking our best is a very good idea. Norte’s silk reversible dress (wear the vee drape in the front or the back) is a stunning classic with a touch of a signature Wow. 🙂

Jyderup Chunky Knit Handknit Merino Wool Throw (many colors)

Looking for a cozy throw for your sofa or armchair? Jyderup’s merino wool throws are just what you may have been looking for.

Magnolila Eucalyptus Red Berry Stem

Currently, I am planning out in my mind how to decorate my front porch for the holidays, and these simple, yet lovely faux boughs might be just perfect to add to a live cedar garland. Only $12 – why not?

~recipe for Chocolate Coffee Mascarpone Tart~

I did it. Yep, I finished The Crown. I know, I know, I watched it far too quickly, but I couldn’t help myself. With season four set in the eighties, I feel I can relate a bit more, gain more clarity – oh, who I am I kidding – I just wanted to see Emma Corrin as Diana. 😉 Seriously though, Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher – absolutely wow. I am already eager for season 5.

But back to 2020. Thanksgiving is just a handful of days away here in the states, and a week off has begun from online teaching. With the lockdown in place here in Oregon for two weeks, I am staying home with the boys and looking forward to making the most of just that – being home. I had hoped to do some wallpapering, but the order has not arrived yet; however, I have no doubt I will be able to keep myself busy. After all, next Wednesday’s TSLL’s annual Holiday Gift Guide will be released! Full of British and Francophile finds as well as favorite finds I think you will enjoy, be sure to stop by.

The fireplace has been keeping the house warm frequently, and books are being devoured with more time inside. I am looking forward to spending some time at my garden potting table transplanting my sweet peas and other seeds which are now growing and green, and I need to organize my epicerie (pantry). Whatever I find myself doing, losing track of time will be part of it all, and I love simply knowing that will be my reality for a week. 🙂

~tour TSLL’s full kitchen here~

This past week on the blog, the full season of The Simply Luxurious Kitchen, season 3 was released to YouTube and the digital cookbook was shared as well. On Monday, a new episode of the podcast shared 6 Key Components to Being the Director of Your Life (as well as a Petit Plaisir that is my new favorite French candle), and one of the favorite monthly posts of readers – What Made Me Smile This Month shares 21 things that did just that (a mini This & That of sorts). A full week, perhaps yours was as well, and I hope you are doing better than you had expected, hanging in there and finding the strength and the courage to keep striving forward. I have no doubt you are learning a tremendous amount about yourselves as I am during this time. Such insight will be priceless moving forward. Without anything more than ardent blind conviction, I am confident of this truth.

I want to thank you for stopping by today, and with a hot cuppa or a favorite drink of choice and a nibble, I do hope you will enjoy a few of the more than a handful of articles gathered up below as well two videos. Until Monday, bonne journée.

A small Thanksgiving, but no less delicious [The Washington Post]

Why do we care so much about Diana’s dresses? [The New York Times]

—But let’s not forget the Queen – Queen Elizabeth’s Gift Guide – some of her favorite, well-known clothing items [Town & Country]

—One more for my fellow Anglophiles – Meghan Markle is not Princess Diana, despite some obvious parallels [Town & Country]

—My favorite article this week – Why romanticized love is destroying relationships [Pick the Brain]

How to tame your tornado mind and stop overthinking everything [Tiny Buddha]

Eight locations in Paris where Emily in Paris was filmed [Complete France]

—A thought-provoking article – the pandemic could lead to a profound shift in parental roles as well as business models [The Guardian]

Five Women and Five Men who will make you proud to be an introvert [Introvert, Dear]

The importance of physical movement for the sake of our well-being ESPECIALLY during these times [The Atlantic]

—How Emma Corrin (who plays Diana in The Crown) became Princess Diana.

—And let’s end on something light, shall we? Perhaps we all need to do a bit of goofy, let-your-gumbi-body-just-move dancing – ala Paul Rudd.

~Please note: Some items, books and films earn TSLL a small commission upon purchase; however, all items, books, films, etc. are shared and/or recommended because they caught my attention and I sincerely enjoy(ed) or look forward to exploring myself.

10 thoughts on “This & That: November 20, 2020

  1. Thanks for this, Shannon. Everything here just really clicked for me today. I’ve been discombobulated for months. It was mildly irritating in June, but now it’s really annoying & I’m tired of it. The Virgo half of my Leo/Virgo cusp personality does NOT like discombobulatedness. Realizing I have to do something to get myself back to my preferred order, efficiency & calm, I have been taking a real break every day, making a pot of tea & relaxing with something inspirational — and today that’s been this post. You’ve given me some laughs (Paul Rudd!!), some movie recommendations, some book recommendations, a drool-worthy recipe (we don’t eat many sweeties, but, man, that Chocolate Coffee Mascarpone Tart!! It’s just coffee, right? And cheese? Hardly worthy of being called a sweetie at all, really). And lots of Good Things to read. It’s been exactly what I needed. Wishing you & your gentlemen a great weekend!

    1. So happy to hear you enjoyed today’s T & T. 😌 Thank you for sharing what daily routines have been helpful. When we can trust ourselves, knowing what we need, to make each day a day we find peace, our confidence builds, our choices clarify and everyday, no matter what the outside world presents, we can navigate with ease. Being present plays a significant part, and it sounds like you are finding this to be true. Wishing you well. 💛

  2. I think I must be the only person who doesn’t watch ‘The Crown’, as everyone is talking about it. However I have added ‘Call to Spy’ to my watch list as am fascinated by the Second World War and have read a lot on this topic. Some people in the UK have likened the pandemic to the War but much as being in lockdown is irritating I’m not sure it’s the same.

    On a lighter note, Nigella has hit the news this week with her toast buttering revelations. Her book is on my Christmas list and you’ll love the new series. I hope you have a joyful Thanksgiving.

    1. Nicola, Everyone has a show they just don’t watch or just wouldn’t enjoy as others do. I will say, The Crown is intense and not necessarily a mood lifter, and either way, watch what you love! I just looked up what you shared about Nigella – how funny and lovely. Everyone has a method that works for them. ☺️

      I do hope you enjoy the movie. I think I will be tuning in this weekend as well.

      Thank you for stopping by. 😌

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