This & That: October 23, 2020

Oct 23, 2020

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A brand new British cosy mystery I am loving, a new series critics are also loving, clothing for fall and your capsule wardrobe reduced to wonderfully low prices, a fun holiday film, a modern, yet chic copper tea kettle, Shakespeare for the everyday and more!


Your True Home: 365 of Practical, Powerful Teachings from the Beloved Zen Teacher by Thich Nhat Hanh 

If you are looking for some calm and peace, I have a book for you. While written and composed by editor Melvin McLeod nearly 10 years ago, if the Dalai Lama recommends Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings, perhaps we all might benefit from this daily book of meditations. “Thich Nhat Hanh shows how practicing mindfulness can transform every area of our lives—and how its benefits radiate beyond us to affect others and the whole, larger world.”

British Find

McDonald & Dodds, BritBox

I stumbled across a new British cosy mystery series which debuted this fall on iTV and is available on BritBox – McDonald & Dodds – and it is barrel of fun. DCI McDonald has arrived in Bath (the videography is magnificent) from London and is partnered with a shy, yet incredibly cerebral and understated Detective Sergeant Dodds. The pair seem at odds, but it turns out, they work quite well together. There are two episodes available now with more to come I am supposing, and a second season has already been approved. Have a look at the trailer for the show below.

Shakespeare for Every Day of the Year by Allie Esiri

Published last fall, for each day of the year, enjoy learning, reading and remembering a wide breadth of information and lines from Shakespeare. One day “a sonnet, a soliloquy, an extract from a narrative poem or play, or a quote. Each of the 366 pieces includes an introductory paragraph with information about Shakespeare himself, context for his most quoted quotes, Shakespearian language, politics, new worlds, historical context, his rivals, his sources, the seasons and much, much more.”


Big Mac & Burgundy: Wine Pairings for the Real World by Adam Laukhuf  and Vanessa Price

Good wine and a classic burger. Such a pairing sounds quite delectable to me. Released last week and full of illustrations, “wine pro Vanessa Price explains how to create your own pairings while proving you don’t necessarily need fancy foods to unlock the joys of wine. Building upon the outsize success of her weekly column in Grub Street, Price offers delightfully bold wine and food pairings alongside hilarious tales from her own unlikely journey as a Kentucky girl making it in the Big Apple and in the wine business. Using language everyone can understand, she reveals why each dynamic duo is a match made in heaven, serving up memorable takeaways that will help you navigate any wine list or local bottle shop.”

Lulu’s Provençal Table by Richard Olney

With the passing of a quiet legend in the French wine and culinary world, Lulu Peyraud who passed away last week at the age of 102, I was reminded of a cookbook and biography memoir of sorts written by Richard Olney that is worth welcoming into my cookbook library and perhaps yours as well.”Described as ‘a gastronomic love poem to France’s most exhilarating region,’ this is an essential book for any serious food lover’s library.”

The Flaneur by Giuliano Giovanni

Walking is my medicine along with stepping into the kitchen, and it is helpful to have both as they enable (or require) each to be necessary. So I have been gravitating toward books as of late about the flaneur. Giovanni’s book was released in January and shares “a collection of short stories that take place at a cafe; each story is a conversation overheard from the perspective of the narrator (The Flaneur), ranging from the mundane day-to-day to the downright absurd. The characters in each story search for meaning in a surreal landscape, forcing existence itself to sit down and order.” Sounds to be a lovely read just because.



If you are looking for a good comedy, a cheesy rom-com, Holidate may be just the escape and enjoyment you are looking for. Premiering on Netflix this coming Wednesday October 28th, Emma Roberts stars in a film about the idea of locking down a date, the same date, but only for the holidays. Have a look at the trailer below.

Francophile Find

Carla Bruni album

A new album by French model and song writer Carla Bruni was released earlier this month. Self-titled, Bruni-Sarkozy penned the songs beginning last November and in six short days this past June recorded them in the studio. Read a review of the album in the Financial Times and enjoy Bruni’s sultry voice singing song in Frenchinspired by her own life.

Opera Pâtisserie by Cedric Grolet

I have been patiently waiting to share the man who is called the most talented pastry chef of his generation, Cédric Grolet’s new cookbook. Described as the indispensable cookbook for the pastry lover, purchase and enjoy having the secrets to classic and uniquely modern, yet always delcious French pastries.

The release of the cookbook (in French last fall) coincided with the opening of his new shop in the Opéra district in the heart of Paris (view his IG account here). “Grolet returns to the essentials with a collection of hearty and accessible recipes . . . discover the very best French recipes for viennoiseries, breads, biscuits, pastries, and frozen fruit sorbets. From croissant to mille-feuille, from tarte tatin to .clairs, the book features 100 fully illustrated desserts we all love . . . Recipes are organized into chapters that follow the rhythm of the day. At 7 a.m., it’s time for viennoiseries and breads; at 11 a.m., it’s pastries; at 3 p.m., desserts and frozen fruits; and at 5 p.m., it’s time for the final batch of bread.” And yes, those croissants in the image below, you will have the recipe for those and no doubt will have great success. (Purchase the French version of the cookbook here.)


Planting for Butterflies: The Grower’s Guide to Creating a Flutter by Jane Moore

I recently purchased Jane Moore’s new book as I am gradually doing what I can in my boulevards and in front of my house to cultivate a butterfly garden. I so delight in seeing butterflies dance about the blooms and blossoms throughout the warmer months, and her expertise in this book was just was I was looking for.


Handmade Copper Kettle vintage style with string wrapped handle

Copper, yet modern. A unique design and a statement maker most definitely.

Madewell Sale, 30% off

If you are looking to save money at Madewell – on their denim, on their winter coats, jackets and other items – be sure to stop by this weekend and save 30% with promo code SPREETIME. Their handbags often catch my attention, and their Sydney Tote is no exception. Yep, it’s on sale as well.

Sydney Tote (black and burnish brown available)

Net-a-Porter Friends & Family Sale, 25% off

Net-a-Porter is having their Friends & Family sale, and with more than 130 pages of items, you will definitely want to take a look. Don’t be fooled by the full price on each item’s page, as the 25% is automatically taken off at checkout so you can see what the price will be before you buy. I have shopped a few items below, but immediately this belt caught my eye. Perfect for cinching the waist on shirt dresses, high-waisted pants and any black, brown or even brilliantly bright hued dress to narrow the silhouette and draw the eye in.

The Normandy Sweater, La Ligne

Winter is coming and autumn is here. I wore my first sweater to work yesterday, and I needed it. I also love when the sweater is as beautiful, yet classic as it is warm which is exactly what La Ligne’s Normandy sweater appears to be.

Tod’s Leather Handle Bag, consignment

Designer handbags avilable at a-steal-of-a-price. Tods for less than $100? Yep. Just remember to use promo code REAL to save an additional 20% at The RealReal.


The Great, new comedy series on Hulu (May 2020)

I am more than a handful of months late to Hulu’s comedy series about Catherine the Great in Russia’s time of the monarchy, but reviews are positive, so I thought I’d give it a look. A full season is available on Hulu now. Check ou tthe trailer below.

The Queen’s Gambit

Premiering today, Netflix’s limited series The Queen’s Gambit is all about chess and a young orphan girl who knows her way around the chess board – to say the least. Inspired by Walter Tevis’ novel written in 1983, The Wall Street Journal calls it a ‘winning chess thriller‘, Variety praises Anya Taylor-Joy’s performance as the chess savant star, and NPR applauds the focus of centering this seven-part series on the type of protagonist we hardly ever see. Okay, I am convinced. I am watching this series. Have a look at the trailer below.

The first official frost arrived Wednesday night which meant the growing season (outdoors) is now officially over. But that also means preparing for a beautiful spring commences! Earlier this week I was planting tulips and alliums, and over the weekend I will likely be out cutting back the delicate plants that are no more.

All of this is to say, it is time to begin getting cozying inside, and I am okay with that as well. After spending time with a good friend who is also a talented interior decorator this week, I savored sharing my home with her for a few moments over an apéritif while she began helping me decide on window coverings for my bedroom as well as a better layout for the space. That too will be a fun project this weekend, flipping through fabric and imagining what I want the space to eventually become.

Perhaps the chillier months are a wonderful time to look around our homes and ask ourselves what we need as the daylight begins to drift away. I certainly examine how I can welcome more light in wherever I can whether by opening the blinds, choosing lighter colors or adding mirrors, etc.. Light in the winter is oh so powerful for the mood.

The blog was busy this past week with five posts being shared – the monthly Saturday Ponderings . . . , a new cooking episode, the Outfit of the Month, a new podcast episode and Wednesday’s post answering questions about how I came to decide upon my La Cornue stove. Be sure to stop by tomorrow for another cooking show episode which includes an Everyday Luxury that welcomes you more deeply into my cupboards in my kitchen. 🙂

Thank you for stopping by today. I have gathered together more than a handful of posts and two videos I thought you might enjoy. Until tomorrow, bonne journée.

How to create your own herbal tea garden [The New York Times]

~Why film and tv get Paris so wrong [BBC]

~Four ways the pandemic might change entertainment [WSJ]

~Choosing upholstery fabric can be puzzling: here’s how to break through [WSJ]

~An interview with the Royals of The Crown in Town & Country magazine by Elizabeth Holmes of So Many Thoughts

~Discover how to shop and why to include some antiques in your home decor [House & Garden UK]

~Has Life Become more Comfortable but less happy? [The Atlantic]

~Practice French and cook a delicious, simple tortellini recipe.

~The classic Wellington boot is making a comeback [The Guardian]

~Of course I had to check out this list – 5 Common Kitchen Items You Don’t Need [Homes & Gardens UK]

~Oh, this film looks to be a wonderful way to spend two hours – with dancing and hope and a lovely, talented and fun cast – The Prom – directed by Ryan Murphy – comes to Netflix on December 11th. Have a look at the trailer below (I’ll be sure to include it in a future This & That when it premieres).

~Now to autumn . . . let’s slip away to Devon and tour RHS Garden Rosemoor during this autumn season.

11 thoughts on “This & That: October 23, 2020

  1. I read the article about kitchen items you don’t need and had to laugh at myself as I have a cupboard full of mugs, beautiful crystal gifted when we married and a non-stick frying pan. I love them though because of the memories attached to them ☺

    1. Nicola, all the more reason to keep them. Sentimental value matters. 😌 It is when we buy because we think we have to or need to, but then find later what we love that does the job far better and the piece comes with beautiful memories that we edit and refine. I think with each move, the editing has become far easier and I am left with a battery de cuisine that best fits my life and way of cooking.

  2. I read Walter Tevis’ brilliant novel, The Queen’s Gambit in the late 1970’s. It in set in Lexington Ky, where I live and it is a wonderful, sad and tragic story. Tevis elegant style and a richly detailed story, has made this book a long time favorite.I am looking forward to watching it today.
    Tevis is probably best known for writing The Hustler, which became the classic film with Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason.

  3. Fabulous recommendations Shannon. My Amazon list is growing longer and I cannot wait to watch McDonald & Dobbs. I am enjoying reruns of Agatha Christie sleuth Poirot over here in the UK. If you need a whodunnit the BBC adaption of her And Then There Were Nine is brilliant.

  4. Reading your Friday This and That posts have become something I look forward to each week. I always find something new to explore. Thank you for sharing. Hope you have a wonderful weekend with your boys.

    1. Paula, Thank you for your regular visits! 😌 It is truly a pleasure to pull this post together each week, and I am beyond tickled you and other TSLL readers enjoy it and look forward to it. Wishing you a lovely weekend as well.

  5. As always a fab This & That!
    I read the Atlantic article about happiness ands the quote by the Danish speaker resonated with me. Here in the UK there is quite a furore at the moment due to the Gov refusing to provide free meals to children in poverty during school break. Though I won’t get into politics here, his comment about Governments being unable to provide happiness – but able to “eliminate unhappiness” seemed quite poignant in these times.

    In more jovial tone I was intrigued by The Prom due to Ryan Murohy’s involvement – but then I see Meryl stars! A must-see! That and Holidate will provide the festive entertainment
    – Sarah x

  6. Thank you for the suggestion of McDonald & Dodds!! I watched the first episode last night (while waiting for the next Shakespeare & Hathaway to be posted on Britbox) and really enjoyed it. Looking forward to more!!

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