This & That: August 25, 2023
Friday August 25, 2023

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The return of a popular new British caper series, two new movies starring Helen Mirren, a new book that reads like an intriguing piece of fiction, but is actually a true story, a couple of newly released novels both set in England, a book about olive oil and everything you have ever wanted to know about EVOO, as well as a new documentary series to inspire you to live a long and healthy life, clothing finds to prep us for the fall season and TSLL’s Annual Fall Shopping Guide, a canvas tote company I found and readers have asked about, plus much more!


Flirting with Danger: The Mysterious Life of Marguerite Harrison, Socialite Spy by Janet Wallach

Now this book looks to be a great read that will enthrall, hold one’s attention and, did you know, it’s true! I learned about this book while reading The New York Times Book Review and immediately wanted to share as I am also searching out my own fall reads to begin to dive into. This one is on my list!

“Born a privileged child of America’s Gilded Age, Marguerite Harrison rebelled against her mother’s ambitions, married the man she loved, was widowed at thirty-seven, and set off on a life of adventure. Hired as a society reporter, when America entered World War I she applied to Military Intelligence to work as a spy.” I am in! Ready to read most definitely!

The Olive Oil Enthusiast: A Guide from Tree to Table, with Recipes by Skyler Mapes and Giuseppe Morisani

For fellow foodies! This book just looks, well, delicious. Having EVOO on my stove top (next too) is a must, and I am forever refilling my ceramic canister as I use it all of the time. Released earlier this month (August 15th),The Olive Oil Enthusiast is a clear, approachable guide to the world of olive oil, starting with a walk through the olive groves during growing season to harvesting the olives to the milling and production processes. There are tips for shopping for, tasting, using, and storing olive oil. Mapes and Morisani also include twenty recipes for dishes that showcase olive oil, such as Crocchette di Patate (fried potato croquettes), Pasta Aglio e Olio (pasta with garlic and olive oil), Olive Oil Brownies, and tasty Bruschetta.”

Stories of Books and Libraries by Jane Holloway

Bibliophiles, what better way to begin fall reading than to curl up with a book about books and libraries. A collection of stories each of which involving books and libraries in some way. Dive in with whichever story catches your eye first. Here is a taste: “The characters in the delightful stories collected here range all the way from the ink-stained medieval monks in Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose to the book-besotted denizens of Ali Smith’s Public Library and Other Stories. In these pages readers are invited to enter the interior lives of librarians in Lorrie Moore’s “Community Life” and Elizabeth McCracken’s “Juliet” and are ushered into a host of unusual libraries, including the infinite rooms of Jorge Luis Borges’s “The Library of Babel” and a secret library in Helen Oyeyemi’s “Books and Roses.”’

British Finds

The Chelsea Detective, season 2 premiere, AcornTV

A BIG thank you to TSLL reader Michelle for bringing this much-anticipated British caper series release to my attention. Adrian Scarborough stars as DI Max Arnold and returns in the second season of The Chelsea Detective, set in Chelsea in London, and this season he has a new partner. Look for the first episode of the new season to air on Monday August 28th on AcornTV, and below is a quick peek of what the season has in store.

The English Experience: A Novel by Julie Schumacher

Released on August 15th and the second book in the Dear Committee Members trilogy (check out the first book in the series that received rave praise from critics), The English Experience centers around “Jason Fitger, who may be the last faculty member the dean wants for the job, but he’s the only professor available to chaperone Payne University’s annual ‘Experience: Abroad’ (he has long been on the record objecting to the absurd and gratuitous colon between the words) occurring during the three weeks of winter term. Among his charges are a claustrophobe with a juvenile detention record, a student who erroneously believes he is headed for the Caribbean, a pair of unreconciled lovers, a set of undifferentiated twins, and one young woman who has never been away from her cat before.” Looks like this experience abroad will be anything but ordinary.

An Entertaining Life: Designing Town and Country by Paolo Moschino and Philip Vergeylen

Bunny Williams writes the foreword for a décor book that joins two of the world’s most celebrated designers, Paolo Moschino and Philip Vergeylen, as they share the inspirations and stories behind their life and work in London, the English countryside, and beyond. Released this past May, if you are looking for inspiration for living, entertaining and decorating, there is ample supply in An Entertaining Life with 250 photographs “featuring guest rooms, an office, and formal gardens, the duo’s home in West Sussex is more than simply a weekend escape. It is the perfect space for a combined lifestyle of relaxing, entertaining, and working. The London apartment, too, is witness to many a stylish dinner for clients and friends, characterized by an infectious delight in ever-changing table-settings. A selection of recipes is included to accompany entertaining-related stories.”

Pom Pom London’s Mayfair Crossbody bag (many colors)

I came across this crossbody bag (or shoulder bag) and quite liked the modern touch of the strap, but also functionality and timeless style as well. The Mayfair bag is available in a wide array of colors, in both the bags and the straps. Peruse them all here.

Sarah Raven’s Garden Cookbook

Gardening expert Sarah Raven is releasing a revamp of one of her most popular cookbooks both in the UK and world-wide next week, and I wanted to bring your attention to it as it looks delicious. Available on August 31st (shop Amazon UK), this release is a “repackaged edition of Sarah Raven”s Garden Cookbook – a modern classic celebrating fresh ideas, inspiration and deliciously simple recipes for eating seasonally.Taking us through the year in six seasonal chunks of two months each, Sarah Raven highlights the best vegetables, fruit and herbs grown in the UK. For each one, there are hosts of simple yet inspiring recipes – over 450 in all.”

The Sunset Years of Agnes Sharp by Leonie Swann, book #1

Being released on Tuesday, August 29th is a new murder mystery series that revolves around Agnes Sharp. A popular theme as of late, to center series around seniors living in assisted living homes in the English countryside, Leonie Swann’s Agnes and her crew are anything but boring and most definitely curious to solve the crime of murder that appears to have landed in their laps.



Much has been talked about the film Golda, and while critics are not raving about it yet, anything starring Helen Mirren will have me going to the theater. Being released today, Mirren stars as Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, and the film centers around the 19 days of extreme tension during the Yom Kippur War in 1973. “Faced with the potential of Israel’s complete destruction, Meir (Mirren) must navigate overwhelming odds, a skeptical cabinet, and a complex relationship with US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (Liev Schreiber), with millions of lives in the balance. Her tough leadership and compassion would ultimately decide the fate of her nation and leave her with a controversial legacy around the world.” Have a look at the trailer below.

White Bird

Helen Mirren is everpresent in the theaters this weekend with her second film being released this weekend as well, titled White Bird. From the author of Wonder, also turned into a movie, is White Bird, the book that is based on the book of the same name. White Bird, a title that brought to the forefront the power of kindness has now been adapted into a film. Have a look at the trailer below and look for it in theaters now.


World Music Radio, Jon Baptiste

The musician much of the general public came to recognize as the band leader of Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show and went on to win best album at last year’s Grammy’s, Jon Baptiste continues to share his talent and his determination to foster unity through the power of music. His new album, World Music Radio was released earlier this month and critics are already enjoying it. Watch Jon’s interview on Amanpour and Company about what this album is all about.


La Ligne NYC, The Val Jean

Next Friday TSLL’s Annual Fall Shopping Guide will be released, but until then, a taste of some of the new collections now available. La Ligne’s Val Jeans come in 30 3/4″ inseam and offer the chic ankle-length hem that looks so good in early fall and spring. In a dark denim, this is a wonderful piece for a fall capsule wardrobe if you don’t already have a similar pair, and this pair is available for fewer than $200.

Shop The Val Jean (more washes available).

Boden’s Pointelle-sleeve cardigan, camel (more colors available)

Cotton and wool blend, this hip-hitting cardigan offers a bit of style, as well as classic timelessness.

Add some extra savings with promo code H3H1.

Mary Lake Thompson Canvas Totes

Last week a reader asked about where I found a canvas tote she saw in my Boot & Basket room (shared in this post, 10 French Décor Details Included into My Home) that included an illustration of a beach bike, and as I picked it up on a trip to San Francisco a couple of years ago, I wanted to remind myself as well. Offering oodles of designs on a classic (and sturdy) canvas tote, Mary Lake Thompson is where you will find them all for $22. I have handpicked a couple below, but there are many, many more.

Me + Em Italian Bouclé Military Crop Jacket Cream

One trend to pay attention to this fall is the bouclé jackets. As included in an article I share below about the 10 trends Parisians are keen to welcome into their fall wardrobes, a bouclé jacket, the classic, yet slightly updated for a modern look, is one you will see frequently in collections and Me + Em are already on it.

Vanessa Bruno Raffia sandals, on sale (four styles)

Officially, summer isn’t quite over yet, and while we may not be thinking about purchasing sandals to wear, now is a great time to look ahead to next year. Savings are quite nice on these raffia sandals if the style speaks to you.


Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones, Netflix

Being released next week on August 30th, the series inspired by the books written by Dan Buettner focuses on the Blue Zones and what he has discovered over 20 years of exploration and research. And in fact, he will be releasing a new book to correspond with the premiere of the series next week as well – The Blue Zones: Secrets for Living Longer. Check out the trailer to the series below.

First, let me begin by thanking you, the readers of TSLL for supporting the respite I took these past four days. It was powerful, needed and deeply savored. As well, my closets and garage have never been so clean and organized. In fact, I was journaling Wednesday evening and realized, this is the first time in Le Papillon, but really, ever, where I have been both settled and loving where I am as well as have all of my ‘stuff’ situated, edited and know what is where. The feeling is amazing.

Rest assured, I did rest, and with the mental space, ideas that had been teasing forward to the front of my mind over the past few months finally had some time to fully grab my attention. 🙂 Of course, I enjoyed popping out into the garden, and the dahlias are beginning to shine. Case in point is the Kelvin Limelight yellow dahlia you see above. It is quite large in size and looks dazzling in the garden at the moment. I walk outside in the evenings and mornings just to take a long look at it. 🙂

As well, I took time this week to organize and assess my luggage and carry-on, including my travel tote for my upcoming trip to England, and needless to say, just doing that has me even more eager to hop on the plane. I cannot wait!

All of the giveaways for French Week are en route and will hopefully arrive early next week. If you are a winner, please do feel free to share with us either on IG (tag @thesimplyluxuriouslife) or directly with me. It is always a treat to see TSLL readers enjoying what has arrived.

And with that, the weekend is here! The final weekend in August, which is hard to believe, but true. The month seemed to have zoomed by, but some awesome content is coming your way in the next couple of weeks, beginning with TSLL’s Annual Fall Shopping Guide (explore last year’s here) being released on September 1st (next Friday), A Cuppa Moments w/Shannon for TOP Tier Members where I will take you with me (and Norman) to the Swan Island Dahlia farm in western Oregon, the new season of the podcast on September 5th and the premiere of the sixth season of the cooking show on Saturday September 9th. Much to come, and I am looking forward to bringing it your way. 😌

I hope you had a wonderful week and are looking ahead to a weekend that makes you smile just thinking about your plans. Below I have gathered up articles and a couple of videos I thought you might enjoy. Thank you for stopping by today, and until Monday, bonne journée.

~10 French Approved Fashion Trends for Fall [Leonce Chenal]

~Une Vie Parisienne in NYC, to be culturally transformed, such a shock to return to the states [HiP Paris]

~Why motivation follows actions, not the other way around [LifeHack]

~Thank you Edel for sharing this article with me and TSLL! Why the French take every August off work – and what it means for visitors [The Telegraph, UK, subscription required]

~As the season finale of And Just Like That aired yesterday (how great was the last episode! Loved the dinner party scenes, especially the round-table response), an ode to the bakery that came to fame during the SATC years – Magnolia Bakery’s Banana Pudding recipe. [NYTimes Cooking]

~And speaking of AJLT, it has been renewed for Season 3! [Variety]

~The cover of Vogue‘s September issue dons the four supermodels that coined the phrase in the 90s – which prompts the question: Do Supermodels Age, or Just Get Airbrushed? [NYTimes]

~A thoughtful read that reminds us how curiosity and a growth mindset can bridge divides and heal insecurity [NYTimes]

~I concur completely with the article – there are so many benefits to be savored spending time alone in public for introverts [Introvert, Dear]

~How to stick to long-term change [Zen Habits]

~Rustic cottage garden ideas – 7 tips for creating a stunning garden on a budget [Middle-sized Garden]

~The daily habits of happiness experts [Time]

~Rick Steves’ best tips for how to pick a restaurant on vacation [Travel + Leisure]

~It’s coming! Season 2 of The Gilded Age, on October 29th. The official trailer was just released yesterday. Have a look.

~Explore last week’s This & That: August 18, 2023 — French Week!

Nearly every find this week is French-inspired, so Francophiles, this is your post to savor! Three delicious and beautiful cookbooks, books of all genres, travel, décor, mystery and more. Two cooking schools to keep in your hat if you have always wanted to take a proper cooking class (English speaking), both recommended by Patricia Wells, a French film from a couple of years ago now available on Netflix that looks like a fun watch. French décor and linen companies to definitely know and shop for adding a luxurious French touch to your home, and if you love to paint, I have a French painting class that is a must-enroll. Plus, much more. 

~Please note: TSLL is supported by you, readers who take the time to stop by (merci!), peruse and sometimes welcome into your life mentioned and recommended finds. Affiliate links are present in today’s post and may earn commissions for TSLL when you purchase. View TSLL’s full Privacy Policy here.


27 thoughts on “This & That: August 25, 2023

  1. So happy to hear you enjoyed your respite, Shannon! I was planning on asking what a TSLL respite includes but you already answered, thanks! What is the travel tote that you mentioned? You may have told us before…
    Also, what EVOO can you recommend and where do you get it? I’ve been running into some really bitter ones lately and prefer a lighter taste.

    1. Dear Melissa,
      Portuguese olive oil is in general rather mild. The ones originated from Italy or Greece, are usually more “peppery”, which yes, it give a bitter final during tasting. The stronger of all are from Morocco.

      They all have their place in the kitchen, depending of what you are doing with them, much like different kinds of salt serve different purposes while cooking.

      I am Portuguese/ Spanish but currently live in Germany, so I have no idea of what is available in the US, but I will nevertheless share my favourite Portuguese brands for a mild EVOO: “Oliveira da Serra” and “Gallo”. Who knows maybe you can even find them in the US – they certainly export, just not sure if outside EU. “Oliveira da Serra” is my go to for pretty much everything (except frying).

      Have a nice weekend! 🙂

      1. Thank you Weisserose, that is so helpful! Can I ask, what would you use the “peppery” ones for? I have the strongest one I’ve ever used right now and it didn’t do well at all in my Caprese Salad, sadly. Looking for other uses for it now…

        1. Yes, I can totally relate, a strongly flavoured olive oil on a Caprese Salad is also not my thing, not at all. 🙁

          The “peppery” ones I use them mostly in cooked dishes, rarely raw: for example, on Italian soups, say Tomato Soup or Minestrone; to roast vegetables in the oven; to baste chicken/ turkey/ fish, to roast in the oven or to grill, by itself, just with a little salt added, or as part of a marinade.

          To use raw: on Moroccan/ Middle Eastern style dishes, say Coucous or a Moroccan Salad, as they usually have a strong flavoured dressing, with mint, etc., so the olive oil here will help to achieve a full flavoured seasoning, without being too overpowering in itself.

          Hope this helps a little – and good appetite! 🙂

          1. Oooooo, thank you, I now want ALL of what you mentioned! I appreciate you taking time to explain.
            Hope your weekend is lovely and food-filled!

  2. 🙂 Glad to hear that you had a restful break.

    My personal favourites this week’s T & T:
    – The Olive Oil Enthusiast – after all, I am Portuguese…
    – Stories of Books and Libraries – I do like books about books, it’s like a double layered chocolate, see… 😉
    – Golda – Helen Miren is a splendid actress, I will certainly watch all her work, no matter what the naysayers might indeed say…
    – White Bird – ditto ditto;
    – and the article from Introvert, Dear.

    Have a good weekend and many hugs to Nelle and Norman!

    1. Isabel you’re a true European. Interesting to learn of your heritage. Do you speak Portuguese. I have family in Brasil and I’m learning Brasilian Portuguese currently and struggling😀My sistet-in-law’s family was Portuguese ( da Silva) I am with you on Dame Helen Mirren. Can’t wait to see how she portrays Golda Meir. Interestingly I’ve enjoyed diffetentnolivenoils but never from Portugal. Definitely on the look out now. I have three on the go French’Italian and Spanish. Enjoy the end of Sugust and maybe catch up on Cuppa moments. I’m off to England so will ve enjoying lots of tea and cakes. Kameela😊

      1. Hello, Kameela,

        I am bilingual for Portuguese and Spanish. I true Iberian, you say. Ha ha. 🙂

        So interesting that you are learning Portuguese! We have a complex grammar – but, as you know French, you will notice that all these Romance languages have many things in common, which will make Portuguese grammar a breeze. Or at least not too strong a-wind… 😉

        The main difference between European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese is the accent. There some differences in writing, but nothing too much out, mainly since both countries come together under the “Acordo Ortográfico Portugal-Brasil”.

        All the best for your lessons! Boa sorte! 🙂

        And yes, last but not least, hopefully I will be there for the next Cuppa in September.

        Have a good trip to UK, and enjoy all those teas and cakes, at the source, as it were… 🙂

  3. So glad you had a restful few days off. Taking time for ourselves is a necessary part of self care. I’m looking forward to White Bird!

  4. Hello Shannon! How you’ve described your restful days reminds me of me in younger days. Thanks for today’s post. ~ Teresa

  5. Hi Shannon!
    I can relate to getting everything in our homes as well as all of our personal items organized, edited, weeded out, simplified, put away,etc.!!! I find it to be so grounding and calming. I have to do it frequently!
    Happy end of August and have a splendid weekend!

  6. Shannon~

    I am so happy you enjoyed your mini sabbatical. I am most looking forward to mine the week of Labor Day.

    Thank you so much for reminding us of all the ways to have a successful la rentrée. I have taken note of many and am looking forward to implementing them in the weeks ahead. I believe it was while I was reading one that I was reminded that I have had Chef’s Table saved on my watchlist forever and had yet to watch it. I am now on the 4th episode and love it! The creativity and heart that they put into their dishes is inspiring!

    I am sharing this piece I saw the other day on GMB since it gave me a bit of a chuckle. Oh, how I savor my solo lunches on Fridays.

    Have a wonderful weekend!


    1. Enjoyed that, Michelle, thanks for the link. It got a bit heated there at the end, quite amusing. After being recently widowed I did struggle awhile with the stigma and awkwardness of dining alone but decided that I missed the places I enjoy more so, so I just took me myself & I out. It wasn’t always alone but when you want to head out on the spur of the moment sometimes you can only rely on yourself! The biggest challenge I can remember in those days was having to leave the table for the restroom and either take everything with me or notify the waiter that I hadn’t actually bolted on the bill! The most awkward time during the experience is after you’ve ordered, waiting for your food. Looking at the menu is fine, eating the meal is fine but those in-betweens are a bit trying. Luckily I’m a very introspective person so I enjoy my own company, to just think but when I’d come out of my reverie it always did make me a bit sad to be sitting there alone. But, then, I know that is because I was comparing it to the beforetimes with my dear husband. I remember someone mentioning that they’d never savored a meal quite so much as when they were alone. Makes a lot of sense because the only focus is the food. An interesting topic, thanks!

  7. Sounds like a wonderful respite, Shannon. Thank you for responding to my question about the charming canvas tote with the flowers and bicycle on it. I will follow up with the link. I look forward to listening to Jon Baptiste’s new album. I’ve admired this talented young man for some time. Helen Mirren is on a roll and can’t wait to view White Bird. I’ve read the NYTimes article on the four supermodels, and have my thoughts about the Vogue cover. I’m curious as to how other readers view the supermodels and aging. Enjoy the last week of August. Xx Karen

    1. Karen,

      Happy to share about the totes. They are of good quality, sturdy canvas. I do Hope you find one you like. Many, many to choose from. 😌 Jon Baptiste is an amazing talent, isn’t he? Truly sharing fully his gift with the world and with so much purpose.
      Wishing you a wonderful weekend. 💛🌻

  8. Shannon lots to savour. After a jam packed French week you deserve some respite. Hope your batteries are fully recharged. Not all olive oils are made equal.A well written book on olive oil is essential for the keen there are so many to choose from. I read a review recently and some even have traces of plastic in them!! I love trying out different olive oils . I have three on the go at the moment. French,,Italian and Spanish. In addition to cooking and dressing, my dishes. I use it in a facial oil and take two tablespoons neat every day. Great in baking also. Enjoy the ladt weekend of August . I hope I can join in Cuppa moments as I will be .in England enjoying lots of cresm teas.. .Kameela😊

  9. I am not sure you ever mentioned T.J. Robinson, the Olive Oil Hunter, but he is a great source of knowledge for all things olive oil. He also has an olive oil club that you can join and have the best olive oils sent to you four times a year. I have been a member for about three years now and I will remain so forever.

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