This & That: December 2, 2022
Friday December 2, 2022

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A book about a beloved bookshop in Scotland, shoes and boots for both women and men, many books that come highly praised by book critics for cooks, for cozy mystery enthusiasts, fiction and a newly translated Italian novel worth checking out. Gardeners! The return just in time of a beloved series, and a rom-com/love story film that has slipped under the radar starring Sally Field as the mother to The Big Bang Theory‘s Jim Parsons. Plus a designer sale not to miss, British cookbook author Amelia Freer’s new book, a beautiful linen-covered journal made in England just in time to start fresh for the new year, and much more.


Molly & The Captain by Anthony Quinn

Highly reviewed in The Financial Times, Anthony Quinn’s novel Molly & The Captain centers around a painting created by “a celebrated artist of the Georgian era who paints his two young daughters at the family home in Bath. The portrait, known as ‘Molly & the Captain’, becomes instantly famous, its fate destined to echo down the centuries, touching many lives . . . Through the prism of a single painting it examines the mysteries of creativity, and the ambiguous nature of success. What weighs more, loyalty to one’s talent or loyalty to one’s blood? Does self-sacrifice ennoble the soul or degrade it? And what does it mean to speak of the past when its hold on the present is inescapable?”

The Seamstress of Sardinia: A Novel by Bianca Pitzorno

Now available for English readers, translated from its original Italian, her American debut, Bianca Pitzorno’s novel The Seamstress of Sardinia, is set in 1900 Sardinia. “A young woman’s remarkable talent with a needle earns her a position as a seamstress with a wealthy family. Inside this privileged world far different from her own humble beginnings, the skilled sewer quietly takes measurements, sketches designs, mends hems—and in the silence, hears whispered secrets and stories of all those around her.”


Why We Meditate: The Science and Practice of Clarity and Compassion by Daniel Goleman and  Tsoknyi Rinpoche 

Being released on December 6th, Why We Meditate blends “Eastern tradition with Western science helping readers embrace and understand meditation as never before . . . With accessible and eye-opening advice based on groundbreaking neuroscience, this guidebook helps you not only break free from negative patterns of thought and behavior but radically embrace your very being.”

Your Table is Ready: Tales of a New York City Maître D’ by Michael Cecchi-Azzolina

“From a career maître d’hotel who manned the front of the room in New York City’s hottest and most in-demand restaurants, Michael Cecchi-Azzolina’s phone number was passed around among those who wanted to curry favor, during the decades when restaurants replaced clubs and theater as, well, theater in the most visible, vibrant city in the world.” This books looks to be quite fascinating.

British Find

Gardeners’ World Winter Special Episodes, BritBox, BBC2

Oh, how I am glad these four holiday episodes will be available beginning this Friday and each subsequent Friday on BBC2 and BritBox. With entirely new segments captured throughout the year, along with a few winter how-tos, join the team at Gardeners’ World as they step back into the garden even if we can’t do so right at the this moment in our own. 🙂 Watch the trailer below for a peek of what to expect.

Murder After Christmas (British Library Crime Classic) by Rupert Latimer

In the WSJ’s list of books to read in 2022, shared this past weekend, British writer Rupert Latimer’s Murder After Christmas was recommended. The author’s name is a pseudonym, so no one seems to know who wrote it (originally published in 1944), but the mystery shared between the covers (as well, I suppose, who the author might be) continues to enthrall readers.

The Organised Cook: The Life-changing Way to Save Time, Shop Smarter and Eat More Healthily by Amelia Freer

Look for cookbook author and nutritionist Amelia Freer’s new book to be released on December 8th in the UK, and the title says it all.

Remainders of the Day: A Bookshop Diary by Shaun Bythell

From the Bookshop in Wigtown, owner of the shop and best-selling author of his previous three books (I thoroughly enjoyed Confessions of a Bookseller), look for Shaun Bythell’s new title to be released on December 6th. Sounds like Remainders of the Day will be a fun, cozy read this winter season.


Seasons, handcrafted Linen journals (more colors)

With the new year quickly approaching, and my current journal nearly full, I am shopping around for a new one, and when I learned of the linen-covered journals from Seasons, complete with gold-framing corners, I took note. Handcrafted in England and available in multiple colors, they have other journals and stationery as well, but for fewer than $40, the linen journals are calling my name.


Cooking: Simply & Well, for One or Many by Jeremy Lee

Coming highly recommended from The Financial Times in their Books of 2022 is British chef Jeremy Lee’s new book Cooking: Simply & Well, for One or Many. Winning praise from Nigella Lawson and Stanley Tucci, Lee’s cookbook keeps at its focus – “Good food honed from great ingredients . . . There are sections on the usefulness and frugality of breadcrumbs, black olive crumbs to serve with everything; impromptu puddings like peaches in wine with bay leaves or plum compote with ricotta and hazelnuts; pea dishes galore; superb versions of classics like chocolate St Emilion and pommes Anna; big dishes to serve a few such as marinated chicken with roast pumpkin salad; and essentials like a wild garlic purée.” Okay, I am intrigued and my appetite is most curious.


Spoiler Alert

A film that has not debuted at any film festivals as of yet, Spoiler Alert is a rom-com/love story that will perhaps melt your heart this holiday season. However, do note, it is not a holiday film, but a reminder of love, how it asks us to be vulnerable, brave and that it forever goes on. Jim Parsons and Bill Aldridge star in the love story of their characters, how they met, their wedding and life’s ups and downs. Based on the memoir Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Other Four-Letter Words by Michael Ausiello, have a look at the trailer below (Parsons stars as Ausiello)


Cos, Men’s Zip-Up Leather Ankle Boots, Black

A capsule wardrobe must-have in the winter for men to sharpen up their more dressed up attire and keep their toes and ankles warm.

Loeffler Randall Goldy Safari Tall Boot (four colors)

Loeffler Randal’s boots have been items I keep my eyes on and watch for sales, which are rare as the are quality items and timeless too. But I was excited to be able to scoop up an ankle boot this past week and save 20%. Their knee-high boots are timeless, and if I didn’t already have a boot that I have worn for oodles of years and thankfully is still in great condition, Loeffler Randal is where I would go to pick a new pair up.

Screenshot 2022-12-01 at 10.09.24 AM

Maison Margiela tan replica leather and suede sneakers, 50% off

Neutral, two or three toned sneakers with touches of suede are the low-key, dressed-up item to have for your walking about town. Well-made and comfortable. Many styles and brands are on sale at the moment. I have shopped one more for you below.

Ghōud Suede lo-top Sneakers (many different color combinations), 15% off

Speaking of sneakers, a handful of high and medium-to-higher-end brands make sneakers that are quite the trend on Paris streets. Pair with wide-leg trousers and well, you might just fit right in amongst the locals (or at least the shopping locals) in Paris.

Moda Operandi Designer Sale

If there is a designer you love, be sure to check out this sale, as the prices are not to miss. I have shopped more than a handful of items below, but there are many more finds to discover.

This wool sweater from Stella by Stella was seen worn by Cynthia Nixon for the upcoming second season of And Just Like That, and it’s 50% off at the moment.

Polo Ralph Lauren Cable-Knit Cashmere Tech gloves (three colors)

A must-have if you walk and talk, walk and text, walk and email. You get the idea. 🙂 | The SIMply Luxurious Life

Well, hello December. One more month in this year of 2022, and I am ready to savor every day. Beginning with savoring this Christmas Stollen. As I shared in yesterday’s A Cuppa Moments w/Shannon video, making this German recipe each Christmas has now become a tradition at Le Papillon, and a delicious one at that. I show you how to make it in this cooking video. This year as you will notice above in the pic, I placed the dough in a French bread/cake pan and it helped to keep the structure a bit better as mine tend to go far too flat while baking. 🙂 So, a small tweak to the original recipe. If I could share a slice of this marzipan filled delicious bread I would. Oh my, it is hard to stop at one slice!

The second quarter of my French language classes began yesterday, and I have to admit, it was so nice to be back in the classroom, exploring and deepening my understanding of this beautiful language. I am still continuing my way through the basics, but my fundamental understanding of the construction of the language grammatically is strengthening, and that is what I was hoping would happen.

Snow has been arriving in Bend off and on all week, so most definitely our trek to the mountain to find our tree for the house this weekend will be a wintery wonderland one. Excited for this outing I am! The Dr. Seuss just came out in me, but oh my goodness I am excited (and I have a feeling the pups will be too when they realize what we will be up to). Needless to say, this weekend will be filled with holiday decorating and truly kicking off the Christmas season at Le Papillon and I am ready for it.

This week on the blog has been a fully one, so be sure to explore your weekly newsletter email if you subscribe (if you don’t, it’s free and arrives each Friday sharing the posts for the week – sign up here). An exclusive discount is available to TSLL readers (15% for all readers, and 20% for TOP Tier readers) who are looking for a leather wallet or handbag from France from small business Brontibay Paris (see the above pics capturing one of my favorites they sent me – I will be using this retro-inspired leather wallet for my Travel Wallet as a passport fits inside beautifully.) I wrote a detail post on this wonderfully talented duo and shared even more details in December’s A Cuppa Moments. Also, a reader favorite monthly post was shared on Wednesday, 12 Things That Made Me Smile This Month, and Monday’s Motivational post was all about how love actually is all around us each day and each moment.

Happy Friday. The first Friday of the month has arrived, and perhaps I should have begun with this beautifully welcomed phrase because the weekend awaits and I hope you have a wonderful couple of days to do what you are looking forward to whether that is holiday related or just rest and rejuvenated related. 🙂 Thank you for choosing to stop by today. Below are articles, posts and one trailer that has been long anticipated, I thought you might enjoy. Until Monday, bonne journée.

~It’s official the French baguette now has world Heritage status as given by UNESCO [Le Monde, English edition]

~Step into the garden with Monty Don and his December newsletter

~Speaking of gardeners, The English Garden shares 37 Christmas presents for gardeners.

~How to decorate your Christmas tree like the British royal family [Britain magazine]

~A tremendous thank you to UK reader Sue for sharing this list of Best Christmas hotels in the UK for 2022 – the first one sets the luxurious tone quite well! [Red]

~An introduction to Paris jazz (and where to find it) [The Earful Tower]

~Elif Batuman’s first novel was short-listed for a Pulitzer, and her second is receiving just as much praise. Here is a new interview she gave to The Paris Review, “Does it Have to Be This Way?”

~What this writer has learned after living five years in Paris. Beginning at the top of the list, she is spot on! [HipParis]

~A highly respected garden designer, Philippe DuBreuil talks French Garden Design and Sharon Santoni shares the ideas he has for her garden that she might be implementing soon! [My French Country Home]

~David Bowie on Creativity and his advice to Artists [Marginalia]

~Short, simple and true! Daily practices for living to 90 or 100 [CNBC]

~And the trailer has officially been released by Netflix for the docuseries Harry & Meghan. Look for it to premiere later this month (a date has yet to be shared).

~Explore last week’s This & That: November 25, 2022

What a list this week! More than 20 finds, many of them including Black Friday discounts, books about food, decor, bookshops, birding, Paris and more. Films aplenty and one that is only going into theaters through November 29th, so watch it now to see it on the big screen. And the clothing finds – oh my – I have found luxurious sweaters, knit dresses, suede boots and flats, all on sale, even a fantastically classic quilted Barbour coat (on sale too!) And I haven’t forgotten our four-legged companions – a German brand that is a must-explore (and finds are on sale there as well). But still, there is more. Oh, a vintage French cassoulet dish – there’s only four left, and it’s on sale. On top of ALL of that, I have a long list of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales not to miss and a few thoughts on how to approach this weekend of shopping thoughtfully. I do hope you enjoy and thank you for stopping by today. 

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11 thoughts on “This & That: December 2, 2022

  1. Hi Shannon!
    I can’t wait to see documentary on Harry and Meghan. My heart goes out to them.
    Love the message from David Bowie for artists. I believe he is wise!
    And just happy snowy Christmas season to you and the furry ones Shannon!

  2. Shannon, thank you so much for letting us know about the Winter episodes of Gardener’s World! I am beyond thrilled.
    UNESCO recognizing the french baguette, yay! Read about this earlier and knew you would all over this news!
    The Seamstress of Sardinia looks very engaging; love the Stollen re-do, I now have confidence in doing this!; the English Garden is brilliant, thanks for pointing out their gift recs; for gift suggestions in the U.S.,, check out American Meadows.
    Just a comment from someone trained in theatre and marketing. From the images and videos presented for the “docuseries” of ‘Harry & Meghan’, Meghan is acting and is very aware of the camera and audience. Not sure if Harry knows the implication of such a commercial venture. I am not negating his very true, raw experience. I’ll leave it at that.
    Thank you, Shannon, brilliant T&T as usual that I have to further explore!!xoxo

  3. Hi Shannon
    Finally made it on.
    Thank you for your patience. What a yummy resource.
    Merci et je t’embrasse.

  4. Spoiler Alert looks a lovely watch (if not a teary eyed one!) I love Sally Field so it’s nice to see her in something recently.
    Harry and Meghan, I think I will definitely be watching out of intrigue. As you can imagine in the UK they’re a controversial topic and spark a lot of conversation. I think it will be interesting to see more of what was going on behind the scenes, but I think will also raise a lot of questions and perhaps (though not from me) further hostility. I appreciate their need to make money and desire to set their record straight but I hope Harry recognises the further implications for his family relationships. I will see from what I’ve seen of the sneak peeks it’s lovely to see them looking relaxed and candid, they’re clearly very much in love and a loving couple.
    I hope you enjoyed your festive weekend selecting the tree, I caught a glimpse of your alliums on Instagram. What a great idea. I’m visiting Manchester Christmas Markets with my mum and sister today, an annual tradition of shopping, lunch and perusing the festive stalls.

    1. Sarah,

      Thank you for sharing all that you have, and I appreciate your perspective as a Briton regarding Prince Harry and the release of the trailer. What a wonderful outing to have this past weekend. I saw a few videos on your IG Story – so festive and fun. Thank you for sharing with us. Have a wonderful week ahead. 🙂

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