This & That: December 8, 2023
Friday December 8, 2023

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I must thank two TSLL readers Becky and Edel for bringing this book to my attention as they thought I along with the TSLL Community would enjoy Evergreen: Discover the Joy in Every Season written by Lydia Elise Miller, an author and content creator who lives in the English countryside. This book became available in the UK in October (shop here for UK readers), and will be available on March 12th in the states, and it shares just what the title states – “Season by season, Evergreen guides you to reconnect with nature and find balance throughout the inevitable ebb and flow of life. From learning to trust your intuition to embracing the power of amateur status, rethinking your relationship with comparison to seeking solitude when you need it, Lydia Millen takes you by the hand and empowers you with the tools to create your own version of an evergreen life.” Consider it purchased! I cannot wait to read it. ☺️

And another TSLL reader, who I do apologize I cannot find our DM communication to give you a proper shout-out, brought Mr. Dickens and His Carol to my attention. Thank you very much! Published in 2017 and similar in the storyline to film The Man Who Invented Christmas starring Dan Stevens, but not the inspiration as Silva’s book is more inventive and detailed, I think this book would be a wonderful read during the December holiday season. I am imagining cozying up by the fire, a cup of hot cocoa or chocolat chaud and wet noses of napping pups snuggled in beside me. 🙂

The Great British Baking Show: Holidays, Netflix

I promise I do realize Matt Lucas, the previous host of GBBO, is in the promo photo above, but that is intentional because the new Holiday episodes that will be available on Netflix today and next Friday include him as a host. Why? In the states we will be watching what aired last year in the UK, and in the UK, you all will be watching the new versions with the new co-host Alison Hammond (which we will be able to watch next year!).

I look forward to watching them and getting even more delicious inspiration for baking, but whether I ever bake anything I see or not, it will definitely put me in a holiday mood. 😌🎄

The final, final part of the award-winning series The Crown premieres next Thursday, December 14th. It is with great anticipation and I will most definitely be watching. Look for this series to conclude with the marriage of then Prince Charles to Camilla, now King and Queen. Have a look at the trailer below. Oh my goodness. I cannot wait to watch, but I also don’t want the series to end.

Let’s slip away to Scotland, shall we? And just in time for the winter holidays as on Wednesday December 13th Dame Mary Berry steps into the kitchen with friends Andy Murray, Iain Stirling and Emeli Sande for festive baking, and they even make a Bûche de Noël! Read an interview with Mary Berry about the episodes and each of the guests that she welcomed to cook favorite holiday recipes with her, and check out the trailer below. It looks like delicious, festive fun.

The Shop Floor Project, Christmas Décor

I recently learned of this British shop for wonderful, and unique items, many made in the UK as the article I was reading was sharing this shop as a place to find unique ornaments. If you are looking for festive and oh so British holiday décor – from paper chains, crowns, ornaments and more – then be sure to shop The Shop Floor Project. Many of the ornaments are sold out, but below is one along with unique chains and crowns. Definitely a shop to make note of for future seasonal decorating treasures.

If you will be in London this holiday season, why not go ice skating! Now through January 14th celebrate the season at the heart of the capitol with skates on feet and smiles on faces!


Not available yet in the states, but currently available in the UK, and you can purchase from Blackwells as they ship internationally (that is what I have linked above), is a new book by Rachel Cooke. It was in 2009 that Rachel Cooke started a monthly column for The Observer on cooking and eating and this new book – Kitchen Person – includes her fifty best from those writings.

“In Kitchen Person, unfussy eater Rachel Cooke chronicles several food upheavals since then: new TV cooks, Brexit, viral recipes, the home delivery phenomenon, and the global pandemic. She journeys from her childhood in Sheffield with Henderson’s relish and Granny’s lamb chops, to a job interviewing top chefs and eating in fancy restaurants, to learning to shop and cook well herself, all the time growing more knowledgeable and opinionated about food.”

I happened to come across a new film in my Netflix queue earlier this week, and then took a closer look (I haven’t watched it yet) and thought it might just be a very fun rom-com to enjoy. Taking viewers to Norway during the holidays, Christmas as Usual centers around “Thea [who] is going to her rural hometown to celebrate a classic Norwegian Christmas with her family, but this year she’s bringing along Jashan, her Indian boyfriend, which will put everyone’s preconceived beliefs and traditions on their heads.” Have a look at the trailer below and find it now on Netflix.

Angelina’s Signature Old-Fashion Hot Chocolate

France and hot chocolate. Or should I say, Paris and Chocolat Chaud! I remember my first visit to Angelina’s on the Rue Rivoli across from the Tuileries, and it was indeed a delicious visit because it began with their famous hot chocolate, or chocolat chaud. Now you can purchase a bottle (or two) or your own and have it shipped to your fellow Francophile recipient on your gift list or simply to yourself!

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Now, if you don’t want to pay for shipping and just want to make your own French Chocolat Chaud, I may be a bit bias, but I think TSLL’s recipe is pretty delectable. We use whole milk instead of skim. 🙂

The crew in southern France, specifically, Sete, France, is back for season 8 of the favorite French detective series Candice Renoir. Look for the newly available season (there are 12, but ever so gradually, but quite quickly – thank you! – AcornTV is releasing them) on Monday December 11th.

Louise Damas jewelry, My French Country Home Box No. 28

I shared on Wednesday on IG that I was a fortunate recipient of the latest My Stylish French Country Box from Sharon Santoni and her team, the Soirée Élégante themed box, and they definitely spoiled us. One of my favorite items included was a pair of 16-karat gold hoop earrings from Paris-based (and made) jeweler Louise Damas. They still have a few of this box available (and you cannot find this lotion from Le Godet anywhere else online – MFCB really is a resource for quality French finds that cannot be found just anywhere), so maybe you know someone who would love such a French-treasure-filled box or maybe you want to gift yourself? 🙂 I think either is a wonderful idea.

Released this past spring and chosen as Washington Post’s Best Wine Book of the Year (well actually, it’s two! as there is so much Jon Bonné wants to share) is The New French Wine. I have a feeling that wine lover on your gift list may now be shopped for. Done and done! Here is what you will find inside:

“This comprehensive and authoritative resource takes readers on a tour through every wine region of France, featuring some 800 producers and more than 7,000 wines, plus evocative photography and maps, as well as the incisive narrative and compelling storytelling that has earned Jon Bonné accolades and legions of fans in the wine world. Packaged in a deluxe slip case and Built upon eight years of research, The New French Wine is a one-of-a-kind book set exploring the world’s most popular wine region. First, examine the land through a thoroughly reported narrative overview of each region—the soil and geography, the distinctive traditions and contemporary changes. Then turn to the second book, which is a comprehensive reference guide to the producers and their wines, similarly detailed by region. From Burgundy to Bordeaux and everywhere in between, this is sure to be the resource on modern French wine for decades to come.”

Just in time as I am getting antsy to get back out in my garden! The first of three Winter Special episodes of Gardeners’ World airs tonight on BritBox or BBC Two in the UK. Look for the next two to air each Friday thereafter. I will definitely be watching!

2024 Monthly Wall Planner, Schoolhouse Electric

A new year is coming, and after perusing online last month for my wall calendar that I use for editorial purposes, I wanted to share with you a couple of designs that caught my eye. A simple classic, yet large enough (without being too large) wall calendar from School House Electric (below) gets the job done efficiently and discreetly.

MochiThings Wall Calendars

Square Thumbnail 279984 2024 Life Gardener Wall Calendar F242b0

I ended up purchasing my calendar from MochiThings and my goodness did it arrive swiftly! Thank you MochiThings! While I didn’t purchase the Garden calendar seen to the left/below, I did love it. I have linked to all of their wall calendars, so you can choose what would work best for you.

This should be a fun watch. Tony Shaloub returns as the OCD detective Adrian Monk, and with nearly the entire original cast. Back to San Francisco they go, and it becomes a very personal case involving his beloved stepdaughter Molly, a journalist preparing for her wedding. Have a look at the trailer below and find it beginning today on Peacock.


The yoyo back and forth between snow and rain over the past week has now given the neighborhood and all of Bend the effect of living in a shaken snow globe – magical, smile-creating and . . . it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! 🙂

The gentleness of the snow as it falls straight down from the sky without a wisp of wind in the air in billowy white flakes gets me every time, and as we just returned from walking out in the dusting that will hopefully soon become a winter wonderland, my gaze out the windows becomes the best of mesmerizing distractions.

How have the holidays begun for you? I do hope the spontaneous reply is well at the very least and maybe even wonderfully. Wahoo! If that is the case. ☺️ Such is the case here at Le Papillon, as last weekend, we found the snow (as I shared on IG), and then eventually found our tree. And with our $5 tree permit, I harnessed it on top of my vehicle and spent the rest of the afternoon decorating it. I will be sure to share some pics of my winter holiday décor in December’s Ponderings . . . post later this month.

With the coming of the new year, I wanted to begin to let you know that if you are a non-member (not paying to read TSLL), there will be two changes coming to TSLL that I want to give a heads up about and also give you an opportunity to take advantage of a money saving opportunity. In this detailed post, I explained the reasons behind the decision to make the changes, so please do read through it as I tried to address any questions you might have. And in fact, one of those changes will begin being put into place in the next week or so. So what are they? The most significant change will be that the number of free posts available to anyone not logged in (when you are a BASIC OR TOP Tier member you will have your login details set up to ensure unlimited reading throughout the blog and you simply need to login each time you visit to be able to peruse freely) will be changing from 5 free posts each month to 2 free posts each month (gradually being reduced to 1 free post as 2024 unfolds).

We have been working on upgrades to the blog since this past summer, learning a lot along the way, having hiccups and successes throughout autumn, and now we are finally ready to begin making these changes permanent. As many non-members already know, whenever you read a post, there is a green box that shares with you how many free posts you have left. In the coming days and weeks, that (the free posts for non-members) will eventually be changed from 5 posts to 2 posts. And while I know some readers try to work around this limitation, please know I understand the initial frustration it can create to have to change a habit that you have been accustomed to and worked well for you (in this case enjoying something for free for so long), but TSLL is made possible overwhelmingly by its Members who value the content enough to pay for it (85% of TSLL’s revenue comes from its members to be exact), so I want to make sure TSLL Members know (both BASIC and TOP) how much I and the nonmembers appreciate you because you are why the quality of content continues to be able to be shared and shared consistently.

What is the money saving opportunity I mentioned? When the two free posts have been enjoyed for the month, if you would like to keep reading, the most budget-friendly option is simply to become a BASIC Member as this permits you to read as many posts each month as you want. Currently, you can do that for as little as $2.50/mo when you pay for the yearly price of $30 (15% savings compared to the monthly) or you can pay the $3 each month. For $2.50 BASIC Members enjoy all of the This & That’s, Monday Motivational posts, Style Inspiration posts, Shopping and Gift Guides, British and French-inspired posts, Recipes, Podcast episode Show Notes, Cooking Show videos and all other posts that are not exclusive to TOP Tier Members (learn more about those categories here). Beginning on Thursday January 4, 2024, the price of a BASIC Membership will increase to $4.50/month or $45/year. (All other membership prices will remain the same for the time being, but do look for TOP Tier to increase in the latter half of 2024 or in 2025.) Which is why I want to give you this heads up to take advantage of the chance to scoop up the current low price for BASIC Memberships as it will be changing soon, and so long as you purchase before January 4th and keep your membership Active, you will retain your price forever.

So just imagine, the time to savor a favorite weekly ritual has arrived: It’s Friday morning/afternoon/evening or Saturday/Sunday whenever you carve out a good hour or so to snuggle in and just be in your own company, and you know there is a new This & That post up and posted on TSLL because there has always been one since 2012 like clockwork (the only Friday I take off from This & That is the last Friday of the year for my annual week off which has happened since 2010). You prepare your favorite drink of choice and perhaps a nibble, maybe your pup or cat cozies in next to you, and you begin to relax, unwind and treat yourself to ideas, discoveries and ahas knowing that you are part of the reason, as a member of TSLL, that this content is available to be savored, and so that others around the world can savor it as well. A virtual community of gathering of sorts, a shared curiosity of the world with the world in our little neck of the internet, and for all of the many readers over the years who continue to make a visit to TSLL a ritual they savor and make time for themselves, I thank you tremendously. TSLL would not be be what it is without you, and I look forward to bringing the content you look forward to with each post for years to come.

And now to a cozy, wintery weekend, or if not wintery, then at the least, a wonderful weekend full of moments to snuggle in to nourish ourselves, time to get lost in a good book and savoring any activity that deepens our calm. Below are posts to explore and until Monday, bonne journée !

~Chanel went to Manchester earlier this week. Have a look at the collection on the runway [WWD]

~What’s your go-to comfort dish? This week I made one of mine – Matzah Brei [Financial Times] And wishing everyone who celebrates a wonderful start to Hanukkah!

~What to do in Paris this December [Hip Paris]

~Oxford University Press announced the word of the year. At least now I know what the word means! 🙂 [The Medium]

~Read this post thanks to Rebecca Plotnick and am noting right now when my year prior to expiration is so that I don’t let my Global Entry lapse – How (and when) to renew Global Entry [Travel + Leisure]

~Um, yum! Why not try a Pear Tarte Tatin instead of an Apple Tarte Tatin this winter and use this recipe because it adds something that changes the entire flavor profile making it all the more delicious [Food & Wine]

~One more recipe for chocolate lovers from The KitchnChocolate Delight, a no bake recipe.

~And one more food note: Did you hear? Saveur is coming back in print form. Yep!

~The best French movies of 2023 [Frenchly]

~There never has been, and never will be another you. Motivation and inspiration to trust your inner compass. [Marie Forleo]


~Be prepared to become very hungry while watching this video – The Art of Making Food, as put on the screen for the series of Julia.

~~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.

12 thoughts on “This & That: December 8, 2023

  1. You can order British books before their U.S. release on
    You pay for shipping, but if you can’t wait……

    1. Cara,

      Thank you for letting us know! I have found Blackwells to be my go-to for British books that are not yet available in the states as the shipping is minimal. The only thing is I usually have to wait two weeks for it to arrive, but the price is about the same, and sometimes cheaper. Again, that is shipping to Oregon, so it may be different to different parts of the world. 🙂 Thank you for sharing what you have discovered because sometimes I just cannot wait four or six months for the books to be available in the states! 🙂 Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

  2. Saveur is back in print!? What a joy! Such happy memories of buying it at a bookshop (that’s sadly no longer with us) when I barely had the money to do so – but it was a favorite treat. Been years. Can’t wait to hold one again.

    1. I am happy too Meg. Saveur has given me a lot of inspiration through the years, especially since I had no idea how to cook when I became an adult.

  3. Hi Shannon,

    Thank you for another excellent This and That which is one of my weekly highlights for years now. I really enjoyed Christmas as Usual, I am of Norwegian descent which made it at lot of fun and I can see maybe a part two.

    Not sure if you have seen The Paris Christmas Waltz, it is a cute movie I am loving the Paris Christmas scenes which are spectacular.

    Looking forward to Julia the food scenes as the series is excellent, I am enjoying the weekly podcast with special guests that come out weekly with the show.

    Have a fabulous weekend and thanks again for doing what you do.

    Judi k

  4. That’s a fab round-up, thank you Shannon! I love the sound of the seasons book. I keep wondering whether you’ve come across Diana Henry? British cookery writer. Very much beloved; Nigel Slater’s a fan. Wonderful recipes, menus and beautiful writing about food, ingredients, cuisines. She’s just released a book about cooking in the cold months: Roast Figs, Sugar Snow. Wonderful. I want to make everything in it! And in all of her books! Happy December. Krys x

  5. I am having a bit of a lie-in this morning as the week at my new job was a bit hectic, but everyone was very welcoming and I am excited for a new challenge. When I finally leave my sanctuary, I will be watching the Baking Show and Mary Berry along with the beginning of steeping fruit for Christmas Pudding (which should have already been done). A British tradition that I have incorporated into my own has been a family favorite for the past three years. Perhaps I will just spend the day in front of the telly as so many of my favorites have been released, such as Midsomer Murders and Monk’s Last Case. I will be looking forward to Candice Renior, as well.

    To those of you on the fence about TSLL membership, I have not regretted upgrading. Shannon’s content never disappoints, and I have been happy to trade some other little indulgence for this one.

    Hope everyone is enjoying the festive season!

    Michelle xx

    1. Michelle,

      May your weekend and especially today give you the rest and rejuvenation you need. And as you continue to into your new job, a transition full of unknowns, even if good, can be emotionally taxing, know that the settling in process is happening and will arrive far sooner with the regular care you give yourself. Your day sounds wonderful. And thank you ever so much for sharing your words about TSLL. Your Christmas Pudding tradition sounds as wonderful as it is no doubt delicious and I am tickled your family enjoys it.

      Thank you for stopping by today and wishing you a good start to the new week. 😌💛

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