This & That: December 9, 2022
Friday December 9, 2022

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Winter weather inspired much of the style and capsule wardrobe finds this week, and as well as beautiful classics to scoop up for layering, accessorizing and more. A delightfully fun Anglophile documentary on what it means to be quintessentially British is released this week, along with a star-packed new film by Sam Mendes, cookbooks for savory baking and learning the fundamentals of cooking well. A couple of holiday inspired British books for those that have an affection for Downton Abbey and cosy mysteries. Books on travel, invention, change and still, there is so much more.

Books

The Lemon: A Novel by S.E. Boyd

Released this past November and set in Belfast, Ireland, The Lemon is a commentary on “the underside of success and fame, and our ongoing complicity in devouring our cultural heroes.” Critics are enjoying it and it comes with some side-splitting humor as well.

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License to Travel: A Cultural History of the Passport by Patrick Bixby

Released this past October, a book for travelers and history lovers alike. Patrick Bixby “takes the reader on a journey from pharaonic Egypt and Han-dynasty China to the passport controls and crowded refugee camps of today” and while that may sound all too serious, he also includes actual images of passports from artists, intellectuals, writers, musicians, ancient messengers and modern migrants. From a historical and global political persepective, I am eager to learn even more about the privilege of traveling, and the power of that little book we carry with us called the Passport.

The Quiet Before: On the Unexpected Origins of Radical Ideas by Gal Beckerman

Released this past February and being a tapped as Notable Book by The New York Times and a NYTimes’ Editor’s Choice, The Quiet Before written by an editor at The New York Times Book Review, “takes us back to the seventeenth century, to the correspondence that jump-started the scientific revolution, and then forward through time to examine engines of social change: the petitions that secured the right to vote in 1830s Britain, the zines that gave voice to women’s rage in the early 1990s, and even the messaging apps used by epidemiologists fighting the pandemic in the shadow of an inept administration. In each case, Beckerman shows that our most defining social movements—from decolonization to feminism—were formed in quiet, closed networks that allowed a small group to incubate their ideas before broadcasting them widely.” Sounds fascinating.

British Find

Christmas at Highclere: Recipes and Traditions from the Real Downton Abbey by The Countess Carnarvon

While published in 2018, I have yet to share this must-have holiday Anglophile book here on the weekly This & That and wanted to make sure I did so finally now. “Lady Carnarvon will guide you through Advent, Christmas preparations and Christmas Eve, all the way through to the day itself, and beyond. Learn how the manor and grounds are transformed by decorations, including the raising of a 20-foot tree in the saloon and the gathering of holly and mistletoe from the grounds.”

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Empire of Light

A film from Academy Award winning director Sam Mendes starring a stellar cast – Olivia Colman, Micheal Ward, and Colin Firth to name a few of the many stand-outs, Empire of Light is released today. Set in an English seaside town in the early 1980s, Empire of Light is a story about human connection and the magic of cinema. Have a look at the trailer below.

Harry & Meghan, docuseries, Netflix

TSLL readers are all over the board when it comes to this much-talked about docuseries of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, so I would be remiss not to include it because rather than making assumptions about what we think is included, it might be best to watch it before we pounce or cheer or anything in between. I have read more than a handful of articles from film reviewers both from the states and from across the pond in England, and from up and down the ideological spectrum, and they are as different as you might imagine based on the reader base of their publications. So I say, if it piques our interest to watch it, let’s do so and do so with an open-mind. That is what I will be doing as the first of six volumes was released last night on Netflix, and the second will be released on December 15th. The New York Times shares five takeaways and writes that the first two volumes directly address the problem the Sussexes have with the press not the royal family. Have a look at this third trailer that was recently released sharing a few details about the couple’s first date.

Midsomer Murders, season 23

Midsomer Murders returns with a new season, and I am ready for it! Let me cozy in with a good cuppa, make a comfort meal and let it snow and snow and snow as I watch a new cosy British mystery. 🙂 The first of four episodes will premiere Monday December 12th, with a new episode released every subsequent Monday to make our way through to the new year. Watch directly on AcornTV or stream through Amazon Prime here.

Quintessentially British, documentary

I will be watching this lovely documentary that was released this fall in limited theaters and now available for streaming (watch it for free on Amazon Prime for Members). Created and produced by Irish film maker Frank Mannion, who has lived in Britain for more than 20 years, he brings a unique perspective to a film about his new home country. Quintessentially British is “a love letter to all things great and British from their castles, theater, aristocrats and classic cars to quirky traditions and self-deprecating sense of humor”. Check out this review in The Times that details what you will see when you watch, and have a look at the trailer below.

Sherlock Holmes and the Twelves Thefts of Christmas by Tim Major

Published this past November, Tim Major’s new Sherlock Holmes mystery takes us to a snowy London where Sherlock Holmes “discovers a mysterious musical score that initiates a devious Christmas challenge set by Irene Adler, with clues that are all variations on the theme of ‘theft without theft’, such as a statue missing from a museum found hidden in the room it was taken from”. 

Cookbooks

Food IQ: 100 Questions, Answers, and Recipes to Raise Your Cooking Smarts by Daniel Holzman and Matt Rodbard

Released in February, featuring 100 essential cooking questions and answers and dozens of recipes, Food IQ “includes instructions for a variety of dishes that utilize a wide range of ingredients and methods. Holzman and Rodbard provide essential information every home cook needs on a variety of cooking fundamentals, including: Why does pasta always taste better in a restaurant? (The key to a perfect sauce is not pasta water, but a critical step involving . . . emulsification.); When is it okay to cook with frozen vegetables? (Deep breath. It’s very much OK, but only with certain types.); What is baker’s math, and why is it the secret to perfect pastry every time? (It uses the weight of flour as the constant and . . . we have a handy chart for you.)” If you love being a student in the kitchen just as I do, or someone on your holiday gift list does, this is a book to pick up.

Savory Baking: Recipes for Breakfast, Dinner and Everything in Between by Erin Jeanne McDowell

Released this past October and included on Bon Appétit’s Top 27 cookbooks of 2022, Erin Jeanne McDowell’s Savory Baking shares recipes that take you from day to night for freshly baked goods. Here is the list of the chapter themes: Easy and Essential Bakes, Stovetop Savories, Yeasted Doughs, Pizzas, Flatbreads, and Stuffed Breads, Pastries, Snacks, Bites, and Apps, and Pies and Tarts. The Ham and Cheese Croissants shown below immediately have my appetite dancing.

Décor

Soho Home Bead Table Lamp

When it comes to Arts & Crafts design or English country or English cottage, the bobbin (or bead) detailing is quintessential, so when I saw this lamp, I saved it and will be keeping it mind for a special vignette in the house. Perhaps you already have a place in mind in your own home.

Francophile Finds

Traversée Beige Quilted Bag (m), Rue de Verneuil

Chic, modern, stylish and French. Rue de Verneuil’s bags come in three different sizes, and from their tweeds, to quilted to canvas, you will want to take a look. This beige quilted bag caught my eye, but perhaps we should all wait until we are in Paris, and instead visit their flagship store in the Palais Royal? One of my favorite places to wander and then add a purchase of one of their totes. C’est parfait à moi! ☺️ See the shop’s address below:

65, Galerie de Montpensier 
Les Jardins du Palais Royal
75001 PARIS 

Music

Julia Bullock, Walking in the Dark, album

I was introduced to the American-living-in-Germany soprano Julia Bullock this summer, and immediately saved the date for her first solo album which is released next week – Walking in the Dark. Have a listen below.

Shopping

Alp N Rock Lara II Sweater, Ivory (more colors)

I recently received a question from a reader about what I wear when I go to the mountain as I don’t alpine ski, but enjoy the snow either walking, snowshoeing or classic skiing, and essentially want to stay warm, but be able to move easily. I referred her to these two posts (here and here), but want to share this top, as it would be ideal underneath a slim snow coat, and then upon stepping back inside, wearing alone to stay just warm enough and also effortlessly stylish.

Logan Fair Isle Sweater (unisex), on sale

From the same company as the top above, I found these Fair Isle sweaters on sale, and in sizes for men and women. Beautiful, warm and timeless.

Eric Bompard Cashmere stocking caps (oodles of colors and styles)

I recently found while walking the pups in the evening and out in the chilly air that I needed an ivory stocking cap, and while I have a black cashmere one that I purchased many years ago and LOVE the feel of against my skin, I wanted a color other than black to add more light around the face. Looking at the tag of the current stocking cap that I love, I was reminded it was from French cashmere company Eric Bompard, a brand I implicitly trust for quality cashmere that lasts, and so I went back onto their site and picked out an Autumn White/Ivory cap knowing it will keep me warm and be a versatile winter cap color that will work wherever I might be outside (or doing what I am doing – walking, skiing, etc.).

Paka Men’s Pakafill lightweight puffer coat (three colors)

Ethically sourced insulation filling and coming with a lifetime guarantee, Paka’s lightweight puffer coat has packed its insulation into an all-in-one layer. Complete with a hood, stay warm in extreme cold, and enjoy your time outdoors in the snow.

Joseph silk stretch top, two colors

I recently discovered the high quality layering items from Joseph’s Foundation Collection – items that fit into a capsule wardrobe and layer well with so many different items you might have. I scooped up this ivory silk stretch top when it went on a great discount during the Black Friday sales, and even found one on The Outnet that was more than 60% off in grey. Needless to say, I am now a fan and perhaps you will be (or already are) as well.

While the original price is a bit too steep for me, I wanted to share with you so you can save this item should it go on sale in the future. They are worth the wait.

Layer underneath a blazer or cardigan, wear on its own tucked into a pencil skirt or trousers, the sleeves are long, the fabric is opaque and it feels amazing against the skin.


The snow that fell last week has largely remained as we have had cold nights here in Bend, and just yesterday more snow began to fall and looks to be our guest for the coming days. I am over the moon, and so were the pups when we went to a new-to-us trail yesterday, captured in the photos seen above and below. While we snowshoed (I was the only one technically snowshoeing 😉), the snow fell at an impressive rate, and I was able to capture some fun videos I will share with TOP Tier Members in January. As well, the IG post below shares our first ski outing of the season under beautiful blue skies, and there again, we had a lovely time.

I hope your week went well, and you were able to take a peek at the full moon on Wednesday night – a beauty of a sight. As I sat typing in my office that particular evening, the moon was just coming up over the horizon and what a sight to see while I typed away into the evening.

I will be making a short trek to see my parents in the coming week as they are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, and I look forward to Nelle exploring Wallowa County as it will be her first visit. Otherwise, I am happy as ever to be staying here in Bend this weekend, cozying in, savoring the holiday season as I love these weekends prior to the end of the year when, well, there is just something special about this time of year whether we are out-and-about or nestled inside our own homes. I relish it.

Below I have gathered up a few articles you might enjoy and a video showing how to make a classic French Christmas dessert from an expert pastry chef. Wishing you a wonderful weekend and thank you for stopping by. Until Monday, bonne journée.

~If you live in or around the Flatiron district in New York City, why not pick up a Triple Chocolate Buche Nöel from Dominique Ansel. And if you don’t live nearby, watch the video below to guide you through how to make your own. We can do it! ☺️

~Inspiration and ideas for making your own Christmas wreath from Gardeners’ World

~22 Things you may not know about Midsomer Murders [iHeartBritishTV]

~The United Kingdom was chosen as Travel + Leisure’s 2023 Destination of the Year

~How gritty Marseille, France, is now a haven for creatives [The New York Times]

~How to choose the perfect lampshade [House & Garden UK]

~This Parisian couple creates elegant, enduring interiors [1stDibs]

~How to care for your cut Christmas tree [Paul Allen Smith]

~Garden advice from the experts [Middle-sized Garden]

~A winter quiche to try – Spinach and Gorgonzola Quiche [House & Garden UK]

~How to make festive dried flower decorations [The English Garden]

~Okay, we can do it! Let’s make a Buche Nöel! With the help of expert French pastry chef Dominique Ansel, he shows us how in this video. Happy baking and bon courage!


~Explore last week’s This & That: December 2, 2022

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. 

~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.

10 thoughts on “This & That: December 9, 2022

  1. A very interesting this and that this week. From television to sweaters, you have obviously done much work in curating all this information, thank you. The full moon was majestic. I was walking Lola for her last outing of the day, the only sounds were of the black squirrels scampering up the trees as we passed and an occasional hoot from one of our two resident owls. I never cease to be amazed at how the moonlight creates an entirely different perspective of a landscape so well known to me.
    Such a busy time of year always has me rather exhausted at the end of the day and I am looking forward to watching the new episodes of Midsommer Murders. We have seen the entire series and remarked many times how the residents of each village named their homes rather than using numbers and street names as points of residence. We named our house many years ago and have a bronze plaque beside the front doors as well. Maple Land House is where we live and try to make the most of each day.
    Have a lovely visit with your parents and may the pups enjoy the trip and the new scents that will greet them!

    1. Thank you for stopping by Lucy. ☺️ What a wonderful name for your home. Thank you for sharing and I do hope you find time to slow down and savor this special season. Wishing you a wonderful weekend. 😌💛

  2. Happy Anniversary to your parents! So lovely! As usual, This & That is packed full of goodies. I will be revisiting many times. That spinach and gorgonzola quiche sounds delicious. It’s fun watching Nelle romp around. Such a cutie! Norman looks happy too. Have a wonderful weekend, Shannon!

  3. Happy weekend! I’m looking forward to the film Empire of Light as Olivia Coleman is one of my favorite actors. Just finished the second episode of Harry and Meghan, and like you Shannon, I am keeping an open mind about the series. I’ve read quite a few controversial reviews, however I will see it to the end. You have given us quite a few goodies to check out on this post. Norman and Little One are certainly loving the snow! Congratulations to your parent’s on their 50th Anniversary. Best wishes to them, and may you have a beautiful celebration. 🎉

    1. Karen,

      Thank you for stopping by! I have thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated the first volume of the docuseries and am grateful the Sussexes are finally getting their story out there, which has been there in parts, but not in entirety and certainly on a smaller platform, but the powerful disinformation campaigns by the press have more power to instead share the story they want readers/viewers to believe as true. As a teacher of rhetoric, one of the first tasks taught to students is to look at the source that has written the document, then look at their motivations, biases and audience to determine why they would present the opinion they are presenting, and the unfavorable reviews I have read on the series, even before the series was available to be viewed, were written by UK press or UK press affiliates that have benefited from hounding the Royal family. The beautiful truth that Harry speaks respectfully of his family is heartening, and as someone who followed Meghan’s career long-before she met Harry, I am so happy people are now more widely learning of her advocacy beginning even at a very early age for equanimity and feminist values. I found it interesting the parallel with British political events that were coincidental, and sadly stoked the racial division.

      Most importantly, I am watching to learn, to understand, and to make sure misinformation that is distributed as disinformation (the definition is disinformation is created with intent to deceive while misinformation is taken as a truth by an ill-informed recipient) is no longer paid attention to and therefore disregarded. Bringing awareness to truths that have been destructive is not for the faint-of-heart, even if we have perpetuated them unconsciously. Change in any institution of any kind takes time, but change that takes away something that has been beneficial to those inside the institution (press, a particular culture, etc.) is even more difficult and often there is pushback from those inside. We are seeing that pushback now from many news outlets that have been part of the problem of perpetuating false narratives. It is up to the readers to exercise the skill of critical thinking which takes time, effort and patience rather than jump to conclusions and choose a ‘side’. Choosing sides only sows more division and doesn’t help us progress constructively. I so appreciate your conscious choice to hold your mind open. Thank you for your comment and wishing you a wonderful festive weekend!

      1. Congratulations to your parents! What a rare moment in time to celebrate together. All good wishes for a memorable celebration and safe travels to you and your pups.
        I love these weeks also, especially when the calendar has just a few excitements planned, with plenty of room for serendipitous times and lots of staring out the window at the birds and napping 🙂
        Almost all of our books went into storage in June because the shelves in our previous home were built in. I broke down and squeezed in one big shelf here…and yesterday we picked up three boxes of cookbooks. Oh the joy!
        Lovely wishes this week to you~

  4. Great T&T! 🙂

    What caught my eye:

    – The Quiet Before
    – Empire of Light
    – Quintessentially British
    – Sherlock Holmes and the Twelves Thefts of Christmas
    – Soho Home Bead Table Lamp
    – Logan Fair Isle Sweater.

    This Buche de Nöel looks scrumptious… hmm… yummy… certainly adding the recipe to my Chocolate Collection.

    Congratulations on your parents 50th anniversary – wow! Have a safe trip and a good time.

    Last but not least, just want to add that Nelle looks so grown up now – how did that happen? 😉

  5. Savoring the poetic, descriptive writing of Nigel Slater in his Christmas Chronicles–thank-you for your recommendation. It is the perfect read for a gray, bare-tree kind of day.
    Robin

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