This & That: February 2, 2024
Friday February 2, 2024

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Released this past Tuesday, from the bestselling author of Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone, Benjamin Stevenson’s Everyone on This Train is a Suspect will most certainly look to take inspiration from Agatha Christie, and in this novel, all the suspects are crime writers, so therefore hypothetically know how to get away with a crime, so when the Australian Mystery Writers’ Society hosts their crime-writing festival aboard the Ghan, the famous train between Darwin and Adelaide, the first person narration begins, and the murders do as well. But who did it, and will we ever be able to find out?

Released January 23rd, Brian Klaas draws on “social science, chaos theory, history, evolutionary biology, and philosophy to provide a fresh look at why things happen—all while providing mind-bending lessons on how we can live smarter, be happier, and lead more fulfilling lives.

“In Flukemyth-shattering social scientist Brian Klaas dives deeply into the phenomenon of random chance and the chaos it can sow, taking aim at most people’s neat and tidy storybook version of reality. The book’s argument is that we willfully ignore a bewildering truth: but for a few small changes, our lives—and our societies—could be radically different.”

Yet another book inspired partially by the long-running successful play by Agatha Christie, The Mouse Trap, I learned about Oskar Jensen’s new book while reading this past weekend’s Financial Times and quickly became intrigued. Helle & Death is set during a snowstorm, in a country house, sound familiar? But this is what is not – “Old friends reunited . . . and Torben Helle – art historian, Danish ex-pat and owner of several excellent Scandinavian jumpers – finds himself dragged to a remote snowbound Northumbrian mansion for a ten-year reunion with old university friends. At the dinner table their host, a reclusive and irritating tech entrepreneur, makes some shocking revelations. And when these are followed by an apparent suicide, the group faces a test of their wits… and their trust.” Dah dah dahhhhh.

Released this past January and already an Editor’s Pick, “Slate editor Dan Kois makes his fiction debut with this stunning coming-of-age novel set in New York City, about the joys of unexpected life-altering friendships, the power of finding ourselves in the moment, and the importance of forgiving ourselves when we inevitably mess everything up . . . Vintage Contemporaries is a novel about art, parenthood, loyalty, and fighting for a cause—the times we do the right thing, and the times we fail—set in New York City on both sides of the millennium.”

“With one simple goal in mind, long-time teacher and life-long reader, Shannon Reed, makes the case in her new book, Why We Read, that we should read for pleasure above all else . . . Reed shares surprising stories from her life as a reader and the poignant ways in which books have impacted her students. From the varied novels she cherishes (Gone GirlTheir Eyes Were Watching God) to the ones she didn’t (Tess of the d’Urbervilles), Reed takes us on a rollicking tour through the comforting world of literature, celebrating the books we love, the readers who love them, and the ways in which literature can transform us for the better.”

Bibliophiles, I have a feeling much of what New Yorker contributor Shannon Reed shares will not surprise you, which is why this book will be a delight to read whether for confirmation, further exploration or just one more book to look forward to reading.

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Being released on February 6th, The Women takes us back to the Vietnam War and into the lives of the women who served, then returning to the states forever changed as well as returning to a country that doesn’t look or the feel the same either. “The Women is the story of one woman gone to war, but it shines a light on all women who put themselves in harm’s way and whose sacrifice and commitment to their country has too often been forgotten. A novel about deep friendships and bold patriotism, The Women is a richly drawn story with a memorable heroine whose idealism and courage under fire will come to define an era.”

Released this past January on BritBox is a new series in six parts that follows the lives of three women who board a ship from Jamaica to begin a new life in Britain. “Inspired by the writer of the series Sir Lenny Henry mother’s stories about leaving Jamaica for Britain in the 1950’s as part of the Windrush Generation”, Three Little Birds centers around sisters Leah and Chantrelle and their friend Hosanna as the reality and their new life in Britain collide. Have a look at the trailer below and watch the first three episodes now.

Backed by Williams-Sonoma, Green Row is a new venture in décor that adheres to five key tenets regarding the wares they sell: designed to last, responsible materials, healthy living, ethical production and thoughtfully made (learn more specifically here). So when I came across this recycled glass chandelier, I saved it immediately as I have been looking for three years for a chandelier for my primary bedroom. Indeed, I will have to save up, but I am enamored, and perhaps you are as well. But if you are not, I have a feeling you will enjoy perusing their site – fabric lampshades, linens, tableware and so much more.

Recycled Glass 2 Tier Chandelier Z 2

Recycled Glass 2 Tier Chandelier Z

Fitting In

Based partially on the screenwriter and director, Molly McGlynn’s own life experience, Fitting In, tells the story of a teen girl who is diagnosed with a reproductive condition that upends her plans to have a sex life, propelling her to explore unusual methods. Her relationships are challenged with everyone in her life, but most importantly, herself. Have a look at the trailer to understand. It looks to be unique, honest and lovely. In theaters beginning today.

The Monk and the Gun

Being released in limited theaters today and nationally next Friday is a film not to miss. A satirical commentary providing a critical lens on American culture, The Monk and the Gun looks to be a sublime film with an intriguing ending. Written and directed by Pawo Choyning Dorji, who is Bhutanese himself, the film using the philosophy of the Bhutan people to ask viewers to question a way of a life (America’s) that is often blindly accepted as ‘normal’.

Have a look at the trailer below.

—Celebrate France’s Crêpe Day with a delicious crêpe of your choice!

If it’s February 2nd, not only is it Grounhog’s Day, but it is also the French culture’s celebration of Crêpes! “Chandeleur, or Candlemas as it is known elsewhere in the world”, takes place on February 2nd and while stemming from both religious and pagan origins, it is a delicious holiday at that. Read La Cuisine Paris’s Fevrier’s newsletter here to learn all about this annual food holiday, and if you haven’t welcomed a crêpe pan into your batterie de cuisine, this one from the French culinary brand de Buyer is available at a very nice price.

I know what I will be enjoying this weekend, either for lunch, dinner or dessert! Here are a few recipes to try:

Gardeners’ World Compilation Series

The premiere of Gardeners’ World for the new season is still just over a month away (March 15th), but in the meantime, you can watch brand new episodes full of compilations of favorite segments shared over the past couple of years. Two episodes have already aired (check BritBox for viewers in the states), and I have a feeling I will be tuning in this weekend with a hot cuppa.

Subtle and statement making, either color depending upon your skin tone, is available in a classic everyday style – polo collar and long sleeve. Sizes are going quickly in ivory, so if that is your color, be sure to scoop one up. I am loving the fuchsia as that is definitely in my color wheel. 🙂

Fold London’s Harrow Blouse Blush

A subtle statement with a flattering cut.

Thefold Harrow Blouse Blush Pink Silk Db316 2310 1 V5 52316

The sale continues and there are still many capsule finds available at great savings.

Screenshot 2024 02 01 At 10.52.00 am


For simple basics, savings are everywhere at the Factory of Banana Republic.


Quinta Brunson has been earning praise since the debut of her comedy series on ABC, Abbott’s Elementary, and now, after a prolonged wait due to the strike, the third season is upon us, premiering next week on Wednesday February 7th. Winning the best actress award at the Golden Globes and Emmy’s, Brunson along with the rest of the cast is a wonderful way to enjoy 30 minutes each mid-week. Have a look at the trailer below for season 3.


Well, along with enjoying a crêpe or two this weekend, it will also be a weekend when Norman will receive his regular groom after Nelle had hers last weekend, perhaps a loop or two of skiing up on the mountain and saying hello to a new month that is full of auspicious surprises waiting to be discovered.

I hope this past week has gone well for you and you are reflecting on a January that began the new year on the best foot. Now, a new month begins, and I hope you too are looking ahead to stepping with confidence and curiosity into while a short month, has absolutely the potential to be quite awesome.

This past week, FR 105 concluded, and that means that I am finally graduating on to the 200 levels of French language – wahoo! This weekend, I will be making sure I celebrate this progress as I have never gone continually so far in my learning with this language I absolutely adore and finally am seeing improvements in my understanding, speaking and writing. Phew!

This past week has been a full one on the blog, beginning this past Saturday with a full detailed tour of the kitchen, February’s A Cuppa Moments, the monthly Smile post and a Motivational post that continues the two-month series of a new year, new life. And if you are subscribed to the monthly newsletter, subscribers heard the news first! – you can now learn more about TSLL’s premiere online course – the Contentment Master Class as an FAQ page has been created.

Thank you for stopping by today, and may the weekend bring you just the right amount of books to get lost in, rendez-vous to captivate your enthusiasm and of course many everyday moments to savor. Until Monday, bonne journée.

7 Cultural French rules to not forget according to HipParis

~A wonderfully cozy and welcoming Cotswold cottage to tour [House & Garden UK]

~The importance of quiet so you can listen [Zen Habits]

~Which side of the Seine is Best? Depends upon which type of trip you desire [WSJ]

~A delicious hybrid – scones and cinnamon rolls – a Giant Cinnamon Roll Scone [NY Cooking]

~The value of having compassion for yourself when setbacks occur along the road toward a desired goal [WSJ]

~Speaking of those resolutions or intentions (whatever your chosen approach), psychologists are saying that February is the best month for success with them. [NYTimes, gift link]

~Monty Don’s Tasks & Advice for February

~The 2024 guide to the Michelin starred restaurants in the UK and Ireland [CN Traveler]

~Omar Sy. Je l’adore. Here is a fun video as he gets ready for the Louis Vuitton show at the Plaza Athénée in Paris.


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9 thoughts on “This & That: February 2, 2024

  1. Shannon, so much to love here.
    First, mille felicitations on your French language learning progress, brava!
    I am looking forward to a good cozy watch & catching up with Monty Don & Gardener’s World this weekend.
    Omar Sy. Je l’adore aussi, such a kind, intelligent and very sexy man, many bises to him.
    The film, ‘Fitting In’, absolutely, and ‘The Monk and The Gun’, well wow, double absolutely.
    I think I must have the pretty grey+white stripe Banana Republic sweater, it’s sitting now in my cart, but I MIGHT need to add something else..
    The crepe pan has been ordered and will soon be joining my batterie de cuisine, merci beaucoup, Shannon, for this find, I’ve been wanting one for ages.
    As usual, I will continue to peruse and enjoy all of the articles for the few days. Have a most lovely weekend, Shannon, thank you for another wonderful T&T. And I really don’t know if the pups can get any cuter.💖xx

  2. Thank you for stopping by Rona!

    Merci beaucoup pour votre soutien et félicitations !
    Catching up on GW sounds like a wonderful idea. I think I will be joining you vicariously. 🙂
    So tickled to read what you have enjoyed while you perused. Thank you for sharing and wishing you many delicious crêpes in the coming weeks, months and years!
    Sending your pups love as well and wishing you a most restorative and rejuvenating weekend. Bon week-end !

    1. Update: To inaugurate the beautiful de Buyer pan, I made a traditional French herb omelette–what a DELICIOUS difference from my usual cast iron skillet cook, truly. I adore this pan, so beautifully made.
      The Banana Republic Striped Grey Forever Sweater is so soft and lovely, perfectly slightly fitted. I ordered the medium, I am 5’10” slim build, it hits just above hip points. Very lightweight, perfect for shoulder seasons, and some regions for summer . And, while I was there, I also picked up a lovely striped sleeveless summer button down, and a long sleeve Breton summer weight tee. All on brilliant sale!! Thank you Shannon!💖

  3. Once again, a great T & T! Merci, Shannon! 🙂

    What caught my eye:

    – Why We Read: On Bookworms, Libraries and Just One More Page before Lights Out – “Just One More Page before Lights Out” is my middle name at bed time… cough cough… talk about self discipline… 😉

    – Green Row Chandelier – This is a beautiful piece, and I concur it would look great in a bed room because the glass pieces are rounded, giving thus an impression of softness. And just a quick question: did you ever considered to wallpaper the ceiling of your bedroom, same as the walls? I remember you have a slanted ceiling and I think it would enhance the cocoon effect that you mentioned.

    – Fitting In – It is good that films like this are coming out to create awareness.

    – The Monk and the Gun – I am intrigued…

    – Blush Blouse – What a beautiful blouse. Good they don’t have other colours and blush is not in my colour palette, othrwise my bank account would suffer… 😉

    I still have to read all the interesting articles and watch Omar Sy video, great actor and very handsome guy. 🙂

    All the best for your French Classes and congratulations on reaching a new level. Yay!

    I will be making crêpes, too, this weekend. Just for fun – and because who can resist them anyway? Thanks for the reminder.

    Have a great weekend and much fun with Norman’s SPA time! 🙂


    1. Isabel,

      Happy weekend! And thank you for stopping by. You have a great memory and I appreciate the nudge to wallpaper the ceiling as I agree, I think it would enhance the room. I have yet to wallpaper a ceiling, and maybe this where I begin. Also, that is exactly it! The soft edges of the glass make this best for the bedroom. Thank you for pointing out this detail. 😌
      Wishing you a wonderful weekend and a delicious one savoring a crêpe or two at that. 🇫🇷❤️

  4. Shannon lovely T&T. I’ve seen that chandelier somewhere else but can’t remember where. It’s absolutely stunning. Imagine lazing in bed gazing up at it’s iridescence. Although we make crêpes for Chandeleur. It’s a way of life here almost everyday in its various guises. Always served with cider either from la Bretagne or la Normandie.Every town has a crêperie. Just
    discovered our local crêperie is up for sale! Bad news. Congratulations on striding ahead with your French course. Do you get much opportunity to practice conversation outside of your lessons? Have a lovely weekend 😊

    1. Thank you for stopping by Kameela! 🙂 To enjoy crêpes with regularly! Yum! 🙂 And oh no about the sale! Hopefully a wonderful new chef will bring something delicious to the space. Wishing you a lovely weekend.

  5. What an interesting collection of goodies this week, Shannon, thank you indeed! That fuchsia polo — oh, my! Fuchsia has always been “my” colour but it suits me even better now I’m Covid Grey: will I resist or not? Stay tuned 🙂 . The blush pink blouse is gorgeous, too, although it’s hard to tell if it’s got cool or warm undertones from the photo. Our lifestyle is so casual it’s easier to resist, but it’s still tempting.

    “The Monk & The Gun” sounds like a must-watch. I’ve discovered a new (to me) series you might enjoy, set in France in English & French w/ subtitles: “Monsieur Spade”. The central protagonist is, of course, Sam Spade, from the ’30s crime noir novels of Dashiell Hammett, which I adored when I read them decades ago. Brilliantly played by actor Clive Owen, Sam is now retired & living in France, having inherited a vineyard from his now-deceased French wife. But crime & passion fine him anyway 🙂 It’s not a “cozie” by any means but the acting, dialogue, sets & scenery are just perfect. It’s on AMC up here in Canada.

    And crepes! I used to make them all the time — we’d have them almost weekly with either a sweet or savoury filling. Then my crepe pan disappeared during a move & I couldn’t find a replacement that enabled me to make a crepe to save my life! After reading this, I realized I have a small frying pan with what I think are the perfectly angled sides & am going to give it a try later today. I don’t know what’s taken me so long to get back to them! Have a fabulous wind-up to your weekend, & may the upcoming first week of February be delightful in every way.

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