This & That: February 24, 2023
Friday February 24, 2023

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A favorite French female lead is back in a beloved series on AcornTV, a new film that is receiving across-the-board critic praise and it’s nominated for the Best Foreign Film at the Academy Awards, two sales – one a winter essentials and the other spring sale – worth exploring for both your wardrobe and your home. Andie MacDowell stars in a film that looks to be a treat to watch, newly released books on a wide array of topics – stepping into a wonder-filled way of living, the history of inequality and governments, Karl Lagerfeld’s new biography, stepping out of the midlife confundity, as well as two new gardening books from British authors and still much, much more!


Enchantment: Awakening to Wonder in an Anxious Age by Katherine May

Being released this coming Tuesday, a book for anyone who desires to intentionally not return to the hustle, bustle and anxiety of the world we took a pause from when the pandemic arrived. In Enchantment, New York Times–bestselling author of Wintering author Katherine May “invites the reader to come with her on a journey to reawaken our innate sense of wonder and awe. With humor, candor, and warmth, she shares stories of her own struggles with work, family, and the aftereffects of pandemic, particularly feelings of overwhelm as the world rushes to reopen. Craving a different way to live, May begins to explore the restorative properties of the natural world, moving through the elements of earth, water, fire, and air and identifying the quiet traces of magic that can be found only when we look for them. Through deliberate attention and ritual, she unearths the potency and nourishment that come from quiet reconnection with our immediate environment.”

Good Vibes, Good Life: How self-love is the key to unlocking your greatness by Vex King

While released in 2018, I wanted to bring Good Vibes, Good Life to your attention. While self-described self-love writer Vex King just released a new book last week Closer to Love, I wanted to begin with his first book, inspired by his internationally recognized and wildly popular Instagram account (I have included one of his more recent posts below). Good Vibes, Good Life draws from overcoming his own adversity “to become a source of hope for thousands of young people, and in his first book he draws from his personal experience and his intuitive wisdom to inspire readers to: practise self-care, overcome toxic energy and prioritize your wellbeing, cultivate positive lifestyle habits, including mindfulness and meditation, change your beliefs to invite great opportunities into your life, manifest your goals using tried-and-tested techniques, overcome fear and flow with the Universe, and find your higher purpose and become a shining light for others.”

Paradise Now: The Extraordinary Life of Karl Lagerfeld by William Middleton

If you are a fan of fashion history, you will want to pick up this new biography about Karl Lagerfeld (being released February 28th). Passing in away in 2019, Lagerfeld’s story is full of drama and intrigue. Reading a review this past weekend in The Wall Street Journal, I have to admit, this book will no doubt keep readers enthralled.

The Patriarchs: The origins of inequality by Angela Saini

I learned of Angela Saini’s new book The Patriarchs following a review I read in The Financial Times at the beginning of the year where a handful of books were shared that editors were looking forward to reading in 2023. Award-winning science journalist Angela Saini explores the roots of what we call patriarchy, uncovering a complex history of how it first became embedded in societies and spread across the globe from prehistory into the present. She travels to the world’s earliest known human settlements, analyzes the latest research findings in science and archaeology, and traces cultural and political histories from the Americas to Asia.

X Change by Lucia Knight

From Ireland and now Great Britain, Lucia Knight has a kick-start plan and ideas for Generation Xers who currently aren’t satisfied with where they find themselves in life and know there must be something more. Check out her TEDx Talk below, and explore her book X Change (2019) which shares that it “is possible to take control of your own career and work story, BUT without a clear understanding of how to do this effectively you risk everything. The stories and underlying strategies uncovered in X Change are the essential missing step to your future.”


My Happy Ending

A light-hearted film about a serious topic. Andie MacDowell stars in a role we’ve not seen her in before, and I think, based on what I have seen in the trailer, she does a smashing good job. Have a look at the trailer as it summarizes what you will discover when you head to the theater beginning today to watch My Happy Ending.

The Quiet Girl

Nearly, if not all, critics agree, this is a must-watch film. The Quiet Girl is Ireland’s official entry for Best Foreign Film nomination at this year’s Oscars and for good reason. Have a look at the trailer below and look for it in theaters today.

Francophile Finds

Candice Renoir, season 5, AcornTV

Finally, finally, finally, the return of Candice Renoir for the final season of the eponymously named French series! Since last year at this time I have been not so patiently waiting and wondering when AcornTV would release the 5th season that was already completed. And next Monday is the day! February 27th. Enjoy!

French Pharmacy

In this month’s 14 February Ponderings . . . shared with TOP Tier Members, I included an article about French women and their skincare regimens (check out the post to view the article), and one of the many things shared and gleaned was the recommendation of this skincare find (shown below). And where did I find it? While you can find it online from many places, I found it on French Pharmacy which is full of French skincare and beauty items worth exploring. I will leave it at that and let the shopping commence!

~Psst: If you are curious as to what the monthly Ponderings post is, it is essentially a This & That post but with more intimate sharings, discoveries, and thoughts on a variety of topics. There really isn’t anything that is off limits. So if you have been ‘pondering’ becoming a TOP Tier member and enjoy the weekly This & That post, I am fairly confident you will enjoy the many Ponderings . . . posts that have been shared over the past handful of years. Here is the archive of all of the Ponderings posts to check out when you become a member.


The Gardeners’ Almanac: A treasury of wisdom and inspiration through the year by Alan Titchmarch

Now available to gardeners here in the states (released late last year in England) and adorned with illustrations by Alan Titchmarch himself, in The Gardeners’ Almanac discover his “month by month guide of garden knowledge, facts, advice and inspiration. Here is seasonal advice on what to grow and sow, projects to engage in, as well as wildlife to spot, gorgeous gardens to visit, birds and flowers to celebrate, weather notes, and nature to reflect on in poems, music, and books.”

The English Garden, April 2023 issue

Spring is almost here, and if you don’t already have a subscription to The English Garden magazine, perhaps just purchasing this spring issue will be the gift to give yourself as you ready yourself for the new gardening season.

How to Grow the Flowers: A sustainable approach to enjoying flowers through the seasons by Camila Romain and Marianne Mogendorff

Two British gardeners have just released a new book founded on the premises of “growing flowers to cut and enjoy at home [to] sharpen our awareness of the world around us and make us more attuned to nature.” Camila Romain and Marianne Mogendorff use the principles of provenance, locality, climate and sustainability “to address the flower market. ‘With not much space, it is possible to use the flowers from your garden to decorate your home as well as giving bunches to friends and family instead of buying cellophane wrapped flowers from the shops that may have been covered in pesticides and travelled many miles to get to you'”. In How to Grow the Flowers discover an “approachable guide will instill the confidence in you to grow flowers to bring into your home and enjoy all year round.”


Faherty Carmel Linen Dress

Time to look ahead to the summer markets and this dress looks ideal if you have warm undertones. Made of linen – perfect for the hot temperatures, wrap with a simple belt, throw your French market tote straps over your shoulder and enjoy perusing the fresh produce.

Use this url and save 20% off your first purchase (a gift for being a listener of The Simple Sophisticate podcast). If you would like to purchase the dress, follow through to this dress with this link.

Also, from Faherty, and be sure to use the link above to save 20% off your first purchase, is this short-sleeve linen laguna shirt, two blue hues available.

Matches Winter Essentials Sale

I know it is hard to think about shopping for winter when all we want to do is look ahead to spring, BUT now is actually one of the best times to shop for our fall/winter capsule wardrobe because it is crystal clear what we are missing and/or need. And Matches has top designer finds at greatly reduced prices when it comes to your boots, knitwear, outerwear, etc.. I have shopped a few items below that are timeless finds, but be sure to peruse the entire site for that one item you know you will be glad to see come next fall when the temperatures dip again.


Me + Em Slim Breton long-sleeve shirt, cotton-stretch jersey (navy and white)

One of the most popular and most listened to episodes of The Simple Sophisticate is episode #32 which first premiered in 2015 – The Francophile Style Guide: 14 Essentials, and now that it is 8 years removed, while I need to update it, there is not much but polishing that is needed as the essentials are timeless. One item that will forever be included on this list is the classic navy and white stripe Breton top (or nautical stripes). And as I was compiling and shopping for the items for TSLL’s Annual Spring Shopping Guide (currently more than 70 hand-selected finds have been found), I came across one of my favorite brands Me + Em’s classic Breton top. Funny enough, they don’t always have this top available. I purchased their 3/4 sleeve boat-neck Breton tee back in 2012 after the now Princess of Wales wore the brand and specifically that top, and I STILL have it and wear it regularly (now for casual, around-the-house outfits as it is a bit worn). But my point in sharing this find is first, to give a glimpse of what you will find on the blog Wednesday March 1st when the Shopping Guide goes live, but also to share these are worthwhile tops at a great price and will last for a good long-time. They tend to sell out fast, so I scooped up two for myself in two different sizes and will ship back one once I know which fits best

And I have some savings for you as well – save 15% when you use promo code me+em4290. Happy shopping!

Serena & Lily, Spring Sale, 20% off everything

Everything, yep, everything new and also already on sale is now 20% off. Simply use promo code SPRING. Looking to tackle a wallpaper project? Serena & Lily’s wallpaper was my choice for my primary bedroom (tour it here) and I waited for a sale like this to scoop up the ten rolls that were necessary. Quality paper, I highly recommend. I have shopped a few other things below for you.

SHOP THE SALE: | The Simply Luxurious Life

And the snow keeps dancing, falling, and creating quite the magical winter snow globe scene as I sit in my reading nook chair, Nelle chewing on her favorite-at-the-moment stuffed animal, and Norman napping in his favorite chair next to me. What a dreamy sight to see, and as I shared with Weekly Newsletter subscribers, I don’t think it will be going away any time soon as we have frigid temperatures – day and night – for a handful of days looking ahead at the forecast.

The photo captured above is Norman enjoying time out in the garden while we (aka moi while the pups played about) shoveled our sidewalk yesterday morning. The snow is extremely light and fluffy, and as I type (Thursday afternoon), we now have about six inches of snow. February, often the end of the month, tends to bring wonderful snow falls of an abundance of moisture to the Bend area (in 2019 we had the second-in-two-years Snowpocalypse that lasted for the entire last week of February – record-breaking snow amounts), and while I don’t foresee three-feet of snow accumulating, what we have received so far is quite impressive.

With that said, Bendites know how to drive in the Mother Nature’s white winter gift, so attending the winter Symphony concert this weekend will definitely be enjoyed, a walk with new friends and their cavaliers, and tending to blog content – recording March’s A Cuppa Moments and wrapping up the Spring Shopping Guide, all in an effort to give myself my birthday (which concludes the month) a full day off next week, will keep the next couple of days full.

I hope your week has gone well and you are looking ahead to a weekend full of activities or pastimes you most enjoy. Thank you for choosing to visit the blog today and until Monday, bonne journée!

~If you love visiting London and classical music, you will want to read this article sharing recommended places to dine, stay and listen. [The New York Times]

~Speaking of England, if you are planning an Afternoon Tea anytime soon, here is a list of 50 recipes to consider including in your menu. [House & Garden UK]

~10 ‘Notes to Self’ on the days when you lose your motivation [Marc & Angel]

~An interesting read – how ‘mid-life crisis’ looks for millennials as opposed to previous generations [Bloomberg]

~Ideas for creating a cottage garden from scratch from British gardener’s own experience Clare Foster. [House & Garden UK]

~Perhaps you picked up or were curious to read the French travel and food memoir written by Sylvie Bigar Cassoulet Confessions? Here she is a guest on Inside Julia’s Kitchen. Have a listen.

~The wisdom of non-effort [Zen Habits]

~How French women look effortlessly stylish in a trench, and you can too [Leonce Chenal]

~The puzzling gap between how old you are and how old you think you are [The Atlantic]

~A spring garden in the Cotswolds to tease what is just around the corner! [House & Garden UK]

~No doubt fellow And Just Like That/SATC fans saw “the kiss” post with Carrie and Aidan a few weeks ago. Well, here is an article you will want to check out. Discover a few insider peeks into what to expect in the second season of the series. [The Guardian]

~7 Reasons to visit Provence this spring (as if we needed even one! ;)) [Frenchly]

~Everything you wanted to know about King Charles III’s coronation this spring [Britain Magazine]

~A must-read so that we don’t make fools of ourselves when visiting France! (or at least do our best to try not to) 13 Things foreigners do that make French people feel awkward. [The Local]

~Guess what? The Hot Sardines just released a new track from their forthcoming new album, and it is in French – Si Tu Savais (If You Knew)! Have a listen and congratulations Elizabeth and the entire crew! Listen to my interview with Elizabeth here, episode #157.

~Explore last week’s This & That: February 17, 2023

If you enjoyed Enola Holmes and/or Miss Scarlet & The Duke, I have a new series you will delight in, as well books on all sorts of topics: living younger, knowing when to walk away, finding the courage to step out on your own in business, a cookbook from a beloved and bestselling British cook with recipes for the special occasions and everything in between, a French cookbook for the classics updated into the modern repertoire, the return of a favorite British series set in France that involves antiques, classic, yet signatures staple accessories to finish any outfit 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.

15 thoughts on “This & That: February 24, 2023

    1. Randi, I do hope you enjoy May’s new book as I know, like yourself, many TSLL readers enjoyed and have recommended to me her book Wintering. Thank you for stopping by today and wishing you a wonderful weekend. 😌💛

  1. Hi Shannon, looking forward to the new album by the Hot Sardines, the video is fab, black and white photos are so atmospheric. Have a lovely weekend everyone, wet and chilly here in the North of England, I’m wrapped up warm ready for a walk. Best wishes, Sue.

    1. Good morning Sue and happy Friday. 😌 Wishing you a great walk and then much cozyiness upon returning home. Yes, I too am looking forward to their new album. Have a lovely weekend. 💛💛

  2. Thank you Shannon for your shares. I was in tears watching the trailer for The Quiet Girl. I will be bringing a box of tissues to the theatre with me. It’s looks stunning…on so many levels.

  3. Thank you for sharing the release of Katherine May’s new book. I’m looking forward to the weekend when I will begin reading a new-to-me translated from French novel–Valérie Perrin’s Fresh Water for Flowers.

    1. You are welcome Penny. 😌 I do hope you enjoy Enchantment. I look forward to exploring it as well. And thank you for sharing with me and us all Valérie Perrin’s novel. Have a wonderful weekend. 💛

  4. Shannon, much loveliness to peruse, as always, mille merçi. I revel and savor in The English Garden and The English Home magazines, parsing them out slowly as my bedtime reads. I wish you the happiest of birthdays and the loveliest next revolution around the sun. Ear skritches to Norman and Nelle. 💛

  5. Happy Birthday, Shannon! It’s been a busy weekend. However it’s Sunday and I’m enjoying This & That! Your interview with Elizabeth from the Hot Sardines is one of my favorites.

    1. Katina,

      So glad you stopped by! And thank you for the birthday wishes. 💛😌 The interview with Elizabeth was one of my favorites and I feel fortunate to still be in contact with her. An inspiring individual.

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