This & That: June 14, 2024
Friday June 14, 2024

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If you have ever thought about renovating, but didn’t know where to start, what questions to find answers to and then where to find the answers, The Brownstone Boys, better known as Barry Bordelon and Jordan Slocum, have the book you will want to explore. For the Love of Renovating, released on June 4th, “walks readers through the entire house renovation process, starting with things to consider before you’ve made an offer, followed by guidance on developing a design, a schedule, and budgeting; they end by giving a room-by-room tour that includes tips and inspiration for a successful renovation. The book also features a chapter on preserving and refurbishing historic details like wooden archways and crown moldings. Throughout the book, beautiful photos and Renovation Recipes give the ingredients and step-by-step instructions for turning the house you have into the house you’ll love”.  

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Back in 2022 I chose as a petit plaisir for the podcast (episode #339) the book The Forever Dog, and as I share in my review, it is a valuable resource for anyone who loves their dog and wants to care for them well – not only nutritionally, but psychologically, socially, etc. As a companion book, released earlier this month, the authors created a cookbook. Because as you will find in the original book, feeding our dogs well, not ultra processed or processed food, is essential to their overall health and longevity, but where do we begin? While the original book offers tips and ingredients, the cookbook offers simple ways you can help your dog live longer and better from the inside-out and outside-in, including easy-to-follow tools, recipes, and tips. “Learn to prepare healthy, homemade meals your dog will love, with more than 120 nutritionally packed recipes for delicious food bowls, fresh food toppers that supercharge any type of pet food, and nourishing broths and stews that entice the pickiest of eaters. And don’t forget DIY training treats, cookies, jerkies, and chews.”

As well, they go beyond the food that is ingested on purpose to share “how to make your home as healthy as possible, with practical instructions for creating your own non-toxic DIY cleaners, natural disinfectants, and lawn care solutions that can easily replace hazardous chemical-based products that negatively impact our pet’s health. Also included are all-natural recipes for body care, including shampoos and conditioners, skin rinses, oral and ear care, and chemical-free flea and tick solutions. Habib and Becker make it easy to incorporate their science-backed tips into your home, so your dog (and cat!) can live a long, happy, and healthy life”.

This is definitely a book I will be adding to my library as the changes I have made to Norman’s diet and began with Nelle when we welcomed her home have shown to be worth the effort to learn a new approach.

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After reading a review of David Robson’s new book, The Laws of Connection, released on June 4th, in the WSJ, about how exactly to connect with others genuinely and for worthwhile and reciprocated connection, I wanted to include is book here on T & T. The book, written by the award-winning science writer, “describes the psychological barriers that lead us to keep others at a distance and offers evidence-based strategies to overcome them.

“Drawing on philosophy, neuroscience, and cutting-edge psychology, Robson introduces readers to new concepts such as the liking gap, the novelty penalty, the fast-friendship procedure, the beautiful mess effect, and the Japanese art of amae. Whether we are shy or confident, introvert or extrovert, we can all build deeper relationships. The Laws of Connection shows us how.”

A unique and creative two-part book series, the first, The Plot, being published in 2022, I bring it to you first to make sure you have read it before you dive into the second which will be released in the fall. I share this heads up to ensure that you not peek ahead at the plot of the second book or you will know too much and likely ruin the enjoyment of first – The Plot. Jean Hanff Korelitz’s The Plot centers around “Jacob Finch Bonner, once a promising young novelist with a respectably published first book. Today, he’s teaching in a third-rate MFA program and struggling to maintain what’s left of his self-respect; he hasn’t written―let alone published―anything decent in years. When Evan Parker, his most arrogant student, announces he doesn’t need Jake’s help because the plot of his book in progress is a sure thing, Jake is prepared to dismiss the boast as typical amateur narcissism. But then . . . he hears the plot . . .

“Jake returns to the downward trajectory of his own career and braces himself for the supernova publication of Evan Parker’s first novel: but it never comes. When he discovers that his former student has died, presumably without ever completing his book, Jake does what any self-respecting writer would do with a story like that―a story that absolutely needs to be told.

“In a few short years, all of Evan Parker’s predictions have come true, but Jake is the author enjoying the wave. He is wealthy, famous, praised and read all over the world. But at the height of his glorious new life, an e-mail arrives, the first salvo in a terrifying, anonymous campaign: You are a thief, it says.” Let the drama and mystery begin.

The Sequel, being released this coming October, is highly anticipated. But remember, be sure to read The Plot first.

C. Atherley’s Geranium home and bath scents

Oh my, was I delighted to learn about British talent Cath Kidston and her geranium inspired home and bath. As you will see in the video chosen for this week’s T & T, her home in Notting Hill, how she has decorated is as delightful as this unique, simple, yet lovely approach to her products.

The story begins in the Gloucestershire greenhouse of the founder, Catherine Kidston Padgham MBE, with her ever expanding collection of scented geraniums prompted by the breadth of fragrances in their leaves, the beauty of the plants and their healing properties. The concept of the brand, C. Atherley, is centered around the principles of natural body care with products made only from distinctive geranium fragrances . . . the story continues, as you can read here, but I wanted to introduce you to a few beautiful and no doubt wonderfully scented finds. You will most definitely spy a few of these in the home tour video mentioned above.

If you know the actor and comedian Alan Carr, you know he is a riot of a good-time host and presenter and a pleasure to watch as he will try just about anything, but also brings his own flare and genuine curiosity (his limited series special, Alan Carr’s Adventures with Agatha Christie was my introduction, and I quite enjoyed it). In a new comedy series inspired by Alan’s own childhood, Changing Ends is set “against the backdrop of Thatcher’s Britain, where a young Alan is experiencing sexual awakenings, battles with bullies and navigating the highs and lows of fourth division football”. Originally premiering on iTV last year in the UK, it is now available on BritBox. Have a look at the trailer below and enjoy!

The historical fiction mystery series set in England during the world wars, Maisie Dobbs, written and created by Jacqueline Winspear, provides personal exploration into the effects of war on its citizens through the lens of fearless and intelligent protagonist Maisie Dobbs. And with The Comfort of the Ghosts, the series will be concluding. The 18th book in the series, I have read nearly half of them, so have a ways to go, and learning of this new release has prompted me to get back on the horse and keep reading!

Regularly included in reviews and lists as one of the top five new plays to see in London this season, English is set in a classroom in Iran where four adult classmates grapple with learning English as a foreign language. As they attempt to perfect their accents, pronunciation and vocabulary, they realise that there is more to their lives than can ever be uttered through language. Described as “a comic yet deeply moving play” created by Sanaz Toossi, it won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2023. So if you are in London this summer or fall, be sure to pick up your tickets.

Premiering on PBS Masterpiece this Sunday, June 16th, the series returns for a ninth season to the quiet 1950s Cambridgeshire village of Grantchester. With “police detective Geordie Keating (Robson Green) and the resident vicar (played by James Norton, Tom Brittney, and Rishi Nair, respectively) are always on the case. Look for eight episodes, and a season that will include “the departure of Will, the upheaval around Geordie, and a new vicar speeding into town…and perhaps into the heart of a certain detective who’s just lost his best friend!” Have a look at the trailer below.

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An absolutely fun, smart and with a dash of drôle humor by Lucy Lawless’s character, My Life is Murder, set in New Zealand, returns for a fourth season on June 17th. Look for eight episodes, and find them all on AcornTV, and check out the trailer for the season below in the IG post.

A new film being released today, Treasure, is described as a tragicomedy and stars two comedic talents – Stephen Fry and Lena Dunham. Based on the novel Too Many Men by author Lily Brett, the film takes the leads to Auschwitz to revisit their family’s history. Edek, played by Fry, is an Auschwitz survivor and as Ruth’s father, he obliges her wish to take her to Warsaw to learn more about her family’s past and specifically his life journey. Set in Poland in 1990, Ruth’s urging for her father to embrace onon a journey to his childhood haunts is her hope “to make sense of her family’s troubled past. When Edek, reluctant to face his trauma, undermines their trip with his unpredictable and more eccentric than usual demeanor, Ruth is forced to challenge him and the values with which he raised her.” Have a look at the trailer below, and a link to an interview with Dunham about filming at such emotionally and historically heavy locations. As well here is a worthwhile video of an interview with all three Fry, Dunham and the director – Julia von Heinz. Look for it in theaters today.

I am always so grateful that the MFCH team continues to offer a cuisine-themed box each year because, well, it’s France and the country just knows how to do cuisine well 😌🇫🇷❤️. The upcoming August box is all about cuisine, so if you too love to step into your kitchen and are inspired by the French and their approach, be sure to treat yourself to this box or gift it to someone you know who will enjoy it.

And speaking of French cuisine, before long (the entire month of July), I will be stepping back into the kitchen to film season 7 of The Simple Luxurious Kitchen which will premiere in September, and I have to say I cannot wait to do so. Stay tuned! And be sure to follow along throughout the filming on the cooking show’s dedicated IG account – @tsllcookingshow.

Having silk camisoles at the ready in my closet is a must, and as someone recently asked about where I find mine, I wanted to share some new finds from a trusted silk source for tops – Equipment’s silk is matte, feels comfortable on the skin and isn’t see-through. This particular style has two spaghetti straps on each side and comes in three colors.

Where I purchased my silk camisoles in the past has been J.Crew; however, they update the cut of their camisoles often. The current offerings is the Carrie v-neck, and looks perfect for a more ample décolletage or a deep V silhouette. I can share that the fabric J.Crew uses feels wonderful on the skin – only one layer, fine and a slight sheen, but nothing showy. Perfect in my book.

Summer-time totes and needing to carry-it-all. These ‘mega’ jute totes are classic with a touch of color, and while the blue stripe is catching my eye, perhaps like Vogue UK, the red stripe is calling your name as they included it in their list of summer items to scoop up.

Summer arrives and picnics come to mind, and checkered picnic blankets are a classic choice. However, these new items in GreenRow’s collection are updated to be a slightly larger check and made of light-weight Turkey fabric (and only $45!). A lovely staple to have on hand, tucked away in your picnic basket or hamper when the idea strikes and you want to dine outside al fresco!

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With a slight heel, as seen here, or a flat, this looks like a beautiful dress for summer – either day or night at a special occasion or casual outing in the sun.

In our June A Cuppa Moments, effortless style was the topic of our monthly chat and wide-leg linen pants came up as a staple to have on hand for that effortless (and comfortable) touch. Vince has included in their new collection linen pants that are high-waisted (yes!) and have a flat front (not pleated) which from my experience is the choice to make as it creates a slim silhouette and lovely drape which elongates the leg.

More linen coming up! Do you have a linen scarf? This is a must-have in a summer capsule, especially if you are traveling to the south of France (or anywhere warm for that matter) because, believe it or not, they will keep you cool as well as in the early morning or evenings provide exactly the type of layering you want without getting hot.

The White Company’s Linen Strip Scarf

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This is my top pick of the week. I stumbled upon learning that the tenth season had become available (in full) on the PBS streaming app, all nine episodes, and if there was an entire season to watch and savor, this is the one. Favorites cast members return (Fie!) and the storyline, while yes, involves some drama, also pokes a little fun at Americans (and is well done at that), as well as strengthens the bonds and friendships we’ve come to love.

From the gorgeous setting along the North Sea in Denmark, the décor of the hotel and wardrobes worn by each of the cast members, this series is a treat. Chosen as a Petit Plaisir last year – episode #361 – be sure to read or listen to why I so enjoy this series. And knowing it is the final season, it makes it all the more sweet to watch. Check out the trailer below and enjoy.


The wisteria’s tendrils of violet blooms now completely cover the east side of the garden porch roofline and have begun to stretch above the screen door (heading west) and even stretching above the kitchen window (heading east). Beyond tickled to see this maturity in a four-year old vine and remind myself to take in the scent multiple times a day. (I will be sure to include video of the wisteria in June’s gardening post that will be shared at the end of the month.)

Speaking of peeks around Le Papillon, tomorrow is the day when the tour of the living room will be shared! Complete with sourcing and all the details around the Frame television I have found to be the final detail I didn’t know I needed until I researched it a bit more – for an open floor plan, but any type of layout, being able to disguise your television as a framed piece of beautiful art is a game changer – much of the inspiration comes from my love for English cottages, so Anglophiles this is a post for you, but also French touches as well. Be sure to learn more about becoming a TOP Tier Member so you can take the tour and see how it all came together.

And we are now just over one week to go before the launch of the Contentment Master class! Over the weekend, I will be sending out an email to subscribers sharing the exact time enrollment will open with another email to be sent out 24 hours before. (If you are signed up for any of the following email newsletters, you will receive these emails – Books & Online Courses, Weekly, Monthly, Top Tier. If you need to sign up for one of these, you can do so here.)

Speaking of enrolling in the course, as shared, the first 20 to enroll will receive a free custom canvas Savor, Savor, Savor. tote (see it here); however, many have been asking if they can purchase the tote if they don’t happen to be one of the first 20, and the good news (and how to do so) is shared in the updated Introductory Page answering all of the questions you might have here (scroll down to just below the photo of the totes).

On the blog this week, another popular Monday Motivational post where the 12 Ingredients for a Very Good Day were shared, the monthly Outfits post full of three entire outfits shopped for summer chill, yet never forgetting the style. And for TOP Tier Members, the monthly Ponderings . . . post is shared full of beauty and skincare finds, personal, intimate ponderings from my own life journey, shopping a favorite semi-annual sale and more.

I hope your week has gone well, and any road bumps you may have encountered are in the rear-view mirror. After all, it is the weekend, and that means time to rejuvenate, enjoy and explore, or do whatever is calling your interest. Wishing you a wonderful few days of savoring, delighting and dancing to your own tune. Below are a few articles and one video I thought you might enjoy. Thank you for stopping by today and until tomorrow, bonne journée !

~From rambling roses to wisteria, investing in a gorgeous natural welcome for Le Papillon has been a fun journey of appreciation as with each year more and more healthy blooms arrive and share their beauty. Here is an article sharing oodles of inspiration for what to choose – Wonderful ideas for how to beautify the exterior of your home with plants [House & Garden UK]

~And with June, specific tasks to tend to in the garden, as shared by Clare Foster [H & G UK]

~Take this tour and sigh . . . A Paris house, left untouched for 75 years and now a bright, treasured filled home. The floors, the sofa, the brocante finds – love this place entirely [House & Garden UK]

~I am patiently waiting for the second season of The Diplomat starring Kerri Russell as the US Ambassador to the UK who lives in the historic and stately Winfield House situated next to Regent’s Park in London. Well, the actual US Ambassador really does lives there, and the set of the show replicates the interiors wonderfully well. Anyway, back on topic. Read an interview and explore inside Winfield House with the actual US Ambassador Jane Hartley (who was also the US Ambassador in France previously). [FT, may require a subscription]

~Slip away to Hampshire in the English countryside and take a tour of Lucy Cunningham’s cottage. The garden is a dream, the hallway entrance is why I love English cottage décor and just take this tour – so good! [House & Garden UK]

~France and the Francophile world lost a singing legend this week when Françoise Hardy passed away. Take a look at her legacy in music, style and life (I especially smiled about her comments about marriage – yet another reason I adore the French :)). [The Guardian]

~The best hidden gem in every Paris arrondissement [The Earful Tower]

~One flower I love having in my garden (of many, I love them all!) is the foxglove, and while they take some time as they are biennials, their unique beauty is worth figuring out how to grow them. Once you do, you really don’t have to do too much. Here is guide for how to grow them. [H & G]

~Speaking of Paris, let’s stay there with these neighborhood recommendation guide from savvy locals [Elle Decor]

~A wise guide to look over before you dine in Paris – the Paris Restaurant Etiquette Guide [The Eater]

~I had wondered about this, and most certainly, Paris will be a different city in August this year than a typical year – More “ouvert” signs in Paris this August [NYTimes – gift link]

~Now to take some design and decorating tips while walking through their home from an expert – Cath Kidston. Here is her Art-Filled Notting Hill Terrace. So m much inspiration about how to pull seemingly disparate items – some vintage finds and others investment – and making them work so beautifully well. I especially love her approach to decorating a bathroom and her opinion on books in a home, and her theory as to how long it takes for a house to feel really lived in made me smile. Explore her online shop of all-natural scents and products from the home infused with geranium as the muse here.

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6 thoughts on “This & That: June 14, 2024

  1. Thanks for another great T & T post! A show that you (and your readers) might be interested in is a revival of “Kiss Me Kate” – playing at the Barbican in London. It stars Adrian Dunbar and Stephanie Block, and the fabulous Charlie Stemp (who I saw in “Crazy for You” in London this past October – he was amazing!). Such a fun musical, and probably a wonderful experience for anyone traveling to London this summer!!

  2. As always so much to digest! I’m thrilled to see your wisteria doing so well. I tried growing it here, a few times, supposedly cultivated for my climate, but, no luck there. Each This and That gives me so many ideas and my little notebook is filling up, soon I will need to christen a new one. On a lark, I may order a red Clairefontain, the essential jotting notebook for the Commissaire Dupin. I’m almost done with book #9. Thank you again for putting me on to this series. Love it.

  3. A wonderful T & T! Thank, you,Shannon! 🙂

    What caught my eye:
    – Mega Jute Tote Bag – yes, indeed one of my summer staples is a large large straw “bag” to transport all your beach essentials, including a large towel. This particular tote is very nice. I would not mind to grab one.
    -Turkish Towel, checkered – yes, please, can I have a yellow one?, thank you. 😉
    -Tiered Maxi Dress – a beautiful and elegant dress, that would be a good fit for that special summer event – a wedding, maybe.
    -Linen wide-let pant – not from this particular brand, but this is another of my summer staples (in beige). Can only recommend: breezy and comfy is the ticket. Nothing clingy or too close to the body for me.
    – Paris house – Ah, this house… sigh sigh… I could absolutely live here without changing a iota… Well, maybe I would place a rug by the bed, because a like a soft underfoot, me. Needless to to say I bookmarked it when it first appeared at H & G. Also I like the work of the owner as a ceramist.
    – Hampshire cottage – Her entryway reminds me of your basket room. Same vibe, different colour scheme. Very nice, both of them.:-)

    Wonderful to see your wisteria blooming so well!

    Have a nice Sunday and the best for the week ahead! much love and pats to N & N! XO

  4. Beaucoodles of treasure with this T&T! I adore H&G UK , always So.Much. Inspiration! The scent of wisteria is enchanting but here, it is frowned upon unless grown in a pot, as we have the perfect climate for its beautiful blooms. It’s growth is rampant, and is an audacious climber, taking over houses, fences and trees in a few months. But I still love it! I just picked up a foxglove at the local nursery on half price, big beautiful plant that was grown for spring bloom. I popped it in the coolest dappled light area of the bird garden, fingers crossed it doesn’t perish in the heat of summer, but it will be interesting in any event as I’ve never tried growing them.
    Lovely stuff, still perusing. Much love to the pups, and thank you, as always, Shannon, for finding and sharing so many treasures. xx

  5. Oh Shannon, I was not up to date on the final book in the Maisie Dobbs series!! Thank you so much for adding it to this week’s This & That. I often wondered if you were still keeping up with the books!! I am thrilled to know that you are still enjoying them 😊 I am off to get my copy of this final one! Bonne journée!

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