This & That: May 12, 2023
Friday May 12, 2023

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From art, to oodles of critically praised new cookbooks (especially if you love a good cake), books on history, women artists reclaiming their lives, and how to think like a philosopher. Also, a movie to take you on a fun and laugh-out-loud getaway to Italy, a satirically favorite series returns and a new series about a sport’s star that has been in the news over the past couple of years for undesired reasons yet has a fascinating story to tell. Also, summer is just around the corner and linen-blend clothing finds are wonderful layers to have on hand and I have shopped a few for you! Still, there is more. ☺️


Painting the Modern Garden — Monet to Matisse

Exhibitions on Screen offers documentary films of art exhibitions held open to the public for a limited duration of time around the world offering a collection of art and works renowned and treasured. Long after the exhibit has closed, these films provide not only a tour of the art exhibit but interviews with the curators sharing the detailed history of many of the paintings and pieces included. I have enjoyed many films showcased in this series and look forward to watching a new-to-me film that shares the work of many favorite Impressionist painters. This particular exhibit opened in 2016, Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse, and now we can stream it online for less than $5. Have a look at the trailer below and perhaps enjoy a quiet cozy evening in the coming week taking in the beauty created by Monet to Matisse inspired by the gardens of France as we step into our new gardening season of the year.


A Life of One’s Own: Nine Women Writers Begin Again by Joanna Biggs

Critics have been clamoring for Joanna Biggs’ new book to finally be released (May 16th), listing it as one of the most anticipated books of 2023. A Life of One’s Own is a “blend of memoir, criticism, and biography examining how women writers across the centuries carved out intellectual freedom for themselves—and how others might do the same.”

How to Think Like a Philosopher: Twelve Key Principles for More Humane, Balanced, and Rational Thinking by Julian Baggini 

Just released this past Tuesday, my copy of How to Think Like a Philosopher arrived just a few days ago, and I am already enjoying and appreciating the approach Julian Baggini has taken as he breaks down the twelve key principles to thinking like a philosopher, as well as explaining what that even means. Inspired by his study of over 30 years of present and past philosophers, Baggini reveals the following principles: pay attention; question everything (including your questions); watch your steps; follow the facts; watch your language; be eclectic; be a psychologist; know what matters; lose your ego; think for yourself, not by yourself; only connect; and don’t give up, and pairs with with specific examples from history and contemporary culture. Challenging, yet approachable. I think this will be worth reading and doing so with great intention and patience to absorb all that he presents.

The World: A Family History of Humanity by Simon Sebag Montefiore

Being released on Tuesday, The World: A Family History of Humanity is a feast for those who love history as well as those who are drawn in by an enticing family drama (Succession-esque?). “In this epic, ever-surprising book, Montefiore chronicles the world’s great dynasties across human history through palace intrigues, love affairs, and family lives, linking grand themes of war, migration, plague, religion, and technology to the people at the heart of the human drama. It features a cast of extraordinary diversity: in addition to rulers and conquerors, there are priests, charlatans, artists, scientists, tycoons, gangsters, lovers, husbands, wives, and children.” Written much like a piece of fiction as to engage the reader, the truth is, what is shared all happened. “These powerful families represent the breadth of human endeavor, with bloody succession battles, treacherous conspiracies, and shocking megalomania alongside flourishing culture, moving romances, and enlightened benevolence.”

British Finds

Charles, The Monarch and The Man, BritBox

Last week, after watching the Coronation (what a wondrous occasion! Britons you have every reason to be very proud ☺️), TSLL reader Victoria recommended watching the new documentary Charles: The Monarch and The Man on BritBox and I quickly obliged. For anyone who has only ever known Charles through the tabloids or sensationalize news fodder, the man you discover in this new presentation will be quite different. For those who know more about the King and his life journey from young boy to being the longest living heir to the throne, it will not surprise you. But even as I consider myself well-versed in his biography, my appreciation deepened for him even further after watching this. Thank you Victoria for sharing this film with us all.


Good Catch: A Guide to Sustainable Fish and Seafood with Recipes from the World’s Oceans, a cookbook by Valentine Thomas

Being released on Tuesday, if you love fish and seafood and are a conscientious cook and consumer, I think you will want to explore this new cookbook by Montreal-native Valentine Thomas. “In Good Catch, Valentine shares her love for the bounty of waters around the world, as well as her enthusiasm and expertise for cooking fish and seafood in a sustainable way. The recipes, inspired by Valentine’s favorite fishing destinations, are organized by region, and include both classic and creative preparations, such as Grilled Clams with Butter, Garlic, and Parsley, a Seafood Boil, Snapper Panzanella with Grapefruit, and Fish Head Nachos. Valentine also teaches readers the surprisingly simple skills they’ll need to build a responsible repertoire of seafood recipes, provides tips for making the most eco-friendly choices, and discusses the best ways to prepare each and every type of fish, from raw dishes like ceviche to a baked whole fish.”

Love is a Pink Cake: Irresistible Bakes for Morning, Noon and Night by Claire Ptak

So many wonderful cookbooks to share with you this week, and this cookbook has my appetite dancing. As an alum of Chez Panisse (such a special restaurant in Berkley – view my visit here in this detailed post and video) and more recently well-known and praised for creating the wedding cake for for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Claire Ptak’s Love is a Pink Cake was released on May 2nd and is full of images and cakes created in both California and England. Ptak is a Northern California native who now runs the wildly successful Violet Bakery in London. Ptak “reflects on her upbringing and love of in-season produce, sharing 75 sweet and savory creations, including Huckleberry Basil Sugar Scones, Peaches and Cream Angel Food Cake, and a strawberry-coconut meringue cake. Her bakes are homey yet elevated, made with the best possible ingredients, so as to extract the best possible flavors. Included are gluten-free, refined sugar-free and vegan bakes, as well as the sought-after recipe for the Duke and Duchess’s lemon elderflower cake.” Yum!

More Than Cake: 100 Baking Recipes Built for Pleasure and Community by Natasha Pickowicz 

One more cake cookbook that is receiving high praise from critics: cake that is much like art appears in Natasha Pickowicz’s More Than Cake. Released this past April, “she’s picked up three James Beard Award nominations for her time as a professional pastry chef. Her buzzy bake sales for Planned Parenthood and other nonprofits have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now she shares her recipes and baking know-how in a debut cookbook brimming with recipes [that] are fresh and uncomplicated, drawing on the author’s Chinese and Californian heritage. She pairs nectarine and miso in a tarte tatin and makes a layer cake with olive oil, mascarpone, and fennel. Black cardamom gets tucked into pecan sticky buns, and galettes go savory with kabocha squash.” Again, yum!

Pulp: A Practical Guide to Cooking with Fruit by Abra Berens

Berry season and fruits of all kinds will soon be, if not already are, upon us, and in a new cookbook, Pulp, Abra Berens shares many inspiring ideas for cooking with all that we find at the market or grow in our gardens. Considered a valuable reference book, inside you will find content that is “wide-ranging, with information and recipes for 15 different, widely accessible fruit varieties: Apples, Apricots, Blueberries, Cherries, Drupelet Berries (blackberries, raspberries, mulberries), Grapes, Ground Cherries (a.k.a. cape gooseberries), Melons, Nectarines + Peaches, Pears, Plums, Quince, Rhubarb, Strawberries, and Tart Round Fruits (cranberries, currants, gooseberries, lingonberries + autumn olive). Pulp features only fruits that grow in the Midwestern United States, so no bananas, passion fruit, or citrus here.”


Book Club: The Next Chapter

I think the best movie to watch this weekend is one that will take us to Italy and have quite a bit of fun with the four returning ladies that made us laugh and delight in their individuality in the first of the series – Book Club. Now, The Next Chapter begins with Jane Fonda’s character getting married and taking her friends to Italy to celebrate. Have a look at the trailer and enjoy!


J.Crew released linen-blend beach sweater w/shoulder buttons in stripe (two colors)

Many years ago I purchased a linen-blend sweater in beige from J.crew, and I still have it in my closet. I LOVE it. Easy to wear, very breathable and a great layering piece. And now this style is one I want to add to my closet as well.

The Roe Tank in organic cotton-linen blend, Brochu Walker

This is the blend that just works for summer, and this piece is a yes. You can barely tell, but this sweater is blush pink. A beautiful hue on sun-kissed skin.


Boom! Boom!, AppleTV+

If you too enjoy watching tennis and have been watching for a few decades, you know West German born Boris Becker, but do you know everything? I have begun watching this series and have found it absolutely fascinating about the journey of a young tennis player who put the trust of his finances in other people so he could just play – and play well. And while that worked for a while, more likely, if you don’t know tennis, you do know Boris Becker from the recent headlines about his money woes. As the youngest man to ever won Wimbledon – 17, Becker’s tennis fame journey began like a rocket in 1985, and this series goes behind the scenes with interviews with Becker himself and many of the other primary players in his life story. Have a look at the trailer below and watch now on AppleTV+

The Great, season 3, Hulu

Critics continue to enjoy the “A genre-bending, anti-historical ride through 18th-century Russia following the wildly comedic rise of Catherine the Nothing to Catherine the Great”, starring Elle Fanning as Queen Catherine. Season three kicks off today with three new episodes available for streaming on Hulu which subsequent episodes to be released each Friday. Have a look at the trailer below.

Happy Friday and welcome to a spring/fall weekend that appears to be a stunner to savor if the weather forecast is even slightly accurate. With that in front of me, I am looking forward to working in the garden, and enjoying a leisurely weekend in Bend. And yep, for the first time, in a forever, I am actually looking forward to mowing my petite lawn (check out my IG post on my gardening account with all the details as to why – I will be sharing all of this information and more in May’s regular gardening post during British Week).

The past week was full of French class – Futur Simple was introduced! – interviewing and securing guests for the podcast, sowing the many sunflower seeds that will eventually share their smiles in three months’ time here at Le Papillon and pretty much enjoying a regular week. A way of moving through the week that I so enjoy and am grateful to be able to do.

Of course, on each day, Norman and Nelle joined me for our daily walks, and above was a treasure we passed by that I couldn’t help but snap a pic of. The birdsong continues to delight, and with the warmer mornings, meditation has moved to the garden porch which offers a start to the day I so enjoy and appreciate.

Plans are coming together for what I am cautiously confident will be a wonderful 5th Annual British Week, and in just two weeks’ time, the festivities will kick off here on the blog (learn more about the annual celebration of all things British here).

I hope you have had a wonderful week and are looking ahead to days to savor in however you most enjoy. Thank you for stopping by the blog today and until Monday, bonne journée.

~All of the royal fashion at King Charles III’s coronation last weekend [W magazine]

~Speaking of King Charles III, I enjoyed reading this article a few weeks ago about his innate eye for style throughout his entire life. [FT]

~12 things to do on a rainy day in Paris [The Earful Tower]

~Travelers! Some great news! TSA has a new bag scanner that is rolling out in airports across the country that doesn’t require you to remove your liquids or electronics from your carry-on when going through security. [CN Traveler]

~Ideas for companion planting [House & Garden UK]

~6 ways for introverts to get more energy [Introvert, Dear]

~9 rules for turning life’s endings into new beginnings [Marc & Angel]

~Creator and writer Michael Patrick King previews what viewers can expect when season 2 of And Just Like That begins in June [EW]

~The Pulitzer Prizes were awarded this past weekend and here is the list of books and writers who won. [The New York Times]

~If you love a bit of color and mixing and matching of patterns and prints in your home, take this tour of Australian interior designer Anna Spiro’s home in Brisbane. [Country Living, AU]

~One more tour, and this one is in the English countryside, an 18th century farmhouse full of cozy, thoughtful rooms, upholstered furniture and books! [House & Garden UK]

~The film that became an instant favorite years ago is returning for its third installment – My Big Fat Greek Wedding is coming in September. Here’s the trailer and it looks like a lot of fun.

~Explore last week’s This & That: May 5, 2023

The first week of May is FULL of finds, and many of them, it will not surprise you, are British finds as the Coronation of King Charles III takes place tomorrow. Mixed together are both treasures and discoveries for Anglophiles as well as anyone seeking to live a simply luxuriously life, beginning with a book by an upcoming guest on the podcast I am over-the-moon to have on the show. Books on all sorts of topics, from walking the El Camino de Santiago, to how to live well to the age of 100 (from someone who is doing it and knows how!), to a book about art that shows us many more deserving artists whose work was lesser known during their time. As well, two rom-coms are being released this weekend, and one in particular (set in England no less) is receiving high praise for its pleasant and uncontentious story-line, and if you are looking for memorabilia to commemorate the Coronation, I have done some shopping for you. As well, a new limited series that looks like a lot of fun to watch and style finds for your toes to your entire ensemble for that upcoming summer vacation and 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.

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

  1. I am so looking forward to watching the Boris Becker series ..who knew all of this. As always Shannon your this and that is one of the highlights of my week. You always keep me update to date with everything.
    A big thank you from Vancouver Island, Canada

  2. Good morning Shannon, another post to re-read later! Loved watching the Coronation (and the beautiful fashion magazine article above) Wishing everyone a lovely weekend, Sue, England.

  3. Hi Could I please order an English trug?
    I think the deadline was May 7th. I’m hoping
    I could still make an order.
    Thank you

    1. Hi Mary,

      Unfortunately, I have already placed the order. I emailed you with the link to the company so you can explore ordering directly through them if you would like to. Thank you for your interest. 😌

  4. Shannon~

    Enjoying this week’s T&T in my usual spot, a local cafe’ after a busy work week. I always smile when you post your visits to your local. Such a nice spot to get some work, or reading in my case, accomplished.
    This comment is straying from today’s post because I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the Weekly Boost Newsletter you sent out today from the archives (2/18/2013), which was a short time before I became a reader of TSLL. The post, “How Refusal Welcomes a Life of Riches” along with the quote by E.E. Cummings, reminds us of what “living luxuriously” is all about. I hope everyone is subscribing to your newsletter for these weekly refreshers. 😉
    I will spend the weekend planting seeds from “the family garden” bouquet that my son and his girlfriend gifted me for Mother’s Day, which included seeds from every family member’s birth month. Such a neat idea and I am looking forward to carnations, violets, sweet peas, poppies, and chrysanthemums in bloom.
    Have a wonderful weekend to everyone!

    1. Michelle,

      Thank you for very much for recommending the weekly newsletter and what spoke to you from the selected archived post. What a unique and thoughtful gift! Wishing you a very happy Mother Days and wonderful time in the garden. 🙂 I am so grateful to hear you enjoy this weekly post and deeply appreciative of your sharing your pic on IG Stories. You brought a smile to my afternoon. 🙂

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