This & That: May 5, 2023
Friday May 5, 2023

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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.


Living A Beautiful Life: 500 Ways to Add Elegance, Order, Beauty and Joy to Every Day of Your Life by Alexandra Stoddard

Over the weekend, I shared some exciting news for the podcast on IG (@thesimplesophisticatepodcast & @thesimplyluxuriouslife). Many TSLL readers over the years have reached out to me and suggested and inquired if I might welcome Alexandra Stoddard onto the podcast, and finally, I did just that. As the doyenne of living mindfully and with contentment, honoring one’s own true path, Alexandra Stoddard has published 28 books, is an internationally respected interior designer and now (and for many years) a philosopher on contentment. I am over the moon that she accepted my invitation, and the first book that began her successful publishing journey is Living a Beautiful Life, a bestseller when it was released in 1988. You can pick up a copy from Thrift Books for fewer than $6, and if you too are a fan of Stoddard’s work, tune in to the episode in June. I cannot wait to bring it to you.

Oh, and she loves her tea rituals. A kindred spirit indeed, and a fitting book to include this week in particular. 😉

The Story of Art without Men by Katie Hessel

Released this past Tuesday, Katie Hessel, art historian and founder of @thegreatwomenartists, has a new book – The Story of Art without Men. Already a best seller in the category of women’s history, “discover the glittering paintings by Sofonisba Anguissola of the Renaissance, the radical work of Harriet Powers in the nineteenth-century United States and the artist who really invented the ‘readymade.’ Explore the Dutch Golden Age, the astonishing work of postwar artists in Latin America, and the women defining art in the 2020s. Have your sense of art history overturned and your eyes opened to many artforms often ignored or dismissed. From the Cornish coast to Manhattan, Nigeria to Japan, this is the history of art as it’s never been told before.’ Paired with 100 color illustrations, I have included a detailed video profile of the author and her new book at the end of today’s post shared by PBS Newshour. Be sure to check it out to learn more about the book critics are talking about with great enthusiasm.

Walking with Sam: A Father, A Son and 500 Miles Across Spain by Andrew McCarthy

You may remember Andrew McCarthy as part of the infamous Hollywood Brat Pack in the 80s. Well, now, he is a father to a young man and together they walked 500 miles of Spain’s Camino de Santiago. “Over the course of the journey, the pair traversed an unforgiving landscape, having more honest conversations in five weeks than they’d had in the preceding two decades.  Discussions of divorce, the trauma of school, McCarthy’s difficult relationship with his own father, fame, and Flaming Hot Cheetos threatened to either derail their relationship or cement it. Look for the book to be released on May 9th.

A Well Lived Life: A 102-Year-Old Doctor’s Six Secrets to Health and Happiness at Every Age by Dr. Gladys McGarey

This book is sitting on my desk as I type as it was just released on May 2nd, and I look forward to beginning to read it this weekend. A holistic doctor who is still practicing medicine, Dr. Gladys McGarey at the age of 102 shares in her new book, A Well Lived Life what she began pioneering over sixty years ago: “a new way of thinking about disease and health that has transformed the way we imagine health care and self-care around the world. Dr. McGarey shares her six actionable secrets to enjoying lives that are long, happy, and purpose-driven:

Spend your energy wildly: How to embrace your life fully and feel motivated every day.
All life needs to move: How to move—spiritually, mentally, and physically—to help let go of trauma and other roadblocks.
You are here for a reason: How to find the everyday “juice” that helps you stay oriented in your life’s purpose.
You are never alone: How to build a community that’s meaningful to you.
Everything is your teacher: Discover the deep learnings that come from pain and setbacks.
Love is the most powerful medicine: Learn to love yourself—and others—into healing.”

I have a strong inkling this book will inspire a podcast episode. Stay tuned!

British Finds

Bridgerton, season 3 premiere

Premiering yesterday on Netflix, the third part of the Bridgerton series, centered around Queen Charlotte and her love story. There are eight episodes, so binge judiciously. Here’s the trailer. Enjoy.

The Coronation of King Charles III

Saying goodbye to Queen Elizabeth II in September makes the coronation no doubt bittersweet; however, the goodbye was both beautiful and loving giving the nation and commonwealth the opportunity to properly grieve an event that while inevitable was never wanted by so many. Now her son, the longest waiting heir to the throne, is to be crowned. This weekend at Westminster Abbey in London, the Coronation for King Charles III takes place. Specifically, tomorrow, Saturday the 6th, the crowning along with the pomp and celebration that has occurred for over 1000 years when a new monarch of England is takes the throne takes place come rain or shine, and whether or not you are British, whether or not you are a royalist, the acknowledgement is hard to dismiss that this is a fascinating historical moment. Here in the states, we will have to wake up early (3am eastern time), but it will be worth it. (I will admit, as I am on the west coast, I may tape it initially and rewind, even though I will wake up early as possible as Nelle often nudges me to do so at 4am as I want to watch with everyone else as best as I can, but I do want some sleep 😌).

Click on the link above to find the schedule for the weekend of festivities that began yesterday, and how to watch it live (I will be streaming on BBC). Below is the official invitation guests received, and further below, I have shopped a handful of items that pay homage to this momentous occasion in British history.

Daylesford Organic Coronation Collection

From tea, tins, biscuits and a chocolate chicken, Daylesfords has something for any appetite all in celebration of the King.

Emma Bridgewater Coronation Collection

The newest mug in Emma Bridgewater’s collection!

Fortnum & Mason’s Coronation Collection

One of the best places to find delicious fare and with the Royal Warrant from the crown, items to enjoy for nibbling, sipping and more, Fortnum & Mason the place to shop for Coronation memorabilia. I have shopped a few items below, but rest assured Fortnum & Mason’s has oodles of things to shop to commemorate the Coronation.


Harrods Coronation Blend English Breakfast Tea (and tin)

A special tea tin full of what else, English Breakfast Tea!, for a very special occasion.

Mark & Spencer’s Coronation Crown Bolster Cushion

A perfect bolster pillow for the Anglophile. I was going to save this find for British Week, but I couldn’t help but share today.

Mary Berry’s Baking Bible: With over 250 New and Classic Recipes

The Queen of British baking has a newly revised cookbook released just in time for the historical and celebratory occasion!

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Lily James of Downton Abbey fame alongside Mim Shaikh, star as childhood friends who due to their differing family backgrounds are not considered a love match. Released already in the UK, What’s Love Got To Do With It has just been released today in the states, and is set in London. James plays an award-winning film-maker who documents her best friend’s journey into an assisted marriage in line with his family’s Pakistani heritage. In the process, she challenges her own attitude towards relationships.” Check out The New York Times’ review that offers praise and appreciation for this “pleasantly uncontentious” modern love story. Have a look at the trailer below.


Love Again

Priyanka Chopra Jonas stars as a young woman trying to ease the pain of her fiancé’s death by sending romantic texts to his old cell phone number and upon doing so forms a connection with the man the number has been reassigned to. Have a look at the trailer below and look for Love Again in theaters now.


J.Crew Straight-leg essential chino pant (two colors)

Just in time for comfort and light-weight timeless style, chinos from J.Crew. The original item in the company’s atelier of offerings is back, and this time in a straight-leg style and two versatile spring/summer colors.

LK Bennett Lucia Blue Geometric Kaftan Top & Trousers, resort collection

British brand LK Bennett is bringing the chic and the comfort in their new resort collection. Wear together or separately with other items in your capsule wardrobe, this print caught my eye, and perhaps yours as well.

LK Bennett Angela Cream Leather Espadrille Sandals

One more from LK Bennett because it is timeless, and in ivory/cream (my favorite neutral color). A versatile color that isn’t white and is very summer without too high of a heel. I am on board with this one.

Luxmii Safari Linen Wrap Dress, three colors

Well doesn’t this dress just epitomize summer in Provence? Love it, want it. Think you will love it as well. It’s linen after all, and a wrap dress. Perfect for a timeless silhouette and comfort in the pressing summer heat.



The White House Plumbers, HBO Max

Let’s go back to the events of Watergate and Nixon, and let’s take a slightly more humorous look at the decisions and people involved. That is exactly what HBO Max (soon to just be Max)’s new limited series does in The White House Plumbers starring Woody Harrelson and Justin Thereoux. I’ll let the trailer do the talking. Have a look and enjoy watching now.

Spring blooms are bursting all around Bend, and I found this beautiful cherry tree while walking one morning near the Old Mill District. My own peach tree blossoms began dazzling passersby and myself this week and my cherry trees are allllllmost there. Soon a white wall of blossoms will appear, and if the full moon has a clear sky for a couple of nights, it is a magical visual to look at through the reading nook window.

I must admit, I am quite looking forward to this weekend and watching the Coronation, and with my own plans now set for returning to Britain later this year (more to come during British Week), I cannot wait to immerse myself in all things British this month. In fact, as I was tending to plans for giveaways for British Week (six in all!) as well as taking and organizing the preordering of the Royal Sussex Trugs this week, each person I talked/emailed in Britain shared in their email that much of their time and focus has/is on the celebration for this weekend’s events with all of the Bank Holidays, so our conversations would resume (understandably) next week when all had concluded. It just made me smile. What a unique moment in history.

For some reason, and really, there is no wondering about it, May to me just reminds me of England and the entire UK as the rains bring the beauty after a long winter, and that beauty is priceless and powerful (in fact, for this reason and many others I chose May in The Road to Le Papillon to be entirely British focused). Okay, okay, I will stop gushing over Britain, but needless to say, I cannot wait for May 21st when TSLL’s Annual British Week begins! Learn more about what the week is all about and explore past British Weeks here in the Archives.

Yesterday morning we woke up to buckets of rainfall that continued for at least four hours (so of course being the pluviophile that I am, we took our morning walk in it and all got drenched – loved it!), and with more rain in the forecast for the weekend, it looks to be the perfect couple of days for enjoying more than a few cuppas, reading and yep, watching The Coronation – last time I promise.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend and thank you very much for stopping by today. Below are a handful of articles and one video I think you might enjoy. Until Monday, bonne journée.

~Tour the actor of Dr. Who, Karen Gillan’s California cottage that is full of British charm and comforts. The kitchen – oh yes! And the headboard and fireplace in the primary bedroom – wow! [Architectural Digest]

~Monty Don’s May’s Tips & Advice for the new month.

~To celebrate the bank holiday of the King’s Coronation this weekend, a round-up of classic recipes from Coronation chicken to Coronation quiche. [House & Garden UK]

~And one more for those celebrating this weekend, 100 Coronation Facts.

~The Met Gala honored Karl Lagerfeld this past Monday (the first Monday in May) and the red carpet dazzled and piqued curiosity. Here are a list of favorites from British Vogue. My vote is for Anne Hathaway, but there are many, many more.

~With Britain on the mind, perhaps a luxury vacation holiday getaway? This list shares the TOP 50 Best Holiday Homes to Rent. [Condé Nast Travel]

~And one more trip to England, specifically to The Connaught Hotel in London because as it is a Charles that is the current King of England, for the first time since King Charles II (who died in 1685) the namesake for the Cavalier King Charles dog breed (four toy spaniels were designated with the name – Blenheim, Tri-Color, Black & Tan and Ruby) that the dogs are named due to the King’s ardent affection for the little dogs, to the point that he was accused of ignoring matters of state in favor of his dogs, it seems more than fitting to enjoy their fun clip of the many Cavaliers that have taken over the hotel. (By the way, Norman and Nelle have not a clue of the festivities going on this weekend of their namesake and trying to get Nelle to watch the video was fruitless, but oh my, seeing this video just gave me a big smile). Have a look at their IG Reel below:

~But we are not forgetting France, and if you are traveling down to Avignon, keep this hotel on your list to check out – Hôtel La Mirande Avignon: Timeless Refinement. [Hip Paris]

~23 ways to sign off an Email in French [Frenchly]

~And just in case you were curious, King Charles III’s wealth and assets. [Forbes]

~As an introvert, how to reconnect with your inner child and find your life purpose [Introvert, Dear]

~And a profile of the book mentioned at the top of today’s post from PBS Newshour – Art historian brings attention to overlooked women in her new book.

~Explore last week’s This & That: April 28, 2023

So many summer clothing finds for leisurely, everyday and stepped up style, a French film that received wide-spread acclaim and awards. Looking for that perfect French-inspired bistro table and chairs? I have found a couple of them for you and in an array of colors. Three décor books full of inspiration based on the aesthetic that speaks to you, a new partnering up with a highly revered fashion designer in her first ever home collection, a book about trailblazing women we know from history from around the world and the walks they took, a chic tote ideal for summer and spring, and a new limited-series premieres on PBS Masterpiece that looks to be a lot of fun and with a fabulous cast. Still there is 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.

18 thoughts on “This & That: May 5, 2023

  1. Alexandra Stoddard? WOW I’ve been reading her books for years. Very excited you have the opportunity to interview her and share with us. ♥️

    1. Me too! Hi Randi! I discovered the books of A. Stoddard years ago, reading them cover-to-cover at the library. I’m very much looking ahead for that interview. I’ve bought her book, as you wrote, for $6.05 on Amazon. What a treat! Thank you, Shannon. — Teresa

  2. Thank you Shannon for prompting me that What’s Love Got To Do With It comes out this weekend. I am so looking forward to watching this film. It looks lovely 🙂 finally it’s arrived.
    The White House Plumbers looks quite fascinating, it’s based on a book about the same true story (same name) and I read a while ago that it was being adapted, add Woody Harrelson into the mix and I’m interested.
    This weeks T&T is a lovely pre-British week celebration. I will be spending the coronation away for the weekend but will be keeping my eye on the TV and any celebrations to catch what I can.
    And the Met Gala, my favourites (though I found this year underwhelming) were Miranda Kerr and Mindy Kaling. As well as Nicole Kidman in that gown she wore in the Chanel No. 5 advert. I always enjoy seeing Kate Moss on the red carpet as she simply glows no matter what she wears. But I admit I missed seeing Blake Lively this year, as she was in Britain! With Ryan Reynolds to celebrating Wrexham football clubs promotion. A big deal here in the UK and especially Wales and Wrexham.
    Happy weekend! Pats to Norman and Nelle

  3. Good morning Shannon. Really looking forward to Andrew McCarthy’s book prior to walking the Camino in 2024 with a friend, I’m absolutely devouring all information for the journey. Also walking another section of the Camino in France at the end of this month, right through British Week!! Will have much to catch up on my return. My ‘problem’ for the weekend is how to avoid Coronation get togethers. As an introvert I plan to spend the day doing my own thing, not anti-social, but can’t face it, anyone else over here thinking the same? Have a great weekend everyone, Sue, England.

    1. Sue,

      I am so excited for you and your upcoming hike! Have an amazing time, and I must admit, I am looking forward to being in my own company with my two pups and taking in the viewing of the Coronation in my own way, so I can only imagine being in England that that wouldn’t be easy to do, but I am proud of you for honoring what you need. Thank you for stopping by and enjoy celebrating as you desire!

  4. Greetings! Another book re: the famous walk, The El Camino. That’s exciting. A good friend made that walk a few years ago and she’s in her 60’s! It’s never too late. Thanks for the tip on a new book.

  5. Hi Shannon! Your blog posts never fail to delight. I am so excited that you will be speaking to Alexander Stoddard, one of my favorites. I heard her speak when Living a Beautiful Life first came out and she was on a book tour and came to Phoenix, Arizona. And now for synchronicities, which I always love, my daughter chose THIS book from our shelves YESTERDAY to read from cover to cover as she recovers from covid. We are both overjoyed that you will be speaking to her. A match made in heaven.

    1. Brigid,

      Thrilled to be able to have her on the show and thank you for sharing your journey with her books. 🙂 Wishing your daughter a swift and full recovery and I love her choice of reading material. How serendipitous! Have a lovely weekend.

  6. Hi Shannon,
    So excited you’ll be in conversation with Alexandra Stoddard!
    I too have read her lovely books. Enjoy your weekend with Norman & Nelle!

  7. Shannon, had to hop on and say I have one of the Emma Bridgewater mugs. Serendipitously, my Scottie has his groomer in Stoke as he has a special handstrip to keep his coat looking good. It’s about an hour from home so I normally go for a mooch about whilst he is pampered and titivated. One of my favourite places is the Emma B shop, and last month I popped in and purchased the same coronation mug you have above for me, (I like a commemorative mug) and the slightly different one for my mum and mum in law. And tomorrow, I’ll watch the ceremony and then enjoy some coronation quiche and the Queen’s favourite tiffin cake whilst soaking up the history. Have a glorious weekend and hope you don’t get woken too early!

    1. Nicola,

      Thank you very much for sharing this. What a lovely ritual to savor! 🙂 The coronation quiche sounds delicious and your weekend sounds lovely. I am so glad you shared. 🙂

  8. Alexandra Stoddard!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is the BEST NEWS! I have every single book of hers. What a fantastic start to the weekend! Long live the KING!

  9. Shannon, you had me at the mention of Alexandra Stoddard! Kudos to you for having her on your podcast. Read her books so many years ago. Happy weekend and Coronation watching. 🇬🇧 Xo Karen

  10. I am just crazy about anything Alexandra Stoddard! I have read and re-read her books over and over. Her ideas inspired me as a young woman creating a home and I still find her books inspiring. I cannot remember where I read about her “letting go” of her beautiful collections recently. I hope you visit with her about that in your podcast interview. I find her ideas “evergreen”. Cannot wait to listen to your conversation with Alexandra.

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