This & That: May 7, 2021

May 07, 2021

You have 4 free post views remaining this month.

Become a subscriber and view posts without restrictions.

Books to inspire a healthy, long life, a new art exhibit at Musée de Luxembourg, the return of two favorite series – one reality, one a cosy murder mystery, the perfect gift for the cheese lover, the premiere of a new mini-series starring Lily James, Monty’s new and updated ultimate gardening book, items for your wardrobe and table just in time for the summer season and more!


Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer by Steven Johnson

Set to be released next Tuesday, as featured in The New York Times Magazine, and on an upcoming PBS documentary series: the surprising and important story of how humans gained what amounts to an extra life – Steven Johnson’s new book – Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer.

The Hummingbirds’ Gift: Wonder, Beauty and Renewal on Wings by Sy Montgomery

Released this week from the New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award finalist for The Soul of an Octopus, Sy Montgomery, her new book The Hummingbirds’ Gift introduces readers to Brenda Sherburn. “With tenderness and patience, she rescues abandoned hummingbirds and nurses them back to health until they can fly away and live in the wild. In The Hummingbird’s Gift, the extraordinary care that Brenda provides her peanut-sized patients is revealed and, in the process, shows us just how truly amazing hummingbirds are.” 

Whole Brain Living: The Anatomy of Choice and the Four Characters That Drive Our Life by Jill Bolte Taylor

Being released next Tuesday, a new book that shifts what we thought we knew about the brain. “For half a century we have been trained to believe that our right brain hemisphere is our emotional brain, while our left brain houses our rational thinking. Now neuroscience shows that it’s not that simple: in fact, our emotional limbic tissue is evenly divided between our two hemispheres. Consequently, each hemisphere has both an emotional brain and a thinking brain. In this groundbreaking new book, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor presents these four distinct modules of cells as four characters that make up who we are: Character 1, Left Thinking; Character 2, Left Emotion; Character 3, Right Emotion; and Character 4, Right Thinking.”

British Finds

The Complete Gardener: A Practical, Imaginative Guide to Every Aspect of Gardening by Monty Don

While originally released twenty years ago, Monty Don’s must-have gardening tome has been updated with not only new photographs, but new tips and expertise as well. A beautiful book, and a resource for the gardener in your life (maybe that’s you!), my copy arrived just yesterday (see pic below), and I cannot wait to explore it.

Death in Paradise, Season 10

I began watching Death in Paradise a couple of years ago following the recommendation of TSLL readers, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it ever since. A little bit British, a little bit French, the lead detective may change, and the officers too from season to season, but all of the characters are incredibly likeable and the setting gorgeous. The latest season, season 10, premiered earlier this year, and with it, many of the favorite cast members from past seasons return for a cameo or more. Check out the trailer below and find it on BritBox.

The Pursuit of Love

Premiering this Sunday on BBC One and Amazon Prime, Emily Mortimer has adapted and directs the three-episode mini-series The Pursuit of Love starring Lily James and Emily Beecham. Based on Nancy Mitford’s three book series of the same name written and set in early 20th century Europe, the series looks to be quite the attention-grabber. Just have a look at the trailer below.


Everyone’s Table: Global Recipes for Modern Health by Gregory Gourdet

Top Chef star Gregory Gourdet’s new cookbook will be released next Tuesday, and what readers will find will be “200 mouth-watering, decadently flavorful recipes carefully designed to focus on superfoods—ingredients with the highest nutrient-density, the best fats, and the most minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants—that will delight and inspire home cooks. Gourdet’s dishes are inspired by his deep affection for global ingredients and techniques–from his Haitian upbringing to his French culinary education, from his deep affection for the cuisines of Asia as well as those of North and West Africa.”


Brigid Linen Napkins, set of four, Sophie Conran

Having sets of linen napkins is something I have gradually been collecting over the years, and I must admit it is simple luxury to be able to go to my cupboards and select the design or fabric that would pair well with the season, the food and the company. These green and white print linen napkins would be a lovely addition.


Here Today

Billie Crystal and Tiffany Haddish co-star in a poignant as well as hilarious new movie being released today. Have a look at the trailer below and look for it in theaters only.

Francophile Find

Women Painters: The Birth of a Battle, 1780-1830, Musée de Luxembourg

A tremendous thank you to TSLL reader Hanna who lives in Europe (Germany) for bringing to my attention a new exhibit in Paris showcasing Women Painters. While many of us may not be able to attend in person, if by chance you can explore it, I do hope you are able to attend. Open now and running through July 4th, discover “70 works on display from public and private French and international collections. The exhibition aims to bring the public’s attention to an issue about which little or nothing is known: how the then-unprecedented phenomenon of increasing numbers of women in the fine arts was linked to the changing organisation in the sphere of artistic production (administration, training, exhibition, criticism) and the transforming tastes and social practices relating to art.”


Carrie Forbes Lina Cutout Slide Wedge Sandals

Summer and espadrille wedge sandals. I have found two that caught my eye this week and wanted to share. Each available at a different price points, Carrie Forbes’ Lina sandals have a leather sole and will last for years, add some height and keep you in style.

Castañer Bromelia Wedge Canvas Sandals

I highly recommend Castañer wedge sandals (having a pair of my own with the wrap ankle style), and this buckle design may be even more preferred for keeping the shoe secure without having to retie the long laces on their traditional design. (the price is a bit more affordable as well)

Linen Slip Dress (black), The White Company

Linen and summer. The two just go together, and this dress would be a wonderful item for leisure and comfort – at home or strolling about in the sunshine.

Taste of Europe Cheese Gift Crate, Williams-Sonoma

Whether to send to your mother for a belated gift or to someone you know would love a taste of European cheeses while they wait to travel there, Williams-Sonoma’s cheese crate would be a welcomed special arrival in my house, and maybe yours as well.


Million Dollar Listing, New York, season 9 premiere

I am a sucker for real estate reality shows. I love to see the current trends, but now viewing it from the comfort of my own home, no longer in the hunt for a house, the viewing is far less stressful. 🙂 A new season of Million Dollar Listing, New York, premiered last night on Bravo, and this time, for the first time, they have added a female broker. Cheers to that!

Shrill, Season 3 premiere

The third, and as it has been announced, final season of Hulu’s Shrill starring SNL’s Aidy Bryant, premieres tonight. Follow the life journey of Annie (Bryant), a woman who doesn’t want to change her body, just her life as she navigates “bad boyfriends, a sick parent, and a perfectionist boss”. Check out the trailer below.

~TSLL’s Strawberry Cream Tart recipe~

I have been escaping to my garden whenever I am able this week, as we are shifting our school schedule yet again (the fifth time this year), and doing so (the garden, not the schedule shifting) has brought much steadiness. From transplanting squash and courgette seeds which have sprouted magnificently, potting up my two porch pots for the season with hostas, creeping jenny and begonias (they sit largely in the shade), and planting a few extra plants I picked up this past weekend in Portland, stepping outside with the boys wandering about the yard has been an absolute joy.

The beautiful weather arrived this week along with the first Farmers’ Market of the year, and sitting on the garden porch in the evening after having picked up some fresh produce (and a sweet locally made dessert from the bakery stand), listening to the birdsong as the day winds down is something I savor with great appreciation. Norman received his groom this week for the season, so he is looking quite dapper, and with help from the neighbor kids, dead-heading the butter-yellow California poppies which are now in full bloom in my rockery turned into a wonderful evening activity on Monday (they helped me weed as well – thank you!).

Needless to say, I am tickled it’s Friday, and I want to thank you for your patience as I have been a bit behind in responding to comments and emails this week, but I will be catching up with weekend. I so enjoyed all that you shared in this month’s A Cuppa Moments‘ chat, and your comments regarding M.L. Longworth’s new mystery made me smile as well (here and on IG). I do hope your week has gone well, and may the weekend be even sweeter. Thank you for stopping by this week, and may your weekend be even sweeter. Until Monday, bonne journée.

~On this Mother’s Day weekend in the states – for adult children: 3 Ways to make your mom happier [The Atlantic]

~Broadway will be opening this September! [The New York Times]

~Do you have a small living room like I do? Here are 35 living room decor ideas for small sitting room areas [Homes & Garden UK]

~France’s four-stage plan for reopening [The Local]

~A new month, a new Monty Don gardening post

~11 Habits to create a more joyful life [Country Living UK]

~Let’s talk fashion – what will the future be for post-pandemic styles? [Shondaland]

~A tremendous thank you to a TSLL reader for bringing gardener Piet Ouddf to my attention (this video was shared in winter/spring 2019)

22 thoughts on “This & That: May 7, 2021

  1. As always Shannon, lots of good reading for the weekend. Several special friends have birthdays this Summer, books are always a favorite gift, I look forward to considering this assortment. I am just catching up on the blog and applaud your decisions for your “next chapter.” You are brave, insightful, and you will be successful, of this I am sure. As our world awakens from the cold, dark Winter, we can all enjoy the beauty of the gardens and nature, Monty Don’s book looks to be outstanding!

    1. Thank you Celkalee for stopping by today and for the lovely words of confidence. xo And yes, I think Monty Don’s book will be a treasure to add to any gardener’s library. Have a most wonderful weekend. 🙂

  2. This and That is always the best way to start Friday and the weekend. Here Today, Shrill and The Pursuit of Love spoke to me this week.
    I think the latter starts here in the UK on Sunday evening so that’s my viewing plans made!
    This post reminded me as well I already own a copy of the complete gardener and need to return to it!
    Can I also recommend the RHS Gardening Through The Year book – I received it as a birthday gift and it’s a really great resource!

    Happy weekend x

    1. Thank you for stopping by as your weekend begins Sarah. 🙂 Yes, recommend away! I have it as well and highly recommend RHS Gardening Through the Year. An invaluable resource as well. 🙂 Doesn’t The Pursuit of Love look intriguing? I looking forward to watching this Sunday as well. Will be thinking of you! 🙂

  3. Penelope Chilvers has some beautiful colourful espadrilles Shannon ……..but I don’t know if they are available in the States.
    The Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte have her tassel boots !
    Thank you for another lovely This and That , I shall enjoy exploring all the links later .
    Have a wonderful weekend .🦋🌸🌿

    1. Anne, Thank you for introducing me to a new brand. I will definitely check it out. 🙂 Wishing you as well a lovely weekend and thank you as always for stopping by. xo

  4. As Sarah said, This & That is a fun way to start a Friday and kick off the weekend. As always, thank you for putting together a smorgasbord of enlightening articles, interesting books and movies, shopping items and “betterment “ links. It makes a happy weekend for everyone.
    Bonne journee!

    1. Thank you Jan for stopping by and sharing all that you did. 🙂 I am tickled to hear TSLL can provide something no matter how small to bring a smile and start the day and weekend well. Have a lovely day as well! 🙂

  5. Lots of good stuff, as usual, to help kick-start Le Week-end, thank you, Shannon!
    “Here Today” looks wonderful and I am SUCH a Billy Crystal fan. And Tiffany Haddish is sooo funny, great comedian/actor.
    Both Beck’s book and “Joie de Vivre” arrive today, hoo-ray! So what with finishing up “Long Live the Queen!”, getting into those two books, perusing all the goodies in this week’s T&T, and puttering about in the yard, I think a very satisfying week-end is about to unfold.
    And thank you, Sarah H., for reminding me about RHS Gardening Through the Year! That is definitely going in the cart along with Monty’s book.

    Have a lovely weekend everyone! Thanks Shannon!

  6. Hi Shannon,

    A belated congratulations on your new journey – so happy for you. I love Billy Crystal and am looking forward to his new movie. The Monty Don book is going on my wish list – my husband and I love watching Gardener’s World, it’s so soothing. Just got the Martha Beck book and am loving it so far – lots to contemplate as I move into some new chapters in my life. Wanted to let you know about a great book I read by Lauren Willig, Karen White and Beatriz Williams. It’s All The Ways We Said Goodbye presented in flashback between WWI, WWII, and 1964. Wonderful read and they have other books that they’ve written together as well. Willig is also the author of a series of historical fiction/Spy books which are perfect cozy reads. Have a wonderful weekend!

  7. What a wonderful end to a crazy week, Shannon, thank you SO much. Said week included a set-back to the pouring of the foundation (a rock outcrop where it shouldn’t be, requiring blasting) for our house & a sick cat with an abscess on her butt. I left the foundation problem to my very capable husband & spent the week trying to keep a plastic cone on the cat to keep her from licking the incision on her backside & shoving antibiotics into her; she’s doing fine, I’m ready to spend the weekend with the covers pulled over my head! I can hardly wait to get stuck in exploring all the links & suggestions you’ve given us. What a perfect escape! And yes, I too am delighted that Million Dollar Listings is back — I especially adore Tyler because he’s like a bouncy ball of energy & optimism & I nearly weep every time one of his deals falls through (but the show drove me insane in that no one was wearing a mask! Srsly??). I wish you & everyone here a wonderful SERENE weekend with no surprises you don’t love & to all the mothers: Happy Your Day!

    1. Susanne, I can so relate to cat-butt problems determining the trajectory of your life for several very unwanted hours in which we keep reminding ourselves repeatedly that our lives are wretched and unloved without them. Peace and love to you, my sister. And as Oscar Wilde so succinctly said, “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.” XOXO

    2. Susanne,
      I hope you find some rest in your weekend, and I am sorry your cat is having to heal, but thankfully, she is healing now. Regarding the Million Dollar Listing, they stated at the beginning of the episode, it was taped 3 months prior to the pandemic beginning which is why (my understanding) they weren’t wearing masks. We will see them wearing masks in future episodes as I think they began taping before March 2020. Thank you for stopping by and I do hope you enjoy the links. 🙂

      1. Aha! I missed the first few minutes of the show & now apologize to all of them mentally for my annoyed thoughts! And thank you (& Rona) for your kind thoughts re our kitty. She’s back to her normal rowdy self now with nothing but a shaved behind & a (quickly healing) scar to show for her trauma, roaring from one end of the house to the other & up & over us & the furniture & wanting all the attention in the world. I’d rather be sick myself than worrying about a sick pet!

  8. Whole Brain Living by Jill Bolte Taylor looks so intriguing. (Her TED talk is great.) Thank you for bringing it to our attention 🙂

  9. Is Monty Don helpful for all Zones? As I live in zone 9B it is much further south than you or Monty.

  10. I am looking forward to watching the “Pursuit of Love “, as the Mitfords were an intriguing bunch. Over the last few years, I have enjoyed reading a fictional series about the sisters in which their maid solves murders. They’re by Jessica Fellowes and are an excellent read.

  11. Shannon , another lovely list to commence the weekend and week following. May is such a lovely time in the garden and even more enjoyable with young helpers. Children love getting their hands dirty and it looks like you have some keen pupils I already own the complete gardener but might be tempted to offer this as a gift to my best friend. As may is edging us into summer and as you said thoughts of espadrilles and linen are never far away .I love the Castaner ones and indeed my two pairs are wearing out .They both are the wrap around the ankles and although pretty can be a little impractical and so I’ll be looking at the buckle strap version. I love the Carrie Forbes wedge but alas it’s a little high for me. Also I am keen on Gregory Gourdet’s book .Will be popping this into my basket. I have gradually changed my style of cooking over the last few years using nutrient dense ingredients for optimising my and my husband’s health. Plus we share a love of Caribbean ingredients. As you are enjoying ‘Death in Paradise’ am gently reminding you to check out ‘Bergerac’ with John Nettles who plays Detective John Bergerac and the series is set in the lovely island of Jersey. Thank you Shannon. Wishing you and everyone a wonderful week and maybe the opportunity travel!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *