This & That: November 24, 2023 + Black Friday Sales
Friday November 24, 2023

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Described as an idiosyncratic and philosophical book, Michel Faber’s Listen, being released this coming Tuesday, “explores two big questions: how do we listen to music and why do we listen to music? To answer these questions, he considers a range of factors, which includes age, illness, the notion of ‘cool,’ commerce, the dichotomy between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ taste and much more.”

Also being released next Tuesday and a book that has already been chosen as one of the Best Books of 2023 by Amazon Editors and Best Book of the Year by the Chicago Public Library is The Mystery Guest, book two in The Maid series of capers by Nita Prose. Set in the five-star Regency Grand Hotel, protagonist and maid at the hotel Molly Gray has risen through ranks to become the esteemed Head Maid. “But just as her life reaches a pinnacle state of perfection, her world is turned upside down when J. D. Grimthorpe, the world-renowned mystery author, drops dead—very dead—on the hotel’s tearoom floor.” Dah dah duh. Let the sleuthing begin!

New to this series? Begin with book one, The Maid, which became a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the Edgar Award.

Originally published in 1948, “Eugen Herrigel, a German professor of Philosophy in Tokyo, took up the study of archery as a step toward an understanding of Zen Buddhism. This book is the account of the six years he spent as a student of one of Japan’s great kyudo (archery) masters, and of how he gradually overcame his initial inhibitions and began to feel his way toward new truths and ways of seeing.” Zen in the Art of Archery continues to be a classic work of Eastern philosophy that while only 96 pages long, readers find full of great inspiration and insight into understanding how to be and be well in the sea of humanity.

After reading a profile piece of Daylesford owner Lady Carole Gray Bamforde in the Christmas issue of The English Home recently, I began to peruse about the Daylesford website, and came across their Hugo Guinness watercolour design tablecloth (other colors available – blue and red) made exclusively for Daylesford featuring wildflowers. “The watercolour wildflowers are used to create a continuous border around the edge and in the centre of the tablecloth.” I thought not only would this be a lovely choice for a Christmas table as I will be hosting the meal on Christmas Eve, but also be able to be used throughout the year with its botanical designs. Perhaps it catches your eye as well.

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The first of quite a few heads up on Black Friday deals to explore, and depending upon what you are looking for, if you appreciate the quality of British brand Smythson whether for their bags, wallets and notebooks, there are some great savings to be had.

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French class picks back up next week after a few weeks’ break and as many of you already have shared, Coffee Break French is a podcast and online resource you use to strengthen your language learning skills. Published last June (2022), if you are looking for some intermittent practice activities, this book looks ideal, or ideal for that person in your life who is learning French. ☺️❤️🇫🇷

Astier de Villatte tree ornaments

The tree decorating is no doubt beginning for many of us, and it will be next week in our household – I look forward to this ritual every year. With each year I add two new baubles, and while I have already purchased my two for this year, when I came across these from Astier de Villatte I had to share. There have 17 pages of ornaments to explore, so be sure to peruse them, but to give you a glimpse at what you will find, I have included a large handful below.

The new season of a wonderfully fun and female-driven series I came across last year and cruised through due to the friendship of, even though completely different in their natures, police detectives Gaëlle and Melissa, is Tropiques Criminels/Deadly Tropics. Set in the Caribbean island of Martinique, the detectives are both solving crimes as well as navigating their individual personal lives. The new season kicked off on Tuesday with two episodes dropping on MHzChoice. Have a look at the trailer below and look for two more episodes each coming Tuesday.

No doubt timed, and rightly so, to coincide with the premiere of season 2 of Julia, an updated and spruced up version of the cookbook that shares all of the recipes she made on her cooking show back in the sixties and seventies was just released this past Tuesday. The French Chef Cookbook, organized by seasons of the show (there were 10), this was Julia Child’s first solo cookbook, and with more than 300 recipes, you will always have a French recipe at the ready that is reliable if you have this cookbook in your library. I have had this cookbook for about 10 years now and have cooked out of it often. Easy to read, simple prose and listing of ingredients – quite different from the cookbook that brought her fame – Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I highly recommend picking up a copy.

Le Creuset, Black Friday sale

And speaking of French cooking, a sale not to miss! If you are someone or know someone who needs an item or two for their batterie de cuisine, Le Creuset is a trusted source for items that will last a lifetime. I have shopped a few items below, all are on sale (even if the scroll doesn’t reflect the new price), but be sure to visit the website to see many more items on sale.

Picking out a few of the holiday décor items that caught my eye, be sure to shop their entire site as it is all 30% off.


Linen, linen, linen. Brooklinen is having a wonderful sale for your bed and bath, and while they have sheets that aren’t linen as well, I cannot recommend more highly for all-season comfortable sleeping, linen in sheets, duvets, pillowcases and blankets/quilts. Their linen quilt (and its price) caught my eye, but be sure to shop their entire sale for 25% off.

Madewell, 40% off site-wide

Save a tremendous amount when you shop at Madewell this Black Friday, 40% to be precise, when you use the promo code LETSGO.

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These beautiful handbags, I have one of their cloud clutches that I packed (and used) while in London when I went to The Ritz for tea with TOP Tier Members and it was perfect in its size (they have many variation on the size). It has a very sturdy closure (magnetic, but not your typical weak magnetic connection – this one holds super firm), a long lovely shoulder chain and expandable space that doesn’t take much room. I have had mine for three years now and it is my go-to for special occasions.

I also wanted to share their vegan handbag which is well priced and classically styled.

While it takes time to peruse through all that The Outnet has, I can’t tell you how many designer clothes I have purchased over the years that I have then worn for years and saved money in the process, upfront and due to cost-per-wear. Be sure to find time to shop their Black Friday sale and save 25% with promo code BLACKFRIDAY.


Staud, 25% off

Last year I picked up a pair of their suede knee-high boots, a pair of boots I also brought with me to London and wore and am grateful I have them. The savings from Black Friday sales was appreciated as their shoes are not cheap, but the comfort and craftsmanship are worth paying for as these boots will last a long time and look wonderful each time. When you spend more than $250, use promo code HOLIDAY25 to save 25% site-wide.

Last year, around this time, I was on the hunt for steak knives, but as sometimes happens, when you are needing something, you often cannot find it, and if you do, the price is exorbitant. Needless to say, I was not successful on my hunt, but continuing to remember that I need quality steak knives, when I saw this awesome deal, I put them in my cart. I don’t eat steak often, but as was the case last year when I served Beef Wellington, I needed a nice set of knives as it was for Christmas Eve dinner with eight guests.

Having baking dishes on hand is a must-have in my regular-use category for kitchen supplies, and having different sizes is helpful as well. Why not purchase quality made ones and today, available at a great price and oodles of color options from Le Creuset.


For this weekend only, through Cyber Monday and until stock runs out, all three of TSLL’s books are on sale. Purchase signed copies directly from my supply and save 20% off when you use promo code TYBOOKS20 (this excludes the 3-book bundle as a discount is already applied in the price).

All books (paperback and hardback) are currently in stock as of this posting, if backorder is noted when you select your book, you can still order the book and the paperbacks will arrive in two weeks and the hardbacks will arrive in 3-4 weeks. Each copy is personally signed and a personal inscription may be added, simply write in the Notes section for your order.

Learn more about each book here.


One of our daily rituals is following breakfast to go on a good stretch of the legs walk. Usually about two miles, give or take, but it always ensures the tone of the day is constructive as clarity is gained, calm is strengthened and energy revved up for whatever lay ahead. Whether a workday or a day off, these walks are our time, and I prefer to take them solo with Norman and Nelle choosing a different path or trail each day. Such was the case in the photo captured earlier this week when even though I had an appointment in town at 9am, we made sure to get our walk in, this time around Mirror Pond, and oh did it feel good.

Thanksgiving at Le Papillon!

A walk definitely preceded and followed this feast. ☺️ I shared my detailed menu in November’s 10 Ponderings . . .


Perhaps your stretch of the legs will be shopping today, or maybe, like me, you will be out with your pups, or taking a special walk with a loved one you haven’t seen for some time. However you enjoy your steps today, I do hope you have a wonderful outing. And speaking of getting out and about, The Simply Luxurious Kitchen cooking show stepped out of Le Papillon’s kitchen this week to share its final episode of the season that was recorded in the English countryside. Sharing how to make a most decadent, but also light and airy (seems impossible, but it’s true!) Bûche de Noël, be sure to tune in to this festive and British-inspired holiday episode where I will share peeks of my trip as well.

Also, if you are a TOP Tier Member (or would like to be! Learn more here), be sure to read 10 November Ponderings . . . as I share more sales (not shared in today’s T & T post) that are not to be missed this weekend, especially when it comes to skincare. And if you need a respite from the cold, this month’s garden post takes you back to summer with my visit to Swan Island Dahlias, where I share not only what I saw (I did my best to share/name all of the varietals you see so if something captures your awe, you can shop it where you order your dahlias) in video and pictorial form, but also information about dahlias, when to start them and why they are so beloved.

Thank you so very much for visiting TSLL today. Wishing you a weekend ahead with moments of awe to depend your gratitude for the beauty of everyday life, time to just be and breathe deeply, and of course, time to savor your unique simply luxurious life.

Below are a handful of articles to enjoy along with a fun video with a favorite British actor that centers are food! Until Monday, bonne journée.

~How to create a French Winter Capsule Wardrobe [Leonce Chenal]

~An interesting note of detail about the bi-horn hats that Joaquin Phoenix wears in Napoleon due to him being vegan [NYTimes, gift link]

~A conversation about whether smart homes make our lives better [House & Garden UK]

~NPR released their 2023 Books We Love list and it is abundant (and interactive)

~A beautiful home tour in Australia inspired by Lisa Danielle’s love of the south of France [Bed Threads]

~Seth Godin shares his thoughts on waiting for the perfect conditions.

~It’s hygge season – how to embrace the Danish lifestyle of being cozy [NPR]

~My favorite read this week – 5 signs you’re making life harder than it has to be [Pick the Brain]

~SJP shared her 21 holiday must-haves found at Amazon. I am definitely on-board with #8 and now curious about #15.

~Nigel Slater’s recently shared recipe for Cauliflower with lemon and capers caught my attention, and along with it in this post are a few other delicious recipes. [The Guardian]


~After watching this video, I became very, very hungry ☺️. Olivia Colman takes a blind taste test of British food and drink, and one of her comments I think I have to absolutely agree with, “British food is comfort food, isn’t it?” Cheers to that! And she recommends Yorkshire Gold tea – I am finally drinking that as well and loving it! [British Vogue]

~TSLL’s 2023 Annual Gift Guide for Francophiles & Anglophiles, 50+ hand-picked items.

~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.

13 thoughts on “This & That: November 24, 2023 + Black Friday Sales

  1. A nice reading of T&T to start my weekend – yes, I always do that, even when not commenting (due to time contraints). It goes very well with a cup of tea, time permitting. I can recommend. 😉

    My favourites:
    – tree ornaments – especially the little doggies remind me of someone I know 😉
    – oversized cloud clutch – as if I need another handbag 😉
    – and Olivia Coleman trying British food – it does make one kinda hungry – I could have something oh-so-unhealty like fish and chips right now 😉

    On that note, your Thanksgiving table looks very yummy. 🙂

    Have a lovely weekend, with many walks with your furry babies, to whom I send a big hug and many pats! XO

  2. Just love those Christmas baubles Shannon, especially the one that looks like Norman 🙂
    Lots of lovely goodies in this post to explore later , so just wanted to thank you before I dive in 😂
    Have a wonderful weekend everyone.
    Best wishes from a lovely sunny, cold and frosty UK
    x Anne x

  3. Thank you, Anne – so glad to know I’m not the only one who has been impacted by the premature “send.” Shall I call it my trademark — I can never send just one message (text, email, etc). Those who know me always wait for the second, third, etc. 📧 💬.

    Shannon-what a brilliant read, as always. Enjoyed the T&T as I am savoring the last couple weeks’ content. Shipping from Daylesford leaves some opportunity for improvement (read, please please please ship to the US). Thank you for including Brooklinen — I have been disappointed on so many occasions as they haven’t previously carried TwinXL in linen sheets (we have a split king as I apparently am a small human who my husband informs me has mastered the little-known sport of aerobic slumber — or, as my mother says, I flop like a fish). Alas, with your encouragement and (less likely my ardent campaigning with Brooklinen) including this on your list today it absolutely made my day to learn (and purchase) they now make TwinXL linen sheets. Folks, this is a game-changer. Thank you, Shannon, putting this on your T&T – this is a wonderful holiday gift!

    We just enjoyed several teas in the UK and ate at several pubs (true pub, gastropub, and fine dining). So many places are dog-friendly including Daylesford and the pubs. At one pub, the well-behaved canine companion had his own cushioned stool at the bar and was being hand-fed whilst his owner stood in his Hunter’s beside him. So heartwarming to see pups appreciated as integral parts of peoples’ lives. One of the places we ate at in the Cotswolds used fresh sweet peas for their mashed peas served as part of their fish and chips dinner – that made all the difference in the world. Delicious – thought of that with the video clip. Usually, they’re the mashed tinned pale green peas which are a bit less…appealing to my palate, anyway. And so many veggie-friendly meals (am an omnivore but love lentils, mushrooms, and all veggies…lovely!).

    Cannot wait to delve in further to the readings and additional recent content – had to say, ‘thank you!’ For the nudge to revisit Brooklinen! Onward to additional fabulous content…what a welcome-home to know so much has been happening here and to read everyone’s comments! Ditto to Isabel – even when I don’t comment, it’s a relished weekly ritual to explore the T&T and all the content.

    1. Thank you for stopping by Abigail and your trip to England sounds delicious and wonderfully memorable. 😌🇬🇧❤️ And fresh sweet peas and pups in pubs! Love it! Will be responding to your emails soon. Thank you so much for reaching out and sharing all that you have. Welcome home!

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