Christmas at our house is usually a sprint — we decorate mid-December, get the tree a few days before the 25th and tear around the grocery store hours before it closes for the holiday. But this year I’m approaching it more like a marathon: slow and steady wins the race. I’ve got a leg up on the shopping, brought in a few bits of greenery to make the house festive and tried some new recipes that made the kitchen smell like Christmas. Including a couple from Yvette Van Boven’s wonderful new cookbook, Home Made Christmas. The prolific writer, editor, illustrator and television host (the Dutch cooking show Koken met van Boven is filmed in her kitchen) shares more than 100 recipes, a variety of menus, and many helpful tips to help relieve some of the stresses that come with holiday entertaining. (And just entertaining in general, really.)
Thomas Allen & Son sent me a copy of Handmade Living in exchange for an honest review. Here’s what I think.
You don’t have to be God’s gift to crafters to make most of the projects in today’s book, nor do you need a lot of time. Which is ideal any time of the year, but especially coming into the holidays when our to-do lists are long and our patience is short. Handmade Living: 40 Step-by-Step Projects for Crafting a Beautiful Home by Willow Crossley has a wide variety of lovely DIYs to gift and keep, many everyday objects made more personal with bits and bobs you might already have around the house. Turn an old book into a secret place for safe-keeping, trim a plain-jane basket with spare ribbon to make a pretty piece, and make a personalized print using old stamps, buttons or Scrabble tiles. AND NOWHERE DID I MENTION A SEWING MACHINE (aka THE BANE OF MY EXISTENCE.) Granted there are a few projects where a stitch or two is in order but no one said you couldn’t do it by hand.
Thomas Allen & Son sent me Slothilda and A Sloth’s Guide to Taking it Easy in exchange for an honest review. So here’s what I think.
They say you should write what you know. Well let me tell you, I know a thing or two about being a sloth. That’s not to say I sit in a tree all day eating leaves REALLY, REALLY SLOWLY, but finishing a box of chocolates on the couch can take me an afternoon and that’s pretty much the same thing. Maybe being a sloth isn’t so bad. Maybe it’s even good! Especially coming into the holiday season when so many of us would be happier doing less. Today I’ve got two books that celebrate that sloth life — one with 20 tips on how to embrace your inner sluggard and CHILLAX and another about a relatable little sloth who really wants to succeed and grow but also really likes sleep and junk food and her phone, laptop and TV.
I received October’s Sweet Reads Box for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
The other night I started the novel in this month’s Sweet Reads Box and I’m super stressed about how it’s going to end. Thrillers don’t typically tie things up in a bow but I really don’t want to be haunted by this one. It’s called Three Days Missing and it’s about two mothers who become unlikely allies when one of their sons (the same age as mine!) vanishes on a school camping trip.
Quarto Publishing sent me a copy of She Sheds Style in exchange for an honest review. So here’s what I think.
With a backyard not much bigger than a postage stamp we don’t have room for a shed, but if we did I would love to turn it into a little refuge I could call my own, aka a she shed. It would be light and bright with all the mod cons (I BIRTHED TWO BABIES ALLOW ME HIGH-SPEED INTERNET AND WIFI) and space to blog, shoot flatlays, and stretch out with a book. Which might seem like a tall order but people do it. We saw that in Erika Kotite’s first book, She Sheds: A Room of Your Own, which introduced us to artists, yogis, gardeners and others who have turned tiny structures into spaces to work, dream and treasure. Now in her new book, She Sheds Style: Make Your Space Your Own, Erika shows us how to plan and style our sheds (real or imagined) so that they reflect our own design sensibilities.
Simon & Schuster Canada sent me a copy of Whiskey in a Teacup in exchange for a sincere review. All opinions are my own and true as the day is long.
Well paint me green and call me a cucumber! I’ve been all atwitter for Reese Witherspoon’s new book, so I was pleased as punch the other week when an advance copy arrived in the mail. (Bless your heart, @simonschusterca!) It’s Whiskey in a Teacup: What Growing Up in the South Taught Me About Life, Love, and Baking Biscuits, a guide to bringing Southern charm to your everyday life through family recipes (from Reese’s Corn Bread Chili Pie to her grandmother Dorothea’s Tea Punch), tips on entertaining and decorating, hair and beauty secrets and even how to speak like you come from the South. (If you’re wonderin’, it’s pronounced I shore doo lack the look of the them there jumbo shramp.)
I received September’s Sweet Reads Box for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the ❤️.
It’s here! September’s Sweet Reads Box arrived this week and it’s their one-year anniversary so we are going to PAR-TAY. And by that I mean stay home and read books. Which is a good thing since I have very little to offer you in terms of snackages apart from the highly disappointing Skinny Pop popcorn mini cakes I’m munching on that are apparently sharp cheddar flavour but I am getting none of that. Also we’re out of Diet Pepsi. So yes I would make a very bad host. But let’s move along. In honour of this very special occasion, and to thank all of you who’ve followed along since I first started reviewing the boxes last September, I’m giving away a September 2018 box out of my own pocket to one lucky reader. Let’s see what’s inside already! (Alsoooooooo, if this is the first time you’re hearing of Sweet Reads Box it’s a Canadian book subscription box that comes with a novel, something sweet to eat, a beverage and a few other bookish treats related to the story. Fun, right?)
Penguin Random House Canada sent me the following books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart.
This summer’s been hotter than pearls in a pawn shop and I can’t say I’m sad it’s nearly over. I’m all for fall and cozy sweaters and piles of books to read without that annoying voice in my head telling me I should be outside enjoying the sun. (It burns! It burns! LOL.) Today I want to catch you up on some recent and recent(ish) releases your kids might want to tuck into this long weekend, five books for middle grade readers that made the grade with us. First, a mega cute tale out earlier this month, Anna Humphrey’s Megabat.
I received the August Sweet Reads Box for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart.
Next month marks the one-year anniversary of one of my favourite subscription boxes and I feel like we should do something to celebrate, yes? I think I’ve got just the thing. I’ve ordered one of September’s Sweet Reads Boxes to share in a giveaway with one of you, the readers who support me month after month and make it possible for me to blog about it in the first place. (Thank you thank you!) In the meantime, let’s look at what’s inside the August box.