Category: Books

Read More

The Pesto Cookbook: 116 Recipes for Creative Herb Combinations and Dishes Bursting with Flavor by Olwen Woodier

Thomas Allen & Son sent me The Pesto Cookbook in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart.

Although I’m rather pitiful with houseplants, we’ve had a few times when our herb garden has done so well that we didn’t know what to do with it all. But now I’ve got all kinds of ideas, thanks to The Pesto Cookbook: 116 Recipes for Creative Herb Combinations and Dishes Bursting with Flavor by Olwen Woodier. Her new book (she also wrote The Apple Cookbook) combines herbs, oils, garlic and other ingredients in a wide variety of pestos, pastes and purées, plus an additional 75 recipes to incorporate pestos in dishes both savoury and sweet. Today I’ve got a peek inside and one of Olwen’s recipes we really enjoyed, the Olive, Thyme and Parsley Pesto. 

Read More

Craft the Rainbow: 40 Colorful Paper Projects from The House That Lars Built + Win a copy!

Abrams Books sent me a copy of Craft the Rainbow in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart.

Well our spring buds are taking their sweet time to bloom and I am itching to see some COLOUR. So let’s BRING IT ON! Today I’ve got the first of two new books to share with all kinds of brilliant DIY ideas to invite your favourite hues into your home and your wardrobe. Craft the Rainbow: 40 Colorful Paper Projects from The House That Lars Built by Brittany Watson Jepsen (remember her Flowers and Cactus colouring books?) explores everything colour-related under the sun, from why certain colours work together and how to use them, to fun facts in colour history and quotes from artists and designers who share their favourites. And the projects! Three for each of the pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple and white chapters, followed by 16 rainbow crafts for those who love them all. There are party crowns made from drinking straws, tasselled curtain tiebacks made of crepe paper and wooden blocks, paper plants in every colour of the rainbow and shoe clips that turn cupcake liners into works of art. Sounds amazing, right? Just wait ’til you see inside. 

Read More

Whole Beauty: Daily Rituals and Natural Recipes for Lifelong Beauty and Wellness by Shiva Rose

Thomas Allen & Son sent me a copy of Whole Beauty in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart.

“Self-care is about more than eating clean and exercising. When you approach beauty rituals with reverence, you begin a wellness journey that will connect you to your deepest self and honor the essence of your being.” — Whole Beauty: Daily Rituals and Natural Recipes for Lifelong Beauty and Wellness by Shiva Rose. Are you still there? I feel like I might have lost a few of you with the last part of that quote — the bit about connecting to your “deepest self” and honoring “the essence of your being”. It sounds New Age-y (and it definitely is), but give it time (which is kind of what the book is about) and Whole Beauty grows on you. Inside are more than 40 natural recipes for masks, exfoliants, tonics, deodorant and toothpaste; how-to’s on Ayurvedic practices like dry brushing, oil brushing, smudging and sage-ing; and numerous ways to use essential oils. It’s informative, beautiful and easy to read — sometimes more aspirational than anything else (I feel like sourcing some of the ingredients locally would be impossible for a lot of readers, but a list of online vendors is included) but inspiring all the same. 10 years ago Shiva Rose was broken (which you can read more about in the book) and today (by practicing natural health and beauty and mindful rituals) she is not only healed, but a leader in the world of all-natural beauty and lifestyle. Here’s a look inside Whole Beauty.

Read More

Meet the makers: Q&A with Sweet Reads Box founders Kerrie and Mark + April’s reveal + A giveaway!

I received April’s Sweet Reads Box for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart. 

This month’s Sweet Reads Box reveal is a little later than usual but I think it’s worth the wait. In addition to a peek behind the scenes with founders Kerrie and Mark, I’ve got a giveaway for the June box! If you’ve been following along you’ll know the boxes sell out quickly so while this one here has already been all snapped up, Kerrie and Mark have set a June one aside for one of you. They’ve also got a discount on right now for 15% off three- and six-month subscriptions with the code LOVEMOMS so if you’ve been thinking of trying it, now’s a great time! And if it’s the first you’re hearing of it, Sweet Reads Box is a Canadian book subscription service that comes with a novel and five or six related treats (including something to eat and drink, which always goes over well around here). You can see all my past reviews here. Now let’s get to the April box! 

Read More

Everything is the Worst: A Book for People Who Just Can’t + Win a copy!

Thomas Allen & Son sent me Everything is the Worst in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart.

It’s the middle of April for crying out loud and the windows are frozen shut, the power is cutting out, my nose is running like a tap and we’re out of tissues with lotion. Yeah, everything could be a lot worse, but can we not do that for a minute and just call it the shitshow that it is? If you just nodded in agreement, 1) you are my people, and 2) you’ll love Everything Is The Worst: A Book For People Who Just Can’t. New this month from Workman Publishing, it’s a collection of hand-lettered illustrations that say what’s on our minds at one time or another — things like “Can everyone please shut up”, “I’d rather stay home”, and “Tired AF”. PLUS a paper garland to punch out and string together that says “Everything Sucks”. Perfect to flip through on those days when you’re not feelin’ it, and great to gift to that friend who tells it like it is. “If I’m at a party where I’m not enjoying myself, I will put some cookies in my pocket and leave without saying goodbye.” — Mindy Kaling, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (Mindy’s quoted in the book too, along with Amy Schumer, Amy Poehler and other smart people.) 

Read More

Craft A Life You Love: Infusing Creativity, Fun and Intention Into Your Everyday by Amy Tangerine

Abrams Books sent me a copy of Craft A Life You Love in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart. 

As someone who frequently struggles with writer’s block, I’m always looking for new ways to get those creative juices flowing. (Unless they involve eating bugs. I don’t know why they would, but there I draw the line.) So I was excited to get an early copy of Amy Tangerine’s Craft A Life You Love: Infusing Creativity, Fun and Intention Into Your Everyday. Available today, it’s the newly updated version of her 2017 book of the same name (which I hadn’t read). This one includes 28 exercises (three more than the earlier book) around making time for the things that bring you joy, embracing your weird and how to be creative every day, plus a new chapter on discovering and cultivating your creative passions. Amy is known for turning her sewing hobby into an award-winning t-shirt line and her love of scrapbooking into a full-time business, as well as her online creative workshops and YouTube videos. In Craft A Life You Love, she shares some of her personal and professional struggles and the lessons, habits and tools that have helped her overcome them. Positive (but not sickening) and practical (but not simplistic), it’s a workbook I’m really enjoying working through, and think you will too. (And there’s nothing in it about eating bugs.) 

Read More

Happy mail: What’s inside the March Sweet Reads Box

I received the March Sweet Reads Box for free to review but all opinions are still my own. 

I’ve been talking about Sweet Reads Box here since it launched last September and I feel like it’s high time we got to know a little something about the Toronto-area couple who started it and some of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into putting the boxes together each month. (If it’s the first you’re hearing of it, Sweet Reads Box is a monthly subscription box service that includes a novel and four or five treats tied to the story and its characters.) I’ll be chatting with founders Kerrie and Mark in a couple of weeks and I’d love to hear what you’re curious about. What questions would you like me to ask? While you’re thinking about it, let’s take a look at what’s inside the March box. 

Read More

Tanya Bakes by Tanya Burr

Penguin Random House Canada sent me a copy of Tanya Bakes in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart.

It’s a grey and drizzly day here in Ottawa, much like I imagine it to be in UK lifestyle blogger and YouTube star Tanya Burr’s corner of the world, only hers probably smells like fresh-baked cinnamon buns or lemon drizzle loaf or any of the other homey puddings, pastries, cookies and cakes in her lovely book, Tanya Bakes. It’s her first cookbook and her second book (Love, Tanya was released in 2015) and she’s got a third coming this September called Tanya’s Christmas: Make, Bake and Celebrate (which I’ve already got, thanks to my magical unicorn friend Maria). Inside this one are page after page of comfort foods — mostly desserts, but also some breakfast dishes and a pizza — accompanied by a brief bit about where or when they were first enjoyed or a tip on how to serve them. Many are family favourites, some a tribute to friends, and a few borrowed from the kitchens of beloved Brits Nigella Lawson, Mary Berry and Jamie Oliver. 

Read More

My Floral Affair by Rachel Ashwell

CICO Books sent me a copy of My Floral Affair in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine and from the heart. 

If we ever have a backyard where we can actually grow anything, I would love to plant a lush cutting garden and create fanciful arrangements of fresh flowers of all colours, shapes and sizes (especially fluffy peonies, also said to be Meghan Markle’s favourite) for every room of the house. But flowers don’t have to be fresh to bring life and light to a space. In her new (and tenth!) book, My Floral Affair: Whimsical Spaces and Beautiful Florals, shabby chic doyenne Rachel Ashwell shows how flower-inspired design — be it in wallpaper, lighting or architectural details — can bring drama and playfulness and calm into bloom.