I am just about to finish my third book in as many weeks…oh how I love lazy holiday reading!
What have you been reading this holiday season?
Christmas is over and we’re now in the middle of the crazy week where it’s okay to not know which day of the week it is. Many of us spend the week hanging out with friends and extended family, but to keep you from twiddling your fingers and making small talk we have found books with some great ideas that are sure to fill your afternoons and evenings until it’s time to head back to the office.
Guinness World Records 2019 by Guinness World Records
The world’s most popular record book is back with thousands of new categories and newly broken records, covering everything from outer space to sporting greats via Instagram, fidget spinners and all manner of human marvels. Inside you’ll find hundreds of never-before-seen photographs and countless facts, figures, stats and trivia waiting for you on every action-packed page. Guinness World Records 2019 is the ultimate snapshot of our world today. Plus, this year it celebrates the incredible “Maker” movement with a special feature devoted to the inventors, dreamers, crafters and creators who devote their lives to amazing record-breaking projects such as the largest water pistol, a jet-powered go-kart and an elephant-sized hamburger (think you could eat a whole one!?). Take a sneak peak into their workshops to explore these epically big builds, and ask them what inspires them to go really, really large! And if you like creating, and you like LEGO®, then you’ll love the “Making History” pages that use the world’s most famous interlocking plastic bricks to illustrate and explain an important record-breaking object – such as the Statue of Liberty or the Apollo mission’s Saturn V rocket. Finally, you can jump into both the making and record-breaking action with a “Do Try This At Home” section. Challenge yourself and your family with five fun record-breaking maker-inspired records you can attempt involving origami, balloon sculptures, ring pulls and rubber bands. Who knows, your creation might just make it into the record books!
Genius LEGO® Inventions with Bricks You Already Have by Sarah Dees
Sarah Dees’ first two LEGO® books have launched into bestseller status, with over 80 thousand copies sold combined. Her latest book hits on the popular subject that draws many kids into LEGO® in the first place—tinkering, engineering, building, experimenting, solving problems and inventing. This book shares fun and exciting new science-powered creations, following the storyline of two fictional LEGO® mini figure kids who are inventors. As the mini figures explore LEGO® world and go on adventures, kids at home learn to build the scenes and amazing inventions step by step. The projects are fun toys that kids can play with, but they also teach the important science concepts at work behind levers, pulleys, suspension bridges, skyscrapers, gears, motorised machines, magnets and more. Kids will love that they are creating cool and unique gadgets all on their own. And parents will love that their kids are learning important science facts that help them in school, developing critical thinking skills, and, let’s be honest, keeping themselves entertained for hours on end!
Smart Riddles For Smart Kids by Linda Nguyen
Get ready for some unforgettable family fun with this massive riddle collection for children of all ages!
It’s been said that questions are signs of an active mind, which is crucial for children growing up to be intelligent, smart, and wise adults. Riddles are one of the best – and fun – ways of stimulating the mind so that it continues to become better and smarter.
This book contains 400 fun and smart riddles that can provide very good mental stimulation for you and your kids, and help make your minds develop even more. I hope you enjoy them!
We have even found a few titles to inspire something tasty after all of the the fun and games…
Savor: Entertaining with Charcuterie, Cheese, Spreads & More by Kimberly Stevens
Serving boards possess an uncanny ability to mirror the mood of a host and transform a room’s ambiance as friends and family gather around them to both eat and enjoy time together. Savor lavishly details how to create memorable and delicious serving boards, no matter the season or the occasion. Expert advice and insights provide strategies and approaches for composing boards that balance flavour profiles and textures, using elegant and inventive recipes. Inside this fab title, you’ll find expert advice and recipes from Murray’s Cheese, Publican Market, The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills, Lady & Larder, Mike’s Hot Honey, Blake Hill Preserves, Esters Wine Shop & Bar, and Vermont Creamery along with guides on how to pair cheeses, meats, condiments, and an array of other ingredients that can be used on serving boards.
On Boards: Simple & Inspiring Recipe Ideas to Share at Every Gathering by Lisa Dawn Bolton
Sharing food on boards is the perfect way to entertain family and friends. With minimum effort and maximum impact you can casually host in style and focus on spending time together, rather than being stuck in the kitchen.
In On Boards, food stylist Lisa Bolton has put together 50 ideas for instantly approachable boards, all with effortless entertaining in mind, as well as 52 recipes for delectable savory and sweet additions like Beet Hummus, Bourbon Bacon Jam, Mashed Potato Dip and Chocolate Salami. All of the boards can be pulled together in very little time, and all include presentation and styling tips to make them (and you!) shine. Lisa also shows you how to style any assortment of food into a beautiful board so you can transform whatever is in your fridge and pantry!
With chapters on Everyday Boards, Holiday & Special Occasion Boards, Seasonal Boards and Around the World Boards, you will find inspiration for every gathering. Whether you are looking for a breakfast or brunch board; a board for a picnic, potluck or playdate; for Thanksgiving, Superbowl Sunday or New Year’s Eve; for a huge celebration or a cozy date night for two, it is included in this collection of gorgeously curated boards.
and for those planning on partying into the wee small hours…
Booze & Vinyl: A Spirited Guide to Great Music and Mixed Drinks by André Darlington
Booze and Vinyl explores the intersection of timeless music and mixed drinks with a spotlight on 70 great records from the 1950s through the 2000s. From modern craft cocktails to old standbys, prepare to shake, stir, and just plain pour your way through some of the best wax ever pressed. Wickedly designed and featuring photography throughout, the book is organised by mood, from Rock to Chill, Dance, and Seduce. Each entry has liner notes that underscore the album’s musical highlights and accompanying cocktail recipes that complement the music’s mood, imagery in the lyrics, or connect the drink to the artist. This is your guide to a rich listening session for one, two, or more. Among the 70 featured albums are: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club, Purple Rain, Sticky Fingers, Born To Run, License to Ill, Appetite for Destruction, Thriller, Like a Virgin, Low End Theory, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust, Hotel California, Buena Vista Social Club, Back to Black, Pet Sounds, Vampire Weekend, and many more.
Watching TV or movies is an important December holiday ritual for many people; and practical too, when you are too lethargic during a food coma, or if harsh weather discourages you from venturing outdoors. We have great suggestions for your viewing pleasure, whether you prefer classic Christmas movies, or DVD box sets for binge watching, or inspiration for new year’s resolutions!
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Region 1, US & Canada)
The Harry Potter films may not be everyone’s idea of a Christmas movie, but they are terrific at evoking the beauty of wintry Christmases. The most Christmassy of them all is Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – which contains the Yule Ball scene, with its spectacular snowing-indoors setting, gorgeous costumes, and the romance and tragi-comedy of teenage hormones – what’s not to love? With a classic quest, friendship, comedy, mystery, pathos and impressive visual effects, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is great fun for kids and adults alike. Region 2 DVD (Europe) is here and Blu-Ray here.
Life of Brian (Region 2, Europe)
Life of Brian is the perfect Christmas film for those with a more wicked / cynical sense of humour, or those who scoff at more sentimental, shiny visions of Christmas. This deeply-irreverent story about Brian of Nazareth, born next door to Jesus on the same day – is a terrific satire that lampoons religion, politics, gender relations and just about everything (and everyone) else. Enjoy Life of Brian as an impressive display of Monty Python’s comedic skills, or even for its notoriety (it was considered blasphemous, and was banned in many countries). One of my favourite Christmas movies. Blu-ray available here.
Outlander Complete Seasons 1, 2 & 3 (Region 4, Australia & NZ)
Based on the novels by Diana Gabaldon, Outlander is a bit of a hidden gem – highly regarded but somewhat under-publicised. Despite this, the show (and the novels) have amassed a big and active fanbase, whose passion matches that shown onscreen. In Outlander we see Claire, a nurse in World War 2, accidentally travelling back to 1743 Scotland, where she meets Jamie, a Highlander embroiled in the Jacobite risings. Claire and Jamie’s tender love story, against a background of history, political intrigue, adventure and stunning Scottish scenery makes for gripping drama. This DVD set collects all of Seasons 1-3, while Season 4 is under production and there are four other books in the series to be dramatised. A Region 2 version (Europe) and a Blu-ray are also available.
The Handmaid’s Tale Season 1&2 Box Set (Region 4, Australia & NZ)
The award-winning The Handmaid’s Tale offers a combination of powerful performance, beautiful cinematography and topical subject matter. It is one of today’s most talked-about dramas – the dystopic world it envisions resonates eerily with the current political climate, and its striking visual style has entered popular culture and become part of the vocabulary of protest. Season One is an admired adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s original novel, while Season 2 extends beyond the original story to explore the origins of Gilead, and the complex relationships between key characters. This new-release box set covers all episodes to date. A Region 2 version (Europe) is also available.
The Ghan: Australia’s Greatest Train Journey (Region 4, Australia & NZ)
The Ghan: Australia’s Greatest Train Journey is a 3-hour documentary, where front-mounted cameras show this iconic train’s journey from Adelaide to Darwin, as well as archival footage that explains the railway’s construction. (A 17-hour unedited version was also broadcast on national television) The Ghan is Australia’s first contribution to Slow TV, a concept most prominent in Norway, where extended broadcasts of real-time train journeys, knitting and wood-stacking are popular.
With no dialogue or plot, but stunning scenery, The Ghan’s journey is immersive, hypnotic and relaxing.
Walk with Me (Region 1, US & Canada)
A documentary about quietness, mindfulness and contemplation sounds like a welcome antidote to the hectic excesses of the holiday season. Walk with Me shares glimpses in the life and teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, and Plum Village, the monastic community he founded in south-west France. Thich Nhat Hanh is instrumental in introducing mindfulness to the West; this film shows how he, and his disciples, live mindfully in the present. The meditative quality of Walk with Me is further enhanced by Benedict Cumberbatch, who intersperses his narration with sonorous passages from Thich Nhat Hanh’s writings. A Region 2 DVD (Europe) is also available.