Category Archives: Homes

The Best Books to gift this Mother’s Day

It’s Mother’s Day this Sunday and while we are all staying safe we may not be able to visit her in person but we can all try to call, celebrate or think of our Mums.

Because of these trying times, many book launches have been delayed or have simply been quietly popped onto bookstore shelves without the usual press or social media fanfare. So we have rounded up our favourite new releases that you may have missed as there are so many beautiful books that would make fabulous gifts.

London in Bloom by Georgianna Lane

This book takes us back to when our cities were what we remembered as opposed to what they are today. Acclaimed photographer Georgianna Lane chronicles the flower markets, gardens, and floral boutiques of London. This beautiful book showcases the floral abundance of the English capital’s extraordinary parks, gardens, florists, and flower markets. In this companion to her popular books Paris in Bloom and New York in Bloom, Georgianna Lane takes us on a romantic floral tour of London, juxtaposing luscious blooms with intricate floral details found in the city’s iconic architecture. The book also includes a detailed list of recommended parks, gardens, markets, and floral designers; a spring tour of blossoms and blooms; a field guide of common spring-blooming trees and shrubs; and step-by-step instructions for creating a London-style bouquet. For flower lovers and Anglophiles alike, London in Bloom offers a unique and irresistible view of London.

Now for Something Sweet by Monday Morning Cooking Club

The irrepressible, unstoppable women of the Monday Morning Cooking Club are back, with the very best, most delicious sweet recipes curated and perfected from Jewish homes across Australia and the world. ‘We are always dreaming of soft, airy, pale chiffon cake, thinking about chocolate-swirled, glossy yeasted babke, imagining flaky, chewy, jammy strudel, baking almond-studded, citrus-glazed Dutch buns, frying golden, syrup-drenched coiled fishuelas, biting into hot, sugared jam-filled doughnuts, eating crisp-shelled, marshmallowy vanilla-flecked meringues, feasting on sticky, steaming, sweet butterscotch pudding and sharing it all with abundance and love.

Life in a Box by Sarah Jane Adams

Treasures and mementos from the estate of Sarah Jane Adams, aka @mywrinklesaremystripes on Instagram. Auction catalogues can reveal a lot about a person – their lives, loves and style. Sarah Jane Adams, a jewellery and antiques dealer who became an international model and Instagram sensation overnight in her 60s, tells her story through a lifetime’s collection of rare pieces, valuable jewellery and worthless objects, as well as personal photographs and effects from her ‘estate’. Told with wit, pathos and charm. Life In A Box illustrates how style is always deeply personal to the wearer, laden with rich meaning and adventure and above all, redolent of our stories.

Happy Inside by Michelle Ogundehin

Be happier, healthier and more empowered with Michelle Ogundehin’s step-by-step practical guide to creating a home that supports your well-being.

Whether your home is owned or rented, small or large, and regardless of how much money you have, Happy Inside shows you how to harness its potential in pursuit of becoming your best self. If you want to feel calm, content, soothed or energised, you must begin with what surrounds you.

This comprehensive guide covers everything from how to create more light and space to how to get a good night’s sleep; the path to a perfect sofa and why a dining table is your most vital piece of furniture. Plus, how to decorate to promote joy; the importance of play (and circular side tables); your definitive capsule kitchen kit; and why your hallway is where it all starts. Combining Michelle’s knowledge of Buddhist philosophy, mindfulness, colour psychology and good design, Happy Inside is your one-stop guide to living well.

Not So Mumsy by Marcia Leone

For mamas everywhere, this is your Mother’s Group in a book. Parenting is hard, but it’s also beautiful. For women who have embraced motherhood but also yearn to retain a sense of self and style, Not So Mumsy has been a pioneering site driving the Modern Mama movement. Bridging the gap between pre-mama life and the whole new world of leaky boobs and pureed banana, Marcia Leone (aka Not So Mumsy) has always shared her journey with honesty and humour, providing a warm and inclusive support network for like-minded women. With powerfully uplifting perspectives from inspirational mamas across the world, including Jaime King, Teresa Palmer, Megan Gale and Tammin Sursok, Not So Mumsy will help you navigate pregnancy, your first year and beyond with style, humour and confidence.

Petal by Adriana Picker

This is a beautiful book to gift mum when you can’t make it to a florist. It’s a compendium of floral wonder, Petal reveals the colours, details and unique sculptural beauty of nature’s most remarkable creations. Botanical artist Adriana Picker has curated specimens from all over the world to celebrate through her stunning illustrations, accompanied by writer Nina Rousseau’s words on the folklore, fame and meaning of both favourite blooms and herbaceous curiosities. Mum will love it.

Enjoy!

The best card games to play with the family

We’ve all been staying home safely for a while now and have been playing, reading, exercising, crafting and watching many things and we thought some of you may be running out of fresh ideas. So, we have scoured the internet and had a look at what’s popular and we have rounded up six fun and fabulous card games that you can play at home with the people you are staying safe with. 

Did you know you can source LEGO, card and board games with Booko? If not, have a look at our ‘how to’ guide here.

Let us know what you are playing in the comments below. 

Unstable Unicorns

This is a strategic card game that will destroy your friendships…but in a good way. It’s one of Kickstarter’s Top 50 Most Backed Projects of all time! You start with a Baby Unicorn in your stable (super cute). But don’t get too attached, because even Baby Unicorns aren’t safe in this game! There are over 20 Magical Unicorns to collect and each has a special power. Everyone is aiming to build a Unicorn Army as fast as you can, or be destroyed by one of your so-called friends! You can seek revenge or protect your stable using your magic. But someone could have a Neigh Card and send the game into madness. The first person to complete their Unicorn Army shall hereafter be known as The Righteous Ruler of All Things Magical..at least until the next game.

Ramen Fury

The use-your-noodle card game! Rush to prepare and slurp up delicious bowls of ramen filled with tasty ingredients. Collect combos of cards to score for different recipes while adding garnishes to boost your points. At the same time, watch out as other players throw spicy chilli peppers your way or swipe foods right from your bowls! It’s “take that” fun that will have you calling for takeout!

Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza

This is the social card game that is going to change your game days forever. This addictive game is as unique as its name. It’s a power packed quick and simple party game. Race against each other to SLAP a match between a card and spoken word. But – watch out! – your mind will play tricks on you.

As in Snap, each player places a card from their hand face up into a community pile while saying taco/cat/goat/cheese/pizza in player sequence. When the card matches the mantra everyone slaps their hand on the deck, with the last one to slap picking up the cards. Whoever rids themselves of cards first wins!

Gonuts for Donuts

Strategy…Choices…Tension…the three essential ingredients to any great game. All of them play a vital role in this easy-to-learn and instantly engaging card game from first-time inventor Zachary Eagle. This game has a unique twist on set collection card games. In addition to the whimsical variety of donuts inside, part of what makes this game stand apart from the crowd is the secret bidding. This adds a delicious layer of tension that will surely tempt you to come back for another round! A tray of tempting treats awaits your bid, will you go for a stellar cruller or grab a glorious glazed? A double chocolate is sure to score, but in the long run Boston cream may be worth more. Choose carefully because if two or more players go for the same donut, nobody gets it! End with the highest score and victory will taste sweet. 

I’m Not Saying You’re Stupid

How long can a dolphin hold its breath? At what temperature does popcorn pop? I’m Not Saying You’re Stupid is a fun and fresh game featuring over 400 questions that are random, hilarious, and almost impossible to answer just right. The answers are always numbers in this game, which sounds simple enough. But watch out! If your opponents think your answer sounds hopelessly wrong, they can stick you with an I’m Not Saying You’re Stupid…card. Correctly guess who will be furthest from the right answer and watch the points pile up!

The perfect game for anyone who loves new trivia, wild guesses, and uproarious laughter! A dynamic and entertaining game for an evening at home!

Trash Pandas – The Raucous Raccoon Card Game

In this super fun card game players are raucous raccoons, tipping over trash cans for food. Trash is treasure. In this raucous card game, paw through the deck to find sets of day-old pizza, half-eaten candy, and other luscious leftovers. Roll the dice to tip over the garbage or raid a rival’s rubbish, if there’s no Doggos standing guard. The more you roll, the more actions you can take, but get too greedy and your turn is scrapped. Stash the most trash and you’re pick of the litter.

Enjoy!

Learning a new skill at home

Full disclosure, we’ve had about eight goes at writing this introduction. We are living in a crazy time at the moment with many people unwell, everyone in isolation and unable to see extended families or friends. We try as much as we can to look on the bright side and have been heartened to see that our local community is full of kindness where people are helping each other as much as they can. We’re aiming to offer a silver lining too with daily dinner inspiration (there are so many cookbooks on the market that are seriously turning this ‘non cook’ into a wannabe chef! – be sure to follow along on Facebook and Instagram and share your dinner ideas too). 

This week we are all about helping you fill the spare time you have on your hands while we all sit this virus out at home. There are so many things you can learn to do.
We’ve had a little dig around and have found six great new books that will help you broaden your skill sets. What is it you would like to learn?

From Clay to Kiln by Stuart Carey

This one is for these of you that have always wanted to have a go at pottery but perhaps haven’t worked with clay since kindergarten. From Clay to Kiln is a must-have guide for anyone working with ceramics, from absolute beginners, weekend crafters and students, through to practising ceramicists. In this book, Stuart Carey invigorates and encourages you through all stages of the pottery process. Covering all the information you need about tools and materials, he takes you through preparation and hand building, throwing and finishing your vessel, to glazing and firing. You will gain an in-depth knowledge of how clay works and how to apply your skills to the wheel and beyond. With simple step-by-step tutorials, clear visuals and Stuart’s helpful hints and tips, you can jump straight in with confidence and create a piece of pottery that marries beauty, form and function. Including stunningly beautiful photography throughout, this is a book to inspire.

Mend and Patch by Kerstin Neumuller

These are skills that are sadly lacking in our generation but with the times we are in, perhaps will make a resurgence as we all take the pace of life down a little. 

Throwing away holey, yet beloved, clothes can sometimes be one of the saddest things, but what if you were able to fix those holes and extend their life? With Mend and Patch, you can learn to take care of your clothes, mending, patching and repairing so you can cherish all your garments. In the furthest corner of Kerstin and Douglas’s store, Second Sunrise in Stockholm, Kerstin has set up a mending studio and so when it’s quiet in the shop she can sit there by the sewing machine and give a new lease of life to people’s favourite jeans. Some prefer discreet and invisible mendings, others want them to be highly visible and so, with time, mending becomes a part of the history of the clothes and the people who wear them. Mend and Patch arms you with the skills and ideas you need to mend your own clothes, truly making and keeping them your own, whatever the wear and tear. Find out emergency tips for mending in a hurry, enhance your clothes with decorative ‘mends’ and learn to mend for and with different materials, including leather, cotton, wool, silk and of course, denim.

Clean Code by Robert C Martin

Okay, this is something many of us put off. Coding. Sounds tricky. Isn’t really. Well…that’s what we are hoping. Many of our community run their own businesses and websites are (and even more so) going to become an increasingly important component of those. Knowing a little coding will surely be of benefit. Also, this isn’t the newest book (it was published in 2008) but it is an extremely pragmatic method for writing better code from the start, and ultimately producing more robust applications.

Even bad code can function. But if code isn’t clean, it can bring a development organisation to its knees. Every year, countless hours and significant resources are lost because of poorly written code. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Noted software expert Robert C. Martin presents a revolutionary paradigm with Clean Code. Martin has teamed up with his colleagues from Object Mentor to distill their best agile practice of cleaning code “on the fly” into a book that will instil within you the values of a software craftsman and make you a better programmer – but only if you work at it.

Eloquent Ruby by Russ Olsen

Yep, another coding book. It’s an important skill so we thought we’d give you another option. Ruby is the language powering sites including Booko, AirBNB, Shopify and Zendesk. The developer community around Ruby is famously welcoming and inclusive with the community motto derived from demeanor of the language’s chief designer Matz: “Matz is nice and so we are nice”. The language has a focus on developer happiness making it a great place to begin your journey into writing software.

It’s easy to write correct Ruby code, but to gain the fluency needed to write great Ruby code, you must go beyond syntax and absorb the “Ruby way” of thinking and problem solving. In Eloquent Ruby, Russ Olsen helps you write Ruby like true Rubyists do-so you can leverage its immense, surprising power. Olsen draws on years of experience internalizing the Ruby culture and teaching Ruby to other programmers. He guides you to the “Ah Ha!” moments when it suddenly becomes clear why Ruby works the way it does, and how you can take advantage of this language’s elegance and expressiveness. Eloquent Ruby starts small, answering tactical questions focused on a single statement, method, test, or bug. You’ll learn how to write code that actually looks like Ruby (not Java or C#); why Ruby has so many control structures; how to use strings, expressions, and symbols; and what dynamic typing is really good for. Next, the book addresses bigger questions related to building methods and classes. You’ll discover why Ruby classes contain so many tiny methods, when to use operator overloading, and when to avoid it. Olsen explains how to write Ruby code that writes its own code-and why you’ll want to.He concludes with powerful project-level features and techniques ranging from gems to Domain Specific Languages. A part of the renowned Addison-Wesley Professional Ruby Series, Eloquent Ruby will help you “put on your Ruby-colored glasses” and get results that make you a true believer.

Home is Where You Make It: DIY ideas and styling secrets to create a home you love – whether you rent or own by Geneva Vanderzeil

They say home is where the heart is and this little book will help you learn a few skills to make sure that home reflects the personality of the people who live with you. Beautiful and practical DIY projects, styling hacks and design tips for both owners and renters from the founder of one of the world’s most popular lifestyle websites. Add style and individuality to your home with DIY, even when you’re renting. Home Is Where You Make It channels the simplicity and beauty of modern living. This is your room-by-room guide to making and DIY-ing your own place, with hundreds of clever styling hacks, repurposing and up-styling ideas, and easy weekend projects to create the home of your dreams.

Mad About The House: 101 Interior Design Answers by Kate Watson-Smyth

This is Kate’s second book and it is a gold mine of insights and tips from this fabulous writer.

This is a companion to the best-selling book by the founder of the UK’s number 1 interiors blog, this easy-to-use dictionary of interior design answers all those questions you wanted to solve but were afraid to ask. The book begins with the most important questions of all: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? And When? The aim is to answer these before you start any decorating scheme and you will avoid the most common mistakes, save money and, most importantly, create a home that works for you and the people who live there. It is the super-practical guide that allows you to dip in and out so you can solve all your decorating dilemmas.The chapters focus on Walls, Floors, Ceilings, Windows, Doors, Skirtings, Furniture Layout, Lighting, before finally a round-up of Fixtures and Fittings. In addition to the no-nonsense practical answers, there are checklists and step-by-step guides to key decorating challenges – everything from How to Hang Wallpaper, to Arranging a Gallery Wall, and Removing Stains from Carpets and Soft Furnishings. You’ll love Kate’s writing style and if you want to hear more from her you can also check out her podcast with Sophie Robinson here.

Stay Safe and Enjoy!

Creative Houses from Reclaimed Stuff

In this funny and inspiring talk, Dan Phillips tours us through a dozen homes he’s built in Texas using recycled and reclaimed materials in wildly creative ways. It’s worth a watch, and will make you consider how, and what, materials you’ll choose to build with.