Category Archives: Non-fiction

Posts about non-fiction titles

Six of the newest memoirs hitting bookshelves now

Autobiographies, biographies and memoirs, there is something magical about reading insights into people’s lives and learning from lessons they have grappled with. Perhaps it’s the unspoken trust that comes with them sharing stories so personal with us that makes reading an autobiography inspiring. 

We are excited to share these six memoirs that are hot off the press. We know you are going to enjoy them. 

Whose memoir do you recommend? Be sure to share with us in the comments below so we can add it to our reading list. 

The Asparagus Wars by Carol Major

The Asparagus Wars is a deeply moving memoir about the battles waged against terminal illness and a mother’s struggle to comprehend the battlefield in its wake. While some family members wage war against her daughter’s disease with natural therapies, and doctors fight on using the latest developments in medical science, she longs to take her daughter to Paris instead, the city that inspired the young woman’s writing and art. The Asparagus Wars asks questions about notions of victory at all costs. Shot through with fearless wit and resonant description, this story will break your heart but leave you richer for the experience.

I Wanna Be Yours by John Cooper Clarke

This is a memoir as wry, funny, moving and vivid as its inimitable subject himself. This book will be a joy for both lifelong fans and for a whole new generation. John Cooper Clarke is a phenomenon: Poet Laureate of Punk, rock star, fashion icon, TV and radio presenter, social and cultural commentator. At 5 feet 11 inches, in trademark dark suit, dark glasses, with dark messed-up hair and a mouth full of gold teeth, he is instantly recognisable. As a writer his voice is equally unmistakable and his own brand of slightly sick humour is never far from the surface. I Wanna Be Yours covers an extraordinary life, filled with remarkable personalities: from Nico to Chuck Berry, from Bernard Manning to Linton Kwesi Johnson, Elvis Costello to Gregory Corso, Gil Scott Heron, Mark E. Smith and Joe Strummer, and on to more recent fans and collaborators Alex Turner, Plan B and Guy Garvey. Interspersed with stories of his rock and roll and performing career, John also reveals his boggling encyclopaedic take on popular culture over the centuries: from Baudelaire and Edgar Allan Poe to Pop Art, pop music, the movies, fashion, football and show business – and much, much more, plus a few laughs along the way.

No. 91/92 A Parisian Bus Diary by Lauren Elkin

In Autumn 2014, Lauren Elkin began keeping a diary of her bus commutes in the Notes app on her iPhone 5c, using it to take in the world around her. During that year, the Charlie Hebdo attacks occurred and Lauren had an ectopic pregnancy, requiring emergency surgery. At that point, her diary of dailiness became a study of how we digest major events personally and collectively as a city, observed from the height of the bus. No. 91/92 is a love letter to Paris and a meditation on how it has changed in the two decades the author has lived there. It’s a celebration of community and a time when we could all observe each other in our fleshy up-closeness. 

The Audacity by Katherine Ryan

From the star of The Duchess and the host of ‘Telling Everybody Everything’, the debut book from superstar comedian Katherine Ryan. ‘While I’ve been very blessed to have worked in comedy for over a decade, The Audacity gives me the opportunity to connect with people more fully and honestly than a panel show allows. I’ve learned to be a sharp-shooter on stage, but there are so many stories that I’m eager to tell in more sincere, longer form. I hope it gives people a laugh, an insight, and hopefully some encouragement on how to live their most fulfilled, authentic lives.’ The Audacity details Katherine’s journey from a naive ex-Hooters waitress fresh off the boat from Canada to comedy megastar, chapters cover How to Potty Train Your Baby at 10 Months, How to Cut Off Your Racist Aunties, How to Marry Your High School Boyfriend and How to Co-Parent when you’re a Single Mum. The Audacity combines Katherine’s unerring ear for the perfect line with the warmth, compassion and hard-won wisdom that makes up a life on and off stage.

Coming Clean by Liz Fraser

Coming Clean is a searingly honest memoir of loving an alcoholic both through the heaviest drinking years and into recovery. When Liz Fraser’s partner fell into a catastrophic vortex of depression and alcoholism, Liz found herself in a relentless hailstorm of lies, loneliness and fear, looking after their young child on her own, heartbroken, mentally shattered and with no idea what was happening or what to do. As she and her family moved between Cambridge, Venice and Oxford, she kept the often shocking truth entirely to herself for a long time, trying in vain to help her partner find a path to sobriety, until she herself finally broke from the trauma and started to speak out only to find she was one of hundreds experiencing similar things, also living in silence and fear. Part diary, part travel journal and part love letter, Coming Clean is the true story of addiction of many kinds, mental collapse and heartbreak. Above all, it offers a voice of deep human compassion, strength and hope for recovery.

Please Don’t Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes by Phoebe Robinson

Written in Phoebe’s unforgettable voice and laced with her unparalleled wit and with spot-on pop culture references. From the values she learned from her parents (including, but not limited to, advice on not bringing outside germs onto your clean bed) to her and her boyfriend, lovingly known as British Baekoff, deciding to have a child-free union, to the way the Black Lives Matter movement took centre stage in America, and, finally, the continual struggle to love her 4C hair, each essay is packed with humour and humanity.

It’s insightful, laugh-out-loud funny, and heartfelt, Please Don’t Sit On My Bed In Your Outside Clothes is not only a brilliant look at our current cultural moment, but a collection of essays that will stay with you for years to come.

Enjoy!

Spring Clean Your Mind – 6 of the best mindfulness books on the market

Spring cleaning is usually associated with physical spaces, but our mental spaces can benefit from cleaning and decluttering too.  If the new season has inspired you to aim for a fresh start, here are some books to help you declutter your mind, learn better habits, and strive for greater calm and happiness:

Outer Order Inner Calm: Declutter and Organize to Make More Room for Happiness by Gretchen Rubin

It’s so easy to accumulate clutter when we live in a consumerist culture – but clutter can impact our emotional wellbeing by leaving us feeling stressed, overwhelmed and out of control.  So it is no surprise that Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project and regular explorer of the topics of habits and happiness, looks at how to improve mental clarity and happiness by decluttering your home.  Outer Order Inner Calm is is full of advice on how to develop your own system to reduce and manage clutter; it also gives inspirational examples of how decluttering can reduce our sense of paralysis around the status quo, by creating headspace for considering new possibilities.

Stop Overthinking: 23 Techniques to Relieve Stress, Stop Negative Spirals, Declutter your Mind, and Focus on the Present by Nick Trenton

For many people, overthinking causes spiralling negative thoughts that affects both physical and mental health. It is exhausting, distracts you from what’s truly important, and can feel inescapable.  In Stop Overthinking, Nick Trenton offers 23 techniques that help us learn about our negative spiral triggers, identify and manage anxiety and stress attacks, declutter our minds as well as adopt relaxation techniques. Together these tools become a transformative strategy that ends vicious thought patterns by helping us control our thoughts, change our habits and ultimately rewire our brains.

Digital Minimalism in Everyday Life: Overcome Technology Addiction, Declutter Your Mind, and Reclaim Your Freedom by James W Williams and Amy White

Have you ever felt that devices and apps are taking over your life, or that you are wasting too much time, energy or focus on your smartphone?  Such problems seem more urgent than ever, but Digital Minimalism in Everyday Life is here to help.    James W Williams and Amy White offer useful discussions, tools and tips to help you regain control over your tech, using it in a more intentional, effective and ultimately enjoyable way.  There are chapters covering very timely issues including digital detox; digital addiction; decluttering your inbox/ desktop/ home screen; minimising the distraction of notifications; and excessive screentime for kids.

Kindfulness: Be a True Friend to Yourself with Mindful Self-Compassion by Padraig O’Morain

Kindfulness weaves together two self-care tools – mindfulness and self-compassion – into a powerful approach that can lower stress and anxiety, and improve your relationships with yourself and with others.  Kindfulness can be particularly helpful in managing perfectionism and self-criticism, and allows you to overcome procrastination and get on with your true goals. Kindfulness is a gentle, easy-to-read book with plenty of approachable exercises and affirmations to help you get into kindful thinking.

Still Life: the Myths and Magic of Mindful Living by Rebecca Pacheco

Rebecca Pacheco is a yoga teacher and blogger who has been informing and entertaining her fans with her understanding of yoga traditions.  In Still Life, she explores the practice and the misconceptions around mindfulness and meditation.  Her tone is wise but tough – she explains that mindfulness is not a cure-all, nor is it always easy or full of positivity; yet the process can improve our lives.  Still Life offers readers practical tools for developing a consistent mindfulness practice, as well as funny and compassionate anecdotes about Rebecca’s own experiences with mindfulness.

The Practice of Not Thinking: a Guide to Mindful Living by Ryunosuke Koike

The Practice of Not Thinking, a bestseller from Japan, helps us live more mindfully by re-engaging with our senses.  Tune into the present by looking instead of merely seeing, listening instead of hearing, and feeling instead of touching; this acts as an alternative to (over)thinking, which tends to create negativity and anxiety.  Zen priest Ryunosuke Koike uses his understanding of Zen and Buddhism to develop practical tips on how to breathe, listen, speak, laugh, love and sleep in ways that help us improve calm and appreciate more.

Six of the best Spring Cleaning Books on the Market

Life has been a bit of a curve ball this past year which resulted in us all spending a lot of time inside our homes. Our homes have morphed into office spaces, schools, home gyms, restaurants, bakeries, puzzle worlds, and libraries so we thought it may be time for the annual spring clean. We have rustled up 6 of the greatest titles on the market to help you shed, mend and curate your things. 

Make yourself a cup of tea, pop your feet up and get ready to be inspired. 

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson

Okay, so this one seems a tad scarier than it is. It’s all the title’s fault really. This book is a charming, practical, and unsentimental approach to putting a home in order while reflecting on the tiny joys that make up a long life. In Sweden there is a kind of decluttering called döstädning, dö meaning “death” and städning meaning “cleaning.” This surprising and invigorating process of clearing out unnecessary belongings can be undertaken at any age or life stage but should be done sooner than later, before others have to do it for you. In The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, artist Margareta Magnusson, with Scandinavian humor and wisdom, instructs readers to embrace minimalism. Her radical and joyous method for putting things in order helps families broach sensitive conversations, and makes the process uplifting rather than overwhelming. Margareta suggests which possessions you can easily get rid of (unworn clothes, unwanted presents, more plates than you’d ever use) and which you might want to keep (photographs, love letters, a few of your children’s art projects). Digging into her late husband’s tool shed, and her own secret drawer of vices, Margareta introduces an element of fun to a potentially daunting task. Along the way readers get a glimpse into her life in Sweden, and also become more comfortable with the idea of letting go.

Hinch Yourself Happy by Mrs Hinch

All the best cleaning tips to shine your sink and soothe your soul. Discover how to transform your home. Cleaning doesn’t have to be that job you dread. Not when Mrs Hinch is here to show you her sparkly ways. Mrs Hinch has taken Britain by storm with her infectiously addictive charm, clever cleaning hacks and her passionate belief in the life-changing magic of tidying. With the help of her cloth family, Mrs Hinch will help you turn your house into a home. Whether you’re a daily duster or looking for a monthly makeover, Hinch Yourself Happy shows you how to create not only a cleaner house, but a calmer you. If you want your kitchen to sparkle, then this is the book for you.

The Art of Repair by Molly Martin

For Molly Martin, it all started with a pair of socks. Her favourite pair. When the heels became threadbare, her mother got out her darning mushroom and showed her how to reinforce the thinning stitches and bring them back to life. She has been stitching and darning ever since. In The Art of Repair, Molly explores the humble origins of repair and how the act of mending a cherished item carefully by hand offers not just a practical solution but nourishment for the soul. Using her own beautiful illustrations, she guides us through the basics of the craft – from piecing and patching to the ancient Japanese art of Sashiko. This book will stay with you long after you put down your needle and thread. It offers an antidote to our increasingly disposable lifestyle, encouraging us to reconnect not just with the everyday objects in our environment but also with ourselves.

Create Space by Dilly Carter

Some of us just want to cut the clutter, live better with less, give ourself some headspace, and enjoy life more. Create Space shows you how taking steps to clear and simplify your living space can also clear your mind, improve your relationships, and enhance your wellbeing. This room-by-room guide to organising and decluttering your home is packed with ideas, advice, tips and techniques that are practical and functional as well as beautiful. Turn chaos into calm with step-by-step methods that you can adapt and sustain for your own needs. When you stop allowing your life to revolve around things that don’t matter, you instantly gain energy to focus on the things that do. Reclaim your space, your time, and your mind right now, to reorganise your living space into a place of sanctuary.

Curate by Lynda Gardener and Ali Heath

Designer, Photographer, Creative Director, Doyenne of the unique and decorative, Australian interior stylist and boutique hotelier, Lynda Gardener, is always on the hunt for finds to enhance her homes and decorating projects. Her ability to curate and display these personal treasures has created a trademark style that is loved internationally. Curate, the highly anticipated book by creative duo, Lynda Gardener and journalist and stylist Ali Heath, reveals how to create a home that is truly individual. With their shared love of a monochrome aesthetic and natural imperfections, they explore the eight Elements that bring a space to life: palette, nature, textiles, lighting, a combination of old and new, storage, collections and art. Ten aspirational homes show the style in practice, including a converted warehouse, one-bedroom studio, bijoux apartment, historic cottage, country estate, new-build barn, remote shack, period townhouse and rural retreat. With gloriously evocative photography and plenty of down-to-earth ideas, Curate will encourage you to embrace your individual style, dream big and create a timeless interior of your own.

Let It Go by Peter Walsh

Whether you’re selling your family home, blending households, or cleaning out your ageing parents’ home, sorting through a lifetime’s worth of accumulated possessions can be a daunting and stressful experience. When decluttering guru Peter Walsh went through the process of downsizing his childhood home and dividing his late parents’ possessions among his family, he realised that making these decisions about mementos and heirlooms creates strong emotions and can be an overwhelming chore. In Let It Go, Walsh helps you turn downsizing into a rejuvenating life change. He offers useful tips and practical takeaways, including how to understand the emotional challenges that accompany downsizing, establishing a hierarchy of mementos and collectibles, calculating the amount of stuff you can bring into your new life, and creating strategies for dividing heirlooms among family members without drama. Change your mindset around possessions and learn to Let It Go.

Enjoy!

Spring Food Inspiration

A new season brings new produce, and some much-appreciated variety into our regular menus. If the warmer days and brighter sunshine are inspiring a craving for lighter, fresher foods, check out these great new cookbooks for Spring meal ideas:

Together by Jamie Oliver

I can totally agree with Jamie Oliver when he says that he really missed sharing meals with friends and family during lockdown. And looking forward to doing so again, has been the inspiration for his latest book, Together. Together is all about dishes designed for sharing, whether that means 2 people or 12; recipes are arranged into themed menus – such as taco nights, boozy lunches or picnics in the park – and are simple (or can be prepped ahead) so that you can spend less time on cooking and more time with guests. Like Jamie’s other books, Together is a complete toolkit, with additional tips on table decorations, accomodating dietary requirements, and event planning.

Every. Night. of. the. Week. : Sanity Solutions for the Daily Dinner Grind by Lucy Tweed

Even the best cooks can feel dragged down by the need to cook dinner every night – in which case Every. Night. of. the. Week. will perk you up with tasty inspiration and laughter. From one cult Instagram account, ENOTW has evolved into a website, a homewares collab and now a book – all of which retain Lucy Tweed’s distinctive sassy personality, her focus on clean ingredients and supporting local businesses, and the use of clever shortcuts to achieve deliciousness. Whether it’s a day where you want to cook, or one where you just need to get food into tummies, ENOTW will offer you something that looks and tastes amazing.

Seasonal Kitchen: 70+ Delicious Recipes from Fast Ed by Ed Halmagyi

Seasonal Kitchen offers 70+ recipes that are personal favourites of “Fast Ed” Halmagyi. He also sees it as a celebration of his almost 20 years with Better Homes and Gardens – the show that has made him one of the best known and liked on TV. Fast Ed’s understanding of seasonality has been honed during filming, where he has travelled all over Australia to showcase the flavours and produce of our diverse regions. This collection of breakfasts, snacks, mains and sweets are simple yet tasty, and perfectly suited to the relaxed, celebrated Aussie lifestyle.

Vegetable Simple by Eric Ripert

Take a sneak peek at how a Michelin-starred chef cooks and eats at home, with Eric Ripert’s Vegetable Simple. The recipes, such as seared shiitake mushrooms, and romaine lettuce grilled with Caesar dressing, offer elegant, classic flavours and many are surprisingly simple, with as few as two ingredients. Eric Ripert explains that many of the dishes are inspired by his childhood in Provence, and that they can be served as main meals or side dishes. The recipes are aimed at home cooks, supplemented by professional tricks that help readers achieve superior results.

Bowls & Broths: Build a Bowlful of Flavour from Scratch, with Dumplings, Noodles and More by Pippa Middlehurst

Just reading the title of this book makes me feel hungry – there’s nothing more nourishing and satisfying than a big bowl of broth studded with tasty bites; broths are also incredibly versatile, with flavours that span from light and clean, to rich and spicy. Pippa Middlehurst (aka @Pippy Eats) shares her passion for East- and Southeast-Asian bowl foods by showing you how to build a flavourful bowl from the bottom up, using seasoning and sauce, crunchy bits and fresh herbs, aromatics and toppings, to maximise the power of ingredients, texture and flavour. There are chapters on dumplings, noodles, hotpots, rice and even sweets, and plenty of tips on preparing ahead, catering for groups and stocking your freezer.

Linda McCartney’s Family Kitchen by Linda McCartney, with Paul, Mary & Stella McCartney

The late Linda McCartney, celebrated photographer and animal rights activist, played an important part in bringing meatless cooking into the mainstream over 30 years ago. Now her family – husband Sir Paul McCartney and daughters Mary and Stella – celebrate her legacy by updating and reissuing her book, Linda McCartney’s Family Kitchen. The 90+ recipes are entirely plant-based and suitable for beginners. Interspersed are family photographs and stories that highlight Linda’s philosophy on animal rights and sustainability. With dishes ranging from classics such as American-style pancakes, chili con carne and lemon drizzle cake, to more recent favourites including pad Thai and pulled jackfruit burgers, Linda McCartney’s Kitchen is a great resource for anyone looking for meatless/ vegetarian/ vegan recipes.

The Booko Father’s Day Gift Guide

Father’s Day is fast approaching – and, for those of us who cannot celebrate with our father-figures in person, what better way to show our appreciation than through a well-chosen book? Easy to buy and send for the giver, and hours of enjoyment for the receiver! Here are some Booko favourites for Father’s Day gifting:

Blessed: The Breakout Year of Rampaging Roy Slaven by John Doyle

It seems entirely appropriate that the launch of Rampaging Roy Slaven’s memoirs coincides with this year’s Olympic Games – after all, Roy and his partner HG Nelson are two of Australia’s best Olympics commentators. Blessed is the coming-of-age story of this Australian icon, raconteur, and athlete of “unsurpassable sporting feats” – a record of Roy’s “breakout” year as a 15 year-old in Lithgow, rural NSW in 1967. Blessed is a tender and insightful depiction of a community on the cusp of great change -it handles some difficult issues with a light but respectful touch. With additional tantalising hints of the life of John Doyle, the fictional Roy’s creator, this intriguing fictional memoir is a must-read.

We Were Not Men by Campbell Mattinson

Looking for a big, emotional story after finishing Boy Swallows Universe or Bridge of Clay? We Were Not Men may just do the trick (praised by Trent Dalton himself as “gut-punching” and “soul-restoring” ). We Were Not Men is a powerful, moving and ultimately uplifting story of twin brothers, Jon and Eden, and their grandmother Bobbie. Thrown together as the remnants of a family fractured by a shocking accident, we see the effort and bravery it takes to heal from unspeakable tragedy, and we also see the ebb and flow of the twins’ bond as they grow up, compete against each other, leave each other behind and catch up with each other again. Campbell Mattinson’s debut novel has been 30 years in the making – and is absolutely worth the wait.

Take One Fish: the New School of Scale-to-Tail Cooking and Eating by Josh Niland

Josh Niland is so respected that his masterclasses pack out concert halls. He is particularly known for “Scale-to-Tail” eating and cooking, adapting this sustainable and respectful approach from meat cookery. Take One Fish offers recipes for 15 global species of fish – from cheap and accessible sardines and herrings, to luxe coral trout and groper. These recipes utilise as much as 90% of each fish (nearly double of regular recipes) through innovative cutting and cooking techniques. Look out for his surprising and perfect recipes of fish versions of classic dishes, including Peking coral trout, swordfish schnitzel and John Dory liver terrine – terrific inspiration, especially for Foodies and pescatarians!

Halliday Wine Companion 2022 by James Halliday

Every year, the wine industry awaits the latest edition of the Halliday Wine Companion as eagerly as wine lovers. This bestseller is widely recognised as the go-to guide to Australian wine, with comprehensive reviews by a trusted team of critics. There’s information on wine ratings, alcohol content, best by drinking, regions, winery reviews and varietals, and it also highlights the best of the year’s output with its prestigious awards for wines, winemakers as well as for wineries. Halliday Wine Companion has all you need to know about wine buying and collecting, plus it makes a great guidebook for wine tourism!

Tales From The Perilous Realm by J. R. R. Tolkien

For father-figures who love fantasy, here is a beautifully-illustrated volume that collects Tolkien’s five novellas for the first time. Tales From the Perilous Realm contains Farmer Giles of Ham, Roverandom, The Tale of Tom Bombadil, Leaf by Niggle, and Smith of Wootton Major – these are Tolkien’s take on fairy tales, and they are as full of magic, adventure and charm as his longer works. Their shorter lengths also make them great read-alouds! The delicate and detailed illustrations are by Alan Lee, who has a deep connection to Tolkien’s worlds through previously illustrating editions of The Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit, as well as working on concept art for both film series.

How We Became Human: and Why We Need to Change by Tim Dean

Philosopher and journalist Tim Dean tries to make sense of our current social flashpoints – including racism, sexism, religious conflict and partisan politics – in his first book, How We Became Human. Tim suggests that, over thousands of years, humans have developed morality, and associated “moral emotions” (such as empathy, guilt and outrage), to differentiate between friend and foe. These are powerful tools that have helped humans co-exist in ever-larger, more productive societies. However, our morals have fallen out of step with our increasingly diverse world; so we will need to separate what’s natural from what’s right, in order to reframe morality for the modern world. How to Be Human is a compelling read for those who love to ponder life’s big questions.

Six of the newest lifestyle books on the market

Working from home had previously conjured up the idea of waking when you wanted, showering and then easing yourself into the day by making a coffee and wandering towards your laptop with slippered feet. 

In reality it’s a little different. Laptops are balanced on makeshift desks, there’s rushed makeup to be done for zoom calls, cans of dry shampoo are now our best friends, wifi can be a little temperamental, alarms still rudely wake us in the morning, the working day seems to start earlier and finish later, it’s all a bit frantic really and we haven’t even mentioned home schooling. 

One way to slow this new way of living down is to make sure you have taken the time to give yourself a dedicated space to work (even if it is the end of the dining table) a space to rest and relax, and a space to play. We have scoured the internet and flicked through a number of glorious books to bring you what we think are six inspiring new reads that will help you embrace our new Covid friendly lifestyles with colourful flair.

The Pattered Interior by Greg Natale

Ohhh there’s something so fun at peaking inside other people’s houses to see how they live. The Patterned Interior tours a rural Oklahoma property that redefines contemporary rustic cool; a unique surf-inspired penthouse overlooking one of Australia s most sought-after beaches; a Midtown New York pied-a-terre that exudes sophistication; a vast country estate in southern Australia with a distinct rock vibe; and a light-filled city apartment in one of Sydney s most iconic buildings. From the big picture to the smallest vignette, Natale shows how pattern can transform and enhance any space.

Greg Natale presents his signature approach to the juxtaposition of graphics and patterns within each space. At once sophisticated and characterful, Natale’s interiors are renowned for marrying contemporary accents with vintage pieces to create environments that traverse serenity and flamboyance. In this exquisite photographic monograph, Natale guides the reader through a diverse selection of residences, exploring the power and importance of pattern increasing unforgettable interiors. Natale’s unique insights are accompanied by stunning images by acclaimed photographer Anson Smart.

Vivid: Style in Colour by Julia Green and Armelle Habib

This bright and cheerful book is currently sitting on my desk beside me, nudging me to take on a little more colour and branch away from my usual grey and white home. Vivid: Style in Colour is an interiors book celebrating the influence of colour in the world of design and our everyday lives. Built around the insights of renowned stylist Julia Green gathered over several decades, Vivid looks at the spaces we inhabit both at home and at work, and how the application of colour can create different outcomes and impacts. The book includes eight chapters divided by colour: orange, red, blue, green, pink, yellow, neutrals, and black. Photographer Armelle Habib contributes stunning interior shots alongside travel vignettes that tell the story of how different palettes are interwoven into our lives. Vivid features interviews from leading proponents of the art of colour around the world, including Martyn Thomson (Sydney), Jessica Bettenay (Melbourne), Marielle Ienna (Palermo), LRNCE (Marrakech) and Los Enamorados (Ibiza). Short essays on colour in styling and design complement the photography, addressing the science of colour and colour psychology, confidence in bold or clashing colour, using colour to connect or divide spaces, artworks, layering colour for depth and texture, and styling for small spaces and for the seasons. Vivid tackles questions around the application of colour and, crucially, where to begin if your life feels like it could benefit from some new (coloured) energy.

Curate: Inspiration for an Individual Home by Lynda Gardener

Designer, Photographer, Creative Director and Doyenne of the unique and decorative, Australian interior stylist and boutique hotelier, Lynda Gardener, is always on the hunt for finds to enhance her homes and decorating projects. Her ability to curate and display these personal treasures has created a trademark style that is loved internationally. Curate, the highly anticipated book by creative duo, Lynda Gardener and journalist and stylist Ali Heath, reveals how to create a home that is truly individual. With their shared love of a monochrome aesthetic and natural imperfections, they explore the eight elements that bring a space to life: palette, nature, textiles, lighting, a combination of old and new, storage, collections and art. Ten aspirational homes show the style in practice, including a converted warehouse, one-bedroom studio, bijoux apartment, historic cottage, country estate, new-build barn, remote shack, period townhouse and rural retreat. With gloriously evocative photography and plenty of down-to-earth ideas, Curate will encourage readers to embrace their individual style, dream big and create a timeless interior of their own.

Escape into Cottagecore by Ramona Jones

Find happiness in the natural world, be fully present where you are and free yourself from the expectations of others. Embrace a more peaceful life with cottagecore – a soft, fairytale world that combines traditional comforts with a modern existence to create a sense of magic and retreat.

While we may not be able to uproot ourselves and settle entirely off-grid in the middle of a forest, Escape into Cottagecore will help you rekindle your love of nature and rediscover simple joys, wherever you may live.

Full of practical advice and inspiration, and covering topics from home decor and herbology to eating with the seasons and mindfulness, this beautiful book will invite you on a cottagecore odyssey, bringing the nostalgia, relaxation and beauty of countryside living to every part of your life.

The Secret Life of the Modern House by Dominic Bradbury

Over the last century the way that we live at home has changed dramatically. Nothing short of a design revolution has transformed our houses and the spaces within them – moving from traditional patterns of living all the way through to an era of more fluid, open-plan and modern styles. Whether we live in a new home or a period house, our spaces will have been shaped one way or another by the pioneering Modernists and Mid-century architects and designers who argued for a fresh way of life. Architectural and design writer Dominic Bradbury charts the course of this voyage all the way from the late 19th century through to the houses of today in this ground-breaking book. Over nineteen thematic chapters, he explains the way our houses have been reinvented, while taking in – along the way – the giants of Art Deco, influential Modernists including Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright, as well as post-war innovators such as Eero Saarinen and Philip Johnson. Taking us from the 20th to the 21st century, Bradbury explores the progress of ‘modernity’ itself and reveals the secret history of our very own homes.

You. Your Space. Your Life. Arrange your environment to soothe your Soul by Ellen Schneider

This book is a little different from the others as it addresses your attitude to home, rather than what is inside it. Occupying a home is occupying a life. It is more than bricks and lumber. It is living among the nuances of your attitudes, the perpetuation of your feelings and your personal taste. As you read this book, you will be given the opportunity to realise how your personal choices surround you and how this surrounding creates a mood, a pulse that pours into every cell of your body and life. And the question is, is it reflecting the life that you want? Go deeply, travel gently and come out the other side evolved and renewed. And then begin, step by step, to arrange your support around you in an authentic way that propels you into your future with confidence and delight.

Enjoy!

Indulge yourself with the yummiest dessert books on the market

Ohhh, how exciting is this week’s blog post? We have had a blast scouring the globe for the newest, yummiest, books hitting the market in our favourite culinary course – dessert! It’s been a tough task, but someone had to do it and we have found six of what we think are the best dessert books to indulge in. Apologies if this blog post makes you hungry but we hope it will inspire you to whip up something super sweet and tasty in the kitchen this weekend. 

Settle in, make yourself a cup of tea and prepare to get a little peckish. 

A Year in Cake by Peggy Porschen

With its fairytale pink façade and picture-perfect cupcakes, the Peggy Porschen Parlour has become a destination bakery for Londoners and tourists since it first opened ten years ago. Half a million people follow Peggy’s creations and seasonal floral displays on Instagram and her customers include celebrities, global fans and influencers who come, often dressed in ‘Peggy pink’, for an exquisite sweet treat, as well as to take selfies in the always-beautiful floral archway entrances of the parlours in Belgravia and Chelsea. 

This book pays tribute to the magic Peggy weaves with her bakes through every season. Going through the year and punctuated by special occasions, the recipes will cover cakes, iced cookies and cupcakes and will reflect the changing seasons. Peggy will also share some of her unique style secrets so that fans can recreate the lifestyle at home.

La Vita e Dolce: Italian-Inspired Desserts by Letitia Clark

La Vita è Dolce is an exciting take on Italian baking by food writer and trained pastry chef, Letitia Clark. Featuring over 80 Italian desserts, the book showcases Letitia’s favourite puddings inspired by her time living in Sardinia. Whether you’re looking for something fruity, nutty, creamy, chocolatey or boozy, you will be seduced by the sweet aromas of every bake. Complete with anecdotes and beautiful location photography throughout, each recipe will be authentic in taste but with a delicious, contemporary twist. 

From a joyful Caramelised Citrus Tart to a classic Torta Caprese, this is a stunning celebration of the sweet things in life, and is guaranteed to bring a slice of Italy into your home. 

Gelupo Gelato by Jacob Kenedy

Gelupo Gelato presents a rainbow spectrum of simple, sophisticated gelato recipes from tangy Lime Sherbet to fruity Peach & Blood Orange, creamy Marron Glacé, and decadent Chocolate & Whisky. And that’s not all! There are definitive recipes for a classic granita (like grown-up slushie), barely-melting semifreddo, ice cream cake, profiteroles, ice cream cones and brioche buns as well as the only chocolate sauce you’ll ever need and a tip sheet for pairing flavours.

Crazy Sweet Creations by Ann Reardon

Join food scientist Ann Reardon, host of the award-winning YouTube series How to Cook That, as she explores Crazy Sweet Creations. An accomplished pastry chef, Reardon draws millions of baking fans together each week, eager to learn the secrets of her extravagant cakes, chocolates and eye-popping desserts. Her warmth and sense of fun in the kitchen shines through on every page as she reveals the science behind recreating your own culinary masterpieces.

For home cooks and fans who love their desserts, cakes and ice creams to look amazing and taste even better. Take your culinary creations to influencer status, you’ll also learn to make treats that get the whole family cooking, create baked goods that tap into beloved pop culture trends and impress guests with beautiful desserts.

Crave by Ed Smith

Why do we choose to cook the things we do, when we do? Most of the time, it is simply so we can eat what we really fancy; a subconscious response to a constantly fluctuating state of mind and appetite that’s influenced by mood, season, weather, memory, occasion, outside events and internal feelings. Ed Smith helps readers hone in on their cravings (whatever the reason for them) by organising his recipes within six cleverly conceived flavour profiles: fresh and fragrant; chilli and heat; tart and sour; curried and spiced; rich and savoury; and (best of all) cheesy and creamy. There’s also a directory of alternative cravings at the back, providing additional ways in. All bases are covered, from snacks through sides, to main courses and puddings. 

Baked to Perfection: Delicious gluten-free recipes, with a pinch of science by
Katarina Cermelj

This is the only gluten-free baking book you’ll ever need, with delicious recipes that work perfectly every time. From proper crusty bread, pillowy soft cinnamon rolls and glorious layered cakes to fudgy brownies, incredibly flaky rough puff pastry and delicate patisserie everything that once seemed impossible to make gluten-free can now be baked by you.

Baked to Perfection begins with a thorough look at the gluten-free baking basics: how different gluten-free flours behave, which store-bought blends work best, and how to mix your own to suit your needs. Covering cakes, brownies, cookies, pastry and bread in turn, Katarina shares the best techniques for the recipes in that chapter, and each recipe is accompanied by expert tips, useful scientific explanations and occasional step-by-step photography to help you achieve gluten-free perfection.

Enjoy!

Six Books that Help Us Create a Personal life Philosophy

Do you have any rules, beliefs or principles that you live by? Many of us do – even if we don’t realise, or can’t articulate them yet. These rules or principles are components of a personal philosophy that can contribute to our wellbeing by giving us clarity and direction in our daily lives. If you are interested in discovering your personal life philosophy, or explore how it can benefit your life, here are a few tools to get you started:

How to Live a Good Life: a Guide to Choosing your Personal Philosophy edited by Massimo Pigliucci, Skye C. Cleary and Daniel Kaufman
If you were inspired by last week’s blog post about using philosophy to solve life problems, then How to Live a Good Life will offer further guidance. This essay collection introduces fifteen schools of thought – from ancient Eastern and Western philosophies, to religious traditions, to modern philosophies – and what it is like to live according to those philosophies. Each contributor offers lively, personal accounts of what it means to live an examined life in the twenty-first century. How to Live a Good Life offers a clear, accessible guide, backed by deep academic expertise, for anyone considering their life-choices and looking for options for change.

Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies: and Other Rituals to Fix Your Life, from Someone Who’s Been There by Tara Schuster
This hilarious and relatable memoir has gone straight onto my To Read list.  Tara Schuster is a successful playwright and entertainment industry executive; but beneath that high-flyer veneer, she was a self-medicating mess trying to deal with depression, anxiety, and shame borne of parental neglect. Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies tells the story of Tara’s path to re-parenting herself and becoming a “ninja of self-love.”  She shares how she learnt to establish simple, daily rituals that helped to bring her mind, body, and relationships back to good health.  This is the book Tara wished someone had given her – and so she wrote it, hoping it will help other people feel less lonely in their experience.  A terrific guide to self-care for these times.

Be Bold: Manifest your Dream Life by Alexis Fernandez
Alexis Fernandez loves to understand how the mind works – so much so, that this Pilates instructor and personal trainer returned to uni to study neuroscience. She has been weaving her knowledge about body and mind into a successful podcast (Do You F*cking Mind?) and now her first book – Be Bold: Manifest your Dream Life. Alexis suggests that our brains are often conditioned to be more avoidant and protective than is necessary; and by realising how much control we have over our thoughts and our emotions, we can learn (and unlearn) how to unlock the best version of ourselves. Full of tough love, practical advice and ‘mindset hacks’, Be Bold: Manifest your Dream Life can help us set healthy boundaries, move on from regrets, and overcome feelings of self-pity.

The Success Experiment: FlexMami’s Formula to Knowing what you Really Want and How to Get It by Lillian Ahenkan
DJ / Podcaster / Entrepreneur / “Professional Opinion-Haver” and now Bestselling Author: Lilian Ahenkan, aka FlexMami, is an Australian social-media star with a global following. She thinks of her current success as an experiment; having transformed herself from “a uni dropout with poor time-management skills” to highly sought-after media personality, within the space of a few years, while retaining her unapologetically fierce and funny self. The hypothesis at the heart of The Success Experiment is that anyone can create a unique formula for their own personal success. You don’t have to be exceptional – you just need to learn the algorithm. FlexMami will help you discover yourself – what you want, what you value, where you want to be, and why; and turn these into goals based on what actually fulfils you, instead of what feels easy or achievable.

Emotional Intelligence: a Simple and Actionable Guide to Increasing Performance, Engagement and Ownership by Amy Jacobson
This is a great primer about the What, Why and Hows of Emotional Intelligence, written by an expert on emotional intelligence and human behaviour. As organisations around the world put greater focus on the mindset and wellbeing of staff, they are also placing greater value on Emotional Intelligence as an essential attribute of high performance. Amy Jacobson, an experienced EI specialist, shares a range of tools and tips to help us identify and manage our personal emotions and the emotions of those around us, using the five key concepts of self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, social skills and motivation. This guide is a practical, easy-to-use resource that offers powerful tools and actionable steps to create successful outcomes not just at work, but in personal and social situations as well.

Belonging: the Ancient Code of Togetherness by Owen Eastwood
Owen Eastwood is a performance coach who has worked with some of the most prestigious teams in the world, including national soccer and cricket teams, Royal Ballet School, the British Olympic Team, as well as the Command group at NATO. In Belonging: the Ancient Code of Togetherness, he explains how he helps teams to succeed by drawing upon the idea of Whakapapa from his own Maori heritage. Whakapapa is a powerful spiritual belief about belonging and identity that helps people connect and find a shared purpose. Belonging is not just about sports psychology; Owen Eastwood’s unique approach, which also weaves in insights from evolutionary science, personal development and philosophy, can unlock high performance in many different group contexts.

Raise your heart rate with Booko: Ninja Wilderness Survival Guide

If you find yourself in an unexpected extreme situation a fundamental understanding of your surroundings can make the difference between life and death, Ninja Wilderness Survival Guide shows you how.