Category Archives: Top Books

Our best picks and recommendations

Opening our eyes and hearts to refugees

Do you know that Refugee Week has been observed in Australia for over 30 years?

Refugee Week is celebrated annually in mid June, incorporating World Refugee Day on June 20.  This is a time when Australians can acknowledge the contributions that refugees and asylum seekers have made to our country, and also for us to learn about the challenges many refugees face as they re-establish themselves and their communities in a new land.

The theme for this year’s Refugee Week is “A World of Stories” – reminding us that each refugee seeking safety has their own story of why they left home, and what they had to do to find safety. Readers who want to learn, and understand, the current conflicts and refugee situations will find these stories powerful and enlightening:

First Generation: 36 Trailblazing Immigrant and Refugees Who Make America Great by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace

In the tradition of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls comes this collection of mini biographies celebrating the achievements of some very special first-generation immigrants and former refugees.  From musician Yo-yo Ma to scientist Albert Einstein, from former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to tennis champion Martina Navratilova, this collection of high achievers span different ethnicities, religions, and professions.  And despite the America-centric title, many of their contributions have impacted / benefitted the entire world.  First Generation also offers a powerful reminder on how a safe environment, personal freedoms and educational opportunities help people realise their potential.

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen

In Viet Thanh Nguyen’s mind, the experience of becoming a refugee – unwanted where they come from, unwanted where they go to – brands you forever.  He explores this idea in the eight short stories that comprise The Refugees.  These are not stories about escaping war, nor even about adapting to new cultures; they are simply stories of love, loss, memory and family – melancholy stories seen through the prism of the refugee experience.  Viet Thanh Nguyen is a respected academic who has become a literary star since winning the Pulitzer Prize (and several other awards) with his first novel, The Sympathizer.  The Refugees is his first collection of short stories. 

Stepping Stones: a Refugee Family’s Journey by Margriet Ruurs and Nizar Ali Badr

Canadian writer Margriet Ruurs was inspired by the art of Syrian artist Nizar Ali Badr to create this book – they didn’t know each other and had never met, but managed to collaborate despite the distance between their two countries, and the political turmoil in Syria.  Stepping Stones tells the story of Rama and her family, who live a happy, peaceful life in Syria until war comes.  As bombs fall ever closer to their village, Rama’s family flees with only a few belongings, travelling overland and across the seas until they find a safe, new home. Nizar Ali Badr’s distinctive illustrations are made by arranging multicoloured stones – into characters and scenes with surprising levels of emotion and humour.  Stepping Stones is an excellent way to introduce the topic of war and refugees to young readers.

Homes by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah with Winnie Yeung

Abu Bakr al Rabeeah was a young teen when he confided his dream to his English teacher: he wanted to tell his story of growing up in Iraq and Syria, and of his family’s journey to safety in Canada.  He noticed that his fellow Canadians knew little about the situation in the Middle East, and wanted to challenge those who wanted to define his family only by their experience as refugees.  Eight months later, Abu achieved his dream with the help of his teacher, Winnie Yeung.  Homes is a gripping first-person account of growing up in a war zone.  The horrors of war are interwoven with ordinary childhood pursuits in a way that shocks the reader – flying kites with cousins among bombed-out buildings; playing with shell casings in the street – yet Abu’s childhood is not without love, or fun.  

I Can Only Tell You What My Eyes See by Giles Duley

Giles Duley is a photojournalist who is best known for documenting the long-term impact of war.  Despite losing both legs and an arm during an explosion whilst on assignment, he has continued his work as a photographer, reporting the stories of refugees not to evoke pity, but to encourage empathy and to inspire change.  I Can Only Tell You What My Eyes See is a record of the refugee crisis in Europe during 2015/6.  Giles Duley travelled through Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan, through the Balkans and to Greece and Germany, to retrace the journeys of people forced to flee their homes in the Middle East to seek safety in Europe.  Profits from the sale of this book will be donated to the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR).

We are Displaced: My Journey and Stories from Refugee Girls Around the World by Malala Yousafzai

In We Are Displaced, Malala Yousafzai uses her considerable public profile to highlight the issue of displacement – people forced to flee their homes due to conflict, persecution or natural disaster.  This is a much more widespread problem than most people realise – happening all around the world, affecting more than 68 million people, mostly women and girls. Starting with Malala’s own experience of internal displacement within Pakistan while escaping from Taliban rule, we are introduced to eight other girls, from countries as diverse as Yemen, Syria, Guatemala and the Congo, and their stories of displacement and disruption (and often discrimination as well).  These accounts are powerfully personal, confronting, and ultimately hopeful, as these resilient girls rebuild their lives in new communities.

The best self help books that can help you decide what’s important

Self help books are one of the most popular genres in the world. There are thousands and thousands of titles to choose from and it can get a little over whelming. Some titles focus on discovering who you are, uncovering your strengths, and passions. Others take a different approach and teach us to take on qualities we aspire to. Sometimes a book comes along and really speaks to us, challenging our mindset and making us think about what’s really important. These are our favourite ones.

We’ve had a hunt around the internet and have found some of the best that we think will help you decide what’s really important to you. 

What do you really, really want? by Kevin Stebbings

What matters most to you? What keeps you from living a life of joy and purpose? In this unique narrative of life changing conversations, Kevin Stebbings offers an authentic framework for overcoming the distractions of life to rediscover what you really, really want.

He draws on the proven ideas and practices from the world of coaching to create a highly original and insightful book that will teach you how to discover your purpose, pursue your dreams, and achieve your goals.

You are invited into the story of two individuals who seek the help of a coach to find answers to life’s challenges. Their stories illuminate a path that you can follow to answer these questions: How do I overcome my tendency to procrastinate? What does it take to learn to say ‘no’ graciously and with confidence? How can I move beyond my fear of failure and start pursuing my dreams? What can I do to be more focused and less distracted? Stebbings uses coaching conversations to show us how to put our insights into practice so that we can live with passion and hope. What Do You Really, Really Want? is a compelling story with a powerful, yet simple message to empower you to live a life that is aligned with what matters most.

Start with Why by Simon Sinek

Technically this book was written to help businesses and brands but in reality the messages in this book are applicable to more than that. After watching Sinek’s Ted Talk (you can view it here) we believe that asking and finding your ‘why’ can really help you hone in on what is important. 

There’s a naturally occurring pattern shared by the people and organisations that achieve the greatest long-term success. From Martin Luther King Jr. to Steve Jobs, from the pioneers of aviation to the founders of Southwest Airlines, the most inspiring leaders think, act, and communicate the exact same way-and it’s the complete opposite of everyone else. The common thread, according to Simon Sinek, is that they all start with why. This simple question has the power to inspire others to achieve extraordinary things. Any organisation can explain what it does; some can explain how; but very few can clearly articulate why. Why do we offer these particular products or services? Why do our customers choose us? Why do our employees stay (or leave)? Once you have those answers, teams get stronger, the mission clicks into place, and the path ahead becomes much clearer. Starting with why is the key to everything from putting a man on the moon to launching the iPod. Drawing on a wide range of fascinating examples, Sinek shows readers how to apply why to their culture, hiring decisions, product development, sales, marketing, and many other challenges. Some naturally think this way, but Sinek proves that anyone can learn how. 

Simon’s also written another book, Find Your Why, which you can find here

You are a badass by Jen Sinecero

You Are A Badass is the self-help book for people who desperately want to improve their lives but don’t want to get busted doing it. In this refreshingly entertaining how-to guide, bestselling author and world-traveling success coach, Jen Sincero, serves up 27 bite-sized chapters full of hilariously inspiring stories, sage advice, easy exercises, and the occasional swear word, helping you to identify and change the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviours that stop you from getting what you want, creating a life you totally love, and make some damn money already (the kind you’ve never made before). By the end of the book, you’ll understand why you are how you are, how to love what you can’t change, how to change what you don’t love, and how to use The Force to kick some serious ass. It’s a great read.

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

Every time we are introduced to someone new, try to be creative, or start a difficult conversation, we take a risk. We feel uncertain and exposed. We feel vulnerable. Most of us try to fight those feelings – we strive to appear perfect. In a powerful new vision Dr. Brené Brown challenges everything we think we know about vulnerability, and dispels the widely accepted myth that it’s a weakness. She argues that, in truth, vulnerability is strength and when we shut ourselves off from vulnerability – from revealing our true selves – we distance ourselves from the experiences that bring purpose and meaning to our lives. Daring Greatly is the culmination of 12 years of groundbreaking social research, across every area of our lives including home, relationships, work, and parenting. It is an invitation to be courageous; to show up and let ourselves be seen, even when there are no guarantees. This is vulnerability. This is daring greatly.

Brené Brown has one of the most watched Ted Talks (you can view it here) and her Netflix special was launched earlier this year (you can view the trailer here)

I thought It Was Just Me by Brené Brown

While we are diving into the inspiring world that Brené Brown opens us up to, we have another one of her books for you to read. 

The quest for perfection is exhausting and unrelenting. We spend too much precious time and energy managing perception and creating carefully edited versions of ourselves to show to the world. As hard as we try, we can’t seem to turn off the tapes that fill our heads with messages like, ‘Never good enough!’ and ‘What will people think?’ Why? What fuels this unattainable need to look like we always have it all together? At first glance we might think it’s because we admire perfection, but that’s not the case. We are actually the most attracted to people we consider to be authentic and down-to-earth. We love people who are ‘real’ – we’re drawn to those who both embrace their imperfections and radiate self-acceptance. There is a constant barrage of social expectations that teach us that being imperfect is synonymous with being inadequate. Everywhere we turn, there are messages that tell us who, what and how we’re supposed to be. So, we learn to hide our struggles and protect ourselves from shame, judgment, criticism and blame by seeking safety in pretending and perfection. Based on seven years of ground-breaking research and hundreds of interviews, I Thought It Was Just Me shines a long-overdue light on an important truth: Our imperfections are what connect us to each other and to our humanity. Our vulnerabilities are not weaknesses; they are powerful reminders to keep our hearts and minds open to the reality that we’re all in this together.

Girl, Stop Apologising by Rachel Hollis

I believe we can change the world. But first, we’ve got to stop living in fear of being judged for who we are.”

Rachel Hollis has seen it too often: women not living into their full potential. They feel a tugging on their hearts for something more, but they’re afraid of embarrassment, of falling short of perfection, of not being enough. In Girl, Stop Apologising, #1 New York Times bestselling author and founder of a multimillion-dollar media company, Rachel Hollis sounds a wake-up call. She knows that many women have been taught to define themselves in light of other people-whether as wife, mother, daughter, or employee-instead of learning how to own who they are and what they want. With a challenge to women everywhere to stop talking themselves out of their dreams, Hollis identifies the excuses to let go of, the behaviours to adopt, and the skills to acquire on the path to growth, confidence, and believing in yourself. Rachel’s written another inspiring book that we love, it’s called Girl, Wash Your Face and you can find it here.

Enjoy!

The top books that can help us slow down

Balance. Apparently we’re all meant to find it, embrace it and have it all of the time. The problem is, when we are busy it just ends up being yet another thing added to our ever-growing to do lists. The slow movement is one that isn’t new. There are cultures around the world that do not embrace being busy and rushing about and certainly don’t consider the idea of being stressed as a badge of honour. When we slow down we can take time to reflect on what’s important, see the bigger picture when we have problems, and find things that truly make us happy. 

In a effort to help you find a moment to yourself we have scoured the internet and collated a number of great books that all discuss the notion of slowing down. So pour yourself a cup of tea and find somewhere comfy to sit for five minutes for a readyou never know, it may be just what you need. 

Rushing Woman’s Syndrome by Dr Libby Weaver

In this book, nutritional biochemist Dr Libby Weaver explains the true cost of constantly rushing and the impact this can have on our health. Through these pages you’ll learn how and why your body interprets constant rushing as a ‘stress’, how an imbalanced nervous system may be causing you to gain weight or disrupting your sleep, why you feel tired but wired and how to identify if you have adrenal fatigue, whether stress might be behind your sluggish thyroid, how daily stressors may be affecting your sex-hormone balance and contributing to issues such as PMS, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, infertility, and debilitating menopause symptoms, why stress could be at the heart of your bloating, cravings or unpredictable appetite and how your emotional landscape holds the key to leading a fulfilling life without the need to rush. This book offers real solutions to restore your health, so that you can stay productive, healthy and energised in today’s world. Don’t let it take a health crisis to wake you up to change the way you’re living and get to the heart of what’s driving your rush, allowing you to live a more meaningful life that you love.

The flourish formula, and overachiever’s guide to slowing down by Courtney Pinkerton

Courtney Pinkerton reveals a simple yet comprehensive process that will help you slow down and accomplish and savour more of what is important to you. Courtney shares eight powerful mindset and mind-body techniques to help you break out of the “busyness fog” so you can contribute your unique professional and creative gifts and thrive in your personal life. The Flourish Formula is a bit of a self-care manual that every overachieving woman should read. Every page offers fresh insights about how to lean back before you can lean in. 

It’s about time by Valorie Burton

Our culture makes it so that even the most organised and efficient among us feels the pressure of the ticking clock and the possibility and regret of missing out. Modern life has evolved in a way that sets us up for stress, pressure, and overload. New norms and attitudes tap into deeply-wired psychological impulses that make it harder than ever to take control of your time. On top of that, many of us also have innate personality traits that make the struggle even worse. No wonder time can become a tyrant that leaves us chronically stressed and discontented. In It’s About Time, you can unlock an approach to life that bestselling author Valorie Burton calls “living timelessly.” You will come to understand the gradual changes that have led us to a place where having too much to do and too little time to do it is the norm, the vision for what it could look like if you were free from the stress of time and how to blast through the obstacles to those possibilities, and the practical steps to choosing the meaningful over the urgent so that your life is unhurried yet purposeful and reflects the values and impact that are unique to you.

It’s About Time helps you reimagine a life that is meaningful, at a pace that is natural, with a load that is doable and equips you with the tools to make it happen.

Ostro by Julia Nishimura

For some of us the way to slow down is not by sitting still, it’s by doing something…something meaningful. If you’re one of those ‘active slow downers’ then Ostro is for you. Since launching Ostro online in 2014, Julia Busuttil Nishimura has gained a strong and loyal following for her generous, uncomplicated, seasonal food. As an Australian of Maltese descent and a fluent Italian speaker, who is married to a Japanese man, Julia and her food represent everything that is good about modern Australian eating. She deftly brings together a broad range of cuisines and culinary influences using the very best produce on offer. This truly is good food, made by hand. Julia guides us through the uniquely satisfying experience of making pasta or pizza dough from scratch, clearly explaining the processes and demystifying the reasons behind them. She also shares plenty of simple, flavourful salads and one-tray bakes for days when time is scarce. Baking and desserts, too, needn’t be overly complicated – as Julia shows us, some of the best go-to recipes are the ones passed down the generations. But we also need the odd show-stopper on standby for special occasions! This is simple food that is comforting and generous in spirit. Slow down, take your time and enjoy it.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany: Time is passing, and I’m not focusing enough on the things that really matter.” In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to a happiness project. With humour and insight, she chronicles her adventures during the year she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. Rubin didn’t have the option to uproot herself, nor did she want to; instead she focused on improving her life as it was. Each month she tackled a new set of resolutions. She immersed herself in principles set forth by all manner of experts, from Epicurus to Thoreau to Oprah to Martin Seligman to the Dalai Lama to see what worked for her — and what didn’t. this is a great read. You can check out Gretchen’s other work here

The Art Of Simple by Eleanor Ozich

This book has the potential to be life changing. I read this in a day and absolutely loved it. When Eleanor Ozich moved to the outskirts of the city with her husband and young family she set about enjoying a much calmer way of life. Shedding unnecessary clutter and adopting a simpler style of living, Eleanor found herself with more time and energy to appreciate her family and friends and the natural beauty that surrounded her. In this, her third book, Eleanor shares recipes and ideas she has embraced in her quest to cherish life’s simple pleasures. Alongside recipes for nourishing meals you’ll find practical ideas to declutter your home, get your children to sleep and bring order to your day. There are also instructions for making natural beauty products and household cleaners, which promise to cost you less and be kinder to you and the environment. The author of My Petite Kitchen and My Family Table, in this book Eleanor unlocks the secrets to a more fulfilling life.

Enjoy!

Interior design and decoration books that will inspire your inner stylist

When the weather gets colder and the days shorter, there’s nothing more satisfying than being inside, snuggled in your favourite chair under a woolly blanket with candles flickering and a good book to read. While this may feel super cosy for those of us here in chilly Melbourne, on the other side of the world the heavy throw blankets are being boxed away, velvet cushion covers changed to lighter linen counterparts and fresh cut flowers popped into vases as the joy of Summer looms close.

It’s fun to change up your home a little each season and look to nature for inspiration for colours and textures and the occasional gem. Changes don’t have to be expensive or dramatic (so you can put down that paintbrush and roller), sometimes it’s just moving the furniture, a new fragrant candle or piece of art that can make a world of difference.

We’ve been devouring the latest books on interiors and have come up with a great list of our favourites. So make yourself a cup of tea/ glass of rose/mug of hot chocolate and settle in for some inspiration. 

The Natural Home by Hans Blomquist

The Natural Home is a place where natural materials and motifs are the key elements of a decorating style that is a joy to live with and a joy to behold. Influential art director and stylist Hans Blomquist starts off by exploring the essence of his style. Firstly, Plants and Flowers celebrates the beauty of nature, botanical prints and pictures, and the cycles of the natural world. Display reveals Hans’ passion for creating vignettes that showcase treasured pieces, while Colour presents his favourite earthy palette, which provides the perfect muted backdrop for hits of brighter natural hues. In Texture, he revels in the textures and patinas of natural materials; scuffed wood, frayed rope, beaten metal and bare stone. Finally, Hans shows how to use Fabrics to bring warmth and softness to any interior. In the second part of the book, The Natural Homes, through a series of case studies, Hans explores houses and apartments that showcase the beautiful simplicity and elegance of the natural look.

It’s Beautiful Here by Megan Morton

Interior fulfilment can be fleeting. Linen cupboards crash from a ten to a two in a blink and couch cushions need to be eternally fluffed. It’s Beautiful Here attempts to capture the moments of domestic paradise without making the mistake of thinking they are permanent, but hoping hard they might be. With her trademark wit and enthusiasm Megan Morton let’s us peek into the abodes of the people who have by luck, chance or determination nailed that ever elusive interiors je ne sais quoi. From Paris to New York and even Adelaide, we meet a motley crew of renters, Barbie Dreamhouse owners and accidental interior heroes and learn that a beautiful home doesn’t rest on great design alone it’s shaped by the people who live there. One of our team attended Megan’s Styling masterclass and has all of her books on her coffee table so we know you’ll just love this title too.

The Foraged Home by Joanna Maclennan

Anyone can create a beautiful home by foraging, and salvaging what they find. Whether a box of rusty nails or a disused armchair missing a leg, discarded objects can be restored, recycled or repurposed to fill the home with personal style. Artful interiors are born from curiosity, creativity and imagination, yet many of us fail to see a potential curtain rail in a bamboo stick or a hidden kitchen worktop in an old carpenter’s bench – let alone knowing where to find such objects. Presenting the techniques and philosophies of a wide spectrum of experienced foraging homeowners, this book showcases unexpected and inspiring interiors from all over the world, from an upturned boat in France to an Australian beach house. Such diverse locations each demand a different approach to foraging and, as a result, each home has a distinct sense of style. In an era when self-sufficiency, living off grid and saving our planet have never been more important or appealing, The Foraged Home will provide guidance and inspiration for all those looking to go beyond the world of mass-produced flat-packs.

Homebody by Joanna Gaines

In Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave, Joanna Gaines walks you through how to create a home that reflects the personalities and stories of the people who live there. Using examples from her own farmhouse as well as a range of other homes, this comprehensive guide will help you assess your priorities and instincts, as well as your likes and dislikes, with practical steps for navigating and embracing your authentic design style. Room by room, Homebody gives you an in-depth look at how these styles are implemented as well as how to blend the looks you’re drawn to in order to create spaces that feel distinctly yours. A removable design template at the back of the book offers a step-by-step guide to planning and sketching out your own design plans. The insight shared in Homebody will instil in you the confidence to thoughtfully create spaces you never want to leave.

Cozy Minimalist Home by Myquillyn Smith

More Style, Less Stuff. Cozy Minimalism isn’t about going without or achieving a particular new, modern style. Nope. It’s simply a mindset that helps you get whatever style you love with the fewest possible items. You want a warm, cozy, inviting home, without using more resources, money, and stuff than needed. Why use more if you don’t have to. In Cozy Minimalist Home, accidental stylist and bestselling author Myquillyn Smith guides you step by step on making purposeful design decisions for your home. You’ll have the tools to transform your home starting with what you already have, and using just enough of the right furniture and decor to create a home you’re proud of in a way that honours your personal priorities, budget, and style. No more fretting when it comes to decorating your house! In Cozy Minimalist Home, Myquillyn Smith helps you realise your role as the curator of your home who makes smart, style-impacting design choices.  A pretty home is nice, but a Cozy Minimalist home goes beyond pretty and sets the stage for connection, relationship, and rest.

Restoration House by Kennesha Buycks

Restore peace and joy to your home as you create a space that gives your loved ones a comfortable place to connect. In Restoration House, designer and lifestyle guide Kennesha Buycks shows you how to curate and decorate your home (even on a small budget!) and create mindful spaces that give life to all who enter. How many times have you felt discouraged as you scrolled through Instagram or Pinterest at impeccably styled home decor that your family would destroy in moments? Designer and decor aficionado Kennesha Buycks is here to help you love the home you have and design spaces to welcome others.Home is more than a mere space to be filled with pretty pillows and beautifully ordained walls,” Kennesha says. Restoration House is about creating a home filled with places and spaces where people can feel secure, connected, revived, and renewed. Restoration has been a consistent theme and message throughout the lifespan of Kennesha’s blog, Restoration House Interiors. Now she guides you to create a more mindful, peaceful, restored home while finding joy in the process.

Three Birds Renovations by Bonnie Hindmarsh, Erin Cayless, and Lana Taylor

We love Three Birds. So much so we have completed their course, pre bought their book and watched every single one of their renovation videos (you can binge watch them here). When best friends Erin, Bonnie and Lana ditched their corporate careers to start Three Birds Renovations, they were rookie renovators with big ideas. Today, with many incredible house transformations under their toolbelt, they’re a power trio turning neighbourhood ugly ducklings into swans. If you lust over images of beautiful homes but feel stuck when it comes to your own space, these ‘birds’ have your back. The book is packed with gorgeous details from their projects, friendly words of encouragement and more than 400 reno tips to help you avoid budget blow-outs, manage trades and timelines, and style without stress. Whether you’re starting small or going all-in with a whole-home reno, this is destined to become one of the most useful books you own. Turn your reno dreams into reality!

Enjoy!

The best books to help you eat seasonally

Seasonal eating is nothing new – just ask your grandparents and the generations before them. However, over time, with growing global markets and increasing supermarket competition, we have become accustomed to being able to eat our favourite foods year round. This liberty not only makes eating out of season foods expensive but our palate misses out on some glorious tastes that you only get when you’re eating the freshest of fruits and vegetables in the peak of their season (think juicy peaches in summer and fragrant oranges in winter).

As the weather changes across the globe (we can feel the impending winter here in Melbourne) so does the fresh produce that is available and this is a great time to start experimenting and trying new recipes or reworking those old ones. It’s with this in mind that we have had a poke around the internet and found some fabulous titles that will bring a little seasonal flair to your dinner table.

Food In Jars by Marisa McClellan

Stories of wild blackberry jam and California Meyer lemon marmalade from Marissa McClellan’s childhood make this book a read as pleasurable as it is delicious; her home-canned food, learned from generations of the original foodies”, feeds the soul as well as the body in more than 100 recipes.

Popular food blogger Marisa McClellan takes you through all manner of food in jars, storing away the tastes of all seasons for later. Basics like jams and jellies are accompanied by pickles, chutneys, conserves, whole fruit, tomato sauces, salsas, marmalades, nut butters, seasonings, and more. Small batches make them easy projects for a canning novice to tackle, and the flavours of vanilla bean, sage, and pepper will keep more experienced jammers coming back for more. Sample some Apricot Jam and Rhubarb Syrup in the spring, and then try your hand at Blueberry Butter and Peach Salsa in the summer; Dilly Beans and Spicy Pickled Cauliflower ring in the fall, while Three-Citrus Marmalade and Cranberry Ketchup are the harbingers of winter.

Greenfeast by Nigel Slater

Nigel Slater’s Eat was one of his bestselling and most popular books ever. Now he has written GreenFeast, the green follow-up to Eat, packed full of short, doable and fast vegetable recipes that are usefully divided into In the frying pan, In the hand, On the hob and Puddings. The GreenFeast recipes are for those who want easy recipes for eating more vegetable dishes throughout the week and there will be suggestions for changing up each recipe, as well as lists and lists of quick ideas. GreenFeast is split into two volumes: GreenFeast: spring summer (May 2019) and GreenFeast: autumn winter (which will be published in September 2019). This is exactly the food everyone wants to eat now, in the style everyone loved in Eat, all told in Nigel’s warm and unique signature style.

Around the World in 80 Food Trucks by the Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet has taken to the streets to bring you 80 fast, fresh and mouthwatering recipes from the most exciting chefs on four wheels. From sea bass ceviche and Lebanese msakhan to old-fashioned American peach cake, discover how to cook some of the world’s most crowd-pleasing dishes, meet the chefs and hear the stories behind their passion projects.

Run by passionate foodies, food trucks have nailed the delicate balance of merging the methods and flavours inspired by personal travels and experiences with family recipes, immigrant influences and local ingredients all the while celebrating sustainable and seasonal local produce. 

Starting up and running a food truck is a vehicle for expression and experimentation, a way to serve food that’s both personal to the cooks and popular with the crowd. After all, food trucks park where the people are no booking or dress code required.

Inside Around the World in 80 Food Trucks, you’ll find out how to recreate chicken and waffles from Nashville; Indian sliders from Melbourne; paneer poutine from Berlin; spicy lamb samosas from Killary, mollete of roasted pork from Gijón; San Francisco langoustine rolls; and burgers, shrimp and breakfast sandwiches from Cape Town, Bogotá and beyond.

No Crumbs Left by Teri Turner

As millions of people know, one of the toughest things about completing the Whole30 is figuring out what to eat next, the other 335 days of the year. Teri Turner, creator of No Crumbs Left, has healthful and great tasting answers. Food is Teri’s love language, and her approach to getting people into the kitchen, rolling up their sleeves, and cooking is contagious. Don’t be afraid to fail: it’s just food,” is one of her mantras. Teri’s passion is evident on every page of her first cookbook, as she leads readers through a discovery of new flavours and spice combinations and teaches people to trust their cooking instincts. Teri’s recipes, most of which are gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and Whole30 compliant, are what makes No Crumbs Left so unique. Simple and incredibly delicious dishes such as Pistachio Pesto Chicken Breast, Shrimp Pad Thai, and Spicy Pepperoncini Beef are on the dinner table quickly. Teri considers this book a love letter to her mother, and woven throughout are tips and favourite quotes to bring you right into her kitchen, where there is always an extra seat at the table.

Hunter Gather Cook by Nick Weston

Hunter Gather Cook aims to set you on a fulfilling, lifelong path of culinary adventures and food DIY, and show you how to embrace the lifestyle that surrounds the 21st-century hunter-gatherer. It will make wild food accessible to you, and take away any sense of trepidation at making your first brew, burger or carpaccio. And if you’re already a 21st-century hunter-gatherer, then it will help you to expand your culinary repertoire, taking your experimentation and enjoyment to the next level. 

While there’s no doubt the world is a very different place to how it was 10,000 years ago, some things have remained the same. We are still hunter-gatherers, just like our ancestors. 

Winter by Louise Franc

When the temperature cools down and the nights become longer, we tend to crave our favourite comfort foods – slow-cooked meats that fall off the bone, rich chowders and hearty stews, succulent roasts with all the trimmings, and fragrant and warming curries served with steamed rice. This is the time of year when we tend to skip the salads, smoothies, and lighter meals, and the art of winter cooking comes into its own. Winter: Warm Recipes for Cold Nights, is a stunning collection of innovative cold-weather recipes perfect for this time of year.

From simple and warming traditional comfort foods like classic French onion soup, slow-cooked beef stroganoff, chicken cacciatore, rich osso buco, and a moreish tuna pasta bake to impressive modern cold weather dishes including Asian-style caramel pork, Panang chicken curry, roasted pumpkin risotto with brown butter and sage, and creamy Calvados chicken, as well as a host of decadent desserts, think dulce de leche and chocolate peanut butter puddings, slow baked spiced quinces, chai-spiced slow-baked rice puddings, and winter-warming dried fruit compote. Winter has a recipe to cover every occasion. With 140 recipes included, designed to not only taste amazing but to warm you up too, Winter is a comprehensive volume on cold-weather cooking. This season now promises to be that much more delicious!

Enjoy!

The best books to help you care for your house plants

The seasons are changing. Here in Melbourne, Winter is well and truly knocking on our door. The mornings are a little crisper, the days seem shorter and the nights are getting nippy. It’s a time when we pull on our slippers, bring out the wooly blankets, salads take a back seat as we begin to cook slow roasted dinners and we all retreat inside. 

One thing that doesn’t change, however, is our love for the humble indoor plant (and their popularity is on the rise). Whether it is the benefits of fresher air, colour in the room or the joy of watching something grow, most households have a pot plant. It’s also the one thing people tend to be pretty grim at keeping alive. So we have rounded up some of the best titles on the market that all aim to help us look after our indoor gardens. 

How To Raise A Plant by Morgan Doane

Aimed at a new generation of indoor gardening enthusiasts, this book is a perfect guide for anyone keen to see their plant offspring thrive. Plants have found popularity in the small home, and are being proclaimed the new stars of Instagram. This attractive little book is ideal for the novice ‘plant parent’, providing tips on how to choose plants, and above all how to care for them and keep them thriving. Indoor-plant experts and Instagrammers Erin Harding and Morgan Doane bring the subject to life alongside their beautiful photographs of happy plants in the home.

The Little Book of House Plants by Emma Sibley

House plants are having a moment. Inexpensive to purchase, easy to care for and a statement in any space they inhabit, growing these plants is virtually foolproof. The Little Book of House Plants and Other Greenery is a source of green inspiration for small-space gardening, featuring a directory of 60 of the most popular varieties of foliage to own. From dramatic palms and tropical leafy wonders to beautiful ferns and flowering potted plants – this book covers everything you need to know about nurturing and growing your own. Each of the 60 plants is accompanied by luscious photography and an easy-to-follow breakdown of all the essential requirements for that variety. This includes details on size, growth and flowering, along with any extra tips on caring for that specific plant.

Wild at Home by Hilton Carter

As the owner of over 200 plants, Hilton feels strongly about the role of plants in one’s home – not just for the beauty they add, but for health benefits as well: ‘having plants in your home not only adds life, but changes the airflow throughout. It’s also a key design element when styling your place. For me, it wasn’t about just having greenery, but having the right variety of greenery. I like to see the different textures of foliage all grouped together. You take a fiddle leaf fig and sandwich it between a birds of paradise and a monstera and. yes!’ You will be armed with the know-how you need to care for your plants, where to place them, how to propagate, how to find the right pot, and much more, and most importantly, how to arrange them so that they look their best. Combine sizes and leaf shapes to stunning effect, grow your own succulents from leaf cuttings, create your own air plant display, and more.

Leaf Supply by Lauren Camilleri

Flowers are great – everyone loves receiving them. But inevitably they’re already on the way out the door (and into the trash) by the time they arrive. Plants, living, breathing, life sustaining plants are where it’s at! Authors Lauren and Sophia really want you to fall in love with indoor gardening and growing. They provide specific care instructions with each of the listed plants, ensuring you learn and grow as your plant grows. But more than a plant guide, Leaf Supply also gives styling advice on choosing the rights pots and making the most of your indoor greenery.

Decorating with Plants by Baylor Chapman

Whether it’s a statement-making fiddle-leaf fig or a tiny tabletop succulent, a houseplant instantly elevates the look of your home. But where to begin? In Decorating with Plants, Baylor Chapman walks readers through everything they need to know to bring houseplants into their home. First, there’s Plant Care 101: from how to assess light conditions to tricks for keeping your plants alive while on vacation, Chapman gives readers the simple, foundational info they need to ensure their plants will thrive. Then she introduces us to 28 of her favourites — specimens that are tough as nails but oh-so-stylish, from the eye-catching Rubber Tree to the delicate Cape Primrose. Finally, she guides readers through the home room by room: Place an aromatic plant like jasmine or gardenia to your entry to establish your home’s signature scent.” Add a proper sense of scale to your living room with a ceiling-grazing palm. Create a living centrepiece of jewel-toned succulents for a dining table arrangement that will last long after your dinner party. From air purification to pest control, there’s no limit to what houseplants can do for your home and Decorating with Plants is here to show you how to add them to spaces big and small with style.

Plant Parenting by Leslie Halleck

No matter what kind of plant fan you are, it’s easy to make more of your favourite plants. Plant Parenting is a beginner-friendly introduction to plant propagation. Leslie F. Halleck details the basic tools necessary, demystifies seed starting and saving, and shares easy-to-follow instructions for the most practical techniques for cutting, layering, dividing, and more. She also provides additional information on controlling pests and diseases and transplanting seedlings and cuttings. Charming, richly illustrated, and accessible, Plant Parenting is for anyone looking to make more of their favourite plants.

In Bloom by Clare Nolan

This one is for those of you that just love flowers a little more.

Being able to step out of the back door and pick a single stem for beside the bed or pull together a posy for a friend is a joy. In this beautifully designed book, brimming with inspirational photographs, Clare Nolan reveals her secrets for growing a bountiful harvest as well as styling spectacular homegrown displays that will fill your home with colour and the gorgeous scent of the garden year-round. She takes the mystique out of what to grow and guides you through the entire process – from choosing the plants to suit both your garden and home decor and laying out your cutting patch, to planning ahead so you get your perfect palette of colour, texture and shape to play with at the right time. A whole chapter on arranging will inspire you to create spectacular arrangements for your home without the need for complicated floristry techniques.

Enjoy!

Celebrating amazing women through books this Mother’s Day

Whether you are a mum or not, the world of literature celebrates women from all backgrounds and all with different storylines. We have rounded up six stories that we think will amuse, inspire, resonate and enlighten this Mother’s Day. 

Pop on the kettle and make yourself a cuppa because we think you’ll want them all. 

200 Women by Ruth Hobday

Famous and unknown, celebrated and marginalised, rich and poor, black and white, leaders, victims, survivors, heroes, saints and sinners. Women who will educate and inspire us, teach us empathy, and bring positive change in a time when so many women and girls are still fighting for basic freedom and equality. Founded on original interviews and accompanying photographic portraits, this landmark book is the realisation of an epic global journey to find two hundred women with diverse backgrounds, and ask them what really matters to them. All two hundred women were photographed against the same background and asked the same five questions. Their answers reveal truth, wisdom, and inspiring stories of success and courage, love and pain, redemption and generosity. From well-known activists, artists and innovators to everyday women whose lives are no less exceptional, each woman shares her unique replies to questions that reveal a human being’s deepest motivation, happiness, sadness and hope. With responses that range from uplifting to heartbreaking, these women offer gifts of empowerment and strength, inviting us to bring positive change at a time when so many people are fighting for basic freedom and equality. It’s a book that confirms what we already know – there are no ordinary women.

Diary of A Crap Housewife by Jessica Rowe

The #craphousewife movement calls to unite all mothers who, like Jess, sometimes feel they are not perfect. Being a crap housewife is a badge Jess wears with pride, and it’s a title she invites other women to embrace. For Jess, the idea of crap is the real-life messes, hiccups, disasters and bad meals that many of us dish up and deal with every day. This mum is tired of the photos of perfectly packed school lunches, posts about gourmet family dinners eaten together over the table, and tales of neat, tidy and obedient children with smoothly brushed hair. Why not cut the crap, take the pressure off and admit to the moments, days, weeks and months when the wheels do fall off? This is a fabulous, funny, down-to-earth book, The Diary of a Crap Housewife, as Jess writes honestly about her cooking, mothering, career, botox, family and many other #craphousewife interests.

In Pieces by Sally Field

Sally Field is one of the most celebrated, beloved and enduring actors of our time, and now she tells her story for the first time in this intimate and haunting literary memoir. In her own words, she writes about a challenging and lonely childhood, the craft that helped her find her voice, and a powerful emotional legacy that shaped her journey as a daughter and a mother. Sally Field has an infectious charm that has captivated audiences for more than five decades, beginning with her first television role at the age of 17. From Gidget’s sweet-faced girl next door’ to the dazzling complexity of Sybil to the Academy Award-winning ferocity and depth of her role in Norma Rae and Mary Todd Lincoln, Field has stunned audiences time and time again with her artistic range and emotional acuity. Yet there is one character who always remained hidden: the shy and anxious little girl within. With raw honesty and the fresh, pitch-perfect prose of a natural-born writer, and with all the humility and authenticity her fans have come to expect, Field brings readers behind the scenes for not only the highs and lows of her star-studded early career in Hollywood, but deep into the truth of her lifelong relationships including, most importantly, her complicated love for her own mother. Powerful and unforgettable, In Pieces is an inspiring and important account of life as a woman in the second half of the twentieth century.

Rolling with the Punchlines by Urzla Carlson

Updated with new chapters and written with her trademark deadpan humour, Urzila’s memoir is full of ripping yarns about both the big and the little things in life (you can click through to her original book here). Urzila’s accidental beginning in stand-up has led to an incredibly successful career in comedy, with regular gigs on Channel 10’s Have you Been Paying Attention? in Australia and 7 Days in New Zealand, as well as sell-out shows across both countries, appearances at international festivals and a Netflix special. But life hasn’t always been a bundle of laughs. Urzila talks candidly about her childhood within a happy family – apart from her abusive dad – and about growing up in South Africa. She shares crazy but true tales about her travels, her move down under, coming out, getting married and having children, and cracking Australia.

My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen

We were trying to write about this book but came to the conclusion that  there was no better way we could write about Lily Allen’s story. We think the blurb she has written herself is perfect.  

So, this is me. Lily Allen. I am a woman. I am a mother. I was a wife. I drink. I have taken drugs. I have loved and been let down. I am a success and a failure. I am a songwriter. I am a singer. I am all these things and more. When women share their stories, loudly and clearly and honestly, things begin to change – for the better. This is my story.

Say Hello by Carly Findlay

Say Hello is a forthright, honest and rousingly triumphant memoir from a woman who has to live with a highly visible different appearance due to a rare skin condition. Say hello to Carly. ‘In fairytales, the characters who look different are often cast as the villain or monsters. It’s only when they shed their unconventional skin that they are seen as “good” or less frightening. There are very few stories where the character that looks different is the hero of the story … I’ve been the hero of my story – telling it on my own terms, proud about my facial difference and disability, not wanting a cure for my rare, severe and sometimes confronting skin condition, and knowing that I am beautiful even though I don’t have beauty privilege.’ This honest, outspoken and thought-provoking memoir by award-winning writer and appearance activist Carly Findlay will challenge all your assumptions and beliefs about what it is like to have a visibly different appearance. Carly lives with a rare skin condition, Ichthyosis, and what she faces every day, and what she has to live with, will have you cheering for her and her courage and irrepressible spirit. This is both a moving memoir and a proud manifesto on disability and appearance diversity issues.

Enjoy!

The most gift worthy coffee table books this Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is just around the corner so it’s time to find a little something special for the mums in our lives. One thing that is always a delight to receive, but something they never seem to buy themselves, is a fabulous coffee table book. We have rounded up some of the most glorious ones recently released on interiors, fashion, space and history so that you are bound to find one to treat your mum.

Imaginarium by Sibella Court

This is a sumptuous picture book of style and design inspiration from award-winning Australian stylist Sibella Court. Imaginarium is a glorious coffee table book of images that reflect the things that inspire and motivate this interior stylist, historian and globetrotter. Immersing you in a world of travel, nature, interiors, art, oddities and curiosities, Imaginarium will open your eyes to the world around you and fuel your imagination for your own creativity, design and adventures. Themed by colour and featuring more than 300 beautifully shot and curated photographs, Imaginarium is the ultimate picture book for lovers of design and interior styling, and anyone looking for fresh ideas or inspiring daydreams.

A Tree In The House by Annabelle Hickson

A Tree in the House is part guide for the aspiring home florist, and part celebration of rural life in sync with nature. Annabelle Hickson provides stunning ideas and instructions for flower installations and arrangements, covering beautiful, seasonal bouquets, flowers for friends, table and overhead arrangements and flower arrangements for special occasions. A Tree in The House celebrates the joy and simple, natural beauty flowers bring to the home, every day, with a focus on foraged and locally and seasonally grown plants. Interspersed throughout are gorgeous snapshots of Annabelle’s picturesque rural life. A Tree in the House is a stunning ode, in words and pictures, to flower arranging, and is as much an aspirational window into rural life as an inspirational guide to creating beautiful, simple arrangements.

Anti Glossy by Patrick Remy

Capturing contemporary trends and forecasting the look of the future, this dazzling anthology collects the work of the most cutting-edge photographers working today. This volume is an essential compilation of the most important photographic trends of the age of social media and digital publication.

The interaction between photography and fashion has always been compelling – how can artists balance commercial viability against their own creative vision? Anti-Glossy collects some of the most innovative photographers working in the field of fashion, exploring the way new media is influencing the direction of photography for print.

As the notion of the “fashion photographer” becomes less distinct, the industry is benefitting from the talents of artists whose influence leads the genre into a multitude of surprising, often shocking, directions. In this collection of new fashion photography, full-page colour and black-and-white photographs represent an incredible range of styles and techniques.

From the evolving vision of masters of the form such as Juergen Teller and Glen Luchford, to the ironic work of Sebastian Kim, to the challenges posed by young female voices like Annemarieke Van Drimmelen, Charlotte Wales, Sarah Piantadosi, Joanna Piotrowska, and Karen Knorr. The photographers featured in this exciting collection represent a cutting-edge trend in all its diversity. Paris-based author and editor Patrick Remy has selected over twenty photographers from emerging talents that hold the prospect of creating enduring fashion images and influencing the cultural and style trends of tomorrow to established figures exploring new directions.

Off The Grid by Dominic Bradbury

Recent advances in technologies and home-generated renewable energy have made building away from urban and rural infrastructures more practical and affordable than ever. This survey of the world’s most innovative off-grid homes reveals the cutting edge architecture and technology that is enabling us to escape to some of the most extraordinary natural environments on the planet. All of the houses featured in this book are fully, or almost fully, self-sufficient in terms of energy, water and, in some cases, food. Architecture and interior design expert Dominic Bradbury reveals how each architect has made everyday living in these wild and natural settings a rewarding and tempting reality. From snowbound cabins in the far Northern Hemisphere to coastal retreats that can only be accessed by boat, the diverse projects collected here show the innovative ways in which architects and their clients are tackling extreme climates, remoteness and construction challenges to enable a new way of life that is both liberating and sustainable. The imperative to reduce our carbon footprints and refocus on renewable sources of energy is having a profound impact on our domestic lives. This fascinating survey demonstrates that creative architecture, design and technology are redefining the possibilities for leading a truly rewarding and responsible lifestyle.

Space Utopia by Vincent Fournier

This unique collection of photographs features over ten years of collaborations with the most important space and research centres in the world, resulting in a one-of-a-kind story of the human race to the stars.

Vincent Fournier’s visionary photographs provide an imaginative look at space exploration by merging fantasy with reality in images of rockets, other worldly landscapes, research facilities, and cosmonauts. To produce these extraordinary images, Fournier has collaborated with the world’s major space centres and astronomical observatories, including NASA, the European Space Agency, the Russian space agency, and the European Southern Observatory. Readers are given access to confidential locations and projects such as the NASA SLS rocket. Fournier’s artistic vision creates a unique look at the history of space exploration, from the early Sputnik and Apollo programs to the future Mission on Mars.

The images invite us to focus on our perceptions of space and time. Fournier questions our past and future utopias–what are our expectations for the future and has the future already happened? The evocative images document and archive while also exploring humankind’s myths and fantasies about the future. 

As It Was by Heather Cremonesi

The iconic black-and-white photographs of Hamburg-born photographer Frank Habicht (born 1938) reflects the spirit of the Swinging Sixties in London. In the 1960s, the conservative postwar years in England gave way to a period of upheaval, with a younger generation dreaming of an unconstrained life, one full of free love, peace and harmony. On the streets of the British capital, Habicht began photographing the profound social and political changes that were underway. 

Habicht, who has lived in New Zealand since 1981, has produced photographs for many international magazines and newspapers, such as the Guardian, Die Welt, Camera Magazine and Twen. His photographs were recently exhibited at the Barbican in London, and he has made portraits of music and film greats such as Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, Jane Birkin, Christopher Lee and Vanessa Redgrave.

Enjoy!