Tag Archives: #Christmas

Embrace your crafty side this Christmas

With the biggest gift giving day of the year fast approaching (yikes it’s only just over 3 weeks away) it’s easy for panic to set in and totally ruin your budget. So let’s flip that panic and make the festive season much more merry by embracing our inner creativity and having a clever little crafty Christmas instead. 

Our elves have scoured the internet for titles that we think have the most fun craft to try. So sit back, grab yourself a cup of your favourite beverage and let your imagination flow…

 

Weaving Within Reach by Anne Weil

The resurgence of the ’70s in fashion and home decor has brought about a new trend in crafting; weaving. Anne Weil gives macrame basket weaving, and other weaving skills a makeover with beautiful photography and styling with projects that can be made on various easily sourced looms, and even some that don’t require a loom, with just about any kind of material or fibre (including yarn, leather, and paper). The photography is light and bright, and the book’s look is a little bit bohemian. Best of all, projects are organised by time commitment (one hour, weeknight, and weeknight projects), so readers can craft at their comfort level…and you could totally finish something by Christmas!

 

Craft the Rainbow by Brittany Watson Jepsen

What began as an Instagram hashtag and project collection (#CrafttheRainbow) that quickly went viral has become a show stopping book, offering a rainbow of completely new project ideas. Learn how to make playful party decorations, luscious flowers, amazing cards, and sophisticated wreaths, garlands, centrepieces, and more than you can imagine, all with nothing but the creative power of paper. Sought-after designer Brittany Watson Jepsen is known for the unusually imaginative and amazingly beautiful designs she creates for her website and host of clients (including Anthropologie). In Craft the Rainbow, Jepsen walks readers through the easy basics of transforming simple paper -including tissue, crepe, cardstock, leaves of books, and vintage and recycled paper- into vibrant, fanciful, handmade projects suitable for every occasion.

 

Japanese Stitches Unraveled by Wendy Bernard

Japanese stitch patterns are eye-catching and much sought after by devotees, but before now, they often seemed out of reach, whether locked behind Japanese-only instructions or tangled up in difficult-to-decipher illustrations. Japanese Stitches Unraveled offers over 160 rare patterns inspired by these elusive and intricate Japanese stitch designs, along with fully illustrated charts, familiar symbols, and clear instructions for every single stitch. Each stitch pattern receives Bernard’s unique four-direction makeover-topdown, bottom-up, back-and-forth, and in-the-round. To showcase the knitting in action, Bernard also includes instructions for six garments as well as her famous formulas for knitting without a pattern.

Go on, give it a go, you know you want to. 

 

By Hand: The Art of Modern Lettering by Nicole Miyuki Santo

In a world of screens and social media, people are constantly searching for ways to reconnect to the handmade and the authentic to add a personal spark and a beautiful look to everyday objects and occasions. The art of modern lettering is a point of connection, a way of crafting letters and words into something that delights the eyes and feeds the soul. With unique projects and an Instagram-worthy aesthetic, By Hand provides an inspirational jumping-off point for readers who want to incorporate lettering into a slower, more intentional lifestyle. Blending the aspirational and the instructional, By Hand brings the beauty of lettering beyond the page, through 30 distinct projects, from dip-dyed place cards to acrylic home furnishings. Relatable lessons introduce readers to the essentials of lettering, including tools (watercolour brushes, brush pens, and markers), fonts, and essential lessons, with the warm and welcoming approach of popular Instagram letterer Nicole Miyuki Santo. Encouraging lessons sprinkled throughout the book add a touch of mindfulness, while bright, airy photography and step-by-step lettered samples make this lovely volume a stunning approach to an on-trend pastime.

 

Macramé for Beginners and Beyond: 24 Easy Macramé Projects for Home and Garden by Amy Mullins

Discover a fresh, new take on the traditional craft of macrame, a craft that was incredibly popular in the seventies, is currently enjoying a renaissance. Macrame projects are the best way to bring the current trend for hippy luxe, boho interiors into your home (oh and for other people too…sorry totally forgot we are thinking of crafting presents for other people!) Macrame for Beginners includes very on trend macrame projects for inside and outside the home. You can choose from 12 different projects with an ‘easy’ and ‘more advanced’ version for each so you can develop your skills as you go. Learn all the basic macrame knots with the knot tutorial library so you can get started with your favourite projects whether it’s the ubiquitous hanging plant holder or a statement arch for the garden or a doorway.

 

The Flower Expert by Fleur McHarg

Flowers are a beautiful gift to receive. Fleur McHarg is a florist in the true, traditional sense of the word. Guided by the eternal wisdom of Constance Spry, the trailblazing early 20th century British florist, Fleur believes in letting flowers be the stars of the show by working with the natural shape of a flower or branch. When it comes to beauty, you can’t beat nature – but you can learn how to showcase it for startling impact. The Flower Expert is a stunning celebration of Fleur’s artistry and her ability to fuse modern and classic to create a style that suits each occasion.

 

So much craft…so little time.

Enjoy!

The Best Picks for Secret Santa Gifts 2018

Secret Santa gifts can be tricky…not only do you need to show that you are being thoughtful, but it also needs to remain affordable.

We’ve had a look around the internet and come up with a list of fab books that are sure to delight any name you happen to draw out of the hat. 

For your work bestie

Any Ordinary Day by Leigh Sales

As a journalist, Leigh Sales often encounters people experiencing the worst moments of their lives in the full glare of the media. But one particular string of bad news stories – and a terrifying brush with her own mortality – sent her looking for answers about how vulnerable each of us is to a life-changing event. What are our chances of actually experiencing one? What do we fear most and why? And when the worst does happen, what comes next? In this wise and layered book, Leigh talks intimately with people who’ve faced the unimaginable, from terrorism to natural disaster to simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Expecting broken lives, she instead finds strength, hope, even humour. Leigh brilliantly condenses the cutting-edge research on the way the human brain processes fear and grief, and poses the questions we too often ignore out of awkwardness. Along the way, she offers an unguarded account of her own challenges and what she’s learned about coping with life’s unexpected blows. Warm, candid and empathetic, this book is about what happens when ordinary people, on ordinary days, are forced to suddenly find the resilience most of us don’t know we have.

Prosecco Drinking Games by Abbie Cammidge

First up, we really recommend you drink responsibly…but you can still do that while reading this! Get the party started with this awesome collection of Prosecco-themed games to play with friends. What could be better than getting the gang together, grabbing a glass and cracking open a bottle of bubbles? Why, throwing a few Prosecco-based drinking games into the mix, of course! There are over 25 games that use everyone’s favourite sparkly tipple – ranging from hilarious Beyonce Bingo to the organised chaos that is the Prosecco Olympics. So what are you waiting for? Choose your game, pop a cork and prepare to laugh. A lot!

 

 

 

For the newbie

Your Dream Life Starts Here by Kristina Karlsson

This book is filled with powerful ideas and simple proven tools that will help you transform your wishes into dreams, and then into an achievable one-page roadmap for creating your dream life; a life designed by you for you, and for your loved ones. Kristina Karlsson, the woman behind the inspiring global success story, kikki.K, shares personal insights from her amazing journey, from humble beginnings on a small farm in Sweden to the 3am light bulb moment that led her to chase and achieve dreams that are now inspiring a worldwide community of dreamers. Filled with simple and practical magic and inspiring stories and wisdom from people who’ve dared to dream big, this book will show you how to harness the power of dreaming to transform your life in small, simple steps. Featuring stories of: Dr Tererai Trent (Oprah Winfrey’s all-time favourite guest), Arianna Huffington, Stella McCartney, Sir Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, Li Cunxin (author of Mao’s Last Dancer), Alisa Camplin-Warner (winner of a remarkable Olympic gold medal), Michelle Obama, and others. Whether you want to get the most out of your personal life, career or business, the insights on dreaming and doing in this book may be your most important learnings this year.

 

The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving A F**k by Sarah Knight

A brilliant, hilarious homage to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, showing how to shed your mental clutter for good. Aimed at overachieving but dissatisfied people everywhere. Sarah’s inspirational two-step “NotSorry” program shows how unleashing the power of not giving a fuck will help you shed unwanted guilt and obligations to redirect time, energy, and enthusiasm to your true priorities. Sarah reveals why giving a fuck about what other people think is your worst enemy-and how to stop doing it; how to sort your fucks into four essential categories; simple criteria for whether or not you should give a fuck (i.e. “Does this affect anyone other than me?”); and the two keys to successfully not giving a fuck without also being an asshole.So, get rid of the mental clutter, ditch the perfectionism and create the life you want – for good.

 

For the boss

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight

In 1962, fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed $50 from his father and created a company with a simple mission: import high-quality, low-cost athletic shoes from Japan. Selling the shoes from the boot of his Plymouth, Knight grossed $8000 in his first year. Today, Nike’s annual sales top $30 billion. In an age of start-ups, Nike is the ne plus ultra of all start-ups, and the swoosh has become a revolutionary, globe-spanning icon, one of the most ubiquitous and recognisable symbols in the world today. But Knight, the man behind the swoosh, has always remained a mystery. Now, for the first time, he tells his story. Candid, humble, wry and gutsy, he begins with his crossroads moment when at 24 he decided to start his own business. He details the many risks and daunting setbacks that stood between him and his dream – along with his early triumphs. Above all, he recalls how his first band of partners and employees soon became a tight-knit band of brothers. Together, harnessing the transcendent power of a shared mission, and a deep belief in the spirit of sport, they built a brand that changed everything. A memoir rich with insight, humour and hard-won wisdom, this book is also studded with lessons – about building something from scratch, overcoming adversity, and ultimately leaving your mark on the world.

 

Taskmaster by Alex Horne

Taskmaster- 200 Extraordinary Tasks for Ordinary People is the first book based on Dave’s flagship game show with a difference. In the show Greg Davies, as the Taskmaster, sets a series of ridiculous tasks to a group of comedians with Alex Horne assisting as his right-hand man, coaxing the hopeful champions to think creatively while completing various challenges – from trying to paint the best picture of a horse (while riding an actual horse), to destroying a cake in the most beautiful way. Taskmaster- 200 Extraordinary Tasks for Ordinary People is the closest thing to being a contestant on the show (without being a contestant on the show). It is a painstakingly plotted, carefully crafted collection of preposterous tasks, a personal introduction to the Taskmaster world and a fully-interactive guide to indulging your competitive streak with friends and family from the comfort of your own living room. From making the most artistic tea-stain on the page to creating a self-portrait while blindfolded, this book requires you to think – and draw – outside of the box. Rivalry is encouraged, dodgy tactics rewarded and bribes accepted. In short, the reader gets the total Taskmaster experience in the form of a book. Part board-game, part choose-your-own-adventure, part self-help guide, it is to books what Taskmaster is to TV; uniquely original and deviously addictive. Expect cheating. Expect arguments. Expect both cheating AND arguments.

 

 

For the person you’ve only ever seen in the lift

 

The Honey Badger Guide to Life by Nick Cummins

Are you jaded by modern life? Do you dream of ‘going rogue, running hard, standing tall, fearing nothing, getting off the grid and attacking life?’ Then meet The Badger . . . The Honey Badger Guide to Life is a maverick guide to a better life for anyone who wants to live at maximum revs and get smarter, stronger and happier in the process. With his hilarious stories, Aussie eccentricity, dedication to family and incredible lust for life, Nick ‘The Honey Badger’ Cummins has inspired Australians of all ages. The Honey Badger Guide to Life teaches novice Badgers how to survive and thrive in the urban jungle with tips on health and hygiene, sex and romance, culture and cooking, money and career, life and death, manners and morals, friends and family. Buckle up and listen in as The Badger schools you in how to; Give a speech, Win an argument, Administer a ‘man hug’, Tell a joke, Break-up with a bird, Survive in the wild, Stare down a bull and much more! Jam-packed with crazy yarns, dinkum Badger-isms and practical wisdom acquired on his adventures around Australia and the world, this hilarious, warm (and weird) book will enlighten, entertain, baffle and inspire you to embrace life . . . just like The Honey Badger.

 

Suburbia: The Familiar and Forgotten by Warren Kirk

“The sentiment that flows through these images is a balm to the knowledge that time is passing and things will change,” – William McInnes.    Warren Kirk’s photos will strike a chord with anyone who’s grown up in the Australian suburbs in the past 50 years. Somehow both achingly familiar and unimaginably strange, these luminous images continue his 30-year project of documenting a way of life that is slowly disappearing, along with the people who lived it. Taken with loving attention and considerable skill, and with the utmost respect for the people and places that appear in them, Kirk’s photos of shops and houses, of gardens and lounge-rooms, of people surrounded by the things they love, are beautifully evocative and powerfully nostalgic.

 

Enjoy!

The Hottest Cookbooks of 2018

Over the past few years there has been a change in our approach to what we eat and drink. This shift  reflects our changing attitudes towards our health and the environment – and also how we socialise. We are now in a culinary world of adventurous vegetarian and vegan cuisine with avocado smash being a standard brunch item, not to mention deconstructed and bowl meals. 

But fear not, we have compiled a list of the hottest cookbooks of the year so that you can adopt a few new dishes to pop into your foodie repertoire and wow your dinner guests. 

So make yourself comfortable and get your fingers ready as you’ll want to bookmark these titles as possible Festive Season meal inspiration, or even just to give Santa a nudge as to what you want to unwrap in on Christmas Day…which is only 11 weeks away (yep…true fact)!

 

Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi

It’s no secret that we love Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes (you can read about Karen’s love of Ottolenghi here) But boy-oh-boy some recipes can be a little intimidating. Ottolenghi Simple showcases Yotam’s standout dishes that will suit whatever type of cooking you find easy – whether that’s getting wonderful food on the table in under 30 minutes, using just one pot to make a delicious meal, or a flavoursome dish that can be prepared ahead and then served when you’re ready.

 

 

 

Lagom By Steffi Knowles-Dellner

Technically this book came out last year, but it’s been a hot seller this year so we have included it on the list. This beautiful, fresh cookbook offers genuine insight into how Swedes eat and cook – with recipes that fit around the seasons, occasions, times of day, and appetite. Eating and cooking in tune with ‘lagom’ means embracing food that is good for body and soul, unfussy, delicious and sustaining, and all in harmony. The Swedes understand that balance is everything – that you crave comforting food when a bitter wind is howling outside, that refreshing, lighter meals suit hot, hazy days, that a mid-morning bun is good for morale, and that a long, sociable lunch with friends and family on a Sunday is the most rewarding way to end the weekend. There is a time and place for every kind of food, and when everything is in equilibrium, you will be content and satisfied. Steffi Knowles-Dellner is a Swedish food stylist and blogger (check out the blog here) who will introduce you to the unique Swedish concepts that encapsulate lagom, in this her debut book. From the well-known smörgåsbord table of open sandwiches, and Fredags mys (“cosy Fridays”) when hunkering down on a cosy sofa and tucking into tacos is a must, all the way to the irresistible idea of lördagsgodis – a single day for eating sweets to satisfy even the sweetest tooth.

 

 

Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering by Joanna Gaines

Magnolia Table is infused with Joanna Gaines’ warmth and passion for all things family, prepared and served straight from the heart of her home, with recipes inspired by dozens of Gaines family favourites and classic comfort selections from the couple’s new Waco restaurant, Magnolia Table, which opened early 2018.

Jo believes there’s no better way to celebrate family and friendship than through the art of togetherness, celebrating tradition, and sharing a great meal. Magnolia Table includes 125 classic recipes from breakfast, lunch, and dinner to small plates, snacks, and desserts. Complemented by her love for her garden, these dishes also incorporate homegrown, seasonal produce at the peak of its flavour. Inside Magnolia Table, you’ll find recipes the whole family will enjoy. You can check out Joanna’s blog here.

 

 

Cravings: Hungry for More by Chrissy Teigen 

Chrissy Teigen serves up a second glorious cookbook packed full of more delicious, irresistible, ‘eat-me’ food that you’ll want to devour right here, right now. Just as in Cravings, Chrissy’s recipes are high on flavour, low on guilt and she knows how to make every bite count. In this book, her focus is on faster and easier, but never less than 100% delicious. You’ll find the best comfort food, the sneakiest midnight feasts, instant dinner party grub to impress your friends, and a few more John Legend favourites. All accompanied with Chrissy’s laugh-out-loud irreverence and page-lickingly gorgeous food photography.

 

 

Platters and Boards: Beautiful, Casual Spreads for Every Occasion by Shelly Westerhausen

Okay, so this is my favourite style of cooking….platters count as cooking I’m sure! This visual cornucopia of a cookbook is the guide to entertaining with effortless style. Celebrated author and food blogger Shelly Westerhausen shares the secrets to creating casually chic spreads anyone can make and everyone will enjoy (and envy). Organised by time of day, 40 contemporary arrangements are presented with gorgeous photography, easy-to-prepare recipes, suggested meat and drink pairings, and notes on preparation and presentation. Helpful advice includes tips on portioning, picking surfaces and vessels, pairing complementary textures and flavours, plus a handy chart featuring board suggestions for a variety of occasions (from holiday parties to baby showers). Platters and Boards is an inspiring housewarming or Christmas gift and resource for throwing unforgettable get-togethers.

 

 

On Vegetables: Modern Recipes for the Home Kitchen by Jeremy Fox

Okay…so this one was also published last year but it’s so good we had to include it. On Vegetables is the highly anticipated cookbook from Jeremy Fox, the California chef who is redefining vegetable-based cuisine with global appeal. Known for his game-changing approach to cooking with vegetables, Jeremy Fox first made his name at the Michelin-starred restaurant Ubuntu in Napa Valley. Today he is one of America’s most talked-about chefs, celebrated for the ingredient-focused cuisine he serves at the Los Angeles restaurant, Rustic Canyon Wine Bar and Seasonal Kitchen. In his first book, Fox presents his food philosophy in the form of 160 approachable recipes for the home cook. On Vegetables elevates vegetarian cooking, using creative methods and ingredient combinations to highlight the textures, flavours, and varieties of seasonal produce and including basic recipes for the larder.

 

Enjoy!

A Culinary Christmas

Preparing and sharing food is an important part of many festivals, and Christmas is no exception.  Celebrate the culinary side of Christmas, whether you prefer a traditional meal with all the trimmings, or something different, more modern or casual.  Here’s some delectable inspiration from our best-loved cooks; from guidance on how to host your first Christmas lunch, to the perfect gift for your foodie friend, or a bit of indulgence for yourself, these are books that will entertain, delight and inspire:

Jamie’s Christmas by Jamie Oliver
Delia’s Happy Christmas by Delia Smith

First up, two trusted guides to help you achieve a stylish and delicious feast, year after year.  For those who prefer their recipes to be detailed and precise, you’d love Delia Smith; Delia’s Happy Christmas will show you, in meticulous detail, how to cook all the traditional Christmas dishes. For those who prefer a more relaxed vibe and modern flavours, look to Jamie Oliver – he also loves the classics, but he’s not afraid to take shortcuts, and he offers a big range of alternative options, including vegetarian and vegan dishes.  Both Jamie’s Christmas and Delia’s Happy Christmas are much more than just a collection of recipes – they are complete how-to guides, and include planning tips, shopping lists, decorating ideas, and recipes for gifts and for leftovers – in short, everything you need to help you survive and succeed at entertaining during the entire holiday season!

Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh

This latest book from Yotam Ottolenghi – co-written with pastry chef Helen Goh – makes an indulgent gift both to yourself, or to a loved one.  Sweet is a book about baking, desserts and confectionery, based on the delicious offerings in Ottolenghi restaurants.  Honouring Helen Goh’s Australian background, many of the recipes are inspired by Antipodean classics, including pavlovas, Anzac biscuits and even a coffee-flavoured “Ottolenghified” Eskimo Pie.  The recipes are supported by extensive notes on ingredients and cooking techniques.  Sweet is also about the celebratory joy of sharing sweet treats – so browse here for your showstopping dessert for Christmas Day, ideas for food gifts, or for the perfect cake or biscuits to make your home super welcoming.

Smorgasbord: the Art of Swedish Bread and Savory Treats by Johanna Kindvall

In our current obsession with everything Scandi, there’s curiously little attention on one Swedish icon – Smorgasbord. This tradition – of a table laden with good breads and savoury toppings for DIY open sandwiches – is perfect for relaxed holiday entertaining.  Johanna Kindvall’s guide includes recipes ranging from perennial favourites such as rye bread, chicken liver pate and Swedish meatballs, to contemporary and seasonal specialties such as elderflower cured trout and butter-fried mushrooms with walnuts.  There are also recipes for pickles, sauces and infused aquavit liqueurs. Get some healthy and elegant ideas for an everyday lunch, or for a feast!

The Christmas Chronicles by Nigel Slater

I’ve already mentioned The Christmas Chronicles in my blog post about Creating your own Christmas Traditions; but I love this book so much that I am including it again!  The Christmas Chronicles is Nigel Slater’s love letter to winter – the crisp cold air, the cosiness indoors, the food and festive traditions at that time of the year.  Arranged like a diary (from early November to early February), each entry is a mix of anecdote, recipe and folklore – there’s interesting stories on candles, and pantomimes, and (of course) an extensive discussion about plum pudding.  Fascinating and curiously intimate, The Christmas Chronicles will take you to a sparkling wintery Christmas, wherever you are in the world.

The Great Christmas Cookie Swap Cookbook by Good Housekeeping Magazine

Baking cookies and biscuits are part of the Christmas traditions of many countries, and a Cookie Swap / Exchange is a fun way to meet up, share and have fun.  Have each guest bring a batch of cookies, enough to share with everyone.  At the party, sample the treats, mix and match the cookies and provide pretty packaging, so that everyone leaves with a beautifully wrapped cookie assortment.  The Great Christmas Cookie Swap Cookbook offers large-batch recipes perfect for sharing.  With recipes for goodies including blondies, chocolate crinkles and apricot almond squares, it offers plenty of inspiration for hosting your own Cookie Swap.

And finally…
The Hungoevr (Hungover) Cookbook by Milton Crawford

So you had a great time last night at your end-of-year work do, but now you are feeling a bit under the weather. And 25 of your relatives are coming for a “casual” pre-Christmas catchup.  The Hungover Cookbook (or rather, The Hungoevr Cookbook) promises to help you perk up, ready for another day – and another drink. Drawing on the wit and wisdom of P.G. Wodehouse, Milton Crawford classifies hangovers into six different types, before prescribing appropriate cures – actually quite delicious-sounding recipes including lemon pancakes and breakfast burgers – to suit each type.  And for those who really can’t manage more than a phone call just now, the author has thoughtfully offered a range of takeaway suggestions in addition to recipes.

Styling your home in time for Christmas

It is fast becoming that time of year when friends and families start piling into our homes laden with goodies and treats to share and we frantically tidy the house (and pretend it always looks this good) and decorate it with baubles, fake snow (for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere) and tinsel galore. We’ve noticed that Christmas decorating can certainly divide people…some people like to go all out (especially our children), and others like to rein it in and prefer to celebrate this crazy season with just a ‘touch’ of festive cheer.

So we have scoured the literary world and have found some fabulously inspiring books that can help you style your home in a variety of ways that will both wow guests and also keep your home beautiful long after the festive season…(psst, they make terrific Chrissie pressies too).

 

The Scandinavian Home by Niki Brantmark

Scandinavia is famous for its distinctive style: homes are pared-back and simple, and form and function are combined to create aesthetically pleasing and practical interiors. Scandinavians are inspired by light, having an abundance of it in summer but so little of it in winter, and house designs tend to maximise the amount of natural light that enters the home, and allow the inhabitants to make the most of outdoor life during the summer. Similarly, nature and the weather are major influences: homes are made warm and cosy for the freezing winter months – not just literally with log burners, but also through incorporating wood and natural materials. Here Niki Brantmark, owner of the interior design blog My Scandinavian Home, presents a wide-ranging collection of these beautiful homes and explores how the Scandinavian lifestyle is reflected in them all.

 

How to Decorate by Farrow & Ball

Set to become the bible of home decoration, Farrow & Ball How to Decorate provides a highly practical and inspirational guide to the successful use of paint and paper in any home, large or small, urban or country. Published on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the iconic brand, the book brings together the expertise of Joa Studholme and Farrow & Ball’s creative team to demystify the nitty-gritty of transforming a home – from deciding which colours work best in a north-facing room to creating accents with paint and making the most of a feature wall.

 

Decorate for a Party by Holly Becker

Decorate for a Party is a stunning sourcebook packed with decorating tips and techniques that will ignite your creativity. Whether you are planning a significant celebration or a simple dinner with friends, this book delivers creative ideas for every occasion. All aspects of party planning are covered, from lighting to playlists, hostess gifts, colours and patterns, food ideas, wall decor ideas, DIY projects and hundreds of fun tips that will make your party memorable. With over 200 practical ideas including ten step-by-step projects, ten playlists and ten 6 Ways projects, Decorate for a Party is split into ten sections by theme covering a range of different colour palettes and styles, from bright to moody tones, forest and children’s parties and beautiful boho and modern styles. All themes can be mixed and matched to use for a wide variety of occasions in homes of any size from the sprawling country home to a one-room city apartment. Decorate for a Party encourages you to make the most of what you have, to make things by hand and modify store-bought party supplies, and to infuse your party with personality and style. You’ll find hundreds of quick and beautiful ways to create a party that is meaningful, memorable, budget-friendly and fun!

 

The New Bohemian’s Handbook by Justina Blakeney

The New Bohoemian’s Handbook guides readers in beautifully simple techniques for adding good vibes, and style to living spaces. Packed with hundreds of ideas for bringing positive energy to your home, the book features exercises and activities for thinking about rooms in new ways. With Justina’s expert guidance, learn how to rearrange, paint, prop, and plant your way to a home that’s fresh and inspiring. Uncover your “spirit environment” and learn how to use colour and scent to enhance mood, productivity, and relaxation. Revel in Justina’s encouraging advice, (“you got this!”) and easily and affordably turn any dwelling into a personal sanctuary.

 

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 na 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.

 

Simple Decorating by Melissa Michaels

If you want to jump-start your style and refresh your home without needing power tools and a winning lottery ticket, make Simple Decorating your go-to resource for can-do decor. Spark your makeover momentum with 50 no-fuss tips and discover how to get unstuck by embracing a style that is your very own, transform your spaces with simple colour, window treatments, and furniture choices, Whether you start with one tip or take these on as a challenge for the month, it’s never been more fun (or possible) to create a home you can’t wait to come home to.

 

Enjoy!

The Savvy Shopper’s Christmas Guide

Online shopping is a real blessing when you have family and friends scattered around the world – not only can you shop at your leisure, but the parcels can be sent directly to the recipients (giftwrapped if required), without a mad scramble to find packing materials and a trip to the post office.  But not all of your favourite stores will ship overseas that way – so how to find one that does? This is where Booko can help.  Booko can help you work out the best prices for books, eBooks, DVDs and games for delivery in 17 different countries – here’s how:

• When you visit the Booko website at www.booko.com.au, the region is set to Australia. This is indicated by the Aussie flag in the top-right corner of the webpage:
• Click on the flag and it will reveal all the countries/regions available – which includes Japan, China, Spain as well as NZ, US and the UK..
• Click on the flag for the destination country you require. The new flag is now displayed in the top corner. Now search for your preferred book / eBook / DVD as usual, and Booko will calculate and rank prices based on shipping to your new destination country.

So easy!

Here are a few book and DVD goodies that I’m earmarking for friends overseas…

Kedi [DVD]

Kedi proves that, yes, everyone loves watching cat videos.  This feel-good success of 2017 is a documentary about the street cats of Istanbul – they have been an inextricable part of the cityscape since first arriving in trading ships centuries ago. They are free to roam and are often fed and cared for by their human neighbours. Kedi focusses on seven cats with different personalities and stories full of humour and drama.  The camerawork offers a cats-eye view of beautiful chaotic Istanbul and encourages us to reflect upon our notions of community, of progress, and of the relationship between animals and people.

 

A Die Hard Christmas by Doogie Horner

Die Hard is widely regarded as one of the Best Christmas Movies ever – and now comedian Doogie Horner has amped up the festive feel and made the Die Hard story fun for the whole family! A Die Hard Christmas is a beautifully illustrated picture book set to the rhythms of Twas the Night Before Christmas.  The violence has been toned down but is still present – so best to share with older kids – that is, if you can prise it from the fingers of the grownups!

 

Twilight Zone – The Original Series Season 1 [DVD – NTSC Region 0]

The Christmas Break is perfect for binge-watching, with many DVD sets released in time for the gifting season.  This Twilight Zone Season 1 box set allows you to revisit this classic series that has remained fresh, relevant and chilling for over 55 years.  Its mixing of science-fiction, fantasy and horror themes, its famous twist endings and use of speculative fiction as a vehicle for social and political commentary is groundbreaking and has influenced generations of Creatives.  This is a 6-disc set offering all 36 episodes of Season 1.

 

 

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Already a bestseller beloved for its authentic voices and gripping story, Wonder has now become a major film starring Julia Roberts and Jacob Tremblay.  10 year-old Auggie has facial deformities that make him look different, but he loves Minecraft, Star Wars, and ice cream just like any other kid.  Auggie had been home-schooled, but he and his parents decide that he is now ready to re-join the wider world. Wonder tells the story of Auggie’s first year at school; it shines through its cast of complex characters and its deft handling of sentimentality.  A fabulous conversation-starter about empathy, differences and bullying.

Creating your own traditions for the festive season

How do you like to celebrate Christmas?  Christmas is a time when we find comfort and joy in performing familiar rituals with familiar people. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t make new traditions, and indeed many have – by creating something to share with your own children or your tribe of friends, or by adopting something you’ve loved in your travels.  If you’re ready to put your own special touch on your Christmas celebrations, we’re here to help – we’ve gathered some great resources to help you make your Christmas more imaginative, creative, sustainable and authentic:

Christmas: a Biography by Judith Flanders

Social historian Judith Flanders investigates the history of Christmas in this extensive and entertaining biography.  She turns up some surprising tidbits – Christmas has long been more about merriment and feasting than about religion (even in the fourth century, Church Fathers were lamenting that people were forgetting the “true meaning of Christmas”); that the commercialisation of Christmas is not a recent problem, and that Santa was dressed in red even before the iconic Coca Cola advertisements.  The evolution of Christmas meanders from Europe towards Turkey (where the real Santa Claus supposedly lived) and even to Japan, where Judith Flanders discovers that Christmas Eve is seen as a romantic time, like Valentine’s Day, to be celebrated by couples. The wealth of detail in Christmas: a Biography is perfect for putting you in the festive mood.

Green Christmas: how to have a Joyous, Eco-friendly Holiday Season by Jennifer Basye Sander and Peter Sander with Anna Basye

“Give more, consume less” is the mantra that will help you achieve a more eco-conscious Christmas without skimping on the love and fun – it will make Christmas cheaper and less stressful too.  Green Christmas shows us how the Reduce, Reuse and Recycle ideas can work at Christmas time – a time typically associated with conspicuous consumption.  It’s packed with tips on reducing our environmental impact, from using recycled materials to make cards and gifts, choosing between a live or an artificial tree, to creating eco-responsible lighting displays. It also reminds us that even simple actions such as carpooling and swapping outfits with friends can reduce our use of limited natural resources.

 

Maggie’s Christmas by Maggie Beer

As a former northern-hemispherian who has fully embraced summery Christmases, I think the Old World can learn a thing or two from the New.  One of these is our approach to festive food – lighter dishes, emphasis on seafood, a relaxed and informal attitude to entertaining, and a willingness to incorporate new flavours.  Let Maggie Beer be your trusted guide in introducing new ideas to your Christmas menu.  Whether you’re after a twist on classics, such as roast turkey with prune and orange stuffing, or passionfruit and banana pavlova; or crowd pleasers such as gourmet pizza, pan-fried squid or espresso jellies, you’ll find recipes that will make your next season’s entertaining more memorable than ever.

 

The Christmas Chronicles: Notes, Stories and Essential Recipes for Midwinter by Nigel Slater

Nigel Slater is one of my favourite authors, and this is my early Christmas present to myself.  Like his Kitchen Diaries series, the Christmas Chronicles is a journal studded with seasonal recipes – and also Nigel Slater’s love-letter to winter.  Spanning the days from November 1 to February 2, The Christmas Chronicles waxes lyrical about anything and everything wintry, from hot toddies to pantomimes to choosing Christmas trees to winter travels in Norway and Japan.  Nigel Slater’s quiet but evocative writing takes the reader straight to a cosy room with a crackling fire, book in one hand and hot drink in the other, while outside the landscape is silenced by falling snow.  The Christmas Chronicles is not just an absorbing read, but also the ultimate journalling inspiration.

 

 

Big Book of Christmas Things to Make and Do by Fiona Watt
The LEGO Christmas Ornaments Book by Chris McVeigh

One of the best ways to get kids involved and busy at Christmas is through making decorations – there’s nothing more personal than decorating with items made by your kids or yourself, and even the wonkier pieces are sure to bring back fond memories in years to come.  The Big Book of Christmas Things to Make and Do offers lots of ideas in a range of crafts including Christmas decorations, cards, wrapping paper, toys and baking.  Projects are illustrated with stepwise instructions.  For those who don’t fancy paper crafts, how about making decorations from LEGO?  The LEGO Christmas Ornaments Book offers detailed instructions on fifteen impressive projects, from traditional styles such as snowflake to more lighthearted ones such as a hamburger!

 

Ugly Christmas Sweater Party: Christmas Crafts, Recipes and Activities by Brandy and Matt Shay

When did ugly Christmas sweaters come back as a thing? Add some silliness to the festive season by throwing your own Ugly Christmas Sweater party.  It’s a good opportunity to hang out with friends, dress up and have lots of laughs.  You can also use this opportunity to help those less fortunate, by raising funds for charities such as Save the Children. Marketing experts Matt and Brandy Shay have done all the hard work for party-throwers by compiling this manual – suggestions for outfits (including for your pets!), decorations, food, drinks and games are all included.

The best Games, DVDs and eBooks to give this Christmas

There’s only six more weeks until we frantically decorate trees with tinsel and baubles and wrestle with tape and ribbons as we wrap pressies for all of our loved ones. But not to worry, we have your back…and can even save you from the wrapping frenzy!

We have scoured the world in search of the best games, DVDs and ebooks to give to others this Christmas. Make yourself a cup of tea, sit back and smugly do all your Christmas shopping in one big swoop! You’re very welcome.

 

Board Games

 

Dan and Phil’s Truth Bombs

Ka-Boom! This board game just about broke the internet when word got out that Dan and Phil were releasing a board game! Gather your friends and get ready – it’s time to drop some truth bombs. Answer questions about each other and prepare for funny facts, awkward admissions and random revelations that’ll cause explosions of laughter. Grab a pencil, pick a question and bombs away!

The explosively honest party game that helps you find out a bit more about your friends Lay out some Question Cards, pass around the Target Sheets and let those truth bombs fly Once all the questions are answered, prepare to hear awkward admissions, random revelations and explosions of laughter Fresh from the minds of YouTube legends, Dan & Phil Age 14+, 4 – 8 players.

 

Game of Thrones Monopoly 

When you play the Game of Thrones Monopoly, you win or you die…Wait! It’s not as serious as death but you will have to pay up, as the number 1 property board game meets the hit TV series Game of Thrones! Game of Thrones fans, brace yourselves, Winter is coming and so is the Game of Thrones Monopoly Collector’s Edition! Mr. Monopoly definitely took a wrong turn at Old Kent Road and ended up in Westeros. Get your friends and family together and join him in the world of Game of Thrones to see who will rule the Seven Kingdoms and sit on the Iron Throne. Each property square and title deed card contains a beautiful artwork from Game of Thrones and the center of the board has a stunning map of Westeros itself. This amazing Collector’s Edition allows players to invest in some of the most popular locations from the show, such as King’s Landing, Winterfell and Braavos. Traditional Houses and Hotels are transformed into custom Villages and Keeps.

 

DVDs 

 

Transformers – The Last Knight

Every legend hides a secret.
Humans are at war with the Transformers, and Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving the future lies buried in the secrets of the past and the hidden history of Transformers on Earth. Now, it’s up to the unlikely alliance of Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), Bumblebee, an English lord (Anthony Hopkins) and an Oxford professor (Laura Haddock) to save the world.

 

 

The Crown – Season One

Okay, to be honest I completely binge watched this and I would love to watch it all over again. This drama follows the political rivalries and romance of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign and the events that shaped the second half of the 20th century. As a young Elizabeth becomes Queen, she must manage major political issues and personal matters, which often clash in ways she never imagined. Created by Oscar nominee Peter Morgan, this epic tale won Golden Globes for Best Drama Series and Best Actress. Starring: Claire Foy, John Lithgow, Matt Smith.

 

 

 

The Emoji Movie 

Take an adventure in the secret world inside your smartphone to Textopolis, a bustling city where all your favourite emojis live. In this world, each Emoji has only one facial expression – except for Gene (T.J. Miller), who is bursting with multiple expressions. Determined to become “normal”, Gene enlists the help of his handy best friend Hi-5 (James Corden) and the notorious code breaker Emoji Jailbreak (Anna Faris). Together, these unlikely heroes embark on an epic “app-venture” through the apps on the phone, each its own wild and fun world, to find the code that will fix Gene.

 

 

 

ebooks

 

 

The Rooster Bar by John Grisham

Law students Mark, Todd and Zola wanted to change the world – to make it a better place. But these days these three disillusioned friends spend a lot of time hanging out in The Rooster Bar, the place where Todd serves drinks. As third-year students, they realise they have been duped. They all borrowed heavily to attend a law school so mediocre that its graduates rarely pass the bar exam, let alone get good jobs. And when they learn that their school is one of a chain owned by a shady New York hedge-fund operator who also happens to own a bank specialising in student loans, the three realise they have been caught up in The Great Law School Scam.

So they begin plotting a way out. Maybe there’s a way to escape their crushing debt, expose the bank and the scam, and make a few bucks in the process. But to do so, they have to leave law school, pretend they are qualified and go into battle with a billionaire and the FBI . . .

 

The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape

This has been sitting on Booko’s most click list for most of the year and it has been selling out in bookstores all over Australia this year – it was even the subject of major theft in some book stores – that’s how popular it was!

‘This is the only money guide you’ll ever need’  – that’s a bold claim, given there are already thousands of finance books on the shelves. So what makes this one different? Well, you won’t be overwhelmed with a bunch of ‘tips’ … or a strict budget (that you won’t follow). You’ll get a step-by-step formula: open this account, then do this; call this person, and say this; invest money here, and not there. All with a glass of wine in your hand. The prefect gift for any member of the family.

 

Enjoy!

The Best Gifts For Everyone On Your Christmas List

Pack away the pumpkins and break out the festive tunes…it’s nearly the BEST time of the year!!! Christmas is only SEVEN weeks away and we have saved the day with our top picks for everyone on your Christmas List…you’re welcome!

The Home Lover

 

Plant Style by Alana Langan and Jacqui Vidal

Ferns are back in the bathroom, cacti are sitting on plant stands and hoyas are cascading from hangers. Indoor plants are the ultimate indoor accessory. Softening interiors and readily available, they are a stylist’s best friend.

However, it’s their power to transform a sterile space into an urban sanctuary that makes them more than just an inanimate prop – all you need to know is how to use them.

From the founders of coveted plant-wares studio, Ivy Muse, comes this charming guide on how to turn your home into a jungle-like retreat. With design-savvy tips and expert advice, you’ll learn all there is to know about decorating with plants and botanical styling plus the necessities like light requirements and when to water and feed. From bathroom to boudoir to every room in between, create your very own green oasis with Plant Style.

 

Home For Now by Joanna Thornhill

More people are renting now than ever before, but the rental market remains surprisingly unflexible, with many tenants banned from making even the simplest alterations, such as hanging a picture or painting a wall. Even those who have managed to take that first leap onto the property ladder often find themselves with no cash left to renovate, so their first home is just a short stop-gap to their “forever home”; they resort to a renter’s mindset, unwilling and unable to invest vast sums in the fabric of their property and instead “making do” with quick fixes. Home for Now provides a blend of both inspirational and practical advice, showing how canny tenants have transformed their stepping-stone abodes into stylish spaces.

The Dreamer

The Kinfolk Entrepreneur by Nathan Williams

Pairing insightful interviews with striking images of these men and women and their workspaces, The Kinfolk Entrepreneur makes business personal. The book profiles both budding and experienced entrepreneurs across a broad range of industries (from fashion designers to hoteliers) in cities across the globe (from Copenhagen to Dubai). Readers will learn how today’s industry leaders handle both their successes and failures, achieve work-life balance, find motivation in the face of adversity, and so much more.

 

Working Women’s Handbook by Phoebe Lovatt

In this book, millennial entrepreneur Phoebe Lovatt shares her knowledge with women everywhere who want to learn the best way to set up their own business or freelance enterprise. It’s the ultimate guide to job satisfaction, filled with practical advice on developing and driving a working life you love. Bursting with actionable tips, this book outlines an agenda for making and managing money, setting goals, and establishing success-oriented routines, with worksheets, exercises, and fool-proof “how-to” sections to help chart your course. From the lowdown on launching your own venture to a bullet-point checklist for an essential self-care regime, it will teach you to manage any dilemmas that crop up, and take the stress out of setting a budget. This no-nonsense manual comes packed with author Phoebe Lovatt’s personal insights from her own career as a successful freelance journalist, moderator, and founder of The WW Club, the leading digital resource and global community for working women worldwide.

The Student

Melts by Fern Green

Everyone loves a melted cheese sandwich – they are cheap, quick and easy to make, and don’t involve much cooking skills or special equipment. This book includes over 50 imaginative and delicious toasted sandwiches, perfect for hurried dinners, tight budgets, quick snacks or when you just don’t feel like cooking a big meal.Featuring a list of tasty bread suggestions, from filling sourdoughs and seeded multigrain to sweet brioche and fruity loaves, grilled sandwiches don’t need to be boring. Try a Bacon, guacamole and cheddar, Pulled pork and cheese or Corned beef with wholegrain mustard and gruyere. Meat-free delights include a Beetroot, rocket and goat’s cheese and a game-changing Kimchi and stilton that is to die for.They don’t all have to include cheese, either! A toasted Curry and mango chutney sandwich and a Peanut butter and honey will change the way you view this humble comfort food. And yes, there’s a whole section on sweet sandwiches that will have you drooling: Blueberries, honey and cream cheese, a Raspberry, Nutella and mascarpone, and, the most decadent of all, Roasted strawberries, brie and dark chocolate.Melted, grilled and piping-hot: it’s the only way you’ll want to eat a sandwich again.

 

Breddos Tacos by Nud Dudhia and Chris Witney

Breddos Tacos revels in being a non-traditional but incredibly inventive taco cookbook with the over 75 recipes taking flavour combinations and ingredients from cuisines from almost every continent in the world, in order to create the ultimate combination of one perfectly cooked taco piled high with complex layers of flavouring. The recipes cover tacos, tostadas & plates and are divided into beef, poultry, pig, seafood, lamb and vegetables, featuring dishes such as Barbecoa beef cheeks, Yucatan Chicken with mango habanero sauce, Green Chorizo& duck egg and Scallop Aguachile. However, the breddos recipes don’t just cover tacos (although most of the recipes can be piled onto taco-esque’edible plates’) as they also offer street food staples such as the Iberico ham cheese burger and Yucatan spatchcock chicken with Dong’s flatbreads. The guys also share the breddos story to ultimate taco-dom fame; detailing their epic taco-fuelled Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas-esque road-triparound Mexico, Miami, the Deep South and Los Angeles devised solely to discover the greatest flavour combinations in all America – on a taco. This book will sate even the greatest taco fanatic whilst also revolutionising the ingredients and dishes you can create from the miniature taco hero.

The Gentleman

More Men in This Town by Guiseppe Sanataria

More Men In This Town is an extension of Gieuseppe Santamaria’s successful first books Men In This Town and Women In This Town. In this, his third book, his focus is once again men’s fashion, but seasonally based – winter (polka dots – representing snowflakes) and summer (pin stripes – representing sunbeams).

He has once again travelled broadly to capture candid street shots of men in Sydney, Melbourne, Tokyo, London, Paris, Florence, Madrid, New York and LA. As well, the book includes written profiles (mini interviews on style and fashion choices) with men in different cities and notes on his subjects’ different style directions.

 

Man Made by Dan Jones

With the rise of perfectly preened sports stars, online dating, and the dreaded selfie stick, every man worth his salt wants to look his best. Male grooming is no longer about being vain: it s essential. A real man has a stylish haircut, conditions his beard, manscapes, moisturises, wears decent shoes, takes the right vitamins, and is probably hitting the gym right now to hone his physique. Feeling confused? Fear not, because Dan Jones is here to guide you through everything you ever needed to know about personal grooming. From man-buns and mustaches to eye cream, facials, and buying a decent suit, this is a dapper DIY guide for all men, from teens to dads, who want to look their best year-round.

The Crafter

Roped In by Gemma Patford

Let Gemma rope you in to create a range of fun, accessible DIY projects all aimed to help you dress up the everyday. Gemma employs her famous ropework and all around craft genius to offer a range of projects and crafty tricks to make your life more fabulous. Looking for a macramé plant hanger to spruce up your living room? Want to create a swanky dog lead for your favourite pet? Looking to give your next dinner party some added class? Keen to make yourself a beautiful blouse that will have your friends demanding one of their own? This book is full of fun, accessible DIYs to help you decorate, entertain, and celebrate in style, no matter your skill level or the size of your living space.

 

Sunshine Spaces by Beci Orpin

Sunshine Spaces is about bringing a little of the outdoors into your home. Inspired by the colour and beauty of nature, designer Beci Orpin shares her ideas and guides you step-by-step through fun projects for indoors, outdoors, party and play. Featuring some of Beci’s favourite materials, including wood, fabric, plants and recycled objects, Sunshine Spaces will tell you everything you need to know about bringing the sunshine into your life and home. Sunshine Spaces is Beci’s fourth book see her others here.

 

Enjoy!

Books to get you thinking this Christmas

As we hurtle towards December, a few things brighten our days – anticipation for Christmas (the food! The long holiday! The time to read!) and also the wave after wave of new release books, ready for gifting or to add to our own wish lists. Team Booko’s currently in a cerebral mood, so here are our top picks for books that inspire and challenge us to think:

Garden of the Lost and Abandoned: the Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Woman and the Children She Saves by Jessica Yu

This biography of Ugandan journalist Gladys Kalibbala shows human nature at its most selfless and inspiring. Gladys writes a newspaper column in Kampala called “Lost and Abandoned”, where she profiles homeless children in the hope of reuniting them with their families. Her conviction about giving these children a chance to thrive leads her to set up a farm for them to stay in.  Garden of the Lost and Abandoned offers an absorbing portrait of a charismatic, determined and energetic woman.  Jessica Yu’s background as an award-winning filmmaker shows in her use of vivid dialogue, local colour and a dramatic narrative with plenty of highs and lows.

Illegal by Eoin Colfer, Andrew Donkin and Giovanni Rigano

Comics / graphic novels are not just about superheroes, and Illegal highlights how it can be a powerful tool for discussing complex issues.  Twelve-year-old Ebo is all alone – his sister and brother have both disappeared, escaping their African homeland for the safety of Europe. Hoping to reunite with his sister, Ebo also sets out on this long and perilous journey, crossing the Sahara Desert before sailing across the treacherous sea. Throughout his ordeal, Ebo never loses hope of reaching his sister, or of finding a place where he can grow up in peace and safety. Illegal is a gripping story and an excellent way to help children understand the refugee crisis. For ages 9 and up.

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

Start with Why is the basis of the third most-watched TED Talk ever (34 million views and counting).  The name “Start with Why” refers to a common trait in the most successful leaders and organisations – they are very clear about why they do what they do.  Focussing on the Why – rather than the How or the What – engages people’s emotions and motivates them to act.  When the Why (i.e. mission) of a company is unclear, it leads to poor decision-making that loses sight of longer-term success.  Simon Sinek is an anthropologist who has turned his analytical gaze towards what makes leadership and management effective.  The simple yet powerful messages in Start with Why inspire us to find our Whys and act upon them.

Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

This follow-up of sorts to the bestselling Lean In  is one nobody would have wanted, or expected Sheryl Sandberg to write – it’s the story of how she clawed her way back from profound grief following the recent, unexpected and public death of her husband. Feeling lost and disoriented, Sheryl Sandberg turned to Adam Grant, a friend and psychologist, whose professional insights became her framework for how to survive through, and overcome, this bleak time.  Option B is part memoir, part social science and part self-help manual; Sheryl Sandberg’s openness, honesty and her fighting spirit make it both a very moving and a very helpful book.

Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King

The latest Stephen King novel sees him collaborating with his son Owen (also a published author).  Their take on Sleeping Beauty imagines a viral pandemic that makes women fall asleep and grow cocoons around themselves; disturb the cocoons, and the women awake as vicious zombies. In their dream-state, women enter a better, happier alternative-world; meanwhile, the loss of an entire sex creates chaos in the real world.  Is Sleeping Beauties straight horror, a twisted fairytale, or a fable? Fans of The Handmaid’s Tale may spot its dystopian themes. Read into this what you will.

Hiddensee: a Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker by Gregory Maguire

Having put his unique spin on childhood favourites (including Mirror, Mirror and the fabulous Wicked, Gregory Maguire turns his eye to the quintessential Christmas story – The Nutcracker. Hiddensee tells the life story of Drosselmeier, the elderly toymaker who made the nutcracker given to his goddaughter Klara. Drosselmeier was a foundling who, despite a miserable upbringing, retained his innocence and his ability to love and care. Hiddensee is another showcase for Gregory Maguire’s gift for giving emotional depth and a rich, surprising backstory to characters that we thought we knew well.  Pre-order now ahead of its release on October 31.