Library corner – Curl up with a great book and a cup of tea

I have a lovely big stack of books just waiting for me to dive into! I love to curl up with a good book and a nice cup of tea, come rain or come shine, and think the two go together hand in hand!  In the good weather, there’s nothing better than enjoying a great book in the sunshine and fresh air.  When it’s cold, there’s such comfort to be found in retreating to a cosy corner with a steaming cup of hot tea and a book, whether new or re-discovered.

books tea time

I have been working my way through the pile of fab books I got as Christmas gifts, and have also been bought some more beauties for my birthday.  Add to that the fact that I can never go shopping without buying at least one book, and the pile is ever-growing!

Over Christmas, I channeled a vintage vibe by reading Nancy Mitford’s “Christmas Pudding” – a fun, festive, vintage read!  And I particularly like the cover, featuring some fabulous vintage clothes and cloche hats!

One of my very good friends, of course, knowing my love of books, bought me “Ex Libris” for Christmas, a book for true book lovers!  It was just the right book for curling up with in the cold and reading all in one go!

I absolutely love Mr Selfridge and am delighted that it’s part of my Sunday evening routine once more!  While I was eagerly awaiting the launch of the second series, I got in the mood by reading the book that inspired the TV series, “Seduction, Shopping and Mr. Selfridge”!  I love the historical context, the pioneering nature of Selfridge’s store – like them being the first British store to have cosmetics at the very front counter for all to see and try – and the historical and vintage references, from the costumes, to the replica advertising, to the Guerlain perfume and Yardley face cream!  I have to say, it has replaced Downton in my affections these days…

Another fashion and shopping-themed book, about a topic close to my heart, is “Green is the new black”. I have always felt passionate about recycling clothes, whether re-using and up-cycling your own wardrobe, or buying quality vintage and charity shop finds. I have always mixed in my wardrobe a combination of high street and charity shop bargains, good quality vintage and favourite designer classics. I think they all complement one another and I like to dress to feel good about myself. This book covers so many elements of this, from…

With this in mind, I picked up the beautifully-bound “How to tie a scarf: 33 styles”, which looks like its cover has been bound with a luxury silk scarf. I have just had a complete sort-out of my wardrobe, including accessories, and found I have so many lovely scarves in all the colours of the rainbow and an array of fabrics.  I really must find new ways to style and wear these scarves, so this book should come in very handy!

On the subject of style and fashion, I received the gorgeous “Parisian Chic” by Ines de la Fressange as part of my birthday goody bag from one of my best friends.  This is just the kind of book I like to curl up with and dip in and out of while taking a tea break at home! Fashion, style and shopping tips always inspire me, and I like books that you can always refer back to.  The same friend and I are also planning a girly trip to Paris soon, so it’s both a practical and pretty book in planning for our trip!

Novel-wise, I’m also savouring every word of Joanne Harris’ “Peaches for Monsieur Le Curé”, the next sequel to “Chocolat” after “The Lollipop Shoes”.  I loved both “Chocolat” and its first sequel – the colourful, cleverly-drawn characters and the strong sense of sight and smell that Harris conjures up in her books really transport you into the world that she’s writing about, and I always find myself glued to her novels from start to finish!  Knowing I will soon finish this fabulous book, I also recently bought her collection of short stories, “A Cat, a Hat, and a Piece of String”.  It was when buying this book in Bath when I visited a few weeks ago that I discovered I’d just missed the author popping into the local Waterstones, by a day!  Such a shame!  I will have to keep my eyes peeled for her next book tour…

Also on the reading list is Philippa Gregory’s “The White Princess”.  I loved the whole Wars of the Roses trilogy: “The Red Queen”, “The White Queen” and “The Kingmaker’s Daughter”, and also really enjoyed the BBC TV series inspired by these books, so I am looking forward to delving back into that turbulent period of history and the magical, yet realistic world that Gregory creates in her books.

Tree decorations

Speaking of history, I really enjoyed Susanna Lipscombe’s Channel 5 series on Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.  I have always been fascinated and inspired by Anne Boleyn and the Tudor period in general. I am planning a trip to Hever Castle, Anne’s family home, at Easter, and can’t wait!  I also really want to stay at the stunning Thornbury Castle in Gloucestershire, where Henry and Anne stayed in happier times and which features on the programme.  Understandably, this stunning hotel books up pretty quickly, so I will have to plan that well in advance for another special occasion!

Right, I’m off to have a pot of tea and settle down with another good book…

Enticing tea from Teavivre

The lovely people at Teavivre recently sent me a fantastic selection of top quality China teas, so I have been eager to try them all.  Today I was in the mood for a nice, strong black tea, so I put the blue teapot and one of the lovely teacups and saucers I received as Christmas gifts to good use and brewed up some Superfine Tan Yang Gong Fu Black Tea.  Teavivre Superfine black tea teapot and teacup

This delicious, earthy black tea is made up of pure tea buds and tea leaves, making it hearty and full of flavour.  At weekends, I usually have several cups of black tea in the morning and early afternoon, then change to something a bit lighter in the late afternoon and evening, so this was the perfect post-lunch brew.  I tried it both with and without milk, and both were crisp and refreshing.

Next, I plan to try their green and Oolong teas, then their other blends of black tea.  I love a bit of variety and am looking forward to the opportunity to use all my new teapots and steepers!