For travel lovers
Gardens of the Italian Lakes
This stunning hardcover coffee table book is a must-have for anyone who loves Italy or gardening. Featuring an in-depth look at Italian gardens (the only book of its kind), the captivating photographs instantly transport you to Italy.
Gardens of the Italian Lakes by Steven Desmond is published by Frances Lincoln (part of the Quarto Knows publishing group) and is available from Amazon.co.uk for £22.75 (hardcover).
This lovely photography book features England and Wales most beautiful remote villages and harbours (aka 'hidey holes').
The book was dedicated to the memory of Robin’s chocolate lab ‘Coco’ who accompanied him on all of his journeys that feature in the book , which will warm the heart of any animal lover.
Alongside the photos from his travels, Robin has also included the paintings of artists who live in the remote areas featured within the book – most likely inspired by their breath-taking surroundings.
Hidey Holes by Robin Whitcomb is published by Troubador Publishing Ltd and is available from Amazon.co.uk for £13.48 (hardcover).
The Greenwood Guide to South Africa hand-picked accommodation (Fifteenth Edition)
This guide is perfect for people who like intimate accommodations that are a bit off the beaten path. Focusing not only on the looks of a place, but the service and other unique touches it provides, travelers are assured that all of the recommendations within the guide have been vetted first-hand by their team of travelers.
The guide includes maps of South Africa, and covers B&Bs, guest-houses, game lodges, farms, self-contained cottages and other properties that don’t quite fit those boxes!
Each entry in the guide includes a summary paragraph about the property and includes top tips and contact details. We love how original the guide feels in comparison to some of the travel guides put out by larger travel companies, which can often feel a bit generic.
The Greenwood Guide to South Africa hand-picked accommodation (Fifteenth Edition) by Greenwood Guides is available from Amazon.co.uk for £14.95 (paperback).
For those who want to improve
The Art of Possible: New habits, neuroscience and the power of deliberate action
We love a good self-help book - especially at this time of the year when the cold weather sets in and you find yourself a bit down in the dumps and looking for a bit of inspiration.
This book is to be used like a workbook to help you face your fears, explore your emotions and get a better understanding of what’s holding you back to find your own ‘Art of Possible’. Anything to help one get of a rut can’t be wrong in our estimation.
The Art of Possible: New habits, neuroscience and the power of deliberate action by Kate Tojeiro is published by Black Mustang Press and is available from Amazon.co.uk for £12.99 (hardcover).
For clean-eating gurus
Jar Salads: 52 Happy Healthy Lunches
If you love eating healthily and are looking for lunchtime inspiration, then you’ll love this book, which is bursting with a wealth of delicious (and seriously healthy) jar lunches.
With 52 recipes, there are more than enough options to keep the recipes from becoming mundane, and you’ll not only save heaps on overpriced (and often unhealthy) take-away lunches, but will feel pretty smug knowing that you’ve made your own scrumptious lunch creations. We know what we’ll be doing for lunch come New Year!
Jar Salads: 52 Happy Healthy Lunches by Alexander Hart is available from Amazon.co.uk for £13.48 (hardcover) and is published by Smith Street Books.
For London foodies
London’s Best Brunches
Given that breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, brunch has always had a special place in my heart. Luckily for me, the brunch scene in London has seriously evolved in the past decade, when breakfast options were pretty grim, apart from the traditional English fry up.
This handy guide features the best brunches in London, with an overview on the signature dish at each restaurant, as well as recommendations on coffee, tea and cocktails to accompany your dish. The guide also does a good job of explaining the vibe at each venue, so you can base your decision on the atmosphere just as much as the food itself.
Quite simply a must for any self-respecting breakfast lover living in London.
London’s Best Brunches by Laura Herring is published by Smith Street Books and is available from Amazon.co.uk for £12.08 (paperback).
An exciting tale it's not (largely due to its random structure), however, it's great if you're looking for little-known facts about London that you can pull out to impress your friends during your next dinner party. Covering everything from bridges to arcades, fish and chips and everything in between, this unique guide book is packed with weird and wonderful facts about London.
One of my favourite facts gleaned from the book was learning that the Burlington Arcade was built to prevent people from throwing oysters (a fast food during 19th century London) into the yard of the 1st Earl of Burlington's townhouse.
Other interesting facts I came across include:
So, if you want to look at lesser-known London off the beaten path, then this book is for you.
Galleries, Palaces & Tea by David Backhouse is published by Curll Press and available for £9.99 from www.amazon.co.uk.
London lovers will adore London Sketchbook by Jason Brooks, a beautiful book brimming with beautiful, highly skilled sketches by London-born fashion illustrator Jason Brooks.
For anyone who has been blessed with spending time in London, whether it be a brief fling or a long love affair, you can't help but feel nostalgic as you flick through the pages. Having left the States to enjoy a new life and career in London, the book made me feel inspired all over again, and reminded me why I left my hometown for this magically enthralling city.
Every page in the book is as beautiful as the last, featuring a mixture of illustrations including architecture, fashion, and charming restaurants and shops dotted around London. A keen observer, Jason captures every minute detail in his illustrations, demonstrating both his talent and his passion for the city.
London Sketchbook by Jason Brooks, published by Laurence King Publishing, is available for £19.95 at www.laurenceking.com.
One of the greatest luxuries of all is having the time to relax with a great book.