I don’t know about you, but this time of year just makes me want to draw the curtains, pull on some cosy socks and curl up with a cuppa and a good book. There are lots of lovely lifestyle titles that publish around this time of year (just in time to add to your Christmas wish list!) so I’ve gathered a few that will encourage you to think, dream and make….
Seeking Slow by Melanie Barnes
I’ve followed Melanie’s blog for many years and she has also contributed to 91 Magazine from time to time (you’ll find a piece in the current issue by her in fact) so it is lovely to see her first book – Seeking Slow – publish; and it is a truly lovely read. Melanie has developed a unique voice through her blog Geoffrey and Grace – a soothing, comforting voice, that kind of speaks to your soul; often uplifting, sometimes heartbreaking, always inspiring, depending on the topic.
Her book has the same warmth and her wise words make you stop and think about why we all seem to rush through life, being ‘busy’ and barely having a moment to appreciate the every day. I want to soak up every word and then implement them, as Melanie’s approach to slow living is one that we really must take heed of as we journey through our lives.
Order Seeking Slow, Published by Rock Point, £9.99.
Embroidery Now by Jennifer Cardenas Riggs
So, now that you are slowing down a little, why not take up a new craft to really focus your mind and enjoy those quiet moments to yourself?! Embroidery has become increasingly popular over recent years (we have quite a popular blog post from over three years ago highlighting modern embroidery that still get lots of hits), and I love how many different applications there are for the craft; from customising clothes and making tactile wall art to creating homewares and cute jewellery.
This new book by Jennifer Cardenas Riggs (or @threadhoney as she’s known on Instagram) has a lovely mix of contemporary projects to try. Jennifer’s work has a mystical feel to it, which feels particularly cool and modern, but she has also included some floral motifs and simple geometric designs within the book. Embroidery is a super affordable craft to have a go it as there is no fancy equipment or materials required, so why not give it a bash?!
Pre-order Embroidery Now. Publishes 31st Oct by Hardie Grant, £14.99. Photography © Nassima Rothacker
East London Homes by Sarah Bagner & Jon Aaron Green
Interiors books have changed over recent years, I wrote a little about this last year in this post. There certainly aren’t as many being published, and the ones that are have a different feel and angle to them. This book, East London Homes, by Sarah Bagner and photographed by Jon Aaron Green, is no exception. As the name suggests, it hones in on a specific area of a specific city to peek inside the homes of creatives residing there, while also discovering a little about the people themselves.
There are 29 homes featured, and while it doesn’t show full home tours of each location – instead around 4-5 snippets from around each residence – it’s enough to get a feel for the space and the occupant’s style. Images are accompanied by insightful text, sharing a little about the people, the story behind their home and their style. This is a great book if you are interested in interiors as a whole and not looking solely for inspiration in a particular type of style. The book mixes a real spectrum of aesthetics, but it is the stories behind them and the creative lives that are lived there that make it a treat.
Order East London Homes. Published by Hoxton Mini Press, £30.
Nomad by Emma Reddington
Society has conditioned us to live a certain way – have a house, have a career, have a family- but what if you crave something different?! Adventure, wilderness, freedom. It may seem like a pipe dream to many of us, but Emma Reddington’s new book Nomad proves that it is possible, and actual real people are already living their nomadic dream.
Emma travelled to meet those living out a different kind of reality, residing in vans, Airstreams, canal boats and even a school bus, discovering that the era of the internet has made it possible to do whatever you want from wherever you want. The book combines a showcase of small space design with the inspiring stories of those who have rejected society’s norms to live a simpler life. You might not follow their lead, but you will enjoy reading about them nonetheless.
Order Nomad: Designing a Home for Escape and Adventure, published by Artisan books, £22.99. Photographs by Sian Richards.
The Scented Candle Workshop by Niko Dafkos & Paul Firmin
Who doesn’t love a candle?! Especially as those Autumn evenings roll in? I love having one by my desk during those drab winter afternoons when the light is low. Niko and Paul, founders of Earl of East are blazing a trail in the world of candle-making, as well as the independent retail market, with two shop spaces in London, selling not only their candles but many other independent makers work. They also run in-person workshops and now, they share their experience & knowledge through their first book, The Scented Candle Workshop.
If you’ve always fancied making your own candles, or have tried and failed in the past, then this is the book for you. It gives a in-depth insight into choosing the right kinds of materials, the science behind scent and of course the process behind making a variety of candles, from those in containers to taper versions. It feels like there is so much to learn from this book, and I predict that once you get started, there’ll be no stopping you!
Order The Scented Candle Workshop, published by Kyle Books, £20. Photography by Anna Batchelor
Making a Life by Melanie Falick
The focus of many craft-related titles is how to do-it-yourself; tutorial-led, project-based books to get you making. These are wonderful of course and incredibly valuable for learning and doing, but for something a little different, this new book, Making a Life by Melanie Falick, approaches a craft-focused book in a different way. Melanie took a journey to meet, talk to and make with a number of craftspeople around the world, of all different kinds of disciplines, hearing their stories and discovering what making by hand means to them.
I really felt the sense of ‘a journey’ when leafing through this book. There is of course beautiful images of the makers and their crafts, but also some more candid shots of Melanie connecting with those she met, workshops in progress and moments of their lives outside of their studios. It’s a hefty book, one to live on the coffee table for delving into day to day, providing a creative lift; encouragement from the stories of those who have chosen a life that reflects the human need to create.
Order Making a Life: Working by Hand and Discovering the Life You Are Meant to Live, published by Artisan books, £27. Photographs by Rinne Allen