October 3, 2015

the year in books :: October 2015

year in books october

My September book choice, Our World, was inspired by this lovely piece on Brain Pickings. It was every bit as wonderful as I’d hoped it would be, and more. Molly Malone Cook’s photographs are fascinating, an amazing insight into her life and vision. Mary Oliver’s prose sparkles with wisdom, sweetness and intensity. It made me want to go out and immerse myself in her poetry. The combination of these two results in a treasure of a book, one that I shall return to again and again.

My October choice has been influence by two things. Firstly, an upcoming trip to Paris at the end of the month. I adore Paris, and haven’t been since my eldest was a toddler, so I could not be more excited about returning there in a few weeks. Secondly, #theyearinbooks Twitter chat, which has become my main source of book recommendations, each of which has proved to be a gem. The Elegance of the Hedgehog was suggested to me a couple of months ago, and as it’s set in Paris, it seems the perfect choice for this month.

The October Twitter chat will be slightly early this month, on Monday 19th. It’s always an absolute treat, so do come along and join us if Twitter’s your thing; we’re a very welcoming crowd, and you’re sure to come away with a to-read list as long as your arm, and some bookish new friends to boot. (I’m @circleofpines on Twitter.) If you’d like me to tweet you a reminder nearer the time, give me a shout and I’ll add you to the list.

You can find Year in Books blog buttons, and all the details about the project on the YIB information page. Here’s a quick reminder of how it works:

The aim of the Year in Books project is to read (at least) a book a month during 2015. It’s not a conventional book club, so we don’t all read the same book, the project is about trying to ensure that we make space for reading in our busy lives, and is a way for us all to discover more lovely books (and lovely bibliophiles). At the start of the month, we blog about the book that we are intending to read, and, if we want to, write a few words (thoughts, comments, a review of sorts) about the previous month’s book.

If you would prefer to share your book choices over on Instagram or Twitter, please use the hashtag #theyearinbooks so that we can find your posts. You can share as many books as you like in this way- it doesn’t have to be restricted to one a month. I am @circleofpines on Instagram and on Twitter, if you’d like to tag me so that I can see your posts. If you’re joining in with #theyearinbooks over on Instagram, you can also add your Instagram posts to the linkup below by following these instructions.

There’s a Goodreads group for this project, and all are very welcome to join, whether or not you have a blog of your own. Finally, there’s a Year in Books Pinterest board, do follow along for all manner of bookish inspiration. If you would like to pin to the board, let me know in the blog comments and I will add you as a pinner. (If I should have added you, and haven’t, do nudge me! Pinterest is a little problematic on the issue and it sometimes takes a couple of attempts.)

It doesn’t matter whether or not you have linked up before- everyone is welcome and it’s never too late to get involved. Please do link back here from your post.

Thank you, and happy reading!


 Loading InLinkz ...

October 2, 2015


11821194_473143496206539_712708327_nIf you follow me on Instagram, you will probably already know about my hashtag project, #littlestoriesofmylife. I launched the project at the beginning of this month, following the pleasure that I took from my #makingjuly project with Emma. I chose this tag in particular because for me, the joy of Instagram (and also, to some extent, of blogging) is that it allows us to celebrate and/or share the tiniest elements of the stories of our lives. Small doesn’t equate to insignificant: these are the little moments that add up to the narratives that carry us all. In Instagram’s frames of beauty or of emotion, we are each the teller of our own story. I asked for people to share their stories by tagging with #littlestoriesofmylife any picture that captures a moment, or contains a narrative, however small it may be.

Bethan and Joe, of gorgeous ethical homewares store, Decorator’s Notebook were kind enough to provide one of their double-sided picture frames as a prize for my favourite image. The difficult part was choosing it. There were almost 1000 entries over the course of the month. So many lovely images, and so many wonderful small stories. It was truly a privilege to share in every one. In the end, I have selected six favourites, and one overall winner. I include with each image its caption, for therein the details of the story can be found.

IMG_0313@aptapothecary: ‘Ok, don’t judge me but I have to be honest and say I’m still in bed 🙊💕 Coffee has just arrived though and I have a date with friends on the Southbank so up I get! Happy Saturday everyone.’

IMG_0309@lillalinae: After coffee and cake we ventured into the woods in search of acorns, unfortunately there were none, but Lilia didn’t care.. She ran and kissed the trees and every few steps you could hear her saying ‘ahh, ohh, wow’ Oh, how I love seeing the world through her eyes.

IMG_0312@thislittlecorner: ‘[ to everything there is a season ] and a time to every purpose.

I collected these old broken clocks as a way to display the times that my children were born. There are five in total, four clocks for my boys and the clock in the middle for my baby girl because this is the order in which they were born. Having these clocks representing each of my children’s birth times is a small way of being aloud to also acknowledge my daughter who was unseen by all but afew people. I realise how very privileged I was to experience her living in me for those nine months until she passed away. These objects hold great significance to me because of the moments they carry, each of these moments changed me forever. The greatest thing I have ever and will ever do, is bringing these amazing people into the world.’

IMG_0310@diana_lovring: ‘Foggy and misty blue sky morning. Little A and I on our way on the bike – him chatting cheerfully, saying HEJ to everyone we meet on the way.’

IMG_0311@jo_rodgers: ‘This morning I’m eating a pumpkin pecan muffin while making a shopping list for @merrillstubbs’s Pasta Al Forno with Pumpkin and Pancetta @food52. Because in this chilly London house, it’s all pumpkin all the time. Until the bones of the cottage heat up, I’m going to stay wrapped in my husband’s wooly cardigan, gulping tea and reading straight through the autumn issue of @foxedquarterly.’


@c_theresia: ‘You gotta love your chores! Today has been full of household activities and usually I am not the biggest fan of such days. But honestly, I don’t mind hanging the laundry anymore – look at that view! So I have come to the conclusion that once you reach that moment of enjoying your chores, life is good!’

And finally, my favourite image is by Katrien of @growingwildthings. I loved this image as soon as I saw it. The autumnal colours and the simplicity. As a knitter myself, I never tire of photographs of knitting, and the story behind this one was one that I know all too well- a few snatched moments of knitting whilst the children play. I have always felt that with a piece of knitting, the moments of its creation are somehow knitted into the end product, little stories tied in with the stitches.

IMG_0314@growingwildthings: ‘some seaside knitting while my boys run wild and free, flapping imaginary wings, pretending to be seagulls • it’s so nice to find time to do some of the things i enjoy now that the boys are growing more and more independent ‘

Katrien, do email me with your address, and I’ll arrange for you to receive your prize!

Thank you to everyone who has taken part so far. The #littlestoriesofmylife gallery is a truly wonderful space to lose a few moments. The project is an ongoing one, so if you are on Instagram, please do continue to tag your images. October’s prize is a three month subscription to the rather marvellous Bookishly Tea and Book Club. I look forward to sharing in your stories in the weeks ahead.


September 30, 2015

patchwork September, 2015

patchwork september

September, what a beauty you have been. Misty, dewy mornings, days of bright sunshine, clear-skied evenings, with drifting bonfire smoke. Sloes, apples, blackberries, elderberries and plums: the bounty of the trees and of the hedgerows. Bunches of bright dahlias, skeletal brown seed heads, rich loam from the garden. The mystery of the pine forest, the lure of the ocean. A muted, dusky palette of blues and greens, browns and golds. September has brought all that is lovely about the early days of autumn.

As ever, I’ve been looking back- to last September’s patchwork – and to the month ahead, with a Pinterest board for October.

October on Pinterest

September 28, 2015

on the September table, 2015


I am documenting the year with monthly photographs of my kitchen table. Capturing the jumble that accumulates here, at the heart of the kitchen, is also a way to record some of the domestic stories of our family life.

September brought with it a blaze of sunshine, so sunflowers are an appropriate flower for this month’s table. I rescued these beauties from the reduced-price flower bucket at the supermarket. At just over £1 for a big bunch, I couldn’t leave them there! They were looking a little sorry for themselves, but I trimmed the stems, seared them, and plunged them into icy cold water. The blooms perked up, and are still going strong days later. I love their cheerful glow.

With the seasons on the turn, I have been feeling a little below par. I’ve been drinking hot chai tea, sweetened with a little honey from the bees at Dean’s Court, which I had the pleasure of observing at close quarters a couple of weeks ago (more on that to come…) The little wooden honey drizzler was a vintage find in one of my junk shop trawls. It’s rather sweet, if you’ll forgive the honey pun…

The miniature oil is one of a pair that I bought years ago from a French Brocante. I keep meaning to find a little space to hang them, and I think I may have finally found the right spot. We’re off to France again next month, so I’m crossing my fingers for one or two brocante treasures.

Finally, yarn. There’s something about the arrival of autumn that makes my fingers positively itch to knit! These are two balls of Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, with which I’m casting on a pair of these wrist warmers. Now I just need to knit like the wind, and get them finished before the hazy sunshine turns to sharp mornings and chilly afternoons.

Yellow, gold and brown : the September 2015 table.