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Five Favourite Things

Here are my favourite things this month:

1. The Bees by Laline Paull

Ever wondered what it is like to be a bee in a hive? Bizarrely, I actually have and now I have my answer! Not only does Paull have a beautiful and vivid imagination, but she has clearly done a lot of research into bee behaviour as well. The two together make this a brilliant story. I couldn’t put it down and, since finishing it, I have recommended it to everyone I talk to! Interesting fact: Laline was the name my brother called me when we were little, before he could pronounce Caroline…

2. Books and Quills

Since getting back from holiday, I’ve discovered ‘Book-Tubers’ on YouTube. I have read book blogs for many years, but had been a bit sceptical about how that would translate into videos. In general, I have to say that I still prefer my blogs, but Books and Quills is an exception. Sanne, the ‘YouTuber’ in question, has a varied and interesting taste in books. Her Dutch / American accent is very easy to listen to and her enthusiasm for books is infectious. Here is her wonderful book shelf tour, which sent me scurrying to the nearest book shop to check out her recommendations!

3. Quits

This is surprising as I am not much of a crafter. I am left-handed, which meant both my Grandma and Mum’s many attempts to teach me to knit have failed spectacularly over the years. If I am honest, I’d also just rather be reading a book, which is another reason I’ve not managed to learn basic sewing / knitting etc life skills. Despite this, on our recent holiday to the U.S, I became a little bit obsessed with quilts and quilting. It started with a tour of Louisa May Alcott’s home in Concord , Massachusetts (which was amazing and I will do a post on that soon), where a ‘Flying Geese’ quilt was pointed out as a potential sign that the Alcotts were part of the underground railroad. By the time we had reached Bar Harbour in Maine, by way of a few roadside quilt shops in New Hampshire, I was fascinated. Since then, I have purchased a few books on the history of quilting, which I will share with you shortly, and I am seriously considering booking myself on a sewing course!

4. Flat peaches

Have you tried flat peaches? I absolutely adore them. An even more delicate and delicious flavour than a normal peach, but also with a much more convenient design for eating!

5. London in the summer

I’ve also fallen a little bit back in love with London this summer. A country girl at heart, I often see only the negatives in this city I live in. However, I am back working in the very centre of London with my new job and as I walk up to Piccadilly Circus and through Trafalgar Square each evening, I do reflect on how lucky I am to live in this amazing place. With a trip to the Proms to hear Elgar’s beautiful Enigma Variations just behind us and a tour of the Virginia Woolf exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery planned, my renewed appreciation for London will continue.

So there are my favourite things from the last month. I am sorry my posting has been a bit sporadic. It is likely to continue to be so for the remainder of the summer, as life is a bit busy at the moment. In the Autumn I’ll return to my usual schedule of two posts a week though. In the meantime, I hope you are having a wonderful summer as well!


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Book Benches

I’ve just found about a new public art, literacy and charity initiative that I thought you might be interested in – book benches! Aren’t they beautiful, practical and fun?!

Wind in the Willows Book Bench Courtesy of Books About Town

Wind in the Willows Book Bench
Courtesy of Books About Town


You can see these fifty benches around London throughout July. They will then be auctioned to raise funds for the National Literacy Trust, an amazing cause.

I’m now back from a wonderful holiday and will be writing a few posts about it shortly. I hope you are all having a lovely start to your summers.


Five favourite things

I am so sorry about the unexpected intermission in activity here at Chestnut Book Blog. Real life got a bit hectic for a while, with a new job, travelling and a few family things. However, I am back now on and raring to go! To celebrate, I thought I’d share five of my favourite things at the moment.

1. London in the sun

We’ve had a few house guests recently and so have been into central London a little more than normal on a weekend. This photo was taken from the Royal Opera House terrace, looking down into Covent Garden. A blissful view accompanied by a very blissful cold drink!

Covent Garden, London

Covent Garden, London

2. White roses

So Richard of York will be buried in Leicester after all it seems. The flower of my native county was his badge, but is also one of my favourites.

White rose

White rose

3. Warsaw

I went to Warsaw for the first time a few weeks ago. My new job involves a lot of travel in Europe and this was one of my first trips. Not only did I see what I think was Joseph Conrad’s house (the sign was in Polish, so who knows really but it looked likely! If you read Polish, do let me know what it really says!)

Joseph Conrad's house?

Joseph Conrad’s house?

but I was made to feel very welcome by this surprising and vibrant city.



4. French Sole Marseilles Ballet Flats

I live in ballet flats. I do love heels but. in London, a girl needs to be able to run. I treated myself to this pair a few months ago and I have hardly worn anything since. They are comfortable, chic and go with everything. They are a little pricey, but are lasting well and there is 15% off at the moment if you fancied treating yourself too!

French Sole Marseilles Ballet Flat

French Sole Marseilles Ballet Flat

5. My Kindle

I was bought a Kindle for my birthday a few months ago. It will never replace the joy of real books for me but it has a place in my affections now. With travelling so much for work, it is such a comfort to know that I have as many books as I need at the touch of a button. It is also light and convenient; gone are the days of  my luggage weighing a ton!

What have your favourite things been this month?


Afternoon Tea at The Goring

Last week, my Mum visited us here in London for a spot of early Christmas shopping. We had a lovely time but a particular highlight was afternoon tea.

After a hectic morning and early afternoon, we dropped our bags and headed to The Goring for one of my favourite things in London – afternoon tea! The Goring is a family run, historic hotel that Kate Middleton spent the night before her wedding at. Arriving is like stepping into an older, more perfect world. We were greeted beautifully and led into a rich red and gold room. The carpets were thick, the silverware shone and there was a pleasant hum of polite conversation in the background.

The Goring Hotel, courtesy of

The Goring Hotel, courtesy of

I have been lucky enough to go to several London hotels for afternoon tea, including The Ritz, but The Goring has recently been voted the best. The sandwiches, scones and hand-crafted patisseries were all delicious. I took a very bad photo which I’ll include now, but please forgive me as it really doesn’t do it justice. However, it didn’t feel appropriate to take a while to get the perfect image so a quick snap was the only option at the time!

Afternoon tea at The Goring

Afternoon tea at The Goring

All in all, we had a wonderful time and, for a few hours, felt like calm Edwardian ladies rather than harassed twenty-first century shoppers! If you are in London for any length of time, I’d thoroughly recommend an afternoon tea for a wonderful taste of elegance and luxury. Beautiful!