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16 charming bookshops in the U.K. everyone must visit

Armchair Books

Armchair Books in Edinburgh


Armchair Books

Armchair Books

If you are an avid reader, be sure to check out Buzzfeed.com’s “16 Charming Bookshops in the UK Everyone Must Visit.”

We used to live next door to Armchair Books in Edinburgh, a lovely little store which is #3 on the list.

“You could easily lose a weekend while nosing about the dreamy Armchair Books. Delve into stacks and stacks of inviting tomes at this Edinburgh institution. If you’re still on the fence, Armchair Books are also great value on Twitter. Plus their logo is a dinosaur reading!”

See the full list!

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The best of Winnie the Pooh

Winnie the Pooh and Piglet

I spotted this on Facebook and had to share!

A.A. Milne’s first volume of Winnie-the-Pooh stories was published 89 years ago today. Here are great quotes to celebrate:

1. “Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. ‘Pooh!’ he whispered. ‘Yes, Piglet?’ ‘Nothing,’ said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw. ‘I just wanted to be sure of you.'”

2. “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

3. “Some people care too much. I think it’s called love.”

4. “You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”

5. “Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them..”

6. “It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like “What about lunch?”

7. “I think we dream so we don’t have to be apart for so long. If we’re in each other’s dreams, we can be together all the time.”

8. “I knew when I met you an adventure was going to happen.”

9. “Sometimes,’ said Pooh, ‘the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”

10. “Promise me you’ll never forget me because if I thought you would, I’d never leave.”

11. “‘How do you spell love?’
‘You don’t spell it…you feel it.'”

12. “People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.”

Yorkshire Mr. Men

Yorkshire Mr. Men

Ah, I love the Mr. Men series. Mr. Tickle, Mr. Messy, Mr. Nosey. So iconic!

But this did make me laugh – well, why not a Yorkshire Mr. Men series, right?!

RIP Sue Townsend

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4It was very sad news to hear that British author Sue Townsend passed away this week. Her series of books featuring teenager Adrian Mole have been legendary (I suppose she’s the British Judy Blume?!).

If you haven’t had the privilege of reading any of her writing, I’d suggest starting at the beginning with “The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4.”

In the meantime, check out some of Adrian Mole’s best moments, courtesy of New Statesman.

Paddington Bear collection now at Baby Gap

Baby Gap Paddington Bear collection

Okay, this may be the cutest little Baby Gap collection I’ve seen in a while! The line includes rain boots, toggle ponchos, hoodies with bear ears and some sweet graphic footed outfits.

See the whole line!

Charles Dickens Book Clutch

A Tale of Two Cities Book Clutch

I cannot help loving Kate Spade’s book clutches. See how she transforms “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens into a stylish clutch, with an interior zip pocket and room for 12 credit cards? It’s priced at $325 and is utterly perfection.

A Tale of Two Cities Book Clutch

And if Charles Dickens isn’t your bag, check out “Emma” by Jane Austen. Same treatment in a pale pink clutch!

Interview with “Americashire” author Jennifer Richardson

Jennifer RichardsonWhat happens when an American woman and her British husband decide to buy a 200-year-old cottage in the heart of the Cotswolds? It’s all in Jennifer Richardson’s travel memoir entitled “Americashire: A Field Guide to Marriage,” which received the 2013 Indie Reader Discovery Award for travel writing.

Richardson spent three years living in the Cotswalds, before moving back to the U.S. She and her husband currently live in Santa Monica, Calif. I caught up with her recently and talked about the expat life, taco salads and the joy of a good pub. Here’s what she had to say:

Q: What brought you to the U.K.? 
A: My British husband and I had been living in Los Angeles, and he had a yen to move back to his homeland for a stint. I was reluctant but told him if he found a job that would move us, then I would go. I didn’t actually expect my condition to be fulfilled so fast, but within three months, we were in London. Of course, once we got there, I loved it.

Q: What prompted your move back to the States? 
A: My grass-is-always-greener husband wanted to get back to America after six years of being away. In parallel, an opportunity came up through my job to move to Boston, so we took it. We loved Boston (our neighborhood, Beacon Hill, was about as British as you can get in the U.S.), but have now made our way back to Santa Monica. My aspiration is that we eventually spend part of the year here in California and part in our cottage in the Cotswolds.

Q: What do you miss most about British life? 
A: The pub, by which I really mean a place where you can strike up a conversation with a stranger without getting a funny look.

Q: What do you love most about American life? 
A: It’s easier to find a salad that isn’t iceberg lettuce with a pale quarter of tomato and, if you’re lucky, a slice of cucumber. I don’t think Cobb salads or Chinese chicken salads even exist in England. Taco salad would blow their minds. Which reminds me about two other great American institutions: Taco Bell and Target. When we lived in England, those were our first stops on any visit back to the states.

Q: Tell me about “Americashire.”
A: It’s a travel memoir, and here’s the pitch: When an American woman and her British husband decide to buy a two-hundred-year-old cottage in the heart of the Cotswolds, they’re hoping for an escape from their London lives. Instead, their decision about whether or not to have a child plays out against a backdrop of village fêtes, rural rambles, and a cast of eccentrics clad in corduroy and tweed.

Q: What inspired you to write the book? 
A: The three years I spent living in the Cotswolds. As a former urbanite/suburbanite, I was utterly charmed, and occasionally mystified, by rural English life. I felt compelled to write it all down, which I initially did in a blog, An American in the Cotswolds. This is where the raw material came from for the travelogue part of the book. In real life there was also this decision about whether or not to have kids going on at the same time, and I thought the moment was right for that story. Something about it felt and still feels zeitgeist-y: child-free celebs from Oprah to Ellen are in the spotlight, and the subject even made a segment of CBS Sunday Morning this past Mother’s Day.

Q: What advice would you give to Anglo-American couples that are trying to make it work? 
A: If you’re the American in the couple, learn to make fun of yourself, a.k.a. “take the piss out of yourself” in Brit-speak. That’s the true mark of character for the British, so it will make things easier not just at home, but at any pub in the U.K. If you’re the Brit in the couple, just try iced tea. It’s not the devil’s drink, I promise (despite what my husband says).

You can follow Jennifer Richardson on TwitterFacebook and Pinterest.

London Style Guide

London Style Guide

On a trip to Anthropologie last weekend, I spotted this London Style Guide by Saska Graville and had to check it out.

I realize that it’s one of those books that are almost instantly out of date from the moment they are published (better as a blog, perhaps), but in this case, it makes for a nice coffee book for $24.95. Great photos and good recommendations of places to eat, sleep and shop, broken down by neighborhood.

London Style Guide

We also got The Stylist’s Guide to NYC by Sibella Court. I love the book selection at Anthropologie.

BTW, did you know that Anthropologie has a shop in London on Regent Street? We walked by it on our trip to London a couple of months ago (mental note: must post London photos from our trip next week!)

The Gruffalo now at Target

I was at Target this weekend and ran into a couple of old friends!

Gruffalo
Gruffalo's Child

Yes! The Gruffalo and the Gruffalo’s Child on DVD, based on the books by Julia Donaldson! If you haven’t seen these, they’re definitely worth watching and keeping! They feature the voices of Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, John Hurt, James Cordon and Tom Wilkinson. I’d venture to say they are modern classics. Check them out – now on sale at Target for $7.50!

Edgar Allan Pooh

I’m not sure how A.A. Milne would feel about this one, but it made me smile!

Edgar Allan Pooh