March 10, 2012

Birthday and books

So, this week I had my birthday. It started at 5.30 am when Finn ran up the stairs to our bedroom announcing, "Wow, Rolo has been sick and pooed all over the kitchen floor!" Oh, happy birthday me!
(He's fine now.)

Richard was frankly the sexiest man alive for dealing with the whole thing and bringing me a cup of coffee and two glossies to have with my breakfast!

I then got taken out for lunch with my wonderful mum and dad, and lo and behold, a lad of about 12 suddenly vomitted for England across the floor, about 1 cm behind me - whaaaaat?!!! But lots of love, and sweet gifts and a lovely suprise family dinner out at Hermitage Rd, (a fantastic new restaurant in Hitchin), plus the sun resolutely shining its heart out all day more than made up for the strangely high sick quota in my special day!

Inspiring books have been a brilliant theme in both the gifts I received at Christmas and then my birthday. I don't know about you, but this last year or so I have read so much online and used the internet as my primary resource for information, I realise I have actually read precious little of the printed word compared to normal, especially non-fiction. These glorious books have completely rocked my world, re-addressed the balance and I am poring over them for inspiration and expertise.

Starting at the top, two lovely new cookery books. The first, Lotte's Country Kitchen, is way too pink and fluffy in its style to normally appeal but the food just looks and sounds so good, and I like that it is arranged in months for chapters - I aim to make the recipes each month to kick myself out of sticking to the same olds. The diet for food lovers isn't a diet at all, but a book choc-full of mouthwatering recipes that happen to provide your body with low fat, low sugar, healthy and flavour-full goodness at the same time. Spring seems a good time to lighten up a little.

Next down, the New Artisans is the most wonderful book documenting a wide range of makers/artists and their studios and the crafts they create. So. much. talent.

Eco Colour was a suprise gift from a lovely fellow jewellery student - she said it just screamed me to her - and it shows, with the most lush photos, how to pick, dry and dye with botanical material - how textiles can be "painted" with real leaves and flowers and natural dyes. Makes my heart beat faster -imagine rough, slubby linens printed with real flowers or leaves with natural dyes. Trying not to hyperventilate!

I'm not going to tell  you a lie, the last two, were totally indulgent presents to myself after spotting them on the lovely blog of Hannah Nunn, a lamp-maker equally, possibly more, obsessed with the forms of plants than I am. If you haven't seen her lamps, go take a peek, they are sublime. I have the cow parsley table lamp and it is one of my favourite possessions. Anyhoo,  these books offer a close up exploration of the detailed forms of wild and cultivated plants - in truly beautiful photos, drawings and paintings. The meadow book is one of my favourite books ever, and the detailed photos of meadow wild flowers and grasses through the year is so useful for indentification and really inspiring for shapes I can explore in my jewellery making.

So my little pile of lush books is my celebration of the printed word, and the way it makes you take the time to learn and wonder and engage, to go back and peruse, and absorb and take time away from electronic media. There's nothing wrong with the flickering screen of course, what DID we do before it for speed of information and convenience and for connecting and discovering, but the printed word at its best, it just keeps giving doesn't it? Do you still buy non-fiction or do you get what you need online?


  1. Love love your new books ! I find the shapes, smell and texture of leaves and bark some of the most beautiful things in my world. I have my own herbarium which I add to every season. The net will never take the place of books for me, google is great for instant stuff but nothing can compare to the sight, touch and smell of books...

  2. I think I might need cookbook #2....I might be loving food a little too much.

    Happy Birthday Beautiful.

    We are in the midst of norovirus epidemic over here.

    Keep washing your hands and all should go well.

    xo Jane

  3. Happy Birthday Belinda, a fellow Pisces.
    You have some interesting new books to keep you inspired.

    Take care and have fun celebrating you!

  4. Happy Birthday. Yes it is books all the way for me, your collection looks particularly tempting. Thank goodness for Amazon.

  5. books make the best presents ever! there's a satisfying stack of cookbooks and gardening books next to the bed at all times here. x

  6. Well jolly Happy Birthday to you Belinda! What's with the projectile vom though! EeUW! What a mega hubby for dealing with dog incident...I wonder, I suspect Mr. Lane would be gallant if it were my Birthday!!!
    I like your word too! Action is an excellent word, and that's what I am off to do - take action on the fast sprouting weeds in the garden....

    Love Sarah -x-

  7. Happy birthday Belinda, what fabulous books, so lovely that everyone spoilt you for the day. I spent yesterday sowing some wild flower seeds in my neglected bit at the bottom of the garden, which I would like to become a wild flower area, alongside my wild life refuge - piles of twigs and branches blown off of Big Lime, so must check out English Meadow too in case it has top tips for rubbish gardeners!

  8. A belated Happy Birthday Belinda!

    I buy far too many books, and most are non-fiction, new and from second hand book stores. I already have a copy of eco colour - it's a wonderful book - and just added A Year in the Life of an English Meadow to my Amazon basket, so thank you for the recommendation :D

  9. happy birthday to you! I love getting books as gifts, i mostky read fiction and my hubs mostly reads non-fiction!

  10. Happy Birthday, my lovely!!

    Isn't it surprising how 'sexy' changes definition!!!

    Those books look LOVELY!! I NEVER tire of reading - always room for one more!


  11. Many happy returns Belinda!
    Great presie list, Great gift ideas too.
    Fab week this week weather wise to celebrate.

  12. Happy Birthday to you Belinda. I am glad to hear you had a lovely day despite your dog and the boy being sick.

    Your books sound interesting. I don't know any of them, but will google your cookery books later :-)

    Happy new week,

    Madelief x

  13. A very happy birthday, Belinda. Hope all your wishes come true. Can hardly wait for growing season to really begin - it might start tomorrow! xo

  14. A very happy birthday to you Belinda; it certainly started off in style;-)

    I love the naughty ease with which one can purchase a book or three with a click of a button. Amazon has made me smile on many an occasion. All your books look really interesting but I am off to check out Botany For The Artist. I am totally fascinated by any art form which is inspired by gardens and flowers in general. Thank you for the book recommendations and it's jolly nice to have visited you.


  15. What dramas to witness on your birthday. I haven't seen any of these books but they certainly look interesting and the Eco Colour one sounds like it might be calling to me. Thanks Belinda for that lovely list.
    K x

  16. Happy belated birthday (quite a dramatic one!) You have a lovely blog, and I'm a new follower! ♥
    Anne :)

  17. Hey I recognise a few of those. The eco colour looks very interesting indeed. Thanks for the mention and your kind words :) I am indeed obsessed! And Happy Birthday!!!!xxx

  18. What wonderful books! I confess that I have moved from mostly buying and reading fiction to reading blogs and buying non fiction. I am not entirely sure why. I am off to look at the English meadow book on Amazon as I already have a perennial meadow around my new orchard and am contemplating an annual one in a new area of rough ground. Happy Birthday too!