Gifts for giving & getting

Since it’s only a few days until Christmas*, I thought I’d share some of my favorite things for those last minute shoppers. Some are things I have, and some are things I’d like to have. Naturally, books are pretty high on my list for both (as always), starting with this one that I have:


Lost Ireland by William Derham. It’s a beautiful book full of pictures of Ireland past; buildings, great stately homes, etc, the majority of which no longer exist. For me, as someone who has been researching and celebrating her ties to her Irish heritage (my paternal great grandfather immigrated in the early 1900’s from Dublin), it’s a wonderful way to reconnect to the places I’d love to know more about. Each section of the book covers a county and provides some general history of the area, and there are descriptions of each building pictured, and what happened to them. It’s a great book for an Irish history lover.

An accompanying volume would be Ireland: A History by Thomas Bartlett. A book I checked out so often from my local Seattle library, I finally decided to just buy it.

For lovers of historical fiction, I’ve become addicted to Philipa Gregory’s novels, flying through the Cousins War series (which covers from Edward IV through Henry VIII and how they came to power). Of course these are fictitious, but draw on real events – marriage alliances, beheadings, struggles – which give you a sense of what life was like during these times. I’m on the final book of the Cousins War and moving on to the Tudor Court series. I started (out of order) with Three Sisters, Three Queens – which I didn’t know was a series when I bought it. It’s the second book in the Tudor series, but it definitely hooked me onto Philippa Gregory, whom I hadn’t been interested in previously.


In my opinion, you can never go wrong with books. These are a tiny glimpse of the ones on my list this year:


I’ve been pinning Gerhardt Richter paintings almost daily, and recently watched the documentary, Gerhardt Richter Paintings. His work is fascinating and beautiful, and this volume would make a lovely addition to my collection.


The Nature Of Beauty by Imelda Burke is a another volume on my list I’d like to have. Goodness knows I’ve spent enough money in her store, Being Content. If you want to learn about organic skincare and clean cosmetics, then this is the guide. I’m trying to move in this direction as much as possible. If we think about our skin being the biggest organ, and then think about what we regularly put on our skin…changing my small makeup collection into skin-friendly items seems like a no brainer to me.

I saw this at my local Waterstones, and it just seemed like a fun book. Q&A A Day For Writers. Goodness knows I could use a jumpstart back into my writing, which used to occupy 70% of my time. I still have all my little scraps of receipts with my writing on it, sometimes even chapters of things. The characters would talk to me (and no, for a writer, that IS normal… really)


I had meant to include other items in my list, but books are the main things I buy. Of course, I wouldn’t mind anything from Zady, an ethical clothing company. I love this sweater:


Hello winter, come on over. You can never have too many sweaters. Full stop.

I’m pretty much head-over-heels for this sweater from Chinti & Parker as well, but it’s well out of my comfort price zone.


I find this Polly Wales ring to be very unique and stunning. And in the world of sameness these days, unique is good.


What’s on your gift giving or receiving list this year? Are you a last minute shopper?


*it’s very strange here in London, there’s no mention of any other religious December holidays, like Hanukkah, or Kwanza. in America, everyone knows when the dates these holidays are celebrated. here, it’s just….weird.

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