A truly beautiful Minxy mix of charm, inspiration, practical advice, and pretty projects to simplify and beautify your life and home. - Jane Brocket, The Gentle Art of Domesticity
My bedside reading has once again turned to coffee table books. I can’t seem to focus on novels now I’m home and writing again… hopefully not a permanent problem.
Two new favourites are the V&A book of Horrockses Fashions, and Perfect English Cottage from Ryland, Peters & Small. The first of these makes me want to run off to 1950s Roma with a suitcase of full-skirted frocks; the second to a bolthole in the countryside where I’ll finally have the time on my hands to bake cakes and learn to crochet. Either way, I should probably appreciate how gorgeous Sydney is this fine mid-winter, and get on with the business of enjoying it. But who can resist being transported to the fairytale world of books?
Horrockses Fashions was one of the most respected ready-to-wear labels of the late 1940s and 50s, and the V&A publishing team have done it real justice with this mix of fabulous frocks, fabrics, illustrations, archive photos and advertising. It’s laid out beautifully – not in that static, uninspiring way some vintage clothing books are – and the story’s an interesting read, too. I can highly recommend it for all vintage afficionados.
And to Perfect English Cottage, by Ros Byam Shaw. Deputy Editor for US fashion and lifestyle magazine W, Shaw really knows how to inspire, and I love her descriptions of these eighteen beautiful homes and their owners – so quirky and intricate, with lots of tips and details on how to achieve a similar look. I’m hooked. Talk about fairytales… it’s Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs without the wicked witch. A particular favourite is the former country home of Virginia & Leonard Woolf, which graces the cover. Delicious reading through and through.