Alan Berger’s The Forager Chef’s Book of Flora serves a creative, flavoursome feast of recipes focussed on wild plants. One person’s weed will often be Berger’s delicious delight, and this book invites readers to pay attention to, and forage, the wonderful wealth of wild plants that flourish in fields, forests and gardens. The chapter divisions say it all - Verdant, Abundant, Aromatic and Nourishing - each of them rich in inspiring, easy-to-follow recipes, from the familiar (soups made with watercress, for example) to the unexpected - who would have thought sunflowers could have so many uses and be so tasty? With 180 recipes in all, plenty of photographs, tonnes of tips on techniques for preparation and storage, plus in-depth detail on plant families, this is encyclopaedic in scope, and is sure to bring fresh wild wonder to tables.
Imbued with infectious personal passion as it shares expert information and plenty of practical guidance, Vicki Hird’s Rebugging the Planet is a brilliant book for bug-lovers of all ages and, given bugs’ vital importance to the upkeep and well-being of Planet Earth (let’s pause for a moment to acknowledge the fact that bees contribute more to the UK economy than the Queen), it deserves to be enjoyed and implemented far and wide - at home, and in classrooms too. In fact, this is perfect for reading and implementing during longer holidays from school, or over the course of a term, especially chapter four which presents an extensive range of how-to ideas for re-bugging your own patch of the world. But back to the beginning. The book sets out its inspirational stall in the opening chapters by explaining all the vital things bugs do for us, among them pollinating plants, feeding birds, feeding humans, defending our food crops, cleaning our water, controlling pests, and healing us. Maggots, for example, can remove (munch) and disinfect rotting flesh, leeches can stop clots, and the honey made by bees has anti-inflammatory properties. To play a role in the author’s re-bugging initiative, readers might find themselves inspired to build a bug palace, buy bug-friendly food from bug-buddy farmers, and much more. This is packed with plenty of ways to live a bug-better life, which in turn means living on a better planet.
An absolute little treasure! After the death of his grandfather, Rintaro finds himself on an adventure with Tiger the talking cat, to help books that desperately need saving. This incredibly quirky and beautiful novel highlights the importance of books, friendship, and self-belief. The simplicity of the story highlights the warmth, the love, and the true power of books. It also encouraged me to explore my own relationship with books. Sosuke Natsukawa painted images straight into my thoughts, simple, clear, vividly bright, they still sit in my minds eye. A shout out to the translation by Louise Heal Kawai, as I felt as though I was reading the original Japanese version. If you, like me, think of books as being more than words on paper, if you talk to them and pat them, are moved by them and have thoughts altered by them, then I recommend The Cat Who Saved Books with my heart and soul. Chosen as one of my Liz Picks of the Month, it really would make the perfect gift, either for you, or another book-lover in your life.
Personal memoirs are complex to write and often hard to read. Some fall at the first hurdle by coming across as self obsessed, the author expecting readers to buy into a sort of self-therapy in print. Others can be too revelatory, when the author has failed to exercise any sense of self-editing and allows the urge to confess all, or explain minutiae, to get in the way of the wider story. They can, at worst, be self-indulgent tracts, of interest only to the writer. Robert James’ O’Brien’s wonderful Just One More Drive is none of those. It is a searingly honest, wonderfully written story of O’Brien’s metamorphosis from stuttering adolescent and confused pubescent in Ireland to becoming the man he hoped he could and always wanted to be. What makes this a really special account of one man’s discovery of his true self, is O’Brien’s ability to tell his story with admirable sensitivity to the people he lives with, works with and knows, but also to himself. He depicts his strong early sense of himself and his potential, and describes the frustration and self awareness of not being that person with such clarity that, from the very first chapter, you will be willing him to succeed, urging him to leap the hurdles that life has put in his path. And then there are the cars. From the Mini he owned on passing his driving test to the growling BMW beast he tames as he takes control of himself and his life, they appear throughout as avatars of his self-perceived status and mark the yardsticks of success on his path to self-discovery and self-assuredness. At its core this is a touching testimony of one man’s triumphs in his struggles, both of himself and for himself. It is, to use that much over used term, a “journey” on many levels and as you get to know him and how he thinks it will have you cheering him on, with every heart-warming page.
Pip Stewart’s Life Lessons from the Amazon is two books in one. Firstly, it’s a graphic account of an expedition down Guyana’s perilous Essequibo River - a source to sea adventure brimming with danger and beauty in equal measure. Secondly it’s a thoughtful reflection on that journey that provides insights and learnings which might be usefully applied to 'normal life'. As the team makes its way down the river each chapter highlights a different emotion, behaviour or human attribute which is then given the jungle treatment as Pip recounts an occasion from her Amazonian experience where it surfaced. Appreciation, Growth, Conflict, Connection.. and many more such themes enjoy an adventurer's analysis leading to the very last chapter, ambitiously titled Death and Life … in which a flesh-eating parasite nibbles its way into the story. For Pip Stewart, this extraordinary adventure was life-changing and some of the hard-earned wisdom she shares within Life Lessons from the Amazon might just change the lives of others.
If the pandemic has taught us one thing, it's that people love parks As horizons shrank, we took stock. At first, a sense of panic set in: nowhere to go, nothing to do... Then we all went to the park, and we realized something: we need greenery - we crave it. Whether we're in Colombia or Korea, America or Australia, urban parks are places where we can find calm amid the chaos. They can also (more often than we may realize) conceal intriguing hidden histories, and can tell us something about modern life in our frenzied world, too. With fondness and humour, travel writer Tom Chesshyre recalls 50 of his favourite urban parks from across the world, in a love letter to the green escapes that bring us joy in our cities.
Truly fascinating, this is one of the most surprising books I’ve read in a while. Seriously, I could rave on and on about it! Journey to what feels like an entirely different planet and explore the wonder of fungi. “Fungi provide a key to understanding the planet on which we live...Yet they live their lives largely hidden from view , and over 90% if their species remain undocumented.” Author Merlin Sheldrake caught and held my attention from the outset. I had to stop reading every so often just to contemplate the world that was opening up in front of me. I still feel gobsmacked days after reading it. Fungi has shaped our history and “the ability of fungi to digest plastic, explosives, pesticides and crude oil is being harnessed in breakthrough technologies, and the discovery that they connect plants in underground networks, the ‘wood wide web’, is transforming the way we understand ecosystems.” Entangled Life made me reconsider established thoughts and opened my eyes to new ones. I want to recommend it to everyone, for me it’s a genuine must-read and just had to be included on my list of Liz Picks of the Month and as a LoveReading Star Book.
Tom Kerss is an astronomer, astrophotographer and night sky explorer who has previously worked at the Royal Observatory Greenwich and now runs world-class courses on astronomy. The more adventurous will want to avoid paying a premium to an aurora adventure travel business or resort, and find their own path. This book doesn’t simply list destinations and access, but offers scientifically-backed advice on timings with respect to lunar and solar cycles and practical tips such as how best to position yourself with respect to towns and cities. Not being a scientist myself, it was great to read the science behind auroras explained in an accessible and entertaining manner. The book even explores the history of the lights and their interpretation and impact on our earthly cultures. The Northern Lights are out of this world, and they are here for us to enjoy and marvel at. Northern Lights provides everything that is required to take your trip to another level. *** Don't miss Tom Kerss in conversation at A Day at the Riverside, 18th September when he shares the magic, mystery and the science of the Northern Lights.
Get ready to welcome friends and family back around your table by PRE-ORDERING Jamie's brand-new cookbook, TOGETHER - a joyous celebration of incredible food to share. Being with our loved ones has never felt so important, and great food is the perfect excuse to get together. Each chapter features a meal, from seasonal feasts to curry nights, with a simple, achievable menu that can be mostly prepped ahead. Jamie's aim - whether you're following the full meal or choosing just one of over 120 individual recipes - is to minimise your time in the kitchen so you can maximise the time you spend with your guests. Jamie's Together also helps to take the stress out of cooking by arming you with tips, tricks and hacks to stay organised and get ahead of the game. Inspirational but practical, Together is about comfort, celebration, creating new memories and, above all, sharing fantastic food. This is about memorable meals, made easy. Let's tuck in - together!
Staying on track has never been easier. This three-month companion from the million-copy bestselling authors of Pinch of Nom - complete with twenty-six exclusive Pinch of Nom recipes - gives you everything you need to chart diet progress, cook brand-new favourites and reach your goals. With a vibrant style and a handy ring-bound format, as well as gorgeous Nom stickers and tear-out pages for shopping lists, this planner is easily adaptable to your personal slimming guidelines. The twenty-six exclusive recipes are all super easy and super quick to make - and they are all delicious, packed with flavour and designed to keep you full and satisfied. There is so much room to plan and celebrate your achievements. Beautifully designed and illustrated with line drawings and motivational tips, the diet diary-style planner doesn't have any photos of the recipes - you can find them on the Pinch of Nom website - which gives you more pages for writing up your goals and food plans. Whether you want to keep track of calories, jot down your shopping lists, record healthy treats or celebrate key achievements, this book is designed to help you stay organized and motivated. The Pinch of Nom food blog, created by Kate Allinson and Kay Featherstone, has a hugely engaged online following and has helped thousands of people to lose weight and cook incredibly delicious and varied recipes. Packed with advice for keeping to your goals and stories from community members, the Pinch of Nom Food Planner: Quick & Easy is the perfect tool for your weight-loss journey.
Instagram phenomenon @1bike1world Dean Nicholson reveals the full story of his life-changing friendship with rescue cat Nala and their inspiring adventures together on a bike journey around the world. When 30-year-old Dean Nicholson set off from Scotland to cycle around the world, his aim was to learn as much as he could about our troubled planet. But he hadn't bargained on the lessons he'd learn from his unlikely companion. Three months after leaving home, on a remote road in the mountains between Montenegro and Bosnia, he came across an abandoned kitten. Something about the piercing eyes and plaintive meowing of the bedraggled little cat proved irresistible. He couldn't leave her to her fate, so he put her on his bike and then, with the help of local vets, nursed her back to health. Soon on his travels with the cat he named Nala, they forged an unbreakable bond - both curious, independent, resilient and adventurous. The video of how they met has had 20 million views and their Instagram has grown to almost 750k followers - and still counting! Experiencing the kindness of strangers, visiting refugee camps, rescuing animals through Europe and Asia, Dean and Nala have already learned that the unexpected can be pretty amazing. Together with Garry Jenkins, writer with James Bowen of the bestselling A Street Cat Named Bob, Dean shares the extraordinary tale of his and Nala's inspiring and heart-warming adventure together.
Why do so many of us feel drawn to water? Researchers around the globe are increasingly intrigued by our psychological response to blue space: oceans, rivers, lakes, canals and waterfalls. Research is showing that they are good for us, inducing a positive mood and reducing negative feelings. Many people naturally gravitate towards the nearest blue space for their regular walks. There is an innate soothing quality that water brings, whether it's crashing waves, the gentle lapping beat of the water's edge or the reflections we see... Water brings on a meditative, 'blue mind' state. Dr Catherine Kelly uses the study of Blue Mind, a term coined by Dr Wallace Nichols, which explores the study of water and why it makes us happy, to explore and understand the importance of blue space (water environments) and their therapeutic benefits. Looking at the most up-to-date research and evidence that supports its importance for our wellbeing, she suggests how we can all integrate blue mind practices into our lives, providing examples and exercises that anyone can use to enhance their mental health. *** You can hear Catherine Kelly explore our emotional connection to water and the therapeutic benefits of cold water swimming at A Day at the Riverside, 18th September.
‘Any Porth In A Storm’ is an entertaining piece of travel writing that follows Oscar Burton as he walks the South West Coastal Path. The journey covers 1015km and goes from Somerset to Dorset. With wit and deep insight, the author takes us on this gruelling journey filled with ups and downs, opportunities to meet new people and terrible weather conditions. This is a story of endurance. I was captivated by Oscar’s perseverance and needed to read on to see if he reached the end, although I was sad at the moment he lost his companion Zippy. I loved the literary references throughout, and although this book does not inspire me to walk the Path it does inspire me to learn about and see more of the South West Coast. Set against the backdrop of political and economic uncertainty experienced in the UK in modern times with fallouts from Brexit etc. and ending with the lockdowns of 2020, this is an enlightening read that will not only potentially put you off walking the Path in one go, but also give you the space to explore themes of resilience and hope amidst dire circumstances. An enthralling read that I would wholeheartedly recommend. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
Which Wine When offers brilliant wine matches to the food we eat every day. This is for anyone who knows their sourdough from their sliced white but still finds themselves standing in the wine aisle making panicked decisions about what to drink based on special offers, a vague memory or a nice-looking label. Now you'll be able to look up dish or style of cooking and find three recommendations - and if the shop doesn't have what you want, Bert and Claire give you the words to ask for the type of wine you're looking for. From takeaways and snacks to Sunday lunches, home-cooked classics, cheese and desserts, these expert wine matches are fun, affordable and simple enough you can pop to a supermarket or local wine shop. Whether you're ordering a curry, taking a bottle to a friend's, going out for dinner, or vegging out on the sofa with a bowl of pasta, Which Wine When will turn even the most down-to-earth meal into a magical combination of what's on your plate and what's in your glass. Don't wander the wine aisle without it.
In Martin Nordin's second book, he brings us a host of mouthwatering, modern vegetarian recipes, using the most elemental and ancient method of cooking: fire. Not just a barbecue cookbook, Fire, Smoke, Green is broken up into seven chapters that cover everything you need to know about making great food over the flame: from grilling directly onto fire, to cooking with indirect fire, smoked recipes and even wood-fired pizza. Atmospheric photography and charming illustrations throughout bring you something other than your average vegetarian cookbook - as lovers of Martin's first book Green Burgers will attest, his approach to meat-free cooking is anything but boring. Try the Roasted and smoked potatoes with beer-caramelised onions; the Fennel roots with shiitake, green onion, buckwheat and herb oil; or Harissa-marinated sweet potato with grilled cabbage leaves and black dukkah. Or if you still can't get enough of the burger recipes, why not try the Courgette and mungbean burgers with sriracha mayonnaise and furikake, washed down with a smoky mezcal with grilled grapefruit.
In Running America, Jamie McDonald tells the story of his 5,500 mile fundraising dash through no less than 22 US states in an attempt to smash one of the world’s toughest records. Running solo, unsupported, and at times barefoot, Jamie also happens to be dressed as a superhero and pushing a trolley called Caesar. Oh, and then there’s the blistering 50 degree deserts, mountain lions and snakes.. It all sounds a bit much for someone whose mother was once told her son could end up in a wheelchair, because aged seven Jamie was diagnosed with a rare spinal condition called syringomyelia. He also suffered epilepsy and weak immune deficiency. It’s difficult to envision that poorly little boy growing into ‘Adventureman’ and powering his way across America, but there is something both innocent and brave about Jamie’s storytelling that lets you know the kid is still in there and he will never give up. Running America is an incredible journey that will melt hearts.
It's free, it's fun and it's very tasty! Harvesting your own produce from the hedgerows, meadows and woods rather than just ordering food online from the supermarket is all the rage with both towndwellers and countryfolk. The joy of turning nature's bounty into delicious produce to enjoy with the family or to use to make a lovely gift is being rediscovered in kitchens across the country. Explore the deliciously different flavours of wild food, from bilberries and nettles to hazelnuts and damsons - all of which are free for the picking. Learn how to use a range of wild foods creatively in over 100 easy recipes, ranging from jams, jellies and chutneys to starters, main courses, cakes, puds, cocktails and cordials. With chapters on Flowers & Hips, Leaves, Berries, Fruit with Stones, Fruit with Pips and Nuts, why not treat yourself to fruit leather, cheese, rose petal syrup or a wickedly alcoholic drink?
Life is what you bake it - so bake it sweet! Discover how to make life sweet with 100 delicious bakes, cakes and treats from baking blogger, Jane. Jane's recipes are loved for being easy, customisable, and packed with your favourite flavours. Covering everything from gooey cookies and celebration cakes with a dreamy drip finish, to fluffy cupcakes and creamy no-bake cheesecakes, Jane's Patisserie is easy baking for everyone. Whether you're looking for a salted caramel fix, or a spicy biscoff bake, this book has everything you need to create iconic bakes and become a star baker. Includes new and exclusive recipes requested by her followers and the most popular classics from her blog - NYC Cookies, No-Bake Biscoff Cheesecake, Salted Caramel Drip Cake and more!
For the past twenty-five years, Belinda Kirk's professional life has revolved around adventure. She's seen it change people first hand: turning the timid into the confident, the addicted into the recovering, and the lost into the intentionally wandering. As a force for change, adventure can be powerful like few others. This book is about this transformational power, and the first to explore why adventure is essential to our wellbeing. From managing anxiety and overcoming fear, to finding self-worth and building interpersonal connections, to being happier, healthier, and more playful, Adventure Revolution draws lessons from more than two decades of experience leading groups into the wilderness around the globe. Illuminated with Belinda's personal narrative, her own research with modern hunter-gatherers, and the latest findings in neuroscience and behaviour, Adventure Revolution presents a compelling case for ditching the living room in favour of a longer, happier, and more adventurous life. *** Join Belinda Kirk and her adventure revolution at A Day at the Riverside, 18th September.
The hole in Royd Tolkien’s bucket is his beloved brother Mike who should have been with him to complete their adventure bucket list together. When Motor Neurone Disease hits it does so cruelly and without mercy. After a long battle Royd was alone, but Mike had bequeathed him an unusual gift which would push his risk-averse nature to the limits. There’s a Hole in My Bucket is Royd’s hilarious inheritance journey to complete 50 new and unexpected tasks that Mike has left him. The brief is comprehensive and mischievous, sending him all over the world and including everything from getting a tattoo to taking a terrifying bungee jump. It’s a truly Tolkienesque quest but instead of power, Royd’s reward is that Mike is with him every step of the way, cheering him on and helping him navigate his own grieving process with thrills and laughter. Mike has left Royd the greatest gift of all. Life.
In Coasting, Elise Downing sets out to run the entire coastline of Britain - a 5000 mile / 300 day journey of pain, gratitude and discovery. Endearingly honest and unassuming, Elise describes herself as someone completely unsuited to the task - and yet she did it. She judges herself as an adventure imposter - and yet she isn’t. One wonders how on earth she manages to keep going - and yet she does. There must be thousands of women in their early twenties just like Elise - fresh out of a boozy university experience, career-disillusioned and in a toxic relationship - but the last time I looked they weren’t all queuing up in their trainers to set off round the country from Greenwich. There is certainly something extraordinary about Elise Downing, but of course she doesn’t think there is, and that absence of self-belief is what makes the book so engaging and relatable. With lots of support and encouragement from her adventure community, parents who should probably get an award of some kind and the inexhaustible kindness of strangers, she covers much of the distance with friendly co-runners and free access to warm spare rooms. The trip, however, is not without its traumas and tears - lots of tears - so many in fact one worries she might contribute to a rise in sea levels. Coasting is a classic adventure story wherein an individual has erased the challenges of their life through a bigger, all-consuming challenge and by putting themselves somewhere they perhaps shouldn’t be, has discovered much more of who they really are. *** Don't miss Elise Downing share the story of her run around the UK coast at A Day at the Riverside, 18th September.
The Great North Road is a brilliantly researched historical journey by bicycle which follows an ancient highway that since 1921, for most of its length, has been known as the A1. Cyclist Steve Silk threads the 493 miles from London to Edinburgh following at a challenging but doable pace in the tracks of Charles G Harper’s 1901 journal of the same name. Steve’s eleven day journey is so rich in history at times he could be a time traveller, slipping in and out of centuries, bumping into legendary and influential characters and (unlike most touring cyclists) spending enough time to soak up the stories along the way. The book is probably more for travellers with an interest in history than it is for cyclists with a passion for endurance, but it does seem to be the case that the further one pedals north on this famous artery, the harder it gets.
Author Nick Hayes argues that "If ... power is sourced in property, then the fences that divide England are not just symbols of the partition of people, but the very cause of it.” And so off he goes, trespassing through the estates of England, checking out what we are all denied access to and along the way unpicking bigger stitch-ups. This book is not simply a diary of naughty incursions - amongst other things it’s a meticulous deconstruction of the legal history which has led to a situation where owners will often intimidate walkers with arguments that do not stand up in court, or at best are open to interpretation. Hayes begins the book with an amusing account of a celebrated incidence of civil disobedience - the mass trespass of Kinder Scout in the Peak District in 1932 - and from there he unravels decades of frustration. The Book of Trespass is also notably a collection of intriguing and beautiful pen and ink illustrations by the author which unveil and frame these forbidden landscapes as quite mysterious and dream-like. The book is radical and persuasive, and I’m not sure I will ever treat a fence or a private land sign with the same respect again.
I was really interested to read this book, as I enjoy running myself. However, the thought of even one marathon is alarming let alone 35 in 35 days! However, that is what Alan Corcoran did in the summer of 2012. Following his father’s sudden stroke, Alan decided he needed to do something to channel his energy and raise money for the charities that helped his father. He thought up this idea of running around Ireland, which broke down to a total of 35 marathons. This book details his journey from thinking up the challenge, to setting it in motion, to each marathon at a time. He encountered huge challenges along the way even before he started, especially with the sheer amount of logistics involved from accommodation, to food, to a support team. He details each of the marathons that he completes and the highs and lows. I really felt for him along his journey and was willing him on as he encountered injury, after injury. The amount of determination this man has is incredible and I whole heartedly admire him for what he did – a fantastic read. Nicola Coen, A LoveReading Ambassador
At once personal, politically-charged, moving and witty, John Chick Donohue’s The Greatest Beer Run Ever is an engaging account of a Vietnam vet’s tracking down of his former comrades-in-arms to bring them a beer from home. Living up to its title, it really does read like the greatest beer run ever, and will have readers interested in the human side of history laughing, crying and thinking in equal measure. Like so many of life’s momentous ideas, a night in a bar prompts ex-Marine and merchant seaman Chick Donohue to hatch his plan to return to Vietnam. But unlike most bar-based ideas, Chick actually goes through with his. Armed with a list of names, a rucksack of beer, and hoping for a sprinkling of Irish luck, he sets off, though he admits that “I still had my doubts that I could pull it off.” This fascinating, enthralling account sees the author having to use his gift of the gab to press on past check-points before tackling multiple dangers and coming face to face with unexpected realities when he reaches Vietnam - realities that bring him to a big realisation: “I began to see that the protesters, however disrespectfully, were at least trying to stop this madness…If there is one thing that I learned as a result of my Vietnam experience it’s that government - all governments for that matter - are not to be trusted. Many politicians lie when it serves their interests.” This is tasty food for thought with universal resonance.
‘A Diary of England in the 1970s’ by Ian Palmer is a brilliant nostalgia piece filled with pop culture, news, sports and more, logged in chronological order guaranteed to spark memories for those who were 60s and 70s children. The book starts with ‘Once upon a time, a happy time, long before Covid-19’, firmly setting it’s stall out as a book to escape into, a book filled with opportunities to reminisce, or even an opportunity to learn about our more recent history. A running commentary taking us from 1970 to 1979, ‘A Diary of England in the 1970s’ whizzes through memories like a video tape on fast forward, each touchstone a flash then on to the next. This book is very well-written although in a bit of an unusual style, a stream of consciousness, succinct but so densely packed with information. Split into seasons as opposed to months, the author takes us through many 70s highlights, from George Lazenby as James Bond, number ones and football scores. Along with the more nostalgic features like the price of a pint of Carling, the author includes key political events such as the Troubles in Ireland and Margaret Thatcher. I would have liked the text to be a bit more broken up, with the inclusion of images where possible to truly make this a delight for anyone looking to reminisce about the 70s. As is, I can see this being a series, and something that would be a great gift for family or friends. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER! 'If you're after an in-depth medical or psychological insight into the menopause, I'm afraid you've opened the wrong book - I'm not a doctor . . . However, I am a woman and I do know how it feels to be menopausal, so this book is written from experience and the heart and I hope it makes you laugh and feel better.' JE Older and Wider is Jenny Eclair's hilarious, irreverent and refreshingly honest compendium of the menopause. From C for Carb-loading and G for Getting Your Shit Together to I for Invisibility and V for Vaginas, Jenny's whistle-stop tour of the menopause in all its glory will make you realise that it really isn't just you. Jenny will share the surprising lessons she has learnt along the way as well as her hard-won tips on the joy of cardigans, dealing with the empty nest (get a lodger) and keeping the lid on the pressure cooker of your temper (count to twenty, ten is never enough). As Jenny says, 'I can't say that I've emerged like a beautiful butterfly from some hideous old menopausal chrysalis and it would be a lie to say that I've found the 'old me' again. But what I have found is the 'new me' - and you know what? I'm completely cool with that.'