Guinea's Monthly Lifestyle Blog
December is always an incredibly hectic month. There is a endless list of things to be bought and planned, something to be prepared, or somewhere to go! It's all very enjoyable, but you can rather feel rushed off your feet with not a moment to yourself, so take that opportunity now, and settle in for a few minutes of me time, and read all about Guinea Confidential's recommendations for this month.
Rest, Read, Relax
This month's book recommendations touch on the fact this time of year is not only fun and festive, but also about reflecting on the year that has past, and the year that is yet to come.
Life cannot always be sunshine and roses, as much as we wish it could be, and the dark months of winter can be particularly overwhelming, so here are some gentle reads which are reassuring, and about finding solace in nature.
The best summary of what The Quiet Moon by Kevin Parr is about, is to be found on the back of the book itself. In The Quiet Moon, Kevin Parr discovers that a year of moons has much to teach us about how to live in the world that surrounds us – and how being more in tune to the rhythms of nature, even in the cold and dark, can help ease the suffering mind.
In such hectic times, with constant bombardment from social media and devices; always pinging and wanting immediate attention, it is far too easy to feel constantly in demand and on the go, which is why it is lovely to just slow down and appreciate the wonder of nature, which can so easily be overlooked.
Our Second book is of a similar nature, no pun intended, and is called Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May.
Once again I will let the blurb speak for itself.
Wintering is a poignant and comforting meditation on the fallow periods of life, times when we must retreat to care for and repair ourselves. Katherine May thoughtfully shows us how to come through these times with the wisdom of knowing that, like the seasons, our winters and summers are the ebb and flow of life.
It is far too easy, in a time of constant comparison on social media to feel like you are missing out, underachieving or not hitting certain goals, when in fact we should be appreciative of what we do have and focus on ourselves and not on others. We can be our own worst enemies, forgetting just how resilient we are, and I think this beautiful and poignant quote from the book encapsulates that sentiment.
Life meanders like a path through the woods. We have seasons when we flourish, and seasons when the leaves fall from us, revealing our bare bones. Given time, they grow again.
December is generally a food heavy month. Between canapes at drinks parties, super with friends, Christmas Lunch, Boxing Day… it really is possible to get food fatigue and you can start to crave a salad despite the cold weather.
And because it is such a busy time, you don't necessarily have the time or energy to cook, which is why we love this super quick and easy Jamie Oliver recipe for Comforting Sausage Bake.
Not only is it a one pan recipe, it can easily be adapted to be vegetarian, and it uses ingredients you will probably already have on hand in the kitchen.
It's also that time of year when unexpected guests drop by, and while a mulled wine and a mince pie always goes down a treat, if the guests have settled in for the duration, a charcuterie board is a simple yet impressive alternative to a cheese board. It is also an ideal way of making certain that all the unappealing leftovers of jars and cheese don't go to waste… who am I kidding, who has left over cheese!!!
Guinea's Must See, Must Do
Runs until 25th February 2024. V&A.
If you get chance the V&A has the most glorious exhibition of Chanel clothing and items, with more than 200 looks on display, tickets are extremely sort after and that should indicate just how fabulous this showcase of couture is.
If you want to read more about it, we highly recommend this informative article by Harper's Bazaar.
If you do happen to visit this exhibition, or be in London this December, and want a festive feast for the eyes, why not swing by Harrods Christmas Department or Fortnum and Mason's food hall.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by Christmas content on the television, or being subjected to Santa on the screen multiple times a day by the little ones in your household, here at Guinea we have two fabulous costume drama alternatives for your viewing pleasure.
Both of these productions centre around the period of Anglo-American history, when the new and old money of American society was clashing, and even *gasp* marrying into the 'land rich, cash poor', British Aristocracy.
Presumably based on the Edith Wharton book of the same name, The Buccaneers follows the lives of a group of wealthy American girls, as they burst into stuffy English society in search of a suitable marriage. While it doesn't look incredibly historically accurate it still looks a good romp! Available to view on Apple TV+
The Gilded Age, written and created by Julian Fellows, whom also created and wrote Downton Abbey, is now in its second series. Another easy watch, and follows the lives of characters on both sides of the class divide, while also exploring the hostility of old money, as they scramble to stay relevant, while being overshadowed by the shiny, new wealth, which is slowly but surely infiltrating and ‘tainting’ society.
Guinea's Lifesaver Lifehacks
Christmas crackers are quintessentially British, what festive table is complete without them, but they are predictably filled with the most useless bits of plastic, which are entertaining for a few seconds, before being relegated to the bin. However, have you considered personalising your own Christmas crackers?
Simply buy ready-made crackers and fill them with items you think people will actually appreciate. A lipstick, perfume or aftershave sample, jewellery, sweets or keyrings will all easily fit inside. Either personalise the cracker with the name of the recipient, or have fun engaging gifts - if you don't think that will cause arguments over the turkey!
I would however urge you to keep the jokes and paper crowns- after all it wouldn't be Christmas without a slightly torn, too small hat perched upon your head.
If you are feeling confident in your crafting abilities and want to make your own crackers, The Cracker Company have some wonderful kits, in a large range of delightful designs.