Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Bloggers do Christmas

I am intrigued by the increasing number of bloggers (and I follow a lot of people – foodie, beauty, random…) who have been posting Christmas present guides.  This is obviously now a Thing and so I wondered if I should do something similar.

But then I drafted a post and I realised that it was basically my Christmas list re-written to make it sound slightly generic.

Does your Uncle Jo like reading?  Here are the books that I have enjoyed in 2015!  Or even the ones that I want to read in 2016!

For the foodies in your life, what about these products that I really like scoffing?  Or how about some new Le Creuset?  Everyone (I) loves Le Creuset.

Enjoy a bit of a tipple?  I went to this distillery in the summer and really liked the whisky!

You can't blame the bloggers.  Newspapers and magazines do it every year, and blogging is just a natural extention of the print medium.  It's just that I’ve always thought, if you know your nearest and dearest so little that you have to resort to a Guardian journalist telling you that all the well dressed men this year will be wearing cashmere striped socks, then…well, maybe consider giving them the gift of your time and attention this Christmas.  The very best presents are the ones that mean something.  Either because they are an item genuinely coveted or because the giver feels it has resonance.

Having said all that, just in case you are interested…

This year, my favourite books have been “The Bone Clocks” by David Mitchell (apart from the ending – oh, the ending!), the Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman (Harry Potter goes to university) and “A Prayer for Owen Meaney” by John Irving  (I think Owen himself might be one of my all time favourite characters).  Ooooh, and “The Paying Guests” (because Sarah Waters is all kinds of wonderful).

I adore Amelia Rope chocolate and am beyond excited to see that she has started doing the pale lemon and sea salt as a truffle.

Grey’s Fine Foods sent me free stuff, so it only seems fair to mention them again, but they genuinely have a lovely selection of Spanish goodies and I really rated the quality of both their meat and sherry.

For entry level whisky drinking, my absolute favourite is Penderyn.  My favourite splurgier purchase this year was Ardbeg Auriverdes.

And, having recently become vaguely obsessed with this blog, I am desperate (desperate!) to own an Hermès scarf.

Happy Christmas shopping everybody!


  1. I'd be more than happy with a list of books, chocolate, booze and scarves - they are some (most) of my favourite things, oh is it meant to be to buy for other people?! I've not read any John Irving in years, I loved Prayer for Owen Meaney (and World according to Garp, Hotel New Hampshire and Widow for One a Year). I must read some more, thanks for the reminder x

    1. Sarah, I think it is perfectly ok to buy presents for yourself too! I've definitely got my eye on the new John Irving having reminded myself how much I like him - I can't believe that I read most of his others and entirely missed Owen Meaney - it's just fabulous.

  2. Books, food, whiskey, and kitchenware are my ideal presents.. I wouldn't turn down an Hermes scarf either.
    I absolutely love Sarah Waters but I sadly found myself a tiny bit disappointed in the Paying Guests. Not my favourite of hers, although I'll still buy her next one automatically (if only she were more prolific though).
    If you're interested, my favourite books of the year by a long, long, way, were The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton and Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. Unputdownable, both of them.

  3. Ooooh, The Luminaries is on my Kindle and I've been meaning to get to it for a while - perhaps one to tackle over the holiday period. I LOVED Life After Life - I've got everything crossed that Santa pops A God in Ruins in my Christmas stocking.

    Agree that The Paying Guests is not her best but I still think she is one of the best writers around at the moment. Her prose is so effortless. As you say, if only she wrote more - but her books are always worth a reread.

  4. I loved Life after alive too, one of the best books I've read in ages. God in ruins isn't doing it for me though sadly. Will have to get a The Luminaries next x