It’s better to give

LONDON - You know, I really, really love buying gifts for friends. I find such joy in looking for something that they’ll enjoy and love. Once I’ve found something, the next best thing is wrapping it up.

So, the other day I stumbled upon a shop, just off Cheapside street, in the City of London. It specialises in baking and cooking accessories and offers classes in various cooking styles. They even do short classes during your lunch break. Handy!

I walked in on a Saturday. The shop was completely empty as they typically are in the City on the weekend. It’s one of the reasons why I love to shop in the City on a Saturday. I headed to the back and found this great gift idea for my friend Heather.

She’s been talking about how much she loves macaroons and she likes to make them herself. So I thought that this baking tray would really help her to get them looking fabulous.

I’ve had this Thank you card for a while. I’ve been saving it for a special occassion.

Here’s the final look. I threw in some ribbon to finish it off.

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Undaunted

LONDON - It’s true. Bookshops are on the decline and there’s not much we can really do about it as modern technology takes over our lives. It sort of makes me sad, but to tell you the truth, I am thisclose to purchasing a kindle because it’s a much better fit in your handbag and lighter to carry around. I’ll succumb soon enough.

But before I do, I still love to wander into bookshops and I have a few that I want to recommend. But today I’ll just highlight this one on Cheapside called Daunt books. It’s actually a small franchise here in London but I head over to the one in Cheapside as it’s nearest to me.

For me a good bookshop needs to have interesting variety and knowledgeable sales staff. I’ve often wandered into this book shop with a query and had it resolved quickly. So they always get return business from me.

I find that their windows are filled with pop culture books that are more plot driven (Think the Hunger Games) than character-driven stories, which sell less well. But if you’re a book snob, like me, just head downstairs.

Here you’ll find a lot of the classics, old and modern, and more quality-written literature. I’ve purchased several books after spending a lot of time here and although it’s underground, it doesn’t feel claustrophobic in the least. Now I don’t personally like the ‘so-quiet-you-can-hear-a-pin-drop silence’ of libraries, but then I don’t like a book shop to be so loud that you can’t think. Daunt seems to get it right. There are a few low-key conversations taking place here and there, but you can also find a small corner to just think a bit deeper as you turn the pages of an interesting book.

Although I’ve never purchased travel books, they do seem to have a lot of variety here, and they also have a lot of cookery books too. I still want to get Jamie Oliver’s USA cookery book as well as a British baking book. Maybe something like the ‘Bake for Britain’ book below, or the Hummingbird Cafe baking book would be good choices.

If you do have the chance, do stop by this book shop. You’ll be glad you did.

What’s the next book you want to buy?