Forget January, now is the time for fresh starts. I scribble lists of good intentions; re-start Pilates; wander around the house with sample paint pots, eyeing up lonely corners wondering if they need something (they almost invariably do – usually another cushion or some sort of basket for storage).
So, forget mourning the passing of summer’s golden days – and embrace the spirit of autumn
Your Reading List
Back-to-school wouldn’t be complete without a reading list - the darkening evenings are made for a good book. Fortunately, they are coming thick and fast.
Carrie Soto is Back – Taylor Jenkins Read (Cornerstone)
Taylor Jenkins Read is the queen of page-turners and this is no exception. The story of one the world’s greatest tennis champions returning to defend her grand slam record against a young upstart is breathlessly gripping stuff. As a child, Carrie was the brilliant prodigy with a maverick coach (who also happens to be her beloved father). Now, she’s back for one last shot of glory. It captures all the heady grit, glamour, guts and rivalry of tennis – and the racist misogyny levelled against Carrie: a straight-talking, ruthlessly ambitious Latina.
The Marriage Portrait – Maggie O’Farrell (Headline)
The masterful Maggie returns, giving a voice to another historical woman whose story has been subsumed by men. This time, Lucrezia di Cosimo de’Medici who was married – aged just 13 – to the older, ruthless Alfonso, Duke of Ferrera. She died soon after – supposedly from tuberculosis, but rumours circulated that she died at Alfonso’s hands. O’Farrell takes these scant facts and from them weaves a glowing, rich tapestry, with an air of menace.
Lucrezia emerges as a sensitive, wild changeling who, like the tiger in her father’s menagerie, chafes against gilded captivity.
The Bullet that Missed - Richard Osman (Viking)
The comic behemoth that is the Thursday Murder Club limber up for a third instalment – and what an unalloyed joy it is. Not-so-retired spy Elizabeth is approached by a sinister enemy, offering her a kill-or-be-killed deal; meanwhile, the septuagenarian sleuths grapple with the disappearance of a young reporter. Osman’s trademark humour, intricate plotting and genuine affection for his quirky ensemble cast ensure this bullet most certainly does not miss.
I am firmly of the opinion that a tidy, ordered desk equates to a more productive inhabitant. Perk up your with a vase of flowers - Host Home’s Apollo vase in vivid primary hues could even make doing your tax return more cheerful. I always light a candle: Connock London’s Vittaveli sounds like it could transport you to a tropical paradise (handy when vexed by a meeting). File those papers and random receipts from 2019, and start your to-do list in a new notebook – I love this customisable scallop detail notebook from Papier’s collaboration with Matilda Goad. And make sure you’re sitting comfortably - and beautifully. Swap that (whisper it – rather ugly) office chair for something deliciously upholstered. The Felicity is neat, sweet and has – happy day – removeable covers. Or imagine Madison in the softest velvet…