‘Tis the season to be jolly, Falalalalaa, la la la la!
Hello and welcome to December! I hope you’ve had a great week and if you celebrate Christmas, many advent calendar chocolates and/or teas!
I indulged myself this year to a gorgeous handmade advent calendar from the Cocoa Chocolatier, a bespoke chocolatier and bakehouse situated within Trinity Market in Hull. It’s filled with 24 gorgeous truffles, chocolates and wonderful delights and I’m thoroughly enjoying eating them each day – supporting a small local business tastes good!
This week I’m all about the Festive activities! I spent Friday in Beverley with my Fiancé, having lunch and Christmas Shopping, admiring the lights and wonders of Beverley’s gorgeous buildings, the Minster standing grand, tall and proud. Later we decorated the house and put up the tree, it’s my kitten’s first Christmas, see below for a picture of him chilling in his new favourite festive spot!
Yesterday my Mum and I went to Harrogate to explore their Christmas Fayre, we had lunch in the gorgeous Betty’s and explored the shops! Finally, tomorrow I’m off to York Christmas market. So it’s a whistle stop tour for me of North and East Yorkshire at Christmas!
This week’s post is entirely Christmas Themed, we’ve got a Christmas Book and Christmas Tea to explore, so let’s dig in!
THE CHRISTMAS BOOKSHOP, BY JENNY COLGAN
Firstly, huge thanks to the lovely folks at Little Brown Book Group and Tandem Collective UK for my copy of this book and the gorgeous little treats that came with it!
For my first Christmas read of 2022 (woohoo!) I was hoping for a cosy, warm and fun to get me into the Christmas spirit. We have a rule in my house – no Christmas books, Christmas episodes or Christmas films until at least after Bonfire Night (November 5th) so I was excited to get my first Christmas read under my belt, and this one sounded like it could be perfect.
I’d never read a Jenny Colgan book before, but was hoping from the look of the cosy front cover and the blurb that it’d be one that I’d easily fell head over heels into.
‘In snowy, bustling Edinburgh, a tired old bookshop needs sprucing up for Christmas.
Carmen does not like accepting help, least of all from her perfect-in-every-way older sister, Sofia. But Carmen needs a job fast, and Sofia happens to know where she can find one.
Mr McCredie’s bookshop is in trouble, dusty bookshelves are in disarray and the old bell above the door hardly ever announces a new customer. If Mr McCredie doesn’t turn things around by Christmas, he will be forced to sell. Carmen is his last hope.
Everyone is convinced it will take a miracle to save McCredie’s bookshop. Even Carmen – distracted by a rather handsome visitor – doesn’t believe she can save the day.’
An old bookshop in need of saving, a gorgeous snowy Edinburgh setting, a love interest and a sister dynamic to dive straight into. Did someone say perfect Christmas read?
The story opens with the closure of the generations old department store in the town centre where Carmen lives, and where she works. After years spent working there for a matron sounding boss, she finds herself jobless, back at home, with her parents, feeling far too old to be doing so, a bit of a failure and very sorry for herself. That’s when her Mum reaches out to Carmen’s sister Sophia to ask her if there would be anything for Carmen in Edinburgh. Sofia lives in a huge Edinburgh town house, complete with 3 children and one on the way, a Range Rover, a very successful handsome husband, and a nanny. Understandably this doesnt make Carmen feel any better.
However bags in hand, Carmen turns up at the door to find herself face to face with three children she’s an Aunt to but not entirely sure she knows the names of, her too perfect beautifully pregnant sister and her home, and a stuck up, controlling, earthy Nanny who feels nothing but disdain towards Carmen from the off.
The story blends into a gorgeous tale of saving the dusty, disorganised bookstore in central Edinburgh, the life of the elderly gentleman within it and of Carmen. Carmen creates a gorgeous bond with her nieces and nephew, heals and strengthens the relationship with her sister, and there’s a juicy good boy bad boy minor celeb love triangle thrown in there for good measure too!
CAN’T PUT IT DOWN RATING: 5/5
I LOVED it. I devoured this book in less than 24 hours. The story of turning the bookshop around filled me with some warmth and happiness. The bookshop was like one I’m sure we’ve all encountered at some point in our lives – dusty and disorganised with only out of print books for sale. Carmen, using creativity, rummaging through the attic of the old bookstore and by getting to know the locals (some more so than others..!), utterly transforms the bookshop into something it has never been. It reads like magic off the page! You can imagine yourself being there – old wonky creaking floors, a tiny till area, a gorgeous paned glass bay window display. I thought Jenny Colgan’s writing was truly immersive, the descriptions were excellent, it was humorous, warm, light, emotive and funny to boot!
By the end of the book, I felt like I’d spent the day in a very snowy Christmassy loved up Edinburgh, I felt like I’d know my way around the place, and I very much could picture this gorgeous little bookshop. I wish to go and work there. Immediately.
An absolute must for lovers of cosy festive romance reads. Simply perfect.
WASHED DOWN WITH:
[AD/PR] This week I’ve been sipping The Tea Maker’s of London’s Authentic Christmas Tea blend (No.31). It’s an aromatic, loose leaf black Ceylon Tea, with large cloves, gorgeous red dried fruits and apple chunks. When brewed there is a gorgeous aroma of Christmas – think cinnamon, cardamom and orange! Close your eyes, imagine the traditional fruity smells of Christmas and you can smell this tea. Delicious.
Each Caddy contains 125g of loose leaf Tea, and you only need 3-4g a cup, so there’s around 30 cups within one of these caddies, plenty to serve amongst family and friends with a piece of cake!
The colour of the tea once brewed for 5 minutes at 100 degrees celcius is like a deep honey nectar, and the flavour is full bodied – your palate will detect creaminess, cinnamon and citrus. It’s simply Christmas in a cup, and I thoroughly look forward to brewing a pot to enjoy whilst unwrapping gifts on Christmas Morning.
This would make a perfect gift for a tea lover this Christmas, or if you shop as I do (whoops), a Christmas gift for yourself ;).
Prices start at at £4.50* (P&P Extra) for 50g of loose leaf tea, and teabags are also available if thats your preference.
For more details or to purchase, please click here (opens up a New Tab)
Huge thanks to the lovely team at The Tea Makers of London for sending me this gorgeous tea for my review!
*Prices correct at time of publication, please check actual prices before you buy, online prices do fluctuate!
That’s it for this weeks review lovely readers!
I was planning on a village Festive Fair today but 1) it’s raining and 2) my inner Introvert is screaming ‘BATH AND BOOK, BATH AND BOOK!’ so I’m going to make today a tranquil one, get on my wax melt, throw in a lush bubble bar and dig back into my current read.
Whether you’re having a social day or some much needed me time, I hope you have a great day, that you’ve thoroughly enjoyed this review and perhaps found yourself or a loved one a few stocking fillers for the big day!
As always I’d love to hear from you, so please like/comment or share the blog, and you can find me on socials (fb, goodreads and instagram) at @papyrusandpeppermint 🙂
Until the next Chapter,