It’s been a funny day. My plans for living in this here bungalow have suddenly become precarious and that old familiar blanket, fear, has wrapped it self around me all over again. And so tonight I have sought comfort. In Butter Pie and a slice of Cappucino Traybake. In Coronation Street and in Ste’s arms. And in books. Always in books.

The kind of books I need when life is standing on it’s head are the old-fashioned kind. Vintage snuggles. Reminders from yesterday that all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all shall be well…

And so before I climb in to my floatiest nightie and rub Frankincense into my ever deepening wrinkles, I thought I would share a list of some of the lovely (FREE) vintage books I have recently been downloading to my darling Kindle…

-A-Girl-of-the-Limberlost

A Girl of the Limberlost

By Gene Stratton Porter
Download it on Project Gutenberg Here

patricia brent

Patricia Brent, Spinster

By Herbert Jenkins
Download it on Project Gutenberg Here

Violet hunt

 

 The Celebrity At Home

By Violet Hunt
Download it on Project Gutenberg Here

the narrow house

The Narrow House

By Evelyn Scott
Download it on Project Gutenberg Here

those brewster children

 

Those Brewster Children

By Florence Morse Kingsley
Download it on Project Gutenberg Here

Ten Dollars Enough Catherine Owen 1887

Ten Dollars Enough

By Catherine Owen
Download it on Project Gutenberg Here

Night night all.x

 

Links I Have Loved This Week

I’m in my home a lot. I work from home; I like to practice yoga in my home; I love to stay in and cook a time-intensive meal. That’s why it’s so important that I love the spaces within…
Cinnamon French Toast Muffins are a hybrid (I almost typed hybread- which would have been appropriate!) of french toast, bread puddings and muffins. They’re an alternate way to get your…
Throughout May the Do What You Love team has enjoyed listening to the most fascinating talks by leading experts in health, wellness, spirituality, and relationships at The Hay House World…
We are forever rushing around like headless chickens trying to achieve, achieve, do more, more, and then more again. We are busy; we want to be productive. We want to do it all but we fail…
Historically, a ritual is all about being present in the moment, giving gratitude to what is happening to you at this time, connecting with yourself and your feelings. A ritual can be a…
Our idealized versions of both childhood and motherhood have a new enemy: screen time. Parents are warned that screen time is making kids fat, damaging family relationships and may even…
Growing up in the 1980s as a tediously well-behaved and highly conformist child, I loved Erma Bombeck’s books. I often used my allowance to increase my mother’s modest collection of her…
Illustration by Marta Parszeniew. A few years ago, I found wellness. My body felt like a burden, and the food I ate didn’t seem to energise me or push me on: it dulled my edges, left me…
Not long after my mother died in 2014, less than eight months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, my dad and I performed a ritual familiar to anyone who has lost someone they…
We’ve all been there. You snag a sliver of free time, and two seconds later you’re sucked into your smartphone. Adele covers, throwback fashion shows, listicles: you name it and it’s…

People I am delirious. Absolutely delirious. You know how much I adore the frivolous stuff and nonsense that is M.C.Beatons’ Agatha Raisin cozy mystery series? Like adore it with all the passion people usually reserve for the kind of vices they wouldn’t want to take to the confession box? Well yes: that much. Agatha is in fact my very own dirty secret. The kind of literary vice I do not like to think about but indulge in as often as dear Ms Beaton cares to  churn a new episode in Agatha Raisin’s life, out…

Having reached a point where I’m up to speed with all the books and thus have to wait almost a year between the next, I was to to be found squealing like a pig in a sty last night after Finley wandered in and casually mentioned that Agatha would be back in her very own eight part series at the beginning of June and I got so excited I almost licked his face which frankly doesn’t do at all because twelve year old boys and people in general really don’t take kindly to having their faces licked.

 

 

Snakes and bast**ds, as Agatha would say, where was I? Oh yes. Agatha is back on the tele! Christmas 2014 saw the first televisation of Agatha Raisin in her first cozy calamity, The Quiche of Death, and though at the time Mum and I were ABSOLUTELY APPALLED that Agatha did not have the shiny brown bob and “bear-like” eyes so frequently referred to by M.C.Beaton in the books (we favored Caroline Quentin), the whole program was so delightfully silly and scrumptiously filmed in Biddestone, Wiltshire (a Cotswold gem if ever there was one!), that we decided to forgive and forget and just enjoy a romp through a rather madcap murder mystery in a gorgeous English village…

 

 

For the books are silly. And I am silly. And sometimes silly is just what the doctor ordered don’t you know?

So pour a scotch and frazzle a microwave meal because Agatha arrives on Sky One in June.

 

Now tell me, do you know Cluny Brown? You don’t? Then allow me to introduce her, for she is quite the most fabulously, feisty domestic heroine I have encountered in a long time and the book in which she features is an absolute hoot!

“Cluny Brown has committed an unforgivable sin: She refuses to know her place. Last week, she took herself to tea at the Ritz. Then she spent almost an entire day in bed eating oranges. To teach her discipline, her uncle, a plumber who has raised the orphaned Cluny since she was a baby, sends her into service to be a parlor maid at one of England’s stately manor houses.
 
At Friars Carmel in Devonshire, Cluny meets her employers: Sir Henry, the quintessential country squire, and Lady Carmel, who oversees the management of her home with unruffled calm. Their son, Andrew, newly returned from abroad with a Polish émigré writer friend, is certain that the world is once again on the brink of war. Then there’s Andrew’s beautiful fiancée and the priggish pharmacist. While everyone around her struggles to keep pace with a rapidly changing world, Cluny continues to be Cluny, transforming the lives of those around her with her infectious zest for life…”

Cluny is the niece of a plumber and after she gets herself in a fix when she attends one of her Uncle’s plumbing jobs, she is sent away with her tail between her legs to learn how to control her deliciously wild side, as a housemaid in a manor house. And there among a cast of memorable characters Cluny brings her very own brand of joy and wit in the kind of prose that is so quintessentially English it almost hurts.

Written by Marjorie Sharp in the 1930’s, the book was reborn as a film, directed by the oh so clever Ernst Lubitsch in 1946 and it is just right for the kind of weekend watching we Brocanteers adore… so finding it, in it’s entirety on Youtube is quite the loveliest treat.

Preferably enjoyed in bed with a plate of oranges ala Cluny herself…

Click here to watch Cluny Brown on Youtube here, or enjoy Marjorie Sharp’s wonderful wit in the book . Find it on Amazon.Com here and Amazon.Co.Uk here.

 

Many curious women do not enjoy housekeeping. I am free to confess that I do not understand why, unless they started out in life with the conceited idea that to bend their wonderful brains upon the silly problem of keeping a house clean and ordering dinners was beneath women of their possibilities on club essays. I often wonder if they attacked the proposition of housekeeping with the intention of seeing how much fun there is in it, of how much pleasure could be got out of making a home, not merely keeping house, and of feeding their conceit with the fuel of a determination to keep house better than any woman of their acquaintance. The simple but fascinating problem of how to make each room a little prettier than it was last week, would keep even an ingenious woman busy and interested in something worth while, and those of us who are sensitive to impressions would be spared the truly awful sight of certain incongruous rooms in handsome houses.

At Home With the Jardines – Lilian Bell

Download it on Amazon.Com here (it’s free!) and Amazon.Co.Uk here…

Ooooh I have got a little gem for you tonight! Our Sentimental Garden is the quirky little tale of one Agnes Sweetman Castle’s garden. Written in charming fashion in 1914, with illustrations by Charles Robinson, Our Sentimental Garden  is the kind of delight that has me wanting to stop the world so I can travel back in time to Agnes and Egerton’s garden and wander around their lawns in white voile… 

 

our sentimental garden 2

 

Written when the country was on the brink of war, the book speaks of a house and garden that the authors admit would have to be sacrificed to become “a home of convalescence for some of our wounded, still unknown, but to be welcomed soon…”

 

our sentimental garden 3

 

And so among the giggly little tales of four-legged friends and plants chosen for abundance not gardeners’ pretension, there is nostalgia written between the lines. A sense of capturing what matters before it is lost…

 

our sentimental garden 4  

It really is adorable. While many gardening books from this era are apt to take themselves a little seriously, Our Sentimental Garden weaves all manner of threads of domesticity to form a descriptive and delightful tapestry of a time now lost, with some stories that are laugh out loud funny and others simply sentimental and so very sweet.

 

our sentimental garden 5

 

So if you have spent this afternoon pottering around the garden, then this book might just be the perfect companion this evening: a reminder of what it is we endeavor to create and indeed a reminder of the kind of times our hearts yearn for in an era when so many of the simplest pleasures, like gardening,  have been lost to the noise of the internet and yet another box set…

 

our sentimental garden 6  

Enjoy dear Housekeepers. I am getting in bed with a cup of chamomile myself. Dirt still lingering beneath my nails and happy memories of an hour in my own garden today trying to magic beans from seeds and save the borders from the attentions of the grubbiest dog in the land. Night night.x 

Welcome to a new incarnation of the Housekeeper’s Bookshelf…

Ordinarily The Housekeepers Bookshelf lives in the sidebar, but very soon that sidebar will be overhauled and my recommended reading will be right here in a monthly blog post you can save for future reference.

Divided into the six categories all my content is now shared across, Sanctuary, Authenticity, Wellbeing, Bibliotherapy, Creativity and The Kitchen Table- in each Housekeepers Bookshelf post, there will one book for each aspect of our lives as Brocanteers. 

Sound good? Then I shall begin…

 

Sanctuary

unstuffed4

 

First up Un-Stuffed by Ruth Soukup. I greatly admire Ruth and my participation in her Elite Blog Academy is partly responsible for the changes you are seeing around BrocanteHome. In Un-stuffed she changes her lovely attention to de-cluttering and as I think we are Kon-Mari-ed out, the time seems right for a more heart-centered approach to creating space in our lives…

Buy it on Amazon.Com here and Amazon.Co.Uk here…

 

Authenticity

 the Cozy Life

“Hygge” is something of a buzzword at the moment. With the Danish concept of embracing cozy all the rage everywhere from the loveliest of Interiors blogs to the darn old Daily Mail. But in The Cozy Life, Pia Edberg shows us that there is more to living well than just snuggly socks and twinkly candles and applies the concept of hygge and slowing down to all aspects of the way we live…

Read it on Amazon.Com here and Amazon.Co.Uk here…

 

WellBeing

the sleep revolution

 

I am obsessed with sleep. Mostly because, unlike the rest of the population I can’t quite seem to do it with a barrage of ungeants and pills and rituals and meditation. So when the power house that is Arianna Huffington steps up with her own extensively researched thoughts on what sleep is and why we need it if we have any hope of thriving, I for one cannot wait to download it to my Kindle…

Buy it on Amazon.Com here and Amazon.Co.uk here… 

 

Bibliotherapy

the long view

 

Only recently back in print here in the UK, The Long View by Elizabth Jane Howard is a masterpiece and a book I simply cannot recommend enough if you are in the mood for dissecting  the universitality of marriage and its destruction and exploring both extraordinary characters and writing so subtle it sometimes takes your breath away. This then is a book to save to the quiet of your bedside table. For getting in to bed early and losing yourself in somebody else’s life…

Buy it on Amazon.Com here and Amazon.Co.Uk here…

 

Creativity

sexy + soul-full

 

The title of this book (and it’s beautiful cover ) intrigued me and I simply couldn’t resist a more feminine approach to productivity and so Sexy + Soul-full by Tara Rodden Robinson is the book I will be reading during my Miracle Morning Hour over the next few weeks. Should it light a fire in my own soul I will be sure to share it with you…

Buy it on Amazon.Com here and Amazon.Co.Uk here… 

 

The Kitchen Table

the ultimate blogger to do list

 

Even those of us who could probably blog in our sleep could probably use a few reminders and the occasional push in the right direction occasionally… so step in Miss Dana Fox if you please. Adding new books about the business of blogging to the little mini bookshelf on my desk reminds me what business I am in and I always more than happy to add another…

Buy it on Amazon.Com here and Amazon.Co.Uk here…  

Happy reading Housekeepers!

“Caroline Concannon also honours us by week-end visit, and proves incredibly lively. Am led to ask myself at exactly what stage youth, in my own case, gave way to middle-age, and become melancholy and introspective. C. C., however, insists on playing singles with me at eleven o’clock in the morning, and showers extravagant praise on what she rightly describes as my one shot, and soon afterwards she suggests that we should all go in the car to the nearest confectioner’s and get ices. Children are naturally enthusiastic, and I find myself agreeing to everything, including bathing-picnic in the afternoon. This leads to complete neglect of household duties hitherto viewed as unescapable, also to piles of unanswered letters, unmended clothes and total absence of fresh flowers indoors, but no cataclysmic results ensue, and am forced to the conclusion that I have possibly exaggerated the importance of these claims on my time…”

Diary of a Provincial Lady. E.M.Delafield.

Buy it on Amazon.Com here and Amazon.Co.Uk here.