Florence’s Gift Guide #5: Beautiful Books

It’s official. I’m a book addict, but my favourites to receive as gifts are cookery and interiors books, the kind of coffee table beauties that are full of gorgeous imagery and inspiration. As many of these books are cheaply available online for around the £10 mark, I decided to forgoe a stocking filler gift guide and round up my favourite recipe and decor books that I’ll be giving and would like to receive this Christmas.

For Foodies…

  • I’m ALWAYS looking for recipe books that lean towards sharing food. I love having friends over but rarely make fussy food prefering big plate options, and one pot solutions that everyone can dig into. Jerusalem by Yottam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi looks like just such a book and is causing a real stir in the Christmas market this year so it’s on my lust-list.
  • I only discovered the Great British Bake Off this season and got totally addicted. Everyone loves Mary but it’s Paul’s critique and exacting standards that made me want this book. Paul Hollywood, How to Bake
  • I spotted this book on the shelf in the Bertinet Bakery in Bath. I mean, how could you not notice that stunning front cover image? I suspect this would be of the variety of cookery books that I buy mainly for the beautiful imagery, however there are many recipes that look do-able for the keen baker or wannabe pastry chef. Pastry, Richard Bertinet
  • If you’re a regular in the food section at book stores you might have seen Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros, an equally stunning book to this more recent release. I hesitated to buy her books before, fearing I wouldn’t want to attempt the recipes, instead just staring at the pictures, however this book focuses on Italian food – my favourite. Tessa now lives in Tuscany so my mouth waters at even the thought of what this book may contain and it’s more than pretty enough to display too. Limoncello and Linen Water by Tessa Kiros.
  • Lastly, not pretty (what happened with this cover I don’t know as the styling of his books is usually fantastic,) and rather omnipresent this Christmas is Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals. I have several Jamie Oliver books and they are without doubt the most relied upon and turned to books in my kitchen. For that reason this has to be a no brainer. Although I’ve heard 15 minutes is more than optimistic for some of the recipes and omits time-consuming prep, I know it would contain recipes that would become staples in my home.

For interiors addicts…

  • First up, Decorate Workshop: A Creative 8 Step Process for Transforming Your Home by Holly Becker. Holly’s second book, this one rather than telling you what to put in your decor projects, advises on how to approach re-decorating and designing your home. Many people struggle to translate inspiration into an actual room and this book shows you how.
  • American Modern, Thomas O’Brien. This book isn’t one you’ll find on the bestseller lists, but it was given to me by a friend and remains my favourite interiors book. With a thorough insight into many American homes in their entirety, I am always inspired when I flick through it’s pages.
  • Another older choice but still relevant, Domino: the Book of Decorating: A Room-by-Room Guide to Creating a Home That Makes You Happy, is perfect for the coffee table but full of inspiration. I bought a special edition Domino magazine whilst away and just loved the approach to design, decor and styling so have renewed interest in this book which is on this years Christmas list 🙂
  • If you have a friend who has just bought their first home or is in the midst of renovation project, Young House Love: 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update & Show Your Home Some Love: is a great book. Full of DIY ideas from super bloggers Sherry and John Petersik who have documented their own renovations on the synonymous blog.

Readers, I would love for you to share any thoughts on my selection – do you own any of these books and are they a good gift choice or do you have any other suggestions to add to my list? Are you also coveting any of them?


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12 thoughts on “Florence’s Gift Guide #5: Beautiful Books

  1. The Jamie 15 Minute Meals book is ace – you hvae to boil the kettle and get out all the equipment and ingredients to make it 15 minutes – which makes it more like twenty minutes (or more if you find you are missing something or the other) but it does work well. And some of the ideas I’ve incorporated into other things (like adding cabbage to my mash to ensure we eat some more greens!)

    • Oh and the photos inside are so much nicer than the cover suggests – and they have calorie counts and so on inside as well.

      My husband loves Jamie Oliver’s food so anything that means I can cook that style quickly is a godsend!

  2. I love getting beautiful coffee table books (usually about travel, unsurprisingly) as presents – they’re such a joy. Though I’ve had to ask for no more cookery books this year as our shelves are absolutely groaning – and for the moment I think I just about have everything I want (though I did by the Smitten Kitchen cookbook while we were in the States).

    I picked up this gorgeous book for my SIL in Anthropologie this weekend – it’s about incorporating details/inspiration from your travels into your home interiors and it’s full of beautiful photos. I love it when you stumble across something for someone that’s just perfect!

  3. We are definitely on the same page as I have asked for the Young House Love Book, I have got the hubs How to bake and I already own the Domino one! Would love Jamies 15 min meals too but not sure I could justify another cookery book! I must have at least 20!!! xx

  4. Totally with you on the sharing food style of entertaining, far less nerve wracking and more sociable (what my Norwegian friend describes as ‘hyggelig’ -kind of cosy and heartwarming), so Jamie recipes are my go-to ones. Yes, hideous cover styling, those colours! However photography in Jerusalem is breathtakingly lovely isn’t it, the food looks amazing, although some of the ingredients will take a little sourcing? I have Scandilicious baking and Rachel Khoo’s Paris Kitchen on my wish list. Bx

  5. I’ve just received How to Bake from Amazon today, from a brief flick it looks like a great book. Especially if you fancy trying to perfect your bread baking skills.

    I spotted a new book ‘What Katie ate’ recently but sadly it’s not being shipped until the new year! The photography in it is brilliant!

    I’m finally getting to grips with the manual mode on my DSLR (thanks to the Dream.Find. Do workshop 🙂 ) so I’m hoping someone may have got me an inspiring photography book or an amazon voucher.


  6. I can highly recommend Richard Bertinet’s books – whilst I haven’t yet got Pastry (hint hint Santa), I absolutely love his bread equivalent – Dough. It got me into home breadmaking and is a beautiful book aswell. I am obsessed with cookbooks – not sure Santa (or at least not the husband version of Santa) will allow any more, but I would also like Jamie’s, for exactly the same reason as Rebecca – his recipes do become staples for me.
    Thanks for all the gift guides Rebecca – very much appreciated!
    I don’t comment much (bad blog reader…) as I’m usually reading on my phone and I can’t face the faff, but this has been another excellent year on FF – congratulations and Merry Christmas,

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