Posts Tagged ‘guest blog’

Hello English Muse readers! Karen from A Simple Cup of Tea once again. I don’t know how the weather is doing around your part of the world but here in Cardiff it’s pretty rainy. My hometown in Belgium isn’t much better: snow.

Now I nearly talked about how depressing the rain is. Nearly. And then I stopped myself.

It’s so easy to be bogged down by life’s little annoyances, little things that become massive in our eyes. To let someone else’s negativity overwhelm our own positivity.

So I decided that I’m going to enjoy the weather, put on some wellies and jump in a few puddles. Then next week when I’m home in Belgium for a couple of days I will grab my mittens and – if the weather permits it – have a huge snowball fight with my brother. Just because.

Silver linings. Lemonade. Whatever you want to call it. It’s always there.

Have a lovely week!


Photo credit: 1

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Books by Bloggers

Nov 26, 2012

Hello, English Musers!

It’s Hannah B. from Secrets of a Belle back to share some fun things with you again. Since we so often share about what our latest literary finds, today I thought I would share about a set of emerging authors that I realized I’d been spending a lot of time with: bloggers turned authors.

blogger books from secrets of a belle's Hannah B

Here are a few of the books I’ve read in the past year that I highly recommend…

Blog, Inc. by Joy Cho of Oh Joy!

This is what I’ve been reading for the past week. Joy is a super artsy mama from LA. I’ve always adored her style and her work so when she released a book about blogging, I couldn’t resist. It’s full of practical tips, but I’m especially enjoying the Q&As with other well-known bloggers.

Edible Selby by Todd Selby of The Selby

I am a huge fan of The Selby. It’s like having a really great interior design magazine online. (If only all the actual interior design magazines would translate to the web so well.) I’ve got The Selby is in Your Place but, as a foodie, Todd’s new book, Edible Selby, is high on my wishlist. It’s chock-full of some serious eye candy.

Design*Sponge at Home by Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge (& the podcast “After the Jump”)

I think Grace Bonney is a role model to a lot of bloggers, and I’m no different. I was especially excited last Christmas to receive this book in my stocking. It’s full of a lot of the inspiring interiors that have been featured on Design*Sponge as well as a bunch of How-To’s.

A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg of Orangette

I’ve long been a fan of Molly’s blog so I was anxious to read this book when it came out a couple of years ago. There’s only one word for it: this book is beautiful. It’s a series of personal stories woven together with scrumptious recipes. It will make you laugh, make you cry, and then it will make you want to click over to Molly’s blog and catch up on all the things that have happened since the book’s release. She becomes like a close friend.

(Two Fun Facts: She’s writing another book, and she just had a baby!)

The Bucolic Plague by Josh Kilmer-Purcell of Beekman 1802

You may have seen Brent and Josh competing in CBS’s Amazing Race recently or over on Cooking Channel. Well, this book tells the beginning of their story. It will make you laugh out loud! I will admit, I picked up for cover, bought it for the Martha references, and now will forever be a fan of the fabulous Beekman Boys!

The Black Apple Paper Doll Primer by Emily Winfield Martin of The Black Apple

This is just super fun. Did you ever wish for paper dolls for Christmas? Well, I did, so I was excited to run across this last year when we were in Chicago. I’ve been a fan of Emily’s since I was in college, and I just adore her art. This book is full of lovely characters you’ll want to get to know.

– – – – – – – – – – –

Are there any bloggers you want to write a book?

Until next week,
Hannah B. 

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Nick & Nora

Nov 05, 2012

Most days I feel as if I’m living in a Thin Man movie… beautiful clothes, martinis, and a witty husband & loveable terrier that always keep things entertaining. Needless to say, I was thrilled to hear this little interview on NPR this weekend. Two never-before-released novellas have just been published under the title Return of the Thin Man and will, of course, be downloaded to my Kindle immediately.

If you’ve never seen the Thin Man movies, they are must see! Myrna Loy and William Powell as Nick & Nora Charles are one of my favorite on-screen couples of all time. Here are a few of my favorite clips as well as a little something to whet your palette…


Until next week, I hope you’ll stop by Secrets of a Belle and say ‘hello!’
xo* for now ~ Hannah B. 


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Hello, Monday!

Jul 16, 2012

I am completely in love with this picture of Jayne Mansfield; if that doesn’t look like a great way to christen a summer afternoon, I don’t know what is! Just a friendly reminder to persevere this week, drink champagne and, when necessary, work those feminine wiles! {*wink*}

P.S. I got some great reading recommendations last week!
You can check out a full list here: What Are You Reading? 

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This is what my Monday looked like…

How about yours? So sorry for the late post (I had technical difficulties yesterday), but Tina was sweet enough to let me pop in a day late to share some goodies with you. First of all, a little mini vacate.

“I’m an old-fashioned guy… I want to be an old man with a beer belly
sitting on a porch, looking at the lake…”
– Johnny Depp

Our friends have an amazing little dock on the lake that is the perfect place to spend an afternoon. My must-haves?

{ sunglasses  /  towels  /  cooler }

What about you? What are your *must-haves* for a day by the water?

Also, I wanted to share with you that I’ve started blogging again on my personal blog: Secrets of a Belle! I hope you’ll come over and say *hello!* There’s lots of really great content I have planned for the coming weeks that I’m sure English Muse readers will enjoy.

Hope you have a *happy* week! xo* ~ Hannah B.


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New York, New York

May 21, 2012

Chapter 1.
He adored New York City. He idolized it all out of proportion…no, make that: he – he romanticized it all out of proportion. Yes. To him, no matter what the season was, this was still a town that existed in black and white and pulsated to the great tunes of George Gershwin.’
Er, tsch, no, missed out something.

Chapter 1.
He was too romantic about Manhattan, as he was about everything else. He thrived on the hustle bustle of the crowds and the traffic. To him, New York meant beautiful women and street-smart guys who seemed to know all the angles…’. No, no, corny, too corny for a man of my taste. Can we … can we try and make it more profound?

Chapter 1.
He adored New York City. To him, it was a metaphor for the decay of contemporary culture. The same lack of individual integrity that caused so many people to take the easy way out was rapidly turning the town of his dreams in …’
No, that’s a little bit too preachy. I mean, you know, let’s face it, I want to sell some books here.

Chapter 1.
He adored New York City, although to him it was a metaphor for the decay of contemporary culture. How hard it was to exist in a society desensitized by drugs, loud music, television, crime, garbage…’
Too angry, I don’t want to be angry.

Chapter 1.
He was as tough and romantic as the city he loved. Behind his black-rimmed glasses was the coiled sexual power of a jungle cat.’
I love this.
New York was his town, and it always would be…

-Woody Allen, Manhattan

Start spreading the News…

Tomorrow my husband is leaving for The Big Apple to work for 4 months as an intern before coming home to complete his MBA at the University of Tennessee. This is going to be the beginning of a huge adventure for us that we are both really excited about. So here’s my dilemma. Neither of us really know anything about New York. We went there over Spring Break for a few days but other than that limited experience, my only knowledge of NYC consists of random pop culture references, a slight obsession with the New York Times, and too-many-to-count viewings of You’ve Got Mail.

That’s where you come in. I’ll be coming up a couple weekends a month, and I’m hoping we can find some fun things to to do while I’m there. So what’s your advice? What’s your favorite thing to do in the city? Any tips of traveling up there? Any places we should eat? picnic? listen to music? drink coffee? people watch? Let me know your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter and next week, I’ll share a secret project I’ve been working on that will incorporate these new finds!

Until then… xoxo* ~Hannah B.

**P.S. We are looking for a place to sublet through mid-September so let me know if you have any leads for that as well 😉  

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The Mountains

May 07, 2012

Hello, English Muse readers! This is Hannah B. once again from Secrets of a Belle. With warm weather in full swing here in the South, I thought I’d share a little piece of what I love about living where I do: the mountains! There is nothing better this time of year than taking an afternoon, driving up in the mountains a little bit and sticking your feet in a river. I thought I’d share 2 things in particular that have been in the back of my mind. The first is one of my favorite poems by Emily Dickinson and the second is a song that people always seemed to be singing around the house when I was growing up (sung here by Laurel & Hardy!).

{Just a little background: the song is about a book that was written where my dad grew up called The Trail of the Lonesome Pine and is actually an outdoor drama there every summer.}

There’s something reassuring about knowing that you are just a small piece in the huge play of creation, that the mountains have been here for years before you and will remain for years after, and that, in today’s age of constant engagement and white noise, there’s still places you can go to get quiet and feel overwhelmed by the nature around you. Do you have places like that where you live?

Until next week, find me on Twitter!
xo~ Hannah B. 

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Hello again!  It’s Katie from unwritten, untitled again, here to talk about what I imagine is a common book lover’s problem: reading (and enjoying) books that embarrass your inner book snob.

Sometimes–no, often–I feel as if I should devote myself to capital-L Literature.  Do you ever get that feeling, like you must solely read literary fiction to be a true bibliophile?  The stack of books and authors I feel I ought to read is probably higher than my to-read list. The result of this feeling is sort of amusing, though: for every guilty pleasure book I indulge in, I end up reading at least two works of literary fiction to assuage my inner book snob’s shame.  Oddly, I find that my inner book snob only judges me, and never other people’s reading choices–in fact, I’ll often find myself jealous of others who can devour entertainment fiction without feeling guilty.  It’s not that I mind reading extra books, of course, but I’d like to read them with a motive besides guilt.

The process generally goes like this: recently, I plunged through the last published book in a YA series, then read the Pulitzer Prize-winning Interpreter of Maladies and the critically-acclaimed Sputnik Sweetheart (discussed here).  I loved all three books equally and in different ways.  Yet I still felt like I need to read Dostoyevsky or Melville or some more capital-L Lit books written before 1950.  So I went to the dust-accumulating stack of classics on my bookshelf and picked up Mrs. Dalloway, which I’ve started and enjoyed three times but never finished.  It lived in my purse for a day or two before being exchanged for another YA novel, which will start the process all over again.

So I wonder, do you share my bibliophile’s guilt?  Do you have an inner book snob or literary critic?  What are your favorite guilty pleasure books?  And how do you calm that inner book snob when you’ve polished off a few books read mostly for their entertainment value?


[original source of image unknown–I’ve searched for it unsuccessfully. please comment if you know!]

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Hello English Muse readers! It’s Karen from A Simple Cup of Tea again. This Sunday I’ll be talking about the art of doing nothing.

Let’s get real here: I am awful at doing nothing. I get restless, I start fidgeting and then as if to make up for a bit of doing nothing I watch a movie and surf blogs, answer email and listen to music all at once. It’s not a pretty sight.

So for this weekend I’ve decided to chill out. Yes, I’m in Glasgow and yes, there’s loads to see. But I didn’t want to be running around like a madwoman trying to see everything in the two half days I actually have here. Yesterday I had a lovely (and sunny) wander around the shopping district and Merchant City and then I decided to do nothing in the evening.

This morning was… nothing again really. It was so refreshing to be lounging around doing nothing in particular without that nagging in the back of my mind telling me that I should get up and DO SOMETHING. Yes, my mind often shouts at me in capital letters.

I’m sure that one day with a bit of an epiphany isn’t going to make me much better at the art of doing nothing so I tried to think of ways to make this easier for me. My game plan, so to speak.

  • Spend five minutes each day doing nothing. No music, no computer, no tv. Just sitting and breathing.
  • Whenever your mind wanders to things you’re ‘supposed’ to be doing focus on breathing and close off.
  • Smile. A lot.

That last bit is important. Really, it is.

I hope you all have a wonderful – and relaxed – weekend.

Picture credit: 1 & 2.

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Hello, dear reader. I’m Luli from The Enchanting Butterfly and I feel very, very honored to be guest blogging today. Like Tina (and most of her lovely readers), I love books and Paris. So imagine my immense delight when I came across this lovely book, My Little Paris. A book about lovely things to do in Paris? Sign me up! The book is fascinating because it talks about fun and quirky ideas or little well-kept secrets about Paris.  And it even mentions a website ( where you can send yourself an e-mail in the future.  I might actually do that, just to see if my future self met any of my long-term goals.

Eiffel Tower

Would you send your future self an e-mail, dear reader? If yes, what would you want to say?

My Little Paris

"The Best Kept Parisian Secrets"


{ Image of Eiffel Tower via here.}

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