Book Shelf: Grown-up picture books (for gifting to girlfriends)
Meredith Gaston (Lantern, $35).
For the girlfriend going through a break-up, illness or job loss, who wants to hide under the doona and never come out, Gaston's book is a chirpy but comforting confidante who says, "Hey Bridget Jones, sometimes it's okay to tuck yourself away, but why not make the most of it?". Beneath the cover, with a bookmark folded in between the sheets, is a treasure of ideas for nurturing in yourself and your nest complimented by the gorgeous illustrations and watercolours that have seen Gaston commissioned by Harper's Bazaar and Vogue Living. She has compiled sleeping tips, bathing basics, lullaby lyrics, food ideas ('The Midnight Snack'; 'Tucked-In Dining') and slumber party suggestions, musings on dreaming, instructions for making a tea-cup cosy and positive affirmations to dwell on as you fall into a slumber. A personal edit of all that's good about bed, with historical and scientific tidbits and tips from her mates woven into the fabric.
Kristin Hove (Hardie Grant, $22.95)
I stumbled across Hove's little recipe book in a store and was captivated by the cover, shot by Elin. Published in November 2010, the Norwegian's collaborative collection of recipes cherished by those she's met on her travels, all profiled on her 'Contributors' pages, is 100 pages of simple, easy-to-follow dishes replete with appetising photography and advice on making the most of your food scraps, being eco-friendly and hosting a recipe swap party. Broken into sections on breakfast, soups/starters, dinner and dessert, you'll be inspired to turn your culinary skills to making Walnut Bread, beetroot gazpacho, chicken, pomegranate and walnut casserole and Nicole's pavlova. It's like a dinner party in itself.
3. Eat Spray Love: One cat's guide to self-discovery (without ever leaving home) by Blossom (Bantam Australia, $19.95, out April 1).
The cat's out of the bag; my mother's getting this book for Mother's Day. My mother takes as much pride in her cat Misty (also known as "Smash Face") as Joan Sauers does in her Blossom, the clever cat who takes us on an insightful journey of Gilbertian proportions without, as the title suggests, leaving her home. Words of profound wisdom such as, "Sometimes it's nice just... to be" and, "I like shoes. Especially shiny ones", are inserted next to photographs of Blossom in all her furry glory. Despite being two years old, she has all sorts of insightful yet practical advice for felines: "Make sure you always have some place to go that no one else can fit into". There's philosophy too: "To sleep, perchance to dream... aye, that's as good as a rub, especially if you dream, like I do, of fish fillets and slow-moving mice." What's next for Blossom? "I'm working on a diet book and a graphic novel. Developing an idea for a screenplay. And I'll do it all from home." Followed by a well deserved nap.
Girl With a Satchel