Our Monthly Musings series focuses on Rebecca’s advice and recommendations around a different niche subject each month. To close the year, we're thinking ahead and focusing on what we're looking forward to in 2024 - from events we'll be attending to books we'll be reading. Settle down with a cup of tea and read on for Rebecca's recommendations for planning for the new year.
Events to look forward to
There's plenty to look forward to in 2024, with the Olympic Games in Paris in the summer, the brand new London Wine Festival in spring, and annual highly anticipated events such as Hay Festival of Literature & Arts and the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Here are three events that I am particularly looking forward to attending.
I'll be visiting NAOMI, the exhibition charting the career of fashion model Naomi Campbell through the work of fashion designers and photographers. The exhibition will also celebrate her creative collaborations, activism and cultural impact. V&A, opens 22nd June. For those wanting to update their interiors, the Affordable Art Fair returns to Battersea with thousands of artworks starting at just £50. It's a great place to visit if you want to fill your home with unique art but don't have a huge budget. Battersea Evolution, 6th - 10th March.
The Decorative Fair's Winter edition also returns to Battersea at the beginning of the year, with 130 dealers showcasing their collections of antiques, fine and decorative art and 20th Century designs. The London Antique Rug & Textile Art Fair takes place at the same time. Battersea Evolution, 23rd - 28th January.
Ways to brighten up the coldest months
The winter months can be hard to navigate, and I find that that small pick-me-ups are especially lovely at this time of year. We tend to spend more time indoors, in our own homes during the coldest months of the year, so here are three ways to elevate simple moments at home.
Organise a cinema night with your partner and/or children, planning the nibbles and film ahead of time.
Plan for a joyful breakfast on a weekend, cooking something more complex than you would usually eat. Make an occasion out of breakfast, setting the dining table and lingering over the meal.
Make time to enjoy a relaxing bath a couple of nights a week, taking time solely for yourself. Use your favourite bath oil or salts, apply a face mask, light candles, and settle down with a cup of tea (or glass of wine!) and either a good book or a podcast.
Tips for updating your home
The beginning of a new year is the ideal time to make a few small changes to your home, thinking about those small details that often get overlooked or things that you've been meaning to refresh for a while. Here are three suggestions for small ways to update your home that don't require huge upheavals but will make a noticeable difference.
Our recently launched rattan storage baskets are incredibly sturdy and practical, but also look great in your home. They have many different uses, but are useful for organising clutter and refining storage in areas such as pantries, boot rooms, playrooms and home offices.
Take some time to organise your linen cupboard, storing away any seasonal linens you won't be using until next Christmas and ensuring that everything is neatly folded and clearly labelled. I like to use our linen dust bags to organise my napkins, adding a tag so I can clearly see what is inside each bag. This article from a couple of years ago has more tips on organising your home.
I also find the beginning of the year to be a great time to refresh a larger area of your home such as your desk/home office, bedroom or bathroom. Something simple like a fresh lick of paint, a new lamp, fresh bed linen or new towels has a lingering impact and can help to boost your mood and wellbeing.
Non-fiction book recommendations
The winter months are also the ideal time of year to hunker down with a good book. I like to get comfortable on the sofa, light a scented candles and the fire, and snuggle up with a book and a blanket at this time of year.
Here are three non-fiction books that I recommend, especially for reading at the beginning of the year.
For motivational thoughts, I have mentioned If In Doubt Wash Your Hair by Anya Hindmarch before which is an inspirational read for women with busy and eclectic lives. Anya shares practical tips, profound observations and the advice she has personally received along the way.
Fearless by Rebecca Minkoff is at the top of my list of books to read as soon as possible. Luxury fashion mogul and social activist, Rebecca Minkoff shares her own stories and teaches readers how she was able to reach her goals through working hard and facing the unspoken rules that have held women back for centuries.
Finally, I always like to be inspired with recipe books in the New Year, and I love Liv Burt's recipes so her cookbook is at the top of my list to buy. Good Looking Cooking by Olivia Burt is split into five chapters based on how she runs her own kitchen, with over 80 recipes based around a sophisticated yet homely approach to cooking.
Fiction book recommendations
Our Content Manager, Emma (a keen bookworm who also reviews books) shares three of her top fiction tips for next year.
Hagstone by Sinead Gleeson - perfect for fans of Sarah Moss's Ghost Wall, this eerie tale of an artist living on a remote Irish island is my favourite 2024 book I've read so far. The depiction of life on an isolated isle and the detailed descriptions of the landscape of the island and its coastline make for compulsive reading - as does the plot focusing on a group of women who have cut themselves off from society and the compelling main character, Nell. Released April 2024.
Blue Sisters by Coco Mellors - the author of Cleopatra & Frankenstein's much-hyped second novel is even better than her debut. This tale of three sisters returning to their childhood home a year after the death of their fourth sister is poignant and heart-breaking, focusing on sisterhood, grief and addition - but the three intriguing protagonists will have you hooked. Released May 2024.
As Young as This by Roxy Dunn - this is the story of one woman's life up until her late thirties, told through all of her meaningful romantic relationships, with one chapter dedicated to each. The book begins and ends with her contemplating an important decision that will determine the rest of her life. Released April 2024.