Make mum’s day

Treat your mum to one of these great reads this Mother’s Day…


By the Countess of Carnarvon (Preface, £30)

Anyone who dreams of a Downton Abbey-style life may wallow in the revelations of this coffee table tome, presented as five historical weekends at Highclere Castle, ranging from the mid-19th century to present day – Disraeli’s reform cabinet in 1866, a literary weekend with Henry James in 1886, a visit from the Prince of Wales in 1895, a musical Easter with Malcolm Sargent in 1935, plus a life in the weekend of Highclere today. Also features menus and recipes passed down through the years.


By Katie Fforde (Century, £12.99)

This light, romantic tale centres on two unlucky-in-love friends Lorna and Philly, who are working together on a ‘secret garden’ in the grounds of a large country house before it opens to the public – and discover that their beautiful workplace could be just the thing to put the spark back into their lives. The author herself has hosted open gardens like the characters in her book, bringing a sense of authenticity to the scene.


By Aaron Bertelsen (Phaidon,£24.95)

The Great Dixter Cookbook: Recipes from an English Garden shares the great joys of growing your own fruit and veg with seventy delicious and seasonal recipes from the kitchen garden at Great Dixter, the historic house and garden located on the borders of Kent and Sussex. Christopher Lloyd, the revered gardener and writer who grew up in the house, believed the best way to celebrate home-grown seasonal produce, was with honest, simple cooking.

With seasonal growing guides and gardener’s checklists, the book draws upon Great Dixter’s heritage to show readers how to plant, grow, harvest and cook using vegetables, herbs and fruit. These guides are designed to provide inspiration and practical advice that will apply equally well whether you have a big garden with a dedicated vegetable plot or just a window box. The seasonal diary is a step-by-step guide to curating and growing a plentiful garden, with sections on crop rotation, choosing seed, composting and feeding, planting, staking, watering and finally, picking, and easy-to-follow tasklists for gardeners through the seasons, from autumn to summer.


By Sally Searle & Cathy Meeus (Ivy Press, £7.99)

Whether you’re a professional dancer wanting to improve flexibility or a complete beginner, Secrets of Pilates offers a comprehensive introduction for anyone wanting to develop body strength, reduce stress levels and enhance both psychological and physical well-being. This illustrated guide will teach you to develop a mental awareness of how your body moves, resulting in a graceful posture, toned limbs and a firm abdomen in as little as ten minutes a day through a system of precise, focused exercises. Discover the history of Joseph Pilates’ exercise methods; be introduced to the basic principles of the Pilates program with in-depth analysis and step-by-step guidelines as you embark on the first steps on the path to a new physique and approach to life.


By Natalie Seldon (Kyle Books, £9.99)

With plant-based proteins predicted by industry experts as one of the hottest food trends of 2017; we will be seeing a lot more nuts and seeds in the world of food this year. Nuts and seeds are gluten, wheat and dairy free so their appeal is clear. Contemporary eateries such as Grain Store, Berber & Q and Deliciously Ella’s The MaE Deli have already clocked onto their ever-increasing popularity, offering vegetarian protein sources as standard fare and many more establishments look set to follow in their footsteps.

But the hype surrounding nuts and seeds is more than just another ‘clean-eating’ food fad. These nutritional powerhouses can help maintain a healthy heart, support your immune system, give you glowing skin and keep your brain in top condition. They are sustainable, readily available and most importantly, taste great.

Full of sumptuous recipes that are both indulgent and nourishing, The Goodness of Nuts & Seeds is a stunning collection of recipes in which Natalie Seldon cleverly demonstrates how to introduce these nutrient-rich heroes with minimum fuss. Natalie believes we need to reassess the way we consume nuts and seeds at home and encourages us to celebrate their versatility, using them as the basis for as many of our everyday meals as possible.

Natalie, who lives in Sevenoaks has shared this amazing Peach Melba Cheesecake recipe with us – check it out here and treat your mum this Mother’s Day!