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8 of my favourite book gifts for Mum

As a preface to Mother's Day, we will be scrambling to articulate the meaning of motherhood and the importance of our mom's in our lives, as well as express the appreciation we have for them. 

For 2018, here are some suggestions from your's truly that attempt to show who they are, what they mean, and things they might like. Enjoy! 😊


1. HAPPINESS IS...
200 things I LOVE about MOM
by Lisa Swerling and Ralph Lazar
Published by Chronicle Books

You've seen me tweeting about this a lot on Instagram (@sukasastyle and @shilpartistry) since the beginning of May, so you know I'm obsessed about this series of books. But because it is May, the 200 Things I Love About Mom holds a special place in my heart, since it reminds me of all the lovely things I do with mom and that she does for me...like mom hugs, a shopping spree, and making a phone call to mom...just because. The illustrations are so simple, but cute and tug at your heartstrings. 💖


2. HAPPY CACTUS
Published by DK Books

I recently joined the succulent craze after my visit to Canada Blooms. I love the way they look, but I have to say that after a couple of months, one of my favourite beauties is becoming a bit of a challenge. What am I doing wrong? This book came just in time. I'm in the process of trying to move it to a cooler place, thinking perhaps the radiator heat during the last few weeks was unpleasant for my Ghost Echeveria (Echeveria lilacina). 

The book is informative. Step-by-step instructions on 100 of the most popular cacti and succulents. How to care for them. Where to position them in the house. How to help them flower. And, when to water and feed them. 

Definitely a must have for a mom with a green thumb. 🌵


3. PRACTICAL HOUSE PLANT BOOK

by Fran Bailey and Zia Allaway
Published by DK Books

Speaking of green thumbs, this book is another one that is comprehensive, and on point if your mom is like me, trying to grow a variety of indoor plants...so that the winters seem less dreary. 


Understanding the art of houseplant design is easy with this book. You'll learn about choosing ideal houseplants and how to display them creatively (HINT: it's not just about the container).  You'll discover how to nurture and maintain these plants. Over 175 plants are profiled. 

The book gives instructions on understanding scale, design, colour, texture, low light vs high light. It's the go to book for interior designers who want to add a bit of nature in their homes. A whack load of research has been packed into this book, designed to inspire you as you create harmony and contrast in your interior decor. Beautiful photography combined with practical inspiring ideas, whether it's for a succulent terrarium, a plant stand, or a woodland orchid arrangement. 🏡

4. THE HOUSE SWAP
A novel by Rebecca Fleet
Published by Penguin Random House

When mom needs a break from the gardening, she needs a fantastic thriller that will immerse her into a tale that's juicy and chilling. Lee Child calls this a "fantastic dead-on domestic noir". The story is about a houseswap that becomes an eerie backdrop to a crumbling marriage, a long-buried affair, and the fatal consequences that unfold. 

BACKGROUND:
When Caroline and Francis receive an offer to house swap--from their city flat to a townhouse in a leafy, upscale London suburb--they jump at the chance for a week away from home, their son, and the tensions that have pushed their marriage to the brink.

As the couple settles in, the old problems that permeate their marriage--his unhealthy behaviors, her indiscretions--start bubbling to the surface. But while they attempt to mend their relationship, their neighbor, an intense young woman, is showing a little too much interest in their activities. 



5. HELLO COLOR
25 Bright Ideas for DIY Decor
by Rachel Mae Smith
Published by Quirk Books

Say goodbye to the ordinary, and infuse your surroundings with colour and inspiration. Don't you just hate neighbours whose decoration is limited to two colours of the palette? My neighbour's yard feels sterile with black and green everywhere. But, your home shouldn't feel like a hospital waiting room. Rachel Mae Smith shows how to add brightness to everything, from Instagram pictures to a special DIY coaster, to jazz up that summer party. She also shows three ways of how to spruce up your planter. There's also a section of five hard to kill houseplants. Aloe vera is one of them. 

Great book to amp up your neutral. Mom's an expert anyway, but she may love a bit of a pick-me-up, and this book is great for a spark of inspiration. It's especially great as a housewarming gift, or for new mom's that have just bought their new home and require a nudge in the bright direction.


6. THE STRONGEST MUM 
by Nicola Kent
Published by Pan Macmillan

"My mum is the strongest mum in the world." 

This children's book starts with these words. And what wonderful words for any mum to hear from her little cutie pie. The story is about Little Bear's mum, who is super-strong and super-kind. She's got tons of treasures in her bag. 


She carries Little Bear's things, including his bike and him.
Mum was really strong, and never really got tired...until one day, it just became too much, and she came crashing down. With a bit of help from everyone around her and a well-deserved rest, mum is ready to get going again. But this time, Little Bear is also getting super-strong too, and is excited to pitch in his weight and help mum.

What a lovely story to remember to always take care of your mum. Even the strongest mums, sometimes need a helping hand. 🐻


7. ENCYCLOPEDIA OF LANDSCAPE DESIGN 
Editor-in-chief Chris Young
Published by DK Books

Wow, this book is something. For someone who marvels at architecture, and outdoor spaces that just seem like a million bucks, this book is inspirational and educational.

It's a journey towards understanding of self. Starting with a chapter that helps you figure out what do you want to do in your garden? Are you the person who enjoys to entertain and have fun, or relax and unwind. Do you like plants and wildlife in your space? How do you want to feel in your garden? 

Different elements, different plants, different materials and colour, all add to the creation of a special place in your backyard (or front yard) . Whether it's a sanctuary of reflection, or a fun and funky place to hang out and entertain friends, this book will help you create that perfect place that's uniquely yours.  


8. VEGETARIAN VIÊT NAM
By Cameron Stauch
Published by W. W. Norton & Company

For the foodie mom, a cookbook infused with exotic flavours and recipes. Vietnamese cooking is known for its meats and fish, but here's a cookbook that has an entirely different take on things. Vegetarian. 

I have to admit I do like a daily dose of meat in my meals, but because it's Vietnamese food (and I do like myself a good cold roll), I was willing to give this one a try. And, it did not disappoint. There's a well-outlined glossary that helps you figure out the ingredients quickly and accurately, and even a resource section that tells you where you can get the ingredients from based on the city. For example, in Toronto, Cameron Stauch suggests Spadina Avenue (although I'd also argue that Gerrard near Broadview may be a good option, albeit with fewer stores.

Always wanted to know how to make dipping sauce, and now it seems I've got quite a few at my disposal. Everyday Table Sauce is a recipe that combines some of the basic ingredients I have in my home, with Thai bird chile which I was unfamiliar with. 

From Bánh mì sandwiches, to lemongrass noodle soup, this cookbook is one of my fave new acquisitions to add to my foodie repertoire.

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