British Cozy Mysteries – TV

Warning: Consuming this post may lead you down a slippery slope of new television addictions, that could result in the paid subscriptions of Acorn TV and BritBox…

I had to include this… Wyatt goes into hysterics whenever Billy or I imitate Sam the Eagle saying “the British Way”...

The other week I stumbled upon an article that said that British Cozy Mysteries are the hottest television trend this year, and I totally could relate. That is pretty much exclusively what we watch in our house these days. I posted the article on my personal Facebook, saying that apparently Billy and I were not alone in our love for these shows, and I was pretty amazed at how many people commented that they are the exact same way! Fellow fans were just popping up left and right, sharing recommendations, sharing their favorites, asking which ones to watch. It was crazy! But it made me wonder how Billy and I got here, to this point. I am pretty sure I had never heard of any of these shows a few years ago, and now all of a sudden we are all in. I mean, I had always been a reader of of cozy mysteries, but the only one that was British at all was the Hamish Macbeth series. Which I still love!

So we started talking about it. Probably the very first one we watched was Hamish Macbeth and that was eons ago, so we didn’t really count it. Watching it didn’t spark an addiction, it was more because I was a fan of the books, and at the time it was pretty hard for us to watch any other shows anyway. Then we realized it all really began when Wyatt was born.

Wyatt was a teeny tiny little preemie peanut, 2lbs 13 oz at birth. When he finally got to come home 6 weeks later, the feeding schedule was pretty grueling, every two hours and it took us literally a half an hour to get him to eat, and then afterwards we had to hold him upright for another half an hour due to acid reflux. We spent A LOT of time just sitting and feeding him. Pretty much our whole existence like this for 6 months. So we watched A LOT of television. And we tried to find quiet, peaceful shows, because we didn’t want to wake him up if he was sleeping. One day Billy found the BBC Farm series – Tudor Farm, Edwardian Farm, Victorian Farm, War Time Farm on YouTube and we just devoured them. They were absolutely fascinating to us! (Edwardian Farm is my favorite!) But, then we ran out of them. And then I remembered the series All Creatures Great and Small, based on the books that I had loved a child. So, we watched those as well, until they swapped out the Helens and we stopped watching. But at this point, the damage was done. We were hooked on British television, although not yet the mysteries.

So we started looking about for more, and landed on Death in Paradise – not always super quiet but that was ok. Wyatt was getting a little older and we didn’t necessarily have the same requirements for our television watching. And he really enjoyed the theme song, and would do this little dance with his arms when it came on which was adorable. So we watched the seasons that Netflix had and then ran into the Great British Bake-Off, which of course is one of the best things ever, right? And from here, we were really off and running – we found Acorn TV first, then Britbox, and watched some Agatha Mystery movies, including And Then There Were None which was fabulous! We watched Agatha Raisin, Shakespeare and Hathaway, Father Brown (which is now my name for groundhogs because I saw one that lived right near a church last summer and checked on him all the time), Mapp and Lucia, The Bletchely Circle (Billy), Land Girls on Netflix, and most recently Shetland, but I think that is more of a crime procedural than mystery, as well as Doc Martin, also not a mystery. Miss Fisher, too, although that is an Australian show. And we are so grateful that we have a plethora out there to choose from! Everyone we have talked to has a different recommendation or favorite – Vera, Midsomer Murders, Foyle’s War, to name a few. So those are on our list.

So what is the draw? The article said that it is the soothing quality of these shows, and I have to agree wholeheartedly. Sure they are about murders, but all these quaint small towns, justice being done, there is no real sex or violence. In fact, sometimes Billy and I expect guns to be pulled and out pops a knife in the bad guy’s hand. It blows our minds that these police don’t have guns, and it just goes to show just how far the gun culture in America has trickled down into everything. There is no huge sense of danger or peril that keeps us full of anxiety (ok me) – it is a different type of murder altogether, one that can be followed up with a cup of tea at times. These shows are just fun and easy to watch. Although, we do have one question – why do British actors seem to get swapped up so frequently? Sometimes even in the same role, like no big deal? Maybe it is a big deal, but we just aren’t aware of it living over here. We talk about that too, how we are not familiar with British celebrities, although we are getting better all the time! (Like spotting Richard from Death in Paradise as Stewart in Doc Martin! We felt pretty cool)

I can’t choose a favorite, exactly, but I will say Death In Paradise is right up there, although I am not watching next season. I have my triad of lady sleuths I love, Agatha Raisin, Lu from Shakespeare and Hathaway, and then Frankie Drake, although she is on Canadian television. Shetland is probably one of the best television shows we have ever watched, hands down. But since we are still making our way through this mega-genre and have years to catch up for, we are still making up our minds for our favorites as we go along.

What about you? Are you a fan of British television, or cozy mysteries? I know some of you who read here live in England, Scotland, Ireland.. what do you think of this American obsession? And, any recommendations?

I’ll be waiting with my cup of tea for your answers..

My Sunday-Monday Post

My Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Sunday Salon is hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date

I didn’t get much reading done last week, as Wyatt was home sick, poor kiddo. I of course caught his cold, although a more mild version. I have my fingers crossed we are feeling better soon, because our family “UK dinner” is this weekend! I have decided on an Irish Beef Stew, and I am hoping that this is actually a thing in Ireland. If it’s not don’t tell me yet! Lol. It should be a fun night though. My cousin has been hard at work perfecting his Yorshire Pudding, and I have to say, his look like the best efforts our family has made since my grandma used to make it.

Read Last Week/Reading This week:

That being said, I have not been able to really read or focus on anything. I did download and start one book, and I hope to settle down and read it this week. I still also have The Starless Sea sitting here unopened.

By Book or by Crook by Eva Gates: I read Spook in the Stacks back in October, and decided it was time to circle around and start the series from the beginning. I didn’t read much but I did enjoy what I have read so far! (Amazon)

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern: My husband finished this and is singing its praises so hopefully I get it started this week.

Nonfiction I am reading:

The Hands-On Home: I am a very seasonal person, so I am really excited to start this book!

Around the World in 80 Trees: I am continuing to read this every week, here and there.

Posted Last Week:

I am so glad I prepped some book reviews last weekend!

Book Review: Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts

Book Reviews: Willow Tree Hall Series 1-3

Friday Favorites

Watching:

Locke and Key, Grace and Frankie, and Doc Martin. He is still kind of harsh but I feel like I understand his character so much more now, especially after a couple of key episodes.

Friday Favorites

I think you might all know by now I love a list. I also love the idea of sharing what I am loving – and I hope that you will share some things that you love as well! It just feels so positive to me, and some days I just really need a reminder of the good stuff. I have started these posts before and then not kept up with them, or deleted them for various reasons. This week has actually been a pretty tough week, and I wanted to reflect on the things that made me smile or made laugh or made me think, or just straight up entertained me.

I have not had a lot of time to really blog or comment much this week, but I have been reading blogs all over the place. I like to read it all, too. I like to read about books and deep thoughts and what people are buying at the grocery store and what they are wearing. I am all over the map. I just like to know, I guess. But this week I read a blog post that really sparked me up, and that was What’s Nonfiction’s review of Quit Like a Woman. Fantastic review, and really got me thinking about so much. I had so many feelings on this topic!

These snowdrops that we saw this week! Our first true sign that spring will really happen! We have a bit of winter left, but I feel hopeful that spring is on its way!

I am also seriously addicted to Parisienne Farmgirl’s YouTube videos! I feel like I share her values, but she is so pulled together and classy and Parisienne about it that she is goals. Plus, her food that she makes looks amazing! I am hoping to do a deep dive of her channel soon to see if she shares any of her meal planning. She also makes me want to go thrifting and get out in my garden like right now. And now I want a plaid apron too.

I always do an experimental meal every week, one I have plucked from Pinterest and the one I just made was so darn good!! It is called Mediterranean Tuna Salad and it was so fresh and yummy, we couldn’t get enough of it. We liked it so much it is back on the menu for the upcoming week! We always rate our new recipes and have decided this is a solid five out of five, and would be great in the spring, summer, or as a winter pick me up when you need that taste of freshness and green. I should add I am not a fan of regular tuna salad, so the fact that I liked this is amazing. But, no mayo so that is probably key.

This Buzzfeed article on book nook shelf inserts that are so magical and lovely and whimsical – I am totally doing this. I am so in love with this little Fairy Forest! I love things that spark my own creativity and give me ideas!

marlasings / Via reddit.com – via Buzzfeed for me!

This kid. Playing cars together, and my son, who has a speech delay, told me that his Elmo needed a “Buckle, mom” after Elmo flew out of the car that I had so dangerously and precariously perched him on top of. But that Elmo, he’s a risk taker. See him all Game of Thrones on a dragon there. Still no buckle…

Tanglewood Hollow, always a favorite of mine – but this maple sugaring post grabbed my attention, especially since at Wyatt’s upcoming party we are doing a maple sugaring event..

What about you? Anything catch your fancy this week? What have you been enjoying?

Book Reviews- Willow Tree Hall 1-3

Ah this little series was such a fun series to read! When I found it on Kindle, I thought I would give it a go. The covers were so inviting, the premise sounded promising, and I really needed something light and easy. And this series lived up to all of those expectations!

Love Begins at Willow Tree Hall starts with the story of Annie and Sam. Annie is the housekeeper for Willow Tree Hall, and de facto caretaker for its two elderly residents, Arthur and Rose, a brother and sister duo. Their respective grandsons and grandnephews had careers that took them around the world and they never seemed to find their way back home too often, especially eldest grandson Sam. Sam and his brother Will therefore were unaware of just how decrepit and crumbling Willow Tree Hall was becoming – or really even how much help their loved ones needed. When Arthur has a fall that lands him in the hospital, Sam soon learns what is going on at the Hall, and things slowly but surely begin to change…

Summer Secrets at Willow Tree Hall centers on Annie’s best friend from school, Eleanor, and one of Sam’s musicians that he manages, Tom. Eleanor finds herself back in her hometown after an extended time away, and is drawn to the Hall while she takes her care of her mother, who has injured her foot and needs help taking care of her menagerie of animals. I think that was my favorite part, all the animals in this book! They are not front and center by any means, but they endear me to Eleanor and her mother. Then a stray English Setter enters the scene, and he stole my heart. I had my own scared, skinny, stray English Setter at one point named Penny, so Dylan was a great bonus for me.

A Winter Wedding at Willow Tree Hall is all about Will and Skye. Will is still hanging out in the Alps, managing his construction company and many short relationships – until he isn’t anymore. He lands back at the Hall, at odds with his situation and himself, truth be told. He has been harboring a secret for a very long time as well, that has been slowly poisoning him and his relationships, with his family and in love. Skye and her Airstream had planned on just a quick stop at the Hall on her way to stay with her sister, after a lifetime of taking care of people while neglecting her own dreams and desires. She learns she has inherited half of a Lodge on the Hall’s estate – and the other co-owner is Will. Their story was my favorite of them all!

There is nothing too intense about these reads, and they are perfect for that reading escape, curled up in your favorite spot with your favorite beverage.

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links for books, where I will make a small commission if you were to make a purchase, at no extra cost to you.

Book Review: Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts

Goodreads Summary:

A dying billionaire sends one woman and a cast of dreamers and rivals on a citywide treasure hunt in this irresistible novel by the author of Bellweather Rhapsody.

Tuesday Mooney is a loner. She keeps to herself, begrudgingly socializes, and spends much of her time watching old Twin Peaks and X-Files DVDs. But when Vincent Pryce, Boston’s most eccentric billionaire, dies—leaving behind an epic treasure hunt through the city, with clues inspired by his hero, Edgar Allan Poe—Tuesday’s adventure finally begins.

Puzzle-loving Tuesday searches for clue after clue, joined by a ragtag crew: a wisecracking friend, an adoring teen neighbor, and a handsome, cagey young heir. The hunt tests their mettle, and with other teams from around the city also vying for the promised prize—a share of Pryce’s immense wealth—they must move quickly. Pryce’s clues can’t be cracked with sharp wit alone; the searchers must summon the courage to face painful ghosts from their pasts (some more vivid than others) and discover their most guarded desires and dreams.

A deliciously funny ode to imagination, overflowing with love letters to art, from The Westing Game to Madonna to the Knights of the Round Table, Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts is the perfect read for thrill seekers, wanderers, word lovers, and anyone looking for an escape to the extraordinary.

My thoughts:

This book was so full of things that I love! I really could not put it down.

Tuesday Mooney is a wonderful character. She has a job, a routine, a life that she loves as a prospect researcher, which I didn’t even know was a job but it sounds right up my alley. She has a friend or two, and even though she keeps other people at a distance, doesn’t really feel lonely. She is content. Until a fateful fundraiser, where Vincent Pryce dies, setting into motion a large-scale scavenger hunt where Pryce’s mass treasure is the prize.

All of sudden Tuesday’s world is thrown into a tizzy. She wants more than anything to win that prize, solve that riddle. Her social circle expands as other things fall apart; life is not so carefully ordered for Miss Mooney anymore. And I loved that. I loved that her world that she so carefully crafted was spun upside down by her absolute passion and drive to complete this challenge.

This books takes you on many journeys, through different motivations and desires and personal quests, all wrapped up in one big mystery. I completely loved it and need to read more by this author ASAP!

My Sunday-Monday Post

My Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Sunday Salon is hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date

Last week was all about parties it seemed – planning and preparing for Wyatt’s fifth birthday party, and then all the Valentine’s things! Party with his cousins, party at school, our family Valentine celebration..it was just a week centered around celebrating I guess. Which made it fun! Billy and I event got a date night in there as well! I am super excited about Wyatt’s party, which is going to be lumberjack themed with a cake that looks like a stack of pancakes!

Read Last Week:

A Winter Wedding at Willow Tree Hall by Alison Sherlock: The third in this series, and probably my very favorite. I have really enjoyed them all, such just pleasant happy little reads, but I loved this one. I loved boho shy Skye and her crazy Airstream and fear of the outdoors and countryside! I think that there is another one in this series but I will come back to this series; I loved them but I am ready to move on from their cozy little world.

Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia: OMG I loved this book!!!! I picked it up on a whim and instantly fell in love with it once I started reading. I loved The Westing Game as a kid and this book reminded me of it. I have really kicked off my reading year with books about clever people solving puzzles (The Truly Devious series and now this book) and now I just want more like this. This book was so fantastic – it was funny, quirky, nods to pop culture from my own youth… absolutely awesome book. I’m hoping to get to some book reviews this week, and this will probably be in that roundup!

Reading This Week:

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern: So, I was going to give this book a pass. I was among the minority I think, who did not like The Night Circus, so I was not going to read this one. But then my husband listened to it and loved it, so I have decided to try it out. Plus, it also sounds like it is about solving a puzzle/mystery/game! So perfect timing!

Around the World in 80 Trees: I am fascinated by this book although I probably only read a few trees a week. I feel like my nerd level of telling people facts about trees without them asking is about to go up..

Posted Last Week:

A Valentine’s Day for the Birds

What Wyatt’s Reading – Valentine Edition

Watching:

I am stilling watching Grace and Frankie (which just doesn’t sound as good as Frankie and Grace..) and Billy and I have started watching Doc Martin. He is a bit abrasive but I still like it. Wyatt’s still watching Scout and the Gumboot Kids, Daniel Tiger, and Molly of Denali, so I guess I am watching that as well, at times. Lol.

What about you all? What is going on in your world?

A Valentine's Day for the Birds

All the way back in the 14th century, Chaucer wrote a little poems called The Parliament of Fowls (Parlement of Foules), in which he describes the day as being one where birds found love and their mates. Before his poem, there had been no connection between Valentine’s Day and romance. These little love birds of his started a whole new holiday!

Since we are bird nerds over here, we decided to do a little something to honor this idea of birds and Valentine’s Day, just for a little fun, and decided to make bird feeders in the shape of hearts, an idea I got from Wyatt’s teacher. This was a super fun and super cute little craft, with very little mess, something I am not used to. We usually tend to make messy crafts around here, with paint or glue everywhere. So this was a nice change! Lol.

It’s very simple as you can see, using only yarn, pipe cleaners, and Cheerios!

Then we simply bent the pipe cleaners in a sort of heart shape to start with, strung on the Cheerios (which was great OT for Wyatt – fine motor and bilateral use of both hands!!), closed the heart off, and added the yarn! Voila. Then we took them outside and hung them in our apple tree. I hung them on itty bitty branches, hoping that squirrels and Pippin my possum friend don’t try to eat them. I am afraid that they would try to eat the pipe cleaner too. I am also keeping a close eye on them too, just in case.

We finished up by reading In the Snow by Sharon Phillps Denslow, which was a super cute read about a little boy who leaves birdseed out for his feathered and furry friends. It’s a simple little book that talks about the backyard birds and animals that might visit your feeders in winter. And it reminded me that we actually are out of birdseed, so I need to put it on our shopping list!

If you are interested in other Valentine’s Day nature crafts, I found so many cute and creative ideas around the internet!

Heart Leaf Lanterns (I am hoping to squeeze this one before Valentine’s Day!) from Rhythms of Play

Twig Centerpiece from Crafting a Green World

Pine Cone Love Bugs from Fireflies and Mudpies

Heart Shaped Homemade Bird Seed Feeders from Jen Loves Kev

These are just a few of the many I found! My Pinterest got a serious workout this week with all of my pinning.

We have a long winter break weekend, five days off for kiddo, ahead of us, I would love to hear about any craft or activities that you might do!