These are a few of our editor’s favourite things.

From high glamour espadrille wedges to low glamour (but exceptionally good) TV; from dressing up to dressing down, these are the things on Nancy’s wishlist this summer.

Bedside Table: Sorrow & Bliss

I’ve just started Sorrow & Bliss by Meg Mason. Even at under fifty pages in, I’m hooked. The story of Martha Friel, who writes ‘funny’ food columns for Waitrose magazine – from which her editor cuts the funny bits – it delves into her intense relationship with her sister, her bohemian but neglectful parents, her adoring husband who nonetheless leaves her, and the anguish of being someone who cannot help but pick fault in others but longs to be the opposite of what she is. Devastatingly good. Buy it here.

Sleepover: Burgh Island

Once, many years ago, I spent a glorious night at Burgh Island in Devon. I think of it often and long to visit again. The romance of an Art Deco cruise-liner style hotel atop a tiny island which is only reached via sea tractor is irresistible. And that’s before we get into the Agatha Christie association (she wrote and set two books here) and fellow famous past guests, including Noel Coward, Winston Churchill, Lord Mountbatten, Amy Johnson and The Beatles. Book it here.

Dress Up: Larry Hand-Smocked Cotton Dress by Molly Goddard, NOW £2,160

This dress has it all: a classic silhouette, hand smocking and pockets. We’d wear it with espadrilles, a wide-brim hat and a slick of red lipstick. Buy it here.

Dress Down: Happy Jaal Yoga Pants by Dilli Grey

This gorgeous pair of raspberry pink yoga pants will be just the thing for wafting around the garden – or the poolside – this summer. Handblocked onto 100 per cent cotton, they are the stuff of summer loungewear dreams. £49. Buy them here.

Arm Candy: Sendai Red Bag by Molly Goddard

Who could resist this red and pink beauty by Molly Goddard? Ideal worn with flip flops to the beach but equally good with a suitably dramatic maxi dress and an espadrille wedge, I just love, love, love it. £420. Buy it here.

Step Out: Carina Colorblock Canvas Wedge Espadrille by Castañer

I’m a lifelong fan of the wedge espadrille for summer glamour. It’s classic, it gives height while being easy to walk on, and it never fails to deliver la dolce vita vibes. Castañer makes the best be-ribboned pairs I’ve found. I love this colour-blocked black version. (On a side note, I’ve long fantasised about a pair in Yves Klein blue, but never found them – anyone?) €120. Buy them here.

Bake Off: Bornn Baking Dish

Nothing cheers up a cooking session like Bornn’s Colorama collection. I adore it all, but at a push, I’d plump for the pink. €22. Buy it here.

Dream House: The Pink House, Inigo

There’s something so dolls’ house-ish about this property that you almost feel you could unhook the side and open it up. Right on the high street in the market town of Lewes in Sussex, it’s next door to a wonky fifteenth-century bookshop (highlighting the town’s medley of Georgian and medieval architecture) and the views at the back across the South Downs are the stuff of dreams. £1,650,000, through Inigo.

On The Box: Mare of Easttown

I felt genuine sorrow when we finished this HBO original. Kate Winslet turns in a heart-breaking, multi-layered performance as a complex and fallible detective in a small, bleak Pennsylvania town. So much more than an edge-of-seat whodunnit, it examines both the fragility of life and grief, while offering a glimpse into a less glossy side of America that rarely makes it onto our screens. The best thing I’ve watched all year. Watch it here.

Benchmark: Sudbury Garden Bench by Rowen & Wren

This galvanised steel beauty has lazy Sundays with the papers written all over it. £690.
Buy it here.

Curiouser and Curiouser: Alice at the V&A

I live in Oxford, which has strong associations with Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll having written the story at Christ Church College, where he was a mathematics don. The city is also home to the rather wonderful The Story Museum, which brings to life classic tales written for children. And its same designer is behind Curiouser and Curiouser, the Alice in Wonderland exhibit at the V&A, which makes me all the keener to get lost down this particular rabbit hole. Book it here.

Image: Alice at the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, Illustration for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by John Tenniel, 1865 (c) Victoria and Albert Museum

All The World’s A Stage: Four Quartets, Oxford Playhouse

Like much of the rest of the world, I have missed the theatre inordinately through lockdown, the last thing I watched having been the brilliant funny Present Laughter at the Old Vic. Ralph Fiennes in TS Eliot’s Four Quartets, seems to me a great way to mark its return. I will watch it at the Oxford Playhouse, but it is touring this summer. Book it here.

By Nancy Alsop
June 2021

Hot Picks: 17 Great Buys For The Home
9 Of The Best Spanish Tapas Recipes
What Makes an Ooni Pizza Oven The Hottest Product of the Year?

Nancy Alsop


Nancy is a magpie for the best in design and culture.