Not Just Pretty Pictures: Coffee Table Books You Need in Your Life

We’re slipping into the time of year where I find staying at home an increasingly attractive option, despite the fact that I’m generally the type of person who prefers to be out and about. Over the last couple of years, I’ve spent a lot of time and energy creating a fun home space that I can both work and relax in – so it’s not exactly a bad thing that I want to spend more time here.

Coffee table books are a particular indulgence of mine – and Gary’s – and we’ve accumulated quite a collection since we started living together! And during the chillier, greyer Sundays, escaping into one of these big, beautiful books with a mug of something hot is one of my favourite ways to spend an hour.

Sometimes coffee table books can be all style and no substance though and, as much as I can appreciate that, I do still like to read something while I’m leafing through them!

I thought I’d share a few of my favourite titles that deliver both, in case you’re looking for something new to reach for on your next cosy day at home…

What I Love About Movies by Little White Lies is a collective celebration of films by some of the best in the business. From Ryan Gosling, to Wes Anderson, Quentin Tarantino, Francis Ford Coppola and more, each answering the simple question (“What do you love about movies?”) in their own unique style alongside some gorgeous illustrations.

Did someone say Wes Anderson? The Grand Budapest Hotel by Matt Zoller Seitz is a comprehensive guide to one of Anderson’s most popular productions, filled with interviews, costume designs, research notes, a critical essay and much more. This pastel pink beauty is always sitting in our living room, ready to whisk us away to Wes’ world.

The Secret History of Twin Peaks by Mark Frost is what you might expect from a book about one of TV’s most curious cult classics: it is not what it seems. This oversized, hardback title is actually a mystery novel in the format of a coffee table book – with the reader taking on the role of an FBI agent. The pages are peppered with photographs, transcripts and other evidence to digest. A must-have for any fan of the show!

coffee table books

Finally, Places to Go, People to See by Kate Spade is one of my most recent additions and covers a topic close to my heart: travel! The vintage glamour of the jet-set meets inspirational quotes, travel tips (like what to buy if you ever find yourself in Buenos Aires and the BEST room service midnight snacks!) and oodles of vibrant photos. Warning: wanderlust is pretty much guaranteed with this one…

For me, these coffee table books tick all of the boxes: they look stylish when I display them around the flat, they’re filled with amazing content and have lush, eye-catching images to get lost in.

coffee table books

What are YOUR favourite coffee table books? And other things to do while spending a day at home?

Visiting The Neon Museum, Las Vegas

The Neon Museum

Las Vegas was the last stop on our American road trip and, after a few weeks of taking in some incredible natural landscapes, I was ready to trade all of that gorgeous scenery for glitz, glamour and (of course!) plenty of neon. And, right at the top of my must-do list? The Neon Museum in downtown Las Vegas.

The Neon Museum

Vegas is home to quite a few amazing attractions (keep your eyes peeled for more on them very soon!), but The Neon Museum is something really special; showcasing a collection of historic and iconic signs that are a part of sin city’s history.

The Neon Museum

With signs dating from as early as the 1930s, it felt like we were stepping back in time! Legendary pieces from well-known Vegas establishments like the Stardust, the Moulin Rouge and the Golden Nugget have been specially preserved and displayed for visitors. When I seen the 1958 sign for the Stardust, I couldn’t help but swoon a little! What an atomic beauty!

The Neon Museum

The Neon Museum

Taking a walking tour of The Neon Museum doesn’t just mean that you can get up close to all of these incredible designs and lose yourself in a colourful vintage world for an hour (though I did PLENTY of that), it’s also a chance to learn about how Las Vegas has grown over the years.

The Neon Museum

Our tour guide talked us through the story of each sign, with some awesome insights into old-school Vegas (think stories peppered with Rat Pack appearances!) and the people behind the hotels and casinos. If it’s at all possible, I think I left even more wide-eyed than when I went in.

The Neon Museum

I was excited to dress in theme for this occasion, so wore my biggest, most OTT flamingo sunglasses, along with a sparkling diamond Markus Lupfer tee and a neon arrow necklace by Tatty Devine. Viva Las Vegas, baby!

The Neon Museum

Finally, I don’t think I could talk about my visit without mentioning my love for the visitor centre at The Neon Museum, which is housed in the former lobby of the fabulous La Concha Motel. This shell-shaped, mid-century design dates back to the swinging sixties and was rescued from demolition when the motel closed in 2005. Stunning!

The Neon Museum

If you’re planning a visit to Las Vegas, be sure to check out The Neon Museum and take in a very stylish slice of history. Don’t forget your giant sunglasses…

Merchant City Festival 2017: What to Check Out

Summertime in Glasgow means a few things are for certain: there’s less chance of you getting soaked as you go about your day (oh, sunshine – how I’ve missed you!), the ice cream van in Kelvingrove Park will do a roaring trade (because any price is reasonable when you’re spending your day basking in the sun, loving life…)  and, finally, Glasgow’s festival season kicks off!

Yup, Glasgow LOVES a summer shindig and, hot off the heels of recent TRNSMT and Mela festivals, we now have Merchant City Festival launching on 22nd July.

This nine-day celebration of arts and culture is jam-packed with events and activities. We’re spoiled for choice with music, comedy, exhibitions, street food, club nights, performances and much more – so deciding what to check out over the festival period is tough! 

I’ve got my eye on a few things and I thought I would share my Merchant City Festival 2017 picks – just in case you need help making your mind up, or if you’re new to the festival altogether and don’t know where to start!

Red Bus Bistro

Hanging out in a 1966 Routemaster bus has vintage style written all over it but throw a tasty afternoon tea into the mix and it’s EVEN MORE appealing! The Red Bus Bistro will be stationed in Wilson Street on the 22nd and 23rd of July serving teatime treats by day and cocktails n’ deli platters by night.

Massaoke

Part gig, part karaoke and 100% party, Massaoke’s events have been sweeping the nation and, for one night only (29th July at the Old Fruitmarket), it’s coming to Glasgow as part of Merchant City Festival. What’s Massaoke? I’m so glad you asked! A live band plays everyone’s favourite hits while the lyrics are displayed on huge screens, inviting the crowd to belt out the words together. It’s so crazy it just might work. I’ve got my ticket – see you there?

Punk Archaeology

Anyone walking around the city can see the spirit of 1970s punk well and truly lives on in Glasgow today and this one-off event delves a little deeper into punk history and culture. With a panel of guest speakers exploring punk in Scotland (and Glasgow in particular of course!), the evening will then be concluded with a special screening of Derek Jarman’s 1978 cult movie, Jubilee. Get in touch with your punk roots on 26th July at City Halls.

Merchant City Photography Tour: Glasgow Doors Open Day with Dreghorn Photography School 

The eagle-eyed (and very loyal!) amongst you may remember I had a class with Dreghorn Photography School a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. I’d recommend learning some tips from these guys whether you’re a beginner or seasoned snapper! They’re running two free classes (places booked via Eventbrite) on the 23rd and 29th, and will be giving their attendees exclusive access to some of the areas beautiful buildings to nail that perfect shot.

Big Feed on Tour

If you love mouthwatering street food and a friendly atmosphere, there’s a good chance you’ve already heard of Big Feed’s regular indoor markets which have foodies all over town swooning. Showcasing the very best of Glasgow’s indie food vendors, their events are already becoming pretty legendary so, when I heard they were going ‘on tour’ to Merchant City, I popped their dates in my diary. Catch them on Brunswick Street on the 28th, 29th and 30th of this month.

Phew! Can you believe that I’m only scratching the surface here? You can find out more about these events, plus the ENTIRE Merchant City Festival 2017 programme, here!

Will you be visiting the festival this year? And what are some of your favourite things about Glasgow in summer?