Quarter Two 2023 Jones List
What have founder Jennifer Jones and Creative Director Jennifer Sampson been up to in the winter months of 2023? Let's see what JJ has been eating, wearing, doing and watching first:
What I’ve been watching:
I’ve been giving a lot of time to the series Better Things on Disney which follows a divorced actress in LA and her highs and lows raising her 3 daughters. So much of it is relatable to me as a middle-aged Mom raising a daughter! It has a superb cast from Pamela Adlon who wrote the show and stars as Sam the main character to her mother played by English actress Celia Imrie who you’ll probably recognise from Bridget Jones and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. It’s hilarious and I have so warmed to Sam who is delightfully un-PC and makes me feel normal with her outrageous behaviour. Such a great show which is an easy watch at the end of a long day.
With all the hype from the British press about the last season of Happy Valley I just had to dive in. I watched it from season one and only realised that I had seen the previous two seasons, I just didn’t realise it since there was a gap of 7 years between seasons two and three. The gap was so that one of the main characters Ryan could grow up to a boy of 16 and his character could then make his own decisions about his relationship with his father, a convicted murderer played by James Norton. This is brilliant British telly at it’s very best. It is absolutely gripping and Sarah Lancashire who plays cop Catherine Cawood is one the hardest and bravest women I’ve seen on screen. No wonder the season finale stopped a nation and was the talk by every water fountain the next day. It’s brutal and harrowing but just takes you on a nail-biting ride with all the characters that you are so invested in.
I also just rewatched some classics on a flight from Manila. I can happily say About a Boy and Jerry McGuire are the perfect inflight movies!
I’ve got a few theatre experiences lined up for the next few weeks too. Going to see the Tina Turner musical this week and then Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 at the Darlinghurst Theatre next week. Plus the Sydney Fringe Festival is in September and I’ve booked in The Marvellous Elephant Man the Musical. Did I mention I went to theatre school as a child?? Sadly I was only good at set design and rubbish at everything else. But my love for theatre still goes on!
What I’ve bought:
For my husband’s birthday I bought a Solo Stove for our backyard. I can’t wait to get this fire-pit going and be able to have nights around it toasting marshmallows and looking at the flames with a glass of red in hand. What I loved about this brand is that it claims to be smokeless, it comes with a top and an easy ash tray for emptying and a carry case so you can take it camping with you!
I know it’s still winter but as I went to the Philippines this month I also bought the new Teva cult sandal. I read about it on my fav blog Cup of Jo and hunted them down on Amazon. They are incredibly comfortable, lightweight (it’s like wearing nothing!) and also can be dressed up or down. I saw them on Ashley Olsen here and love how they look with a loose pant.
What I’ve been reading:
I love reading on holiday especially with a Kindle so I don’t have to turn on the light and wake up the family in the hotel room. I got through these books in the school holidays.
When her ‘best friend’ dies in front of her June can’t help but steal her unpublished novel. What happens next is an unravelling of her sanity. I love how this book was written in the first person constantly keeping you in June’s mind and how she works her way through the situation she has caused.
This man makes me laugh out loud! His perspective on the world post pandemic is hilarious and poignant.
A super easy read about a community centres pottery class and the ins and outs of the neighbours who meet every week. 4 women in very different life scenarios muddle their way through life trying to find happiness. And as it is with these novels all of them get a happy ending! A perfect life holiday novel.
A New York Times 2022 bestseller this book is about two siblings Benny and Byron who reunite when their mother passes and they receive an unexpected inheritance. They soon get pulled into their mother’s story which started in the Caribbean and the story of a decade old murder.
What I learnt:
I think the algorithm has finally got to me and I’ve subscribed now to Masterclass. It’s an online platform where the best leaders of the world in their field run a masterclass. There’s classes run by Anna Wintour, Amy Tan, David Sedaris (see above!), Gordon Ramsay, Ottolenghi, Diane Von Furstenberg and Kelly Wearstler! For these long winter nights I have figured it may be nice to learn something I’m interested in rather than binge watching Netflix. It’s early days but so far the quality of the classes is amazing and it’s just great to listen to these incredible people’s stories too.
Over to Jen Sampson to give us the low down on what she has been obsessing over the last three months;
What I'm eating:
I became obsessed with this Cheese, Chilli and Spring Onion scone from Brickfields bakery, just near my house in Marrickville NSW and was craving one so badly but they had sold out (no surprise!) so I tried to crack the recipe instead, it’s pretty close I reckon, with using sour cream the texture is really flaky and moreish. Cut them into chunky triangles and serve still warm with butter or for brunch with creamy scrambled eggs – enjoy!
- 2 cups (240g) Plain Flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 85g unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated (Aged cheddar works a treat here)
- 3 spring onions chopped, white and green part
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Sprinkle of chilli flakes (to your taste)
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Mix together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Work in the butter with your fingers to make it crumbly.
Mix in the cheese and spring onions.
Mix together the eggs and sour cream and the mustard. Add to the dry ingredients, stirring just until everything is moistened; the dough will be sticky.
Flour your bench lightly. Make the dough into a rectangle. Cut in half and then half again diagonally so you end up with kind of triangle shapes.
Place the scones on the lined tray, leaving space between them.
Bake the scones for 20 minutes, until they're browned. Serve warm or at room temperature. They're super yum instead of toast with creamy eggs for breakfast or as a savoury snack with a cup of tea!
What I'm reading:
I’ve really loved diving into some recent reads, what beats getting into bed in Winter in toasty pjs and reading a great book? I love this trio as they centre around kindness and the definition of family.
Still Life by Sarah Winman is a love letter to Florence and the depth of love and feeling between the characters, spoken and unspoken, but evident in the connections and interwoveness of their lives spanning four decades.
The Magicians Assistant by Ann Patchett is not a new release (1998!) but sometimes these things pass you by or need a rediscovery.
Crossroads by Johnathan Franzen is warm and full of well drawn characters covering family and religion.
What I'm buying:
Knitwear! We have had such a mild winter that a knit is really all I’ve needed the past few months, the heavy jackets have stayed in the cupboard! I’ll only buy wool or alpaca blends as they wear well and are much warmer than any acrylic blends which only last a season or a few wears anyway. I like investing in good quality knits and looking after them. I’ve had some great ones this winter from Aje, Stine Goya and Henne that will last for years to come.
What I'm watching:
I just finished all four seasons of Barry (played by Bill Hader). I loved, mostly all of it – got maybe a little too dark in the last season when we jumped ahead in time and Barry found God but I’m a huge Saturday Night Live fan so any SNL alum has me hooked from the jump. The hilarious character of Noho Hank (played by Anthony Carrigan) is worth watching for alone!
Another black-ish comedy I absolutely adored is Deadloch on Amazon Prime, outstanding writing and a brilliant Aussie cast shine in this feminist buddy comedy, if you are shy about colourful language maybe give this one a miss though.
The other thing I have been binging is You Tube! The Sunday Times Style, House and Garden Design Notes, Vogue Objects of Affection video series and Architectural Digest Home Tours - just one video after another of inspirational gorgeous homes and fascinating creators in cottages in the Cottswolds to London townhouses. Subscribe to each channel and you'll never miss a video!
What I'm listening to:
I really love the Every Outfit girls, I subscribe to their Patreon podcast and they have additional episodes at the moment on And Just Like That. I’m not entering into any reviews here of the current season of that particular show though – it is what it is guys! I just love the biting nasal Los Angeles drawl of Chelsea Fairless and Lauren Garroni who are OG SATC stans but aren't shy in giving their real opinions and don't mince words.
What I learnt:
That it’s ok to need a reset. I spent 3 blissful days at Billabong Retreat recently, it’s predominately a Yoga and Meditation retreat with beautiful vegan and vegetarian food prepared for you daily. You can participate as much or as little as you like but I learnt that one; I loved really committing to the practice of yoga every day and two; learning from new people. All the meals are communal so many, many conversations enjoyed with people from all walks of life that really nourished the soul along with the delicious food and peace. Yoga on the pontoon floating on the billabong with the whip birds calling is a once in a lifetime experience to be savoured.