Each month we pick three things that have inspired us. From art, design and branding, to food, drink and beyond… Welcome to the first of 2024!

1. Feeling bookish?

We start the year with a brief look at some of the books we received as Christmas gifts and have been enjoying since…


Caroline has been reading: Sneaker Wars: the enemy brothers who founded Adidas and Puma and the family feud that forever changed the business of sports, by Barbara Smit

In a classic tale of truth being stranger than fiction, this book covers the Dassler brothers feud that led to the creation of Adidas and Puma, two of the biggest shoe manufacturers in the world, and a long-lasting rivalry between the brands - literally splitting their town in two with one factory on the north of the river and one on the south.

It is a real page turner and tells of the animosity between employees of both companies, the fight to sign the latest sports icons, and how the brother's feud revolutionised the world of sport and big-brand marketing.

Alex has been dipping in to: Lives Less Ordinary. Obituaries of the eccentric, unique and undefinable, edited by Nigel Farndale

Confession time: I’ve always found obituaries fascinating. It might sound a bit odd, but there’s something captivating about them. Lives Less Ordinary from The Times archives showcases a diverse and colourful array of characters – from rock stars to socialites, and criminals to philosophers – each charting their own distinctive course. I particularly enjoyed reminiscing about the legend that was, musical entertainer, Margarita Pracatan. (Check out these clips if you’ve not heard of her!) The book is a masterclass in concise, witty writing, and very easy to dip in and out of.

Jayne has been enjoying: The Hidden Hut: Irresistible Recipes from Cornwall’s best kept secret, by Simon Stallard

The Hidden Hut sits on the windswept shores of the Roseland Peninsula in Cornwall. There has been a lot of noise about the spirit of the place since it opened nearly a decade ago. I visited a few years back and was not disappointed. We ate outside on the rocks, as it was the COVID-19 takeaway era. But I hear their Feast Nights are the best way to experience the vibe.

I love the fact the recipes take me back to the place and the soulful attitude the restaurant is filled with. It’s divided into Dawn/Noon/Dusk/Afters, which is easy to pick from and so many of the recipes just make you want to grab your pans and get cooking.

My favourite section is Noon as it's full of amazing lunchtime delights and posh picnic ideas. My go-to's so far are the Lemony Courgettes and Halloumi with Beetroot, Chickpea & Hazelnut Pesto; and the Carrot Fritters with minted Honey Yoghurt. Charles being less veggie than me loves the Crab Rarebit and Ceviche, and of course the cooking over fire sections.

The book is full of scenes of eating on the beach and mouth-watering dishes. I think it's going to be a favourite for quite some time.

Cadbury: Yours for 200 Years

It’s January. It’s bleak. We all need a bit of joy. Cue Cadbury and its new integrated campaign – “Yours for 200 Years” – a celebration (or should that be a Hero?), of two centuries of the brand and its place in British people’s lives and memories.

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We especially love the OOH campaign which uses wonderfully nostalgic real life family photos of Cadbury moments big and small. It connects emotionally with all generations and covers almost all chocolate occasions – genius!

(BTW, they’re still taking photo submissions here!)

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3. NOLO is for life, not just for Dry January

We love seeing the No and Low category grow - adding more choice to drinking occasions can only be a good thing. As Dry January ends, we wanted to share three lesser-known sober options that will see you through the last throws of January and beyond!

MOTHER ROOT – complex, punchy and a proper grown-up’s drink, this switchel is made in small batches with apple cider vinegar, ginger, honey and chilli.

WILDLIFE BOTANICALS – made with English sparkling wine and boosted with vitamins, minerals and botanicals, the producers call their 0.5% ABV fizz, ‘Bubbles with Benefits’. It’s a sophisticated dry wine with refreshing zingy fruit flavours.

MYTH COCONUT WHITE CANE SPIRIT – soft coconut and vanilla fudge flavours – very Malibu-esque – it’ll immediately transport you to the sunshine of the Caribbean.

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