Illustration of two people stood on a book cover of Hill House Living
Illustration of two people stood on a book cover of Hill House Living

What better gift could to you give someone than the inspiraiton to spend less time on their phones and more on a challenging and rewarding new hobby?! We can't think of one.

These are books designed to guide people into fun new pasttimes, whether that's bird-watching, improving your home or mixing up a killer cocktail. All perfect ways to make use of that 'New Year; New You' energy. 

Hill House Living by Paula Sutton (2021)

If most of your time on Instagram is spent scrolling through beautiful interiors then chances are you've stumbled across @hillhousevintage. Owner of one of the most popular 'cottagecore' accounts (as well as her grand Georgian House) Paula Sutton inspires her ever-growing following with stylish interiors, picturesque gardens and – of course – impeccable taste in dresses.

Alongside the story of Sutton's journey, leaving a high-flying London career to search for 'the good life' in rural Norfolk,  Hill House Living is a heart-warming guide to finding joy and happiness through your surroundings. Whether that is celebrating seasonal produce in your cooking or upholstering a vintage chair, no matter where you live, this book will will inspire you to create your own stylish sanctuary. 

30 Days of Creativity by Johanna Basford (2021)

Find your inner child – preferably armed with a fistfull of crayons – and explore your creative side with artist and ink evangelist Johanna Basford. 

Basford states that just 10 minutes a day is all you need to kick-start a creative habit of a lifetime, and this book is designed to help. Packed with activities for you to colour, draw or add your own inky details to, 30 Days of Creativity is full of whimsical illustrations celebrating the finer things in life like coffee-shop treats, blooming bouquets and warm bubble-baths.

With plenty of tips and tricks included on each page you'll feel like a Picasso in progress but if the thought of putting pen to paper is still daunting then try the accompanying free online course to help you along the way. 

Jane’s Patisserie by Jane Dunn (2021)

With a devoted army of fans on social media, Jane Dunn has turned her baking hobby into her career whilst breaking records with the fastest-selling baking book ever. 

Her signature style is fun, creative and packed full of your favourite chocolate bars. If you are bored of making the same old lemon drizzle then this is definitely the book for you. The easy to follow recipes will see you whipping up Dunn’s most delectable bakes, from fan’s favourite No-Bake Biscoff Cheesecake to her decadent Cookies & Cream Drip Cake. You'll become a star baker before you know it! 

The Lost Skills and Crafts Handbook by Alan Titchmarsh (2021)

Gardener and broadcaster Alan Titchmarsh explores the heritage of rural Britain in this beautifully illustrated compendium. In it he shares the history of crafts and skills that were essential to country life and provides practical tips on how you can rediscover them.

There are tips for navigating the countryside including making your own walking sticks for hikes and lighting campfires - even if you have forgotten the matches. But you don’t need to be in the countryside to enjoy this book. There are plenty of ideas to embrace rural life including planning your own kitchen garden to making your own soaps and candles.

The Alchemist Cocktail Book (2021)

Elevate your mixology skills with cocktail recipes from The Alchemist, one of the nation’s go-to bars for sumptuous cocktails with a dash of theatre.

Now you can create their signature recipes at home including the iconic Caramelised Rum Punch and Smokey Old Fashioned as well as more adventurous flavour pairings like a nostalgic Rhubarb and Custard Sour. With a few practice sessions soon your cocktail hour will be the talk of the town. 

Save our Birds by Matt Sewell (2021)

There is an alarming number of Britain’s birds on the IUCN Red list - the organisation which provides comprehensive information of species close to extinction across the globe. Sadly Nightingales, Puffins and Turtle Doves are a few examples of the many species on the brink of extinction. 

But there is hope, and author Matt Sewell is here to show us. Alongside Sewell’s signature watercolour artwork, he provides practical advice on how we can protect our feathered friends. From bird-friendly window boxes to turning over a section of garden for wildflowers, there are steps big and small that bird-lovers of all ages can do to help.

Around the World in 80 Books by David Damrosch (2021)

Technically this isn’t a book about a hobby but but it certainly could inspire one of life's greatest hobbies - reading! If you are a keen traveller and love books then what better way to spend your free time reading around the world?

Author David Damrosch suggests you can circumnavigate the globe not necessarily in 80 days like the famous Mr Fogg but in 80 books. All from the comfort of your armchair.

Begin your journey in London and travel across country with an intnerary that includes everything from landmark classics to contemporary storytelling, de-tours to fantasy worlds as well as nail-biting crime scenes. Damrosch aruges that this curated list of titles not only helped shape our idea of the world but can bring us fresh perspectives to the challenges faced today. 


Image: Bianca Bagnarelli for Penguin Random House

Tour de Force by Mark Cavendish (2021)

If motivation is what you need to kick-start 2022 then look no further than Mark Cavendish's incredible story of triumph over adversity. Tour de Force is the intimate account of the athlete's battle with illness and clinical depression and at the age of 36 considered his cycling career over. But after a last minute inclusion on the Deceuninck Quick-Step Team, Cavendish claimed back the green sprinter's jersey he first wore in 2011 with four stage victories at the Tour de France. Whether you are a seasoned cyclist or looking for that push to keep going - this is a story to inspire all. 

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