Life & Lessons From 2012...

And so we come to the end of another year. We survived the apocalypse, applauded the Olympics, waved at the Queen on her Jubilee, smiled at the royal pregnancy, cried at the effects of Hurricane Sandy and mourned the Connecticut kiddies. We saw Obama re-elected, Jill Meagher die a terrible death, and Julia Gillard hold her own against some misogynist pollies. It was a year of heartbreak, happiness, more heartbreak, hope, a little more heartbreak and then, finally, a hallelujah that it was all over.  (Incidentally, have you seen 'The Voice' singing Hallelujah in tribute to the kiddies of the Connecticut shooting? It's beautiful. Link here: Hallelujah)

But 2012 was also a year of something else. It was, in a strange way, the year of kindness. Don't you think? Looking back, I think that's the only way we managed to survive 2012. Kindness. Lots and lots of it. Several months ago, checking out of the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York, one of the loveliest hotels in the world, I jokingly asked the concierge how they coped with the diva-esque VIPs? "Kindness," he said with a smile. "We win them over with kindness." I've never forgotten it. Next year, we'll be running our Garden Tours with the same aim. In fact, we've already started implemented it into our company philosophy. {Beautiful 'Looking for Love' Paris street photo by Irene Suchocki from Etsy.}

And now, as we look towards Christmas, and to 2013 beyond it, I'd like to encourage everyone to do one thing on the 25th. Be kind. Compassion. Courtesy. Consideration. Respect. Even humour. They all go a long way in life. Don't let others' negativity and criticism get you down. Keep your dignity. Keep your spirit. Keep your happiness about you. But most of all, be nice. It doesn't take much. Truly. A word. A gesture. A hug. A note. A hello. As Robert Alan once said: "The flower of kindness will grow. Maybe not now, but it will some day. And in kind that kindness will flow. For kindness grows in this way."

On this note, I'd like to thank you all for dropping by The Library this year. So many people have emailed to say hello, while others have been kind enough to comment, and all of your notes have lifted my spirits and kept my soul joyous this year. They've also kept The Library blog going through all the 2am nights. I very much hope that The Library has inspired and enlivened you all in return. 

I know I promised to post some 'insider' tips about Paris, plus details of our lovely new tour, but I hope you'll forgive me if I leave it for a fortnight. It will really need a special post on its own. And it will offer some holiday reading over the New Year!

In the meantime, I'd like to show you a peek at what's happening in 2013, as it's shaping up to be an exciting year. Hopefully, I'll also be able to hold my earlier promise of featuring more interviews and even more exciting interiors and gardens here on the little old Library. 

Until then, wishing you and your loved ones a very happy Christmas. And a heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you. 

With love, from my family to yours. xx

Mock-up spreads for a beautiful new cookbook and memoir from The Landing Hotel and Restaurant in the Bahamas. The Library is very lucky to be involved with this project, which will be the first in a series of exciting new projects, and I look forward to showing you the evolution of this lovely, incredibly luscious book as it unfolds, page by page. Oh – and you'll love who's writing the forewords too! (Clue: An Officer And A Gentleman.)

More mock-up pages from The Landing's beautiful book. {Dummy spreads only}

Dummy spreads from another whimsical but lovely little book, How To Live A Beautiful Life: Following In The Footsteps of Chanel

I'm also going to show you this as it unfolds, so you can see how a book is produced, from conception through contents to photography, page design and production. 

" The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. "
Coco Chanel

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