January with Bam
Welcome to our Bamuary highlights, from the best things we read and listened to, to the best places to trek off the remnants of your New Year's hangover. Dry January hasn't been so bad after all...
WHERE WE WENT: Orleans House, Twickenham
"I bless heaven, morning, noon and night that I am in my peaceful house in old Twick," said Louis Philippe, Duc d'Orleans, when he lived in the beautiful Orleans House on the River Thames in 1817. And it's no wonder he felt so content here. The Octagon Room shimmers in its golden Baroque splendour, classical Roman statues reclining above the doorways and fireplace, putti dancing around their heads. The room, once used to host royal banquets (King George II dined there in 1729), now welcomes budding historians, art fanatics and Sunday meanderers like us into its eclectic gallery. I'll admit the artworks on display were more amusing and unsettling than inspiring to us, but the grounds were a treat to explore and the putti print wrapping paper in the gift shop was an excellent find. I bought four rolls.
WHAT WE ATE: Vegan-friendly bacon bagels at Bross Bagels, Leith, Edinburgh
I don't know about Louis Philippe, but I bless heaven morning, noon and night that vegan alternatives are getting easier to find and more delicious by the day. Not really one for meatless meat, though, I usually stick to distinctly plant-y ingredients, but the delectable, familiar waft of smoky bacon at Edinburgh's most hipstery bagel joint, Bross, won me over. So, still clad in head-to-toe lycra following a 90-minute flow yoga class at The Movement House, I ordered the aptly-named Hungry Vegan, with added "facon" - and I was not disappointed. I also rather liked the large invitation to "Fill Your Hole" in shocking pink as you walk in, and the staff bopping about to hip-hop music. Super vibey-vibes all round.
WHAT WE READ: My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithewaite, La Dolce Vita by Slim Aarons
If you like satirical comedies about family bonds that surmount terrible and violent crimes, My Sister, the Serial Killer is right up your street. Korede and Ayoola share a somewhat atypically close relationship - while one is a serial killer, the other is a resentful ally, living in the shadow of her dangerous sister's irresistible beauty and charm. It is unsettling and amusing in equal measure and the sort of thing you might finish in one Saturday morning sitting.
If, however, hazy images of the cliffy Amalfi coastline, lavish lawn parties and Italy's most beautiful people is more your bag, try Slim Aarons' La Dolce Vita. The collection of images, which is Aarons' fourth to be published, reflects his life-long love affair with Italy, which first began during a post as a photographer there during WW2. It's a hefty tome, not intended to be devoured quickly, but its deep blue seascapes and sun-soaked sailing boats truly encapsulate the good life.
Image: Slim Aarons
WHAT WE BOUGHT: Two "Chiaras" - from Kitri Studio and Ceraudo
Two of this month's best buys both boast the name Chiara - what are the chances? One is the Chiara forest-green lacquer dining chair with a woven cane seat, designed by interiors duo Ceraudo's Pome! collection, and now taking centre stage at the end of my bed, a selection of interiors books and Slim Aarons photography anthologies stacked on top. The other is a jacquard pink and red jumper by London-based boutique Kitri Studio. One of my resolutions this year is to buy from small, local brands with purpose, and, when possible, that are owned by women. Kitri ticks all those boxes, as well as stocking a fabulous range of vegan items, from leather macs to cosy cardies. Plus, full disclosure, the jumper is the exact same pattern and colour as our homepage. So important to stay on-brand.
Image: Bam Bam Madame
WHAT WE LISTENED TO: Bam's first Spotify playlist - January Snooze
For all you dreamers, thinkers, read-by-the-firers and snoozers - the perfect playlist to ease you into the new year and wile away the misty, drizzly January mornings to. Our personal favourites include José González's Let It Carry You, for brightening up rain-spattered commutes, Elderbrook's Feels Like a Sunday for late morning pottering, and Worth Everything Ever Wished For by The End of the Ocean, for those moments where you feel really lucky.
Image: Bam Bam Madame