10 Books to Inspire You to Try a New Hobby

In partnership with the Guille-Allès Library

We know life can be busy. Much too busy sometimes. But isn't that all the more reason to slow things down and make me-time a priority? If you haven't already, then we're encouraging you to make this the year you prioritise relaxation and creativity, and what better way than to take up a new hobby. 

Not sure where to start? Well, our friends at the Guille-Allès Library have curated this list of books to inspire you to try something new and put time for a hobby on your 'To You' list.




1.  Transform Your Wardrobe

Girl with a Sewing Machine is a beautiful, instructive book from The Great British Sewing Bee’s Jenniffer Taylor, to inspire sustainable fashion choices. Using Jenniffer's imaginative ideas, this book will teach you how to transform unloved items of clothing into new and fun outfits you’ll be excited to wear. Learn how to customise clothes with tie-dyeing and block printing; as well as how to measure yourself, create patterns and make clothes from scratch.


2.  Grand Upcycling Designs

Ever thought about turning that old item in the garage into something awesome to impress your dinner guests? Written by Max McMurdo, who you might recognise from George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces, Upcycling: 20 Creative Projects Made from Reclaimed Materials can help you discover inner design genius. It’s got some genuinely cool ideas, plus advice on where to find scrap items, and techniques on how to transform them into great designs.


3.  Stargazing for Beginners

Why not make the most of our island’s dark skies by learning some basic astrology? Stargazing for Beginners: Explore the Wonders of the Sky at Night is a practical guide explains and demystifies stargazing, teaching you to recognize different kinds of objects and showing you how they move through the sky over the course of the night and the year. Learn the names of the constellations and build up more advanced knowledge as you go!


4.  Rewild Your Garden

Written by Frances Tophill of BBC Gardener’s World fame, Rewild Your Garden is a delightfully illustrated guide to bringing nature to your space. Rewilding is becoming increasingly popular – the practice of looking after green space with wildlife benefits in mind. This book shows you easy ways to look out for bees, butterflies and birds, whether you have a balcony, courtyard or garden, you can give something back to the planet.


Wild Garden


5.  Ukelele for Dummies

Much smaller than a guitar (and with less strings to worry about), the ukulele is a great instrument to try if you’re keen to play music. As with all the ‘For Dummies’ books, Ukelele for Dummies covers all the basics from chords and strumming patterns to guidance on finger-picking. You can then move on to master full songs including pop and folk hits!


6.  Wreath Making

After quitting their day jobs, Katie Smith and Terri Chandler started up a flower business, designing flowers for weddings and parties. Inspired by wild, foraged materials, their book Wreaths: Fresh, Foraged and Dried Floral Arrangements brings together their ideas and techniques for anyone to try. It contains step by step instructions for 20 designs – you’ll want to make and keep them all!


7.  Perfect Pictures

Photography helps you look at everything in a different way – every moody sky, bird on a branch, street scene or even well-baked cake is an opportunity to capture an interesting image. This book teaches you how to master your digital camera, getting the most out of its incredible capabilities. With In Camera: How to Get the Perfect Pictures Straight Out the Camera, you can spend more time photographing and less time editing!


8.  Life Drawing

Jake Spicer regularly runs portrait and figure drawing courses for the National Portrait Gallery, so Life Drawing in 15 Minutes: The Super-Fast Drawing Technique Anyone Can Learn is a great book to try if you’re looking to learn! With step-by-steps and techniques derived from his proven life-class methods, Jake gives you the skills to create beautiful life drawings quickly, successfully and, ultimately, in only 15 minutes.


9.  Willow Weaving

Willow weaving is a really rewarding craft for anyone who wants to reconnect with the natural world. Willow Basketry and Sculpture covers all the essential information and tuition needed to get started - thirteen projects are set out in clear stages, ranging from baskets and planters to sculptures and wreaths.


10.  'Parli Italiano'

No hobby list is complete without a reminder about learning languages! Easy Italian: A Photo Phrase Book is an illustrated phrase book is for situations where you don’t need words, plus those essential phrases for when you do. A ‘new generation’ language book, Easy Italian is perfect for learning the essentials for your trip (ordering a cappuccino for instance), as well as how to decipher those all-important street signs and train station notices.

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