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ONE by Victoria Alexander

As I sit here cross-legged on my sofa with a cup of lavender earl grey tea and Jo Malone’s Grapefruit candle providing the perfect ambiance, I’m reminded of one simple truth:  Moments of solitude can be the most soul-stirring and magical touch points in life.

ONE book review

I love my living room where I am writing this because it’s the one place in my home where I can truly live and do all of the things that I take pleasure in – entertaining, writing, reading, watching films, even taking an occasional cat nap, exercising, dancing or enjoying nothing more than tea and Amy Winehouse on my stereo. Just a few moments ago I was engrossed in answering a reporter’s email when the bell rang and I accepted a package of books I had ordered — All 11 V&A Pattern Books that I’ve been dying to own arrived along with a jaw-droppingly tactile new book I mistakenly spotted (and so glad I did!) called “One” by Victoria Alexander published by Murdoch Books. One? What’s that? Here is a show following by a tell.

ONE book review

ONE book review

ONE book review

Pages with ruffled edging (oh my!), a few lovely inserts like an envelope here, a small card there… Gorgeous matte paper with a lovely weight to it, lots of snappy travel photos, quotes throughout, layered elements of papers, maps, fabrics… It’s stunning from a visual perspective and though I’ve just begun to read it, I am certain I’ll finish this book because it’s the perfect combination of self-help and visuals.

I must admit, I barely read self help books, not because I don’t need to (ha ha!) but because I don’t like to read them. Too much text, too much blah blah. Often a writer can take an entire chapter and edit it down to two pages because we don’t always need the full scoop. I’m happy to get half a scoop with photos allowing me to explore the missing half, the half that I can search and find on my own. I like books that allow me to come to my own conclusion in the end. If a book that talks about the journey of someone’s life — what they’ve learned, where they’ve been and how they approached then solved their many issues allow the way — and combines those words with photography throughout I am absolutely going to pick it up and give it a good solid flip through. If I read a few sentences and the word “I” is used ad naseum, the book returns to the shelf but on the other hand, if it captures my heart through text and imagery from the very first page then its love at first sight and it will be on its merry little way to the cashier’s desk clutched tightly to my chest. I know a gem when I spot it.

One – Living As One and Loving It is such a gem.

About this book the publisher says, “One is a celebration of individuality and life. Author Victoria Alexander writes with humour and wisdom about the importance of believing in and valuing ourselves. She reminds us to trust in ourselves, try things on for size, take risks and ask for what we want – after all, we might just get it. At its heart, this beautifully layered collection of stories, quotes, reflections and evocative images is about the power of choice and about enjoying life, with all its shifts and changes. Its message is universal: accept who you are and who you can be, whether you live alone, or whether you are one of many. ” I can’t wait to explore more about this book, to dig more deeply and to find out more about a book that is meant for everyone – from those living alone to those in relationships, as I think we all can feel very alone at times whether in a huge family or simply as a party of one in our little cottage by the sea.

Do you have a copy of One? What do you think of it? Isn’t it sumptuous?

(images: holly becker for decor8)

Posted by decor8 in Books + Magazines on January 19, 2012

Your comments...

  1. tinajo commented
    January 19th, 2012 at 5:25pm

    It looks beautiful, I´ll see if I can find it. :-)
    tinajo´s last blog post ..What to do…

  2. Iro [Ivy style33] commented
    January 19th, 2012 at 5:42pm

    Dear Holly,

    I sipped through this post of yours as I would do with my favorite cup of tea during intervals of the day or a good wine with dinner.
    What you write about the book and the book itself resonates with me completely. Especially the part about “half the scoop”. I have been a self help book reader in moderation, but the most help I found in the therapy sessions I have had for years back in Greece (too much of a past to heal, just don’t ask…).

    What I loved in the way during them, was the fact that this woman {my therapist} I was seeing was exactly encouraging me to discover & accept who I am. No judgement, no pre made answers, no easy ways out & no rules. I sincerely owe to her { and in fact to myself} that I am now living in Germany with a man I love more than anyone else, exactly because through our relation ship it is closer to myself I’m going. It is myself finding & our love doesn’t get in the way as a dependency of any way.

    It’s togetherness & freedom at the same time. I love good moments of solitude, it is then that so many magical things happen!

    And then, can you imagine that some years ago I was too shy to even express the simplest of my opinions or raise my hand to speak at University without blushing & sometimes being close to fainting?

    Thank you for pointing out this book & writing one great post on it. I’ll be ordering it as soon as tonight, not even care about the costs (I hope I’ll not be biting my tongue later for what I’ ve just said!).

    The whole publication looks as gem, just like you said it. The pictures are marvelous, love the colors and looking forward to holding it my hands & reading it.

    Take care, xoxo
    Iro [Ivy style33]´s last blog post ..… the good old ways ~

  3. Belén commented
    January 19th, 2012 at 5:44pm

    I would love to have that book, maybe for Mother’s day I can suggest them to buy it.
    “Moments of solitude can be the most soul-stirring and magical touch points in life”, moments like these are too few…
    Thanks for pointing out this book.
    Belén´s last blog post ..Such a weekend! and Monday!

  4. anh commented
    January 19th, 2012 at 5:55pm

    what a great coffee table book!
    anh´s last blog post ..Photo Journal–San Juan, Puerto Rico

  5. Karena commented
    January 19th, 2012 at 6:05pm

    This book looks so intriguing! Holly I would love to browse through this like you with a cup of tea and some lovely music playing!


    Art by Karena
    Karena´s last blog post ..A Special Interview with Kansas City Artist Gregory Summers

  6. Diana commented
    January 19th, 2012 at 6:42pm

    Wow! What a beautiful book. I live in the US and have already checked Amazon to see about ordering. Thank you for sharing.
    Diana´s last blog post ..Hand Sewing – more from my workshop with Alabama Chanin

  7. diana commented
    January 19th, 2012 at 6:42pm

    looked @ it on amazon & ordered it…..looking forward to reading and sharing with you my thoughts….thanks!

  8. Bridget commented
    January 19th, 2012 at 7:33pm

    Great post Holly, thanks for finding and sharing such treasures ! :-)
    Bridget´s last blog post ..Alphabet Wall !

  9. Elena commented
    January 19th, 2012 at 7:56pm

    From your lovely description it seems like an amazing book. I just ordered it.:)
    And I am also a big fan of V&A books.
    Elena´s last blog post ..Inky Co.

  10. lebenslustiger commented
    January 19th, 2012 at 7:59pm

    Oh my – this book truly seems to be a really special treasure! Looks also georgous on your coffee table…
    lebenslustiger´s last blog post ..Color comes!

  11. Elena commented
    January 19th, 2012 at 8:29pm

    Very cute post!!! I love it!

  12. Lee commented
    January 19th, 2012 at 9:31pm

    Hi, this is an absolutely beautiful book – I gave it as a gift to a very close friend to let her know that as a ‘one’ she is special. The images and words come together in a powerful way in Victoria Alexander’s beautiful book.

    You might be interested to know that she has a site/visual blog. The link is:

    The visual blog is equally inspiring.

  13. Leslie commented
    January 19th, 2012 at 9:45pm

    How funny you write about this. I was out and about on the weekend and I was in one of the remaining bookstores and spotted One book too. Like you I am not into self help books but I was really drawn to this purely because it is such a lovely tactile book and just begging to be picked up. I wasn’t disappointed although I have to say I didn’t read much as I was too busy looking at the pictures! It’s on the must buy list.
    Leslie´s last blog post ..Weekday Carnival and Varpunen =Love

  14. Laura commented
    January 19th, 2012 at 9:54pm

    Just ordered it too Holly! Looks a beautiful book x x x x lavender earl grey tea sounds yum too! x x x

  15. Silvia commented
    January 19th, 2012 at 9:56pm

    This book looks stunning – thanks so much for sharing … i think i shall order a copy right away x

  16. Ege Denne commented
    January 19th, 2012 at 10:41pm

    Interesting :) It’s importaint to have a look at your own life. Only then you can change bit by bit to the one you really are :)
    Ege Denne´s last blog post ..Kunsten å se annerledes på ting…..

  17. Bonnie McCarthy commented
    January 19th, 2012 at 11:11pm

    What a beautiful book! I’d love it myself, but I’m thinking it would also make a great gift!!
    Bonnie McCarthy´s last blog post ..California Kitchen Remodel: Modern Romance

  18. Tania commented
    January 19th, 2012 at 11:43pm

    Now you’ve gone and done it, I’ve only been ordering books available in e version but I had to have this, just ordered from amazon UK (sadly not avail on the US amazon unless you ordered from an independent seller). I can’t wait to get it!

    I have never made my way through an entire self help book. The premise always sounds good and partway through I get bored. I love quotes because I don’t need to know the background or in what context the quote was said, I can just take that two lines and run with it…let it inspire me based on my own interpretation.
    Tania´s last blog post ..Eat Me…Leoda’s Kitchen & Pie Shop

  19. Eve commented
    January 20th, 2012 at 12:26am

    First I have to say – great writing! The first paragraph of your post set the mood and just pulled me in :) I’m very visual so this sounds like a perfect book to me and the subject is close to my heart too. Off to order a copy!

  20. sara commented
    January 20th, 2012 at 12:29am

    thank you thank you thank you…I usually buy myself a couple gifts for myself with a portion of my tax return money and this book just made it to the top of the list!
    sara´s last blog post ..DIY thursday: scrap paper pads for kids!

  21. Debra commented
    January 20th, 2012 at 1:46am

    I want to read this book.

  22. Martha brown commented
    January 20th, 2012 at 4:29am

    Oh, this book looks so beautiful! I need it. I hope that it comes to or .ca . It looks like Sibella Court’s beautiful books.

  23. agnes commented
    January 20th, 2012 at 5:37am

    thank you so much for sharing, i just ordered this book, i really can’t wait til it gets to my hands…hong kong isn’t that far to reach, i hope. by the way, what are the set of books which are on the right hand side of the “One”? thank you again! agnes

  24. design elements commented
    January 20th, 2012 at 5:53am

    I don’t know how many time I’ve read it. Love this book so much. It inspires me. Happy Friday, Holly
    design elements´s last blog post ..Interview with Tom Kundig

  25. Jean commented
    January 20th, 2012 at 7:00am

    I absolutely love this post. You’ve set the scene so beautifully. The pics are so lovely.

  26. Jane commented
    January 20th, 2012 at 10:18am

    It’s a fabulous book, isn’t it, Holly? She’s a very talented and multi-skilled Australian writer, editor and photographer. You can read more about her at J x
    Jane´s last blog post ..A friend in need is a friend indeed

  27. jeska commented
    January 20th, 2012 at 11:05am

    Such beautiful pages and intriguing content, thanks for sharing this book with us!
    jeska´s last blog post ..PHOTO MAGIC

  28. may commented
    January 20th, 2012 at 1:08pm


    the table looks very nice. What kind of wood is it? Do you have a picture in it’s whole?

  29. Lana Waller commented
    January 20th, 2012 at 4:25pm

    Hi Holly,
    I just ordered a copy of this book after seeing it here. It looks like a lovely book. I also don’t like self help books and all the reading. The images and quotes look beautiful. I have been working on getting my blog going after your e-course. I did have the deadline of Jan1, I don’t have it completed, but it is getting close. My biggest hurdle has been deciding on either blogger or wordpress. I have decided on wordpress, so hopefully it will all be running by your next e-course in March.

  30. Lizzie commented
    January 21st, 2012 at 5:04pm

    This looks like a great book, I know what you mean about self help books but this one looks very different. You are so right about moments of solitude too, when you feel really at ease and happy, they are moments to be enjoyed!

  31. Sarah commented
    January 22nd, 2012 at 12:00am

    I do have it, and, like you, found it by accident in a local quilting shop. It is a lovely book which I am savouring. It even smells good!

  32. Emily commented
    January 22nd, 2012 at 10:51am

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful book. I ordered it last night to start a little project about having some time for myself each month this year. It looks perfect. x

  33. Samantha commented
    January 25th, 2012 at 2:39am

    You gave me a chuckle when reading your comment about the ad naseum use of the word “I” — you used it four times in the first half of your second sentence of this post.

  34. Nina Helmsmüller commented
    January 28th, 2012 at 10:40am

    Hi Holly, you made me curious. I ordered it (I took it as a hint, that it was reduced at amazon) and it just arrived. Yes, it even smells good. Beautiful, of course, I already saw it from the pictures you published. For the rest, I will see. Still more curious…

  35. Victoria commented
    February 3rd, 2012 at 1:20am

    I was very touched to read and see that you enjoyed One so much. Very touched indeed. Thank you for including it in your blog with such sensitive shots. Reading the comments has also been heartwarming. But I am perplexed about the self help bit. Isn’t it just life? An industry has been made around the idea I know but I like to think of One as a book about life. As an attitude book. One that reminds others that contentment is a mindset. One we are all in control of for ourselves. Not self help.
    Thank you again.
    Victoria Alexander

  36. Donna Norton commented
    October 17th, 2014 at 5:52pm

    From my corner of the world, in Valdosta, Georgia, i happily stumbled across your lovely blog and am enjoying it immensely. Although i have no decorating suave, your blog makes me dream about it!!

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