Flowers in a Vase By Hoefnagel Courtesy of The Ashmolean Museum

Get Thee to A Library for Love, Flirting and a Marriage Proposal!

Editor, Alison Jane Reid Photographed in a Vintage Flapper Dress at the Bingham Hotel, Richmond, London.

It's Spring and I am in the mood for love or at least a wonderful date as I slowly recover my health and joie de vivre from life threatening vaccine injury sustained three very, very long years ago. How about you dear reader? How does anyone meet a real person for the elusive prospect of flirting, a date and maybe even the giddy prospect of love eternal without resorting to the misery, inauthenticity and excruciating disappointment of internet dating? The crucial element missing from online dating is the act of spontaneity. Attraction can't be orchestrated. It just happens. So, what's the remedy? Why join a library of course, but not just any library. Only one steeped in literary stardust will do. Let me show you how to tread in the hallowed footsteps of Dickens, Virginia Woolf and Charles Darwin and maybe, just maybe find love.

Falling in Love at the British Library

The British Library London

Reader, I once fell madly in love with a pony-tailed, velvet jacking wearing, guitar-strumming Renaissance prince at a cocktail soiree devoted to the art and science of flirtation at The British Library. The evening was called Mingle. It is the stuff of legend as nothing beats the mating game in the right habitat. Libraries, the more rarefied and lofty ones, are extraordinary, fertile grounds for meeting interesting people who share the same passions as you.

Libraries for Love and Flirting

Libraries are fantastic places for creative nerds to meet, make friends and never feel lonely. It could work out for you. You might have to kiss more than one frog, but at least there are frogs to kiss. I discovered that The London Library tucked away behind Piccadilly and loved by Daphne de Maurier, Ian Fleming and Stanley Kubrick, is another amazing bastion of literary heritage where there are so many subtle, sweet opportunities to flirt in the stacks, over a cup of coffee in the tiny kitchen, at a buzzing literary event or at your desk whilst working on the book that will one day be turned into a Hollywood film, with Emma Stone playing the heroine. Imagine a quietly tenacious cub reporter who rises from working the photocopier to interviewing acting luminaries and national treasures.

Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren

Marriage Italian Style Starring Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni

Then she falls for a diary editor, lands the biggest scoop of her career and gets fired for refusing to ask the most famous person on the planet personal questions. A girl who loves red shoes, lions, smoked salmon salad on a Saturday and watching any film on the BFI with Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren. A girl who likes a man who can play Stairway to Heaven, takes her stargazing and talks eloquently about quantum mechanics. A beau with the style of Cary Grant and a dash of rock 'n' roll... oh, and someone who kisses like the devil ... am I asking for the moon and the stars? You bet I am.

Libraries are wonderful places to write that novel, edit this magazine, do research and find camaraderie while you inhale the the incomparable perfume of a million books.

Go forth and find your very own culture vulture bookworm and let me know what happens!

Libraries for Work, Creativity and Love

The London Library

The British Library

The Mitchell Library Glasgow

The Morgan Library New York

Bruegel to Rubens - Once in a Lifetime Opportunity to See their Exquisite Drawings in Oxford.

Van Dyke - Study of a Man. Courtesy of The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, England.

The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford has done it again. Bruegel to Rubens presents a once in a lifetime opportunity to see over 100 exquisite drawings by the Flemish Masters from Bruegel, Rubens, Antony Van Dyke and Jacques Jordaens. The drawings offer a rare, captivating insight into the evolution of these iconic artists, their friendships and the inspiration behind the work they are celebrated for. Highlights include: Rubens first sketches including Venus nursing Putti and a vivid Alice in Wonderland sketch of flowers in a vase in a shared album between the artists. The exhibition is on now until the 23rd of June 2024.

Book tickets at from The Ashmolean Museum

Winston Churchill Icons of British Fashion at Blenheim Palace

Vivienne Westwood at Icons of British Fashion, Blenheim Palace. Picture.Pete Seeward

Step onto the red carpet for Blenheim Palace's celebration of Icons of British Fashion and its very own fashion icon, Sir Winston Churchill in his famous WW2 boilersuits. The exhibition is the most ambitious exhibition staged at the palace in its 300 year history and features the cream of British fashion talent. Each designer has taken over a room in the palace. The featured fashion stars include Zandra Rhodes, Vivienne Westwood, Stephen Jones for Dior, Turnbull and Asser, Barbour, Jean Muir, Alice Temperley, Stella McCartney and Lulu Guinness.

Icons of British Fashion at Blenheim Palace. Picture Pete Seeward

Book Tickets Blenheim Palace

Peelham Farm Scottish Charcuterie, Pasture for Life Meat and Butchery Courses

Peelham Farm at a Local Farmers Market in Scotland

Slow Food Lovers, did you know that Peelham Farm operates a weekly nationwide box scheme for their delicious pasture for life organic and free range meat and stunning, artisan charcuterie? Hot tip? Try the red wine salami when you can as it is a bestseller and the yummy salami snacking bags, which are perfect for taking on a long walk or using in pizza recipes and bakes. If you are local to the farm in Berwickshire you can pick up your organic and pasture raised meat order from a local farmers market too. Peelham Farm also runs small butchery courses on the farm. Check out the website for details.

Peelham Farm Pasture for Life Salami Snacking Bites

Peelham Farm

Copyright Alison Jane Reid/The Luminaries Magazine April 2024. All Rights Reserved. No copying or reproduction in any format.

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About the Journalist

About the Journalist and Editor of The Luminaries Magazine

Alison Jane Reid is a Scottish/English feature writer, editor and slow luxury tastemaker. Her iconic career in British national newspapers spans three decades. AJ worked as a lead feature writer specialising in cultural icons at The Times Magazine for a decade. AJ trained at Mirror Group Newspapers and went on to work as a contributing editor at The Lady and You Magazine. Her iconic interviews and features have also been published in Country Life, The Independent, ES, The Evening Standard, Coast and Harpers Wine and Spirits Magazine.

Alison Jane has also appeared in broadcast journalism for - ITV, Channel 5, V&A Fashion Documentary and our television channel. In 2023, she took part in a documentary for Channel 5 about cultural icon Harry Styles.