All posts by mirandasnotebook

Creative Crush | Georgianna Lane Discusses Paris in Bloom

Georgianna Lane is one of the photographers I admire the most. I always eagerly anticipate her dreamy images of Paris and beautiful florals on my Instagram feed, and I find Georgianna’s use of light and visual story-telling extremely inspiring.

Georgianna’s work has been widely published in magazines, books, stationery and home decor products, and she’s the author of Paris in BloomAlthough originally from America, Georgianna has spent a great deal of time in Paris, and her photography shows how much creative inspiration she draws from the City of Light.

Miranda’s Notebook readers obviously know me rather well, as I received Paris in Bloom as a gift from the lovely Marion, a regular reader of the blog. It was the most perfect present, and I lingered over each exquisite page of the book as I read it (thanks again, Marion!)Not only does Paris in Bloom feature the most breath-taking photography of Paris and the show-stopping blooms Georgianna finds in the city, it’s also full of useful tips on flower styling and Parisian destinations.

Georgianna Lane

I was delighted when Georgianna agreed to answer some questions for an interview on Miranda’s Notebook. I asked her all about her favourite floral destinations in Paris, tips for photographing flowers, how she runs her own business and so much more. As I’m sure you’ll agree, Georgianna gives lots of fantastic advice in her answers, and now has me yearning for a trip to Paris next spring! I think it’s time to start planning….

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MN: What first sparked your love for Paris and floral photography?

GL: My passion for both has been part of me for a long time. I’ve been traveling to Paris since I was a teenager and taking photographs well before that so it was a natural progression, given the beauty and romance of both subjects.

MN: How did your career as a photographer begin? Was it something you always knew you wanted to do?

GL: Art and creativity were always present in our household when I was growing up. My mother was a musician, singer and painter and both my parents were avid photographers. We were encouraged to read, create and dream. I began writing and taking photographs at a very young age and have continued to do so always.

When I left corporate marketing as an Art Director at a literary agency over ten years ago, I decided to focus on my photography business which now includes my books, specialist stock image library, online shops, licensing and assignment work for major gardening and lifestyle magazines.

Floral photography is endlessly fascinating and always popular. However, it’s a crowded field so I dedicated myself to excelling technically and artistically.

I feel very thankful that I make a living in a creative field and am grateful that my upbringing celebrated beauty and art, as well as the practical aspects of life.

MN: What inspired you to photograph and write Paris in Bloom?

GL: I’ve been visiting Paris since I was a teenager and spending more and more time there over the last six years. My first visit at age fourteen with my Mom introduced me to the city’s parks and gardens and museums, especially those with the Impressionist painters. I loved that the city itself seemed very feminine and that flowers are such a strong influence on the design and architecture. I started working on the concepts for Paris in Bloom about four or five years ago and developed it from there.

MN: Where are your three favourite places to go in Paris to experience its best florals?

GL: I love the Jardin du Palais Royal, which has bright pink blooming magnolias in March and abundant roses throughout the summer, all set against elegant, formal architecture. Flower shops on the walking streets of Rue Cler and Rue Montorgueil always have colorful displays. And nothing surpasses the beautiful cherry blossoms at Notre Dame and around the Eiffel Tower in April.

MN: In Paris in Bloom, you mention how much you admire the Impressionist painters, and your gorgeous photos remind me of their dreamy, floral aesthetic. Is there a particular artist that inspires your work?

GL: I’ve always been very inspired by the Impressionists and the Pre-Raphaelite painters, as well as the great artists and designers of the Arts and Crafts movement, such as William Morris and Sir Edward Burne Jones. Naturally, Monet has been very influential. The romance and beauty of these artists evokes a sense of otherworldly beauty, places that exist on the edge of the imagination that just might be real.

I love romantic and beautiful works in any field and inspiration can be found in poetry, music and nature, too. The peacefulness and serenity of the natural world influences the creation of many of my images. I approach my photographs as if they were paintings, leaving out elements that are modern or distracting to create a scene that allows the viewer to visualize themselves in that location. I strive to create timeless, light-filled, dreamy images with a bit of a magical atmosphere and hope to transport the viewer to a tranquil and beautiful realm.

MN: Do you have a favourite flower to photograph?

GL: Roses are always a favorite, as well as peonies, dahlias, hellebores and narcissus. I also love hydrangea and grow many varieties myself. In spring I have tulips, daffodils, Lily of the Valley, lilacs, bleeding heart and many more beautiful blooms to photograph. In summer, it’s roses, hydrangea, clematis, lilies and poppies.

MN: Would you share some of your tips for photographing blooms?

GL: Absolutely! You can instantly improve much outdoor flower photography by avoiding shooting in harsh sunshine. The high contrast light creates dark shadows on the subject and burns out highlights so you lose the detail in a flower. A slightly overcast day is perfect, with soft, even light, that will illuminate the beauty of the flower and allow all its features to be seen.

If you can’t avoid the sun, you can block it with an umbrella or diffuser to soften the light. And you can always choose to shoot in early morning or early evening when the sun is low. Backlighting can be lovely and give flowers a glowing radiance but again, you have to ensure you don’t lose detail by overexposure. And I always recommend using a macro lens so that you can get very close to the flower and explore its structure and form.

Becoming good friends with your tripod will open up a world of possibilities for flower photography. Even if a photograph has a shallow depth of field for a dreamy quality, having one area of sharp focus, usually on the center of the flower, will give the viewer a focal point and entrance point to the image. To ensure tack sharpness, a tripod is vital.

MN: I know you split your time between Seattle, London and Paris. What are the qualities you appreciate most about these cities in terms of capturing them through photography?

GL: I’ve lived in all three cities and know them well. In London and Paris, I adore wandering and exploring the layers of architecture and history that present themselves. It’s a joy with always something new to discover and learn. As the US base for my business, in Seattle I tend to concentrate my work on our own large wooded property and garden and the flowers I’ve planted there over the years, many of which feature in my images.

I also collaborate with a number of the local flower farms on book and magazine projects so its a seasonal concentration during spring and summer, although I also spend some months during that time in Paris and in London as well. I travel extensively back and forth over the pond from February through June.

MN: As well as a renowned floral photographer, you’re a very successful business woman, running two online shops and founding a horticultural stock photography website. Which quality of your personality would you say has helped you most to succeed in business? Do you ever find it difficult to juggle the creative side of what you do alongside the business?

GL: Thanks so much! I’m very determined and once I set a goal for myself, I don’t quit easily. I think my persistence is a key trait. I truly believe that giving up on a dream is the only reason for failure. But you have to do the work. Dreaming doesn’t get it done. One of my favorite quotes is by Thomas Edison: “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” I’ve never been good at downtime and usually have many projects going at once.

It is challenging juggling both the creative and business side of my company. More and more my time is spent on marketing, social media, websites, etc. Fortunately, my husband is also full time on our business. In addition to being a marvelous photographer himself with his own successful career, he handles all the finances and travel logistics, which is a lifesaver. You cannot effectively do it alone and expect to expand.

MN: Finally, what’s next? Are there any upcoming projects that you’re able to share at the moment?

GL: I can definitely tell you that more books are coming, beginning in Spring 2018! I’m expanding product lines to include more stationery items, wall art and wearable art. And hope to launch workshops and online training next year. Thank you so much, Miranda!

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Find Georgianna on Instagram as @georgiannalane and @aparisianmoment, Twitter, Etsy and Facebook. You can also see more of Georgianna’s products and photographs on her website. Paris in Bloom is available to purchase here. You can watch the trailer for the book, which is a visual treat and wonderfully soothing to the soul:

Don’t you think Georgianna’s photography is stunning? Thanks so much again to her for a wonderful interview and for her photographs that add a little more beauty to my days.

Note: all images in this post courtesy Georgianna Lane.

London Restaurants | Ikoyi, St James’s Market

Fans of my podcast, Tea & Tattle, may remember my interview with Lopè Ariyo, author of the cookbook, Hibiscus, which celebrates West African food and culture. During the interview, Lopè mentioned that she was about to start a job as a chef at a newly opened restaurant in Mayfair: Ikoyi, which specialises in West African dining.

After hearing my interview, my friend Claire, who’s a true foodie and always knows about the latest hot restaurants in London, suggested that we try out Ikoyi together. Of course, I said yes!

Ikoyi is situated in St James’s Market, a rather curious mix of chilly corporate aloofness, with its rising towers of office buildings, and an increasingly interesting food scene. Veneta, which I reviewed last autumn, is just around the corner from Ikoyi, as is the Scandinavian cafe Ole & Steen, which boasted a truly enticing window display of freshly baked buns and cakes (I’m planning a return trip to try them asap!).

Unlike its environs, Ikoyi manages to strike a welcoming, stylish interior. I liked the mustard yellow cushions and vibrant artwork. The restaurant is intimate, with a striking bar along one wall and a glimpse into the kitchen where the gastronomical magic occurs. I spotted the lovely Lopè working away, and had a chance after our meal to say hello and how much we’d enjoyed the food.

But let’s start at the beginning, with the cocktail list. Claire ordered a Roast Plantain Old Fashioned, and, on the waiter’s recommendation, I went for the Kunnu Punch. Drinks in hand, we caught up on each other’s news and perused the menu, which is small, but well-chosen.

It was a warm, sunny day, and the punch was the perfect refreshment – light and tasty. Claire said she enjoyed her cocktail a lot too, although it was decidedly stronger than the punch.

On looking at the menu, we agreed on some nibbles to share alongside our cocktails, followed by mains and dessert. We settled on the chicken oyster, tamarind and penja pepper and the buttermilk plantain and smoked scotch bonnet. It was my first time eating plantain, so I was particularly excited to try it.

Both snacks were delicious, and the plantain was much as I thought it would taste: rather like a banana, but more savoury. The spice of the topping gave it a real kick, and for a moment I was worried that all the food would be spicy, which I never handle very well. Happily though, the spice of the plantain dish soon settled down, and by the time our mains had arrived, my mouth had stopped burning.

I’d heard that the pork dish was something special, so I’d ordered it for my main, and Claire had gone for chicken, benne and okra. We also ordered a side of jollof rice and smoked bone marrow to share.

My pork was the tastiest I’d ever had and truly melted in the mouth. I was pleased that it wasn’t spicy either. Claire said her chicken was exceedingly good, with the okra cooked to perfection. We both agreed our side dish was out-of-this world as well. We were instructed to scoop the marrow from the bone and mix it into the rice – honestly, it was sublime! I would have polished off every last grain if I hadn’t been worried about leaving room for dessert. I definitely wanted dessert!

Claire and I both settled for the special of the day: milk bread pudding with white peach sorbet and apples. Oh my! This was one of the best desserts I’d had for a long time – the white peach sorbet especially was heavenly.

I certainly plan on going back to Ikoyi again soon – it’s a great destination for either a full meal, or a drink and snacks at the bar.

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What was the last great meal you enjoyed?

T&T 44 | Tips For Starting A New Job

Tea & Tattle Podcast | Tips for Starting a New Job

Listen to the latest Tea & Tattle episode here or on iTunes.

Sophie is back on the podcast for the latest episode of Tea & Tattle, and we’re resuming our regular fortnightly chats, with interviews with female creatives in between. As it’s back-to-school and back-to-work season, I thought we’d do an episode focused on career, and today we’re sharing our best advice for starting a new job. Sophie has just started a part-time job as a lecturer at the University of East Anglia, so I thought this choice of topic particularly appropriate!

Listen to hear our best advice for successfully starting a new job.  

P.S. I’ve updated the Tea & Tattle newsletter! As well as sharing the latest episode each week, I’m including some ‘Weekly Loves’ from myself and Sophie as further inspiration for our listeners. Make sure you’ve subscribed to get our suggestions and updates!

Where I Write: My Office Tour

My Office Tour: see how I transformed a tiny box room into a cosy workplace, using basic furniture and the odd luxe detail - perfect office inspiration!

{This post is written as part of September’s theme word of ‘work’ on Miranda’s Notebook.}

A woman must have…a room of her own if she is to write fiction. – Virginia Woolf

Last weekend, I did my first Instagram live chat (so much fun!), showing how I’d recently made a few changes to a tiny box room in my flat to transform it into a snug, pleasant little office where I love to work. I had so many messages from people after the chat saying how much they’d enjoyed getting a glimpse of my workplace, that I thought I would share a bit more detail about my office on Miranda’s Notebook.

My Office Tour: see how I transformed a tiny box room into a cosy workplace, using basic furniture and the odd luxe detail - perfect office inspiration!

Although I’d been using this room as a work space for a while, I was dissatisfied with how I’d initially set up the space, and the few shelves I had were full to bursting with books, spilling onto piles on the floor, stacked up by my radiator. As someone who prefers a tidy, calm environment in which to work, the messy piles of books were getting on my nerves, and I didn’t feel my office, sparsely furnished and somewhat haphazardly decorated as it was, best reflected my personality. It was time for a change!

Here are the steps and shopping lists I used to transform my workspace:

Making the Most of a Small Budget

My Office Tour: see how I transformed a tiny box room into a cosy workplace, using basic furniture and the odd luxe detail - perfect office inspiration!

Having a very small budget with which to work, IKEA was my destination of choice for picking up bookcases and a few other key pieces. The only furniture I already had was my desk, a pretty old-fashioned writing table I’d picked up at a closing down sale a few years ago when I was living in Kingston, as well as a matching chair. I knew I wanted a small armchair to fit by the window, a cosy rug and a few other things to make the room more attractive.

My Office Tour: see how I transformed a tiny box room into a cosy workplace, using basic furniture and the odd luxe detail - perfect office inspiration!

Here’s my shopping list with everything I bought from IKEA:

  • Billy Bookcases. I chose white ones, as I like to keep everything light and bright in a small space.
  • Small Rattan Chair. This was the smallest chair in IKEA, and fit perfectly in the space.
  • Cushion Cover. I liked the very pale pink
  • Sheepskin Rug. So cosy!
  • Stool. This works perfectly as a little side-table.
  • Rubbish Bin (actually a plant pot, but works well as a little bin!).
  • Net Curtains. I’m lucky to have a large window, but the view is far from attractive, so some white net curtains added a welcome dainty touch.
  • Curtain Rod. Happily very easy to put up!
Luxurious Details

My Office Tour: see how I transformed a tiny box room into a cosy workplace, using basic furniture and the odd luxe detail - perfect office inspiration!

Rather than spending much money on furnishing the room, instead I wanted to invest in a few small luxury pieces that would make my workplace more cosy and inviting. My office has now become my favourite room in the flat, despite its diminutive size, and this is partly because I’ve placed some of the things I love best in it and have taken care over details.

My Office Tour: see how I transformed a tiny box room into a cosy workplace, using basic furniture and the odd luxe detail - perfect office inspiration! My Office Tour: see how I transformed a tiny box room into a cosy workplace, using basic furniture and the odd luxe detail - perfect office inspiration! My Office Tour: see how I transformed a tiny box room into a cosy workplace, using basic furniture and the odd luxe detail - perfect office inspiration!My Office Tour: see how I transformed a tiny box room into a cosy workplace, using basic furniture and the odd luxe detail - perfect office inspiration!My Office Tour: see how I transformed a tiny box room into a cosy workplace, using basic furniture and the odd luxe detail - perfect office inspiration!

A gorgeous scented candle, fresh flowers, a snuggly shawl: these were the little details that elevated the space and made it my own. Here’s my list:

  • Diptyque Londres Candle (sadly only available in shops, but they have a lovely range of other candles you can view online). I also have this stunning Rifle Paper Co candle on my desk (and think it will be make a lovely vase or pen pot once I’ve finished the candle).
  • Emma Lacey everyday mugs – my favourite to use whilst drinking tea at my desk!
  • Bloom & Wild bouquets (mine is Woodland Walk). I love Bloom & Wild flowers because they get delivered in a box that fits through your mailbox, so you don’t have to worry about being in when they arrive.
  • Storage Basket (currently sold out, but I like these ones a lot) for keeping current magazines.
  • Ceramic Magpie’s pretty range – perfect for small plants or for storing trinkets and jewellery (her shop is updated with new things often, so keep an eye out!).
  • Brora cashmere poncho. I have mine on hand, hung on a peg on the wall, and I reach for it whenever it gets a little chilly.
  • Liberty bias binding (the pink one I got isn’t left online, but there are a couple other pretty ones), used for tying back my white net curtains.
  • Mini pom-pom baskets by Bohemia Design (so pretty that make a nice display on top of my bookcases).
Showcasing My Personality

My Office Tour: see how I transformed a tiny box room into a cosy workplace, using basic furniture and the odd luxe detail - perfect office inspiration!

Whenever I go to someone’s house, I make a beeline for their bookcases, as I always find the books people keep offer such a fascinating insight into their personality. I thought hard about the types of books I wanted to have to hand in my office, and finally settled on the following categories: classic fiction in my most attractive editions, childhood favourites and reference.

My Office Tour: see how I transformed a tiny box room into a cosy workplace, using basic furniture and the odd luxe detail - perfect office inspiration!

‘Reference’ encompasses a good deal, as I get the majority of my inspiration from books and magazines. Generally, it includes my favourite poetry books, writings on the natural world, memoir, biography and back issues of magazines. I also keep to hand any books I’m reading at the moment for upcoming interviews on Tea & Tattle Podcast or Miranda’s Notebook.

My Office Tour: see how I transformed a tiny box room into a cosy workplace, using basic furniture and the odd luxe detail - perfect office inspiration!

Besides lining my walls with books, my other favourite way to showcase my personality is to hang artwork on any leftover wall space. Even when decorating an exceedingly small space, don’t feel you can’t hang a statement art piece. I have a large Emily Sutton print hanging over my desk, and far from dwarfing the room, it adds some very welcome colour and beauty.

I also put up some favourite photographs: one of Grace Kelly, a heroine of mine, and another of a dancer leaping into the air. All you see are her extremely muscular legs taking flight and the skirts of her tutu flying out, but I love this picture because it reminds me that in order to jump for the stars, you have to have built the strength and technique that only comes from hours and hours of hard work and a disciplined, focused mind. This is the photo I look at when I’m at my desk, feeling overwhelmed or disheartened.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of my office, and I’d love to know how you decorate your own workspace.

P.S. I’ll be doing live Instagram chats about various topics regularly from now on (next in line are my favourite stationery staples and a behind-the-scenes of how I run Tea & Tattle Podcast). If you’d like to receive advance notice of when these chats will be, as well as follow up notes with links and details about everything I’ve mentioned, you can sign up here.

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My Office Tour: see how I transformed a tiny box room into a cosy workplace, using basic furniture and the odd luxe detail - perfect office inspiration!

The Curated Month | September 2017

The Curated Month | September 2017

Welcome September!

Happy September everyone! It feels so good to be back to blogging after a break over the summer, and I’m also pleased to be ushering in the season of misty mornings, rusted-gold leaves and pumpkin pie.

September is set to be a busy month, with the diary crammed full of work and play already, but I’m ready to hit the ground running, invigorated after my summer of rest and reflection.

The Curated Month | September 2017

September’s Theme Word: Work

Back-to-school season seems the perfect opportunity to examine the work that you do. Are you happy in your job, or your subject material if you’re a student? This month, I’ll be providing content surrounding the ways we work best and how to love what you do.

A List for September

bake an apple crumble
treat yourself to a bunch of dahlias
have an ‘autumn clean’ of your home
reexamine your goals
complete a nagging task
buy a pretty new notebook
bite into a ripe fig
light candles in the evenings

The Curated Month | September 2017

The Londoner’s List

1/ Ikoyi is one of London’s latest hot new restaurant destinations- just read this Time Out review. I enjoyed a mouthwateringly good lunch there myself a few weeks ago, so expect my own review in a few days. Also, one of the chefs at the restaurant, Lopè Ariyo, was a guest on Tea & Tattle – even more reason to go!

2/ I can’t wait to get to the Matisse exhibition at the Royal Academy.

3/ Lindsey Tramuta (another Tea & Tattle interviewee) is speaking at one of my favourite wine bars, Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels in Covent Garden, on September 16th. I’m so looking forward to hearing her chat about her book, The New Paris, in person.

4/ Taking a boat from London Bridge pier to Greenwich is always a fun thing to do this time of year, when leafy Greenwich looks particularly pretty in the autumn. I’m planning a trip with some fellow Instagrammers and am so looking forward to it.

5/ There are so many excellent speakers at the Chiswick Book Festival this September (15th-19th), including Paula Byrne, Maggie O’Farrell and Anne Sebba.

The Curated Month | September 2017

The Book

For me, September is the month when my love for stationery reaches fever pitch, and so 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff is my read of the month. It’s the perfect inspiration for letter writing and will have you reaching for your ink pen and a sheet of attractive notepaper in no time.

The Curated Month | September 2017

 

The Podcast

One of the podcast interviews I’ve most enjoyed listening to recently was Lewis Howes in conversation with Mel Robbins, author of The 5 Second Rule. I’ve been trying out the 5 Second Rule (which Mel explains in the interview) ever since listening to this episode, and it’s been helping me to be more productive.

The Creative

The Curated Month | September 2017

I’m a huge fan of Emma Lacey‘s gorgeous ceramics, which she makes in her home studio in North West London. I have a wide range of her everyday mugs (which also double up nicely as vases), and I love their pastel shades, and the indentation at the side that just perfectly fits your thumb as you grasp your mug.

The Film

The Curated Month | September 2017

When it comes to this time of year, there’s always one film I want to watch: You’ve Got Mail. I quote Meg Ryan’s line about ‘bouquets of sharpened pencils’ every September.

The Great Buy

I found my quintessential everyday autumn dress in TOAST. The dark khaki version is my favourite, although I’m also keen on the black olive, and may be getting that one later in the season too!

The Wild Card

I adore this letter writing paper by Alice Pattullo (read my interview with Alice here), available in mint green as well as the mustard yellow. I’m on a mission to bring snail mail letter-writing back in vogue, so I’m very happy to see attractive letter writing sets appearing.

The Curated Month | September 2017

What’s on your list for September?

T&T 43 | A Chat With Liz Schaffer, Editor of Lodestars Anthology

Listen to the latest Tea & Tattle episode here or on iTunes.

Today on Tea & Tattle Podcast, I’m chatting with Liz Schaffer, the editor and founder of my favourite travel magazine, Lodestars Anthology. I first discovered these travel journals when I was browsing Daunt Books, and I instantly fell for the awe-inspiring photography and well-written articles. There are now 8 issues to date, with the most recent, New Zealand, published last month.

In this week’s episode, I took the opportunity to question Liz about the future of independent magazine publishing, how she first came to launch Lodestars Anthology and what lessons she’s learnt from running her own business. We also chatted about the art of travel and how to travel more creatively.

This is a brilliant episode for anyone who enjoys travel and inspiring reading material, and it is guaranteed to make you want to plan your next holiday!

Listen to learn more about publishing an independent travel magazine.

P.S. I’ve created a guide to travel journaling for Tea & Tattle listeners for further travel inspiration. If you’ve already signed up to our newsletter, then check your inbox, as the guide was emailed to you. Otherwise, you can sign up to get it here.

T&T 42 | Clare Fisher and All The Good Things

Listen to the latest Tea & Tattle episode here or on iTunes

This week on Tea & Tattle, I’m in conversation with the author Clare Fisher, about her debut novel All The Good Things. I read Clare’s gripping, fast-paced novel when it was first published in June, and very much enjoyed it, so it was a real pleasure to have her on the show today.

Reading All The Good Things, I was so impressed by Clare’s sympathetic and moving account of what happens to a woman who has done a very bad thing, but is still, at the end of the novel, able to find hope and meaning in her life.

In today’s episode Clare tells me about the inspiration behind her novel, how her research took her to women’s prisons and why increased awareness and early prevention of mental health issues are so important.

Listen to learn more about Clare Fisher’s debut novel, All The Good Things. 

T&T 41 | Joyful French Eating with Elizabeth Bard

Listen to the latest Tea & Tattle episode here or on iTunes.

Today on Tea & Tattle, I’m chatting with the bestselling author, Elizabeth Bard, about Elizabeth’s new cookbook, Dinner Chez Moi: 50 French Secrets to Joyful Eating and Entertaining.

Elizabeth lives in Provence with her family, and she has also written two culinary memoirs, Lunch in Paris and Picnic in Provence, about her move from America to France and how she fell in love with the country, the food and a Frenchman! I love Elizabeth’s humorous and insightful descriptions of adapting to the French way of life, as well as the delicious recipes that accompany her words.

Dinner Chez Moi is less of a memoir and more a handy guide to the French style of eating and living, with plenty of Elizabeth’s favourite recipes to enjoy. I had a fabulous time asking Elizabeth all about what she stocks in her Provençal kitchen; how to shop wisely for delicious, but affordable meals and some of the French secrets to keeping a trim waistline (I think I’ve got the tea-drinking part down at least!).

It was so fun to catch-up with Elizabeth on the podcast, as I’d met her last summer when I was in Provence, and arranged an interview with her at Scaramouche, the artisan glacier Elizabeth runs with her husband.

With Elizabeth Bard outside Scaramouche

This episode is perfect for summer and will inspire anyone, I’m sure, to dash to their local farmers’ market and start buying up juicy tomatoes and other fresh produce!

Listen to learn more about eating, cooking and living the French way. 

T&T 40 | The Greedy Queen

Listen to the latest Tea & Tattle episode here or on iTunes.

This week on Tea & Tattle, I’m learning all about Queen Victoria’s eating habits from the food historian, Annie Gray. Annie’s recently published book, The Greedy Queen: Eating with Victoria is an unconventional biography of the Queen, examining her life in food.

Annie Gray is an historian, cook, broadcaster and writer, who specialises in the history of food and dining in Britain from about 1600 to the present day. In our chat, Annie explains how her interest in food and history developed, and how she first came to examine the role of meals in Queen Victoria’s life. It was so interesting to learn more about the complex relationship Victoria had with food, how she used meal-times as a way to exert power and the culinary legacy she left behind.

Annie Gray

I read The Greedy Queen a few months ago and thoroughly enjoyed Annie’s engaging, witty style of writing that brought historical figures and events so vividly to life. In today’s episode, Annie’s vivacious conversation will be a delight to lovers of food and history alike.

Listen to learn more about Queen Victoria’s life and relationship with food

T&T 39 | A Chat With Min Kym

Listen to the latest Tea & Tattle Podcast here or on iTunes.

I’m so delighted to share today’s Tea and Tattle episode, where I’m in conversation with the violinist and writer, Min Kym, about her heart-wrenching memoir, Gone: A Girl, A Violin, A Life Unstrung.

I was sent a pre-release copy of Gone earlier in the year by Penguin, and I was intrigued by its beautiful cover and interesting premise. In Gone, Min describes the agonising loss of her Stradivarius violin, which was stolen from her at a cafe in Euston Train Station in London, and how she found her way back to music and rediscovered her sense of self after it was taken.

Once I’d started the first page, I was instantly caught up in Min’s extraordinary story and read for hours and hours one night so I could finish the book. Min’s raw, incredibly honest prose sends you hurtling through the pages, eager and yet anxious (for you know there is no fairytale happy ending) to know what comes next.

Ultimately, Min describes her book as being about love: for a person, for an instrument, for music, for oneself. Despite the deep loss that lies at the heart of the book, Gone is nevertheless a story full of inspiration and joy. As Min says at the end of our conversation, ‘I feel very hopeful,’ and so does the reader on reaching the end of her memoir. Min shows that even in the darkest hour, she found herself – and her voice – altered, perhaps, but far from diminished by her experiences.

Min Kym. Image by Orli Rose

I was so caught up in my conversation with Min that the time simply flew by, and we both said afterwards that we could have chatted all morning. This episode, then, is longer than usual, but I think when you listen, you’ll understand why.

Listen to hear Min Kym’s fascinating story about her life growing up as a child musical prodigy and the incredible relationship between a violinist and their instrument