Category Archives: Life

Fun Things to See and Do | February 2017

Fun Things to See and Do February 2017

The shortest month of the year, February always seems to come and go in the blink of an eye. Before the month quite escapes you, however, here are some fun things to see and do:

1/ Head to Tate Britain to see the David Hockney exhibition, which is getting some fantastic reviews. I’m going later in the month with the lovely Alice Stevenson (remember my interview with her?).

2/ Celebrate your girlfriends. Valentine, what Valentine? Apparently it’s all about Galentine’s Day now, and – although you don’t need a specific day to celebrate the fabulous women in your life – it’s definitely worth taking some time this February to acknowledge how much your gal pals mean to you.

3/ Do some match-making. Now, Emma Wodehouse has taught me the dangers of meddling too much in the affairs of others, but a well-meant introduction can never be a bad thing, right?! Personally, I’d consider even Emma’s interventions preferable to the horrors of anything app + dating related.

4/ Pick up a copy of Hannah Kent’s new novel, The Good People, which has just been released in the UK. I loved Hannah’s first book, Burial Rites, and I’m going to her talk about The Good People at the Piccadilly Waterstones tonight. I can’t wait!

5/ Keep on eye open for the first shoots of Spring as you take walks, and fill your home with flowers. Hyacinths are currently filling my living-room with scent, and I have a few sprigs of blossom in a vase that I love to sit and admire when I have my tea in the morning.

6/ Bake your own bread. London is going through a real cold spell at the moment, and there’s nothing quite as comforting as the smell and taste of freshly baked bread to enjoy with some soup for lunch.

7/ See a show. I’m a big fan of Gilbert & Sullivan, and the Pirates of Penzance at the London Coliseum sounds hugely entertaining.

8/ Go out for brunch and order pancakes (note: Shrove Tuesday is 28th February). I’m tempted to try the pancake stack at LLS, a new(ish) cafe in Hampstead (although as they’re gluten free and vegan, I’m not sure they’re naughty enough for a pre-Lent binge…).

9/ Start a journal chronicling a favourite activity: knitting projects accomplished, books you’ve read, exercise goals, recipes cooked, wines bought & tasted etc. It’s a fun way to keep track of your year and honour a favourite pastime. I started a books only instagram account (@mirandasbookcase) to keep track of my recent reads, and I’m loving it!

10/ Invest in some attractive nightwear to make cosy evenings at home that much more pleasurable. I love the Ted Baker for Debenhams collection.

++ A Few More Things ++

Organising the first Miranda’s Notebook Book Club meet-up!! (This definitely tops the list!).

Going on an ‘air bnb experience’ event with the lovely Talitha. Flower crowns are involved, so I’m excited!

Indulging my love for all things Bloomsbury by attending the Vanessa Bell and Sussex Modernism exhibitions.

Trying out the new breakfast menu at The Gate.

Celebrating a good friend’s achievement at The Bloomsbury Club Bar (I’ve been with friends once already this month and am happy to be going back; it’s got a great atmosphere!).

Going to the cinema. I really want to see Hidden Figures and Jackie.

How about you? What’s on your list to enjoy this February?

P.S. Check out my suggestions from last year. Also, a great savoury crepe recipe (definitely naughty enough).

T&T 14 | The 5 Love Languages

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

Today on Tea & Tattle Podcast, Sophie and I delve into the topic of The 5 Love Languages, a bestselling book by Gary Chapman. This book is a fascinating read for anyone who wants to make the most of both their romantic and platonic relationships, and Sophie and I had a lot of fun deciding which ‘love language’ we speak (we think we’re actually bilingual!). The 5 Love Languages are: words of affirmation; quality time; gifts; physical touch and acts of service. Listen to the episode to find out which resonated particularly with us, and how learning more about the 5 Love Languages shed light on our relationships, past and present!

Happy Listening!

P.S. Sophie is visiting me in London this afternoon, and we’ll try to post a few instagram stories. If you’d like to see what we’re up to, follow along on instagram: Sophie (@sophie_perdita) and Miranda (@mirandasnotebook)

A Writing Week in Geneva

back in Geneva ~ the gentle pleasures of a writing week ~ seeing friends ~ exploring the Old Town

Whenever the plane touches down in Geneva, I feel as though I’ve come home. Having spent my first 5 years of existence, and, later, my last 3 years of high-school, surrounded by the beautiful mountains and lake of this corner of Switzerland, Geneva always has a strong hold on my memories and my affection.

This time, Mum and I flew to Geneva for a week, to have a little visit with my Dad and also to enjoy a week of relaxation after a month of us both battling the horrendous winter bugs that have been going around.

Well, I say relaxation, but for me the week was really a chance to work hard and catch up on writing, podcasting and blogging tasks. It felt refreshing to get away from the distractions of London and concentrate on knocking items off my to-do list. During the day, I wrote, researched, emailed and audio-edited, and in the evenings I’d curl up with a book. Rather than a room of my own, I got to enjoy a whole flat, nestled up high over-looking the rooftops of Geneva, from which to write. I think Virginia Woolf would have approved!

Of course, I managed to get out and about and have some fun too. I met up with old friends from high-school over wine and cheese one night and lobster rolls from a food truck near the United Nations the next. We revisited favourite cafes and streets, marvelling anew at how Geneva manages to remain magically very much the same, even 11 years on.

The Old Town is always my favourite, with its twisting cobbled streets and beautiful doors with impressive engravings and elaborate, imposing knockers. There’s a calming quality to the city’s colour palette of grey stone and brown wood, especially in the winter when the streets are quieter.

It was very cold while we were there, with clumps of snow unmelted along some of the streets, and I was thankful for the thick jumpers and cosy hat and gloves I’d brought from London. The cold, crisp air smelt wonderful though, and we had the added pleasure when we were inside of contrasting our snug warmth, sipping mugs of hot chocolate, with the bitterness of the weather outside.

Have you ever been to Geneva? Would you like to spend a ‘writing week’ somewhere?

P.S. My 30th birthday in a beautifully autumnal Geneva.

 

How to Have a Life Full of Romance When You’re Single

How to Have a Life Full of Romance When You're Single

{spoiler: it’s easy}

Happy first day of February! I’m excited to introduce this month’s theme word for the blog, which is romance.

Now, I’m aware that this month often brings up uncomfortable feelings, especially for people who are single. All, I can say is: I’m tired of the expectation that not having a date for Valentine’s Day is a reason to feel depressed. If you’re a single woman too, trust me: you don’t have to live up to that expectation.

It always saddens me whenever I get asked: how are you happy when you’re single? I mean, we’re meant to be in the 21st Century! Over time, I’ve learnt not to equate personal happiness with my relationship status, but that’s not an easy lesson to learn, especially when society tells you that if you’re single, you should be miserable.

Single girls are meant to be Bridget Jones, lip-syncing to sad music in their pjs, consoling themselves with wine and day-dreaming about the charming, but emotionally unavailable men in their lives (when they’re not having nightmares about dying alone and being eaten by dogs, that is). They’re meant to wilt when they see another engagement or wedding announcement on Facebook and question all the life choices that led them to wind up alone. They’re meant to feel like failures. Well, I say: scratch that!

I feel so lucky to know real single women who are carving out their own careers; checking into spin class; planning their next weekend trip; reading the latest books; taking the time to be exceptional friends; keeping their standards high. They’re leading great lives, and they’re doing all this against the expectation that they should feel inadequate without a man by their side.

Single women are put in a box, given a lot of limiting beliefs and told a list of things they can’t have: happiness, fulfilment, romance, love, +1 invites to weddings, babies – the list goes on. Is any of that actually true? No.

In contrast, what are single men told they can have? Freedom, spontaneity, excitement and, perhaps most importantly, time. Time to succeed in their career, time to figure out who they are, time to find the right woman, time to play the field, ‘sow wild oats,’ etc.

Do I think there’s anything wrong about being in a relationship? Of course not! I think good relationships are wonderful; I hope I have one some day. I just also think being single is great too. In the end, there is nothing limiting about being single or being in a relationship. You’ll only be limited if you believe you are.

Valentine’s Day is a time when all single people are meant to feel incomplete. This February, though, I’d really love you to join me – whether you’re single or not – in truly embracing a life of romance for this month.

Here’s a rather lovely definition of romance for you:

romance
a quality or feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life

synonyms: mystery, glamour, excitement, colourfulness, colour, exoticism, mystique

Doesn’t your heart quicken a little when you read that? Mystery, excitement, a breaking away from the mundane. Single or not, experiences that spark those emotions inside you are yours for the taking.

If you need a few prompts, here are some suggestions for ways to embrace the romantic life this month:

Visit the sea. Breathe deeply, run along the shore, gather seashells, throw stones, splash in the water.

Treat yourself in a way you usually wouldn’t: book a manicure, a massage, a yoga class, go to the cinema, order a fancy hot chocolate – whatever calls to you.

Read books that fire your imagination. 

Think of a skill you could develop.

Allow yourself to day-dream. What kind of life do you really want to live? 

 Imagine ways to surprise someone you love.

Act in a way you perceive as out of character: if you’re serious, do something playful; if you love to talk, take a turn to listen; if you’re shy, smile at a stranger.

Think about one area of your life you’d really like to change. Don’t let blame or judgement or guilt stand a chance in your head. What are the first steps towards making that change happen? Start doing them.

Do something unexpected, like having pancakes for supper or dancing like mad to your favourite music.

Go on a date.

Have a secret (not a bad one). Plan a surprise party, start a project, take yourself out to lunch – enjoy having something that only you know about, at least for a time.

Do a colour photography challenge: take pictures of all red things one week, orange the next etc.

Say yes to something you would normally decline.

Sample or buy a perfume that smells particularly exotic.

Read a poem and delight in the beautiful use of language.

Write down 5 things you love about yourself.

Start a journal filled with your favourite quotes.

Wear red lipstick.

Do let me know – are you tempted to embrace romance this month? What ways can you think of to fill your life with more excitement?

T&T 12 | Shine Theory

Tea & Tattle Podcast | Shine Theory - the importance of female solidarity and friendship, inspired by Ann Friedman and the Call Your Girlfriend Podcast

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

In this episode of Tea & Tattle, Sophie and I discuss Shine Theory. The term was first coined by the journalist and podcaster Ann Friedman, and signifies the importance of female solidarity and choosing friendship over jealousy when confronted with successful, inspiring women. Shine Theory resonates with both Sophie and me, and today we bounce ideas off each other as to how we can celebrate the women we admire, strategies for banishing negative emotions such as jealousy and envy and ideas for how to best approach and befriend amazing women.

What do you think of Shine Theory? How do you celebrate the women in your life? Do you have any stories to share of how successful women have helped or inspired you?

Happy Listening!

My Top 10 Female Role Models

I was travelling to Geneva on the 21st, so did not take part in any marches, but my Facebook and Instagram feeds were flooded with pictures of all the women and men who took to the streets to protest, and it was incredible to see so many people and inspiring placards photographed all over the world.

Female solidarity has been on my mind a lot lately, and one question I’ve pondered quite a bit is which women (outside of my own family and friends) I particularly admire and look up to as role models. I decided to narrow the list down to women who are alive today, and so here are my final Top 10 Female Role Models.

Inspiring Women | My Top Ten Female Role Models | Ines de la FressangeThe epitome of grace and effortless Parisian style, Ines de la Fressange reminds me that true beauty is ageless. At 59, Ines continues to inspire with her flair for easy-to-wear, yet elegant clothing. Her collaborations with Uniqlo are wildly successful, proving she keeps her finger firmly on the sartorial pulse.

Inspiring Women | My Top Ten Female Role Models | Shonda RhimesQueen of TV writing and producing, Shonda Rhimes is responsible for hugely successful shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder. Her book, Year of Yes, is one of the most inspiring I have read. In it, Shonda details how she overcame her fear of public speaking, lost over 100 pounds, juggles life as a single mother, as well as why she never wants to get married and how she got to dominating Thursday night prime time TV in the USA. If you are looking for a woman to remind you that anything is possible, as long as you work hard and stay true to who you are, then Shonda Rhimes is your girl.

Inspiring Women | My Top Ten Female Role Models | Tracy AndersonThe fitness guru reminds me to keep my own health a priority, and her exercise routines always make me feel stronger, both in body and in mind. I love that Tracy Anderson celebrates and nurtures female solidarity, and her fans carry out her message by offering supportive communities in person and on social media (just check out the #tamily hashtag on Instagram to see what I mean). Although a trainer to a seemingly endless list of celebrities, Tracy never forgets the ordinary woman, and regularly features a member of the #tamily crew in her newsletters.

Inspiring Women | My Top Ten Female Role Models | Michelle ObamaThe former (already greatly missed) First Lady is the embodiment of her own quote: ‘when they go low, we go high.’ Michelle Obama has shown the world how to handle the spotlight with grace and humility. An equal partner to her remarkable husband, she has become a role model for women everywhere.

Inspiring Women | My Top Ten Female Role Models | J.K. RowlingIt’s hard to imagine a story more like a modern day fairy tale than the Harry Potter author’s rise from an out-of-work single mum to the creator of the best-selling book series in history. If I’m having a bad day, I like to listen to her Harvard commencement speech and remind myself not to be so fearful of failure. Unsurprisingly, Rowling always has a gift for finding the right words, making her (in my opinion), the Queen of twitter, and a brilliant example of how to use social media to further your message.

Inspiring Women | My Top Ten Female Role Models | Ina GartenWatching Ina Garten’s food show is akin to receiving a warm hug and always cheers me up whenever I have a bad cold or am feeling a bit miserable. Along with millions of others, I love Ina’s warm, sparkling personality and the way she always manages to make life feel a bit more fun (as well as delicious). Also, her marriage with Jeffrey is my ultimate #relationshipgoals. They are the sweetest couple, and their mutual respect, love and support of each other is abundantly clear.

Inspiring Women | My Top Ten Female Role Models | Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieBeyond appreciating Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie as a brilliant writer, it is also her TED talks on the danger of a single story and on feminism that I return to again and again for their wisdom, humanity and truth. These incredible speeches push me to be a better person, to see the wider perspective and to take pride in being a woman, and a feminist.

Inspiring Women | My Top 10 Female Role Models | Sophia AmorusoDespite the recent bad news, the Nasty Gal founder’s autobiography continues to inspire me to be my own #girlboss. Sophia Amoruso’s story in initially building her brand shows how dedication, drive and trusting your gut are all qualities that will help you on the road to success.

Inspiring Women | My Top 10 Female Role Models | Gretchen RubinGretchen Rubin’s fantastic books and podcast help me both to understand myself better and to expect more from myself. The happiness and habits expert has led me to realise that I work best in the morning, that I should always strive to ‘be Miranda’ and that every individual has the capacity for transformation and growth, should they wish for it.

Inspiring Women | My Top 10 Female Role Models | Priyanka ChopraAs the star of the American series Quantico, Priyanka Chopra is the first actress from India to play the role of a main lead character on US television. A hugely famous personality in her home country, Priyanka has an incredible number of strings to her bow: Bollywood actress, Miss India and Miss World winner, singer, film producer, philanthropist, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, gender-equality campaigner – oh, and did I mention she’s only 34? It’s women like Priyanka Chopra who remind me to dream big, work hard and seize opportunity.

I’m curious: which present-day women inspire you the most?

T&T 11 | Dominique Davis Interview

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

In today’s episode, I’m interviewing the delightful Dominique Davis, who writes the fashion and lifestyle blog, All That Is She. Dominique has one of the most charming Instagram accounts I’ve ever seen, and so it’s not a surprise that she’s amassed a huge following in a relatively short space of time. For the most part, Dominique’s photos feature her life with her partner and two adorable daughters (Amelia and Penny), and she writes entertainingly about motherhood and her experiences creating seasonal capsule wardrobes to hone her fashion choices and simplify her busy life.

Since this episode was recorded, Dominique has written a brilliant guide to building a capsule wardrobe. If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know I’ve been inspired to pare down my closet (ever since talking to Dominique!) and donated or gave away about 20 bags of clothes! I’m now working towards having my own capsule wardrobe, and I definitely recommend using Dominique’s guide to help. Part of her guide is free to download, but I would suggest forking out £1.97 for the other part too – it’s worth it!

Dominique gave some great tips on how to set about creating a capsule wardrobe in this episode, as well as advice on how to stand out on Instagram. Her account was recently featured as a winner of a hashtag competition on Instagram’s feed, so she certainly knows what she’s talking about! More than anything though, I think it’s clear from this interview what a friendly, down-to-earth person Dominique is, and I know her followers appreciate her lovely spirit within the Instagram community just as much as her spell-binding photos.

Happy Listening!

7 Quick Morning Rituals to Kickstart Your Day

This post is published in celebration of January’s blog theme: beginnings

Almost two years ago, I discovered the Miracle Morning philosophy, and it completely transformed my approach to the start of the day. I’ve always been a morning person, but the Miracle Morning taught me the importance of having a certain set routine that I perform everyday on waking up. Over time, I’ve adapted the principles of the Miracle Morning to best suit myself and my lifestyle. I no longer wake up at 5am (unless I am truly pushed for time and having a crazy week), but have changed my alarm to 6am, which I’ve found is early enough, especially when I often have a lot more evening commitments now than I used to do.

It can feel overwhelming to completely transform your routine, but there are some quick and easy morning rituals you can undertake that make a disproportionate difference to your happiness, productivity and stress levels. Even better, many of these only take about 5 minutes or less! You don’t have to start with all of them; just try out a few and see what works best for you.

Start the day off right by accomplishing a small task like making your bed, and you’ll feel much more able to strike off bigger tasks on your to-do list. Plus, you’ll have a neat and inviting bed waiting for you at the end of the day – win-win!

Finding a moment of stillness and harmony first thing in the morning sets a good tone for the rest of the day. I admit, I’m struggling with meditation at the moment. I used to be able to find moments of stillness and mental clarity quite easily, but lately my brain really fights me when I try to empty my head of all the thoughts continually whirring around inside it. I’m pretty sure this means I’m in even more desperate need of meditation than ever before, so I’m struggling through, even though the process is generally more than a little frustrating right now.

Rather than meditating, which used to be a real source of calm and quiet pleasure for me, I’ve found that lately I have much more of a sense of peace after journalling. I like to use the 5 Minute Journal in the morning, but if you fancy something a little more soul-searching and quirky, then I highly recommend Meera Lee Patel’s gorgeous notebook Start Where You Are. It’s described as a thoughtful journal that ‘pairs insightful quotes with prompts that spark reflection through writing, drawing, list making, and more.’ I received it as a belated Christmas present and can’t wait to start using it.

There’s nothing worse than that feeling lurking in the back of your mind that you’re forgetting something, or you’re not quite sure what you had to get done today. Save yourself needless mental strain by taking 5 minutes in the morning to check and update your diary and to-do list.

I think it’s so important to take a few moments at the start of each day to do something that brings you joy. That could be dancing around to music, reading a book, listening to a podcast, drawing, knitting, working on your novel, watering your plants – do something that brings you a sense of satisfaction, even if only for 5 minutes. It will leave you feeling so much happier and ready for the day than time spent mindlessly instagram or facebook scrolling.

Getting your body moving and your blood circulating is important when you wake up; however, something I’ve realised about myself over the years is that I loathe vigorous exercise first thing in the morning. The idea of running, doing push-ups, or even more strenuous pilates before I’ve even had a cup of tea makes me shudder (ok, the idea of running always makes me tremble in horror, but you get my point…). Obviously, this isn’t the case for everyone, so embrace what you love and do whatever exercise calls to you at this hour of the day. I like to start off with something very light: perhaps some stretching, or a yoga pose or two, and then I’ll move to more demanding workouts later in the day/evening.

My skin care regime is definitely briefer in the morning than the evening, but I do still try to take the time to cleanse and moisturise my face. It instantly leaves me feeling (and looking) brighter and better and much more ready to tackle the day ahead.

What morning rituals do you enjoy?

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Miranda’s Book Club Has Launched!

Online and London Book Club | Miranda's Notebook

I’m so excited to announce the first book for the Miranda’s Notebook Book Club; some of you who know me well will likely have guessed which author I would pick already….so (drumroll please) the first book is:

Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier

‘After the death of her mother, Mary Yellan crosses the windswept Cornish moors to Jamaica Inn, the home of her Aunt Patience. There she finds Patience a changed woman, downtrodden by her violent husband, Joss Merlyn. Mary discovers that the inn is a front for a lawless gang of criminals, and is unwillingly dragged into their dangerous world of smuggling and murder. Despite herself, she becomes powerfully attracted to a man she dares not trust – Joss Merlyn’s brother. Before long she will be forced to cross her own moral line to save herself.’ – Virago Modern Classics

Daphne du Maurier is one of my very favourite authors, and I always think her novels are fantastic for sparking discussion. As the blog theme for February will be romance, I thought it appropriate to pick one of her most dramatically romantic books. I first read Jamaica Inn as a teenager, and haven’t revisited it since, so my recollections of the novel are rather hazy, and I’m looking forward to finding out what my impressions of the book will be as an adult.

I can’t wait to read it together and discuss it with all who take part!

There will be opportunities to join both an online and in person (for those in London) version of the Book Club. Both will be held on the last Wednesday of every month. The in person meet-ups will be held at a location on the Southbank, from 6.30-7.30pm. I’ll most likely be bringing along cake, as I do always feel a slice goes rather well with book chat! If you’re interested in joining the London Book Club get-togethers (and I do hope you are!), then please pop your email in the form below (or here, if you’re reading this in your email and can’t see the form) so I can provide you with more details (you’ll only be signed up to receive London Book Club news):

Please don’t be shy – all the Miranda’s Notebook readers I have met so far have been a very friendly bunch 🙂

In terms of the Online Book Club, I’ll publish a blog post recounting my thoughts on the book, with questions to invite further discussion on the last Wednesday of every month (see below for a list of dates and upcoming titles). There will also be some Cornwall / Daphne du Maurier themed posts published throughout February. I’m toying with different ideas of how best to host an online book group at the moment, so please bear with me as I iron out any initial wrinkles. If you have any ideas or suggestions for what you’d most like from an online book club, then please let me know.

If you’d like to read ahead, then here are the book choices for the following few months, with the dates for discussion and meet-ups:

**February 22nd – Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier

**March 29th – Longbourn by Jo Baker

**April 26th – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Will you be joining the Miranda’s Notebook Book Club discussion? Have you read any Daphne du Maurier books already, or are you excited to start your first? I’d love to know your thoughts!

Fun Things | January 2017

I always enjoy writing my ‘fun things to see and do’ posts each month, as they encourage me to seek out the best of what’s available in London, as well as more general ways I can get the most enjoyment from the passing months. There are some especially good exhibitions currently on or just about to begin in London, so I foresee a lot of cultural outings at the start of the year.

1/ Go to the Dulwich Picture Gallery. It’s definitely time to renew my membership to the DPG, as 2017 looks set to be a stellar year for this beautiful gallery. There’s still time to catch the fascinating sounding Am I Rembrandt? show, which I’d like to see. Also, Bloomsbury Group lovers can rejoice at the upcoming Vanessa Bell exhibition (incredibly, the first major solo exhibition of her work), which opens the beginning of February. I’m also extremely excited for the John Singer Sargent exhibition (one of my very favourite artists, and his paintings are always even more luminescent in person) and the celebration of Tove Jansson’s The Moomins. If you know any children who love Moominland, then be sure to drop by Adventures in Moominland at the Southbank Centre too.

2/ Continuing the Bloomsbury theme, on 28th January Sussex Modernism is opening at 2 Temple Place and is a must-visit for fans of Charleston. The exhibition is free entry so there’s no excuse not to go, especially as this beautiful space is generally closed to the public.

3/ Go to the cinema. A friend and I got each other membership to the Prince Charles Cinema as a Christmas present, with a resolution to see more films together in 2017. The cinema is fortunately easy on the pocket, with members’ tickets costing as low as £1, so it’s a perfect January activity!

4/ Eat what you love. I very much enjoyed this timely article describing food writer Ruby Tandoh’s philosophy on eating for pleasure, as well as nourishment.

5/ Join a library. It’s definitely the month to curl up with a good book in the evenings, but January is generally also a time when you’re watching your pennies, so why not check out on what’s on offer at your local library, rather than buying something new? It’s also worth noting that library memberships often give you (free) access to online sources of audiobooks. I’m currently working my way through a vast list of Agatha Christie books, which I listen to as I cook or embroider.

6/ Celebrate Chinese New Year (28th January). Indulging my love of dumplings, I’m thinking of making this soup from Smitten Kitchen. I would also love to see the Magical Lantern Festival at Chiswick House & Garden.

7/ Visit Greenwich to see the raved-about Emma Hamilton exhibition at the National Maritime Museum. If you happen to be called Emma, then you can even visit for free this weekend (14-15th January)! Just bring along some proof of ID….

8/ Celebrate Burns Night at Mr Fogg’s in Mayfair. From 6pm on the 25th, guests will be greeted with bagpipes, haggis canapes, whiskey and a poetry reading in honour of Scotland’s much-loved poet, Robert Burns.

9/ Do Yoga for your face. Much as I appreciate a great moisturiser (and sun block!), I also believe that exercising the muscles in your face is as good as exercising the muscles in your body. I keep this book by the mirror in my bedroom and have started trying to incorporate some of the suggested movements into my morning skincare routine. This article has some quick and easy to do exercises too.

10/ Write your thank you cards. I managed to send some of mine off just after Christmas, but then I lost momentum and still have a few to do. As I recently reorganised my office, I realise I’m positively overflowing with pretty stationery, so there’s no excuse not to write all my thank you notes!

A Few More Things

++ Meeting a blog reader for the first time in Richmond today, as well as attending a fun skincare related event at Debenhams.

++ Cocktails with friends at Quo Vadis (my favourite Soho hangout).

++ A day trip to Cambridge. There were some fabulous £6 ticket deals available for trains to Cambridge, so I’m treating myself to an afternoon exploring a different city.

++ Spending a week in Geneva at the end of the month.

++ Having an ‘Ask Miranda’ Skype chat with Melanie.

++ Working on my current embroidery project.

++ Meeting up with some of my lovely blogger friends, Milly and Isla.

Has anything on my list resonated with you? What are you looking forward to this January?

P.S. If you love London, why not sign up for my newsletter? I send out a weekly ‘Postcard From London,’ featuring bitesize information about my favourite London discoveries, as well as a monthly roundup sharing what I’ve been doing and loving most lately. Simply fill in your email address below (or go here) and check your email to confirm your subscription.