Category Archives: Miranda Loves

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.

A Wild Summer With Sue Belfrage

Down to the River and Up to the Trees | Sue Belfrage Interview

A few weeks ago, I was browsing my local bookshop and spotted Sue Belfrage’s gorgeous book, Down to the River and Up to the Trees. I flicked through the pages, delighted by the whimsical illustrations and suggested activities for injecting more wilderness into everyday life. Needless to say, Sue’s book made its way home with me, as a lovely addition to my growing collection of writings on the natural world.

This summer, I’m keen to experience more of nature, both on my doorstep and further afield. I’ve made plans with friends to swim in the Hampstead Ladies’ Pond, and I’m currently writing this post from the Artist Residence Hotel, nestled deep in the Oxfordshire countryside. I can look out the window and see the restaurant’s vegetable garden, surrounded by neighbouring fields and meadows.

Down to the River and Up to the Trees is the perfect companion for those wishing to engage with nature. Packed with fun activities, from sun printing to foraging tips, as well as beautiful quotes and illustrations, Sue Belfrage will open the eyes of even the most diehard urbanite to the natural wonders surrounding them.

I got in touch with Sue to say how much I enjoyed her book, as well as to ask her a few questions about herself, her work and her suggestions for infusing more nature into my city life.

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Would you tell me a little about yourself and your career so far?

Besides painting and writing in my own time, I worked for many years as an editor in book publishing. I ended up specialising in non-fiction, which gave me the opportunity to work on a wide range of subjects with all sorts of fascinating people – from healers, witches and shamans to leading philosophers, psychologists and neuroscientists. And, because of my love of nature, I ended up commissioning some beautiful books by brilliant nature writers.

Down to the River and Up to the Trees | Sue Belfrage InterviewSue Belfrage

What first sparked your love for nature?

Difficult to say. I remember being about two years old and peering into a paddling pool: a large dead spider was bobbing about in the water like a folded-up umbrella. Perhaps not the most auspicious start, but the main feeling I had was of fascination and wonder – and that sense of curiosity has stayed with me ever since.

Down to the River and Up to the Trees | Sue Belfrage InterviewSummer Garden, Sue Belfrage

Then, at the age of six, I moved with my family to Sweden for a few years. The Swedes have something called allemansrätten, which is basically the right to roam – but it also means taking care of the countryside, something you learn at a young age. I lived in the suburbs of a small city where there were lots of woods and streams to explore, so I used to take off with my friends, build camps, go sledding and make rope swings. We were left to our own devices even though we were relatively small, and would come back at the end of each day with dirty hands and knees, having spent hours outside in the fresh air whatever the weather.

Would you tell me a little about your book, Down to the River and Up to the Trees? What inspired you to write it?

I got to a point last year where I realised I needed to make changes, so I did a slightly crazy thing and quit my job. I was lucky to have some savings and the support of my other half, and had the opportunity to spend much of the summer outside, painting and walking – and reappraising. In many ways, spending time in nature was very healing, and it reminded me just how important that connection is for all of us. By the end of the summer I think the seed for Down to the River and Up to the Trees had been sown.

Down to the River and Up to the Trees | Sue Belfrage InterviewOyster Shell, by Sue Belfrage

I love how your book encourages us all to get out and enjoy the nature that’s on our doorstep. What are some of your favourite outdoor activities to do in the summer?

I have the good fortune to work at home, so on a sunny day I will often try to work outside or – if that’s not possible – I’ll leave my desk and just go stand barefoot outside for a few minutes. Natural light is a much better pick-me-up than coffee, even if you can only get outside during your lunchbreak.

I also love going for long woodland walks, and down to the coast – not necessarily to go swimming, but to walk along the strandline, picking my way through the seaweed, shells and driftwood, and doing a bit of beachcombing. I’ve got all sorts of flotsam and jetsam decorating my shelves at home.

And, like many of us, I enjoy taking photos of wild flowers and the sky. I have a bit of a thing for clouds and the patterns of leaves…

What’s your advice to people who live in urban environments who would like to experience more of the natural world in their everyday lives?

Make the most of what you have and where you live. That might sound a bit trite, but having lived in cities such as London and Liverpool, I’ve been struck by the fantastic parks, public gardens and green spaces you can find there; you don’t have to live in a rural idyll to create your own special connection with nature. (That said, I once had a stand-off with a rat on a stepping stone in Liverpool’s Sefton Park, which is otherwise a glorious spot.)

Also, whereas people in the countryside tend to rely on their cars to get about, if you live in a city you’ll often have a greater opportunity to walk – and if you’re walking there’s usually a chance to see all sorts of plants and wild life, even in the very heart of a city. Alternatively, if you can’t get out to nature, bring it to you: give a home to a pot plant, place a window box where you can see it change through the seasons (replanting as necessary), or grow your own potatoes in a bag!

It’s really just about opening up our senses and taking the time to notice the life around us, which admittedly is often a lot easier said than done these days, when the temptation can be to keep ‘busy’ rather than just be.

Have you always loved to draw? How would you describe your artistic style?

Yes, I’ve always loved drawing and still have sketchbooks that I drew in as a little girl. While their artistic merit is extremely doubtful (I was definitely no Picasso), they show enthusiasm and a sheer love of scribbling; I wasn’t worried about getting things ‘right’ but just enjoyed making marks. The same is true today – for me the pleasure lies mainly in the process rather than the result. (Though of course it’s always nice if people do like your work.)

I’m mainly a figurative artist, and do quite a bit of life drawing. I also enjoy landscape painting and print making. You can see some of my sketches and lino prints in Down to the River and Up to the Trees.

Down to the River and Up to the Trees | Sue Belfrage InterviewFur, lino cut by Sue Belfrage

Besides getting out into nature, how else do you refuel and feed your own creativity?

I love reading, especially literary fiction and poetry, and I like listening to music. I also enjoy good conversation, and sharing a glass or two – plus laughter – with friends. I meet up about once a month with a writing group to share our work in progress. As well as discussing our writing, we catch up on all the news and gossip, and generally offer each other moral support – which can be a real lifeline if you’re trying to work creatively on your own. Oh, and I suppose there are healthy things too like Pilates, which is a great way to unwind.

Are there any magazines or books about the natural world (besides your own!) that you would recommend?

Nature writing is experiencing a bit of a renaissance at the moment, and there are some wonderful writers out there, but if you want a hands-on experience, I would definitely recommend getting hold of the old Reader’s Digest Nature Lovers Library guides, which you can still find in second-hand bookshops. I find myself dipping into the Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of Britain all the time!

Down to the River and Up to the Trees | Sue Belfrage InterviewApple Tree by Sue Belfrage

Finally, do you have any upcoming events or future projects you’re able to share at the moment?

I’m looking forward to taking part in a Wild Women’s Retreat organised by HoneyWoods Camping later this month, and then I’m taking part in the Yeovil Literary Festival in October. I’m always open to considering invitations; if I can help any of your readers with an event, I can be contacted via my website: suebelfrage.com and on twitter and Instagram (@suebelfrage).

Thanks, Miranda, for this interview and your interest in my work. I hope you have a really wild summer!

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Down to the River and Up to the Trees | Sue Belfrage Interview

Thank you so much again to Sue for her thoughtful answers to my questions. Are you inspired to get out into nature a little more this summer?

Down to the River and Up to the Trees: Discover the hidden nature on your doorstep by Sue Belfrage is published by Harper Thorsons, £9.99.

 

A Chat With | The Hardihood

A Chat With The Hardihood | Beautiful Raw Cakes | Miranda's Notebook InterviewDaisy Kristiansen and Leah Garwood-Gowers, founders of The Hardihood

I’m always keen to hear about female-led businesses, especially when they’ve been successfully founded by best friends. When I stumbled across the story of The Hardihood, which produces raw cakes as beautiful as they are nutritious and tasty, my interest was definitely piqued.  Daisy Kristiansen and Leah Garwood-Gowers were housemates who gave up sugar together one year, and, uninspired by the sugar-free dessert options available, decided to start making their own. The Hardihood was born, and quickly garnered a huge amount of success, with the cakes now stocked in Harrods, Planet Organic and Daylesford Stores, as well as available to order online.

Daisy and Leah’s first cookbook, Raw Cake, came out at the start of 2017, and their brand is clearly going from strength to strength in a remarkably short space of time. I took the opportunity to ask Leah some questions about her growing business.

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Would you tell me a little about your background? How did you both meet?

Daisy and I have been friends for years; we met at a dinner party in West London and became pals on the bus back to Hackney together that night. We later went on to live together and have many years of fun under our belts. Although we no longer live together, we’ve been running The Hardihood together since late 2015. Before we founded the business, Daisy worked in fashion and styling and I worked in hospitality and journalism.

How did the idea for The Hardihood originate? What made you decide to go into business together?

We’d both always leant towards the creative side of entrepreneurial spirit before starting The Hardihood, having had many ideas but little clue as to how to get them off the ground. The fact that The Hardihood’s success grew through social media almost overnight forced us to get serious about the world of business. There’s been a lot of faking it until you make it, and although we’re still learning on the job, we’re very confident about our vision for the future and feel grateful that, between the two of us, we have the passion and skills to stick at it.

A Chat With The Hardihood | Beautiful Raw Cakes | Miranda's Notebook InterviewAfternoon treats: ripe cherries and a Hardihood raw salted caramel cake

The Hardihood was born out of a number of factors. The first was creativity; we both wanted creative freedom over the project we’d be working on. The second was the desire to make the world a better place, which sounds dramatic, but it was around the time of founding The Hardihood that people were really waking up to the perils of refined sugar, and we wanted to make a dessert option that addressed this. We wanted to make a dessert that looked good, tasted good and felt good too. The third was building a lifestyle for ourselves and our employees that actively supported work-life balance; for example, having a work schedule that’s flexible enough for female employees to return to work after baby number two or in which male employees are able to take a generous amount of time off for paternity leave.

A Chat With The Hardihood | Beautiful Raw Cakes | Miranda's Notebook InterviewRaw cakes from The Hardihood

It’s wonderful to see an inspiring example of female friendship and business partnership. What is your advice to women who may be thinking of going into business with a friend? How do you make sure that your friendship remains a priority, and that you both feel heard and valued within the business?

It’s funny, we often say that we have to approach our relationship like a marriage these days. When things get tough it’s not like either of us can just leave the room, we’re both hugely passionate about The Hardihood being a success so whatever disagreements – professional or otherwise – we have, we have to face them head on, which I believe is hugely helpful for personal growth. It’s important to make space for honest and direct conversation, but it’s equally important not to get into the habit of treating each other too familiarly. When you’re spending such a lot of time together it’s easy to start speaking to each other as offhandedly as you would to your siblings and this can sometimes be inappropriate within a professional environment. You’ve got to be patient with each other and remember that you’re growing together, so your inputs are both equally valuable. Even though we’re only a small team of 3, we often sit down and talk about our company culture in ways that would support the size of the company we want to grow to. We value transparency, a can-do attitude, a good sense of humour and efficiency above all else, and so we push ourselves and each other to behave in a way that reflects this. At the end of it all, we’re still the best of friends and make time to discuss our lives like we would if we weren’t tackling the pitfalls of running a small business together daily.

What are your top tips for people who want to give up refined sugar, or create more general healthy eating habits?

Even switching your ordinary sugar to coconut sugar is a great place to begin. Or begin by getting in to the habit of reading the back of anything you buy that is packaged. A lot of the time sugar is sneaked into things that you’d consider savoury, like pasta source or hummus. It’s one thing indulging decisively in something, but eating something savoury and then discovering that you may as well have just had a donut is frustrating.

A Chat With The Hardihood | Beautiful Raw Cakes | Miranda's Notebook InterviewDaisy and Leah’s new cookbook

Would you tell me a little about your book, Raw Cake?

We always hoped the book would be an insight for beginners into the world of raw cake. It’s beautiful enough to be a coffee table book and accessible enough for everyone. We were both self taught raw chefs and we found that a lot of the books we read in the beginning were hugely complicated and contained ingredients that even google couldn’t find. We use a lot of repeating ingredients with the option to add superfoods throughout. We’re particularly proud of the glossary at the back – it tells you a little bit about each ingredient and what we find it good for.

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Follow The Hardihood on instagram, twitter and facebook.

Get the Raw Cake cookbook here.

All images, apart from the second listed, which is my own, courtesy The Hardihood.

The Curated Month | June 2017

Welcome June!

Happy start of June everyone! London is feeling very summery at the moment; the sun is shining and roses are blooming, and I’m having a hard time resisting the urge to spend all of half-term reading in a park.

I’ve got plenty of fun coming up this month, which I’m excited about! I’m taking my Mum to the Cotswolds later in the month, when we’ll be celebrating her birthday, and this weekend I’m off to stay at The Great House in Berkshire. I’m taking my Tea & Tattle co-host, Sophie, along with me, and I’m really looking forward to having an unrecorded catch-up! June is such a glorious time of year to explore more of the UK, so I’m pleased about taking a little time away from London.

June’s Theme Word: Bloom

An abundance of flowers bloom in June, so what better month to celebrate one of my very favourite photography subjects. I’ll be sharing some floral related content over the next few weeks, including my top tips on how to take dozens of pretty photos from a single bouquet of flowers.

A List for June

sit in a rose garden
play tennis
have a spontaneous picnic
walk barefoot on the beach
go foraging
eat breakfast outside
pick strawberries
start a nature journal

The Londoner’s List

1/ The Night Market is a fun food festival starting in London and running from June 7th-18th, so take advantage of the light evenings and pop along to enjoy the fabulous food stalls.

2/ If you’re an aspiring author, this event featuring talks and advice from debut novelists sounds worth attending.

3/ The Stoke Newington Literary Festival runs this weekend (2nd-4th June), with a great line-up of events.  An upcoming Tea & Tattle guest, Lopè Ariyo, is speaking tomorrow about the African Food Revolution.

4/ As you may remember from this post, I adore the fashion designer Anna Sui, so I’m keen to get to this exhibition, showcasing more than 100 looks from the Anna Sui archive, at the Fashion and Textile Museum.

5/ The Typing Room looks like it would be a great place to take my Mum for her birthday this year.

The Book

My book choice for this month is Elizabeth and her German Garden by Elizabeth von Arnim. Witty and charming, this is a delightful summer read (and I fully empathise with Elizabeth’s love for flowers).

The Podcast

I really enjoyed this interview with the London shop owner and instagrammer Annabel on the Small and Mighty Podcast. I recently discovered Annabel’s instagram account, which is lovely, and it was so interesting to hear her story about launching an online shop.

 

The Creative

My very favourite floral-inspired instagram account is @floretflower. This flower farm in America is incredible – I can’t get enough of the photos of flower filled trucks and enormous bouquets!

The Song

JONES, image via here

JONES is a fairly new discovery for me, and I’ve been really enjoying her latest album NEW SKIN. Her voice is smooth and effortless and makes easy summer listening. Hoops is a particular favourite of mine, followed by Melt.

The Great Buy

I’m obsessed with the gorgeous Wedgwood china I spotted at the Wedgwood pop-up in Peter Jones, Chelsea, the other day (as a warning: the pop-up tea conservatory is very pretty, but my cream tea left me a little underwhelmed with dry scones. The afternoon tea isn’t cheap, and to be honest, I’m doubtful it would be worth the expense, sadly.). The china collection really is stunning, though, and the apple blossom set in particular is calling my name.

The Wild Card

I recently got this dress from one of my favourite London based designers, Cabbages & Roses, and I want to wear it all day, everyday. It’s light as a feather, easy to wear and so summery! Pair with ballet flats or plimsolls and a straw bag for a sweet, fresh look.

What’s on your list for June?

Miranda Loves: Elizabeth Arden Skincare

As is probably clear by now, I’m a bit of a skincare junkie, and all through my 20s, I’ve always enjoyed trying out different brands. I rarely stick to one brand for all of my skincare products, but instead pick and choose my favourites from a pretty wide spectrum.

I recently had some Debenham’s gift vouchers to use, and (having been so impressed by the Elizabeth Arden serum I mentioned in this video), I decided to try out the EA cleanser and toner. I definitely find keeping my skin in good condition is most challenging in the winter, as – apart from the cold wind and rain that feels ever present in London – seasonal viruses also tend to wreak havoc on my skin.

This year, however, my skin is holding up better than usual. Although I’ve never been (touch wood!) particularly prone to breakouts, I can suffer from dry and slightly sensitive skin, so I’ve been on the look out for products that hydrate as well as cleanse and are gentle on the skin. The Elizabeth Arden cleanser and toner are beautifully moisturising, and I’ve been very pleased with the results so far.

Do you have any favourite Elizabeth Arden products you’d recommend for me to try?

Please note: this is not a sponsored post; I really do just enjoy sharing what I’m loving at the moment through my Miranda Loves series. 

My Favourite Autumn Beauty Products

favouritebeautyproducts

Another round-up post, but rather than books, today I’m sharing my favourite beauty products that I’ve been using day-after-day throughout the Autumn and that I’ll be continuing to use into the winter.

Click on the photo below to watch my video, featuring the products I use to create the curly hair-style I’ve been loving lately, my favourite face-creams, mascaras and more!

autumnbeautyvideo

Curl in a Bottle / Chop Stick Curler / Nuxe Day Cream / Nuxe Night Cream / Nuxe Multi-Purpose Oil / Elizabeth Arden Serum (have to say I had no idea how expensive this is!! It is lovely, but I’ll definitely be eeking out my sample size a bit longer!) / Apricoderm Lip Balm (I can’t find a link for this; I think it’s only available in Europe)/ Chanel Mascara (sadly 40 seems to have sold out, but there are some other colours available) / Urban Decay Mascara and Lash Primer / Zadig & Voltaire This Is Her perfume

Do you have any beauty recommendations?

Miranda Loves: Baking Books

bakingbooks_1-copy

I feel I have to start this blog post with an apology that it took me SO LONG to do a second video on my favourite cookbooks (in case you missed it, you can see the first here). I find videos generally a little horrifying – the making of them, the watching them back (do I really look like that??) and then the editing. Frankly, the only editing I do is stick on an image at the front and end, add a tiny bit of music and hit the ‘amplify voice’ setting, but somehow I still find it a pain. Despite my grumpiness about it though, a part of me really does enjoy producing videos; they feel more intimate than blog posts, and it’s so nice to be able to properly show you all some of the things I especially love, like my cookbooks (and we all know how much I adore my collection…).

bakingbooks_3

In this video, I’m discussing some of my favourite baking books. In honour of those of you who share my love of baking (and because Thanksgiving is next week), I’ve also created a recipe card for my favourite pumpkin pie, which is a recipe adapted from one of the books I mention in the video, Tate’s Bake Shop Cookbook, by Kathleen King. If you’re already a part of the Miranda’s Notebook Newsletter, then you’ll have received the link to download the recipe in this morning’s Postcard From London (so check your email!). If you’ve yet to join, then sign up at the bottom of this post, and you’ll receive the link to download.

I do hope you enjoy the video! Click on the image below to watch it on youtube, and scroll down for links to all books mentioned.

favouritebakingbooks

Books mentioned in the video are:

Delia’s Cakes, Delia Smith

Geraldine Holt’s Cake Stall, Geraldine Holt (sadly only available secondhand)

Tate’s Bake Shop Cookbook, Kathleen King

Honey & Co: The Baking Book, Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer

How To Be A Domestic Goddess, Nigella Lawson

Homemade Memories, Kate Doran

Gail’s Artisan Bakery Cookbook, Roy Levy and Gail Mejia

Vintage Cakes, Jane Brocket

Fika and Hygge, Bronte Aurell

How to Hygge, Signe Johansen

Please do share what your favourite baking books are with me; I’d love to hear them.

As promised, here’s the Pumpkin Pie recipe card. Simply fill in your details to download the pdf file!

Miranda Loves | Hygge Essentials

Miranda Loves | Hygge Essentials

I’m really not surprised that everyone is jumping on board the current hygge craze, embodying as it does cosy happiness blended with Scandi cool. I went into one of my favourite Scandi design shops, Skandium, the other day and as usual swooned over everything they had in stock. The plethora of pretty cushions, throws and candles inspired me to put together my Top Ten list of Hygge Essentials.

1/ I am such a big fan Signe Johansen and pre-ordered this latest book of hers months ago. It’s being released tomorrow, and I can’t wait for it to arrive.

2/ I’m increasingly drawn to metallics, which I think are especially lovely for autumn and winter, and the glimmering gold of this candle holder is so pretty.

3/ Whenever I get home after work, the first thing I rush to do is to change into something warm and comfy (if it’s been a particularly bad day, then I head straight for my pjs). This Marc Jacobs jumper is the ultimate blend of cosy, yet sophisticated.

4/ I love snoods, indoors and out, and I’d love to wear this one to ward off chills as I work in my office at home, or when I get inspired by the Scandi-style deep appreciation for nature and go for a brisk walk on Hampstead Heath.

5/ I think this Marimekko cushion is perfect for the run up to Christmas. I’m also keen on the all grey version.

6/ Lighting candles, making a warming drink and writing in my gratitude journal are parts of my evening routine that help me to unwind the most and are all very hygge.

7/ Apparently this highly appropriately named scent diffuser has echoes of brewed tea and baked strawberry cake, rose petals and wild mint. Want! 

8/ Some of my throws are starting to look a little careworn, and I’ve got my eye on this Scandi-designed blanket.

9/ I adore chai tea, but rarely make it at home. I think it’s time I started, and I love T2’s range of Chai mixes. The ‘chill out‘ one sounds the most hygge, but I’d like to try the others too.

10/ Catherine Tough is the queen of adorable knitwear, and these lambswool socks are as sweet as they are cosy.

Are you embracing the art of hygge this autumn too? What are your favourites from the list?

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The Miranda’s Notebook Newsletter!

Miranda's Notebook Newsletter Launch

I’m so excited to announce the launch of the Miranda’s Notebook Weekly Newsletter!

I’ve been working hard this week designing the type of content I’ll provide Miranda’s Notebook newsletter subscribers. I want to give original, exclusive content that I hope will be a pleasure to have landing in your inboxes on a weekly basis. Subscribers to the newsletter will receive:

++ A weekly ‘could-do’ list, filled with my suggestions of what to See, Read, Eat, Watch and Shop each week. Through these letters, I’m looking forward to sharing recommendations that I don’t always get to write about on the blog, from TV series I’m hooked on, to a brilliant novel I’ve just put down and my latest fashion find (like the dress I recently bought for my 30th Birthday celebrations in London).

++ Postcards from London (and beyond). Whenever I go somewhere especially nice or interesting, but don’t always feel I have quite enough material for a full blog post, I’ll be sending out some virtual postcards, rather like the one below, to keep you updated with my latest recommendations.

Postcards from London | Miranda's Notebook Newsletter

++ Downloadable resources. Subscribers to my newsletter will have access to free resources I’m currently creating, such as my favourite places to have Afternoon Tea in London and a collection of my Best Loved Recipes.

++ Latest announcements. Get on the list to be the first to know about my latest launches and events. You’ll get the inside scoop about when Tea & Tattle is going live, as well as further news about the Online Book Club I’ll be launching later in the winter.

++ And more! You know I love to plan new things for this online space all the time, and I can promise I’ll be working hard to think of ways I can make the newsletter more engaging.

The first ‘could-do’ list will be sent out tomorrow (Saturday, 15th October), so make sure to sign up quickly!

Fill in your details to sign up below:

Thank you so much for your support, as always!

Miranda Loves | Autumnal Homeware

Miranda Loves | Autumnal Homeware

Whereas for me Summer is the season for socialising outdoors, meeting friends for picnics in parks, BBQs and drinks on a pretty terrace, Autumn marks the start of cosy evenings at home. As the nights get colder and longer, I like nothing better than lighting some candles and inviting a good friend over for a chat as I stir some warming risotto on the stove and open a bottle of wine. Increasing my time at home means I look at my living space with a more critical eye, and in the list below I’ve selected some pieces that I feel would add comfort and style to my everyday living.

1/ I’m looking for a chair to go in my office, and Cox & Cox have a great selection. Of course, I’m particularly drawn towards the ones inspired by Scandinavian design. This one is a favourite and looks straight out of Pinterest. Add a pretty cushion and a cosy throw, and I could see myself happily in this chair for hours as I write and research blog posts.

2/ I use my Wonki Ware plates all the time (they offer the perfect plain background for food shots when I publish recipe posts, but I also use them everyday anyway), and I’ll add a couple more to my collection this season.

3/ If you’re also an admirer of Scandi fashion and home decor, then the Gudrun Sjödén shop in Seven Dials, Covent Garden is a must visit. I popped in the other day and instantly fell for these apple tumblers, which I think would be perfect for serving warm apple cider or mulled wine.

4/ Although more often than not, I’m eating meals at my desk with my laptop open, I do try to make the majority of our suppers proper sit-down meals, when I can have a chat with my Mum about the day. To set a cosy mood, I like to have candles on the table, and Heal’s has the most wonderful range of colours.

5/ I’m yearning after pretty much everything on the Cloudberry website, but I’m especially taken with their new range of art photography posters. They’re seriously gorgeous, and this ballerina poster is a real favourite of mine. It’s a simple image that inspires me to aim high and jump for my goals, but also serves as a reminder that even things that look elegant and easy generally require a huge amount of strength, stamina and determination.

6/ With the mornings getting darker, a cheery mug is just what I need for my first cup of tea.

7/ I have a plain grey sofa in the living room, and I’ve been looking for some attractive cushions to add a pop of colour. I love this Boeme cushion, which has such pretty autumnal tones, and yet would go well with the pastel accents I’ve used throughout the flat.

8/ Apparently green is all the rage this autumn, and I like this plant pot in a frosty mint shade for my herbs.

9/ As I live in a tiny flat, finding floor lamps that don’t take up a lot of surface area is a must. I’ve got my eye on this floor lamp, which has a simple, pleasing design and wouldn’t take up a lot of room.

How do you like to prepare your home for Autumn? Which items are your favourites from this list?

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