Tag Archives: living

T&T 60 | Discussing Gretchen Rubin’s Personality Quiz

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

This week, I’m so delighted to say that my co-host, Sophie, is back on Tea & Tattle, after having some time away following a sad bereavement. Today on the podcast, we catch up with each other, swap our theme words for 2018 and discuss Gretchen Rubin’s fascinating book, The Four Tendencies.

Gretchen Rubin hosts one of my favourite podcasts, Happier, and she’s written several bestselling books on human nature, happiness and habits. The Four Tendencies is Gretchen’s most recent book, and in it she describes the framework she developed to help people better understand themselves in order to achieve their goals. Whether you’re an Obliger, Rebel, Questioner or Upholder is determined by how you respond to both internal and external expectations. I found The Four Tendenciesan illuminating read that helped pin-point my own strengths and weaknesses, and it was so fun to chat about it with Sophie and find out her tendency.

ALSO: I make a special announcement in this episode, concerning a change to Tea & Tattle Podcast (it’s a good one!), so do listen to the end to find out what I’m launching on Friday.

Listen to learn more about The Four Tendencies and which tendency we identify with the most.

T&T 59 | Johanna Basford Discusses the Mindful Art of Colouring

Johanna Basford Interview

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Happy Tuesday! In today’s Tea & Tattle episode, I’m so delighted to be in conversation with the fabulous illustrator, Johanna Basford.

Johanna took the world by storm when her first adult colouring book, Secret Garden, was published in 2013. The book sold a million copies within the first year of publication, and since then, Johanna has gone from strength to strength, producing many more bestselling colouring books and being awarded an OBE in 2016.

Johanna Basford InterviewJohanna Basford in her studio in Scotland, photographed by Hayley Fraser

I love Johanna’s distinctive, hand-drawn ink illustrations, and I’ve collected several of her colouring books over the years.

In our chat together, I ask Johanna how she stays grounded when experiencing such tremendous success, and how she balances her busy working schedule with her family life. Johanna also gives some great tips on what pencils and techniques she likes to use for colouring in, and she shares the inspiration behind her latest book, Ivy and the Inky Butterfly, which charmingly combines storytelling with drawing.

‘Ivy and the Inky Butterfly’ by Johanna Basford. Stylist: Clare Nicolson. Photographer: Yeshen Venema. 

This is a brilliant episode for anyone who loves illustration and the mindful art of colouring, as well as being a truly inspiring success story showing how hard-work and passion really do pay off.

Listen to learn more about Johanna’s journey to success, as well as her latest book and colouring tips.

T&T 58 | The Girl Who Climbed Everest

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Hello and Happy New Year! I hope you all had wonderful holidays and are having a fantastic start to 2018. I am so delighted to be back with Tea & Tattle Podcast, and I’ve got a fabulous episode for the start of the New Year.

Bonita Norris is a mountaineer who has broken many records. She is one of the youngest British women to have climbed Mount Everest, and last year she published a book about this experience, The Girl Who Climbed Everest.

Even though I am far from sporty and would never dream of climbing a mountain, I found Bonita’s book completely engrossing. It was fascinating to learn what being in the Death Zone of Everest is actually like (downright terrifying), but even more interesting to me was learning how Bonita uses the skills of mindfulness and living in the moment to push through fear and self-doubt and achieve incredible success.

Bonita Norris, photographed by Martin Hartley

I feel I read this book at exactly the right time: during a period when I was struggling to stay positive and to keep pushing forward. The Girl Who Climbed Everest is a fantastic read for anyone who’s trying to achieve a goal, as Bonita shows that simply not giving up, taking one small step at a time and trusting her instinct led her from randomly attending a lecture on mountaineering with a friend, to climbing the world’s highest mountain less than two years later. Big dreams are possible – as long as you don’t give up!

In today’s episode, Bonita shares more about what she’s learnt from tackling death-defying climbs; how a near fatal descent from Everest taught her to overcome a fear of failure and how climbing has helped her become more courageous in other areas of her life. It’s a fantastic listen that will be bound to inspire and encourage you to stick to those New Year resolutions!

Listen to learn more about climbing Everest and what it takes to achieve incredible goals.

My January Reading Goals

Although I don’t generally consciously articulate any reading goals I may have, I’ve come to realise that I often do have reading targets I like to meet on a monthly basis. I thought it would be fun to start writing them down properly and sharing them with you. Here are my reading goals for January:

1/ Read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. This month celebrates the 200th anniversary since Frankenstein was first published, so I thought it was about time I finally read it. When I announced I was going to start it on my @mirandasbookcase account, people’s opinions seemed quite divided on it – many loved it, but some said they’d be glad never to read it again. I’m curious to see what I make of it!

2/ Continuing the Frankenstein theme, I also want to read the latest biography of Mary Shelley by Fiona Sampson, which sounds fascinating. Someone also suggested I read Romantic Outlaws by Charlotte Gordon, which describes the lives of both Mary Shelley and her famous mother, Mary Wollstonecraft. I’ve bought the book, which looks fantastic, but it’s enormous so I doubt I’ll get to it this month.

3/ Keep a Reading Journal. This January, I’ve started a journal where I write down a list of books I read, buy and am given. I’m finding it so much fun already, and I think I’ll love looking back on it at the end of the year.

4/ Read a book that helps me keep better habits. I’ve knocked this goal off my list already, as I read The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin, which describes the framework she uses to help people better understand themselves and their ability to form good habits.

5/ Take part in a book discussion on Instagram. This month, I’m joining in Shelbi’s discussion of Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell. I’m half way through the book, so I’m keeping up fairly well which pleases me!

As always, too, I am constantly looking out for good books and reading a great deal for Tea & Tattle Podcast. I’m changing the layout slightly to my joint episodes with Sophie, and I’m including a section that will help our listeners to read more in less time, which I’m very excited about and enjoying researching at the moment.

Do you have any reading goals for the month?

My Theme Word for 2018

Hello, and a somewhat belated Happy New Year! I’ve been enjoying a slow start to 2018, getting back into my rhythm of blogging, podcasting and teaching. I’ve also been thinking about the year ahead and reflecting on what I’ve learnt from 2017. Although a lot of good things happened last year, 2017 was, overall, a stressful 12 months, and my mum’s diagnosis of breast cancer towards the tail end of it really put things in perspective for me (thank you to everyone who has been sending through good wishes – she is recovering well from surgery and starting her radiation treatment).

When it came to deciding my ‘theme word’ for the year ahead, it didn’t take me long to settle on ‘nurture.’ 2018 is my year to take care of those I love, prioritise my own health and protect and nurture my time and my creativity in order to truly thrive. I’ll be discussing my choice of word a little more in my first Tea & Tattle Podcast episode back with Sophie, when we’ll be sharing some of our goals for the coming year. Thank you so much too to everyone who sent such kind messages for Sophie after her Mum so sadly passed away in November. I know she very much appreciated them, and for your understanding as she took some time away from the podcast. We’ll be resuming our joint episodes from 30th January, although Tea & Tattle will be back next week, when I’m interviewing one of the youngest women ever to have climbed Mount Everest. It’s an incredibly inspirational episode, and I can’t wait to share!

I’ll also be back to blogging much more frequently from now on, and I’m looking forward to sharing the content I have lined up for Miranda’s Notebook too. There’s still my wonderful holiday in St Ives to publish, some great interviews with authors and health experts, fun times in London, good books and so much more.

I wish you all a healthy, joyful and successful 2018!

T&T 54 | Emily Quinton and Creative Community

T&T 54 | Emily Quinton and Creative Community

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

Today on Tea & Tattle podcast, I’m chatting with the lovely Emily Quinton, founder of Makelight, and one of the nicest people I’ve met so far on my own social media journey. I’d been following Emily’s gorgeous instagram account for several months before joining her online membership community, Makelight.

Emily Quinton, founder of Makelight

Makelight offers courses on all things social media related, from how to take beautiful photographs, to boosting your instagram following, creating a brand that stands out, and so much more. One of the best things about being a part of Makelight is getting to know many of its members, and I’ve been lucky enough to make some lovely friends through the community already.

Emily and me taking photos in Chelsea

I was so thrilled when Emily agreed to interview on Tea & Tattle, and I got to question her on how she transitioned from being a portrait and wedding photographer, to a blogger, to then founding her own business alongside her husband, Stef.

It was so inspiring to hear how Emily uses her intuition to guide her when making decisions and how she’s learnt to listen to her inner voice. We also spoke about the importance of building a creative network and Emily’s goals for Makelight, which made me very excited for what’s to come in 2018.

A few of Emily’s gorgeous flat-lays

This episode is a great listen for anyone who is interested in building their own online platform or business in a meaningful way, whilst making genuine connections and enjoying the process one step at a time.

Listen to learn about building a successful online learning platform and growing a creative network. 

Portrait of Emily and flat-lay images provided by Emily Quinton.

P.S. Don’t forget to subscribe to the Tea & Tattle newsletter for exclusive weekly content and the latest podcast episodes.

48 | Lagom and the Art of Balanced Living

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This week on Tea & Tattle podcast, Sophie and I are discussing the Swedish term, lagom, meaning ‘just the right amount,’ and how we can use the Scandinavian principle of living in balance to lead happier and healthier lives ourselves.

The modern world feels an increasingly chaotic and time-pressured place in which to live, and we examine how adopting a lagom approach to work and health may help us to identify our priorities and lead a less stressed existence.

Listen to learn more about the Swedish way of living and how to find more balance in your life.

T&T 46 | Wabi-Sabi and the Art of Imperfection

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Today on Tea & Tattle podcast, Sophie and I examine our concerns about having too much of a perfectionist mentality, and how the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi helps us to embrace the imperfect and lead happier lives.

Wabi-sabi is rooted in Japan and is closely linked to the Japanese tea ceremony, but it’s an approach to life that can be adopted by anyone, anywhere in the world. Having a wabi-sabi mindset enables you to recognise and appreciate beauty in the imperfect and the transient, such as a worn, much-read book, or leaves falling from a tree.

Leafing through Wabi-Sabi Welcome by Julie Pointer Adams

In this episode, Sophie and I share our favourite definitions of wabi-sabi from literature we’ve read on the subject, and discuss more generally what wabi-sabi means to us and how we’re trying to accept and be at peace with imperfection in our own lives.

Listen to learn more about the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi and how to embrace the perfectly imperfect.

Remember to subscribe to the podcast to receive exclusive recommendations from Sophie and me every week.

How to Spark Creativity in Your Work

How to Spark Creativity in Your Work

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

Whether you love or hate your job, are contemplating starting a ‘side-hustle,’ or are perfectly content with the traditional career path, there’s no denying that bringing a more creative approach to what you do will not only improve the work you produce, but will make the process much more enjoyable too.

My work as a primary school teacher and as a blogger/podcaster requires me to continually pull fresh ideas out of my head and churn out creative content on a daily basis. I rarely suffer from a lack of inspiration, however having a bank of ideas to hand is never due to chance, but is the result of a carefully managed system I have in place that keeps my creative fuel burning.

Here are the steps I take that enable me take a more creative approach to work and life.

1/ Have daily routines that help you cut through the noise in your head.

Many of us are perfectionists and suffer from from self-doubt and anxiety. It can be all too easy to get trapped into a negative cycle of thoughts spinning round your head, and this acts as a terrible block to your own creativity. Journalling first thing in the morning is a great way to get all the messy, anxious thoughts out of your head and on to paper, leaving you feeling clearer-thinking and more balanced as you start the day. Whenever I notice my thoughts starting to spiral, I know I have to fall back on journalling, meditation and exercise to help me cut through all the negative noise and feel grounded again.

2/ Listen to inspiring podcasts.

I like to listen to a wide range of podcasts to get the most inspiration. Here are some favourites:

For pure creative joy, I listen to The Writer’s Almanac, hosted by the fabulous Garrison Keillor. This is a bite-size podcast that offers a daily poem or prose and a bit of literary history. It never fails to teach me something new.

Hal Elrod’s Achieve Your Goals Podcast is brilliant to help you establish a productive morning routine and stick to goals.

Happier in Hollywood gives an entertaining insight into the lives of two Hollywood-based screenwriters, but there are also plenty of great tips on how to navigate a successful career and work as part of a team.

Side Hustle School will inspire anyone to have a go at pulling in extra income from a sideline hobby.

3/ Get out of your comfort zone.

In order to grow as a person, and also become more successful, it’s essential to stretch yourself by taking on tasks that are unfamiliar to you, or require you to learn certain skills.

Also, It’s too easy to get stuck in a comfortable rut of consuming the same types of material: you have your favourite authors, TV shows, restaurants, Instagram feeds, etc that keep you in your own little bubble. Making a conscious effort to try something new that you wouldn’t normally do is an excellent way to keep an open-minded outlook on life and helps you become more adaptive and resilient to change.

4/ Read more.

I always say books are my biggest source of inspiration. Reading a wide range of books, from fiction to non-fiction, essays, poems and articles, exposes you to new ideas and perspectives, which may well spark an interesting thought of your own.

Reading around your particular expertise is always a good idea too. For instance, I read many books about teaching whilst training to be a primary school teacher, but I also looked out for top-quality children’s books all the time too and continually added to the collection in my classroom.

5/ Make time to play.

There’s definite truth in the saying that all work and no play makes Jill a dull girl. Even the most interesting of jobs requires hours of hard work and ploughing through dull tasks. It’s important to take on an activity that, to you, is pure fun. I’m learning brush lettering and needlework, as I enjoy doing something that is soothing and occupies my hands, but that lets my mind wander freely. I’m also doing some water-colouring, even though I’m terrible at it, but I love mixing colours and just getting to play a little.

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!