After the Frost

Those of you who follow this blog will know I have documented my views of London in Lockdown since March 2020.  London has been my source of inspiration since setting up my label way back when, but of course I never expected to see London during a pandemic: eerily quiet, empty, shut down, dystopian.

For us Londoners, local walks have been an opportunity to see London bare, an architectural backdrop without the crowds.

And just when I presumed this London landscape which was now becoming my familiar ‘new normal’ February 2021 arrived with heavy snow swiftly followed by a frost so deep I can’t recall ever seeing London like this.

Regents Park was frozen, with seagulls perched on the icy lake and ducks wondering along the frozen canal.

The reflection of the sun on the ice made for some beautiful metallic hues, so much so that it inspired my ‘After the Frost’ collection.

But…there was also warmth and happiness it came with music and Salsa right in the middle of the park, who would have thought? A nod to colour and life after the frost

Shard Edition Earrings

Happy new discoveries in an old neighbourhood

Living in the suburbs of London, I have always been aware of where my closest green spaces are. I invariably expect them to be a park, framed with metal railings and hopefully some big trees. Some kind of water feature like a small lake would be a huge bonus. Hampstead Heath was the only wild-ish green space to which I felt I had relatively easy access… until now.

Having had the time to walk around where I live in the recent months, I have discovered Dollis Brook and its walking route known as the Dollis Valley Greenwalk. Unbelievably, the walk is 16km long and stretches all the way from Hampstead Heath to Moat Mount in Mill Hill. Sections of it are like a regular park with trimmed grass and playgrounds, and sections of it are wide, wild and like escaping to the countryside.


Totteridge Fields – a nature reserve with wildflowers and ancient oak trees
A section of the brook in West Finchley.

A “secret” section somewhere between Finchley and Totteridge.

I love to be nosey and see how the allotments change in colour and density across the year.

The days may be getting shorter, and the weather a little greyer, but I’m looking forward to seeing how this little bit of the countryside on my doorstep will change with the seasons. My wellies are ready!

Out exploring?? meet The Essential Borough bag!

If you’re out exploring with camera and/or phone then you need to meet our Essential Borough Bag ,a bag that is so perfect for outdoor exploring, you won’t need anything else!

There are two compartments to keep your belongings separate, whether you’re carrying a compact camera or your everyday essentials, you’ll be surprised how much you can fit in this stylish little cross-body. One side also features our card holder pockets so you don’t even need a full wallet if you want to travel light.

What we did during lockdown /by Sawako

The view from my desk has changed considerably, as it has for most people over the last few months. Whether you’ve finally got into the swing of working from home, are noticing and appreciating birdsong with new ears, or slowly going back to work at the office, we thought we’d let you know what the NM Team got up to up to whilst in lockdown.

As a close-knit team, it has been strange not to see each other every day. We have however, been enjoying keeping up to date on how we are filling our time at home. Here are just a few of the gems which I thought were worth sharing

Nadia’s Garden

Nadia, as most of you may know, is a keen gardener. Finally, she has a bit of extra time to tend to the previously “overgrown jungle” (her words, not mine). There is now space for some new plants plus there are big plans for the ever growing vegetable patch, just in case the lockdown returns. That’s forward planning for you!




Karla’s blanket

Karla, our jewellery designer, has been keeping busy with a crochet project… which was first started a mere six years ago. Between starting and finishing this project, she did have a baby who is now six and modelling the blanket for us, so understandable why it’s taken so long.

Andrea’s multi tasking

Andrea has definitely been a busy bee, making scrubs bags for her local GP as well as trying out new recipes.. such as raspberry cake . Among all this activity Andrea’s daily walks are of course accompanied by little Lulu, looking as cute as ever.

Sawako’s colouring in

As for myself, a lot of cleaning has been going on but I don’t think anyone wants to see the inside of my sock drawer, as pristine as it is. One thing I have found relaxing and completely absorbing is colouring in. Yes, the kind you used to do as a child, but some creative people thought to make some intricate colouring books for adults. This book had been given to me as a present and was sitting on my shelf for a few years. Now I am at last beginning to fill the pages with colour without feeling guilty for spending time on something that seems a bit frivolous. It is just as fun as when I was a child, and I am just as keen to buy the most expensive colouring pencils now, except this time it is not my mum who has to pay for them.

Our ‘I made it!’ jewellery kit range is growing quickly as we add a new kit every Wednesday! We also have our very own ‘Make jewellery with Nadia Minkoff’ YouTube channel showing complete tutorials for every kit and more. Why not have a go at making jewellery like a pro from the safety and comfort of your own home? It’s relaxing, creative and we’re here to help, you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.

MAKING SUMINAGASHI & SPIN ART HOW I KEEP MY SON AND MYSELF OCCUPIED DURING LOCKDOWN/PART 2/ BY KARLA HUANG

Karla is Head jewellery designer at Nadia Minkoff London, currently in lockdown with her 6 year old son Joel. A Nadia Minkoff London team lockdown diary will follow next week.

Another fun project my son Joel and I did was Easy DIY ‘Paper Marbling’, also know as Suminagashi paper marbling in Japanese.

First, we prepared a working tray using the lid from a storage box. We filled the tray with water and some sort of thickening agent to make into a solution.  Dropping different colour inks into the solution and gently moving or stirring the ink with a thin stick (we used tooth picks) we then immersed a good quality water colour paper into the inky solution to absorb and transfer the pattern onto the paper.

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The end results of how the inks and patterns will show up are unpredictable. Here are some of the Patterns we created using Paper Marbling technique.

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Spin Art –

Another great way to experiment would be to mix Prime Colours using something that can rotate or spin wheel.

We were given a Spin Art set two Christmases ago and I would say this Spin Art set is my child’s favorite art technique to do so far.

All I have to do is cut up different types of paper to fit into the spinning machine. Refill the paint bottles and he would be happy to play along all by himself for hours.

Here are some of the works we created!

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Hope you can also try out some new art techniques at home and have as much fun as we did!!

SUMMER-SALE-2020-MULTI

The Nadia Minkoff London sale is now on with 50% discount on all handbags. we ship worldwide and offer free UK shopping and returns.

 

How I keep my son and myself occupied during lockdown/part 1/ By Karla Huang

Karla is Head jewellery designer at Nadia Minkoff London, currently in lockdown with her 6 year old son Joel. Part 2 of Karla and Joel’s adventures will follow next week

Some parents might find it daunting to find things for their kids to do during lockdown.  Fortunately, I have only one child to deal with or one could say, unfortunately he is the only child at home so he has learnt to entertain himself while the school is closed and no playdates are allowed.

Being a jewellery designer, I love to work with colours and what I do best is hands-on craft. Hence I’ve allocated ‘creative/ art’ and ‘drawing’ sessions into our weekly home learning schedule.

Drawing and painting are one of the key elements where children can express their feelings. In times like these- lockdown has given us so much negative news that can easily scare a child- it is therefore important for them to be able to express those feelings.

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One of the very first resources we looked at together was done by an American illustrator – Mo Willems. He is the current Education Artist in Residence at the Kennedy Center and he releases “Lunch Doodle” videos each weekday to encourage children of all ages to doodle with him.    Just two videos later, we were both inspired by Mo Willems’s introduction of doodling and spent the whole afternoon doodling on a large roll of paper.

After we tried doodling, my child was very into all kinds of ‘Birds’ and their habitat. He was encouraged to write an adventure story of three different birds that migrate to London during winter time.

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At the weekend, we tried to draw out those three birds. Whilst he was using his imagination to make his story into drawing, I also picked an image of a bird from the ‘National Geographic Kid’s’ book to polish up my very rusty drawing skills.

Here is what I drew of a Hoopoe from an image.

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The following weekend we were a bit stuck for new ideas and lack of motivation on what to draw. I then remembered a beautiful colouring book I bought a few years ago by Johanna Basford.

I let my child pick a page so we could both do some colouring together. With so many intricate details and narrow spaces to fill in the colours, I was amazed at how much patience and persistence a nearly 6 years old boy has to accomplish this page.

Here is what we coloured together on one Sunday afternoon and I can say it’s hard to tell which one was done by a child!!

Can you tell??

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If you are looking for creative activities to do at home, once your kids have gone to sleep, we now have complete jewellery making kits available to order online.

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A new ‘I made it’ kit is released weekly, instruction sheets are FREE to download from our website and there is a YouTube tutorial to accompany each kit

Sawako’s New beginnings

During the lockdown, one of the most satisfying things I have done is to give some proper attention to my house plants. I had been noticing little plantlets popping up in the soil of one plant in particular, and I hadn’t found time to care for them properly until now. There was the added issue of not being able to get my hands on any compost for a while.

Having grown up in a house filled with plants I always hoped I had inherited the green finger gene. As soon as I moved into my own place, I was excited to fill every windowsill with pots, and have over the last few years, learned a few dos and don’ts of house plant keeping.

My biggest success so far is my beloved pancake plant – a pilea peperomioides. A quick look online proves what a popular and Instagram-worthy houseplant this is. The satisfyingly round, glossy leaves and easy-care make this a particular favourite with fellow Millennial plant parents.

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The mother plant that I’ve had for around two years.

Once your plant starts to sprout little plantlets, it is easy to propagate them. Carefully, cut through the root under the soil and plop the plant into a small jar of water.

The little plant can be put straight into a new pot of soil, but I like seeing this stage of the growth. It is so satisfying to see the roots develop, and I feel like I’m doing my own little science experiment.

planted earlier

 

Here are some I made earlier. At the beginning of the year I also had a few sprouts that I’d removed and they are doing nicely. One of these babies was supposed to go to a friend who I will hopefully get to see soon.

Windowsill space is getting tight around here. Any takers for a new pancake plant?

Sawako is the Merchandiser at Nadia Minkoff London, currently in lockdown at home

 

 

 

 

Happy Eastover!

Hi everyone!

Hope you’ve had a wonderful holiday weekend!
Whether it be Easter, Passover, or just another weekend in quarantine, it’s difficult to be away from friends and family. I am currently quarantined with my parents, which is about as harmonious as a gaggle of 4 year olds playing the recorder, but I am missing my friends and colleagues quite significantly.

What I am most grateful for is that this is happening in 2020, and not during the days of dial up internet and Nokias (though honestly, an unbeatable phone, it could get run over by a tractor and survive). In some ways, I think I’ve spent more time with my people than I would have normally. A little too much probably.

I’ve had movie nights on Netflix Party, played trivia and drawing games on Houseparty, lost at multiple pub quizzes, and baked cinnamon rolls with a friend. I didn’t get to eat any of the cinnamon rolls so it was really quite the tease, but at least the intentions were good.

I read somewhere that instead of calling it “lockdown” or “distancing,” we’re meant to call it “cocooning,” in order to relieve stress the harsher words induce. I’m not sure if the wordplay works, but I’ve found that spending quality, dedicated time with people I care about has made this time so much better.

I’m physically distancing, but I’m more social than ever.

I hope wherever you are, you’re surrounded by people, even if not in person.

Bonus pic of me and my best friend engrossed in a very candid chat.

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Dana’s Quarantine Diary

Hello everyone!

Hope you are staying safe with ample amounts of toilet paper, and that you’re enjoying your one form of exercise a day.

During this time, it is easy to be inundated with suggestions to enhance “productivity,” how to spend this perilous time learning Mandarin while homeschooling 3 children, or growing botanical herbs in the garden. If one more person tells me Shakespeare wrote King Lear while in quarantine I might cry.

However, I prefer a more realistic approach to lockdown. Below are a few things I’ve been doing to pass the time.

  1. A jigsaw puzzle

Somehow I had managed to reach the ripe old age of 24 before engaging with a jigsaw puzzle. To be honest I have no patience and didn’t really see the point of spending hours putting pieces together to pull them apart at the end. But desperate times. I’m proud to say with the help of my father I completed a 200 piece puzzle aimed at children ages 8 and above. Hold your applause.

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2. Netflix

I must admit, I got a little nervous that I would finish all the content available on Netflix. I even watched some Argentinian true crime (thanks for the rec, Nadia) in trying to stagger my viewing, which ended up being the best thing I’ve watched in years. Using this time to slow down and veg out in front of the TV with family is the best. Trust me.

     3. Nadia’s Workshop Take Home Kit

Once this is all over, your first outdoor excursion should be to one of Nadia’s workshops. I happen to have the hand eye coordination of a newborn lemur, but Nadia and the most amazing team managed to coach me into creating a beautiful necklace (if I may say so myself) which made for a wonderful birthday present for my mum. The new at home kits paired with her Youtube videos allow you to make the same creations at home. I can’t wait to make more to wear to all the post quarantine soirees.

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4. Download Tik Tok, feel old, get confused, delete it

This activity I cannot recommend in good conscience, it will leave you feeling geriatric and googling what the “Savage” is.

To conclude, this time is weird for everyone and we’re all just doing the best we can. Don’t let people online make you feel bad for not doing at home Yogalates or creating healthy and “delicious” (I don’t buy it) kale protein bars. If you woke up this morning and washed your hair, you’ve already accomplished more than I have.

Stay safe and take care of each other, as me and my best friend demonstrate below.

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Dana

International Women’s Day Q&A with Nadia Minkoff / by Sawako Muraoka

On International Women’s Day at NMHQ, we thought who better to interview than NM herself! So here we have our very own Q and A with Nadia; business woman, designer and founder of Nadia Minkoff Ltd.

 

What woman inspires you and why? Has this changed over the years?

The first who comes to mind is my mother Rena and this has never changed. In fact, it has become more and more obvious over the years. Fiercely independent, a feminist, she championed women’s rights and despite working full time and raising 5 children she found the time to volunteer at a local women’s shelter, attend pressure groups for women’s rights and ensured that my sisters and I never even thought of our gender as a barrier.

Rena

 

How do you feel about how women are represented in the media and pop culture today?

I’m not sure, I like it that they are represented and we see more of them but still feel there is enormous pressure on women to look a certain way and not show their age.

 

What challenges do you think women tend to face day to day?

I still feel that in most cases women are still scrutinised in the work place and have to prove themselves. Those wanting to start a family risk losing their career and for those who have a young family, work/life balance is incredibly difficult.

 

What do you believe will be the biggest challenge facing the current generation of women who are just entering the working world now?

Well, I guess this really depends what field we’re looking at. I know in academia there are still areas that are predominantly male oriented, so progressing here as a female requires complete dedication and determination and can feel very solitary.

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What is the most positive change you’ve seen for women who work, compared to when you first started your business over 20 years ago?

When I started over 20 years ago my Bank Manager didn’t take me or my business seriously at all … and I am being polite here. I would like to think that these days, even though I feel women still have to prove themselves at least they don’t have to endure unabashed sexist behaviour.

 

Which men do you think are doing their part for women’s equality?

I think I’m going to go with Bill Gates and the Gates Foundation I genuinely feel they do even more then they say, starting at the very core which is family planning – something many of us women in the Western world take for granted.

 

Why do you think it is important to celebrate Intl Women’s Day?

I’m all for celebrations, it’s a focus and it’s happy.  But seriously, when you think that it was only as recently as the early 1900’s that Women’s Day was even thought about; Celebrating equality, raising awareness, fighting sexism, championing pioneering women has to be celebrated because such big strides have been made but there is still so much to do and learn.

roses

The Undergrowth Collection/Spring Summer 2019

undergrowth

noun

BRITISH

  1. a dense growth of shrubs and other plants, especially under trees in woodland.

“they cleared a path through the undergrowth”

Eliot Hodgkin, Undergrowth 1941 and Two plants by Lucien Freud 1977 (Tate collection) are the inspiration behind the new Nadia Minkoff London summer 2019 collection.

“I was immediately drawn to both these painting because of their meticulous detail and soft, subtle, earthy colour pallet. Having researched them the story of how and why they came to be, really resonated with me”

new-forest

Eliot Hodgkin painted ‘Undergrowth’ in London during his days off while serving as an air-raid warden

‘What I want to paint are the things that have been seen so often that people no longer notice them.’

‘Two Plants’ by Lucien Freud took 3 years to complete. He describes it as ‘lots of little portraits of leaves’, adding ‘I wanted it to have a really biological feeling of things growing and fading and leaves coming up and others dying’.

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Blush,Beige, Yellow, Green and Tan are the key colours for the Undergrowth collection with pops of blue and orange.

angel beige inside

There is movement in the soft fringing of The Angel bags

borough beige and blush

Architectural structure in the form of the Borough bags

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And layers to explore in the Richmond midi horizon.

The Nadia Minkoff flower logo has been reinterpreted as a 3D Origami flower adding softness and optimism   “my interpretation of things growing  and fading”

borough ball

“what I would describe as ‘undergrowth’ is definitely shaping the world we live in, for better or for worse both politically and culturally. Fashion as we know always draws from art and is often a political statement. For all the unrest and uncertainty, I was determined to make My Nadia Minkoff London summer 2019 collection a positive one, all about the beauty in noticing things that we no longer notice”

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Artisan made from the finest leathers, in small batches and with Zero waste, much time and thought is invested into each and every bag  “at Nadia Minkoff London we think about the things you see and the things you don’t, anything to make sure that your journey with our bag is a better one”

The Angel fringe beige 2

Photography: Oliver Papp

Model: Eloise Hymas

Styling and Make-up: Jonas Oliver