Our resident Christmas fairy pulled this little masterpiece together; a length of our glitter wrap as a runner; pearl glassware, cloches, milkbottles and milkglass cakestands for tableware; tags and parcels crafted from our fab new stationery range; a sprinkling of paper confetti and striped paper straws for colour. Possibly the prettiest Christmas table ever laid.
Each year Victoria's dad makes a special trip to Winchester to hang our beautiful shopfront garland; a masterpiece of fresh greenery, ribbons and lights. Observing from inside the shop, or the bottom of the ladder, it's always looked quite a feat. But we're assured it's straightforward, especially on a smaller scale, so this year we took notes from the master of the swag...
1. Arm yourself with secateurs, gloves and a ball of dark green twine.
2. Gather greenery. Ivy is a good option for bulking it out.
3. Cut a length of twine to fit the area you will hang the garland across, plus a bit extra for tying it up.
4. Start with the ivy to provide a good base and tie sections along the length of twine, leaving a section of bare twine at each end for tying up the garland.
5. Next intersperse your other sprigs along the length of the garland. Lay them out first to ensure you get an even spread of colour, then attach using twine.
6. Tie ribbons along the length for some extra colour, and then you're ready to hang.
7. Finish by weaving a string of lights in and out, and ta dah, you've got a swag to be smug about.
We talk to the lady behind our favourite fragrances, Lyn Harris, founder of Miller Harris and Britain's leading classically trained perfumer.
What inspired you to become a perfumer?
I must always credit my parents and grandparents. We use to spend all our holidays in the depths of the Scottish countryside. My grandparents had a small holding where they grew all their own fruits/ vegetables and my grandmother’s great walled flower garden to this day inspires me every day! I would wake up with the smell of the fire and my grandmother’s home made cooking. She made bread, cakes, jam and even a tisane from her berries! My grandfather was a carpenter and was amazing with his hands as they were both were! These smells are engrained in me to this day!
My love of France came from my parents who always had a house out there which enabled me to embrace the French culture! I was very lucky and my parents made me always believe I could do anything I wanted!
Who or what couldn't you live without?
Tea! I drink tea all the time. My friend was importing the most amazing teas and I helped him with his earl grey and then I created my own which I can never be without! I even take them on holiday! It's less perfumery than a normal earl grey. Again, my style is always to work with the integrity of the materials and this time it was tea!
What do you like most about what you do?
I love having the ability to create beautiful smells for people to wear. I feel very privileged and blessed to be have this ability and I really feel each day, each year you perfect your knowledge and grow and evolve; it never stops it just gets better and better. I also love and can’t believe I created some my earlier pieces which is why ‘the perfumers library’ is so important to who I am and my work over the past decade.
What has been your proudest Miller Harris moment to date?
Meeting some of the people I have over the years and creating fragrances for them. I was very proud to create for Manolo Blahnik as his taste and vision is so impeccable. It was a great moment to work with him, especially when he said how he loved my work.
Do you have a favourite scent?
From Miller Harris, I love them all at some point or I wouldn’t bring them out. My favourites
are Citron Citron, Fleur du Matin, Terre de Bois. Otherwise I am in love with Mitsouko
and Jicky! Jicky and Eau Sauvage.
What do you have coming up in the future?
A lot! I've been busy and you could say I'm in a good place creatively! Perfumers library is my master piece as well as what I've done to refresh the brand after 14 years! We're growing up and at last Miller Harris is finding its own individual strength and personality.
And finally, tell us a bit about the new fragrance, Rose en Noir...
As with all my florals I didn’t want to create a rose that was too girly or sweet. This was created originally for Liberty perfumery in 2001. It was for their big opening on Regent St. We were one of the first brands to create exclusively for a store and it was a huge hit from day one. We even had with a waiting list! It’s got a prominent fruity note with violet/raspberry and damscones (a constituent of rose oil) fused with peach and tagete with a heart of deep red roses (rose ess turkey) iris abs , black pepper, patchouli, musk and a hint vanilla. Warm, sensual, velvety, cocooning and very dark!