With her pin-curled hair and penchant for beautiful vintage frocks, Marianne's blog Esme and the Laneway has been an inspiration ever since I had the pleasure of falling down the rabbit hole and welcomed into her world of pastel hair shades, bright lipsticks, and lovely vintage pieces!
I was recently lucky enough to ask Marianne some questions about blogging, photography, her favorite dresses, and her cat! ♡
When and why did you start blogging?
About 4.5 years ago. I wanted to change my style and actually try wearing vintage and shop differently, and learn about photography, and make little stories and a world, and it was like a little experiment that I didn't think anyone would read. And then I fell in love with it!
What are 5 things that are making you happy right now?
Family, having just had a very relaxing summer holidays and feeling like a new person for it, riding my bike to go and see my friends on warm evenings, my new vintage dresses (santa was pretty good to me this year), and some exciting things that are coming up for the blog.
As a fellow cat owner and lover, I'm itching to know more about Babycat! How did you two "meet"?
We have known Babycat ever since she came into the world! We had basically adopted her mother (Eggy Peggy, an exotic with the smooshiest face and huge yolk coloured eyes who has sadly since passed away) after her owner, a neighbour of ours, kept locking her out of her flat and going away for weeks at a time. We started to feed her, and along with another neighbour begged the owner to get Eggy "fixed", and even offered to pay for it and organise it, but the owner refused... and lo and behold, Eggy grew a football tummy. By the time she gave birth she had been mostly living with us, we hadn't seen the owner for ages and so we declared her ours – and the five kittens she produced! Having six cats living with us in that tiny one bedroom flat was the happiest time... sorry, what a long answer!
We registered Eggy at the vet and had her chipped and spayed, had the kittens checked, and our amazing friend and neighbour found homes for three kittens, kept one, and we found a home for Babycat – with someone who then, thankfully, changed their mind, so we kept her! I'm so glad we did, I can't imagine not having her! I rather wish I hadn't had her spayed, though, as I kind of wish she could have kittens and I could keep them all and be a fulfilled crazy cat lady. But that would be ridiculous, too, of course ;)
In another interview you did, you listed PJ Harvey's "Let England Shake" as a favorite song - what other musical artists do you listen to?
Isn't PJ Harvey just so amazing! I grew up listening to garage and punk and rock and indie, and still love a lot of that. I have been listening to Renato Carosone lately, and Talking Heads. I have been consciously making an effort to listen to more cheerful music some of the time. I want to learn more about 1960s Italian jazz bands at the moment.
You've had black, red, pink, lavender, and blonde hair - and you look stunning in each! Do you have any advice for experimenting with different hair colors, and do you have a personal favorite?
Thanks very much! I think that it is fun to experiment with hair colour, and, unlike drastic hair cuts, it can almost always be changed if you decide you don't like it. My advice is that if you really, really want to try something and you know it could work, do it. Don't wait 3 months or 2 years and then wonder why you've spent all that time feeling blah about your hair. But go to a good salon, especially for things like bleaching!
My favourite has actually been the red, especially when it was a lighter, more ginger shade. The blonde and pastel lilacs and pinks has been really fun, and I think I'll keep it for a bit more, and maybe enjoy some enormous Marie Antoinette up dos and attach things to it (sea shells? I would go there), but I am starting to miss the red hair I had back in winter. Much easier to maintain, too!
The pictures on your blog are absolutely phenomenal! Do you have any photography tips?
Wow thanks, they are never as good as I want them to be. I really enjoy taking photos, so I think experimenting with different camera settings, the light, the colours in the picture and so on is really fun, and help make a picture better. I usually follow the classic rules, and try to have something in the foreground and another in the background and have the focus on something in the middle, but also I just try and catch what has caught my attention. I love using my fixed 1.8 50mm lens and getting as much natural light and depth in as I can. I also edit my photos in Photoshop, which is so amazingly powerful. Maybe I should do a post on what I do to my photos, as I like to make them very bright and crisp, contrasty, and saturated, at the moment and it is fun to get things to look how you like.
My camera broke and is being repaired, so I have been using my iPhone for all my photos lately. It's far from ideal (I've only just managed not to throw myself on the bed and weep) but it is not the end of the world – and I've found that with the editing, they tell enough of the story to be ok. So to anyone starting out, I would say that a good camera is obviously going to make a big difference to your images, but even a basic one is a good place to start. Don't feel trapped by a lack of technical knowledge or equipment, and just take photos you like.
Out of all the beautiful dresses you own, do you have a favorite?
I do! I love my red and pink, mid sleeve 1950's cotton party dress that I've had for a while now. It was one of the very first 1950s dress with the full skirt style that I ever got, and I realised how much I love everything about them. It used to be a fancy kind of party dress and was longer and had a huge bow at the back, but it had been altered to its current state by the time I got it and I love it as it is. I also recently got a cotton pique dress with a blue hydrangea print, and I do love that too... maybe the pink-red dress has competition! ;D x
Thank you again Marianne!