Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Regency Tea and Jane Austen's Sewing Box

On Sunday, which was a gloriously sunny day, I had a Regency/Alice in Wonderland tea party in my garden with a few friends. It was originally just going to be Regency but then one of my friends wanted to come as the Cheshire cat, so the double theme sprung from there. However finding a Cheshire cat costume that you can wear on a hot day seemed rather impossible, so in the end only two of us dressed up and we both wore Regency (I wore my gown which has a cream background with little pink flowers)  :).
I had great fun baking way too many scones, biscuits and cakes and then two of my friends made sandwiches and sausage rolls - we didn't end up eating even half the food as their was so much! I used my tea set from Whittard's - its first proper outing :), and as well as tea we had Pimms - perfect for a summer afternoon. The whole afternoon was lovely - the perfect way to spend a Sunday in June.

The tea table :)

One of my friends really sweetly gave me 'Jane Austen's Sewing box'. It is a book about Regency clothing and Austen's novels, which I have been wanting ever since I saw it on someone's blog (I can't for the life of me remember which blog it was as I read so many!). Anyway it is a fabulous book. :)

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Insane Heat

I know this is not historical in any way but I had to mention the insane heat we are experiencing at the moment. It is so hot - around 30 degrees C. Ok so compared to say Dubai, 30 isn't that hot, but for England it is crazy. The houses, the public transport and many other things are not designed for this kind of weather. I am currently sitting in my bedroom with a fan aimed at me, wearing pyjamas I usually only wear in really hot countries,  but I am still so hot. I had a dancing practice this evening for a Regency Ball I am going to on Friday, and going their and back on the train was really uncomfortable. So much so that I got out my fan (from the JA Centre :) of  course ) and started fanning myself - I got quite a few stares! :)

At least its good for Wimbledon I suppose. Though I do feel really sorry for the umpires as their blazers are wool and they are not allowed to take them off whatever the temperature. I'm surprised the one on Centre Court this evening didn't faint!! Right my rant about the weather is over. :) Back to all things historical

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Historic Istanbul Part 3

The Grand Bazaar

Apparently you are crazy if you go to Istanbul and don't visit the Grand Bazaar, so of course we had to go. The only thing that slightly worried me was that both the guidebook and the hotel receptionist said that it was very easy to get lost in it, despite the sign posts. When looking at the picture of the Bazaar in Dorling Kindersley I understood why. It is enormous - a great warren of passages! We went despite the warnings, but decided to only go in a straight line so we could find our way out. It worked and we safely reached the other side without getting lost, and had a wonderful time looking at all the stalls. I bought two shawls to wear with my Regency gowns.

One of the entrances to the Grand Bazaar

One of the passages

The Dolmabahce Palace

In 1856 Sultan Abdui Mecit decided to build himself a grand new palace by the sea. The result is a magnificent building, with rather OTT interior decoration, but very much Victorian in style. It is now a museum  but one of the rooms - an insanely big one which I first thought was a small cathedral - is used by the government on special occasions.

Detail of pattern on the entrance gate

The front - this view is deceiving as the building doesn't look that large - as palaces go - but it extends a great length behind.

The Imperial Gate

View of the sea from the palace

Closer view of the sea (there were soldiers everywhere in the grounds)

We weren't allowed to take photos of the interior but I took a few sneaky ones when the guide wasn't looking!! This is of part of the ceiling decoration in the Hall

The Hall

One side of the amazing Crystal Staircase

A pretty Rose in the gardens :)

The Sultan built a few other buildings in the grounds of the palace. This one was so that he could see and inspect his troops without having to go outside in the winter.

This conservatory (another sneaky picture!) is part of the building

I had to take this photo as I couldn't believe my eyes. The people in the boxes are actually real soldiers and the boxes have roofs!!!! I don't know how they don't faint from heat and lack of oxygen!!! (they are standing by the Imperial Gate - facing the road)

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Historic Istanbul Part 2

Topkapi Palace continued...

Part of the grounds

The newest building on the estate - built in the 19th century

View from the terrace


ceiling decorations

More ceilings

The library - it is housed in its own one room building - one very big room

The Imperial Clothes
We weren't really allowed to take photos, so these were taken while trying to see if anyone was looking. As a result a few of them are on the blurry side.

Interesting looking trousers

The interior of the building (which was again a one room building) where the parliament met.

Parliament building again

Monday, 20 June 2011

Road to Waterloo Festival

Yesterday I was feeling rather jet-lagged and tired, so instead of going to Quadrille Club I decided to catch up on my sleep, and then in the afternoon go to Apsley House, just off Piccadilly to see what the Road to Waterloo Festival was like. There have been events at Apsley every weekend this month in celebration of the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, and though I am not really interested in battles or wars, I am rather obsessed with all things Regency, so I though I would go and check it out. :) I had already been round the house so I decided to just go to the events. Re-enactors from the Napoleonic Association were portraying soldiers and camp followers from the 7th Royal Fusiliers. There were talks on life during the Battle and what uniforms they wore which were quite interesting, and many of the soldiers were standing guard outside the house. At 3pm the soldiers marched across the road to Wellington Arch and did some displays of gun loading and pretending to fire and some marching. It was great to watch, and made hilarious by the fact that hundreds - probably thousands - of people walk, cycle, ride through the arch every day, and they kept nearly smashing into the soldiers, or practically falling off their bikes in astonishment! lol it was so funny. :) There were also a couple of Regency ladies watching the soldiers. Apparently they are a London-based group, which got me really excited as I have been wanting to join a Regency or Victorian re-enactment society for quite a while but there are none in London. Unfortunately though I can't seem to find anything about the group on the internet or even on the Napoleonic Association website. :(

Here are some photos of the soldiers outside.

Marching to Wellington Arch

I love this photo - Napoleonic Soldiers waiting at traffic lights :)

Standing to attention

A couple of Regency ladies

Army officer and Regency ladies - one of whom is not wearing a bonnet!!! tut tut :) (the lady in the white gown who is rather hidden)

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Jane Austen, Regency and Tea Society of London

I created a facebook group - on a whim- for anyone in or around London who is interested in Jane Austen, the Regency Era, historical clothing, tea, historical dancing etc. There aren't any regency/ historical costume societies in London (that I know of and I have done quite a bit of research) or that many events, so I thought that maybe (probably in the distant future) I could set up some kind of society with events to reenactments, historic buildings, a tea etc. Something of that sort - for anyone in London who is interested. Even if they are only in the city for the day! Please feel free to visit the FB group 

Not sure about the name - it was rather late at night when I thought it up! so might come up with something better. 

Historic Istanbul Part 1

Yesterday afternoon I arrived home after spending 10 days soaking up the sun and historic sights of Turkey. It was a fabulous holiday. :)

The first 4 days we spent in Istanbul and the rest of the time we stayed in the small seaside town of Kalkan. Kalkan was lovely - warm, very pretty and the people were so friendly, but it is hilarious - in this small seaside town every other person is English!!!! Its crazy, so many people from England have either moved out there or spend every holiday there, up to the point that there are probably more English than Turkish people who have houses in the town!! Anyway, getting slightly off topic. This post is meant to be about the historic sights of Istanbul.

I had never been to Turkey before and didn't know much about Istanbul, except that the Ottomans used to rule it, it used to be called Constantinople, and it wasn't where turkeys came from !! lol :) So I wasn't sure what sights I wanted to see. So I consulted good old Dorling Kindersley and then preceed to drag my parents back and forth across the city to every historic site that I liked the sound and look of. :)

Here are a few of them:

Topkapi Palace

Home to the Sultan's of the Ottoman Empire until the early 19th Century. It is a series of buildings on a large estate in the centre of the historic quarter of the city.

Here are a few photos of the main palace which housed the women of the Harem and the Sultan.