Sunday, 20 January 2013

My First Muff

I have always wanted a muff, but I had no idea where I could get one from or how to make one. That was until I came across Katherine C-G's fabulous posts on her blog The Fashionable Past. The first shows you how to make a muff, and the second a cover for said muff. I lost no time in attempting to make one.

Here is the result:

 It is rather simply decorated, but I like it.

The cover is made from silk that I had left over from when I attempted to make a 1910s evening gown for a Titanic ball.  I never finished it as I found it rather hard to make, and the ball sold out before I could buy a ticket. :(

The trim I bought a while ago from a lovely little shop off Regent Street. I can't remember the name, but it is a very unusual place. It is located in the basement of an office building so you have to ring a buzzer at the main door to get in, and then work out which unmarked door leads to the basement!! All a bit bizarre but it is anything but a let down. The place is stuffed full of every kind of trim you could imagine. There were so many things I wanted to buy but I was determined to be good, so only bought the one trim I couldn't not buy. :) I have been saving it to use on something extra special, and thought my first muff was the perfect thing. :)

The lining is the one bit I seriously dislike. In her tutorial Katherine used wool for the base of her muff, which I think is much more historically accurate, but I didn't have any wool in my material stash. I was determined to use material I already had, so I raided my stash, and settled on this rather ugly orange cotton. I am hoping that no one will be able to see it when I have my hands in the muff. 

For anyone who has ever wanted to make a muff I really recommend Katherine's tutorial. :)

Monday, 7 January 2013

Tea at Fortnum's

 I have been absolutely awful at posting recently! I have been blaming it on my laptop, which is slowly but surely giving up, but really I could have used my parents computer. I now have no excuse as I have just bought a new laptop, not as pretty as my last (which was pink :) ) but hopefully better built and less prone to breaking!

Anyway, my birthday was at the beginning of November, and regular readers of this blog might remember that every year, on or around my Birthday, I drag my family to a hotel for tea. Last year we were visiting my sister in Argentina, so we had a slightly less traditional, but just as delicious, tea than usual. This year, well actually last year, it was back to working my way round the hotels of London. I actually ended up choosing a department store - Fortnum and Mason's.

The spiral staircase in the centre of the store

We had tea in what was originally called the Parlour, but last year they changed it to something like the Queen's Sitting Room, or Queen Elizabeth II restaurant (I can't completely remember the name!!), because of the Jubilee. Anyway, the name is not important, the food however is another matter entirely!! :)

And so on to the important bit. Yummy food. :) 
Like most tearooms, the first foods to be brought to the table were sandwiches, scones and cakes (well I say cakes, they were more like pastries). The food was good, especially the scones, and the delicious strawberry jam, but the pastries were a little strange. I think that they were good, but just really weren't to my taste (lots of dark chocolate), as my mother thoroughly enjoyed them.

The staff refilled the plates until you stopped them, so by the time we finished we were feeling rather full.
But we were then asked if we would like a piece of cake!!!! Even though we were fit to bursting, we had to try a piece of cake. :)

This is my piece, I think it was a kind of orange cheese cake. It's silly that I can't remember, but I suppose it was over 2 months ago. However, I do remember that it was delicious. :)

Now a few photos of the china etc.

I loved the art deco style tea strainers. 
I thought I would be adventurous and try tea that I had never heard of before. So I picked a black tea called Monkey something! It had the strangest name, which is why I chose it. :) However, it turns out that I am incredibly fussy about what tea I drink, I hated it! So I ended up being thoroughly boring and ordering pot of delicious Earl Grey! :)

The teapots had a lovely oriental design on them.

This photo should really be at the beginning of the post, as it is the foyer/reception of the restaurant, but I can't be bothered to move it. In the background you can see the pianist, who played beautifully non-stop the entire time we were there (about 3 1/2 hours!!). Her hands must have seriously ached by the end!

After tea we went to the Christmas department, which is a must for anyone who visits the store during November and December. :)

We took the old staircase to get to the right floor. They are so much more elegant then the new ones (seen in the first photo), and were gorgeously decorated. :)

Looking down from the 4th floor. So pretty :)
Fortnum's also has the most amazing Christmas window displays every year. Unfortunately we were just a bit too early to see them as it was the beginning of November, and the windows were all covered with sheets. But if you are ever in London over Christmas I highly recommend swinging past Fortnums's to have a look. :)