Thursday, 10 December 2015

Exploring Kingston Lacy - The Ground Floor

At the end of August (time has seriously flown!!) I spent a lovely weekend in Dorset. I primarily went to attend a friend's wedding, but decided to go a few days early so I would have time to do other things - such as visit a National Trust house. :) I suppose you could say I have a slight addiction to National Trust houses (well actually any historic house), if I am quite near to one and I have a few hours to spare, then said house must be visited! :)

So on this particular, slightly chilly, summers day, I found myself standing in front of Kingston Lacy. 

An Italian palazzo in the middle of the English countryside. 

The weighing machine in the entrance hall (because who doesn't feel the need to weigh their guests as they enter the house?! :) ).

Most of the house is set out as it was during the Edwardian era, but one or two rooms are how the last owner left them in the 1950s.

A view of the garden from the stairwell.

The Library

The Drawing room. I instantly fell in love with this room. Its not so much decor but the furniture and the way it was laid out. Apparently I love Edwardian clutter! :) All it needed was a comfy sofa to replace the rather uncomfortable chaise long, and then I would have happily moved straight in. :)

The main thing that I loved about this house was the attention to detail. It was very much like a home and not a museum - there were nic-naks everywhere.

The Dining room complete with its own organ!

Beautiful carved detail

Hidden behind one of the tapestries is a dumb waiter that goes between the dining room and the kitchen. To the left of it is a small sort of speaking apparatus so that you could use to call down for any thing that you needed!! Sort of an Edwardian intercom system!!

A tortoise footstool - found gracing the floor of the salon 

The Salon 

A beautiful family portrait

Next post - the first floor. 

Monday, 7 September 2015

Waterloo 200 - The Battles

At last I have got around to the final post on Waterloo! The event started on the Tuesday but the actual battle re-enactments weren't until the weekend - the Friday and Saturday. The battlefield was so big that the whole event, camp and battle, took place on it, but were a good 20 mins walk apart!

The fabulous Aurora marching to battle (with my parasol :) ) 

The battle was held in the same place on both nights - a giant cornfield. Walking through it, to get to the camp followers viewing area, was... well interesting! I'm not sure if you have ever experienced walking through hip-high corn in an empire line gown!! It was a challenge to say the least!! :)

Camp followers viewing area.

Waiting for the battle to begin. The battle was essentially the same on both nights. However, viewing-wise the second one was much better as you could actually see what was going on (when there wasn't too much smoke!).  Unfortunately, on the first night, the soldiers were so far away from the spectators that smoke was all you could really see!!

The cavalry charging

British cavalry officer parading the captured French colours.

Firing the cannons!!

This was without a doubt the best reenactment that I have ever been too (despite the serious lack of traders/shops due to the extortionate price the organisers were charging for trader stands). The whole camp/battles were amazing, but it was definitely the people who made it. I saw so many friends from far and wide, many of whom I had no idea were going to attend, so it was such a wonderful surprise to see them all. 
I finish on a rather sad note, as I felt I couldn't write about Waterloo without mentioning the Canadian gentleman who very sadly died of a heart attack on the second day. None of my friends and I knew him, but it really shook everyone. It was so sad, but I hope he had a happy life, and I am glad that he was able to attend at least part of Waterloo 200, an event that (as a fellow Napoleonic reenactor) I can imagine he very much dreamed of being part of.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Waterloo 200 continued...

Here are a few photos that I took of the Allied Camp and all the camps within it.

The Dutch camp

Marching through the British camp

Celebrations in the Swedish camp

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Waterloo 200

In June, I was lucky enough to be able to attend the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo in Belgium. Getting there was an adventure as I had never driven onto a ferry nor driven in mainland Europe (so driving on the other side of the road!), However, I thankfully made it in one piece, and met up with my group on the ferry and then at the local supermarket in Waterloo (to pick up last minute supplies). 

Waterloo display in the supermarket.

John from my group. Being a frenchman!! :)

We arrived on the Thursday and the event ended on Sunday, so it was the longest reenactment I have ever been to, and probably one of the best.
The main battle reenactments were on the Friday and Saturday, but we spent the rest of the time wondering around the area visiting friends, exploring other camps and the local museum, dancing, and even doing a spot of shopping. :)

On one day we walked up to the top of the famous Lion Mound, taking in the new Waterloo museum on the way.
Walking to the Lion Mound

From the top there were some lovely views of the surrounding countryside.

The tents of the Allied Camp can be seen in the distance.

One evening, early on in the week, the Duchess of Richmond's Ball was held in a house on the outskirts of Brussels.

The location of the ball was fabulous, and the food delicious, but sadly the ballroom was not large enough, so one was not able to dance as often as one wished! :(

However, all in all it was a good night, and halfway through the evening a military band came from the Allied Camp (well actually Canada!), and entertained us with some military tunes. They were a very talented bunch.

Part 2 to follow. :)

Monday, 27 April 2015

When Calls the Heart - TV Series Costumes

I am a big fan of  the When Calls the Heart tv series, and was so excited when the new series aired over the weekend, but what is with the costumes and hairstyles???!!! As a historical clothing enthusiast, I can't help but get slightly irritated by the clear lack of historical accuracy when it comes to the costumes the actors wear and how their hair is styled, in both this series and the last. For a show that is set in the 1910s many of the outfits look like vintage-inspired modern clothes, or just plain modern.

Here are a few examples:

(Hallmark website)
The women look alright, but Jack (gentleman on the right) looks like he has just stepped out of a Ralph Lauren (don't get me wrong he looks good, but definitely not 1910s). And this is the outfit (or a very similar one) that he wears to lunch at a smart restaurant in Hamilton. What self-respecting man during that time period would go out to lunch in a smart city restaurant without wearing some sort of cravat/tie. I highly doubt the restaurant owners would allow him in their establishment whilst not wearing one. 

(Hallmark website)
This image could be from a modern day drama, with one of the characters having a penchant for wearing cravats! Why is the ladies hair not up? They are not in an informal setting, which would allow for such a relaxed style in that era. I'm sure I have read somewhere that up until the 1920s, loose hair = loose morals, so no respectable women would consider wearing their hair down in public. (I could be wrong though).

(Hallmark website)
 This image of Elizabeth and Jack could be 21st century aswell (minus the suitcases. Though I am sure there are vintage enthusiasts who use similar suitcases today). There was also one scene (which I couldn't find an image of) where Elizabeth's sister Julie is wearing a skirt with a giant slit up the back!!!

(Hallmark website)
However, some of the costumes aren't half bad. These outfits look much more period correct.
Edit: I now realise that the above photo was taken from Season 1 when they clothes were much better. They seem to be getting worse and worse each season (as does the hair and make up)!! :(

I don't profess to being an expert on Edwardian clothing, far from it, just an enthusiast who has visited many clothing museums and read a few books. It's just from everything I have learned most of the costumes look far from period correct. 
What do you all think? Any opinions/knowledge? I would be very interested to hear what anyone thinks.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Tea at Fortnums

Welcome back, we have now reached November 2014 (slowly getting through the posts that should have been written last year!) 

My Birthday. Not sure if I have ever mentioned this, but as a sort of tradition, every year on my birthday I go out to tea with my family. Sadly this year my siblings couldn't make it, but my parents and I had a lovely time. We decided to go to The Parlour Restaurant in Fortnum and Mason's. It's kind of an American style ice cream parlour with a Georgian twist. 

Delicious hot chocolate. It wasn't exactly a traditional tea - no scones or sandwiches...

but it was yummy.  Scrumptious banana split. :)

And I rounded it off with a lemon macaroon, by which time I had switched to good old Earl Grey. :)

I apologise for my severe lack of photos! Hopefully I will go there again soon, and will take many more photos. 

A Regency Weekend in Lyme Regis - Part 2

To follow on from the last post - another photo-heavy post!! :)

At some time during the weekend we went for an adventurous walk up on (I want to say cliffs but I am not sure if that is entirely accurate!!) Anyway, it was a walk that Jane Austen was known to have taken. And the view from the cliff/mountain/hill was gorgeous.

Another view

And yet another.

At another point during the weekend, we also enjoyed a bit of dancing (because it wouldn't be a proper regency weekend without dancing! :)  )

Another item of clothing that I fell in love with - Karin's beautiful gown. Look at those sleeves!!!!!! She is a seriously talented seamstress!

I really should apologise for what is clearly a very slapdash post. It is far from smooth flowing! I have got to remember to document events as soon as possible after they have happened, otherwise I forget everything and end up with delightfully confusing post such as this one!!

This is an abandoned hotel where many famous people have stayed (I am pretty sure it is where Beatrix Potter was one of the said people). Sadly it is abandoned and in a bad way as I think there is some dispute between the current owner and the local community/council. If I recall correctly, the new owner is a property developing company, so you can guess what the argument is about. I really hope the building is saved and reopened as a hotel. We sneaked a looked through some of the windows and there was much faded grandeur to be seen. It must have been a very elegant hotel at one time.

Completely off topic but thought I had to include it - a Branksy drawing/mural in a quite corner of the town. 

This house is where Austen is believed to have stayed on one of her visits to Lyme. 

The house used as Captain Harvell's house in the 1970s version of Persuasion.

Congratulations if you have survived all the way to the end of the post! :) I hope you enjoyed it! I promise to try and make sure that the photos on my next post are at least in chronological order!! :)