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September 10, 2013

Off to England!

Jane AustenI’m headed to the UK to lead this year’s Historical Fashion Tour. My group will be in Bath for the opening of the Jane Austen Festival, then in Winchester and London. You can follow us over on my Facebook page, where I’ll be posting pictures and insights from the trip.

Come along with us for a virtual tour of England and all things Jane and historical fashion!

March 18, 2013

Closing out the 2013 Tour list!

BathCostumesWell, the little time I’ve had online has been spent working on this year’s tour instead of formatting pictures from last year’s! Time is flying by far too quickly. In less than seven months, we’ll be in Bath, Winchester, Chawton, and London, touring Jane Austen sites and viewing historical fashions up close.

The guest list filled up very quickly, but I’ve had a few drop-outs that have left a couple of open slots. However, I’ve got to give my final numbers to our hotels and museums so we can wrap up all our tickets and such as soon as possible. That means I’m going to close the group next Monday (March 25). If you would like to join us, please let me know!

This is going to be one fantastic tour, as we’re celebrating the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice and have the opportunity to attend a full costumed Regency ball in Bath (including supper, card tables, and all the trimmings!). We’ve got more Jane Austen stops on this trip than on any trip for the past four years, so if you’re an Austenite, this is the tour for you!

Let me know if you have any questions, and I’ll be happy to help.

February 6, 2013

Catching up…?

Yes, it has now been over four months since I promised to finish blogging my last trip, but I plead Kenyan Internet! It has been turtle-slow since October, which has made it difficult to do very much at all, especially with photos. But I’m busily organizing pictures this month and hope to complete the final few days of our trip soon.

In the meantime, check out this year’s tour at http://sensibility.com/2013tour. We only have a few spots left, so let me know if you’d like to join us! It’s a great year to go with the 200th Anniversary of Pride & Prejudice and lots of Jane Austen-related stops on the itinerary in addition to historical costumes. :)

September 30, 2012

Yes, I’ll finish up the blog soon!

Well, I’ve been home for quite a while now, but it has taken time to nurse the dead laptop back to life and attend to the business of “catch-up.” ;) I’m hoping to dump all my photos this week and organize them so I can finish posting (and share some larger versions of ones people have requested). Until then, here are a couple of shots taken for a Bath newspaper the Saturday we were there. We sure had a grand time!

Our group after the Grand Costumed Promenade. I am always so proud of our group’s incredible costumes–this year’s were stunning all ’round!

 

And here’s one he shot of me walking with my wee girlie (who had undone my bonnet ties!). Fun, fun day with gorgeous sunshine through most of it.

September 20, 2010

Beautiful Bath…

I turned on the weather forecast Friday night after someone in our hotel mentioned “frost,” and there I found predictions for chilly weather, intermittent rain, and wind. We always pray for good weather, especially for the days we’ll be outdoors, so we sure did pray this time! We awoke Saturday morning to a slight overcast haze but no frost and no rain. So far, so good! Some of us had still been sewing the night before to complete bonnets and accessories, but we all managed to be at the coach pick-up point on time and ready to go. Above you see the group of us staying at Rudloe. We were ready for our day!

Thirty minutes after joining the rest of our group on the coach, we arrived in Bath. We drove in an hour early to give people the chance to wander around a bit and see things before the Grand Costumed Promenade. Dozens and dozens of costumed participants began to trickle in as we walked around. Before long, the entire Abbey churchyard was crammed with ladies and gents ready to walk up to the Crescent! During this time, the sun came out in full and began to warm everything up for a perfect day in Bath. Here is a little photo journal of the Promenade:

Part of our group walking through the churchyard to the Pump Room...

Ladies entering the Pump Room

My mother with my youngest daughter, waiting for the Promenade...

Some of our ladies at the front of the Pump Room.

It's almost time to start!

Isn't she adorable? Expectant Regency mama in a maternity pelisse!

Looking back along the column as we march up toward the Crescent...

Jenny and Karen look splendid!

Here I am with my girls, all decked out for Bath...

Stephanie and Nancy pause on the way for a quick snap...

We've arrived at the Royal Crescent!

A dance demonstation by Steps in Time -- and this year they have a boy!

Folks watching the dancing...

So many beautiful outfits to admire!

This gent was willing to pose for us in his Naval uniform...

Don't Carol and Elisabeth look amazing?

Dawn just radiates authenticity. I love, love, love her ensemble!

I couldn't resist begging a shot of the back of this gal's Spencer. Such beautiful lines!

After the Promenade, we all walked back down to the city center for lunch. A few of us ran back to the coach to grab things we couldn’t carry during our walk, then divided up to eat. I had the amazing joy of meeting a friend I haven’t seen in 15 years for lunch in Bath. She and I happened to be in England at the same time and found out through Facebook! It was really great to catch up and see how the years have treated us. :) I spent the rest of the afternoon just window shopping with my girls, looking in on several favorite spots (Cath Kidston, anyone?), and, of course, snapping lots of photos of flowers and other lovelies in the gorgeous sunshine.

Five o’clock rolled around to find us back at the coach and ready to head “home” for the night. It was a simply amazing day–from the weather to all the costumes and everything in between. I hope everyone had as much fun as I did! I thought it was just ideal, especially with such great company to be had! After arriving back at our hotel, I asked at the desk if Box Hill was within walking distance. The chap at the desk informed me it was a “goodish stretch” up the road and to the right. So three other ladies and I set out with my two oldest daughters, determined to find Emma Woodhouse’s beautiful Box Hill. Well, I can tell you it was more than a “goodish stretch!” We went at least two miles before coming to a view that looked like Box Hill…but we weren’t sure, so we walked a bit further and stopped to ask a couple where Box Hill might be. They smiled and said, “You’re standing on it!” So we ran back to photograph the view with us in it!

From this vantage point, you can see all the way to Bath...

Two sisters and a friend enjoying Box Hill...

These two benches were placed here by the Great Western Railway, which built a tunnel through Box Hill--the longest tunnel in the UK.

Here I am with my daughter on Box Hill -- in Emma land!

All in all, it was a fantastic Saturday. Sunday we checked out of our B&Bs and headed to Lacock Village for the afternoon before pushing on to London. I’ll write about that soon!

September 18, 2010

Saturday Preview

Well, readers, it has been an absolutely stellar day in Bath. We are all done in from a day of walking, so I am going to turn in early. But I’ll share a couple of photos to give you a taste of things to come!

Loaded up on the coach, dressed for the promenade, and ready for Bath!

Gathered as a group at the end of the day...and we still look fabulous--LOL!

I’ll share more tomorrow. Suffice it to say, we got utterly gorgeous weather (despite forecasts for frost and drizzles), and we all enjoyed the delights of the golden city of Bath. Until later, good night!

September 17, 2010

Friday in Bath

Our faithful driver, Jon, waits for us as we make a quick stop on a street in Bath. We have come to love our blue coach!

We didn’t have to get such an early start today, as Bath is only 30-40 minutes away from us, so we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and sauntered down the drive to meet our coach. To our surprise, our driver and everyone else from Lacock were already there. They beat us this morning and seemed very proud of having done so (they have to get going 15 minutes earlier than the rest of us!). We made it to Bath in record time and were a tad early for our appointment at the Jane Austen Centre. We listened to the introductory talk about Jane in Bath, then browsed through the exhibit downstairs. Here are some highlights:

Lovely silhouettes like these grace the walls of the waiting room outside the exhibition and contain witty sayings about Jane Austen.

A jaunty naval officer on display with some military paraphernalia.

My daughter admires the doll in the "Dressing Elizabeth Bennet" display, which you can enjoy at http://www.janeausten.co.uk/magazine/page.ihtml?pid=170&step=4!

Our ladies begin to settle in for the delightful "Tea with Mr. Darcy" in the Jane Austen Centre's Tea Rooms.

A happy quartet of ladies awaits the delicious repast...

Here I am with my younger daughter, who was very excited about "high" tea--three storeys up!

Beautiful Claverton Hall...

After tea, we boarded our coach for the short drive to Claverton Hall, which is home to the American Museum in Britain. This museum was designed by two American businessmen in the 1950s who wanted to provide a true history of the Colonies for Brits. ;) The museum is made up of rooms set up to replicate American homes from the 1690s through 1860s and has thousands of artifacts, including furniture, silverware, historical clothing, and one of the premier collections of American quilts in the world. Many of the quilts are displayed in the rooms as they would have been used during the time. There is also a second building with quilts hanging on all the walls (art gallery style!), plus a quilted 18th-century petticoat and quilted 19th-century stays. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to photograph anything inside the museum buildings, but I took a lot of pictures outside, as the grounds are simply breathtaking. Our ladies enjoyed wandering through the perfectly manicured “Mount Vernon” garden, exploring the walking trail, and just sitting on the terrace to take in the incredible view:

My girls especially appreciated the children’s play area and all the wonderful overhanging trees and secret nooks just begging to be explored. This is an ideal outing for families, and I have to say the museum displays were just as authentic as anything I’ve seen in Massachusetts, Colonial Williamsburg, or the Smithsonian. The docents very obviously enjoy talking about American history and showing off what each room holds. It was such fun to walk through. I wish I could have photographed an 18th-century gown on display, as it was nearly identical to my new Ladies’ 1780s’ Portrait Dress pattern (coming soon!), down to the armholes, seam lines and neckline. I was tickled pink to see it!

Here is a little visual tour of our afternoon:

Plenty of space for little folks to run!

Another view of the mansion, this one from the side facing the garden...

Miss Elisabeth takes in the gorgeous scenery...

The "Mount Vernon" Garden

The adorable summer house. If you look hard, you can see an English robin perched on the top corner of the left door. He sang his heart out to us!

My oldest daughter enjoyed the allee of trees above the garden...

Roses climbed the wall next to the Orangery...

Herbs and flowers for sale at the Claverton Herb shop...

We had such a lovely, leisurely afternoon at Claverton–a nice break from the pace we’ve been keeping all week! We made our way back to our B&Bs around 4:30, and lots of us spent our afternoon trying to finish up trimming bonnets or ironing things for tomorrow’s Regency Promenade to kick off the Jane Austen Festival. I couldn’t resist taking a few more shots of our lovely inn, Rudloe Hall:

This is the back of the inn, covered in ivy....

Looking out from beneath the grape arbor next to the dining room...

Peeking in at the dining room window -- looks like everything's laid out for supper!

I can't resist hydrangeas! These are massed beneath the dining room windows. Ahhh!

Walking back into the Lounge, I found my mother playing marbles with my daughter. Fun!

My other daughter decided to cut out paper dolls Suzi gave her today....

A drowsy corner of the lounge, just begging for someone to come and sit...

It’s now bedtime, so I’ll sign off. We start for Bath around 9:15 in the morning, all dressed up for the Grand Costumed Promenade and hoping there’s no morning frost! I’ll report back tomorrow evening if all goes well. Cheers!

October 15, 2009

Okay, I just have to share some festival video links!

Several of our ladies got into these videos, though you have to know where to look to find them. You’ll enjoy the clips anyway!

BBC News story on World Record for Most People in Regency Dress (Click to view.)

Video on YouTube about the Promenade:

Video of Bath Minuet performing!

October 12, 2009

Sunday in Bath

chapelSeveral of us headed to Bradford-on-Avon to attend the Old Baptist Chapel there, where we know the pastor’s family and have visited before. It was a beautiful morning. Unfortunately, the train line was down, so we had to hop the bus, which took a while wending its way through the tiny streets of this adorable village. However, we made it on time and enjoyed a lovely service. At the end, a man from the congregation offered to find out when the return bus headed back to Bath, as our driver hadn’t been able to tell us. He came rushing back to say the bus was leaving in five minutes! We said hurried farewells, then dashed back across the street, only to see the bus pulling out. There wouldn’t be another for several hours. A family from the church was kind enough to immediately offer us transportation back to Bath–much faster by car than by bus! We arrived in time to make a couple of stops before our group was scheduled to meet at the Pump Room and Roman Baths.

img_2386Several street performers were in the Abbey yard next to the Pump Room, including a one-man band, two “living statues,” and a gent doing stunts with a unicycle and juggling flaming torches! We watched for a while as we waited for our group to gather. At the last minute, my husband realized he’d left his hat in a vintage clothing shop several blocks away, so I offered to go back for it while everyone else went through the Roman Baths (I got to see them in March). Here you see our group gathered in the upper hall next to the Pump Room, which affords a bird’s-eye view of the Baths. Several opted to take the audio tour, which is fascinating to listen to. Below are Lindsay’s shots from the tour:

Looking down into the main Bath (the water is bubbling and warm).

Looking down into the main Bath (the water is bubbling and warm).

Ana is enjoying herself!

Ana is enjoying herself!

Looking up at the Abbey from inside the Roman Baths

Looking up at the Abbey from inside the Roman Baths

Two of the historical interpreters wanted my mother-in-law, who is a Latin tutor, to teach them some useful Roman phrases to use on the job!

Two of the historical interpreters wanted my mother-in-law, who is a Latin tutor, to teach them some useful Roman phrases to use on the job!

img_2430

What a glorious day!

What a glorious day!

Someone managed to snap our photographer in front of the main bath.

Someone managed to snap our photographer in front of the main bath.

Beautiful Miss Cassie...

Beautiful Miss Cassie...

After retrieving the hat, I treated myself to tea and scones with clotted cream and strawberry preserves in the elegant Pump Room. Ah, bliss!

After retrieving the hat, I treated myself to tea and scones with clotted cream and strawberry preserves in the elegant Pump Room. Ah, bliss!

Lovely Miss Molly joins me at my table to drink in the trio's music.

Lovely Miss Molly joins me at my table to drink in the trio's music.

Master Chancey decides to "take the waters" in the Pump Room. (Hint: the water tastes like sulfur and iron and comes out of the fountain warm. Not my cup of tea, thanks!)

Master Chancey decides to "take the waters" in the Pump Room. (Hint: the water tastes like sulfur and iron and comes out of the fountain warm. Not my cup of tea, thanks!)

We had time after the Baths to stroll around some more and get some last shots of beautiful places:

Looking into the River Avon from above. That's Pultney Bridge on the far left.

Looking into the River Avon from above. That's Pultney Bridge on the far left.

A flower stall on Pultney Bridge. Heavenly!

A flower stall on Pultney Bridge. Heavenly!

Several ladies decided to attend the Baroque Dance demonstration at the Pavilion later that night, and I’ll share photos from that next time!

October 10, 2009

Saturday in Bath: Jane Austen Everywhere!

img_2166After the overcast, chilly Friday, I didn’t have high hopes for good weather on Saturday, but I sure prayed for it! Lo and behold, we awoke Saturday morning to streaming sunshine and warming temperatures! As the day went on, we were treated to bright blue skies, gorgeous white clouds, and balmy temps in the 70s. It was amazing–a perfect day for the opening of the Jane Austen Festival and Grand Costumed Promenade. We ate a delicious breakfast at our B&B and dressed in all our Regency finery. What a beautiful group our ladies made as they walked to the starting point of the promenade! I may be a little biased, but I believe we had the most authentic and elegantly dressed group of ladies. It was such a delight to see them all. Above you see several of our ladies walking to the Pump Room, where the promenade would assemble. I did not walk in the parade but sat at a booth in Queen’s Square, where the promenade would end around 12:30pm. I had the pleasure of meeting over two dozen of my customers from all over the world, which was a great treat.

Without further ado, here are pictures from the promenade for your enjoyment!

Abby has the most incredible natural grace and beauty. Isn't she photogenic?

Abbe has the most incredible natural grace and beauty. Isn't she photogenic? Love the bonnet!

A bunch of our ladies (and my eldest son) gather for the promenade...

A bunch of our ladies (and my eldest son) gather for the official world record count at the Assembly Rooms. From left: Lindsay, Abbe, Catherine, Courtney, Molly, Katrina, and Cassie (with Master Chancey in front).

Courtney and Molly stop for a snap...

Courtney and Molly stop for a snap...

Another shot of our ladies--so many gorgeous outfits!

Another shot of our ladies--so many gorgeous outfits!

And another, this time adding Aylwen and Wendy on the right.

And another, this time adding my mother-in-law on the left and Aylwen and Wendy on the right.

Aha! We managed to capture Suzi with Aylwen and Wendy. Isn't her turban smashing? She got stopped for photos all day.

Aha! We managed to capture Suzi with Aylwen and Wendy. Isn't her turban smashing? She got stopped for photos all day.

The well-dressed Regency gent on his cell phone...

The well-dressed Regency gent on his cell phone...

Looks like they're ready to get moving!

Looks like they're ready to get moving!

The gent on the left made the outfits for everyone in his family!

The gent on the left made the outfits for everyone in his family!

All costumed participants gather at the Royal Crescent--409 in all, breaking the world's record for most people in Regency dress in one place at one time!

All costumed participants gather at the Royal Crescent--409 in all, breaking the world's record for most people in Regency dress in one place at one time!

My wonderful husband and sweet mother-in-law pose for a shot at the Royal Crescent.

My wonderful husband and sweet mother-in-law pose for a shot at the Royal Crescent.

Back in Queen's Square, several ladies relax to enjoy the lovely weather. From left: Becca, Ana, Bethany, and Sarah.

Back in Queen's Square, several ladies relax to enjoy the lovely weather. From left: Becca, Ana, Bethany, and Sarah.

My son thoroughly enjoyed his day as a Regency boy, including climbing trees in Queen's Square!

My son thoroughly enjoyed his day as a Regency boy, including climbing trees in Queen's Square!

And leaping down!

And leaping down!

Cassie, Wendy, Katrina, and Catherine enjoy "Tea with Mr. Darcy" in the Jane Austen Centre's Tea Rooms. Yum!

Cassie, Wendy, Katrina, and Catherine enjoy "Tea with Mr. Darcy" in the Jane Austen Centre's Tea Rooms. Yum!

Karen and Lily have a sunny spot next to the window.

Karen and Lily have a sunny spot next to the window.

I wish you could see Lily's amazing outfits in person. She and Karen had the most stunning hand-blocked fabrics and created beautiful garments.

I wish you could see Lily's amazing outfits in person. She and Karen had the most stunning hand-blocked fabrics and created beautiful garments.

All in all, we had a fantastic morning. It was just a perfect day for walking around Bath (which is such a walkable city). Next time I’ll share the photos Lindsay took Saturday afternoon in the Fashion Museum at the Assembly Rooms. :)

WHOOPS! Here are pictures I took that I forgot to post the first time around!

The S&S Patterns booth in Queen's Square, complete with my demi-mannequin and her outfits!

The S&S Patterns booth in Queen's Square, complete with my demi-mannequin and her outfits!

The bonnet/hat booth next to me. They had some fabulous bonnet forms that we have a hard time finding in the States.

The bonnet/hat booth next to me. They had some fabulous bonnet forms that we have a hard time finding in the States.

My son, mother-in-law, and husband. Nope, doesn't seem we managed to remember to get a picture with all of us in it! Fiddle-dee-dee!

My son, mother-in-law, and husband. Nope, doesn't seem we managed to remember to get a picture with all of us in it! Fiddle-dee-dee!

I had to grab a few shots of Constance's (Suzi's friend, who came with us) fantastic Spencer jacket. It was my favorite out of all I saw.

I had to grab a few shots of Constance's (Suzi's friend, who came with us) fantastic Spencer jacket. It was my favorite out of all I saw.

Full-length view...

Full-length view...

Sleeve detail. Yummy!

Sleeve detail. Yummy!

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