SINCE 2006

Jennie's Blog

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Costumes in Snibston and Home!

Because my flight out of the UK was late at night, Cathy and I had a full day to kill on the way to Heathrow. She recommended we stop at the Snibston Discovery Museum, which is just off the motorway. I’d taken my tour group there in 2012, and we enjoyed not only the museum displays but behind-the-scenes study of the fabulous Symington corset collection. Cathy mentioned there was a new display in the costume section, so I readily agreed to the stop.

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Kedleston Hall

The Marble Hall. It is absolutely stunning in person!

We had a wonderful, quiet Sunday morning (well, Cathy drove the sitter home while I chilled out with my baby on the couch!), then I happily took up Cathy on her offer to see Kedleston Hall, which is another of Derbyshire’s stately homes that features jaw-dropping Robert Adam architecture (perfectly preserved upstairs) and the wonderful Indian collection of the late Lord and Lady Curzon.

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Chatsworth’s Masqued Ball (or “Down the Rabbit Hole with Alice!”)

I stepped upstairs to get a shot of The Painted Hall from above. Beautiful space for a soiree!

When my husband first surprised me with this special trip, it was early enough that I’d have time to put together my costume for the masquerade ball at the end … but, naturally, grandiose schemes were the first to cross my mind! I could totally see making a 1780s take on the White Queen, from panniers to a towering powdered wig! Then common sense (and the deadline and my actual suitcase space) reined me in, and I decided to go for something far less ambitious but still fun.

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Off to Nottingham!

Looking down from the station toward the hotel.

I repacked my suitcases Friday night to squeeze in all the fabric I’d gotten on an outing with Suzi on Wednesday (I wish I’d taken photos — SUCH a fabulous shop!). The next morning, Keith drove Cathy, the baby, and me to St. Pancras Station, which I’d never seen before. Goodness! It is an absolutely jaw-dropping example of Victorian Gothic architecture.

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Fine Art, Wedding Gowns, and a Police Box!

This is my favorite room for its skylighted ceiling, rich red backdrop, and collection of amazing 15th-17th-century paintings.

Suzi had a morning appointment on Friday and urged Cathy and me to do something on our own. She and Keith would meet us for lunch around 1. So we took the bus to Oxford Street, then walked past Selfridges to Manchester Square, home to the stunning jewel box that contains The Wallace Collection–one of London’s best kept art museum secrets.

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Fortnum & Mason at Christmas

Wine and whiskey bottles displayed in a cascade of

After Cathy’s arrival, we decided to simply hop a bus up to Piccadilly Circus and walk around as dusk fell, enjoying the lights of Piccadilly Street, Regent Street, and all the lovely little side streets that connect the two. It begins to grow dark around 4pm at that time of year, so it’s quite easy to catch all the lights without being out very late.

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Christmastime in London and Derbyshire

As a very early Christmas surprise in 2014, my husband gave me a small gift bag in November and asked me to open it. When I unwrapped the tissue paper inside, I found what looked like a Mardi Gras mask and felt completely puzzled. “You’re sending me to New Orleans?” I asked, incredulously. He laughed and told me to guess again.

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Whatever happened in 2014?

And a delightful photo of the entire group (including four extra guests who came for the promenade). Such lovely frocks and accessories!

After a year of careful planning and hard work, we did, indeed, put together a marvelous tour itinerary, revisiting some favorite spots from the 2012 tour and adding a new costumed event. But, due to a crazy change in immigration law where we live in Africa, my travel visa lapsed and could not be renewed until after the tour! Thankfully, my well-traveled and very gracious husband stepped in and lead my tour for me, and I chimed in on Skype now and again to chat with the group and see how things were going. It was a huge disappointment to miss my own trip, but I’m so glad it went off without a hitch and was a roaring success. Here are some photo highlights thanks to Cathy Hay of Your Wardrobe Unlock’d, who was a special speaker on this trip and took lots of pictures!

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Off to England!

I'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.

I’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.

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