Hi, friends! When we last met, I was bringing you a scheduled blog post on my birthday, while we were off in London! A much belated thank you for all the compliments on my dress and the happy birthday wishes! ♥ ♥ ♥
Since we got home, we’ve been super busy. In large part because my dad came to stay with us for over a week to (primarily) build a new fence along our alley, taking down the old fence. It’s also garden time, so we’ve been outside a lot. I haven’t knit or sewn since before we went to the UK… Seriously. I may actually do a post soon about what we’ve been up to. But in the meantime, vacation!
Truth be told, I’m terrible at blogging about our vacations, I rarely ever get around to it. I’m astounded I did with this trip. We did two long weekends in London, with a night in the Cotswolds and two nights in Bath sandwiched between them. There were a lot of great times on the trip! Here are a few select highlights.
The first Saturday, the day after we arrived, we got to spend a magical day with several of my sewing friends who weren’t just from London, but some of whom must like me enough to be willing to take the train into town to hang out! 😉 I, predictably, was having too much fun and never pulled my phone out to take even one damn photo, ugh. But, I nicked this off… someone! Gah, can’t remember who. But pictured is the whole crowd of suspects, outside Loop yarn shop:
The MOST glorious day. There was fabric and yarn shopping, lunch, cocktails, even the steps from the Spice Girls Wannabee video (nope, not kidding). Ugh. I hate hate hate that I live so far away from these wonderful people!
The next evening, completely undocumented again, Mel and I met up with Fleur and her friend Katie for cocktails, where we had a wonderful time and I’m still kicking myself that we took NO photos. If only to prove that I looked like a small child compared to those tall, gorgeous gals! 😉 One funny thing is that it was nearly 80 degrees there that day, which was obviously unseasonably warm for London in April! And I’d planned a chic outfit featuring black corduroy cigarette pants, but by the time evening hit I totally didn’t want to wear any of it as I’d have sweat to death.
Thankfully earlier in the day, I’d bought these great pants at Collectif in Shoreditch on mega sale (like $15!). I still need to hem them but they sufficed with the legs shoved inside to pedal pusher length. They didn’t have my size so I ended up buying one size up which makes them a bit roomier, but in fact I quite like the look as it has a 50s trouser feel to it vs. cigarette pants. I’m going to try to emulate that in some pants soon I think. Isn’t the print swoon-worthy?
Here’s a random photo of Mel from the rooftop bar of our hotel, because it was actually nice enough out to enjoy it!
And a mirror selfie of one of my outfits the first weekend. Complete with a Tatty Devine name necklace that my lovely sewing friends got me for my birthday! (And they didn’t even know I was planning to buy myself one but hadn’t yet!!) Never did blog about this dress (or the one I’m wearing in the group photo earlier in this post), but I finished it in March.
Ending our first weekend in London was my birthday. Our special plan was to have tea at Sketch, which is why I sewed up a dress with pink flowers, so I had a dress suitable for the amazing decor!
But first, we took a walk around Green Park, where I matched the park, too! This was my birthday outfit. I was technically planning to wear pink flats, but my feet were already ripped up by day two of our vacation (groan), so I needed to go with more comfy shoes. Thankfully these gold Maguba clogs worked.
You’ll see the below jacket a lot in my photos. I finished it earlier in the year, to take on our trip. I have to blog about it at some point, as it’s a great jacket! A black tweedy wool with giant red polka dot lining, from a 1950s Simplicity pattern. It was literally the perfect jacket to have with me. I have struggled for years with finding a jacket length and style that worked with pants or skirts/dresses, and finally I found it!
So, tea at Sketch. I did mention the uhhhmayyyyzingggg decor, right?! It did NOT disappoint!
Tea was just glorious. And I love these photos below because everyone who sees them thinks you pick what you want off of it—nope, that’s entirely for your table, and endlessly refillable (as if I could have fit anything else). We had champagne, and tea, and went to the bathroom in space pods, and the entire thing was a perfect way to spend my birthday.
(Yes by the way, there’s very cool irreverent art at Sketch!)
(Doesn’t the woman behind me in this bathroom selfie look like Heather Lou?)
On my birthday I also did a bit of shopping, and bought myself some red English-made brogues by Barker. I’m so looking forward to wearing these in fall!
(I feel the need to point out that navy one next to me was for size only—I mean obviously, I was getting red.)
Our next stop after London weekend #1 was at the amazing Manor House Hotel we stayed in in the Cotswolds, in the little town of Moreton-in-Marsh.We even had a four poster bed and a separate nook for tea and coffee!
Here I am, living out my best Miss Marple fantasy. 🙂
The property was so idyllic!
There was even a 300 year old mulberry tree (somewhere), from which they made jam. Which I then had in a cocktail!
In town, we had drinks in the pub that’s supposedly the one that inspired Tolkien when he included the Prancing Pony in The Lord of the Rings (the modern pub is called the Bell Inn). It was much chillier in the Cotswolds, so all my knitwear was getting worn a lot. This yellow dress is a vintage one that was on frequent rotation on the trip as it left the most room for indulgent vacation eating and drinking. 😉
This panorama was the only way I could get the full writing on the wall, on the way out to the beer garden (click to see it bigger):
We only had a night in the Cotswolds, but it’s definitely an area I’d like to explore and stay longer in the future. Next stop was Bath. Here’s a look at the Roman Baths (I think that’s Bath Abbey in the far right of the first photo):
Have you ever watched the documentary series The Monarchy, about the history of the British monarchy? It’s narrated by historian David Starkey, and in the opening scene of the first episode, he walks out from behind those pillars on the lower level of the Roman Baths! We wanted to re-create it except you can’t go in at night, there’s too many people, and we don’t have an entire camera crew. Alas. 😉
Not the Roman Baths: enjoying the hot tub in our hotel!
Oh, I think the above and below photos of me in Bath were the only ones where I noticed you can see the hat, scarf and glove set that I knit for the trip! I nearly never have matching knitwear (so nearly never, I think this is THE only set of matching knitwear I have), but it just seemed too perfect with my jacket and vintage purse. The hat and gloves are Susan Crawford patterns, and the scarf a vintage pattern.
(The black things you can see poking out of my gloves are motion sickness bands. These photos were taken on a day we were riding on a bus, and while they didn’t bother me when I was younger, the winding roads in the UK and Ireland sometimes get to me a bit!)
The main reason we went to Bath actually was so we could use it as a starting point for a tour of Stonehenge.
Now, this is not a widely known fact unless you’ve known me most of my semi-adult life: I’ve wanted to visit Stonehenge since I was about 13. When I was in high school, I even wrote an extended essay on it. I’m not a “bucket list” kind of person, but if I had one, Stonehenge would have been on the top of it. I can’t believe it took me until I turned 40 to get there, but I finally did. And oh, did it NOT disappoint!
We went, I cried happy tears, it was everything I wanted it to be.
You couldn’t wipe the smile off my face!!
From Bath we headed back to London. Some of the highlights included seeing Agatha Christie’s the Mousetrap, running since 1952. It was a wonderful production with great costumes and set. We thought it would be a fun thing to do since I love murder mysteries, if a bit tired perhaps, but it was way more fun than we expected. And I won’t give away the ending, they make you promise not to, and I keep my promises!
Just look at St. Martin’s Theatre stage!
We also visited the cheesy but fun Sherlock Holmes Museum. I love the theme-y tile in the Baker Street tube station!
They stage all the rooms as they would have been in Sherlock’s house to the best of their knowledge from Conan Doyle’s books, movies, etc. In Sherlock’s study, I got to sit in both Sherlock and Watson’s chairs. 🙂
(It was so cold—and windy, if you can’t tell—that day that I temporarily stole a small scarf I knit for Mel to wear over my own.)
After the museum, we took a super geeky side trip to the location where they actually film as 221B in Sherlock, the BBC series (they kept the knocker from the show on the door). Sadly Speedy’s (which really is a place) was closed when we got there, so we settled for a pint and chips at a nearby pub.
Another museum stop included Tate Britain. I had briefly visited it (back when I think it was still called the Tate Gallery?) when I was studying abroad in college. My friend Erik and I had about one hour to spare before we were catching a flight from London to Paris, and I desperately wanted to see my favorite painting in person, which is John William Waterhouse’s “The Lady of Shallot”. (Up there with the Stonehenge interest is all things King Arthur. Hey, the things you never end up discussing about yourself on a mostly crafty blog!)
I got to see the painting briefly then, and 20 years later I wanted to see it again!
And of course, this time Mel and I had the time to much more thoroughly explore the museum. They’d just opened a special exhibit (quite a substantial one at that) on Queer British Art—I’d highly recommend it, if you’re in London! It runs through October 17, 2017.
While there’s lots of other things we did on our vacation, I’ll leave you with a selfie of us at Brasserie Zédel on Easter, towards the end of our trip. Enjoying French food at French 75s (one of my favorite cocktails!).
England, you were lovely, and we had a grand old time. Hope to see you again soon!