Weekends when you can be a flower fairy one day and a mermaid the next!

The title of this post comes from something Ellen said as we were walking out on Saturday at the Whitby Steampunk weekend and just really sums up why we do this. She got the chance to debut two completely new outfits, one of which was the flower fairy one which she made during the first lockdown when she was furloughed.

The other, Ariel the Little Mermaid, has been in the pipeline for a long time, the wig having been bought about 4 years ago and the tiara last year at Kelham.

When she was little she had the mermaid outfit from Disneyland and loved it so she was very pleased on Sunday when she got asked for photos with so many little girls. She is of course, and always will be a Disney princess at heart.

I sadly did not get chance to complete the cream outfit, just too much to do with sorting the house but did manage a new ensemble for the Friday night 1920s themed ball and a new hat. I also bought a new skirt in a light pink, in the same range as all my others, so had some new things to enjoy.

We stayed at a wonderful apartment on the cliff side, a fantastic location only 10 minutes walk from both the town and the seafront where the pavilion is. It was beautifully decorated with everything we could need, so we have already booked if for next year.

This year’s trip was for four nights so that we could have a day at Saltwick Bay fossil hunting and a leisurely trip back on the Monday. The bay was amazing, the cliffs are so impressive, though sadly eroding fast and we had a lovely time looking in rock pools, paddling and finding some very impressive fossils.

Both days over the weekend we visited the market, not much was bought but we had a lovely time and really enjoyed talking to all of the stall holders and again admiring all the wonderful possibilities for future outfits (Ellen does keep reminding me that I have three to make already though so I can’t buy anything else until those are done).

The Friday night ball was such fun! There were people and a band and dancing, just like the good old days šŸ™‚ Ellen already had a 1920s dress that she created from a sari set from Bombay Stores and I went for a Marlene Dietrich theme with my dinner suit and top hat, plus a bit of bling with some marvellous earrings from Bombay Stores, and a lovely new cane.

Ellen had another evening outfit which was an ensemble of previous ones, with her new hat.

We didn’t take many other costume shots, partly as we were just too busy talking to people and the inside of the market was quite crowded but met one of our favourite Steampunk couples again, what a wonderful Adam Ant, one of my teen heart throbs!

This Mad Hatter’s tea party hat was another lockdown project, all the felting was done by its creator and it is probably one of the best of that theme that I have every seen.

This was our last Steampunk for this year, we have been very, very lucky to be able to go to three this year and are so very grateful to the organisers who have had to overcome such hurdles to get everything to go ahead within all the restrictions. It has been wonderful to see people and be out and about again.

Fingers crossed there will be a re-enactment event soon as well, don’t want to jinx anything as we didn’t actually get to go to the last one due to a change in the rules last minute but here’s hoping.

I have hopefully got an exciting week ahead of me and will be able to share those plans and the re-enactment event in my next post. Until then have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Blist’s (aka Blistering) Hill wonders

Our recent Steampunk event at Blist’s Hill was a lovely, if rather warm day out. It is of course very sensible when the UK is having a heatwave of 28 degrees, which is far too warm for the likes of us pale people more used to downpours, to dress in many layers, and a top hat.

It was a beautiful venue, one I definitely need to return to as there are many more museums there to visit. I loved the little shops, particularly the chemist and haberdashers and the sheer scale of some of the artefacts of engineering such as the replica of the first steam locomotive and the brick kilns and the winding wheels. It just makes you wonder at the changes that era experienced and the reactions of people to those changes.

There were some splendid costumes as well, though many people were very sensibly in hot weather costume so not as many amazing creations as usual. I loved the three people who came as Alice, the Mad Hatter and the caterpillar, the latter costume was so wonderfully constructed.

This peacock hat was very splendid indeed, putting my few feathers to shame and there were some very lovely top hats like this purple one, again a Mad Hatter theme.

We saw this beautiful costume at the end of the day, the woman who created it looked stunning but it must have been so hot to wear.

James looked amazingly cool all day despite wearing a coat and hat, whereas Kerry and I were mainly modelling very pink faces but it did give us the excuse to stop in all the nice cafes for drinks and ice cream.

There were other newer wonders as well, I had never seen this marvellous airship/boat before. The ingenuity and creativity of the Steampunk community is fantastic, a true testament to the creativity of all those who made the Industrial Age happen.

Following on from Blist’s Hill was the wonderful Whitby, we had a fantastic time and will post again soon with all the lovely things we saw there. In between was another week of getting rid of possessions and booking future adventures which I hope I will be able to share with you soon.

Tomorrow marks my official last day at work…ever. I retired on the 25th June and have been on leave since then but have still been going in some days to tie up loose ends and do some late marking, but as of 5pm tomorrow it will all be over. I hand my laptop back, finish clearing my office and loose all access to e-mails šŸ™‚ I think that will be the best bit actually knowing I can relax and not have to worry about students any more. It has been a tough year for us all and I am very glad that for me it is over. I wish all my students and colleagues the very best of luck for the coming academic year.

It has been raining here all day and the sun has just come out so I am looking at the beautiful moors, I am so lucky to have spent time here and am looking forward to more of the UK’s lovely countryside in the coming months.

I hope that your weekend ahead is good, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

A very long awaited finish!

I have finally finished the two Little Cotton Rabbits animals for my friend’s grandchildren. I think I have been knitting these since December and life has just taken over so I am very glad that they are finally done.

This is the first time that I have made the little trainers and they are so cute and very easy to knit. I can’t wait to try some of the other shoe options as well.

I have named these Bertie Bear and Billy Bunny and this is also the first time doing a bear. The head is really easy and the shaping of the muzzle is done with a very clever strand of yarn sewn through the purl bumps at the back and tightened after stuffing.

They have cute backpacks with snacks in as well, I have made doughnuts and carrots before but left the beads off the doughnut this time as these are for very young children.

I have the dog pattern, and Ellen has been asking for a fox for ages, so I am really looking forward to starting my next set of animals. In a few weeks I will be off camping and am planning to take these with me as my travelling project as they are lovely to do by train.

At the moment I am altering some Steampunk outfits as we have an event this Saturday, at the Blist’s Hill Victorian Town which we are all very excited about, you know how much we love an open air museum! I am shortening the sleeves of the ‘Glories of Bombay’ outfit and need to re- do the hat. I also need a wet weather option just in case as it has been very wet this week, the satin will not cope with that at all!

I also really need to get a move on with the other outfits for Whitby Steampunk which is only a week and a half away. I am spending so much time de-cluttering (aka getting rid of 98% of my possessions) that very little else has been done. It is however as very exciting time and I am looking forward to sharing all of my future adventures with you šŸ™‚

I will be back as soon as possible with more Steampunk loveliness and hopefully pictures of the lovely time in the sun!

Take care, have fun, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Let’s start as we mean to go on…

Well the first week of retirement, or permanent holiday, as I have decided to call it went very well. We were not able to join the others for the full weekend of the event at Nottingham Castle, due to restrictions on numbers who could camp. However, we did have a very nice day out, complete with lunch in a fabulous outdoor garden at a restaurant and bar in a Georgian House in the middle of Nottingham. One of the very good side effects of the restrictions is that people have created wonderful outside spaces and I am very happy that we can sit and eat and drink in such pretty places. The outdoor lifestyle is what I love most about Spain and it is lovely that we can now do more of that as well.

It was brilliant to see our friends, we have not met for 2 years so we did have some hugs and a lot of catching up to do. The event featured lots of different groups and was a nice gentle easing back into re-enactment. I will hopefully be doing an event in August if all goes well.

We really enjoyed the trip to Oxford, very busy and we we packed so much into the two days, lots of walking around finding filming locations from the Discovery of Witches series as well as visits to the Ashmolean and the Natural History Museum/Pitt Rivers Museum.

The colleges were all closed due to Covid but we did see All Souls and the Bodleian as well as the Bridge of Sighs.

We especially loved the Pre-Raphaelite rooms at the Ashmolean, the detail on the painting was incredible and there were many of our favourite artists there.

The Natural History Museum was just as fascinating for its architecture as well as the contents, with an amazing glass ceiling and pillars carved from different rocks representing various flora and fauna. And who can resist a dinosaur skeleton! Jake used to love these when he was younger and both children were big fans of the ‘Walking with Dinosaurs’ series.

At the Pitt Rivers I loved the textile elements of the collection, especially this sewing box and these amazing beaded costumes from North America. Also absolutely fascinating were garments made from seal intestines, especially the designs of what we would now recognise as as waterproof jacket that dated from over 100 years ago.

There was also a boat trip along the Thames, where we learnt a lot about the buildings along the river and the importance of rowing to the colleges. There was a very old ‘party barge’ moored on one of the banks which had been restored. I would love to go back and do some of the towpath walk one day. The blue boats are a steamer company whose boats were involved in the Dunkirk ships evacuation.

We also had some lovely lunches and dinners, including a surprise visit to the gorgeous Comptoir Libanais where the food was as good as the decor.

We stayed in a cute little log cabin Air b n b, which was located at the end of a garden not far from the city centre. We are trying out all sorts of different types of places to stay and could have happily lived in this one as well. It was a lot bigger than the last cabin by the sea, with an attic as well as two separate rooms and the living space.

Our final day was a trip to Blenheim Palace, which was just as spectacular as I had imagined. It was a lovely day for a wander round the gardens and a picnic by the fountains.

We also met a falcon, who was there for pest control rather than as a display of hunting skill. Her presence scares off the pigeons!

We went on a tour of the state rooms where there were some wonderful patterns on the walls and ceilings. I loved the library with the statue of Queen Anne.

There were also some beautiful portraits, particularly the ones of Consuelo Vanderbilt. I would like to read more of her story and have added some books about her to my wishlist. Lots of Steampunk inspiration there.

I also volunteered at Ellen’s new workplace, the Bassetlaw food Bank, which was a really interesting and enjoyable day, meeting her colleagues and getting to see what actually happens. I will not be able to commit to much volunteering in the future, but would like to help out as much as I can with fundraising, or anything that I can do remotely.

I have had two lovely leaving dos as well, I was very lucky to be able to meet up with some of my work colleagues in person at a local bar and it was lovely to share memories with people I have in some cases worked with for nearly 20 years. I was given some very generous gifts, including money which I am going to use for an interrail ticket, when we are able to travel again.

I also met up with the Wool and Wine group for a celebration and they very kindly gave me a gift voucher which I have used to buy some new camping supplies. I have spent time sorting my new camping bag, as well as decluttering and have lots of lovely new kit for all of my adventures.

I hope that you have all been having a nice time and have a good week ahead. Take care, have fun, stay safe and thanks for visiting.