Archive | May, 2012

Maxi Dresses – Vintage and High Street

25 May

Hooray! The sun has finally come out in London and it’s time to get into some of my favourite summer clothes. When the first sun comes I love to wear a maxi dress, to hide my white winter legs. Here are some of my favourite maxi dresses available at the moment. Some vintage, some not.

Carlton House – London’s Lost Palace

24 May

London Palace
I have been writing alot about Princess Charlotte recently, I thought now would be a good time to write a little about her background. Starting with the house she was born and spent part of her chilhood in. Carlton House is London’s lost palace, and I only wish it was still there to experience for myself!
Princess Charlotte was born on 7th January 1796 at Carlton House in London. Carlton House was the magnificent home of her father George IV who at the time was Prince of Wales.
Carlton House was located in the St Jame’s area on London and ran alongside the Mall.
The house had been given to the Prince in 1783 when he came of age and he had remodelled and furnished it at immense expense. Some visitors were said to have have found it almost vulgar in it’s opulence. Although Horace Walpole described the palace as ‘the most perfect in Europe’
When the Prince married Charlotte’s mother Caroline of Brunswick in 1795 she was given apartments on the Principle floor. However after their official separation in 1798 she moved out. Princess Charlotte continued to reside in the nursery rooms located in the attic.
Carlton house
image: Plan of the Cities of London and Westminster 1799 Richard Horwood
When George became King in 1820 he deemed that his own residence was too small for a reighning monarch, he could have moved in The official royal residence at nearby St Jame’s Palace or even Buckingham House that had been remodelled by his parents, but he felt that neither of these would suit his needs. There was a possibility of completely rebuilding Carlton House as a Palace more suited to a king, but in the end Buckingham House was rebuilt as Buckingham Palace so it is thanks to George IV that we have the magnificent Palace we see today. He decided to demolish Carlton House in 1825 and in its place a row of houses known as Carlton house Terrace was built. These houses can still be seen today. The huge pillars that fronted Carlton house can now be seen on the facade of the National Gallery in London.

Carlton House

Image: Ordnance survey map showing Carlton house on a modern Street Plan.
Much of the fine decoration and furniture was moved to George’s Marine Pavilion at Brighton including some of the most interesting pieces from the Chinese room.
It seems tragic to modern historians that Carlton House no longer stands. It is only thanks to books like Pyne’s Royal Residences and contemporary accounts that we can picture this magnificent palace.
Carlton House Pyne
Carlton House Pyne
Images: The Rose Satin Drawing Room and The Throne Room, Carlton House, from The History of the Royal Residences,William Henry Pyne
References: Carlton House The Past Glories of George IVs Palace – Buckingham Palace 1991

Charlotte the Forgotten Princess at The Royal Pavillion

23 May

I’ve been very busy the last couple of weeks with lots of vintage and family related happenings. So I’ve had no time at all for blogging. Amongst other things I have been approached by Hampton Court Palace to organise some vintage stalls at their Jubilee event in June. Anyway, yesterday I had by wisdom tooth extracted, and while I’m resting, feeling sorry for myself and eating sorbet, it seems like the perfect time to talk about my trip to Brighton.

The Royal Pavillion, Brighton

As I have mentioned in a couple of other posts, I have a bit of an obbsession with Princess Charlotte daughter of George IV. Describing her as ‘the forgotten princess’ pretty much sums up how over time her short life has been forgotten. So obviously I was delighted when I heard about the new exhibition at The Royal Pavillion, devoted to her story and artifacts from her life.

The last major exhibition involving Princess Charlotte was back in 1997 when the Museum of London held an exhibition entitled ‘In Royal Fashion’ which was a collection of dresses belonging to Princess Charlotte and Queen Victoria. I am lucky enough to own the book from the exhibition which I would recommend to anyone who can get their hands on a copy.

Princess Charlotte’s Russian Dress, Museum of London

We are lucky that so many of Princess Charlotte’s clothes survive. As far as I know they were passed on to a dress maker and were kept untouched and eventually passed to Queen Mary as part of her Royal collection, she then donated them to the museum of London. I can’t go into too much detail on this as my copy of the book is still in storage since my move. In fact this would probably make a very interesting future blog post!

Princess Charlotte, by Geaorge Dawe, 1817, National Portrait Gallery

The reason i have mentioned Princess Charlotte’s clothing is that two of her dresses are featured in this exhibition. One of them ‘the russian dress’ is hugely significant as there are several portraits of her, where she is painted wearing this dress, which happens very rarely. The post famous painting featuring the russian dress is one I have seen many times at The National Portrait Gallery, painted by George Dawe. The painting is currently on loan the The Royal Pavillion to be shown alongside the dress.

The exhibition features some famous engravings of Charlotte as a child with her mother Caroline as well as contemporary caricatures. One of the nicest depictions of her childhood is a little piece of linen baby clothing worn by Charlotte in infancy, it is charming to see something like this survive and remind’s me of Charlotte’s little baby shoes that were on display at Kensington Palace during ‘The Enchanted Palace Exhibition’. The saddest part of the whole exhibition is another piece of baby clothing, this one part of the layette for Charlotte’s baby son who was still-born shortly before her death. It reminds us of the tragedy that ended Charlotte’s life. Not only was she the future queen of England, but the baby boy had he survived would have grown up to be king.

Much of the rest of the exhibition is made up of artifacts from the time. Regency people were clearly fans of souvenirs and pretty much anything could be turned into a commemorative item. There is a mix of items commemoration Charlotte’s marriage and also many from her death.

This is a very short and limited exhibition, representing a very short life. The choice of items is perfect as you get a very strong impression of Charlotte’s short life as well as the impact of her death upon the country. Not to mention the fact that the exhibition is set within the incredible Royal Pavillion. This is the perfect day out for any regency fanatic. The Pavillion is more sumptuous and grand than you could ever imagine, it is a shock to the senses and gives a fabulous impression of the Prince Regent himself as a man of both great taste and utter greed.

The Banqueting Room at the Royal Pavilion, from John Nash’s Views of the Royal Pavilion (1826).

The exhibition is running until 10th march 2013 find out more here

5 Minute Make – Cute Vintage Guest Soaps

10 May

Today I have been running through a few ideas for little gifts for friends, family and customers. These vintage inspired guest soaps are really quick and cheap to make.

To make these cute vintage gift soaps all you need is…

Some sellotape and scissors

Vintage style fabric or paper

Some yummy smelling soaps (1 got these in Tesco for 2 for £1)

Ribbons, net trim, and other decorations

I had very limited stuff to use as these were a spur of the moment make, but tomorrow I’m going to try and do some more using vintage lace and old magazine paper for a slightly more authentic vintage feel.

 

Teddy Bread

9 May

Recently my six year old daughter and I compiled a list of fun things to do together, simple things like baking cakes, going rockpooling, making clothes for her teddies, and other fun stuff. One random thing on her list was making some teddy bear shaped bread, so that’s exactly what we did! its was a great way to spend time as family, it cost about £1.50 to make and we got to eat it afterwards so all in all a great idea! Here are some pictures of our lovely creations…

Heres our teddies rising!

And the finished result. The weird looking one is a gorilla wearing a tie not a teddy!

 If you’d like to make your own bread be it shaped like a teddy or otherwise there is a simple bread recipe here

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