Monday, 25 November 2013

Sew Over It and the 1940's wrap dress...

I have spent the most enjoyable last two Sundays at Sew Over It in North Clapham. Sew Over It is described as a sewing cafe and they provide a range of classes ranging from introductory level through to quite advanced dressmaking techniques. They offer classes on both weekends and evenings. I had booked to attend a class on making a 1940's wrap dress back in the summer, but due to the popularity, I had to wait until the next round of classes in November for a slot.

So on a cold and grey Sunday last week I ventured to North Clapham. The shop/cafe is only a short walk from the tube station...and what a lovely space in which to spend a day...

Surrounded by fabrics, plied with tea and the most gorgeous cake, myself and three other students embarked on our wrap dress project. The quality of the teaching was superb (the lovely Julie has spent her career originally working as a costumier and then in bridal design), and she was so patient in answering all of my questions on the slightly tricky/finishing/fitting techniques that have hampered my sewing in the past.

Given that we are now in winter, I chose a lovely teal wool crepe from Stone Fabrics. I was continuing my attempt to add some colour to my wardrobe and I'm so pleased I did. The colour is lovely and it was so beautiful to sew with.

And on to the finished product...

I'm already looking forward to wearing it...and considering what other fabrics/variations I may use on the pattern in well as considering what other classes in which to enrol (the Coco jacket is a definite!)


Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Marblehead and Concord, MA....

When I knew that my scholarship trip was going to take me to Boston in the autumn, I immediately determined to extend my trip for a few extra days so that I could enjoy a few days holiday in New England. The opportunity to experience the beauty of the fall foliage and the lovely historical villages was too good to pass up.

I based myself at the Harbour Light Inn in Marblehead - a lovely, seaport town dating from the 1600's only 45 mins North of Boston. I loved Marblehead - I think I could have taken a photograph of every clapboard house in the village! I also had the good fortune to enjoy some lovely sunny days, although it was very cold!

On one of my days, I drove west to Concord - another very historic town in Massachussets. Concord was the site of the first battle in what was to become the American Revolution. My purpose in visiting was a little more literary. Concord was home to some eminent names in literary and social development circles (Emerson and Thoreau). Their near neighbour was Amos Alcott - father of Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women (and many other titles).

I have always loved the story of Jo and her sisters, so visiting the house where Alcott both wrote the book, but that also served as the setting for her story was something I was keen to do.

Orchard House

Concord itself is also a lovely village - and was my final opportunity to enjoy the magnificent colours...

And now I'm back to the normal daily routine - but in my absence London has donned it's winter cloak and the Christmas lights are already twinkling - so it is good to be home...

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Connecting over tea...

Yesterday afternoon, I had the lovely opportunity to attend my first blogger event. On a cold and damp London afternoon, tucked away in Covent Garden, twenty UK/European based blogger's met for that most perfect way to while away several hours....afternoon tea.

Brilliantly organised by Selena of Oh, the places we will go, we met in the Mercer Hotel in the Seven Dials area of Covent Garden. It was such a lovely time to put faces to several names/blogs that I have followed for a while, and also to meet so many other lovely blog authors. The hours flew by...appropriately accompanied by bubbles, sandwiches and baked goods.

Although I've now had this blog for a few years, it was the first chance I'd had to connect with this community in a real sense - and one I hope to repeat in the future.

It was lovely to meet you all...

Gina from Sweet Serenity
Mandy from Emm in London
Erin from Erin Out and About
Sarah from The Wanderblogger
Bonnie from A Compass Rose
Tina from Girl Meets Globe
Jacintha from Urban Pixxels
Anna from Eat, See, Do 
Janelle from The Halfpenny Diaries
Kara from Pen Plus Passport
Shobha from NYLon Living
Melanie from Melanie Fontaine
Samantha from To the Days Like This

I hope you all enjoyed the afternoon as much as I did - and thanks again to Selena for organising such a wonderful event!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Cambridge - Harvard and Radcliffe

Last Saturday morning as hundreds of thousands of people were making their way to downtown Boston for the Red Sox victory parade, I headed a few stops on the train across the Charles River to Cambridge. Cambridge is home to Harvard and MIT. It is also the site of Radcliffe, which has now been subsumed into Harvard.

I arrived at about 9am....far too early for there to be many students milling about. After the windy and wet weather of the previous day, it was lovely to be able to explore in some dappled sunshine.

Firstly, Harvard Yard....

I remain a little fixated on the lovely autumnal colours....

And Radcliffe Yard...

Like the town's namesake, Cambridge did have much the same feel as the English university towns of Cambridge and Oxford. And it was certainly a restful place to escape the madness that was gripping Boston at the time.


I'm again sitting at the airport - this time awaiting my flight from Boston home to London. At times it feels as if I have been away for much longer than a month. It has been such an informative trip work-wise, but I am looking forward to getting back to a sense of normalcy and routine...for a few weeks at least, as I am traveling to Istanbul for 4 days to meet up with my friend L at the end of November.

I know that a mound of packing boxes await my return home - I was attempting to be organised in case the flat sale had gone through and I was moving imminently on my return. Now I just need to decide how easily I can live with stepping around boxes, and save unpacking those already packed for the next few months...


Saturday, 2 November 2013


The final week of my scholarship trip has brought me to Boston....another first for me. I stayed in Beacon Hill in a beautiful old red brick building that was originally built as nurses accommodation for the hospital.

The weather has provided a week of contrasts ... from gorgeous sunshine on my first morning when I explored Beacon Hill, to windy and wet weather when I tried to see the rest of the city.

I felt much more at home in Boston than I did in San Francisco - possibly because of the similarities in the neighbourhood in which I was staying to England - most of the architecture is Georgian/colonial. Many of the homes were decorated for autumn or Halloween.

My week also managed to coincide with the Boston Red Sox winning the World may be apparent in one or two of my photos!!


I have a few more days based in Marblehead before returning to London. It is a beautiful little town and I'll have plenty of photos to post soon!