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Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Medieval Dress for Herstmonceux

Hello again everyone!
Have I bored you enough with my holiday stories and pictures? LOL, nah come on admit it, you loved a free trip to France! :)

This time I was prepared and pre-blogged a lot before going away for our bank holiday weekend to Herstmonceux Castle for the medieval weekend. Do you remember the festival pics from last year? Well it was great as always :)

You may remember my WIP when I showed you these:

These were the buttons for my 15th century cotehardie.

After dragging the dress to France and not getting anywhere with it in the meantime, I was working every night last week to get it finished. Hemming by hand takes a lot more time than on the machine I can tell you that!

Sadly enough, by Friday evening the dress was hemmed and the buttons had been sewn on but I still had 9 button holes to finish! You guessed it, this also had to be done by hand... So on Saturday I wore my winter kit (it was a bit chilly anyway) and was allowed to sit in front of a friend's stall to finish the dress. 4 hours later it was done, at last! There might be a photo of this somewhere but they haven't been uploaded yet by the organisation.

The next day the weather was much better and I finally got to wear my shiny new dress.

Taadaa!! This was taken just as a gush of wind came up but it kind of adds to the picture. LOL. I had made proper medieval squares in the arms as well but had put them in way too low so in the end I got so annoyed that I cut them out and sewed the whole thing back up again. WITHOUT trying the dress... which is why it doesnt really close anymore, woops! Oh well, I got to be a 'loose woman' for a few days LOL. I might take it out again but not right now. It might still stretch a bit ;)

Close up of the handstitched hemming on the sleeves and the neckline

And the bottom hem too of course

Posing with the bf outside the castle, you can tell we're out of the city, all relaaaxed!

Someone offered to take a proper picture which prompted some of the other archers to join in. Love this picture :)

Finally the dress was done, now only 2 more costumes for EFF Arcen and a LOT of small projects... Better get started!

Monday, 29 August 2011

Holidays at Last - Part 6

The ferry left at 10am so we had to get up at like 7 to pack and have breakfast. We dropped off the rental, and headed off.

After we had dropped of the luggage in the cabin (this time we had one!), we went outside on deck to take some pics. The weather was amazing! Here you can see the harbour of St. Malo.

One final look to St. Malo as the ferry pulls away....

Just thought this was appropriate as it said 'Bretagne' on it, hihi

Obviously a French ferry :) We were slowly steaming ahead...

All the way to England... if you look closely you can see France very small in the background here. VERY small...

And that was it, that was our week of holidays... I hope you enjoyed coming with me and seeing all this, and that I didnt bore you too much! I had brought lots of things to do and to craft and you will see the result of this soon. I have to finish a few more costumes and time is running out on me so bear with me as I try to get the crafting, working, and blogging all squeezed into one day. It will happen at some point! :)

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Holidays at Last - Part 5

As promised, something about the French food. WARNING: this post will make you hungry!

I do this thing where I photograph my food while on holidays. I just love food :) So here is a selection of what we had during our trip:

Dinner on the ferry, we had a three course meal and this was the dessert: Grand Marnier Souffle! Well, the bf got my drink and the souffle was a little undercooked but the pic is nice :)

Arrival in Rennes, galettes! I love galettes :) Galettes are Breton crepes and are made with 'black flour'. In Brittany, galettes are savoury and eaten as the main course, and crepes are sweet and eaten for dessert. This particular galette had cheese, mushrooms and egg.

Champagne and chocolates at the birthday party of the bf's mother

Closeup on the chocolates, they were very Halloweeny :) The white stuff was some sort of meringue, but I didnt try it. With all those dentist appointments I really kept the sweets to a minimum!

At the birthday dinner I had 'ris de veau' which according to Wikipedia is sweetbread. It actually wasnt bad! The bf was surprised at my (according to him) brave choice hihi.

Another Grand Marnier Souffle for dessert, but this one was soooo good! It was light and fluffy and was really just a puffy pancake. So of course I loved it! The bf was the happy recipient of the alcohol again so I could focus entirely on my dessert :) Who needs Grand Marnier when you have a souffle like this?

After one of our touristy visits we stopped for lunch: more galettes! This one was with tartiflette which is my favourite French dish (from the east of France so not always easily found in Brittany). So good!

We ate at the hotel one night during our stay and they had a very classy menu. As a started lobster tails with 'black flour tagliatelli' (which I really think were just strips of galette but hey I wasnt complaining)

The main was this lovely fish pot dish with asparagus. Points for presentation I should say :)

And for dessert I kept it simple: strawberries and vanilla ice-cream.

In Dinard I found a little cafe that did 'moules frites' which I love and again is nearly impossible to find in London. I love this picture also btw, it really makes me hungry!

Well, that was a selection of the food we had during our trip in France... Sadly enough it was time to go home after a week of holidays. Back to the ferry! But more on that tomorrow...

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Holidays at Last - Part 4

As our time at the hotel had come to an end, we drove back to Rennes via Dinard which we had decided to visit. Dinard is a small coastal town about an hour's drive from Rennes and is completely lovely.

It had a gorgeous roman/gothic cathedral. I think the main building is roman and the little tourrets have been added later in the gothic era.

Some of the houses still had this really medieval look to them

I found this statue inside a courtyard, it was a giant bridge with lots of little people sculpted on here. I dont know about you, but I liked it :)

Dinard seemed to be a very touristy town, made obvious by tons of people with cameras hihi. So naturally there were lots of shops selling typical Breton things and even these little ships.

Passing the farmer's market where lots of jam was on display

The Jules Vernes fountain that I spotted on the way to the beach. The portrait had been completely laid in with little tiles, mosaic style.

Whoohoo! We had reached the beach! The only beach I've ever seen in England was Brighton and while it's nice, it has pebbles. This was much better :) And that thingy in the photo is seaweed, not hair. Just to clarify ;)

People were swimming, surfing, sunbathing...

...so of course I had to splash about a bit too. The water really wasnt that warm but my feet were happy enough :) I was also very happy to have my hat that I had looked for in several shops as it really did get quite warm this week. I felt very Audrey Hepburn (while being fully aware that I look absolutely nothing like her LOL)

The bf didnt splash about, his shoes would have taken forever to take off hihi. But we did get this lovely beach photo. The perfect holiday snap :)

This was to be our last day in France, so we met up with yet more people once we got back to Rennes and enjoyed the last bit of French food. More on that tomorrow though!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Holidays at Last - Part 3

I realised I may have mixed up the photos a bit but that's ok...

After one of our visits I had all this energy left and there was a gorgeous flower trail (hortensias I think) near the hotel so I decided to have a nice walk in the sun. Armed with the backup camera (as someone forgot to charge her batteries oops!) I headed out...

The first few flower bushes were definitely not hortensias...

Oooh purple! It was really hard to get the right shade of purple on film but I think it kind of worked, these were gorgeous!

Some pinks too...

And more purple :) Nope, am not at all obsessed with purple ;)

After trying to take my own photo for a while, a lovely Dutch couple passed and offered to help out. Yay, me with 'les fleurs'. Ok half of them are less than vibrant but it's the thought that counts. Still a nice pic though :)

Back at the hotel the bf was enjoying a nice Breton beer...

While spiders started to inhabit his shoes. Yes, we were definitely in the country!

Just check out this weather, so nice! Perfect for my frugal dress :)

Honestly, how much more relaxed can you get? I know, with a massage! Luckily the hotel offered those so I had one of those too. We didnt actually do a very great deal but it was really nice to just be able to take a break of it all for a bit after all the stress we have in London. More tomorrow!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Holidays at Last - Part 2

After seeing family and friends, we went to the country side and relaaaaxed... it was lovely :) The hotel was in the Arthurian Legends area and I found an exhibition about Morgaine that I really wanted to see (Morgane à Mélusine in Chateau de Comper en Brocéliande). That wasnt my best idea... The exhibition was nice but a little boring and it wasnt very big so that we had a lot of time to spare afterwards.

The bf suggested a spontaneous hike (without any food or water and not wearing the right attire but yes we went hiking). So we went to the Valley of No Return...

In Arthurian legend, the Val sans Retour (Vale or Valley of No Return) is an enchanted land in which the powerful sorceress Morgan le Fay imprisons her lovers. The spell is eventually broken by Lancelot. The Val sans Retour has been identified with an area of the same name in Paimpont forest in Brittany, southwest of Rennes, which tradition has long held to be the site of the legendary forest of Brocéliande.

The views were amazing! And this was only the beginning...

We were up there before. It was so warm that some shade was much appreciated.

Gorgeous lake. Not sure if this was Viviane's Mirror, but I guess we'll never know...

Taadaa! One cannot always pose seriously. One was very amused on holidays :) Hihihi

I love this photo, very Marion Zimmer Bradley I think... I can just imagine Merlin spontaneously appearing here. :)

At the very end we found the Golden Tree. The Golden Tree is here for a reason as found via Google: In 1990, the Valley-of-No-Return burned for 5 days. After the fire, thousands of donations poured in from all over the world to save the Valley’s mythical heritage. In 1991, to pay tribute to this international cooperation, a Parisian sculptor created The Golden Tree, an enormous golden chestnut tree, with pure gold leaves. It symbolizes the immortality of the dreams of men of goodwill. Its branches evoke the antlers of stags, the wild animals who led the knights through the enchanted forests.
Quite a lovely sign I thought.

After the hike we passed a sign indicating that we were close to Guillotin's Oak. I'll spare you the details but just click here for more info. This tree is 1000 years old! It was really cool :)

And I touched it! Carefully of course, it wasnt like I could actually reach the branches hihi...

This was our unexpected hiking day. I actually spent time in the pool after this so it was a very active day :) More tomorrow!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Holidays at Last - Part 1

Hi all!
I havent posted in about a week and that is because I was away on holidays :) The funny thing is that I had actually prepared several posts so no one would actually notice my absence but when I got back work was so busy and I am stressing to finish a dress that I just didnt get around to blogging... Plus we had a lot of photos to go through and while I really want to share some pics with all of you, I didnt really want to upload 300 photos! Yes, we were a little snap happy hihi.

Anyway, our holiday was lovely :) As we went to France I didnt have to organise anything which was absolutely fine by me! Ok maybe for one tiny mishap... you see, we somehow managed to forget to book the flight which we didnt realise until about 2 days before departure. Oops! Luckily we were able to book the ferry which took us to about the same place anyway but then we didnt have a room and on a 12-hour ferry overnight ferry trip not having a bed is kind of exhausting. In the last minute we booked a reclining seat which was an experience to say the least ;) but at last we were going!

The ferry to take us on holidays

First stop: the bar :) I tend to get seasick so all entertainment has to happen within the first 2 hours before I have to lie down. So far so good...

The morning after, some crafting while waiting to disembark. I wanted to post a breakfast pic originally but I really looked worse for wear in that one, plus this one kind of shows the creativity :)

Land, land! We have arrived :) The ferry terminal of St Malo, Brittany, France. From here we drove around Brittany to various locations.

After a looong nap at the hotel, we walked through Rennes a little bit. The weather was lovely!

On the main street we saw a crepe stand and given my love for anything pancakey, my Spidey sense was tingling. However, when I got closer I saw the size of this Nutella jar, check it out, it is insane! The sugar jar is the normal size so this Nutella jar must hold a kilo or so. Must find one of these... yumm!

As we walked some more through Rennes, we past the opera house which made me think of Battlestar Galactica that we had just finished watching LOL.

LinkRennes City Hall showing even the Gwenn-Ha-Du, the flag of Brittany

Some more lovely balconies, very different from London I can tell you!

This was of course not all we saw, but it was a really nice first day :) More tomorrow!
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