Do You Remember The Book That Changed Your Life?

I have a noticeboard next to my desk. It holds favourite quotes and cards from favourite authors and events. One particular card that I picked up at the Edinburgh International Book Festival years ago poses this very question.

Books and reading have been part of my life for longer than I can remember; it always fills me with a strange sort of happiness to know that my mum and dad read to be even when I was still in the womb. So it’s no real surprise that today I spend my life writing whenever I can (well whenever my writer’s block allows me to) and reading everything I can.

Yes, I’ve had times where I’ve read less, and read more. I remember being very proud that despite my inbuilt clumsiness I mastered the skill of walking through the school corridors during break with my nose shoved in a book.

But I like to be reminded of this question. It has always been incredibly difficult to answer, however. How can I narrow down to just one book? So how about we change it just slightly. Instead of just one book let’s ask the question:

Do you remember the books that changed your life?

Let’s start at the beginning. I could name so many books I read and loved before I turned 12. From any of Roald Dahl’s books to The Worst Witch series I remember how much I loved going to library sales in Edinburgh or spending hours treating book shops as libraries.

Harry Potter hit the shelves in 1997. Suddenly reading was cool.

I’d be lying if I tried to do this list without mentioning Harry Potter. For many people my age Harry Potter was a series that grew with us; that took us from childhood through our teens. The books ended in 2007, when I was 17 and had made the decision to leave school early. (Note the end of Harry Potter and the end of my school career were not in fact related.)

Of course there were amazing fantasy books out there for kids before this. Of course, kids my age loved reading before J.K. Rowling hit the shelves. But suddenly reading was everywhere – we swapped stickers based on the books, we discussed which school houses we’d be sorted into and we found dressing up cool for pre-teens.

But we also now had characters we loved and stories we cared about – more than 11 year old me could explain.

Until the fourth book, we had a new Harry adventure every year. Meaning when he was struggling with balancing the increased importance of school work and the increased importance of a social life as a preteen; so were we.

I’m not going to say Harry Potter didn’t change my life. Maybe at times I admit it begrudgingly but I always admit it. I made new incredibly important friends through our shared love of this book. I had such an amazingly successful first year on Etsy, thanks to starting my business by selling HP inspired costumes for the release of the final film in 2011.

But Harry Potter was only the start.

It may have reignited a love a reading in me – and helped to increase my love of dressing up and the theatrical. But I grew older, and my tastes changed.

I found new books and new worlds to inhabit. By the time I was 15; just reading things wasn’t enough. I wanted to change the world by telling me own stories too.

As much as I was always reading; I was also always writing. But it wasn’t until my 15th year, and my first summer out of Europe that I finally realised that writing as a career could be a valid option.

We spent a month in the summer of 2003 with family in America and I found the author Meg Cabot (then sometimes writing as Jenny Carroll). I absolutely fell in love with the protagonist Suze Simon and The Mediator series.

I bought and read the first four books of this series in the 4 weeks we spent in Philadelphia. And now even 16 years they’re still one of my go-to comfort reads. I have now re-read them so much that the original books are falling apart. I’ve bought the e-book versions, the audiobook versions and even invested in new paperback copies of the entire series so that my beloved, dog-eared originals can be kept ‘for good’ well, for display purposes anyway.

There is a reason that one of my tattoos is a key with the roman numerals nine on it. The Ninth Key is the second book in the series but it also serves as a reminder and memorial of what writing can do. What I can do as a writer. What I could do and what I will do.

I’ll let you into a little secret.

I’ve been working on my first novel since I was 17. It was all thanks to Meg Cabot and Suze Simon. I remember sitting in Higher English, I think it was a revision day; or maybe just a self-directed study class but I suddenly had the idea for a novel which has stayed with me until this very day. Some would say that 14 years is too long to work on the same project but it sat in paper format, then on my computer in digital format for so many years, untouched but never unloved. Then as my reading matured, and my understanding of how to write grew this baby novel flourished and changed.

While at college in my late teens I was praised for my writing and in-depth research projects. Then in university in my 20s I grew to love documentary films and screenwriting. I read (obviously) and read more books on how to write. I started researching; then changing my mind and researching again.

When I left college in 2007, and went to live in Edinburgh by myself for the first time (well the first time without my parents) reading became something of a solace. For the first time I was working for a living – in a terrible job that still barely covered my food costs. I spent a lot of my free time both reading or hunting libraries and second-hand book shops. And so my next all-time favourite book was found for just 25p in a random charity shop of Morningside.

Lazy Ways To Make A Living

By Abigail Bosanko, pulled me out of my isolation and funk. For the first time I really understood just how powerful books could be depending on when they found you. It wasn’t until years later, when I finally read Jane Eyre that I realised that aside from being the protagonist, Rose’s favourite book it acted as inspiration for Bosanko. Lazy Ways To Make A Living was in fact a modern retelling of Jane Eyre, building on the amazing foundation of feminist literature of the Brontës; Austen and Shelley. It didn’t perhaps change how I felt about books but it encouraged me to keep reading, to keep writing and to keep believing in the power of the written word.

But Ninth Key wasn’t my first book tattoo

That honour went to one inspired by the wonderful Vampire Academy books by Richelle Mead. Again this book found me at a specific time in my life, and made that time easier to bear. The main character, Rose was strong but frustrated. She was conflicted and determined. I saw in her what I could be; how I could be – if I just believed in myself again. In Mead’s vampire universe the half mortal guardian of the pure-blood vampires would make a promise, to their charges and to themselves: to keep fighting; to keep protecting; to keep going.

In addition to this promise; which was shown to the world in the form of a neck tattoo; each defeat of an enemy was celebrated with another tattoo.

So finally on my 27th birthday I got my first tattoo: A promise mark and two molnija marks (to celebrate victories) the mark was a promise to myself that I would always keep fighting. Each molnija mark represented an enemy that I would keep fighting: my mental health battles and my physical health battles.

Time to become a ‘Writer’

So it was 2015 after 27 years of reading and writing I finally got the courage to publish my own work. For the first time it was my words online. It wasn’t the fanfiction rambling I’d posted on livejournal. It wasn’t simply book reviews. It was something that came out of my head – all by itself. Something that meant something real to me. She and Him: Valedictory was released onto the world. It was also that year that I found my MA. The MA that sent me on the path I’m on today: a Masters in Creative Writing at Edinburgh’s Napier University.  I learned so much on this course and found so many awesome friends. And started, with a zeal and passion often considered by others to be geekish on what will now hopefully be my first completed (and hopefully) published novel.

While my first novel is still somewhere half-written on my computer (and still much loved) it is this current project I hope will lead to me becoming a ‘professional successful writer’ someday (whatever that means.)

There are so many books that I read during the one year course that changed how I viewed things; so many conversations I had that changed how I viewed beloved books and authors. Even ones that led to my third and most recent book inspired tattoo. (The amazing Flawed by Cecelia Ahern)

Do you remember the book that changed your life?

I can’t say I remember every single book I’ve ever read. But I do remember the ones that changed me, forced me to question things and moulded me into the person I am today. My answer to this question then I guess is: no but I do remember that books – all books and reading; just reading as much as I can have and will continue to change me for the better.

So here’s to another 31 years of books that will change my life.

Happy Birthday Wednesday’s Child

Well hello stranger! Fancy seeing you here!

It’s been quite a while since I last posted anything here, mostly due to various illnesses that worked their way round our family until it felt like we were living in some kind of plague house.

But I’m now feeling much better and ready to get things back on track also today Wednesday’s Child is 5 years old so birthday celebrations have been the order of the day!

5 years ago today I received my first order (sadly Etsy hadn’t made the phone app at the point so I wasn’t woken by the lovely cha-ching noise that’s so fun to hear these days.) I had handed in my undergraduate dissertation a few days before and listed my first items at the end of May.

It was 2011 and the final Harry Potter film was going to be released that July so naturally being the geek that I am my first products were Harry Potter ties and robes. That summer between June and December that year I sold 34 ties and many other Hogwarts House Pennants and even a few kids Harry potter robes and baby mobiles.

Between then and now I shifted my focus onto solely historically accurate costumes, lost pretty much all pop culture references and got so into Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë I’ve got two whole literary inspired sections in my shop!

The past 5 years have been incredible, both personally and professionally. I’ve had costumes travel as far as Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, to museums in Wales and even to a Yorkshire historical dance troupe! I’ve lived in Canada with my best friends, moved house (and studio) 3 times and even been featured twice in the Jane Austen Centre’s official magazine Jane Austen’s Regency World.

In the last year I’ve become involved with a wonderful voluntary educational re-enactment group based at Lauriston Castle in Edinburgh, (the brilliant Edinburgh Living History – more on them soon!) and really, 2016 looks to be shaping up to be my best year yet!

Along with my annual birthday sale in July I decided to celebrate my little baby business turning 5 in style today. This meant a very special trip to the tattoo studio and of course yummy birthday cake (complete with candles!)

I chose, in honour of my 5 year anniversary to get my damask logo tattooed on my wrist. I designed the damask myself in Adobe Illustrator and it’s not just a connection to my business but to my world life of sewing and creativity.


This month’s edition of Jane Austen’s Regency World magazine arrived today featuring my new shiny news article which was a nice birthday surprise!



Then on my way home I decided to splurge on some celebration chocolate in the form of a very childish caterpillar birthday cake, I even bought purple, silver and gold candles to blow out!


(Sadly the broken eyes made the caterpillar look very sad 😦 )

The mammy and daddy even tried to sing happy birthday, which did feel a bit ridiculous 😀

But all in all this birthday has been very fun, and tomorrow I get to wake up, have some leftover cake for breakfast and head back into the studio and get back to work making some fun 18th century costumes for the aforementioned Edinburgh Living History.

Good Mood Mondays should be back next week along with some Charlotte Brontë themed goodies but until then,

See you in the future! ♥


Good Mood Weekends

Hello my darlings and welcome to this week’s Good Mood Monday blog post!

I’ve spent today slowly working on orders and some marketing stuff while feeling very sleepy and sunburnt after enjoying a weekend worth of wedding celebrations for my awesome friend Fiona and her lovely new husband Sylvain.

The wedding was held at a gorgeous youth hostel in the Perthshire countryside outside if Crieff (which coincidentally the mammy and I visited about 12 years ago for a holiday)

The weekend started with most of the guests arriving on Friday evening and getting settled in while Fiona and Sylvain ran around trying to finish everything off for the next day (it was a totally wonderful and epic DIY wedding)

It was a lovely clear night to wander round and enjoy the spring air and watching the wildlife (and the chickens pecking around their run)


Our gorgeous bedroom door sign 😀





The next day, after some breakfast mum and I decided to head off for a wander up round the campsites and into the woods. Put simply it was absolutely gorgeous. The weather was perfect (at that point it wasn’t too hot!)








After some more breakfast snacking, it was time to go show and dress for the wedding! After chatting and meeting lots of lovely new friends it was time for the ceremony. With a Scottish bride and a French groom and guests coming from all over the world it was a very multinational affair.

The ceremony and vows were performed in both English and French which was a lovely touch to mark the joining of the two families. After the vows (and the happy couple leaving the ceremony to the Star Wars theme tune!) there was lots of chatting, hugging and photographs. 

To tide us over we had lots of afternoon tea snacks. I’ve known Fiona for such a long time and it was wonderful to see her so happy, surrounded by friends and family.

The decorations of the barn for the evening were gorgeous, lights and lanterns hung everywhere, they had signs pointing to all the places the couple have been and are planning to go: Australia; Bali; Florida; Thailand and Fiji. They’re then planning Hawaii for a honeymoon and hopefully in a few years even emigrating to Canada!















They had a BBQ for dinner with massive amount of salad and meats, incredible meringue desserts and wedding cake to finish.

(Sorry no photos of that – too busy eating)

Then came the dancing, it was a ceilidh so cue traditional Scottish country dances, meaning most of the Scottish guests vaguely remembering the steps after having them drilled into us at school and the rest of the guests desperately trying to keep up with all the twirling!  





We ended up going to bed around 11 while other people including the bride and groom stayed up until about 2am, either wrapping up warm inside drinking cups of tea or outside sitting round a lovely hand built campfire drinking alcohol to keep warm (Sylvain’s little nephews had a lot of fun in the morning building Stonehenge type sculptures out of the firewood)

The next day after breakfast and helping (or in our case watching) the newly-weds dismantle the decorations and pack everything away safely we left the croft, still in glorious sunshine and a few of us joined Fiona and Sylvain for lunch before heading home for good.

Everything about the weekend was lovely, it was so warm (sunburn in Scotland! In May! ) chilled out and happy.  I was so happy and thankful to be included in such a wonderful occasion.

So this week’s post has been brought to you by sun, laughter, happiness and love. I’ll be back on Thursday with my A-Z of Charlotte Bronte post but until then,

See you in the future! ♥

Good Mood Plans

Hello and Happy Monday to everyone!

 I’ve had a very good weekend celebrating the Daddy’s birthday (and earlier in the week celebrating my sister-in-law’s birthday too) and although we didn’t take any photos we had a lot of fun hanging out and eating lots of yummy food and awesome cake!

I’ve been crazy busy doing an order for custom made steel cage pocket hoops today so haven’t really thought about what to do for Good Moods this week but given last week was a total wash for me I thought it important to blog anyway!

As I’ve mentioned before this year is Charlotte Brontë’s 200th birthday. As well as my very long appreciation post for the 2011 film I’m also planning a new blog series for a Thursday called The A-Z of Charlotte Brontë.

I’m going to start this Thursday with A (an obvious place to start) and for my alphabet A is for Atmosphere. As the Brontë sisters’ work is often cited as being landmarks in Female Gothic fiction atmosphere plays a huge role in all the novels of Charlotte and her sisters.

A short preview of the gorgeous atmosphere used to create mood in Jane Eyre!

So a very, very short update today but I shall be back on Thursday! But until then,

See you in the future! ♥

Jane Eyre Appreciation Post

April 21st marks 200 years since the birth of Charlotte Brontë and this year also marks the start of 5 years’ worth of bicentenary celebrations for all 3 Brontë sisters.

Jane Eyre is own of my very favourite books and the mid-19th century is perhaps my favourite time period in terms of costume, textiles and art so I thought that I would use this an excuse to do my own year of bicentenary events in honour of Miss Brontë.

Along with producing some more Brontë theme products for the shop I’ll be doing a few blog series’ and reviews of Bronte related and inspired things.

First off I decided to review and discuss the 2011 version of Jane Eyre with Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender. While I really like Ruth Wilson as an actress and I tried watching the 2006 BBC version with her and Toby Stephens I just couldn’t get it into it. The characterisation of Jane just didn’t feel like Jane to me. The 2011 version however felt much more accurate and closer to the book.

Before I get onto talking about the costumes properly I want to talk briefly about the lighting and colours of the film. Listening to the audio commentary Carey Fukunaga discusses the importance of the lighting and his choices in terms of really setting the tone for entire film.

For me there is a gold haziness to the colours and lighting during her time at Thornfield which allows this stretch of narrative to read as almost a dream sequence or not quite real, most notably in the proposal scene, the gold lens flaring tying beautifully with the brewing storm of foreshadowing of the terrible events later in the film/novel which could be attributed to Jane’s acceptance of the initial proposal.


The events before and after Thornfield are mostly blues in tone such as her life at Gateshead and Lowood and especially her time on the moors. 






The golds come back up in moments of keen happiness and content in Jane’s life – summer afternoons spent with Helen, when she finds solace and family with the Rivers’ siblings and when she hears Rochester calling her across the moors after the fire – drawing her back to Thornfield.



<br JANE_EYRE_PC_ENG.wmv_000757341_zpswqfi9srf

The lighting has the same dreamlike haze, with the scenes mostly lit with ambient lighting – natural sunlight or candlelight. The moors are filled wet dark gloomy skies while her days at Thornfield are (usually) sunny and bright The most notable scenes with gold candle and setting sunlight are Jane and Rochester’s discussion after she finds out about Bertha, her rescue by St John and finally when she returns to Thornfield at the end, commanding Rochester to waken from his dream. The lighting of this scene reflects the proposal scene, the summer sounds replacing the storm.

Ok onto the costumes! The novel was published in 1847 and we know that Jane herself is relaying the story to us 10 years after the final events of the novel. It can be surmised that her time at Thornfield takes place in the 1820s or 30s as she mentions portraits of both George III and the Prince Regent being displayed in Inn near Thornfield where, in the novel she meets Mrs Fairfax. This would mean that the clothing in the novel would be smack bang in the Romantic era of large gigot sleeves and ankle length bell skirts.

In the commentary however Fukunaga explains how he and costume designer decided to set the film in the 1840s – the time of the novels publication as basically they disliked the styles of the 20s and 30s. The ugliness and exaggeration of the dresses, they felt suited Aunt Reed much more than Jane herself.

I can understand this choice as I would argue that the understated style of the 40s tied more with Jane’s character. Shifting the time period of the film slightly allows us to see a shift between Jane’s clothing while living at her aunts, the uniforms of Lowood and then finally Jane’s own sense of style and choice at Thornfield and Moor House.





Class is important in the novel and I think the costumes do a wonderful job at expressing the different levels displayed in the film. Aunt Reed is clearly well-off and of a certain upper class of society, we can see this in the interiors of Gateshead but also the opulence of her clothes and those of her children.

JANE_EYRE_PC_ENG.wmv_000506882_zpswtklhgvs < br>



Jane, although a lowly orphan thrust upon the family is still dressed in quite fine clothes.

JANE_EYRE_PC_ENG.wmv_000374583_zpszzw7wucw< br>

Jane’s clothes are mentioned a few times throughout the book and film.

jane%20script%20quote_zps9bznolce < br>

Her first meeting with Rochester in the woods outside Thornfield shows the innate difference of clothing between levels of servants

 “You are not a servant at the hall of course. You are-” He stopped, ran his eye over my dress, which as usual, was quite simple: a black merino cloak, a black beaver bonnet; neither of the half fine enough for a lady’s maid. He seemed puzzled to decide what I was; I helped him. “I am the governess.”


In the film we see her attempt at ‘dressing’ for Mr Rochester despite not having a large selection of fine clothes



Her outfits are again discussed in terms of the ladies visiting with Rochester, namely Blanche Ingram


A slight change in costume comes really at the arrival of her wedding dress, as Adele plays with the lengths of veil she whispers to herself  “I will be Jane Eyre no longer.”

In a way this is true, when found by St John Rivers she calls herself Jane Elliot and when given her own home and work as a school mistress she find a sense of style in small accessories that bridge the gap between her life at Thornfield and her new independence .




When she suddenly becomes an heiress is when we finally see Jane’s ultimate style. The golds of the lighting and production design are brought into her final gowns which show wealth we haven’t seen before but still humble and simple. It shows Jane’s humility while allowing her to take a small amount of pride in her appearance now she has the means.



When she finally returns to Thornfield to find a humbled and damaged Rochester their class levels are closer, he is no longer the master of a large estate and she is no longer his “paid subordinate” and in that way her gold gown and his darker brown muted dishevelled suit tie together along with the landscape and setting of the oak tree, once the scene of a heart-breaking proposal.




I could really go on and on about this book and film but I think I’ve probably bored you enough already!

I hope this has made up for not blogging last week and I promise to back to my normal schedule next week but until then,

See you in the future ♥

Good Mood Shopping

Woohoo I’m managing a Good Mood Monday before 10 pm this week! Anyway this week’s Good Mood is brought to you by Ikea and mammy/daughter outings!

           – I wrote the above at like half 7 and I was so happy but then things happened and now it’s 20 to 11 and I’m just getting round to finishing this post! Oh well onto the good stuff!

I love Ikea. I don’t always buy things when I go but I have fun wandering round the staged rooms and houses and looking at all the random accessories and decorations. I also completely adore the kids section of Ikea; it’s so full of silliness and imagination.

Anyway, this time we actually went with a purpose. Mum has been redecorating the kitchen for the past few weeks and we wanted to get some shelving and other finishing touches and I was lusting after some of the fabrics I saw in the website.

After our usual wander round the staged rooms we headed off to the warehouse and main shop area, skirting through the kitchen stuff and straight to the fabrics!

Unfortunately when I saw the fabric in the flesh it wasn’t as nice as I first thought BUT I did find an awesome cotton duvet set that was a similar design but much nicer so I snagged that instead! 🙂


I’m hoping to use this to make a Georgian round gown or something similar to this kind of outfit:


Plus when we were browsing the bargain coroner on the way out I managed to get some more awesome fabric in the form of another big cotton duvet reduced down to just £3!!


Mum also had a very successful day, finding everything she was looking for –and actually getting it cheaper than expected which is always awesome 😀


(And yes that is Ikea’s amazing chocolate spread with butterscotch pieces in the trolly – I could eat that stuff wtth a spoon straight from the jar if society would allow me with judging me) After paying we decided on getting something to eat quickly before heading home so cue obligatory lunch photos!



After lunch we decided to head home put all our new purchases to good use! (After wandering around TK Maxx for a bit first – they always have awesome kitchen stuff!) So today was full of giggles and shopping achievements and tomorrow  will be filled with more sewing and building shelves for the kitchen! One order I’m currently working on is for a pair of shirt that have giant puffy, almost leg of mutton inspired sleeves. It’s been an interesting project as this is the first time I’ve done sleeves like this and the first time really using iron on starch to keep the puffs huge but I think they’re coming along nicely SMILE


In other news this Thursday marks the 200th anniversary of Charlotte Brontë’s birth so along with doing a special Jane Eyre appreciation blog on Thursday I will be starting a few other projects based around the bicentenary. But until then,

See you in the Future! ♥

Good Mood Kitties

I’ve been very busy this week with orders and preparing (panicking) for my interview on Wednesday so I don’t have a huge amount of real life good news or fun times to impart so I decided this week will be pictures of cats. 😀

I know it’s the fall back of the internet generation to focus on pictures of cats but who cares, my cats are awesome.

We currently have 3 cats and I’ve probably mentioned this many times before.

Spider is the eldest who we affectionately call spider-elephant because not only does she put on an extra layer of fur every winter she also grows about twice the size with a massive elephant belly. She has a purr louder than a car engine and is very cuddly and friendly (although she does prefer it if you make the effort to pet her, rather than her coming to you)  





Second we have my darling wonderful squish Josiebean (real name Josephine). She is possibly the weirdest cat I have ever known and has more nicknames that I can remember. I’ve had her since I was 16 and love her to bits.

She likes to swim and sit under the kitchen taps when they drip she also likes to build caves inside duvet covers and sleep for days.






Then we have little Mishka Maia. She’s only 2 and half but already turning into a little bruiser. For the first 2 years she was an indoor cat and has only just recently been allowed out into the big wide world and to be honest she loves it.

We keep catching her climbing up the giant birch trees at the back of the garden trying to hunt crows (who are at least her size if not bigger).

She is a crazy wee grey furball who can switch between purring wildly and dribbling everywhere to attacking your face and running away sideways like a crab. 




< 20160405_161426_zpsjypovqwv




So there we go another short but very sweet and cuddly good mood Monday post for you all.

These kitties make me so happy and lift my mood every time I see them so yay for cats! 😀

I’m currently working on an 18th century jacket behind-the-scenes post and a Jane Eyre appreciation post but until then,  

See you in the future ♥

Good Mood News

Argh another very, very late night Good Moods post but as always I have reasons! Today I’ve been sewing a Victorian hussif and trying valiantly to salvage a corset that I stared making about two years ago that no longer fits me and I just plain ran out of time! (And ok memory I also just forgot!) This week will be short and sweet but it’s brought to you by good (very, very, very good food) and happy news!

First off it was my mammy’s birthday this weekend and we went out for a family lunch to Loch Lomond. Now usually this would be nice on its own but for Christmas presents my brother and sister-in-law bought us gift certificates for the Martin Wishart at Loch Lomond Restaurant which is a Michelin Star restaurant! So we decided to combine the two adventures and have one awesome day of amazing food and gorgeous scenery.


This was my first ever experience of Michelin Star food and, really this stuff kind of ruins you for all other food. It was billed as a 3 course lunch but the menu didn’t mention the aperitifs, the pre-starters, the palate cleansers and amuse-bouche in between not to mention the best sourdough bread slices I have ever tried.

For my main dishes I started with a pea veloute with scallop mousse moved onto a gorgeous melt in the mouth roast duck breast and finished everything off with a gorgeous Valrhona chocolate tart and raspberry sorbet. I cannot overstate how truly amazing this food was. Just YUM.

After that we went down to the water’s edge for a walk, skimmed some stones, met some geese and grumpy swans and even saw an old wooden dragon 🙂






<br 20160403_151128_zps3io9fw9n

And the happy news (ok it’s amazing, brilliant terrifying and fantastic news) is that I got onto stage 3 of my application for the MA in Creative Writing which means I’ve been invited for an interview!!! It’s a week on Wednesday and I’m so excited but also pretty much terrified but a good kind of terrified. They’ve asked me to bring a hard copy of the short story I wrote as we’ll discuss it in the interview, which will be exciting in itself as I’ve never really discussed my writings with professionals before, well not since high school and that doesn’t really count 🙂

So this has been a very quick, very excited good mood post and I promise to do another proper blog post soon but until then, See you in the future! ♥

How Glasgow Flourished

For this exhibition post I’m going to take you back in time; two years back in fact to an exhibition I attended at the Kelvingrove Art Galleries in 2014 called “How Glasgow Flourished, 1714-1837” I had planned to write a blog post about it at the time of my visit but things, as they have a habit of doing got in the way so here we are 2 years later and I’m finally getting round to doing a write up!


According to the blurb on the promo material:

“How Glasgow Flourished takes a fresh look at a hugely significant but often overlooked period in Glasgow’s history.

Discover how over 300 years ago, Glasgow’s businessmen made their fortunes from trading in colonial goods and through slave labour, and how they manufactured and exported products made in Glasgow, across the world.

This was also when ordinary Glaswegians came together in workers’ associations and co-ops to campaign for better working and living conditions for them and their families and paved the way for the Trade Union movement.

The exhibition shows how weaving changed from a cottage industry to a full-blown manufacturing industry and green fields were covered over by some of the largest and most advanced dyeing and smelting factories in the world. You can see a reconstructed weaver’s loom, factory engines and dresses and outfits, which have never been displayed before.

Other exclusive displays include new portraits of members of one of Glasgow’s wealthiest families, the Glassfords and a newly conserved music organ made by James Watt, as well as the great man’s steam engine with its condenser unit. There are also many other pieces from Glasgow Museums’ collection that have never been on display before, including art and objects relating to the lives of Glaswegians.

A recurring theme throughout the exhibition is family history, showing how you can make connections with your life and family to the history of this wonderful city, through our incredible museum and archives collections.”

I did really enjoy this exhibition, one negative thing I have noticed about exhibitions shown at Kelvingrove however is that they tend to be displayed in the basement area near the shop; meaning no natural light and really some of the lighting for the pieces leave a bit to be desired.

Probably my favourite part of the exhibition was the working class and trade union pieces as it’s so rare to see working class clothing etc. actually representing in exhibitions and displays!

The Georgian Era between 1714-1837 is kind of one of my eras of interest, especially the latter part during the Revolutions and uprising in France, the Napoleonic Wars and Regency Period in the UK. The portraits and clothing on display were very interesting and gave a really clear portrayal of the fashions and styles throughout the period.

DSC09016_zpszbbixwex DSC09005_zpshjwovbxe



DSC08975_zpslzxyveb3 DSC08921_zpsbx5qtj91

DSC08918_zpsiik4oqia DSC08701_zpsnpka5xci


Another really interesting thing was the impact of slavery on Glasgow’s merchant beginnings. There were many examples slaves being included in the art work of the period along with samples of adverts and posters with slaves for sale or missing.






The most fascinating thing in regard to slavery in Glasgow at this time is a portrait of the Glassford Family from around 1767-68. It shows what seems to be a very typical family scene. John Glassford was a multi-millionaire who made his money in tobacco and investing cleverly in Glasgow’s biggest industries. But what we see right in the left edge of the scene is an almost invisible figure, blending almost perfectly into the background. This is obviously a slave or domestic servant born out of slavery. Used and owned by the family but almost completely disregarded in every other respect.



Religion obviously played quite a big part to culture and the growth of Glasgow as a city. The had on display a fantastic book of minutes from a North West Glasgow Kirk noting cases of fighting, drunkenness, illegitimacy, not keeping the Sabbath and even cases of sex outside of marriage!




Another important aspect of Glasgow society was of course leisure and entertainment part of which included the theatre and music halls. This was a form of entertainment available to all classes, and enjoyed by the majority.

DSC08765_zpski5ettw7 DSC08772_zpsebpmvxcd


Combining leisure and religion we move swiftly on to marriage and domestic life. For many working class citizens of the city, life was hard. Despite the city expanding greatly in these years many people still lived in the cramped old tenements and tight alleys. People’s diets were much better than their living conditions; the water was often so dirty that it was safer to drink ale and beer. It should be mentioned though that the ale of those days was almost nothing like the strong alcohol of today.

But despite the hardships people still celebrated the good things in life. The exhibition has some wonderful examples of wedding gifts from the era. Most notably a earthenware bottle and mug, engraved with names and dates of the happy couples




From working life and marriage we moved onto educating the next generation. School for children was a lot different to today’s education; while girls focused on needlework and other accomplishments boys often found themselves put to a trade or apprenticeship.



They had on display a girl’s needlework sampler and a badge of merit won by one boy in his school work as part of his apprenticeship presented by the Highland Society of Glasgow.



Jumping back to working life we enter the realm of heavy industry, namely coal mining. According the exhibit it was not a major industry in Glasgow in the early 1700s but as the century progressed the need for coal grew and so did the industry. The exhibit included some wonderful examples of tokens and tools used by miners’ pre-1830s; including a tally stick to mark how much coal the miner had worked on that day, a record for being paid basically.



DSC08844_zpsn8o7duit DSC08848_zpsoiuhj70w


With hard work and poor conditions came the need to organise and support each other, so we come to a small history of trade unions in Glasgow.









Journeymen Bakers’ Friendly Society cash book

We then moved on to my favourite part of the exhibition, the textile industries and clothing!




They give examples of spinning wheels used in weavers’ cottages but also the large verging on industrial scale looms. Linen, Wool and Cotton fabrics were all produced here, the raw materials often being shipped in from overseas. Flax was also common in Scotland, often covering fields in delicate blue flowers.





Finally we have clothes pretty, pretty clothes.

First we have a teeny tiny baby shirt worn by Sir John Moore who died in 1809. 


Then onto this wonderful empire line muslin gown made in Paisley by the company Browne and Sharpe around 1800. This was a real treat to see as I have a few patterns for dresses similar to this and could never quite understand the construction so seeing this in person (or through glass at least) made it much easier to understand. I got to see this again at the wonderful Century of Style Exhibit last month again at Kelivingrove.

DSC08907_zps0zo1pvq5 DSC08912_zpscnybyxs4





Then we have some accessories including this rather fetching wool bonnet, possibly dyed using cudbear, a red dye derived from lichen.


Apparently in 1802 a bandana factory was established in the east end of the city by Henry Monteith. Red bandanas were made using Turkey Red a dye made from madder then spots and other decorative shapes were bleached into the fabric. The sample they had on display was Victorian but clearly very similar to the earlier styles as even today bandanas are very similar to this one.


We then move on to this fabulous dress made between 1824 and 26. It was decorated in green with an embroidery technique called Tambouring. It was usually done – somewhat unsurprisingly – by women and girls at home. According to the exhibit by 1791 around 105,000 people were employed with this type of work across Scotland.

DSC08940_zpsvormdwi0 DSC08941_zpsfaccwhu4






We then move onto a really interesting piece of menswear. It is an Officer’s Regimental Uniform from the Royal Glasgow Volunteers in 1794. It’s of course red, probably dyed with Turkey Red or cochineal beetles.






All in all I found it a really interesting and well thought out exhibition. As I said at the start I was really pleased to see so much stuff relating to trade unions and the working class, as it was so uncommon for them to be represent in art of the period and for clothing and artefacts used by the working class to actually still exist. As I was living in Glasgow at the time I found it really interesting to find out more about the history of the city and to really understand its origins as a merchant and industry hub.
Well I hope you enjoyed my little write up, even if it was 2 years on the making! I still have another blog write up to do on my visit to the Century of Style exhibition last month and I’m planning on doing a few posts analysing the costumes in films (Les Mis and Anna Karenina currently spring to mind) Also I’ll have my regular Good Mood Monday this week too but until then,

See you in the Future! ♥

Good Mood Films

So every week I promise myself that I’ll do a morning good mood post but then every week something get in the way! But here I am regardless, another Monday another post!

I’ve been busy tidying up my studio after finishing off my orders this week. Including finally finishing the Victorian Steampunk Groom’s outfit that will be on its way to France this week

This week’s post is brought to you by my DVD collection. About a year ago I sold a lot of my DVDs in part because I had plans of upgrading to Blu-rays but to be honest a year later I still haven’t replaced them and I end up just missing the films instead.

So, the last few weeks I have set about replacing my collection, buying the films as I find them in CEX or charity shops (dammit I love charity shops!) so now I have now added to my collection a good handful of Johnny Depp/Tim Burton films, namely Sleepy Hollow, The Corpse Bride and Edward Scissorhands (3 of my favourite Burton films) a few romantic comedies/dramas – Sliding Doors and Reality Bites. More fantasy (obviously) in the form of Stardust and the special edition Director’s Cut of Hellboy. Plus despite having the special edition of Series 1 of Doctor Who I’ve had to replace one of the discs because it was damaged, hence the random Doctor Who disc 🙂

Finally, a crowning achievement in my collection was finding the Back To The Future Trilogy on Blu-ray for under £10!

Hopefully in the next few months I will have not only replaced all my missing DVD but gained a few extras too! 🙂


In other news, I finished my short story submission for stage 2 of my MA application (paranormal romance obviously) AND managed to edit it down below the word limit – a first for me really despite the 3 years at university I’ve never managed it before. The deadline is Wednesday and I may have been putting off submitting it; I think I’m a bit scared – what if I don’t get onto the next stage? What if they think it’s awful or worse what if I DO get invited to an interview?! That would be even scarier! 😀

So this Monday has been good thanks to an increase in filmic wonders and finally getting my orders finished. Hopefully I’ll have another project post or exhibition post ready for you guys soon but until then,

See you in the future! ♥