Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Year!

It's the 29th of February! And in the British Isles specifically this is the day where traditionally women could propose to men. Supposedly a 1288 law by Queen Margaret of Scotland (when she was age 5) required that fines be raised if a marriage proposal was refused by the man and compensation ranged from a kiss or a 1 pound note to a silk gown in order to soften the blow.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Pulteney Bridge

Pulteney Bridge is another Bath landmark. It crosses the river Avon and was designed by Robert Adam. It was completed in 1773 and is one of only four bridges in the world with shops across the full span on both sides. The last two pictures are of the bridge in spring time. I'm anxiously awaiting some warmer weather! 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Review: "Jane Austen's Letters" Collected and Edited by Deirde Le Faye

In its fourth edition, it is perfection itself. No other words describe it. One of my favorite passages, taken from Cassandra Austen's letter to her niece Fanny Knight on July 18, 1817 after the death of her beloved sister Jane Austen. 

I have lost a treasure, such a sister, such a friend as never can have been surpassed. She was the sun of my life, the gilder of every pleasure, the soother of every sorrow; I had not a thought concealed from her, and it is as if I had lost a part of myself. I loved her only too well -- not better than she deserved, but I am conscious that my affection for her made me sometimes unjust to and negligent of others; and I can acknowledge, more than as a general principle, the justice of the Hand which has struck this blow.
~Cassandra Austen 

Review: Amanda Grange's Jane Austen Inspired Novels

Amanda Grange has written a series of Jane Austen inspired fiction. I've just finished going through them. I enjoyed the opposite perspectives on the novels and Grange is insightful in her portrayals of the various Austen men and their innermost thoughts and emotions. Nonetheless, at no fault of Grange's, she is no Austen and the books lack the sparkle and wit of the originals. I specifically enjoyed "Captain Wentworth's Diary." Here's the complete list:

  • Mr. Darcy's Diary
  • Mr. Knightley's Diary
  • Captain Wentworth's Diary
  • Edmund Bertram's Diary
  • Colonel Brandon's Diary
  • Henry Tilney's Diary
  • Wickham's Diary 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Je t'aime

This weekend six of my seven lovely flat-mates journeyed to Paris. I hope they love it as much as I did my first time. And just because I'm nostalgic, here are some pictures of all of the lovely things to see and do in Paris.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My two February Birthday boys.

And here's another one. This one for both Steven and Brendan! I already have the feeling I'll have to make these next! Plants vs. Zombies cupcakes.

Steven's Birthday

To commemorate Steven's 12th Birthday! I saw these and thought of you. Hope you had a wonderful birthday!

Pancake Day!

 It's pancake day in the United Kingdom, also known as "Mardi Gras" or "Fat Tuesday" in the United States. It's the tuesday before Lent and in the UK it's common historically to eat pancakes because of the ritual fasting that occurs during Lent. Why pancakes you ask? The ingredients, such as flour, sugar and eggs, are easily available but also commonly restricted during Lent. Pancakes, however, are not flapjacks but crepes. Once you get past that minor cultural miscommunication, the day is lovely. Here's something to get your appetite going.

I cannot fix on the hour, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.     -Pride and Prejudice 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Review: "Geisha, A Life" by Mineko Iwasaki

I just finished "Geisha of Gion" by Mineko Iwasaki (but also titled "Geisha, A Life" in the United States) and loved it. I've read some other works, both fictional and anthropological, about Geisha and have loved learning about the Geisha culture and its influence on the modernization of Japan, both politically and economically. And if I'm being honest, I'm fascinated by Kimonos. "Geisha of Gion" is the contributing true story behind Arthur Golden's "Memoirs of a Geisha." There was some controversy because Mineko as a source was supposed to be kept anonymous but Golden printed her name among his list of sources. Here, she tells her story which is as interesting and intricate as the more popular fictional story. The memoir is both honest and striking. Although, not as well written as Golden's fictional piece, it displays the subtleties and beauty of this complex world. 


  • Geisha, A Life by Mineko Iwasaki
  • Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
  • Memoirs of a Geisha movie and soundtrack
  • Geisha by Liza Dalby  (ethnography)

Fashion Museum and Assembly Rooms

Today I visited the Fashion Museum in Bath as well as the Assembly Rooms. The Fashion Museum is astounding with a collection of historical pieces, specifically Regency and Victorian dress but modern pieces too! The Assembly Rooms were once the hub for fashionable Georgian society with balls, a tea room and a card playing room.  In both of Jane Austen's novel set in Bath, Persuasion and Northanger Abbey, the Assembly rooms are used as backgrounds for key scenes.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Internship Update!

     I've been enjoying my internship immensely. As an intern I do a mixture of activities around the Jane Austen Centre, including guiding, working in the tea room and gift shop, organizing group visits and helping to plan the Jane Austen festival we have in the fall. These past two weeks I got familiar with our exhibit and the running of the company. The exhibit is a collection of historical pieces from costume to other artifacts that describe Jane's life during her time in Bath. Jane Austen lived in four different houses during her time in Bath, and visited regularly during her childhood. 

       This past week I've been outside greeting visitors to the Centre. Although it's been a little chilly, I've enjoyed meeting the many visitors of the Centre and the passing Brits. Everyone loves to comment on my outfit, whether it's too cold or too hot for the weather. I've been poked once or twice to see if I'm a mannequin and the men in lorries like to honk once in a while. My favorite part, however, is the kids who just love to smile and wave at me. Little girls especially run up to me to look at my costume and say hello. 

Platform 9¾

Excuse me.
Could you tell me how to...?
How to get onto the platform? Not to worry, dear.
It's Ron's first time to Hogwarts as well.
All you do is walk straight at the wall between platforms 9 and 10.
Best to run if you're nervous.
Good luck.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The British Museum

I love Ancient Egyptian Antiquities and was quite ecstatic while exploring the British Museum! The variety of exhibits and the vastness of the museum makes it one of the best sites to see in London.