Week 1: Regency Regimen Recap

We are like snowflakes, all different in our own beautiful way.

Today starts week 2 of the Regency Regimen experiment and we figured we’d recap week 1 for you guys and share everything we’ve learned so far through doing this experiment. 

So far I will say the biggest thing I’ve learned is I just don’t have the amount of down time to take 3 mile walks daily followed by all of the skin brushing and sponge bathing. My lifestyle isn’t necessarily crazy busy but not having a staff to take care of things like housework, meals, and educating the children I just don’t have the time for it all by myself. This type of schedule is much more suited to a lady of leisure and I’m sadly not a woman of leisure. 

I struggle with getting to bed before 10pm. At first it was really easy, I was exhausted coming down from two weeks straight of events and welcomed the idea of getting to bed on time, but after a few days I began to struggle with it. I enjoy having a few hours of me time after the kids go to bed which usually results in me staying up closer to 11pm or midnight. After years of this being my schedule I think I’m just naturally a night owl now. Even when forcing myself into bed by 10pm I don’t find myself getting any more restful sleep than normal. 

Broth before bedtime is weird. It’s comforting and I guess it works like a glass of warm milk before bed. I can’t vouch for its effectiveness but I guess at least I’m getting a good dose of vitamins and minerals every night. 

I’m not actually in the best shape and should probably stretch more. There once was a time where I ran track and danced and was generally active. That was many, many years ago. I am definitely not that person anymore. After three kids, some injuries, and major body changes I’m just not as limber or fast as I used to be. I try to remind myself while walking that these Regency ladies weren’t sprinting for 3 miles, they were leisurely strolling, admiring the flowers and countryside. It wasn’t a race, it was more about actually being active. 

Ive been using hair powder to brush my body after walks and now my skin is weirdly soft. I’ll be sharing a recipe this coming week on how to make your own friction oil from an 1825 guide using neatsfoot oil, alkanet root, and palm oil.

I like butter and spices. A lot. I have a really hard time shying away from the butter and I’m a sucker for curries and spices at dinner time which combined were thought to cause bilious disorders and were big no-no’s. Seeing as I have no gallbladder and already have liver and pancreas problems I’m probably the last person to ask if bilious issues are caused by spices and curries. Spicy foods can irritate an already cranky gallbladder, which stores and releases bile, and fats like butter are also no good for inflamed or diseased gallbladders so they were kind of on to something. They also recognized that waiting too long between meals wasn’t great for digestion and suggested taking small meals throughout the day, something we now know to be best practice. 

So far it seems like they had some pretty decent thoughts on health even if the whys and hows weren’t exactly correct. I’m excited to see what next week brings. 

 

The Regency Regimen Experiment

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During our research for our “An Accomplished Lady” workshop taught at the Jane Austen Festival in Louisville, KY we came across a number of etiquette and beauty handbooks created for ladies of good breeding. Whilst reading through them we giggled over some of the recipes for removing freckles and made mental notes of which colors worked best for which complexions. Of notable things learned was the use of the term majestic when referring to shape and size, meant large and when referring to age, meant a woman over 30, according to the Mirror of Graces, 1811. 

One thing each of these books included, which must have been a pretty important topic for ladies, were detailed schedules of how much sleep and exercise a lady should be receiving in order to maintain her natural beauty. Some of these even went as far as to recommend a specific diet be followed which was thought to effect the health, and therefore, the complexion and charms of a lady. 

We thought what better way to experience the life of an accomplished lady of the Regency/Federal era than to try our hand at following the prescribed beauty regimen of the time and of course document it for you! 

So based on the various handbooks we have read, the following regimen and accompanying diet will be followed for 8 weeks. We will track our mileage using the Map My Walk app and will have weekly check ins through our Instagram stories. The challenge will begin on September 3rd and run through October 29th. We have each made a list of our concessions based on our current obligations and modern lifestyles that cannot be avoid. For the final day of our challenge we will showcase all we have learned through our studies of etiquette and the era by demonstrating the lifestyle of the ladies of the upper middle class in Federal era America at a local historical site, complete with some live streams and videos.

Brittany’s Regency Beauty Regimen 

  • I will walk 1 mile to and from school each morning on weekdays to drop off my son.
  • After my walk I will take a cold sponge bath and use friction oil to stimulate the body
  • For breakfast I will have a cup of coffee or tea, bread with preserves and bacon or sausage
  • For my afternoon exercise I will walk 1 mile to and from school on weekdays to pick up my son. 
  • On weekends I will walk 2 miles each day on the Meadow Loop Trail at Forest Nature Preserve.
  • I will go to bed before 10pm each night, allowing myself four nights a month to stay up for pleasure. 
  • If I do not make it to bed before 10pm I will take a 1 hour nap in the afternoon the next day.
  • Before bed I will take a hot bath and drink 1 cup of warm broth.

Brittany’s Concessions

  • If weather is poor I may elect to drive and makeup the mileage later that day at the gym or on another day altogether. 
  • I will dress in normal, modern clothes throughout the experiment with the exception being the final day. 
  • I will eat a diet as consist with that which is recommended but may make substitutions for health when needed. 

Hayley’s Regency Beauty Regimen

  • I will walk one mile each day to the local coffee shop.
  • After my walking I will use a soft cotton cloth to rub the body in lieu of the friction oil.
  • I will eat an approved breakfast and lunch consisting of coffee and tea, bread, oatmeal and other relatively bland foods.
  • I will be in bed by 10 pm, but may not be asleep until later.

Hayley’s Concessions

  • I will only be practicing this Monday through Friday.
  • Dinners will not follow the recommendations but will be whatever I manage to eat.
  • I will not be walking if the weather is inclement and will make it up with vigorous activity at dance classes instead.
  • I will not be taking morning or evening walks in the dark for safety reasons therefore will adjust the recommended schedule to work better with the changing seasons.

Throughout the experiment we will update the blog periodically sharing research relevant to the experiment including recipes for making your own friction oil and discussing the science behind some of this.