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. 

 

An Accomplished Lady Workshop

The Dutch Milliners

Step back in time with the Dutch Milliners as we transform into the Landrum sisters, proprietors and teachers at the Landrum Ladies Academy at the 2019 Jane Austen Festival hosted by the JASNA – Greater Louisville Region. 

Workshop Details

Cost: $45/ plus cost of admission 

Friday: 7:30p – 9p and Saturday 1:30p – 3p

Our workshop aims to round out the immersive experience of the Jane Austen Festival by teaching participants how to navigate polite society by making introductions and good acquaintances, demonstrating the skills and abilities needed to be considered accomplished without looking like Mary Bennet, knowing the in’s and out’s of this social hierarchy, and why all of this craziness was crucial to the success and livelihood of many unmarried women in want of a single man in possession of a good fortune. Each workshop will run for one hour and thirty minutes and both will cover the exact same material and include the same experience regardless if you choose workshop Part I or Part II.

What You’ll Learn

  • Dukes, Earls, and Esq.: Social Hierarchy during the Regency Era – A look at the
    social hierarchy of Regency era England. We will look at what exactly makes a gentleman a gentleman, how this hierarchy could effect your future, and the differences between the Gentry class and the Peerage.
  • Match Making for Success – How you could better your social standing by marriage, why money wasn’t everything, and why finishing schools became a popular tool for the daughters of the newly emerging middle class.
  • Coming Out in Society – A primer on all things proper concerning introductions, from how to introduce oneself and be presented to others, to how to properly use titles and show deference in curtsies.
  • Making Conversation – An exercise in polite conversations, including topics to discuss and topics to avoid, popular opinions of the time, and how to remain respectful and deferential during conversation.
  • An Accomplished Lady – An overview of the various skills attributed to accomplished young ladies of the time and a series of exercises to practice three of these skills.

What You’ll Get

  • Each participant will receive the aforementioned knowledge through an interactive lecture (read: Not Boring!)
  • The opportunity to make their own calling cards, necessary for making all of those important acquaintances.
  • A letter of introduction to the fine ladies of Spring Grove Cottage, securing you an invitation to their parlor for refreshments, cards, and agreeable conversation.
  • The opportunity to practice the accomplishments of art through sketching and watercolors, botany, and poetry in the creation of a ‘friendship journal’ based on several extants from the Regency era (check one out here!)- the perfect memento for your experience at the Jane Austen Festival!

 

Meet the Landrum Ladies

estherEsther Catherine Landrum was born in Chelthenham, her father the proprietor of the George Inn a well established coaching inn on the road to Bath. Coming from a genteel family she was sent to school in Bristol as a young girl where she became known as an accomplished singer and pianist. She returned home at the age of 17 after the unexpected death of her father. It was then that she begin to receive pressure from her older brother to find a suitor and settle down. After many unsuccessful attempts to marry her off he finally resigned to the fact that as long as the inn was prosperous she would not be a burden.

lydiaLydia Maria Aldridge Landrum was born in Bristol to a family with no particular fortune and only their name to recommend them. Her father inherited their meager estate and a pittance which allowed them to live in some comfort. Her aunt took pity on their family and agreed to pay for her schooling in Bristol as they could not afford the tuition for both her and her older brother. Upon returning from school she soon made the acquaintance of Thomas Landrum, a schoolmates brother and young officer in the Army. They were wed and soon she was moved to her new home in Chelthenham.

In 1812 the news came of Thomas Landrum’s death and the Landrum ladies were left with an uncertain future. Advised by their lawyer, and close family friend, the ladies agreed to sell the George Inn to Mr. E. Hughes in 1813. They received a substantial sum for the bustling inn and moved to Bristol where they later opened the Landrum Ladies Academy to teach young girls in the town and pad their modest income.

jaf

For more information on the Jane Austen Festival and how to purchase tickets for the event and workshop please visit http://jasnalouisville.com/2019-jane-austen-festival-info

Authenticity and Attitudes

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We’ve received a great response to the 18th century reenacting survey , which we posted about last week, and already people are asking more questions about the themes presented and are beginning to come to their own conclusions. We love it! Its getting people talking and not only is it getting them reflecting on their own experiences, but many are beginning to consider how others in the hobby may perceive them and their actions, whether intentional or not.

Some great observations about authenticity and attitudes have been made that may account for the feelings of bullying and cliquey behavior, not discounting peoples feelings at all but simply trying to make sense of the big picture – is this an issue of true bullying or more of an issue of unwanted criticism or poorly worded, yet well meant advice? The truth is we’ll probably never know (unless of course we do a more in depth survey on bullying, but we’ll save that for another day) but there are some things we can do now to help change these perceptions of bullying and cliques within the hobby. Below are several suggestions that were presented in response to our prompt on “how to be accessible and build a stronger community”

  • Be the unofficial welcome wagon for events. Take your posse around to every camp, introduce yourself and invite them to stop by your camp sometime for refreshments.
  • If you’re a more experienced participant go out of your way to greet new faces at events. Being the newbie can be intimidating and a friendly face can make the difference between someone really enjoying the event or hating it.
  • Don’t give criticism unless specifically asked, pay compliments instead.
  • Try sharing your favorite resources freely and encourage others to get as excited about them as you are. Show the process behind the research instead of quoting the hard and fast rules.
  • Welcome interpretations and views that may differ from yours. Its ok to agree to disagree sometimes.
  • Don’t be afraid to call out obvious bullying.
  • Be thoughtful about the words you use when communicating online. Its easy to misconstrue text, to avoid misunderstandings and further problems be thoughtful and consider how someone else may read into what you’re typing.

What other ideas might you add to our list?

 

 

18th Century Reenactor Survey Results

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‘The Studious Fair’ Lewis Walpole Library 

Inspired partly by a survey recently conducted by the 1st WAC separate battalion living history group, in an effort to create a better environment for female reenactors in the WWII community, and partly by our own feelings of unhappiness within the 18th century reenactor community we decided to conduct our own survey using the ever handy Google Forms app.

Our goal was to get a better understanding of what the general perception was of the 18th century reenacting community with some specific focus on identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the community of women and non military/civilian interpreters. We had 230 participants from across the US, Canada, and parts of Europe respond and have compiled the data to the best of our ability identifying trends as noted.

18th Century Reenactor Survey Analysis 

The results were eyeopening, to say the least, and they validated a lot of the feelings held by several female and civilian reenactors I am acquainted with. In the next few days we will be posting prompts, here and on our Facebook page, that coincide with the data in an attempt to work towards correcting the issues identified through the survey. Ultimately we hope this will be used as a tool to open up dialog in the community and enact positive changes to create an inclusive environment for all participants.

 

Day 9: Unforgettable Experiences

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Finally we’re to Day 9: Unforgettable Experiences! Secretly I’ve been super excited to write on this theme since we started this thing. While stuff and things are nice to get, I live for the experience gifts! To me nothing is more thoughtful nor more memorable than the gift of going somewhere and doing something. In fact I make a point to treat my family to one experience gift every year, this year we opted for a family flex membership to The Henry Ford Museum so we can go hangout in the Greenfield Village as often as we want. So let’s get to it!

The older I get the more I appreciate staying in a hotel for certain events, especially when doing anything that is upperclass oriented. I mean have you tried styling a high roll when you’re stuck sleeping in a tiny wedge tent?! It’s next to impossible! Consider treating your favorite lady to some nice accommodations for one of her favorite events. Events like D-Day Ohio have limited period camping space and it’s always bloody hot in the middle of August in Ohio so an early reservation to a local hotel or bed and breakfast could really make her year.

The Third WAC Training Center event running March 23-24, 2019 which takes place in Fort Oglethorpe, GA would be the perfect reason for a special experience gift. Treat her to a nice hotel, maybe even consider a rental car or airfare depending on your location, and if you really want to go all out maybe throw in a prepaid Visa card to be used for gas and other travel expenses like parking and tolls. Don’t wait long to book accommodations if you’re hoping for a deal, a quick check shows that many of the local low rate hotels are already booking up!

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Kicking off JAF 2018 with hotel selfie 

The annual Jane Austen Festival in Louisville, KY is a must attend event for reenactors and costumers alike and would be the perfect gift to really go all out on. In fact you could focus all of your gifts around this one event to make a big impact. I mean how fun would that be to open up a silk sari followed by some coordinating jewelry, a shawl, and then an envelope with gas gift cards and a hotel reservation? The cherry on top could be a prepaid visa card tucked into a Jane Austen themed card with instructions for its use on event tickets and workshops. I would die. Seriously I don’t think words could express my happiness if I had received something as thoughtful as that. If your budget is a little too tight for something that over the top just opt for the tickets and/or workshop admission on a gift card, it will be just as appreciated, trust me!

Looking for something a little more low key and exclusive? Maybe consider the annual Francaise Dinner held at the historic Gadsby’s Tavern in Alexandria, VA in early March. Tickets to the event cover a three course dinner, a champagne toast, and non-alcoholic beverages, the cash bar is extra obvs. There’s a bevy of affordable hotels in the area and cheap parking which makes this a little more affordable weekend get away. Add in some pretty jewelry or splurge on some fabric for an extravagant sacque back gown and it’s the perfect Christmas that any woman would appreciate.

Another great event in March, which would be the perfect experience gift for the ACW enthusiast, is the Citizens Forum of the 1860s. This weekend long conference offers three free seminars plus a Saturday evening soirée at the historic Wolcott House all included in the registration fee. Each day is jam packed with multiple workshops from presenters like Elizabeth Stewart Clark and Cheyney McKnight which can be added on for a small additional fee, plus many high quality vendors will be in attendance- perfect for spending the last of that Christmas money! Register now and put the printed confirmation email with a sweet little note into a Christmas stocking and voila you’re golden!

Want to go all out? Consider splurging on registration for the 2019 Bomber Camp in Stockton, CA. Who hasn’t dreamed of flying in a B17 or B24? Well this amazing camp does more than that, you actually get to experience what life would have been like for a cadet at the Stockton Field Air Corps Advanced Flying School in 1944. Your day starts with induction and orientation before breaking out into gunnery class. Later in the day you head to bombardier class, participate in ground training activities like radio operation, and then fly your mission with your 7 person bomber crew. It should come without surprise that this once in a lifetime experience is pretty costly so maybe consider wrapping this up as a Christmas, birthday, and anniversary gift or even better yet put it in the back of your mind for next years gift and start saving now. I know if we weren’t a single income family with young kiddos I’d be squirreling away my pennies to send my hubby there.

Experience gifts don’t have to be limited to special events and extravagant weekends. Workshops make an excellent gift and Burnley and Trowbridge does a great job of providing high quality yet affordable 18th Century clothing workshops. They tend to fill up fast so either register early or set aside a registration fee on a visa gift card to be used for the next session of workshops.

For an even more affordable option for experience gifts look for a quality hairstylist or nail salon that specializes in historic or vintage styles. If you’re like me and live in BFE reach out to stylists and see if they’d be willing to try out some simple historic updos. You’d be amazed at what a good stylist can do, especially if they have an interest in period dramas. I had this Regency inspired hairstyle done for a Christmas party over 10 years ago and I’m still thrilled with the job she did, plus its kind of nice to be pampered every once in a while.

Toss the salon gift certificate and a note with instructions on who to see and when into their stocking, and make it a date night!

Speaking of date night, experience gifts don’t have to be limited to hobby specific events. Check into your local theaters and see if they mind costumed audience members attending shows. Two tickets to the theater or opera, plus a nice dinner at your favorite restaurant can be a magical, yet affordable, evening that anyone could appreciate. Just remember to double check with policies regarding dress, don’t assume your costumes will be loved and accepted everywhere.

Well I certainly haven’t run out of ideas for special experience based gifts, but I think you should have plenty here to work. I mean there’s nothing like writing a novel lol. If you’re still not convinced that an experience gift is in your budget send us a message, we’d love to help you find something that would work for you!