Lola Montez: The Fascinating Life of a Queen of Reinvention (1821-1861)

London Stereoscopic and Photographic Company, Portrait of Lola Montez, unknown date. Scottish National Portrait Gallery, PGP 837.28. Today I wanted to write about a female figure in history who completely fascinates me: Lola Montez. I first heard about Lola Montez in a song (a fantastic song you can find here) by Volbeat, and after listening…

Review: “Jane Austen’s Inspiration: Beloved Friend Anne Lefroy”, by Judith Stove

I’ve been lucky enough to start working with the lovely people at Pen and Sword books in reviewing history books – and could my first choice be anything but Jane Austen themed? Judith Stove’s “Jane Austen’s Inspiration: Beloved Friend Anne Lefroy” looks to Jane’s close friend (and aunt to the famous love interest of Jane’s,…

A Tour of Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams

Look 24 Dress, Christian Dior by John Galliano, Autumn/Winter 2004. If there is anything I learned last Saturday morning in the beautiful Christian Dior exhibition at the V&A, is that Dior really is the Designer of my Dreams. Firstly, it was a dream to get a ticket to the extended run of the sold out…

Walking in the footsteps of Jane Austen in Hampshire

Even though I wax lyrical on every single platform about how much I love Jane Austen, I’ve never visited her house at Chawton or her grave in Winchester Cathedral – until this week. We went on a lovely trip to Hampshire and had a beautiful day (helped by the British sunshine) exploring Jane Austen’s House…

Pre-Raphaelites, Dragons and a Cabinet of Curiosity: A Visit to Wallington

Wallington is a beautiful William and Mary period country house in the Northumberland countryside – the house as seen today, including the beautiful big clock tower you walk underneath as you enter the grounds, was largely remodelled by Sir Walter Calverley Blackett, who had inherited the house from his party-loving and debt-ridden uncle, Sir William…

An Enquiring Mind: Manolo Blahnik at The Wallace Collection

I realised a couple of weeks ago that, even though I’ve spent plenty of time visiting galleries and museums in London, that I’d never actually been to the Wallace Collection. I have been meaning to go for ages, and decided that, last weekend, I had a free morning in London and it was time to…

REVIEW: “Only A Novel: The Double Life of Jane Austen”, by Jane Aiken Hodge

Today Agora Books are re-publishing Jane Aiken Hodge’s study of Jane Austen, and I was lucky enough to have been gifted an advance copy to review, so thank you Agora! As anyone who knows me might have guessed, I jumped at the chance to review a book about not only my favourite author but also…