In my opinion 5.30am is an unholy time of the morning to be getting out of bed.  Fortunately, due to wee small people not knowing this, I’m slightly inured to the whole thing.  That said, I did hit the snooze button and stay snuggled under the duvet for another 10 minutes.  But then I knew that if I didn’t drag my sorry carcase out of the sack and into the shower, then sure as eggs are eggs I’d miss my train.

7.15, therefore, saw me safely ensconced on the Manchester to London express with The Archers on my iPhone and coffee on the table.

The dawn had given way to a glorious autumn morning with the fields tucked snugly under silvery blankets of almost frosty dew and the rivers playing at sleeping dragons puffing mist into the air.  The train sped swiftly southwards and, unexpectedly, arrived on time in London, allowing me a full day of playing out alone.

First stop the French Bookshop on Bute Street for French language magazines and papers, and a Poirot novel, also in French.  It’s far more fun reading the fash mags than drilling grammar. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it.

Time then to fuel up ready for the frocks.  Feeling Parisien (as I always do in that part of London, surrounded by the French community, picking up snatches of French conversation, understanding more of it every time I visit, I headed over to Le Pain Quotidien for coffee and croissent


All caffeined up and ready to go, I popped around the corner to the V&A and booked my ticket for the Grace Kelly exhibition (note to self….next time don’t forget to book online before you go…much easier!)

A glorious autumn day

I then hotfooted over the Fashion and Textile Museum for the Horrockses exhibition.

One word.


(At this point I’m slightly miffed, to say the least, as my camera got knocked on the Tube…least said about the Tube, soonest mended….so my pictures are mainly fuzzy.  The camera isn’t damaged,I just don’t know my way round it enough to sort it out without the handbook, which was at home.  But anyway, here come some pictures.)

Totally gorgeous.  Totally inspirational.  I’m just dying for an event to crop up where I can replicate the red velvet and satin gown (Nooooooo. Not the wedding!  Stop fishing!)

I then braved the Tube back to the V&A for the Grace Kelly, where I was stopped from photographing by some officious woman, so you’ll just have to watch the films to see the frocks, I’m afraid.

I saw the blue striped and chiffon gown from High Society, the black cocktail dress from Rear Window, Grace’s (yes, we’re on first name terms now!) suit from her civil wedding ceremony, and her gown from the Oscars (and Oscar himself).

I swear those dresses were made by fairies.  You couldn’t see a single stitch.  Even on the silk chiffon.

But I did learn that my plan to slow down and concentrate on producing well sewn and well fitted garments next year is completely the right one.  These dresses were simple, but exquisitly executed.

I’m inspired and the books from the shows have been added to my wish-list!

I hit the train north, tired, footsore but rejuvenated and happy. My shoulders had dropped a good two inches!

I was greeted at the station by a tired, but happy to see me, family, and realised just how lucky I am to be able to go and spend such a lovely day, and  then to be welcomed home by smiles, kisses and hugs.  And pizza!  Perfect.