Our Online Store is Live!

Did you miss us at Smorgasburg LA last Sunday? No worries, we’ll be there again this Sunday from 10-6. Stop by, we’ll show you a magic trick.

But even bigger news: Our ONLINE STORE is live. Now you can shop our lovely wares anywhere, anytime.

Greeting cards by LA artist, Laura Plansker. Our line of Miss Havisham’s dinnerware. Antiques. All manner of tea related items.

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xoxo

Our Custom Line of Dinnerware is here!

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Food and dishwasher safe, our dinner plates have been known to cause more than a few dinner parties to go sideways.  Decorum, darling. Always maintain a modicum of decorum even when dining with the worst characters.

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Come find us Sundays at Smorgasburg LA so we can teach you some manners.

746 Market Ct., Los Angeles (parking lot and entrance off Alameda Street).

Miss Havisham’s Curiosities Joins Smorgasburg LA

 

Very pleased to announce that Miss Havisham’s Curiosities will be at Smorgasburg LA every Sunday beginning June 19th at the Alameda Produce Market in Downtown LA.

Antiques, housewares, local artists, and tea!

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Come visit us and sample her fine wares, darling. Miss Havisham does not disappoint.

 

We’re Moving!

We have been remiss in our correspondence as of late but with good reason!

Darlings, Miss Havisham’s Tea is dipping our toe into new waters.

Firstly, we are moving our blog to www.MissHavishamsCuriosities.com.

Because we’re really more of a lifestyle movement after all, aren’t we dearies? Why limit ourselves to tea and gossip?

All of our content, social media, and discussion forums will now be in one lovely little hub.

Secondly, and this is a big one, we will be adding an online store in the near future.

So many of those trinkets we’ve showcased will eventually be available to you online. How else can a lady support her weekend flea market addiction?

And so it is out with the old and in with the new including our fancy new logo courtesy of Mr. Havisham (Thank you, Tim).

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So please visit us at our new home, subscribe to our newsletter, and look out for more exciting announcements soon.

xoxo

Miss Havisham’s Curiosities

We’re getting curiouser and curiouser…

Miss Havisham’s April Appointments

Oh hi, April! Ever striving to approach the majesty of Martha Stewart herself, I humbly submit my own schedule for your eagle eyes. Here are the LA events I will be attending in the next few weeks. Maybe I’ll see you there, dearies. No foolin’.

Friday, April 1

April Fool’s Day! Avoid the internet, it is full of lies today. Fish don’t typically wear hats, for example.

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Friday, April 1

The Great Horror Movie Night: Watch Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece, The Shining, under the stars in the Griffith Park old zoo. Bring your blankets, bring your snacks, bring a flashlight. We’ll all be there, will you?

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Friday, April 1

First Fridays at the Natural History Museum? Movies and science? Yes.

Give me any excuse to spend time there, I will take it.

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Friday, April 1

Don’t miss this book signing and a chance to meet the author of Deceptive Desserts: A Girls Guide to Baking Bad, Christine McConnell, at Barnes and Noble at The Grove.

I love her instagram. I love her vision. Apparently she is baking cookies for the event.

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Saturday, April 2

Missed her at The Grove? You get another chance. You can drive on down to Riverside and meet Christine McConnell and buy her book, Deceptive Desserts: A Girls Guide to Baking Bad.

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Saturday, April 2-3

Theodore Payne’s annual native garden tour.

This is a fantastic event. Tour gardens all over LA and see how drought tolerant, native gardens can rival even the most manicured lawns. I’ve gone every year since I moved to LA. One day showcases the coastal and mid-city gardens and the other day showcases the inland and valley gardens so whatever your micro climate, you’re set.

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Saturday, April 2

Yet another great event by Atlas Obscura. Take a tour of a miniature and prop shop.

“LA-based artist Calder Greenwood is a prop-maker, set builder, model maker, director, writer, and production designer who creates larger than life installations and truly magical spaces, all from a single material—cardboard.”  Tour his studio in downtown LA.

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Saturday, April 2-April 3

A Current Affair Vintage Pop Up.

This beckons to me and will surely do damage to my bank account.

“A Current Affair is a major source of inspiration for designers with teams from Opening Ceremony, Saint Laurent, Giorgio Armani, Band of Outsiders, Trina Turk, Ralph Lauren, Free People, and Mara Hoffman all regularly shopping the event. Prices range from $30-$3000, reflecting the vast array of goods on display- from heritage denim to estate jewelry.”

All the gowns and glitter you need from times gone by. However will I show restraint?

Friday, April 1-April 3

For those of you who want to dance dance dance, check out The Roaring Twenties Street Jam.

Dance classes and events all over the city all weekend ranging from speakeasies to carousal rides with music accompaniment.  I’m going to try to squeeze in an event.

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Thursday, April 7th

Pop-Up Magazine on tour.

“PopUp Magazine returns to The Theatre for an evening of storytelling, documentary film, radio, photography and performance. Some of our favorite writers and storytellers will perform never-before-seen work on stage, accompanied by visuals, recorded audio and live music. Nothing filmed, nothing recorded.”

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Saturday, April 9-10

Wanna relive your troubled teens? Like to cry? Then head to this.

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Sunday, April 10

The one, the only…Rose Bowl Flea.

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Tuesday, April 12-14

Dita Von Teese Burlesque: Strip, Strip, Hooray! Variety Show.

Fashion and burlesque icon and poster girl for an alabaster complexion, Dita Von Teese performs.

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Friday, April 15th

Odd Nights at the Autry.

Flea markets abound! Crafts, food vendors, live music. And who doesn’t love a cowboy museum? Select galleries will be open as well.

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Saturday, April 16th

Obscura Day.

If you do one thing this month, make it an event through Atlas Obscura. Atlas Obscura hosts events across the globe today.

More than 150 events in 35 states and 25 countries. All in one day. 

There’s something for everyone. I’m really looking forward to a visit to LA’s ethical taxidermist Allis Markham of Prey Taxidermy.

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I’m also going to the LA closing party and so should you. Check it out here. It’s taking place at Valley Relics.

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Sunday, April 17

Long Beach Antique Market.

By now you all know this is my favorite flea in the city. You can read about some of my favorite finds here. I actually just bought a sun hat and a collapsible wagon. It’s on.

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Thursday, April 21

25 to 5’s Anniversary Party

“A sophisticated cocktail lounge with a Mediterranean-style menu that caters to L.A.’s most discerning clientele, Riviera 31’s stunning and thought-provoking decor takes visitors on a visual journey through the evocative history of the French Riviera with photography by the legendary Edward Quinn. A unique mixology program includes masterfully crafted cocktails prepared table-side and the menu takes visitors on an epicurean journey through French coastal cuisine.”

All benefits are a donation to City of Hope.

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Friday, April 29-30

Bob’s Burgers Live. I’m going to let that just sit there for a minute.

I love this show so yes, I want to see what the hell a live version of it is.

Pretty much anything Loren Bouchard creates is pure gold so sign me up.

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Saturday, April 30th-May 1

Tired of flea markets yet? Me either. Head up to Paso Robles for the Three Speckled Hens Antique fair. Tickets are on sale now. Make a weekend of it.

Have a lovely April and remember, make time for a calming cup of tea. xoxo

 

War Brides and Movie Stars: The Queen Mary

This is my love letter to the Queen Mary.

Docked in Long Beach, the Queen Mary is rumored to be one of the 10 most haunted sites in the country and for a small fee you can take one of her many tours including several night time ghost walks.

I’m not going to lie, whenever we go to the Queen Mary, we are usually the youngest people there by a good 30 years, but that’s probably part of why I love it. There are a number of exhibits that, frankly, I am not the target audience for like the Princess Diana exhibit, but just walking around the ship and looking at the art deco interiors is enough to keep me coming back.

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The Queen Mary made her maiden voyage in 1936 and was considered the height of luxury. “She boasted five dining areas and lounges, two cocktail bars and swimming pools, a grand ballroom, a squash court and even a small hospital. The Queen Mary had set a new benchmark in transatlantic travel, which the rich and famous considered as the only civilized way to travel. She quickly seized the hearts and imaginations of the public on both sides of the Atlantic, representing the spirit of an era known for its elegance, class and style.” -QueenMary.com. Photos are also from the ship’s website.

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My favorite exhibit is a display of the collected memories of former passengers. It’s a poignant look into life during the war because after those first three glamorous years, the Queen Mary became a warship transporting soldiers to Europe for World War II. As many as 16,000 soldiers were transported during the war. Painted to camouflage her from enemy sights, she was nicknamed “The Grey Ghost.”

The ship’s website also tells us that “Adolph Hitler offered $250,000 and the Iron Cross to any U-boat Captain that could sink the Queen Mary.”

After the signing of the armistice in May 1945, the Queen Mary was dedicated to bringing US troops home and, more interestingly, carried thousands of war brides and children born to American soldiers to the US to begin their new lives.

One woman recalls leaving England to join a husband she hadn’t seen in two years. She said she didn’t recognize him out of uniform. Watch her story here.

The following pages are taken from a promotional pamphlet for the Queen Mary who was bigger and faster than the Titanic.

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A few of the deco details (pictured above) that were restored to the ship after it was decommissioned in 1946. It was returned to its former glory and sailed for nearly two more decades of commercial use.

With the rise of commercial airlines and the decline in the market for luxury sea travel, the ship was sold to the city of Long Beach in 1967 for $3.45 million. She docked in Long Beach after her final cruise and she has remained there ever since as a hotel, museum and events space. She was even in an episode of Arrested Development. Lucille Bluth hijacks her and there are gay sailors. Heaven.

While a bit shabby, the rooms still maintain their original charm. Just go in with an appreciation of what the lady’s been through and what she’s done for so many people. Aging gracefully is a bit rare here in LA so let’s embrace it, hmmm?

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We had tea on the ship twice. It was great. The waiter, clearly accustomed to explaining every single detail of the tea service, was so delightfully bored by his own talking that I wanted to wink at him and say, “Shhhh, it’s ok. We don’t really care, just bring me all of it and I will eat it.”

He seemed to sense it though and did exactly that. I left feeling like I had willingly done terrible things to myself by eating so many scones, but then returned and did it again recently and will surely do it again soon. Make reservations and try to go on a weekday or you’ll be surrounded by screeching bridal showers and fussy groups of ladies asking all those questions our waiter friend is so very tired of answering.

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There are any number of events throughout the year you can use as an excuse to visit the ship. The Fourth of July is a big one and usually sells out right away. I hear the fireworks are to die for and yes, there are themed old timey sections where you can drink and get rowdy. Valentine’s day is another one, bask in the vintage romance. Halloween is a bit crazy there so be warned. There are lots of teenagers going to the haunted house, loud music. Meh. We recently went to a flea market next to the ship which was small but fun and came with free admission to the boat. Check out their calendar of events here, you’ll find something to do, I’m sure.

The Art Deco Society of Los Angeles apparently hosts an Art Deco Festival on the ship in August. Side note: the society also seems to host a lot of drinking events at historic bars…interesting. Cocktails and pretty? Yes.

Now the big question, is The Queen Mary HAUNTED?

There have been numerous sitings and as many as 150 different spirits have been “documented.” At least 49 people have died on the boat. If ever a place SHOULD be haunted, it’s this one. The engine room is supposed to be the hotbed of paranormal activity. It is definitely creepy.

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Also on the haunted list: both of the swimming pools. A young girl is said to have drowned in one of the pools. Again, it is creepy.

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And here it is empty…even more creepy.

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The number of spooky stories is countless, doors slamming, phones ringing, a phantom baby that cries. Stateroom B340 is no longer rented to the public because of its supposed paranormal activity. Faucets are said to turn on by themselves and the bedsheets fly across the room.You can read all about the ghosties on Haunted Honeymoon.

So is she really haunted? Rumor says yes. I can’t confirm it. While I barely slept the night I spent there, it was largely due to the air conditioning vent being aimed right at my delicate little face and the sink drip drip dripping and…my waiting for the ghosts to come. No ghosts came. It should also be noted that Tim slept like the dead.

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The boat does offer their own ghost tours…plural. I haven’t done any of them. If you do, email me because I’m curious about all the secrets that lurk inside The Grey Ghost. It should also be noted that this is the first in a series of haunted hotel reviews. Stay tuned.

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Port bow view of the QUEEN MARY at anchor. The Queen Mary on war service. 28 September 1944, Greenock. The 84000 ton Cunard Liner Queen Mary in her grey white war paint as she prepared to make another atlantic crossing taking wounded us troops back to America.

May your nights on the ship be spine tingling. xoxo

 

 

Go Ask Alice

Alice in Wonderland has captivated readers for decades. Written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll, it was published in 1865. Three years earlier, Carroll rowed a boat up the Isis section of the Thames river with three young girls and Reverend Robinson Duckworth inside. The three young ladies were the sisters Liddell,  daughters of Henry Liddell (the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University and Dean of Christ Church): Lorina Charlotte Liddell (aged 13); Alice Pleasance Liddell (aged 10); Edith Mary Liddell (aged 8).

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Alice Liddell, far right.

While on the river it’s said Carroll entertained the girls with a story that was so beloved by Alice that she asked for it to be written down for her and thus Alice in Wonderland came into existence. Carroll approached the artist John Tenniel to illustrate the manuscript.

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In 1998 Lewis Carroll’s own copy of Alice, one of only six surviving copies of the 1865 first edition, sold at an auction for US$1.54 million to an anonymous American buyer, becoming the most expensive children’s book (or 19th-century work of literature) ever sold, up to that time. Alice Liddell’s copy of the manuscript sold in 2009 for $115,000.

The relationship between Alice and Carroll is a murky one. She posed for Carroll often and those photos have been cited as proof that the nature of their friendship was less than appropriate.

This past June The Morgan Library in New York held an exhibit celebrating the 150th anniversary of the book’s publication. The exhibit included original drawings by Carroll and Tenniel as well as a number of photos. I was surprised that there was no mention of the question of Carroll’s relationship with Alice. You can view a number of the illustrations online at The Morgan Library’s site. There is an interesting article on the subject of their relationship here.

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Character development sketches between Carroll and Tenniel

We may never know the truth about Carroll’s proclivities as Richard Cavendish writes here:

“The friendship between the Liddells and Dodgson (Carroll) had broken down in 1863, for reasons that are not clear – the relevant page in his diary was cut out by one of his descendants – but it may be that Mrs Liddell was uneasy about him and Alice. Polite relations were resumed after a few months, but the earlier warmth did not return. ”

Alice grew into an adult and married a cricket player at the age of 28. They had three sons. She became quite the society hostess. After her husband’s death in 1926 she found the upkeep of their household to be draining. Facing financial difficulties, she sold her copy of the manuscript for £15,400. She died in 1934 and is quoted as saying, “I am tired of being Alice in Wonderland.”

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Alice as an adult.

Alice in Wonderland has been the subject of songs, art, and numerous films, one of my favorites is the stop motion film by Jan Svankmejer.  You can watch the trailer online.

There are no shortage of Alice themed events. Don’t forget to attend The Victorian Tea and Dance Society’s Alice in Wonderland themed social Sunday, March 6.

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Should you find yourself in London, you must go to The Madhatter’s High Tea at the beautiful Sanderson Hotel. I left with diabetes but I also left happy.

Want to throw your own tea party? I have several pieces of the Alice in Wonderland collection from Fishs Eddy in New York. I love them. Not sure if they still have the dinnerware but they also carry the prettiest cake stands.

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Cakestands for days.

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And who’s ready for a garden party? Alice always is.

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Need to make a pillow? A skirt? Find all the fabric you need on Etsy:

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And let’s not forget shoes. Wow.

From Elusive Rabbit:

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Or these from Irregular Choice:

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Care for a scarf?

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An entire tea set? Egg cup? Gift wrap? Check out The Alice Boutique.

I find The Hudson Hotel in New York to have a very Alice in Wonderland feel. Much of the furniture in the library bar is oversized and the lobby is really something. It’s a fun place to take a client for a drink.

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Or this acrylic chandelier from Vinci Living. Plenty more Alice interior design ideas on Lace and Ruffles.

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And I leave you with a great Queen of Hearts from Popsugar:

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Curiouser and curiouser!