1940s/1950s navy blue hat with whimsical bow: Jardin Antiques in Okanagan Falls
Faux pearl stud earrings: either Claire's or eBay
Pearl necklace: Birthday gift from Tony ♥
Vintage gold bow brooch: Probably thrifted or eBay (had for years)
1970s/80s does 1940s/50s orange and navy plaid dress: Diaphanous Vintage
Black faux leather skinny belt: eBay
1950s navy blue gloves: (probably) eBay
Faux pearl stretch bracelets: Real Canadian Superstore
1950s/60s grey handbag: Running Rabbit Studio
Black seamed nude stockings: eBay
Navy blue pumps: Payless
Lip colour: MAC Russian Red
Photography by Tony Cangiano
♥ ♥ ♥
Doesn't the title of today's post sound like every little girl's dream day out? :)
Though I had hoped to have a more festive outfit post to share with all of you today, between numerous health issues I’ve been contending with and a jam packed work load and social calendar this fall (and now winter), Tony and I have only had a chance to do two photo shoots since we returned from Victoria some 2.5 months ago now (and those would be the last two outfit posts I've shared here in recent weeks). That said, I'll still try to get a Christmassy ensemble up before the year is over, if a shoot is able to happen in the coming days.
That is one of the beauties of the holiday season isn't it? It's quite literally a small season unto itself and affords one the chance to do all kinds of fun, festive, highly photo worthy things over the span of multiple days or even weeks.
Right now though, let me hop away from the mulled cider, sublimely scented pine trees, and dazzling outdoor light displays and to our Vancouver Island vacation back at the start of autumn. Nearly every day of our two week holiday was bursting with activities and on one of the later days, we visited two places I'd wanted to see for many years now. Though, in actuality, we only went into one of them (more on that a little later on).
Our first big stop for the day was the breathtakingly beautiful Victoria Butterfly Gardens, which are located between the cities of Victoria and Sidney. Butterflies have always been very near and dear to my heart, to the extent that I almost see them as a personal mascot of sorts. On top of that, they're endlessly lovely and also very relaxing to watch, so I knew that a trip (a first for both Tony and I) to the Butterfly Gardens was a must on our holiday.
Tony had a Groupon coupon for the Gardens, which saved us a fair bit on admission, but I would have happily paid full price to get in, if we'd had to. Housed in a large climate controlled building, the gardens are a lush, tropical paradise of verdant plants and many, many different species of butterflies from around the world, as well as a few other lovely critters, such as different types of birds (like parrots and flamingos), frogs, koi fish, tortoises, and lizards.
The environment, as one might imagine, is humid, but not uncomfortably so (at least to me) and I greatly enjoyed the leisurely visit we had there, snapping cell phone photos, reading the information plaques on different species, and hoping that a butterfly might land on one of us (none did, but then again, we didn't see them do so on any other visitors either - perhaps next time!). There is something deeply enchanting, even magical about being surrounded by countless butterflies and a smatter of wild critters that most of us don't commonly come in contact with. It brings out your inner child, your inner lepidopterist, and your inner animal biologist all at the same time.
We capped off our visit to the Victoria Butterfly Gardens with a stop at the gift shop, where I treaded myself to a cuter than cute little plush green caterpillar toy (I have zero qualms with admitting I'm a thirty-year old woman who still adores stuffed animals! :)), before heading off to explore various other local sights. As the day wound down, we thought we'd try to visit Hatley Castle near the super charming town of Sooke.
By the time we got there however, the visiting hours were almost over for the day, so we decided that instead of being terribly rushed, we'd just do a quick photo shoot on the lawn and instead make a point to arrive much earlier in the day on a future trip trip to the Island.
Built in 1908, Hatley Castle is located in Colwood and is a Classified Federal Heritage Building that since 1995, has been used by the Royal Roads University. The castle - one of exceedingly few homes ever built, let alone still standing, in Canada to ever call itself such - was commissioned by wealthly Scottish Lieutenant Governor James Dunsmuir and his wife, Laura, who set highly renewed Canadian architect Samuel Maclure to work designing and constructing a gigantic mansion comprised of 40 rooms. The castle has what is known as a Scottish baronial style and shows elements of Tudor, Victorian and early Edwardian design influences. In the spirit of traditional European private estates, the Dunsmuirs christened their sprawling home and gardens Hatley Park.
The building remained in the Dunsmuir family until the end of the thirties, when it was sold to the Government of Canada. Over the course of the next few decades, it was used as the Royal Roads Military College, a Canadian naval training academy. Today, as mentioned above, it belongs to the Royal Roads University and is enjoyed by the students, staff and public in different capacities, including tours of its grand and stately rooms and gardens.
Extremely fascinatingly, in 1940, when the WW2 was in full force already in Europe, a contingency escape plan was made that would allow for King King George VI, his wife (the Queen Mother), and their two daughters (Elizabeth and Margaret) to reside in Canada at Hatley Castle. Though the Royal Family decided to weather the long war years at home in England, had the opted to leave, it my understanding that Hatley Castle would have been their most likely choice of a North American abode for the duration.
I think it would made a splendid temporary home, had they opted to leave England during the war and indeed, even just standing on the grounds of this majestic mansion - as much a castle (as its name implies) as one will find anywhere in this country - I couldn't help but feel a bit regal myself! :)
While we didn't get to see inside this towering grey stone castle that day, it was a pleasure just to be so near to it and to pose for some photos in what is essentially its present day backyard (at the time that the Dunsmuirs built their home here, the grounds were larger, but some of the land has been sold off over the years). Avid movie buffs may find that Hatley Castle looks familiar and indeed it may, as it has been used as a backdrop and/or setting for numerous TV shows and movies over the years, including as Professor Xavier's castle in some of the X-Men films.
Should you happen to find yourself on Vancouver Island anytime, I can't recommend visiting either (or both) of these places highly enough and I hope that on our next trip to that part of the country, we will indeed step foot inside Hatley Castle - no doubt (assuming they're permitted) with a new set of photos to follow.
Right now though, the only traveling we're doing is to visit nearby relatives in the Okanagan, very much including my mom and step-dad's house here in town, where we're spending many of the festive days of this beautiful season.
I hope that you're each having a marvelously merry December and that you enjoyed this look at another exciting day from our 2014 Vancouver Island adventure. I have some more photos from it to share with you still, so be sure to watch for further Victoria related posts in early 2015.
Happiest Christmas Eve, Eve wishes, my dear friends!
Speaking of Christmas, don't forget that Chronically Vintage's exciting Buy More, Save More holiday season sale continues over in my Etsy shop until January 5, 2015. I don't plan on holding another big sale again for quite a while, so now is definitely the time to swoop in and pick up those items you've been eyeing lately, all at wonderfully discounted prices.