The 'Beautiful People' Exhibition at London's Fashion & Textile Museum

It's Monday morning and I'm sitting in bed with a cup of coffee, celebrating one of my last days off before I start a new job in November. I'm reminiscing about the perfect weekend just gone, where I met up with old friend Mo for a day of exploring and walking around London.

Our first stop was the Beautiful People: The Boutique in 1960s Counterculture exhibition at London's Fashion and Textile Museum.

This exquisitely curated exhibition includes authentic clothing from the late 60s and early 70s, as well as photos, fliers, posters, magazines and album covers from the era, displaying how music, fashion and celebrity became intrinsically linked in the counterculture movement.

I've always adored sixties and seventies fashion and long felt that I'd been born in the wrong era. If I could go back in time, I would absolutely go to Woodstock in 1969. My obsession was influenced in part by my parents' love of music from that time as well as my mum encouraging my hippie phase.

Suffice to say, I absolutely adored this exhibition and highly recommend a visit. Read on for my highlights from our visit.

It All Began at Glastonbury

The party to end the 1960s and the beginning of the Glastonbury festival.

The Apple Boutique

Clothing from the Apple boutique. I love their long, sleek lines.

Granny Takes a Trip

I'd never heard of Granny Takes a Trip before but I think I would have loved their clothing, especially their mini-skirts and mini-dresses.

Mick Jagger in Military Jacket

A young Mick Jagger wearing a then-vintage military jacket in 1966 (c. late 19th, early 20th century). He sparked an anti-establishmentarian trend of wearing of military clothing which really reminded me of young South Africans in the late 80s and 90s wearing their army fatigues to clubs, complete with band t-shirts and long hair.


One of my enduring memories from the early 70s is my godmother Helen and her sister Marcelle visiting us in England. I clearly recall them wearing outfits like this with knee-high boots. They must have loved the boutiques in London!


This was my favourite of all the boutiques shown, especially that exquisite mini-dress.

Mr Fish

The rise of velvet. I confess to owning a pair of velvet knickerbockers in the early 80s. It was my favourite possession, second only to my Adam and the Ants Prince Charming LP.

Music and Art Deco inspired clothing

While rock music and celebrity were the most prominent themes of London's counterculture, there was also an Art Deco and 1920s / 30s revival.

Eastern Influences

With The Beatles pilgrimage to India and the rise of the sitar in rock music, the Western interest in Indian clothing began. I myself was a slave to this trend, buying many silk shirts, skirts and dresses from the Oriental Plaza in Johannesburg in the 90s.

Althea Porter

This last piece caught my eye. Althea Porter dresses retailed for an eye-watering £100 to £1000 in the late 60s / early 70s but were absolutely worth every penny. Look at the incredible quality in this piece that is evident 50 years later!

The Beautiful People exhibition runs to 13 March 2022. Our tickets cost £13 each including booking fee and museum donation.

Fashion and Textile Museum
83 Bermondsey Street

Exploring Tonbridge Castle and Surrounds

Tonbridge Castle | Exploring Tonbridge Castle and Surrounds

Look at that beautiful blue sky! Barely a cloud in the sky and where there were clouds, they were cute, fluffy and simply idyllic. We've had horrible weather in Kent this week with heavy showers and constant grey skies. Imagine how pleased I was when the sun decided to return today when I'd planned a socially distanced walk with my friend Sarah in the Kentish market town of Tonbridge.

The View from Tonbridge Castle | Exploring Tonbridge Castle and Surrounds

We parked at Tonbridge Castle and enjoyed a delicious cheese, fruit, cold meat and cracker graze box from Gourmet Grazing. Satisfied and with full bellies, we walked through the gatehouse of Tonbridge Castle and into the grounds.

Tonbridge Castle | Exploring Tonbridge Castle and Surrounds

The history of Tonbridge Castle is fascinating. It was initially occupied following the Norman Conquest but burnt to the ground in 1088. Construction of the surviving gatehouse took 30 years from 1230 and the mansion was built in 1793.

Tonbridge Castle Gatehouse | Exploring Tonbridge Castle and Surrounds

The castle mound (or motte) also still survives and you can take a zigzag path up the mound and walk beside the moat surrounding it.

Tonbridge Viewed from River Walk | Exploring Tonbridge Castle and Surrounds

After exploring the castle, we walked along the River Walk into Tonbridge market town.

Yarn Hearts | Exploring Tonbridge Castle and Surrounds

Many of the shops were closed due to lockdown so we walked along the other side of River Walk towards the park. Tonbridge must be glorious in summer when you can take boat rides along the River Medway.

Exploring Tonbridge Castle and Surrounds

Our walk took us past the Tonbridge swimming pool and sports fields. There were loads of people around although most were socially distanced.

Riverboats on the River Medway | Exploring Tonbridge Castle and Surrounds

I loved the look of these riverboats on the River Medway. Tonbridge looks like a lovely town to live in and there were lovely new-builds along the river banks. I imagine the crowds could get unpleasant for residents in summer though!

We ended our walk with iced cocoa from 65mm Coffee on River Walk. We loved exploring a new (to us) town and will definitely return to Tonbridge again when things get back to normal.

A Spring Walk in Lullingstone

Oh! Glorious spring! I’d been planning a socially distanced walk with my friend Amanda for several weeks but January and February were bitterly cold, with several instances of snow. As you can imagine, we both bounced out of bed on the morning of Sunday 21st February when one of those perfect spring days bloomed, the type with blue skies and sunshine where you can’t imagine there will ever be a cold day again.

Spoiler warning: it was short-lived and as of 6 March, it is bitterly cold and grey again.

We met up at Lullingstone Country Park, which has ample parking and toilet facilities. There were many other people about, so I kept my mask on until the crowds thinned.

We walked to Lullingstone Castle which you might remember I wrote about previously when we enjoyed the Medieval Weekend and the World Garden.

Lullingstone Castle and The World Garden reopens on Easter Sunday, 3rd April 2021.

We walked under Eynsford viaduct which you can see in the first photo above and into the meadow where you can see the woolly cows.

They are very cute but obviously we gave them their space.They remind me of the Highland cattle we saw on our visit to Crieff Visitor Centre.

We decided not to walk into Eynsford, mainly because some of my favourite pubs and restaurants are there and they are all closed at the moment. I can’t wait to go back to the Plough Inn or Riverside Tea Room this summer.

I want to move to Eynsford eventually or another small Kentish town near it. I’m not ready to move out of my house yet though – we have been here five years this month!

Today marks one year since I last went into London. Life has definitely changed in the past five years but never so much as in the last twelve months. Here in my sunny corner of England, we’ve been in some form of lockdown (or tier 4 restrictions) since the 4th of November. I’m not complaining but even the optimist in me has to admit that this is a long time to be without restaurants, cinemas and non-essential shops. What is most important is that my loved ones have mostly survived this pandemic although I lost one of my oldest friends Vicky to a heart attack in June.

Despite everything the pandemic has brought us, I am lucky to have this on my doorstep. Kent is a wonderful place to live and explore and one day I’ll get back to exploring London again.

I’m still not completely set up to post on this blog again. I don’t have the right photo editing software since the Great IT Failure of 2018, I rarely use my proper camera and using Open Live Writer isn’t as easy as it used to be. I do all my Addicted to Media posts on my iPad but that isn’t as simple with photo-heavy posts. I will continue trying to find something that works. I’ve kept diaries and journals since I was twelve and not keeping up Emm in London since 2016 meant that I lost five years of chronicling my life story and I’m really feeling that at the moment. I’ll keep randomly uploading posts from the last five years (on the dates that they occurred) but I’d like to start updating this blog in real time again going forward.

How are you? Are you still in lockdown in your part of the world?