An extraordinary, but delicious, affair

A figurehead

A figurehead- courtesy of Martin Soulstealer

Some of you may remember my daughter from her vivid and beautiful wedding in February.  The photo above shows her in a slightly different light. (I really love the luminous moon effect)

This weekend I was invited to a book launch in Nottingham for “Steampunk Apothecary”, by Jema Hewitt.  The above is an illustration from the book.

Apothecary Jema, allias Emilly Ladybird, is a hugely talented costume and jewellery designer who loves Steampunk.  Step by step she guides you through the mechanics of making some of her creations.  Delightful little stories are accompanied by jewel-coloured illustrations.  You don’t even have to be interested in Steampunk to admire this beautiful book. (though it helps!)

The fairy wing tiara

The fairy wing tiara

An enthusiastic role player in the Steampunk world, Jema has used many of her friends to give an authentic feel to the book.  I was looking forward to meeting a few of them at the book launch.

Lisa advised me that I should wear clothing appropriate to a Steampunk afternoon tea. (but admitted that a pretty blouse and skirt would be fine)  Phew!  She added that she would be wearing her blonde wig, as that is how she appears in the book.  The result was quite amazing.  She was particularly proud of the fascinator.  There is actual tea inside the cup, but it won’t spill!  Lisa made the entire outfit, of course.  I was scarcely off the train and we were in Hopkinson’s Vintage store, purchasing a tiny antique teaspoon to sit on the saucer.

A quick photo in the kitchen- don't you love the outfit?

My domestic goddess in her kitchen- don’t you love the outfit?

She’d spent the previous evening writing cards to accompany the cakes which would be an essential element of the event.  Remember the wedding cake?  Well, Jema had made five fabulous new cakes.  The flavours :-  Rose and raspberry Dolly cake; Blood red beetroot and chocolate cake; Vanilla rainbow Fairy cake; The Kraken’s courgette and lime cake, and The Libraries Brandy and Ginger cake (my favourite!)

At this point you’re going to want to see the evidence, aren’t you, but it did start to disappear very rapidly.

Let them eat cake.  They demand it!

Let them eat cake. They demand it!  With Lisa’s pretty cards.

They were just as colourful inside, but I was too busy eating

They were just as colourful inside, but I was too busy eating

After a while I went off to make friends and take some photos.  The official photographer of the book, (and of Lisa’s wedding), Martin Soulstealer, was busy setting up some shots.  Rather alarmingly, Lisa was balanced on a chair, poised over the balcony, above Jema’s husband Nick, recreating the scene from the book.  I had to try for a quick shot, nowhere near Martin’s level of artistry.

Recreating "the figurehead" from the book

Here are just a few of the “supporting cast”.

There will be more tales to tell.  Did you see Mr. Woppit cavorting on the table?  He is adorable!  Just one more illustration from the book?  You could be tempted.

Something for the gents

Something for the gents- delicious tiepins!

So, that’s a Steampunk book launch.  Do look out for Jema’s extraordinary book.  It’s a work of art.  In September there’s a new book coming, dedicated to cakes and sweets.  I’ve had a sneak preview, but I musn’t give any secrets away!  Here is the link if you want to purchase, or just have a look around Jema’s work.

See you soon.


  1. Thanks for this educational post… I’ve heard the term “steampunk” from time to time but had no idea what it was…. so this sent me Googling… I love the Victorian age and sci fi so I’m really surprised I haven’t run into this genre before… and I discovered the term has been around since the 1980s, even though the actual genre can be traced back much further. I will have to do some more investigating. Great photos, really fun!


  2. Its a whole new world to me! But fascinating and colourful. The book looks amazing and all the costumes, outfits and cakes. Great stuff.


    1. It’s pretty new to me, too, Col. I’m an outsider looking in, but they’re all very welcoming and nice folks. Have a safe and wonderful trip to Albania. 🙂


      1. thanks, Johanna, for your description:
        “They do live in a bit of an Alice in Wonderland world, but when they’re not dressing up, most of them have quite serious careers. (Lisa is a Commissioner for the local council). I do love falling down the rabbit hole with them, though…”


  3. Your title says it all…extraordinary and delicious. At least you could leave your corset at home. Whew. What a lovely and fun event. Your daughter is a beauty and so creative. Love the hat. Jema’s website is a work of art in itself. What talent.


    1. Thanks, Lynne. Between the two of them there isn’t much they can’t achieve!
      I wouldn’t last an hour in a corset. I’m much more of an “au naturelle” person. 🙂


  4. Terrific way to do a book launch, playing out the theme in such style. Your daughter is so talented and have her amazing sense of style, very genetic I can see. 😉


    1. Thanks, Malou. She turned out way better than I could have expected. We had more than our share of scraps when she was young. But just look at her now! 🙂


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