Heroine Training Tea Party at Lovecrumbs: a Tea-cap

Heroine Training Tea Party at Lovecrumbs, a Tea-capWhat happens when you mix my favourite café in Edinburgh with a group of literary-minded ladies?

Just add tea cake and you have the very first Heroine Training tea party. I had no idea what would happen, where the conversation would roam. And roam it did, swirling into a conversational cocktail fit for a modern heroine.

With Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey as a starting point, we hopped from emoji strategy to running races in amusing costumes, from defining what we do without pretension, to the self-consciousness of style in different cities.

Heroine Training Tea Party at Lovecrumbs, a Tea-cap

Who comes to a literary tea party?

Something that surprised me is that every guest arrived alone, ready to mingle and meet new heroines. What brave tea guests we welcomed! Something that did not surprise me is that cake was a primary incentive for attending. With many a cocktail party on offer, tea and cake proved a fine shake up [pun intended].

Heroine Training Tea Party at Lovecrumbs, a Tea-cap

Heroine Training Tea Party at Lovecrumbs, a Tea-cap

Photos by @helen.c.stark

What does a literary tea party entail?

The magical thing about the literary-minded is that when we convene around one table, connection occurs, with or without discussion of literature itself. At my literary tea parties, the conversation is salon style, peppered with passages from our selected text.

Oh! Mr. Tilney, how frightful! – This is just like a book! – But it cannot really happen to me.” 

– Catherine Morland, Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, Chapter 20

Heroine Training Tea Party at Lovecrumbs, a Tea-cap

What’s in our Edinburgh Par-tea favour bag?

Heroine Training Tea Party at Lovecrumbs, a Tea-cap

Along with the debut of official Heroine Training totes [big enough to fit several novels, heroines], our guests were treated to goodies from some of my favourite local businesses.

Isle of Skye Candle Company

An essential part of my winding down routine is lighting a Sleep Sensation candle from the Isle of Skye Candle Co., whose scents are inspired and created by nature. They included their signature air fresheners, to carry a little piece of the magical isles in your car!

Heroine Training Tea Party at Lovecrumbs, a Tea-cap

Helen C. Stark

One of my favourite illustrators on Instagram captures the charm of my hometown in her Colouring Edinburgh book, and postcards to match! [top right]

Flamingosaurus Rex

A gallery as whimsical as its name, Flamingosaurus Rex features local artists from Scotland and the UK in a curated collection of gems. Have a browse of their diverse array of artists!

Heroine Training Tea Party at Lovecrumbs, a Tea-cap

Hannah Zakari

My go-to boutique for darling gifts and insanely cute cards, Hannah Zakari gifted their bespoke Greyfriars Bobby goodies, featuring the pup who is the pride of Edinburgh.

Heroine Training Tea Party at Lovecrumbs, a Tea-cap

Golden Hare Books

Golden Hare showered us with goodies, including an inspiring essay on “bookshops and the delight of not getting what you wanted”. Top tip for UK bookworms: order your book presents from Golden Hare’s online shop! Their curated collection fails to disappoint, and every parcel arrives lovingly wrapped, no extra fees tacked on! And if you’re lucky enough to be an Edinburgh local, do peruse their thriving calendar of bookish events.

Where are we heading next?

The beauty of the Traveling Tea Party is that it might just be in your hometown next! On 11 June we’re popping up at San Francisco‘s Crown & Crumpet, and on 13 July we’ll be at Waterstones in Bristol. Will you be in attendance?

Heroine Training Tea Party San Francisco

Early bird discount tickets for the San Francisco Pride & Prejudice tea are available until 4 June. Reserve your seat here.

P.S. Care to join me for tea sometime? Join the VIP list to take the first peek at the events calendar.

London, Ontario, Canada / Fit for a Heroine

London, Ontario, Canada / Fit for a Heroine

a heroine’s travel guide to London, Ontario / by Kerry Hishon

Welcome to London! No, not that London…

I’m writing about the “other” London, here in lovely southwestern Ontario, Canada. I’ve lived in London for over a decade, and although I wasn’t born here, I’m happy to call London my home.

London has a small-town feel in a big city (it’s the 11th most populated city in Canada).

London, Ontario, Canada / Fit for a Heroine

On its surface, London may seem like a stereotypical Canadian city.

On Friday nights, the downtown area is a sea of green as we cheer on the London Knights hockey team, but it’s not all just toques and poutine.

Yes, we love our winter sports – London is home to Olympic ice dancing champion Tessa Virtue, and where Olympic champion speed skater Christine Nesbitt grew up – but we are more than just sports! London has a bustling arts scene and a great sense of local pride.

Budding thespians can look to Rachel McAdams (Mean Girls, The Notebook) and Amber Marshall (TV’s Heartland).

All these women are proof that with hard work and perseverance, you can achieve anything you set your mind to, and that’s definitely a mark of a heroine to me.

If you are an artsy soul, embrace all things geek-chic or are obsessed with food (or like me, and all three apply), you’ll fit in just fine here.

Shall we begin our tour? Meet me at the corner of King and Talbot Streets, and we’ll get going!

Everything on this is within walking distance, so be sure to wear comfy shoes (or good, thick boots if you’re visiting in the winter!) and bring a bag to carry any treasures you pick up along the way!


London, Ontario, Canada / Fit for a Heroine

Start with a hefty breakfast at The Early Bird

Every heroine needs a hearty breakfast to begin her day of adventures (and to keep her from getting hangry). I love The Early Bird, a cozy setting with its tiki bar and kitschy décor, featuring an awesome set of busts decorated like the members of KISS.

I recommend the Fat Elvis, a monstrosity of a sandwich smothered in bacon, peanut butter, honey, panko, maple syrup, and powdered sugar. Bring a bag; you’ll need it to carry your leftovers with you.

London, Ontario, Canada / Fit for a Heroine

Peruse the shelves at City Lights Bookshop

What’s a heroine without a good book? A bored heroine, that’s for sure.

Enter City Lights, which describes itself as “a living collage, crossed with a circus that was frightened by a Dadaist” and I couldn’t agree more.

Its two floors are packed with books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, vinyl, sheet music, play scripts, postcards, and more. Everything is reasonably priced, and a heroine could while away hours exploring its depths.

London, Ontario, Canada / Fit for a Heroine

Explore Covent Garden Market

I spend a lot of time at Covent Garden Market for my work with Original Kids Theatre Company (we present over twenty productions a year!), and there’s just so much to do!

In the winter, you’ll find a free skating rink outside; and in the summer, there’s an outdoor farmer’s market on Thursdays and Saturdays.

Inside the Market is a ton of local vendors – if you’re not still stuffed from breakfast, I recommend visiting Petit Paris and ogling their massive array of sweets and goodies, and The Salad Bowl for amazing and healthy wraps and soups (Andrew somehow remembers everyone’s specialty order and it’s awesome).

London, Ontario, Canada / Fit for a Heroine

Take a walk through Victoria Park

London is known as the Forest City and it’s not hard to see why. During the winter holidays, Victoria Park’s trees are lit up with thousands of beautiful lights.

It’s a lovely place to take a walk with a cup of hot chocolate, or go skating (again, it’s free!). In the summer, it’s host to tons of festivals (such as the Home County Folk Festival, Sunfest, and London Rib-Fest) where there are live bands to listen to, local vendors to peruse, and of course, fabulous food and drinks to be sampled.

London, Ontario, Canada / Fit for a Heroine

Take in a show

London has a thriving theatre scene, and the downtown area is the heart of it. The Grand Theatre has tons of amazing shows and even its own ghost (look up Ambrose Small for more details!), while The ARTS Project hosts local theatrical projects, as well as a free, ever-changing gallery, and various art classes.

In the summer, London is host to the London Fringe Festival, where theatre artists from all over Canada and abroad bring together an amazing selection of theatrical delights. Take a chance and see something that sounds intriguing – you never know what you’ll get at the Fringe!

Budweiser Gardens is right across the street from the Covent Garden Market, and offers tons of concerts and touring theatre shows. This year alone I’ve been able to catch Metric and Our Lady Peace, and I’ll be seeing Green Day there soon too!

London, Ontario, Canada / Fit for a HeroineKerry Hishon is a director, actor, writer and stage combatant. She blogs at both Kerryhishon.com and Theatrefolk.com. When she’s not immersed in theatre, Kerry enjoys reading, knitting, and travelling.

Xandra Recommends > Why Being in the Ensemble is Awesome

Is your hometown the perfect fit for a heroine? I’m always looking for fabulous locals to contribute to this Fit for a Heroine travel guide series. If you’re interested in writing for Heroine Training, read the guidelines and get in touch.

The Top 5 Plays that Shaped My Life

The Top 5 Plays that Shaped My Life

Why did I write a course inspired by the theatre?

Well. Because I loooooove the theatre.

It gets me giddy to the extent that I can’t articulate quite why because I’m too freaking excited.

That’s not a very compelling answer though, so here is my series of the top 5 plays and performances that have shaped my life – and what I learned from them.

Why I Love & What I learned from The Phantom of the Opera

Why I Love & What I Learned from Pippin

Why I Love & What I Learned from Into the Woods

Why I Love & What I Learned from A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Why I Love & What I Learned from Sleep No More

I will be releasing the rest day by day, so make sure you’re subscribed on YouTube to catch them.


Registration for Leading Lady is now open. Read more and enroll now!