Month: July 2014

It’s only crockery but I like it…

I’m a bit of a sucker when it comes to nice vintage crockery. My Mum will only drink out of a teacup and saucer – no mugs for her. Whilst my demands are less difficult to meet, I do love the colours and stylings of vintage crockery. I can often be found stroking floral and bird printed porcelain at car boot sales – no really!

One of my favourites is this classic crockery from Wood’s Ware. You may recognise it from ‘Land Girls’, ‘Call the Midwife’ and numerous other costume dramas and films.


I’ve always had a bit of a crush on this stocky, dependable, turquoise hued lady, and imagine my delight on turning over a bowl (whilst staying in a peeling static caravan somewhere near Bridport) to find her name was:


Perfect name for a utilitarian British Icon, I think you’ll agree? It was produced in the 1940s and was a cheap, hard wearing range that you’ll still find in hospital canteens, schools and village halls.


I still regret not buying this teapot in a charity shop many years ago when I was a student. I’ve always had an old head on young shoulders and desired Beryl’s solid curves even then, when my address changed every 12 months or so and classy pottery was not high on my list of priorities. She’s definitely the one that got away and next time we meet I’m taking her home!

As you know, I’m newly moved in with my man Dr P and his taste in homeware, well it leaves something to be desired. When he moved to Southampton he chose the cheapest crockery set from Argos and ended up with this square black monstrosity.

Argos Horror

I looked around for some new crockery for us – I love cooking for him and I wanted some delicious, made-to-last china for us to enjoy together.
I toyed with many options but finally settled on one – mostly because it reminded me of Beryl. Of course in an ideal world I would scour junk shops, car boot sales and eBay until I had a complete set of chip-free Beryl in my cupboard, but real life encroaches and, like most girls, I am impatient in the pursuit of something I desire.

This set caught my eye when trawling Amazon one day.

GR Maze

This ‘Maze’ range by Gordon Ramsay for Royal Doulton seemed to combine affordability, style and quality whilst still having Beryl’s charm. I think it comes in white and light blue, but I, of course, went for the soothing teal colour.




For the photos I’ve teamed it up with my Cath Kidston Toadstool Salt and Pepper pots and some upcycled Grolsch glasses I bought Dr P as a gift.

I’m very happy with it. I ordered from a company called Panters on Amazon and only paid £48 for a set of 12 pieces as opposed to £60 on the Royal Doulton website. When they arrived one dish was badly chipped, but following an email to Panters they shipped out another dish pronto and I had my complete set lovingly washed and gleaming in the cupboard in no time.

It’s the first major purchase of many to bring my dining and cooking up to vintage-inspired par but I think it’s a very promising start! Now I just need to cook something delicious to eat off it!

It is with a watering mouth I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it…

It’s only eyewear but I like it…

I’d been feeling like I’d lost my vintage mojo recently. I came home to the UK (as is usual) to a huge pile of parcels from Ebay, and whilst some of them were successful vintage buys, some of them didn’t work on me. They clung at the stomach or gaped at the breast or some other fashion malady. All of this combined to diminish my fragile confidence.

Then the other day I was looking through some old photos and happened upon a photo of my Gran. We’ve no idea where she was or when it was taken but she was sporting an immense pair of Cat’s Eye glasses. I saw it and straight away knew what would bring me back up to vintage par – I needed some retro eyewear!

retro specs
(This is not my Gran!)

So I started looking into it. There are lots of sites that offer genuine vintage spectacle frames. I spent a long time browsing the great range at Dead Men’s Spex but as a very short sighted everyday specs wearer I decided this wasn’t for me. I wanted something I could put on day after day that would stand up to the rigours of a frenetic life (That doesn’t mean I might not go back at some point and treat myself to a vintage pair for special occasions!).

After another google and a quick trawl of some Facebook groups I found Annie Towler at Retro Peepers who offers a great range of new frames with vintage stylings. These can then be sent off and glazed with your prescription lenses. Wow. I was in heaven. After firing off a quick couple of emails to Annie (who was very helpful and prompt with her replies) I put in an order for two pairs of ‘Peggy’ specs (in black and tortoiseshell):

Peggy Black

Peggy Tortoiseshell

And, just for fun, a pair of ‘Lucy’ frames too.
Lucy Black

These arrived very promptly and I quickly fell in love with the Peggy frames (at a super-reasonable £12 each) but couldn’t see a space in my life for Lucy, so I sent her back to Annie within 7 days for a no quibble refund.

specs 1

Next step was to get them glazed. For this you need your prescription – I got mine from Specsavers as that’s where I last got my eyes tested. However, Specsavers wouldn’t give me my Pupillary Distance (PD) measurement unless I paid £40. I smiled sweetly and walked out. Unbelievable. You really need to provide your glazers with the PD measurement to ensure your lenses work well for you. Luckily, Ciliary Blue the glazers Annie recommends will take your PD measurement from a current pair of specs. They were also very helpful and efficient. They posted me a box and I sent off my old pair of specs and my lovely Peggy frames for reglazing. They have a range of lenses and I chose some basic ones with a UV tint which cost £20.
And here are the results:

specs 6

specs 4

I was so happy with the frames and the glazing. The lenses were perfect and the styling was just what I wanted, but couldn’t find on the high street.
There was just one thing… The fit.They kept slipping down my nose. As a seasoned specs-wearers I know how important getting the frames fitted is. So I got busy on YouTube and watched some tutorials on how to fit specs.

This is probably my favourite bit of the whole thing.
I learned that if you dunk your frames in hot water, they become malleable enough for you to tease into the right shape. I decided to ty this and combined it with another very important job… A nice cuppa!
specs 7

A quick 10 second dunk into my hot tea and I was shaping away. I spent most of the morning bending, trying on, bending a bit more and gently shaped my glasses until they were a perfect fit. See here, a before and after pic!

specs 3

On the left, un-teased specs, on the right, gently bended specs.

Now obviously this comes with a disclaimer – this needs to be done gently over time. It is not my fault if you snap your specs by dunking them in a luke warm cappuccino and trying to bend them into a reflex angle straightaway!

Overall, I’m very happy with the results and have been wearing my glasses non-stop for a few days with no problems and a whole heap of compliments. I now just need to get back on eBay and see if I can find my fashion Mojo – more on that next time!

It is with an over-the-top-of-my-specs-look that I say:

It’s Only Vintage but I like It…

*Disclaimer – this was my retro adventure, I paid for all these products and services, all views are my own!*