Month: August 2015

It’s only Blackberrying but I like it…

Take one rainy afternoon, with a tiny break in the clouds. Two twitchy adults, experiencing cabin fever after a few days of such weather. One nearby Common and an expanse of brambles.

Unleash adults on unsuspecting brambles in slight lull in the rain. Male adult in supervisory role only – pointing out where the best fruit are. The female of the species (as usual) has to do all the hard work, i.e. wading in to the undergrowth to collect the garnet-hued berries, resulting in purple staining to fingers.

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The rest of the story has echoes of The Little Red Hen. ‘Who’ll help me collect the fruit?’. ‘Not I’ said the Dr. ‘Who’ll help me make the crumble?’. ‘Not I’ said the Dr. ‘Who’ll help me eat the blackberry and apple crumble with an extra crunchy oaty crust and doused in a good few tablespoons of cream?’ ‘I will!’ said the Dr.

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Blackberry and Apple Crumble

12oz Fruit, layered in a dish – I used blackberries and apples, but anything seasonal will be fine.

3oz SR flour

1oz oats

2oz margarine

2oz sugar

Rub the margarine into the flour. Stir in the oats and sugar. Pour this over your fruit of choice and bake in a 180degree oven for about 30 minutes.

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The only thing is – it’s made me feel rather Autumnal. And we’re not quite out of August yet.

It is with a yearning for bonfires and frosts I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only A style icon but I like it…

This post is dedicated to a true Style Icon of the 60s, 70s and beyond: Cilla Black.

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 I recently watched a TV series about Cilla’s life (made by ITV, you can get it on Lovefilm) starring Sheridan Smith. It showed the Merseybeat scene at it’s height and I was fascinated to learn Cilla had grown up in the same neighbourhood as members of the Beatles and that it was them who had given Cilla her big break.

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I’ve also found a new respect for Cilla as a vocalist. She had eleven Top Ten hits in the 60s and  ‘Anyone Who Had a Heart’ was the biggest selling single by a female recording artist. These are big statistics for a female in a time when lots of new music was around. I’ve sometimes found her voice a little harsh and difficult to tune into but seeing Sheridan Smith perform some of the songs showed me just how powerful her voice was. Some of the numbers she was singing were written by Burt Bacharach and were proper powerhouse compositions – not easy to perform. She delivered them with the right amount of light and shade, with emotion and guts.

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As for what she wore, well. She was alive during one of the greatest periods for fashion and she certainly made the most of it.

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She had a fantastic figure and the trends of the day looked amazing on her.

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I love the album covers of the 60s – I’m not sure many people could carry off that paisley pattern but I think you’ll agree Cilla has managed it.

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Again hot pants are not forgiving on many figures, but this look is amazing on her.

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Managed by Brian Epstein of Beatles fame, Cilla had a successful singing career throughout the 60s and 70s. When Epstein was found dead he was supposedly surrounded by paperwork and one of the documents was a contract for Cilla to host a TV show. This is how I came to know Cilla. When I was a child she was a TV presenter.

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I remember her in suits with padded shoulders as was the fashion of the 80s. She was down to earth and funny and people seemed to love her. She also didn’t seem to realise those responses the Blind Date contestants gave were obviously scripted!

Cilla 80s

She always seemed to be in amazing heels and with perfectly manicured nails. She even managed to make those 80s suits look good. Her other big show of his era being ‘Surprise, Surprise’ where she reunited lost families, fulfilled long held wishes for members of the audience and took part in pranks.

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I think her success lay in the fact she was always herself. She was loved for her down to earth persona and the fact she always had a smile and a ready laugh. She was true to her roots – no elocution here, thank you – and of course, how can I not mention her life long commitment to husband Bobby.

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They are one of those rare showbiz couples that were completely in love from day one until Cilla sadly lost Bobby in 1999. It is perhaps not entirely glib to suggest she may have gone on to be with him somewhere. I love a love story like theirs.

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It’s sad to say good bye but Cilla leaves a legacy of music and TV behind her that any performer could be very proud of.

It is with memories of a lorra lorra laughs I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Pyrex but I like it…

I wonder how many of you grew up with some thing like this in your kitchen cupboards? Could you name the brand? Of course you could  – it’s Pyrex!

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My Mum had a few glass dishes used for serving but my Grandparents were obviously even bigger fans of Pyrex, having a whole dinner service form the popular Opalware range.

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This set had enormous oval plates with this very kitsch design around the outside. Thick, strong and durable – pretty trendy at the time I imagine.

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This year marks 100 years since Pyrex began selling their wares and their origins are actually quite fascinating. The glass was originally developed as tough glass used for lanterns on the new American railroad. One of the scientists developing it bought the bottom of some jars home and his wife used them for baking. She marvelled at the evenness of the bake and how she could see what was happening in the dish because of the transparent nature of the glass. Pyrex was born!

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It’s pretty iconic and the range of Pyrex sold over the years is vast. How many casseroles, stews and fish pies have been served up over the years in these dishes? I have a few pieces myself although I must admit I prefer the plain glass to the opalware – I find some of that a bit kitsch, although if you search on instagram some people’s collections of American Pyrex do make me stop and get a bit jealous.

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The pieces I own are the more functional ones – such as the measuring jugs. I love these, they don’t stain or get pitted like the cheap plastic ones, they are strong and durable and last years.

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I also love the basins and these are in and out of my cupboard a million times a week because they’re just so useful. I pop them in the microwave to heat things up, whisk eggs in them and use them for weighing ingredients out.

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So from humble beginnings and the experimentation of a keen baker came a range of cookware that’s become a staple in homes all over the world. I’m becoming more and more fond of the milky glassware and I do keep an eye out for some of the folksy patterns I see online. Maybe one day I’ll take the plunge! Until then I can guarantee there will always be some well used Pyrex in my kitchen cupboards – Happy Birthday Pyrex!

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It is with a party hat and dish of nibbles I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Print but I like it…

I’ve been busy this summer. Lots of jobs to do in my new house. I was particularly keen to make my living room work. It just wasn’t quite right and despite it being the room I felt I had the most vision for it was the one I was least happy with and the one I enjoyed being in the least!

Beech Living Room

As you can see from this image from the estate agent’s website, the focal point of the room is a gorgeous original 1930s fireplace with teal tiles. It’s the first thing I saw when we viewed the house and I fell in love with it from that moment.

The room was a drab pale blue and pale grey and I – predictably – painted over that with a few coats of brilliant white. Big shout out to my Mum and Bill who helped me paint the walls and even did the ceiling, picture rails and fireplace too. We did the whole (very high ceilinged) room in 48 hours with a few breaks for cups of tea, dinner and, on the last night, a swift pint of ale.

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I think you’ll agree it looks very fresh and clean and I finally got round to having a special print framed. My friend Lou (http://www.loupartridge.co.uk) created a personalised giclee print of one of her paintings (Turquoise mackerel with a Skinny Moon) for me a few years ago. She added extra glitter to the mackerel, and extra silver leaf to the moon for me! It has been in storage but I finally took it into town and got Paul and his team at Art Effects (http://www.arteffects-southampton.co.uk) to frame it for me.

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I love the green and blue in the print and so I ran around the house and gathered up all the green and blue glass I could find to make those colours pop! I think the plain white background is a brilliant neutral canvas and I’m so happy with the overall look.

I still need to do a big reveal of the whole room, but I’m waiting on some news before I can share that with you. I’m really pleased with this room and I’ve spent so much more time in it lately. I also have a new mission – blue and green glass! That will be my search for the Autumn I think, I’ll see how much I can find in chart shops and at Boot Sales!

It is with a new obsession I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a jug but I like it…

I decided it was time the humble jug had a post devoted entirely to itself. Possibly because it’s one item of crockery I find it really hard to walk past.

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I did manage to part with this charity shop find and gave it to my Mum, but it stills hurts…

I think their appeal lies in the fact that they have so many shapes and sizes, patterns and purposes. I try to limit myself to ones that I know I will use.

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This one has quite an obvious purpose. I love my Bisto jug, it was a Car Boot find and although it’s repro rather then retro, it’s got so much character.

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This one has mostly been a vase so far. Mum bought it for me after a particularly stressful time in life.

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This jug matches my teapot and it’s handmade by Hannah Turner(www.hannahturner.co.uk). I discovered her on Instagram (https://instagram.com/hannahturneruk/ ) and made an order that day. Her ceramics have a great vintage feel and they’re robust enough to use everyday.

sm beryl 2 sm berylAgain this one is part of a set. It’s no secret to regular readers that I love my 1940s Beryl china. It’s teeny but perfect for a milk jug when I make tea for visitors.

pink spotsI still haven’t found a purpose for this one… It was gift and it came from a department store.  It was a plant pot for a while, with a nice orchid in it. Perhaps it needs a new purpose. Any ideas?

It is with relief that I didn’t make any double entendres I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Car Boot Sale but I like it…

Sometimes you have an experience which makes getting out of bed at 6:45am on a Sunday worthwhile. This Sunday was definitely one of those. It certainly made up for the previous Sunday when we ran round about 6 car boots in the rain and paused only to buy one drinking glass.

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This week there was lots of vintage china and I even scored this Beryl jug for 50p. It’s got a teeny chip on the rim, but otherwise it’s lovely. The little green polka dot plate is so cute – very 50s. The square plate was bought off a very sweet lady who was selling lots of her Mum’s china. I couldn’t resist it.

CB2These two vintage Mason Cash pudding basins are small in stature and will be perfect for a little sponge pudding for the Dr and I. The enamel mug is another find that I don’t know what I’ll do with, but I simply can’t leave a bit of enamelware behind.

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Got a big wadge of Sheet music for £2.50 as well – this isn’t going on the wall, I’m going to play it as soon as I get my piano down here.

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I think this was my best find of the day – it’s going to be an evacuee suitcase for my classroom during my WW2 topic and I might use the hat as a prop too. The case was £1 and the hat 50p. Can you believe that?? Car Boot prices are beginning to spoil me. Charity Shops now seem positively expensive! The Dr couldn’t believe me getting that Beryl jug for 50p – he spent an undisclosed (but I suspect very large) amount on a Beryl teapot, cup and saucer and little jug last Christmas. Today’s haul cost me a mere £7.

Now I just need to decide as to when I can persuade the Dr to take me to another one! He is usually pacified if I make him a Full English when we get home…

It is with an already warming frying pan I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Charity Shop but I like it…

Had a little Charity Shop wander this week – in the city centre this time as I happened to be down that way.

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This lovely pale blue serving platter was my first find. It’s Meakin and at three pounds it had to come home with me. It’s huge and quite heavy but I don’t have anything like that. It’ll be perfect if I do end up doing a roast chicken or a joint of meat anytime for family.

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I have a plan for my kitchen – I want all my baking ingredients in nice jars on a shelf. This definitely meets my criteria! Love that blue lid…

CF3This enamel mug was only 99p and I love enamel. It was such a pretty duck egg blue. I’m not sure what I’ll use it for – I don’t tend to drink out of my enamel mugs. Once burnt my lips on a cuppa and am now too scared!

Not a bad haul for £6. Feeling quite happy with that!

It is with a smug smile I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Nomads but I like it…

You may remember I reviewed a beautiful Nomads (www.nomadsclothing.com ) dress back in the Spring (http://itsonlyvintagebutilikeit.com/fashion/its-only-nomads-clothing-but-i-like-it/)  . Well, I was lucky enough be offered another fab dress from their summer range to review.

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This stunning teal patterned halter neck dress was a joy to wear. I’m a big fan of the colour teal and I think the pink and maroon notes also in the pattern really set each other off. The maroon was a great match for my hair tone incidentally! A halter neck dress always has a vintage feel for me – redolent of those stunning 1950s halter necks teamed with up-dos and killer heels!

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 As you can see it’s a lovely fit on me. I only started wearing halter neck dresses a few years ago when I discovered that, with the right bra, they can work pretty well with a fuller bust. One of my bug bears with them is that sometimes they don’t fit well around the torso, slipping down either at the front or the back and leaving the back of your bra on show. Not so with this one. I wore it all day on a shopping trip into town and kept checking myself – no bra in sight! It was a size 14 and perfect on me.

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The skirt is quite full without being too heavy and the soft cotton is nice and breathable for hot summer days. The fabric had a slight ‘crinkle’ to it, making it perfect for packing in a suitcase. I think it could stand being packed, and then still look fab with nothing more than a quick shake – my kind of holiday wear!

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Nomads kindly included a lovely soft white cotton shrug to complement this dress – this would be perfect to take along to a day at the beach or an evening event. This was made from organic cotton (as is a percentage of Nomads clothing) and it feels divine. It has some gentle shaping at the cuffs and would definitely keep the chill of a summer evening at bay.

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Again, it was a 14 and true to size on me, sitting snugly at the front and back.

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I accessorised the dress with a pair of wedges from White Stuff (www.whitestuff.com) and a flower in my hair made by local hair stylist Claire Byrne (https://www.facebook.com/Uptowncurlsuk ). Claire will get her own post soon! Her flowers are gorgeous and worked so well in this outfit.

I adore the feel and quality of Nomad’s clothing. I have worn the other dress I reviewed lots and had so many comments on it. You definitely need to go and check out there website where they currently have many items on sale. Seriously, what are you still doing here?!

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It’s the first time in a while I’ve used my camera and I seemed to have forgotten everything I learnt, resulting in about 20 minutes of dark, out of focus photographs and me almost in tears with frustration. Eventually it all came flooding back and I enjoyed taking these using my beautiful spare room as a backdrop!

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Temper, Temper!

It is with dreams of teal summer days I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it…

*I was given these items to review, but the views expressed, as always, are my own.*

It’s only a Print but I like it…

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I’m a sucker for a good fabric print. This summer I’ve found myself longing for the cute, whimsical, vintage style prints of the 1950s, but I’ve struggled to find anything that is quite what I had in mind.

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Last night whilst unable to sleep (summer holidays play havoc with my sleep routine!) it suddenly occurred to me that one of my favourite brands Mantaray (http://www.debenhams.com/women/mantaray) didn’t have much of an online presence. It is a subsidiary of Debenhams so it has a section on their website but it doesn’t have a Twitter or Facebook page as many other stores would. This led me to the site and I was delighted to find a host of lovely prints!

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This is the kind of print I go gaga  for! It feels very homely and almost hand drawn. I love the detail in this top – especially the little hot air balloons.

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I’m not a festival goer but this print would be perfect if I were. Again it’s the attention to detail – those little wellies!

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This lovely beach print dress was one of my purchases. The Dr and I are off to Cornwall in a week’s time and I think it’ll be perfect for wandering around little harbour towns and stopping for a cream tea.

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I adore this blue and yellow boat print dress, but unfortunately it was sold out in my size. It would have been equally perfect for supping cider by the harbour. *sigh*

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There’s a sale on at the moment, so unfortunately this beauty was sold out in my size too. Isn’t that fairground print just to die for? I’m going to have to keep an eye out on eBay for some of the ones I’ve missed. I shall pop into store tomorrow too, to see if they have the odd errant size 14 hanging around (as if!). Until then, I’ll eagerly await my beach print dress and make sure the Dr takes lots of photos when we’re out and about. Make sure you head over to Mantaray and see what you can discover!

It is with a longing for the coast I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

*This vintage adventure was all my own and I paid for all the items reviewed…*

It’s only Sheet Music but I like it…

I was in need of something to fill a very white gap in my bedroom. I’m a little obsessed with painting my new house white. It’s for some reason the only colour I can envisage.  It’s clean, fresh and a great neutral background.

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I spent a lot of time looking at art work on Folksy and Etsy ( my usual ‘go to’ when I need something individual) but couldn’t find anything that seemed appropriate. I think I was looking at vintage advertisements on eBay when I stumbled across some sheet music. This sparked memories of the piles and piles of sheet music that lived on top of my Dad’s piano when I was little. Much of it was old and I used to love leafing through it and looking at the lovely cover art.

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I started a new search on eBay and picked up several pieces of sheet music for a couple of pounds each. Once I’d popped it in some IKEA frames I was very happy with my handiwork.

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I chose pieces of music with ‘moonlight’ and ‘dream’ in the titles as it’s going to be in my bedroom. I like the piece in the centre the best, and it looks like a sunrise, so I figured that works too! I tried to pick colours I thought would work in the room, which wasn’t too tricky as the amount of sheet music options out there was infinite!

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It’s another job ticked off my list – the new house is really taking shape and I have so many things to share, I just need to find the time!

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It is with a full programme of work I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!