It’s that time of year when all the clothing companies announce their new ranges and I currently have so many clothing posts on the back burner! I am trying to space them out and intersperse them with other things!
This however, could not wait. I’m a real sucker for a great fabric print – a fact I’m sure I’ve attested to on a few occasions. This one is so quirky and there’s something magical about keys, right? It’s quite steampunk, it makes me think of Mary digging up the key to the secret garden aided by a robin and it reminds me of the reading books I read with my sister when she was little, in which a magical key transported children to places and times where they had adventures!
I love the colour and cut of the dress – the back detailing is flirty and yet subtle.
As the nights begin to draw in and it feels like Autumn is definitely creeping up on us, my mind always turns to what I am going to use to keep the chill out in the coming months. Although it is actually my favourite season I am definitely not a fan of the temperature drop that it brings! I grew up in a draughty stone farmhouse on a hilltop in Wales and suffered enough cold in my childhood to last me the rest of my days. I stubbornly refuse to be cold any more than I have to be!
I love choosing my Winter coat and I am seldom seen without a scarf in Winter months too. Luckily my school is in a very new and heat-effective building and, once I’d sorted out the cleaner who opened all my classroom windows at 6am, maintains a nice temperature throughout the day. I do walk to and from work though so I need something substantial to keep me snug on my 15 minute scurry through the frosty air.
I’d like something with a vintage feel, even if it is not actually vintage. Here is my round up so far:
This Caterina cape coat from Monsoon (http://uk.monsoon.co.uk/view/product/uk_catalog/mon_1,mon_1.5/8481430153) is quite 1940s and reminded me of Call the Midwife! What do you think?
I love this 1960s style coat also from Monsoon called Tilda. Just look at the detailing, that print and those vintage look buttons – it’s a dream!
I’ve long been a fan of Scottish clothing company Ness and a few of their beautiful coats have accompanied me through Winters of yore, this year I’d have to choose their Trinity Classic coat (http://www.ness.co.uk/coats-jackets/trinity-classic-coat.html). That thick check looks so warm and I’ve always had a penchant for those toggle buttons! This one’s a definite winner for me…
If you wanted something a little lighter until the chill really sets in, why not go for this Harris Tweed blazer from Next. It ticks two boxes for me – I’d have something made from Harris Tweed which I fell in love with when we visited Edinburgh earlier this year, and a blazer which I always think looks great with jeans for a really preppy look.
This Mossy Thatch velvet coat is from White Stuff (http://www.whitestuff.com/womens/coats-jackets/purple-mossy-thatch-velvet-coat/) and I just love the jewel tones. I’m not adverse to brightly coloured coats – in fact I think I probably take more risks in my coat colours than anything else! My last two coats were vibrant shades of teal and raspberry. I love thick wintery fabrics like this velvet too.
So all I need to do now is pick one and snuggle into it anticipating frosty sojourns to work. You know what – I’m secretly looking forward to it!
When I was a little girl I learned to cook alongside my Mum. Our favourite basic recipes generally came from a small, slim, unprepossessing cook book called the Be-Ro book.
The Be-Ro company was founded in the 1880s and was originally ‘Bell’s Royal’, a grocery company specialising in flour and raising agents. After the death of Edawrd VII it became illegal to use the ‘royal’ name so the company became the snappily title ‘Be-Ro’ company. In the 1920s the company introduced self-raising flour and did a series of demonstrations using new recipes to demonstrate it.
Customers asked for the recipes and the Be-Ro book was born. It has produced over 40 editions of its cookbook to date and one made its way into my stocking not long after I left home, so I could keep making our favourite dishes. I’m proud to say it already has several pages stuck together where a careless cook has spilt ingredients on to its pages during many uses, and before long I shall have to send for an updated copy from the website (www.be-or.co.uk).
I know it’s something I’ll use throughout my life and hopefully pass on to future generations. Thomas Bell and your Be-Ro books – we salute you!
It’s always an exciting day when Collectif bring out a new range. Here are my favourites from the Autumn Winter 2015 collection!
This would just be so incredible as work wear. I must admit I’m not a fan of the “Christmas Jumper’ phenomenon that’s occurred in the last few years. I find it tacky and cheap and really am a complete stick-in-the-mud about the whole thing! But this is so retro and so 40s, that it’s pure class. Also, it might actually make the Collectif wide-leg trousers that I own look right on me. I love them but just don’t quite feel right in them – plagued by the belief I am too short, too fat and too… something! to wear them. I will try again, I promise.
This is the coat of my dreams. I mean, how fabulous would you feel in it? I’m not sure I could pull this look off but I think it’s a gorgeous article…
I can however, well imagine myself at a work do or similar event in this lovely spotty creation. It’s a lovely length and so cutesy with the spots and little bow detail. For all you single ladies out there, I’d wager you’ll definitely get a kiss under the mistletoe in this ensemble!
Finally, if I were the sort of girl who got invited to the sort of parties that suited this beautiful fishtail gown I know I’d choose it. It’s a lovely cut and looks like some stunning material. I’d be channeling that old 1950s glamour in every respect.
Now I just need to decide what to buy and what to hope Santa brings me!
Have to say there’s certainly been a lot of interest in my little site lately. I’ve had over 11 900 hits in the last month. This is all rather wonderful and something I’ve worked hard for over the last year. I always said I’d do this for as long as I was enjoying it and I’ve no plans to give up just yet.
Thank you you for visiting my site and please click on the links at the side to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Bloglovin – or, if you’re a staunch traditionalist, add me to your favourites. I could do this without you but it wouldn’t be half as much fun!
Following a discussion during The Great british Bake Off I decided it was time I give Bakewell Tarts a go as my never-baked-it-before challenge. The Dr (my fiancé) is not a big fan of nuts in cake but he agreed it’d be ok if they were ground nuts, plus it’s a Northern cake so I had the go ahead!
Whilst looking for recipes on the BBC Good Food website (often my go-to when looking for recipes) I found this recipe:
It looked tasty and it looked easy and it had over 300 good reviews so that was enough for me!
It was super easy to make and just involved whizzing ingredients up to make the cake batter, then layering it into the tin with some fresh raspberries in-between. The Dr ate two slices and didn’t complain about the nuts so I’m calling that a success.
It seemed like a good excuse to use my new Beryl china too so I did enjoy a pot of tea with my cake. All in all a very nice experience! Of course, I still have to make the traditional Bakewell Tarts with pastry case and a layer of jam. Next weekend perhaps…
My Mum found something special recently, that we thought was long lost, and she sent me a photo.
It’s a much loved recipe on some very old tide-marked paper, written in my Gran’s own hand. As I think I’ve mentioned before my Gran sadly had a stroke when I was just 4 so I never really got to taste much of her baking. By all accounts she did a good job of baking for her family – at least if that can be judged by how many times her chocolate cake was mentioned at her wake, then she definitely did.
Gwen’s Chocolate Shortcake
Packet of chocolate digestives
4oz of butter
4 desert spoons of drinking chocolate
1 desert spoon of caster sugar
1 tablespoon of golden syrup
Crush the biscuits to a fine crumb in a large bowl. In a pan, gently melt and combine the other ingredients. Add to the biscuit crumbs and stir until combined. Press into a square 21cm tin and put in the fridge until hardened. Cut into small squares and serve.
I love this stuff, it’s very calorific and the only recipe I know that contains drinking chocolate rather than cocoa powder! It’s a taste of my childhood as we used to make it sometimes and I always knew it was Gran’s recipe. This summer it’s been a big hit – the Dr loves it and Sister-in-law-to-be El may have indulged in several chunks when she came to visit. In fact I’ve made about 3 trays, meaning to photograph the finished results but it keeps disappearing before I can get the camera out. Seriously – you must try this.
I’m rather concerned it may have contributed to a few of the pounds I have gained this summer, but hey you can’t get more vintage than that recipe can you?!
It’s a simple thing, a simple pleasure, but one that has been enjoyed for centuries now in different forms. I’d like to refer you to this delightful information film from 1941 that advises how to make the perfect cup of tea.
For me it comes down to a few simple things. I buy various types of tea, usually bags for convenience and – one of my little principles – it must always be Fairtrade. There are lots of options here, often for price and convenience I opt for Sainsbury’s own brand tea as I find it has a nice depth and makes a lovely strong cuppa for a reasonable price.
I agree about freshly drawn, freshly boiled water and I don’t care what anyone says, it definitely does taste better from a favourite cup or mug. I like a large gulp of tea as opposed to a genteel amount and favour these beauties from Blond (www.blond-Amsterdam.nl) as my tea receptacle.
If you can’t get over to Amsterdam to find these then my other favourites are Cath Kidston’s (www.cathkidston.co.uk) lovely big mugs.
Then it comes down to personal preference. I like strong tea, so I let it brew for as long as I can wait, if you like it weak, just ‘show it the bag’. I also only add a splash of milk, but again, adding more will make a weaker cup.
I don’t think there are many who would disagree that tea usually tastes better from a teapot than from a cup? If my fella, the Dr, liked tea I would definitely make pots of tea all the time but unfortunately he doesn’t seem to have a tea shaped hole in his life. I make my tea in the cup and this effects the brew. I do love days when I have family or friends over who share my love of the brown stuff and I can knock up a big pot of tea in my owl teapot!
So relax, make a brew, and find out how they did it in the 1940s. You won’t be disappointed.
It is with a new found knowledge of the relationship between cheese and tea I say: