Month: October 2015

It’s only a Penpal but I like it…

The notion of a Penpal is a very old fashioned one, but it has been given a new lease of life with this idea from Carol at ThisisRocksalt ( http://thisisrocksalt.com/foodie-penpals/). The idea of foodie pen pals us that you sign up, get given two names – someone to send to and someone who will send to you – and you send a parcel while you wait for yours to arrive!

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 I received these lovely goodies from Alice. I had lots of nice teabags, some cherry milk chocolate, some healthy crisps and I’m Particularly looking forward to making up the hot chocolate! She also shared some ingredients for making a chicken tagine, so that will be fab next time we have some carnivorous guests over. I’ve just eaten fish and chips but I’m already eyeing up the chocolate…

I loved doing the swap and enjoyed choosing the foods that I sent off to my other pen pal – can’t wait to see her blog all about it! Maybe head over and check it out.

It is with eyes bigger than my belly I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Vintage Bauble but I like it…

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I have a dream of a vintage Christmas and the long term goal of decorating my tree with only vintage baubles. I got a step closer when I discovered these beauties in a charity shop in Wales. I’ve been watching lots of these on eBay and they go for crazy money – what a find!

All I need now is perfect festive weather…

It is with a wish for a white Christmas I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

 

It’s only an Iced Bun but I like it…

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This vintage classic was my Never-baked-it-before challenge today. I had an Auntie who made amazing iced buns when I was little. They were just the right consistency of fluffy bun with a thick layer of sticky icing on top. I used this this recipe from BBC Good Food (http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1269636/easy-iced-buns ) and I think it’s pretty good.

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These were a little smaller than I’d imagined and a bit heavy too. I’m putting that down to the prove. It’s quite cold today and I don’t think they rose enough. The flavour was good though and they didn’t take much effort so I will definitely have another go…

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The plates were a £2 charity shop find on Friday! Aren’t they pastelly delicious?

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It is with a raft of icing stuck to the roof of my mouth I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Christmas Stocking but I like it…

One of my favourite parts of Christmas is opening my Christmas Stocking. My Mum does a mean stocking – a traditional one with sweets and little bits and pieces and a tangerine – not one of these pillowcases crammed with full size presents that seems to be the definition of stocking these days.

As soon as we were old enough my Sister and I took up the gauntlet of making Mum’s stocking and it’s a tradition we still carry on today. When I turned 21 my Mum phoned me to ask if I still wanted one and I was horrified at the idea of not getting a stocking! Yes, I still want Mum’s stocking!

Snoopy Christmas Stocking circa 1984

My stocking always goes in to this Snoopy sock – it was a gift from my Gran when I was little and my brother has one too. It’s not very big but I think I did go through a bit of a Snoopy phase at about age 4 and it always makes me think of Gran at Christmas ensuring it will have many more uses over the years. I think the choice of stocking is very important!

M&S Snowman Stocking with toy 

I heartily recommend the traditional stocking is part of your Christmas if it’s not already. There’s something magical as a child about waking up with that weight on the end of your bed and knowing that Santa has been. Holding the lumpy warmth of the stocking against you as you pull surprises from it’s depths. I love this Snowman stocking from John Lewis, and It would definitely be my choice for any little ones you are buying for…

John Lewis Pom Pom

 The actual stocking itself is very important. I love this Pom Pom Stocking from John Lewis – very fun and could be good if the stocking was for a teenager or someone with a flair for colour in their dress sense.

Marcellabella at Folksy

I love the fabric on this stocking from Marcellabella ( https://folksy.com/shops/Marcellabella ) and it ticks my handmade box too. Go and check out her page for a whole range of lovely stockings!

But of course, remember you have to be good or you’ll find noting but a lump of coal in that stocking – a fact my Granddad never tired of telling me. I don’t know why… I’m always good!

I’m thinking of doing a post about what to put in stockings so pop back and look for that – I consider myself quite good at choosing items for a truly great Christmas stocking!

It is with fond memories of Christmas past I say:

It’s only Vintage but I like it!

It’s only Ercol but I like it…

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We had a chair a little like this in my kitchen when I was growing up. It was just a chair to me at the time, but I always liked its smooth lines and flowing shape. It was comfy and an unusual design with a sprung base and thick cushions on top.

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It’s only now I realise how terrible it was that, as teenagers, my brother and I cut the arms off the chair because they made it hard to play the guitar when sitting in it. It was a genuine Ercol chair and they now sell for lots of money on eBay. Plus of course it’s a design classic. I now appreciate that and do feel bad about the untimely amputation of both of it’s arms. I can only apologise…

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Lucian Ercolani moved to the UK from Italy in 1898 and began a City and Guilds course to become a furniture designer shortly after. The next 20 years saw him work with many legendary names in furniture (Parker Knoll and G-Plan to name but a few) and it was not long before he established his own company which went from strength to strength. Following the second world war Ercol produced a range of utility furniture, again showing their ability to adapt to the times and meet people’s needs for good quality affordable furniture.

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One of of my favourite pieces is the Studio Couch, first introduced in 1956. Made from solid beech and elm it was designed to be a comfortable sofa and double as a guest bed. To me it has a very timeless look and I can see it being easy to incorporate into many themes and colour schemes.

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I’ve watched many Ercol sofas on eBay but always been outbid at the last minute, so imagine my delight when a fully refurbished and reupholstered Couch showed up in my very own city! I chatted it over with the Doctor, read the listing thoroughly, discussed a delivery price with the seller, put in an offer £50 short of the asking price – and it was accepted!

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I’m not entirely sure where it will go, or what I’ll do with it but it took me ages to get to sleep last night because I was so excited about it! I do have a little vision of how it’ll work but I’m not sharing that just now! It has also got me back into wanting to decorate the rest of the house. I got a bit fed up of decorating because I did so much the first few weeks after we moved in. But now I’m raring to go again…

If you want to bag your own Ercol Couch I suggest you try eBay, like me, or look at their rereleased items available from John Lewis and Furniture Village.

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Anyway I’m feeling smug and, in anticipation of the delivery of my sofa on Wednesday, I’m off to look at cushions!

It is with one ear listening out for the doorbell I say:

It’s only Vintage but I like it…

It’s only a Pumpkin Fair but I like it…

 My sister invited Paul and I to go to a  Pumpkin Fair this weekend. Before we left I made hotdogs for everyone and then we ate ginger cookies and chocolate pumpkins, these went down particularly well with Ezra, her partner’s little boy.

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It took us ages to get to the festival as there were lots of queues. It was very busy inside too and there was a rather disappointing show of Pumpkins. I was hoping for lots of varieties and sizes but it was not to be…

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Ez found the local police and tried on their riot gear!

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 We also saw a display of prize wining pumpkins which were pretty impressive to be fair!

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I did buy a couple of pumpkins as it’s our harvest festival at school this week. I’m not sure it’s an event we’ll attend again but we enjoyed lunch with Jess, Isaac and Ezra.

It is with a longing for a large pumpkin display I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Corduroy but I like it…

I’m currently having a massive love in with corduroy.  I think it’s the changing of the seasons and wanting something warm and cosy to wear. I’m loving the dress, funky tights and shoes combo. It’s a bit mid 90s and I’m not even sure I can pull it off but I love it none the less.

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The High Street has a fair bit of Cord action so I can’t be too far off in the fashion stakes.  Love this Fat Face skirt, great colour and length – it could be worn at work or on your day off…

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I’ve got a cord dress from White Stuff and I love it. It’s the same shape as this and so comfy to wear. It’s a very classic retro item and I think it looks quite smart teamed up with tights and boots. Love this patterned version in wine!

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As usual Nomads offer some great examples of smart casual corduroy dresses. These patterns really make the dresses… I like the fact that, teamed up with tops, tshirts or shirts, these will take you from the Autumn, through the Winter and into the Spring. That’s what I call value for money!

My advice this autumn? Get your corderoy on!

It is with a love of the furrowed fabric I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it…

It’s only a Ginger Biscuit but I like it…

This is a rare thing – a recipe I have actually adapted to suit my tastes.  I know that’s what you’re meant to do – tinker with things, change amounts, add a bit of rosemary, but I never get round to it. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, I’ll cook something else.

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This has evolved by accident – the first time I cooked it I didn’t have any treacle so I put golden syrup in instead. It made the biscuits a bit chewier, with a crunchy outside. you can experiment with different amounts of both depending on your tastes!

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This is time of year always make me crave things with ginger and cinnamon and these are yummy. I made some this week and put half in the freezer for the weekend – we’re going to a pumpkin fair and I’m cooking lunch after. I thought hot dogs followed by ginger biscuits might hit the spot!

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Ginger Biscuits

340g Self Raising Flour

225g Sugar

115g Margarine

1 egg

2tbsp Golden Syrup

3 tsp Ground Ginger

1tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

Melt syrup, sugar, bicarbonate and margarine. Add egg, flour and ginger. Roll into small balls and place on a greased tray, well spaced apart. Bake at Gas 5/190C for about ten minutes. Be sure to remove from tray after just a few minutes of cooling!

I love the cracked surface of these biscuits, caused I think by the addition of Bicarbonate of soda. These are a fab Autumn bake – best enjoyed with a hot cuppa.

It is with anticipation of a pumpkin fest I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Bunty but I like it…

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Can you name the ladies above? Can you name the comic they appeared in? I certainly can as I read it voraciously as a girl. As did many girls before me. Bunty comic was first published in 1958 and ran until 2001. It featured lots of serial comic strip stories – tales of servant girls in Victorian Britain, jolly japes at private school with the Four Marys (There you go – did you guess it?) and brave alpine vets to name but a few. It also had it’s own annual produced every Christmas

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I fancy the stories then were very wholesome – although they did appeal to the feminist in me. In Famous Five books Anne and George always seemed to get left behind at the denouement when the boys headed off to confront the art thieves in the castle basement. In Bunty the girls were the heroines of the day – they saved goats from mountain ravines, fought local councils to save that oak tree in the school grounds or worked through the night to perfect their routine and show that injured, bitter gymnastics mistress what they were really made of. They made me believe girls could have adventures too. They showed me that you could fight the system and win and that, well, sometimes it took a really, really, ridiculously good female vet to figure out how to move an angry hippo from one zoo enclosure to another…

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Of course Bunty went through changes trying to keep up with the times. The magazines got bigger, glossier and even Bunty herself changed her style. I still read it but it wasn’t the same and once the Four Marys had had a makeover and were eventually axed I conceded it was time to move on. With their competitors Just Seventeen and Mizz having columns like ‘Position of the Fortnight’ and problem pages full of girls not sure ‘how’ to kiss, Bunty was looking more and more like the Maiden Aunt with the twinset and pearls.  I think a snigger from a classmate finally made me put down my Bunty and ask for a different magazine. Shame on me…

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My Mum read Bunty, I think my sister read it for a bit, I still have some annuals and I will pass those on to my children to read. Goodness knows what they’ll make of the ballet school stories and the governess adventure stories but I hope they’ll find them as charming and uplifting as I did.

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It is with a yearning to show that grouchy ballet mistress I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!