Month: December 2015

It’s only Christmas 2015 but I like it…

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We spent Christmas 2015 in the North with the Dr’s family. We started with a long drive – the Dr drives and I sleep or listen to music or read or, more often, sleep! A quick cuppa from Starbucks kept me going.

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Spending time in his family home means lots of embarrassing pics of him and his brother when they were lads. Awwwww! Little 80s thugs!

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On Christmas Eve we left the village of Whalley to visit Clitheroe.

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This is the packed (!) Christmas Eve train. To be fair, Whalley is a small station and we only travelled one stop!

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I didn’t take many photos of Clitheroe, only this one of a Nativity scene just near the castle. It’s a quaint town and I picked up a few cute bits. Some good charity shops too – still regretting some Meakin china I didn’t buy!

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After an amazing lunch courtesy of the Dr’s Mum we headed out for a walk through Billington and Whalley and I snapped the river Calder through the railway arches. A day or so later this burst it’s banks and Whalley was infamous on national news for a few hours!

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Because I wasn’t at home to open my Mum’s stocking, the Dr made me a little one – I think he did well don’t you?

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I was was a very lucky girl and these are just a few gifts I snapped with my phone. Lovely Mary Berry egg cups – quite partial to a boiled egg so these have given me a new idea for Saturday breakfast

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I do not know where she found it, but this is the best apron ever! Mother-in-Law-to-be Barbara made a great choice.

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These retro ornaments will fit right in to my vision of a vintage Christmas and I can’t wait to put them on my tree next year…

These are just a few of my gifts, I’m having some trouble with my photo editing software now so I’m using my iPhone which isn’t ideal. I will post more pics. I’m also hosting a little Christmas do for my family tomorrow so I’ll be sharing what I’m cooking and I’ll be getting more presents!

It is with anticipation I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

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

It’s my first Christmas in my lovely vintage home and I’ve been so excited about how to decorate it for the festive season. Here’s a quick tour to show you what ideas I’ve gone for.

My tree is of course my centrepiece and it’s covered in vintage baubles.blue baubleSome of them I bought in charity shops and quite a few were my Gran’s.  concave These concave ones are my favourite. I must admit I can’t stop looking at my tree!  Green Bauble I’m lucky to have a gorgeous mantle piece to dress. I started with a set of white lights and added some cards and this handsome stag which I found reduced in Sainsbury’s  supermarket! I had to take him home with me – although the Dr took the edge off a little when he nicknamed him Dobbin…MantleI love way the white lights bring my glass to life – lots of glowing baubles! stag

I think he adds a certain something and although he was fairly expensive I know I’ll use him year after year.

mezzanine 3 Next up is my dining room. For those of you that haven’t seen it, it has a strange little mezzanine level! We inherited it when we moved in and It’ll have to go sometime, but for now I’ve hung some lights on it and it adds to the ambience if nothing else!mezzanineI decorated in here a few weeks back and the walls were looking very white and bare. I decided to buy some vintage sheet music and adverts to brighten it up. I won’t leave them up all year round, but I’ll buy similar sized prints that I can just flip after Christmas.mezzanine2I love vintage advertising – it has such charm and brings back memories.pics

The other advantage is that each of these cost me just a few pounds and a search on eBay brings up hundreds of results to choose from.pics2I went for a piece of vintage sheet music – Where did my Snowman go – which is one we sang at school as kids.pics3I also nabbed an old Quality Street advert and a Peak Freans biscuits poster too. Both of these are products that are inextricably linked to my childhood Christmases. Tins of chocolate and biscuits were definitely reserved as Christmas treats and we looked forward to them with delight. Something so delicious about prising the lid off and finding layers of biscuits nestled under that piece of tissue paper, or sparking sweet wrappers gently squeaking against each other as you run your fingers through them.

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My silver bowl car boot sale find looks lovely filled with nuts, oranges and candy canes.candles

I’m a sucker for candles at this time of year and a selection of seasonal scented candles and simple tea light holders make a little flickering arrangement in a corner of my living room. TREE

Of of course this bad boy is the behemoth of Christmas, towering over all with his mostly vintage baubles and his original 1940s lights. Totally adorable and I’m going to cry a little but when I have to pack him away.

I’m happy with how everything is looking but have also been trawling the Internet to see what others have done and there are some amazing ideas out there. I’m definitely going to have a good rummage through the department store decorations in the January Sales and see what treasures I can bag. Just need to brace myself for the crowds!

Merry Christmas!

It is with shin pads and Vaseline at the ready I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Sausage Roll but I like it…

It’s that time of year when serious snacking is going on everywhere. I am not one to be outdone and nor should you be. No Christmas buffet is complete without a sausage roll or two. I’m aware these can be bought for pence but those beige, flabby offerings won’t be gracing my table. I’m harking back to the days when a buffet would have been home baked. Follow my simple steps for a superior sausage roll.

Take one sheet of ruff puff pastry from the chilled section of the supermarket. Smother it in some coarse grain mustard. Or some marmite. Or some pesto. Anything you think will enhance your sausage roll. The Dr (my fella) is a mustard fiend so we’re going coarse grain here…

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Next choose some good quality sausages, I’m lucky to have an award winning butcher just a minute up the road and their sausages really are fab – well, so the Dr tells me, as a vegetarian I can’t eat them but I do like supporting small businesses. So, cut your bangers in half and roll them in a strip of mustard encrusted pastry. Seal with a little cold water and place on a baking tray.

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Brush the tops with egg wash (a beaten egg) to make them nice and golden and pop in the oven at 180 degrees for about 20 minutes.

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When they look golden brown and rather like something you’d like to mash into your mouth take them out and let them cool.

Don’t thank me. It’s a just a little treat your friends and family will love you for. Enjoy!

It is with buffet plans formulating I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Mince Pie but I like it…

The mince pie is one of my favourite festive treats and it’s so easy to make.

You can really cheat and buy your pastry and mincemeat. Or, like me, you can semi-cheat and make your pastry but buy your mincemeat! My pastry recipe comes from the trusty Be-Ro book ( www.be-ro.co.uk/recipe/showrec34.html ) and I speed up the process by using my food processor. Just make sure your pastry rests in the fridge before using and handle it as little as possible when you’re cooking.

I buy my mincemeat in the supermarket and don’t know anyone who makes their own. I have seen TV chefs adding to the shop bought stuff in recent years. Quiet a nice idea and a good way of improving it and making it suit your tastes.

I use a mini muffin pan from Pampered Chef ( www.pamperedchef.co.uk ) for mine, I have a little tart shaper from them too which works a treat after a little practice.

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 A little snowy dusting of icing sugar and you’re good to go. The house always smells amazing during and after mince pie baking. I would definitely recommend it. Plus there’s that smug feeling when you offer someone the plate and they say “Did you make these?”.

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It is with a rich fruit and spice scented house I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

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

blue bauble

Whilst I can appreciate the beautifully colour coordinated trees that you often see at this time of year, for me the only acceptable tree is a multicoloured, tinsel-bedecked 70s style tree. I have all kinds of baubles, old ones of my Gran’s, vintage style ones I’ve found in charity shops and ones I’ve collected or received over the years, many with stories attached. I’m not willing to forgo a single one and so they all need to live in harmony together.

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I know tinsel has a bad reputation but I think It adds some reflective glamour. As long as it’s silver. I’m not really partial to any other colours. This stuff came from Poundland and does very nicely…

Gold bauble

The one thing I am missing is a Tree topper. I think I might have a look around in the January sales and see what I can find. I looked on eBay but only found scary 70s dolly angels which scared me a bit!

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So this is my tree. My very first tree in my new house. The first one where I get to choose where it goes and whether it’s real or not (it’s a real one!)

TREEIt is with a twinkling fir in my peripheral vision I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it…

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It’s only a set of Christmas Lights but I like it…

These lights are a family heirloom. They came from the home of an elderly relative and we loved them as kids. There’s something about them – the green flex, the big hand painted bulbs and the vintage box they came in.

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We treasured them and only left them on for short periods of time to make the original bulbs last as long as possible. I adore coloured glass and these vivid colours make them a dream come true for me. Many of those lovely hand painted bulbs have ceased to work now, and we spent ages tracking down the right kind of bulbs to replace them.

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They’re still fab and they give my tree a lovely feel, I think you’ll agree. I found a second set the same on eBay last summer, so I now have a back up! When you find something as perfect as this you have to make provision for the worst thing happening.

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I love putting up festive decorations and remember coming downstairs the morning after ‘trimming up’ and the sight of the tree with its lights taking my breath away. I still feel like that now. Big kid, I suppose… It’s lovely to be doing it in a house I own (sort of) and starting my own traditions. My tree has vintage lights and mostly vintage baubles – but more about that soon when I can take some decent pics!

It is with a twinkling tree I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Small Business Saturday but I like it…

In advance of Small Business Saturday tomorrow here are some of my favourite small retailers. I’m really passionate about buying local, buying independent and buying British. If you still have some Christmas shopping to do, please consider these fantastic people and their unique products.

These are very talented people and all of their work has some whimsical, retro element which makes me love it even more. Please visit and enjoy!

www.camilaprada.com

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www.nikkimcwilliams.com

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www.rescueandrevive.co.uk

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www.theresonlyoneamylaws.co.uk

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www.hannahturner.co.uk

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It is with great awe at these talents I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!