Month: January 2016

It’s only Knopf Designs but I like it…

I must admit I do love Instagram. I got back into it a year ago when Flo ( ) suggested I link it to my blog. I now use it to advertise my blog posts, but I also follow lots of other eccentrics like myself who post charity shop finds and jugs they bought at the Car Boot Sale for 50p. This gives me hours of amusement but every now and then you find something really special.

knopf3A search for #vintagechina led me to @knopf_designs and Anja’s lovely creations. Anja uses broken, cracked, chipped and solitary pieces of china to make jewellery.


I’m a bit of a vintage china geek and I like to think I know my Hornsea from my Royal Doulton. It’s a family failing – my Mum’s the same!

knopf1If you have a favourite pattern there may well be a piece of jewellery to your taste…



Even if the jewellery isn’t your thing you can appreciate what Anja’s doing – that sense of shame and waste you get when you smash a vintage beauty is forever eradicated! I’m pretty sure she’d gratefully accept that bit of Meakin you dropped when washing up…


You can find Anja on Facebook ( and on Etsy (

I’m almost looking forward to breaking something so I can give it to Anja and see what she makes out of it!

It is with butterfingers I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Mary Berry Homeware but I like it…


 You our may remember these lovely egg cups and spoons I received for Christmas. They’re part of Mary Berry’s homeware range. I did a bit of digging and found out what else Mary has to offer…


You can buy Mary’s products from Sainsburys, John Lewis and Boots.


It’s very classy looking, nice and fresh with shades of blue, grey and white. I like the little duck motif. There are lots of pieces I’d love – the cake plate and jug are particularly pretty! I think they’d blend in very well with my vintage china. Mary has done us proud, I think you’ll agree?


Each store stocks a slightly different range of products and, if you can find them, some are on sale now! See if you can bag a bargain!

It is with a bit of a crush I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Haggis but I like it…

The Dr and I are away this weekend so we had our Burns Night Supper early.

I’ve never made Neeps and Tatties before (or eaten haggis if I’m honest!), but a google of the recipe told me that Neeps aren’t turnips as I’d assumed – but swede! I roasted some chunks of potato and then added some boiled swede, gave it a rough mash and put it back in the oven until it was all golden. Then I covered it, chilled it and later that day returned it to the oven dotted with some butter.image

As I’m veggie I got a vegetarian haggis from my butcher. It said it was made from oatmeal and had fruit and nuts in it. I had to boil it in it’s bag for 40minutes. image

I did like the Neeps and Tatties but I’m afraid I won’t be in a hurry to try the veggie haggis again. I think it lacked some seasoning and was rather bland tasting – a bit like fruity porridge. A little too sweet and in need of some herbs or pepper.imageAll in all it wasn’t my most successful meal but I tried something new and I followed a tradition. I like traditions. Have a good Burn’s Night and I hope your meals are more successful than mine!

It is with a funny taste in my mouth I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it…

It’s only a tradition but I like it…

We spent Christmas with the Dr’s family in Lancashire and while we there I was lucky enough to be given lots of vintage treasures by his Mum. I think she is glad of the space in her house and bemused by my interest in things she has had in her cupboards for years.

imageI will share all the goodies with you over time I’m sure but this is the one that intrigued me. This beautiful box of bone handled kniveswere given to us… But! We had to hand over a penny before we could have them. It’s a tradition apparently, and if you don’t exchange money for knives you’ll fall out! The knife will sever the friendship. I love old traditions and customs and I’d never heard of this!

I wondered if this was a Northern thing, but my Mum says she’s heard of it. I know if you give someone a wallet or purse you must put a coin in it. Something about it meaning they’ll always have money? What superstitions do you observe in your neck of the woods? I feel another blog post coming on, this is rather fascinating…

It is with an urge to research I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only vintage glassware but I like it…

imageCharity shop shopping is a fickle mistress. Sometimes you find lots, sometimes you can go months without finding anything. I’ve been through a dry spell and lost heart a little bit.


This week I nipped out to the post office at lunchtime and decided I had time to pop into one or two charity shops. I found a lovely Meakin teapot in Oxfam but the £9.95 price tag seemed rather steep. Next door in British Heart Foundation I found three Britvic glass and three CherryB glasses priced just £2. I love vintage glassware and have some Britvic tumblers that my Mum bought me.imageThey have so much character and I knew I had to have them! imageWhen I got them to the till the manageress gave me a kind of sideways look and asked if I was interested in retro glasses. I confirmed that I was and she said she had six Babycham glasses out in the back room that she hadn’t put out yet.imageI don’t really need to tell you my response do I? I’m very happy with my vintage glassware for just £4 in total.  Now I just need to host a little winter party to make the most of my beautiful new glasses. What are your best charity shop bargains?

It is with a plan forming I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it…

It’s only a Madeleine but I like it…

My never-baked-it-before challenge this week was French Madeleines. I’d treated myself to the special Madeleine pan with my Christmas money.image

I chose the recipe, after much deliberation, from this Guardian article: . I must admit this is not a last minute treat – it does require effort over a number of hours. I think you’d need to put aside a morning to make them due to the fact you have to chill the batter overnight, chill the tray, then add the batter and chill for an hour before cooking, then repeat part of the process if, like me, you only have one Madeleine tin.


You have to be quite specific with your oven timings too – another few seconds and they begin to burn. I was amazed to collect them after exactly 9 minutes and find they each had that perfect little bump in the centre. I think they were perhaps a little too golden, but for a first attempt I think that’s pretty good!


A little dust dust of icing sugar and I carefully arranged them on my Beryl plate. I’ve always loved the look of these – perfect little scallop shells. And although they were pretty high intensity to make, I definitely think they were worth it. A lovely buttery flavour, very light and so pretty! They went down well with my Sunday visitors and with my work colleagues on Monday.


I also have have a new charity shop mission – a vintage Madeleine pan, so I don’t have to wait an hour between batches!

It is with a keen eye in the bric-a-brac section I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only an Ercol sofa but I like it…

You may remember me making the purchase of a lifetime a few months back ( I had hankered after one of these vintage Ercol sofas for years and finally nabbed one for a reasonable price on eBay.


This is where it lives now and how I’ve accessorised it. I went for a mess of big bold cushions and its nestled in a corner of my dining room. I was worried it might not be comfortable but the sprung base makes it very comfy, and the replaced elasticated weave underneath means it doesn’t sag either. Lots of overstuffed cushions mean you can recline with ease too.

I’ve added some of my favourite Nikki McWilliams ( biscuit cushions. I’ve been buying Nikki’s stuff for years now and this Christmas the Dr treated me to a dark chocolate Tunnocks Caramel Wafer which blends in perfectly.

It is with a place to recline and relax I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Xmas Rocky Road but I like it…

Christmas is all about pushing the boat out, right? Going that extra mile? Finding a few special things to add to the ordinary fare. I was researching recipes before the event and I found Nigella’s Christmas Rocky Road ( ) recipe. It looked rather good, containing crushed amaretti biscuits, Brazil nuts and whole cherries.

First I crushed the amaretti until some was sandy and some chunky. Then I roughly chopped the Brazil nuts too.
image In a basin over hot water I’d melted butter and milk and dark chocolate.image i added this to my biscuit And Brazil nut foundation and stirred it all to mix.imageAdd some mini marshmallows and whole glacé cherries and this calorific dream is almost a reality…imagePress it into trays and allow to set in the fridge – it does make quite a quantity so make sure you give some out to your guests as they leave!imageI served it as Nigella suggested doused in icing sugar and edible glitter, and populated with little reindeer! My Gran’s cake plate got another outing too!

It it was rather delicious, the almond of the biscuits being a good antidote to the sweetness of the marshmallows. I’m not usually a fan of glacé cherries but they were actually very good in this recipe. It was a hit and I think I’ll add it to my festive repertoire, although I may halve the recipe as I fear it has accounted for several pounds I may have gained in the last two weeks!

It is with a sideways glance at the bathroom scales I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Trifle but I like it…

I’m blogging about this because it is the perfect vintage dessert. It’s been around for centuries now and the version most often found on the British table is not a delicate or sensual thing – it is a bolshy technicolor Pat Butcher of a pudding. French trifles are delicate, vanilla scented custardy delights, I bet the Italians do something subtle with feather light sponge, but no. Not for us. imageFor the base of a classic British trifle you need a block of rubbery jelly, some trifle sponges and a tin of fruit cocktail. You know, the tin full of beige lumps that may have once been fruit? If you’re lucky you’ll find two half cherries in there.

Get a nice glass dish, layer your trifle sponges in the bottom, ladle on your fruit and cover with jelly.


Let this set in the fridge, then make up some Bird’s custard. Radioactive yellow custard, from a cardboard tub. I find that if you use nice fresh custard from the supermarket, a skin doesn’t form and therefore it’s hard to spread the double cream on top.image

This is the final step, use a flat knife to spread double cream over your custard layer, and then decorate the top as you wish. When I was a kid hundreds and thousands were the only option. Now I like to grate some chocolate on.

The thing is, even though I’ve been so disparaging about this dessert, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love the colours, the layers, the big squelching spoonfuls and the general tackiness of it. I think it’s one of the first desserts I learned to make and I’ve made very few changes over the years to how I make it. It’s always an event too. Oooh, a trifle. Nothing more exciting to have proudly sitting in the back of your fridge. Go on, have a go! I dare you…

It is with the gauntlet thrown down I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only 2016 but I like it…


We don’t go out on New Years Eve. It has become our tradition to make pies for dinner, drink prosecco and watch a double bill of themed films.

Last night I made the Dr a chicken and mushroom pie and I had a Heidi pie. All home cooked with fresh pastry. And a big bowl of chips of course! It’s simple and could be described as boring but we love pies, we love each other’s company and we love films. We watched Cold Mountain followed by The English Patient – Anthony Minghella double bill.

2015 has been a really big year for us – new house and new ring!  It’s a been a big year for IOVBILI too – finally hit and exceeded the 10k mark and hoping to use that to open lots of doors for me. Couldn’t have done it without all the hits from you! Please keep reading next year and share with any friends you think might be interested.

Wishing you an incredible 2016, one that is truly vintage-tastic!

It is with fervent hopes and dreams I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!