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It’s only Mid-Century Modern but I like it…

The big news is that the Dr and I are looking for a house. I’ve been wanting my own house since even before I moved out of my parental home. If I’d had a bottom drawer it’d be stuffed full of pretties by now. After years of rented properties with nasty wallpaper, dingy rooms and dubiously stained carpets I’m looking forward to somewhere I can make my own.

I’ve given some thought to how I’d like it to be, and exactly which eras will inspire each space. I have found Pinterest to be my best friend here! For the uninitiated, it’s a virtual pin board, where you can search for millions of existing images or add your own. You can view my boards here: www.pinterest.com/vintagemunchkin

After stumbling across MissWestEndGirl’s blog (www.misswestendgirl.com/welcome-living-room) I decided that she had cemented what I wanted when I saw her lovely living room. After some googling and Pinteresting I could put a name to my style. Apparently the living room I desire is Mid Century Modern.

This is the kind of thing I’m thinking:

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I love the colour palette, the clean lines and the wood framed furniture. Of course, who knows what our house will be like? It could have a large Victorian fireplaces, or (God forbid) be some new build with no soul. It might not work at all and all my twitchy-fingered Pinteresting will be a waste. Until then, I can dream. Dream, and spend hours looking for big square sofas. It keeps me happy!

It is with twitchy fingers I say:

Its only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a vintage gift but I like it…

Just a quick one today… because it’s my birthday tomorrow! I’m not big on birthdays – it’s a terrible time of year to have one so I’m spending it quietly this year as I often do.

I’m focusing on a vintage gift I received. I think it’s important to make the distinction between retro (imitative of a style or fashion from the recent past) and vintage (denoting something from the past of high quality, especially something representing the best of its kind). I’m a lover of both and there are times where, for functionality, I will go retro rather than vintage. For instance I bought a retro radio a few years ago, because, although I love the stylings of vintage radios, you cannot receive FM or of course Digital.

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This gift was put in my stocking by my Mum and it’s in near perfect condition. I love the design on the top and it’s beautifully stamped out and the colours are very vivid. It has ‘Huntley and Palmer’s Biscuits’ (http://www.huntleyandpalmers.com/index.php/about-us) stamped onto the bottom and a quick Google actually turned up a few surprises. I assumed Huntley and Palmers were no more, but their website shows they are definitely still trading and have a lovely range of products. I’m sure I remember them being mentioned in a Nigel Slater documentary about biscuits that I watched this time last year.

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Originally a Quaker company, Huntley and Palmer began trading in 1822 in Reading. There follows a long and illustrious biscuity career which includes the invention of the Nice biscuit and the packaging boon that was the biscuit tin. Now, I have a penchant for many vintage items, but the biscuit tin is definitely pretty high up there, so I feel indebted to H&P for that alone. The Nice biscuit, if I am honest, I could love without… My Mum has a few biscuit tins from when I was little that are so nostalgic for me, and every Christmas I wander into M&S to check out their range of lovely tins.

Do have a look at the Huntley and Palmers website, they now focus on high end products and I’m definitely going to be having a look next Christmas for gifts to send to relatives. They also stock a lovely range of tins – time to start making my own biscuit tin memories?

Anyway, this was meant to be a quick post but I got drawn in by the history and by looking at other, much older, vintage tins from Huntley and Palmer!

I’m going to use my tin to store and tidy up my ever expanding range of hair accoutrement!

It is with a biscuit craving I say:
It’s only vintage but I like it!

*All views expressed are my own!*

It’s only Beryl Ware but I like it…

I have so much to tell you! I’ve had a lovely Christmas and a wedding since I last blogged. I’ve been presented with vintage and retro gifts galore, been sales shopping and lots more besides! It’s really difficult to know what to blog about first but I’m going to try and be vaguely chronological…

Dr P had ordered something online a few days before Christmas. I know this because as I walked through the door one crisp evening he was chuntering away about it not arriving in time and how he’d have to save it for my birthday instead. Then, fast forward a few days and a large box arrived in the post, which he took off to the bedroom to examine. I tried various things to sneak into the room: shouting “I need to come in and do my hair!” and “Oh look, a huge pie!” didn’t work and he eventually caved and said – given that he had no idea how he’d wrap it  – I could open it then and there.

It was a little bran tub of delights! I delved into the shredded paper and discovered these vintage beauties:

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He has been taking note of my blog, I think you’ll agree! My very own Woods Beryl Ware teapot, milk jug and cup and saucer. I’m totally in love and they’re a brilliant match for my Gordon Ramsay Royal Doulton crockery that I bought in the summer. Now I own some, I think I’ll have to start collecting. I’ve already had a look on eBay and fallen in love with a cake stand.

The giant bourbon biscuit there was a present from mrsjmp.wordpress.com. It’s from WoodPaperScissors (https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/woodpaperscissorsuk?ref=l2-shopheader-name) and I absolutely love it! Can’t wait to have a friend round for a cuppa and serve some biscuits on it…

It is with a thirsty look I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a bauble but I like it…

There’s something exciting about decorating the house for Christmas isn’t there? Amid the streamers and holly sprigs and mistletoe, the centrepiece of it all is a Christmas tree. It’s been a few years now since I’ve been involved in decorating a tree and I am beginning to miss it. Dr P and I don’t really have room to put up a tree and we are away for Christmas anyway, but this is the last year I will forgoe a tree. I miss it.

There’s something special about about the act of decorating the tree. As children it was a moment we ( my siblings and I ) looked forward to and relished. Mum would bring the tree home, Dad would get the cardboard boxes (with “Xmas decs” scrawled on them) out of the attic and we would attempt to take shovelfulls of sand out of a usually frozen sand pile to fill the bucket it went in. Once it was wedged in place, Mum always insisted on wrapping foiled paper around the bucket to hide its mundaneness. Then we could start the decorating.

The baubles were always my favourite. Of course lights are important, and tinsel or bead strings help draw it all together but the range of different shiny coloured baubles are the real feature for me.

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I always had a fascination for these concave ones, their tactile nature was perfect for tiny hands to explore. My  Grandad’s tree – which I usually got to decorate too – sported many of this design.

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I found lots of lovely examples on eBay but the prices were shocking. Unfortunately I think it would cost me far too much to deck my tree out in vintage baubles…

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It’s lovely to to have something with so much history as part of your Christmas and I do own a few older baubles, that belonged to my parents, from the 70s. You know these disco ball style ones? Classic!

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Althought the fashionable perfectly styled, two coloured, Christmas trees that you see In magazines at this time of year are very appealing, I’m sticking with my tree, which has a mixture of old, new, traditional, and not so traditional decorations. Some I’ve bought, some have been given to me. They all exist together and many of them have stories. I’m looking forward to reuniting them all next Christmas, hopefully in a new home chosen by me and Dr P.

All the same, I’d be very happy to find something like this in my stocking this year 😉

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It is with Christmas tree-envy I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it…

It’s only Mason Cash but I like it…

I’m a huge fan of vintage kitchenware as I’ve discussed here before. There are many items that I remember being stalwarts of my Mum, my Gran and other relative’s kitchen cupboards but none more consistently than the Mason Cash cane mixing bowl.

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It’s a basic but beautiful design – heavy based, chip resistant and well, quite frankly almost indestructible. My Mum has had hers for years and I’m sure I sent it spinning to the tiled kitchen floor on a couple of occasions when I was little and we were baking, but it’s still going strong.

I own one myself – of course – and have been very happy with it, so imagine my delight during my romp through Brighton’s North Laines the other day, to find this beauty in a home store.

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What a beautiful updating of their iconic design! It has all the features that make the original mixing bowl so functional but with the addition of these folk tale themed creatures. It initially caught my eye because Dr P’s Mum loves hedgehogs – she bakes scones for the ones that visit her garden. I know. Scones. What can I say – she’s a generous lady!

 Anyway, on glancing at the bowl’s bottom (how rude!) I saw the immortal words Mason Cash and I was smitten.

I’ve since looked up the range – it’s called ‘In the Forest’ and you can find it here: http://www.masoncash.co.uk/Product/Products/InTheForestMixingBowls#.VFUxHFbRo1g.

I’ll admit to ordering one as a future present for Barbara (Dr P’s Mum) and I may have ordered another for myself – just to check the quality, you know… I go to great lengths for my blog, I’ll have you know!

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I’ve already used my hedgehog bowl to make an apple crumble that we ate on Halloween. It was rather delicious, if I do say so myself…

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However it seems almost cruel to separate Mr Hedgehog from his fox, owl and rabbit friends. Should I get the whole set? They’d look so lovely on the floating shelves I’m having in my imaginary kitchen in my imaginary house…

Anyway, check out this range and several others on the Mason Cash website (www.masoncash.co.uk) (the Zest range is delicious!). I guarantee you’ll love the way they have updated and played with their classic designs. And I guarantee you’ll fall in love and buy something.

It is with a forest-themed longing I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Upcycling but I like it!

So I am back to school and the new term has been its usual flurry of triumphs, hard work and a few tears. I’m trying to establish a routine for my evenings and one of things I want to do is to blog regularly. I heard a comment in a film the other day, something along the lines of ‘Go to work, but everything outside of that should be spent doing what you love’. I liked that phrase and it made me want to value my time and achieve things that are important to me in my spare time too.

Today I’m going to share a little upcycling project with you. At least I think it’s upcycling. It may actually just be a repurposed item. I’m not sure. Anyway.

I has a list of things I needed to make Dr P’s kitchen vaguely functional and one of those things was a kitchen roll holder. I checked Amazon, I googled, I ebayed. I couldn’t find one I liked (I am very fussy). And then I had a closer look at the eBay search results and noticed that one of listings was for something called a Copper Posser.

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This slightly UFO-like item is apparently used for agitating your washing in your copper. I decided I liked this chunky copper plunger and it would be perfect for kitchen roll. Within a few days I’d found one and bid until it was winging its way to me! It was the strangest shaped parcel I’d ever received!

It was old and battered and very tarnished but that gave me the chance to do something I’d not done in years – metal polishing! I flipping loved Polishing my Mum’s copper and brass ornaments as a kid and I had so much fun polishing this bad boy up til it shone.

I changed my mind about its (re)purpose at the last minute and it now resides in the bathroom. Dr P has not mentioned it. Not even once. I, for one, like it. I like the fact it had a previous life. I like the fact it bears scars. I like the fact it lives on now in retirement. Next to a toilet…

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It is with a satisfied smile I say:

It’s only Vintage but I like it…

It’s only a Boot Sale but I like it…

This is going to be a regular feature. At least as regular as I can persuade Dr P – or anyone else for that matter – to take me to a Boot Sale!
I am a Booting fan and this is my first one in aaaaages. They’re not big in the Middle East funnily enough…

So today I didn’t go with anything particular in mind, which is possibly the best mindset to have. I also need to be careful, I live in a one bedroom flat and I simply cannot be buying furniture. Even though the vintage drinks cabinet with built in lemon juicer and olive picks was about the cutest thing I have ever seen. No. No no no.

So, you may have seen posters advertising the fact that it’s the 200th birthday of Coleman’s Mustard. They’ve brought out retro packaging. I love it when companies do that. And retro merchandising. Absolutely love it.

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Anyway, today at the boot sale I spied a Colman’s Mustard utensil pot which is one of the items on my list to get so, well, it just had to be done! Especially at the price of 50p…

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Another little obsession I have is these bubbly based bud vases. My Gran had a couple on her kitchen windowsill and I was always fascinated by them as a child. I have a big thing for coloured glass anyway, but the bubbles seem to add something and make these a really classic 50s/60s design for me.

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Total spend: £2.25

It is with a smug smile I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it…

It’s only crockery but I like it…

I’m a bit of a sucker when it comes to nice vintage crockery. My Mum will only drink out of a teacup and saucer – no mugs for her. Whilst my demands are less difficult to meet, I do love the colours and stylings of vintage crockery. I can often be found stroking floral and bird printed porcelain at car boot sales – no really!

One of my favourites is this classic crockery from Wood’s Ware. You may recognise it from ‘Land Girls’, ‘Call the Midwife’ and numerous other costume dramas and films.

Beryl

I’ve always had a bit of a crush on this stocky, dependable, turquoise hued lady, and imagine my delight on turning over a bowl (whilst staying in a peeling static caravan somewhere near Bridport) to find her name was:

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Perfect name for a utilitarian British Icon, I think you’ll agree? It was produced in the 1940s and was a cheap, hard wearing range that you’ll still find in hospital canteens, schools and village halls.

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I still regret not buying this teapot in a charity shop many years ago when I was a student. I’ve always had an old head on young shoulders and desired Beryl’s solid curves even then, when my address changed every 12 months or so and classy pottery was not high on my list of priorities. She’s definitely the one that got away and next time we meet I’m taking her home!

As you know, I’m newly moved in with my man Dr P and his taste in homeware, well it leaves something to be desired. When he moved to Southampton he chose the cheapest crockery set from Argos and ended up with this square black monstrosity.

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I looked around for some new crockery for us – I love cooking for him and I wanted some delicious, made-to-last china for us to enjoy together.
I toyed with many options but finally settled on one – mostly because it reminded me of Beryl. Of course in an ideal world I would scour junk shops, car boot sales and eBay until I had a complete set of chip-free Beryl in my cupboard, but real life encroaches and, like most girls, I am impatient in the pursuit of something I desire.

This set caught my eye when trawling Amazon one day.

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This ‘Maze’ range by Gordon Ramsay for Royal Doulton seemed to combine affordability, style and quality whilst still having Beryl’s charm. I think it comes in white and light blue, but I, of course, went for the soothing teal colour.

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For the photos I’ve teamed it up with my Cath Kidston Toadstool Salt and Pepper pots and some upcycled Grolsch glasses I bought Dr P as a gift.

I’m very happy with it. I ordered from a company called Panters on Amazon and only paid £48 for a set of 12 pieces as opposed to £60 on the Royal Doulton website. When they arrived one dish was badly chipped, but following an email to Panters they shipped out another dish pronto and I had my complete set lovingly washed and gleaming in the cupboard in no time.

It’s the first major purchase of many to bring my dining and cooking up to vintage-inspired par but I think it’s a very promising start! Now I just need to cook something delicious to eat off it!

It is with a watering mouth I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it…