I wasn’t familiar with Crofton until I saw a post on Instagram – I do find, once you’ve filled up your followers lists with people who have the same interests and obsessions as you, Instagram is a great way of discovering things! Somebody posted a photo of some lovely enamelware – a weakness of mine! I assumed it was Orla Kiely, from the design, but it turned out to be Aldi’s new range of homeware, which was apparently introduced this week.
Well, call me shallow, but after I’d given Baby his toast and first taste of scrambled egg this morning (we are all loving the weaning!) I knew what my mission for the day was.
We headed to our nearest Aldi and gave the range the once over. I was very restrained and only bought the oven dish – I know I’ll use that, whereas the casserole dish – though lovely – will rarely get any use as I don’t often cook casseroles and if I do, with only two of us to eat them, they aren’t that large! It was tough to walk away with only one piece though: those green decals do appeal to something deep inside my soul!
I looked at some of the other bits in the range, and quite liked this storage jar and the pastel pans too. If you’re a fan of the vintage mid century designs and pastel colours it’s definitely worth checking out as a budget alternative. You may need to be quick though, I’ve a feeling it’ll be popular!
For some reason the faux fur cushions are a step too far. Perhaps because Kanye West once tweeted “It’s hard to sleep on fur pillows…” I associate them with the interior decor of a drug lord or an idiot who has more money than taste.
Near the end of August we spent a few days in London and I finally got round to visiting my brother and SiL-to-be in their lovely flat in Harrow. This was a delight for lots of reasons but I’m blogging about it today because of a vintage find my brother made himself. He literally found some china discarded on a street – most of it broken – and picked up a couple of teacups and this jug.
The minute I saw it I knew the design – Homemaker. I’m sure I saw a few pieces show up on an Antiques Roadshow once. A quick glance at the maker stamp confirmed my suspicions!
It shows some lovely key mid century pieces of furniture and homeware.
It was designed by Enid Seeney for Ridgway Potteries in Stoke on Trent in 1957. The design was printed using a new technique where gelatine pads were used to apply the print to the ceramic. It was mass produced and a budget range, sold by Woolworth’s. Many newly married couples in the late 50s and throughout the 60s would have added a set to their new homes.
Nowadays prices start at about £10 for a plate and go as high as £500 if you can find a complete teaset.
I don’t know about you, but I think my bruv made a pretty good find there – I’ve yet to spot a piece, and I visit charity shops most weeks.
I thought I knew lots about designers and manufacturers from the past. I like to think I know my Meakin from my Midwinter, my Cornish Blue from my Willow Pattern but following lots of other vintage has introduced me to a few names I wasn’t familiar with.
The current penchant for Mid Century Scandinavian designs has thrown up the name of Catherine Holm.
Now it turns out – and I hope I’m not the only person to make this mistake – that Catherineholm is actually the name of the factory in Norway, not the name of the designer. The lady responsible for the enamelware designs is Grete Prytz Kittelsen and apparently the lotus leaf motif was added by another designer, Arne Clausen, and Grete never much cared for it, preferring the plain colours and smooth lines of her pieces to speak for themselves.
Ironic that it’s gone on to be so iconic. It was very popular in America and across Scandinavia in the 50s, 60s and 70s and it crops up regularly on my Instagram feed. I loved the design but had never seen a piece in real life.
Until, that is, I made a quick dash into a charity shop in Salisbury when the Dr (my husband) and I were on a little day trip. He is very tolerant of my need to nip into every chazza we wander past, and I do try to be quick, but inevitably he spends much of his life standing outside The British Heart Foundation (in this case) playing Candy Crush on his phone.
I hit the mother lode when I spied this beauty for just £3.99! Have literally never seen another piece of this enamelware and maybe I never will. But for now Grete, I like the lotus leaf design, I’m keeping it. So long and thanks for all the bowls.
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!
Charity 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.They have so much character and I knew I had to have them! When 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.I 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?
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!
I’ve mentioned Hannah Turner (www.hannahturner.co.uk) a few times already and I know I’ve pictured some of her pieces on here but I thought it was time to sing her praises and give her a whole post to herself!
I think I discovered Hannah on Instagram and the minute I saw her Birdy inspired range of ceramics I was smitten. I have a distinct memory of being in bed on a chilly night last autumn and springing out to find my credit card, knowing I just had to make a purchase then and there.
Hannah has several ranges of ceramics and they all seem very 1950s inspired to me. I love genuine vintage china, but I also love mixing it up with modern pieces if they really take my fancy and these have done just that!
Hannah’s ceramics are whimsical and fun and you can definitely see the 1950s cartoons influence that she cites.
Hannah works from her home in Bristol and her range includes tableware, money boxes, screen prints and lots more. She often has some seconds on her website too! Definitely worth checking out.
I love my Owls and use them all the time. I’m now hankering after some toadstool themed crockery to continue my Hannah collection. Perhaps they’ll go on my letter to Santa this year!
I wonder how many of you grew up with some thing like this in your kitchen cupboards? Could you name the brand? Of course you could – it’s Pyrex!
My Mum had a few glass dishes used for serving but my Grandparents were obviously even bigger fans of Pyrex, having a whole dinner service form the popular Opalware range.
This set had enormous oval plates with this very kitsch design around the outside. Thick, strong and durable – pretty trendy at the time I imagine.
This year marks 100 years since Pyrex began selling their wares and their origins are actually quite fascinating. The glass was originally developed as tough glass used for lanterns on the new American railroad. One of the scientists developing it bought the bottom of some jars home and his wife used them for baking. She marvelled at the evenness of the bake and how she could see what was happening in the dish because of the transparent nature of the glass. Pyrex was born!
It’s pretty iconic and the range of Pyrex sold over the years is vast. How many casseroles, stews and fish pies have been served up over the years in these dishes? I have a few pieces myself although I must admit I prefer the plain glass to the opalware – I find some of that a bit kitsch, although if you search on instagram some people’s collections of American Pyrex do make me stop and get a bit jealous.
The pieces I own are the more functional ones – such as the measuring jugs. I love these, they don’t stain or get pitted like the cheap plastic ones, they are strong and durable and last years.
I also love the basins and these are in and out of my cupboard a million times a week because they’re just so useful. I pop them in the microwave to heat things up, whisk eggs in them and use them for weighing ingredients out.
So from humble beginnings and the experimentation of a keen baker came a range of cookware that’s become a staple in homes all over the world. I’m becoming more and more fond of the milky glassware and I do keep an eye out for some of the folksy patterns I see online. Maybe one day I’ll take the plunge! Until then I can guarantee there will always be some well used Pyrex in my kitchen cupboards – Happy Birthday Pyrex!