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It’s only Past Times Repro Shop but I like it…

It’s not often you come across something that might be totally unique and is something you’d really love.

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Lisa is an old friend I ‘found’ again recently and was delighted to find this is her latest venture. I immediately invested in a couple of rationing style chocolate bars for my classroom when I do my WW2 topic at school.

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I think Lisa’s chocolate would be an ideal gift for older relatives or for someone who loves vintage packaging. It’s funny how vintage packaging is a very vivid walk down memory lane!  You can find her on Facebook ( www.facebook.com/Past-Times-Repro-Shop-1475340269446217/ ) and make your purchases there too. A few of her items may find their way into the stockings I’m making this year!

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It is with a watering mouth I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Cup of Tea but I like it…

It’s a simple thing, a simple pleasure, but one that has been enjoyed for centuries now in different forms. I’d like to refer you to this delightful information film from 1941 that advises how to make the perfect cup of tea.

For me it comes down to a few simple things. I buy various types of tea, usually bags for convenience and – one of my little principles – it must always be Fairtrade. There are lots of options here, often for price and convenience I opt for Sainsbury’s own brand tea as I find it has a nice depth and makes a lovely strong cuppa for a reasonable price.

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I agree about freshly drawn, freshly boiled water and I don’t care what anyone says, it definitely does taste better from a favourite cup or mug. I like a large gulp of tea as opposed to a genteel amount and favour these beauties from Blond (www.blond-Amsterdam.nl) as my tea receptacle.

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If you can’t get over to Amsterdam to find these then my other favourites are Cath Kidston’s (www.cathkidston.co.uk) lovely big mugs.

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Then it comes down to personal preference. I like strong tea, so I let it brew for as long as I can wait, if you like it weak, just ‘show it the bag’. I also only add a splash of milk, but again, adding more will make a weaker cup.

I don’t think there are many who would disagree that tea usually tastes better from a teapot than from a cup? If my fella, the Dr, liked tea I would definitely make pots of tea all the time but unfortunately he doesn’t seem to have a tea shaped hole in his life. I make my tea in the cup and this effects the brew. I do love days when I have family or friends over who share my love of the brown stuff and I can knock up a big pot of tea in my owl teapot!

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So relax, make a brew, and find out how they did it in the 1940s. You won’t be disappointed.

It is with a new found knowledge of the relationship between cheese and tea I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Blackberrying but I like it…

Take one rainy afternoon, with a tiny break in the clouds. Two twitchy adults, experiencing cabin fever after a few days of such weather. One nearby Common and an expanse of brambles.

Unleash adults on unsuspecting brambles in slight lull in the rain. Male adult in supervisory role only – pointing out where the best fruit are. The female of the species (as usual) has to do all the hard work, i.e. wading in to the undergrowth to collect the garnet-hued berries, resulting in purple staining to fingers.

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The rest of the story has echoes of The Little Red Hen. ‘Who’ll help me collect the fruit?’. ‘Not I’ said the Dr. ‘Who’ll help me make the crumble?’. ‘Not I’ said the Dr. ‘Who’ll help me eat the blackberry and apple crumble with an extra crunchy oaty crust and doused in a good few tablespoons of cream?’ ‘I will!’ said the Dr.

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Blackberry and Apple Crumble

12oz Fruit, layered in a dish – I used blackberries and apples, but anything seasonal will be fine.

3oz SR flour

1oz oats

2oz margarine

2oz sugar

Rub the margarine into the flour. Stir in the oats and sugar. Pour this over your fruit of choice and bake in a 180degree oven for about 30 minutes.

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The only thing is – it’s made me feel rather Autumnal. And we’re not quite out of August yet.

It is with a yearning for bonfires and frosts I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a jug but I like it…

I decided it was time the humble jug had a post devoted entirely to itself. Possibly because it’s one item of crockery I find it really hard to walk past.

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I did manage to part with this charity shop find and gave it to my Mum, but it stills hurts…

I think their appeal lies in the fact that they have so many shapes and sizes, patterns and purposes. I try to limit myself to ones that I know I will use.

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This one has quite an obvious purpose. I love my Bisto jug, it was a Car Boot find and although it’s repro rather then retro, it’s got so much character.

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This one has mostly been a vase so far. Mum bought it for me after a particularly stressful time in life.

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This jug matches my teapot and it’s handmade by Hannah Turner(www.hannahturner.co.uk). I discovered her on Instagram (https://instagram.com/hannahturneruk/ ) and made an order that day. Her ceramics have a great vintage feel and they’re robust enough to use everyday.

sm beryl 2 sm berylAgain this one is part of a set. It’s no secret to regular readers that I love my 1940s Beryl china. It’s teeny but perfect for a milk jug when I make tea for visitors.

pink spotsI still haven’t found a purpose for this one… It was gift and it came from a department store.  It was a plant pot for a while, with a nice orchid in it. Perhaps it needs a new purpose. Any ideas?

It is with relief that I didn’t make any double entendres I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Print but I like it…

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I’m a sucker for a good fabric print. This summer I’ve found myself longing for the cute, whimsical, vintage style prints of the 1950s, but I’ve struggled to find anything that is quite what I had in mind.

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Last night whilst unable to sleep (summer holidays play havoc with my sleep routine!) it suddenly occurred to me that one of my favourite brands Mantaray (http://www.debenhams.com/women/mantaray) didn’t have much of an online presence. It is a subsidiary of Debenhams so it has a section on their website but it doesn’t have a Twitter or Facebook page as many other stores would. This led me to the site and I was delighted to find a host of lovely prints!

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This is the kind of print I go gaga  for! It feels very homely and almost hand drawn. I love the detail in this top – especially the little hot air balloons.

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I’m not a festival goer but this print would be perfect if I were. Again it’s the attention to detail – those little wellies!

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This lovely beach print dress was one of my purchases. The Dr and I are off to Cornwall in a week’s time and I think it’ll be perfect for wandering around little harbour towns and stopping for a cream tea.

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I adore this blue and yellow boat print dress, but unfortunately it was sold out in my size. It would have been equally perfect for supping cider by the harbour. *sigh*

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There’s a sale on at the moment, so unfortunately this beauty was sold out in my size too. Isn’t that fairground print just to die for? I’m going to have to keep an eye out on eBay for some of the ones I’ve missed. I shall pop into store tomorrow too, to see if they have the odd errant size 14 hanging around (as if!). Until then, I’ll eagerly await my beach print dress and make sure the Dr takes lots of photos when we’re out and about. Make sure you head over to Mantaray and see what you can discover!

It is with a longing for the coast I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

*This vintage adventure was all my own and I paid for all the items reviewed…*

It’s only Pin Up Girl Clothing but I like it…

As mentioned in an earlier post I gave my Mum a mission to bring this Pin Up Girl (http://pinupgirlclothing.com) dress back from America.

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I wore it to my lovely friend Chloe’s wedding. I accessorised it with this wooden Fruit Market necklace from Tatty Devine(http://tattydevine.com). I absolutely adore it! I think I had a fruit jigsaw when I was a little girl and it reminds me of that. My sunnies are Roxy, my specs are Retro Peepers and my lips are Besame Cherry.

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I decided to bite the bullet and try some wedges with it. I’ve been meaning to try them for ages and I went for quite a high pair from White Stuff(http://whitestuff.com). I bought them on eBay and they arrived just in time. They were a lovely tan colour and, as it turned out, super comfy! I managed quite well in them, navigating lawns and gravel drives without toppling over!

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The dress itself was fab to wear. A nice thick cotton with adjustable straps and that orange print is to die for. It is a very full ‘full circle’ skirt! There is an awful lot of material in that skirt! It was a good fit on my waist, with the the orange belt helping, but not the greatest fit on my torso. It has some boning to the bodice, which didn’t quite sit where I needed it to. My boobs didn’t seem to sit high enough in it. Maybe I need to try it with another bra.

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I added an extra long petticoat from Hell Bunny. On reflection I might have been better off with an ordinary length petticoat. I’m not sure if I like the look of it sticking out from underneath. Is it meant to? Answers on a postcard please…

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I didn’t manage to get many good photos as my phone is malfunctioning at the moment. The Dr took these on his phone and this is a photo of the bride and groom that I knicked from Facebook.

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 It was a beautiful day and I was complimented lots of times on my dress. I had a chat with some ladies in the loo about my necklace. They were amazed I hadn’t bought the dress and necklace from the same place. I felt fab and love the swing photos! I may have made the whole outfit a bit ‘orangey’ but who cares?!

It is with a Kia-Ora reference I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a light shade but I like it…

I’m still choosing bits and pieces for the house. Some decisions are tricky and have me scrolling eBay for hours, some just slot into place very quickly.

We have a high ceilinged hallway which had some quite naff black chandelier type things.

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I was not a big fan.

The house was built in the 30s and something made me think of the lovely glass shades that were popular then. Whilst your typical Tiffany-style shade might have been a bit cheesy I searched eBay and found plenty of results that I thought might work.

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I love this one – plain and classy, it lets lots of light into the hallway and that beautiful amber glass is perfect for my glass obsession.

I also happened upon these lovely ‘fly catcher’ type shades with the beautiful milk glass. There were so many to choose from and they came in a plethora of colours and shapes. The prices ranged too, but I got mine for about £20 – another bargain! It gives a beautiful diffused light – very soft and subtle.

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I haven’t put it up yet because to needs a hook and possibly the flex shortening. It’s on the list for my brother next time he comes down to do some jobs. It’s surprising how much he gets down with a steady supply of tea and malt loaf!

So another few purchases that take me closer to my imagined home. I do now have two guest rooms ready to go and I’ve almost finished painting our bedroom. I’m all out of energy until the end of term I think, so the rest of the decorating can wait until I’m on school holidays. For now I shall just enjoy the finished rooms and be dazzled by my lovely Art Deco style lampshades!

It is with a heavenward gaze I say:
It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Victoria Sponge but I like it…

Another challenge. This time it is not really a #neverbakedit challenge, but more a #neverbakeditsuccessfully challenge. So when the Dr casually asked “Are we baking a cake this weekend?” (We? WE?) and requested a Victoria sponge, I did a little bit of research.

What has happened to me previously is that I have diligently, creamed, mixed, sifted, lined, greased and baked, only to be left with something resembling two eight inch rich tea biscuits. They taste great but don’t exactly look successful. So I had a little google. Mary Berry was there of course with her method where she just mixes all the ingredients. The main thing I noticed was that the amount of ingredients in the Be-Ro recipe I had been using was about half that of all the others that seemed to exist. Also that I think I may have been putting my mixture into 8 inch rather than 7inch tins. Oops.

Rookie mistakes perhaps, but the aim of this is to get better at baking and I think I am. I used this recipe http://www.lovefood.com/guide/recipes/17888/victoria-sponge-recipe. It uses double the quantities of my Be-Ro recipe and calls for 8inch tins. I was careful not to over mix as that is apparently to blame for non-rising cakes!

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I’ll let you judge the results for yourselves!

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I ended up up with two incredible sponges, which I let cool and then slathered raspberry jam (Tesco’s own is rather good for now, until I have a kitchen to boil up my own) on one half and sandwiched them together.

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It tastes every bit as good as it looks and I had forgotten just how good a plain old Victoria sponge can be. I took a few slices to work and everyone agreed this is the recipe we will use when baking for our VE Day party this week. The Dr just polished off two big slices and I can confirm I will be making this again. I have found my perfect Victoria sponge recipe.

It is with a satisfied smile I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it…

 

 

It’s only Madeira cake but I like it…

My latest never-baked-it challenge was a Madeira cake. I was a bit half hearted about it as I’m sure the last time I had it was about 1994 and an elderly rellie fed me a slice, it was quite dry and dusty and by the end there was more on the plate than in my mouth…

I am trying to cover all the basic vintage cake recipes and improve my baking technique in the process so I decided to give it a go none the less. I used this recipe from the BBC Good Food website. I love this website because of the review options – if the recipe has lots of votes it’s probably a winner! http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1940701/madeira-loaf-cake

It was an easy make. Or at least it would be if I actually had a decent electric whisk. One that wasn’t in storage. The one I have is an attachment for a hand held blender thing and it’s pants. It just flings sugar everywhere. My kitchen tiles are now nicely pebbledashed in butter and sugar. I’m just too stubborn to buy one because I already own one!

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It had the zest of a whole lemon in it and 50g of ground almonds, both of which gave it a lovely flavour. The lemon added lots of moisture and flavour and the almonds gave it a nice dense crumb. It has a gorgeous golden brown crust too, which is strangely satisfying!

It rose beautifully in the oven, and became a towering monster of a loaf. I was very proud of it.

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I was made even more proud by the fact that the Dr, who is not really a big cake eater, ate 3 big doorstops of it in one sitting. He kept carving off another chunk and giving me a guilty glance. I think my title of Domestic Goddess can no longer be disputed. My mum and sister popped over one evening this week and I made them a Lancashire hotpot followed by slices of a second Madeira cake. And it went down very well. The Dr and I really enjoyed this dense, moist lemony monster and I think it’ll become a regular.

 

In other news life handed me lots of lemons last week and I have been a bit quiet and lacked the energy to blog.

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Things have picked up a bit, I’m feeling loads better health wise and the house sale may even be back on the cards, although I’m not going to get too excited! Please keep everything crossed for me, and my advice, for what it’s worth, is don’t buy a house off an unpredictable muppet!

It is with a sage look I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Miss Vintage UK 2015 but I like it…

Just a quick reminder that you can vote for me here:

https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152683917717657&id=30797112656&set=a.10152666756157657.1073741838.30797112656&refid=13

Just click the link and like my picture! Would mean so much to me as I need as many likes as possible to get to the next round!

It is with a pleading look I say:
It’s only vintage but I like it!