Category: Uncategorized

It’s only coffee cake but I like it…

The funny thing is – I don’t drink coffee. Well, maybe once or twice a year if I’m very hungover or tired and really need a hit to get me through. But for some reason when I saw this recipe I really fancied making it – I think it’s because it’s the first coffee cake recipe I’ve seen with whole spoonfuls of coffee in it!


Cut Out and Keep ( is the brainchild of Cat Morley. She’s been running the website since she was at Uni and it’s a great place to discover craft projects and then share your own versions of them. I’ve used it lots and hope to lots more in the future when I finally have some room to make a mess!

Anyway, the coffee cake was one of my favourite type of cake recipes as it just involves pretty much mixing everything up in a bowl and then putting it in a cake tin. This, I can do! I bought Dr P some nice filter coffee from an independent coffee shop for Xmas so two generous spoonfuls went into the mix!


Cat didn’t specify which type of flour so I assumed it was plain flour, due to the other raising agents in it. I put it in a loaf tin, which again seemed to work. It made a very rich and quite dense cake which had a proper coffee hit – not one of those springy, pale brown coffee cakes with a few drops of coffee essence. It was another of my never-baked-it challenges and I’m pleased with the results. As is often the way, I had a few slices and then took the rest to work, it disappeared quickly!

Check out Cut Out and Keep, and maybe try the cake too – let me know how you get on!

It is with a sizeable caffeine hit I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Orla Kiely but I like it…

I just had to share this with you.

I’ve been a fan of Orla Kiely’s 70s inspired designs for a while.




I seem to find myself drawn more and more to these organic patterns. Not sure if they’re Mid Century Mod or just another style I like that I’ll have to fit in some how!

Anyway, this week Douwe Egberts have launched their packaging with some Orla Kiely patterns. Their jars are reusable and if I drank coffee (which I don’t) I’d definitely be buying their brand in order to use them for storage.


From what I can gather online, Co-op stores are stocking them currently, but other supermarkets will have them from next week. I am off on a hunt tomorrow and I will let you know how I get on. I need to bag some of these babies for my kitchen shelves!


It is with a mission I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Bespoke dress (update!) but I like it…

I had an exciting parcel today – my toile, from Ali over at Shake your Tush(
I was unaware of this but apparently it’s good practice for dressmakers to make a practice garment when using a new pattern. Well, I say a new pattern, this one is from the early 1950s! Anyway, they’re often made from cheap material, because sometimes multiple toiles might be made before a pattern is perfected.


Ali doesn’t make them out of cheap fabric and I love this green rosey pattern. It’s lovely cotton and it’s even better on!


Excuse the dark photos and mad hair – I had just got in from a heavy week!


I’m very happy with the fit- it’s like a glove! Very excited to get my real dress. The next step is for Ali to to use this same pattern to make my dress from the vintage sheet I gave her.
I shall keep you posted. Meanwhile I need to find out how much she charges for her toiles! If we have a sunny day this weekend (looking doubtful) I quite fancy giving it an outing!


It is with a meteorological wish I say:
It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Fish Dish but I like it…

Apparently it’s traditional to eat fish on Good Friday. I don’t know how I got to be 30-something and not know this but the Dr has put me straight and I intend to uphold it from now on.

It gives me an opportunity to make this amazing Jamie Oliver tray bake. It’s one of his 30 minute meals, so you can find the video online, but the basic recipe is here:

As is usual with Mr Oliver it’s a very easy ‘bish bash bosh’ recipe – throw it all in a tray and whack it in the oven. The flavours are incredible and the colours are pretty good too.

But the best part is the salsa verde. This sauce is so amazing. Really intense flavours. Seriously. You must make it.


It was all served up with a dish of new potatoes. Simple and perfect.


I had been looking forward to this meal for 2 weeks and it didn’t disappoint. Such good, tasty food to put into my body.

Wishing you all a Happy Easter!

It is with a satisfied belly I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Ric Rac but I like it…

Ric rac, for the uninitiated among you, is a kind of cotton ribbon used by crafty people to embellish clothes and homeware. I remember it from Textiles lessons at high school.


Quite honestly I had never really given it a second glance, much less, considered it inspiration  for a whole range of lovely things to wear and to decorate my home with. This is why I am not Cath Kidston. The woman really is a genius.


The pattern on the crockery is fun, colourful and would be a lovely splash of colour on my breakfast table. I’m not showing you the cake plate because it’s just too cute and IT’S MINE OK?


I am head over heels in love with this dress – the pattern transfers so well to the cotton and the colours are so perfect for Spring. I’d just love to team it with sandals and a wicker basket for a walk into town. Bliss!


The detail of this skirt though is what really has me swooning. This isn’t a print – it actually has all those colours and thicknesses of ric rac sewn on. I’m not someone who wears a lot of skirts, but boy would I make an exception for this bad boy! At £85 I don’t really think I can justify it as a purchase but suffice it to say I will be camping outside my local Cath Kidson shop when they announce the next sale.

It’s also inspired me to have my own ric rac adventures one day. As soon as we’ve moved and I’ve remembered who I gave my sewing machine to, I’ll be busily sewing yards of ric rac to things (with mixed success I expect!)…

It is with a crafty yearning I say…

It’s only vintage but I like it…

It’s only perfume but I like it…

Smell is the most sensitive of the senses. It is the sense most linked to emotional recollection and one study showed that people could recall scents within 65% accuracy after a year whilst visual recall is about 50% within 3 months.

With this in mind I think the choice of scent to go with my vintage attire is very important. My first thoughts about vintage scent were the bottles of Yardley perfume my Gran always had in her handbag. My Gran sadly suffered a stroke when I was just 4 and she remained house ( well, chair) bound for over 14 years following that. Next to her chair she always kept her handbag – as though she may be called upon to leave the house at any moment. It contained – amongst other things- lipstick, perfume and, I seem to recall, a love letter my Grandad sent her when he was serving in Burma during the Second World War. There was a perfume called Tweed, a blue bottle containing a perfume called Blue Lace and possibly others. The smells were not pleasing to my little nose, a bit cloying perhaps, but I still loved the feel of the cool glass bottle, the shiny material which formed the drawstring purse it came in and I longed to arch my neck and spray clouds of quickly dissipating loveliness on my skin. It seemed so grown up.

I toyed with a rose scented perfume a few years back. The Body Shop’s Moroccan Rose to be exact.


Most of my friends dismissed it as ‘Granified’ but I liked it’s old worldly charm. Paul Smith has a nice rose scented perfume – a little more musky, but delicious.


But it was on a recent shopping trip I decided to try a new shop. I have passed the odd Jo Malone store on my travels but never really delved in. I visited the store in John Lewis in West Quay, Southampton and had a very nice experience. I explained I was looking for something floral and vintage-y and the assistant was very helpful. She showed me several different scents and sprayed them onto cards for me, then let me wander and sniff until I’d made a decision.

In the end I plumped for the English Pear and Freesia, finding it floral with a hint of sweetness.

I’ve mentioned my penchant for nice packaging before and this was definitely a box I could tick!


The cream and black packaging is very classy and two samples of other scents were popped into my ribboned bag, which was stuffed with scented tissue paper.

An even nicer end to this story is the lovely card I received in the post a few days later.


I’m very happy with the perfume. Dr P says he likes it. My Mum was less impressed. She said it was too strong, but I must admit I sprayed a lot on when I dressed for the wedding (see previous post). It’s a good quality perfume and doesn’t need as liberal an application as I gave. At £45 for 30ml it’s more than I’d usually spend but I think it will go a long way because of its intensity.

On reflection I like the scent, received great service and would definitely recommend a visit – if only for a little spray and sniff!

It is with an arched neck I say:

It’s only Vintage but I like it…

*Disclaimer – this was my own vintage adventure, I paid for all products reviewed!*

It’s only Frilly Chantilly but I like it!

I had a wedding to go to, as is so often in the case in the month of August. In fact we attended three this summer – two were for my sister’s ( nuptials and the other was my cousin Kate’s wedding. My cousin’s was a big family affair – all of my Dad’s extended family, so I wanted to look lovely and to show off my new vintage style. I needed a stunning summery dress and one night when I couldn’t sleep I had a trawl around all of the vintage clothing sites I know of. A new discovery that week had been and a quick browse there soon found me exactly what I had been looking for.

Their beautiful Garden Party dress comes in two lengths and is quite reasonably priced at £45. I loved the shape of it and went to bed that night dreaming of a big floral cloud of a dress! I imagined how striking I would look placed in the rolling, Welsh fields of my cousin’s wedding reception. It was definitely love at first sight!

It arrived promptly and, it embarrasses me to say it, but I am a massive sucker for nice packaging! This didn’t disappoint.

I loved the fact in came in a nice box and the ribbon has been stashed away to be repurposed!

I went for the longer length and was very happy with the quality of the dress. It was made from a nice weight cotton mix fabric. It had pretty lapel details to the front and purple buttons at the centre. I’m a new convert to the halter neck, having previously thought it wouldn’t work due to my capacious chest! It had a zip to the back which gave me some initial difficulties, due to me being at home alone when it arrived and not being able to do it up myself. I always wondered why ladies in black and white films got their husbands to do up their dresses. Now that I own some 1940s style dresses myself I can see why – these bad boys are fiendishly difficult to do up yourself! One simply must have a husband in order to make sure one goes out properly dressed! It’s about angles and forces and I’m sure there’s an equation out there somewhere which explains it better than I could. I was almost tearful from the frustration of not being able to zip up and try on my new dress. I even considered going out into the hall and asking the lift repairman who was hard at work there to ‘do me up’, but I was worried this sounded like an improper suggestion…

Underneath my dress I put an extra long white petticoat from  I accessorised the dress with a stretchy blue belt off eBay, a simple silver necklace, a purple bag, my Retro Peepers specs and of course, a slick of Besame lipstick…

On the actual day we were too busy drinking Pimms, eating canapés and catching up with long lost rellies to take any decent pictures it would seem. This is the only one I’m sharing!


Dr P and I took these for the purposes of illustration…



I won the (unofficial but coveted) ‘Best Shoes’ award from cousin Huw. Irregular Choice never let me down!


Many of Aunties ooh-ed and ahh-ed over the dress and told me tales of similar dresses they’d had in their youth. They loved the petticoat (I may have flashed it!) and said they hadn’t seen anything like it in years!


One lady guest I didn’t know asked my auntie to please introduce her to the-girl-in-the-50s-dress so she could ask me about it. Job done as far as I’m concerned!

Had a lovely day and the dress made me feel a million dollars. Will definitely head back to Frilly Chantilly next time I have an event.

It is with a fond, hazy summer memory I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it…

*All views expressed are my own and I paid for the items reviewed!*

It’s only Besame but I like it!

I absolutely must tell you about my day on Friday. I had a very nice, unexpected shopping trip in Southampton.

I had read on a Facebook group called ‘Southampton Vintage’ that a cosmetics company called Besame would be peddling their wares in West Quay shopping centre over Friday, Saturday and Sunday as part of their European launch. I had a quick google and was impressed to read the reviews – beautifully packaged vintage inspired cosmetics – whats not to like? I decided I must pop by for a look and though it might be an excuse to dress up a bit and have a go at a vintage hairstyle!

I watched a tutorial on youtube from Lisa Freemont ( ) as, it seems, this is the way to figure out these hairstyles. Lisa’s tutorial was perfect for me because she has short hair that is not cut in a traditional 1940s style, like myself. Anyway, I watched, I listened, I rolled, I pinned, I sprayed, I swore and I repeated a few times. But I have to say, it wasn’t as tricky as I’d thought and for someone like me, who is completely clueless, I was pretty pleased with the results!


I didn’t follow Lisa’s tutorial to the letter – she curled her hair first, but that’s something I have yet to figure out!

I added this dress from Nomads which I bought a couple of summers ago and headed into town.

I found Sharon Holloway (who I believe is one of the main UK stockists of Besame and is co-owner of VHL Emporium) and her lovely team in West Quay and had very quickly inveigled my way into their models chair where Sharon expertly applied some Cherry Red lipstick. I had been shown the range of red lipsticks (I’m a new convert to a bright red lippy!) and immediately adored this shade. Sharon applied it using a brush and gave my lips a lovely shape. She then surprised me by not giving me the hard sell but rather advised me to “Go have a wander round, pout in lots of mirrors and come back if you’d like to make a purchase”. How amazing, and so different to a recent experience where a very pushy assistant put a bag of make up in my hand and asked “Cash or card?” before they’d even finished their sales pitch!


You’ll be pleased to know I did exactly as I was advised and took these photos in a store changing room!


The texture of the lipstick was lovely and it smelt and tasted very natural – I remember buying cheaply made lipstick as a teenager and putting something that smells like swiftly rendered pig fat on my lips is not something I’ll repeat. Besame pride themselves on their use of natural ingredients – and boast that their mascara has just 7 ingredients! Not a claim many manufacturers could make, I’d wager…

Anyway, I wandered, I selfie’d, I purchased two beautifully printed tops and a delish perfume and then headed back to the Besame stand to claim my lippy. I had a quick chat about my blog and then paid a pretty reasonable £22 for my lovely cherry red lipstick. It comes in a lovely vintage style metal case, red velvet slipcase and pretty box. I’m a sucker for nice packaging and this doesn’t disappoint!


I must admit that after this I ate an ice lolly, a big salad and had a few snogs with Dr P when he got in and as you can see it hasn’t budged an inch!


If you’re interested in trying some products check the VHL website here for details:

I’m already planning new purchases and couldn’t be more delighted with this product.

It is with a shimmering lip line I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it…

*Disclaimer* I paid for these products and any views expressed are my own…

It’s only the UK but I like it…

I’m still stuck out here in the sandpit. But not for much longer! I fly home on Saturday and I can honestly say I cannot wait. Missing Dr P, a nasty virus and the admin hell I’ve been through trying to leave here, have left me tired, deflated, unsettled and mildly unhinged.


I want to to come back to the UK because it is home. Because it has history. Because more and more in the past few years we have come to value the things that went before. Traditions and crafts that our grandparents would have engaged in like knitting, sewing and making things out of other, knackered, things! I really value all ethic. I think it is good and real and wholesome and a stark contrast to the ‘Throw-it-away-and-buy-a-new-one’ culture out here.

I’m setting up home with Dr P and I am so looking forward to scouring car boot sales for the perfect vintage jug, or the perfect lamp stand. I want to make my own lampshades – there are like a bazillion tutorials out there, how hard can it be? I’m longing for two key items in my eventual home – a vintage record player and an upright piano. I own the piano, but it’s in Wales so it will be a journey in itself to reunite me with it but it’ll be worth it. As for the record player, I’ll have to do some research. I have a handful of vinyl I rescued from my Dad’s house and I look forward to listening to it in a new space. 


All of this could take some time. I’ll be in Dr P’s new build flat for the first few months and we’ll see what happens from there. But I’m excited and I’m moving in the right direction and that, I find, is always a good start.

It is with an excited flutter I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it…