Category: Vintage

It’s only Mary Berry but I like it…

You can’t fail to have heard of the Berry – especially not in the last few years.

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Food writer and TV presenter Mary’s career has been long and varied and I first saw her face inside my Mum’s Hamlyn All-Colour Cookbook.

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This dog eared book lived in the kitchen and it’s pages were dry and dusty from from flour and from being propped up near the cooker. It had been well thumbed and, some of the recipe numbers had been circled in pen – an indication that this was a recipe Mum had tried! I liked the bold technicolour images, although most of the food – especially the desserts, did not look like anything we ever ate! I even ended up buying my own copy later in life when I was trying to learn to cook. It was Mary Berry’s first published cookbook and she has since gone on to write over 70, selling more than 5 million copies.

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She has been most notably on our screens in recent years as one of the judges on The Great British Bake Off. I love this TV series and watch avidly. Her rapport with fellow judge Paul Hollywood and her good grace at the ribbing of hosts Mel and Sue just make her seem like the loveliest lady and really good sport. Her baking prowess cannot be denied – nary a soggy bottom gets past Mary and her penchant for a drop of alcohol in a bake makes me giggle every time!

She’s also become something of a style icon, some of her outfits selling out after she’s worn them on TV. There are various entries on fashion websites with people trying to find out where Mary’s clothes are from!

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I loved her appearance on Back in Time for Dinner recently – she popped up to sell the family an electric oven! A job that she actually had early in her career. She explained that an oven would have been set up in a village hall and Mary would go along and, in front of an audience, make a Victoria sponge to demonstrate this new technology.

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Mary’s had such a long career now and hasn’t been far from our screens in all that time. She comes across as wise and unflappable but never patronising. On GBBO she is always fair but kind and carries herself with style and humour. I long to bake a Victoria Sandwich half that good.

Mary – we salute you!

It is with a culinary desire 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!

 

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!

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Cut Out and Keep (http://www.cutoutandkeep.net) 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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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It is with a mission I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only fruit but I like it…

I took these photos a few weeks ago but forgot to ever post them! It was one of the first sunny days we had and I was having a pottering-at-home day. I needed to pop to the Post Office and decided that was an excuse to put on a dress and start tanning my legs!

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So I’m wearing a Wallis dress, bought on eBay last summer because I really loved the print. The lemons, oranges and cherries are so bold and fun. It’s every bit as vibrant as it looks in the photos. The bolero is from Monsoon a couple of years ago and the shoes are Clarks. The basket was a find at a Lou Lou’s vintage fair recently.

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The result? Well, the guys outside WH Smith – who were trying to sell broadband from a stand – flirted with me and an old man followed me round ASDA for a bit, standing too close.

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All in all, maybe I should stick to jeans next time.

It is with a wry smile I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a retro telephone but I like it…

There are many things I’ll need to purchase when the Dr and I finally get into our new home, but for some reason the item occupying my thoughts today is a retro telephone.

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There are lots of options of course. Some a little twee – perhaps more fitting in Hyacinth Bucket’s home than mine!

A swift gander through the virtual shelves on Amazon and eBay gave me plenty of food for thought. I think my favourite is this old classic. Funnily enough it’s the one we had when I was growing up. Literally for most of my life. It was rural Wales and things didn’t change very much or very quickly!

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But oh, oh, the colours, the beautiful colours. I think I’m probably going to have to go for something on the mint/pale blue/teal spectrum but that mustard is a winner too… Decisions, decisions!

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Of course, this would be fun, but I just think it’s a little but too kitsch – even for me!

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This lady was my first true telephone love – unfortunately I don’t think she’ll cut the mustard in terms of communication. I may save her for a later purchase…

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It is with an image of myself, fingers entangled in telephone cord, I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it…

It’s only Bird’s Custard but I like it…

I do love the story of Bird’s Custard. Did you know that Alfred Bird invented Bird’s custard powder in 1837 because his wife was allergic to eggs? His egg free custard powder became so popular that he opened a factory in Birmingham where they produced the custard powder and the newly invented baking powder too.

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Bird’s company were one of the first to use promotional items and brightly coloured advertising campaigns, making their brand very recognisable. We always had one of the blue, red and yellow tins with the three birds motif languishing in the back of a kitchen cupboard. It was most often pulled out the gloom and the lid prised off at Christmas or Easter to add a custard layer to the trifle we always made.

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I keep a tin in my cupboard too. I’m a fan of custard with my crumble, with a chopped banana or even a slice or two of Swiss roll. It’s very comforting and even though buying fresh custard is now very easy, there are still times when the taste  and consistency of Bird’s is what I want.

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I love old fashioned promotional products. Whether original or reproduction I find them very appealing. My kitchen utensils sit in a Colman’s Mustard pot (no idea how old – a car boot sale find) and somewhere in storage there’s a Bisto gravy jug which is rather lovely.

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I discovered this range of retro Bird’s kitchenalia in a museum gift shop during a recent visit with my class. I managed to walk away without a purchase but I’ve since looked them up on www.amazon.co.uk and once I’ve moved I definitely think I may invest.

Aren’t they great? What promotional beauties are in your cupboards?

 

It is with a desire for red, blue and yellow 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(https://www.facebook.com/shakeyourtush).
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.

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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!

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

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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!

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

It’s only Tunnocks but I like it…

 

 

 

Tunnocks Range

This is the first in a series of posts I’m writing about quintessentially British food. Enjoy!

Ah Tunnocks! Let me count the ways I love thee!

I think it was my Dad who first introduced me to their wares and from the first time I slid my fingertips under the waxed paper of a Caramel Wafer I was hooked. Since then I’ve enjoyed  The Tunnocks Teacake and, for some reason only during the festive season, the coconut dusted Snowball.

Tunnocks (http://www.tunnock.co.uk) are based in a little town called Uddingston, just outside Glasgow. It’s near my friend Rach’s house and it’s on my bucket list to visit the factory – although I gather the tours sell out quickly!

Thomas Tunnock opened a factory there in 1890 and spent many years baking on that site until in the 1950s they brought out a small range of products, in an attempt to market something with a longer shelf life. The introduction of the Teacake, the Caramel Wafer, The Caramel Log and the Snowball meant that business boomed and continues to do so today. On their website they say that ‘Indeed, it is funny how the more things change at Tunnock’s, the more they stay the same.’

Can I talk about packaging at this point? Just look at those yellow boxes. I couldn’t swear to it, but the boxes, the fonts, the waxed paper, the foil – none of it has changed in my lifetime and possibly not since they were first introduced. How many companies could say that? I love the vintage stylings – it’s like buying 1950s groceries. And who wouldn’t love that?!

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The caramel wafer is a delicious multilayered sandwich of wafer and caramel covered in chocolate. I can eat them in multiples. The wrapper boasts “MORE THAN 4000 OF THESE BISCUITS MADE AND SOLD EACH WEEK”. No offence here Tunnocks, but I think it was Nigel Slater who commented on liking the flavour of some things because they always taste slightly stale, and I feel like that about these! I don’t know what it is, but they’re delicious and the kind of thing I would dream of finding in my lunchbox. Running my thumb over the red and gold foil undulations before unfolding the wrapper and sinking my teeth in…

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For me the other behemoth of the Tunnocks empire is the Teacake. With their distinctive slier and red dome, they are once seen never forgotten. These were a staple at birthday parties when I was a child. Nestled in amongst Penguin bars and chocolate fingers they were a special treat. If you’re really clever you can nibble off the chocolate shell, lick out the marshmallow and eat up the crumbly biscuit in one. Not that I’ve ever done that…

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I must admit to being a newbie when it comes to the delights of the Caramel Log. I fancy they were not as readily stocked in my childhood, or perhaps I was always dazzled by the Wafers. I think the Caramel Log is my new favourite. It’s a bit like a Caramel Wafer but one that’s been rolled in toasted coconut, rendering it utterly delicious. A bit messy, as I am generally finding morsels of coconut in my bra up to 48 hours later, but so worth it!

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Again – packaging. I went outside in the sun to take these and they shone and sparkled like the most precious treasure. No filter needed.

I can’t really do a post about Tunnocks without mentioning Nikki McWilliams (http://www.nikkimcwilliams.com). Nikki is an artist who is very much influenced by a nice cup of tea and biscuit – that most British of pastimes. I own several of her cushions, including a pair or Tunnocks Teacake cushions. You must check her out!

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I’m going on a school trip tomorrow (in my real life role as Primary School Teacher) and I will definitely be treating myself to a Caramel Wafer in my lunchbox. A cheese sandwich, an  apple and a little taste of Tunnocks heaven. Winning combination. Make sure you include some in your summer picnics…

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It is with a sugar rush I say:

It’s only Vintage but I like it!

*Disclaimer: I paid for the products reviewed here and this vintage adventure is all my own…*

It’s only Nomads Clothing but I like it…

I have been a fan of Nomads ever since I discovered a rail of their dresses in a tiny shop in Wales. As soon as I stepped out of the changing room in this beauty, Mum, I and the shopkeeper agreed I had to make a purchase!

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I liked the styling of the dress and felt it had some vintage inspiration even if Nomads don’t necessarily identify as a ‘repro’ company.

Nomads have been trading for over 20 years now and deal in Fairtrade, often organic cotton, ladies clothing. They take inspiration from many styles and cultures and everything of theirs I have experienced has been very vibrant and beautiful quality. They do a great range of smart and casual dresses, trousers, tops and some stunning statement coats for the Winter too.

I was lucky enough to be offered some items to review. The first item I chose from this Spring’s range was this lovely glowing shirt dress.

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I had various ideas on how to style it. Firstly thinking some 60s style t-bar shoes and vintage yellow beret. I also fancied a floppy black hat, with maybe a tan belt. But when the day dawned for me to try and take some half decent shots it was such bright sunny day I slipped on my Roxy sunnies, White Stuff flip flops and a black stretchy belt from eBay to nip me in at the waist, going instead for a more 1950s look.

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A little slick of my favourite cherry lipstick from Besame and I was quite happy with the results! I think it conjures up a 1950s picnic scenario with my basket (a fiver at a recent vintage fair!) and vintage flask (Charity shop – 3 pounds) along for the ride. The sunnies and belt make me look very much the 50s pin-up! Well, I like to think so anyway!

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The dress was a size 14 and a great fit on me. It has a lovely collar and pretty shell buttons running all the way down the front. The pattern is perfect – not too bright, but with a lovely glowing yellow and orange that cuts through the white and grey.

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The buttons at the top mean you can reveal as much or as little cleavage as you desire – I definitely think the length and style of this dress make it a multipurpose item – I could certainly wear it to work on sunnier days without any concerns.

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If you can tell good quality cotton by how it feels, then this fabric passes the fingertip test! It’s beautifully soft and fully lined in a gauzy cotton, making it very comfortable in the warmer times we’re hopefully about to have!

I felt that rare combination of comfortable and sexy in this dress and I think it’s also one that could take you from the day to the evening effortlessly. I will admit that I kept it on after I’d taken these photos and when Dr P got home from work I insisted we buy ice creams and walk around the harbour. In my sunnies and lippy, my boy by my side, I felt glam and relaxed – thanks Nomads for the nice memory!

Whilst I don’t specifically shop for items that are Fairtrade, it does assuage my guilt a little to know no-one has been exploited for me to look good. I’m grateful to companies like Nomads for putting options out there for me, making it easier to choose ethical clothing.

All in all, I felt this dress had a nice vintage feel to it and I know I’m going to get lots of wear out of it. If you head over to the Nomads website you’ll find that they’re offering 20% off some items in the lead up Earth Day, so it’s a great time to make a purchase. (http://www.nomadsclothing.com)

If you liked this post, stop back in a few weeks time as I have another Nomads dress to review and it’s a stunner, seriously!

It is with a glamorous glow I say:

It’s only Vintage but I like it!

*I was lucky enough to be given these items to review, but the views expressed are all my own*