It’s only a Christmas Tree but I like it…

blue bauble

Whilst I can appreciate the beautifully colour coordinated trees that you often see at this time of year, for me the only acceptable tree is a multicoloured, tinsel-bedecked 70s style tree. I have all kinds of baubles, old ones of my Gran’s, vintage style ones I’ve found in charity shops and ones I’ve collected or received over the years, many with stories attached. I’m not willing to forgo a single one and so they all need to live in harmony together.

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I know tinsel has a bad reputation but I think It adds some reflective glamour. As long as it’s silver. I’m not really partial to any other colours. This stuff came from Poundland and does very nicely…

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The one thing I am missing is a Tree topper. I think I might have a look around in the January sales and see what I can find. I looked on eBay but only found scary 70s dolly angels which scared me a bit!

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So this is my tree. My very first tree in my new house. The first one where I get to choose where it goes and whether it’s real or not (it’s a real one!)

TREEIt is with a twinkling fir in my peripheral vision I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it…

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It’s only a set of Christmas Lights but I like it…

These lights are a family heirloom. They came from the home of an elderly relative and we loved them as kids. There’s something about them – the green flex, the big hand painted bulbs and the vintage box they came in.

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We treasured them and only left them on for short periods of time to make the original bulbs last as long as possible. I adore coloured glass and these vivid colours make them a dream come true for me. Many of those lovely hand painted bulbs have ceased to work now, and we spent ages tracking down the right kind of bulbs to replace them.

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They’re still fab and they give my tree a lovely feel, I think you’ll agree. I found a second set the same on eBay last summer, so I now have a back up! When you find something as perfect as this you have to make provision for the worst thing happening.

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I love putting up festive decorations and remember coming downstairs the morning after ‘trimming up’ and the sight of the tree with its lights taking my breath away. I still feel like that now. Big kid, I suppose… It’s lovely to be doing it in a house I own (sort of) and starting my own traditions. My tree has vintage lights and mostly vintage baubles – but more about that soon when I can take some decent pics!

It is with a twinkling tree I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Small Business Saturday but I like it…

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!

www.camilaprada.com

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www.nikkimcwilliams.com

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www.rescueandrevive.co.uk

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www.theresonlyoneamylaws.co.uk

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www.hannahturner.co.uk

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It is with great awe at these talents I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Gilda but I like it…

I was only telling DrP the other day that I wasn’t going to buy a ‘Christmas Dress’. I said I didn’t need one and I hadn’t seen anything I fancied. Someone must have been listening up there because just a few days later I was having a little browse on the Lindy Bop website and this jumped out at me ( www.lindybop.co.uk/dresses-c1/swing-jive-dresses-c3/gilda-green-alpine-print-swing-dress-p2436 ):

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Is that not the most perfect Christmas dress you have ever seen? This lady is called Gilda (presumably after the vixen played by Rita Hayworth I’m the film of the same name).

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I adore that print – I’m a sucker for a great print, as you know, and the shape and colours are so perfect. It’s like wearing a watercolour!

I think I’d team it up with a nice cardi and some heels. It will be the perfect accessory to my Christmas. I have to say I am a big Lindy Bop fan – their range of affordable dresses are very well made and very wearable… All I need now is some festive weather to go with that lovely alpine scene.

It is with a dream of a white Christmas I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only an Eiderdown but I like it…

imageI love my bed. I’m sure I’ve mentioned that before. I’d had my eye on it for some time and so when the Dr found me my dream house I’d decided it was not time to hold back on the dream bed! He’s very accommodating and agreed to the bed even he likes neither the material it’s made out of or (I suspect) the colour. imageI have lots of nice duvet covers. This one’s Cath Kidston. And I splashed out on some nice white cotton pillow cases to pair up with those nice Rosalie ones from IKEA a few years back, but I still felt the bed was missing something.

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When I was little I remembering toddling in to my parents bedroom in the morning to wake them up. Both my Mum and Dad were not morning people and I’m sure as a baby I inflicted the same amount of sleep deprivation on them that most newborns do, so that added to their ability to sleep late when the opportunity arose.image

Attempts to rouse them were rarely welcomed and after a while I developed a routine of padding into the bedroom and climbing onto the bottom of the bed, wriggling under their cold-to-the-touch gold eiderdown and ‘top and tailing’. I’d lie on my back, head between their toes, and stare up at the patterns and knot holes in the wooden boards on the ceiling until the weight of my hot little body and my general fidgeting induced one of them to get up and make me my Ready Brek. Due to this little daily brouhaha, and me generally being a slow child, I took to calling this bed-dressing garment an ‘underhide’ rather than an eiderdown, because I hid under it…imageSomething reminded me of this recently and instantly I knew what I needed to complete my bed! I looked at lots of vintage eiderdowns on eBay but in the end plumped for this beauty from Next. it was on the sale and I can’t find a link to it now, but it’s a lovely rich raspberry colour and has a super soft velvet edging. It’s double sized but I like it folded and ready to keep my toes warm. I used a voucher from lovely friend Rach to buy it so it was a gift to us too!

I’m happy with the way the bed’s looking now, just lots of other things I want to do in the room!

It is with cosy toes I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Christmas Pudding but I like it…

So Stir up Sunday is here and I’m about to start making my pudding using my sixpence from the Royal Mint. It does feel lovely to be upholding traditions that my grandparents and their parents would have taken part in. It arrived on Friday and it’s lovely – a little silver coin that can be added to my pud (after baking is safer).

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It came with a recipe for a traditional pud, but I think I’ll use a different one. Most of my family aren’t too keen on the traditional pud and the last few years we’ve baked this Chocolate Orange pudding recipe that we found online www.allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/24680/chocolate-christmas-pudding.aspx

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I’m about to start baking and must say I’m looking forward to tasting it. It is not quite as dark and heavy as your average Christmas pud and a little sweeter with the chocolate and orange notes coming through. It’s a good choice for a family Christmas – more likely to be finished by the little ones!

I shall share pics when it’s done!

It is with an aroma of oranges I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a pair of Winter PJs but I like it…

This time of year always leaves me examining my Pyjama drawer looking for the cost pair that will keep me super toasty and sleeping deeply through these challenging Winter months!

I have a few favourite go-to stores when I’m choosing nightwear but on this hunt I’ve cast my net a little wider with some lovely results. So, sit back, grab your hot drink and get that credit card poised as I show you some of the most adorable night wear available this season.

One of my favourite place to shop for Pyjamas is Cath Kidston. I own these London Christmas trousers and the material is sublime. A lovely soft brushed cotton and a cute Wintery print. I didn’t need any more persuading!

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I make no secret of my Fat Face obsession. Their PJs are incredible quality as is everything else they do. Their pyjamas a have lovely detailing – ribbon ties and lace at the hems.

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This house print is incredibly cute and, given the choice, I’d probably go for a pair of these check shorts too. So cute!

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Of course, White Stuff can always be relied upon to show up with an amaking print when you need one.

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I adore this shade of turquoise and I am finding myself quite partial to the image of deer this festive season. I also love the fact they’re a pyjama set – I always seem to buy separates. Those lapels and contrasting dotty material – they’re too good for bed! I might go all northern and wear them round Sainsbury’s!

Now this is the wild card.

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What Katie Did have just presented us with this gorgeous gown. Warm it may not be, but I think you can guarantee to raise the heat when you grace your boudoir is this number. A touch of 1940s glamour is a winner at any time, let alone this holiday season! Perfect for the Night Before Christmas I think you’ll agree!

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It is with a yearning for a warm Christmas I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

 

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 Stir Up Sunday but I like it…

For the uninitiated, Stir Up Sunday is the day on which you’re meant to make your Christmas puddings. These are made in advance and then stored and allowed to mature until you eat them at Christmas.

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Traditionally it’s the last Sunday before advent begins which this year would be next Sunday – the 22nd November. We loved making Christmas puddings when we little. We helped Mum shop for the ingredients and then weighed and measured everything carefully. The best bit was the mixing and stirring and the all important wish! Everyone queued up and took their turn the mix the pudding, asking a wish as they stirred. I never did get the Jason Donovan board game I wished for in 1988, but I’m not bitter. I plan to make puddings when I have wee ones and was quite sad to read a survey recently that said over two thirds of people had never partaken in this ritual.

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Another tradition, one that we didn’t follow, was the addition of a silver sixpence to the mix. Legend has it that whoever got the portion with the coin would have good luck all year.. I think we skipped this one for fear that Granddad’s false teeth weren’t up to that surprise! If it’s a tradition you fancy upholding you might be interested in this: www.royalmint.com/features/stir-up-sunday/claim-your-sixpence

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The Royal Mint are offering a free reproduction sixpence to anyone who has an Instagram or Twitter account. They also have a Christmas Pudding recipe on their website – all you need for a traditional festive dessert! Just fill in the online form and when your sixpence arrives, add a photo of your pudding to your Instagram or Twitter feed. Be quick! You have until midnight on the 18th! It’s recommended you don’t bake it into your pudding, but pop it into a serving and warn your guests! I wasn’t going to make puddings this year, but I think might be persuaded if I have a lovely shiny sixpence. Just need to make sure everyone is looking for their sixpence – rather feel it might take the edge off Christmas Day if we end it with a trip to A&E…

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I’m sitting in the kitchen typing this, bathing in the delicious aromas from my oven. My Christmas cake is in there – the first one I’ve made as a grown up! I used a Mary Berry recipe ( www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/celebration_cake_61952 )  – who else? The Goddess Berry suggested soaking the fruit in Brandy overnight before I made the cake. Turns out buying the cheapest bottle of Brandy in Sainsburys made me feel a little bit like a lush – I do hope the parents in my class didn’t spot me stumbling out of Sainsburys on a Friday night with a bottle of ‘Basics’ brandy. Not a good look!

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Anyway it it smells fab and I can’t wait to spend the next few weeks feeding it brandy and tending to it carefully. I just need to decide how to decorate it now!

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It is with visions of plastic reindeer dancing through my head I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it…

It’s only Welsh Rarebit but I like it…

Autumn is definitely here and it is still my favourite season. I love the cold crisp weather, the warm cosy clothes and I think possibly most of all I love the food.

I like making hot desserts and baking potatoes until they’re soft and fluffy inside, warm steaming casseroles with piles of mash and I like coming in cold from a walk or a shopping expedition to a hot snack for lunch.

One of my favourites is one of the national dishes of Wales: Welsh Rarebit. I’ve always been a bit embarrassed that our national dish is essentially cheese on toast, but over the years I’ve come to love it and find it a very comforting taste.

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There are various ways of making it and various ingredients that can be added or omitted depending on your tastes. I personally am not a fan of adding ale to it and I stick to four essential ingredients:

a nice strong, tasty cheddar

some coarse grain mustard

a finely chopped onion

an uncut loaf of granary bread

Grate yourself a good portion of cheese, add a teaspoon or too of coarse grain mustard and as much finely chopped onion as you can bear. Mix this altogether in a bowl and spread liberally over a thick wedge of bread that has been toasted on one side. Let it toast slowly under a medium grill until it is golden and bubbling.

I like it with a big hot mug of tea, but again, whatever works for you is good. Sometimes, the old classic snacks are the best. This will warm you from the inside out on a cold day and be a virtual Welsh hug – the best kind!

It is with a desire for a cwtch I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!