It’s only Lindy Bop (Megan) but I like it…

At risk of being a bore, I’m going to talk Lindy Bop again! Although I don’t find pretty dresses remotely boring and I suspect you don’t if you’re reading this!

The Megan dress (http://www.lindybop.co.uk/swing-jive-dresses-c3/megan-flirtatiously-fun-50s-vintage-inspired-pleated-bust-polka-party-dress-p633) in green is the third and final of my Christmas dresses from Dr P. It’s possibly the least dressy of the three – I can see myself wearing this to wander into town for instance, which I may not whilst wearing the other two. We had a little jaunt out to the park to take the photos for this one and I think you’ll agree that Dr P excelled himself.

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I love the shaping on the bodice of this dress. It’s a nice snug fit with a bit of stretch to the fabric. The shaping over the bust is lovely and it did sit where it was meant to even though I’m on the busty side!

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The dress is not lined and I’m going to try it next time with a fluffy petticoat. Who doesn’t love polka dots if we’re honest? The skirt is nice and full and hangs beautifully.

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I teamed it up with a red stretchy belt and my Irregular Choice Green Trinkletina shoes. Low heel of course!

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These have a clear blue acrylic heel and contrasting fabric with a big green bow. I love them!

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I was also wearing a red perspex ring. It’s in the style of Tatty Devine but I think it was from Dorothy Perkins.

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As usual, I applied a slick of Besame Cherry red lipstick and my tortoiseshell Peggy specs from Retro Peepers. These catch the light and look stunning! The dress doesn’t reveal much cleavage so I went sans necklace, although I can see a nice string of pearls at the neck might be perfect.

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I like this dress a lot and it’s an easy one to wear. I can see me getting a lot of use out of it – hopefully when the weather’s a bit warmer! I think the green is a good match with my hair colour and I like the bodice detailing combined with the patterned skirt.

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All in all, it’s three thumbs up from me Lindy Bop!

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

It is with a sepia smile I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Lindy Bop (Lana) but I like it…

As I may have mentioned, it was my birthday on Sunday. I had requested a visit to Grand Cafe (http://www.grand-cafe.co.uk/home) in Southampton. It’s just over the road from where we live and I have been angling to get inside for months now! I walk past it all the time and I am a sucker for an old building. Southampton was pretty decimated in World War Two and it’s lovely old buildings are few and far between, often flanked by some nasty 70s concrete flats. Peeking through the (rather high) windows I could see lovely fabrics, nice hanging lamps and the odd bit of cutlery, but could never get a proper look. This had to be rectified!

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We decided to go there for Afternoon Tea. Mostly because of cake. And tea. And cake. Did I mention cake? I love the fact that we Brits invented a meal around those two glorious things. I thought I might use it as an excuse to wear one of my new Lindy Bop (http://www.lindybop.co.uk/swing-jive-dresses-c3/lana-playful-polka-dot-50s-style-dress-with-cinch-waist-bel-p858) dresses.

It was served on vintage china, which was a lovely first impression. I ordered a big pot of Assam and Dr P got a coffee pot.

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It was beautifully decorated for Christmas, everything seemed to sparkle, including the crooning gentleman that entertained us for the first hour or so.

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When the Dr made the reservation he told the staff I was a pescatarian so they had kindly given us lots of cheese, egg and salmon sandwiches and just a few Italian ham sandwiches for Dr P. I did sample all of the sandwiches, but left the lion’s share for the Dr as I was impatient to get on to the sweet delights. We had 2 scones (with clotted cream and strawberry jam of course) each plus cakes, tartlets and nougat. I must admit I was defeated and only managed half of my cupcake even though it was deliciously light and bouncy. Everything was very tasty and the service was great. And of course it’s not like I had just spent two weeks filling my face with mince pies, Quality Street and Toblerone. Oh no!

I insisted on a few snaps of my Lindy Bop ‘Lana’ dress as we left:

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I loved the weight of the dress – it’s a really nice thick cotton mix, perfect for this time of year (It was quite chilly!) and the skirt is a good length, with a full lining. It was a great fit on my bust, torso and waist and my only criticism would be that the belt doesn’t quite work. I didn’t feel secure that it would stay in one place as the little elasticated bands were quite big for the buttons they looped round, plus it bunched and creased a little when I sat down – but that may be to do with my oddly shaped tummy! It’s easily fixed by using one of my many stretchy belts…

I accessorised this divine dotty creation with a little roll and a dark red hairband in my hair, my beloved Retro Peepers (http://www.retropeepers.com/#!peggy/ciaa) specs, a slick of Besame (http://besamecosmetics.eu) Dark Cherry lipstick, a little black shrug and of course, some Irregular Choice (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51HpYgqcWpL._SX395_.jpg) shoes! The piece de resistance was my necklace – a birthday gift from Dr P – a tiny silver custard cream from Lily Charmed (http://www.lilycharmed.com):

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All in all, it was a lovely day, a lovely dress and a lovely meal.

It is with an ever expanding waistline I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it…

It’s only a vintage gift but I like it…

Just a quick one today… because it’s my birthday tomorrow! I’m not big on birthdays – it’s a terrible time of year to have one so I’m spending it quietly this year as I often do.

I’m focusing on a vintage gift I received. I think it’s important to make the distinction between retro (imitative of a style or fashion from the recent past) and vintage (denoting something from the past of high quality, especially something representing the best of its kind). I’m a lover of both and there are times where, for functionality, I will go retro rather than vintage. For instance I bought a retro radio a few years ago, because, although I love the stylings of vintage radios, you cannot receive FM or of course Digital.

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This gift was put in my stocking by my Mum and it’s in near perfect condition. I love the design on the top and it’s beautifully stamped out and the colours are very vivid. It has ‘Huntley and Palmer’s Biscuits’ (http://www.huntleyandpalmers.com/index.php/about-us) stamped onto the bottom and a quick Google actually turned up a few surprises. I assumed Huntley and Palmers were no more, but their website shows they are definitely still trading and have a lovely range of products. I’m sure I remember them being mentioned in a Nigel Slater documentary about biscuits that I watched this time last year.

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Originally a Quaker company, Huntley and Palmer began trading in 1822 in Reading. There follows a long and illustrious biscuity career which includes the invention of the Nice biscuit and the packaging boon that was the biscuit tin. Now, I have a penchant for many vintage items, but the biscuit tin is definitely pretty high up there, so I feel indebted to H&P for that alone. The Nice biscuit, if I am honest, I could love without… My Mum has a few biscuit tins from when I was little that are so nostalgic for me, and every Christmas I wander into M&S to check out their range of lovely tins.

Do have a look at the Huntley and Palmers website, they now focus on high end products and I’m definitely going to be having a look next Christmas for gifts to send to relatives. They also stock a lovely range of tins – time to start making my own biscuit tin memories?

Anyway, this was meant to be a quick post but I got drawn in by the history and by looking at other, much older, vintage tins from Huntley and Palmer!

I’m going to use my tin to store and tidy up my ever expanding range of hair accoutrement!

It is with a biscuit craving I say:
It’s only vintage but I like it!

*All views expressed are my own!*

It’s only Lindy Bop but I like it…

I knew I was getting some Lindy Bop dresses for Christmas but I left it entirely up to Dr P which ones he chose. It was with some trepidation that I let that happen, but in many ways, the fact that he chose them made them more special. Also, when you see these bad boys, you will see what great choices he made…

On Christmas day there were 3 flat squishy packages waiting for me and I’m going to share them with you over a couple of posts. I decided to use their arrival as the inspiration for some weight loss, which was successful not least due to a delightful chest infection and cold that was presented to me for the duration of the last week of term! I felt so rotten I ate hardly anything and that shifted the last couple of pounds to help me fit nicely into a size 14. I’m very happy.

The first dress I opened was the Ophelia in red (http://www.lindybop.co.uk/search/ophelia):

I decided to wear it on Christmas day. I was busy cooking Christmas lunch and opening a mountain of presents – my Mum loves Christmas and is so generous! – so there are not any decent photos from the day. Dr P took these for me when we got home.

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As you can see it’s a great fit around my torso and I just love the ruched detail at the bust. I was worried it might be too low cut but it’s not at all. It’s a bit crumpled here as it had been packed after I ironed it, but it did iron up beautifully when I first unpacked it.

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I accessorised it with a jammy dodger biscuit necklace from The Jewellery Junkee (https://www.facebook.com/TheJewelleryJunkee?fref=ts) that Mum put in my stocking, these Irregular Choice (http://www.irregularchoice.com/shop/) low heeled shoes and of course my beloved Retro Peepers  (http://www.retropeepers.com/#!peggy/ciaa) Peggy specs.

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The dress is lovely quality and as I said I loved the detailing on the bodice. The fit around my waist was perfect it worked well without a petticoat – I’ll let you know how it works with one! It has one zip to the rear which is good quality – I hate a sticky zip!

All in all, I think this worked as a fantastic Christmas dress and is brilliant for parties or a more casual Christmas Day dress.

(Oh, and by the way – Happy New Year!)

It is with a playful swish I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Beryl Ware but I like it…

I have so much to tell you! I’ve had a lovely Christmas and a wedding since I last blogged. I’ve been presented with vintage and retro gifts galore, been sales shopping and lots more besides! It’s really difficult to know what to blog about first but I’m going to try and be vaguely chronological…

Dr P had ordered something online a few days before Christmas. I know this because as I walked through the door one crisp evening he was chuntering away about it not arriving in time and how he’d have to save it for my birthday instead. Then, fast forward a few days and a large box arrived in the post, which he took off to the bedroom to examine. I tried various things to sneak into the room: shouting “I need to come in and do my hair!” and “Oh look, a huge pie!” didn’t work and he eventually caved and said – given that he had no idea how he’d wrap it  – I could open it then and there.

It was a little bran tub of delights! I delved into the shredded paper and discovered these vintage beauties:

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He has been taking note of my blog, I think you’ll agree! My very own Woods Beryl Ware teapot, milk jug and cup and saucer. I’m totally in love and they’re a brilliant match for my Gordon Ramsay Royal Doulton crockery that I bought in the summer. Now I own some, I think I’ll have to start collecting. I’ve already had a look on eBay and fallen in love with a cake stand.

The giant bourbon biscuit there was a present from mrsjmp.wordpress.com. It’s from WoodPaperScissors (https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/woodpaperscissorsuk?ref=l2-shopheader-name) and I absolutely love it! Can’t wait to have a friend round for a cuppa and serve some biscuits on it…

It is with a thirsty look I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a bauble but I like it…

There’s something exciting about decorating the house for Christmas isn’t there? Amid the streamers and holly sprigs and mistletoe, the centrepiece of it all is a Christmas tree. It’s been a few years now since I’ve been involved in decorating a tree and I am beginning to miss it. Dr P and I don’t really have room to put up a tree and we are away for Christmas anyway, but this is the last year I will forgoe a tree. I miss it.

There’s something special about about the act of decorating the tree. As children it was a moment we ( my siblings and I ) looked forward to and relished. Mum would bring the tree home, Dad would get the cardboard boxes (with “Xmas decs” scrawled on them) out of the attic and we would attempt to take shovelfulls of sand out of a usually frozen sand pile to fill the bucket it went in. Once it was wedged in place, Mum always insisted on wrapping foiled paper around the bucket to hide its mundaneness. Then we could start the decorating.

The baubles were always my favourite. Of course lights are important, and tinsel or bead strings help draw it all together but the range of different shiny coloured baubles are the real feature for me.

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I always had a fascination for these concave ones, their tactile nature was perfect for tiny hands to explore. My  Grandad’s tree – which I usually got to decorate too – sported many of this design.

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I found lots of lovely examples on eBay but the prices were shocking. Unfortunately I think it would cost me far too much to deck my tree out in vintage baubles…

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It’s lovely to to have something with so much history as part of your Christmas and I do own a few older baubles, that belonged to my parents, from the 70s. You know these disco ball style ones? Classic!

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Althought the fashionable perfectly styled, two coloured, Christmas trees that you see In magazines at this time of year are very appealing, I’m sticking with my tree, which has a mixture of old, new, traditional, and not so traditional decorations. Some I’ve bought, some have been given to me. They all exist together and many of them have stories. I’m looking forward to reuniting them all next Christmas, hopefully in a new home chosen by me and Dr P.

All the same, I’d be very happy to find something like this in my stocking this year 😉

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It is with Christmas tree-envy I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it…

It’s only a Hat but I like it…

I’ve been so good at updating twice a week until now. Last weekend I was in Wales for Mum’s Hen Do, and before I could make my way back to the south, Dr P left for a week in Bordeaux to attend a conference. The combination of Hen Do and a busy, uninspiring week alone left me without inspiration or motivation to post, but today, with the return of my boy all is well with the world and I am back!

I’d like to share a little find I made in Wales. The nearest town – and I use the word loosely, because it’s tiiiiny – is a place called Builth Wells. It’s mostly known for the being the place they hold the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show. Anyway, mum had a few errands to run on Saturday morning so we had a little wander around the town. Despite its small stature, it has a couple of well stocked shops when it comes to knick-knacks and clothing. I found this lovely (www.nomadsclothing.com ) dress there a couple of summers ago:

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So anyway, we nipped into Penelope Primrose (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Penelope-Primrose/298054093544183) and the range of gifts was really lovely. I could have made so many purchases! There were lots of Christmas related items and my Mum made several purchases for stockings, but I am sworn to secrecy on those! I spent ages examining and trying on some stunning silver spinning rings, but it’s that time of year when I feel guilty buying things for myself! I did treat myself to a bar of this through…
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The NomNom spiced pear chocolate is super delish – it’s not pieces of crystallised pear as I expected, but a scrummy layer of spiced pear jam in plain chocolate. Absolutely to die for. I purchased another flavoured bar to put in Dr P’s stocking, so I will tell you more about that later! As you know, I love anything that is handmade and always try to support independent businesses so I was happy to find this and even happier to review it here. I’ve contacted NomNom and asked if I can review some other flavours – here’s hoping!

So, I had dodged the buying of jewellery and was feeling guilt free on my NomNom purchases, on account of them being a small company and needing my support (nothing to do with wanting to eat their chocolate of course!) and I was making my way out of the door when…

I saw it.

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Teal is my true love when it comes to colours and this cute cloche style of hat from http://majorwear.co.uk/two-two/  is something I have always liked but never felt suited me. Well, let me tell you, it was on my head within seconds and on finding a mirror I was smitten. The man behind the counter said it matched my coat perfectly, the confirmation of the fact that the hat cost a mere £19.99 made my mind up for me and my feet found the way to the till to seal the deal.

I’m in love and I will take some better photos soon… I hope you agree it’s a winner and very vintage in it’s styling?

I think the (very obvious) moral of the story here is to shop in local shops, support new businesses and you will find a stunning hat. It’s just a shame that it’s that time of year when I’m supposed to be buying things for other people – oops!

It is with a slight sense of guilt I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only The Box of Delights but I like it…

We needed a stimulus for some independent writing at school this week. We wanted to show the children the beginning of a story and then let them continue it in any direction they chose. I’d done this before using The Polar Express movie, but, because most of them had seen that, I just ended up with 28 identical stories that were all the plot of the film! I racked my brains and something made me think of The Box of Delights, a story by John Masefield, that was beautifully dramatised by the BBC in the mid eighties.

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I looked up the transmission dates and I was only 4 (nearly 5) years old when it was shown and yet I remember parts of it so clearly. It captured me completely and one of my work colleagues – who is the same age as me – felt exactly the same. When we looked it up on youtube, just the opening titles gave me a strange excited butterflies-in-my-tummy feeling!

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The book was first published in 1935 and the evocation of the period is lovely, as you might imagine from the BBC. My students noticed clothes, steam trains and old fashioned luggage to name but a few things.

The story centres on Kay Harker who is just home from boarding school for the Christmas holidays and runs into a few eccentric characters on his journey. He becomes embroiled in a plot to steal a magic box. Patrick Troughton gives a memorable and perfectly pitched performance as Cole Hawlings. I love the theme tune which sounds like it’s played on a music box. The series is creepy in parts and quite odd, I remember finding certain scenes and characters quite frightening when I first saw it, but there is something beautiful and warm about it at the same time. The children loved the first 20 minutes that we watched today and I have promised them more in the next few weeks… It definitely stands the test of time and when I get my DVDs out of storage (or Tat’s Mum’s garage to give it it’s proper name!) I will definitely be rewatching it.

It’s a little vintage treat to tickle your fancy in the run up to Christmas – give it a go!

It is with a sense of deep nostalgia I say:
It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only (Faux) Fur but I like it…

I have a dream. I am dreaming of a winter outfit that I can wear to my Mum’s wedding on the 27th December. I have bought the dress – a delicious offering from Collectif that I feel a million dollars in. I am gutted I can’t show you, but I really want it to be a surprise on the day. The wedding is in Wales and the service is taking place in a tiny stone Church which is just a few doors down from my Mum’s house. Which is the house she grew up in and the house I knew as my Grandparent’s home.

I have a dream of a fur stole. Not a fur coat, just a stole or cape. A sliver of softness and warmth around my shoulders.

So I began my search. I tried the high street, and there are quite a few options but I didn’t feel the styling went with my vintage inspired dress. So I tried eBay. And I revelled in a host of beautiful options, lovely shapes, patterns and shades. But there was one big snag. Most of the vintage furs were real fur. So I searched for the faux furs and they just weren’t as nice. I had a long debate with Dr P and we decided it wasn’t ethical to wear real fur. I became despondent. Where was I going to find this item?

Now a little while ago I saw advertised in Southampton some Drive-in Movies organised by the people from Yellow Vintage Fairs. I squealed, messaged my sister, Mrs JMP(http://mrsjmp.wordpress.com ) and soon we were the proud owners of tickets to see Elf in December. These tickets came with entry to their vintage fair on November 30th too.

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As it happened, my Mum and two of her friends were visiting that weekend so we resolved to take them along.

A chilly Sunday dawned and all my plans to dress up 40s style melted into Just. Wanting. To. Be. Warm. I put on a thick pair of jeans, long sleeved top, thick cardi, coat and scarf. A decision I didn’t regret for a minute.

The event didn’t disappoint. I began my quest for fur as soon as I arrived and there were lots to choose from. Mrs JMP and I even found this little fella – head, legs and claws still attached!

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If I needed any more confirmation – which I didn’t – I could not wear real fur. Ever.

My Mum and I found these fetching numbers. I’m a fan of the turban and I think I can definitely pull it off! My Mum said she had a hat like this in white that she wore to a wedding in the 60s. Amazing!

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We took a much needed break for tea and cake and Mrs JMP and I did some skiing in front of the backdrop.

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Having chatted, discussed and reminisced (“Gran had that china!” “I had one of those when I was a little girl!”) we all headed back into the fray, to the sweet strains of the lovely ladies singing Andrews sisters classics, and made our purchases. I found and bought a lovely faux fur cape and a vintage handbag too. Both are perfect… But I can’t show you. It’s seriously killing me! I tried the whole outfit on just now and it’s everything I wanted it to be. Can’t wait to wear it.

So I have been on a journey. A journey of fashion. A journey of self discovery. A journey of ethics. A journey of finding new weasely friends. And it was a joy my friends!

It is with a love of animals I say:
It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Chutney but I like it…

I’m back, I’m still preserving and this time it’s personal!

i have briefly, mentioned my love of preserves and it’s ability to brighten up my vegetarian sandwiches. I love the tangy, aromatic sludge and it’s contrast with the creamy, crumbly cheddar that is still my ‘go to’ cheese despite having tried many varieties.

I started making my own chutney a long time ago now and was impressed by how easy, how cheap and how consistent it was. I have had many culinary disasters in my time but never in the chutney arena.

One of my favourites is onion chutney – a great balance of sweet and sour, rich and glossy, it’s a real palate pleaser.

I used this recipe with a few adaptations when I made some chutney recently http://realfood.tesco.com/recipes/caramelised-onion-chutney.html .

I’m not supposed to have tasted it yet, but I couldn’t wait – it’s delicious!
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I’ve a craving for some spiced apple chutney – another favourite! So that may be my next project. Until then…

It is with a watering mouth I say:
It’s only Vintage but I like it!