It’s only vintage glassware but I like it…

imageCharity shop shopping is a fickle mistress. Sometimes you find lots, sometimes you can go months without finding anything. I’ve been through a dry spell and lost heart a little bit.

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This week I nipped out to the post office at lunchtime and decided I had time to pop into one or two charity shops. I found a lovely Meakin teapot in Oxfam but the £9.95 price tag seemed rather steep. Next door in British Heart Foundation I found three Britvic glass and three CherryB glasses priced just £2. I love vintage glassware and have some Britvic tumblers that my Mum bought me.imageThey have so much character and I knew I had to have them! imageWhen I got them to the till the manageress gave me a kind of sideways look and asked if I was interested in retro glasses. I confirmed that I was and she said she had six Babycham glasses out in the back room that she hadn’t put out yet.imageI don’t really need to tell you my response do I? I’m very happy with my vintage glassware for just £4 in total.  Now I just need to host a little winter party to make the most of my beautiful new glasses. What are your best charity shop bargains?

It is with a plan forming I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it…

It’s only a Madeleine but I like it…

My never-baked-it-before challenge this week was French Madeleines. I’d treated myself to the special Madeleine pan with my Christmas money.image

I chose the recipe, after much deliberation, from this Guardian article: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/sep/03/how-to-make-the-perfect-madeleines . I must admit this is not a last minute treat – it does require effort over a number of hours. I think you’d need to put aside a morning to make them due to the fact you have to chill the batter overnight, chill the tray, then add the batter and chill for an hour before cooking, then repeat part of the process if, like me, you only have one Madeleine tin.

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You have to be quite specific with your oven timings too – another few seconds and they begin to burn. I was amazed to collect them after exactly 9 minutes and find they each had that perfect little bump in the centre. I think they were perhaps a little too golden, but for a first attempt I think that’s pretty good!

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A little dust dust of icing sugar and I carefully arranged them on my Beryl plate. I’ve always loved the look of these – perfect little scallop shells. And although they were pretty high intensity to make, I definitely think they were worth it. A lovely buttery flavour, very light and so pretty! They went down well with my Sunday visitors and with my work colleagues on Monday.

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I also have have a new charity shop mission – a vintage Madeleine pan, so I don’t have to wait an hour between batches!

It is with a keen eye in the bric-a-brac section I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only an Ercol sofa but I like it…

You may remember me making the purchase of a lifetime a few months back (http://itsonlyvintagebutilikeit.com/home/its-only-ercol-but-i-like-it/). I had hankered after one of these vintage Ercol sofas for years and finally nabbed one for a reasonable price on eBay.

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This is where it lives now and how I’ve accessorised it. I went for a mess of big bold cushions and its nestled in a corner of my dining room. I was worried it might not be comfortable but the sprung base makes it very comfy, and the replaced elasticated weave underneath means it doesn’t sag either. Lots of overstuffed cushions mean you can recline with ease too.

I’ve added some of my favourite Nikki McWilliams (http://www.nikkimcwilliams.com) biscuit cushions. I’ve been buying Nikki’s stuff for years now and this Christmas the Dr treated me to a dark chocolate Tunnocks Caramel Wafer which blends in perfectly.

It is with a place to recline and relax I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Xmas Rocky Road but I like it…

Christmas is all about pushing the boat out, right? Going that extra mile? Finding a few special things to add to the ordinary fare. I was researching recipes before the event and I found Nigella’s Christmas Rocky Road ( www.nigella.com/recipes/view/christmas-rocky-road ) recipe. It looked rather good, containing crushed amaretti biscuits, Brazil nuts and whole cherries.

First I crushed the amaretti until some was sandy and some chunky. Then I roughly chopped the Brazil nuts too.
image In a basin over hot water I’d melted butter and milk and dark chocolate.image i added this to my biscuit And Brazil nut foundation and stirred it all to mix.imageAdd some mini marshmallows and whole glacé cherries and this calorific dream is almost a reality…imagePress it into trays and allow to set in the fridge – it does make quite a quantity so make sure you give some out to your guests as they leave!imageI served it as Nigella suggested doused in icing sugar and edible glitter, and populated with little reindeer! My Gran’s cake plate got another outing too!
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It it was rather delicious, the almond of the biscuits being a good antidote to the sweetness of the marshmallows. I’m not usually a fan of glacé cherries but they were actually very good in this recipe. It was a hit and I think I’ll add it to my festive repertoire, although I may halve the recipe as I fear it has accounted for several pounds I may have gained in the last two weeks!

It is with a sideways glance at the bathroom scales I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Trifle but I like it…

I’m blogging about this because it is the perfect vintage dessert. It’s been around for centuries now and the version most often found on the British table is not a delicate or sensual thing – it is a bolshy technicolor Pat Butcher of a pudding. French trifles are delicate, vanilla scented custardy delights, I bet the Italians do something subtle with feather light sponge, but no. Not for us. imageFor the base of a classic British trifle you need a block of rubbery jelly, some trifle sponges and a tin of fruit cocktail. You know, the tin full of beige lumps that may have once been fruit? If you’re lucky you’ll find two half cherries in there.
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Get a nice glass dish, layer your trifle sponges in the bottom, ladle on your fruit and cover with jelly.

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Let this set in the fridge, then make up some Bird’s custard. Radioactive yellow custard, from a cardboard tub. I find that if you use nice fresh custard from the supermarket, a skin doesn’t form and therefore it’s hard to spread the double cream on top.image

This is the final step, use a flat knife to spread double cream over your custard layer, and then decorate the top as you wish. When I was a kid hundreds and thousands were the only option. Now I like to grate some chocolate on.

The thing is, even though I’ve been so disparaging about this dessert, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love the colours, the layers, the big squelching spoonfuls and the general tackiness of it. I think it’s one of the first desserts I learned to make and I’ve made very few changes over the years to how I make it. It’s always an event too. Oooh, a trifle. Nothing more exciting to have proudly sitting in the back of your fridge. Go on, have a go! I dare you…

It is with the gauntlet thrown down I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only 2016 but I like it…

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We don’t go out on New Years Eve. It has become our tradition to make pies for dinner, drink prosecco and watch a double bill of themed films.

Last night I made the Dr a chicken and mushroom pie and I had a Heidi pie. All home cooked with fresh pastry. And a big bowl of chips of course! It’s simple and could be described as boring but we love pies, we love each other’s company and we love films. We watched Cold Mountain followed by The English Patient – Anthony Minghella double bill.

2015 has been a really big year for us – new house and new ring!  It’s a been a big year for IOVBILI too – finally hit and exceeded the 10k mark and hoping to use that to open lots of doors for me. Couldn’t have done it without all the hits from you! Please keep reading next year and share with any friends you think might be interested.

Wishing you an incredible 2016, one that is truly vintage-tastic!

It is with fervent hopes and dreams I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Christmas 2015 but I like it…

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We spent Christmas 2015 in the North with the Dr’s family. We started with a long drive – the Dr drives and I sleep or listen to music or read or, more often, sleep! A quick cuppa from Starbucks kept me going.

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Spending time in his family home means lots of embarrassing pics of him and his brother when they were lads. Awwwww! Little 80s thugs!

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On Christmas Eve we left the village of Whalley to visit Clitheroe.

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This is the packed (!) Christmas Eve train. To be fair, Whalley is a small station and we only travelled one stop!

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I didn’t take many photos of Clitheroe, only this one of a Nativity scene just near the castle. It’s a quaint town and I picked up a few cute bits. Some good charity shops too – still regretting some Meakin china I didn’t buy!

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After an amazing lunch courtesy of the Dr’s Mum we headed out for a walk through Billington and Whalley and I snapped the river Calder through the railway arches. A day or so later this burst it’s banks and Whalley was infamous on national news for a few hours!

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Because I wasn’t at home to open my Mum’s stocking, the Dr made me a little one – I think he did well don’t you?

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I was was a very lucky girl and these are just a few gifts I snapped with my phone. Lovely Mary Berry egg cups – quite partial to a boiled egg so these have given me a new idea for Saturday breakfast

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I do not know where she found it, but this is the best apron ever! Mother-in-Law-to-be Barbara made a great choice.

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These retro ornaments will fit right in to my vision of a vintage Christmas and I can’t wait to put them on my tree next year…

These are just a few of my gifts, I’m having some trouble with my photo editing software now so I’m using my iPhone which isn’t ideal. I will post more pics. I’m also hosting a little Christmas do for my family tomorrow so I’ll be sharing what I’m cooking and I’ll be getting more presents!

It is with anticipation I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

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

It’s my first Christmas in my lovely vintage home and I’ve been so excited about how to decorate it for the festive season. Here’s a quick tour to show you what ideas I’ve gone for.

My tree is of course my centrepiece and it’s covered in vintage baubles.blue baubleSome of them I bought in charity shops and quite a few were my Gran’s.  concave These concave ones are my favourite. I must admit I can’t stop looking at my tree!  Green Bauble I’m lucky to have a gorgeous mantle piece to dress. I started with a set of white lights and added some cards and this handsome stag which I found reduced in Sainsbury’s  supermarket! I had to take him home with me – although the Dr took the edge off a little when he nicknamed him Dobbin…MantleI love way the white lights bring my glass to life – lots of glowing baubles! stag

I think he adds a certain something and although he was fairly expensive I know I’ll use him year after year.

mezzanine 3 Next up is my dining room. For those of you that haven’t seen it, it has a strange little mezzanine level! We inherited it when we moved in and It’ll have to go sometime, but for now I’ve hung some lights on it and it adds to the ambience if nothing else!mezzanineI decorated in here a few weeks back and the walls were looking very white and bare. I decided to buy some vintage sheet music and adverts to brighten it up. I won’t leave them up all year round, but I’ll buy similar sized prints that I can just flip after Christmas.mezzanine2I love vintage advertising – it has such charm and brings back memories.pics

The other advantage is that each of these cost me just a few pounds and a search on eBay brings up hundreds of results to choose from.pics2I went for a piece of vintage sheet music – Where did my Snowman go – which is one we sang at school as kids.pics3I also nabbed an old Quality Street advert and a Peak Freans biscuits poster too. Both of these are products that are inextricably linked to my childhood Christmases. Tins of chocolate and biscuits were definitely reserved as Christmas treats and we looked forward to them with delight. Something so delicious about prising the lid off and finding layers of biscuits nestled under that piece of tissue paper, or sparking sweet wrappers gently squeaking against each other as you run your fingers through them.

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My silver bowl car boot sale find looks lovely filled with nuts, oranges and candy canes.candles

I’m a sucker for candles at this time of year and a selection of seasonal scented candles and simple tea light holders make a little flickering arrangement in a corner of my living room. TREE

Of of course this bad boy is the behemoth of Christmas, towering over all with his mostly vintage baubles and his original 1940s lights. Totally adorable and I’m going to cry a little but when I have to pack him away.

I’m happy with how everything is looking but have also been trawling the Internet to see what others have done and there are some amazing ideas out there. I’m definitely going to have a good rummage through the department store decorations in the January Sales and see what treasures I can bag. Just need to brace myself for the crowds!

Merry Christmas!

It is with shin pads and Vaseline at the ready I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Sausage Roll but I like it…

It’s that time of year when serious snacking is going on everywhere. I am not one to be outdone and nor should you be. No Christmas buffet is complete without a sausage roll or two. I’m aware these can be bought for pence but those beige, flabby offerings won’t be gracing my table. I’m harking back to the days when a buffet would have been home baked. Follow my simple steps for a superior sausage roll.

Take one sheet of ruff puff pastry from the chilled section of the supermarket. Smother it in some coarse grain mustard. Or some marmite. Or some pesto. Anything you think will enhance your sausage roll. The Dr (my fella) is a mustard fiend so we’re going coarse grain here…

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Next choose some good quality sausages, I’m lucky to have an award winning butcher just a minute up the road and their sausages really are fab – well, so the Dr tells me, as a vegetarian I can’t eat them but I do like supporting small businesses. So, cut your bangers in half and roll them in a strip of mustard encrusted pastry. Seal with a little cold water and place on a baking tray.

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Brush the tops with egg wash (a beaten egg) to make them nice and golden and pop in the oven at 180 degrees for about 20 minutes.

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When they look golden brown and rather like something you’d like to mash into your mouth take them out and let them cool.

Don’t thank me. It’s a just a little treat your friends and family will love you for. Enjoy!

It is with buffet plans formulating I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Mince Pie but I like it…

The mince pie is one of my favourite festive treats and it’s so easy to make.

You can really cheat and buy your pastry and mincemeat. Or, like me, you can semi-cheat and make your pastry but buy your mincemeat! My pastry recipe comes from the trusty Be-Ro book ( www.be-ro.co.uk/recipe/showrec34.html ) and I speed up the process by using my food processor. Just make sure your pastry rests in the fridge before using and handle it as little as possible when you’re cooking.

I buy my mincemeat in the supermarket and don’t know anyone who makes their own. I have seen TV chefs adding to the shop bought stuff in recent years. Quiet a nice idea and a good way of improving it and making it suit your tastes.

I use a mini muffin pan from Pampered Chef ( www.pamperedchef.co.uk ) for mine, I have a little tart shaper from them too which works a treat after a little practice.

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 A little snowy dusting of icing sugar and you’re good to go. The house always smells amazing during and after mince pie baking. I would definitely recommend it. Plus there’s that smug feeling when you offer someone the plate and they say “Did you make these?”.

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It is with a rich fruit and spice scented house I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!