It’s only Self-hosting but I like it…

Hello!

Sorry for my absence this week, I’ve been busy finding out how to host my site myself!

I wanted a bit more freedom with regard to what I could include so decided to host the website myself via vidahost.com.

It’d be tremendously helpful if you’d amend your favourites – I’m now to be found at www.itsonlyvintagebutilikeit.com

Come on over – all the existing content is still there, and that’s where all the new stuff will be too. Lots of exciting projects in the offing – don’t miss out!

It is with a forward march I say:

It’s only Vintage but i like it!

It’s only promotion but I like it…

Call me naive but I thought writing a blog was just about choosing something you love and something you have a lot to say about and getting started. I thought people would be out there searching for me – sitting at home in their repro 1940s dresses, looking disconsolately out of the window, hand on brow crying out “If only I could find a UK based blogger who was entering on a journey to retro heaven. If only! It would make me sew heppy!”. Turns out they’re not. I’ve had to work hard to promote my blog. If you’re new to the blogging game, this is how far I’ve got with promotion. I’m nice, so I’m sharing!

The first thing I did – albeit accidentally – was share it with family and friends. I posted something on a companies’ Facebook page and linked to my blog, not realising all my Facebook friends would see. They were very complementary and now I always share on Facebook when I make a post. I did then – when my posting became more frequent – get worried that I was rather spamming all my friends and they might get annoyed. So, I decided to create a Facebook page that linked to my blog (https://www.facebook.com/Itsonlyvintagebutilikeit) however this has proved to about as useful as the old chocolate teapot. Facebook won’t allow me to add anyone I don’t already know – yes, that’s right, all the people I was hoping to leave alone! I cannot add companies that might be interested in seeing my reviews. Also, all I get is asked to pay for Facebook to ‘boost’ or ‘promote’ my posts. Only a fraction of what I post actually reaches any followers I have there. My advice: don’t bother.

My next step was Twitter. Oh Twitter, how I love and adore thee. If Facebook is a mean and twisted old Aunt that is unpredictable in her affections, Twitter is that big old twinkly Auntie that always has a bag of Cadbury Eclairs in the glove box.  Setting up my Twitter (https://twitter.com/Itsonlyvintage) account was super easy and Auntie Twitter was even on hand to give me suggestions of who to follow and who might be interested in following me. After a half term week of getting click happy on Twitter’s recommendations I now have close to 500 followers and my traffic that week alone almost tripled. What a girl!

On the advice of lovely Flo the photographer I pulled a dusty and rarely used Instagram account out the airing cupboard and repurposed it for my new needs. https://instagram.com/vintagemunchkin/ My Instagram account is quite fun. I’m not sure it contributes to many clicks on my blog but it is a lark and there’s plenty of eye candy to be had.  I like sharing photos and discovering other vintage obsessees like myself.

There is of course bloglovin. I registered and you can find me there, I’m not sure it brings me many views but it’s a good way of cataloging all your favourite blogs in one place.

Every time I make a post I share it on Facebook and Twitter and tag relevant people and companies in it. This might get a you a retweet or a repost on their page which means more clicks for the site! I also use HootSuite  – on the advice of Dr P. This clever doohickey allows me to schedule tweets and posts advertising my blog at different times of the day during the week. It means I can hit different ‘markets’ at times when I’d be too busy to stop and write something.

So there you have it. This is how far I’ve got. What do you do? Am I doing it right? What else should I do? Is it normal to check your hit count so many times a day your brain is practically vibrating? Leave me a comment and let me know! It is with a buzzing brain I say: It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Camila Prada but I like it…

Meet Camila Prada:

cp

One of my friends introduced me to this lady on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/CamilaPradaFanPage?fref=photo) and I was instantly smitten with her characterful ceramics.

cp range

Camila has won many awards for her ceramics that she hand makes in the UK. She is passionate about her work and about keeping it all in house. I love to see phrases like ‘sweatshop free’ and ‘British heritage manufacturing’ on her website. it makes me glad to see someone keeping alive the tradition of ceramics that once made Britain great. Clappison would be proud.

cp panda

I was drawn to the cute characters and the vaguely 70s motifs that Camila uses and I immediately demanded, I mean requested, a Camila original from the Dr for my birthday. We had a few postal hiccups (not Camila’s fault) along the way but she was great at communicating and I finally got my cup and tray.

DSC_0058

I was most pleased with my new buddy and found lots of uses for her!

Trinket traygreen tea

I think Camila’s designs could work in a contemporary or a retro inspired home and I definitely intend to test that theory by purchasing more of her designs. In fact – and in some ways I don’t want to share this with you in case you get in before I do –  tomorrow she’s holding a seconds sale from 9am. I will be sitting at my laptop with my credit card poised! The Mid Century Modern inspired living room I dream of needs a little Panda nestling on the bookshelf.

cp 2nd sale

It is with panda-envy I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Carrot Cake but I like it…

I am partial to a bit of baking. It’s an old tradition and something we enjoy, without excelling, in my family. Its rare I attempt anything complicated, but I like to think I can pull some of the basic recipes out of the hat when I need to – I bake a hearty scone, a rich, gooey brownie and my lemon drizzle is just the right side of tangy.

I’m told my Gran was a good baker. Mum says she’d spend Saturday baking and freeze pies for the week amongst other treats. I hear her chocolate cake was to die for. Unfortunately, a stroke she suffered when I was aged just 4 left her fairly immobile so her baking days were over cruelly early. I’m sure I indulged in her baking before then though. She passed the love of baking on to my Mum, and I can honestly say I never had ( or wanted) a shop bought birthday cake.

image

Mum baked with us when we were little and when my sister and I get together we often bake. When it comes to me I tend to go through phases. I’ve been through several periods of weight loss where I haven’t baked much as it’s just too tempting! I like to bake if I have visitors coming or for special occasions, and a well equipped kitchen is always something I’ve aspired to. Just lately I’ve set myself a few baking challenges and this is just one of them.

I chose a recipe from the BBC Good Food website. I’ve used this website lots of times as the ratings system is a good way to find a reliable recipe. My recipe is this one: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/532636/carrot-cake-with-cinnamon-frosting

It has the zest and juice of an orange which makes it very moist and aromatic.

image

I used a loaf tin I found in the Dr P’s kitchen but it seemed quite large… I’m not sure what size it was but I’m blaming this on the fact it looks like it hasn’t risen, but it had!

image

It was very moist and had a nice springy texture. I didn’t make the frosting as I’m kinda traditional in that arena – not a fan of heaps of buttery icing!

image

I served it with a large pot of tea in my Beryl teapot – the only way to serve cake as far as I’m concerned!

image

I enjoyed it but I’m not sure it’s the recipe I was looking for – it’s lacking a certain je ne sais quoi… I have been recommended another so I will keep you posted. Let me know if you try it or you have a recommendation…

It is with a root vegetable craving I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Hilda the Pin-up but I like it…

Meet Hilda.

image

This big, bountiful babe was created in 1957 for a pin up calendar. Her artist and maker, Duane Bryers, says he used models for some of the his Hilda drawings, but many of the best artworks were entirely from his head.

 image

She is definitely a plus size lady and it is so refreshing to see. I was so delighted to discover her fresh, healthy and lovely self. I think it would be fair to say that the ‘pin up’ tradition as a whole embraces curves, but I think Hilda is at the far end of that.

image

It is a look I personally find very attractive. Not least because these pin up girls look *real*. Hilda looks like me. I have thighs, I have a large bum, I have dimples. And I believe I can be attractive. I believe people of any size and weight can be attractive. I can’t help but wonder what the world would be like if we celebrated Hilda’s unashamed extra layers and spent less time aspiring to the gamine figures we see on the catwalk. I don’t want to stray into what I have heard called ‘body snark’ – I genuinely believe whatever is happy and healthy for you is best. But I think an achievable, healthy figure is what we should be aiming for.

image

Hilda always seems to be having fun or getting into a scrape! Her outfits are skimpy and she is totally at ease with her body. I’m jealous. It has taken me 30-odd years to even *begin* that journey.

image

Check out The Militant Baker’s post about how to create some of Hilda’s looks!

http://www.themilitantbaker.com/2013/06/style-icon-hilda-plus-size-pin-up.html

i have definitely never spent an evening in bed eating Garibaldi biscuits. Ever. Ever. Oh ok, there was this one time…

image

A gallery of Hilda images can be found here: http://www.toilgirls.com/hilda/gallery.html

It is with a crumb- laden bed I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only the Watercress Line but I like it…

As you are aware from earlier posts my Mum got married back in December. We were all rather stumped as to what gift we should buy her and her squeeze. Once you get to a certain age you have generally acquired all of the household accoutrements you can feasibly use. Lately we have tended to buy ‘experiential’ gifts – a theatre visit, cinema tickets, weekend in London.

We we felt like we needed something special that they would both enjoy and my sister came up with the idea of a trip on the Mid Hants. Railway or The Watercress Line. The Watercress Line is in Hampshire and is a heritage railway. It was saved by a group of committed volunteers in 1973 and they reopened it as a visitor attraction in 1977. It’s a not for profit organisation, and all the money you spend goes back in to the railway.

We booked the Countryman Sunday dining train which entitled us to a 3.5 hr trip, and the chance to sit back and enjoy a 4 course lunch. We arrived in plenty of time – mostly because I was dying to take Brief Encounter-esque photos!

image

My my brother commented that it was like having a wedding photographer onboard! I couldn’t help it – the steam and the beautiful train was so atmospheric.

image

We were were welcomed onboard by the friendly volunteers. We had lots of banter and Mum was given a lovely bouquet of flowers as I’d stated on our booking form that our trip was to celebrate a wedding.

image

The he food was lovely – gorgeous soup to start, then roast beef for the carnivores and I was given a lovely vegetable tartlet. It was followed by apple pie or sherry trifle and we were all impressed by how the volunteers managed to serve piping hot food to over 70 people!

image

It it was a lovely journey and I haven’t been on a steam train since I was a child. The old sprung seats were cosy and we all had a chance to relax and catch up. The staff were good fun and we had lots of banter with them.

image

The he more I look at the photos I took, the more I like them. The only regret I have is that all the ones with me in were really blurry – my new lens only works on manual, so it’s tricky to focus. I love this group one though.

Dr P did manage to get a couple of good ones:image

As as for my outfit, I was thinking I’d go 1940s, what with the Brief Encounter link, but on the day I was in the mood for a little beehive so the overall look was more 1960s. The dress is a Cath Kidston clock print style, the shoes are Irregular Choice and the necklace Tatty Devine.

imageimage

I loved this look and it’s one I definitely plan to use again.

All in all I’d definitely recommend the Watercress Line as an experience – Mum loved it and said it brought back lots of memories, we enjoyed spending time together in a unique setting. If you get the chance – go!

It is with a steamy backdrop I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only A style icon but I like it…

Style icon: Jean Shrimpton.

I have a link to Jean. A tiny link. In fact it’s not even my link but my Mum’s. Meet my Mum – Andy. She’s quite a babe these days and, as this photo from about 1969 shows, she was quite a babe in the 60s too!
image
My Mum worked in a local bank in a very rural part of Mid Wales for a few years before she went to College. It so happened that Jean Shrimpton had a holiday cottage nearby and she came into the bank one day to open an account. My Mum happened to be free and so she helped out and took Jean through all the paperwork. Later, Mum’s colleagues wouldn’t believe her when she told them who’d just visited. Like I said, it is a very rural part of Wales and we don’t get many interesting visitors!

image

A few weeks later Mum went to the cinema and saw Jean there, she remembered her and said hello and the next time she was in the bank she asked mum if she’d enjoyed the film. I love this story. It’s always pleasant when you meet a celeb and they take the time to make conversation with you.
image
Jean Shrimpton is one of the key figures of ‘Swinging London’ and is often cited as one of the world’s first supermodels. She started modelling at 17 and was soon dubbed ‘The Face’, one of the highest paid models of the time and Glamour magazine named her ‘Model of the Year’ in 1963.
image
She was involved In promoting the miniskirt and caused a stir when she stepped off a plane in Melbourne wearing a dress that stopped 10cm above her knees! No hat, no gloves and wearing a man’s watch too. I say!
image
She dated photographer David Bailey for several years, in fact he left his first wife to be with Jean. They were engaged and she has stated that she owes her career to Bailey. It was a mutually beneficial working relationship as many of Bailey’s early photos of Jean were well received, helping further his career.
image
So, why style icon? Well, she has pretty amazing eyes and it cannot be denied that the camera does love her. I must admit to being a sucker for the 60s styles she wears and the fact that she was definitely instrumental in the creation of the miniskirt is a pretty immense thing to have on your CV. I mean, seriously, what have you done with your life?! Also, those pins. I would kill for legs like that. Yes, she’s gamine (waiflike and boyish – I looked it up) and I guess she may have begun the fashion industries’ love of the boyish figure and subsequent media obsession with women’s weight. But that’s hardly her fault. And it’s changing. Ever so slowly, I believe it is changing.
image
But most of all, she was nice to my Mum. I’d expect the same from any supermodel…

It is with an anecdote for the grandchildren I say:
It’s only vintage but I like it!