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!

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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!