31.5.12

Food Glorious Food



Now I'm a huge fan of eating  cooking and I've a lots of cookbooks, new ones and old ones - I read them a lot more than I actually use them to be honest, I think most of us might be guilty if that. I recently bought a book from the fifties for a £1 and was squealing with excitement to see that on the inside of the cover there was a recipe for Christmas cake!



I'll be trying this out later in the year, I've never made a Christmas cake before and whilst part of me feels I should be using a tried and tested Delia Smith recipe, the idea of using this found recipe is much more appealing. It's a gamble.........this could be a disaster of a recipe that didn't work at all. Only one way to find out isn't there? May be we should all try it this year and compare results! Have you had any luck or disasters trying out and old recipe that you've stumbled across?

One that I have tried that worked well, is the queens recipe for Drop Scones. Yes THE QUEENS! Earlier in the week I reviewed a book by Tim Ewart - The Treasures of Queen Elizabeth  amongst the pull out and keep documents, the book contains is this recipe. What's a drop scone? Well I wasn't sure either, but I now know that they are also sometimes called griddle cakes and Scotch pancakes. You can have them with afternoon tea along with crumpets served with jam and cream or you can have them for breakfast. YUM!



So you're going to need


4 teacups of flour (I used self raising)
4 tablespoons of caster sugar
2 teacups of milk
2 whole eggs
2 teaspoons of bi-carbonate of soda
3 teaspoons of cream of tartar
2 tablespoons of melted butter

Now according to this recipe this make enough for 16 people. Now I don't know if the queen means 16 coach loads of people, or perhaps the parties at Bucks Pal require a seriously huge breakfast the next day, but this recipe makes a mountain of drop scones so you could easily halve the quantities. On the other hand if  you are planning on using the Jubilee weekend as a way to get together with friends and drink your way through a bath tub full of Kir Royales then when everyone wakes up the next morning and you help them come back to life with a mountain of these, you'll be best friends forever.

Method 


Beat eggs, sugar and about half the milk together, add flour and mix well together, adding remainder of milk as required. Add bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar, fold in the melted butter.

You then just drop tablespoons of the mixture in to a hot frying pan for just a few minutes each side. You need to cook them in batches and keep an eye on them! My personal preference is that they make a really scrummy breakfast drizzled with honey. - When I wrote in the week that I would blog the results of my attempt to make these drop scones, I knew it could all go wrong.............so whilst these may not look wonderful they do taste delicious honest!


I've also made them in to little canap├ęs, although there's sugar in the recipe they aren't really sweet so I've topped them with brie and cherry tomatoes. Delicious.



If you're still looking for the perfect recipe for Coronation chicken then The Historical Sauces have blogged the traditional recipe and if you need inspiration for cocktails ( just in case a bath tub of Kir Royales isn't enough for you....) here's some ideas for those too.

I'm happy to report that I'll be leaving the food blogs to the foodies and I will be sticking to Vintage, fashion and history! Assuming I can fit in to any dresses next week after the foodfest the weekend is turning in to..............
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29.5.12

Book Review: The Treasures of Queen Elizabeth by Tim Ewart


It feels as though most of the country is in preparation for the long weekend ahead of Jubilee celebrations. Opinions on the queen and her family seem to have returned mainly to the positive if we are to believe the polls. As a child I was fascinated by Princess Diana and had a scrapbook that I would paste pictures of her in to. I even had my long hair chopped short as I wanted her hair cut! I still remember feeling more than a little sad when I looked at my reflection in the shiny surface of the living room fire the next day to see my hair was all flat and not at all like Princess Diana's - I can't remember how old I was, but definitely under eight and naive in the magic of a blow dry and hairspray! I don't consider myself a die hard royalist but I do generally enjoy the royal family. I watched Wills and Kate tie the knot last year, I still think 'Ooooo' when I pass Buckingham Palace, I do enjoy looking at pictures of the past and I've a soft spot for Harry as you'll know if you read my previous post.

Being a vintage blogger and a vintage hair and make up consultant with The Historical Sauces, books for me have become a resource as much as a passion. Carlton Books kindly sent me a copy of the book to review and I think it's a wonderful look back at the life of Queen Elizabeth, it's a large weighty coffee table book, turning the pages feels very much like looking through an old family album. There's also little pockets along the way which include various copies of historical documents, newspapers, dress designs and an amazing sketch of the queens wedding dress design by Sir Norman Hartnell. This bonus of having to delve into these pockets and pull out all these interesting pieces of history is not only a brilliant idea - but it turns the book in to something more of a discovery of the past and makes the whole reading experience feel most interactive.

The front page of the Daily Mirror from 11th December 1936

London Zoo 1939
1945


The wedding dress designed by Sir Norman  Hartnell


 The images used of a young Elizabeth are just stunning. What a style icon she was for women not just in this country but the world. Here she is in 1961 with Jackie Kennedy.


1961
1966
The book does go through to pretty much the present day so this is very much a book to celebrate all of the queens life and not just her younger years. We're taken through various royal weddings, births and deaths. It's been fascinating to read through and it really is beautifully presented. It's a wonderful souvenir of the queens life and a look back through the past and the many world events the queen has lived through.

There's even the queens favourite recipe for drop scones - which I'll be trying later and sharing with you in the week. I make no promises that they will be wonderful but I'll bring you the results good or bad! This is a substantial book and that does mean that the RRP is fairly substantial too at £30, but it does come in a presentation slip case and as mentioned there are lots of documents to pull out and keep or display, so it would make a lovely gift or something special to keep. The way it's presented means it does have a 'wow' factor, it's currently available on Amazon though for £19.50 (as always with Amazon the price is subject to change) So now to make those scones, wish me luck!

The Treasures of Queen Elizabeth by Tim Ewart, published by Carlton Books, £30, is available in all good book shops and online now.

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25.5.12

Rule Britannia

 *Waves Union Jack  flag* Did you hear that The Queen is offering up the devilishly handsome Prince Harry as a prize for the best dressed during the Jubilee celebrations.? Yes, move over Cinderella with your one slipper. This Prince is saved for the best dressed gal in the land, this means two shoes and and a good splash of red, white and blue!

Not just my bottom that's bigger than Pippa's it seems.
So whilst being presented with Prince Harry might be a fantasy  daydream, this is a great chance to summer up your wardrobe, I've mentioned my love of red white and blue before in my nautical post, but they are very classic and really wearable colours. So should you wish to dress to impress, even if it's just a Tom, Dick or a non royal kind of Harry then here's some ideas.

Collectif £50
Gok Wan for Sainsbury's £45 (available instore)

Poppy Valentine £69.95

Dorothy Perkins £30

Ruby Shoo online only New Look £44.99
Head over Heels Darling online only New look £54.99


Red or Dead exclusive only at Schuh £65

Red or Dead only at Schuh £65 (LOVE these!!)
Oasis £25
George at Asda £10
If you prefer vintage then there's still time to order online, Etsy and Ebay as always are an online treasure trove of gems waiting to be rehomed. There's certainly been an explosion of online vintage, with new stores announcing themselves all the time and new ways to buy like ASOS  market place. It's easy to feel spoilt for choice and it's easy to spend a small fortune too! But you can often get a lot of bang for your buck with vintage /pre loved clothes.

ASOS market place size 12 £10
ASOS Market place. Size 10 £22
Etsy £14 size M (measurements are listed)

vintage size 3.5 (If only they would fit me!) Etsy £17

I'm pretty much going to be shopping from my own wardrobe over the Jubilee. I bought a cute cotton 80s does 50s dress at Judy's affordable vintage fair, pics of that to follow but as I simply love the colour blue, I've quite a few choices. I'm at Gressenhall on Sunday June 3rd at a Fabulous Fifties history fair and I'm having afternoon tea with some friends on the bank holiday Monday.  I'm just a wee excited can you tell?

Books you may like:

 
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23.5.12

Gloves - An accessory for all seasons

 Whilst walking through a department store we have in Norwich called Jarrolds, I was scanning the handbags whilst making my way to the book department, and I spotted the most adorable pair of polka dot cotton gloves. Now I must confess that I rarely wear gloves, except the winter woolly variety or vintage leather ones on a cool day but I often look at ladies that do add a little pair of day gloves to their outfit, and think that I really must use gloves as an accessory more. Gloves do add an elegance, whilst we might not get to wear evening gloves very often, a little pair of day gloves can really help finish an outfit and add an extra vintage touch.



Gloves in the summer? Usually coming in cotton or nylon they're completely wearable all year round. Wrist gloves were also crocheted too, so the clever crafters out there could make their own.....


                           Wrist gloves, also know as matinee gloves or bracelet length gloves.

           
Gauntlet gloves come higher up the wrist than matinee gloves, are often wide at the top so give a flared effect These  beautiful 1940s ones are currently available on Etsy for £20.82 / $32 




Elbow gloves generally fall just below the elbow and are ideal for wearing under jackets.coats with 3/4 length sleeves




Opera gloves are full length over and over the elbow. This is a classic opera glove, although they can vary in length slightly and some styles will reach the elbow, there are also many images of opera gloves falling just below the elbow - not dissimilar to an elbow glove but very fitted. For me though an opera glove is all out glamour and  is over the elbow.


And what better time add gloves to your outfit than now? The Queen is of the generation where gloves were and essential piece of clothing. I can't actually find a better example of who is making gloves part of a look better than anyone else than the lady herself. Now I'm sure with the amount of hands she has to shake over the year that gloves are more than just a fashion accessory, however they at least prove that you can sometimes combine practicality with style. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present the Queen of not only the country but the glove!



The Queen reportedly only wears black or white gloves but should you wish to be bolder with your colour choices then they are a great way to add a splash of colour. At a recent event I was really taken by the way a lady had added a salmon pink pair of wrist length gloves to her little black dress. Gemma of Retro Chick is often seen sporting gloves but I especially liked these evening gloves with the peach dress.

Picture: Hanson Leatherby
Now there is a glove etiquette which you can conform to should you so wish and whist opera gloves in the day time, might be considered a little to much, if you happen to wear gloves with a dress that under the rules of glove etiquette are the incorrect length for the dress, I really wouldn't worry too much. Etiquette rules, whilst interesting and often useful aren't law, and sometimes it's fun to break rules and make up your own. Style gurus Susannah and Trinny would probably have a field day with me, I clash colours, wear necklines I like, not what is dictated to me and whilst I'm happy to give advice, the main thing I say is if YOU like it, you'll wear it with confidence and that's the best accessory anyone can have. 

A few general rules of thumb for glove etiquette

  • The shorter the sleeve the longer the glove. For example elbow gloves with sleeveless dresses etc. Unless at the opera, theatre or ball when full length opera gloves would be called for.
  • Remove gloves when eating, drinking or smoking
  • When attending a formal eating event, (lunch or dinner) remove gloves once seated. (They may be placed on your lap with the napkin over them)
  • Keep gloves on when attending outdoor events
  • Remove the right glove before shaking hands
  • Do not wear rings over gloves, bracelets are acceptable
I say a few, because when you look in to the etiquette of anything, there are always lots of different ideas and opinions . There's plenty of proof of the rules being thrown out of the window anyway.........



I'm not sure of the etiquette of opera gloves and guns - but Jessica Rabbit makes her own rules.

Buying vintage gloves can be tricky if you're not sure of your size, vintage gloves can often come up quite small so if you buy online, don't be afraid to contact the seller and ask for measurements if they haven't included them and get your tape measure out and measure your own hands. Vintage fairs give you a chance to try before you buy and you can often find a huge selection of gloves in various sizes, colours and materials. I recently picked up a pair of red nylon gloves for £3. Carboot sales and charity shops are always worth a look too. I've picked up a few nice pairs of thin soft leather gloves for just a few pounds.

If buying online, Ebay and Etsy are great, here's some gloves currently up for grabs.

Etsy £10.41 / $16 
Etsy £6.51 / $10 

Etsy £20

If you want to buy 'new' to get a vintage look then here are some options for you. Whether you opt for vintage or new, a pair of gloves will certainly add a finishing touch to your spring/summer outfit.



ASOS lace gloves £6


Cotton gloves from sermonetagloves.co.uk available in  several colours £29.95

Debenhams elbow length gloves was £10 now £9
Cotton day gloves £35 Cornelia James (This is a fabulous website, lots of  colour choice)


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