Friday, 28 January 2011

♥ ♥ Vintage Love ♥ ♥

My little Etsy shop grows and grows: I've had superb hunting this week and found some splendours. I wish I could keep them all but there just isn't any space what with my lust for vintage homewares (especially teapots) and the Boy's growing expertise in upholstery and generally rescuing unloved furniture..

A quick round up, then, of my absolute favourites:

 Don't you just love this? It so cool and stylish, even without a classic camera inside.

This one breaks my heart to sell, I love the geometric pattern so much and it's a complete set, which you hardly ever see - milk jug and everything!

How seventies is this? More the Boy's kind of thing than mine, but I love the way the light shows through and the depth of orangey colour.

This looks really French to somehow, like it might have been uncovered in a dusty oak dresser in a chateau somewhere - and aren't the roses gorgeous? A gift to myself to cheer myself up as the weather's turned bitterly cold again. Where has that faint promise of Spring gone?

And last but not least, and not strictly new, but too dainty and Cath Kidston-y to pass by. More tea, vicar? and yes, I'm sticking out my little finger as I write, of course...

If you've not seen the shop, come on by - something might tickle your fancy! Or find me on Twitter for stock updates and more vintage-related loveliness.


Friday, 21 January 2011

My new baby

Meet my new baby:

Possibly the most appropriate leaving present ever?

I am already smitten...

I wonder if it will alter my reading habits at all?


Tuesday, 18 January 2011

The Lion comes back to life?

How lovely! The Boy and I just wandered up the High Street and it looks like the lovely old Red Lion pub has been rescued. 

The Red Lion is a seventeenth century coaching inn, which was sadly crumbling into a state of disrepair, having survived many incarnations of various shades of repute. You can see what a splendid building it once was / could be again, and we were afraid it was going to disintegrate so badly that it could only be knocked down ...

But now it's sporting a huge banner, courtesy of the pub company Antic Ltd, who have taken it over. They list it on their website with a fantastic nineteenth century photo of the pub at the height of its glory:

via The Red Lion Leytonstone
This article on the Waltham Forest Guardian website shows the flavour of the reaction locally, both good and bad...

We look forward to it opening, both to see it saved, and because a decent local would be ace!


Sunday, 16 January 2011

Writing, writing, writing

First term of the Victorian Studies MA is over: I spent Christmas writing, writing, writing, and the essays were submitted, heart in mouth, the day before the deadline.

For the 'Progress and Anxiety' module, I wrote on Dickens' Bleak House – I looked at the highly ambivalent representation of domestic and household spaces, focusing on the way that the novel abounds with dirt, disorder and disoriented domestic life. I argued that Dickens sets up a moral spectrum of 'approved' and 'disapproved' household systems and domestic topographies, and that it is difficult to establish if this should be read as a radical or conservative moral project. I was so happy writing it!

For the 'Faith and Doubt' module, I wrote on Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Christina Rossetti – I compared the way the two poets explore the efficacy of the poetic voice in approaching an understanding of the divine, arguing that, despite their different poetic styles and belief systems, a shared approach can been seen, even down to shared metaphorical and lexical registers, and both sensing that language is limited and inadequate when it comes to faith. This one was more problematic for me: I will have to think very, very carefully when choosing my dissertation topic, to make sure I have enthusiasm enough to carry me through the required 15,000 words!

This term, 'Race and the Victorians' and 'Fin de Si├Ęcle'...

I feel a bit sad that it's one third over already as I am thoroughly enjoying myself – but no time for brooding, there's so much more to do!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Scented candles in vintage tea cups

One of my more successful homemade presents: scented candles made from vintage tea cups and saucers.

Take one candle making kit, lavender essence, a bunch of thrifted china (great fun to source) and some pretty wrappings and trimmings - and hey presto. The only tricky bit was getting the wicks dead-centre when pouring the warmed wax.

A bit of cellophane, a bit of ribbon - I even did little cards using hand-carved stamps and a "made by me" stamp drawn for me by the talented Sianuska ...

Such fun, and so quaint and pretty.

And they seemed to go down quite well. Well, better than buying people random stuff they don't need or want for the sake of it, I guess!

Right, what can I make next?I wonder ...


Thursday, 6 January 2011

Experiments in weekday baking

Hurrah for the divine Nigel Slater: this soda bread recipe is a beauty, and quick enough for after-work baking. He has you cook it in a casserole dish with a lid, which sounds weird, but makes for a light, crisp crust. 

Sunday, 2 January 2011

New Year

 It's time again for those resolutions...

… although, as a rather thought-provoking article in this month's Psychologies magazine points out, everything else in Nature is, at this time of year, hibernating, rather than resolving to make a new start!

Given it is going to be a year of changes and new starts, my resolution is simple and straightforward:

To live honest.

By this I mean saying 'yes' to my strengths and 'no' to pretending to be what I am not because I think people think I should.

That's it! I think it's going to take some practice...

What are yours?


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