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Friday, 24 December 2010

Unexpected finds

On the way home from visiting my parents-in-law in Norfolk yesterday, we popped in to a little antiques centre in Old Hunstanton to see if I could find a last minute gift for my mum. She wanted an old blue and white jug of a particular height and I hadn't been able to source one anywhere.

Success! There was just one sweet old Spode jug sitting on top of a little dresser. And just below it, these three lovely old tins. I cannot resist a vintage tin, especially one with lettering. So they came home with me too. The middle one is a Mazawattee tea tin, and it has a double lid with a tiny old handle to keep the tea leaves dry. £7 well spent.

Now the house is full of quiet preparation. Stuffing is being made, final presents wrapped, and animal hutches cleaned out so their occupants will have a comfortable day tomorrow.

Happy Christmas!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

White world

This was the scene in the field behind our house yesterday. The sun came through for an hour or so, and everything sparkled. The frozen berries were amazing. This is just frost, we didn't get any snow until last night. This morning, there is a thin covering, and more on its way.

Festive views around the house

There is a pretty light coming in through the windows this morning. I couldn't see the promised eclipse (too far south). It sounds as if it was beautiful. Blood red light over a white world.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Puffin Post

My mum never throws anything away. Just recently, she passed me a stash of old magazines that triggered some very fond memories. Puffin Post was a quarterly magazine that played a huge part in my childhood. I loved reading, making things and drawing, and this publication combined all three. It was part of a club: you joined up and received a badge, and four magazines a year.

I must have been about eight when I first joined and my enthusiasm for it lasted until I was at least 15 (I wasn't very streetwise!). My aim was to get my name into the magazine, by winning a competition or having a poem published. I managed both eventually, although I seem to recall that I tried endless times!  I still have the collection of Puffin books that I won as my prize.  

Reading the magazines now, I am struck by how equally children were addressed. The tone is never patronising: I suppose now it might even be considered too strait-laced. But to me it is note perfect. I don't think it's just nostalgia, either. The design, though of its time, is incredibly innovative.

I am dying to read a new book by Valerie Grove, which is all about the founder of the Puffin Club and Puffin Post, publisher Kaye Webb. So Much to Tell is at the top of my Christmas reading list.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010


An empty house, a day off and the perfect opportunity to do some party baking and decorating.....
cheese straws, cranberry and chocolate mini muffins and crumble topped mince pies.

Sunday, 12 December 2010


A new cardigan in a pretty bag.....
Candy canes in pinks and greens from Poundstretcher
A plump Nordic fir Christmas tree waiting to go up

Baking and preparations underway for a small party next weekend...
And a vintage Christmas card wreath hanging up (idea from December Country Living).

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Beautiful baubles

Yesterday I met up with a friend in my nearest town to do a Christmas present exchange. She travelled a long way to see me and I was very grateful. She was keen to see my favourite charity shops, and we had fun trawling through and reminiscing about the clothes we used to buy at Oxfam in our student days. We'd rush home with our finds, wash them and steam them by our electric bar fires (probably very dangerous, I am sure our shared house was lethal) before going off clubbing.
We didn't find any clothes that we thought we could get away with now, but I did scout these beautiful vintage Christmas baubles for £2.95. The box has an old Tesco sticker and 4/11 stamped on it.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Cotton and lace

There is a beautiful light in the house today reflecting from the snow outside. But, boy, is it cold out there!
I love my vintage linens. My brother lives near an auction house in the north of England, and sometimes I get him to put a low 'pot luck' bid on a box of tablecloths and traycloths for me. He tries to choose ones he thinks I will like, although as he is the first to point out, he is no expert. I tell him that I don't mind what I get. I just love sorting through it all, and there is always something good inside, even if it isn't in perfect condition.
I don't always get lucky because I keep my bids quite low. But I've had some lovely surprises in the past.