Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Sweet Samhain and Happy New Year!

I am super busy today. Today, whilst everyone else is celebrating Halloween, my family and I will be celebrating the Pagan holiday of Samhain, which, without getting into too much religious detail (you can find more details here if you're interested), is our New Year.

Samhain, the Wiccan New Year
(I'm afraid I can't remember where I got any of these photos from
but if you know, please tell me and I will gladly add credit.)

Although this is quite an important date in our calender, it will be a quiet affair for us this year. There are many Samhain traditions, many of which are shared with Halloween, like dressing up, carving turnips or pumpkins, lighting candles, bonfires and fortune telling that we won't be doing this year. But we will be doing the ones most important to us. We will be remembering the year that has gone, honour those we have lost and celebrate the year ahead.

In an ideal world we would throw a nice big party and invite all our Pagan and non-Pagan friends alike, but our house is far too small and our wallets far too empty. Instead we are simply dressing smartly and going out for a nice family meal, then when we come home I will hold a small ritual of remembrance. Next year, I am determined to make more of an effort and throw a party, even if it's just a little one. Any excuse to make a costume like the picture on the left below! That cloak is just fantastic, in fact I may just make it and wear it all winter...


(Again I'm afraid I don't know where I got these pictures from.)

We are also covering. It's not a common Pagan practice (or at least I didn't think it was but apparently it's a growing 'trend', see here) but we will be covering our heads as a mark of respect and humility too the deities and the importance of the occasion, as well as for more psycho-spiritual reasons that are likely to get me laughed at if I try to explain. Mr H and D are wearing hats (not indoors though because it would seem rude, whatever the reason for wearing them) whilst S, K and I are wearing headscarfs like the picture on the right above.    

I hope everyone has a fabulous Samhain, Halloween or even doing-nothing-and-eating-all-the-candy-myself-on-point-of-principle.

Happy New Year and Blessed Be to all of you.

Mrs H x

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Nostalgic Nellie

Bleaugh! Man Flu has descended upon us like the plague! Which basically means that Mr H and the children have all come down with the cold I came down with the week before that, but of course they got it much much worse. (But since I turn a stubbed toe into an Italian opera, I can't really complain!) So I have spent much of the week distributing blankets and chicken soup to pathetic coughing lumps on the sofa, and refereeing disputes over whose turn it is with the tv remote. But all this staying home has given me plenty of time to get on with my knitting.

Me , aged about 18mths. (Wasn't I a cutie?)

The first thing that I am knitting is  a copy of the hand knitted babygrow I had as a child. K is terrible for kicking off her covers at night but won't put up with those sleeping bag things, you know with the poppered shoulder straps, so a knitted babygrow is the ideal thing to put over her pyjamas to keep her warm. It's not exactly a new idea, all-in-one sleepsuits have been around in one way or another for years, but it seemed to work for me when I was little. I mean, look at that cheesy grin! I managed to find almost the exact same brightly coloured, self-striping, acrylic yarn as I think my mother used (sounds yummy doesn't it) and if there is any left over I'm going to make S and K copies of the hats and mittens Mum made for me and my little brother. Aren't they lucky?!

My brother and I, aged about 1 and 2. (Digging the bobble!) 

I'm a very sentimental person, pathetically so, when it comes to my clothes. My mother is a fabulous dressmaker and I had the most wonderful wardrobe as a little girl that it's hard not to turn into a Nostalgic Nellie when I remember even the smallest things. I had so many things that I still love now like a hand-knitted blue mohair dress covered in snowflakes, a pink jumper with ballet slippers on the front, a grey ra-ra skirt (does anyone else remember them?), a turquoise and black striped jumpsuit with rolled hems, a royal blue Victorian coat and hat that she made especially for me to wear to London and a huge selection of dresses in everything from peach striped sateen (the 80s had a lot to answer for) to powder blue seersucker.


What I wouldn't give to still have those now. Well maybe not the sateen dresses...

Me in the centre, aged about 3, wearing a puff sleeved dress in white broderie anglaise. 

Me, aged about 3 again, wearing a pink knitted smock dress. 

My brother and I, aged about 3 and 4, both wearing matching sailor suits.
(The 50s/60s tweed swing coat Mum is wearing was handed down to me to wear as my maternity coat and is still going strong!)

 Me, aged about 7, wearing a Victorian style coat and beret set in royal-blue wool. 
(Look at the 1940s-style tweed suit Mum is wearing, isn't it wonderful?)

Me, aged 7, wearing a puff sleeved dress powder blue seersucker and a pale pink hand-knitted ballet cardigan. 
(Look at the long hair and pink ribbons. I'd still do that now, if it didn't make me look like a pantomime dame!)  

Me, aged about 7 again, practicing my Vogue modal pout in a peach sateen shirt dress (left picture) and wearing my ballet slipper jumper, underneath my first ever fur coat (right picture).  

Uckiness and knitting aside, it's been a relatively busy week for me. Mr H and I had parent's evening at S's school on Wednesday and we had a glowing report from her teacher. She practically wants to adopt S! Needless to say that Mr H and I are incredibly proud of our very smart, well behaved and hard working little girl.

As a treat for doing so well at school, and because my little girl is quite the little seamstress, I took her to a craft fair in the town hall on Saturday. I was hoping to find her something like the doll-making kit we bought her last year or maybe some pretty cardmaking notions because she loves to send cards and letters and pictures to her grandparents. But unfortunately it was all a bit of a damp squib. More of a table top sale of ready made bookmarks and cheap beaded jewellery.

It wasn't all bad. We went for coffee and cake (coffee for me, cake for S), then headed into town where we had a mooch around all the vintage and craft shops. S bought herself a little tote bag with fairy princesses on it whilst I managed to find some half-price vintage wool, because I totally need more, and then we finished off with a ride on the merry-go-round for the girl of the hour.

 S on the merry-go-round.
(Her hair isn't normally so, well, droopy looking. It was up in Heidi braids with red ribbons but we saw a dressing table with a mirror in one of the vintage shops and she just had to do her hair...)

For the day out she wore her favourite heart print dress and a net crinoline. She picked out the fabric herself on a trip to the local fabric market and I made it using the same pattern Mum used to make my puff sleeved dresses, which was vintage even back then! She loves her "pretty dresses and pouffy petticoats" and wears them every. single. day. She'd even wear them to school and bed, if I would let her! 

So to save her pretty dresses from too much everyday wear, and because I needed an excuse to buy more pretty things from Etsy, I bought another sewing pattern. I'm going to make her a selection of housedresses, as well as some sized down for her sister K, so that she can wear those when she is playing outside and around the house. They won't be anymore hard wearing really but they'll be simpler to make, mend and put on. And I can make them to match mine...

Original 1950s housedress pattern bought a few week ago (left picture) and a similar pattern for girls, Simplicity 3244 (right picture), both bought from the fabulous HelaQ at 

Just before I go. With the obligatory back-to-school colds this seasons brings, the rigours of three VERY lively children, the huge list of sewing/knitting jobs I've given myself and the everyday activities required as a housewife, I am struggling to keep up with a daily blog. As such, I have decided to change this to a weekly blog. At least for the time being. I hope you don't mind.

See you next week,

Mrs H x

Monday, 15 October 2012

What Do You Do All Day?

The ever-fabulous Peggy Bundy

"What do you do?"

"I'm a housewife."

"Oh, you don't work then. That must be nice."


I'm not sure how many of you are at-home wives or mothers, but if any of you are, do you get sick of the "you don't work" comments? I certainly do. In fact I get quite arsy about it now. I used to just smile or giggle out of awkwardness, but now I just say in a very loud clear voice, "I do work. I'm a housewife."

So for all those people who have sarcastically asked "but what do you do all day?", here is what I did today.

I was up by 5:45am. If I want to shower or do my hair or put make-up, I have to get up before S and K, otherwise they just won't give me any peace. They'll be trying to get in the shower or delving into my make-up case and generally jabbering away at me before I've had enough coffee for it to make sense.

By 6am I am cleaning and tidying the downstairs rooms. I really should be organised enough that I don't have to but I'm always too tired to tidy up after Mr H and I before bed, and it saves me having to do it later on. I put away all the crap we left out, hand washed the mugs from the night before, emptied the dishwasher, pouffed up the sofa cushions, dusted the shelves, wiped down the kitchen, swept the floors, set the breakfast table and put the baby's nappies on to wash. I also cooked breakfast. Since the start of this little experiment, I have been making a hot breakfast every day. (Can you hear Mr H cheering from over there?) Today we had warm croissants, scrambled eggs and crispy bacon with coffee and orange juice. Mmmmm.

At 7am I iron D, S and Mr H's shirts and blouse for work/school so that they are nice and warm when they put them on and I lay out everybody's clothing. I wake Mr H with coffee in bed, wake the kids and, after at least twenty minutes of shouting and threatening with cold flannels, everyone eventually gets out of bed. I supervise S washing, brushing her teeth and getting dressed in her school uniform, then wash, change and dress baby K. Finally I brush their hair and put it up in ribbons. Then we go downstairs to eat.

By 8am I clear the table and load the dishwasher. D had swimming at school today so I also packed him a lunch and his swim kit. S has a temperature so I change her back into her pyjamas, give her Calpol, put her quilt on the sofa and snuggle her up for the morning.

At 8:30am I throw Mr H and D out of the door to drive and walk to work/school, making sure that they have all security badges, glasses, keys, lunches, coats, hats, sports kits, letters, homework etc etc etc. Normally I would be leaving the house with K to walk S to school just afterwards but not today.

Monday is laundry day, so at 9am I start the washing. It was raining this morning so I put the rotary washing line up in the playroom next to the portable radiator and hang the nappies out to dry. I strip the beds and put the linens in to wash followed by a load of pinks and a load of darks after that. And even after four loads of laundry, the washing pile is hardly dented. I have no idea how I end up with so much laundry, all the time.

By 10am K is bored with 'helping' me and S has woken up from her nap so I make a pot of tea for us, along with a couple of slices of fruit cake and some biscuits for the girls. There are always homemade cakes and biscuits in my cupboards, just because I love to bake and it gives me a good excuse to buy more and more cake and biscuit tins. (I think at last count I had about ten or twelve.)

After tea S is feeling much better and wants to play, so put some Dean Martin on and whilst they're Hey Mambo-ing, I go make the beds, tidy the bedrooms (what do the kids do in there?) and scrub Mr H's stubble off every. single. bathroom. surface.

With the house clean, I was free to play with the kids. Today we danced around the living room, then we drew pictures of each other and S wrote our names on each drawing. She's getting really good too.

After a break for lunch, we had quiet time when we cuddled up on the beanbags and read books, today was Cinderella and The Three Little Pigs. After that I needed to roast the pumpkin and the chicken ready for dinner, so I got out the building blocks and left the girls to build a princess castle, which very quickly collapsed into a game of  'lets see how high we can build it and how much noise it will make when we knock it down'.

Since they were playing so 'quietly' I took some time for myself. I packed up a parcel of goodies to send to a friend in the US and then made myself another pot of tea and started knitting a pair of shortie gloves from the fabulous pattern book Mr H bought me.

D is normally home by 3pm and we get to have a good old natter before I have to start cooking dinner, but he had a club until 4pm today so instead we gossiped whilst I cooked and set the table. Tonight we had roast pumpkin soup for starter followed by roast chicken with sweetcorn, mashed potato and gravy. Now I never used to do starters but I've been doing it for just over a week (ever since the pink eggs) and it has been a huge success. For pudding we had Mr H's favourite - homemade treacle tart and custard.

Then at 5:30pm, I make sure the house is tidied up, hose down the children and I change into clean dress. I make Mr H a cocktail and put out his slippers ready for when he arrives. It may seem silly but he works very hard in a very stressful job, and it gives me great joy knowing that I can make him feel appreciated in such a stereotypical 50s housewife way

When Mr H comes home we eat dinner. We always start each dinnertime with our 'thankfuls', which is a little like saying grace. We go around the table, youngest to oldest, and we have to find at least one thing about our day that we are thankful for. Today I was thankful for S feeling better and being so well behaved, and D doing what he felt was right even though it meant standing against the crowd. After we've finished eating, I clear and wipe down the table, load the dishwasher again, sweep the floor and clean the kitchen surfaces. Then I sat down with D to help him with his maths homework. Normally Mr H would help him (maths is more his thing) or play with S and K whilst I help, but he came home from work with a horrid headache, so I put some cartoons on for the girls and sent him off to bed.

At 8pm I start the bedtime routine. I set out warm milk and bananas for each of the children and once they have finished, I brush their hair, wash their faces, brush their teeth, change them into their pyjamas and read them a story. Cinderella again. S gets tucked into bed and I try rock K to sleep with a lullaby, which doesn't really work very well as S won't stay in bed for love nor money and keeps coming to the stairs saying she's thirsty, needs to pee, can't sleep, too hot, too cold, you know the drill. But by 10pm K is asleep in her cot, S has finally given up and gone to sleep, D is in bed asleep and I have the house to myself. Phew!

Now, I don't think that I am Wonder Woman or Martha Stewart. I still check in on the dreaded facebook (not very 1950's I know), my house always looks like a bomb has hit it and I never seem to get to the bottom of the laundry basket.

I am just an average housewife and mother. I do the same as every other housewife and mother. I WORK!

Mrs H x

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Hello Again

I've finally sorted out the darned Internet, well at least I think I have, and I'm back. Hello!

It has been a busy few days for me.

Wednesday was, well, an unmitigated disaster. I was probably lulled into a false sense of security by how well Tuesday went, what with the dinner and the kids going to bed early. But the following morning...

Sadly, this IS what I looked like on Wednesday morning.

For some reason everyone woke up late and it just got worse from there. Whilst I was cooking breakfast D and S sheepishly turned up holding out their school uniforms for mending. D needed a patch over a hole at the knee and S had to have the buttons sewn back on her pinafore. I mean good grief! They didn't come home looking like that! By the time I'd spilled the coffee, burnt the bacon, sewn their clothes and dragged Mr H, who just wouldn't get up, out of bed kicking and screaming, I was about ready to throw in the towel. I managed to pull it together, just about, by the time that Mr H came home. Dinner was an hour late and the kids didn't stop fussing until 10pm, but they ate and they slept, so I'm claiming a victory!

Thursday was a much better day - not that it could have got much worse! D had another school trip. This time the lucky beggar went off to the National History Museum in London followed by dinner at Planet Hollywood, a trip to Ripley's Believe It or Not and then the next day he went to see...

He came home Friday absolutely buzzing. In fact he's still leaping about now. He can't stop talking about the wizard chess statues and Diagon Alley and the cupboard under the stairs. He's put posters up in his room and is begging me to make him a Weasley jumper for Christmas, and butter beer, and pumpkin juice, and cauldron cakes, and a Hogwarts uniform, and, and, and... And he'll probably get it all eventually, though maybe not in time for Christmas, because I'm a HUGE Harry Potter fan and I'll get just as much joy out of making them as he will having them, if not more. In fact I already have the knitting patterns and recipes for most of his requests, as well as a crochet pattern for the famous Mrs Weasley cardigan for me! Because being called Mrs Weasley is just not enough, when you can look like her too!

But as much as I missed him, and was incredibly jealous of all the fabulous things he was up to, I had a rather lovely day Thursday too. Mr H's father had the day off work so he picked up K for the afternoon, giving me time on my own to listen to music and pour over the two 1950s knitting pattern pamphlets Mum sent me. My favourite is the bolero and matching 'Gretal cap' in fluffy angora, I'm going to have great fun knitting those up. It'll be like wearing kittens. In a non-scary Cruella DeVille way of course. Mr H and I even managed to fit in a romantic (early) dinner for two before the girls came home.  

Mrs H x

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Can't Beat A Bit Of Bond

Sorry my post is so short tonight but my internet connection today has been hinky to say the least. But I have consoled myself with this.

Sean Connery as James Bond.

I mean DAMN that man is good looking. I may need to go lie down.

I hit the ball out of the ballpark when it came to dinner to night. I made vegetable soup for starter, roast pork for dinner and jam roly poly with custard for pudding. I even managed to change into a clean dress and meet Mr H at the door with a cocktail and his slippers! It went amazingly well, although I think Mr H was more freaked out than anything else.

The kids even went to bed early, without complaint, which is frankly unheard of. So Mr H dug up in the attic (we keep EVERYTHING up there) and we had a bit of a Bond movie marathon. It's a hard life.

Mrs H x

Monday, 8 October 2012

Easter in October

Look what I found... squeee

Easter eggs recipe

It's not 1950s but it's totally how I imagine my dream housewife idol would eat deviled eggs. So I made them for a starter for tonight's dinner. I only had pink food colouring so we only had pink deviled eggs rather than all the fabulous candy hues in the picture, but they were a great success. S in particular loved them but, apparently, she wants them sparkly next time. Time to hunt down some edible glitter...

Now I don't normally make starters for our evening meal but since I have been so utterly hopeless over the last few days, I thought it was only right that I make an extra effort. Not that deviled eggs really require much effort, colored or not.

However, I should come clean here. When I found this recipe online, it was purely by chance. I was actually looking online at these visions of festive retro perfection.

Photos of your retro holiday decor

Aren't they all just so kitsch-a-licious? Look at those red flock and gold glitter reindeer. And that living room. I want that exact living room when we move and as for her apron, well, it's doing all sorts of funny things to me. I wonder if I can get Mr H to make me a family of wooden snowmen...

I am Mrs H and I am a Christmas-oholic. I live for it's kitsch colourful naffness. I sing Christmas songs year-round and I love the excuse to try and buy the perfect gift for EVERYONE from the children, family, friends to the postman and the dustmen. (They normally get homemade cookies tied with ribbon.) I don't quite know how it happened. My mother and father were always Mr and Mrs Grinch, and it turns out I married a Grinch too. It's not even in my faith and I adore the whole season. 

So there is my dirty little secret all out in the open. I was looking at Christmas decorating ideas and listening to Crooners At Christmas... in the begining of October... I need help. Or candy cane. Mostly candy cane.

Mrs H x

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Tip Top Treat

I seem to be getting my 50s groove back. Slowly. 

Sunday is always my grocery shopping day. I'd rather have Sundays off but if I time the shopping trip for the hour before the supermarket closes, I can pick up some amazing bargains. Today I managed to pick up four packets of jam doughnuts for just 36p, four cream cakes for 45p, two huge blocks of cheese for £3, three packets of bread rolls for 15p and several pounds of fruit and vegetables for £5. It does mean that it all has to be eaten up a bit quick before it turns but it's the only way I can feed (a very hungry) family of five for under £70 a week, without resorting to ready meals or frozen junk food.

So since I knew I needed to face the world today, I abandoned my sweatshirt and jeans combination that Mr H is such a fan of, and instead managed to pull together a vaguely 1950s look with a soft black and blue plaid flannel shirt, a denim tulip skirt, a wide black patent leather belt and a pair of fur topped black patent boots. It wasn't the most elegant ensemble but it was nice and snuggly, especially when I bundled a huge hot pink shawl/scarf  around my neck. (Yes, it was a bit of overkill and, yes, I did look a bit of a prat looking like I was heading for the Arctic whilst I was trudging through the freezer section, but did I mention I'm a complete wuss?)

From 'Hey My Mom Used To Make That'.

In honour of the monumental effort it took for me to get my backside off the sofa and out of jeans, I treated us all to a classic 50s pudding after dinner. A fruit flan! Made with a sponge base, canned fruit cocktail, orange jelly and served with Tip Top. Do you remember Tip Top? I always loved it and hadn't had it since I was a little girl when I used to visit Grandma H in Wales. She must have been a huge fan because I even have photographs of my father as a child sat at her dinner table eating it, along side his many siblings. I can't say it was as nice as I remember but D, S and K all seemed to enjoy it, asking for second and third portions until there was nothing left.

But for now I must go. Tonight I am watching the game with Mr H. I have bought beer, nachos and dip whilst Mr H is going to make the American football appear on the computer. Such fun. I'm such am Americanophile. (Which is so totally a word.) All I'm missing is one of those brilliant foam fingers. 

Mrs H x

Saturday, 6 October 2012


A few days snuggled in my pyjamas in bed is just what I needed, well sort of. I still had to be mobile and vaguely presentable to look after K and do the school run. But slopping about in scruffs and hiding under a blanket on sofa is close enough. I still have the urgy lurgy but at least I don't feel like the top of my head is about to pop off.

Being ill has posed somewhat of a 1950s housewife dilemma. What should I wear when I am ill? For the last few days I have been wearing an old pair of skinny jeans I dug out of the back of the wardrobe, Mr H's old sweatshirts and sheepskin boots I was given by a friend years ago. With no make-up and my pink hair scraped back into a ponytail, my overall look was described by Mr H as 'chav-tastic'. What a charmer! But after I suppressed the urge to chase him around the kitchen with a frying pan, I had to concede that he had a point.

I suppose I could carry on like a trooper wearing girdles and stockings and puffy skirts but that's really REALLY unlikely to happen. I am just not a trooper when I am ill. If I feel even slightly bad the whole world has to know about it. It's not that I'm miserable or horrid to anyone but I do have a slight tendency to whine and ask for endless cups of hot tea. But at the same time I don't want to turn into Vicky Pollard each time I catch a sniffle.

As an aside... My goodies arrived. The two vintage sewing patterns I bought from Etsy arrived on Thursday followed on Friday morning by the Susan Crawford knitting pattern book Mr H bought me. I haven't bought any fabric or yarn yet but I'm sure it won't be long before I buy some, after all if I keep looking longingly at the patterns all day, I'm going to start to look a bit odd.

But that's not all. I had a rummage around in the attic and I managed to find a few goodies that I forgot I had including a 1950s style sewing pattern New Look 6723, an early 1960s Bestway knitting pattern B3137 for ladies gloves and a 1980s knitting book called Knitting In Vogue that Mum gave me that has fabulous patterns from the 30s to the 80s.


I also bought two more patterns from Etsy. (It will be my downfall, I swear I'm addicted.) I bought a classic 1950s pattern that I'm going to use to make a HUGE selection of unfitted housedresses to wear while doing the housework and run errands as well as an incredibly cute pyjama and robe pattern (again from the early 1960s rather than 50s) that I just can't wait to make in powder blue sateen, just like the envelope cover. I'm gathering quite the wardrobe!

Advance 8230 from HelaQ and Simplicity 5205 from The Half House

But for now I'm going to crawl back under my blanket with my half knitted gloves, gaze longingly at my patterns and hope that no-one sees me...

Mrs H x

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

A Rough Few Days

This is just going to be a short post because honestly I'm like death warmed up. Over the last week or so S and K have not been sleeping. They're either waking up throughout night or getting up at like 3 or 4am in the morning, and often it's both. I'm the only one that wakes up with the children and, combined with my staying up late at night, I think it's beginning to affect my health. I'm getting migraines, nausea, sore throats, aching joints and mood swings. Things I don't normally suffer with.

So to be on the safe side I'm going to make an appointment with the doctor to make sure it's nothing else making me feel rotten. But for today and possibly for a couple of days, I am going to try and take care of myself with healthy foods, plenty of water, walks outside weather permitting and catch up on some sleep with naps.

I'll speak to you all very soon,

Mrs H x

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

A Jolly Day Out

What a day I've had today. I'm pooped.

D had a 1940s themed school trip today to the Museum of the Great Western Railway and Mum and I were volunteer helpers. It was great fun, absolutely jam packed with stuff to do and the staff were so interesting. (One woman in particular was really helpful, and offered to send me a pattern for the wrap-around pinnies that all the women wore.)

As soon as we got off the bus and were taken into the museum, they sounded an air raid siren and we all had to bundle into the community shelter. With the flickering lights and the sound effects, it was really very realistic. So much so that one or two of the children found it quite upsetting.

After that they got to climb into a steam train and talk to an engine fireman about his experiences working on the railways during the war then they were all given period items to investigate so they could work out what they were. D knew what his removable shirt collar was straight away but the group who had the laundry tongs thought that they were forceps! That made me wince!

They also got the chance to speak to three gentlemen who were children during the war. They asked them about toys and school and their favourite foods. It was so funny watching the other children squirming at the thought of eating heart and liver whilst Dylan was practically drooling!

Finally they had an evacuee workshop where they were all bundled on to a train, shown how little they'd have taken with them in their little suitcase and then they were picked by 'villagers' in the same way that the original evacuees were. The children all really enjoyed it. There were hoots of laughter when they were shown the woolen underpants and cotton bloomers they would have worn.

A big thing I took away from it was how 'vintage aware' I seemed to have raised D. He eats traditional foods, wears old-fashioned clothes and could clearly relate to the experiences of the men we talked to. I was also very proud that he was to interested and respectful towards them.

My favourite bits though were the dressing up and the lunch. We all had to go in costume and we totally rocked it! D wore a pair of cords with braces, an original period tie, a plaid jacket and a flat cap whilst I was in the dress Mum made me with knitted stockings (it was cold), leather gloves and victory rolls with a knitted snood. We even had gas mask boxes, ID cards, rations books and D had an evacuation label (that I had spent most of yesterday making).

Our lunch was forties fabulous too - homemade pasty, spam sandwiches, a bottle of ginger beer for me and a bottle of apple juice for D. I even wrapped them in brown paper instead of cling film or tin foil. We even had a paper bag of toffees to suck on whilst we walked round. But in all honesty, if we'd had the chance to sneak away, D and I would have much preferred a cream cake and cup of tea in the cafe.

I don't have any photos at the moment but I'll update the post with them as son as I do, I promise. And I totally recommend you going to the museum if you get the chance.

Mrs H x

Monday, 1 October 2012

Oooo For Me?

I'm so excited. Both Mum and Mr H have bought me presents today, just because. Ain't I a lucky girl?

Mr H has bought me a knitting pattern book called Vintage Gifts to Knit by Susan Crawford. And I am ridiculously excited! I love a really good Christmas jumper, or better still a really bad Christmas jumper, and I have coveted her Perfect Christmas Jumper for the longest time. I think it's just lovely. I love the cropped waist and the puffed shoulders and the bold vintage pattern and the hideous reindeer and the cute little buttons and and and... EVERYTHING! It's gorgeous! All I have to do now is buy the yarn and check that I have the right sized needles.

The Perfect Christmas jumper (back and front views)
From Vintage Gifts to Knit by Susan Crawford.

Whilst Mum bought me a handmade dress from a 1950s (style) sewing pattern AND gave me the pattern itself so I can make more. Yey!

Envelope for McCall 6503
(Not mine but an image from 

The dress that Mum gave me is view B with the short sleeves and cross-over bust She made it in a rather old fashioned pastel cotton print with crochet lace on the sleeves and on a little pocket she added to the front of the skirt. The fabric is a little old-fashioned and not my usual choice but it was made with D's 1940s school day trip in mind and actually it really suited me. I normally wear very bright colours (which are often so garish that they can melt eyeballs at twenty paces) because I think pastels and muted shades make me look pasty and ill. But clearly I was wrong. I can tell it's going to be a regular in my wardrobe and I think I'm going to go for subtle more often.


And by subtle, I mean subtle for me...

Mrs H x

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Think Pink!

I am sorry that I've left it a couple of days without posting. Again. I know. I am a bad bad blogger. But in my defense I was in absolutely no fit state to type last night. You see, out of the blue, Mr H's mother and father offered to have all three children overnight and so we had an impromptu night out! Not bad for a couple that normally only go out together one or twice every six months!

We were so taken aback that we didn't know where to go or what to do, but in the end we decided on a meal at our local Italian restaurant, where we were served by real live actual Italians! Talk about a novelty! It was wonderful, the food was divine (and apparently award winning but I couldn't tell you what award) and the staff were really fun and friendly. I even enjoyed the decor, which was to my mind rather 1950s Atomic Era but Mr H just thought it looked like an Ikea had exploded.

Well I was enjoying myself so much (and here comes the excuse) that I decided to have a little drinkypoo. I should explain at this point that, generally, I don't drink. I don't have any objection to alcohol and certainly don't object to anyone else enjoying a tipple, I just prefer not to imbibe myself. I'm not all that keen on the taste and, unless I am eating at the same time and really in the mood, I just end up feeling headachy and sick. The only time I tend to drink is to have Baileys or Babysham at Christmas (yes, I am just that classy) or the occasional half of cider at a summer barbeque, and that has the consequence that it only takes one or two drinks before I am under the table. Which I was. Last night. Very quickly. <blush>

Sadly this it NOT what I looked like last night.

Needless too say, I was a like a bear with a very sore head this morning. But I couldn't let it slow me down, after all I had lots of 1950s housewifey type things to be doing. So I set about trying to quieten the masses of insanely large hammers inside my head. 

First I tried a Virgin Mary. I heard somewhere that Bloody Marys were brilliant at curing hangovers, but nothing on God's green earth was going to make me drink vodka at 8am, so I just stuck to mixing tomato juice with Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper and a celery stick. It didn't work. Not even a bit. In fact, I think I felt worse. Bleaugh.

Next I listened to my Dad's advice (which quite frankly I should do more often, that way I wouldn't get into these messes in the first place) and downed a pint of water. This did help a little, in that it didn't feel like my tongue was covered in sand anymore, but it probably would have helped more if I had drunk it before going to bed and it probably would have meant that I wouldn't have spent all morning with my stomach sounding like a washing machine.

Then I tried Mr H's solution. He cooked me a fried breakfast of black pudding, bacon and beans, and then hovered around me optimistically as I ate. I really wish he hadn't because it meant I had to eat all of it. Every last grease-laden bite. Double bleaugh.

Schiaparelli Nail Polish Advert
From 'Musings From Marilyn'

In the end, I settled for the tried and tested Think Pink technique. Which basically involves pink. Anything pink. Everything pink. I read somewhere that pink is meant to sooth fractious nerves (I really do read some crap), so when I am feeling rotten I surround myself with pink. I wore pink, painted my nails pink, drank VERY strong coffee out of my pink heart-shaped cup and saucer, bought pink iced cupcakes from the supermarket and I even dyed my hair the most fabulous shade of Schiaperelli pink.

Yeah, okay so I may have got a bit carried away with the pink hair but now I feel on top of the world. I only hope the feeling continues when I have to scrub clean my now-pink bathroom. Whoops!

Mrs H x

Friday, 28 September 2012


I am nothing if adventurous in my cooking. Often it works well. I've 'discovered' some fabulous recipes like Welsh cake cookies, Jaffa cake cupcakes, CFK (fried chicken that D named Crunchy Fried Kitten - he's a pleasant child) and McMummy's breakfasts. But not always. Mr H can testify to the vileness that was stuffed baked cabbage and D will never let me forget the exploding chocolate cake. So when I announced to the family that, for a change, we would not be having pizza for movie night but instead a retro recipe that I had found, well lets just say they weren't exactly thrilled.

The recipe I had found was this:

Campbells recipe poster
From 'Hey, My Mom Used To Make That'

And for all their grumbling when I brought it to the table, they loved it. They even complained when there wasn't enough for seconds. I was filled with housewifely pride that they liked my food so much that they wanted more. (Not exactly an everyday occurrence - see stuffed cabbage above.)

It also boosted my culinary confidence too. Perhaps I should be making more adventurous retro meals. Looking at some of the advertisements and recipes from the 1950s, man those ladies knew how to combine their flavours! Next on my list are these divine looking numbers:

All from 'Hey, My Mom Used To Make That'

I'm sure Mr H will be thrilled!

Mrs H x