Vintage Vintage, Everywhere – Not a Penny to Spare!

Recently I have been lusting after so many bits of gorgeous retro style clothing – it’s a bit of a hazard working at a computer where you can browse the web in your spare time, and come across amazing sites like Rockabilly Pinup, Deadly is the Female, as well as all my other high street favourites. But, now that the month of January is nearly over, the time of tightening the belt and drawing in the pursestrings is nearly over, and I can daydream a bit more realistically about all the gorgeous clothes that can be found out there!

peacock dress

This dress from Rockabilly Pinup is so beautiful it makes me want to cry – the wraparound style of the dress is always a sure thing to garuntee a flattering shape, but even if you’re not a fan of the shape there are a few more designs that make use of the main feature of the dress; the stunning peacock print. The colours are breathtaking, with bright azures, emeralds and hints of gold making this a truly regal dress, fit for any Queen of glamour. I’ve long wanted a peacock feather tattoo on my leg, and I’ve begun aquiring a bit of a collection of the beautiful feather print in various accessories. The peacock has always been a symbol of vanity and pride, but I say what’s wrong in wanting to look and feel amazing? Whether you opt for the sexy strappy dress, the fifties circle dress or the forties wiggle dress, you’re bound to feel a million dollars in this stunning print.

lace trench

I’ve also found this beautiful lace trench coat from the more main stream Topshop, but as vintage becomes more and more popular, everywhere has something to offer these days, which is great for looking after people with a bit more of a budget. This coat is so like Burberry’s cream lace trench, I’m sure there will be the occasional double take as you walk down the street wearing the significantly more affordable option! Coco’s Fortune is one of Topshop’s brands, so is only available on the website, but their service is so great it’s not the end of the world. I love how luxurious this coat feels, with the tiny details making all the difference, particularly the eyelet detail on the collar and the gorgeous vintage style double breasted buttons. It’s just so beautiful, so French and chic, this just needs a pretty ditsy print dress with some seamed stockings or tights – and don’t forget the beret!


Finally, my latest disovery of Deadly is the Female, has led me to discover some more gorgeous dresses, fun and flirty swimming costumes, but most amazing of all are these incredible Vivienne Westwood for Melissa Lady Dragon winged shoes. They are spectacular – I adore the gorgeous red angel wings curving around your toes, and the red and silver contrast is amazing. The height is just perfect, not too high, and despite them being pretty quirky they are still not outside the realms of possibilty for regular wear. Pair them up with some red contrast seam stockings or tights, and keep it simple with a classic black vintage outfit to let the shoes do the talking, or go all out with starlet red. And Vivienne Westwood at this price, how can you say no!?

The only choice left now, is which do you go for? Eek!


The Vintage Housewife x

The Wifey Night Time Tesco Run

There’s not much more of an indication that you’re a housewife than that! To be honest, it’s only down the road from me, I was out and back home in about twenty minutes, but it was for a very worthy cause! My famous “Perfect” bacon and leek pasties! I’ve made these a few times when we’ve gone for a long walk somewhere, or a long journey – or just because I want to, and they have always gone down a storm. My batch makes 10, and often when I announce there’s a batch on the way, I’m all out of pasties to share out straight away!

The recipe is from Good Food Tv’s programme Perfect… that came out a while ago, where different chefs compete each week to produce their perfect version of a type of cooking, a particular dish, or even the perfect Saturday brunch. This is Matt Tebbutt’s offering, and it really is Perfect. The bacon lardons work beautifully with the leek and Caerphilly cheese, and the tang of the Bramley apple just finishes it all off. It’s really easy to make – cooking the bacon and leek with some mustard and double cream, then chopping up and crumbling the potatoes, apple and cheese. The tricky bit comes to the pastry itself – I definitely use the jusroll instead of making my own, but drawing round a tea plate means you’ve then got to roll out the pastry again to make the most of it and get as many pasties as you can out of the mixture!

I find that the mixture gives enough for 10 pasties, with a serving spoon’s worth in each, and four rolls of jusroll shortcrust is perfect for this. I prefer short crust, as it gives it more of a Cornish pasty type feel for me, and its nowhere near as messy! You can get two pastry discs from one roll, and then mixing the leftovers from two produces another one. This was however the reason for my night-time Tesco run – I forgot that I would need as many as that, so ended up getting in the car at 8pm and popping along to Tescos. As it turned out, it was quite handy because I also needed a rolling-pin, but in my Tesco the housewares department is first, so I have to admit I looked a bit of a nutter wandering around with just a rolling-pin. I wasn’t the only one though which I think was scarier! Fortunately, I picked up my two rolls of pastry and felt myself return to normal 🙂


I do love making these pasties, there’s always such a good feeling about making something in big batches – whether it’s because you know you’re being good and freezing another load of dinners to save money, or if you’re feeding a big group round for dinner, or giving some tasty goodness to the people you love. One thing I do hate about making these pasties, is the crimping! I’m awful at it, so occasionally I end up with slightly burnt ooze, and the ones that don’t leak can be more scrunched up than pretty pleats :s but that doesn’t stop them being tasty, and that’s the main thing! Practice makes perfect!


The Vintage Housewife x

Very clever way to save your hair from damaging hot rollers!

Tulle and Trinkets

I don’t know many straight-haired gals who don’t wish for wavy locks — and this can come at a damaging price if you’re always using a hot curling iron on your straight hair! Luckily, there has been a wave of no-heat ways to get curly hair lately. Rags, socks, mini buns, etc., there are so many ways you can make your straight hair wavy without damaging it with heat. I recently discovered my method of choice.

I was inspired by this video, but I didn’t want the tight, retro curls this vlogger was going for, so I modified the tutorial a bit to get big, beachy waves.

how to get wavy hair with no heat

To get no-heat waves, all you need is a circular headband. You can use anything from a small elastic band to a thick, turban-style headband like I used. The bigger your headband, the looser your waves will be. If you want tight…

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The Secret Supper Club – Dana Bate

This was one of the wonders of my transition from paperback to kindle books – the kindle Daily Deal! I managed to grab this for a mere 99p – I figure at that price it’s worth giving things a go, but to be fair I probably would have bought it had I come across it anyway. Which is another great thing about kindle’s Daily Deal’s, you come across so many books you would never have found otherwisse, it’s fantastic! I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Secret Supper Club, and hope that kindle continue to put forward such excellent books in the Daily Deal!

As a bit of a foodie myself, I was definitely drawn into the plot line of a woman struggling with her job, relationships and life in general, who seeks solace in baking, cooking and eventually, the running of her own underground supper club. Set amidst the backdrop of one of the political captials of the world, Washington DC, the legal grey area of the whole setup of a supper club is thrown into sharper relief, with higher risks and bigger consequences. I have to admit, as the main character Hannah attempts to juggle the supper club plans and her very analytical role in a ‘think tank’, there was a lot of political/business/financial stuff that I didn’t understand, but whilst that made those sections a little dull to read, it added to the realness of the character, as you began to appreciate that Hannah doesn’t much understand either.

However, when it comes to the details of the menus, shopping and cooking for the supper club, the pages are a real treat to read through. From Jewish holiday foods to state-specific classics, each supper club is themed and the guests – and readers – learn something new every time. The passion and enthusiasm Hannah has for her cooking is more than evident, and as well as getting more than a little hungry, you really feel for her as she battles to get her dream of working as a caterer realised against her  pushy parents, who are mortified at the thought of her even cooking as a hobby. Quite frankly, it’s enough to inspire anyone to get out and away from any dead end job and go out and realise their own dreams!

As you can imagine with a secret underground restaurant, there are more than a few hiccups along the way, and the bad to worse scenarios keep you eager for more as you think, along with Hannah, that things can’t possibly get any worse. And then they do. There are twists and sudden surprises abound, as seemingly everything in Hannah’s life falls to pieces around her, but her fiesty attitude and hilarious comedic value keep it light hearted and great reading, whilst tugging at your heart strings along the way. There are lovely bouts of ‘will they, won’t they’, and the wonderful insight a reader gets from being an outside perspective and being gobsmacked at how blind some people can be to seemingly obvious signs of attraction. People watching at its best!

I would thoroughly reccommend reading this, even without my cheeky kindle price. It’s a really great read, not too intense and a lot of fun. And, the best bit is that at the end of the book, some of the recipes used for the supper club are included!


The Vintage Housewife x

Creative Writing Course – Weeks 1 & 2

As some of you may know, I love writing. Ok, a bit obvious as I have my own blog, but my love of writing goes further than my ramblings about what I’m cooking, wearing or doing – I actually have my own novel in the making. I’ve been writing it for about 7 years now – bearing in mind that when I started writing it I was 16, so it’s been through a few incarnations and not got that far really. It all started with a dream I had, which looking back isn’t much like what the novel is turning out to be, but I decided to go with it and loved writing it for years, but I have hit a bit of writer’s block recently. At first I figured that once I’d moved out, got my stuff together and the wedding was over I’d have more time to write, but I’m still drawing up blank.

So, as myself, my hubby and my dad are all in a fairly similar situation (although Dad has finished writing one of his books, and it is amazing!) we decided to book onto a creative writing course together. It was nicer to do this kind of thing in a group, it takes away the nervousness of the first few sessions, and leaves you more comfortable and confident to produce and share your work. We were all there for different reasons; Dad wanted to get his creative flow back again – he always knew where his books were going,  but for whatever reason it just dried up. Dave wanted to gain confidence in getting his thoughts written down, as well as being able to share his work, being very protective over it up till now (even I haven’t been allowed to read much of his work). As for me, I could do with some tips on organising my notes, as well as some help developing characters, and small plot points that keep the story ticking over until the major stuff happens.

The first week we arrived at the class, and I was surprised at how many people were there. The class was oversubscribed, and we had about 15 people in the room. After going around and chatting about who we were, what we wrote, and what we hoped to gain out of the course, I was again surprised to find people from all backgrounds, as well as more sci-fi/fantasy writers than I was expecting. It’s lovely to see people with ideas wanting help to get it off the ground, as well as people who just want to learn to write for the pure enjoyment of it. After going through all that, we were given a set of pictures to look through, and our first assignment. Just to gauge our writing style, we were asked to pick a picture and write a 1500 word short story based on our inspiration from it.

Obviously with a  class of 15 not everyone will get to share every week, so a group of people were selected in advance. The first week, Dad was selected! It was so lovely to see, he was at the back of the group looking at the photos, and one just jumped out at him, so he managed to get that straight away, and sat furiously writing for the last half hour of the class until we left. He’d finished his piece in 3 days! With daughter privileges I got a sneaky preview, and it was just as good as his first book. When we left the class the first time round, he was beaming so much, so pleased that he’d ‘got his mojo back’ (his words, not mine – he’s got an amazing writing style though, I promise!) that me and Dave said even if we get nothing out of the course, it’s so worth seeing Dad back writing again. In the seminar like session the following week, his piece went down very well, and I can already see how it’s going to slot nicely into the rest of his work which is fantastic. The seminar way of learning is fantastic, as you can hear the opinions of so many different viewpoints as well as from the professional writer; it’s a wealth of information and feedback which is the only way to learn with writing I think.

Bizarrely enough, my short story ended up nothing at all like what I normally write. My novel has dragons and magic and swords in it, whereas what I wrote was a really dark piece about suicide. Go figure. I enjoyed writing it, it was nice to take a break and write something different from what I have done so far, especially as until we get further into the course, I’m stuck on my own work anyway. The problem I faced was keeping it down to the 1500 word length; I ended up finishing about 2300 words and edited it back to 1650 – good old university 10% wiggle room! I think I may have found another problem with my writing :s Anyway, I was very pleased with it, and shall keep it in the vaults should I ever wish to come back to it.

This week we’re working on characterisation – Yippee!!! And even better, its my turn to show and tell. Fortunately I’ve had in mind a section of the novel where the main character, who is very closed off and cagey throughout the story, lets it all go and we hear and understand his back story. I’ve been working on that this week, and hoping that going through it at the course will flag up any problems I’m having with motivation, back story, and general realness of the character. I’ve always been a big believer that the characters are the most important part of any story – you have to fall in love with them, be it wishing you were the heroine, wishing you were with the hero, or loving to hate the villains. It’s what I’ve always loved in my favourite series of books – The Wit’ch War Saga by James Clemens, as well as many other books I’ve read. The characters are believable, they have deep relationships, as well as human flaws and strengths. Whilst sometimes it gets me down reading these books, thinking I’ll never be able to write like that, I still think that reading is a massive part of being a writer. It’s not just research and inspiration, but also motivation, for those days where you think, I CAN write like that!

I’ll keep you posted with how the course goes, and who knows, maybe you’ll someday see the names Richard Hilton, Dave Rhodes or Abbie Rhodes on your bookshelves!


The Vintage Housewife x

Fabulous Favoloso!

Last weekend was the first time in ages that me and Dave manged to get out on the bike together for some proper riding. After doing the shopping with the bike for the first time – a tense trip, as we hoped our small shopping list would fit into the top box, and it only just did – we planned to drive down to Eastbourne as Shaws Harley Davidson dealer was having a bit of a birthday celebration. We also very rarely go east when we’re out on a ride, normally we head towards the New Forest, or up around Surrey, so it was good to see a change of scenery, especially as there is the rest of the South Downs that way, and the beautiful English coastline.

seven sisters 2

We took the main road towards Newhaven, but came down to the coast there and rode along through Seaford and towards  Seven Sisters and Friston Forest. I used to come here all the time when I was younger, and me and Dave came here last year on the way to stay in Rye for a few days, and as we rode over the rise of the hill leading down into the valley, we were reminded once more that we need to get down here more often. Friston Forest sits at the head of the valley, whilst the river through the valley wound its way beautifully down to the sea. The rolling hills of the Downs against the start of the Seven Sisters cliffs make for a stunning contrast of landscapes, so that the area is constantly changing and no two visits are ever the same.

seven sisters 1

Incidentally, Dave was telling me that there are talk of plans to re-flood the area – in WW2, the valley was set up as a dummy for Newhaven, so had to be transformed from a flood plane into a valley with a winding river, enough to resemble the harbour a few miles away and trick the German bombers. Now, the plan is to let nature retake the area, presumably to lower maintenance costs to keep the river as it is at present. Whilst that makes sense, it does seem a shame to remove so much walking space, as well as the many pill boxes from the war that are little praised as it is. Last time we went there me and Dave sat atop one of these pill boxes and ate homemade pasties in the bitter October wind, but it was a wonderful walk. On the flip side, it would bring back a lot of wetlands area, so it’s a matter of 6 of one, half a dozen of the other I guess.

seven sisters 3

Anyway, we didn’t stop here today, but instead continued towards Eastbourne. Taking the road that leads directly to the seafront instead of the town centre, we were met by a very brisk wind screeching across to Beachy Head, making me long for our destination and a good cup of tea! We found the dealer’s venue in a theatre just off the sea front, and after having a bit of a wander, decided the event wasn’t for us. It was around lunch time, and on the way out we were debating about heading home for lunch, or trying to find somewhere in Eastbourne, when we stepped out of the theatre and our question was answered for us. Opposite the theatre was a gorgeous art deco fronted cafe diner, quite big for this type of thing, and we were instantly drawn to it. The misted windows spoke of yummy hot food as well as a busy environment  always helpful when choosing somewhere new to eat. I loved the monochrome and gold highlighting in the letters, the fronting was just absolutely gorgeous and succeeded in its mission to invite us in to Favoloso.

photo (5)

The inside was a retro/vintage wonderland – I say this, because it was a real mix of art deco mirrors, monochrome, fans and luxury, mixed with the retro golden years of an all American diner, with giant milkshakes included! We ordered our lunch (unfortunately I had to go with the good old cup of tea – I’ll have to come back in the summer and enjoy one of those amazing milkshakes!) and our hopes that the food was as lovely as our surroundings were met spectacularly! I had a salmon and cucumber baguette, where there was actually more meat than the veg which is an unusual surprise! Dave’s tuna melt was delicious I am informed, as was his beautiful strawberry milkshake. We saw kids all around us eating wonderful looking ice creams – the place had such a happy, family atmosphere to it, but there were people from all ages and backgrounds in the cafe. It was a place that just makes you happy to be there.

photo (4)

So now we have the perfect excuse to head east on our ride outs now!


The Vintage Housewife x

This is an amazing blog about a fantastic sounding bookshop in a canal boat! How incredible would that be to visit!

The Matilda Project


Word on the Water, Regent’s Canal, London

“So close your eyes while mother sings of the wonderful sights that be,
And you shall see those beautiful things as you sail on the misty sea,
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three – Winkin’, Blinkin’, and Nod.

– From Winkin’, Blinkin’ and Nod, a Nursery Rhyme.

I’ve been in a lot of bookshops and sung their praises, but this one takes the cake. To be fair to them all, those very worthy other bookshops are often just as good as this one in terms of selection, decor and price, but all of them are lacking one essential ingredient that makes this competition not even close to a fair fight.  While every other bookshop I’ve been in has been firmly planted on solid ground, today I set foot inside a floating bookshop on the inside of a London Canal Boat. …

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