My favourite vintage era

Today sees the launch of a new series of blogs from some of my fellow friends and colleagues within the vintage business. The topic of conversation is  “My favourite vintage era“.

Today we have Louise from Catwalk Creative Vintage sharing with us why she loves the late 60s/early 70s.

Hi Louise, Can you let our readers know a little more about you and what you do?

My name is Louise Sleigh and I’m the owner of Catwalk Creative Vintage, an exclusively online business based in South Manchester. My range includes predominantly ladies vintage and designer clothing, accessories, costume jewellery and a small range of retro homewares. I began selling online in 2003 and then went on to develop my own website in 2006.

Louise styling a photo shoot

I personally source all the merchandise, clean and refurbish it, photograph it then write about it. I’m editor of the vintage fashion blog, Catwalk Threads, and am an active member of the Vintage Fashion Guild and The Best In Vintage. You’d be right in thinking that “vintage” is my full-time career!

So, you are clearly very experienced in the world of vintage. Which is your favourite era and why?

As my business entails dealing with vintage clothing, it’s quite difficult choosing one era since every decade has something unique to offer. My personal collection includes everything from a late 1930s day dress to a Nicole Farhi dress from the 1980s.

Louise in the 1980s: she says she thought she would always have a flat top hairstyle….just showing how things change through the decades

However, I’d say that the mid 1960s to mid 1970s was a fascinating time for fashion, especially in Britain. New easy-care fabrics were being developed in bright and bold colours, which provided crease-resistant, permanently pleated material, with little or no ironing required and in perfect time for the sexual revolution! Women were rejecting the corseted waist and opting for a fresh, young outlook.

Is there a certain fashion piece or style that you have and love?

There was such a wide range of styles available during this time. Everything from the mini dress to luxurious flowing maxi gowns and streamlined, well cut trouser suits. I think this fashion era, especially the 1970s, is often overlooked. However, I love the versatility of styles around at this time. I have several pieces in my collection from this period including a classic black crepe dress by Jean Lanvin  c. 1965. I love the sheer simplicity of the design, with interest in the form of the crystal buttons at the front. It’s a real collectors piece which I can pass onto my daughter once she’s old enough to appreciate it.

Truly stunning and I so want!

Then  moving onto something completely different; a blue midi-dress with faux cape dating c. 1973. The lines of this dress are so flattering and I love the fabric patterned with large exotic flowers. It’s a really fun piece to wear. I’ve actually worn this to a night club and received lots of compliments. It makes a refreshing change from all the boring sleeveless cocktail dresses that I see everywhere. Dare to be different!

Dare to be different!

And what about homewares? Do you like interiors from this period too?

Like fashion, home interiors were changing radically at this time. I love British studio pottery or basically anything with a fun bold design. My favourite piece is my Aztec coffee set, given to me by my mum a few years ago. It’s by J&G Meakin Studios and was designed c. 1965/66. I’ve added some dinner plates to the collection but only have 3 so far. If anyone knows where I can get my hands on more, I’m all ears! Once I have all the plates, including side plates, I’ll definitely be using them. I love to entertain friends and family and these will look wonderful on the dining table. However, for now they are stored carefully in my kitchen display unit.

How would you describe the role of women from this era?

There were significant cultural and social changes during the 1960s/70s. Women’s roles changed forever with the availability of the contraceptive pill and life was never going to be the same again. Moral codes that had prevailed in previous decades began to break down and there were many changes in our legal system concerning everything from divorce to the legislations of abortions. Measures were also taken during this time to improve the position of women, so I think it must have been an incredible time to be around as a young person.

However, these radical changes in society must have been quite confusing too. Women certainly had more choice and freedom but then had to learn to balance family life with a career- has this much changed I wonder? I guess if you could find a man in the sixties, who was willing to do his share of household chores, then you’d be laughing. It probably took men quite a bit longer to catch up to this new way of thinking! Some are still catching up!

And finally, is there something we could learn today from those in the late 60s/early 70s?

Society went through a lot of change, but despite this, I think generally there was still much more respect to be found. By that I mean respect for the police, for teachers and the elderly- to name but three. It’s a difficult one to answer really but if there was one value I would bring back, it would be probably be that one.

Thanks Louise, it’s great to hear about this time as so often us vintage folk focus on the 1950s. For me, what I love about the late 60s was the great optimism for the future. Yes, we had more freedom with new jobs, better education and healthcare but we also had space travel….people probably felt they could achieve absolutely anything! Biba brought us fast fashion at affordable prices for the first time,  meaning that young women could experiment with the new fabrics and colours you spoke of. Habitat was showing us that we could experiment with our homes too. And with the package holidays booming, young people could escape their parents and Britain for the first time. It must have been so fun to be a teenager back then!

Check out Catwalk Creative Vintage’s website, blog and follow on Facebook and Twitter.

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Our 1970s tree

We finally got the Christmas tree today and I couldn’t wait to get out all our vintage 1950s decorations. I love glass baubles with their bright colours, indentations and cosmic shapes.

I have this silly thing about it being the mans job to go and choose the tree and bring it back…the whole hunter gatherer thing I suppose! Well Mr YVL and our son Herbie went out and brought it back this year…it was very cute!

The children couldn’t wait for the decorations to come out either. They dived into the box all excited and my stress levels hit the roof. They grabbed my original 50s paper garlands and started pulling them tug of war style. They then found the baubles and at this point I started having heart palpitations!

So the 1950s decorations have been put away for now. We have covered the tree in slightly less precious 1970s decorations with some 50s unbreakable ones in between.

Panic over. The tree goes well with our retro lounge. I will hang the 50s glass ones from the chandeliers tomorrow!

For more vintage Christmas decoration advice and ideas see our blog: Deck the halls which is our article from this months Vintage Life magazine.

Here are some of my favourites hung on the tree today.

Herbies handmade decoration

An early plastic rabbit bell

Our 1950s fairy on the top of the tree

Last week’s weakness

My weakness is shopping. Actually, not just shopping. My weakness is shopping, thrifting, collecting….I can’t drive past a car boot sale without dropping in, I can’t visit a new town without thrifting through the charity shops, I can’t ignore a sign saying “Garage Sale”..to be honest I can’t even drive past a skip without meer-catting my neck up to see if there’s any bounty inside.

So maybe I should share with you my weakness..in fact here is last week’s weakness.

I was on my usual Thursday buying trip when I decided to go to a reuse shop full of old furniture. I was browsing round, quite unexcited when I looked up and saw Tina. I have been searching for Tina for about a year. I have seen many out and about but they have always been too expensive. I have not given in to the large spend, sure that one day I will find her.

Last week I did! I texted Mr YVL “OMG,  OMG, OMG, I have found a Tina”. I, of course bought her immediately. The lady serving said they nearly didn’t accept the picture from the customer thinking it was worthless. They then went on eBay and found out they were selling for up to to £80!

So who is Tina I hear you say? She is an iconic print from the 1960s by JH Lynch.

We already have one by him called The Nymph which featured in our blog “Lounging around”.

He painted sexy women looking seductively at the viewer….dark hair, dark sultry eyes and dark skin.

Not much is known about the artist. Tina was painted in 1964 and was mass produced for stores such as Boots. Joseph Henry Lynch was born in 1911 and died in 1989.

He wasn’t recognised in his life for his work although they sold in the thousands and were hung in many, many homes. No one even knew his real name just his signature JH Lynch.

Who are these women..no one seems to know. He painted in his Gloucestershire lounge so I’m presuming these women were in his mind. Maybe the women are all one of the same….a dark forbidden woman whom  he loved?

We don’t know much more than this. But for now I’m just so happy to finally have my Tina for a bargain price! She is hanging above our fireplace looking down over me while I work.

Welcome to my wardrobe

Some vintage ladies have embraced an era, often the 1950s or 40s. They have fallen in love with its style and taken it to their hearts (and their wardrobe, their hair and makeup, even their home). While I totally applaude this (and am a tad envious of their committment) I am not one of these ladies.

I havent embraced one era over another. The truth be told, I just wear what I like. One day it can be a 1950s day dress, the next a 70s maxi. My hair doesn’t match the era…it generally is the same with a matching  hair clip in.

The only rules I follow (as I don’t really follow rules) are:

1. I must LOVE it. If I don’t LOVE it then I don’t wear it. This applies to my home too…..not one era wins, only rule is we must LOVE it.

2. It must all match. Shoes, bag, hair clip, jacket…even my brolly, must co-ordinate.

I love the simplicity of a 1940s day dress. I love the full skirt, nipped in waist of the 1950s. I love the A line shift of the 1960s. I love the boho, carefree style of the 1970s. I also (don’t shoot me) love the secretary look of the 1980s.

Basically I love dresses, good dresses….. that no one else has!

I also love the social history of all eras and how this impacted what we wore. The rationing of the 1940s with less material and make do and mend ethos. The housewife look of the 1950s when women returned to the kitchen, donned a pinny to look after her man. The baby boomers in the 1960s with their huge optimism and tiny skirts. The hippy vibe of the 1970s with CND and floaty dresses. The empowerment of women in the 1980s with their business dress and shoulder pads.

So here are some of my favourite dresses…welcome to my wardrobe!

My absolute favourite dress: 1950s orange prom dress with clear lucite rhinestone clutch

Early 80s Monsoon dress with humming bird clip from Now, Voyager

1970s blue and gold dress with chain mail rose belt

1970s pink frill dress and Top Shop matchy shoes

1960s beaded mini with my fave Enid Collins box bag

Another 60s mini with patent box bag

Floaty 70s tropical maxi with classic leather cartridge bag

Bright pink 60s mini with handbag that was my mums in the 60s!

Early 50s silk dress with peplum and my gorgeous 40s corde bag

1980s Grecian drape dress with Abilu Creations head band

Late 40s leaf dress with structured brass top bag

Chiffon and lace 50s/60s dress with brooch Mr YVL bought for me when we first met

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This Weeks Giveaway: A crochet throw worth £25.

Simply: 1. Sign up to the blog 2. Leave us a comment about the blog 3. Tell your friends through Facebook, Twitter etc so they can join in the vintage fun!

Winner will be drawn on Thursday 6th October x

 


10 things that changed our lives…

or at least our homes!

This is our latest article for Vintage Life magazine….the top 10 countdown of things that impacted our homes and therefore our lives.

Number 10: The Duvet

Originating from Europe in the 17th century, the feather filled duvet changed the look of our bedrooms, increased our comfort as well as saving our time back in the 1960s. Discovering them on our travels, we rejected the stifling blankets and eiderdowns of our parents, choosing instead the ease of less washing, the speed of making the bed and the warmth it provided.

Number 9: The Shower

Before the shower arrived to make our mornings quicker, families used a pastel coloured plastic plug-on shower head fitted to the bath taps. Washing your hair took an age and when you turned the water faster it flew off the taps. Invented in Roman times, based on a waterfall, its quite amazing it took until the 1970s to change the face of our bathrooms.

Number 8:The Fitted Kitchen

Before the 1950s, kitchens contained large free-standing cupboards which left little room to work in let alone eat in. The fitted kitchen revolutionised homes providing a sleek and efficient workspace for the 50s housewife. Originating in Germany, the focus was on ergonomics as well as a great design. Worktops were made from Formica, easy to clean and came in a variety of bright colours. As space had been freed up some families added a table to create a social eating space although most had a hatch between the kitchen and dining room to pass food through. American appliances became popular, creating a state of the art look with fridges and blenders. By the 1960s everyone had one and kitchens have never looked back.

Number 7: The Freezer

Strange to think that before the 1970s the only frozen food we had was in the small compartment at the top of the fridge. The introduction of pre cooked frozen food had a huge impact on the working woman, who before now shopped daily and cooked from scratch every night. She could now cook in advance and store it or just choose quick TV dinners with ice cream to follow.

Number 6: Plastic

After the Second World War the boom in manufacturing meant we had better, stronger plastics and melamines to fill our kitchens with. In the 1950s, the introduction of Tupperware enabled women to leave the kitchen to host parties as well as keep their food fresher longer. Outdoor dining became popular with brightly coloured Melaware plates and bowls used, heralding the move away from bone china even on your picnic.

Number 5: The record player

The portable record player in the late 1950s changed teenagers lives forever. Sitting in their bedrooms with all their friends, dancing to rock and roll and comparing vinyl, it gave them a sense of belonging and increased popularity due to the size or content of their collection. Singles were loaded in stacks to ensure continued play with the Dansette being the most popular. Before this, bedrooms were just a place to sleep, with all music listened to on the family’s gramophone downstairs.

Number 4: The washing machine

The biggest status symbol in the 1950s wasn’t a handbag but a twin tub! The washing machine saved housewives precious time as previously they had to hand wash everything, using a washboard and mangle. Life became even easier in the 1960s with the introduction of man-made fabrics which could be thrown into the tub for the first time. Adverts popped up, promising freedom to women with slogans such as “The neighbours are beginning to talk about me!” (now that she can cavort around town due to having a washing machine). However, in reality most women were actually in a launderette until the late 1970s.

Number 3: The telephone

Imagine life before the telephone (and internet for that matter)…having to write a letter or visit someone to have a chat. The telephone not only changed the way we communicated but also the purpose of our hallways. The first home phones in the 1930s were black and serious with later models designed in brighter colours and modern shapes. Located in the hall, often on a special telephone table, they were positioned in a place that ensured everyone could hear your conversation yet were far away enough to not interrupt your family meal.

Number 2: The television

Like it or loathe it the television has impacted our homes and lives radically. Invented before the war it took until the 1950s for families to have one in their homes but even this was rare. It had a 9 inch screen with one channel, was black and white and was broadcast for only a few hours a day. For national celebrations whole streets crammed into one front room to share the experience together. For the first time the news was seen rather than heard therefore becoming more real. Nowadays it has become the focus of the home, with one in each room and dinner served on the sofa making the dining room and family meals redundant.

and at number 1: The Refrigerator

Invented in the 1920s yet not becoming popular until the 1950s, the fridge has truly impacted the architecture of our homes as well as keeping our lemonade cool. Before it, homes had a separate larder or pantry room at the back of the house to store perishable items. With this invention, the room was no longer needed resulting in many families finally bringing in the outdoor toilet to make their first bathroom. As building progressed through the 20th century, the bathroom moved upstairs leaving space for a much larger kitchen at the back of the house. A fitted kitchen was bought, a table added and all because of the humble fridge!

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Cheer up the rainy days and your autumn wardrobe with This Weeks Giveaway! This lovely vintage necklace in glorious autumnal colours could be yours….

Simply: 1. Sign up to the blog 2. Let us know which brolly you like best in last Thursdays blog by leaving us a comment 3. Tell your friends through Facebook, Twitter etc so they can join in the vintage fun!

Winner will be drawn on Thursday 29th September x

 

 

 

Our family Kartell

Yesterday Your Vintage Life traded at the fabulous, award-winning Furniture Flea. It’s a mid century, affordable fair full of furniture and  home wares brought to you by Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair. York Hall, Bethnall Green was awash with orange, funky flowers and more teak than you can shake a stick at.

We arrived early, still very sleepy to unpack our wares. We have collected 60s furniture, mirrors, lighting, coat stands, glassware etc since our last outing here…so at 8.30 we started to set up.

All the furniture was at the front of the pitch with all the lights grouped together at the back. We had some G Plan coffee tables, Chippy telephone tables, side tables from Denmark and Finland including one with a tulip base, picture coffee tables from the 1950s and an adorable kidney-shaped occasional table.

Then a selection of  our smaller items were displayed on the table. (Thanks to my friend Sarah for this!)

Using original 1970s Kartell units our glass and ceramics looked fab.

So, where did you find the AMAZING Kartell I hear you ask. Well, back in the 70s, my mum and dad bought them for their trade shows. Selling new items (that we now collect and sell…funny old world) to independents, all items were lovingly displayed on the units.

Check out my mum, standing next to a chrome coffee table and leather footstool…..also the silver large pear in the background I think is a winner too!

Fast forward into the 1980s…my aunt and mum designed, made and sold jumpers…..and yes, you guessed it..they used the Kartell again within their stands at yet more trade shows.

So who is Kartell? They are an Italian company specialising in plastic. Originally selling accessories for cars in the late 40s, they then went onto sell home accessories in the 60s and still make great chairs today. Their items are very collectable…their lights are stunning. The clear plastic chair designed by Phillipe Starck is a design classic. They made storage units for the home such as the ones we have…….I’m thinking of introducing them into the kids playroom to show off their retro Fisher Price!

But for now…I think I will continue the family tradition and use them to display stock on!

Play Away!

Hot on the heels of our first room to be finished in our renovation project (as written about in our blog: Fabulous Fifi) we have this week completed our second room!

Our first result was calm and relaxing and…ours! The second is the playroom. We decided some time ago to give up the stand alone dining room….handing it over to our two small children, Herbie (3) and Kitty (1). With the thought of no kids TV in our lounge and no toys underfoot, we have been spurred on to get them to play away in their own little lounge.

So…..we filled it with my turquoise Formica topped  1950s furniture. It is lovely with black and gold swirls all over it…and more importantly it is wipeable! The table has screw on black splayed legs and is now their art table.

Yes, the paint is now banned from my Ercol elm dining table and I am now a lot calmer!

The sideboard is so cute with its cream and white paintwork and blue top. Again perfect for little ones….any marks can be simply re-touched with a bit of paint.

The modern TV stands on this..alongside the vintage toy version.

The old room had an unsightly 70s fireplace in front of the back boiler. We found out it cannot be replaced without changing the boiler…so we built a cover. You now can’t imaging its hiding such a monster…and has now doubled up as a mantlepiece with some of the favourite toys on. Now this house LOVES vintage Fisher Price..and here is just some of it.

The camper van is a firm favourite especially as we have a 1967 VW split screen. The top comes off and forms a boat. Then there’s the record player. I actually played with this when I was younger and is still going strong. As mentioned in our magazine article “Play the Vintage Way” for Vintage Life magazine we think they are fantastic toys especially as they don’t need batteries.

Gosh then there’s the cash register..again my favourite toy when I was younger (maybe a clue that i would spend 20 years in retail)…I used to charge my family to buy tinned food that of course was theres. I would then keep the money! Herbie seems to be repeating history.

The chatter phone and the cottage join them. We also have…are you ready: the farm, the zoo, the school, the Happy Apple, the Jack in the box, the radio, the activity centre, 2 chime balls..the list goes on!

They have shelves in the alcove for all their stacking boxes of yet more toys. The Fisher Price airport and garage stand proud on the first shelf. You can just see their 1970s Tupperware shape sorter in the picture!

We have chosen joint toys for this room..Kitty’s collection of dolls with their rocking crib, high chair and pram all dating from the 1950s will be in her room. Herbie’s ridiculous collection of Tonka trucks will be in his room. So we have Pegasus, the 1970s rocking horse left for them to share, along side wooden bricks and the metal toys.

These were very popular in the 1950s.. factories were given up for war manufacturing during the 40s which resulted in a huge boom in the 50s with metal becoming available again. Often toys replicated the toys of the parents…such as this Mettype typewriter.

We have a great Chad Valley spinning top and kaleidoscope too!

All their cafe/cooking toys (modern) are kept in my 1950s basket….I seem to have lost that one!

So, back to the interior design…those lucky 2 have a great pair of 60s stripe curtains and one of the best lights in the house! It has squares of bright blue glass all around, giving off a lovely glow when switched on. It was a real bargain too…it was free! Adam found it at a house restoration he was working on..it was in the garage about to be skipped. All the builders on site  laughed at his glee…..! We just need things for the wall…a clock, bookcase and pin board for all their drawings.

So children…do you like it? I guess that’s a yes then!

Play The Vintage Way!

To celebrate the launch of our new shop category: Your Vintage Playroom, we wanted to share with you our latest magazine article. Your Vintage Life writes for the fabulous publication with a similar name: Vintage Life Nostalgia magazine. “Play the Vintage way” is an inspiration piece to give ideas on how to create a vintage nursery or playroom.

Play the vintage way

Children today live in a battery operated world. In years gone by, they played with wood or metal toys passed down through the generations, lovingly worn from years of play. Families came together to play board games rather than games consoles. Toys begged you to use your imagination rather than rewarding you for simply pressing a button.

Why not create a vintage nursery or playroom with a sense of nostalgia and innocence. Follow these ideas to take you back in time and give hours of enjoyment watching your kids playing with your old favourites!

 Toys

Metal toys were popular in the ’50s, often mirroring the grown up toys that our parents used such as typewriters and sewing machines. Before now, children were working more than playing therefore had fewer toys, often playing with just a few favourites. These would be hand crafted wooden toys such as dolls, trains and boats.

 In the ’40s, toy factories were given up to the war effort so in the ’50s there was a boom in production. Classic metal toys to fill your playroom are the spinning top, kaleidoscope and musical instruments such as tambourines.

Chad Valley made a great selection of these in primary colours with cute kids on. These can brighten up a toy shelf, adding touches of nostalgia as well providing great play.

In the late ’60s robust plastic toys made by Fisher Price became popular.

A favourite is the record player with lullaby records: turn the winder, move the stylus and listen to nursery rhymes. These are simple, mechanical and importantly, still working today. They also produced a telephone, radio and TV …still replicating the grown up toys just as a decade earlier. Remember the airport, the garage, the school house? It’s not just for older children either: the Happy Apple, chime ball and cot activity centre stimulate early senses and are perfect for a nursery.

Books

We should all read a bedtime story to our little ones, but why not consider a vintage story book. In 1940 Ladybird published their first series for children, which included stories such as Bunnikins Picnic.

These were simple stories told in verse with colourful pictures. Children loved them for their simplicity, parents loved them for their educational value and low price. The Key Word Reading Scheme introduced in the ’60s helped children to recognise simple words quickly and still works today…how many of us remember Peter and Jane? Be careful though as some are not considered politically correct (A is for Armoured vehicle for example)and women may take offence at the role of “mother” which isn’t what it is today! Vintage fans will love the pictures from the ’50s editions with swing dresses, Kelly handbags and pretty tea cups.

These classic books, along with Beatrix Potter and A.A Milne, will remind you of being read to as a child and are still loved today. Collect them with the dust covers on for added nostalgia!

Dolls

Every little girl loves a doll and the vintage ones are best.

 In the ’50s, hard plastic dolls made in England by Roddy, Pedigree and Rosebud were most desired. With their mohair wigs, jointed limbs and blinking eyes, they will really add that vintage look to a nursery. Dress them up in vintage rompers, sit them in a wooden high chair, wheel them around in an old pram, rock them in a wooden crib….all will add theatre to a little girl’s room. For boys, choose a stuffed horse on wheels to help with those first precious steps.

 The finishing touches

Vintage home furnishings soften any nursery with their pastel colours and home made feel, such as chunky knitted cot blankets and character curtains. Why not store toys in a blanket box? Perfect for a little girl with cute flowers, soft styling and roomy enough for all her things. Or make bunting our of their patterned, outgrown clothes?

Keep the room tidy by storing pens and chalks in vintage tins. Early sweet tins often came with children’s pictures on. Huntley and Palmer’s produced iced biscuit tins with Noddy and Muffin the Mule on, Sharp produced toffee tins with an animated Noah’s Ark on, even the early Quality Street tins would look great.

Adorn out of reach shelves with vintage ceramics. Characters such as Holly Hobby and Peter Rabbit on vases, bells and bowls will give a nursery a personal feel. These were traditional Christening presents which would always be out on display.

We have done all of this with our children’s rooms. The result? They value their toys, we save a fortune in batteries and it’s great to hear a lullaby rather than a robotic voice! Most of all, we get hours of pleasure reminiscing our own childhood while they ride their old rocking horse!

Your Vintage Playroom

Your Vintage Life will be launching a new shop category this week to coincide with our latest article in Vintage Life Nostalgia magazine. It is called “Play the Vintage way” and gives you some inspiring ideas on how to create a vintage nursery or playroom.

Your Vintage Playroom has 6 sub categories: Nursery, Toys, Books, Storage, Learning and Games.

Nursery is full of pretty vintage treasures to help create a real sense of innocence.

Ceramics to line your shelves with Peter Rabbit, Holly Hobby and Love Is on….in years gone by christening presents were displayed for many years which is a great idea to bring back.  There are bowls, bells, vases and christening mugs all in pretty pastel colours.

We also have a great range of vintage styled hand knitted baby blankets: in bright colours as well as pastels. We have one of these for our little girl which always gets admired when she has it in her pram. I love the fact that no two are the same and are hand-made.

There are some great 1950s nursery curtains too. These are called ABC and were designed by Frieda Clowes in the 1950s. They are covered in letters with kitsch characters all over: pirates, kittens and toy soldiers. They are great for either a boy or girl which is perfect if you don’t know what you’re having! We also have fab 1970s Paddington curtains which really remind me of my childhood!

The Toy section is full of toys from the 1950s through to the 1980s. Chad Valley humming tops, Mettype metal typewriters, Fisher Price drums and a horse ride on are our personal favourites! The ride on toys look great sitting in the corner of a nursery, or as my 2 year old is currently proving, are great for riding up and down the hall!

We even have hand crafted vintage skittles dating from the early part of the 20th century.

Vintage children’s Books are great for your little one but also look great on a shelf in their original dust covers. We have 1950s early edition Ladybird books, Beatrix Potters and 1970s original Mr Men.

I personally love the ladybird book’s illustrations with 1950’s ladies in swing dresses and a kelly bag slung over their arms. However, you must all remember that some of them aren’t very modern in their thinking: Mummy seems to be always doing the washing up with Daddy reading the paper in the background!

The Storage section has vintage tins with bright pictures on to store pens or chalk in and blanket boxes for your clothes or toys.

These are great for nurseries as well as playrooms.

Learning has games which will teach your little ones something. We have a rare 1940s Essex sewing machine complete with instructions, a 1950s weaving loom and a 1970s Fisher Price activity centre. Our little girl has one of these attached to her cot. She loves playing with it in the morning, enjoying the squeakers, dials, twisty buttons, mirror and ringers. They are made so well and have already lasted for generations.

There are lots more in this section which will give your playroom that nostalgic feel as well as stimulate.

Finally, Games has board games that you can all play together as a family. Housey Housey, Lotto, Snakes and Ladders all come in their original 1960s boxes. Our favourite is a magnetic 1950s Pin the tail on the donkey!

So, exciting times ahead for us here as well as for your little ones! We will publish the article next week on the blog and then we can all start to play the vintage way!

Get Scrapping!

We are currently packing up our house as we are moving. As stressful as it is, we found some respite this week when we found my old scrapbook from the 1970s. As mentioned in our Christmas article “Have yourself a Merry Vintage Christmas” in Vintage Life Nostalgia magazine, children in times gone by used to paste their cards into a scrapbook and show everyone on Christmas Eve.

And I’m so very glad we did as we have saved a fabulous collection of retro cards from every occasion.

The colours are really vibrant and the characters are so kitsch.

I love this little girl with her large eyes and  innocence. This was actually the back of a card with the front being a little boy.

Or maybe it is actually an angel..playing a tuba? All the children in these old cards had rather large heads with often oversized hats!

There were of course religious cards too. However, these were still really bright and vibrant reminding me of stained glass windows in church, with the sun shining through.

This one depicts the Nativity. The lambs are so sweet, very stylised, very 60s. Children from around the world coming together, in a retro way! Still their heads are very large!

Many of the cards have animals on, still with large eyes! Often animals that have nothing to do with Christmas: cats, dogs and mice! Here we have a dog and a mouse decorating a tree with bells and baubles. The background is a shocking pink…again not a colour assosiated with Christmas!

A mouse sits on a giant lump of cheese to look at the Christmas candle….again the bright pink appears in a bow around the cheese.  Then we have yet another mouse, with hug ears looking at a bird treee decoration. It has that doe eyes and a paw up at the mouth at the wonder of what it sees!

This one is my favourite. It reminds me of the designs on old sweet & biscuit tins. It was  in fact drawn by a 12 year old girl for Oxfam, organised by the Young Observer magazine. It is called Snowballing.

I think i will make it into cards this year to send to my dearest. Bring back the scrapbook I say….I wonder what we will say about 2010 cards in years to come. My book was large with groovy 70s kids on the front!

So come on everybody….get scrapping and make this year’s cards, memories of the future!