Lounging around

We have finally finished our 3rd room in our house renovation. The lounge has taken a while as there was so much to do and its a double room too.

So lets cast our minds back to how it used to look.

Red swirled carpet with contrasting walls. The woodwork was all painted dark brown.

An office suspended ceiling with horrid tiles was above the whole room. Why anyone would do that throughout the ground floor of your home is beyond me. It didn’t even mask a bad ceiling.

A hatch and awful huge built-in display cupboard with brick surround was a feature. An old-fashioned gas fire and brick surround took over one half of the room. Overall it was dark and gloomy.

The plus points were the retro wall lights and starburst clock that the previous owner left for us. Check out all the original house in our blog “Our Patterned Palace”

So we ripped it all out (except the hatch). Firstly the display cabinet has become a storage cupboard that doubles up as our filing office space! We have some 70s retro filing cabinets for all our bits and bobs here too.

The walls are white except a large teal wall. We based the colour scheme around 2 Mucha prints. Mucha designed art nouveau advertising posters which became popular in the early 70s when the art nouveau look made a comeback. Homes were filled with his swirls teamed with William Morris prints. We also have one cushion with these 2 colours in, so slowly we planned the scheme.

The floors are painted cream the same as all our rooms so far. Add our G Plan teak furniture, 70s rugs and Italian glass and the rooms almost done.

Our 1960s cream vinyl and teak bar is in between the 2 halves of the room with our modern record player behind. The vintage record player is in a teak box beside it.

The swivel chairs were Mr YVLs grandmas, which she bought in 1968. The footstool goes so well which I picked up earlier this year from an antiques fair.

Some of our 1960s medicine bottles have come out of storage (there’s loads more but we havent got to them all yet!). The amber ones were also Mr YVLs grandmas. The large orange West German pot was a moving in present from me to him back in February. And yes, there’s a modern TV…one of the few modern things in the room!

Our 1950s drinks cabinet houses  my glass collection. Luckily we only had one casualty in the move..I love my collection and wouldn’t be without it! The cocktail shakers are gorgeous!

All our William Morris cushions adorn the sofa next to another Mucha print and our orange rocket lamp. We had a sofa in one of these designs back in my family home in the early 70s.

It is 150 years this year since Morris was born!

The new Arkana table and chairs looks great and take pride of place in the other half of the room. This is the adult lounge so this space is now for me to sit at my laptop in peace away from the kids. It sits under our 3 bulb white space age light and our J.H. Lynch print.

It’s called The Nymph: Herbie asked if it was me the other day!

The fireplace isn’t finished yet..it will have a wood burning stove there soon. The curtains are on order.

We have new bookshelves designed and built by Mr YVL.

I love it. It’s still a little bare but give us time it will look lived in and homely.


Home-grown, Hand-made, Vintage Christmas! Vol 1

We have decided here at Your Vintage Life to share you with you some of our Christmas ideas. They are all based around home-grown, hand-made and of course vintage.

There is nothing better than receiving a gift with has had lots of thought, time and oodles of love given into the idea. So, here are is what we will be doing this year.

Volume 1

First the Blackberry Vodka.

Now is the time to go out blackberry picking. They are still very ripe but you need to be quick as the birds are eating them and this late sun is drying them out. We have only a few in our back garden so I went over to our local park, Tupperware container in hand!  Pick high as these are the juiciest. Wear boots as all the nettles will get in your way (I had to go home to change my footwear!) I picked loads..but you only need about 200 grammes of berries for almost a litre of vodka.

You will need a sterilised large jar. I have old Kilner jars but whatever you use it needs to be airtight. An old coffee jar should be fine. This needs to be sterilised. We have kept our baby steriliser as this is so quick for jam jars etc.

Now I’m not one for total precision with measurements. I filled half the jar with washed berries (about 250g as I wanted it to be very strong with flavour). Sprinkle some brown sugar on the top to speed up the process and also to take some sharpness away. I sprinkled some cloves and cinnamon in too, as this will make it very Christmassy! Use 2 cloves and a cinnamon stick (I used ground as this is all I had in the spice rack!)

Fill the jar up to the top with vodka. Buy cheap stuff..keeps the price down but also there is no need to use your finest booze here.  I used about 3/4 of a litre..but this is how much the jar holds. I would suggest using a half berry, half vodka ratio.

Now, give it a gentle shake to dissolve the sugar and store for a week or so in a dry place..room temperature, no sunlight. Give it a shake or stir throughout the weeks to help that sugar dissolve.

I would now leave it alone until nearer the time. Decant it, strain it and pour into nicer smaller bottles for gifts. I suggest getting some small bottles so you can share it around. Don’t waste the fruit either…it will be infused with alcohol so will be yummy, slightly heated poured over ice cream for a winter treat.

Now remember this is a gift not for you (although it’s always best to make enough for your own Christmas Eve cocktail party!)

So we have the home-grown and the hand-made..now it’s time to add the vintage. Team the vodka with vintage glasses, and how about a decanter or a cocktail shaker. Shot glasses are another great idea. Wrap them up in a small vintage basket and add nibbles or olives for the perfect boozy hamper. (Maybe add some headache pills too as you may well need them!) I will show you mine nearer the time after I have decanted them.

Enjoy..not long til Christmas!

p.s. Remember this will be very boozy…please drink responsibly x

Here are some gift ideas from Your Vintage Life, for your boozy hamper. Just click on the photos to buy now!


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

We’re all going on a summer holiday

Here is our latest article from Vintage Life magazine, all about the Great British holiday!

We’re all going on a summer holiday

As schools are finishing for the summer break, now is the time to get ready for your annual holiday. With so much opportunity for world travel nowadays, it’s hard to imagine life before package holidays and cheap flights. However, even though we now can explore far off lands, we are beginning to fall in love again with a simpler experience, similar to the holiday adventures which began back at the start of the 20th century.

Escaping the city

The Victorians were the first to enjoy camping holidays but it was between the 2 wars that it began to really take off. People craved  a sense of healthy, outdoor living alongside a strong desire to escape the city. With the increase in pollution due to the manufacturing boom,  urban families needed to escape to the countryside. Later, as car ownership increased and  motorways opened up new possibilities, whole families and friends all travelled together to create a real home from home. Often camped alongside the British beaches, the main objective was to get as much air as possible. Playing on the sands, collecting shells, watching Punch and Judy and riding donkeys…children were out from dawn to dusk and their parents were happy that their offspring had unpolluted air inside them. Some families by now owned a caravan; a cramped affair with no electricity but parked alongside your neighbours it helped to add to the sense of community. Mother created a little haven with her usual china and linen, still keeping up her traditional look far from home. For some, this experience was enjoyed up to the late 70s with china swapped for more practical melamine, embroidered linen for a wind breaker and a tartan blanket.

Hi-Di-Hi campers!

An alternative experience was the Great British holiday camp. The first one opened in 1906 but it wasn’t until the 30s that the holiday camp experience really came into it’s own. Butlins was a key player, opening  Skegness in 1936 which accommodated 2000 guests in purpose built chalets. It was handed over to the soldiers during the war with Butlins able to buy it back after victory. Ironically, one regimentation was swapped for another, with the red coated staff dictating when you woke and when lights were turned off. Because of this, many people rejected the camps especially the middle class who didnt want to spend their precious days off with just anybody. But for most, these holidays were fun with non stop entertainment even if it rained in the shape of Glamorous Granny and Knobbly Knees competitions. More importantly these holidays were safe, with the red
coats entertaining children all day and baby sitting all evening. For the adults (and some teenagers), this was the time to relax and take to the bar. These were often decorated with a Hawaiian theme adorned with pineapple ice buckets, hula girls and cocktails with parasols on the side.

This will have inspired families to create their own version on return home, with a free standing bar, stools and cocktail cabinet.

Viva Espania

Into the late 60s, the baby-boomers were now teenagers and wanted more excitement further a field. In 1950, Horizon introduced the first package holiday to Corsica but it took another 15 years for it to be affordable for most. Holiday makers flew for the first time to Spain to enjoy the sunshine and by all reports rather a lot of sangria! It was still quite regimented though with everyone sharing meals together in long rows. This was a real turning point for British homes as everyone brought back souvenirs to remember their good times. Suddenly Flamenco dancers, bull fighters and traditional costumed dolls adorned walls and shelves as well as again, the recreation of a cocktail bar.

Now the Hawaiian  influence had gone, replaced with a more Spanish feel with macrame hanging baskets and carafes of wine. Before this, wine wasn’t generally drunk let alone
used as a table centre piece. How many of us can recall an empty bottle of Mateus Rose with a candle burning in it?

These holidays not only changed what we drank but also what we ate. Paella and later pasta became desirable forecasting the change in the way we cooked with a need for larger saucepans and fewer roasting trays and carving knives.

This holiday trend continued to grow through the 70s with holidays to most European destinations. The 80s saw the rise of skiing trips and package holidays to Florida. With city breaks, African safaris and cheaper long haul flights since the 90s we have been able to travel where we want as often as we can afford. Now however, having developed an understanding of the environmental
impact of cheap air travel we are re-discovering the simple delights of holidaying in our own country, exploring the beautiful coastlines and countryside. It seems we’ve come full circle back to our camping roots.

You’re beautiful my deer

Yesterday I received a present after a day at Peterborough Antiques Fair. I closed my eyes and was told the gift was very delicate…slowly and carefully, I opened a Babycham bambi deer.

 She is lovely and in perfect condition. This is rare as often the horns and the bow have broken over the years.

She dates from the 1960s.

They were introduced for advertising in bars and came in 3 different sizes.

An orange version was also made which is extremely rare.

She now sits pride of place in my cocktail cabinet (often mentioned in my blog) and the 70s plastic version has been relagated to the back.

These ones arent actually made by Babycham but were very popular.

They came as a set with 2 baby deers in orange and blue.

I also have a silver metal set of bambis!

Then there are the ever popular glasses.

The 50s version has white deer that looks almost washed out.

The 60s version has a frolicking deer in an orange colour. Her stance reminds me of my figurine.

The 70s version is a yellow deer which is jumping.

I try and collect them when I can and also have some for sale.

It is hard to find whole sets as the deer and glass stems differ on each one as there were so many variations.

Babycham was first created in the 1940s in Shepton Mallet. One of the owners was playing around with fermenting fruit juices with the idea of creating a new cider. He discovered that perry pears made a refreshing and sweet sparkling drink.

In the 50s it was bottled and called Champagne de la poire. It was entered into competitions, always winning first prize..it then was known as Baby Champ…..baby champagne…..baby champion….babycham! 

In 1953 there was a gap in the market for alcoholic drinks for young ladies. Men drank sherry, whisky and ale. Women drank gin and Creme de Menthe. Babycham was fun, sparkly, aspirational and with the introduction of the deer brand image, the young lady found her tipple.

Babycham in 1957 was the first ever alcoholic brand to be advertised on television. Here is a 1960s advert:


so retro, pschedelic and kitsch all at the same time!

In the 60s the Babycham Babes beauty competition was introduced.

In the 70s and 80s, Babycham started to become outdated. Women who enjoyed it in the 50s and 60s continued to drink it but the younger generation were discovering wine and alcopops.

In 1993 it was rebranded and the beautiful, fun and iconic deer was no more.

“Now I’d love a babycham…………………………….”

Shaken not stirred

We were given a great pair of vintage champagne glasses recently to celebrate the birth of our second child. Kitty Jen was born in July and the champagne definately flowed.


They are really unusual and I havent seen any glasses like this before. They are the perfect his and her glasses and are so kitsch! They look a bit Spanish with her flat hat cocked to the side. The rimmed bases give them a touch of colour which I love.





They now sit in our 1950s glass cabinet along with our other vintage glasses and cocktail shakers. We found the cabinet thrown away outside someones house…we rescued it, cleaned it, re-painted it and added a mirror to the back. We have 2 1950s drinks cabinets..the other houses my 1950 handbag collection!

Here are some of our other lovelies.  Great 1950s frosted pastels…I use these for Baileys in the winter…the colour reminds you of summer on those cold nights!

Great branded glasses…Cherry B, Britvic and Babycham.

The Britvic ones have tomatoes, oranges, lemons and pineapples on. We also recently found matching champagne glasses. The Cherry B’s are my favourites…Now I don’t remember Cherry B at all…but I love the 50s feel of the kitsch cherries (although the glasses and the drink were later). Babycham glasses are the ultimate in retro drinking….I do love these glasses….when my partner proposed he had hidden a bottle of champagne in our VW campervan (hoping I would say yes) and after I did say yes we sat and drank it out of the Babycham glasses. So very glam!

Great 50s shot glasses in a red atomic ball feet stand. We have so many shot glasses in different colours and designs and we dont ever use them! I just can’t resist!

Decanters…These are so pretty, perfect to pour a shot as the stoppers fill up when you turn them upside down.

Great jugs (!). The pink frosted one is really heavy and perfect for cocktails. The gold flower one was given to me by my mother in law last birthday with matching glasses.

1930s cocktails…so so so pretty! I use these for deserts….or dips for a starter.

1980s cocktails…I havent used these ones. Every time we have a cocktail party I worry about using them as I have a full set and I dont want them smashed in the raucousness!

These were given to me for Valentines Day a few years back. I was lucky enough to receive 6 of these highballs in mint condition! The colour is so vibrant and they are a great size.

My absolute favourite frosted blue glass cocktail shaker. When you see the metal ones used today you just can’t believe that people used glass ones. I worry about breaking it with all that shaking!

And no collection would be complete without an original cocktail bar! This one is made from cream vinyl and teak. It houses our record player…complete with pineapple ice bucket on top! The ice bucket is unusually made from metal with each leaf curving outwards.

Here is a small selection of our current stock great for Your Vintage Cocktail Party. Get the Pimms out, summers not quite over! (and there are loads more available too including ice buckets, little forks, soda syphons and bowls for your peanuts!)