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!


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





Didn’t we have a lovely time….

Here is our latest article for Vintage Life magazine all about vintage picnics and outdoor dining. The good old street party even gets a mention.

Didn’t we have a lovely time…….

the day we went to the beach, the park or simply parked up by the side of a field. In days gone by, when the sun came out, families packed up the car or the baskets on the bikes and went for a picnic.

Now the weather is warming up, it’s time to leave the comfort of your home and embrace outdoor dining adding, of course, a vintage twist!

The traditional way

Picnics in the early 1950s were eaten from china plates accompanied by proper cutlery. Brexton and Sirram made perfect sets in small, hard suitcases with pretty china held in place by leather straps. They would always contain a flask for your obligatory cup of tea, drunk from a pretty teacup. A blanket was thrown down, with the adults sitting on folding chairs and the children on the ground. The Morris 8 car had leather seats that could be removed for the adults to sit on. The youngsters ran off to pick wild flowers which were placed in a vase in the middle of the rug. Sandwiches were wrapped up in greaseproof paper and ham eaten straight from the tin….plastic storage had not yet become the norm.

 The ladies wore summer dresses, the kids flew kites and the men watched on, dressed in a suit. Even on beach trips the men would be quite smart, with their trousers rolled up to paddle in the sea. The scene was quite formal yet copied today will add a real sense of nostalgia to your picnic.

Plastic fantastic

Things really changed in the late 1950s with the increased popularity of plastic. As families started to enjoy camping trips rather than staying in traditional boarding houses, they fell in love with the durable, fun, coloured melamine made by Melaware and Gaydon Melmex. At one stage it was so popular that it was even used for dinner parties!

 Because of this, ceramic manufacturers such as Midwinter also designed ranges. Why not cram a hamper full of Gaydon early 1960s pastels or the later bright, zesty colours of Melaware for your picnic. All came with matching salt and pepper pots, butter dishes, jugs,egg cups….just remember to leave space for your food!

The TV dinner concept took over the camping/picnic world in the early 1970s with stacked trays, plastic cutlery and a space for your drink. The Pac-A-Pic is by the far the funkiest way to eat outside!


A different kind of party

The introduction of Tupperware revolutionised kitchens and the way we ate in the 1950s. Food could finally be stored properly thus reducing the need to cook daily. Sandwiches would remain fresh for outdoor dining and for your packed lunch. With 1000’s of styles, colours and uses the range will add a real retro feel to your picnic and are great to collect. We love the 1950s pretty pastel styles and the 1960s bright orange range with a yellow flower on the front! There is a container for cheese with the grater as the lid, sauce pots, lollipop and jelly moulds, beakers to drink from and jugs for your juice…the list is endless.

The introduction of the Tupperware Party had a real impact on society. Women had experienced great independence whilst working during the war, which was then given up to return to the kitchen in the 1950s. The role of party hostess provided employment and freedom for women in the comfort and safety of their own home. It was a well respected job and product. Friends and neighbours were invited over for the evening, to share a glass of sherry and experience the whole range. Excitement ensued, storage items were bought and delivered only days later. Lets face it, we nearly all describe all food storage as Tupperware even if it isn’t actually Tupperware?

Take to the streets

Don’t wait until the next Royal Wedding to enjoy the ultimate outdoor dining experience…the street party. This is the perfect opportunity to create a real sense of community, hang bunting and balloons and get to know your neighbours. The first street party in the UK was after World War 1 and has been repeated on national celebrations ever since. We propose however, to bring it back for any celebration and with all the bank holidays coming up why not give it a try. Follow the tradition of dressing up the children in costumes and sit them at long tables with the adults standing behind. So, this May Day why not take to the streets and bring a dish…in Tupperware of course!

Egg-cellent ideas!

With Easter just over a week away, Your Vintage Life has turned its head to thoughts of eggs……chocolate ones, dippy soldier ones and with our new chickens arriving over the weekend it’s time to get our bonnets on and think of vintage pressies!

Start the day with a hand painted egg and toasted soldiers. We shared this idea in Vintage Life Nostalgia magazine recently…place the colourful egg inside a 1930s Heatmaster stainless steel egg cup, underneath its cover. Imagine your loved ones face when they take the top off to reveal your masterpiece. Tupperware produced their version in the 1970s so use this one for a more retro look.

If you don’t have time to paint an egg, make sure you still eat them, maybe with a hot cross bun dripping with butter. Here are some of our favourite vintage egg cups in bright colours. They date from the 1950s through to the 1970s and are mainly made from melamine.

Then it is gift giving time! How about a china chicken filled with chocolate eggs? 

We have white ones, brown ones and even a yellow glass one….we use them to store our eggs in all year round. The coloured foils look great here against the white ceramic!

Or how about a vintage coffee cup filled with a simple chocolate egg? These gorgeous 1950s orange Palissy coffee cups were a recent find and will shortly be available on-line. The colours are so vibrant and they would look great in both a modern and vintage setting. And, yes we know the egg only just fits inside….surely the bigger the chocolate the better!

Or fill a tea cup with hand-made chocolate truffles..roll them into egg shapes with your hands..don’t worry if they are not perfect; they taste so good no one will care! We have chosen a pretty rose bud tea cup and saucer in fine white bone china. Add a ribbon bow and a home-made card for the perfect detail.

So everyone’s had their gifts…now it’s time for the kids (and adults) to enjoy the annual Easter egg hunt. Hide them all over the garden, remembering to use a vintage basket to collect them in!

We do love a basket…for the shopping, picking the home-grown veg and flowers into and of course for collecting chocolate eggs!! We will need a few more to fill this beauty….

It is traditional to have a big family dinner served from your best china. In years gone by, the whole set would only be used at Christmas and Easter…why not follow this tradition by laying a formal table and serving your vegetables from vintage tureens? We have a great collection online dating from the 1920s through to the 1970s. I love the 1950s bright yellow Midwinter one in the centre of the photo.. and it’s the perfect colour for Easter! The styling is so obviously from the 1950s with its high curved edges.

Then for the easter cake! Whether it’s a whole Simmel cake or tiny cup cakes make sure you display it on a vintage cake stand. We have chosen a simple, elegant white bone china one with gold edging to really show off the yummy cakes. Last year we made chocolate cornflake birds nest cakes with so much chocolate in, no one could manage more than one! We found these hand painted decorations last week too..they are wooden and designed to hang from a plant or tree. They reminded us of Christmas decorations and are perfect for decorating the cake with.

Then what to do next? We reckon after lunch it’s time to sit back and eat all that lovely chocolate!

Hope we have inspired you just a little with our vintage egg-cellent ideas!!

Happy Easter!