Thursday, 23 December 2010

Although It's Been Said, Many Times, Many Ways - Merry Christmas To You

Season's Greetings from us both! A big, big ' thank you' to all our visitors and we look forward to seeing you all again soon. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Wonderfully Peaceful and Happy New Year.
Milly & Dottie xxx

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Oh bring us a figgy pudding...

Well, once again we seem to have missed Stir Up Sunday. the Sunday before Advent which is traditionally the day set aside for making Christmas Puddings. It is a time when traditionally the whole family would come together to take a turn to stir the pudding mixture in the bowl, make a wish and a charm or coin to the mix. Finding the coins or charms on Christmas Day would bring weallth, health, happiness and a little caution to the pudding eating! Traditional tokens would include silver coins for wealth, a thimble for thrift, a tiny wishbone for good luck and an anchor to symbolise safe harbour.

We do love a tradition and one that brings the whole family together earns extra brownie points too. Neither of us have made the Christmas Pudding this year and might have to resort to adding the odd sprig of holly or two to the few remaining custard creams in the biscuit tin for our staff Christmas treat!
We have had fun, however, sifting through old recipes for Christmas puddings and cakes. There are plenty to be found over here if it's a true 1940s flavour you're after. Milly went to a workshop one year on Christmas in the 1940s and it was fascinating to hear of the spirit of Making Do and Mend coming to the fore at Christmas. A time of true resourcefulness..

.If you fancy making your own mincemeat this year, we have this Victorian recipe for you, just click on the image to read it clearly.

And here is one from the 1940s for Wartime Mince Pies, issued by the Ministry of Food, (again please click on image to enlarge). Let us know if you have a go!

Rachel, one of our visitors to the Emporium recently bought lots of our jelly moulds. She contacted us to let us know that she intended to make quince cheese in the moulds. Always eager to see some photos, we asked her if she would let us see the results and she has kindly let us share them here. Aren't they gorgeous. They look so pretty too! Please read her wonderful blog to find out more. It's wonderful stuff!

So if any of this takes your fancy amongst all the other Christmas doings that we find ourselves knee deep in at the moment, the best of luck. Stir well, don't forget the brandy, mind those silver coins and douse liberally with wishes.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

All that Glitters..

You may be mistaken in thinking that we have been idle of late, all being quiet on the blog front, but this could not be further than the truth. M & D have been busy dusting down the shelves of their new department to welcome early bird shoppers for the Christmas season.
We are delighted to find ourselves between the pages of the BBC Homes & Antiques Magazine this month where they feature all manner of delicious twinkly glittery decorations including our own vintage Christmas collection of nostalgia.

So if you fancy a vintage flavoured Christmas, grab your hat and coat and come along with your baskets to browse our exciting Christmas Grotto...

You can choose from jaunty reindeer and jolly Christmas wrap ..

Flirty fairies and happy snowmen ...

Nostalgic Christmas cards and forests of miniature trees or bright beautiful baubles..

We have oodles of gift ideas in all departments..

Jolly good reads in the library, great graphics on vintage posters in the attic, wooden dolls for little girls or big ones in the nursery, Make do and Mend for Auntie Maud in the sewing room. Why not say it with vintage this Christmas!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Sowing the seeds...

At the beginning of one of our very favourite books, The Diary of a Provincial Lady by E M Delafield, our heroine writes in her diary that she is planting her indoor bulbs. It is November 7th and she is interrupted by a visit from Lady B, who is quick to inform her that September or even October at a push is the best time to be planting them...
Well, unlike Lady Boxe we seem to be siding with the Provincial Lady - do we dream of having a house full of sweetly scented bulbs? Yes! Do we know that bulb planting time is amongst us? Yes! Have we done anything about it? No.
But today we found this vintage seed and bulb advertisement that made us want to rush for our pens and request a catalogue. It's hard to say what we most like about it. Perhaps it's the fact that the orders will be "executed with the utmost despatch." Perhaps it's the fact that we would have to write to request a catalogue, a good old fashioned letter. But do you know what? The thing that gets us really excited is that the offices are in Covent Garden, the old flower market and our heads are full of Eliza Dolittle and posies of violets...

Friday, 1 October 2010

A Pitter Patter Day...

Well it's a "batten down the hatches" kind of day here in the Emporium and we've forgotten our galoshes and souwesters. No splishing or splashing for us. The ducks will have to play without us and we'll just have to do our ever so hardest to stay out of mischief.

Maybe we'll just get on with a spot of painting...

Monday, 20 September 2010

Just another day ..

It's never a dull moment here at the Emporium . We thought we would give you a peek at the every day goings on in our busy lives. Oh where would we be without dear Mrs O, forever plying us with her Bourbon biscuits and gingerbread and witty anecdotes.
Well it's business as usual.. so if you will please excuse us we have customers to attend ..

Saturday, 18 September 2010

It's Dottie's Turn!

Dottie dear, will you please leave the washing alone! It's time to get ready...

No I'm not going to tell you, just run along, put your best frock on and favourite hankie in your handbag...

My, you do look ever so pretty!
Just sit in the parlour for a while whilst I go and fix in the music - don't get into trouble and promise you won't get your frock dirty, keep away from the choccy biccies....
Ready? Steady? Surprise!

Happy Birthday Dottie dearest (I hear it's quite the done thing to have a birthday this week!).

Come on then, I'll help you out of the chair... sort your frock out and pull up those socks of yours
Because it's time to have some fun!

Happy Happy Birthday and oodles of custard creams

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

It's jelly and ice cream time ...

Yes.. it's time to dust down your frocks again and put on your silly party hats

Please gather round and join me in singing Happy Birthday to dear Milly....

We won't talk about age or anything like that.. though Milly might need some help with all of those candles!!!

Happy Birthday dear Milly.. have a wonderful day!

Monday, 6 September 2010

High Society...

Hurry, hurry, hurry... we've just checked the calendar and realised there are only three weeks left to catch the wonderful Grace Kelly exhibition at the V & A. If you haven't yet been, it's time to pack your cucumber sandwiches in your Kelly bag and head up to the big city.

Milly went up in the summer to marvel at the sheer beauty and gorgeousness. Outfits and costumes from the actress's early days sit alongside the most glamorous couture, including the wonderful dress she wore to collect her Oscar. Outfits from her wedding ensemble are displayed with her now iconic accessories and the beautiful designer gowns she wore in her new role as a Princess.

The simplicity and elegance of the earlier outfits just shout 'Style" and made Milly rush home, put her feet up, press the 'play' button on her "Rear Window" dvd and, well, drool over her cup of tea. Days of re-watching "To Catch A Thief" and "High Society" followed and she can now be found wafting around the stockroom, shop apron tightly cinched at the waist, her glasses perched on her nose "Grace Kelly style" and has taken to wrapping the parcels sporting long white gloves - a case of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" if ever there was one!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

A Good Yarn ...

Milly and Dottie are delighted to be featured in this month's 'Sew Magazine'. Slight mix up with our identities, but that's nothing new.. we often forget who we are!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Wish You Were Here?

As you can see from the photo, Milly and Dottie have ventured forth from the stockroom into the great outdoors. Just ten minutes pushing them pedals and we're all in a tizz. Those map directions are becoming as clear as mud... by our reckoning and with the wind behind us we'd be sitting on the clifftops by lunchtime, judging by the map we're heading directly inland with all thoughts of sticks of rock, fish and chips on the beach and the odd ride or two on the seaside merry go round growing less likely by the minute. We really should have mastered the art of cartography before we set out, or at the very least clearly worked out our left from our right before leaving the Emporium...

Oh the joys of summer holidays! We feel exhausted before we've even left home - days of planning our wardrobe, Mary-Janes and floral dresses, constantly checking the lights are out, the electricity is off, windows locked, custard creams carefully wrapped away and for those of us still lucky enough to have a milkman, that the milk has been cancelled.

Finding a suitable holiday can be equally exhausting, Luckily for us we have this wonderful 1940s guide book in our Library with all kinds of hints and tips for holidaying in Britain. We have plumped for the cycling option but were sorely tempted by the more sedantry idea of snail watching (not nearly as much risk of becoming saddle sore!).

For the more adventurous amongst us it suggests joining the circus for the summer (how very Famous Five is that!).

How about exploring the countryside as a companion to the rural postie, according to the book, just ask at your local rural post office (my how times have changed).

Of course there are always the joys of living under canvas - have any of you been watching the wonderful Britain Goes Camping - watching from the comfort of our stockroom it all looks jolly good fun.

As for us, we think we're just going to pedal where the fancy takes us, we've got enough sandwiches to last at least another half an hour or so... see you on the beach.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Polka Dot Party

Now that the party hats have been hung up for another year and all the cake crumbs swept under the carpet.. it is back to work for Milly & Dottie. No more games of pass the parcel.. other than our usual date with brown paper and string in the stockroom.
We had a lovely birthday and are most grateful for all of your well wishes for our first anniversary..
One of our regular visitors and customers to the emporium celebrated our birthday in such style with her two beautiful furry friends.. and even iced a cake with our names..
Thank you dear Beverley for your kind and generous gesture.. I do so wish we could have invited you and all of our friends, whom we have met along the way in our first year of enterprise, to join us in a cup of best Rosy Lee and a slice of your very fine cake.

Friday, 23 July 2010


Well almost..

On the 25th July 2009.. Milly and Dottie put on their starched pinafores and smiles and opened the doors to their exciting new emporium.. otherwise known as Milly & Dottie's Emporium.
We have had great pleasure in welcoming visitors from far and wide, many who have shared our journey through this first year of enterprise
We would very much like you to join us in our 1st Birthday Celebrations this weekend... by putting on your best party frock and a fresh ribbon in your hair. There will be jellies and ice-cream, sticky buns galore, cucumber sandwiches and a delicious iced birthday cake with 1 pretty candle to blow out.

To celebrate our 1st anniversary we have a whole new exciting department to browse with the party occasion in mind.. 'Pass the Parcel' which has all kinds of everything to provide for your own vintage party.

Would you please join us in singing...

Happy Birthday to us
Happy Birthday to us
Happy Birthday dear Milly & Dottie's Emporium
Happy Birthday to us..

Hurrah !!

It's party time !!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Balloons. Blancmange & Blind Man's Buff

We're just going through the party list - streamers, paper chains, candles, cake, jelly, party games (need to wrap the Pass The Parcel), sweep the floor, blow up the balloons, iron the tablecloths and enjoy....

What's the betting we forget the invitations!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Wednesday Wobble

Oh no! We've forgotten the jelly! You can't have a party without a jelly... We'll have to go and ask the grocer, just like the advert tells us too.

Which flavour should it be?

Plain old jelly or jelly and custard? And what about the sprinkles?

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Rolling Pins At The Ready...

Lots of food to cook today - we will definitely be baking the butterfly cakes, eclairs and cheese straws. We might be holding back on the rainbow blancmanges but love the sound of the individual fruit fools.

As for the cake we baked, well that needs icing but somehow the almond paste recipe using mashed potato powder doesn't sound that appealing ...

Monday, 19 July 2010

Bake Me A Cake As Fast As You Can...

So today we are mostly baking. You will find us amongst the sugar and spice and everything nice. If we find the candles it might be just be a case of having our cake and eating it too!

Friday, 9 July 2010

Walking Happily Ever After

Far too hot to be walking anywhere today of course, but this advert from 1950 brings back so many memories. If you have to go out for a stroll what could be better than in a pair of Mary Janes? Red of course!

Friday, 2 July 2010

A big 'thank you" to everyone who recently entered our "Jolly Good Read" Competition. We had a huge response and had great fun reading your suggestions, replying to your emails and jotting down book titles for us to read in the future. We were amazed to find that your book suggestions evoked so many memories for us both. It has been lovely talking to you via email about your books and having our rather addled brains jolted by books we really should have remembered to mention in the first place.
We felt it only fair to draw the winners out of a hat, vintage of course (we couldn't decide between my swimming hat or Dottie's shower cap) and three lucky people have had a bundle of books sent their way.
Our "Jolly Good Reading List" contains our favourite entries, books we have read, books we wished we'd mentioned and are now kicking ourselves for not remembering them in the first place and some we will definitely be reading in the future.
So, if you're stuck for some reading matter this summer, look no further:

The Diary Of A Provincial Lady - E M Delafield
Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
I Capture The Castle - Dodie Smith (Milly's cockahoop that this got a mention!)
Frenchman's Creek - Daphne du Maurier (or indeed anything by Daphne du Maurier says Dottie)
ABC Murders - Agatha Christie, you can't beat a whodunnit to get those grey cells working
A Room With A View - E M Forster
A Box Of Delights - John Masefield (new to us sounds very good)
Mapp and Lucia - E F Benson (Milly is kicking herself for not mentioning this)

And for childhood memories
Milly Molly Mandy - Joyce Lankester Brisley
The Faraway Tree - Enid Blyton
Famous Five Mysteries - Enid Blyton
Ballet Shoes - Noel Streatfeild (how could we have forgotten this!)
Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

Thank you all once again for taking part. If you find yourself in a comfortable chair in the shade sometime and feel like having a read of any of the above, please let us know what you thought.
Happy Reading!

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Child's Play

When Dottie was a wee lass she would spend endless happy hours, playing with her dolls.. dolls of every size, shape, material, character...any doll basically as Dottie was besotted with dolls..full stop.
Several years on.. and we won't say how many.. far too scary.. she still has a passion for dolls, but alas, not so much time to play with them these days.

Dottie's first love affair began with her first doll which was a Russian Doll otherwise known as Matryoshka Dolls bought by her mother, from the Ideal Home Exhibition in 1960. Not just one doll but a whole family of them to play with ...

The mother doll has lost most of her vibrancy... but then so has Dottie!

Milly remembers, shamefacedly, cutting the hair of her dolls and daubing them in felt tip pens, giving them one of her own special makeovers. How many dolls have suffered the same fate we wonder?

Dolls come in all guises and are a constant fascination..

These charming little bisque dolls are known by several names such as Frozen Charlottes, Penny Dolls and Dime Store Dolls. They were made in between the years of 1800 and the 1930's and were made from one single piece of bisque china to be sold cheaply.

Small but perfectly formed ..

There were many different characters made at that time before an alternative material such as celluloid was used to create inexpensive toys and dolls like this motley selection .. Not sure about the poor lass who looks like she has been under the sun bed for too long!

This lovely little nurse is made from composition, widely used in the manufacture of dolls heads and limbs.. she is reputed to have a good bedside manner.

Milly & Dottie's share many amusing and happy memories of playing with their dolls.. the washing of clothes in a Chad Valley washing machine, Barbie's first and last boyfriend aka Ken, Sindy's extensive collection of matching accessories and her annoying little sister Patch. Tressy and her amazing flowing locks of real nylon hair, Tiny Tears and her incontinence problems and then there were those disturbing Cabbage Patch Dolls.
I wonder where they are now and how many stories they could tell about having biro tattoos and skinhead hairstyles!