Monday, 24 May 2010

Milly & Dottie's Jolly Good Read

It's that time of year - the sun starts to shine, our thoughts turn to holidays, lazy days on the beach or in the garden and to the book that will be our new summer companion.
Summer holidays for Milly and Dottie conjure up images of lazing on a hammock or deckchair, our noses buried in a well-thumbed favourite book.
Before you compose your summer reading list, we would like to invite you to enter our competition, "Milly and Dottie's Jolly Good Read".
We all of us have a favourite book or two, one that holds special memories, makes us chuckle, transports us to a different time or place and even makes us shed a tear or two - Milly has a penchant for domestic novels of 1930s and 40s, but her all time favourites are "I Capture The Castle" and "Love In A Cold Climate". Dottie, on the other hand, loves the windswept novels and intrigue of Daphne Du Maurier's classics, such as 'Rebecca', or the gentle Irish romance of Edna O'Brien's 'The Girl with Green Eyes'.

Over in our Library, vintage books have been flying off the shelves since our Emporium opened and we're so happy to see that you enjoy a good old read too! All manner of vintage books on a variety of subjects - children's books, cookery, nature and gardening, novels both tragic and comic have been bought.
What we would like to know is, what kind of book tickles your fancy? Is it flora and fauna? Meringues and macaroons? Kitchen sinks and afternoon teas? Jolly good adventures or a mystery or two? Is it Aunty Fanny's fruit cake and a Famous Five mystery that ticks your boxes or a touch of blackberry picking with Milly Molly Mandy?
Why don't you let us know your all time favourite vintage read? We will then publish a list in our Emporium and one lucky entrant will win a vintage book of our choice. Please send all entries to us at The Emporium at our email address We really look forward to hearing from you.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Tales from the Riverbank ..

There's nothing that Milly & Dottie like better than going on a picnic. With the mercury rising, the birds a chit chatting and the skies getting bluer and according to the good old BBC weather man.. our summer sun is to start this weekend.. it is time to dig out your thermos, wicker picnic basket and tartan rug.. Find a lovely flower filled meadow on the riverbank, lay down your rug and picnic feast... and just relax.

Don't forget to take lashings of ginger beer to wash down the eggy rolls and iced buns !

Monday, 17 May 2010

Mad Hatters ...

My word, it's a beautiful, blue skies and sunshine filled Monday. On our way to the stockroom we stopped and gathered posies of violets and marvelled at how they offset the blue of our hat and earrings... Once we had removed our gloves and boiled the kettle we sat down to the arduous tasks ahead - with the onset of Spring, just what kind of a hat is a gal to wear?
The magazines are full of tips and advice and thankfully agreed with us that "is there a woman anywhere who doesn't respond to the exciting thought of a lovely new hat?"

But choose wisely - if the boater takes your fancy, please place firmly on the head with true Edwardian dignity, remembering that to wear it at the back of the head is so 1948. Furthermore, a short hair-do, a serene expression and a graceful walk are essential, well that counts us out...
We are pleased to read that in America the milliners favour "fruit salad" trimmings, with cherries, grapes and strawberries being de riguer - just a bit too tempting at lunchtime we think.

In Paris the hats are decked with ribbons in stripes and plaids in vivid shades (no good for the cowering wallflower...) and in London designers are opting for make-believe flowers, feathers and bead-embroidered motifs.
Now which to choose? Saucy sailor hat with a twig of glossy fruit? Mimosa sprays or plumes of curled feathers? Close fitting toques with pink roses and light green leaves with a haze of veiling? A neat little cloche with a very young air? Or a sophisticated restaurant hat with a beguiling veil?
Too many decisions... please ring the shop bell loudly if you visit, we fear we'll be busy in the stockroom with yards of ribbon and netting, bunches of dandelions and a tin of cocktail fruit...

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Everything Stops for Tea ...

Tea time has always held an affection in the British household.. from sugary delicacies in the Nursery to full blown cucumber sandwiches and pots of Earl Grey at the Ritz. Everything stops for tea and long may this tradition last.
As you probably know by now.. Milly & Dottie have a penchant for the odd biscuit or two.. with custard creams being their preferred biccie of choice and judging by the waistline on Dottie.. she has indulged in one too many !

We all have our tea time favourites that feed our childhood memories .. the heady delights of jam doughnuts..impossible to eat without licking ones lips, Fondant Fancies in all their lurid pink glory.. or slabs of Battenburg in pretty pink and yellow chequers...

Do you remember how you would be ravenous after school and dive into the biscuit tin?
Milly especially loved Wednesdays, really hungry after netball practice and her mother had done the weekly shop - a full biscuit tin and cream cakes in the fridge (but not for long!). Those garishly coloured cellophane wrappers were a sight for sore eyes and weary legs...

As a little girl, she would sit in the garden surrounded by teddies and dolls with a favourite tablecloth on the lawn, solemnly passing round the iced gems, hoping that the pink ones at the end would be hers.

Dottie's passion for these treats , started with the biscuit collection in the baker's basket.. in the days when the local baker would deliver bread. Nestled amongst the Hovis loaves would be 'Pimple' biscuits, otherwise known as Lincoln biscuits...

On Saturdays there would be Cadbury's chocolate fingers and walnut cake, Jammie Dodgers, Wagon Wheels, Penguins, Bourbon, Digestives, Pink Wafers, Fig Rolls, Shortbread, Jam tarts, Florentines, Macaroons, Eccles Cakes, Iced Buns, Swiss Roll, cream puffs, crumpets oozing with butter, muffins smothered in jam, Scotch pancakes dripping in honey, Mr Kipling's Finest, Tunnocks marshmallows, Blue Ribbon chocolate wafers and not forgetting that noblest of biscuits.. the Custard Cream.. we have loved them all...

Think back to your own favourites and how you would savour the sugary delights of the tea time spread.. Which were your chosen treats?

Dottie once lived very close to Huntley & Palmers Biscuit factory in Reading and could always tell by the delicious sweet waft on the air, what was baking that day.. it must be said that Custard Creams were the ambrosia of the day...

Crawfords, McVities, Cadbury's, Bournville, Wright's, Gray & Dunn and Peek Freans ... are just some who have all produced our nations favourite teatime snacks....

You will find a wonderful selection of vintage biscuit tins sitting on the shelves in the emporium.. So go and put the kettle on, draw up a comfy chair and have a cup of tea with us.. and a biccy or two!

Thursday, 6 May 2010


Hello from us both. Milly Roses and Dottie Custard welcome you to our new blog. We hope you will join with us on our musings, flights of fancy, whimsical tales and, of course, our chats on all things vintage and nostalgic.

As some of you may know, our friendship has developed over the years as has our enthusiasm and love the flotsam and jetsam of forgotten years, and we now find ourselves proud owners of our own vintage Emporium.

Our daily chats not only revolve around our ever changing shelf display, but often lead us on all sorts of adventures, imaginary and otherwise. Those that are just too silly, like the ones involving hot air balloon flights along the coast, our imaginary cottage that we share in our dotage, and our frequent cravings for tea and cream cakes, we shall leave behind in the stockroom - but there are oodles we'd love to share.

So if you fancy grabbing a custard cream (they are, of course, essential) and a comfortable chair, please join us on our trips down memory lane…