Ho ho ho! We’re so excited, it’s our favourite festive time of year. Christmas is fast
approaching, the decorations are coming out, the temperature is
coming down, and well, it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!
The scents of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves waft through the home and when our cats aren't busy tinkering with the Christmas baubles, they're busy wrapping themselves in the festive gift wrap.
We have been very
busy recently sending off our brown paper parcels to our lovely customers, old
and new.We have been lucky enough
to have had our Emporium featured in “Homes and Antiques” magazine, both the December issue and their special Ultimate Guide to Christmas and we’re enjoying the thrill of seeing our names in print and our baubles on display!
In between our
daily trips to the Post Office and cups of tea and custard creams in the
Stockroom (purely to maintain sugar levels you understand!), we have been
filling our shelves with more vintage seasonal finds and festive gifts.
We hope there are
goodies and gifts enough to please everyone.There are gardening books for the green fingered.
Vintage pretties for the Boudoir, beautiful prints in the Attic, a wonderful
selection of tins in the Box Room (these would be lovely lined with tissue
paper or filled with sweets or cookies).The shelves of our Nursery are full of vintage puzzles, toys and posters
to keep young and old amused. Beautiful haberdashery on the shelves of the Sewing
There are books aplenty in
The Library from mystery to mayhem, books for boys and girls of any age.If you fancy a spot of festive cooking
or know somebody who does, there is a wonderful selection of kitchenalia in the Scullery (not to mention the perfect something to keep your sprouts warm and toasty on the Christmas table).
Not to forget the
Grotto where you will find a vintage array of festive finery and the odd fairy
Wishing you all a wonderfully vintage Christmas. May your Christmas lights twinkle, your baubles glisten and your fairies weave their magic.
Come tea'o'clock you will find us in the Stockroom, hands wrapped round our afternoon cuppa, fingers dipping into the custard creams tin and eyes drooling over our stash of 1940s Housewife magazines. Slowly, ever so slowly, both the biccies and magazines are savoured. From cover to cover, front to back these 1940s gems are digested as part of our afternoon tea break.
July 1944 - not a piece of fruit in sight
A recurring theme has emerged, for alongside the daily ritual, there on the back pages of many an issue are these wonderful advertisements for Bird's Custard, the backdrop to everyone's childhood. These images reflect so much of the time, the austerity and shortage of ingredients, the simplicity of recipes but above all the homeliness of home. Jelly and custard, custard and stewed fruit, steamed pudding with jam and custard, a glace cherry and angelica flourish, simple or fancy, a comforting pud all year round.
May 1946 Golden Comfort
May 1947 Chocolate and Custard
September 1947, Autumn Fruits are coming
July 1948 Steamed Pudding & Custard
September 1948 Jelly & Custard
June 1949 - the works!
December 1946 - it has to be candlelit for Christmas
The joys of September are plentiful - golden sunny days with the whiff of Autumn in the air, hay bales in fields, berries amongst the hedgerows, time spent in the kitchen making jam and chutneys, shorter evenings with more time for the knitting and sewing that we have been planning all Summer, the prospect of woolly socks and tights again (Miss Marple we have missed you), the return of the Great British Bake Off, feeling in the mood for a good old spot of cake making on a Sunday afternoon, a pile of books waiting to be read by the sofa, the prospect of long Autumnal walks (searching out the wellies yet again), heads full of ideas and projects for the coming months AND lots of new goodies on the Emporium shelves.
Milly and Dottie are feeling very grown up now... as today we have reached the heady milestone, of four years old!
What a wonderful four years it has been since we opened the doors to Milly & Dottie's Emporium. We have welcomed visitors from far and wide through those doors and made some lovely friends along the way. We would like to thank you all for coming to visit us in our busy emporium and for keeping us company over the last four years; and to join us in our celebrations, by raising a glass of something fizzy and feasting on some of our favourite custard creams!
Hip Hip Hooray Milly & Dottie are four today!
Some new goodies have been added to the shelves of The Emporium recently, just in time for the weekend, and we're pleased to announce the return of some old friends - Rags, Tuppence, Tatters, Bill and Binks.
Have a great Bank Holiday Weekend - hope you find some sunshine somewhere.
Do any of you remember watching the wonderful Victoria Wood TV Programme "Housewife 49"? Based on the true life story taken from the wartime diary of Nella Last? Drawn from Nella Last's wartime experiences, it not only showed personal aspects of Nella's life but many shared experiences of life at home during 1940s, Making Do and Mending, eking out rations, her experiences of Women's Voluntary Service. She had applied to the Mass Observation Service at the start of the war who had requested ordinary people's accounts of daily life during the war to be kept as a record. If you haven't seen it, it's well worth watching and so too are her books, Nella Last's War and Nella Last's Peace. Both offer a fascinating and very personal insight into the hard lives faced by those at home during the War.
One of the very popular magazines of the time was "Housewife" magazine, maybe Nella may have read some herself. Here at The Emporium we are delighted to have our many 1940s versions of "Housewife" magazines for sale. Ranging from the beginning of the war to 1949 we have been happily reading them in the Stockroom and have somewhat reluctantly started to add them to the Boudoir shelves to share with you.
These magazines offer a real insight into the lives of women at home and working in the Forces, Land Army and Voluntary Services during the 1940s.
Full of advertisements reflecting national shortages in provisions and the necessity of "making do" and being thrify.
Hints on recycling old and worn clothing into new items - turning two old blouses into one new one for the summer when the clothing coupons are running low for example. Making Juliet Caps from string, dressing gowns from dance frocks, children's clothes from adults. The most gorgeous knitting patterns too.
Recipes to eke out the rations and liven up the supper table, from breakfast to lunches to take out to work. Cakes, puddings to ring the changes. Tips on bottling fruit to use in the long winter months. Being inventive and resourceful is the key.
So slowly, very slowly, we are parting with them. Reluctantly saying 'goodbye' to a slice of social history and certainly making many a note about all the tips and hints they offer. Who knows, Nella Last may well have got a few from them herself!
It's lovely to see a couple of our items in this month's "Homes & Antiques" magazine. It's a very cheery, bright and floral edition and we're thrilled to be a part of it. Makes you feel that Spring is on its way....
In 1930 Mary Bagot Stack created the Women’sLeagueofHealth&Beauty.. She had long believed in the power of exercise and in the 1920s, when she moved to Manchester she saw that women working in mills could benefit from systematic exercise to invigorate them after a hard day. She believed completely in the power of women to improve the world. She inspired many and it wasn't long before huge public displays of physical exercise were taking place throughout the country. For many women it was the first opportunity to participate in sports and physical exercise. The first, in Hyde Park, drew 160,000 members and was caught on newsreels at the time.
WOMEN'S LEAGUE OF HEALTH AND BEAUTY
(click on image to watch video link)
Her classes were popular and affordable and everybody could join in. So much so, that you may well remember Lady Agnes in Upstairs Downstairs having a good old stretch and swing in one of the episodes.
Good news if you've overindulged on the old chocolate front this Easter, we are thrilled to have a copy of her popular 1930s book "Building The Body Beautiful" on our Library shelves at the moment and in honour of Mrs Bagot Stack we've placed it on one of the highest shelves so that we have to stretch as much as possible in our starched aprons!