Friday, 13 July 2012

In The Oh So Charming Kitchen - Wartime Chocolate Biscuits

It's finally here! I'd intended to write this before lunch, but then soup-making got me distracted (red pepper, tomato and kidney bean - yum).

I don't know what to call this feature... Suggestions on a postcard to: Jennie Charm, c/o Charming Towers, Charmsville - I wonder what the Post Office would do with that?

Anyways, I am getting awfully distracted again, today I have the attention span of a... Ooh, look, a fox!

I'm a firm believer in having something baked for the weekend, and in these "tough times", an economical recipe is just the ticket.

I've adjusted this recipe as the original just didn't work, and that's not fair when you're desperate for biscuits!
These make spongy biscuits, a little cakey even, but so simple, and so lovely with a cuppa.


2 oz Margarine
1 oz Cocoa
4 oz Plain Flour (plus extra for dusting)
2 oz Sugar (plus extra for dusting)
1 Tablespoon Golden Syrup
1 1/2 Tablespoon Milk
1/4 Teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence

Pre-heat your oven to about Gas Mark 6 (200 c), line some baking trays with baking parchment and dust a clean surface with flour.

Melt the margarine and golden syrup, turn off the heat then add in the other ingredients and stir until a glossy dough is formed. If it's too sticky, add more flour - Too dry and crumbly, add more milk.

Turn out onto your floured surface and roll out to about 1/2 cm thick and cut into rectangles (or squares, circles...) and place them onto your lined trays. Prick the tops with a fork and dust with a little sugar (optional).

Bake for about 15 minutes, until they are firm, but the tops are still a little springy.

Once cool, then can be sandwiched together with chocolate spread or jam, or maybe even a little whipped cream!

They can, of course, be eaten as they are. They make excellent dunkers.

I'm afraid I don't know how long they last in storage, as they're usually grabbed straight off the tray!

I hope you enjoy. I'll try and think of what to make for next week's installment... Ideas?

I hope you all have a lovely weekend, I had a plan, but it involves an early morning... We'll see!

I'm off to grab another biscuit before my tea's gone

Jennie xx

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

The Queen And The Daisy Clutch


I'm taking a bit of a break from the knitting (ta very much), a 3 2 rib frazzles me brain somewhat, especially when I'm not concentrating...
I did finish the collar last night, and have made a good start on the front. Though I'll still need to order some more wool, but I will have a lovely new jumper for the Autumn, which will go with a multitude of skirts and slacks - Yipee!

Last week, Friday I think, I was wandering around town waiting for my lift home when I decided to pop into a usually overpriced charity shop and found this little number, which was promptly picked up and hurried over to the counter - Though I don't think there was too much of a riot to buy it!

Love at first sight... Yes, more tat! I won't repeat what Ma said when she saw it, no taste!

Then I popped over to a shop that sells a bit of vintage on occasion and it was heaving, but I  fought my way through and found a little basket filled with bags, mainly stuff which doesn't interest me (too modern) and found this beauty!

I know, I know, a Summer bag... It may be used one day!
Just look inside...

Oh, how in love am I?

That's about it for my finds, I have picked up a few DVDs cheap, but nothing exciting.

Anyway, break over, back to work!

Have yourself a lovely day

Jennie x

P.S. How do you like my temporary banner? I'll get round to making a proper one some day!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Two Balls More

A Sunday post? Why yes me dearies, I find myself with a weekend completely free following the confusion over the weather. Had we been expecting good weather, I would have been out today for sure, and possibly yesterday, but the fine weather rather caught me out!

So I've been sorting through my knitting, and rushing myself to finally get that middy jacket finished so I can wear it - But I ran out of wool (again), so I once again picked up a 1938 number which I last worked on last year.

I ran out of wool and so ordered two balls more, but they were a different shade. The shade I had been working with is no longer available. I'm on the second sleeve, I really don't want to un-run it all and start again with the new shade. So I started knitting with the new shade, just to see how noticeable it would be, I'll let the picture speak for itself!

Why's this come out on it's side? Bah, one of those days!
Do I go round with a "faded" sleeve or re-knit? There is also a collar to knit, my knitting advisers, this one's up to you!

On the subject of not enough wool, I also ran out of wool on a 1936 cardigan, again, on the second sleeve! So I'm just going to ask, does anybody happen to have two balls of Wendy Kintyre (aran) in green? The code on the wool sleeve is 161 6678

Although, if I'm going to ask for wool (which I would, of course, pay for), the original brown wool I was using was Patons Diploma Gold 4-ply, colour 04218 - Which is available, but in a lighter shade (as shown), the one I was using originally, has a reddish hue to it, and little flecks of chestnut running through it. It also goes much better with the orange I'm using for the motif.

In my defence, I did weight both lots of wool before I started knitting, but it still wasn't enough, sigh.
So, just to reassure me, do tell me you have also come across this "not enough wool" problem.

So that's my story for the day, I'm planning on a spot of baking later in the week, chocolate biscuits alright with you?

So I bid you a relaxing Sunday afternoon, and wish you well for the coming week. I do have some outings planned for next week, and their indoors, so no worries about the weather!


Jennie x

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Where The Magic Happens!

I'm not quite sure where this past week has gone, busy busy!

Last Sunday was a turning point in my life, I finally became a grown up... well, maybe not, but I'm closer to being a grown up than every before!

My new (to me) bedroom suite was delivered, the delivery cost more than the suite, but it was cuch good value. Would you care for me to stop babbling and show you? More babbling did you say?

Please excuse that duvet... I've been in a bit of a flap and a duvet just makes life that little bit easier - When I'm feel better, back to sheets we go - Ooh, sheets and blankets and an eiderdown up top! Just a note here, the vintage eiderdown was a bargain, £3 as the seller was allergic to feathers and wanted rid of it!
You can just see my sewing table to the right and Lloyd Loom (style) chair on the left.

I'm thinking of a similar green for me walls... If we're staying here. It's all up in the air and I don't know where I am right now.

The reason for such a good sleep is down to my modern matress on top of the original bed springs. The delivery man had the cheek to suggest I'd better be careful on the bed as old beds have a tendency to squeek!
Having my matress on top also makes the bed rather high, I can sit on the edge and me feet are quite a way off the ground - I have to start the morning with base jumping!

The original paper tag is also attached to on of the springs. The bed has "Vono" on the side too, who apparently made a bed for Queen Victoria!

That was just the bed! Here's the rest:

Such an awful photo, and it doesn't even show the dressing table as a whole. Also, for those of you interested, have a close look at the mirror, those weren't visible when I took the snap!
I used to have a dressing table, but had to sell it when we moved, and the original owner still visited, in a spiritual form - Blythe Spirit has just come to mind!

And inside on of those drawers:

They won't stay this tidy!
And finally, the inside of the wardrobe:

I haven't put everything back in my room yet, so this "show room" is only temporary. I love having the oppertunity to sort through my stuff as it's coming back. My utility shoes are pride of place up front and so is my double breasted suit, made from a man's! Something I always fancied trying, then found this suit... in my size! Bingo!

This was only going to be a short pop in and say "hello" post...

I can smell dinner, pizza! Then back to me knitting sticks, a claret coloured frock on the go - Very quick (so far), another 2 weeks and I should be showing you all the wonders of knitted dresses

Catch you later alligator!

Jennie xx

Monday, 4 June 2012

Cake And Jelly

I do hope you're all having a wonderful cake and diddy sandwiches weekend!

I'd had so many plans, but due to rain and a bit of laziness, not much happened. Though please do keep your fingers crossed for some fine weather tomorrow, it doesn't have to be hot, just rain-free!

So, as it was a special weekend... Though I didn't see much evidence of that, the one weekend I really wanted the telly back! Where was I? Yes, food;

Did you happen to see the Chivers Jelly Crown here? I wanted to make one, but I didn't have enough jelly to make a proper big 'un, so it looks pretty.... child-like. No, that's insulting, a 4  year-old could've done much better! So among my excuses - Not enough jelly, over-whipped cream, the piping bag was leaking, the royal icing didn't set...

It's funnier every time I see it! But I've learnt my lesson, look at the picture and ignore the instructions!

I ought to point out that me and dairy don't mix, so I'm just going straight in for the jelly, cherries and jelly sweets!
My more sucessful delight was this Victoria Sandwich, which I have been told is "better than Sainsbury's".... There you have it!
I used a 1951 recipe, hence the sucess :)

We don't really have much cake, so this is a treat. Remember what I said about dairy and me? I feel awful after only one slice! I'm not ill, but I am trying to decide of that one slice is worth a headache?

Yes, yes it was!

Ma had seen some biscuits in Marks & Spencers, they call them "Jazzie Biscuits" and slap a nice price tag on them - So Ma made some "Jazzie Biscuits:

And finally, after moving around the furniture and trying to make the old dining room worth of a photo...

Please excuse the "home improvements", it was left in more of a state than this - We've actually tidied it up! But enough of that talk, home made bunting, Coronation mugs and one from the Golden Jubilee (10 years ago!)

I have to go now, but I just wanted to wish you all well on this long weekend. Hopefully I'll be back in a few days after having a lovely day out tomorrow... If the weather holds!

Happy Jubilee Weekend

Jennie xx

Friday, 1 June 2012

Canteen Girl

'Ello Ducklettes,

When do you decide a collection is already too big and doesn't need adding to?

That's my question for the day. This comes after planning to use my Woods Ware this weekend - The weather's not looking good, so the picnic is not going to happen and that day out on Monday is looking doubtful (it's an outdoor event with fields and walking involved), so I thought it'd be nice to bake a cake and use my favourite crockery...

But it was packed away, so Ma being the intrepid explorer went under the stairs into the cupboard to go and find the two boxes of Woods Ware - Two boxes later and some was missing, so back into the cupboard she disappeared, and found another three boxes! Five boxes jam packed with plates, bowls, tureens, cups...

Even with 21 dinner plates, 18 cups and 5 tureens (and the rest!) I still don't have a full collection :(

It doesn't look like much when it's neatly stacked, but I'm dreading the thought of re-packing and re-housing it all.

The one thing I'm really missing (apart from coffee pots, toast racks, egg cups...) is the guide/brochure to identify the various pieces. I saw one for free online, but didn't save the picture and can't find it again (!), so some of the pieces are, as Toyah Willcox sang, a mystery!

I'm trying to decide whether or not to open a canteen... Any vintage factories need a canteen, plus girlie to run it? Have Woods Ware, will travel!

Anyway, I thought you might like to see it all it it's glory before it goes away until Christmas! I'll show you the cake when I've baked it, plus the other treat I have in store.

Have a lovely evening,

Jennie xx

Sunday, 13 May 2012

I'm Back, I'm Thankful And I Have Boot Sale Booty!

Hello Ducks,

Did you miss me? Don't answer that :)

Four weeks since he been gone, and more importantly, since I been gone from the blog! But fret no more, I am back, I am once again smiling like a cat with a hanger in his mouth and I have loads upon loads to write about!

First up however, I wish to say a heartfelt thank you for all your kind words and wishes, we have both taken a lot of comfort from them and will probably never be able to converse the appropriate words in which to thank you. Thank you x

Now, not much has "gone down" since we last spoke, the main news being: We no longer have a telly! It gets a bit complicated with the names on the licence etc, so Ma told them we no longer watch a live stream of telly (BBC are just repeating repeats anyway!) and unplugged the aerial so we no longer have a signal.
With that £145 a year saving (!!!), we can have a few extra DVDs every now and then the first of which being Open All Hours, a boxset for just £11.99 on Amazon! That's over 12 hours viewing for under £12.
We have seen a few things on the iPlayer (Not Going Out) and 4OD (Homeland, 2 Broke Girls, The Big Bang Theory), but not live... No need to dip into the pocket!

I've just realised how awfully boring I am! Apologies

Something more up our street? I've attended only 2 boot sales in 4 weeks - Shock-o-rama! Oh and a charity shop or two, Ma nabbed this rather nifty table for only... £8! The only reason she got it was because she's quicker at drawing her purse than me, thanks to her jumble sale practise!

I'm so embarrassed about that floor!
At the first boot sale, I found these buttons:

There was a whole big basket full of little bags, each filled with a few buttons. The prices were rather steep, so I allowed myself one bag only... I picked the best ones!

At the second, I actually turned some things down to try and avoid clutter... Too late really, but I am in the middle of the Mother of all clear outs, the C.A.T. charity shop will be doing really well out of me!
Anyway, the first bargain of the morn was this Silver Jubilee tin from 1935...

The condition leaves a lot to be desired, but none the less, I couldn't leave them there... Them?

I said to myself, I refuse to pay more than £2 for this tin, which was buried with the broken stuff on a bit of a junk stall... £1 lighter and I have my tin - My Gran thinks I overpaid!

Then the next item(s), I looked, then walked away thinking they were too expensive, but had a good ole think and returned, haggled and was victorious! They are mine...

A Coty compact alone would make my heart flutter! I think it's circa 1935 because of the stamp-y thingy on the back... Please words, return to me! However, it will not open! The lid moves, but the button press won't push in... Grandad suggested using a lump hammer, just to see the "noooooooo" look on my face! We'll get it open one day, maybe a crisp £20 is wedging it shut?

So, that was a rather long post! I honestly didn't expect it to be so easy to write today, maybe my Grandparent's visit today helped more than I realised.
I must get back to eBaying now, I have a huge pile of clothes to go on, and as soon as they're sold, I can buy some more!

Thank you once again

Jennie, Ma and Charlie xxx

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Creme de la Creme Egg

Oooh, if only you knew the effort that went into this title of today's post! I had to eat many eggs for research purposes, it was hell! Thankfully, when the title was decided upon, I could rest. The remaining eggs are now on display as a reminder of the things we do for our blogs!

I trust you're all well?

Things have moved on a bit here since we last spoke; My dearest Bess (number 1 bicycle) has been fixed, I'd done the bearings (my poor poor nails were ever so black!), then my tyres wouldn't stay up... Long story short, it's all fixed (thank you Daddy!).
Another bike has been sent my way, it's on a time share between me and Ma as she doesn't have a rideable bike. This one is electric, or would be if the battery pack worked!
I've added yet more to the stash/collection/pile of tat - A handful of magazines, the picture of King George V... Gawd bless 'im!. Sunglasses and some Double Knit wool in a fancy shade called Claret (oooh, get me!) which is for a 1935 Coatee which will be knitted closer to Autumn (so, now?).

I've not much planned for the weekend; Tonight is a lovely night in with home-made pizza and the 100th episode of The Big Bang Theory. Then the rest of the weekend will consist of a chocolate egg, hair cut, some films and maybe a bootsale if the snow stays away - More warm weather please!

Speaking of films - Listening to the wireless the other day, an advert came on for Blockbuster, they suggested renting Happy Feet - I mentioned to Ma that I thought Kung Fu Panda was on the box. She turned to me and said that she had not desire to watch the panda as it wasn't believable... Dancing penguins however.... I think you're crazy Ma, but I love you x

Anyway, I think I've come to the end of this post, I didn't really have anything to say, but do want to wish you all a lovely weekend.

I shall be back next week without fail, I will (I swear) have finished something, either a 1933 Coatee with a nautical theme, or a 1939 Jumper with yachts on (no, it's still not finished!), or a 1940s Middy Jacket... Something will be finished!

So I wish you well

Jennie & family xx

Friday, 23 March 2012

The Bag Lady of West Wales

Hello All, I trust you are all in good health?

I haven't been so good during the past month, my last two posts were scrambled together somewhat, but now I'm getting myself back on track. I keep telling myself that there are worse things in life than a broken heart. But there you have it, we are no longer "we" and I think I've even bored myself with moping around!

Anyway, that's my poor excuse for bad grammer, lack of posting and a "can't be bothered" attitude!

So anyway, enough of my self pitying drawl, a while back in this post I mentioned finding two bags and hat going cheap and you wanted to see... Well, I got off of my rear end and took some snaps for you:

A new hat for chapel
This bag needs some stitching on the handle as it's come apart, oh and some leather feed... It's on the list!

Maybe a bit of feed, and maybe removed the spiders web from inside?

So those were my finds last month. Today I managed to haul myself out to the market to get plums and had a look round the charities and antiquey shops and found a 1957 booklet of knitting patterns which I forgot to photograph, but I'll be knitting one of the jumpers for the Summer. AND... yes, it did require capitals! I came across a bag which had my heart a-fluttering. At first I was thinking 1920s as it was similar to a bag Ruby wore in Lilies (second series, please?), then I decided it must be modern as the condition is too good. Well, I bought it and decided to ask you me dearies. My brain is too frazled to make the call. But the more I look at the details, the more I think it's pre-war.

The strap is long enough to wear across the body, with the bag sitting snuggly under ones bossom.

There's a scrap of lining left, I think it's grosgain. But round the edge under the frame is a bit of foam. I'm thinking of relining this, just make it tidy like? Tidy!

The gold-y-ness has all but gone... I can't find my words now, but I'm sure you know what I mean, you know, that thing... The thingy majig!

Anyhow, your opinion on the age?

I'd best get off, I can feel a ramble coming on, and I should really go and enjoy that sunshine... Yes, sunshine!

Toodle pip!

Jennie xx

Monday, 27 February 2012

Let's Make A Date In Our Notebook

First thing first - The weight of the 1949 Really Charming jumper is 6 oz, making Brittany's guess of 5.5 oz the closest. I can't believe how much wool it took, I'm feeling a bit cheated by the promise of it only taking 4 oz... never mind

But moving on from that is this cardi. Beautifully named the Date Maker, from 1946. I made this one up in red wool, which cost me just £1... I found a jumper on a £1 rail in a charity shop, the cable work was fantastic, but it was one of the most shapeless jumpers I've ever seen - So I bought it knowing something could be done, in the end, unrunning it was the best option.

I'm afraid I'm only doing "on the hanger" snaps right now, I'm in no mood for posing. It does look better on... I promise!

Any fans of "The Notebook" may recognise this one too, Ally wears a red Date Maker on her first date with Noah...

Awful snap, but just look at her cardi!
The buckle I was going to use was half the size required, but then I found this creamy one along with a black one in a chairty shop for 20p... 20p for two! I'm not sure whether to replace it at some point, we'll see how it goes.

If you too would like to knit a Date Maker, the pattern is available here, for free!

I'd better say my good-bye for now, work to do, tea to drink!


Jennie xx

Friday, 24 February 2012

Really Charming In 1949

I find myself getting fustrated quite often when it comes to finding my next knitting project - I have a huge shelf (or 5!) filled with patterns, yet I always find myself back online looking for something else. But towards the end of January, I found a booklet lurking underneath everything else - The claim was that the jumpers contained within would only use 4 ounces of wool. Then I found "The Jumper", aptly named "Really Charming". When you name your blog "It's a Charmed Life", you really want a jumper to match, right?

So there you have it, I liked the name of the jumper, and the small amount of wool required, so I knitted it... I daudled quite a bit as I have so many other things on the go, but none the less, it's finished:

Apologies for a less than beautiful snap, it's a bit dull here, and I was so excited just to finally take a photo I didn't bother setting it up, or weighing it!

Place your bets, does the jumper weigh 4 ounces? I will be weighing it and letting you know next time, there will be no prizes but you will be entitled to feel smug if you get it right :)

I'm so taken with this booklet I'm already planning on the next project. Pink, I think.

Oh, and just in case you're interested, the booklet wasn't dated, but I found an advert in there for a Summer school starting in July 1949 - Good enough for me!

That's about all I have to say for myself today, just to let you know I'm alive and have finished something (at last!). I have finished the cardi, but have yet to take snaps. Now I only have six knitting pieces to finish!

So I'll say good-bye now, wishing you all a lovely day

Jennie xx

Friday, 27 January 2012

The National Botanic Garden of Wales

So then, what's the story in Balamory?

Well, it's been a strange few days, mostly good, though I did get whacked in the stomach by an over excited girl in a vintage shop - It was an accident... That's how she made it look anyway. I'm not too upset however as I did walk away with two bags and a hat (after paying, I must add).

Anyway, today was a rather exciting one:

We headed off to The National Botanic Garden of Wales, it's free entry during January and despite it being Winter, there was plenty to see. I won't go into details, I'll show you a few snaps from my day...

The Great Glass House
Inside The Great Glass House were areas representing different countries and also a room about Fungi.

Inside The Great Glass House
 This has made me fancy a conservatory, it's just too beautiful for words. Though don't be fooled with that blue sky, it was freezing outside, my 6 layers didn't seem to be doing much other than restricting my arms!

Conservatory Ideas?
Oh, and there were even plants there... Too fixated on buildings at the moment!

No idea, but it matches my coral jumper!

This has given me dressmaking inspiration - Watch this space!

There is also a bee garden, a Japanese garden, fish pond, a lovely gift shop - I used to be weel known for only visiting places with gift shops!

Oh and my favourite snap of the day:

You'd be quakers not to love me!
So all in all a lovely day, I do have it pencilled in my diary to visit again in the late Spring when more floral action is taking place.
In the meantime, I would suggest you come over to Wales and take a look. No boday has asked me to increase visitor numbers, but I do feel it my duty to try and talk you into coming. Here's the web adress in case I have talked you into a trip: National Botanic Garden of Wales

Hope you're all well, I'll be back soon with some exciting knitting/sewing things and proably more from my own tourist guide to Wales

Jennie xx

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Vintage Puppy

Good Afternoon all, hope you're well.
Not so good here, but I really don't want to go into details just now - It's a long story for another day.

But I've missed you all, and was trying to find something fairly non-taxing to bring me back to blogging. Then I realised I still have some vintage snaps which haven't been shared!
I sound like your neighbour Jeanette after her holiday to Tenerife... Do you really want to see the photos? Tough, I'm showing you anyway! :)

Another doggy photo... This makes me want a puppy so much, why didn't I put one on my Christmas list?

There's Denise again (third from left), and her family... See the lady in the window?

If only I'd picked up their clothing along with the bag of photos...

Anyway, that's about that. The others are a bit out of focus or there just isn't much detail showing up. But I've just found the photos of my Gran's photos from the 1950s on the computer, so I'll show you those at some point. Think cotton dresses, Cornish holidays and my Grandad in shorts (bless him). They also feature a very young Mami, in a home made playsuit! Oh the cuteness!

So I shall say goodbye for now, I'll get my knitting finished and I'll have something very exciting to show you!

Until then, goodbye

Jennie xx

P.S. I just realised that this is my first post of 2012... Hope you all had a very merry Christmas and are having a wonderful start to the new year x