Thursday, 31 May 2012

MDGA #5 - For the Love of Linen

Can it be true? Has May come to an end? How is this so? Where did it go? Sigh.

With the end of this month, so comes an end to my weekly give away's (booooo).

Up for grabs this week -  and only available until the 2nd June -  is a lovely little collection of linen.

There are 2, what I call "sideboard covers" measuring 22'' long by 14'' wide. The first is on white linen with a hand crocheted edge in a taupe colour and the other is on cream Irish linen. Both have been hand embroidered and would look a treat on top of a book case or a small table.

The third item is a pair of linen handkerchiefs that, again, have been hand embroidered on cream linen in glorious tones of brown. 

(Since the heat has decided to arrive in the UK, I have found a 'chief  for dabbing one's sweaty upper lip a very handy thing to have. Oh. The glamour.)

How's that little lot for ya?

Entry requirements are the same as always -  but remember -  this, along with the others, closes on Saturday 2nd June at midnight GMT, so, be quick!

1) Follow this blog via Google Friend Connect or Hello Cotton -  leave a comment

2) Tweet : I have entered the @LandGirl1980 5th & final May Day's Give Away, For the Love of Linen  -  leave a comment.

Open world wide.

Laa laaaa laaaaa.. LINEN!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Home-made Dressing

With a bit of time to spare at the moment, I thought that I would try and teach myself how to work a vintage dress pattern.  I have only ever made one dress before and that was from a modern pattern.

So, when I came across one on Etsy, in a larger size and for a decent price, I thought I would give it a bash. I made a mock up from a thrifted duvet, and then I set to work on proper material.

I am pleased I had a bash before using decent material - which actually only cost me £1 from a carboot sale -  because it made me a lot more confident of when making something I could wear in the street.

But, before I could begin, I had to clear the work surface. Of this...

The Moof sure do like to be in and on everything I am trying to work on. I shooed him and his fluffy pants away and got to work.

I learnt my lessons from my previous make, and used the table as opposed to the floor and my knees.

And once all the bits were cut out, I set to hemming. I find something very therapeutic in making neat lines with pins.

I am a bit of a scatterbrain when it comes to making sure things are okay. So. I kept checking that I did, in fact, have my right sides together before sewing into place.

Close up of thumb! *Gaaaaaah!*

I plan on making a copy of this pattern in something a little more durable. If anyone has any tips -  I would love to hear. I made sure it was all folded up neatly and protected from the Moof. Who would of quite liked to of made a bed on it's rustleness.

Once I had made the top and bottom, it was time to join them together. Which is something I have fluffed on the other occasions I have made a frock. The instructions were not clear, and it took a lot for my brain to work out. Sigh.

But, I finally got there, despite them not matching up exactly. I panicked about that for a while, until I realised that this mistake enabled me to custom size it with the aid of some hand-stitching.

It was then time for some embellishments. I am no where near proficient enough to tackle button holes, so I just stitched them on. Cheeky cheat.

But I did sew on some grosgrain ribbon in a luscious chocolate brown.

And then I thought about a brooch to wear with it. I picked this 1940's beauty up at a local car-boot for 20p. Yes. Twenty pence. 

There are still bargains to be had out there folks.

And my cheeky stitched on buttons, which remind me of the moon from... errr.. Button Moon

And so - this is the result.... of my Home-Made Dressing..

I am not usually a trumpet tooter -  but -  I have to say -  I am rather bloody proud of myself.

I teamed it with a knitted bolero, my trusty brown heels and a scrummy dark green hat that I picked up from the high-street (M&S I think). I had not actually worn it out of the house since buying it back in the winter months.

And here is me, leaning up against a wooden wall. Natch.

Roll on more warm weather, as I think this could look rather nice with sandals, sunnies and a big straw hat.

Have a good week folks!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

The Retro Festival UK

 There are few things that please me more than a festival of retro-ness. I have been to a few over the past couple of years, and the majority have ticked most of my boxes. The following seems set to do the same.

The Retro Festival is a 3 day event being held in Maidenhead from the 10th -12th August 2012. To say I am excited about it is an understatement. Just the website makes me smile. The organisers seem to have got it right. It looks as though it is run by those who have a genuine interest in vintage and retro life and have packed all their enthusiasm into one stonking weekend.

There are not one, not two but THREE whole live music stages hosting the top drawer of artists on the UK vintage and rock 'n' roll scene. The names of the venues make me want to go right now: The Black Hanger & The Scarlet Ballroom. Put my name down! 

There is also a Wings and Wheels Show, with free entry for exhibitors, which promises classics from both the civilian & military motor and aero sphreres, best vehicle prizes and a best in show award.  Not enough machinery for you? Well -  there is also an Auto Jumble. Ooooh yeah!

If you are more a wheels on your feet kinda person, then for your delectation there is a roller derby bouts. I have seen some of this sport close up and personal, and it is both awesome and terrifying at the same time. As is the Wall of Death, who shall also be in attendance. Motorbikes whizzing round a circular wall? Get your applauding hands ready!

Is your head spinning yet? Mine is. But there is more..

Retro Market to be precise. And I do like to riffle through old stuff. I am hopeful that I shall be able to add to my growing collection of brooches-I-NEED-but-rarely-wear and my hair curling accoutrements.

For the kiddie-winks in your life there is a family day on the Sunday, a kids zone and a mini fun fair. Which I hope shall be serving copious amounts of candyfloss. Mmmmm. Candy floss....

Need to refresh oneself? A vintage Beauty Parlour and a Gentlemans barber's shall be on hand to primp and preen you.

As I have said, this collosal event runs over 3 days. You can pick and chose your days  -  or come for the whole shabang.  And I would not be promoting something that I did not think was not only reasonable in price - but a bloody good deal. 

Ready? Sitting down?

£50 for a 3 day ticket per adult. From £17.50 for a single. 
Young persons pass is £34 for the duration or from £11.50, depending on the day.
Children under 11 FREE. 
See full prices and their break down here

If you want to stay overnight there is camping (£30 a pitch), caravaning (from£35 a pitch) or glamping options via the below

Alongside the usual camping site bits, such as toilets and showers, there are also secure lockers. I am in the process of convincing the Beard that the way forward is camping. He is looking sceptical -  so we may be caravanning. If anyone has a nice retro-caravan to lend me, please let me know!

Phew. I feel like I have already been to this wonderful sounding event -  but it is all yet to come! 

You can follow Retro Festival on twitter @RetroFestivalUK and be sure to join their FaceBook Page to be in with a chance of winning weekend tickets! If you are the 1,500th like -  it could be you!

And not only that!! If you attend the Jubilee Market in Windsor over the Bank Holiday weekend next week, are giving away one family ticket for each day of their event. So -  double bubble chances of winning. Can't say fairer than that.

I sincerely hope to see you at The Retro Festival- I literally cannot WAIT.

*wanders off into dream land mumbling about roller derby, marketplace, bell tents*

Thursday, 24 May 2012

MDGA #4 - Book's Ahoy!

Is it that time of the week already? Whoosh! Where has that time gone? 
Apparently, it has landed Blighty in proper summertime weather, which I am trying not to read too much into, on account of this being, well, Britain. It could rain again tomorrow.

Speaking of reading -  fancy some books?

As part of my May Day Give Away's, I have 3 books to be nabbed by someone...

I have read and reviewed both The Postmistress and Children of Freedom and have Fallen Skies in draft (a sneaky peek? It got a 6/10) and can recommend them all. Perfect holiday reading.

To check out my other book reviews, have a gander here.

As with the other giveaway's this month, the entry requirements are 

1) Follow this blog via Google Friend Connect or Hello Cotton -  leave a comment

2) Tweet : I have entered the @LandGirl1980 4th May Day's Give Away BOOK'S AHOY! -  leave a comment.

Open world wide and closes June 2nd 2012.

Monday, 21 May 2012

LandGirl on VE Day

Finally -  I have found one. A time machine!! And where do you think I headed?  

Yes folks. I was there -  on VE Day, 1945, getting my feet into a good old shin dig and snogging every soldier I could find. 

I spent it with 3 of my bestest friends and we had a hoot!

Alas - no. I fib to you all. What a shame. This was no time machinery. 

This was created by a fab friend of mine when she was messing about with her photo package thingy on her computer. Ain't she the clever one!

It made my WEEK -  so I thought I would share it with you all. That said, if I do find a time machine, and I firmly believe one to be out there.. somewhere... then you shall be the first to know.  

I just hope it doesn't contain anyone by the name of Amy or Rory aka The Pointless Characters from Dr Who.


Thursday, 17 May 2012

MDGA # 3 - Well Rounded Vintage goodies

For your piercing pleasure in week three of the May Day's Give Away's, we have some rather cute buttony goodness from my on line store Well Rounded Vintage...

Potentially winging their way to you and your earlobes could be these vintage button Duck Egg Blue earrings...

.. and a matching brooch which includes a smashing Mother of Pearl button.

The earrings are mounted on nickel free studs with a secure rubber back.

As with the previous give away's this month, simply follow the below conditions to enter: 

1) Follow this blog via Google Friend Connect or Hello Cotton -  leave a comment

2) Tweet : I have entered the @LandGirl1980 third May Day's Give Away, Button-a-rama, feat @WellRoundedVtg -  leave a comment.

Open world wide and closes June 2nd 2012.


Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Oh! What A Lovely War - film review

Having been lent this by Penny Dreadful Vintage, and with my time of looking after The Christmas Cat coming to a rapid end, I thought I had better give this a butchers before I had to handed it, and Elsa, back to their rightful owners.

I wish I had not waited so long to watch it, for I immediately wanted watch it again so that I could take it all in. I thought, whilst it was on, that I may struggle to put it across to you guys how I felt about it. But, I shall try.

For me, it shows simultaneously, the bare bones of The Great War and the dream like fantastical quality of the times as they happened, coupled with the nightmarish reality we can still feel today.

From the song and dance atmosphere at the breakout in the seaside summer time of 1914, I was taken on ride. A ride that I felt was spinning me about and making me feel sick, whilst calming me with the songs of the age. A Long Way to Tipperary. Keep the Home Fires Burning. And my favourite, Taking the King's Shilling (although I have a feeling this was written for the show to the tune of an original song.)

I adored the subtlety's of the film. The score boards of the dead. The female drivers. The tinkling of soldier songs throughout.

I felt like I was watching something almost unbelievable. Which is how I feel about the lead up to, the execution of and the aftermath of World War 1.

It can be viewed if you know little or nothing about the War, because it will educate you. That said it will ease the confusion if you know some info, or the poetry of it all might be lost and lead to frowning. And, if you know more than a little - then you will find it entertaining, amusing, humbling and poignant.

For a directing debut from Richard Attenbourough it is a corker. The costume, the casting, the location (mostly the now destroyed Brighton West Pier) -  it is all fantastic.

In short -  see this movie.

A 9/10

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Victorious Vintage - Portsmouth

Do you, good people of Jubilee celebrating stylee, fancy a glorious day out in Portsmouth, where the history is all encompassing, the people friendly and the sun shall be forthcoming?*

And for free entrance?

Over the 2nd - 3rd June, whilst London shall be the focus of the celebrations, the Historical Dockyard of Portsmouth is hosting a big ol' 2 day event. - Victorious Vintage.

I shall say it again. Free entrance. Whoop!

There shall be live music (check out the flyer above!), performances, singing, best dressed prizes, frocks and collectables for purchase, retro make-overs from £5 and a cinema open 10-6pm with a small entrance fee.

I have visited the Historical Dockyard many times in the past. Mainly to oggle over the remains of the Tudor ship Mary Rose, granted, which is currently closed whilst a brand spanking new museum is being built, but there is still plenty to see apart from all of the above - namely the HMS Victory. And, if you order your tickets for these attractions on line, you can save 10%.

I am in the process of arranging a road trip for this event for the Saturday -  
hope to see you there!

*It shall be forthcoming on account of the many, many, many sun-dances I will be doing between then and now.
However, there is no guarantee that the golden orb shall be beating down upon us. 

Thursday, 10 May 2012

MDGA # 2 - Acorn & Will

Allo again! Here we have the second of the 
May Day's Give Away's...

This has be brought to you by one of my lovely sponsors -  Acorn & Will.

If you have not checked them out -  please do so. So many treats to be had!

Up for grabs there are a 2 brooches and a pair of cute earrings -  all for one of you lovely lot!


To be in with a chance, simply follow the below conditions and sha-zam -  you are entered.

1) If you don't already, follow this blog via Google Friend Connect or Hello Cotton -  leave a comment

2) Tweet : I have entered the @LandGirl1980 2nd May Day's Give Away feat @acornandwill  -  leave a comment.

Open world wide and closes June 2nd 2012.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Lumber Jill's

Today is the 67th anniversary of VE Day and I thought I would spend time remembering a group of young women who are often left off the radar.

We have all heard of Land Girls. The headscarves, the dungarees, the cow milking, the fields.

But, there was another group of women who are often forgotten and who's work was just as vital to the war effort.

The Women's Timber Corps.

At first, the Women's Timber Corps (WTC) was just an addition to the Women's Land Army which was set up in 1917. But a little over 2 two years into World War II and it was clear that a separate unit was required. 

The WTC was officially launched in 1942.

They were affectionately known as Lumber Jill's.

Although Land Girl's would have undergone some forestry training  to prepare them for the duties of a working farm, the Timber Corps were trained to a far higher, specialised standard.



1930’s, image from Hulton Deutsch Collection.

They worked in all weathers, from snow to sunshine. They underwent training in everything from felling, snedding (stripping side shoots from felled branches), loading, working with the horses, driving tractors and also how to operate sawmills.

The work was often back-breaking and the hours were long. 

Accommodation varied from regular billets in local houses to purpose built huts within the forest.

The Women's Timber Corps had roughly 6,000 member by the time is was disbanded during 1946. 

They worked alongside various male Timber Corps from Canada as well as Italian and Germans POW's.

Many Lumber Jill's were dispatched to vast areas of forest in Scotland where they met, danced alongside and fell in love with servicemen stationed nearby. 

Many moved to Canada and Newfoundland after the war.

Uniforms were identical to the Land Army, with the exception of a green beret as opposed to a felt hat. They also had a purpose made Bakelite badge which contained a fir tree instead of a bundle of wheat.

Despite their invaluable contributions, it took some 60 years for a purpose built memorial to be commissioned. 

Carved by sculptor Malcolm Robertson, she is life size, made from bronze and gazes out over the surrounding forest in Queen Elizabeth Forest Park near AberfoyleStirling, Scotland.

Isn't she glorious?

And there you have it. A group of women who wheilded an axe, dealt with splinters of magnitude and yelled TIMB-ER! on more than one occasion.

All images linked to. Majority courtesy IWM Online Archive.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

WW2 Eggless Sponge

Do you like historical cookery? Are you allergic to eggs? Are you fresh out of them? 

Do you fail, like me, to crack an egg into anything without the addition of shell?

Or do you just like cake full stop?

If so - then read on....

I have graced the blog before with my WW2 cookingness -  and my Carrot Scones are now a firm staple at Land Girl Heights. Just like those, this recipe comes from my beloved Victory Cookbook by Marguerite Patten.

I tend to double this recipe and bake it in a big springform tin. It it quite a claggy cake, and can be a little crumbly due to the lack of binding egg. But it sure is good!

Here is the method....

Cream together the butter & sugar...

Avoid licking the spoon. I fail at this...

Add in the Golden Syrup and mix in...

Add in some of the milk...

And some of the sifted flour & baking powder mixture. 
You can also use plain flour with 5 teaspoons of powder.

Fold into the butter-syrup mix. You are aiming to get air into the mix, so fold and fold again...

It should look something like this once it is done...

Grease and line the bottom of your tin. You can split the mix between 2 smaller pans to make a sandwich sponge, or you can put it in a loaf tin.

Pour in the mixture and spread it out evenly..

Shove spoon in mouth. Polish off remaining mixture in the bowl. Feel a bit sick. 
This step is optional.

Bake in oven for about 35 -40 mins, at about 180°C / 350°F / GM4 

Leave to cool, turn out, have a cheeky slice....

Or slab.

This cake reminds me of the sort of thing served at school. Usually with lashings of custard, that hinted at being chocolate flavoured.

It keeps for up to a week (not that it ever lasts that long at mine) and can be frozen. It also works well as fairy cakes and with flavouring or colour added. If you wanted to make a chocolate sponge, then you could substitute some of the flour for drinking chocolate.


*Adapted from The Victory Cookbook


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