Sunday, 31 May 2015

The Beginning of Summer

Well, so they say anyway!

I can't believe it has been so long since I got back to this blog - if there are any followers out there who are still with me then give yourself an extra cornflake for breakfast!  Well done for your stamina!

So, what has been happening at my wonderful Lily Maud Vintage?  Well, if you've been over to the website recently you will notice some changes, beginning with the front page and for each of the listings.  There are still some teething problems but I am getting there slowly.

I asked a number of people who are experts in websites, including my own designer, the amazing Rhys Welsh, for feedback and have put their suggestions, together with a few of my own, in to the new site. 

So, a front page which tells you Lily Maud Vintage is a store and you can buy the items you see!  Taken away the slider of pics which many people found just too much and, in its place, put pictures of two beautiful cups - here they are :

These are very special cups so I shall tell you a little about them:

The teacup and saucer at the back of the picture is stamped 'Ashley Fine Bone China Made in England 22KT Gold'.  Try as I might it seems impossible to find out much about the manufacturer, even though it has a crown motif above the stamp.  I'd be really happy to hear from anyone who does know something about it. You can see how interesting it is - gold filigree pattern on a yellow background at the top of the cup and the edge of the saucer. Then a gold band separating the main pattern which is of fruit - two pears, some cherries and white and black grapes, on  a white background. Gold fluted edges and a gold handle complete the beauty of this vintage cup and saucer.

The front trio is equally beautiful but  in a completely different way!  Covered in the most delicate pale blue pheasant pattern with gold edges, this trio was made by the Derby pottery between 1877 and 1890 so may be considered as antique pottery rather than vintage.  It would have been amongst the first of the output of the Osmaston Road Derby factory. It is perfect in every way, no chips, no cracks and I love it! One day I may be able to let it go and add it to the website but I'm not ready for that quite yet!!

I've also added a link at the bottom of the front page 'Latest News'. I thought it may be a nice idea to tell visitors, both new and returning, that new lovelies have been added to the site and what they are. I  aim to update this as soon as I add something new and the news will roll over on a monthly basis.  I hope you will think this a good idea.

Inside, the pictures of the lovelies on sale have been enlarged and the description now features at the side of the picture rather than below.  In spending time editing and reviewing the site, I have discovered a number of irritating things and these may irritate you too :  the font used is not consistent across the site, I am editing to make it all look the same; the site looks different depending on which browser you are using to visit - Firefox, MSN etc. I'm sorry about that, but there isn't anything I can do to make that right.  I go to the site via MSN and used to use Firefox - having discovered the problem, I now use MSN because it looks better! 

Well, that's the news for today - back to the garage for more sorting and photographing my vintage lovelies to put up throughout this coming week!

Thanks for reading, please leave a comment either on here or on my Facebook page.  See you again very soon.

Lily Maud">Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Sunday, 5 April 2015

At last!!

At last indeed!  I was hoping to get many more blogs written by now but you know that thing called life? and how it always comes up and gets in your way when you've planned your days and your week?  Well, it happened as always but this time I have a good reason  - honest!

My lovely daughter gave birth to my wonderful grandson on Feb 22 - a beautiful 9lb boy who is named Frey and I love him to bits even though I can't get to see him as often as I would like.  I found it rather strange becoming a grandparent - always said I was far too young (still am!) but I've got over all that now for he is, of course, the most beautiful baby ever born!

Anyway, on top of all that I decided I just had to clear out this so called office of mine.  My friend John the Builder was here for a long long time refurbishing my bathroom and downstairs loo. Rooms were cleared to make space for the white goods to be upstairs for John to fit them and a lot of 'stuff' found its way into my room.  Bathroom and loo now complete and looking wonderful, bedrooms back together and now my room is back to a more proper workroom/office - space for making things, packing things, storing things and papers - just fab!!

So then I thought I deserved a holiday! - actually it had been booked for some while as it was the first of my three yearly holidays to the Red Sea for a spot of scuba diving.  Oh how I love scuba diving, under the water I am weightless, can swim without pain, see the most amazing creatures and corals in colours you could not imagine. Here's a couple of pictures of an Eagle Ray from a dive a couple of years ago :

This ray came up from below and swam alongside, seeming to just look at me and then swim away knowing I was not a threat.  I am very blessed that I am able to see such amazing creatures.

Now I'm back, tan is fading, and my mind is turning, at long last, to my website and a re-working of it. 

Lily Maud Vintage has been up and running for just about a year.  Less than one quarter of the items I actually have for sale have found their way onto the site; most are stored carefully in poly boxes in my garage which John the Builder kitted out for me.  I have been lucky that a number of items have sold and I so enjoy wrapping my sold items as carefully as I can and popping them in the mail, I miss many of them when they are gone!

However, as a person I thrive on change and so Lily Maud Vintage is now going to have a couple of changes made to the front page.  I have had some really good feedback from some of my fellow Nostalgianeers from Pretty Nostalgic so have been on to my long suffering website designer Rhys and he is going to put it all in the right order for me.  Thought I'd just run a few of them by you and see what you think so, if you have a comment/advice/anything to say then contact me at: or the feedback via the blog.  

I'd be really pleased to hear from you!

Basically though, this is what I hope will happen : The two panels on the left hand side of the landing page will be combined to make a 'Welcome and About'; the name will be changed to Lily Maud Vintage Store so it will be clear that it is a shopping site; the information at the bottom will be deleted and the Ts&Cs, P+P, your basket etc. moved to the top to join the shopping categories; the sliding pictures will become a static picture as I've been told they are a little confusing and make the page too busy. Free postage will be highlighted somehow too as I think it is important for people to know that the price you see is the price you pay.  So, what do you think of that then? Please let me know - good or bad - I have thick skin and am asking you to be honest with me!!!

So I'll leave you with that thought and go off to make a chocolate cake for Easter tea!  Next blog will be on Pretty Nostalgic and will available very soon. 

Happy Easter blog followers!

Friday, 20 February 2015

A strange kind of facial!

Hello Dear Followers

I had such a strange time on Sunday afternoon I felt I really had to tell you about it so here goes:

In the past, I have been know to cook up a reasonable meal, whip up an edible cake and make a very spreadable preserve or two. When I saw the box of Seville oranges in my local shop I just knew I had to buy them and turn them into pots of lovely marmalade  That was almost three weeks ago so, come the end of last week,  those Sevilles were not quite as ripe and juicy as when they came home. However, the idea of making marmalade would not leave my head so I forced myself to buy some more.

Next, I was looking in the fridge for a banana for breakfast and saw two over ripe, black skinned bananas and discovered the one I ate was also a bit over ripe - a vision of banana and walnut cake arrived so the ingredients I needed got added to the shopping list.

Late on Saturday afternoon I washed my Sevilles, scored the peel into quarters and produced lots and lots of those thin strips of  peel for the marmalade.  I squeezed the oranges and two lemons into the preserving pan, added the necessary volume of water and the pith and pips (in a muslin bag), covered the pan and left it in a cold place - the garage - until the next day.

Come Sunday afternoon and I had hatched my plan :
  • Stage 1 : put the marmalade on to boil
  • Stage 2 : weigh the sugar ready to add
  • Stage 3 : weigh the ingredients for the cake straight into the mixing bowl
  • Stage 4 : add sugar to boiling marmalade, reduce heat etc.
  • Stage 5 : make cake and put in oven to cook while skimming marmalade
  • Stage 6 : cake from oven, marmalade at setting point
  • Stage 8 : marmalade in to prepared jars
  • Stage 9 : cake cooled, ready to eat
  • Stage 10: make the coffee!!!!  Eat cake and drink coffee!!!
Too perfect - something had to go wrong :

All was well until I had to weigh the sugar for the marmalade.  My little bear brain got very confused about how much sugar was required and I ended up using every gram of sugar in the house.  My marmalade contains caster sugar, granulated sugar and light brown sugar.

The result of this little brainstorm - no sugar left for the cake.  Never mind, I could concentrate on the marmalade, which was probably just as well.

You may all know that, once marmalade reaches a rolling boil, a scum forms on top. This scum needs to be removed as it will make for cloudy marmalade if left. This required me to stand for what seemed an extremely long time, with my spoon going constantly around the edge of the pan, skimming, while orange smelling steam came up to my face.

The only time I steam my face is when I have a cold which has blocked my sinuses and that usually smells of Olbas Oil, so you can imagine how luxurious it was to have this gorgeous smelling steam wafting upwards while I was looking down at this bubbling liquid which was getting darker and thicker by the minute! Probably the longest steam facial I have experienced since the last time I made a preserve!

My marmalade reached setting point, I had to leave the pan and sort the pouring into jars :

: now stored safely in the cupboard for use on the morning toast. I had a little over which is in a bowl in the 'fridge, ready to be used in a brioche and marmalade pudding at the weekend - yum!

And the cake ?
I bought the sugar on Monday morning - it, as well as the other cake ingredients, are still waiting to be assembled!  Maybe this Sunday, if I'm not otherwise engaged with my new grandson who will be coming to meet us.  More on him later!

Sunday, 8 February 2015

It's February already!

I can't believe we are almost half way through February and this is only the second time I have got to the computer to give you a catch up.  No excuses worth mentioning, so I won't tell you about them!

I am going to donate most of this blog to giving a really big 'shout out' for something which takes up some of the half of me which plays at Lily Maud Vintage - The Pretty Nostalgic Society.  Yay!!!!!!!

Here's a couple of pics of the Society leaflet which I hope you can read but I'll tell you all about it anyway!!!


The Society is a group of like minded people, vintage loving souls, crafters, bakers, growers, upcylcers and more!  We love sharing our skills and knowledge with others, but having skills is not an absolute must - the love is all we need! 

Seriously though, we are not about giving up on technology - many of us could not do what we do or be involved, if we gave up modern technology - and we don't want to time warp back to the '40s or any other previous era, unless you want to that is!

We strive to find a balance between our modern lives and the possibility of a less commericalised  existence. We are all committed to supporting independent, British makers, small, independent shops and businesses and those who make or supply vintage, antique or upcycled goods.  If we spend our hard earned money on something modern, sensible then it's because we value it as a long term purchase for use often.

The pictures show both sides of the leaflet - I have paraphrased the first side because it is quite difficult to read here.  The second side contains the The Pretty Nostalgic Pledge.  In a nutshell, the Pledge urges you to think about - Spending Wisely, Waste Less and Appreciate More.  What does this mean ?  Well, it's asking you to think about :

  • Paying a fair price and using local suppliers and makers 
  • Thinking creatively about recycling, re-purposing what you have to meet changing needs, creating things yourself, learning new craft or skills, looking after your possessions
  • Respecting skill, quality and effort over quantity and price, supporting British, handmade and upcycled goods wherever possible
  • Buying only things I really need or genuinely want

If you are doing lots of these things already then you are probably already a member - if you're not a member then why???? Think about joining us now!!!

So, to help you with your decision, here's what's in it for you :
  • Membership costs £40 per year and for this you will get:
  • 4 copies of the Pretty Nostalgic Compendium (RRP £12 each) posted free.
  • The Compendium has 144 pages of original features, vintage images, illustrations and stunning photography and artwork.  All contributors are members - here's your chance blow your own trumpet about your passion!
  • A discount card for use with our business members
  • members competitions and special offers
  • The chance to meet like minded members in your local area via Pretty Nostalgic Gatherings.
I hope this little bit of information has inspired you to find out more then to join us or get involved, so here's how you do that :

  • VISIT :
  • TWEET: @prettynostalgic
  • EMAIL:

If you would like to see the quality of the publication then order a back copy of its predecessor - Pretty Nostalgic Magazine - £8 each from

I believe in Pretty Nostalgic - come and join me soon!

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy New Year!

Welcome to my first blog for 2015, hopefully the first of many.

I'm a bit 'bah humbug' about New Year, as one of my friends put it : 'different year, same s**t' and I am inclined to agree with him.  I stay up to see in the New Year, finish my sparkly drink, wish my loved ones the best and pop off to my bed.  However, last night, as many of you may know, the BBC broadcast a Queen concert so it was a pleasure to stay up and watch the amazing Brian May, the new vocalist and sing along with the songs - a happy New Year indeed!

Seriously though, New Year is a time for reflection, for remembering what was good and not so good, what was achieved and what came up rather short. 

When 2014 was just over three months old, I began with Lily Maud Vintage online.  You know the story of how it all came about so I won't bore you with that again, but it was a very exciting time for me.  I found a lovely young man willing to put my crazy ideas into website speak, to put up with me saying yes to his work then saying I wanted to change it and, finally having the website you see today.  Rhys is still getting emails asking him to do things or how I can do things and he replies straight away with the answers I need.  If you wish to have your website designed then I'm happy to recommend Rhys.

I have tweaked and changed things about on Lily Maud but never seemed to have the time to work at it properly.  Lily Maud has a Facebook page and a Twitter account but neither has been that successful because, as soon as I had the time and the motive to actually do something, life always came up and hit me in the face with unexpected hurdles. As in many people's lives, these came almost one after another with little space in between to get back to my real passion - Lily Maud Vintage! I do sound like a real moaner don't I; these life hurdles happen to everyone and I guess if I had managed to be more organised about my life on a day-to-day basis, Lily Maud would be on her way to some success.

That success has eluded her is wholly down to me and my lack of time management skills.  I used to have them once, had to as I worked to a timetable on a daily basis, but working from home, even on something you love so much, needs much more of a steely resolve than I have had.  I think I have let the hurdles get in the way rather than jump over them as they came along - now that is out in the open I can do something about it and so I will!

All was not bad though.  I am so happy to have become a Pioneer for Pretty Nostalgic and the Pretty Nostalgic Society.  I resolved to write an article for the first edition of the new Pretty Nostalgic Compendium published in December. I loved every minute of the writing, got the manuscript to the Editor on time and was so chuffed to see my name in print - I admit to being on a bit of a high when I saw it!  Even better, I am about to become a proud seller of the Compendium on Lily Maud.

So what of this New Year which began today? I'm not one for resolutions because, apart from one, nothing I have ever resolved to do at this time of year has ever come to anything!  Guess I'm not alone there either! However, I have to get better at three things in particular if I am to achieve success with both Lily Maud and Pretty Nostalgic.

Firstly, I must get into writing myself a list of  'things to do', divided into two categories : A = Absolutely Essential and B = Better to be done. I don't have anyone to whom I can delegate so to put this into practise means that I will have to manage my time much better by using my calendar and diary and being very strict with myself. If I have time set aside for  Lily Maud work then that is what I must do at that time in that week. Anything else has to work around Lily Maud as far as possible.  I have done this in a previous life and it worked very well because it gave structure to the day and week.

Secondly, I must work on everything to do with Lily Maud by proritising : listing, facebooking, tweeting, promoting (alongside Pretty Nostalgic),  blogging, researching ..... mmm ...... this could be a long list! However, if I remember the phrase : 'Your yes means more when you can say no' : I just might make it work.

This has been a bit of a personal blog, I have indulged myself!  I have always believed that writing down things which are important helps in making decisions about those things and this blog has helped me do that. With luck, you will see the results of my deliberations and become more involved with Lily Maud.

A monthly review of how I am getting on and what is being achieved may well be here soon!

A very Happy New Year to all who read this and thanks for being with me.

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