Sunday, 31 July 2011

Melbourne, underwear & friends


I have been trying for ages to find some 1950s style underwear – all-in-one shape-wear known as a corselet, or a girdle with suspenders for stockings.

corsetrouseel1953_small   710 ivory  CORSELLNUDE 1950s                                                           Modern

Modern versions tend to be shorter, so you don’t get that smooth shape over the hips.  In country Queensland they seemed aimed at brides, and are so only in white or cream, with hefty price tags of around $190.  I haven’t had much success online either, in Australia that is except for the  not quite so cute body shaper on the right above.  Thankfully vintage underwear seems to be making a comeback in the UK and USA, so I may try ordering something from overseas when funds permit.  This little number from What Katie Did looks pretty, as does the bullet bra, but they only go up to size 40.

glamour.corselette.ct  what_katie_did_harlow_bullet_bra.ct

The nicest and most similar underwear I have found is the all in one body shaper, which you can wear with a separate suspender belt.  And I found the place to go in Melbourne – the Queen Victoria Market.  This market sells everything, including fruit and veg, deli goods, clothes, fabrics, gifts, handbags and pets.  It also sells underwear. 


I was stopped by the amazing display, mostly a little erotic for my taste, but lurking at the back were black and beige body suits, in sizes up to 24!  And so cheap - I bought one for $50 and then got a discount on a second, and then also bought a separate suspender belt and some stockings, all for under $120!

I am still on the look out for real vintage underwear, but these will keep me going for a while.

Our week in Melbourne was lovely.  We didn’t just shop and eat, but also caught up with friends and family, including my aunt and uncle who live in Sunbury just outside Melbourne, with lots of sheep (and hand made teddy bears), wild life an 18 year old dog and a couple of cats.

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I also caught up with my gorgeous friends Shell and Jacqui, who I have known for nearly 20 years but not seen for at least 5 years.  Love you girls!


We also got some culture, visiting the Melbourne International Art Gallery for the Viennese exhibition, including paintings by Gustav Klimt.

P7250064   klimt Klimt’s Emile

Our last day in Melbourne we caught a train into Flinders Street Station and walked over the bridge to South Bank.  Unfortunately it was all being renovated, so not much was open, but we did spy a lovely gelati shop.

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It was a lovely sunny day, but the Yarra River still looked muddy – not like our beautiful blue river in Mackay!

We then went back into the city and looked at the beautiful old buildings in Collins Street, including my favourite shopping strips, The Block Arcade and Royal arcade, which both opened in about 1900.

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There are some quaint little shops, including some vintage clothes shops, Haighs chocolate shop, Kosta Boda, the Hopetown Tearooms, a toy shop and one shop just selling Russian nesting dolls.

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Some of the shops are tiny, just one small room with a miniscule staircase to a store room above, as seen in this empty shop, above.

So that was our week in Melbourne – shopping, eating, drinking, friends and family, art, fashion and lots of sitting in the wintry sunshine dreaming!


Love Deb  xxx

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Melbourne & The Way we Wear


We made it back home from Melbourne in one piece – with luggage too! Our bags got lost on the way down, due to slow planes and the need to run for the next one, but a little shopping money compensated nicely.

Melbourne was so cold though – we had the coldest night in three years of course, but most of the days were sunny so it wasn’t too bad. And the shopping – well…..

We started at Circa Vintage in Gertrude Street, Fitzroy.  I have mentioned this shop before, but I have only ever visited the website.  The shop is a must see – beautifully laid out with everything a vintage girl, or guy, could wish for.  As well as the clothes, there are hats, shoes and bags, ties and cufflinks, stockings and gloves, and some corsetry, as well as hair setting spray and of course owner Nicole Jenkins book ‘Love vintage’. I was gong to order the book online, but stepping into the shop and meeting Nicole was much nicer! Ms Jenkins looked glamorous with her victory rolls, as she busily explained the workings of the shop to a work experience student – lucky girl!

The book is a must for anyone into vintage, especially in Australia.  You can order a copy here for about $50.

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I didn’t get a photo of the shop (too excited I think), but here is a photo of a lovely building in Brunswick street (around the corner from Gertrude Street), and one of my two eldest and MIL having lunch in the Melbourne sunshine, with a lovely waiter.  If you are going to Melbourne, you must go to Brunswick Street – great fashion, lots of vintage and quirky stores, and great food.


The ‘Way we Wear’ vintage fair at the Williamstown Town Hall (the reason I braved Melbourne in winter) was amazing.  Not only because of the vendors,  who had everything from fur coats and 50s frocks to vintage jewellery and Edwardian finery, but also for the display of Titanic era clothing.



My daughter Chloe hiding behind a rack of gorgeous coats


Me trying on a beautiful vintage fur ($350)


Part of the Titanic exhibit


Chloe looking at the exhibit with a lovely vintage dressed lady behind her


Detail of one of the Titanic outfits – the centenary of the disaster is next April, and there will be a dinner at the town hall. You can get more information and book tickets here.


After three laps of the hall and oohing and aahing over everything, we only bought some vintage curtains and an apron, although I did think seriously about an art deco dressing table set in inlaid timber for only $125.  Then we found out there was a second room!  Here were more trinkets, memorabilia,  magazines and patterns plus retro and vintage home wares from the 1940’s to 1980’s.  I came away with a set of late 50s hot rollers, a few magazines and cookbooks, a set of sandwich cake tins (so I can try that Victoria sandwich cake again) and a cute tea cosy.


Isn’t it darling? It is a pattern called ‘Sunrise’, which I am sure I have seen in one of my vintage magazines.

We didn’t buy any dresses – it was too cold to try anything on, and I decided I really need to lose a lot of weight before I fit into anything really nice!  It did inspire me to get sewing for summer though.

We walked around Williamstown, which, If you haven’t been to you must visit.  It is like a little country town, but so close to the city.  The op-shop was fabulous too, and cheap – I found a beautiful little old jug with paintings of oranges on it for $3 (it came home safely in carry on). 

P7290001 My jug and curtains – so cute!


Me in Williamstown, with my 50s leopard print jacket (ebay) and Dangerfield cat’s eye’s sunny’s – the marina in the back ground

We found the station – it is the end of the line and so very quiet. 


If I ever move back to Melbourne, I would love to live in Williamstown.  I doubt if I could afford the price tag however!

More Melbourne photos tomorrow,

have a lovely 50s day xxx Deb

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Birthday Cake

Today is my eldest daughter's fifteenth birthday.

Our family tradition is that you get to pick the menu for the entire day (and do not have to do any chores)!

It is a school day, so she is having tuck shop for lunch- but breakfast?  French toast thankyou!  Luckily hubby is the morning person, so he organised that – although I did set the table last night.  Simply beaten egg with a little milk and pan fried in butter, then sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.

P7180019 .Yummy!

The dinner menu is chicken kiev, with mash potato and steamed veg, and bread pudding for dessert (grandmas’ making that).  I am going to try and make the kiev for the first time – usually I buy it pre-done. pre-done.  I  also going to attempt a Victoria Sandwich cake, for afternoon tea– something I have never had much success at before, but here goes!.

I am using a cake recipe from my favourite cookbook at the moment –  


all ready to read the  recipie with a cup of tea.

In the past, cake recipes, when written down at all, were brief and by today's standards are often considered to be incomplete.  The writers of these  recipes assumed a level of cooking knowledge not shared today, but that was passed down from mother to child in the same way as recipes often were.  In my recipe the ingredients are given (in ounces), plus ‘a bit of milk to make a dropping consistency.’  The size of the tins is not given either. Here is the recipe, with my photos – me looking horribly fat, but I just had to show off my new ‘old’ apron!

Victoria Sandwich Cake

4oz butter

4 oz sugar

2 eggs

4oz flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

A little milk


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Grease 2 tins. Cream butter and sugar then bet eggs in singly.  Add sieved flour and baking powder, and mix with milk to a dripping consistency.

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Divide mixture in half between 2 tins.

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Bake in a moderate oven (375F), 25-30 minutes;when cakes are cool,spread with jam.

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Sandwich the cakes together,and sprinkle top with sugar.

The verdict?  “This cake is surprisingly good mum – can I have 2 pieces?”

Next the chicken kiev.  I used thigh fillets, because I had them in the freezer. I made a garlic and herb butter, rolled it up and put it in the fridge to harden, and them put a small piece on each flattened fillet (I used a wine bottle), and rolled it up, securing with 3 toothpicks.

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I then dipped each in beaten egg, and rolled in breadcrumbs.  I probably should have dusted them in flour first, but I forgot.  I made bread crumbs from putting day old bread in the food processer, and then toasting in the oven.

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Seeing I had the food processor out, my son made the mashed potatoes in it – just boiled potatoes  and a little milk – lovely and smooth.

A successful birthday dinner – especially with presents!


Have a lovely 50s day - and a happy birthday if it’s yours too!