Last week I shared my home highlights from Next‘s summer 2015 press day. This time I’m sharing a few of my favourite things from the fashion, accessories and children’s ranges. It was nice to come in from a cold rainy winter day and instantly enter summer, now I can’t wait to wear my summer sandals and sunglasses.

My favourite collection would have to be the bright cheerful girls clothes. There were some gorgeous floral prints, lovely soft cotton fabrics and pretty embroidered details as well as cute festival style beaded sandals. I can’t wait for them to come into shops later this year so I can pick up some bits for my little girls…

Next Summer 15 Press Day Colourful Children's ClothesThe girls colour palette features lots of yellow, aqua and pink, perfect for hot summer days playing in the garden. 

Next Summer 15 Press Day Girls Summer ClothesI absolutely love the pretty embroidered details which featured heavily on all the childrenswear.

Next Summer 15 Press Day Girls Summer Clothes and ShoesAll ready for summer walks in pretty florals, I love the vintage look of the pretty pleats and lace detail on the pink top.

Next Summer 15 Press Day Girls AccessoriesAn adorable little straw bag. I know my girls love to pick up little shells at the beach and this would be perfect for gathering little treasures. 

Next Summer 15 Press Day Baby Jelly Shoes and Lemon HatThese cute jelly shoes are perfect for a babies first holiday. 

Next Summer 15 Press Day Postcard ClutchMy favourite colour for summer would have to be coral and there is plenty on offer at Next for the summer. Fans of novelty accessories will love the cute postcard clutch bag.

Next Summer 15 Press Day Jewellery and SunglassesGold also features heavily among the accessories and the jewellery has a bohemian festival feel. 

Next Summer 15 Press Day PinksI love these suede wedges which would go perfectly with some of my favourite vintage summer dresses.

Next Summer 15 Press Day Clothes and AccessoriesThere were also lots of fabulous nautical stripes as well as pastel accessories like these watches. 

Next Summer 15 Press Day Aviator SunglassesStraw hats and sunglasses have me longing for warmer weather.

Next Summer 15 Press Day Make upI also really liked Next’s make-up range which included absolutely gorgeous lipsticks and super shimmery eyeshadows.

What stands out to you from the collection?

On Saturday the girls and I took a trip to Crystal Palace Park in South London with my brother. I hadn’t been to the park since I was a little girl so it was lovely to walk around and explore it with my girls.

The park is the former location of The Crystal Palace, a vast glass and steel structure built in 1851 which was the home of the great exhibition in Hyde Park, before being moved and rebuilt in South East London in 1854. The exhibition was the idea of Prince Albert and housed displays of achievement relating to the Industrial Revolution. Money from the exhibition went towards the building of the museums at Kennsington.

The structure remained on the site until 1936 when it was razed to the ground after catching fire. Many South Londoners of my grandparents generation remember seeing the flames burning through the night as the blaze raged on.

Crystal_Palace_General_view_from_Water_TempleThe Crystal Palace at it’s new home in Sydenham in 1854.

All that remains of the building is the terraces which lead up to it, these are now in a state of disrepair, but do give a wonderful sense of what was once there and we loved walking around the vast space.

Crystal Palace ParkThis is what the area looks like today. The tower in the background is the BBC transmitter. 

Crystal_Palace_fire_1936The Crystal Palace ablaze November 1936.

Crystal_Palace_Destoyed_1936An ariel view of the building completely destroyed after the fire.

Terraces Crystal Palace ParkThese spynxes and other statues are relics of the parks former glory.

Statue Crystal Palace ParkAs well as these survivors of the crystal palaces heyday, the park has a lot more to offer, we found a lovely little garden area with some pretty cast iron benches and had a little rest before exploring the rest of the park.

Crystal Palace Park Benches

Crystal Palace Park Puddles

Crystal Palace Park Joseph Paxton StatueA statue of  Joseph Paxton who designed The Crystal Palace stands in the park’s car park. 

We then had lots of splashing about in muddy puddles and a play in the park’s excellent playground before having a spot of lunch in the onsite cafe. It was then time for the main attraction… Dinosaurs!

Crystal Palace Dinosaurs

The display of model dinosaurs at the opposite end of the park to the palace site, date from the same era. They were the very first dinosaur sculptures in the world, and were based on contemporary theories of how dinosaurs would have appeared. There are also models of other extinct prehistoric creatures and a geological landscape, on the edges of the boating lake.

Crystal Palace Park StagThe girls looking at the model Megaloceros or Irish Elk models.

Crystal Palace Park Dinosaurs

Crystal Palace Park Water Dinosaurs

Sydenham_studioThe dinosaur models under construction in 1853.

Dinosaurs Christmas Palace Park

Out of everything we’ve done this half term, I think Crystal Palace Park was probably my favourite and I can’t wait to go back. if you find yourself in the area it’s well worth a visit. It’s also worth checking out the rest of the area as well as there are some fantastic vintage shops just down the road.

Want to know more?

To find out more about plans to rebuild The Crystal Palace, check out this article.

Here’s a fantastic video of the fire itself…

And a video of the dinosaurs being restored in 1959…

A few days ago I shared my highlights from the home range at the Matalan press day. Today I’ve put together some of my favourite pieces from the fashion collection. There were lots of beautiful colours on offer especially pretty pastels and some lovely rose gold accents and well as vibrant prints and strong tribal colours. I was particularly impressed with all the fabulous shoes and bags which I would love to team up with some of my pretty spring vintage dresses. The collection is the perfect accompaniment to sunny spring days and hot summer nights and I can’t wait for it to come into stores.

Matalan s15 Press Day Rose Gold Bags and AccessoriesRose gold seems to be everywhere at the moment and I think it’s works perfectly on this lovely selection of accessories. I love the pretty formal flats which would look great with summer dresses.

Matalan SS15 Press Day Coral Coat and AccessoriesThere were lots of fantastic colourful jackets which would be perfect for chilly spring evenings and could be dressed up or down. 

Matalan SS15 Press Day Pink and Blue Pastel Bags and ShoesPastels are a strong theme across the board next season and these shoes and bags are really pretty and feminine.

Matalan SS15 Press Day Statement NecklacesI’m a big fan of big statement necklaces and Matalan have absolutely loads, I love pairing them up with simple outfit to add a bold finish to my look.

Matalan SS15 Press Day Blue Jacket and Pastel TrousersKnitwear and jeans are coming in a colourful assortment of pastel shades.

Matalan SS15 Press Day Pastel SatchelsMore pretty colours on show on Matalan’s selection of satchels and handbags, I like the idea of mixing and matching pastel shades and adding one of these gorgeous bags.

Matalan SS15 Press Day Bright and Novelty BagsBrighter colours are perfect for high summer and I love the addition of cute novelty bags, another essential for summer 2015.

Matalan SS15 Press Day Tribal Bags and AccessoriesI love these sophisticated darker accessories for a more grown up summer look.

Matalan SS15 Press Day High Waisted Trousers and BlouseOne of my favourite outfits was the one on the female mannequin, the pussy bow blouse paired with the high waited wide leg trousers pays homage to casual wear of the 1930s.

Matalan SS15 Press Day Peach Evening DressAnd for the evening this pretty simple peach dress has a subtle 20s feel to it.

To me the real stand out pieces were all the gorgeous accessories. I’ve always been really impressed with the quality of Matalan products that I’ve bought in the past, so I’ll definitely be stocking up on some pretty bags and shoes there this Spring.

Apart from one very precious red gingham Horrockses dress, my clothing collection is seriously lacking in the red department. One of my aims for the year is to expand my colour palette a little and red seems like a great place to start. I’m in love with some of the bright feminine reproduction garments I’ve seen and today I’m sharing a few of my favourites with you. There was actually so much in the way of beautiful bright red dresses that it was hard to pick my favourites, but I think this is a great mix for every day as well as special occasions and all of these items can be dressed both up and down.

c600x493

I think it’s important to have fun with fashion and I’m loving the little novelty bags which seem to be everywhere at the moment. The pretty strawberry clutch would be perfect for adding a touch of kitsch fun to any outfit and the pretty heart shoes are just adorable.

Red Retro Seamed Stockings – What Katie Did – £8.50

Nancy Red Houndstooth 50s Dress – Lindy Bop – £29.99

Vanessa Red Polka Dot Wiggle Dress – Lindy Bop – £29.99

Red Lovestruck Shoes – Miss L Fire – £109.99

Delores Red Gingham Sweetheart Top – Collectif – £30

Kathy Red Shorts – Collectif – £16.25 (sale price)

Strawberry Clutch Bag – New Look – £12.99

Alison Red Swing Skirt – Collectif – £29.75 (Sale Price)

Marina Striped Jumper – Collectif – £29.50

Resin Rose Bracelet – Cath Kidston – £8.00

Barry M Gelly Nail Polish in Red – Boots – £3.99

Do you ever wear red? What are your favourite red items? Is there a colour you wish you had more of in your wardrobe? Let me know in the comments.

Heyday Vintage Style

Iced Slab Sponge Cake Recipe

When looking through my vintage recipe books, sometimes it’s the really simple recipes that catch my eye. If I don’t have many ingredients to hand or just want a really quick bake a very simple cake recipe is ideal. One recipe I go back to a lot is a tray bake sponge cake from my 1936 Elizabeth Craig recipe cards. I’ve made this a lot of times and have managed to perfect the temperature and cooking times so that it bakes to perfection so I thought it was time to share this easy bake on here. I decorated it with bright blue icing and 100s and 1000s to make it look extra cute.

Elizabeth Craig Sponge Cake

Before I share the recipe I’ll just explain how I get the bake so flat. the first few times I tried this recipe it was rising more in the middle and didn’t look so nice when it was iced. First of all I reduced the baking powder in the recipe which helped a bit, after doing a little research I decided to insulate the baking tray so the sides wouldn’t cook more quickly that the middle. I bake tray bakes inside disposable baking trays from Tesco because they are the perfect size, to insulate the edges of the cake I just put they tray I was baking inside 4 other trays so that the edges would heat less quickly. This combined with reduced temperature made for the most perfect even bake so I’d definitely recommend giving this a go when trying to get a flat bake.

Tray Bake Sponge Cake Recipe

Ingredients:

3 Eggs

1 Cup Caster Sugar

1 Cup Flour

1/2 tsp Baking Powder

Pinch of Salt

1/4 Cold Water

For Icing use icing sugar and water with gel food colouring. I don’t use exact measurements for icing, I just keep mixing until I’m happy. I used a more runny icing than I usually use for this so that I could pour it over easily. this cake would also look fantastic with a buttercream finish.

Sainsburys 100s and 1000s

How to Make:

1. Preheat oven to 140 degrees. Butter your baking tray.

2. Beat the eggs and sugar together until well mixed.

3. Mix the dry ingredients into the mixture.

4. Pour the mixture into your baking tray and bake in the oven for about 35 minutes or until cooked through.

5. Allow to cool before pouring over icing and add sprinkles or decorations of your choice.

1930s Sponge Cake Recipe

Slab Sponge Cake Recipe

This really is one of the simplest recipes I make, and it tastes absolutely amazing. I have to keep making more as Rob and Lila absolutely love it! Let me know if you give this one a go.