Friday, 22 November 2013

Be Prepared, It's Coming. Present Ideas: Thrifty Gifts.

Christmas can be an expensive time of year, even if you're cunning and have spread the costs of the festive season so we have put our brains together to help you lower the costs with this weeks list of...

Thrifty Gifts!

Now this, for some people, can be uncomfortable. You don't want people to think your a cheap but at the same time your list of people to buy for is getting longer each year. So you need to be clever and follow the 2 rules of thrifty gift shopping:

1. It's all in the presentation.
This actually goes for all gifts you buy. Make them look fabulous and no one will suspect or mind that it's thrifty. Invest in some nice wrapping paper and cover it in bows. If you're making a set or hamper, use a pretty box and use some ribbons. That little extra time spent on the outside makes all the difference.

2. Make it relevant.
For a thrifty gift to be successful as a present, it must be right for the person you're giving it to. Take a bit of time and extra brain power and think specifically what that person wants. Do they have any allergy's or special dietary requirements? Enjoy a special hobby or have a TV show they love? If you're still drawing blanks we've compile a little list to give you some ideas.

Thrifty Gift Ideas

1. Voucher of Kind. This is an I.O.U for a service you can give your giftee. Think babysitting, car valet, or do you have a special skill? Think bookkeeping, organizing, gardening, DIY, cake making, decorating. It's sometimes the gifts of time which are the most needed.

2. Biscuits. Who doesn't love these and you can make them in any shape to fit their passion (Think guitar shape, Dr Who themed etc). Here is our favourite recipe (Stolen from BBC Food)


To decorate
  • writing icing
  • cake decorations

Preparation method

  1. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon and pour into the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and blend until the mix looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.
  2. Lightly beat the egg and golden syrup together, add to the food processor and pulse until the mixture clumps together. Tip the dough out, knead briefly until smooth, wrap in clingfim and leave to chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
  4. Roll the dough out to a 0.5cm/¼in thickness on a lightly floured surface. Using cutters, cut out the gingerbread men shapes and place on the baking tray, leaving a gap between them.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden-brown. Leave on the tray for 10 minutes and then move to a wire rack to finish cooling. When cooled decorate with the writing icing and cake decorations.

3. Charity shops finds. Now this takes a bit of your time as you have to rummage through to find what you are looking for but you can get some real bargains if you know what you are looking for. It is also a great place to get books in good quality at a reasonable price.

4. Scented Sachets for Draws and Wardrobes. This is a DIY jobby but you will be pleased to know it can be non sew for those who aren't very crafty.

5. Cupcakes. Mmm nom, these are on the same vein of thought to the biscuits, have a look at for some ideas.

6. Make up a Survival kit. These can be great little gifts to give people which can be very thoughtful. Kits could be Office Survival which includes computer wipes and chocolate, a Holiday one which has inspect repellent and a phrase sheet, a Beauty one which has a nail file and cotton buds. The ideas are endless and can all be personalised to the person who is receiving it.

7. Candles in Tea Cups. Another DIY idea which can look very pretty, have a look here to see how to do it, you could tailor the scent to one you know the giftee likes.

8. Make a Cookie Mix Jar. If you've got a keen baker on your list, this is a very visually lovely treat. Just layer the ingredients in a Kilner jar or a Jam Jar and put a a pretty label on the outside.

9. Chocolate is always a good idea and in recent years many brands have made metre long tubes at reasonable prices. Who wouldn't want a metre of chocolate?

10. A mix CD is an old favourite because it can be a very thoughtful thing to give. You could do songs that remind you of them, a collection of tunes which bring back memories or even if you want to show off a new lot of bands you don't think your gifter will have heard of.

11. A Kilner jar of sweets, for the person with the sweet tooth in your life. You could fill it up at an old fashioned sweet shop or buy the multi-pack bags and tip it all in. (We'd quite like one of these if you're offering) 

12. Personalised cups or mugs.
The possibilities are endless for this, our favourites we've seen are bears, teeth and moustaches.

Hopefully that list has given you some ideas, for more have a look at Pinterest, here's a few boards we found

This blog falls into our It's a Modern World series which is all about lending your hand to the little things to make the big things happen. Find out more about this series and our others at on our Overview blog or find more in the same series by pressing the "It's a Modern World" tab at the top of the page. 

Friday, 1 November 2013

Be Prepared, It's Coming. Present Ideas: Beauty.

Last week we gave ideas for your DIY lovers in the shape of some fabulous 1950's DIY magazines so this week we've decided to please the groomers in your life and do...


Everyone loves a bit of pampering, it's one of our favorite hobbies at HQ so we have complied a little gift guide for you, starting with...

This fabulous, never been used, 1950's powder puff made by Lentheric. From what you can make out through the box, it smells divine and is a perfect for a true vintage collector. Next up, we've gone for something for your their dressing table...

This pretty brush and mirror set. It has wooden covered handles, a pretty embroidered design on the back and the brush is brilliant for carefully combing out pin curls. This is one of a few sets we have on the site so have a browse if this one doesn't take your fancy. The next items compliment the brush set so perfectly...

A 1950's cut glass dressing table set. This peach set includes a lovely scalloped edge tray with a matching glass pot with lid and 2 matching candle stick holders, which will look so pretty in any dressing area. On the website we also have a lovely orange and blue set so take a look. Now this isn't just the ladies in your life, we now move on to the chaps section...

This is a very cute bottle of Royal Salute aftershave made by Jean Sorelle. It is 70cc in size but we think it might be partly used but still fabulous and will look good on a display. If your chap already has his scent, why not get him...

This handsome travel shaving set. It was made in the 1960's for Pearl, a company who sell shaving soaps and creams. The set comprises of a portable razor with blade, a tester sample of the soap (no used), a chalk for any mistakes, a brush (not used), a mirror and a lovely little advertising poster and it all fits in a lovely little bag. It's perfect for the vintage traveler in your life.

We hope these have given you a few ideas, have a look at our Bedroom Beauties area of our site for more lovely pieces.

This blog falls into our It's a Modern World series which is all about lending your hand to the little things to make the big things happen. Find out more about this series and our others at on our Overview blog or find more in the same series by pressing the "It's a Modern World" tab at the top of the page. 

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Be Prepared, It's Coming. Present Ideas: 1950's DIY Magazines.

Now we  don't know about you, but on our Christmas list, it's the chaps who are the hardest to buy for. We either get a list of expensive gadgets which we can't pronounce or the more common "I don't know" or "I don't mind" Well we have something for the fella in your life or even a lover of fixing things, it's...

1950's DIY Magazines!

Yes, these little beauties make the perfect present for the men in your world. In the 1950's, as more people were able to buy their own homes, DIY became the thing to do and many books and magazines were printed to fill this demand of this new hobby.

And we have two of them in our mix, Mechanix Illustrated and Popular Mechanics. Both are american based magazines but some are international issues, they are all however filled to the brim with fantastic bits and pieces.

Each one includes interesting articles such as how they thought we would go to space and science articles on why we laugh, they have reviews of the cars of the day, annotated diagrams so you can build your own automoboat/holiday cottage/children's toy car and really so much more. If you get bored of reading all the bits your meant to, you can have added fun looking through the adverts that fill a lot of the pages. Our favorite is the Manly, a girdle for Men to streamline their waists. Ooo-er.

And at £3 a time, these are the perfect stocking filler or Secret Santa Present, have a look on the website now and see which one takes your fancy.

Just need to add a little disclaimer, due to the time they came out (the 1950's) there are some references to Guns and reviews of them. Each magazine will state on the website if it does contain gun references just in case its not something you'd like to read about.

This blog falls into our It's a Modern World series which is all about lending your hand to the little things to make the big things happen. Find out more about this series and our others at on our Overview blog or find more in the same series by pressing the "It's a Modern World" tab at the top of the page. 

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Prepare yourself, It's Coming. Present Idea: Tins

So you've sorted out your wrapping paper in last week's blog now something for the homemaker in your life...


These are a perfect gift for someone tipping their toe into vintage as they nestle so well in a modern home. They also have a ton of uses, here's a few that we could think of that can be stored in them...

  1. Pins
  2. Oxo cubes
  3. Safety Pins
  4. Hair Pins
  5. False Nails
  6. Tablets
  7. Ear Rings
  8. Sharpeners and Rubbers
  9. Brooches
  10. Beads
  11. Buttons
  12. Spices and herbs
  13. Dice
  14. Bobbins and needles
  15. Zips
  16. USBs
  17. Screws and nails
  18. Tea bags
  19. Toy accessories
  20. Lego
...and many more. See the possibilities are endless and they can suit any house because of the colours.

We have a selection in our shop at the moment as well as other pieces of kitchenalia so have a browse and see if you can't get another person off your list.

This blog falls into our It's a Modern World series which is all about lending your hand to the little things to make the big things happen. Find out more about this series and our others at on our Overview blog or find more in the same series by pressing the "It's a Modern World" tab at the top of the page. 

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Prepare yourself, It's Coming. Present Idea: Scarves.

For our first week, we are going to ease you in gentle with...

We don't need to remind you how much we love these little beauties. Not only do they make great head pieces (or horrid hair savors as we like to call them) as modeled by our lovely head honcho, they also have more uses than a swiss army knife.
Bad barnet days we've covered, but did you also know...
  • They make great lunch bags, just wrap everything up like your a runaway in panto.
  • Damp bench/mucky ground? Perfect mini picnic blanket
  • If your lost in a crowd they make location markers, though you might get a sore arm from all that waving.
  • They fill up an empty neck wonderfully, completing every outfit.

  • Any handbag looks 10 times better with one of the side?
  • If you collect a couple you can make them into fantastic cushions? Just sew 2 together with a zip and your sorted.
  • They make great wrapping paper, like the picture below. 

So you can see they really do make brilliant multi-functional gifts and perfect little stocking fillers or for a tough secret santa. 

We have a lovely selection on our website and an ever changing amount in the shop starting from £3 so start your christmas shopping with a swing and get buying.

Special thanks to Amarillo y Crema for the wrapping picture.

This blog falls into our It's a Modern World series which is all about lending your hand to the little things to make the big things happen. Find out more about this series and our others at on our Overview blog or find more in the same series by pressing the "It's a Modern World" tab at the top of the page. 

Monday, 30 September 2013

Prepare yourself, It's Coming.

Yep, that's right. In 2 months time December will be upon us and in 85 day's the big day is here. We, at Nightingale HQ think Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, and are probably it's biggest fan aged over 8 and not in a year round tinsel outfit and although 
we don't like it coming early, a tinkle of jingle bells or hideous seasonal jumper early dilutes it, we never think it's too early to start your shopping.  

Getting in early not only means you're spared the panic buying on Christmas eve (those looks of horror should only be seen on other peoples face whilst you tuck into a sneaky gingerbread and mulled wine), you can save yourself a heap of cash with a well thought our bargain and also spend your time finding something perfect that your giftee will love.

Now we are sure some of you are way ahead of us and started in the January sales but for those who of you who aren't as organised as Mary Poppins, we are here to help.

From now till Christmas, we will be giving you weekly posts filled full of gifts for all the family from handmade bits for those who are crafty or short of wonga to pretty little bobs from our own stock room.

And don't worry, we won't just be doing gifts, we are also going to throw in some of the extra like what to wrap your presents in and tutorials on how to make them look fabulous.

So look out for the post on the Wednesday of each week, first in 2 days time, and get your thinking caps on, we've heard your cat George is quite picky.

This blog falls into our It's a Modern World series which is all about lending your hand to the little things to make the big things happen. Find out more about this series and our others at on our Overview blog or find more in the same series by pressing the "It's a Modern World" tab at the top of the page. 

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Your 6 month Will Do check.

Welcome to our 100th blog :) Resolution check time. Yes we know, it can't be 6 months since you made them. But it is. Time has whizzed by like a gnat flying passed your ear, annoyingly too fast to catch and unrelated proof that to say your one voice is insignificant means you've never spent a night with a lone bug.

But back on what we were nattering about, you should now be half way through your New Year's Resolutions. 6 months into your 3 times a week gym sessions/sitting in the sauna, 181 days into your eating better/sneaking in the occasional (packet of) biscuits and 4344 hours into your not smoking (which we reckon you've felt every second of). How well have you done? Well done, you dedicated things! We've not been as good as you (though we're not quite sure you didn't just fib that) and possibly, maybe, might have forgotten them at HQ. But, but, but after reviewing the list, we can hold our heads up high and say we've not done bad, not bad at all.

Our 4 were...
1. Be more organised, it makes life easier
2. Take every opportunity going, you never know where they lead
3. Learn to use our lovely over-locker we bought last year
4. Make more time to talk to squirrels

Organisation wise, we are still working on it. We were doing great till the opening and then it went a bit squiffy but we've been going for 3 years now (Our Head Honcho started off doing stalls under her own name) and we've definitely improved dramatically since then so it's working progress :)

This year so far, has been full of opportunities. Only 6 days from our original blog, we were approached about the lovely unit that our shop now fills and even though we were apprehensive at first, we are so glad we took the opportunity as we love it! There isn't a day that goes by that we don't have a conversations there that leads to something fabulous, even if it is just a fact about the building (Did you know churches have a spare door to let the devil our from? MmmHmm, nice little fact to share over the biscuit tin) 

The over-locker we had completely forgotten about but it's still lurking and we still have time :) and Squirrel wise? Well, with all our exciting adventures we've not had a spare minute but hearing on what they do to the roof in the church, where our shop is, we don't think we want to. 

Don't feel too disappointed if you too haven't fully tried with your pledges, none of us are Superman (other than Clarke Kent but we bet even he hasn't kept with his "must spend less time near phone boxes") Don't berate yourself, instead look back and see what you have achieved, we bet it's more than you think.

Have you moved house, not broken any of your favourite glassware, written a best selling novel, managed to not kill your house plant or have you just simply survived?

Once you've had a think, write down all of your "I Did's", reread them, feel terribly smug with yourself, show it off to other people to show how fabulous you are and have a day off your 2013 tasks. One day can't hurt, can it? 

Then tomorrow, fresh from your break, survey your old list. Is it a bit unrealistic for you to plan to take over the whole world, or is it not important to run the marathon anymore? It's always refreshing to have a review of your goals and reignite your passion for them, because we can all get a bit jaded or in our case, buried under an avalanche of ideas.

We've decided for our list to take off those pesky squirrel critters and add "Eat more cake". Shouldn't be to hard to keep that one. Good luck with the next 6 months.

This blog falls into our Keep Your Pecker Up series which is all about keeping your moral and making you smile. Find out more about this series and our others at on our Overview blog or find more in the same series by pressing the "Keep Your Pecker Up" tab at the top of the page. 

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Did you know we have a pet penguin?

Oh, silly us. Sorry about that, not a pet penguin. We meant newsletter. 

But now we've got your attention, you might as well read all about it :)

Fluttering through your inbox at the end of every month will be a pretty little page filled full of all the updates, facts, products and more we can fit in. One month it will be tips on vintage garment care, the next facts about explorers. All you need to do is sign up using this link below and a bob's your uncle, you've subscribed.

How easy was that!

If you any ideas of what you would like to see in the newsletter, give us a tinkle on and we might just include it :)

If you want to keep up to date with the rest of dasterdly plans, follow us on Twitter at @WYTNightingale and on Facebook at

This blog falls into our Our Updates series which is all about keeping you up to date with our dastardly plans. Find out more about this series and our others at on our Overview blog or find more in the same series by pressing the "Our Updates" tab at the top of the page. 

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

How to solve a problem like...Mother's Day

Now we love our Mum's very much here at HQ. Quite frankly What's your tale, Nightingale? couldn't go on without them.
However, present buying for them is like tempting a badger into a dress, near impossible! They either have everything, want for nothing or want you to guess an elaborate list in they have made in their wonderful heads and with Mother's Day approaching (10th March, THIS Sunday) we know from experience, things can sometimes get desperate.

Don't fret, though we can feel you panicking from here. You don't need reach for the family size chocolate box, a bubble bath set she already has 10 of or even bankrupt yourself, we have it covered. We have compiled for you, because we love you so much, a list of 5 presents you can get your spectacular mum for her special day this year and still be her favorite.

First off, before you think about getting her anything else, get her a card. Now we can hear you muttering about wasting paper and card company's profits but they really are a perfect way of letting your mum know just how fabulous you think she is. Everyone loves a handwritten note and even more so when it's telling them they brighten up your day, you are who you are because of them or even just saying you love the way she iron your pants. So get writing! And don't think you have to buy a card, making ones half the fun, have a look here for some ideas

Now if your dead set on getting her a present, get her something fabulous, get her a vintage scarf. You scoff, but just hear us out. We aren't sure we can put into words how brilliant a vintage scarf is. Not only do they look fabulous around ones neck, topping off an outfit or warming you up, they look brilliant tidied on the edges of bags for a hint of colour, great for hiding your hair when it's not behaving, to sit on when things look a bit grubby and they are perfect for keeping your sandwiches stylish in your bag! How have you survived without one for so long! And where can you pick up these wonder accessories? Our store of course, just follow the link

Scarf not for you or want something else to go with it? Why not make some scrummy Chocolate and Orange Cupcakes.
You will need:

For the cupcakes
  • 120g/4oz plain flour
  • 140g/5oz caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking power
  • 40g/1½oz unsalted butter
  • 50g/2oz dark chocolate, melted
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 125ml/4fl oz milk
  • orange, juice only
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
For the white chocolate and orange buttercream
  • 125g/4½oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 250g/9oz icing sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp milk
  • 50g/1¾oz white chocolate, melted
  • orange, zest only
  • 100g/3½oz orange chocolate

Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases.
  2. Mix the flour, sugar and baking powder together in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until combined.
  3. Whisk the melted chocolate, egg and milk together in a jug.
  4. Stir the chocolate mixture into the flour mixture until just combined.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the cases and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until risen and golden-brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, mix the orange juice and granulated sugar together in a bowl. Carefully pour the orange juice mixture over the warm cakes and set aside to cool completely.
  7. For the white chocolate and orange buttercream, beat the butter in a bowl until light and fluffy. Carefully stir in the icing sugar and continue to beat for five minutes. Beat in the milk, melted chocolate and orange zest.
  8. Decorate the cupcakes with the buttercream

And wrap them up in some cute tissue paper in a lovely box with a ribbon, simples.
(Stolen from the fantastic The Great British Bake Off book)

Mum on a diet or you make her the cupcakes and ate them all yourself? (We recommend making two batches to counter act this problem) Then why not go for the traditional and safe, flowers. This is not giving you a free reign to wander into your local garage and pick her any old bunch, find out what she likes and take the time to find them, a local florist will be glad to help. You could also follow this link to find out what each type means so you can give her something with a little more depth. 

If you'd like to her a bit more of a permanent bloomage, why not take inspiration from the pic and paint up some tin cans (we used tester pots and several coats) and plant something lovely inside such as herbs or flowers, then it's a gift that keeps on giving!

If the last idea wet your crafty appetite, why not go sewing crazy and make your lovely mum a homemade oven mitt? It's nice and easy and you can colour co-ordinate with her kitchen scheme! Follow this link for a tutorial on how to and then just drop lots about baking some of the cakes from above :D

We hope this little list has helped with the Mother's day conundrum, it certainly gave us food for thought compiling it. We'd love to see your pictures of what you made/bought for your mum, tweet them to us at @WYTNightingale or email them to

Now with our lovely Mums sorted, where is that badger?

This blog falls into our Do Your Bit series which is all about lending your hand to the little things to make the big things happen. Find out more about this series and our others at on our Overview blog or find more in the same series by pressing the "Do Your Bit" tab at the top of the page.