Mod Romantic 60s Yardley of London, Oh Yeah Baby!

Yardley of London – any fashionista who lived in the late ’60s/early ’70s will remember their fab advertising campaigns; I know I do!  My blog post on vintage bar soap spurred Yardley of London, oh wait, now it seems to be just “Yardley London” to send me an assortment of their bar soaps to try (more on this later).  This inspired me to look through my collection of  late ’60s/early ’70s Seventeen magazines, knowing that I would find some great examples of the vintage Yardley of London ads that intrigued me so.

Who coImage (101)uld resist the beautiful English actress, Olivia Hussey, who played Juliet in the film “Romeo and Juliet”?  She was featured in a flowery romantic ad for Oh! de London fragrance in 1968.  “Oh! Romeo, Romeo, Oh! Falling in Love, Oh! Happy Dizzy Wonderful World, Oh! Rapture”.  Just incredibly effective advertising I’m sure, given the smashing success of the movie.  It was the “Twilight” of the day.

Another ad from 1969 featured the impossibly gorgeous (English, of course) model, Jean Shrimpton.  Dressed in country Victorian attire, in pigtails (?!) Jean glowingly hawked the Country Treats soap/skin care line.  “Remember the way girls used to be?  Innocent…shy…They smiled a lot and their skin had a pure glow, fresh as rainwater…the soft fresh country clean, Image (100)men dream about…the clean that’s really beautiful…the way girls used to be…the way YOU can be now.”   Wow – makes me want to go scrub my face right now if I want to look like Jean Shrimpton!

Anyhoo, back to the soap.  As I’ve said before, I love vintage bar soap, so I was eager to try the current Yardley soaps.  They have a new natural soap collection which is fabulous, combining the great features of traditional bar soap with natural vegetable-based ingredients.  They have the gently cleaning and softly scented features I love.  I also got to try, once again, their traditional English Lavender soap which they have been making since the 17th century (now that’s vintage)!  It has the very poignant, familiar scent that is so lovely.  It is nice to know that vintage-type bar soap is still being made, and I don’t necessarily have to hunt it down in estate sales!

It was good to be reminded of fond vintage memories of a great product.  Yardley may not have the splashy ad campaigns of the past, but it’s nice to know that they are continuing the tradition of creating fine luxury soaps in this day and age!


Walking In My Newfangled Antishoes

walkingI really love taking walks around my neighborhood.  It’s good exercise, I get fresh air, chat with my neighbors, and it’s free!  No membership fees to a sweat-filled gym for me.  While I enjoyed walking,  it really wasn’t necessarily meeting the workout requirements for me…or at least I wasn’t feeling much benefit.  So when I first started hearing about the rolling rocker exercise walking shoes, my interest was piqued!  They looked big and clunky and were expensive, so that threw a wrench in my plans for awhile.

Well this all changed a few weeks ago when I found a pair of MBT (Masai Barefoot Technology) “antishoes” (as they call them).  They looked brand new, were in my size, and yes, they were at a second-hand store – hooray!   I was finally going to be able to try them without breaking the bank!  MBT’s are based on a principle of natural instability, like walking barefoot on natural ground such as sand.  They are supposed to activate muscles, improve posture, and help the back.  Worth a try!

Trying them on for the first time, I felt like I was putting on Herman Munster boots!  They are definitely big and clunky – quite heavy too.  Walking around the house, they actually started to feel good.  Trying them on my walk was really fun.   Once I got into the rolling rhythm, I was chugging along or rather, gliding.  My posture improved greatly as you just naturally stand up much straighter wearing them.  I feel like a well-oiled walking machine in them.

When I took them off I had the same sensation I feel after I take roller or ice-skates off  – kind of like getting my land legs again.  I definitely felt muscles twinges (activating?) and more like I had a workout.  So I really think there is something to these shoes.  It has only been a couple weeks, but I’m feeling the benefits already and hope to reap more.  In fact, I already have my eye on the sandal antishoe…thinking ahead to those hot summer walks!


Cozy Toe-Warming Socks

socksNow that the cold, damp and clammy weather has settled in the Pacific Northwest, my feet have been letting me know for quite a while now that it’s time to get out the warm socks.  I have cold feet.  VERY cold feet.  Almost all the time except for summer.  Oh blessed summer when I can wear sandals to my heart’s content; no stocking comes near me then!

Fall, winter, and spring are a completely different story.  My feet turn into icicles and I have to make valiant attempts to keep them warm at all costs.  You see,  for a couple winters in a row now, I have developed the very old-fashioned sounding condition of chilblains.  Chilblains are caused by exposure to cold and humidity in susceptible people.  The coldness damages capillary beds on the toes and causes swelling and redness.  For a long time I never knew what the condition was, but a Google search on my symptoms turned up the correct chilblain result.

What’s reassuring is the “cure” for chilblains.  No drugs, treatments, or doctor visits required.  Just the simple solution of keeping your feet and hands warm during the winter!  For me, this has been investing in a variety of warm socks.   Wool socks in different weights, microfiber, cotton, angora, and cashmere socks.  Also nylon and microfiber tights.  I have fuzzy woolly slippers too.  My feet are always sufficiently clad at all times during winter.

I know now that I cannot go out and shovel snow in my rubber Wellies without several layers of thick wool socks!   I made that mistake last winter during a particularly severe snow/cold snap.  I was shoveling snow for days on end without enough protection for my feet, and they paid the price.

So I continue to keep adding to my sock collection.  Luckily there are so many fun, cute, and stylish socks out there.  My feet thank me that they are being kept warm.  Warm feet are happy feet…and happy feet make a happier me!


Try a Little Civility, Martha

It was interesting to see Martha Stewart speak off the cuff the other night regarding Sarah Palin.  Perhaps caught unawares,  her true feelings surfaced pretty quickly.  Calling Sarah Palin “very boring”, “dangerous”, and “confused”.  While Martha is certainly entitled to her opinion, she came across as shrill, catty, and elitist.  It’s disturbing to me to see a woman of influence treat another woman of influence in this dismissive way.

Whatever happened to good manners and political neutrality in talk show hosts?  What about lifting others up instead of tearing others down, no matter their political leanings?  How about some tolerance and open-mindedness?  Do we now have to be divided politically while we learn housekeeping hints?

I’d like to see a good old-fashioned return to manners.  Let’s show respect for one another, no matter our differences.  You don’t build yourself up by berating others.  Let’s be for something instead of against something.

I’ve been a Martha Stewart fan for a long time.  I love her devotion to creating a better home and a more creative life.   But I think Martha needs attention in the civilities department.  Manners and good words are as essential to gracious living as setting a table or cooking a gourmet meal.

It’s a good thing.


A Vintage Knitting Treasure Chest

Today while poking around one of my favorite thrift stores, I came across an interesting vintage-y looking pink box with graphics of lingerie.  It was quite large, long and banded with two rubber bands.    Part of the fun of thrift store shopping is never knowing what you’re going to come across. I opened the noisy box (it rattled) and was extremely pleased to find a collection of old knitting needles and crochet hooks.  Large ones, small ones, wooden ones, metal ones, curved ones, and loopy ones.  A lifetime of handcraft tools all in one box.Knitting

I do knit and crochet, but am not actively pursuing this hobby at the moment.  It’s something that I always do come back to from time to time.   I enjoy the familiar and comforting rhythms of clicking needles and handling yarn.  It alternately focuses the mind and allows it to wander at the same time, while producing a work of art.  There is something about using needles and hooks passed along by someone else.  I wonder how many sweaters and scarves were lovingly knit with the needles over time?  I’m sure a certain energy is passed along after all those hours spent in industrious hands!

I enjoy magazine scanvintage knitting and crochet pattern books and buy any that I happen to come across.  The patterns are incredibly lovely, intricate, and often amusing too!  How about making a pair of 1940s “Loafer Espadrilles” house slippers, or a “High Chair Doily” for elegant baby dining?  (I have the patterns!)  I am often amazed at how much work was put into making such household items.  I love collecting this aspect of vintage womanly arts.

Now that the cold winter wind is a blowin’ and I’m cuddled up warm inside, I think it may be a good time to pick up the needles and start a project.  I do have a stash of vintage yarn (I collect that too), the patterns, and many types of knitting needles, so I have no excuses.  And a pair of Loafer Espadrilles does sound quite fetching!


The Captivating Allure of Vintage Bar Soap

image-851I am a big fan of old-fashioned bar soap; those hard milled, dense bars that smell of  some strong floral combination.   Yup, love it!  The trend now is for liquid body washes to be used with those ghastly nylon scrubber things.  It’s rare to see a bar of soap in a soap dish in the bathroom anymore.

There are still bar soaps out there, to be sure.  But most times they are some gelatinous brightly colored glob that dissolves almost instantaneously.  It’s hard to find the old time stuff; the kind that was always present in every vintage bathroom soap dish.

I love the vintage ’40s and ’50s advertisements for bar soap in women’s magazines.  Such charm!  Such hope!  “It will leave your skin softer, smoother…flower-fresh and younger looking!” claims Cashmere Bouquet.  “For velvet-smooth Beauty Lather that caresses your skin, leaves your body glowing with a warm blush of fragrant loveliness, enjoy a beauty bath with Bath Size Palmolive”.   Or, for the ultimate prize of ‘catching a man’ using Woodbury facial soap, “Jim wed his Woodbury-beautiful bride at majestic St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York.”

I mean, really…who wouldn’t want to try bar soap after all those promises, vintage or not?  Just wash your face or take a bath with it, and presto…instant allure that no man will be able to resist!

I’m always looking for the old-time soap, and find it from time to time in interesting places like rummage sales and thrift stores.  I recently found a box of vintage thick, sturdy, tuberose scented French milled soap.  No doubt it was probably given as a gift, and then donated (I’m always grateful to those who donate).  The bars are just so solid, and the scent is divine.  It really makes taking a shower a lovely experience, and the bars seemingly last forever.

The scent of these vintage soaps is what gets me.  Such poignancy that touches some memory in the recesses of my mind.  The feel of the delicate lather gently cleaning, the softly scented skin as a result.  Just lovely.  Maybe those vintage ads are true!