Monday, 1 September 2014

The King's Seaside Jolly

It's been a while since I did a King's Ginger piece at the seaside - my trip to Brighton was many moons ago now! But just like we commoners, Kings (and Queens) like to be beside the seaside too, and Eastbourne is another coastal Sussex town that he visited a lot. So off I went to investigate (and eat fish and chips)! 


Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside...! 


Eastbourne is a funny old place. Well, it's not actually that old at all, having only been in existence as we know it now, since the 1850s. Before that, it was a collection of four smaller villages or hamlets and it was only when the 7th Duke Of Devonshire, William Cavendish, moved to nearby Compton Place (inherited from his wife Elizabeth Compton who of course couldn't continue to own it after she got married, the very idea!), that he began to turn it into the town it is today - full of parks and lovely Victorian architecture.

The Duke's residence, Compton Place, is a stately home that was quite often visited by our hero, King Edward VII, both as a monarch and during his sixty year stint as the Prince of Wales. This is what drew me to visit Eastbourne, of course! There are several records of Edward and Alexandra having stayed at Compton Place with Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, whose hospitality was so good as to have been called 'regal'.



In 1892, the Prince and Princess's son, Prince Eddy, the Duke of Clarence (who has been mentioned on here before in association with Jack the Ripper), died of influenza. He was only 28. Wikipedia says that, "the nation was shocked. Shops put up their shutters. The Prince of Wales wrote to Queen Victoria, "Gladly would I have given my life for his". Princess Mary wrote to Queen Victoria of the Princess of Wales, "the despairing look on her face was the most heart-rending thing I have ever seen." His younger brother Prince George wrote, "how deeply I did love him; & I remember with pain nearly every hard word & little quarrel I ever had with him & I long to ask his forgiveness, but, alas, it is too late now!" 

The Prince on the left at Compton, from around the same (possible the same) time. (source)

After Eddy's death the Prince and Princess of Wales and their family went to Compton Place to stay with the 8th Duke.  This writer "witnessed the arrival of the bereaved visitors, and will never forget the silent and sympathetic reception accorded to them as they drove from the station through lines of people mostly clad in mourning. The visit benefited all of the Royal Family, and their desire for privacy was carefully respected. When they returned to London, the improvement in their health was obvious; and especially was this the case with the Duke of York."

Whether he came again in the intervening years, we can only guess. According to Britain's Finest, 'he had been the king for only four months when he came to Eastbourne for a royal house party at Compton Place in the company of the Marquis of Abergavenny'. By this stage, much of Compton Place's grounds had been made into a golf course (but the King's love of golf is a story for another day). 


The reason I have no photos I took of Compton Place is simple - it's not somewhere you can just turn up to - it's a stately home but not a National Trust or English Heritage property. I tried to drive there but didn't fancy being arrested for terrorism (exaggeration, but snapping people's homes is risky!). Another historical site which I was unable to visit was the Princess Alice Memorial Hospital, named for the King's sister, who died at of diphtheria in 1878 - precisely 17 years after Prince Albert passed away, sadly enough, after having spent a summer in Eastbourne. Bertie opened it with Alexandra in 1883, when still Prince of Wales. (He also apparently opened Bedfordwell Pumping Station, and the western parades in the same year!). The hospital is now closed, but despite scouring the internet I can't find anything that says when it closed. Any ideas/history detectives out there? 


Luckily, everywhere you look in Eastbourne proper there are reminders of the era we're remembering. From Queen's Hotel, built in 1880 and named after Victoria, to the Alexandra.



The latter is actually situated on King Edward's Parade, an Eastbourne street named after no other than you-know-who; although the name did not appear on street directories until 1914. 


Looking up King Edward's Parade to the west. 


But the other big connection our hero had to Eastbourne is also situated on King Edward's Parade - the very aptly named Grand Hotel. 




Britain's Finest says of Eastbourne in 1901, "The Grand Hotel (built in 1875 by William Earp), also known as 'The White Palace' was its undoubted showpiece. From the site: 
"Dominating the shoreline with its grand stature, this magnificent 19th century hotel is one of the finest of its kind, having welcomed a galaxy of the great and the good including Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin, Arthur Conan Doyle and King Constantine of Greece. 
On the 13th May 1874 the Eastbourne Gazette announced that local resident William Earp was proposing to build a magnificent hotel with a 400-foot frontage at a cost of £50,000.  The result was The Grand Hotel, constructed in 1875 in a superb position facing the sea, with views of Beachy Head, surrounded by ornamental gardens and tennis courts. 
The Grand Hotel was built when the upper classes ruled the land and took their holidays by the sea, sometimes months at the time, taking with them their entire staff.  The Grand Hotel is famous for its long association with music.  Debussy completed his symphony 'La Mer' in Suite 200 in 1905."

Before leaving Eastbourne, the king inspected the hotel." Presumably, it got his stamp of approval. 

By lovely coincidence, as I walked past the entrance, this fabulous old Rolls Royce appeared! 


I had a quick Google and, as it dates from 1927 the 20-horsepower Rolls-Royce tourer is technically a little too futuristic for this piece, but the Vintage Motoring Company looks brilliant and I hope to take one of their tours one day! 



There was only one thing left to do to finish off my seaside trip - fish & chips on the beach!



Eating fish & chips on the beach is a challenge, because of the seagulls. But I managed. I'm a straightforward salt & vinegar on my chips kind of a person... but maybe this is a condiment to try for your future supper? ;) 



...no? Then how about this instead. Go to what may be the best Italian gelateria in the South - Fusciardi's - on Eastbourne's Marine Parade since 1967, buy a giant cone (mine is sea-salted caramel on the bottom and vanilla on the top) and douse liberally with The King's Ginger


DO try this at home! 

I took so many pictures in Eastbourne that I'll on it post again - including outfit deets, so check back soon! And please check out The King's Ginger as well... now that it's getting closer to autumn it's a cocktail cabinet essential, and no mistake! 

Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Vintage Family Photos

I know I've posted a couple of these amazing photos before, back in the mists of time. But goodness only knows when that was! This is a sort of double Throwback Thursday post, then, as it features real old photos that have also been shared in the past... but they are too good not to repost, with lots of others added in for good measure.

I often worry that our grandchildren and great-grandchildren aren't going to have these treasure troves of old photos to unearth as so much is online these days. I have taken the time to get a load of pictures from the last few years printed - it's so cheap to do so... again, online! But it's such a pleasure from time to time to look through from time to time and see my family's past.

A small selection for your viewing pleasure! All these are of my mum's family, as scanned in by my auntie. Thanks Auntie F!

My great-grandad Albert Hazeldean's shop. I believe this was in Salisbury. He dies in 1940, so I think this must be mid-30s!


My granny Joan in the 30s!


My grandparents' wedding in 1941



My gorgeous granny in the 40s - she was a hairdresser. 



Just after the war, when my grandad went to Buckingham Palace with his dad and my granny to collect his medal.


In the late 40s, with my toddler mum and my granny in an awesome swimsuit on the beach. Wish there were more shots of this suit!


My mum (tallest daughter) with her younger sisters and my grandparents in the 60s, at the Taj Mahal!


And finally for now, my grandad had a small chain of travel agencies in Surrey, which he opened in the 60s. Is there anything more typical of the era than these?! In the top one, my granny is reading the paper, while grandad 'works'...


The Chertsey one was less jazzy than the Walton one... but the same could be said about the towns themselves! ;)


That's it for this time... Hopefully you've all enjoyed these and it's not like someone else's boring holiday snaps! ;) I'm off to order some more real photos so my grandchildren can enjoy them in 50 years' time.

Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Ooh la la! A little French cooking

Two food posts in a week? Crazy, I know. This one involves a real chef and considerably more meat than my last one though (which had none)!

One of the more unique invitations I've received through my blog lately was an invitation to learn some French cooking with Three Mobile, as part of their #FeelAtHome campaign. Now, as you know, I do try to keep things relevant on here, if not to vintage then to me personally, and I am actually on Three. I also really like food, so why not?

If you've ever wanted to cook a Boeuf en Croute (really Beef Wellington - not all that French really!), here's how, according to superstar chef Adam from Madame Gautier.

Beef Wellington 

500-600g Beef Fillet steak
350g Ready to roll Puff Pastry For the Mushroom Duxelle
150g Mushrooms (any)
1 small onion – finely diced
2 cloves garlic
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme

For the Pancakes:
4oz (115g) Flour
2 Eggs
Half pint of milk
Pinch of salt
Pinch of mixed herbs


First, you need a snazzy apron... and a big chunk of meat.


Start by rubbing oil, salt and pepper onto the steak, then fry the fillet in a dry pan until it has caramelised and has a deep rich brown outside. Remove the steak from the pan and place to one side to allow to cool. In the same pan, fry the finely diced onion, thyme and garlic for 1-2 minutes until the onion has softened. Add the mustard and cook for a further couple of minutes. Remove the onion and garlic from the pan, add a little oil and turn the heat up before add in the mushrooms. Fry the mushrooms in small batches, so that they fry quickly and caramelise, rather than stewing and leaking all of their water into the pan.

Second, if you have a chef with great knife skills, that helps ;)
Mushrooms... 

Shallots... 

And Thyme. 

Cook em up... 

Cut them into small bits! 

Once the mushrooms are cooked, introduce the onions back to the pan and mix together until even. Chop them or put all of the mix into a food processor and blend until smooth enough to spread. If you like, you can add a splash of cream to help. 



To make the pancakes, crack the two eggs into a jug with the milk, and whisk until combined. Add the herbs and salt to the flour. Slowly pour the milk and eggs on to the flour, whisking continuously until a smooth batter. Pass the mix through a sieve to remove any lumps. Fry 3-4 pancakes in the same frying pan again. This will ensure that all the flavour from the beef and mushrooms is kept, rather than going to waste.

Once all of the components have cooled, you can start to build the Wellington! Roll out the pastry, until it is roughly the thickness of a pound coin. Lay the pancakes out, so that there is enough surface area to fully coat the beef. Spread the mushroom duxelle over the pancakes before topping with the beef. Finally, roll the pancakes and pastry around the beef, before sealing the pastry at the bottom, and trimming away any excess pastry. 

Line with pancakes (see recipe) and slather. 

Put more on top... 

Wrap... 

Score!

When you are ready to cook, egg wash completely and place in the middle shelf of a pre-heated oven at 220C for 35-40 minutes. The longer it is cooked, the more well done the beef will be. For a medium cook, 35 minutes should be sufficient; however this does vary from oven to oven. Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

And finally, enjoy! 

This was one of the most delicious things I have ever had. The way it worked was that we all made our own to take away and cook at home. I took no pictures of me doing the cooking (for obvious reasons), but no pictures of the final result either because I rather messed it up. I took it out of the fridge, whacked it in the oven and 40 minutes later it was not so much rare as still completely raw in the middle. I then had to fry the slices individually, so it made for a terrible picture.


Now, if you could just imagine me eating in this dress...

Sacre bleu! The Henri Fleur dress :) 

Thanks Madame Gautier for the experience and Three for inviting me - it's a great thing they're doing, letting you use your data abroad in lots of places. Though luckily for my boyfriend, who gets annoyed with me staring at my phone, the FeelAtHome thing is not available in Turkey where I am going on my holidays soon... so no 'hotdogs or legs' for me! MM, hotdogs.

Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

Monday, 18 August 2014

Purple frocks & Picnic baskets!



Big news! The latest batch of Heyday Fleur dresses are out and they're pretty fab! I'm modelling the 'Lilac Heaven' for you today, along with this rather snazzy picnic basket! First, let me show you the dress.



All the usual Fleur features - wrap style with rounded pockets (pockets and neckline trimmed with lilac bias binding) and a waist tie, authentic 40s length! The button at the back is a purple flower.



I hope you'll all agree it's really pretty! Also newly released are the Henri Fleur dress, which is beige with Eiffel Towers and the Sweetheart Fleur, which are both gorgeous!

Modelled by lovely Kitten von Mew and Luna Nightingale


And this brilliant Linea picnic basket with its very 60s/70s cotton print, which was sent to me by House of Fraser made the perfect shoot prop!


I have always, always wanted a proper picnic hamper - I only wish I had had this in time for the Chap Olympics and the other summer fun... as I type, the rain is lashing my windows (and I even had to dodge showers to take these photos). They sadly seem to be out of stock online but available in some of the House of Fraser shops if you check the stock.


Check out the new Fleurs on Heyday and let me know your favourite!

Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Great British er... salad?

Since I moved in with my boyfriend at the end of last year, I have got much more into cooking. Not to sound too clichéd but I really enjoy cooking for him. I lived on my own for nearly 10 years, and to be frank, could be satisfied with some toast for dinner - it's way too much hassle to cook (and wash up!) for one. So I rarely bothered. Maybe some super-quick pasta, but that was about it! Now, not only do I have someone to practise cooking on, but he appreciates it too.

Fig. 1

When we met, we did that typical thing of going out to eat a lot, and not doing much exercise (Fig. 1)... as a result, we both put on a fair bit of weight. So, when we moved in together, we turned over a new leaf and now we do low/no carb meals in the evening. No bread, white potatoes, rice or couscous, though we do eat fake grains like quinoa and sweet potatoes. OBVIOUSLY this is not a stringent rule and when we are hungover, all bets are off (= pizza). But I have loads of recipes and meals I make now, mixing it up and changing things I find, to make lots of tasty, healthy evening meals.

Why am I writing about this? Well, you all know I try to keep it on-topic with my blog, but I do do foodie posts and recipes, albeit not for time. But when Waitrose wrote to me and asked if I would put together a summer salad recipe for their Great British Garden Party project, I thought it sounded like a fun challenge. So here it goes!

Presenting...

Warm Summer Salad with smoked paprika squash and avocado! 

This salad has lots of lovely contrasting textures and flavours but is substantial enough to fill you up!

I've topped it with sweet & spicy roasted squash seeds - waste not want not - plus an optional chickpea side to make it more filling. This is a Frankenstein-esque combo of recipes I've absorbed from all over the place over the years!


For the salad:
  • 1 small butternut squash (or half a large one)
  • 1 avocado
  • baby plum or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 bag of Waitrose wild rocket salad 
  • bunch fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • half a lime
  • olive oil
For the seed topping: 
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp honey
Method:

Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Peel and chop the squash into bite-sized cubes, keeping aside the seeds. Spread the cubed squash over a baking tray or two. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the smoked paprika and cinnamon, mix it all well to ensure it's coated.

Wash the squash seeds and pick out the stringy bits. Put in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, salt (I used a little garlic salt too), a sprinkle of chilli and a dash of honey. Mix well and then spread thinly on a baking tray.

Put it all in the oven and roast the squash and the seeds for 20 or so minutes until the squash is soft.

Then, take a big mixing bowl and chuck in the whole bag of leaves, plus a load of parsley (it's so good for you - the amount is dependent on how much you like parsley), your halved tomatoes and the chopped avocado. When the squash is done, let it cool for a few minutes, then add to the bowl. Squeeze your other half a lime in and mix well.

Dump on a plate and sprinkle with the roasted seeds (which are definitely not slightly burnt and meant to look like that, honest). Eat!


The mixture of textures and complementary flavours work so well in this salad. The soft squash and creamy avocado contrast with the crispy seeds and spices, and the sweet tomatoes with the fresh leaves and parsley taste super fresh. You don't need any extra dressing because the leftover olive oil from the roasting coats everything beautifully, and the lime zing finishes it off perfectly!

But then...

Sundried tomato, chickpea and sweetcorn side!

Sean doesn't find any salad, no matter how many ingredients, fills him up, so the chickpeas are more for his benefit. It adds extra protein too, as well as an extra portion of colourful veg! The flavour is just delicious, with the garlic, spring onion, lime and tomato mixing perfectly - you will just have to take my word for it and try it for yourself.

So, for this optional extra (you can do this while the squash and seeds roast):
  • 1 400g can chickpeas
  • 200g sweetcorn
  • 1 bunch of spring onions
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 150ml stock
  • half a lime
  • 2 tsp sundried tomato paste or pesto
Chop the spring onions and mince the garlic clove - fry both in a frying pan until just softening. Add the drained chickpeas and use a potato masher to smash them a bit - not too much! Add the sweetcorn and pour in the stock (I used half a chicken cube but veg would be better). Juice your half lime and add with a bit of zest. Stir in the sundried tomato paste, then take off heat and set aside.

If you're taking a photo, put the chickpeas into a separate bowl... if not you can put it all on the same plate and tuck in! ;) 

And the benefit? Eating like this and doing more exercise (him - gym, me - cycling) and we are pretty much back to how we were before!


Thanks to Waitrose for the idea and the vouchers. If you want any other summer salad recipes, be sure to check out the Great British Garden Party page - some lovely drinks and desserts on there too!

Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

Take a look!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin