Thursday, 31 March 2016

Stepping into the past : Hadlow Road Station

Visiting Willaston's Hadlow Road station is like stepping back in time, a quaint little piece of history that you'd easily pass on by if you weren't aware of it's existence. A little piece of the Wirral that's frozen in time, Hadlow Road station is a must see if you find yourself north of Chester.

A grade II listed building Hadlow Road station has been lovingly restored to it's original appearance in the 1950's, now an open visitor centre at the start of the Wirral Way country park, a walk which takes place along what was once one of the Wirral's key railway lines.

Opened in 1866 as part of a joint project by two railway companies, the Great Western Railway and London North Western Railway, branching together Wirral villages and towns from Parkgate to Neston. Hadlow Road station remained open until 1956 when it became a goods line, the station finally closed in 1962 to be later reopened in the 1970's as part of the Wirral Way country walk.

The station has thankfully been restored to it's original state and now serves as visitor centre. It's certainly a quaint little place, adorned with vintage advertisements on the outside and it's original level crossing alongside a small section of the train tracks. With it's darling signal box standing out at the end of the original platform, a feature which is sadly closed to public access, although you can take a peek through the windows to see inside.

Inside you'll find a small museum feature with the original ticket office and ticket boxes inside the waiting room, it's a little peek into history. It's wonderful to see an original station still standing and open for public access with many stations across the country long since destroyed.

Certainly a must visit place in the Wirral, just a short drive from Chester city centre and only a quick hop from Hooton train station. A wonderful place to take a summer picnic or take a short walk to the village centre to find a selection of pubs and shops.

Hadlow Road station is located along Hadlow Road (B5151), Willaston. The station entrance can be spotted between Adfalent Lane & Wallcroft. Find out more about Hadlow Road Station athttp://nestontowncouncil.org.uk/community/things-to-see-and-do/hadlow-road-station/

Images: Wikipedia

A modern twist on a classic; the cherry bakewell cake

You can't beat a staple British classic when it's come to a spot of afternoon cake, for me the cherry bakewell is one of the first cakes I think of when you look to traditional cakes, the combination of almond, cherry jam, sponge, pastry and icing can't be beat when you fancy something a little special, but why not take a modern twist on the traditional cherry bakewell? This cherry bakewell cake is the perfect mix of traditional sponge cake and cherry bakewell, great for sharing, if you can bear to!

Ingredients
  200g Butter
  200g Caster sugar
  100g Ground almonds
  100g Self-raising flour
  1 tsp Baking powder
  1/2 tsp Almond essence
  3 large eggs

For the filling and topping
  1/2 jar cherry conserve
  175g icing sugar
  5 tsp lemon juice
  a handful of toasted flaked almonds
  a handful of chopped glace cherries

Pre heat your oven to 180c/160c fan oven/gas 4 and pre-line 2 round sandwich tins.

Beat together all of the cake ingredients until you reach a smooth consistency, then spoon the mix into your tins and level each one out. Bake for 30 minutes until golden & springy.

Leave your bases to cool, then tip each base onto a wire rack to cool down. When ready spread your conserve onto one of the cake bases, this will be the filling in the middle of your cake, once you've evenly covered the base sandwich the two cake bases together.

For the topping mix icing sugar with lemon juice to a fine watery mix, simply spread this evenly over the top of your cake, finish off with flaked almonds and cherries whilst the mix is still wet.

Best eaten: a couple of hours after your cake has set, the crunchy icing and almonds are a great combination with the sponge base and jam.

Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food | Right imageDouglas_Freer/Dreamstime Stock Photos.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

The modern ladies little black book of cosmetics

Under the mountain of cosmetics it's somewhat difficult to separate the 'so so' cosmetics from the truly outstanding cosmetics, everyone has their favourites, their tried and tested well loved brands, but what happens when you want to try something new? Do you brave the army of blusher brushes and overly tanned sales staff? or do you take the safe route and go straight for the products you want?

To save that unwanted fuss at the beauty counter I've compiled my little black book of cosmetics, a guide to essential brands and products for the modern lady. Whilst we all appreciate a little pamper and advice on products from sales staff, sometimes you prefer to cheat a little and find the best products without the hassle, that's where my little black book comes in.

You may recognise the name from Dita Von Teese's collections with the brand, a rather elegant brand with a vast range of beauty essentials that are bound to suit your cosmetic preferences. They stock every beauty tool and essential that you could possibly need.

An absolute must to try out, their mineral foundation is absolutely wonderful stuff, perfect for winter to add a pop a colour during the dull months.

A vintage inspired classic, their gorgeous art deco style packaging adorns a range of make up essentials from rouge to lipstick that would just look darling in any make up bag.

One of those decadent treats you allow yourself to spend out on every now & then, their lipsticks and nail polishe's come in a gorgeous range of shades.

Well known for their legendary eight hour cream, a great range of skin care essentials that are worth the price tag. Their lipstick range is also worth trying out, not just for the pretty gold packaging.

A truly unique cosmetic company, Illamasqua have come up with some truly inventive products alongside a rather unique range of shades. If you want a truly bottle green nail varnish, or an intense brick red lipgloss then Illamasqua are the company to go to.

A rather remarkable U.S brand, Lime Crime turn fairy tales into wonderful cosmetics. With a bright highly pigmented range of make up in a rainbow of colours that you won't often find with most cosmetic brands. /i certainly recommend trying out their lipsticks, Glamour 101 & Retrofuturist are a must try for truly long lasting red lips, and yes it will be the prettiest tube of lipstick to ever grace your handbag.

Another brand well known for their inventive products, they have such a vast catalogue of products that you really will be spoilt for choice.

If there's ever an elusive shade of nail varnish that you've wanted but found hard to come by your bound to find it at Nails Inc. Whilst they do a lot of styles and fashionable types of nail varnish, we find it's best to stick to the classics and pursue their wide range of nail polishes.

Responsible for the infamous cat lipstick Paul & Joe have created a range of cosmetics that are as pretty as they are a delight to use.

A wonderful British label, based in Leeds, Rose & Co have crafted an outstanding range of cosmetics, from their essential range of balms and salves, to creams, and even a range of floral fancies to pop in the bath that would look darling adorning any bathroom. 

A marvellous high street essential, Soap & Glory's range of cosmetics really can't be beat. Their body butter is an absolute essential for the winter. They also do a great range of make up, their mascara is by far the best I've tried.

Is there anything he can't do?! Tom Ford's range of cosmetics are a thing of beauty, a little extravagant yes, but his lipsticks are more than worth saving up for as a decadent beauty treat.

Use these contacts wisely and above all I cannot be held responsible for any lavish over spending..

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

A very vintage day out in Manchester

Manchester has been under somewhat of a vintage revival over the past few years, one of the key cities to visit in the North West, Manchester's musical connections and location have made it somewhat of a vintage stronghold. With an abundance of vintage shops, tea rooms and diners opening in the city in recent years it's certainly a perfect place to visit for a vintage day in the city.

To get an idea of just how much Manchester has taken to vintage lifestyle and fashion you only need to take a peek at Vintage Manchester, a quintessential guide to all things vintage in the city and surrounding areas, from vintage shops to events and even where to go for a meal. Browsing through the site certainly brings about a wealth of things to do in the city, such is the success of vintage culture in Manchester that you really are spoilt for choice.

So just where do you go for a day in the city? For a day out in the city you certainly can't go wrong starting off with a spot of shopping, Manchester is home to an abundance of vintage shops and burlesque boutiques, with the majority located in the cities Northern Quarter.

A walk down Oldham Street will unveil several of the cities vintage shops, ranging in styles and eras from the 70's-90's driven styles at Blue Rinse, to the vintage inspired wares inside Pop boutique. You certainly can't go wrong with a peek in Manchester's iconic Afflecks on Oldham street with several vintage and inspired shops across the four floors. 

You'll also find the burlesque boutique Kiku boutique just off Oldham Street down Tib Street which is worth a visit for their exquisite corsetry alone.

After all that shopping your bound to be parched, Manchester is home to a selection of tea rooms and even diners worth a visit whatever tickles your fancy. For a spot of afternoon tea you'll find Richmond tea rooms on Richmond street and Sugar junction on Tib street both handily located within the Northern Quarter making it easy to pop on by for a spot of tea.

Or indulge in some ice cream by paying a visit to Ginger's comfort emporium inside Afflecks, or if you prefer a spot of tipple you can find The Whim Wham Cafe on Whitworth street, Manchester's first gin parlour and eatery for a truly authentic vintage experience.

If you fancy taking on a spot of culture you'll find two of the cities notable museums within close proximity of each other, with the Museum of science and industry and the Imperial war museum both a short walk from each other near Castlefield.

There's certainly plenty to do in the city, with regular fairs popping up year round, plenty of designer boutique and department stores, and many more tea rooms around the city. Simply take an exploratory walk around the city and see what you can find.

Images: Sugar Junction & Afflecks.

Monday, 28 March 2016

The well dressed women's do & don'ts

The modern woman needs an indispensable guide to dressing well, for me it's always been a case of adapting historical guides to assist alongside my own common sense. Elise Vallee's "The well dressed women's do's & don'ts" at the time was a quintessential guide to dressing correctly, dressing well and attending to appearance. Whilst times have changed it's still important to dress well even nowadays, so what should the modern lady do? I've adapted some of my choice favourite 'do's & don't's' from this book to apply to modern women as a set of tips to dressing well in this modern age.

"Don't think that in buying smart clothes you have done all that is necessary"
It's not just a case of buying smart & elegant clothes but knowing how to wear them well also.

"Don't say black doesn't suit you until you gave tried a black dress with your face skin as near perfection as you can make it"
Thankfully the modern woman has long since adapted the little black dress into her wardrobe, whilst it may not need be little, you should always have a black dress or ensemble in your wardrobe.

"Do have simple frocks, and not a great many of them"
A selection of classic staple dresses are a must for any wardrobe, they can be easily adapted for any occasion and dressed up with accessories for a different look, so you don't need to hoard dresses for different occasions.

"Never go out in the street without a coat or fur or some sort of wrap over your frock"
Unless it's a hot summer day most dresses tend to look elegant with a bolero, shrug, cardigan, jacket or coat.

"Don't have a mass of jewels; have a few good ones"
A lot of women seem to dress themselves in jewellery nowadays, you shouldn't feel the need to, less is often more when accessorizing.

"Don't waste money on expensive aids to beauty".
The modern woman seems to have more designer 'beauty aids' than ever, just because an anti-ageing cream or serum is expensive that doesn't mean that they will work. Sometimes the most inexpensive cold cream can be a valued beauty essential.

Whilst some of these tips can seem outdated by modern standards, we've certainly grown past the need to wearing real furs, swapping them for faux furs, but it terms of style you certainly can't beat classic elegance. With fashion turning to throw away attire it certainly can't hurt to stay away from the pack and go for quality as opposed to quantity in your wardrobe, we can certainly learn a lot from the past.

Images: Flickr Commons

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

A spot of tipple : Earl Grey Martini

Fancy a lavish take on a classic? Why not try out this Earl grey martini, the perfect combination of a classic tea and decadent booze for a flavour that's somewhat unique.

Ingredients
 earl grey tea bag
 gin
 ice cubes
 dash of lemon juice & wedges for decoration
 dash of sugar syrup (to make your own mix equal parts water to caster sugar)

First make your sugar syrup, place water & sugar into a pan on a low heat for 10 minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Leave to cool.

Steep the tea bags in the gin for 10 minutes, then strain and place in a cocktail shaker on top of some ice cubes.

Pour in lemon juice and 120ml of the sugar syrup mixture, then shake it up for a good few minutes.

Pour into 2 cocktail glasses of your choice, and rub the edge of the glass with a lemon wedge & a dash of sugar around the rim.

Best drunk: when you fancy a bit of a wind down at the end of day, or when you simply fancy a spot of tipple!

Image: Mondo Bartenders

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Wirral's model village : Port Sunlight

A darling model village situated in the most surprising of places, just on the cusp of Birkenhead. Port Sunlight is a picturesque model village most famously known for it's ties with Sunlight Soap, a truly stunning feat of urban planning and architecture.

Port Sunlight village was founded in the late 19th Century by Viscount Leverhulme as a home for workers at the Lever Brothers factory, a philanthropist with a passion for art and architecture which can easily be seen when you enter the village. Now a Conservation area where you can find not just one of the area's most stunning art galleries but also the Port Sunlight museum and tea room.

It really does take you back just how stunning the village is when you first drive in, picturesque black & white buildings stand out next to the village green and quite frankly some of the most stunning statues and fountain pieces you'll find in any village centre.

The Lady Lever gallery is by far the centrepiece of the village, a stunning domed building featuring 30 rooms of arts & crafts from the 18th-19th century. Upon entering the gallery you'll really be taken back by just how much work has gone into the building, huge columns loom over the ground floor alongside a cavalcade of rooms brimming with artworks and historic relics, including a vast selection of snuff boxes & pottery.

Just across from the galleries car park you'll find one of the villages feature fountains amongst an array of extravagant sculptures and columns. Nearby is the Port Sunlight Museum documenting the history of the village where you'll also find a rather quaint shop stocked to the brim with plenty of vintage wares including bars of the classic Sunlight Soap.

The Port Sunlight museum also houses a rather elegant tea room where you can wind down with a spot of tea and cake, the tea room however is only open from March until November, if the tea room is unfortunately closed you'll find a cafe located on the lower ground floor at the Lady Lever gallery.

Other notable buildings to see around the village include the Lyceum, Gladstone Theatre, Hesketh Hall & The Bridge inn public house. A walk around the village will certainly reveal plenty of architectural fancies and gorgeous greenery.

You can find Port Sunlight village off the A41, the village entrance is well sign posted from the roundabout (if heading in via Liverpool) and traffic lights (if heading in from Chester). Port Sunlight can also be reached by rail taking the merseyrail line from Liverpool - Chester.

Links of interest:
www.portsunlightvillage.com, a comprehensive guide to the village and museum.
www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/ladylever, all about the Lady Lever gallery and upcoming exhibtions.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Classic hair styling : The pin curl

Long before the invention of the electric curling iron pin curling was the way to gain those perfect curly locks, I won't lie it's not one of those 'throw together in a matter of minutes' styles, pin curls certainly take a lot of time & effort, but if you prefer to try your hand at a classic hair style, or you're simply without one of those new fangled electronic gadgets, then you may want to give the classic pin curl a whirl!

The pin curl is named after the technique, the process of pinning curls up. It's a technique that has long been used to create those classic Hollywood starlet curls. Whilst many modern women prefer to use heated tools as a quick way to create curls, many still turn to the classic pin curl technique to create their curls over a more damaging quick fix approach.

A quick flick through sites like You Tube will bring up a wealth of results, although everyone tends to have a different take on the technique, I've tried my hand at several of them and no single one has led to a vast difference in results, so it's essentially a case of which one you prefer. I certainly recommend giving Lisa Freemont Street & Strawberry Koi Vintage's tutorials a look at.

How do you create the pin curl?
You'll need a few basic essentials to get started:

  Hair grips/bobby pins
  A rat tail comb
  A scarf (large enough to cover your hair entirely)
  Hair spray

Some prefer to try to this technique with wet hair, although I prefer somewhat damp hair as it's easier to shape into the curls. Most importantly comb your hair through before you start, ensuring that it's tangle free. To create your first pin curl separate a small section of hair using the rat tail comb (roughly around an inch thick), make a loop at the end around your finger and roll it all the way to the root, try not to twist it as this will result in a miss-shapen curl.

Grasp it with your fingers and roll it flat, once it's in place pin this up. I usually start this process out at the front, working my way around layer by layer, if it's your first attempt it's best to do this in front of a mirror to see what your doing.

Once you've mastered the first curl, and believe me it will take a few attempts to get the first curl right, you simply repeat the process until you've set every strand up in a curl. Now this will need several hours to set in, most recommend doing this prior to a night's sleep, but of course it could easily be done in the morning for an evening do. Either way, I prefer to cover the curls up in a scarf, this protects the curls and ensures that you won't knock any about, more so if you've leaving the curls in overnight.

Now here comes the fun part, removing your curls and styling your hair. Take time to carefully remove each pin curl, don't be shocked by the short curly do facing you in the mirror, this won't be your finished style. Dependent on the style that you want to go for, you can play around with brushing your curls into different positions, or simply tease the curls into the desired style. Then when you're done a good spritzing of hair spray will hold your style into place.

I'm not going to lie, the first time you try this it may not result in the desired style that you intended, I speak from that first disastrous attempt! Pin curling certainly takes a lot of practice to get it right, you may come across all sorts of problems from frizzy hair (a result of not brushing through properly), straight hair (a result of taking them out too soon) & far too high a curl (a result of rolling your pin curls up too high & tight), but it's certainly a technique worth practicing.

Take a good look through the video tutorials I've tagged in, watching somebody else place pin curls in is a great learning point, you can gauge where to pin your curls and how to style them afterwards. But above all, practice, practice, practice and you'll soon master a technique that you can't live without!

Images: Flickr Commons


Thursday, 17 March 2016

A quintessential Yorkshire treat : Betty's tea room

Tea is as essential to Yorkshire as anything, so it's no surprise that Yorkshire is home to one of the most renowned tea rooms in this country, Betty's. First opened in 1919 in Harrogate Betty's has been providing Yorkshire with a selection of delectable confectionery since they first opened. Since then Betty's has grown to expand across Yorkshire with six tea rooms including picturesque York tea room's. With it's art deco finery, elaborate wooden paneling & ornate mirrors it's a little slice of afternoon decadence in the city center.

You certainly can't miss Betty's the crowning glory in St Helen's Square, the queue's can be seen well before you approach the building, and it's easy to see why, with scrumptious treats lining the window in their shop side of the building and tables piled high with afternoon tea stands. One of the key point's that makes Betty's stand out to all is not just it's delectable food offerings and it's décor, but it's open doors, not a tea room to hold dress codes you can easily dress in your casual (although not too casual!) day to day attire for a catch up with friends over tea as much as an afternoon tea for a special occasion, that relaxed yet refined atmosphere certainly makes it easy to see why it's so popular.

Of course Betty's is most known for it's afternoon tea, a quaint silver plated stand lined with traditional afternoon tea fare, from the dainty sandwiches to the delightful miniature cakes. Betty's afternoon tea is what keeps customers coming and of course why not take in a great British tradition when visiting York! But it's not just afternoon tea that Betty's does so well, a quick glimpse into their shop window will reveal a wonderful array of baked goods on display, from traditional Yorkshire fare with their Fat Rascals (a scrumptious Yorkshire take on the scone) to dainty macaroons and biscuits. Always laden with seasonal treats so you'll always encounter something different.

 Whether you choose to stay and dine in, an experience which we insist you try at least once, or take some of their baked goods home with you, it's certainly worth a visit.

You can visit Betty's in York year round, located at St Helen's Square, alongside a second smaller tea room at Stonegate. Betty's other Yorkshire tea room locations can be found online at www.bettys.co.uk Can't make it to York? Visit their web shop where you can order an assortment of cakes & confectionery delivered to your doorstep.

Taking in tea? We recommend their Fat Rascal's with a pot of their house blend Earl grey if you prefer a change to afternoon tea.

Taking away? Try a tin of their signature shortbread, a traditional treat that will be sure to run out quickly.

Images: Bettys

Moved over from the Tweed & Tea archives at www.tweedandtea.co.uk from 2013.

Changes are afoot

Something wonderful is happening here over the next few months, you may have noticed that I re-vamped Tweed & Tea a while back, away from the world of blogs, as more of a self run site. But, times have changed and I've decided to merge the two, bringing Tweed & Tea back to it's original home!

I'll be delving through the archives of my website and bringing my best, and most loved posts over to here before starting things a new as a regularly updated blog, focusing on everything from vintage fashion, to boozy treats and handy beauty tips.

So, sit back, don't panic at the sudden flurry of posts being brought over here from the site, and prepare yourself for a lovely new update here at Tweed & Tea.
Leona x

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