A Year of Windows.

One of my favourite parts of being a shopkeeper is designing the window displays & from the feedback I get from you lovely people, it seems you quite like them too!

I did my first window display nearly a year ago now (While I was still busy doing the painting & decorating behind the curtain!) so I thought I would do a quick recap of the year so far.

No. 1 – I loved that 60’s pink dress & jacket & the pastel coffee set.
No.2 – Just a small selection of our haberdashery supplies in this one.
No.3 – “A Women’s Work Is Never Done”!!
No.4 – My 1st official window display when the shop was finally opened. This included a hostess trolley full of alcohol & a 60’s record player – ready for our opening night party!!! Cheers x
No.5 – This red, white & blue display was a nod to the Queen’s 90th Birthday but mostly for the England rugby world cup rugby team!
No.6 – Sunshine & Tennis, it must be Wimbledon – Anyone for strawberries??
No.7 – Our 1950’s Mid Century Modern window – I had to keep that dress!!
No.8 – It’s “The Great Outdoors” this time, with The Girl Guides. Display including a bike, fishing rods, camping stove, picnic basket & of course some wine!!
No.9 – “We’re all going on a summer holiday” Beach window display at the shop to celebrate me going on my annual family trip to Newquay.
No.10 – Summer holidays are over & it’s time to go “Back To School”. Reckon the school master with his cane could strike fear into any small child!!
No.11 – We went all rustic with tins, crates & jars.
No.12 – Christmas 2016
Presents Galore. x
No. 13 – The “holidays are over” window display. You have had your fun, now back to the housework! Complete with vintage washing machine & fluffy slippers obviously!! x
No. 14 – Spring is in the air at Mabel’s. Lots of gardening tools, pots & equipment available in our courtyard to knock your garden into shape!
 “How Much Is That Doggie In The Window”. Not really a shop window display but its the only place the whole shop that Mabel is happy, she really does not like the shop at all!!!

Well, I rather enjoyed looking back at all the windows & some of the stock that has been purchase by the fine people of SE26 & Se23 (& some slightly further afield, I know an Old Mother Hubbard kitchen cupboard went to its new home in Portsmouth & some stunning 1950’s fabric flew home to Oz to cover a bedroom chair!)

Here’s to loads more fun windows to come – I have already started planning them!! x

Our Printers Tray.

Mr M recently come across a vintage printers tray & thought it might look quite nice hanging on the wall in our hallway.

This was day 1 on the 2nd December 2016


Since then it has been a bit of mission to see who can find the best bits to fill it up!

As you can see, it has not taken us long to fill most of the compartments (although some will be upgraded when we feel something better comes along, its harsh but true)


Now for a closer look at some of my favourite find’s so far (found by both Mr M & me, I’m not that mean that I would only show you my finds!!)

Probably my absolute favourite in the tray –


He may have seen better days but I love him. x

Next up, I have ALWAYS wanted to go to Vegas, I’m not a gambler at all so don’t know why but I will get there one day. So when I found this vintage souvenir of some “Lucky” Las Vegas dice I knew it was getting a place.


Some of you may have already seen this one on my Instagram page. It’s a 1930 matchbook from Lyons Tea House & I know I’m not called Sally but I am the salesgirl & I do sell in my shop!! So it was another keeper.


Bit of fun this one – Vintage Egg & Cress picnic sandwich marker (I have some other fillings too but I thought this one was the best)


Next up, two early plastic legs!!

One is a comb & the other is a paper knife & letter open from Motts Hosiery Comp. London E.C, which would have been given out as a promotional gift.


Then lastly, there is this………


If you think you know what it is please tell me???

It’s about 1cm tall & the “eyes” move in & out! I don’t have a clue.

I hope you like some of our miniature treasures. x


Could This Be The Most un PC Book EVER?? Sex & Hypnosis L.T.Woodward M.D

I recently came across this paperback in a house clearance –


Thinking to myself this could be quite funny, I put it to once side to have a look at later.

Written & published by Monarch Book in the USA in the early 1960’s, I thought it might have some amusing “tips” but when I read the back cover I changed my mind about this “innocent” little paperback.

A young wife who had her baby painlessly, but fully conscious and with no aesthetic – Nothing wrong with this one, I’m sure women today probably still use hypnosis to help with childbirth.

A desperate, impotent man, now amazingly restored to his full sexual power – Again there may well be some benefit of hypnosis in this case.

I was not so sure about – A frigid and frustrated women who is now able to respond fully to her husband’s embraces.

But the one that really got my heckles up – A once practicing homosexual who is now happily married and the father of  family.

The chapter is all about a young man called Tom, who despises himself for being gay, most of the blame seems to fall at his father, who did not love him enough so Tom found love with other older men. Of course by the end of the chapter Tom is “cured” & now a married man with children!!

Thankfully today in the modern world most people are allowed to be whoever they wish to be & this is the way it should be. It so sad that some people are still being persecuted just because of the person they love.

Other non-PC books in this series include:

THE LESBIAN “What is a lesbian? Is she a criminal, a vile degenerate? Or is she the tragic heroine of a drama in which she is-at least subconsciously-an unwilling participant?

I have no words!!! I shall just end it there.





Have yourself a merry little vintage Christmas.

As I have been busy putting my Christmas decorations up this week, all be it a slightly toned down version this year, as I am just too busy with the new shop! (See last blog for details)

I thought I would share with you some of the Christmas vintage bits & pieces I have collected over the years. I do seem to have quite a selection of vintage tins & boxes, I like to fill them with presents & put them under the tree.

My favourite one is this Panettone tin for Alemagna. I love it because it MASSIVE!!


Gioacchino Alemagna started making Panettone around 1925 & gave his name to a popular brand that still exists today. This tin probably dates from the 1970’s.

Here are a couple more –

I love my JUMBO vintage coloured glass baubles, I hope you have noticed I’m also watching the BEST Christmas film ever!!!


I have a vintage Angel Tree Topper, Made by Swan, here in the UK & still in it’s original box. This cost £1.52 when new but I don’t think I will ever be able to sell it.

Lastly I recently found this unused box of mini crackers this year & haven’t quite decided if I will use them on the dinner table on Christmas day or maybe just use them for decoration.


Each one has a banger, joke & toy!

Maybe next year when I get all my decorations out, I can share with you some more vintage delights.

Just for fun here’s a throwback photo of me & my big brother, Christmas 1974. I look like a giant snowball & he is not about to give up that present!!

Xmas 1974



It’s time I let you into a little secret……

OK, for the last eight months I have secretly been plotting & planning.

WHAT??  I hear you ask?

Well, Mabel’s Five & Dime is going to be opening it’s first permanent shop in the new year.

It’s been a busy few months, as the whole premises needed a lot of work but we are getting there & I can finally see the light at the end of a very long tunnel (I am even breaking out the paint brushes this weekend!!)

Here’s a look at what the shop looked like on day one –

I think you will agree, there is rather a lot of work to be done!!!

We are aiming for a spring opening & I hope you will be pleasantly surprised with the transformation.

Here’s a little clue to what might be out the back door –


Keep an eye on here & twitter (@Mabels5anddime) for some sneaky photo’s & updates on the progress.

Coming soon to: Kirkdale, Sydenham, SE26. x



Collecting – For The Love Of Dogs.

I had always thought of myself as a cat person, having had three while growing up. But when I moved in with Mr M & we decided to get a pet, he put his foot down & refused to get a cat & said he wanted a Jack Russell.

I have to admit I had never been a huge fan of Jack Russell dogs & we did talk about getting either a Pug, King Charles Spaniel or a Dachshund but after some research decided that it was better to get a non pedigree cross.

We were told about a litter of Jack Russell/Yorkshire Terrier crosses through a friend & I went to see them – As soon as I set my eyes on a 4 week old Mabel, all thoughts of cats had disappeared & I was in love!

Mabel 4

Now this post is not all about Mabel but about how since getting a dog, I have started to collect dog themed items!

Some of you may remember my Jack Russell clock from an earlier post, Mr M brought him home as a joke but the joke was on him when I decided that I loved him & he was to stay.

Otis the Jack Russell clock.
Otis the Jack Russell clock.

Next up is the rather lovely 1950’s vintage tin for holding Spratt’s dog biscuits. It has “My Faithful Friend’s Own Biscuit Box” printed on it, with the Spratt’s logo on the top.

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I think any of todays graphic designers would be proud of that design.

Mabel runs straight to her basket if you go near it!

I have thousands of vintage photographs, that are all catalogued & stored away but a lucky few make it on to the board in the kitchen.

He are 3 of my favourite…

Have you ever seen such a happy dog?
One man & his dog.
A much loved puppy.

My favourite is also my latest find. This vintage scarf featuring a large French Poodle bearing gifts & some stuffy little Jack Russell’s (with I think look rather like Mabel!) It’s not worth much, its nylon rather than silk & it even has a small hole but I had to keep it.


An usual glass trio, unfortunately one dog does have a broken leg.
Miniature lead figures
Miniature lead figures
Not quite sure what to say about these two!!

Lastly, is a strange little collection of dog knick knacks. This is quite usual for me as i’m not really a fan of trinkets.

A very happy Mabel in Crystal Palace Park
A very happy Mabel in Crystal Palace Par

I think I may have to keep an eye on this collection, as I have a feeling it could get out of hand!

In honour of joining the Women’s Institute – Julia Clements, Floral Arrangements.

I finally did something this month that I had been wanting to do for quite some time, I joined the Women’s Institute.

It’s a new branch in Forest Hill, which I really like as that means we are all new to the WI. So in honour of joining I thought I would do a post about flower arranging!!

It actually goes a bit deeper than that, I was having a sort through all my vintage tea towels & came across three Ulster linen tea towels with flower arrangement ideas on them – perfect I thought, that would work for my blog.

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I noticed that the tea towels are by Julia Clements, I did not know this name so off to google I went & quite interesting & apt it was too.

Born Gladys Agnes Clements on 10th April 1906, her father died when she was just 10 years old, leaving her mother with 7 children to bring up alone.  Gladys had always wanted to travel but being the oldest child this was deterred, her mother did allow her to travel to Belgium, where she attended Zwicker College & learnt French. After returning to the UK & having various jobs, she took up freelance writing.

Durning the Second World War she worked for the Red Cross Agricultural Fund & unfortunately gave birth to a still born child & her marriage broke down. Once the war was over she joined the magazine “My Garden” & was asked to go to New York to give a lecture to garden club presidents.

“There seemed no aim for my life. I had no money and no coupons, clothes were still rationed. So I made myself a blouse from a pair of torn net curtains still hanging up at one of my windows that had been blasted by a bomb.”

”After my lecture I was deluged with requests to talk to conferences and clubs and ended up staying for several months and speaking in 22 States.”

On her return to Britain she was asked to speak to the Kent Area Women’s Institute about her trip to the United States

“I was appalled by their dispirited, grey faces and shabbiness. We had won the war. These brave women had faced and survived real hardship. The speaker before me, was explaining how to get chicken feed to keep hens — my talk seemed totally irrelevant. It was then I gave my first flower demonstration. I seized the bowl of flowers on the table, separated the flowers and tried to inspire the women by showing them how we can all be artists, we can all enjoy colour, scent and beauty and be creative with the one thing that was there and was free for us all — flowers. After the talk I was mobbed with umpteen requests to talk to their women’s groups.”

In the 1950s Julia Clements was working with television presenter Katie Boyle in a show called “How To Be a Good Hostess”. Julia Clements demonstrated flower arrangements, at the end of each presentation, she encouraged the formation of a local flower club.

Julia Clements

Flower arranging clubs sprang up across the country, and in 1959 they were affiliated under the umbrella organisation NAFAS (National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies).


She was a flower arrangement judge both for the NAFAS & the RHS. She had three roses named after her: the Julia Clements, Lady Seton (that can be since on one of the tea towels above) & Julia’s Rose.

Lady Seton Rose

She married Sir Alexander Hay Seton, 10th Baronet of Abercorn in 1962, thus becoming Lady Seton, although once again she was hit with tragedy when he died the following year, they had no children.

 Sir Alexander Seton, 10th Baronet of Abercorn

Sir Alexander Seton, 10th Baronet of Abercorn

”The only thing to make sense in my life then was the conviction that I could help women to find ease and happiness by unlocking their creative talents and expressing themselves using flowers.”

Julia Clements was awarded the Victoria Medal of Honour by the Royal Horticultural Society, their highest award, and in 1989 she was presented with the O.B.E. by the Queen. She celebrated her 100th birthday in 2006 & remained active in floral art and horticulture until the end of her life.

From humble beginnings she achieved great things

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Lady Seton (Julia Clements)  10th April 1906 – 1st Nov 2010