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Degustabox June 2018 Voucher Code & Product Reviews - yay retro!

I've had a busy week at the yay retro! online vintage shop this week with moving offices again and also making everything on my website postage free!  This meant that I forgot to tell you all about the June Degustabox of foodie treats when it arrived on Thursday.

Try Degustabox with yay retro! - Use Code: WBWEO and get money off your first box!

Degustabox is a monthly subscription where you get a range of different food and drinks delivered to your door to try out. It's £12.99 a month (the foods included are always worth more than this), and there are new products and firm favourites included. Newcomers to Degustabox get their first box for just £7.99 with the code above.

June’s Degustabox Reviews by yay retro! 

I will be reviewing each item in depth below, after trying them over the coming month. My reviews are honest and true. So you'll read the good with the bad. This month's theme is 'BBQ Selection' and it includes lots of different food products to try from sweets and treats to cook sauces. See below for what's in the box and my reviews as I write them.

1. Capsicana Cook Sauces - two boxes of these well presented cook sauces are included in the box. I received Cuban Cilli & Lime and Brazalian Chilli & Coconut.  I really like hot spicy foods sauces which I use with Quorn and these look really tasty. I'm looking forward to using these. You also receive a 50p off voucher with Degustabox.

2. Rosie Pig's Raspberry Roller Cider. A raspberry & cucumber flavoured cider. Looks refreshing especially with all this glorious weather we've been having! (note you can opt for an alcohol free box)

3. Frylight Avocado Cooking Spray. I always use Frylight and I'd just run out as the box arrived. Perfect timing Degustabox!

4. no&more Raspberry & Blueberry Spring Water.  Looking good with no added sugar or sweeteners. With it being so very hot today, this box is fantastic with lots of lovely cold drinks to try. This 'funked up' Spring water has just 25 calories in the bottle. It has just the right level of sweetness with a slightly perfumed taste. This is due to the addition of rose extract. Nice summery flavours in this one. 

5. Idahoan Gratin Bake. An easy way to make a cheesy potato bake with this large packet mix.

6. The Jelly Bean Factory, Fairtrade Box. This little box is packed with 36 flavours of jelly beans made with Fairtrade sugar. With flavours ranging from Tangerine to Marshmallow, Sour Lemon to Granny Smith Apple these jelly beans really excite your tastebuds!  The flavours are so strong and exciting that ideally you'd just eat one at a time which would make them last ages....hubby and I ate a few at a time and got some crazy flavour hits!  Normally retailing at £1.25 box I would say these were a bit of a bargain. 

7. Orangina both the regular and light versions. you can't go wrong with this fizzy drink made with real oranges.  I can't tell the difference between the normal and  no added sugar versions of this drink so would also go for the pale blue label.  We had these one sunny evening after work.

8. Peckish BBQ Rice Crackers Multi-pack. This is a pack of 5 bags of rice crisps with a tangy barbecue flavour. They are gluten free and so ideal for those on a gluten free diet. They are also baked not fried. These are nice and crispy, though I would say these could have done with a tad more flavour. They did feel a little bit greasy, so maybe they could do with a little less fat when baking so that more could be included in the pack? There's not many in each 89 calorie bag so we actually ate two packs each at one sitting - oops! 

9. Pack of Brioche Pasquier Pains au Lait. Free from additives and artificial flavours this pack of 8 rolls are ideal for savoury or sweet lunches, tea times or BBQs.  I plan to use these with Linda McCartney Sausages. They are bound to be great as a hot dog. You also receive a recipe card in the Degustabox for different Brioche fillings from Tomato Salsa to Mac'n'Cheese.

10. Great British Biscotti Co pack of 2.  This company based in Dorset make 20 different flavours of biscotti!  In the Degustabox we get to try Chocolate, Cranberries & Pistachio flavour.  I am looking forward to these with a coffee on a lazy Sunday (like today!)

10. Mighty Fine Salted Caramel Honeycomb Bar. I had this whilst working hard on the yay retro! online vintage shop website. OMG!!!!!!!! Tell me where to buy a hundredweight of these now please!  The very best honeycomb bar I've ever tasted.  It's large, it's chunky, it's crunchy, it's big, bold and blooming fantastic! Covered in Belgian chocolate this is a handcrafted bar with salted caramel inside. (I didn't actually realise the salted caramel part until I read the pack, but maybe that was why it was so amazing).  These bars are worth every penny of their £1 price tag.  I will be seeking them out!

11. In the non Alcohol box you will have received Fyre Fruit Drinks x 2. Fruit & Spice all natural sparkling drink in Lemon & Ginger and Blueberry, Blackcurrant, Peppers & Chilli flavour. These low calorie fizzy drinks are completely packed full of flavour. Exceedingly refreshing and with a good level of sweetness, the red berry and chilli one was really good, though when I breathed in I coughed as the chilli or pepper got to me - no similar probs for hubby though! The Lemon & Ginger was a natural yellow in colour and was also delicious with a really good does of both lemon and ginger flavours coming through.

Come back to see my pictures and reviews as I work my way through June's delicious Degustabox, and don't forget you can join in the fun with this voucher code: WBWEO at Degustabox

Go Shopping at yay retro!'s online Vintage Shop now, all FREE POSTAGE (UK mainland & NI), plus price reductions throughout the shop - Celebrate Summer Vintage Style!

Degustabox May 18 Voucher Code and Box Contents

Woo! It's Degustabox delivery day today, they whizz around so fast when you have a subscription! Hello there, I'm Sue and I run the yay retro! online vintage shop. I also review the monthly food boxes from Degustabox. Degustabox is a monthly subscription where you get a range of different fun foods delivered to your door to try out. It's just £12.99 to join in the fun (the foods included are always worth more than this). It's a great way to break your regular shopping habits and to try new things out, also to get treats delivered to your door!  In this blog article I shall be reviewing this month's box of goodies which have been selected with watching The World Cup in mind.

Try Degustabox with yay retro! - Use Code: WBWEO and get money off your first box!

What's in the May 2018 World Cup Themed Degustabox?  

Here's a quick overview ahead of my more detailed reviews which will be here later as and when I've given everything a try.

1. Latin American Caribbean Creamy Chicken Curry Seasoning Mix - what's the World Cup without a bowl of curry in your hand?  I'm looking forward to trying this with Quorn pieces. I've tried this brand of foods before thanks to Degustabox and it works well with non meat dishes.

2. Latin American Mini Coconut & Black Pepper Soft Tortillas, these are lovely - I've had them before. Very handy for lunchtimes or dinner times and I'll probably use them alongside the curry mix.

As you'll see we did indeed have these two items together. We had a fabulous supper. All I had to do was put the Latin American curry mix on top of a bag of Quorn pieces in a frying pan with a can of coconut milk, fry together for about 15 mins and it was done. I fried up some onions and peppers and served with the wraps a salsa.  Easy peasy and completely delicious.  (I could have used single cream instead of the coconut milk.)  The curry mix is mild and would be ok for people not into hot curries too.

3. 2 Bottles of The Good Cider of San Sebastian Craft Cider in Strawberry and Dry Apple Flavours (you can ask not to receive alcohol drinks in your box). Got to be good on a hot sunny day!  I gave these to my sn and daughter-in-law to enjoy in their garden.

4. We Made Lemonade one of two flavours, I got Strawberry & Lemon ideal for lunch breaks in the office, and here I am drinking it whilst uploading fresh vintage items to the yay retro! website to buy!  This tastes interesting and different. I got more lemonade than strawberry in flavour if I'm honest. I like the fact this has only 99 calories. It has just the right amount of sweetness which has been supplemented with Stevia sweetener.  

5. Kitkat Bites White large sharing bag. I put these in the fridge as we are having a hot spell at the moment, and we had them one evening in front of TV. They were delicious and we finished them off quickly! Each piece is about half the length of a regular Kitkat biscuit. Inside they have dark chocolate cream and a white wafer. Really lovely.

6. KitKat Senses Mix - gift box of chocolates. Woops - We ate these and forgot to take a photo! Each sweet is wrapped in foil and there are 3 flavours: Hazlenut, Slated caramel and double chocolate. They are all rich and delicious. What I really love is the internal packaging which opens up like a serving dish. This has a funky retro design on it, I am sure crafters could think of a 100 uses for this from making into gift tags to using it in collages. So lovely it's a shame to throw it away!  A great gift idea, I got  a box for my birthday and thought it was great.

7. 2 packs Brioche Pasquier PITCH rolls, one with chocolate centre, the other chocolate chip.  I had a couple of these as a sweetener after lunch today and they were really delicious.  Very light and airy with just the right amount of sweet chocolate inside, these are very yummy indeed.  I think that they would also be very nice as a dessert with custard on the top. Each one is wrapped in it's own packet so would be good for lunches and picnics. 

8. Say Aloe Reduced Sugar Drink, ideal for lunch breaks in the office, though I have to say this was far to sweet and cloying for me and I did not drink it.

9. Lucozade Energy Original Flavour Drink - Hubby had this at this at work

Jelly Jam Vintage Bag Review

There are many out there who swoon over handbags from Radley to Louis Vuitton, not me. I've never got the handbag thing, and until a couple of years ago and avoided carrying one at all.

However all this changed when I got into vintage and I saw the wonderful bags made by Ellie of Jelly Jam Vintage. Ellie makes bags from genuine vintage fabrics such as 1950s, 60s and 70s Barkcloth and Towelling and it's fair to say for someone who is not into bags I am completely hooked!

This is my collection so far, and it is yet to grow....

The top bags in the photo are ones I've chosen for each season, and they give me a lift every time I see them as they are so cheery and bright. I absolutely love flower power designs from the 60s and these bags are just a sheer joy for me to carry about!  Many of you may not consider these to be 'handbags' more a shopping bag? But for me they work brilliantly. Soft and strong, I can chuck anything and everything in and be comfortable and stylish.

I often get people stopping me to admire my bag and collectively we go into rapture about the wonderful mid century fabrics used to make them. Most people are amazed that fabrics like this can still be found in such wonderful condition. I always point them in the direction of Jelly Jam's Facebook and Etsy page. My most recent Jelly Jam Vintage acquisition is the 50s towelling bag at the bottom covered in crazy fish all nipping at eachother's tails. This is a large bag which I intend to use as a shopper, meaning I now go out with two fab vintage bags at once!  It would also be perfect when I go on holiday as a beach carry all bag.   

The smaller yellow and orange flowery barkcloth bag on the left is ideal when I want to go out with my my phone, sunglasses and a bit of cash. I tend to use this in the summer on hot days. I can sling it across my chest as it has a long strap.  The teeny towelling purse under was a wonderful surprise gift from Ellie in my parcel this week. It's so perfect as yet I am just looking at it and wondering whether to use it as a purse or makeup bag.  All the bags are lined with contemporary cotton, often polka dot to co-ordinate with the exterior vintage fabric and each has a little Jelly Jam Vintage label. Simply fabulous, you must get one!!

Why not pop in to the yay retro! online vintage shop while you are here and check out the vintage fabrics and more that I sell for your vintage styled home?

Degustabox a box of Foodie Fun! Voucher Code & Reviews April 2018

I'm Sue and I run the yay retro! online vintage shop. I am really lucky to be involved with reviewing the fun and surprising monthly food boxes from Degustabox. Degustabox is a monthly subscription where you get a range of different foods to try, delivered to your door for £12.99 (the foods included are always worth more than this). It's a fun way to get ideas and for trying foods you may never have thought of. 

Try Degustabox with yay retro! - Use Code: WBWEO and get money off your first box!

Join in the fun on the Degustabox website here, then you too will receive a marvellous surprise box of foodie treats! Use the special yay retro! code above to get £5 off your first box - you’ll pay just £7.99 instead of £12.99!

above....what's in April 2018's Degustabox...I like the healthy foods that are currently being included in the box such as fruit crisps, no added sugar and high protein treats and 'cook from scratch' ingredients.

Here are my thoughts about what's included in this month's Degustabox:

1. a2 Milk Long Life Semi-Skimmed Cows Milk (shown with a war time Woods Jasmine jug).  I do buy long life milk as a back up regularly so was interested to try this. I was pleased it was semi-skimmed as I prefer that or skimmed milk. This tasted almost the same as fresh milk and apparently it is easy to digest because it only has A2 protein in it. This is not relevant to me as I am not lactose intolerant, however might be worth looking into if you are.

2. Mindful Bites Squeeze Sachet, an 'on the go' snack. This is a liquid snack which you suck out of the sachet with an integral straw. There are 116 calories in the 20 gram pack which has ingredients such as almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts and berries. This is not something I would need, but anyone undertaking running, cycling, swimming or surfing etc are sure to find these an interesting energy boost. I am giving mine to my daughter in law who is a runner.

3. Strawberry & Banana LioBites Fruit Crisps - healthy version of crisps? Well no they're not! They are quite a lot more interesting and weirder than crisps (in a good way!)  They look like dehydrated spaceman food, light, airy and a bright pink. When you put them in your mouth they are crunchy and then almost immediately turn soft, squishy and make your mouth water. Pretty soon it's like a thick smoothie with a bit of chew. You can really taste the fruit and the strawberry pips. They are really sweet and made from apple puree, banana puree, strawberries & black carrot juice, so no added sugars or preservatives. I thought they were odd to begin with, but grew to like them. They are 65 calories per 16gm bag. You can get a 20% discount, using the code FITNESS20 at - fab!

4. Idahoan's Perfect Mash Roasted Garlic - I normally make my own mash so we'll see, could be good on top of shepherds pie? In the end I had this with a salad, I wanted something really quick to have for dinner. It wasn't too garlicky which was good I had left this to try until last as I thought that it might be. Very easy to mix and fluff up and tasty. To be honest I would probably only buy if I was going camping or something as a quick meal.

5. Bottle of Mutti Passata - Ideal as I cook a lot from scratch. I used it for a vegetable bolognese made with onions, sweet peppers, celery and quorn. All I added was a vegetable stock cube, dried basil and black pepper. it made for a very rich, tasty sauce.

6. Mutti Finely Chopped Tomatoes shown above with a vintage Skyline utensil from the yay retro! online shop.  These tinned tomatoes were lovely, I made a simple Quorn bolognese with some basil, onion, chilli, sweet pepper, vegetable stock cube and a little bit of tomato paste. The tomatoes were very finely chopped and the meal tasted noticeably rich. I would recommend these.

7. Haribo Giant Strawbs -  I saved these as a treat for Grandchildren. Everyone gave them the thumbs up including my son and daughter in law as they are vegetarian, they were pleased they were gelatine free. I really liked them as they were not very sweet. They had a really good consistency and there were enough in the pack for 6 of us to share.

8. Lucozade Energy Orange - Wouldn't normally buy a fizzy drink, hubby will prob have this at lunchtime, or we'll keep for a boost if we are unwell.

9. Milky Bar Wowsomes x 2 - These look cute. Inside are three chunks of white chocolate with fun embossed pictures on them, with a creamy, slightly crispy centre due to the small amount of oats in them. They are very small and come up at 95 calories each with 30% less sugar. Very nice taste, not sure I would buy again, perhaps more suitable for those with young children.

10. Juicy Fuel Cola - Wouldn't normally buy a fizzy drink, so it's nice to try. I tried the Blueberry flavour and the can tells me it is all natural and part of my 5 a day. It tasted mainly of sort of fruit sweets with a tiny bit of cola flavour. There are 125 calories in the small 250ml can, and I would go for zero calorie drinks if I were to ever go for the fizz. However this was tasty and a nice treat. 

11. Trek Energy Chunks x 2 shown with a vintage 1960/70s Taunton Vale melamine tray. These Whole food snacks are ideal to try out on a lunch break. I've eaten most of the Cocoa and Peanut Peak chunks as you can see by the photo! These are completely delicious and I would be keen to buy them again. They are made from things like Dates, Grape and Apple Juice, Peanuts, Soya, Cashews, Peanut Butter, Raisins, Cocoa, Gluten free oats and a few other things like Soya Flour. They are high in protein and so make you feel fuller for longer and give you an energy boost without added sugar or syrup - the dates and fruit juice give them the prefect balance of sweetness. Loved them, can't wait to try the toffee flavoured ones. This is something I would have overlooked had it not been for Degustabox.

12. HappyDown Lychee Guava Chilli Drink
This is a confusing drink whose overall, eye catching branding says one thing, but it's another. It's actually an alcoholic drink which I only found out only by reading the can very closely. The bright pink colour, jolly name and graphics made me think this was a soft drink and I nearly served it to my very young grandchildren, however very luckily we ended up opening it on our own to go with a picnic. We found it too sweet and threw it away and were both upset with the inappropriate branding - it has 4% alcohol in it.

13. Nicks Kexbar - Ate this immediately and it was bloomin' delicious. I need to buy more of these right now! This is a no added sugar, big chunky, crispy wafer covered in chocolate with a lovely filling inside. Made in Sweden this has 195 calories, that's 487 calories per 100gm. I really loved this it was light, airy, chocolatey and felt bold and chunky in your mouth. Fab. Plus you can get 20% off at Amazon if you want to give them a try with the code DEGUSTA1. Why not give it a go?


14. The Food Doctor Full of Beans Protein Mix and Smokin' Edamame Mix
This is a small bag packed full of energy. In the one photographed ( we've kept the other for a future snack) there were Broad beans, Soya Beans, Black Soya Beans, Peas, Corn Kernels, Sunflower Oil & Salt. My husband ate it and enjoyed it, he found it filling and I thought it looked full of fibre and healthy stuff. At just 127 calories per bag this is a healthier alternative to crisps with less calories.

Come back for more reviews as and when we try the products!

Degustabox Box March 2018, Foodie Reviews & Voucher Code - yay retro!

yay! another parcel of lovely foodie treats to try out! Read on to see what's included in this month's Degustabox and to get a money off voucher for you to have a try...

above...The contents of the March Degustabox

I'm Sue and I run the yay retro! online vintage shop. I am really lucky to be involved with reviewing the lovely food boxes from Degustabox each month. Degustabox is an affordable monthly subscription where you get surprise foods delivered to your door to try out, for £12.99 (the foods included are always worth more than this). It's a great way to expand your ideas for your shopping list, getting you to try foods you may never have thought of.

Try Degustabox Use Code: WBWEO and get money off your first box with yay retro!

Join in the fun on the Degustabox website here, then you too will receive a marvellous surprise box of foodie treats!  Use the special yay retro! code above to get £5 off your first box - you’ll pay just £7.99 instead of £12.99!

Here are My Thoughts about What's Included in this month's Degustabox....

1. Smarties & Milky Bar Mixed Mini Eggs - Large Sharing Pack for Easter 
This is the first thing we tried and we absolutely loved them, the two of us shared them over two nights. There was plenty of eggs and the Smarties ones tasted like super sized Smarties - yum - especially the orange ones which are my favourite.  The Milky Bar eggs which just like a Milky Bar but with a crispy shell. Divine and definitely a future buy for us!

2. Cirio Pasta Sauce & Encona Caroline Reaper Chilli Sauce (limited edition) 
The Cirio pasta sauce is a premium sauce made with 100% Italian ingredients - ideal for quick after work meals.  I used this alongside the Encona Caroline Reaper Chilli Sauce and made a spicy bolognese sauce. This tasted really tomato-y, rich and delicious.  The Chilli sauce added a massive kick as it is very strong indeed (thankfully I had used it sparingly). I went on to use the chilli sauce in a vegetable chilli. I normally make my own pasta sauces using cheap chopped tomatoes. I could taste the difference when using the Cirio, and might use it when I have people over and I want to knock something up quickly. The Chilli sauce is way too hot for us to use other than for cooking, and even then I have used it ultra sparingly. If you adore extra hot things then this is for you!

3. Mr Lee's Noodles - My thoughts were that this would be a super vegetarian fast food for lunch time. On opening I was impressed with the amount of proper veg in it like mushrooms and spring onions. Sadly I didn't like the taste of it, however am sure others would.

4. Hafervoll Flapjack Ltd Lebkuchen a no added sugar natural oat bar, right up my street. This was chock full of proper ingredients like dried fruits, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, walnuts, almonds and apricots. This particular flavour was a limited edition and was developed to bring to mind a Christmassy feel. My husband really liked it. Apparently the bars are pressed into moulds and then air dried before being gently baked. They are moist and cake-like and definitely taste healthy. Shown with a 1970s Poole Pottery Delphis bowl.

5. Shreddies Max Granola - I love Shreddies and I love oats so I enjoyed this cereal. I would have liked it to taste much more of Shreddies however, their particular flavour didn't come through for me, and I couldn't see very much Shreddie in the bowl. The cereal includes oat flakes, Wheat, Rice Crisps and small pieces of Shreddies. Apparently they are a good protein source, are high in fibre and low in fat, though they do contain added sugars. It's a small funky box, at £2.59 each I think I would prefer to go for a larger box of regular Shreddies as I do love the flavour of those.  The cereal is shown with a Woods Jasmine Bowl and a Poole Pottery Biscuit Barrel from the yay retro! shop.

6. Encona Caroline reaper Chilli Sauce - something for my husband, I will use for cooking. See above as I used it with the Cirio Pasta Sauce!

7. Ribena Pineapple and Passion Fruit - large bottle - Ideal for when the grandchildren come over, this squash has no added sugar and contains less than 15 calories per 250 ml serving. This will be super for the warmer weather being a tropical flavoured drink. I've now tried this and it's really fruity, uplifting and not too sweet, would definitely recommend.

8. Cheestrings Snack Mix Voucher to redeem in store. Happily my local Morrisons had these in stock to redeem my voucher. I was also selected to receive a lovely lunch bag complete with the 3 different Cheestring Snack mix flavours to review- Fruity Cubes, Cherry Strings and Fruity Mix, plus a pen and pencil set too!   Initially I was doubtful about these as we don't have children to prepare packed lunches for. However we ended up snacking on them at night, and I also had some when I was dashing about on a work day. I was actually very impressed. Everything is presented in nice, small and healthy sized portions ideal for little children to calorie conscious adults. The cheese is very flavoursome, fresh looking and tasting, even though it is pre-cubed.

The crackers and treats vary from pack to pack. In the Cherry Strings pack there are Ritz-like crunchy crackers, the cheese cubes and then little strings of chewy sweet cherry, teeny round digestive biscuits and chocolate covered raisins (pack = 189 calories). In the Fruity Mix pack there are fish shaped crackers, cheese cubes and then apricot pieces, raisins and little balls of white chocolate (pack = 184 calories). In the Fruity Cubes pack there are Pretzels, cheese cubes and then dried cherry and apricot cubes with yogurt coated raisins (pack = 160 calories). I think they are all fun and interesting and provide a variety of tastes and textures. They're a good source of protein and the treat element - chocolate etc is small, giving a good portion lesson perhaps? Once eaten the pack can be opened and each has an array of games and puzzles to do such as crossword puzzles, snakes and ladders and racing games, quizzes and jokes. I would imagine children would find these great fun! They are £1 each which is a quite an investment, it would be good if they become available in multipacks and I can imagine buying them for picnics and train journeys, as well as for a quick on the run treat/snack.

9. Appy Kids Co Roald Dahl Fruit Drinks

My 3 grandchildren had these, with there being 3 cartons in the pack there was so 1 each - so a big yay! to that. They are low in calories and have no added sugar or preservatives. They all liked them and said they tasted really nice, they smelt lovely and fruity.

10. Canny 100% Natural Chocolate Milk -yum (extra gift for subscribers who have reviewed products on the Degustabox website the most). OMG! This is completely luscious! It's a thick, rich chocolate drink which tastes of heaven and has just the right level of sweetness. Me and my husband shared it as a dessert and it made me think it could easily be used as a topping for fruit etc in place of cream as it has a creamy consistency. Worth noting it has nearly 274 calories in the small carton, so it's definitely a treat. Interestingly it contains milk, date nectar, cornflour, cocoa and sea salt, so the sugar is from the dates. I would definitely like to have this again and wonder where best to find it. The product actually reminds me of Laccao chocolate milk which I used to have on holiday in Spain when I was a teenager and is a taste and flavour I've remembered ever since!

The only thing I would say is that the packaging is not appealing, clear or 'stand out' for me. It's really confusing with lots of Newcastle 'speak' on it which doesn't really make sense at all in relation to promoting the product. I think it should indicate the creamy, chocolatey, wonderfulness that is within!! #cannybanter

11. Tenzing Natural Energy Drink
This natural caffeine drink contains green coffee, guarana, green tea, Himalayan Rock Salt, beet sugar and lemon juice. I had it at work and I was really impressed. I don't really like fizzy drinks and never have them, however, I would definitely go for this one again, it was truly lovely! 

above...the Degustabox prior to opening! (note I am lucky enough to receive my box in return for blogging about the contents. All my reviews are honest and fair.

Pop in to the yay retro! shop for a lovely vintage browse now.

Review of Scheepjes Boxed Set of 50 Stone & River Washed Yarns

For lovers of 1960s and 70s style Crocheted clothes and homewares read on......Recently I invested in a wonderful boxed set of 50 ten gram balls of Scheepjes Stone Washed & River Washed yarns, having seen someone share a pic of theirs online.  I simply had to buy one straight away even though I had no project in mind. It costs around £26.25 plus postage and I got mine from the who sent my order quickly and well packed.  Initially I intended just to keep and look at it, it gives me the same feeling as a brand new box of paints or a calorie free box of chocolates!!

The yarn is 78% cotton and 22% acrylic and is the first top quality I've used in my recent foray into continual crocheting (I'm literally hooked!) It's soft, strong and there is a distinct difference between the stone and river washed effects - the river washed has a fluffier finish and is two tone with seemingly the outer fluffy layer being the contrast colour. The stone wash has a far subtler colour change from dark to light within the yarn. With the vast array of up to the minute colours to choose from, the pack is very inspirational and is a great help in thinking of interesting colour combinations.

Happily I came across a 1960s knitting and crochet pattern for a 'Coat of Many Colours". This involves making 114 squares measuring 2.5 inches across and then adding a knitted border and sleeves. I decided to dive into my colour box of Scheepjes and am delighted so far!

I've ordered 5 more 50gm balls of the Smokey Quartz stonewashed wool for the edging and sleeves. It was very hard to choose which colour to use as I love every single colour in this box!  I am impressed with how far the 10 gm or 26 metre long balls go in the box and would definitely recommend this to other crafters, in fact I fully intend to buy another box when this one's gone! 

I have now completed this project and actually adapted the vintage pattern heavily to suit this yarn weight and to make a waistcoat instead. Click here for my adapted pattern should you wish to have a go.

(note this is not an ad I paid for the box myself.)

yay retro! Talks Crochet and Life with Zeens and Roger

Recently I have started crocheting again, having been inspired by blogger and pattern writer Rosina who publishes under the name of Zeens and Roger on her Blog & Instagram. She recently set up #grannycal18, and I got back into crochet big time thanks to this fantastic crochet along.

Rosina mentioned the idea of a group Crochet Along on an episode of her vlog on YouTube and everyone was really positive about it. Her main reason for doing it was to get everyone involved in something simple and fun; make what you want as long as it has a granny stitch. No pressure crochet.  She also wanted to breathe life back into the granny square, as she's really keen to see some different takes on it. It’s her first CAL and she’d love to do another because the feedback has been amazing. She really didn’t expect it to take off quite so successfully! 

above one of Rosina's Granny Square Blankets with resident cutie xx

Crocheted clothes were a big hit in the 1970s with people such as Paul McCartney being seen sporting a granny square waistcoat, Twiggy regularly being photographed in crocheted dresses and tank tops, and trousers and hot pants being crocheted and worn by hippy types. Now there is a resurgence in crocheted clothes, blankets, cushion covers, shawls and of course Amigurumi toys. With the resurgence in all things 1960s and 70s, crocheted clothes are also being shown by some of the big designers, so it's the in thing for sure!

If you are looking for crochet patterns, want to talk crochet or find out hints and tips then Zeens and Roger is definitely your kind of thing. Rosina designs crochet patterns which are available from Ravelry, where you'll find patterns for bags, hats, scarves, blankets, toys and more. She has recently had her patterns featured in several crochet magazines and says that her shawls are one of the most popular patterns of hers adding: "shawls are awesome, I love them!!"

above Rosina's Holey Smokes shawl which is available from Ravelry

Rosina lives with her family in a beautiful part of Devon called Ottery St Mary. It is about twenty minutes outside of Exeter, just fifteen minutes away from the coast and a five minute stroll to the countryside. She says, "I'm a little bit in love with Devon at the moment!! I love it here and it quite often feels a little bit magic!"

She started to crochet just over a year after she had her first son (he’s coming up for nine): She tells me when her son was born her "Nanna made him a blanket, my sister in law made him a blanket and Mum also handed me two baby blankets that she’d made in the seventies. I felt sad that I hadn’t made anything for my baby and I wanted to remedy that. I bought a simple beginners book and sat in front of YouTube for a week. Finding the correct tension was the hardest thing but once I had that, off I went!!"

above Rosina's Embroidered Amigurumi Easter Eggs

Zeens and Roger is Rosina's online home, you’ll find stuff related to all things crochet and she occasionally throws in posts about a different craft she's tinkered with, and maybe something about the garden, or a recipe she's made. Things have gradually evolved and she now also has a fortnightly chat over on YouTube which is well worth having a watch of.

She tells me that: "Most of my patterns are pretty simple but even with the ones that are trickier, I try to provide everything I can think of to make the pattern as easy as possible.  Anything with as granny stitch is pretty fun and easy......My Holey Smokes shawl has some pretty complicated stitches but once you get your head round those, the shawl flies off the hook. This is a pattern where I have everything I can think of to make it as easy as possible: written instructions, chart, photo tutorial, video tutorial. In the end it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be!"

She's discovered that seasonal crochet patterns are very popular. At this time of year her embroidered Amigurumi Easter eggs are a top choice with her followers, there is a currently a freebie pattern on her blog for you to work from.

above Rosina's crochet corner in her lounge

Emergence of Spring Shawl - The pattern is in issue 99 of Inside Crochet Magazine

Rosina tells me she has two favourite makes: "My colourful Geo Rainbow Corner to Corner blanket (below). People can’t believe it’s made all in one piece. And then there’s my new shawl/wrap, which is in issue 99 of Inside Crochet magazine. It’s called the Emergence of Spring (above) and it’s a filet number with pretty, lacy details. I’m really proud of it as it involved lots of maths to work out the multiples. Maths and I are not friends."

Rosina's Geo Rainbow Corner to Corner Blanket

I asked Rosina for her top tips on yarn, and she says she has a thing about local yarns. She has a handful that have been spun or hand dyed relatively nearby and she’d love to have more. Her favourite yarns to work with are Merino and Blue Faced Leicester. Both are beautifully soft, squishy and warm.

She's always thinking about the next thing and how it can be better from the last, and is curious about new ideas, new stitches, new yarn, textures, methods of making. She tells me: "I want to know everything! Crochet has kind of taken over but I also like to sew and mess about with embroidery every now and again. I love to draw however weeks can go by and I don’t pick up a pencil. I haven’t mastered knitting yet, anything beyond the basics and I’ve got no clue! I’ll get there one day."

Above a shelf of vintage collectables in Rosina's home including her Sylvac rabbit.

Rosina's Home is apparently a mish mash of brown furniture "I don’t like my sideboards painted, shabilly or otherwise!" she says! We live in a 1950’s semi so it’s always good when I find something that fits in with its age but there’s a lot of Victorian stuff too. In amongst the furniture is a lot of junk collected from jumble sales, charity shops and places like the antique centres in Topsham and Honiton. Illustrated books are a real draw but my favourite things are those with provenance; a 1930’s Grandmother clock inherited from my Great Aunty Alma, it’s lovely but very loud. The desk I work on was Grandad’s for decades. It became mine last year. And we have a mid-century table that was made by my father in law when he was at school. It’s simple yet beautifully made."

Rosina's beloved bureau with vintage books, ornaments and Arthur Wood Coffee Pot

Rosina says that her favourite item in the yay retro! online vintage shop is a Prestige Skyline ladle of all things!! "All the kitchenalia reminds me of a ladybird book I had as a kid; Cooking with Mother (I don’t have the same copy anymore but I do have the same book in my Ladybird book stash). I remember my dad cutting tomatoes all zig zaggy for me just like the way they did in the book. And Mum making me the ladybird cake for my birthday!"

Pop into yay retro! for a browse of vintage wares now or visit Zeens and Roger on Instagram for a feast of crochet!

Recent Feedback for yay retro! and a Lovely Customer Photo

Recent *HaPpY* messages and feedback from yay retro! customers who bought a retro shelf, vintage French glass storage jars, a vintage kettle, a 1970s biscuit tin and vintage shot glasses in a rack:

'The Shelf is lovely! Thank you. So well packaged and fab free gift. The glasses fit in the rack perfectly- just need to fill them up!' Lindsey (see photo) I Love the way Lindsey has combined her two yay retro! purchases together.

'Just received my retro kettle from you, and I am really pleased with it, it is gorgeous also thank you for the Scandinavian dish cloths they will come in very handy in our old motor home where the kettle will be living too, and what a great service I have received from you xx' Julie

'Dear Sue, I am just emailing to say thank you. Your parcel arrived this afternoon... I shall definitely be using your site again. Again many thanks for your prompt delivery and for the return of the other postage most appreciated.' Sandra

Review of Sue Ryder's Steinberg Retro Patchwork Storage Cabinet

Recently I have been undertaking a lot more craft activities in a bid to get off the computer of an evening and unwind from work. As a result my small home has been inundated with wool, embroidery threads, craft books and magazines and much more paraphernalia!  I needed to be able to put everything away tidily otherwise I might quit crafting all together!

Fortunately I found the most wonderful retro styled cabinet on Amazon in the Steinberg Retro Patchwork cabinet range. It's sold by the Sue Ryder Charity shop and is a new flat pack piece of furniture which includes a tallboy and a chest of drawers. Both are of a compact size meaning you can use them in a small space.  Though don't be fooled by their dimensions as they are built like the Tardis! Here's my chest of drawers in situ. I simply adore the 1950s styling in the leg department and the Scandi feel with the happy colours which match my lounge perfectly. 

The dimensions of this particular cabinet is W70 x D29.5cm x H85 cm. It arrives in a large box which is extremely heavy, so two people are needed to carry it.  We unpacked and laid out all of the contents to check everything was there before starting to assemble it. My husband was the person doing the constructing, and I was very glad about this as it took him three evenings to put together, doing a bit each night. The different drawers and little cupboard are all well constructed, with a matte finish to the coloured panels. We made everything extra strong by adding PVA glue to the wooden dowels.

I actually bought this to house my yarn stash, however now it's put together, I am using it in a different way which tidies all my bits and bobs away. I have a drawer for my cottons and needles and one for buttons and embroidery threads. Then all my knitting and crochet needles share a drawer with my knitting patterns.  I have a drawer for my current craft books, and a cupboard which houses boxes of craft kits. The two small square drawers are as deep as the unit and house my felt tips and crayons, when I need them I can simply pull the entire drawer out - perfect! I actually have one empty drawer and intend to find the suitable thing to pop in there today!  I would thoroughly recommend this to anyone who is handy with flat pack furniture and at £129.99 I think it's fantastic value. 

If you love handmade items, there are some for sale in the yay retro! online vintage shop here:

Cushions using vintage fabrics
Knitted Dolls
Vintage Textiles for your own crafting projects

If you wish to find the unit for yourself on Amazon here is a link. NOTE this is NOT an Ad. I purchased this myself.

All this for just £5.99 using the yay retro! Special Degustabox Code this January!

My January Degustabox just arrived and here is a sneaky peek along with a lovely special voucher code for you to get your first box for just £5.99 - a £7 saving! 

You can sign up for your Degustabox and like me, receive lots of foodie surprises and treats to try each month delivered to your door. Use the special yay retro! Degustabox voucher code WBWEO to get £7 off your first box - you’ll pay just £5.99! (The normal price is £12.99 per month, and the items inside will always be worth more than this amount.)  

What’s in January’s Degustabox?

A bottle of Mahtay Yerba Mate Sparkling Tea
Clipper Everyday Organic Tea
Pulsin Vanilla Choc Chip Protein Booster x 3
Pulsin Vanilla Whey Protein Powder
Superdrug Lighterlife Fast Ready to Drink Shakes x 2
Mallow & Marsh Coconut Marshmallow Bar
Latin American Kitchen by Santa Maria Chipotle Mayo Topping
Latin American Colombian Crunchy Chicken Bites Seasoned Corn Coating 
Wild Planet Albacore Wild Tuna Steaks
Miso Tasty Spicy Ramen Noodle Kit
Jordans Juicy Red Berry Frusli Bars x 2
Robinsons Fruit Cordial
Hersheys Cookies N Creme 5 Pack Snack Pack
Explore Cuisine Organic Edamame & Mung Bean Fettuccine

What I love about this Degustabox so far...

The Frusli bars were the first thing I tried, as they were ideal for my lunch. Can’t wait to try the Hershey bars as a treat one evening, along with the Mallow & marsh bar - yum! The protein rich Pulsin products are excellent for me as I am a vegetarian and need to ensure that I keep my energy levels up. The bean Fettucine looks great,  again due to the higher protein as it’s made from beans. Loving the tea products - I’m a teaholic and I’ve not tried either of these. I’ve previously tried the Tuna thanks to Degustabox and it’s our firm favourite and the only tuna we now buy! All of the drinks will be super for lunchtimes and I’m already planning on buying some Quorn fillets to try the Latin American corn coating which we’ll have with the Chipotle Mayo Topping.

Keep an eye on my blog to see detailed reviews of each of these products later on this month!

In case you don't know, I'm Sue and I run the yay retro! online vintage shop, which sells vintage home and cookwares from the 1940s, 50s, 60s & 70s. I'm into cooking and eating, fun and surprises! So the Degustabox monthly food subscription is the perfect monthly treat for me! 

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