Be It Passion or Love, Who Celebrates Valentine’s Day?

Who Celebrates Valentine’s Day?

Valentine’s Day in the United Kingdom is an annual event on 14th February. However, cupid’s arrow does not just strike in the U.K! Who celebrates Valentine’s Day?  Do traditions vary from country to country? What will you be doing this Valentine’s Day?

Which Countries Celebrate St. Valentine’s Day?

Any country where Christianity is a major religion celebrates Saint Valentine’s Day. However, some countries apply greater significance to the February 14th date than others.

Indeed, most countries around the world celebrate Valentine’s Day in some shape or form. From Latin America to South Africa, and Asia to Europe. The U.S.A, Canada, Australia and New Zealand all mark the day of romance too. So many people in the mood for love!

However, this is not the case everywhere. Some countries have banned celebrating Valentine’s day altogether! Why, you may ask? For many, for good reason. As stated earlier, Valentine’s Day is a Christian celebration, so some Muslim countries have taken the step to ban the festivities to prevent cultural clashes. These countries include Iran, Pakistan, and Malaysia. Saudi Arabia’s culture makes it taboo to show signs of affection in public.  Valentine’s day, therefore,  goes against the ideologies of this country. Russia, celebrates women, rather than a saint, on March 8th, International Women’s Day. More details about each of these are outlined in this article by Wedded Wonderland.  7 Countries That Refuse To Celebrate Valentine’s Day – Wedded Wonderland

How Do Celebrations Vary?

For those countries that do mark St. Valentine’s day, celebrations can vary significantly. Here, in the U.K., exchanging cards and gifts and going out for a romantic meal are  commonplace. Many other countries like U.S.A, Spain, France, and Australia, celebrate in a similar fashion. However, there are some places across the globe that have some fascinating differences.

In Japan, the celebrations are split between two dates. On 14th February, ladies in Japan give gifts of chocolate to their loved ones. One month later, on 14th March it is White Day, and the turn of the gentlemen. This is similar in South Korea, though the men are encouraged to give non-chocolate sweets. In fact, the 14th of every month seems to be significant to South Korea. The exception is April 14th, ‘Black Day’. On this date, singletons go to restaurants to celebrate being alone and eat black noodles!

In Germany, as in Britain, red roses are a significant gift between lovers.  In addition to this,  children join the celebrations. They buy presents for their parents, teachers, and classmates! Similarly, in Finland and Estonia, the celebrations are focussed more on friendships. Gift giving is between friends rather than partners.

South African ladies traditionally wear their hearts on their sleeves! Women pin the name of the person they love onto their shirt sleeves. Here, this is often how gentlemen find they have a secret admirer! St. Valentine’s Day is very significant in the Philippines, especially for weddings. The number of couples choosing to tie the knot on this special day can be vast. It is not uncommon for local wedding ceremonies take place en-masse. In the past these have taken place at shopping malls and village squares!

Saint Valentine is the patron saint for many living in Lebanon. Couples exchange gifts of cupcakes, chocolate, and red roses, to celebrate the feast day. Traditions also vary between cities. In Beirut, the men take their partners out for a meal. In Sidon, the day is more focussed on the love of a family, rather than that of couples. Finally, Singaporeans are among the most extravagant gift givers for Valentine’s Day. 60% of lovers in Singapore admit to spending between $100 and $500 for the event!

The Cost Of Celebrations

Whilst spend per head in Singapore might seem impressive, it is America that invests the most on February 14th. It is believed that over $27 billion will be spent in 2021. Men spend an average of $339 and women significantly less at $64, according to Bankrate. The U.K., by comparison, tallies up to approximately $1 billion. Millennials are the biggest spenders, with an average spend of £42 for their Valentine.

 

So, what do they spend their money on? Flowers, jewellery, Champagne, sweets, and chocolates are all popular choices. Some splash out on romantic trips.  Many buy clothing and beauty treatments, others, entertainment. However, there is also a growing trend to buy Valentine’s gifts for pets too! In 2019 Americans spent $886 million on their furry companions!

If you are looking for unique, you can’t go wrong with personalised gifts, like featuring in your own romantic novel! More unusual choices could include a two person jumper! If money is no object take a leaf from the Beckham’s book. David gifted Victoria an $8 million dollar Bulgari diamond necklace! Or maybe you could be environmental and buy a tree for your loved one?

Whether you mark Valentine’s day this year or not, at Sweet and Nostalgic we hope you have found our blog informative! If you need inspiration for gifts, please, visit our online shop, there is something for everyone! We are delighted to be listed in Feedspot’s top list of Gift Websites and Blogs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrate Your Love For Puzzling on National Puzzle Day!

What Is National Puzzle Day?

 National puzzle day is a non-official holiday celebrated on the 29th January every year. On this day, people are encouraged to try out puzzles of all shapes, sizes, and degrees of difficulties! Puzzles can be anything from crosswords to jigsaws, Sudoku to Rubik’s Cubes. The idea is purely to have fun and enjoy the challenge of tackling a puzzle!

 The Benefits

Scientists are confident that participating in puzzles is beneficial to our health. In Science Daily, there is a report from the University of Exeter, published in 2019. The report states, ‘Older adults who regularly take part in word and number puzzles have sharper brains.’ The findings come from the largest online study to date. Certainly, other research lists benefits to be, improved memory, increased I.Q., and better problem-solving skills. In addition to this, participating in puzzles can decrease stress and lift your mood. So, what puzzles should you try?

Puzzle Ideas

Marmite Jigsaw 1000 PiecesA puzzle is any game, toy or problem that tests your knowledge, ingenuity, and patience! Puzzles come in all formats and many people have their favourites. Some puzzles tackle words, for example, crosswords, anagrams, riddles, and word searches. For those who enjoy numbers, mathematical problem solving and sudoku are popular. Tactile, mechanical puzzles have been around for centuries too. From Chinese puzzle boxes, to puzzle jugs, puzzle locks, to the more recent, (by comparison to some of these earlier varieties), jigsaw puzzles. Visual puzzles like dot-to dot or spot the difference can be great fun too! Modern video gaming has introduced a whole new world of puzzles to a different generation, for example, tile matching games, platform games and adventure games! In fact, the history of puzzles spans centuries! Let us look at it in more detail.

History of Puzzles

The earliest documented puzzles come from riddles found in Ancient Greece and Egypt. Greek mythology produced the Riddle of the Sphinx, whilst labyrinths proved intricate puzzles, one of the most famous being the Ancient Cretan Labyrinth. The earliest tactile puzzles include bottom-fill vessels first found in Cyprus 1000BC with decorated versions discovered in China around 900AD. In Rome, secret compartment rings dating to 200BC show the use of intricate levers and clasps. In addition to this, the Roman Trick Lock, is carbon date to 100-400 AD. Indeed, trick locks appear to have been extremely popular in Ancient Rome.

Puzzle jugs first appear around 1400s. The trick with these jugs is to drink the contents without spilling a drop. Sounds easy? Not so! The jugs contain a series of holes that leak if you drink normally. The trick is to find a tube that runs through the jug, cover the holes, then suck the fluid up, like a straw.

The origin of Chinese puzzle rings has a mysterious past. Some believe they first appear in Egypt, others, Arabia. History shows them being used as locks and as engagement rings, to be united on the wedding day. You might know them as those interlinked metal hoop puzzles found in many Christmas crackers!

Manufacturing of puzzles came with the Industrial Revolution and a rise in a wealthier middle class. Initially paper or wood versions of puzzles became popular. Sliding puzzles and dissection puzzles, for example. 1760, and the first jigsaw puzzles appear. Created from cut up maps and used to teach geography, jigsaw puzzles have since grown in popularity and remain loved by young and old.

The 1800s introduced puzzle boxes to the masses, often made from ivory, the boxes became associated with the mysterious Chinese culture, though many probably originated from Europe. Joining a mass demand for puzzles, magazine and newspaper editors added puzzles to their publications in the early 20th Century. Prizes increased readership too!

In the 1970’s the Rubik’s Cube took its place in the puzzle chronicles. The Rubik’s Cube created a mass frenzy of new puzzle fans across the globe! Whilst the peak of Rubik’s Cube popularity remains in the 1980s, it is still challenging individuals daily. The World record time for solving this puzzle is an amazing 3.47 seconds, by Du Yusheng, in 2018.

The rise of video gaming leads us onto a new era for puzzles. Tile matching games, for example Tetris, really took off in the late 1980s. Platform games and adventure games also often include puzzles as part of their format. There is certainly plenty of choice for all those that wish to celebrate National Puzzle Day!

29th January

So, be it a traditional crossword, a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle or a hidden objects video game, make sure you celebrate on 29th January. Enjoy the benefits, revel in the history and above all folks, have fun!!

Here at Sweet and Nostalgic we hope you have enjoyed reading about National Puzzle Day. We are passionate about celebrating nostalgia and have a wide range of gifts available on our website all celebrating the 20th Century. We are also thrilled to be in the top 50 blogs to read on Feedspot!

 

 

 

 

 

How To Have An Unforgettable Nostalgic Family Christmas?

Have A Nostalgic Family Christmas

Christmas 2020 is likely to be very different for many of us this year. What will a Covid-19 Christmas look like? Sad, lonely, budgeted? It is likely that many of us will be changing our usual plans, however, this does not mean Christmas is cancelled! On the contrary, now, more than ever, we need the spirit of Christmas to shine bright. We must all share the ethos of peace and goodwill towards one another. We need to have a nostalgic family Christmas, whether we are together in our homes or online! Let’s look at just how that can be achieved.

Being Together Is the Most Important Gift

Think back to Bob Cratchit’s family in Charles Dicken’s iconic novel Scrooge. The family has very little. Their meal comprises of a scrawny goose and small Christmas pudding for dessert. However, their excitement over these ‘treats’ and being together to enjoy them, are what makes their Christmas special. “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humour.” Charles Dickens. If you are budgeting this year, buying separate gifts for family and friends can prove to be expensive. Why not, therefore, consider gifts that can be shared by a family, because being together matters most.

Sharing is Caring

A hamper is a great gift way to achieve this. I can remember being a young child, near Christmas, when the food hamper arrived. My parents saved a little every month, from January to November, for this spectacular parcel. December , and the lifting of the lid. Seeing the delights inside, generated so much excitement from myself and my siblings! The Sweet and Nostalgic Christmas hamper is designed to evoke similar feelings of joy for your recipients! Containing a Christmas memorabilia pack, a sixpence, Christmas music and a host of sweets, who wouldn’t feel like a young child diving into its delectations?

Alternatively, why not consider emulating a nostalgic Christmas with a retro sweet hamper? Stimulate the senses with the look, smell and taste of delicious sweets from their past, because nostalgia is a beneficial force. The Reporter, has a fascinating article about ‘The Science of Nostalgia’. It’s a compelling read, and states that ‘nostalgia helps people to cope with negativity; when in a lonely or poor state of mind, special moments are recalled to help deal with current problems.’ Therefore, your gift will give your loved ones far more than a sweet treat, it will give their mental health a boost too.

Family challenges

Why not send your family and friends a challenge? Bucket lists are great fun and encourage a family to work together to slowly scratch each element off as achieved. From watching movies, to listening to music, shared experiences are perfect for bringing people together. The ‘100 Things To Do’ bucket list is one of our favourites. It includes challenges like writing a poem, flying a kite and growing your own vegetables! Great family activities, but which house will complete their bucket list first?

Online Quizzes

It is likely this year that we may be limited on how we mix over the Christmas period. However, this does not mean we cannot spend time with close family and friends. Thankfully, in this age of technology, there are numerous video chat platforms available that allow us to spend time with loved ones in a virtual world. Although this is not ideal, it does give us the opportunity to spend time together, so why not have some fun and quiz?

Whether you theme your quiz on Christmas Trivia, Music Trivia or TV Trivia, your sure to see competitive sides come out and to fill your homes with fun and laughter! Set firm dates in your diary over the festive period for these get togethers and take it in turns to be hosts. It’s great to have events to look forward to (all be it virtually). Why not go even further for these quiz nights? Dress up as music stars or TV characters, theme your drinks and food, but above all, enjoy!

Some Me Time

Finally, you may just want a little me time. A little escapism from the real world can be healthy, and reading a great book is an ideal way to achieve this. However, what about diving into a book, in which you and your family take on the lead characters? Immerse yourself into a personalised classic novel, like Pride and Prejudice or  Robin Hood and reconnect with the feelings you experienced the first time you read them. Oh, and don’t forget it’s Christmas, and in my household, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without ‘The Wizard of Oz’!

Here at Sweet and Nostalgic, we want to wish you all a safe, peaceful festive period. We hope our retro gifts and ideas help you to have a nostalgic family Christmas. Have fun exploring our website of 20th Century gifts and thank you for reading our blog.  We are thrilled to be in the top 50 blogs and websites for gifts on Feedspot.

 

What’s On Your Amazing Bucket List?

What’s Your Bucket List?

What’s your bucket list? You have decided to make a bucket list, but what exactly is a bucket list? Does it have to be expensive? Perhaps you have a special birthday coming up and you want to achieve something before it? What are you going to put on your list? This blog will hopefully give you inspiration, so read on!

The Origin of Bucket Lists

The term ‘bucket list’ is used by people to describe the things they want to see or do before they die. Initially used by individuals facing imminent death, diagnosed with a terminal illness for example, the term is now more widely used by people as a list of things they would like to do someday.

‘Bucket List’ comes from the term to ‘kick the bucket’, to describe someone passing away. A relatively new term, it became popularized by the film ‘The Bucket List’, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman in 2007. IMDB sums it up perfectly: ‘Two terminally ill men escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die.’ In fact, the expression is not recorded as being used prior to 2006, so the film truly can be credited with the concept becoming so popular.

When to Make a Bucket List

As portrayed in the film, bucket lists are popular with those facing a terminal illness. The lists are a great way for individuals and their families to create some wonderful, fun memories during darker days. However, as explained earlier, bucket lists are now created by those facing special birthdays, retirement, or just those with lifelong ambitions. Basically, anyone with a list of dreams, goals, or challenges they wish to achieve during their lifetime, can make a bucket list! The task can be quite daunting though, so where to begin?

What goes on a Bucket List?

The most important thing to remember, is that a bucket list is a personal journey. The entries on your list should be quite unique to you! What do you want to achieve in your life? What do you really enjoy doing? Think carefully about the things that make you happy. Whether it is sport, food and drink, creativity, travel, or personal development, you are only limited by your own imagination.

Whatever happens, however, do not include every day, mundane things on your list. For example, redecorating the lounge or cleaning the car are more like chores. Learning a new language, donating blood, sky diving or attending a cookery course, these are challenges and personal achievements, therefore suitable for your list.

Stretch yourself, create a list which is going to inspire you to get up and go and do not be put off by fears of the unknown. Remember, your list can include simple things too, like reading specific books or watching certain films! In fact, it is imperative that your list has a variety of entries. Adding a mixture of short-term goals as well as long term ones will help you feel a sense of achievement as you cross them off.

Don’t forget the children too! The National Trust created a fantastic bucket list for children. 50 things to do before you are 11 and 3/4! The list includes things like building a den, making friends with a bug or having a snail race. To be honest, why not add some of these to your list, they sound great!

How Long Should a Bucket List be?

There is no limit to how many goals you add to your list. Some like to relate it to the special birthday they are celebrating, for example, 50 things to do before reaching 50. Others like to have an ongoing list, constantly achieving and adding to their lists, ever evolving. If you find your list is getting too long, you could break it down into smaller ones, categorized by type or deadline dates. If you are still not sure, begin with 25 items, making sure it includes a mixture of short and long-term goals.

Be Realistic

When making your list it is good practice to add a date that you would like to achieve each goal by. However, be realistic! If you want to travel in a hot air balloon, for example, but funds are limited, work out a small amount you need to save each month, even if it takes two or three years, then set that date as your target. By planning ahead and being methodical you will achieve more! Do not forget however, not everything on your list must cost a fortune! Simple things like learning how to draw, completing the couch to 5k challenge, or getting on a TV quiz show, will cost you little more than your time!

Ideas for Your List

There are so many ideas of what to put on your bucket list, it can be overwhelming. Annette White from bucketlistjourney.net suggests brainstorming ideas from different categories. Her category suggestions are: Adventure, Career and Finances, Charity, Creativity, Education, Entertainment and Events, Family, Food and Drink, Just for Fun, Local Experiences, Personal Growth, Nature and Wildlife, Sports and activities and Travel. You may have another category not listed that you could add too.

The most popular things on many buckets lists include: Sky Diving, See the Northern Lights, Visit the Grand Canyon, See the Milky Way, Own a Pet, Run a Marathon, Write a Book, Take an African Safari, Learn to Play an Instrument, Walk the Great Wall of China, Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, Go Glamping, Visit Stonehenge, learn sign language, to name but a few!

We can Help

If you are still not sure where to start or what to do, maybe we can help. At Sweet and Nostalgic we have a fantastic range of bucket lists available. From 100 Albums to listen to, to 100 Books to read. Perhaps you fancy trying a 100 Cocktails or maybe 100 Craft Beers (not in one go, of course!). Our scratch off bucket list posters could be the inspiration you need to get started. We have a list of 100 Things to Do and 100 Places to Visit. They make great gifts too; you could inspire your friends and family to join you on the bucket list drive!

What’s your bucket list? We hope that Sweet and Nostalgic have helped you to establish that. Whether you create your own or use one of our ready-made posters, enjoy achieving your dreams! Have fun exploring our website packed with 20th Century gifts and thank you for reading, we are in the top 50 blogs for gifts with Feedspot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glorious Ice Cream and Wonderful Vans, What’s Their Story?

Ice Cream and Vans

‘Stop me and buy one!’ We have all experienced the joy of buying a delicious ice cream or lolly from an ice cream van, but when did this tradition begin? The history of ice cream and vans is rooted with the Victorians. Read on to discover how the tradition of buying an ice cream from a street vendor began!

Hokey Pokey Sellers

In England, the first recording of anyone enjoying ice cream is Charles II and his lucky guests in 1672. The location for this momentous event, Windsor Castle, at a Feast of St. George banquet! Ice cream needed to be served immediately, as no suitable storage facilities existed, therefore, it remained an exceedingly rare delicacy for a couple of centuries, enjoyed by the elite only.

In 1847, Carlo Gatti, a Swiss born immigrant, came to Britain. Italian speaking Gatti, took residence in Holborn’s Little Italy, in London. He first started selling waffles and chestnuts from a stall. In 1849, he opened a café and restaurant specialising in chocolate and ice cream! He is therefore credited as being the first to make ice cream available to the general public. Gatti established a contract with the Regent’s Canal Company for the import of ice, enabling him to expand. He opened a stall in Hungerford Market where people could buy a penny’s worth of ice cream, served in a glass or shell, known as a ‘penny lick’.

Soon, ice cream vendors appeared across London, selling their wares from wheeled carts. The sellers, mainly Italian in descent, often cried out, ‘Gelati ecco un pocco’ (‘ice cream, here’s a little bit’), which became corrupted into the term ‘hokey pokey’! As popularity for this treat expanded across Britain, Hokey Pokey sellers began to appear in more and more cities!

‘Stop Me and Buy One’

Penny licks proved popular, but very unhygienic! The glasses often got washed in dirty water before the next customer used it or wiped with an equally questionable dirty cloth. As a result, customers often found themselves falling ill after indulging in this frozen treat. Indeed, an interesting article on The Victorian Web, describes just how bad ice cream could be for you. A London council medical officer discovered ‘cocci, bacilli, torulae, cotton fibres, lice, bed bugs, bug’s legs, fleas, straw, human hair and cat and dog hair’ in samples taken! Consequently, in 1898, a law, banning the use of ‘penny licks’ passed in parliament.

Fortunately, a wonderful culinary entrepreneur, Mrs. Agnes Marshall, included a recipe for edible cones in her book, Fancy Ices of 1894. The cones soon became an exceedingly popular way to enjoy an ice cream!

In 1923, Wall’s Ice cream introduced the first mobile ice cream sellers, using bicycles! Cecil Rodd, of Walls, came up with the slogan ‘Stop me and Buy One’, a phrase still often seen today on modern ice cream vans! These distinctive bicycles increased sales for Walls from £13, 719 in 1924, to £444,000 by 1927!

During the Second World War, ice cream manufacture naturally declined. The tricycles, used to sell ice cream, became requisitioned by the army for use at military installations. Walls sold 3,300 bikes in 1947 and turned their attention to stocking freezers in shops instead.

Freezers

In 1945, Westye Bakke, of Wisconsin, USA, invented the first electrical Freezer. Before this invention, ice cream was stored in insulated cabinets surrounded by blocks of ice. Due to the impact of World War II, general distribution of freezers to the public stalled until the late 1950s, early 1960s. Working class families, however, could not often afford the luxury of owning a freezer. The introduction of ice cream vans, therefore, ensured they did not go without this delicious sweet treat!

In 1956, the first ice cream van selling soft whip ice cream appeared in West Philadelphia, America. In 1958, Dominic Facchino, having visited America and seeing the success of Mister Softee, established Mr. Whippy in Birmingham. These Mr. Whippy ice cream vans quickly became a nationwide success. The following year, Mister Softee vans began trading in the U.K., as franchises.  The link between ice cream and vans had established!

Jingles

As the popularity of the ice cream van grew, vendors realised they could attract more customers by playing a catchy tune. The jingles often reflected local folk songs, for example Greensleeves in Britain and Pop Goes the Weasel in America. The jingles became associated with different vendors and became very distinctive. Nowadays, some may think them outdated, but they still have a nostalgic place in many people’s hearts.

Flake 99

Probably the most famous treat associated with an ice cream van is the Flake 99. Many believed it achieved this title from its price of 99p, but this is not the case. The Flake 99 first appeared in 1922 and certainly did not cost 99p, more like 1d! Cadbury’s state that the reason for the term has been lost in time, however there are a couple of theories. The first is that it started in Portobello, Scotland, when Stephen Arcari, who owned a shop on 99 Portobello High Street, broke a flake in half and stuck it into an ice cream. The name came from the shop’s address and became adopted by a Cadbury’s employee. The second is the guard of an Italian King consisted of 99 men, thereby associating the number with anything first class! Whatever the reason, the Flake 99 remains a popular choice for many!

Ice Cream Vans

The 1950s and 60s certainly heralded the glory days for the ice cream van. In the 1960s, some 30,000 vans existed in Britain. As freezers became more commonplace, however, ice cream vans diversified to sell more novelty ice creams and popsicles, like Fab and rocket lollies. Although their cheerful chimes can still be heard occasionally around the streets on a warm summer’s day, ice cream vans have declined significantly. Now more associated with carnivals and festivals, there are estimated to be just 5,000 classic ice cream vans in the UK to date. So, next time you hear the cheerful call of the ice cream van, why not go out and treat yourself to a bit of nostalgia?

Here at Sweet and Nostalgic we hope you have enjoyed reading about the history of ice cream vans. We are passionate about celebrating nostalgia and have a wide range of gifts available on our website all celebrating the 20th Century. We are also thrilled to be in the top 50 blogs to read on Feedspot!

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s The History Behind Our Brilliant British Seaside Resorts?

British Seaside Resorts History

Seaside resorts first developed in Britain in the 1700s when the practice of ‘taking the waters’, popular at spa towns, extended to the coast. Doctor’s began to prescribe immersion in seawater for the treatment of conditions like rabies, gout, hysteria, and melancholy! Initially, not a pleasurable experience, though a growing fashion to experience the benefits did alter these attitudes very quickly. One of the earliest such resorts could be found in Yorkshire, at Scarborough. Already a popular spa town, because of acidic water running from one of the cliffs, it became a natural leader in the new trend for bathing. The British Seaside resorts’ history had begun!

Bathing Machines

Bathing machines first appeared in 1735, believed to be in Devon. The bathing machines provided a modest, sheltered place for guests.  Bathing Machines became a significant part in the etiquette of bathing, particularly for the ladies. They proved popular throughout 18th century right up to 20th century. Men and women usually remained segregated to ensure members of the opposite sex could not see them in their bathing costumes. However, it is worth noting, men often bathed in the nude, up to the 1860s!

Guests entered the machines whilst on the beach, wearing their street clothing. They changed into their bathing costumes and the machine would be wheeled into the water usually by a horse or horses pulling it. Some resorts employed a strong individual of the same sex, known as a Dipper. The Dipper assisted the guests from the bathing machine and into the sea. Many of the bathing machines had a flag on them that the user could raise when they wanted to return to shore.

By the 1890s the popularity of the machines waned. They remained parked at the top of the beach to be used as changing huts. These soon evolved into beach huts!

Beach Huts

Beach huts, like their earlier counterparts, afforded the gentry a private space to change. However, in the early 20th century, the huts became more associated as holiday homes for the working classes. In the 1930s the image of beach huts changed once again. Loved and used by royalty, including King George V,  the upper classes renewed their passion to utilize them. The outbreak of World War Two required the beaches to be closed, but post war, saw a huge resurgence for the British seaside holiday.

Initially bathing machines, fishermen’s huts and boat sheds made up the bulk of the ‘new’ beach huts, however, as the trend and demand increased, many beach huts became purposefully built. In 1909, at Bournemouth, the council’s borough engineer designed and built 160. Positioned either side of the pier, there are now 520 huts owned by the local council and a further 1200 privately owned ones at this site.

As stated above, beach huts can be owned by local councils or be privately owned. On popular beaches, the privately owned huts can reach phenomenal prices. Recently, a report in the Daily Mail, stated that a 12ft by 10ft beach hut sold for a staggering £330,000. Declared to be Britain’s most expensive beach hut.  The hut is situated on Mudeford Spit, Christchurch Harbour Dorset, a second hut sold for £325,000 just a week later. Fortunately,  beach huts still owned by local councils, enable those with a smaller budget to rent them for the day and experience the nostalgia and convenience associated with them.

The growth of the Railways.

Improvement’s to Britain’s transport system, particularly the railways, contributed significantly to the growth of the British seaside resort. From the 1840’s onwards, expansion of the railways to the coast often transformed small fishing villages into popular resorts! Making access quicker and cheaper, the railways brought working class and middle-class citizens to the coasts of England and Wales. In Brighton, for example, numbers increased so rapidly, that in 1841 the British Royal family abandoned the place as their resort of choice!

Blackpool became extremely popular.  It experienced a massive economic and demographic boom. This was exacerbated by the Lancashire Mill owners introducing the concept of a holiday break for workers. They closed the mills for one week, once a year, to conduct essential maintenance on the machinery. This, in turn, gave their employees a much-needed rest. Each mill closed on different weeks. The staggered closures created a steady flow of holiday makers visiting the resorts of the north. Known as Wakes Weeks, the practice soon extended to other industries. In Scotland it became known as Trades Fortnight, in Wales, Miner’s Fortnight. The concept of the annual holiday had been born. British seaside resorts’ history rocketed.

By the end of the 19th Century over 100 popular resorts existed in England and Wales. From Llandudno in North Wales, to St. Ives in Cornwall. With increased numbers of visitors, for both day trips and annual breaks, the resorts had to expand. They needed to provide accommodation and entertainment. The Victorians rose to the challenge and the iconic piers came into being!

Piers

The First seaside piers originated in the early 19th Century. These wooden constructions originally started life as landing stages for boat trips. As the popularity of the British seaside resorts grew, the platforms developed to become complex entertainment venues. The World’s oldest seaside pier can be found in Ryde on the Isle of Wight. Ryde pier opened on July 26th, 1814. The industrial revolution, then introduced ornate ironwork to piers. Many existing piers converted from wood to iron and a host of new piers sprung up too. Margate pier, originally a 1100 ft wooden jetty, became the first iron pier in 1855. Designed by Eugenius Birch he became one of the most famous pier designers of the age.

Providing a walkway out to sea, the piers often included amusements and theatres. Some remained open to the elements, others roofed or partly roofed. The longest pier still open to date, is Southend. Reaching out 1.34 miles over the Thames estuary, the pier is a grade two listed building and is also home to a pier train!

By 1914 over 100 pleasure piers existed in Britain. However, susceptible to the elements, fire, and collisions with drifting craft, many have been destroyed. It is believed there are now just 55 surviving piers in England and Wales. The National Pier Society, founded in 1979, have helped to protect many from demolition.

20th Century Changes

Despite temporary closures during both World Wars, the British seaside resorts continued to flourish. Ironically, further development in the transport industry, once the resorts’ champion, began a decline in their popularity. Air travel and the introduction of the package holiday saw more holiday makers heading to ‘guaranteed’ sunnier climates. Spain, Portugal, and Greece became the first choice for many. More recently, the introduction of low budget airlines has made holidaying abroad more affordable.

The once, classic images of British seaside resorts, like holiday camps, sticks of rock and donkey rides on the beach, are now regarded by many as outdated. Decline seemed inevitable. Many resorts, like Torbay on the English Riviera, have adapted to the change however.  Now offering excellent restaurants, shops, and nightlife, it is popular still with day trippers and holiday makers. Others, like Newquay in Cornwall, have become destination resorts for activities, like surfing. When the sun comes out, especially on a Bank Holiday, thousands still flock to the resorts, recreating scenes from the heady heydays of the British Seaside holiday.

The Future

With Blue flag beaches, clear waters, water sport activities and stunning scenery, British seaside towns can and will survive.  If they continue to adapt, they can still attract holidaymakers and day-trippers to spend their time and money at beach resorts. Of, course, with the recent global pandemic, demand for staycations, is likely to rise, with more people afraid to fly and travel abroad. Could this be the next chapter in the British seaside resorts’ history?

Here at Sweet and Nostalgic we have a wide selection of memorabilia from the 20th century, including fantastic Railway Posters associated with seaside resorts. Why not pop along to our website for a browse?

 

 

 

History Guide, When Was The Battle Of Britain?

When Was The Battle Of Britain?

When was the Battle of Britain? The dates vary according to the academics. Officially, the Battle of Britain began on 10th July 1940 and lasted until 31st October 1940. These dates represent the British perspective for the most intense daylight bombing. German historians differentiate from this. They date it from the middle of August 1940 through to the end of June 1941. At this time, the German bombers withdrew to prepare for operation Barbarossa and the Blitz ended. Let us look at the timelines.

10th July 1940 (phase one)

On the 18th June 1940, Winston Churchill spoke the following words to Parliament. ‘…the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin.’ The Luftwaffe had two objectives. The first, to disable Britain by ramping up attacks on British ports and ships. The second, to eliminate the RAF in the air and on the ground.

Significant dates of the German forces achieving stage one of their objectives are as follows. On 4thJuly the Luftwaffe sank four freighters and damaged three others in the Channel. As a result, the Channel was closed to merchant ships wanting to cross the Atlantic. The 10th July saw a major attack by the Luftwaffe, 120 German bombers and fighters struck a British convoy in that very Channel, while 70 more bombers attacked dockyard installations in South Wales. This marked the start of the Battle of Britain.

During the initial stages of the Battle, the RAF successfully brought down and damaged more enemy aircraft than they lost. Despite being significantly outnumbered, the RAF had superior radar, making a sneak attack by the Germans unlikely. Britain also has superior aircraft. The Supermarine Spitfire could turn tighter than the German ME109s. This helped the pilots to elude pursuers.

17th July – 12th August (phase two)

On 16th July 1940, Adolf Hitler issued his War Directive No. 16. The RAF museum website gives an excellent breakdown of the phases of the Battle of Britain and states this is when the frequency of attacks by the Luftwaffe ramped up. The Germans increased attacks to now include more inland raids. This tactic aimed to wear the RAF down. Night-time bombing campaigns increased, particularly on the West Midlands, East Coast and RAF facilities. Both sides received heavy losses.

The Hawker Hurricane’s (more numerous than the Spitfire’s) attributed to a lot of the German losses. The RAF preferred tactic involved the Hurricane’s being deployed against formations of bombers, whilst the Spitfires fought against the escorts. Clearly Britain needed a collective ‘stiff upper lip’. Shortages in equipment, especially aluminium, led to the government asking for donations of household goods. ‘We will turn your pots and pans into Spitfires and Hurricanes’, and they did! Pilot fatigue and a shortage of ground crew had affected the RAF, but gradually numbers increased.

13th August – 6th September (phase three)

This period in the Battle saw a significant damage to the southern bases. Despite this, Fighter Command continued to succeed in some significant air battles. 15th August became known as ‘The Greatest Day’. The Germans mounted its largest number of sorties in the campaign. Assuming RAF efforts to be concentrated in the south, the Luftwaffe attacked the North East of England. However, out of 115 bombers and 35 fighters sent, Fighter Command destroyed 75 planes and damaged many others beyond repair.

The 18th August recorded massive losses on both sides however, duped ‘The Hardest Day’. Poor weather conditions the following week gave both sides some time to review their situation. Despite unexpected losses the Luftwaffe would not quit, they continued their assault against the RAF. By the beginning of September however, they decided to turn their attentions to the suburbs of London.

7th September – 2nd October (phase four)

On 3rd September 1940, Herman Göering, the commander of the Luftwaffe. ‘My fellow commanders, we are now on the brink of victory. Our intelligence has …now informed us that the RAF is now down to less than a hundred fighter aircraft, the airfields protecting London are out of action because of the superb and accurate bombing of our bomber force……The next target must be London itself.’

He was right. August’s onslaught reduced RAF numbers significantly. At the beginning of August an average squadron included 26 pilots, by the end of this vicious period, numbers averaged 16 pilots per squadron. Between 24th August to 6th September alone, Fighter Command recorded 295 fighter aircraft lost and 171 severely damaged. Compare this to just 269 new and repaired Hurricanes and Spitfires being created.

Seizing the opportunity and hoping to further deplete the RAF into submission, Germany began its assault on London. Relentless bombing of the capital ensued but despite the odds being against them Fighter Command kept defending the skies. Worsening weather at the beginning of October gave the Luftwaffe an opportunity to withdraw and review its tactics once again.

3rd October – 31st October (phase five)

The Luftwaffe scaled back its daytime attacks and concentrated on more single-engine fighter bomber raids. Shorter days and more difficult weather conditions meant raids on clear days of up to 100 aircraft. The BF 109s used by the German forces had an advantage over the Hurricane as it could reach altitudes of over 20,000 feet. The Spitfires could achieve this too however, so tactics changed to have Spitfires flying to monitor for invasion, once spotted, more Spitfires from the ground joined them for the battle.

The Luftwaffe changed tactic once more and began a campaign of bombing Britain into submission, targeting civilians and infrastructure rather than just aiming to defeat the RAF. The Battle of Britain came to an end, but the Blitz was just beginning.

Conclusion

When was the Battle of Britain? It was during a short three- and half-month period, the summer and autumn of 1940. A short period of time with significant impact on our history. The U.K lost 1065 aircraft and 544 young pilots. Nearly another 1000 from other commands also lost their lives. Sir Winston Churchill’s famous speech sums it up perfectly, ‘Never was so much owed by so many to so few’. It was the Battle that saved Britain from German Invasion.

Here at Sweet and Nostalgic we stock a lovely rang of World War II memorabilia gifts. In addition to this we have a plethora of nostalgic gift ideas covering the whole of the 20th Century. We are pleased to be in the top 50 of Feedspot’s  Gift Websites and Blogs to follow in 2020.

 

 

 

 

It’s The Beautiful Game, But Why Is Football Important?

Why Football Is Important?

Congratulations Liverpool FC, Premier League Champions 2020. It’s been a long time coming, 30 years to be precise!  Despite fears of a pandemic, fans celebrated long into the night and in this blog, we’ll explore why football is important!

Known as ‘The Beautiful Game’, football is the world’s most popular ball game. Loved by players and spectators alike. The rules are relatively simple. All you need to play is a ball and some goal posts and these can be created with anything, including jumpers! Soccer, as it is called in USA and Canada, is played everywhere! From pitches, parks and school playgrounds to beaches and even a battlefield (as was the case in WWII)! The recent covid-19 outbreak highlighted how important the game is to so many lives and why it was imperative the Premier League completed its 2020 season.

History

Modern football (or soccer, as it is known in other countries), developed in England in the middle of 19th Century. However, alternative versions of the game go back centuries! In China, in the 3rd and 2nd century BC, records show the first ball game, that involved kicking the ball, being played. Called Cuju, the game played in ceremonial forms. It involved a round ball and a square playing area. Early versions are also recorded in Ancient Greece and Rome.

In England in the 12th Century, games like football could be seen being played on meadows and roads. The games involved kicking and punching the ball with your fist. A host of people played at any one time. Consequently games proved to be a lot rougher and more violent than the modern game – not so beautiful then! Indeed, proclamations against these games meant they were banned for several centuries!

The establishment of a form of football being played in public schools in 1835, reintroduced it back to society. Variations, concerning the size of the ball, rules and the number of players still ensued however. The first football association formed in 1863 in England and they decided handling the ball inappropriate. This meant only the keeper could now touch the ball during play. Football continued to develop over the years, until it finally settled on the game we know today.

Health Benefits of Playing Football

Playing football naturally  impacts your health positively. Our modern world, with a sedentary lifestyle, means any form of aerobic exercise is vitally important. Playing football can help control weight, regulate your blood pressure, and pulse rates. It helps to improve your mood, your cognitive abilities and can help you to relax. Knock on effects then extend to improved digestion, better quality sleep, and an enhanced sex life!

Physical activity releases endorphins into the body. Endorphins act as analgesics, thereby reducing pain threshold. They also act as sedatives, hence why playing football can help you relax. Indeed, during the Covid-19 lockdown, the Professional Footballers’ Association conducted a survey with some of its members. They found 72%  experiencing feelings of nervousness or anxiety. 22% reported feeling depressed. Playing football helps to alleviate these symptoms, making it important to get back to training and matches.

An excellent interview by FIFA with Brazilian football legend Julio Caesar, highlighted his experience of visiting South Asia. He stated, ’it is wonderful to see the power of football and how much it incentivises children…despite the day-to-day difficulties, they never stop smiling.’ Need I say more?

Benefits For The Fans

Fans, often regarded as the most important members of the team, the 12th player! Equally, the health benefits of being a fan are as impressive as playing. Football supporters are associated with being passionate, emotional, and dedicated. Football can unite people. Irrespective of age, colour, religion or ethnicity, fans come together to cheer their team. Friendships and relationships can and do form through the love of football!

It is estimated that more than half of the World’s population consider themselves associated football (soccer) fans. They engage, and get a sense of belonging. Football is a diversion from real life and an outlet to release their emotions. They enjoy the highs and lows of football as though they were playing the match themselves! Therefore, fans also experience the same release of endorphins as players, with the same mental health benefits.

Financial Impact

Finally, there is the financial impact football has on the world economies. In Britain alone, a study of the 2017-2018 season, saw Premier League clubs contribute nearly £8 billion to the UK economy. It is responsible for employing over 100k people and paid £3.3 billion in tax. This does not include employment and financial benefits from the lower league clubs! Compared to the end of the last century, the premier league’s contribution to the economy has increased by 800%! The knock-on effects of football on the economy, particularly during special events like the World Cup, is huge! In 2018, the BBC reported that the UK economy benefitted from a £1 billion boost from feel good factor sales! The positive impact on employment and the UK economy is therefore another reason why we should love the beautiful game!

We hope you have found this blog informative! Remember, at Sweet and Nostalgic we have a plethora of gifts available. If you want to celebrate your love of football, or you are looking for a perfect gift for a football fan, we can help. Check out our website for more details.

Ultimate Guide, How To Create A Perfect Home Bar?

How To Create A Bar At Home?

There is a growing trend for home bars. Making a pub in your basement, living area, a converted garage, or a summerhouse, is the ideal way to entertain family and friends. Whether you use it for parties, to watch the sport, play cards or just to escape the rigmarole of life, it is important your bar feels authentic! This blog is intended to give ideas and guidance on how to create a bar at home!

Location, Location, Location

The first thing you need to decide, is where to build your bar/pub. Do you have a spare room that is never used? Perhaps you are going to convert your garage? Do you have a summerhouse that is crying out to be utilised? Maybe you are just looking to add a small bar to a lounge or dining room? The good news, there are designs and ideas to suit each of these locations! Big or small, you can create a pub/ bar in your home! Look at Houzz, there is an eclectic mix of designs here.

Budget

In order to create a bar at home does not have to mean you blow the budget! There are many bars available online. These come in all shapes and sizes. If you do not have a lot of space, you could just create a retro drinks trolley, probably the cheapest option! Wayfair offer bars from under £100, whilst specialist home bar companies have designs starting from £350. You could, of course, create your own bar. The Family Handy Man, has great, detailed instructions on how to build a fantastic bar. He provides instructions that include the anatomy of a bar, what materials you require and what you need to consider when creating your bar. There is another highly informative guide by the Instructables Workshop, 10 easy steps to building a bar. You could also use recycled material, like pallets, to create a bar, economical and great for the environment!

Theme

 

Giving your home bar/pub a theme will really help you create a professional, fun space for everyone to enjoy. Choose a theme and stick to it, your family and friends will be impressed by the finished results!

 

 

 

 

Consider the theme you want to give your bar. Is it going to be a cocktail bar, a Tikki bar or a traditional Pub? Will it be a bar that celebrates your favourite pastime, for example a sport, music, or cars? Deciding on your theme will then help guide you in your selection of enhancements. For example, if you are going to create a cocktail style bar, you may want to use LED coloured lighting and a metallic finish to your bar. Alternatively, for a Tikki Bar, you may go light and bright, with rustic wood or bamboo finish. A traditional Pub feel may lead you to using darker, natural wood, with pendant lights hanging overhead? Likewise, the seating should also follow your theme. Chrome and dark coloured leather for cocktail bars, rustic for a Tikki bar and traditional bar stools for a pub, for example.

Enhance the look

So, you have selected the space, set a budget, chosen a theme and your basic bar is in place – great job! Now it is time to give it that va va voom! If you are able, add a back- board, this will give you additional storage and shelving. Decide whether you are going to install a beer pump system, or not. There is a variety of pumps on the market, that certainly give an authentic feel to a traditional pub, plus your beer will be chilled! Talking about keeping things chilled, consider having a refrigerator built into your bar, ideal for wine, prosecco, and ice cubes! Optic dispensers are widely available and a must for any home bar where space allows. You also need storage for glasses – don’t forget your theme, keep them authentic!

The finishing touches

It is time to add those finishing touches. Again, consider your theme. Artwork really helps to enhance your space. Maybe cocktail menus, a pub name, drink advertising signs? You are only limited by your own imagination! Don’t forget practical accessories too, bottle openers, beer mats, cocktail shakers etc! Consider what you are primarily going to use your bar for. If it is to party and entertain friends or family, why not incorporate a sound system, TV, and games. You could have anything, from traditional pub games like dominoes or draughts, to your very own Juke box!

Here at Sweet and Nostalgic we hope this guide on how to create a bar at home has inspired you to go for it! The most important thing is to create a space that is going to work for you. Make it fun, unique and above all, enjoy it! Don’t forget, metal wall art can male a great gift for someone too! We are delighted to now feature in Feedspot’s top 50 Gift websites and Blogs and look forward to sharing more informative blogs to you soon!

 

 

 

Great Guide To Buying Awesome Father’s Day Gifts Online!

Father’s Day Gifts Online

The origins of Father’s Day vary from country to country. Here, in the United Kingdom, it is celebrated on the third Sunday of June each calendar year. Father’s Day is an opportunity for us to honour our dad and celebrate fatherhood. We often do this by giving our Dads a card and gift, but what do you get the dad who has everything? Searching for Father’s Day gifts online can be daunting. We get flooded with pages of ideas and products. Here, we have tried to make the hunt for that elusive, unique gift for dad, simple. We have categorised past times, hobbies, and passions that our Dads enjoy. Read on, you might just find the perfect gift for your dad.

The Superhero

 

I am sure most of us look up to our Dad’s as superheroes! Honour him with his own superhero comic book. ‘Mega Dad’ is a unique comic strip book based on your Father and it’s out of this world! Likewise, if he is a comic book fan, you could buy him a personalised Beano book from a year significant to himself.

If he prefers a cup of tea over comics, you could spoil him with a Superman mug, filled with retro sweets from your chosen decade. Or, maybe he’s more of a He-Man, super strong and always there for you!

The Sports Fan

Many Dads are huge sports fans. Sometimes we share this passion, for example, playing football together or waking early to watch formula one on the sofa with them. Celebrating their love of sport can be a great way to spoil them on Father’s Day.

If they have a ‘man cave’ or games room, why not buy them a nostalgic, retro metal sign for the wall? From cricket to cycling or fly fishing to football, there is a sports sign to accommodate their passion. Signs come in a variety of sizes too. You could buy a selection of small signs, to create a montage, or you could buy one jumbo piece, for a real statement.

 

For an extra special, unique gift for Father’s Day, buy a personalised newspaper book about his favourite sport. Newspaper books are leatherette bound volumes of newspaper articles based on a subject. Usually, these books are broadsheet size, A3, so make an amazing impact. Sports covered include Rugby, Horseracing, Golf and Tennis, to name but a few. Add your Dad’s name to the book and a personal message expressing just what he means to you – perfect!

The Motor Head

How often do you lose your dad, only to find him tinkering away in his garage on his favourite moped, motorbike, or car? If this sounds familiar, maybe you could surprise him with a gift that acknowledges his devotion.

Harley Davidson Bike Wall Sign

 

Retro signs are not just sporting related. There is a plethora of metal retro signs available that feature car, motorbike, and moped brands. Key players, like Vespa, Harley Davidson, Ford, Aston Martin, and VW for example, are favourites. The signs can really add an authentic grease workshop feel to any garage! Likewise, there are some great storage tins online with the same theme. These are perfect for popping his nuts and bolts in! If his garage seems a little disorganised and boring, therefore, you could help brighten it up with these thoughtful presents.

Alternatively, your dad may enjoy a trip down memory lane with a good book. Nostalgic books about cars from the 1960’s or 1970’s may be the ideal solution. For VW fans, why not treat them to a history lesson, with, ‘The VW Camper Story’?

The Gardener

 

How many of us have a dad that likes to hide away in his garden shed, to ‘potter’? Maybe he is lucky enough to have an allotment? If this sounds familiar, then buying metal wall art, that can be put up to decorate his ‘den’, is a must! The signs depict everything from allotments to tools. Similarly, there are also signs that illustrate the gorgeous wildlife that you can see in your garden, from birds to butterflies! These signs have a retro, nostalgic feel, perfect for helping your Dad relax in his potting shed!

For something totally unique, why not buy a personalised book for your dad? A spoof Enid Blyton story, ‘Five Lose Dad in the Garden Centre’. Your Dad’s name will feature in the book and you can add a personal message too, perhaps recalling the time you lost him in the garden centre!

Sweet Like Candy

 

If your Dad has a sweet tooth, you could spoil him with some delicious retro goodies. Taking a trip down memory lane helps people relax and relieves stress, so what better time to gift these than Father’s Day? If he is the Best Dad, indulge his sweet tooth with a magnificent sweet hamper, jar of delights or a box of liquorice delectations. These gifts can be personalised and you can even purchase one that fits right through the letterbox! What are you waiting for?

A Father’s Day Tipple

 

If your Dad has a favourite tipple, you might want to treat him to a bottle for Father’s Day. When you buy Father’s Day gifts online, however, you can add personal touches to that present. Personalising a 12-year-old bottle of single malt whiskey, for example, will really show your Dad just how special he is to you. Likewise, you can add an original newspaper from a date that is significant to your dad. Imagine his Father’s Day then, relaxing, with a glass of his favourite beverage, whilst taking a trip down memory lane!

So, you see, buying Father’s Day gifts online, does not have to be a headache. Here at Sweet and Nostalgic, we have got it covered. The great news is we can ship direct to your Dad too and can often add a personal message to your gift. Enjoy browsing the shop and to all Dad’s out there, Happy Father’s Day!