The Great British Summer Holiday – 7 Top Destinations Then and Now

The Great British Summer Holiday – Top Destinations then and now!

During the post war years, the British summer holiday escape was in its hey-day! It is ironic, therefore that post pandemic, with limited travel options abroad, our UK destinations seem appealing once again! So, where did our parents and grand-parents head off to for their summer getaway? Let’s look at the great British summer holiday and top destinations then and now!


Cornwall, a favourite summer holiday destination. Sitting at the South Western tip of Britain, Cornwall boasts something for everyone! From the sandy beaches of the southern coastline (known as the Cornish riviera), to the towering cliffs and famous surfer’s beaches like Newquay and Fistral in the North. Delightful, picturesque fishing villages, wild moorland and a county full of history and mystery! In addition to this, you can indulge in delicious cream teas, Cornish ice cream and famous Cornish pasties!

However, getting to Cornwall and all its delights can be difficult! The M5 only takes traffic to Exeter, in Devon. Therefore, if travelling by car, you must brave the A30 and all other holiday makers following the same route. Alternatively, you could let the train take the strain! That is certainly what many of our Grand-Parents and Parents did. Lines took holiday makers direct to popular destinations, like Newquay and St. Ives. Indeed, you can get the train all the way to Penzance! Why not have a look at for more information.


Devon and its famous Jurassic coastline! This South Western coastline, known as the English Riviera, boasts sandy beaches and fossil rich cliffs. For seaside holidays, families flocked to Torquay, Paignton and Sidmouth. Still popular today for staycation holidays, these historic towns have plenty to offer. From gorgeous beaches, theme parks and zoos, to historic castles, botanical gardens and casual country walks.

In addition to this, Plymouth offers amazing Maritime history and a wide range of activities, come rain or shine! In addition to this, the South Devon railway will take you on a round trip steam train journey, between Buckfastleigh and Totnes. This delightful journey will give you a small insight into the world of travel for those holidaying in this area in the post war period.

The South Coast

Travelling further East from Devon we have famous holiday destinations like, Bournemouth, Brighton and Eastbourne. Particularly popular with those travelling from the Capital, these historic seaside resorts provided many families a chance to escape. For a week or two, holiday makers enjoyed staying at grand hotels, friendly B&Bs, or, if they were lucky, (a cost-effective option), with friends or relatives! This year, look out for the 32nd London to Brighton Classic Car run, 6th June 2021. A great draw for car enthusiasts, with a myriad of vehicles including, in 2020, a 1915 Model T Ford! If maritime history is of more interest, visit Portsmouth. At the National Museum of the Royal Navy, you will discover HMS Victory and HMS Warrior. The Tudor ship, Mary Rose can also be visited in this vibrant port city.

The East of England

From Clacton, in Essex, to The Broads in Norfolk, the East of England has much to offer. Our parents and grand-parents may well have visited the Butlins resort in Clacton! Although no longer there, Clacton still has plenty to offer those looking for a seaside holiday escape. Built in 1871, Clacton Pier was voted Pier of the year in 2020, for example, and hosts a wide variety of family fun activities!

For those looking for a quieter escape, why not visit The Broads? A beautiful National Park, known for its waterways, exotic wildlife, and picturesque landscape, this is definitely the place to visit if you are looking for a slower pace of life!


Yorkshire, boasting two National parks, stunning coastline and history steeped with the Romans and Vikings, a destination for many families during their summer break! In the 50s and 60s, families escaped the mines and factories for a fortnight, often by the coast. Train links led them to destinations including, Filey and Whitby. Amusement arcades, candy floss and seafood stalls all provided an escape from their day to day lives. Many of these features remain today and you are guaranteed a warm Yorkshire welcome, even if the weather doesn’t live up to hopes and expectations!

If the coastline is not for you, however, why not visit the North Yorkshire Moors or the rolling Yorkshire Dales? Contrasting landscape, each beautiful in their own right. For history buffs, a visit to York itself is a must. With its historic Cathedral, the Jorvik Viking Museum, medieval walls, restaurants and tea shops aplenty, you will not be disappointed!


Although North of Britain and therefore, historically cooler and wetter than the South, Scotland remains a popular destination for holiday makers. Our predecessors often crossed the borders by train, pulled by fantastic steam engines, like The Flying Scotsman! Scotland boasts the most amazing landscape, from the borders in the South to the Highlands and islands in the North and West. Scotland has so much to offer in history, culture and sport. From the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to the Edinburgh Tattoo, castles, Lochs (even a monster!) and, of course, golf courses! Inventors of this fine sport, St. Andrews is known as the home of golf! There is so much to see and do in Scotland, that one visit will certainly never be enough!


The small country with a big heart! With rugged coastlines, amazing national parks, a deep-rooted Celtic history with its own unique language, Wales is never short of diverse holiday destinations. In the 50s, 60s, and 70s, every summer, the coastline would be visited by the hard-working miners and their families from the valleys! Known as miner’s fortnight, seaside resorts like Barry Island, Porthcawl and, of course, the Gower peninsular, offered an annual opportunity to embrace the refreshing sea air! In the North, Llandudno, Bangor and Rhyl equally proved fashionable destinations. Wales does boast wonderful coastal holidays and has a coastal path around the whole of its shoreline!

Wales offers far more than just seaside vacations, however. From its vibrant, cosmopolitan capitol city, Cardiff, in the South, to the impressive Snowdonia National park in the North. Families are spoilt for choice on which region to explore next! Enjoy the culture, history and fine food as you explore the ever-changing landscape.


As you have read, the great British summer holiday is something staycationers have enjoyed for decades. This blog merely scratches the surface of some destinations that proved popular in the past and offer so much more to those in the future. Who needs guaranteed sunshine and scorching temperatures? When we have a nation filled with sensational landscapes, unbeatable beaches, history, culture, why travel anywhere else? Besides, you can’t beat tucking into delicious fish and chips, wrapped in paper, whilst looking out over our amazing coastline!

We hope you have enjoyed our blog. If you would like to visit our Sweet and Nostalgic store for more inspiration on gifts and collectables from the 20th century, please visit our online store. Happy holidays and stay safe!


5 Awesome Gift ideas for Mother’s Day!

5 Awesome Gift Ideas For Mother’s Day

Mum’s are amazing. They pick us up when we are down, they are our biggest supporters, they love us unconditionally! On Mother’s Day, it’s a perfect opportunity for us to say, ‘thank you’ to them, for everything they do. How can we spoil them? Are there unique gifts out there that will really show our appreciation? Absolutely! Here at Sweet and Nostalgic we are passionate about spoiling our amazing Mum’s on Mother’s Day. So, dip into our guideline on 5 awesome gift ideas for Mother’s Day!

1. A Great Read!

Busy mums don’t always get the chance to enjoy a good book, but reading can be the perfect escape! From great classic fictions, to factual books on their favourite subjects, buying your mum a book for Mother’s Day is a sure fire winner. Personalise that book, and you’re really nailing it! How thoughtful! Personalising their favourite classic, like Pride and Prejudice, or The Wizard of Oz, will have them in raptures! Alternatively, you could give them a personalised newspaper book, filled with facts on their favourite artists, like The Beatles or David Bowie. Likewise, there are newspaper books about Wimbledon, Queen Elizabeth II or The Suffragettes. Imagine her sat down, feet up, coffee in hand, as she browses through your thoughtful gift, perfect!

2. Sweet Treats!

Do you have the world’s sweetest mum? Is she fond of chocolate or a pick ‘n’ mix? Then perhaps gifting her with a delightful selection of sweets, might be just the way to show her your appreciation for everything she does. From a handmade tray, filled with chocolate hearts, to hampers filled with retro sweets, these are gifts she’ll adore! In addition to this, our sweet treats are personalised too, adding another unique element to your Mother’s Day surprise! Just think how much fun your mum will have dipping her hand into a jar of sweets, her own, personal supply! Many of the sweets are certain to take her on a trip down memory lane, to the days of her own childhood, buying penny chews with her pocket money! These are gifts she is not likely to treat herself to, so, go on, spoil her!

3. A Tipple or Two?

How many Mums look forward to sitting down, at the end of a busy week, to enjoy a glass or two of their favourite tipple? My hand just went up! Therefore, treat your Mum to something special. A personalised bottle of wine, with delicious chocolates? Perfect! If you want to add a bit of fizz, make it a Prosecco or Champagne! Alternatively, if a nice gin and tonic, or Jack Daniel’s and Coke is her poison, take a look at our alcohol and newspaper gift sets. Choose a paper from the date of your birth, and she can read all the headlines of what else was happening on the day she became your Mum! These gifts certainly show her you have given a lot of thought to celebrating the wonderful Mum she is!

4. Something Fun?

When you are down, your Mum will go out of her way to make you smile. A perfect way to express this, on Mother’s Day, is to return the favour. Buy her a gift that will make her giggle. Perhaps a tongue in cheek book about Motherhood, like our spoof Ladybird Book, ‘The Mum’? On the other hand, maybe she’d love a sign for her bedroom, kitchen or home bar, that reflects her personality? We have a wide selection of fun signs, everything from Handbag Diva‘s to Gin drinkers! We even have signs that can be personalised! Perhaps your Mum is forever reading the riot act about keeping the bathroom or kitchen tidy? Buy her a sign to hang up instead, it’ll be a good reminder for you all, and they have a great fun vibe too! For Mum’s who are great cooks, we have celebratory signs,  like ‘The Baking Queen’ or ‘Cupcake Queen’ signs. Take a browse through our metal wall sign range, you might just be inspired!

5. Chill out Pastimes!

Mother’s Day should all be about Mum having time for herself. However, how does she like to spend that time? Does your Mum even know how to unwind? Might we make a few suggestions? Has she ever tried a jigsaw? You can while away the hours piece the most beautiful images together. Jigsaws are scientifically proven to be perfect for mental health, de-stressing and can be fun family activities to do together too. Likewise, adult colouring books have become a firm favourite for unwinding. We offer a beautiful, personalised book, where your Mum’s name becomes incorporated into every design! Alternatively, for a different type of challenge, why not buy her a personalised puzzle book? Whenever she has time to sit down with a cup of coffee, she can tackle a new puzzle! Your Mum will be thrilled that you have bought her a gift that encourages some chill out time, just for her!

We hope you have found inspiration in our 5 awesome gift ideas for Mother’s Day blog! Whatever you decide to do for your Mum on Mother’s Day, make sure you tell her you love her! If you need any more help or guidance, contact us at Sweet and Nostalgic, we’re always happy to help! We are also thrilled to be in Feedspot’s Top 50 Gift Shop and Blogs. Thank you for reading!

 5 Reasons Why You Should Buy A Personalised Sign!

Want to buy a personalised sign? Looking for something unique, an unusual gift or a statement piece for your home? Here we have 5 Reasons Why You Should Buy A Personalised Sign! You won’t be disappointed!

  1. Personalised Signs Make Great Gifts!

Why should you buy a personalised sign, because they make great gifts! Why, may you ask? Well, imagine their delight when they unwrap their sign! What could be more unique than a gift featuring their name? In addition to this, you can choose a sign that really reflects the personality or passions of your recipient. Giving a personalised sign is a clear indication that you have put thought and love into your purchase, for example a ‘Baking Queen’. Finally, you are presenting a wonderful gift that can be treasured and displayed for years to come.

  1. They make a statement!

Stand out from the crowd with a personalised sign! By stamping your name onto a metal wall sign, you are making a statement. What might that statement be? It could be confirmation that you have a great sense of humour. Perhaps you want the world to share your passion, like tinkering in your garage, for example! On the other hand, maybe you want to put a personal stamp on a room, like an office or home bar? There is no doubt, these brilliant signs will help you achieve an individual style in your own home or business.

  1. There is a fantastic choice of themes!

There is a marvellous selection of personalised signs available with a variety of themes. Humour is always a best seller! We all enjoy a giggle, and a cheeky personalised sign that raises a smile, is a must! From teasing teenagers, to outlining house rules, a funny sign is sure to be a big hit! Alternatively,  you may have a home bar or man cave, why not put your personal stamp on it? There is a great choice, from a traditional British pub theme, to a 1980s cocktail bar! Likewise, we have retro signs for kitchens, playful signs for bedrooms, and vintage style signs for garages!

  1. They are pieces of Art!

Our metal wall signs are pieces of art. Surprisingly light and durable; our signs are designed, and manufactured in Yorkshire using Welsh steel, making them quality, 100% British made! Many of the designs contain detailed artwork often reflective of periods in history. Glamorous 50s styled ladies, retro graphics, and fonts, all help to create striking images. As defined in Wikipedia, all art is ‘intended to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power!’ The very definition of a vintage styled personalised sign! Evocative, fun, mood enhancing and often stimulating memories, signs are fantastic pieces of art for your home or business.

  1. They come in a variety of sizes!

Our personalised signs come in three sizes. The large, 300mm x 400mm, is a perfect poster size. Ideal as an individual piece for a smaller wall, or alternatively, in a collection with others, creating a gallery effect. The jumbo, 500mm x 700mm, is slightly smaller than A1 in size. These make a striking impact on a larger wall. Perfect if you want to pack a punch, for example, our retro Diner sign! On the other hand, if you have a particularly large space to fill, go for a super jumbo sign! These come in at a stunning 700mm x 1000mm! Super Jumbo will certainly help you to make an impressive personal statement in the right location! So, you see, a sign for every space, perfect!

Sweet and Nostalgic  hope you have enjoyed reading our blog. We are passionate about nostalgia and aim to list a wide range of gifts on our website all celebrating the 20th Century. In addition to this, our gift website and blog feature in the top 50 list on Feedspot!





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 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.


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!


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!


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.


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.