The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 4 (July 1, 1938.)
Our Women's Section — Timely Notes and Useful Hints
Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition
I Want to come straight back to New Zealand to plan the perfect house! I've just spent a long and absorbing day at the Ideal Home Exhibition and I'm bursting with ideas. My young Canadian friend and I went on an exciting tour during which we collected loads of “literature,” snatched time for a buckrabbit (poached egg on welsh rabbit) and coffee at a snack bar, collected more literature and still more ideas, had a free make-up (which wasn't so free, as I was induced to buy new skin tonic, foundation cream and face powder- “Peach flatters your skin, Madame”), saw more stalls and demonstrations, somehow escaping minus the vacuum cleaners, water-softeners, etc., and finally tore home just in time to prepare a snack dinner for our respective husbands. It was just as breathless as that last sentence!
Here are a few of my impressions: As we entered the exhibition, we were faced with a street of houses, life-size. Even so early in the day we had to queue up outside each garden entrance (yes, proper gardens with lawns, rock- eries, flowers), but by perseverance we managed to see through each of the model houses. Planning, on the whole, was excellent-large living-rooms, well-fitted kitchens, luxurious bathrooms and charming bed-rooms. We adored the “thatched” house, wavered in our allegiance when we studied the Tudor house, sighed for the cleanliness of the all-electric house, considered how the bungalow would just about suit us, gazed with awe at the “glass” house- and fell in love with the bride's house! Why? In my case, because of the living-room. It wasn't heavily carpeted and fatly upholstered! It cried out to be lived in, to have ping-pong played in it to have cushions cast on the floor and sat on at informal parties. It was that kind of a room.
The bride's bedroom was white and luxurious, especially in its cupboard fittings. In most houses the chief bed-room was spacious, and the single rooms “built to fit.” One single room, planned for a young man, had a divan bed, and built-in shelving and drawer-space-a room any sister would envy. Other single rooms were charmingly chintz or pastel. The main bedrooms were spoilt for me by their over-elaborate furnishings. The spreads, for instance, one of quilted cream satin, were fit only for wrapping in cellophane and exhibiting to favoured guests. But I did approve of fitted basins in bedrooms. Perhaps some day civilization will demand a bathroom for every bedroom.
Entrance halls are no longer treated casually. In the larger house they are worthy of the name “lounge-hall.” Staircases do not shoot up suddenly as an afterthought, but are part of the house design, as in the delightful circular oak staircase leading to a gallery above. The hall in most houses has one or two hanging cupboards and its own cloakroom with wash basin.
Bathrooms, as I remarked, are luxurious. The walls are faced with tiles, glass or vitrolite. Bath and basin are matched to the colour scheme. Mirrors are placed right. An adjustable shaving mirror I saw was affixed to an extending bracket and had its glass rim illuminated-perfect lighting for shaving or “make-up.” Shower-sprays are fitted over the bath or, better still, in an adjoining alcove. Water-proof curtains continue the colour scheme, or the shower end of the bath may be enclosed in plate glass. Towel rails are heated.
The floor is covered with soft-toned rubber.
Kitchens! They roused more interest than any other rooms. Kitchen cabinets were luxuriously fitted. Some had an enamel-topped slide for use as extra table space or for pastry making. In some, a pull-out table and fitted or folding seats were easily accessible for meals. The ironing board folded up into a cupboard. There was a well-ven-tilated larder and ample cupboard space for china and stores. Even the broom cupboard was well thought-out; shelves had slots so that brooms could hang up and the rest of the shelving be left for dusters, etc. Stove and refrigerator were built in.
Sinks require a paragraph to themselves. The sink and draining boards were, in most cases, built all in one of stainless steel, which gives the following advantages:
Easy cleaning with a damp soapy cloth-scouring powder if necessary.
There is no “surface” to wear off.
No awkward corners where dirt can collect.
Resilient metal surface to reduce crockery breakages.
An excellent idea is to have a double sink, the smaller one being specially useful for the cleaning of vegetables, or the dipping of washed dishes in clean hot water. Over a double sink can be fixed a “mixing-tap.” One turns on “hot” or “cold” or both together and the pipe attachment swivels to deliver the water into whichever sink is to be used.
Special fitments have been planned for utlizing the spaces under sinks. Suggestions are drawers and cupboards, storage cabinet with space for wash- page 58 boiler, storage cabinet and refrigerator.
A space-saving sink was set across a corner, with a narrower bench extending to the right. A plate rack of stainless steel was rubbercoated where chipping might occur. A kitchen stool, convertible into steps, is a useful unit.
One most interesting kitchen, that in the glass house, was of corridor type, long and narrow, with one end fitted as a working kitchen and the other end as pantry and china section. A specially wide window gave plenty of light. Walls and table-tops were covered with easily cleaned vitrolite. The kitchen cabinet had an extra-large pull-out work-table just below the roller front food stores section-no walking backwards and forwards for flour, sugar, nutmegs, etc.!
As befitted a glass house, oven glassware was the choice; I saw also a beautiful dinner service of glass.
Furnishings! I am so overflowing with ideas that I will need a new article for them. Furnishing ideas in the August Magazine will help those who plan to set up house in the near future.
Towards the end of the afternoon we wandered into the garden section. The air was cool and overhead there was a blueness which was almost the sky. Here, inside a building, were gardens with lawns, rockeries, pergolas, fountains. Famous landscape gardeners had reproduced here, on a smaller scale, gardens they had planned for well-known literary people. There was Beverley Nicholls's garden at Allways, with the facade of the thatched cottage showing at the end of it; there were charming gardens, each in a distinctive style, planned for Sir Hugh Walpole, Clemence Dane, Gilbert Frankau, Francis Brett-Young, Rebecca West, Agatha Christie, Dr. Cronin, Lady Eleanor Smith, A. E. W. Mason, Rafael Sabatini. A terrace, a flagged pathway, a pergola in Grecian style, a tulip bed, a flowering creeper-each in turn took the eye. We were loath to return to the comparative noise and warmth of the exhibition proper.
A wonderful exhibition! So varied, and so interesting was it that, even at 4.30 p.m. I felt able to go on looking- a marvellous testimonial from one who usually tires of such things in an hour. My only regret is that I did not return another day to see the many items I missed on my first visit.
Blouses And Lingerie.
In preparation for brighter days, it is well to plan, and perhaps make, the blouses which we will wear when sweaters are discarded. Perhaps we have a dark winter costume which, with suitable blouses, will carry over into early spring. A formal suit calls either for soft lace (flesh, beige, dove or oyster) with perhaps a jabot finished with satin piping; or a tailored shirt, blouse of white tucked organdie, white crepe de chine or linen, or, more in tune with the young season, plaid surah or tie silk.
A delightful blouse for wear with a dark green jacket suit is of tartan in two shades of green and pink. There is a flat band for collar, and three flat bows down the front. Look out for novel fastenings with which to refurbish your cardigan jacket-perhaps you may spy leather buckles in an unusual shade such as wine. Plan a blouse to match your buckles and your suit will appear of the newest.
If you have a light-coloured spring suit, plan for it a plaid blouse or a deep-coloured shirt in a heavy crepe material. When choosing blouse designs, pay attention to the longer waistline.
The stitching of blouses will probably turn your thoughts to new lingerie. Step ahead of fashion by choosing crepe de chines or ninons in lime green, light strawberry pink, warm orange pale tawny gold, rust or brown. If you are dubious about too much colour, lime or strawberry pink is quite conservative.
The newest chiffons are spotted, so here again one can revel in colour. Close your eyes and think of peach and blue, peach and nigger, peach and cherry, lavender and purple, turquoise and brown.
Chiffons, of course, call for feminine styles, so, for nightgowns, we ruch our dainty material for a band round the top, or for a charming Peter Pan collar, or for bands down the side fronts of the bodice; we gather huge puff sleeves into a deep frill above the elbow; where a gown has shoulder ties, we add our enchanting sleeves by means of a tiny jacket with a wide frill of ruching round it. Bought models are ruched onto las-tex yarn which gives permanency.
Vests, pantees, camiknickers, slips, are dainty wisps of chiffon and lace; or for harder wear we choose crepe de chine or the ubiquitous “locknit” which nowadays combines with lace or satin, has silk or embroidered motifs, or is woven in a decorative stitch.
I have seen the most beautiful negligé, of baby-blue satin, with huge puff sleeves composed entirely of little frills. It was the essence of youth, but will probably be bought by an older woman with a longer purse.
When considering lingerie, one can't omit the breakfast gown. For the first warm days, plan one now of gaily printed cotton, perhaps with revers, or demure collar and zipping or buttoning down the front, perhaps with a three-colour waistband, but certainly with huge puffed sleeves and a billowing skirt. One charming model I saw had its collar, cuffs and slanting hip pockets trimmed with white clipped cotton fringe. It reminded me of the “candle-wick” bedspreads, with their delightful fluffy tufts, which have conquered the bedrooms of North America, and are now appealing to the housewives of the world.
Many people complain of suffering from insomnia and appear to be grateful for only four or five hours’ sleep every night. Habits are easily formed and one may soon get into the habit of sleeping for only the four or five hours, as the case may be. By accepting their lack of sleep philosophically they are acquiring the habit of sleeplessness and do not realise that they are depriving themselves of the additional hours necessary for perfect health. They do not look for the root of the trouble but patiently do without the sleep necessary to recharge completely the human battery.
Do not do brain work right up to the moment of going to bed as the brain takes some time to settle down. We are all well advised not to partake of a meal when feeling hot and tired after strenuous exercise, as the digestive organs protest against such treatment. Our brain protests, too, about being treated ruthlessly, and has its revenge by making it difficult to get to sleep.
Sleeplessness is sometimes caused by a heavy meal just prior to bedtime. An early and light meal may sometimes banish the trouble. A few simple stretching exercises before retiring will help one to get into the condition of readiness for sleep.
There are many simple remedies, such as a glass of hot milk or water, a very light supper, that are worthwhile.
If insomnia continues despite our efforts, a doctor should be consulted before we are “a bundle of nerves.”
The bed should be a comfortable one and the best that one can afford. If expenditure has to be studied, do not economise on the mattress. Have only enough bedclothes for warmth-heavy bedclothes cause fatigue because of their weight. Warmth, of course, is essential and if we feel we need nice loose bed-socks and a hot-water bottle, well, let us have them, for, after all, we spend about a third of our lives in bed.
If you can spare the time take your 40 winks of an afternoon, warmly wrapped in a rug by the open window. If you have no stated time for these 40 winks, when the opportunity occurs succumb to the desire to sleep. This extra sleep is most beneficial and greatly assists in the building up of strength to withstand the seasonal changes.
When threading a rod through lace or fine net curtains, cover the rod with a finger-stall and prevent any tearing or splitting of the material.
When cooking cauliflower, hollow out the stalk to allow the water to penetrate the flower. Place two skewers in the stalk to rest on the saucepan and keep the head down during cooking.
Do not use too much water when cooking vegetables-just sufficient to cover them.
Add a little sugar as well as salt to the water, as the sugar not only improves the flavour but also assists in preserving the green colour.
New bread can be cut as easily as stale if the knife is dipped in hot water.
Rub over new tin oven-ware with lard and put it in the oven for an hour. This prevents rust
When boiling fish, remember to add lemon juice to the water. This preserves the flavour.
For slicing tomatoes thinly use a hread saw.
Ioz. butter, £1/2lb. boiled rice, 2 hard-boiled eggs, £1/2lb. any cooked fish (tinned salmon may be used), salt and pepper, chopped parsley to garnish. Melt butter, add boiled rice, whites of eggs. Cut into small pieces flaked fish and seasoning. Heat thoroughly and pile on a hot dish and shape like a pyramid. Garnish with chopped parsley and egg yolks rubbed through a sieve.
Batter for Fish.
4 ozs. flour, I egg, £1/4 pint milk, salt. Break the egg into a well in the flour, add the milk slowly, gradually stirring in the flour. Beat until smooth and allow to stand for one hour before using.
Smoked Fish Baked in Milk.
Smoked blue cod, milk, butter, pepper. Open the fish, divide into two and place skin downwards into a dish. Pour over about a cup of milk. Put a few pieces of butter on top, sprinkle with a little pepper, and bake in a moderate oven for about twenty minutes.
Cream of Salmon Soup.
I onion, I1/2ozs. flour, 2 pints milk, whipped cream, I1/2ozs. butter, £1/2 small tin salmon, salt, pepper, nutmeg. Peel and slice the onion and put into a pan with the milk. Heat this very slowly, then let it stand on the side of the fire, until the milk is well flavoured; then strain it. Drain the salmon, remove the skin and bones, and rub through a sieve. Melt the butter in a pan, add the flour and when they are well blended stir in the milk gradually, and bring the sauce to the boil. Let it boil gently for a few minutes, then stir a small quantity of it at a time into the sieved salmon. Return the salmon and sauce to the pan, season with salt, pepper and a grating of nutmeg and re-heat it. Serve individually with a teaspoonful of whipped cream on the top of the soup.
Smoked Fish with Egg Sauce.
Boil or steam as much fish as required, place a small piece of butter on each, and serve with the following egg sauce: two hard-boiled eggs cut into rounds or small pieces, add these to a nicely flavoured sauce of milk and melted butter.
Fish with Cheese Sauce.
Steam as many fillets of fish as required in fireproof dish. Pour over a good white sauce, adding grated cheese. Bake till brown and serve at once.
Heat I1/2 cups of milk and I1/2 cups of cream just to the scalding point. (All milk may be used if you don't like it so rich.) Don't let it boil. In another saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter, adding I1/2 teaspoons of salt and a dash of cayenne. Add 2 dozen oysters and the liquor to the butter. Cook just I minute, in which time the edges of the oysters will have begun to curl. Combine the oyster mixture with the milk and cream and serve at once without further cooking. This last is important.