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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 1 (April 1, 1935)

Our Women's Section — Timely Notes and Useful Hints

page 57

Our Women's Section
Timely Notes and Useful Hints.

A Busy Morning Buying Nothing.

I “Do” the Shops.

The wind blew a little chill in the shadows, but the sunlight was warm and yellow on the roadway as I crossed from pavement to pavement. Plaintively the bow of an itinerant musician shook forth the notes of an ancient melody. The plate-glass shopfronts had a cold sheen and one peered to see what was within. Science has evolved a new glass, an “invisible” glass, which seemingly sets no barrier between shop and street. We have only heard of it, but the faults of plate-glass are immediately apparent.

What are the new colours in stockings? Anxiously I gazed at an elaborate hosiery display. I blinked, I puzzled, I laughed, and longed for someone to share the joke. The pair of legs was so amusing, so unnatural. The stockings covering them were impeccable, but the legs! The attitude was wrong and suddenly I knew why. Two right legs had been placed together. And further along, featuring the latest in dull-finish smoke grey, and the two left legs. I felt cheered and wished people would do things like that oftener.

In a different quarter of the town, unconscious humour is frequently met with, especially on “home-made” show cards. I remember the laughs I have had, but memory refuses to supply examples. Friends won't believe I once knew a Chinese laundryman named Wah Shing.

The corner window was admirable— composition excellent. A regal brunette, gowned for conquest, stared superbly at the street. Near her, seriously considering her, stood a slim, pale figure, neatly dressed in black and bearing over one arm a cascade of red net frills and a gleaming length of oyster satin. There was art in the arrangement. The colourings were right, attitude right, contrast excellent. The eye was drawn and held. And then the little fair one moved and slipped quietly away through a panel at the back! I breathed a disappointed sigh and wished for a moment that I could be a window-dresser in order to reconstruct my scene and experiment further with ideas from tableaux vivants.

That was the start of my morning. I spent the rest of a hurried time in a whirl of hats, 'slouches with delightfully folded and peaked crowns, charming pull-ons in velvet, haughty Russian toques, jaunty affairs exclamation - marked with a gay quill, models trimmed with jet (neither old-fashioned, nor ugly, as they may sound), felts with mixed colourings for “tweed” wear, Breton sailors, berets, and brief affairs to show your curls. I whisked through the neck-wear section in a flurry of frillings and fronts, tailored, demure or even slightly flamboyant, coveted a cravat in gold lamé and a Peter Pan set in silver, blinked happily at the new tinsel-studded velvet and decided we'd all have to shine this winter.

It started, if you remember, with chromium buttons and diamente. Now, even woollen materials follow the gleam. Metal-run fabrics are ravishing. Cellophane-run laces are adorable (but that's anothers story). That sequin cape with Elizabethan collar of silver lamé will be the focal point of your whole evening wardrobe. The gown one just naturally covets has a quilted silver wing-back. Let's all join the angels. And we fold our wings under an ankle-length wrap with a star-sheen.

For informal occasions, note this printed satin gown, beautifully cut, draped and clipped softly to a square neckline, and belted with a wide Juliet tie, knotted at the left side with ends dipping almost to the hem. Satin or velvet is best for the Juliet sash, and contrast is the thing.

It was a mistake to leave street wear to the end. After glitter and gleam, I couldn't raise the necessary interest in tree-bark coatings, camel-hair and knotted tweeds, chevron velours and homespuns. I approved the slim-fitting coats, length much the same as last year, and the high, rich collars of fur. Two-way and three-way fastenings were noticeable. Capes were important features. Sleeve treatments are still interesting. The newest pockets are slanting. And so home to lunch.

The Slimming Craze.

The present-day craze for slimming is now more than a passing phase of fashion. It has apparently come to stay. Since woman discarded the voluminous and stiffly whale-boned garments of bygone days the improvement in health, both mentally and physically, has been obvious. She now has freedom of movement and an alertness that enables her to take a prominent place in the different sports and outdoor recreations that was unheard of a generation or so ago.

The craze for slimness has unfortunately led many women to go to extremes in the matter of diet and exercise. To a great number of people a slimming diet literally means starvation. Others have taken various drugs to gain the desired effect. These methods invariably lead to a serious lowering of the general health and resistance, and serious illness is often the result.

To many people diet means giving up all favourite and interesting food. This need not happen. Food should be varied within healthful limits, and, of course, simple and wholesome, and be partaken of temperately and with regularity. In the proper selection of foods, due regard should be given to the requirements and conditions of the individual, and must always be in page 58 accordance with the principle of maintaining normal nutrition. With intelligent selection, a mixed diet should be the aim and the daily menu should include raw ripe fruit and raw green vegetables. Cut out fried and fatty foods, rich cakes and puddings, pasties, etc., from the every-day diet. Drink water (hot or cold) between meals, also fruit drinks, and one or two tumblers of hot water with some lemon juice first thing in the morning. A slim and healthy appearance may be achieved by the majority of people without undue loss of weight by reasonable dieting and regular, judicious exercise of the right kind.

There are many systems of home exercises. The idea is the need of an all-round physical development and the toning up of all the muscles of the body. Allow yourself from five to ten minutes first thing in the morning and at night for a few simple movements. Try stretching before you get out of bed in the morning. Stretch all ways, first on one side, then on the other, pushing against the foot of the bed with the feet. Then get out of bed, and, standing on the balls of your feet, stretch your body as tall as you can make it, pulling yourself well out of your hips, with the spine straight and abdomen as flat as possible. Then stand on the whole foot, and raise the arms straight into the air, swoop sideways and touch the floor with the fingers. Return the arms overhead and swoop to the other side. Do these alternate movements several times.

Friction is a part of the bath routine that is a most beneficial and effective way of hastening the slimming process. A brisk rub down with a rough towel until the body is in a glow, invigorates the system, stimulates the circulation and tones up the muscles and skin.

Walking is a health-giving pastime that helps greatly towards achieving the desired goal. Take a brisk walk daily if at all possible—strolling leisurely is useless. To be of real benefit, the feet should be comfortable, so wear a pair of well-fitting walking shoes if a long walk is contemplated.

It is well to make sure, by consulting your doctor, that you are in normal health before commencing any system of unaccustomed diet or exercise.

Health Notes.

Autumn Ailments.

As we approach the autumn and winter months, the subject of colds, coughs, chills, and like ills, cannot be entirely ignored. Especially where children are concerned, the fight against the cold germ cannot be relaxed. In children, colds turn frequently to bronchitis, and more serious illnesses are the direct cause of ill-health in later life. It is also necessary to keep the little folk away from infection, as many of the infectious diseases of childhood are ushered in by a common cold.

An open-air life is the enemy of germs of all descriptions. Fresh air helps to keep the body fit to withstand the invasion of enemy bacteria. Moving and changing air carries away the microbes. A clean, healthy body makes a poor breeding place for microbes.

Diet is an important factor. In the winter there is generally an inclination to increase the starchy ration. Include as much fresh fruit (especially apples and oranges) and raw and cooked green vegetables, as possible in the daily menu.

Clothing is also another important item. Do not coddle in cold weather with extra layers of thick underclothing. Have a lightly-woven porous garment next the skin. Two, or at the most three, layers of clothing are all that are necessary. On a cold day an extra woollen cardigan or jersey is all that is necessary out-of-doors. A healthy child keeps warm with exercise.

If a child complains of an unusually chilly feeling, the best thing is to give a warm bath, taking care to prevent chilling afterwards. Have ready a warm bed, with a hot water bottle. Keep the room well ventilated and the window open all the time, keeping the bed out of the way of a draught. If necessary give a laxative.

A light, nourishing diet is required, such as broth, custard and light milk puddings, and plenty of drinks—water, barley water, fruit drinks, milk, etc. Withhold all solid food for a day or two.

If there is a tickling or irritating cough, black-currant tea (made with jam or jelly and boiling water) is a homely and efficacious remedy, also a mixture of glycerine, honey and lemon juice is effective. For a slightly sore throat, gargling with a mild antiseptic, such as salt and water has a soothing effect for the child who is old enough to be trusted not to swallow the gargle.

A chest cold or cough, if there is a temperature, really calls for medical advice, as there is a risk of bronchitis. An inhalation of Friar's Balsam (one teaspoon to a pint of boiling water) gives relief. To give an inhalation, place a paper with a small hole cut in the corner, over the receptacle that holds the inhalant. Inhale the steam directly into the nose and into the lungs. If an inhalant is given in this way, the pores of the skin of the face are not opened, thus preventing chilling.

For a severe sore throat, it is advisable to isolate the child, as it is often an early sign of one of the infectious diseases. If there are white spots or patches on the throat, the doctor should be sent for immediately.

page 59

page 60

Home Notes.

The “unbalanced home budget”— probably the greatest worry and source of nervous strain to the average woman—is one that is not likely to “let up.” Cutting down expenses has been more or less the rule for the last few years and it is necessary to be sure that the “cuts” are wisely made. Reduction of the expenditure in the commissariat department of the household should always be done with the greatest of care and thought, as it is essential that the family is supplied with well balanced meals, including plenty of vegetables and fruit, and dairy produce. For those who have their own vegetable gardens there is no problem, as the essential articles of diet are at hand. Of course, it is totally different when with a limited income one is dependent on the greengrocer and the purchasing of the fruit and vegetables depends so much on the prices at which they are retailed. That is a real hurdle to be surmounted. On the other hand, it is surprising how remunerative it is to cultivate a small patch of ground. Unless one actually saw what could be done with it, the imagination of the average person could not visualize the profit that could be derived from utilising the ground to the fullest extent. Think of the lettuce plants, carrots and other vegetables not requiring much space, which could be grown for the greater part of the year!

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Stuffed Vegetables.

During the late summer and the autumn when vegetables are losing their first freshness, variety may be had by adding stuffed vegetables to the menu. Vegetable marrows, pumpkins, tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, onions, etc., are all suitable for stuffing, and make an economical and delicious change. All these may be served with a variety of fillings. Stuffed mushrooms, too, are a delicacy which appeals to most tastes.

Stuffed Vegetable Marrow.

1 small marrow, 3 tablespoons of any minced cooked meat or poultry, 3 tablespoons bread crumbs, 1 teaspoon chopped parsley, grated lemon rind, 1 egg, beaten, seasoning, 1/2-pint thick brown gravy or tomato sauce.

Method.—Skin marrow and keep it whole. Cut out a wedge-shaped piece lengthwise and remove the seeds and soft pulp. Mix the minced meat, breadcrumbs, parsley and lemon rind with beaten egg. Put this mixture in the marrow and replace the cut-out piece. Dredge the marrow with flour. Place on a greased baking tin, bake in a moderate oven for 45–60 minutes or until tender, basting frequently. Serve with gravy or tomato sauce.

The marrow may be boiled instead of baked. Tie in a cloth like a roly-poly. Serve with white sauce.

Stuffed Cucumber.

1 large firm, straight cucumber, 1/2 cup minced meat, ham or cooked chicken. 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, 1 teaspoon chopped parsley, seasoning.

Method. Remove ends of cucumber and cut in pieces about two inches long. Remove skin in sections, to give striped effect. Scald cucumber in boiling salted water for five minutes, rinse in cold water and drain well. Scoop out the seeds and place the rings on a greased baking dish. Mix the other ingredients and pile into the prepared rings, and sprinkle with brown bread - crumbs. Cover with greased paper, and bake until tender. Serve with brown gravy or tomato sauce.

Stuffed Onions.

6 onions, 2 tablespoons chopped ham, 3 tablespoons cooked peas, 1/2 oz. butter, a little mint, seasoning.

Method.—Parboil the onions, strain and scoop out the centres. Toss the cooked peas in butter. Add the chopped ham, season well and fill the cases. Lay a small piece of butter on top of each. Place in a greased casserole with about 1/2-inch of water or stock. Cover, and bake until tender, basting frequently. Serve with thick brown gravy or sauce.

(N.B.—As an alternative, use stuffing as for marrow).

Tomatoes with Cheese Stuffing.

6 tomatoes, 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons grated cheese, 1/2 oz. butter, chopped parsley, seasoning, Cayenne pepper to taste.

Method.—Choose firm tomatoes of equal size. Cut a small round from the stem end of each, and scoop out the pulp. Mix the stuffing with the tomato pulp and season well. Re-fill the tomato cases and place a piece of butter on each. Bake on a greased tin in a moderate oven for 15–20 minutes. Serve on rounds of hot buttered toast and garnish with parsley.