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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 12 (March 1, 1937)

Our Women's Section — Timely Notes and Useful Hints

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Our Women's Section
Timely Notes and Useful Hints

March Winds.

The first touch of winter,” shivered Mary. “It will be warm again, but today …” She crouched closer to the heater. “I always resent the winter.”

“You? Why, I thought you revelled in it.”

“I do, but not in the prospect of it. You're not knitting already!” (Mary, the keen winter knitter, drops it entirely in summer, as she does her golf.)

“I am,” I confessed. “On holiday I almost finished a bed-jacket. This is a cardigan. You know what a frog I am in winter.”

“You make me feel colder,” complained Mary. “I meant to knit undie sets for myself. I suppose, if I don't start soon, I won't have them finished till nearly Christmas. Come on out and we'll buy the wool”—which we did. As well, Mary bought a smart black frock in light-weight wool. “Just right for now,” she explained. “Not too hot and not too cold.”

I like Mary in black. She has a smartness. And somehow her accessories are right—by chance one thinks, but anyone who has shopped with her knows the time and patience she expends in getting what she wants.

While I wandered from shop to shop with Mary, I thought intermittently about winter, I always dread its approach, and yet some of my best times have been winter times. Of the best, and unfortunately the rarest, are winter sport moments—the pause with heart pounding after a pull up the final slope; the quick recovery with the lungs drawing in draughts of pure, keen air; the pleasure the eye takes in snowy summits and far vistas below; the pleasure the ear takes in mountain silence or the roar of an avalanche on a clear day. But that is not winter—it is a state of glorified being, earned by such physical exertion as few of us ordinarily force ourselves to.

“Which shade do you prefer?” said Mary.

“White,” I replied instantly.

“White! For heaven's sake, wake up!”

I did. We were at the stocking counter. Resolutely I brought myself back to now.

“Evening stockings,” explained Mary patiently. “To wear with my velvet and the lame overblouse I'm having made. You saw the patterns.”

I perked up a little. After all, there were beautiful things other than mountains, and even the lame had the glint of ice in it.

Women's most beautiful clothes belong to winter. Even those who “don't dance these days,” find fascination in the colour and movement of a ballroom. Yes, and the physical pleasure of perfect movement in the dance has something akin to that of skiing or skating.

“Just some handkerchiefs now,” said Mary. “I was sadly neglected at Christmas. Everyone seemed to think I wanted soap and powder-puffs.”

From then, until we parted, Mary talked golf, an enthusiasm I could share in part. Golf in New Zealand is a game most of us associate with winter. To me, one of the joys of it, dare I confess, is the souse in a hot bath at the end of the day, and the relaxation, with a book or the chat of friends, before a fire, as the pleasant evening hours drift by.

So, come Winter! You bring joys enough.

Autumn Parade.

When shopping with Mary, I was too busy living in past winters to notice much about the harbingers of this, so next morning I decided to run round the shops by myself.

The autumn and advance winter styles illustrated what overseas fashion papers had said.

Nearly all dresses and coats featured built-out shoulders.

Frocks showed new flares to the skirt; peplums; tunics.

Sleeves carried on from the built-out shoulders with varying amounts of fulness and varying degrees of length. Slot sleeves I noticed, as particularly new.

The interest of wide belts and unusual buckles has not drawn attention from the neck-line. I saw yokes of various kinds, including a pleated one which released stand-up fullness round the throat. The draped neck-line or the bow and jabot flatter femininity as do a ruffled collar and cuffs. I was interested in a frock whose lacings at neck and wrists repeated the decoration of the hat, and in two others with slit necks, one fastened by cunningly fashioned gold links and the other by lacings with tassel ends. What I coveted for myself was a slim, plain frock with byron collar.

If you want a frock “to carry on with,” do as Mary did and invest in a light wool. Or you may tuck a new scarf in the neck of last year's standby. Alternatively, try the effect of a gilet worn outside the frock and tying neatly at the back.

Your spring suit has been resuscitated for autumn. Remember that the blouse is very important. Short sleeves are popular, as are fancy yokes and neckfinishes. Very neat and youthful is a double peter-pan collar.

Perhaps your swagger coat is still presentable. Lucky you! You can probably wear it over any one of several frocks.

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My advice to anyone planning a new street-frock, is to have it dressy enough for an afternoon occasion and to wear over it a matching short, loose coat simply trimmed with, perhaps, rows of stitching.

Your all-occasion coat (not the one you wear to a morning reception on the latest ship in harbour) should be of warm tweed, made as you like it. You probably prefer a belted style, fitting, perhaps with four large flapped pockets; or trimmed neatly and warmly with a turn-down collar of fur fabric.

We'll know more about the new styles as more of them are opened up.


In housekeeping, it never hurts to repeat the obvious. There is always someone who has never heard of the idea or who has let it slip from mind without putting it into practice.

Don't give yourself unnecessary bench-scrubbing. The other secret of white woodwork (not the elbow-grease one) is to keep the bench dry. Before doing anything at the bench, spread a paper thereon. Your bench is grooved for a draining-board, but don't use it as such. Place dishes on a tray. Any dark stains due to leaving metal articles such as the plug or tins on a wet bench, should be treated with lemon-juice. A good treatment for the whole bench is a rub over with a cut lemon followed by a scrub-down. After scrubbing, always leave the bench as dry as possible.

* * *

If your husband is one of those people who will wipe the razor on a towel, supply him with tiny towels such as the one included in the travelling pochette you received last Christmas. He'll appreciate it, and anyway he doesn't mean to annoy you—but a man must wipe his razor, mustn't he!

* * *

If it is not yet laundry day, and the family supply of handkerchiefs is unaccountably low, boil the soiled handkerchiefs on the stove. Place them in cold water in an enamelled basin or disused pot (no rust allowed). Add some washing powder and boil for fifteen minutes, poking occasionally. Rinse, blue and hang out. Voila! No messy washing by hand.

* * *

Are you one of those people who are ashamed of dust? Of course you are! But even the most meticulous housewife may find, a few hour's later, a light film of dust on polished surfaces. There's no need to dust again before the company arrives. Flick daintily here and there with a feather duster and you will not have to blush for your home.

Yes, white paper looks very nice on kitchen shelves, but it is not nearly so easy to keep as old-fashioned American cloth in its new patterns. Even the pot-cupboard appreciates American cloth. A wipe with a damp cloth and your shelves are spotless again. Use it, also, for lining the cutlery drawer in the kitchen. If your drawer isn't partitioned, use boxes of suitable length.

* * *

The electric toaster and kettle, if shining, are an ornament to any kitchen. Give them a rub-up, daily after use, with a soft cloth. They will stay far brighter than with occasional cleans.

The Matter of Weight.

May I offer an idea on this vexed question, not to those whose obesity or whose thinness may be a danger to health and consequently requires treatment by a specialist, but to those of average proportions.

So often, when speaking to friends, one hears them say, “I never felt so well as I did that summer …. or year … or at that age.” They content themselves usually with remarking on the fact. Sometimes they attempt to give reasons, chiefly that of climate. “I was living by the sea then. It suited me so well.” Occasionally they go so far as to admit that diet had something to do with it.

Very few endeavour to recreate the conditions which gave them, as they admit, the greatest physical well-being they have experienced. The blessings of good health are such that one would think it well worth pursuing. Most people, unfortunately, do not worry about health until they are ill.

The idea I suggest, is that well people should endeavour to approximate the weight they were when feeling nearest “100%.” That is a definite aim—and it is easier to work towards a weight than towards a remembered feeling of fitness.

The attainment of the aim will entail the consideration of diet, exercise and sleep. The matter of diet (for well people) is fairly simple. It is well known that plenty of milk, fruit and vegetables are essential. Increase these, and the poorer foodstuffs are cut out. A better balanced diet will not only reduce an overfat person, but also put flesh on the too-thin.

Regular and adequate exercise and sufficient sleep are matters of common sense.

Aim, then, for the ideal weight and regain the utmost in physical and mental well-being.

Health Notes.
Commonsense Rules for Correct Eating.

(Well-known but usually disregarded).

Eat only when hungry. Never mind missing a meal if you are not genuinely hungry.

Avoid snacks between meals.

Do not eat if you are tired—rest first.

Avoid an excess of rich foods at one meal.

It is advisable not to have a meal if mentally upset.

Clear thinking is dependent on the successful functioning of the digestive organs.

Suggestions in the Serving of Wine.

Most wines are known by the name of the district from which they come. However, domestic wines of the same bouquet and characteristics as foreign wines are given the more commonly known names, such as Port, Sherry, Champagne, etc.

Always store wine bottles on their sides to keep the corks moist and prevent air from coming in.

Sediment is found on the under-side of bottles of wine.

It is recommended that bottles be stood up twelve hours before serving so that the sediment may fall to the bottom.

Always sip a wine, never gulp it.

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Do not fill a wine-glass more than three-quarters full.

Its bouquet cannot be enjoyed if the glass is too full. The best effect is obtained by swirling the wine in the glass and that cannot be done when the glass is full.

Always pour the wine with the palm of the hand downward, never reversed with the palm upward. To do so would be considered an affront by those who know.

Wines are ruined by careless handling, incorrect temperature or unsuitable food.

Champagne.—Champagne is appropriate for all courses of a dinner and may be served at any time during the meal.

Sparkling Burgundy is appropriate whenever Champagne is.


When ordering wine with a luncheon, it is always safe to order a White Sauterne or a White Burgundy.

Before Dinner.

It has almost become the custom to serve cocktails at any and all occasions. Before a wine dinner the best aperitif is Sherry and bitters.

Those who wish to serve cocktails should serve dry cocktails. A sweet cocktail is not a proper aperitif. Cocktails should be served immediately before dinner, say five minutes.


With the soup should be served dry Sherry or Madeira. Sherry is unique as an appetizer; its flavour is not prejudiced by smoking, and it differs from other wines in that it does not deteriorate once the bottle is opened. Sherry should be served cold or even slightly chilled.


With the fish course one may serve any of several wines.

Rhine Wines.—Always serve chilled.

White Moselle Wines.—Delicate fruity flavour frequently acidulous without being sour.

Sauternes.—Haute Sauterne is sweeter than Sauterne. It is delicate in flavour, golden in colour.

White Burgundy.—Should be served cold and may be iced in a refrigerator or cooler.


A light Bordeaux or Claret should be served here.

Claret is the name applied to all the Bordeaux red wines. The light Bordeaux include the Sauternes.

The white wines should always be chilled and may be served, if they are sweet, quite cold.

The clarets should always be served at the temperature of the room. Never artifically warm the bottle. If the bottle is brought up too late to acquire the correct temperature—warm the wine by holding the hands around the bowl of the glass after pouring.


Claret or Red Burgundy should be served with the roast.


With games, serve Vintage Champagne.


Rich Madeira should be served with pastries.


With the cheese, serve Port Wine. Never smoke when drinking Port Wine,. It spoils the taste of the wine.


With fruit, serve a Tokay or Malaga. Both should be consumed like a liqueur.


With the coffee, there is a wide choice of proper drinks:—

Cognac.—A brandy, distilled from the wines of Central Western-France.

Benedictine.—A liqueur made on a cognac base.

Cordials.—Maraschino, Cointreau, Curacao, Creme de Menthe and other such drinks should be served in small, bell-shaped glasses.

Old Tawny Port.—May also be served with the coffee. It is blended Port Wine, lighter in body and colour than Vintage Wines.