Alice About The House

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Vintage Alice About The House book cover

We’ve just bought this great little book at the local market. Initially, it was the front cover that grabbed our attention – an eye-popping red & yellow – you couldn’t really miss it!!

Thompson Newspapers Ltd, publishers of Alice About The House

Before we opened it we guessed it must have dated from the 1950s/60s period. And so it turned out, being published by Thomson Newspapers Ltd in 1960.

'Eyebrow Pencils' and 'Eye Make-Up' from Alice About The House

It’s called ‘Alice about the House’ and as the name suggests, features Alice and all manner of domestic challenges.

'Lamb Leftovers' comic strip

Various scenarios spring up from the perfect sponge cake to electrocution!

'Cookery Nook' from Alice About The House

Much of it takes the form of comic strips.

'First Aid' from Alice About The House

The illustrations are fabulous – and so are some of the story lines.

'Bulbs, Bedding Plants and Seeds' from Alice About The House

As you might guess, it’s full of handy hints. Some are still relevant today, others belong to a bygone era. Both aspects make it a very entertaining read – the price is £10 including UK postage for anyone interested.

This is Cape Canaveral

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Vintage This is Cape Canaveral book with other titles in the series by Miroslav Sasek | H is for Home

We’ve just made a new addition to our collection of This is… books.

Vintage 'This is Cape Canaveral' book with cup of tea

It’s always a treat to make a brew and settle down with one of these gorgeous books for ten minutes – especially one we’ve never read before.

Vintage 'This is Cape Canaveral' book cover

Our new arrival is a first edition copy of This is Cape Canaveral dating from 1963. Later versions of this book were called This is Cape Kennedy and most recently, This is the way to the Moon.

Astronauts illustration from a vintage 'This is Cape Canaveral' book

As always, fabulous illustrations by Miroslav Sasek leap off every page.

Vehicle checkpoint illustration from 'This is Cape Canaveral' book

It’s a pleasure to share them with our readers – existing fans and perhaps a few new converts too.

Cameramen illustration from a vintage 'This is Cape Canaveral' book

 They’re insightful and very witty…

International newspaper headlines illustration from a vintage 'This is Cape Canaveral' book

 …and full of wonderfully observed detail.

Rockets illustration from a vintage 'This is Cape Canaveral' book

They’re beautifully drawn and capture the era perfectly.

Mercury Control Center illustration from a vintage 'This is Cape Canaveral' book

They also have a real sense of optimism about them.

'Welcome Back' illustration from a vintage 'This is Cape Canaveral' book

 We picked up this copy for £5 which was a real steal for a first edition.

Cape Canaveral gift shop illustration from a vintage 'This is Cape Canaveral' book

It’s always nice to get a bargain…

Satellite dish illustration from a vintage 'This is Cape Canaveral' book

 …and perhaps added just an extra tiny thrill as we thumbed through the pages!

Space available illustration from a vintage 'This is Cape Canaveral' book

We always buy the early editions and really love our little collection – Cape Canaveral makes it 11.

Pile of vintage 'This is...' books by Miroslav Sasek

A few more to go yet though – there are 18 in the series in total!

World Dolls Series: Spain

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Vintage World Dolls Series: Spain book cover

We’ve reached Spain – and the end of our journey in the World Dolls Series.

World Dolls Series: inside Spain book cover

Just to recap for any latecomers, this charming set of children’s books written by Irene Dark has taken us on a trip through twelve European countries – our doll hosts guiding the way. The books are wonderfully illustrated by a variety of artists. For this final edition it’s the turn of J. Sirr from the Birmingham School of Design.

Map of Spain

Carmen & Juan are taking care of us in Spain. They scrub up well don’t they?

Juan & Carmen, dolls from Spain Juan & Carmen in their Flamenco dress

As the book says, “Spain is a land of hot sunshine. a land of dance and song”.

Street musicians in Spain

We’re barely off the coach and we’re shaking our stuff to the percussion band!

Carmen's house

We’re staying in a traditional Spanish house which is very pretty. Girls in the beds, boys on mats on the floor!

Working in a vineyard

There’s more farming to do – we’ve done our fair share on this trip! It’s grapes, olives, cork and pigs here in Spain.

group of pigs

We’re not complaining. We like earning our keep – and what better way to experience life in each country? And it’s not as if it’s been work, work, work – we’ve skied, skated, sailed, swam, danced, shopped & gone sightseeing.

men on mules

We’re getting all misty-eyed now – what a journey we’ve had. Wonderful sights and lovely people (dolls).

Siesta time in Spain

But all good things must come to an end – and what a beautiful place to rest and reminisce. We’ve sold the coach and have bought a couple of donkeys. We’re staying in Spain for the foreseeable future.

Beach in Spain

You’ll find us here on the beach with our jug of Sangria – staring out at the blue sea & sky. The odd swim to cool off, a light lunch perhaps. Let us know if there’s anything urgent.

                      GONE FISHING – H IS FOR HOME x

World Dolls Series: Norway

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World Dolls Series 'Norway' vintage children's book

We’ve reached Norway in our World Dolls Series – a much-anticipated destination after a tough couple of weeks in Russia and a long trip over.

Front inside cover from World Dolls Series 'Norway' vintage children's book

 There are great illustrations by Frank Bird for this edition.

Asa and Karl, Norway national dolls from World Dolls Series 'Norway' vintage children's book

Our guides are Asa & Karl – a colourful, friendly pair with an unmistakable spring in their step.

Lapp and teepee in World Dolls Series 'Norway' vintage children's book

Karl is a Lapp and hails from the far North so we head there first – the coach has a few more miles to do yet!

Lapps in World Dolls Series 'Norway' vintage children's book

Karl shows us the traditional way of life in Lapland and we meet the lovely reindeer.

Lapp child with reindeer in World Dolls Series 'Norway' vintage children's book

Then it’s back down South…

Fishermen in World Dolls Series 'Norway' vintage children's book

…where we take in the picturesque fishing harbours and get stuck into some cod.

Fishermen and cod in World Dolls Series 'Norway' vintage children's book

Sightseeing in Oslo follows…

Asa, Norway national doll from World Dolls Series 'Norway' vintage children's book

… and some serious R&R in the surrounding forests and on the ski slopes.

Ski jump with reindeer in World Dolls Series 'Norway' vintage children's book

We’ll be naturals before long – we don’t want to get shown up by the local 3-year-olds!

Skiers with reindeer in World Dolls Series 'Norway' vintage children's book

The long, hard graft of that Russian farm is a distant memory.

Mountain village with reindeer in World Dolls Series 'Norway' vintage children's book

We just about squeezed the coach onto the ferry for a trip down the fjords. Simply stunning!

Fiords in World Dolls Series 'Norway' vintage children's book

Thanks Asa & Karl – our spirits are refreshed.

Asa and Karl, Norway national dolls from World Dolls Series 'Norway' vintage children's book

Hopefully we’ll make a trip to Norway in the real world one day – and we pray it looks like Mr Bird’s illustrations! 

World Dolls Series: Russia

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World Dolls Series - Russia book cover

So, here we are in Russia for our next stop in the World Dolls Series.

World Dolls Series - Russia front inside book cover

Illustrations are by D.White from the Birmingham School of Design. We’re not sure that they listened to the brief properly as our guides are all supposed to be dolls – the clue’s in the title – World DOLLS Series. We seem to have been given a couple of rustic farmers. Ironically, Russia probably has the most famous dolls in the world.

Boris and Anna, dolls from World Dolls Series - Russia

Anyway, we’re sure Boris & Anna are a lovely couple.

Boris and Anna, dolls from World Dolls Series - Russia

There you go – Boris is throwing us a wave – and is that a glimmer of a smile?

working in fields from the World Dolls Series - Russia

Perhaps there’s not much to smile about on the collective farm! Hard graft and huddling round the stove for the long winter apparently.

winter in Russia from the World Dolls Series - Russia

There’s no doubting that the other books in the series have been a tad lighter, more carefree & fun.

wrapping feet in cloth against frostbite from the World Dolls Series - Russia

Life certainly seems quite tough in 1960s Russia.

illustration of the Kremlin and Red Square from the World Dolls Series - Russia

Perhaps a few days sightseeing in Moscow will be fun. Look at the party atmosphere.

illustration of boys playing with a train set from the World Dolls Series - Russia

There are a games at ‘the club’ – and a bit of sunbathing at the Black Sea. Is that President Khrushchev sitting on the right monitoring the deck chair situation?

illustration of people relaxing in deckchairs on the beach at the Black Sea from the World Dolls Series - Russia

We’re off to Norway next – we’ve invested a lot of money in warm clothing which might come in useful. We’ve always wanted to tour around Scandinavia, so we can’t wait to get there.

World Dolls Series: Austria

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vintage 'Austria' book from the World Dolls Series

We’ve arrived in Austria on our World Dolls Series tour. We might just catch the first of the winter snow, so our timing is perfect.

vintage 'Austria' book from the World Dolls Series

Illustrations are by W. Lewis from The Birmingham school of Design – our resident artist in Germany & Holland too. We love all the artists in this collection of books, but if we were pushed, we’d probably choose W. Lewis as our favourite. The illustrations are both charming and very clever.

Dolls Lisa and Johann from the 'Austria' book from the World Dolls Series

Our guides are Lisa & Johann, looking resplendent in their national dress.

Alpine skiing scene from the 'Austria' book from the World Dolls Series

We’ve parked the coach up and are going to chill out (quite literally) in the Tyrol for a while.

Ski jumping  scene from the 'Austria' book from the World Dolls Series

Our hosts have no shortage of activities lined up – skiing, skating & sledging (it’s the 1960s so it’s pre-snowboarding!)

Cows in an alpine scene from the 'Austria' book from the World Dolls Series

When the snows melt we’re going to get stuck into a bit of farming.

Haymaking scene from the 'Austria' book from the World Dolls Series

Picnics and strolls through flower-filled meadows on our downtime.

Illustration of a salt mine from the 'Austria' book from the World Dolls Series

It’s going to be hard to drag ourselves away from this idyllic life, but for a bit of urban culture & retail therapy we might stop by Vienna.

Illustration of Vienna from the 'Austria' book from the World Dolls Series

Well, we do need to get that coach moving again before it seizes up. Next time it’s Russia.