The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 8 (December 1, 1933)
Our Women's Section — Timely Notes and Useful Hints
Bright Days by the Sea.
The Christmas Holiday theme in New Zealand consists of variations on beach, sea and bush; and, given the choice between staying at a seaside hotel or baching it, most of the younger ones choose the later.
The olders and wisers, the mothers who want a rest from cooking and contriving, and the men who like their comfort, choose one of the many comfortable boarding-houses where meals are good and there is an air of cheery, happy-go-lucky camaraderie.
The youngsters and silliers like to get together their own parties, pack up bathing suits, frying-pan, etc., and descend upon some beach cottage, hired or lent by friends or owned by some lucky member of the bunch. The preparations themselves are such fun. First, what will be needed in the way of provisions brought from home, blankets and bed-linen, napery, crockery or cutlery? (very seldom a bach is thoroughly stocked with appurtenances of civilisation). Secondly, who is to bring the necessaries? Thirdly, if travelling by rail, what articles and what weight can go as personal luggage; if by car, how, in the name of Holiday, is everything to be stowed, piled and tied?
Once settled in, the next proceeding is to draw up a rota of duties. Make a list of all the daily chores, group them so that each member of the party does a daily “job of work,” and see that “cook,” for instance, doesn't have to go out for provisions and prepare vegetables while “water” merely carries a few tinsful. And don't forget to rotate the duties—that is what a “rota” is for. Don't let Isabel do all the cooking because she does it at home and is an expert. Let Jack and Bert take their turns and mess about to their heart's content and the undisguised enjoyment of everybody else. You get good food for the rest of the year, so charred rashers or burnt potatoes on the new chums’ days won't hurt anybody. (If you know anyone who is a martyr to indigestion, don't ask him or her to go baching. It's cruelty!)
I am assuming that you have asked only congenial people to go camping with you. We know how one lazy and selfish person can spoil the enjoyment of the rest by shirking. Camping, too, is a means of discovering unsuspected qualities in your friends. A hitherto quiet person may blossom out as the camp jester or an inspired organiser of picnics and hikes. And here's a tip, A happily-married friend of mine has said that the way to get to know people is to see how they react under camp conditions, away from the “dressed-up” atmosphere of town. That's the way he chose his wife—and he's going round recommending married blessedness to all the single people he knows.
The Beach House.
If you haven't a beach bungalow, I'm sure you want one. For one thing, it's so easy to furnish comfortably, cheaply and attractively. Old wooden furniture from home or the auction room can be painted a bright colour for the living-room. Paint the floor in a deeper shade to tone if you don't care for varnish at the seaside, and spread a few gay rugs here and there. The effect is cool, page 58 and the floor is easily scrubbed over with a mop. The curtains should be in some bright, fadeless material, such as checked gingham. Use gingham also for easily laundered tablecloths. Cottage china, cheap and attractive, will be en suite. For the porch (no sea-side bungalow is really successful without a wide porch) have painted deck-chairs and camp stools with striped canvas to match. And don't forget the essential for comfort—cushions everywhere, cushions in gay removeable covers. Canvas in wonderful striped effects can be obtained for blinds and awnings.
Now for the more personal things. I suppose you already have your new swim-suit. But have you a vivid towelling wrap or coat? Towelling coats are ever so smart, and surprisingly warm if there is a slight chill in the air, as there so often is down South. If you do not change at the bungalow, you will find a bathing-bag useful for carrying toilet articles and wet togs. Make beach fun for the kiddies (and grown-ups too) with a large rubber ball, sea-horse or life-buoy.
Shopping for Others.
Strange that we should buy for other people things we covet, but would not waste the money on for ourselves. But it's true, isn't it? That's partly why Christmas has such a nice feel about it. I know each year there seems to be one particular thing I can't bear to give away, though I have bought it for that purpose—but I finally give it, wrapping it up so carefully, and addressing it forlornly. The only comfort is that one gives the things that really appeal to the people that count in one's life. I still remember a few of my best-loved presents. One was a Chinese brass vase; another a butterfly-wing tray; last year it was a book of poems. This year I have embroidered a willow-pattern cloth, marking it in my own mind “to be given away for Christmas,” but now that it is finished I know that I shall have to keep it. I comfort myself by saying that probably no one would get the same pleasure out of it that I will.
“Do Your Xmas Shopping Early” has been placarded before the public gaze for so many years that we ought really to do so, if only to show the influence of advertising. But, as I always argue, if everyone shops early there will be far less of a crush if I shop late, and, besides, I love the Xmas rush. Illogical, of course. We should really consider ourselves and the shopassistants, not to mention our purses, sufficiently to start our shopping in decent time. Let's begin this year. By shopping early, one has a far better choice, and can also take one's time in inspecting and comparing.
Presents for the bride-elect or the woman with a home are a simple matter—gay linen breakfast or luncheon sets; printed cotton bed-spreads, table-covers and duchess sets all matching; cushions, lampshades, pottery, crystal, china; trays, bowls or boxes in poker work. For the bachelor girl one is limited to more personal things—bath salts, perfumes, soaps; charming blouses, lingerie, gloves, stockings, handbags; bathing suits and bags, beach wraps; cigarettes (if she smokes). Men, as gift receivers, may be divided into smokers, and non-smokers. If the former, the type of present is indicated: if the latter, things are a little more difficult. I suggest socks, ties, handkerchiefs, shirts, pocket-wallets, books, pen and pencil sets, tennis balls (if he plays), cuff links and stud sets.
If you are a needle-woman, nothing is so much appreciated as a hand-worked article. Luncheon, buffet or waggon sets in coloured linen with geometrical appliques are quite simple to make. Guest towels, tea-towels, and puff cases are easy to embroider. Handkerchiefs with crocheted edges are attractive. Cushions may be made in gav patterned or striped material, or embroidered with wool. Washable handbags of linen in pastel shades are useful summer accessories. Throw-overs in plain or floral organdie are dainty. Whether you are going to buy or make a visit to the shops, even a glance at the daily advertisements of the big stores, will help you.
Home-made Christmas Gifts.
In these days of severe economy it is sometimes difficult to plan pleasing and original gifts at a small cost. Tins with well-fitting lids may be utilised by painting them in gay colours and filling them with favourite home-made sweets, biscuits, shortbread or cakes, etc., or a set of painted and labelled tins for a pantrv shelf would be appreciated by the housewife.page 59
One would need an assortment of tins in different shapes and sizes, small tins of enamel paint in good colours (the gayer the better), three brushes (one thick and two fine), and turpentine for cleaning the fingers, brushes, etc.
Have the tins thoroughly clean. Apply a coat of the enamel paint thinly and evenly and allow it to dry. Then add a second coat. When this is dry commence your decoration. It may be dashing and gay or in dainty designs. Do not attempt a too ambitious design at the beginning. A few splashes or lines or a geometrical design would be effective in orange with black, green with mauve or yellow, etc.
For a set of tins for the pantry it is well to match the colour-scheme of the kitchen. For instance, one could paint a number of small tins for holding the different spices, etc., the names of the contents to be otencilled or written in black on plain ground. Large tins could be used for rice, icing sugar, etc., and so on. The tins look neat and give quite an air to the pantry shelves.
These recipes are all well tried and tasted.
Cornflake Cookies.—¼ lb butter, ½ large cup of sugar; beat well together, add one beaten egg, one dessertspoonful golden syrup, one cup flour, one teaspoonful baking powder, almond essence, two cups of cornflakes. (Dates or any nuts may be added if liked, but are very nice without.)
Put cornflakes in a separate basin. When the mixture is made take small pieces off (about a teaspoonful) and roll in cornflakes, then drop on to the slide and bake.
Oatina Biscuits.—¼ lb. butter, 2 teacupsful oatina, 1 teacupful sugar (brown or white), ½ cup flour, ½ teaspoonful essence vanilla, pince of salt, ½ teaspoonful baking powder. (If liked, some chopped walnuts together with one tablespoon of treacle will add to the flavour of the biscuits.
Method: Melt the butter, add sugar, egg well beaten, flour, oatina, salt and baking powder. Place on a cold floured tray in small lumps with a spoon. Bake in moderate oven.
Almond Macaroons.—¼ lb. butter, ½ lb. flour, ¼ lb. sugar, 1 egg, 1 teaspoonful almond essence, 1 teaspoonful baking powder, halved blanched almonds.
Method: Beat butter and sugar to a cream, add well beaten egg. Beat. Add almond essence, flour with baking powder. Roll into small balls. Place half almond on top and bake in moderate oven for twenty minutes.
Shortbread.—¼ lb. butter, 2 ozs. castor sugar, 8 ozs. flour (or 1 oz. ground ice flour, 7 ozs. flour), pinch of salt.
Method: Cream the butter and sugar and beat in sifted flour gradually until firm enough to handle. Turn on to a floured board and work in the remaining flour with the hand, making it about ¾ in, thick. Flute the edges with the back of a knife. Prick all over. Bake in a moderate oven for three-quarters to one hour. Cut into pieces on the ovenshelf while still hot.
An Old Spanish Custom
“Chew an onion for a cold”—possibly an old Spanish custom, but certainly not a very pleasant one.
Here in New Zealand we have a better remedy in Baxter's Lung Preserver, for all coughs, colds, chest and throat afflictions. “Baxter's” soothes and warms, bringing instant relief. It has excellent tonic properties, too. Children just love to take “Baxter's.” All chemists and stores sell the three 1/6, 2/6 and 4/6 sizes.*page 60