Musings of a Vintage Mummy

The Calendar Doll Ritual

Hi, I’m Mimi, and I live in a little Victorian cottage with my husband and little girl. I’ve been a full time mum until now, but have just started working for myself for a few hours a week doing admin. I’ll be writing here from time to time about my life as a vintage housekeeper and mum. Do pop  over to my blog to say hello won’t you?

mimi's musings

If you should ever find yourself in a roomful of parents with a lull in the conversation or an awkward silence you want to fill, just throw out a few questions about routine for babies and children. In my experience few things garner more passionate opinions than this. Names such as Gina Ford, Tracy Hogg, Jo Frost and Sarah Ocklewell-Smith are either saviours or demons, depending upon which camp you are in: baby led, parent led, 4 hour feeds, Eat-Activity-Sleep-You….and for each you will find people who tell you that they are the best approach, or the worst thing you could do.

And yet, I think for all that, the best routines and rhythms are the ones we adopt and tweak to suit ourselves and our little families, especially as our babbas get older. The one thing that isn’t in question is that rhythm and routine of some sort are the foundation on which everything else is built. In my last post, I talked about each day having its own kind of feel and flavour and how I was going to choose a little ‘me time’ activity or treat for each day.

It is those subtle little variations in our days which colour each day and give it its character, I think. From the hurry-out-of-the-house-early-for-toddler-group days to the swish-swish-swishing-of-the-washing-machine-days to the lovely-smell-of-ironing-days. But how to explain the idea of days to a small toddler? Let alone the idea of different days? I’ve come up with a lovely little morning routine to help, which even if Jessica is too young to fully understand now, she will get more and more out of it as she gets older.

Each morning, when we come downstairs, I turn the blocks of our perpetual calendar to today’s date, and talk about the numbers as I do so, ending with ‘2 and 4, the 24th of November’. I then pick up a little wooden peg doll and sit it on top of the calendar. I have made seven of these little dolls, and each wears a simple hat and cloak in a different colour, to represent each day of the week.


When I sit the doll on top of the calendar, I say ‘today it is the red man, so it is Tuesday. Tuesday is the day grandma comes to visit‘ so she can start to make the associations. I have borrowed this idea of associating these specific colours with each day of the week from the world of Waldorf education, so if Jessica was to find herself visiting a Waldorf school or playgroup, the colours and days would be the same.

There are lots of ways to expand on this for older toddlers and children. You might let them help choose the right number blocks for the calendar, and the right coloured doll for the day. You could go as far as to dress them in something that matches the day’s colour. Perhaps they could eat their breakfast porridge from a coloured bowl which matches the day, or snuggle them up under a coloured blanket for their nap.

Making Your Dolls

If you want to make your own peg dolls, they are very easy. Look on Pinterest for inspiration, (try waldorf calendar dolls as a search term) use this tutorial and buy your wooden peg dolls from

If you are not confident with your sewing skills, there is no reason why you couldn’t just paint the dolls, although if you can manage blanket stitch (youtube is great if you are feeling rusty or want a reminder how to start it, as I always do!) you should find it straight forward.

If you are wondering where to find the time to make these, I did too! In the end, I made one each evening for a week. Each one takes somewhere between half an hour and an hour depending on whether you are engrossed in a radio play while you sew…

We end our little morning calendar routine with me singing my morning song to the tune (ish!) of The Archers. It goes:

Good morning little Jessica
good morning little J
Good morning little Jessica
And how are you today!

Good morning little Jessica
good morning little J
Good morning little Jessica
Are you ready to play?

Good morning little Jessica
good morning little J
Good morning little Jessica
Welcome to Tuesday! (Or whichever day it actually is!)

I have another idea, for a special kind of calendar which I’ll share in my next post – it is something you can do for your little one, but also for yourself. And if you do make your own calendar dolls, please share some photographs won’t you?


Puttery Treats For Cold Winter Evenings

It’s puttery treat time Housekeepers and here I am with a little list of lovely little somethings to warm up these chilly winter evenings. Enjoy…


* Add a generous shot of Bailey’s Irish Cream to your bedtime hot chocolate for a dreamy, creamy treat.

* Read Little Women and remember how deliciously Wintery it is.

* Diffuse a blend of lemon, ginger, cinnamon and cedarwood to create the aromatic illusion of heat in your living room on very cold evenings.

* Stitch a couple of blankets together so you create one blanket long enough to cover the laps and toes of all those snuggled up on the sofa, without fuss.

* Seek out a copy of Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon playing Heathcliff and Cathy in the brooding 1939 version of Wuthering Heights.

* Treat yourself to a quirky Japanese style long sleeved apron to wear while cooking on chilly evenings

* Bake a Clementine Tea Loaf and serve it warm for supper.

* Save on the heating bills by retiring to bed silly early in the Winter. Take a large flask of warm tea upstairs, get in to your cosiest pyjamas, and devote Winter evenings to snuggling and reading in bed.

* Start a collection of vintage camisoles. Just the thing to add a little glamour under flannel pyjamas.

* Warm yourself up and relax your entire body in the early evening with this Winter slow-flow yoga sequence.

* Warm up two tablespoons of coconut oil in a bain-marie and add three drops of frankincense oil to the warm oil, then slather it on to your face for a deeply moisturising mask.

* Buy a raclette and turn the Winter evening meal in to a fabulously cosy feast cooked right there at the table.

* Forego the alcohol but savour the depth of a comforting glass of wine with this Black tea Merlot after your evening meal. Sounds like bliss…

* Take a detox bath if you have got a cold or heaven forbid, the flu.

* Don’t hang your dressing gown up before you get in to bed, fold it over the radiator instead so it is a cozy warm hug when you pop it on in the morning.

* Nothing warms the cockles of the heart faster than a dumpling. Add them to slow cooker stews and try flavouring them with everything from rosemary to blue cheese.

* Scare yourself warm by reading a truly chilling horror story like the 1959 classic, The Haunting of Hill House. 

* Mix up a blend of clove, ginger, and cardamon seed oils and add them to a late night hot bath to provide long-lasting body warmth as you fall asleep.

* Turn off the television and make taking turns to read aloud to each other a Winter evening ritual. Pick one of the books on Read Aloud America’s adult reading list and experience the gentle bliss of experiencing a story together.

* Download my lovely Winter House PDF and find more lovely wintery treats inside…

Cath Kidston’s Cracking Christmas!

A Cath Kidston Christmas would be my kind of Christmas simply because NOTHING fills me with good cheer faster than a trip to one of her happy stores, and if there is one thing Christmas should be it is happy mais non?


So how about a chance to win £250.00 to spend in Cath Kidston, simply doing the one thing we all do daily? Pinning! Yesarooney, simply set up a Pinterest board called Cath Kidston’s Cracking Christmas, follow the rules described here and have yourself a merry little Christmassy hour or six picking Cath Kidston gorgeousness and combining it with your very own pins describing exactly how the Christmas of your dreams looks.

The competition closes on the the 29th November and you can find the rules, terms and conditions here.

Happy pinning Housekeepers.x

Home Cooking: A Writer In the Kitchen

By Laurie Colwin

Oh readers, how lucky we are to have had Laurie Colwin amongst us for the 48 years before her untimely death. Her writing is the kind of feast for the senses we rarely experience even in the best of books about food.


I first read Home Cooking a few years ago, and as with the best of books it felt like having the most intimate of conversations with my truest friend. Literary and accessible. Hungry and often beautiful. And then, silly me, I lent the book to heaven knows who, never to be returned or indeed, read again. Until now.

For last night after I downloaded and devoured Family Happiness holed up in the fridge that is my bedroom, I discovered that Home Cooking was just $1.99 on too, and before I knew it, it was safely ensconced in my Kindle and this evenings entertainment was secured.

Read it to remember why food is family and family is love.

Source List
1.Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen. Available on here and here.

2. Family Happiness by Laurie Colwin. Buy it on Amazon.Com here . Sadly it is not currently available in the UK. So sorry.

The Perfect Robe

I am pretty sure that it is warmer outside my house than it currently is inside it. Though I have just eaten the cosiest chicken roast, sipped copious amounts of tea and warmed the cockles of my heart by striding around a huge forest in thick socks and a puffy fluffy anorak, with a scarf wrapped around my head and thermal gloves on my blue fingers, I am still ABSOLUTELY freezing.

ugg frances robe

Rumour has it that it is all in my mind, though you need to know that I strongly object to this opinion. Despite the fact that the other occupants of this house are currently wandering around in tshirts and looking knowingly at each other as if me and my foibles are just something they have to deal with, I do believe that as Mistress of the house, my opinion on the temperature of the house is the only one that matters. So if I say it is cold it is damn cold and they are only warm because they are a)to stubborn to admit that is otherwise and/or b) too full of the kind of joie de vivre I seem to be lacking on a freezing Sunday in November.

Anyways this rant (I promise it’s nearly over) is to tell you that in my dreams I am heading upstairs to a hot bath in a warm bathroom and that when I have luxuriated in milky, rosy waters I am climbing into the cosiest pair of grey marl pyjamas, and topping them with a pink UGG Frances robe because frankly in my fuddled, frozen state I am almost hallucinating about how utterly warm I would be in something both flannel and fleecy.

Then I want a chai hot chocolate, an engrossing book and a  handsome man to rub warm cinnamon oil on to my pedicured toes (try it: it warms up your entire body!). Spicy hot chocolate? Tick. Steamy novel? Tick. Handsome man? Tick. Everything but the robe m’dears. Everything but the robe.

I do hope Santa Claus is on the case.

Source List
1. Ugg Frances Robe available at the cosy store that is Plow and Hearth.

2. Family Happiness by Laurie Colwin. Currently just $1.99 on Amazon.Com here.

3. Chai Hot Chocolate. My preferred brand at here (because it isn’t sickeningly sweet) and at here.

4. Cinnamon Oil. Please see this page for my preferred essential oil brand.