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Modern life is rubbish! The people whose homes are portals to the past | Life and style



Will future generations look at the interior design of the early 21st century in appreciation? Possibly not. We do not appear to have crafted many design classics, unless slab-like corner sofas in mud-grey velvet are Eames chairs in the making. Our feature walls are gaudy; our furniture cheaply made. Scarcely anything seems to be built to last, which is just as well, as the next Instagram-led interior design trend will be along soon enough.

But there are those who retreat from modern trends into the interiors of the past, drawn by the allure of original designs. We speak to five people whose homes are portals into the past.

1930s: Aaron Whiteside, 38, stained glass restorer, Blackpool

Aaron Whiteside

My mum says that I was always into the 30s, ever since she can remember. I’d go around to my aunt and uncle’s house and play old dance band records. At weekends, I’d rummage in Patrick’s Saleroom, a sort of junk shop that’s still around today. I’d go there every weekend from the age of seven or eight and buy all sorts of weird things: gramophones, gas mantles, electric toasters, Bakelite hairdryers. I have an obsession with 30s vacuums. They’re the best! They really get all the crap out of the carpet.

The music, the fashion and the style were magical. Even the food was great – everything was homegrown back then. I would go back in time now if I could, although I’d take my family with me. It probably wouldn’t live up to my expectations unless I was rich and able to do fun things such as go to the Savoy theatre and go out dancing.

Aaron Whiteside’s kitchen in Blackpool

I grew up over the road from the house I live in. It used to belong to an old lady. She was well over 100 when I was a child. She was a real character: a former schoolteacher, very strict. Us kids used to call it the witch’s house, because if a ball hit her window you’d see an eye poke out from behind her venetian blinds. She’d come outside with a carving knife and cut the ball open. But she was a lovely lady, really. It must have been annoying for her, all these kids knocking balls into her windows.

After she died, the house lay unused for nine years, until I bought it. I found her old ration book and letters from her sweetheart, who died in the first world war, under the floorboards. The letters were quite upsetting to read, knowing how he died young.

Aaron Whiteside’s house in Blackpool

Most of my furniture comes from Patrick’s Saleroom, unless it’s something rare and hard to find, in which case I use eBay. Everything is vintage, apart from my Alexa – but that’s hidden in an old speaker. I have a laptop for work and watching Netflix. But that’s it. I restored a 1951 Bush television, so I can watch old movies on it. I know it’s not from the 30s, but TVs weren’t popular back then.

There’s a lot I don’t like about modern life. I find society quite greedy. Everyone’s a bit more selfish. If I live by any 30s values in my life, I suppose it’s trying to have good manners: be polite, and nice to folk, and help them as much as you can.

Aaron Whiteside’s house in Blackpool

When I come home from work, I like to shut the door and pretend I’m back in 1936. Not to the extent it’s freaky, though. I do go to work and see my friends and have a normal life. But my house is my little time capsule. The 30s stay here; when I leave the house, I’m back in the real world.

I forget I have a 30s house. If I don’t warn people before they come over for the first time, they walk in, stop speaking, then ask me if it’s my grandparents’ house. I had a postman come to the house once and ask me if my mum and dad were in. I get it. It looks like an old lady’s house.

1940s: Julie Kelty, 53, homemaker, South Uist, Outer Hebrides

Julie Kelty in her kitchen in South Uist

Everything in my house is 40s-style – or if it isn’t, it’s hidden away. I have three children, so there’s no way in the world I could get away without having modern things such as a TV and a washing machine. But the washing machine is covered with a curtain and the toaster is in a cupboard under the worktop. I have a real 40s toaster on the counter: I daren’t turn it on, even though it does have a plug fitted. My kids are always complaining about the toaster. They go: “Mum, why is the toaster in the cupboard?” I say: “Because that’s the way I like it!” But they don’t mind, really, because they know it makes me happy.

I’m most proud of my living room. It’s so relaxing. I love the rocking chair and the old clock on the mantelpiece. If you don’t look at the TV, you can imagine you are in a 40s lounge. I love to sit there and read old magazines from the 40s. Sometimes, they have people’s addresses on the label. I think about them: what were they like? What lives did they lead?

Julie Kelty lives in a 1940s home

I get all my furniture on the island. There’s a brilliant place called ReStore that restores old furniture that people have donated: almost everything in my house is from there. There are two charity shops on the island that are also really good – I can always pick up beautiful things there and they aren’t expensive. The charity shops on the mainland know about vintage now; they put up the price.

I dress in 40s clothes, too. I love the style – it’s very feminine. The ladies always got dressed up to go out back then. They took care, you know? No leggings and long T-shirts! I always wear a skirt, no matter what I’m doing. You have to wear thick tights in winter, though.

I love the simplicity of the era. It’s not over the top, like it is now. There’s too much stuff now. It’s all about what car you have, or what clothes you wear. Even modern cars are stressful. There’s so much that can go wrong with them. Back then, things were simple and modest. It felt like everyone was in it together. People were different – they did things for each other. I love that sense of neighbourliness and community.

Julie Kelty lives in a 1940s home

If I had the chance to go back to the 40s, I’d love to go. Not to stay there – I imagine it was pretty terrifying to live through the war. But maybe after the war, when it was all over, to visit a world without cars and people everywhere. That’s one of the reasons my husband and I moved to Uist – to get away from technology and crowds and to live a simpler life. There are plenty of places on the island where you can look around and it’s exactly as it would have been in the 40s. Although, sadly, technology has followed us to the island – we got 4G last year. I’m constantly looking at my phone now. Adverts pop up and I think: “Ooh, I’d love to buy that.” I wish I wasn’t looking at my phone all the time.

1950s: Emma Preston, 51, clothing brand owner, Bolton

Emma Preston at home in Bolton

I’d say my style is mid-century American ranch style, with a tiki influence. I’ve always loved vintage style, ever since I was a teenager. In the 80s, I was into the mod scene. I remember walking into a friend’s house when I was about 19 and everything was styled like the 50s: there was a cocktail bar and 50s magazines. I thought it was so stylish. After that, I never looked back: I’ve decorated all of my houses in a vintage way.

When I started collecting in the 80s, you could pick up stuff in charity shops and flea markets for next to nothing. I still have a 50s pale-green and pink bedroom suite I got at a Manchester flea market in the early 90s. Nowadays, I get most of my things through specialist dealers, although you can also get good pieces from eBay and Etsy if you look hard enough. I’d love some Heywood-Wakefield or Paul Frankl rattan furniture and I’m desperate for an Alfred Meakin cactus teapot – I have almost the full set, but I’m missing the teapot.

Emma Preston has a 50s-styled home

I have two cocktail bars. They are pretty special. One is a mid-century bar with a glitter vinyl front. My tiki bamboo bar I got from a friend who was selling it. I’ve owned several bamboo bars over the years. At one point, I had about four bars in my house at the same time. I had to get rid of them, though – you can’t keep them all.

I do have modern bits in the house. My kitchen isn’t original. It’s styled on a Youngstown kitchen from the US; it would be difficult and expensive to ship one over, so I created the look using chevron cupboard pulls and aluminium trim on a modern kitchen. I had really positive comments on my Instagram account from people in the US, which was nice.

Emma Preston has a 50s-styled home

Emma Preston has a 50s-styled home

The only thing in my house that I really hate is the TV, because it doesn’t fit with the decor. We have a modern TV – my husband, Nigel, insisted. It is nice to watch old movies on a decent screen, though. William Morris said that you should have nothing in your house that you don’t know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. Everything in my house is beautiful to me, apart from my telly – which is useful!

I don’t wish I lived in the 50s. I love vintage style, not vintage values. When I’m reading magazines from that period, some of the adverts are so archaic. It’s all about buying the woman in your life a vacuum cleaner for Christmas. But I couldn’t live in modern surroundings, either. This trend for grey at the moment – I can’t bear it. Everything is grey. People are even painting the exterior of their houses grey! I need colour in my life.

I’ve felt so fortunate to have this beautiful home during Covid. I get so much pleasure from every item in my home. It’s so lovely to sit at my bar and have a mai tai while I put some lounge music on. I feel so grateful to live here, look at everything and feel wowed by it – which I still do, every day.

1960s: Nick Grant, 49, IT consultant, Dunblane

Nick Grant at his bar in Dunblane

I didn’t have a fantastic childhood. My mum died when I was six, of a brain tumour. TV was my escape. Every Saturday evening, I lost myself in classic American shows like The Dukes of Hazzard, The A Team, Knight Rider. Those 80s shows often visually referenced the 60s and Americana. There’s definitely a bit of nostalgia there.

My interest in the 60s started with cars. I’ve always driven classic cars. I have a ’57 Chevy – it’s black with a red roof. I love that culture of hot rodding and classic cars. It’s linked together, my love of cars and interiors.

Nick Grant has a 60s-style home in Dunblane

Living in Scotland, you need a bit of colour, especially at this time of the year. I looked at Chevrolet paint charts from the 60s. The dining room is painted in a turquoise colour that came from those charts. The dining chairs are Panton and the side tables are Bauhaus.

Nick Grant has a 1960s style home in Dunblane

I wouldn’t want to live in the 60s. I’ve always believed that things tend to get better, although the last few years have stretched that for me. I guess I’m a traditional person in that I like to work hard and live quietly. But, beyond that, I don’t really relate to 60s values. My wife and I, we’re equals.

Nick Grant has a 60s-style home in Dunblane

I like to combine modern conveniences with 60s styling. I’ve incorporated automation into the house, so all our lighting themes come on automatically at different times of the day. We have sound systems in every room. I love gadgets. But I make sure they’re all invisible. I don’t want them to change the look of the house, just make it easier to live in.

I love things with a history. We put in double doors that I got from a salvage yard between the dining room and the kitchen. They were from a cruise liner built in 1959. They add layers of history to the house. When you touch them, it feels like there’s a story behind them. Being able to keep things going and give them a new life, instead of throwing them in landfill, feels right to me.

1970s: Estelle Bilson, 42, stylist, Manchester

Estelle Bilson at home in Manchester

My dad was an antiques dealer and cabinet maker, so I grew up with mahogany furniture – lots of Edwardian pieces and William Morris. I used to go to auctions with my dad from the age of three or four. I’ve always hunted for stuff – when I was a student, I’d go around picking furniture out of skips. I’m such a Womble! Back then, people would toss out G Plan – no one wanted it.

Everyone says to me: why the 70s? And I say: why not? It’s the colour, the shapes, the style. There’s some nostalgia there, too, because I’m just about old enough to remember the 70s. My grandparents kept all their 70s furniture well into the 80s. Back then, people bought quality and kept it for a long time, whereas now it feels as if everyone decorates their home at lightning speed to keep up with the latest Instagram trend. People treat their houses like fast fashion, whereas, 30 or 40 years ago, people had a style and stuck with it for 50 years.

Estelle Bilson lives in a 70s period home
Estelle Bilson lives in a 70s period home

I have a Decca TV from the 70s that I found on Facebook Marketplace, three miles down the road. It’s ridiculous. The same model is on display in the Science Museum. It does turn on, but unfortunately the analogue signal was switched off in 2012, so I’m sending it to someone who specialises in making old appliances work on new systems. He’s going to make it compatible with Netflix and digital TV.

I’m really tight. Everything is from Facebook Marketplace, car boot sales or eBay. I could go to specialist dealers, but I refuse to pay £300 for something I can find for £20 if I magpie about and keep looking. Sometimes, I’ll spend years looking for a specific piece. If I told you my search terms, I’d have to kill you. What I will say is that, if you want bargains, search broad. Type “coffee table” or “lamp”. It will take hours, but you’ll find gold for cheap.

Estelle Bilson lives in a 70s period home

We have modern mattresses – I draw the line on that. And we have a modern TV. Oh, and a Dyson. Old vacuum cleaners are awful. My prized possession is a Marcel Breuer long chair. My dad had one when I was a kid, but he had to sell it in the 80s because he was short on money. Mine came up on eBay and the starting bid was £500. I had only £500 in my bank account, so I sat there shaking, waiting for the auction to run down. Then, with three seconds to go, I bid and won it. I felt sick. I cried and then called my dad.

I wear 70s clothes, but not all the time. I’m a mum and I can’t swan around in a Jean Varon maxidress if there’s a four-year-old trying to smear yoghurt on me. Do I have vintage values? Absolutely not. I don’t sit about waiting for my partner to come home. I think a lot of things about the 70s were really bad. Thatcherism was shit, especially if you lived up north. If you watch Love Thy Neighbour, it’s so racist. If I had a time machine, I wouldn’t go back to the 70s. Actually – that’s a lie. I’d go back, stockpile a load of furniture and bring it back. But that’s about it.

What I like the most about the 70s is the mindset. The roots of sustainable living started in the 70s. The quality of build and design is that much better. Nothing looks like it will fall apart in the next 10 minutes. There’s years of use left in this furniture. I’m so glad to be able to save it from landfill.

This article’s main image was changed on 12 January 2021 for editorial reasons.

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Meera Sodha’s recipe for vegan haggis kheema and tattie rotis | Vegan food and drink




Burns Night and my birthday are on the same day, which, over the years, has been both a blessing and a curse – a curse in that I haven’t always wanted to eat haggis, neeps and tatties or read poetry on 25 January, and a blessing in that there’s always been a pre-set suggestion on the birthday party idea-o-meter that’s more interesting than the usual: “Pub?” In any case, this year I am embracing it fully, merging Burns’ love for haggis and tatties with my love of Indian kheema and rotis, and so forming the inaugural Burns-Sodha birthday meal of haggis kheema and tattie rotis.

Haggis kheema and tattie rotis

Treat the haggis and roti recipes separately, if you wish (and if you’re short of time, you could always buy wheat rotis). The dish is built around Macsween’s vegetarian haggis, which you’ll need to buy – it’s widely available in most supermarkets.

Prep 20 min
Cook 1 hr 10 min
Serves 4

For the tattie rotis
300g maris piper potatoes, peeled and cut into 3cm cubes (250g net weight)
1 tbsp rapeseed oil, plus 1 tsp extra for frying the rotis
½ tsp nigella seeds
125g plain white flour
, plus extra for dusting

For the haggis kheema
3 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 medium leek
(250g), finely sliced
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 Indian green finger chillies, very finely chopped
1kg vegan haggis
2 tsp ground coriander
2½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp turmeric
100g non-dairy yoghurt
– I like Coconut Collaborative
1 large handful (10g) fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 large handful (15g) fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Bring a small pan of water to a rolling boil, drop in the potatoes and cook for 12 minutes, or until tender. Drain and leave to dry in the colander. When dry, put the cooked potatoes back into the same pan, add the oil, half a teaspoon of salt and the nigella seeds, and mash really well. Add the flour and knead with your hands until the mix comes together into a uniform ball of dough.

Lightly flour a work surface and lay out a large sheet of greaseproof paper. Cut the roti dough into four equal pieces. Take one piece of dough, roll it out into a 6cm-diameter circle (dip the rolling pin in flour if need be), then transfer to the paper and repeat with the remaining dough.

Heat a teaspoon of oil in a large, nonstick frying pan and, when hot, lay in the rotis and cook for about a minute and a half on each side, until blackened in places and there are no uncooked, doughy spots – as the pan starts to heat up, the roti will cook more quickly, so you may need to reduce the cooking time and/or heat. Cover the cooked rotis with foil and set aside while you make the kheema.

In the same frying pan, heat the oil for the kheema over a medium heat. When hot, add the leek and onion, and cook for about eight minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the ginger, garlic and chillies, stir to mix and cook for two minutes more.

Crumble in the haggis and cook, stirring frequently, for about eight minutes – it may stick to the pan, but persevere. Stir in the ground coriander, cumin, turmeric and yoghurt, cook for a further four minutes, then taste for seasoning. Add salt a quarter-teaspoon at a time, mixing and tasting after each addition, then stir in the fresh herbs and serve hot with the rotis.

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Coronavirus symptoms: 3 signs COVID-19 is spreading to your skin, check now




For many people suffering from COVID-19, the virus can spread to the veins and arteries and cause inflammation, which shows up on the skin. This rapid inflammation can result in rashes, which can be described as ‘red, itchy and even bumpy looking spots’ at times.

In younger children and babies, the appearance of mottled or patchy skin, which can happen on the legs, hands, belly or the back could be a sign to look out for.

Patchy, bumpy skin with redness can also happen due to the change in the blood pressure levels and flow of oxygen in the body. It can also be resultant of extreme chills and shivers which happen with a fever.

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21 BEST skincare tips for 2021




Good skin is always in trend. We do take care of our skin but in bits and pieces. It would be easy to maintain a healthy skin when you start to understand why it is essential to have good skin. Good skin care and healthy lifestyle choices can help delay natural ageing and prevent various skin problems. And, since we have stepped into 2021 with hopes and aspirations, we got in touch with Dr. Blossom Kochhar, Chairperson Blossom Kochhar group of companies to list out 21 skincare tips for every one to follow this year:

1. Protect Your Skin from Sun: One of the most important ways to take care of your skin is to protect it from the sun. Exposure to sun can cause wrinkles, age spots and other skin problems like skin cancer. It is always recommended to use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Apply a generous amount of sunscreen and reapply the sunscreen as and when required. You can wear a hat to restrict harmful rays from reaching your skin.

2. Treat Your Skin Gently: Using hot water on your skin can remove oils from the skin and make it drier. Use warm water rather than hot water. Avoid strong soaps or cleansers that can strip oil and moisture from your skin. After washing or bathing, gently pat or blot your skin. Dry your towel so that some moisture stays on your skin.

3. If you have dry skin, make sure that you moisturize your skin adequately so that moisture remains on your skin. For daily use, it is recommended to use a moisturizer that has SPF in it.

4. A Healthy Diet: A healthy diet can help you look and feel your best. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. Including fish oil or fish oil supplements and low in unhealthy fats and processed or refined carbohydrates might promote younger looking skin. Drinking plenty of water helps keep your skin hydrated.

5. Stress & Sleep: Uncontrolled stress can make your skin more sensitive and create skin problems. To encourage healthy skin and a healthy state of mind. Getting proper sleep helps you to rejuvenate. While you sleep, your skin is in repair mode. Hence it is recommended to have stress-free sleep for at least 8 hours.

6. Maintaining Skin Care Routine: Following CTOM as a part of your skincare routine is essential to maintain healthy skin. Using toners for your skin can make your skin look hydrated. It wipes out all the impurities and can make your skin feel softer and supple.

7. With most of us glued to our laptops and all the time attending some virtual meeting or another our eyes have gone for a toss. So, a lot care and importance should be given to eye care. Keep a good eye cream or gel to avoid getting dark circles. You can also put potato slices on your eyes for 5 minutes to soothe them.

8. Banana face pack is the most effective and moisturising face pack. Take a banana, 1 tablespoon honey, a quarter teaspoon of cream or milk powder and 2 drops of sandalwood oil. Mix these ingredients well and apply on your face. Let it on for 20 minutes, rinse off afterwards and apply a moisturiser in the end.

9. While you pick your foundation, make sure you pick a water-based lightweight foundation that provides a fine look on the skin rather than a greasy look.

10. It is very common that we don’t feel very thirsty in winters. But it is extremely important that we drink at least 8 glasses of water. It not only hydrates your skin but flush out toxins from your skin.

11. Exfoliate your skin twice a week, use rice powder, yoghurt, a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon. Mix this all together to make a nice exfoliator at home.

12. Turmeric helps in simulating new skin cell growths, hence controls ageing by protecting cells from damage. Combine turmeric with rice powder and use that paste once a week to reduce wrinkles and fine lines.

13. Add 2 drops of jasmine essential oil with almond oil, and massage gently on your face. After the massage, place a hot towel over your face for oil to seep in better and relax further. This will help improve the elasticity of your skin.

14. In a spray bottle, dilute 3-4 drops of Rose essential oil with water to create a homemade toner or a face mist. This helps restore freshness all through the day.

15. Neroli essential oil is excellent for rejuvenating mature dry skin. Use it for facial massage by adding 2 drops of it with almond oil and massage gently. After massaging with this place a hot towel over your face for oil to seep in better and relax further.

16. For chronic acne, apply 1 drop of tea tree essential oil directly on the affected area pimples.

17. Take a teaspoon of yoghurt, add a pinch of salt and a few drops of lemon & sandalwood essential oil in it. Mix all these together. Now take a slice of potato to apple the mixture evenly on your face. Keep it on for 15-20 minute and rinse it off.

This is an excellent recipe for dark circles and for removing tan.

18. Tomato puree works gently on skin and is beneficial in removing tan from the skin. Besides replenishing the skin with oils, it evens the skin tone, and helps in making the dry skin bright and glowing.

19. If you are looking for overnight brightness then make a face pack with cucumber, rosewater and glycerin.

20. Use coffee bean scrub to remove the dead skin, coffee is especially good for mature skin.

21. If you have oily skin remember that you still need to moisturize your skin in all seasons. But, to avoid getting your pores clogged use gel-based products like aloe vera sunscreen gel, juniper berry moisturizer which are easy on your skin.

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