Style Secrets from Miss Pettigrew

miss pettigrew valentines gift ideas

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Miss Pettigrew, the unsuspecting heroine of the 1938 novel Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, is a middle-aged governess whose seemingly only remarkable trait is that she “had never had the wicked thrill of powdering her nose” at the ripe age of 50. In a mere 24 hours time however, Miss Pettigrew is mistakenly placed under the employment of the night-club singer Miss Lafosse instead of a family with children. And in those 24 hours, the two women find themselves learning quite a lot about what it means to be a woman. While Miss Lafosse teaches Miss Pettigrew of the finer things in life, giving her a makeover, a new wardrobe, and sudden confidence with a new-found pleasure in beauty, Miss Pettigrew teaches Miss Lafosse of the inner power of feminine agency. Though Miss Lafosse has all the appearance of glamour, power, and confidence of a “new woman,” it is actually the fainthearted Miss Pettigrew who reveals her feminine independence and wisdom about a changing world when Miss Lafosse is constantly browbeaten by the men in her life. Written during a time where females were beginning to enter the workforce by storm, throw off old notions of a woman’s place being strictly “in the home,” and wear makeup and lingerie without being considered risque, Miss Pettigrew and Miss Lafosse represent what I believe the author Winifred Watson was trying to urge, or rather warn, the women of her time that, out of the exciting new opportunities for women in the 1930’s, there was emerging the potential of two very dangerous types of women:

  • TYPE ONE: Miss Lafosse: a playgirl who had twisted the idea of the “new woman.” Though she had built a successful career, dressed how she desired, did not marry, and did and said what she pleased, she was still entirely dependent upon men and had no knowledge of what a good man was. She entertained any and every man who was attracted to her, yet could not stand on her own two feet and was miserable.
  • TYPE TWO: Miss Pettigrew: conversely, Miss Pettigrew was a woman who was wholly independent. She worked hard yet could not find her place in this new world that had begun to value only superficiality. Lacking the money and what she called the “courage” of standing up among the burgeoning new culture of fashion and leisure, Miss Pettigrew was in danger of becoming extinct, and with her would evaporate the wisdom, poise, and sense of morality she upheld.

By the conclusion of the novel, Miss Pettigrew learns how to navigate Miss Lafosse’s superficial world, discovering that even governesses can benefit from a lace robe and a bubble bath. Similarily, Miss Lafosse rediscovers a new attraction to marriage and learns from Miss Pettigrew how such an archaic “institution” still fit, and made better, her modern world. For Valentines day, I think Miss Pettigrew would elect to stay in and channel a bit of Miss Lafosse’s self-spoiling. One thing both Miss Lafosse and Miss Pettigrew learned, was that thinking and doing things for oneself is the greatest power on earth, one to gain the respect and admiration of the best of men. If you don’t have plans yet for the 14th, do what Miss Pettigrew did and learn to love spoiling yourself for…just yourself. Besides, Winifred Watson says that “a woman’s first duty is to her face.”

– <3 A. 

source: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a day, watson, persephone books

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Mango and Mint Ice Bellinis and Homemade Ice Bowl

Over the Christmas holiday I made a trip to Anthropologie and stumbled across this pretty fantastic find:

vintage tea party

It’s pretty much like a blog in a book. Complete with gorgeous pictures, DIY ideas, recipes, party ideas, style tips and tricks, and, in the authoress Angel Adoree‘s own words, “expect glamour, roses, rabbits, headscarves, foxes, teapots, parlour games, cakestands” and everything that is beautiful about vintage. You definitely will be seeing more peeks into this gem, but I wanted to share this drink recipe in case you’re hunting for a super classy way to ring in the New Year.

Mango and Mint Ice Bellinis

vintage new years drink recipe

new years eve drink recipe

new years drink ideas

I marked this right away while I was flipping through the pages of my new love. I’m not much of a drinker of the alcoholic beverages but you simply canNOT have a New Year’s Eve without just a splash of champagne. Plus, these looked so simple yet oh so fancy, I had to give them a try.

new years eve drink recipe

Mango and Mint Ice Cubes:

  • The recipe says you could use juice or fresh mangoes. I went the easy route and just poured mango juice into an ice tray. If you don’t like mangoes, any sort of juice would be delicious, I think raspberry might be in my next attempt at this.
  • Let the juice-cubes freeze for about 45 minutes to an hour and then place a mint leaf in the center of each cube and let them freeze completely.

ice bowl:

  • Place a small metal or plastic bowl into a larger bowl and place something heavy inside the smaller bowl so it doesn’t float completely.
  • Pour water into the space between the bowls. You can play around with this depending on how big you want the hole to be in your bowl. I think it would be fun to do a square or other shapes too.
  • Let the bowl freeze completely and then remove the ice carefully. Angel says if you have trouble (and I did) taking the ice bowl out of the metal, run a little lukewarm water over the outside of the metal bowl to loosen it.
  • Pop some cubes into the champagne glasses, place the rest in the ice bowl, and enjoy!

new years drink recipe

new years eve drink recipe

vintage new years eve drink recipe

Doesn’t it look so fancy!? I was impressed by how it turned out and it really was super simple. Give yourself enough time to let the ice bowl freeze otherwise it will melt before your guests have a chance to gush about your party-skills, and trust me, they will gush!

– <3 A. 

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