Author: Estelle

The Sugar Plum Christmas Book, 1978

Finding this book, this influential but long-lost item of my childhood, was no easy task. While I could remember whole poems and, especially, the cutely disturbing illustrations, the only part of the title I...

Cadbury’s “99”, 1936

Today’s post began through a fit of annoyance that literally every flavour of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream contains eggs, thereby making a trip to the cinema with my egg-allergic little girl an ice-cream...

Bad Breasts, 1872

I do love an advert for a Victorian “cure-all”. Here we have Holloway’s Ointment in an advert from 1872. It claims to cure (deep breath) – coughs, colds, bronchitis, asthma, irregular action of the...

A Burglary Comedy, 1933

Do people still have “spirit guides”? They used to be pretty popular among fraudulent Victorian mediums, stage psychics and Jim Morrison in that film about The Doors. They’re usually supposed to be helpful, I...

Allergies in the Past

Allergic reactions are on the increase in all parts of the developed world – asthma, hay-fever and food allergies are all more common than they used to be, although no-one has a definitive answer...

Barclay’s Lager, 1926

It’s been a strange kind of summer in a strange kind of year. The approach of September usually gives me a feeling of normality being restored – working for a university I still feel...

Oddities, 1841

I love picking a newspaper at random from the British Newspaper Archive and reading it all – or nearly all, tiny print in the older papers is tough on the eyes, even with some...

Perfect Cooking, 1959

I’ve got a new cookery book, and it promises me “Perfect Cooking”, 1959-style. I love so many things about old cookbooks, particularly the craziness of the Invalid Cookery sections, but one thing bugs me –...

Funny Bones, 1968

For my birthday treat a few weeks ago, me and my husband went on a very rare kid-free trip to Heston Blumenthal’s Hinds Head pub to try a special menu – truffled beef stew...