Life – especially for women in the 1950’s was very different to what we can expect by today’s standards.  In those days, a lot of women married young, they stayed at home to raise children and to keep the house clean.  It was a time when men were considered to be the head of the household, the breadwinner, the one who went out to work.


Even if women did want to go to work, they would be employed in what was known as ‘women’s jobs’.  These would be secretaries, typists or nurses.  With societal pressures there was an economic incentive to keep the woman in a marriage and at home – even if it was an unhappy marriage!  Indeed, it was unusual in the 1950’s for women to go to university – especially those from working class areas.  Moreover, schools often prepared girls for being a wife and a mother by providing lessons in cookery, household management, sewing and darning.


I wanted to see what the differences were in terms of household appliances, food, clothes and being a housewife then and now after reading a beautiful story about a couple who just recently got rid of appliances they purchased in 1950!  Let me know what you think.


Household Appliances

In the 1950’s there was no central heating system.  Coal fires would heat the rooms downstairs while the upstairs would be heated by an electric fire.  There was no double glazing either so in winter it was common place for ice to form on the windows!  Keeping a bed warm was easy with a hot water bottle.


Fridges were starting to become more accessible to households to store food, but there were no freezers and no supermarkets!  People shopped in local stores with most people buying items to use straight away.


Many homes had a vacuum cleaner and a cooker.  Vacuums were often heavy bulky items that often gave you a bad back!  Probably bought on Hire Purchase.  Entertainment wasn’t 100+ channels but a radio (known as a wireless).  Although TVs started to become popular, although these would have been rented rather than owned.  Of course in black and white too!


1950s housewife

Image credit: Getty 1950′ housewife




Shopping for groceries was often completed each day and required visiting several shops such as the butcher and the greengrocer.  Often items were behind the counter so there was often no browsing either.




Clothes were mostly handmade with a heavy reliance on knitted items.  Recycling and mending was a big thing, reusing clothes or sewing to ensure longevity.  However, I love the silhouettes of the clothes from the 1950s.  There were beautiful swing dresses or pencil dresses.  There wasn’t a size zero in sight!


1950s clothes


Related posts:

The Vintage Way of Cleaning Windows

Cleaning the Vintage Way

A Very Vintage Beauty Product

Vintage Manners & Etiquette – Are they dead?

4 Vintage Hairstyles you gotta try


The House Wife

Women and men have more choice today as to whether they stay at home to look after children.  However in the 1950s there was little choice for women.  They were strongly encouraged to stay at home to be a wife and mother.  Doing housework and looking after children were considered as women’s work.  Indeed women were expected to clean the house and have dinner ready for her husband coming home from work!


1950s household

Image credit:  FivePrime


For me there are several huge differences between the 1950s and today.  One is the options available to women – although there is still a way to go!  The second is the gadgets and appliances.  To be honest I could not live without my Vax Blade 32V Cordless Vacuum Cleaner! It seems that without these housework – no matter who does it – would have taken all day.  Even simple cleaning jobs would take forever.   Like cleaning an oven!  These days I use Oven Pride with no scrubbing involved.  In 1950 I would have needed to scrub for hours!


So while I do love all things vintage, reading some of the differences between then and now, I can honestly say that I would prefer my gadgets and all those helping hands that make life so much easier to keep the house clean and tidy without having to spend hours doing it.


What do you think?  What household item could you not live without?



Read all about the differences between the household of today versus the 1950s household. Covering household appliances, clothing and food. Plus win a Vax Vacuum Cleaner!



Image courtesy of Vax


Image courtesy of Oven Pride


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My tips to help you find more time in your day

A previous blog post was inspired by my love of reading up about vintage life and vintage entertaining with a  soap box blog post  on  my top tips to help you stop wasting time and achieve more.  In that post I touched on delegation and procrastination but this time round I wanted to share with you my top tips to reclaim more time from your day by putting your time to ‘better use’.  Vintage life did seem more straightforward with fewer distractions, no email, no mobiles and certainly no consoles!

I know some of these tips will be controversial but some of us have to admit there are days when we waste our time doing a lot without achieving very much or having leisure time that really we don’t enjoy that much!

So if you want to have more time in your day below are the places I would highly recommend you start:


  • Watching television. I know you really love watching (insert your favourite programme here), but if you realistically need more time in your day then I’m afraid that programme will have to wait.  Don’t get me wrong I’m not talking about ditching the TV programme altogether, you can record it and watch it later or indeed cut some programmes out.


  • Social media – I really did hear you groan there didn’t I? Again I am certainly not advocating for you to go cold turkey on social media but I suggest you limit your time.  I also recommend working smarter and incorporating software such as HootSuite which can schedule your tweets and retweets.  All you need is a little planning.  I have been using HootSuite for a while now and I can highly recommend it, as the work is still being completed just more effectively.


  • Email and Texting is another area that we often waste time. Continually checking your inbox or replying immediately to texts can use up a lot of your time.  Set yourself a limit to checking your phone and stick to it.  On email set up an automatic response telling people when you will get back to them.  For texting, how about you phone the person for a quick chat instead of carrying on a text conversation all night?  This will most certainly save you time.


  • Household tasks need to be done I know but there are some tasks that seem to take forever and with a little planning we can cut down on them. Of course if you can afford to hire a cleaner or a cook good for you but most of us can’t so I recommend planning meals in advance at the start of the week, that way you are not wasting time each evening thinking of what to make.  You could also cook meals in advance at the weekends for during the week – now that would save a lot of time.


  • Playing games on mobiles and tablets is something I have seen an increase in over the last year or so, it’s very apparent on public transport. I’m sorry but playing games can be another area that drains your already precious time.  Cut back or give it up completely.


Let me know what you think of my tips to add more time to your day.  If you do decide to action some of these I would recommend you constantly measure how things are improving.  It would also be helpful for you to be aware of what you do during the day to ensure the actions are adding value to whatever you want to achieve.

Elf x



At Home:  My favourite vintage decor from the 1950s

Let’s face it when I think of mid-century modern the 1950’s pop in to my head.  I get so much inspiration from this time period.  During the 1950s the economy grew beyond what we were used to.  Rooms were often bright and casual with furniture being lively.

One of my favourite designers from the period were Charles and Ray Eames, this husband and wife team are considered two of the most important designers of the 20th Century.   Many iconic modern pieces were theirs.  It was a time when new material began to define the mass produced mark with plastic, glass and even plexiglass.

The heart of the home was of course the kitchen which contained cupboards in stunning pastel colours such as aqua, pink and even turquoise.  Of course it was a time of chrome dining sets!1950s living room

1950s kitchen

Eames chair