But that’s for ‘Best’!

But that’s for ‘Best’!

Hi there

Thanks for popping in. Ready for a little trip down Memory Lane? Ready for a little banter, a ramble? Just got back from spending a lovely day with Mum. She’s doing great, and it’s good to spend time together, talking and reminiscing about Dad and the good old days, the GOOD times.

How different things were back when we were kids though! Just the fact that we went OUT for lunch together today.. We never ever went out for lunch or for a meal to a restaurant, not in my entire childhood. Lucozade was a big treat when you were ill, and ice-cream for dessert was a Sunday only thing. But we have evolved I guess…

I noticed Mum actually took her best handbag out to the garden centre today, when we went out for lunch. I treated her to a smart Mulberry years ago, and she NEVER used it, except on birthdays and anniversaries! So today was a first! It still looks like new, whereas mine looks very well loved!! She comes from that generation where you lived by the “that’s for best” code. You ended up never wearing that lovely dress because it was “for best”, and you never went anywhere posh enough for it! My Dad had a pile of shirts for work, and a pile of shirts for best. And God help him if he picked a shirt off the wrong pile on the wrong day! But that was mellow. My German grandparents had a whole room in their little apartment which was called ‘Die gute Stube’. (The good Room). Get this. It was locked – LOCKED – except on Sundays, or when we were allowed to watch Bonanza!! Yep. It was where the TV resided! How times have changed.

I am trying to break the mould, I really am. I remember many years ago, my Mum bought me a really nice Spode bone china butter dish, but then told me I should not use it for every day, but only ‘for Best’, in case I broke it.

My response was to use it every single day; in fact, I have continued to do so for 15 years at least. And it still hasn’t faded or even got a chip in it! Dishwasher proof too! So there you go. Pound for pound, hour for hour, that butter dish has been a brilliant investment. Not only that, it has immense sentimental value because it was a gift from my Mum and Dad. Not particularly valuable, wouldn’t fetch much at Sothebys, doesn’t even go with my kitchen (whatever that means!!), but to me it is perfect.

When Dave and I got married in 2018, we bought a beautiful canteen of cutlery with all the John Lewis vouchers we were so kindly given. Came in a deluxe wooden box, and for 4 years it only came out at Christmas and on special occasions, when there were more people around the table than just us. This Christmas, when I dragged the heavy wooden canteen out for the annual Christmas dinner, I thought to myself, “Hang on Gray!! You’re playing the butter dish trick!” So I dumped the wooden box and emptied the entire contents of said box into our kitchen cutlery drawer. News? Every single time I go to that drawer I get a little buzz of joy using this oh-so-expensive designer cutlery, which just feels lovely, cuts lovely, spoons lovely. And not only that, all our friends bought it for us!! You get it. Money well spent now, not wasted.

Come on. Who else suffers from Butterdishitis? All I can say, speaking from my own experience, get it out, whatever it is, and enjoy it! Hey hey!! Steady Eddy!

Quote for the day. One of my all time favourites.

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” 

William Morris

And I’m sure Mr Morris would concur with me that butter dishes may be beautiful, but they are useful first. USE FULL.

Have a lovely evening deciding what to move from the Best drawer to the USEful drawer!

Love always

Barb xxx

50 thoughts on “But that’s for ‘Best’!

  1. Hello Barbara
    Totally agree. What is the point in having lovely, precious (in memories, not monetary value) things if they are shut away?
    Use them and enjoy them.
    Family are the most precious things. I am pleased to report my youngest grandchild is home from hospital in the last hour. She has been there since Monday morning on powerful, intravenous antibiotics fighting an infection that threatened the sight in her right eye and the possibility it could travel to her brain and cause meningitis.
    One very happy, relieved Grandma!

    1. Oh my goodness! Such a relief for you . Our nhs are truly marvellous when the chips are down. Hope all goes well for the precious little one, and for you all.

  2. When I was a child we 9n ku went into the sitting room on a Sunday, but like you now I use my wedge wood whenever I can, the crystal glasses look nice with a glass of wine it and there is only us and occasionally a couple of friends, but what happens once we are gone so best to use them now

  3. Oh this did take me down memory lane regarding my Grandparents. One set used everything all the time regardless and the others just like you kept the ‘front room’ just for high days and important visitors complete with a paraffin stove for heating as it wasn’t worth lighting the fire for just a few hours (I can still remember the smell). I’m sure it’s a generational thing. I’m gradually, after all these years, trying to get my head round don’t keep it just for best but use/wear it. Mind you a ball gown down the super market might raise a few smiles or eyebrows but I’m never going to go to another ball at my age. xx

  4. I know what you mean about sentimentality, Barb. When I visited my grandmother as a child, she always used a beautiful brown and cream dinner service. In later years, she used a cheaper set but kept the other in a cupboard. Then, when I moved into my apartment 8 years ago, she gifted me the other, older set, saying “You were always close to Granddad and I know you’ll get some use from it. He gave me that when we married in 1944!”

    Needless to say, such a precious gift is even more treasured since she passed away 2 years ago. And to honor both of them, I’ve used it every day. A few pieces have been lost over the years, but at almost 80 years old, what’s left is in perfect condition

  5. My grandma told me that a long time ago, we now have posh plates everyday and still have some for best from Denby . Love using them and they have lasted better than cheap ones I bought which were scratched after very little use. Life’s to short and none of us knows what lies ahead. Live for today.

  6. I can’t be trusted with special things – most of my kitchen stuff is from car boots, then it doesn’t matter too much.
    Clothes though….not so much for best these days, but, sadly, need the better things for funerals, so we both have ‘special’ outfits just for that sort of occasion, especially our best coats for those days – as they can be any time of the year.
    Glad you seem to be going from strength to strength. Kiss the cats for me.
    Maggie (Bendy Yorkite)

  7. I can relate to your blog. We always had Sunday best clothes, I inherited my mum’s beautiful dinner service which she hardly ever used, only for best. It is Minton, so understandable really but a shame as well. Sadly I don’t use it very often either, it’s not dishwasher proof.
    Treats for our older girls were a penguin biscuit , not the choice that kids have these days. They thought it was great though.
    Maybe Fred and I need to have our dinner off those posh plates. He will need to get on washing up duty though. X

  8. My grandparents had a parlour that was kept locked for visitors and special guests. All their China and table linen etc was kept in there for best only. The room always smelled of polish, it’s the funny the things you remember.
    When my Mum was a child my grandma would dress her and her siblings in their best clothes and shoes every Sunday. How different it is today.
    I must admit I used to keep things for best, but not anymore, I try to use everything and just be extra careful.

  9. I’m so glad to read that your Mum is doing well. How lovely to spend the day with her…and even better that she used her best handbag!
    My Grandma always had the front room as “best” and I can never ever remember sitting in there. Her house was an old Victorian terrace and you walked straight in off the street into the front room. We had to walk straight through that room into the back room and kitchen. She also had a thick “felt” cover on her dining room table, and top of that a velvet table cloth with tassels. Oh how I longed to peep under the covers! I don’t ever remember being told that I shouldn’t….I just knew it!!

    1. My gran also had a cloth with tassels. I used to sit under the table and plait them. Boy, did I get into trouble😂

  10. We always knew we were ill when we were allowed Lucozade ! We don’t have best crocks or cutlery, I do need a new set of crockery though as I’ve chipped a bit, broke a bit ! We used to have Sunday best for Sunday school as kids and party frocks but I don’t have best stuff as such now just some stuff you wouldn’t wear to the shops on a daily basis !

    I do have a Mulberry shopping bag though which hasn’t see a lot of daylight over the years, it’s quite big, perhaps I should put it on Vinted now !

    Still looking for a decent butter dish though ! X

  11. O I better get out the fruit spoons they are in a box,was mums , but when we lost my mum and dad I took them home but they in a drawer in the box x

  12. I wish I could use all my tableware every day but the Noritake and Royal Dalton are not dishwasher proof. There are 2 sets of Denbigh which I use frequently, switching around according to my mood. There is a set of Viners stainless steel cutlery which I would love to use but the spoons are a funny shape not liked by hubby and a canteen stuffed full of silver, only used on high days and holidays as I hate cleaning it. Got nobody to leave any of it to so considering an auction house.
    After my massive clear out this week we have a car full of boxes to go to the charity shop on Monday. Why keep it if you don’t use it.
    So pleased you had a good day with your Mum and that she is keeping well.
    Just read emails that 3 of my seven orders have been dispatched (I have been a very naughty lady spending all my birthday money in the sale and on new products) so the next lot of decluttering will have to be put on hold while I get to play with the goodies.
    Tina did a great job as usual demonstrating the 123 plates. Watched the recordings and it inspired me to go hunting and I found them all, both sizes, and they are now all together in one folder. So much easier to find in future.
    Stay well. 🍒

    1. My Noritake does fine in the dishwasher, Cherry, and if it doesn’t, too bad. I’d rather use it than keep it in the cupboard.

  13. We too had a front room for best, Sunday clothes were best clothes, other items kept for special occasions but does anyone else keep crafting goodies for best? I bought a pack of companion papers but don’t want to use them cos they’re so nice. I’ve got other items that I rarely use as I don’t want to spoil them. That must end now, I must use them and enjoy them – thank you Barbara ❤️

  14. We got new Sunday best clothes every whitsuntide. We wore them only on a Sunday for a year then when we got new they became every day clothes. Often my mum made my dresses and did a large hem so they could be lengthened as I grew and not get wasted. These days clothes don’t last long enough to be taken down. We also used to unravel jumper and cardigan sleeeves when the went at the elbow and reknitted them down to the cuff! It’s now cheaper to buy than knit! Glad your mum is doing ok and you are in the mend xx

  15. Hi Barb,

    This Mr Morris concurs with Mr William Morris.

    I have recently joined the Groovi Club and had a spend in the Club Members Sale. I am looking forward to receiving my first Groovi Club plate(s) and Sale items.

    I am considering booking for the Clarity Open Day and maybe the Parchment Retreat, both of which I haven’t attended as yet. I haven’t got anyone to go with, but may give it a go on my own and who knows make a friend or two?

    Good to know that you and your mum are ok and that you are feeling much better. Keep taking things gently.

    Virtual hugs x

    1. Well Mr Morris, I can assure you that you will be in excellent company at both the Open Days AND at any of the retreats. What a smashing community of kind creative people this is! xx

  16. Great to hear your Mum’s doing well and to be able to spend quality time with her. It’s therapeutic to reminisce; good or harder times. I think we all had clothes reserved for special occasions but not many events to attend so they didn’t fit when needed. My West Indian side of the family had plastic on their sofa which was in a room only used on Sundays; we used to have great fun sliding off it when the men went to play dominoes and the women went to make food. Thank goodness we didn’t get caught.

  17. I’m a user, odd plates etc have memories. Imof your mums era so understand how hard life was on rationed food etc, but even then we bartered and helped each other out. Our tin of pencils was truly precious,but we shared.
    Glad you took some time out with your Mum today and that she is doing well. Take it easy! X

  18. This quote so resonates with me, Barbara. I’ve been trying to declutter the house, having spent many years hanging on to things that I never used. Where’s the value in things that sit in a cupboard?
    I well remember my grandma having the ‘best room’ that got used on a Sunday or when visitors came. Funnily enough, it never felt as welcoming as the everyday living room or large kitchen where we gathered the rest of the time – maybe there’s a lesson in that too!

  19. I definitely have “Butterdishitis”. I have lots of “stuff” but most of it is unused. This even extends to my crafting supplies. Many years ago, I treated myself to a set of Clarity Blending brushes. They are still here in the lovely box, never used. Stupidly, I thought the ink would spoil them. My late Mum was exactly the same – everything had to be saved “for best”. When I eventually came to sort through her belongings, I found beautiful clothes she had never worn, jewellery still in it’s box that she’d never felt she had the occasion to wear it. It made me very sad to think she had not had the pleasure of these lovely things. I have tried to make a determined effort to use the things I have, but it’s a hard habit to break. So Barbara, your post has brought it to the forefront of my mind, so I will think of your butter dish and cutlery set, and try to cure myself of “Butterdishitis”.

  20. Ah your butter dish takes me back to the 80s, when I worked in the china department at John Lewis Oxford Street, worked in that department for about 14 years and we sold this pattern, Blue Italian by Spode. We had a massive trade in our wedding list-Brides Book and there was always a best dinner set and an everyday set! You should have seen the coffee cups with the best sets, they were tiny, no good to man nor beast🤣
    I no longer keep things for best even though like many others I was brought up that way, I guess because money was tight. I do hold onto things for a long time though and have clothes that could walk themselves to the bin😂
    Wear that dress and wear those shoes!

  21. The subject of room for best came up a few weeks ago when I was talking about home when we were children. The front room was only used for special occasions such as Christmas until my dad & brother started building a train set on a huge board that fitted into the bay window. When I think of how much furniture was in the other room yet we didn’t know any different so just accepted it as normal & we never ever tried to go into the front room.
    We have a Hornsea pottery dinner service that we had when we got married – our cub pack gave us a matching tea pot which I can remember being thrust at us as we came out of church through 2 lines of cubs with the words ”ere are mister before I drop it” 50 years ago & still going strong because it is only used on special occasions – there again I don’t drink tea !! Thanks for bringing back many memories that had fallen into the background.
    Glad your mom is doing ok & that you both enjoyed a nice lunch out.

  22. I definitely had a ‘save for best’ upbringing. My grandparents front room, which of course had an Aspidistra in the window, was only ever used for visits from the vicar and laying outs! New clothes were for Sunday School and were bought big, so that we could grow into them. Old habits die hard and the 100 piece Royal Doulton service, given to us by my in laws, has travelled to South Africa and back with us, but is still rarely used. Now there are just the two of us, it stands no chance.
    Thank you so much for this post, as I am really going to make an effort now to get rid of this silly habit and enjoy things.
    So good to hear that your mum is doing well. Have a lovely weekend. XX

  23. Good to hear your mum’s doing well and that you are now on the mend.
    Re- things for best. Perfume is one of those things. I used to have ‘everday perfume’ and perfume for special occasions then one day wondered “why?” Ever since I just use whichever one I fancy wearing, often the decision is made by what mood I’m in. If we have nice things it’s presumably because we like them. Seems a bit daft now to keep stuff in a cupboard when we could be enjoying them. I’ve always loved the William Morris quote. Says it all really. Sue Fenton.

  24. Glad to hear your Mum is doing ok. My mum had a best handbag and an everyday handbag. We also had a parlour which was only ever used for special occasions and Sunday best clothes.

  25. My Austrian Oma had a lovely kitchen full of beautiful things. My favourite was the crockery – a set in all different pastel colours to match the kitchen cupboard doors. I’m sure she was OCD, she was always cleaning and had a dozen or more brooms hanging in the hall and was obsessed with cleaning her shoes.

    There were definitely 2 sets of clothes and shoes and everything was treasured. She wore an apron dress at home and got dressed up to go into town.

    My mum and dad never had much but we always had treat night, crisps and lemonade on Friday night. Like you say- how things have changed.

    I hope my boys and my grandchildren remember little things about me.

    Glad your mum is coping well and how special to be able to spend such a lovely time together. Treasure those moments! Family is everything!

  26. No butterdishitis in this house! Except with some of my beautiful hand died silk yarn. I have plans for that when I retire next month though x

  27. I’m keeping it for best is certainly something I grew up with and until recently I did frequently. Maybe it stems back to only getting things that you wanted for special occasions like birthdays or Christmas. I remember going to my great grandmas house when I was a small child. The front room was only used for visitors or on a Sunday and the rest of the time the furniture would be covered over with material covers. And the door was kept firmly shut.
    We do have a dinner service and a canteen of cutlery that we only get out at Christmas or when guests come. So maybe we need a rethink and make use of it now. I think we’re both at that stage in our lives where we deserve the best things and get pleasure using them whilst we can.
    It’s also true of some craft stuff. We buy papers that are beautiful but then we don’t want to use them because they are so pretty. So we put them away in boxes and they never see the light of day unless we take them out to look at and put away again. Get them out and used and get pleasure from them.
    Great advice today Barbara. Let’s hope we can all get over this Butterdishitis quickly.
    Love and hugs. Xxxx

  28. I am with you all the way, Barbara. I have a beautiful Wedgewood Ice Rose tea service, including the teapot. In all the years since our marriage, I don’t think it has been used more than twice. So delicate that I was terrified of damaging it. What a waste. I know that no-one in the family will want to use it so it will either sit in another cupboard, or get sent to a charity shop to be sold for a pittance to e put into another dusty cupboard.

    I have been thinking too about that cutlery set in the lovely wooden box, and have just decided to empty the drawer in the kitchen, and fill it with my unused “for best” set.

    As a child, Saturday night was the night for a treat – a packet of Smith’s crisps (the ones with the salt in a twist of blue paper), washed down with a small bottle of Vimto.

    As for Lucosade, these days, you need to be fit and strong to get the top off.

    Glad you are making time to have special treats with your Mum. Time passes so fast. Don’t have regrets that you did not ask “those” questions now, before it is too late. Time is our most valuable possession, but often, it is the one we waste the most because we don’t take enough care of it.

    Take care of yourselves, enjoy the company of family and friends.
    discuss Maggie Craner (Silvercrafter)

  29. Hi Barbara
    Glad your Mum is doing ok and you are on the mend. I grew up in a large family so never had anything for best. But I do remember my mum loving her ornaments which were hidden away so we didn’t break them and later proudly displaying them in a cabinet when we were older. Just read your quote to Jackie who immediately recognised it as William Morris. Have to say I didn’t think we had butterdishitis but Jackie has just informed me we still have her parents best cutlery in a box in my craft room they only used it on Sundays and special occasions, so must revisit.
    Love Ruth and Jackie xx

  30. Totally agree. I use it all and to be honest we hardly ever break anything. My niece and I were talking just the other day about Granny’s wedding china which she inherited. She was saying she’s just decided to start using it. Granny died in 2005 at the age of 99 so it’s taken her a while! As far as we know it was only used once in her lifetime when my brother in law brought his girlfriend, who became his wife, home to tea for the first time. It did look pretty on the display shelf in the sitting room but what a waste.

  31. A trip down Memory Lane indeed and if you saw me reading your post you would have seen me nodding a lot as things were very similar at home when I was a kid, and we always had to wear our “best” on Sundays and special occasions. We didn’t have a “gute Stube” but a friend of mine had and I always thought it was so strange. Nowadays I never save things for “best” but use them every day and enjoy them!
    So glad you’re feeling so much better now and also that your Mum is well. Been thinking of her, wondering how she’s been coping. Please do give her my love. So pleased you had such a lovely time together. Precious time. That’s what I’m looking forward to when going to Germany for 2 weeks later this week. There’s still lots to do in the flat after that flood in 2021 and all the refurbishment but spending time with my Mutti is the most important, top of the list!
    Have a lovely weekend. Alles Liebe ❤

  32. Nice to hear your Mum is doing Well. Hahaha I’m guilty of most of the things you mention! – Before we moved last year we had a ‘best room’ only used for guests and special occasions., but we did have 4 Children at home, so we had a ‘family room’ for everyday use. We don’t anymore. We do have a canteen of cutlery in a wooden box too and a dinner service and both come out for special occasions! – I also remember thinking how lucky myself and my 2 brothers were if we were allowed to go to a pub garden while My parents were inside. We were allowed a packet of crisps and a drink. Wow we were on our best behaviour with that treat! 😳 xx

  33. My mother had bestclothesitis. I would ask what she wanted for her birthday or Christmas and she would say, ‘I really need a nice new full slip’. So I would find the prettiest, laciest, white (no colour, it had to be white) slip. If I asked later if she had worn it, I would always get the reply, ‘Oh no, not yet, I’m keeping it for best’. It used to drive me bonkers. However, I do have a full Country Roses dinner and tea set, which I inherited from her when she passed, but I can’t use it. Small flat, 3 young cats, wall of death racing round the room, crash. It stays in the glass cabinet until they grow up. I did buy myself some beautiful Laguiole cutlery and I use it all the time.

  34. Hello Barb, oh wow, I have bestsitis certainly, because I have a dinner service that was made in England, travelled all the way to South Africa, was given to my Mom and Dad when my youngest brother was born, and then came all the way back to England when I moved here 23 years ago! It only gets used at Christmas. I think I need to sort all that out. Love the quote, and so glad you had a lovely day with your Mum. Take care and stay warm everyone. Bx

  35. Loved reading your Blog, bringing memories of my childhood. Best dress,coat,hat and shoes for Sunday School. Trying to get my husband to wear his best shoes and clothes, wardrobes bursting with items. Why save them, life is too short? Pleased to hear you had a lovely lunch out with your dear Mum. X

  36. So pleased your Mum is doing well and that you spent a lovely day with her. I have a huge canteen of cutlery inherited from my parents which I have never used. My Dad was offered a job in Hong Kong (I was born there) so they went there on their honeymoon. I think the canteen was a gift from the company and was specially made for them. But the cutlery is not dishwasher proof and needs cleaning every time you use it. My Mum used to wrap each piece in kitchen roll to protect it. So pleased you are getting better.

  37. Many years ago I made the decision to not just leave “good” dishes and items in the cupboard to use at Thanksgiving or Christmas, but to use them everyday. If something gets broken, so be it. I have enjoyed my “good” china everyday and it all goes in the dishwasher, gold and all. I get to enjoy it whether it is just me or I have company over for a meal.
    I love the quote.
    Your butter dish is beautiful. Glad you have enjoyed it all these years.

  38. My Grandparents had a ‘best room’ which, as children we were not allowed into unless ‘supervised’. The room housed a large glass double fronted wooden bookcase which reached the ceiling. One day Grandad, with just me in the room, opened the case and showed me a set of blue cloth-bound books which I was in awe of as the books contained (to me) beautiful line drawing illustrations. A few years later my Grandad died and in his will he had a special request – that I was given the books. I still have them; they are a set of Dickens novels which Grandad collected by buying each book when he could afford it. Opening them every time transports me back to that room and Grandad showing me some of the illustrations inside those; hence starting my love for drawing and all things art. 🙂

  39. Oh you’re talking about the gravy boat. Royal Crown Derby I think. Came out on special days. Easter Christmas etc. No one in the family dare touch it apart from my grandmother she used to get quite cross about how long she spent making the gravy and us no having any. Thank you that’s a treasured memory for me.

  40. Hi Barbara
    I have to laugh. I too am one of those people that have things for best lol . And like you I bought a canteen of designer cutlery and I am ashamed to say it is in its box and never been used. I know I know
    When we moved I forgot all about it I found it last week tucked away in the wardrobe in the spare room only been in this house 22Years. Ha Ha Ha. 😆
    You take things easy Hugs 🤗

  41. I have butterdishitis too 🤣. I never wear my beautiful engagement ring in case it gets dirty, worn or damaged! As a nurse working on wards for years I wasn’t allowed to wear my ring but now I have an office based nursing role and turning 50 this year I’m going to put that ring on and enjoy it! Thank you Barbara for the inspiration and so glad you are on the mend Dxx

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