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Home / Housewives / ‘I love performing wifely duties’: Vintage lover, 24, shuns modern life and longs to be a full-time Forties …

‘I love performing wifely duties’: Vintage lover, 24, shuns modern life and longs to be a full-time Forties …

A 24-year-old ‘domestic goddess’ has told how she shuns the trappings of 21st century life in favour of being a 1940s houswife. 

Housekeeper Lydia McKenzie-Stephens, 24, doesn’t binge-watch Netflix series after work, preferring to cook retro recipes from scratch for her garage worker boyfriend Scott Friend, 27, or whip up a vintage-inspired outfit on her Singer sewing machine.


Lydia, from Halesworth in Suffolk, who loves to bake, sew or read in her spare time, said in an ideal world she would give up work altogether to be a full-time housewife, because she loves to perform ‘wifely duties’ for her partner.  

She said: ‘I’ve always been obsessed with the glamour of the 1930s and 1940s, so love dressing that way myself.

Everyone just made a real effort back then.

Lydia McKenzie-Stephens, 24, and her boyfriend Scott Friend, 27, met at a vintage store and have been leaving in the 1940s together ever since

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The domestic goddess said she takes ‘pride’ in cooking for Scott and looking after the home and wishes she could give up her job and do it full-time

‘I really like the traditional values of the time, too. I always say to Scott, ‘I’d love to not work and be a housewife.


‘I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about performing those wifely duties – pottering about and keeping the house running smoothly – that gives me a sense of pride. 

‘I joke that I’m a 1940s housewife in training.


Since childhood, Lydia has loved all things vintage and remembers enjoying black and white movies and old music as a child

Then, aged 16, she bought her first item of retro clothing – an enormous petticoat – which she snapped up for just £5 in a charity shop and happily wore to the college she had just joined, after leaving school and the confines of uniform behind her.


But not everyone appreciated her quirky style, which attracted some bitchy reactions. 


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Throwback: Lydia’s favourite hobbies include cooking retro recipes from scratch for her boyfriend, Scott Friend, who she met in an antique shop 

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Lydia is seen in an apron and headscarf posing with an old-fashion washboard, which she favours over a washing machine 

She said: ‘I’d wear petticoats every day to college and I did get some stick for it – not so much comments, but some people would laugh at me when I walked past.

 ‘Teenagers can be pretty blunt and, at that age, everyone wants to be cool and to look like people they see in magazines. 

‘But I’ve always been very comfortable and happy with who I am, so it didn’t bother me.


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As well as making all the couple’s meals from scratch daily she also hand makes all of her vintage inspired outfits (seen sporting her handiwork above left and right) 

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Lydia, seen with her old Morris Minor, prefers a retro lifestyle, and says her only concession to modern technology is Instagram, where she shares her vintage outfits 

Growing up, Lydia taught herself more and more skills associated with a bygone era in her quest to become a domestic goddess.


She continued: ‘Things like baking, cooking from scratch and sewing are important to learn. I think they’re a slightly lost art nowadays.


‘Some people don’t even know how to sew on a button, whereas I can make a whole outfit in less than a day. 

‘Often, if something goes wrong in the home, the modern solution is to call someone else in to fix it and pay them an enormous amount of money in the process.

But you really can learn to do it yourself.’ 

To achieve her gorgeous vintage look, Lydia trawls charity shops, antique stores and flea markets, picking up bargains whenever she finds them.


As virtually all her clothes are secondhand, she estimates she only spends around £50 a month on them – lower than the national average for women, which is £74, according to the Great British Wardrobe Report. 

‘I make an awful lot of clothes, too,’ she added.

‘I recently picked up a job lot of 1930s and 1940s fashion magazines, so I use them for inspiration. 

‘I don’t think I could quite bring myself to cut up old clothes, so instead I’ll pick up material from local craft stores and start from scratch.


‘I also do my hair and makeup in a 1940s style. If I’m at work, I’ll tie it in a headscarf, like a land girl, but when I’m out and about, I like to wear a lot of hats, so I’ll roll it up and pin it at the back.


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Housewife life: Seen left, Lydia’s Singer sewing machine, and right, the wartime cookery book she uses to whip up dishes for her boyfriend 

Four years ago, it was on one of her jaunts to an antique store that Lydia first ran in to Scott, who shares her love of everything vintage.


Together, they have transformed their rented home into a tribute to the past, kitting it out with pre-war finds. 

Lydia continued: ‘Scott, like me, loves the vintage look.

When I first saw him, he looked like a 1930s train driver, which I loved. 


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Lydia met her boyfriend, Scott, in an antique shop, and says that he loves the vintage look just like she does 

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The Suffolk resident said she spends around £50 a month on clothes and fabrics to make her own as she refuses to cut up her old clothes

‘He’ll be suited and booted every single day, always wearing a waistcoat.


‘At home, we don’t have a TV or anything. The only modern technology we have are our phones, and an iPad, which we don’t use much, and if we do watch anything, it’ll be an old movie.


‘Nowadays people just constantly have their heads down, attached to their technology which is something we’d like to change. 


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Her partner Scott also enjoys dressing in the era and the pair read in the evenings instead of watching TV 

‘In the evenings, instead, we’ll read, or I’ll sew and bake. I bake every single day and make everything from scratch, following recipes from old cookbooks and giving them a modern twist.


The only slice of modernity Lydia has injected into her life is her Instagram, which she has set up to share her vintage finds with others. 

She added: ‘That’s the one good thing about modern life – how easy it is to share information and meet new people.


‘Scott and I don’t tend to go to many vintage re-enactments, as we find that the people there do this sort of thing for fun, once in a while. To them, it’s a costume, whereas we live like this every day.


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Lydia is a keen home baker (her efforts are seen left and right), and refers to herself as a ‘full-time housewife in training’ 

‘But online, I’ve met some really positive, like-minded people.’ 

Now, Lydia and Scott will continue to build their home together, with the view to one day buying a place of their own.


The young couple have also talked of marriage – and are already adamant that their wedding day will be a traditional affair. 


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The vintage enthusiast also has a deep love for classic cars and old magazines which she uses to get inspiration from to make her outfits 

While Scott is yet to propose, Lydia already has her wedding dress, after spotting a long-sleeved lace number for £20 in a vintage shop. 

‘It’s beautiful and, thankfully, fits me perfectly.

My body type seems to match well with the clothes of the time, which is lucky,’ she said. 

‘We aren’t engaged yet, but it’s good to be organised and know I’ve got the dress.

I’m desperate to find some shoes to match, too. 

‘When we do tie the knot, it’ll be very traditional.

Neither of us drink, so it won’t be some rowdy party – more a church do, then tea and cake.’


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