Monday, 19 September 2016

Visible Monday - small pleasures.

I'm watching the 'Great British Bake Off' where  one of the contestants has such a wonderfully lipsticked mouth that I can't see what she's baking for watching her perfect cupid-bow lips as she puckers and ponders, and in  moments of extreme tension chews on her lips. I can't remember when I last bought a lipstick, it must have been a considerable few years ago. I have always  worn a quiet, understated nude colour. My first lipstick as a teenager was Miner's 'Gypsy Clover' and I stayed with it for decades. Then I went upmarket with Helena Rubinstein's  'Pearl 229' which is a lovely product in every way, the casing is a smooth stone effect, looking and feeling wonderful in the hand. But watching that expressive, well-painted mouth on television I decided that I was in need of a bit of colour!
Well, perhaps not this much!
 I've chosen Mac's 'Asian Flo.'
 I wasn't wearing my pink glasses when I chose it so it's lucky that they fit together.

 I was wearing these lilacish specs when I chose the lippy. Anything with a blue element to it seems to work quite well for me.
 It's raining today and I'm housebound, doing Monday chores. I'm wearing an indigo chambray shirt-waister from Toast that is comfortable and practical. It has all the elements that I like - sleeves, pockets and a decent length of skirt. It's worn with a Hobb's belt, purple suede flats that were hand made for me decades ago and an amber necklace, a present from one of my daughters.
Sharing with Patti of Not Dead Yet Style.

Friday, 19 August 2016


Donna has posted a book of dog drawings by the British artist Lucy Dawson. I'd never heard of her, but turned to google to discover that she had lived for many years in Bristol, just a stone throw from where I live now. Donna's post prompted me to look in my old sketchbooks. I've always drawn dogs, usually when asleep, sprawled out by the fire or curled up in a basket; my parent's old spaniel, Meg,
 and a friend's fox terrier, Bertie,
but especially Maisie, my beloved smooth fox terrier, so much missed.

 Asleep on her feet!

The drawings that crowd out most of my sketchbooks are of our children. I started to draw them soon after they were born. Once again I most often sat to draw them when they are fast asleep. I particularly like this double page spread of Wee One in her bedroom - it was always a rather chaotic space.
 I think that on this occasion she must have had a cold!
Watching television was another time to catch them in a fairly static pose.

The sketchbooks are full of little snippets of everyday life. When I look at these drawings I remember every small detail of cloth and colour.

They were so used to me looking at them that they took not a blind bit of notice!
 I'm so pleased to have a record of their progression through childhood.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Tuesday Intros: Alice Munro

I'm joining Diane, who hosts Tuesday Intros, with a book of short stories by the Canadian writer, Alice Munro. I like the short story format and she is a great story teller, I believe each and every story that she writes; surely they must be true? They have that little drag at the heart right from the off that makes you concerned for the outcome.
 This is the opening paragraph from the first story in this collection called, 'Walker Brother's Cowboy.'
Sometimes a novel can take me over completely so that I read until a very uncivilised hour, but short stories fit neatly into my life and I don't get a husband saying, "What time is it? Will you put out the light!"

Monday, 8 August 2016


Sunday morning started in a very unpromising way with dank, damp weather. We had planned to visit 'Reclaim the Streets', the large open-air market in Frome that is held on the first Sunday of every month. The streets are closed to traffic and it's a lively affair with music, bric-a-brac stalls, local food stalls and the vintage shops open on St Catherine's Hill. I've blogged it on previous occasions. Friends said, let's meet up, the weather will improve, and they were right.
 You never know what you might find.
 The assistant in one of the vintage shops looked simply wonderful.
 I had to photograph her from both angles!
 After a good wander round we drove to the Secret Garden in Mells where we placed our orders for pizzas from the wood oven.
 We sat out on the terrace with bottles of ginger beer and waited for the pizzas to arrive.
 Food, friends and sunshine, what a great combination.
 The pizzas were huge. Quite a bit of mine came home in a box and we finished it off today.
 I bought a new sunhat at the market, a white version of the purple one that I've had for a few years. It is crocheted cotton, a fair trade product that can be washed and folded into a bag, so it's great for holiday packing.
 I've crammed it on my head today to join in Patti's Visible Monday (although I've not been at all visible. I've been grubbing about in the garden all day long.)

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Rainy day baking

What to do when the rain pours down day after day? Last week I had a bake-in and invited neighbours round for afternoon tea. They came obligingly, decked out in wellingtons and under sturdy umbrellas. A window display in the baker's shop when I was in Yorkshire had old copies of the Bero book, small recipe books that came free with the purchase of Bero flour. I have several of my mother's, dating from the '40's and '50's. I've used these little books since early childhood, although not so much in recent years since, for health reasons, I've moved to fat and flour-free recipes.

 I made a coffee and walnut cake, so-called 'melting moments' and brandy snaps. What a lot of fat and sugar!
  I think all my female friends are body conscious because quite a lot was left. Himself was very pleased! I put the remaining biscuits in the freezer,
 but all the brandy snaps had to be eaten!

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Tuesday intros: Elizabeth Taylor.

I'm joining Diane at bibliophile by the sea who hosts Tuesday intros. My choice this week is a novel by one of my favourite English authors, Elizabeth Taylor. (NOT the actress!) After last week's devastatingly haunting John Banville novel of love between a schoolboy and a married woman I've re-read 'In a Summer Season' which deals with another uncomfortably-matched relationship.

You can tell from the opening paragraph that the novel is something of a period piece, it was first published in 1961, but the novelist portrays human emotions with great skill and a wry humour that is timeless. She has pin-pointed English middle-class life perfectly.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Visible Monday - frayed denim

Who'd have thought it, according to the papers my old frayed shorts are the height of fashion! It has taken a good couple of dozen years to get them to this state of desirability, frayed to the point of imminent collapse. I've not been seen outside the garden in them but now that they are so fashionable perhaps I should saunter out?
Perhaps not!
Earlier in the day I wore a respectable skirt, featured many times before on Visible Monday, on a trip to the surgery to pick up antibiotics. Our woods are full of deer and yesterday I removed a tick from my leg so treatment to avoid Lyme's disease is required. I am usually carefully covered up but due to the unusually nice weather I'd neglected to tuck trousers into boots - I'm looking suitably chastened, I'll not make that mistake again!
Short-sleeved liken blouse from H&M, cotton cardi from Boden for Patti's Visible Monday.