Monday, 23 February 2015

I never go out

without first slapping on a bit of moisturiser. I'm not remotely faithful to one brand. My summer choice has long been L'Occitane's very precious fluid because it has a SPF 40 but last year I also used a more economical Olay complete care with a 30 SPF. I've learned that packaging and price don't always have anything to do with the quality of the product, some VERY fancy packaging has contained disappointing contents that have not felt good on my skin. Quite often the description of the ingredients and the claims made about the product make me laugh (I'm a natural sceptic.) So when I was given this rather posh little box
with it's oh, so dainty drawstring interior
and product information telling me that it was Temple Spa 'Skin Truffle for total facial rejuvenation with pure gold, truffles and diamonds' I was still not prepared to be impressed.
What a load of tosh, I thought.
But IT"S FABULOUS. I'll be heartbroken when it's all used up!
I'm going nowhere today, the weather is dreadful, cold, sleeting rain. I'm slobbing about the house in cosy old clothes in various shades of blue; cotton, denim and cashmere.
The Clark's suede shoes have a bit of a bow to cheer me up.
These grey days leave me feeling starved of bright colours and I'm still on the look-out for a scarlet dress.  But I would happily have this suit instead. It was advertised in the Sunday paper.
Pity about the price!!!
Linking up with Patti 

Saturday, 14 February 2015

At the theatre

We've been to Stratford-upon-Avon for a few days to celebrate a friend's fiftieth birthday. We had tickets for a production at the Swan Theatre. It's a lovely space that echoes the atmosphere of the courtyard theatres of Shakespeare's time. There is a thrust stage surrounded by bench seats in the stalls and simple wooden balustraded galleries above. 
I took these photos on the way to our seats and didn't want to use the flash. I hope that you can get an idea of what a magical space it is.

The production that we had come to see had received glowing reviews in the press.

It was a lot of fun.

We arrived at the theatre in good time to have a look around and study whatever might be on display. I enjoy the opportunity to study costumes at close quarters when I visit the theatre or ballet and it's also fascinating to read about the thought processes of the various designers.
From the traditional
To the wildly inventive

and all stages in-between.

You would certainly feel in character trailing all this flotsam behind you!


I rather fancy having an outfit made of Toile de Jouy and denim!

Friday, 6 February 2015

Page 56, Winifred Holtby

Last week, for Freda's 56, I chose Vera Britain's 'Testament of Youth' after having seen the film of the same name. Vera was a close friend of the writer, Winifred Holtby. They met at Oxford after the First World War and after Winifred's tragic early death at the age of thirty-seven Vera wrote the following book as a tribute to her and as a memorial.
Virago published a selection of Winifred's books in the '80's. 'The Land of Green Ginger' was first published in 1927. I like her novels very much. Like me, she was Yorkshire born and bred and I understand her voice.
Page 56.

"Oh darling," said Joanna, who did not bring up her children at all properly, and who measured her iniquity in going to the party by the extent of her desire to go. "You shall have parties one day. Lots of them. And lovely silk dresses when, when..."
She did not say "when our ship comes in," because for her the merit of ships lay in their sailing out, away from Scatterthwaite and the North Riding and the grim menace of poverty, the hostility of the land, and the haunting fear of physical disease.

Of course, the book that I can't wait to get my hands on, and shall have to wait until the summer before I can do so, is this weeks literary sensation, the information that Harper Lee is going to have her first book published, the one she wrote before 'To Kill A Mockingbird'. HOW EXCITING!  (And if ever there was a perfect film made from a book, surely it's this one.) I wonder what sort of an adult Scout has become? Wee-One, our younger daughter was always a bit miffed that we hadn't called her 'Scout'. She's quite right, it would have suited her well!

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Fashion on the 1st

Over on Share my Garden I've been drooling about unaffordable wallpaper and remembering a lovely trip to Charleston. A back copy of Harper's Bazaar featured some equally unaffordable and utterly delicious clothing, photographed by Tom Allen with the Charleston interiors as a backdrop. What fabulous images they are! I love the way that the clothing works with the setting.
And how I would love the dress that's peeking out beneath that awesome coat!
Silk georgette by Burberry Prorsum. (A snip at £1,295!)
Aren't they fabulous photos!
Flowers and patterns seem to be shaping up strongly in the fashion stakes for the coming year but there's dearth of such things in my wardrobe.
It's the first of the month so what am I wearing? It's cold out so I'm layered up. (There's a cosy vest on underneath this outfit!)The Boden linen skirt was found in a charity shop by a friend who thought that I would like it - she was right! You've heard of Second-hand Rose? That's me, because I'm wearing a Mulberry blouse that the same friend passed on to me because she had tired of wearing it! And it doesn't stop there because the M&S cashmere cardi is a hand-me down from a daughter, as is the leather belt.
The rose quartz necklace was bought by me, however. It has been re-strung three times now and I'm hoping that it will be a case of third time lucky and that I won't have to go grovelling on the floor to retrieve rolling beads ever again!

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Page 56. Vera Brittain's War Diaries.

This week I went to see the film, 'Testament of Youth'. I remember the television five-part series of 1979 very clearly and thought that the film had a hard act to follow. The story is taken from Vera Brittain's book of the same name, first published in 1933.  A series gives ample time to develop character and I recall being thoroughly immersed in Vera's life and loss. I think that the film did a good job at establishing her relationships, although there was a bit too much close-up soulful looking to camera for my taste. The lighting, as with most film and theatre productions these days, was excellent and the whole story well handled.
Vera used her war diaries as source material for her book. When I got home I pulled my copy of 'Chronicle of Youth', which comprises edited entries from her diary, published, I presume, because of the keen interest shown as a result of the television series.
These are the photographs that Vera and her fiancee Roland Leighton exchanged in December 1914. Roland died in December of the following year.

Page 56  has the dairy entry for  February 9th, 1914 when Vera was twenty years old,  all her loss and heartbreak had yet to come. It gives a very clear picture of her lively personality. (And I've met a few 'Mr Dodd's' so know just how she felt!)

Mr Dodd went off, managing with great difficulty to stop talking. If his appalling piety and benevolently patronising manner towards women were not such an amusing study, it would be a distinct trial to me. As it is, it rather entertains me to be treated something like I treat my cat - as a being of utter irresponsibility and inconsequence, to whom no confidence or affairs of importance could possibly be imparted. Not that the poor man means any discourtesy, on the contrary he is all the time trying to show great deference to the "weaker vessel" on account of its weakness! But he is one of those persons more deadly to the cause of woman's freedom and independence than its most ardent opposer, for it has never occurred to him that there is such a thing to be opposed. Woman to him has always been inferior  as a matter of course and her position not even arguable!

For Freda's Friday 56, where we grab a book, turn to page 56, find a sentence or so, post it and add to Freda's linky.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Patti's Visible Monday

I'm a bit white rabbit today... I'm late, I'm late.... Time to link up with Patti. It's cold, it's dull, I'm very much in winter mode, wearing a long woollen dress by Meza.
It's a bit of a shapeless thing on it's own but looks a whole lot better when I add the belt from
that comes in it's own little drawstring bag.
It is a satisfyingly well-made. I had looked for a decent belt for AGES and was so pleased when I found this one. There are plenty of belts in the shops but nearly all of them are let down by really tacky buckles.
The other cheer-up for me is a chunky necklace. This one came back from a holiday in Lanzarote and is made of coloured lava.
The green stone is set asymmetrically but it tends to wander to the centre!
That's life!

Page 56.

At our last book group meeting we discussed Tolstoy's 'The Kreutzer Sonata'. Although a small book, a novella, it caused a very lively debate. Our copy was one in the Penguin paperback series of 'Great Loves'.
In my opinion this story has nothing whatever to do with love! It certainly upset Tolstoy's wife, Sofya, because it, like his other novels, drew heavily on their own life and it did not paint a happy picture (to say the least!) The story was completed in 1888 when Tolstoy was sixty years old.
It's interesting to look at the Penguin list in the series. Quite a few I know, others not - it's a tempting collection.

Freda holds a Friday 56 when you are invited to take a book, turn to page fifty-six and find a sentence or paragraph to post and then link back to her.
Page 56 from 'The Kreutzer Sonata' gives you a good flavour of the whole book!

'The vilest thing of all about it,' he began, 'is that in theory love's supposed to be something ideal and noble, whereas in practise it's just a sordid matter that degrades us to the level of pigs, something it's vile and embarrassing to remember and talk about.'

It would be good to think that the concerns in this book were historical, relating only to the late 1800's. Sadly it's not the case. Our discussion was VERY lively.