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Sunday, 10 December 2017

My Clarins Coffer

Do you have a beauty range that you continue to buy. even in retirement or when money is tight?
Mine is Clarins. I think I must have made that known because look what I received for my birthday recently ...

A 12 Days of Christmas chest filled with Clarins goodies!

I was super excited to receive this as there will be some products in my little red chest that I haven't heard of before, let alone tried.  And I may never have received an advent calendar before either, so #feelingsuperpampered!

I'm not rushing to open my drawers (so to speak!) as I don't want to glut my senses with too much too soon.   I want to try out each product individually so that I can truly gauge the merits of the products.  And of course, it prolongs the excitement of opening these cute drawers so that it all lasts that little bit longer.

So I thought it would be good to update you from time to time on which products I've given a fair run.  Starting with these two.

This product is Eclat Minute.  It's a soft coloured lip balm.  I tend to prefer to wear lip balms most of the time as I feel anything going on my lips should be nourishing them.  And this certainly does. 
I suspect this product is going to be a keeper.

I am a little embarrassed telling you about this one - because in doing so I have to fess up.  I don't usually exfoliate my skin.  I didn't think I needed to, but I've been using this product in the morning, about 3-4 times a week, instead of just splashing my face with cold water.  The embarrassing thing is this - I have an area of bumpy skin on my forehead ... and it's reducing as I use this product.  I should have realised that these bumps could be shifted with exfoliation, but instead I shrugged my shoulders and put it down to Aging Lady Syndrome.  I feel that as the bumps keep reducing I will need to continue the process and this product is going to become a keeper too.

So 2/2 so far in terms of product keeperbility.

Opening these little drawers every few days is so exciting. 

It's become a little ritual.  I sit down with a coffee and look over my new product.  And with the mornings still being quite dark now in December, I light a candle - oh and maybe I do add a few spicy Christmas biscuits to enhance the pamper experience!
For that is what this little coffer of goodies is ... it's ultimate pampering.
And I am so thankful that I received this lovely gift, a luxurious reward for being another year closer to 70!

A la perchoine.

Friday, 8 December 2017

A Surprise Pairing

Before I dive into today's post just want to cover a bit of housekeeping.  I know that I said I wasn't going to re-vamp my blog format in my previous post ... but then I did!  Well, it's not really a re-vamp, just a change of colour.  A reader said she struggled to read my white font on purple background.  As I have sight problems, I am sympathetic to others' struggles so I leapt on to my settings to see how I could help.  Talk about a knee-jerk reaction!  Before I took a pause to think what I was doing, I'd changed the colour then realised the white font disappeared on the softer lavender background, so I had to change the font colour and that is where I am right now, peeps.  I'll live with it for a few days then see if I can revert back to my original colouring but with a clearer font.  All of this does take time so I won't leap to change back immediately.
So whilst we're talking about format, are there any improvements I could make that would help your reading experience?  I'd love to hear what you have to say on mine and on website displays generally.

And now on to today's subject matter, the surprise pairing.

Do you sometimes find that you struggle to pair an article of clothing with something that truly works?  Then out of the blue, B A M !  You find your perfect pairing!
This happened to me a couple of days ago.  I've been veering towards an edgier look lately and on a crazy whim ordered a pair of coated biker jeans from Next.  I'm always a bit very late to take up a trend and coated jeans is something I've viewed from a distance for a few years.  I don't know if it was me buying a new biker jacket this year that's taken me in an edgier direction or if it's just me knee-jerking as I head fast and furiously towards my 70s, but either or both are maybe the reason.

The jeans arrived the afternoon I was getting ready to go to one of my two (yeah, just two, really sad!) Christmas meals.  I just couldn't resist a quick try on because I found the idea of something new in my wardrobe too exciting to defer until tomorrow.

I first grabbed a silky satin blouse.  Bingo!

I bought this blouse/tunic (details here) to wear with my brown velvet set but then due to a cold and an outfit re-think, it didn't get an airing.  I've struggled to think of what to team it with since.  It's quite posh so needs a casual bottom half to "drag it down" so that it is wearable for the sort of outings to fit my older lady lifestyle.  I think the edgy-for-me coated jeans bring it down to more smart casual level for a dinner in a smartish restaurant. 

The blouse/tunic is beautifully soft to the touch and it's one of those things you slide over your head (and boy does it slide beautifully) and instantly you feel special. 
Probably a single strand of pearls is all that this baby needs in terms of jewelerisation.

This look is so my jam.  Do you like it?  It's a bit Biker neets New Romantics, eh?
I'm really excited to discover this pairing and plan to team it with a black velvet jacket for one of my two Christmas meals next week.  Watch this space, as they say!

After this successful pairing, I did think to stop there with the try-ons and rest on my laurels.  I couldn't top that look.
But you can't keep a good Pout down, so on I went, squeezing a few more tops on during the few minutes I had before dressing for dinner.

I tried the jeans with my wine fluted sleeve top but the length wasn't quite right.  I quickly learned that biker jeans need true length on top and perhaps that's why the ivory silk top above worked so well.

My pinky coral fluted top had the right length and this would make a great Christmas look, n'est pas?

All black looked a bit severe but could work with a bit more time put into accessorisation.

Next Biker Jeans can be found here.

I'm going to have another try on with these though, as when I did the sit down test in them, they clumped on the leg.  I don't know if this is because they moulded around my abundance of leg blubber. or if this is something coated jeans do on everyone.
So perhaps you can help me.  Do you have coated jeans?  Do they fold in ridges on your legs when you sit down?  Any tips or views on them?

And finally, I think you have just one more post of my dodgy selfies before normal service is reviewed.  The Photographer has returned and proper pics (and Gin & Tonics) will be flowing in Pout Manor once more.  In fact, the winter sun is over the yardarm now so I'm going to tootle downstairs for some  G&T action ... Cheers, m'hearties!

Wishing you a cosy and joyous weekend.

A la perchoine.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

'Tis The Season ...

What's happening with you, my dears?
Here things trundle on.  As does my blog format. So many bloggers have changed their sites in recent weeks.  Am I the only one not to get the memo on this?  I've had this format for nearly two years.  It's probably very granny-like, but I like the format and the colour and I think my overall look is in keeping with who I am, so I think I'll stick with what I have right now.  I do hope you're OK with it

The Photographer and I had a Date Afternoon recently.  We went to our local cinema to see Daddy's Home 2.  Hilarious.  I looked over at TP a few times as I didn't think the film was really "him", but there he was, snugged down in his seat and laughing his little head off ... phew!  It's a great Christmas film and I liked it so much I ordered the first film off Amazon.
So that's a film you might want to catch leading up to Christmas to get you in the spirit of the season.

And what's the season?  Well ... 'Tis the season of boughs of holly and sweater dresses.

Yup, this fawn sweater dress from Monsoon was my outfit of choice for a belated birthday lunch with a dear friend.  BTW, I hope you're not starting to think I'm a one-trick pony with a queue of sweater dresses coming your way.  It's just that, well 'tis the season for sweater dresses.

  • Brown boots and opaques, Gabor and M&S respectively.

Tried here with a furry muffler.

The piled on with a brown suede jacket.

Then I tried that dreaded blanket scarf look again.

Did it look any better with a long East cardi, I wondered?

Nah, I'm really going to have to google some blanket scarf tuition, as a helpful reader suggested.
Have you mastered the blanket scarf look?  Is it getting any better for you?
 I think a few of us are struggling, there's so much of it.

Maybe a little muffler is simpler.  Yup, that's the one,

And those were the stages required to dress The Pout for lunch.
I met with my friend in the golf club a 3-4 minute drive away.  I'm not going to give you lots of food shots because some may be being careful with calorie intake to fit into something gorgeous for a Christmas party and I don't want to spoil things.

But just gotta say that I've been eating Mrs Fisken's chicken liver pate for about 15 years and it still does not fail to excite my taste buds when I take my first forkful.  Served here on a toasted brioche slice and with a beetroot relish.  So, so yummy.  It's locally made so Guernsey readers may want to dash round to Forest Stores for a slice or two of this lovely yumgrub for a pre-Christmas treat.  You're welcome.

My friend treated to my lunch and she gave me pressies.

Some fab Clarins products.  It must be obvious to those who know me that I love Clarins products and I was so thankful to family and friends' generosity and thoughfulness, as ever.  I have some more products to share with you soon.  Such a consistently good brand

Well, that was a lovely lunch with a lovely person.

That's me done, I'm off to chose an outfit to tonight's meal with friends.  I hope it's good enough to share photos with you!

A la perchoine.

p.s. I apologise for the abundance of selfies right now.  Normal service will be resumed shortly.

Monday, 4 December 2017

How To Control Your Crisp Habit

 Hi there, sweet people.  I bet you're starting to rush around now that we've hit December.  Christmas is coming up for real.  I'm guessing quite a few of you find yourself surrounded by lists, like moi.   And if it ain't (sic) listed or diarised, it don't (sic) get done.   
I already have one man down - today I realised I missed a hairdresser appointment over a week ago.  Little appointment card details didn't get transferred to the diary, you see, so this was an appointment guaranteed to be missed.  I have to grovel to the hairdresser tomorrow.

So, we're jingling into to December.  I impressed myself in November.  I decided I would go a month without a vice. And I did it!   My chosen vice was crisps (chips).  Not one crisp has passed my pout in 30 days.  Well actually 34, because I haven't gone on a crisp binge come 1st December.  No I am sailing elegantly and confidently into the month without any desire for my salty addiction.

You see, I decided that if things need addressing, then I'm going to take a light-touch to them.  Just calmly tell myself this month I won't eat crisps.  I can eat crisps in December, if I want.
It's been so easy to get crisps out of my system with that approach.  I haven't gone charging into December, frenziedly tearing open a pack of M&S reduced fat sour cream ridges (which I adore!).  Nope, I haven't missed them, not one little crumb - the small broken bits are my thing.  My jam, I think the Americans say right now.

Crisps were becoming a naughty habit of mine. They were my mindless eating.  During November, I made up little dishes of more healthy foods in the evening.  Sliced apple, shelled walnut halves, little sticks of a good cheese, grapes, a few cheese biscuits.  It actually felt far more elegant, simple, controlled.  Conscious eating.

That's going to be my approach, I've decided.  Make small changes to my life.  A light-touch approach.  Baby steps, each time I identify changes that are called for.
I haven't got any Lent-style deprivations lined up for December, I'm not obsessive about this month thing, but January is going to be the classic, G&T/wine free.  Fancy joining me?

So it perhaps sounds like I'm setting myself up for failure by moving on to my OOTD and stating that I'm still a bit of an old wino.  To qualify that, I'm still feeling the love for the colour.

I bought this bargain of a fancy sleeved wine top a few weeks ago.

 I thought initially that the sleeves were too long and would get in the way when doing chores, like washing the dishes, cleaning the bathroom etc.  They don't ... I just avoid chores.  Simples!

Isn't it wonderful what a blog can reveal about its author.  I saw spots on this pic and realised it wasn't my top that was speckled, it's the mirror.  Clear proof that I'm avoiding chores.


This winemance has sent messages to my brain to search out more wine stashed away in my wardrobe (goodness, I'm starting to sound like I have a real problem with the stuff!).

I remembered I had a wine-coloured jacket, which I bought a few years ago but I don't think I've ever worn.  A blogger lured me to it; it fitted her climate and lifestyle, doesn't really fit easily into mine.  But 'tis the mini season for jackets, so I slipped it on.

I added grey suede boots and a grey muffler.

I  decided grey jeans with this little ensemble would look too contrived, I thought blue denim gave more of a just-threw-these-things-together look.  What do you think?

As the day was quite mild, this little OOTD was all I needed for a trip to M&S Food Hall and a sellotape buying expedition, for 'tis the mini season for sellotape too.

My nail finish didn't look too bad with wine, thought it might clash.
These have lasted more that 3 weeks. Got to think up a new colour by Thursday, Pout nail day.
Seems we ladies are divided on the issue of nail gel.  2017 has been my year for trying it out. My nails have grown for the first time in 3 years.  But let's see what 2018 brings. 

Later, I swapped the jacket for a down jacket and the grey suede for black Chelsea boots.

And I enjoyed my morning constitutional along the east coast.


The day was looking calm but moody.

The clouds later turned to rain clouds.
But no matter, I've made a cup of coffee and I'm up in my garret chatting with you guys!

Thanks for popping in,  my dears.
I'm now off to assess where I am with my lists and will charge back into Christmas preps.
How are you doing with your lists?  With your preps?  Got your house dec'ed up yet?  
I haven't, I have, err, technical problems.

A la perchoine.

Friday, 1 December 2017

My Stairwell to Heaven

It's been sweater dress central in Pout Manor lately.  I've another on back burner for you but I thought you could do with a little break, so today I give you a post on, err, a house horror story.
I should really be giving you a Holiday Home Tour right now which seems to be the bloggy thing to do, but you know, not one decoration has yet come down from the attic.  So house horror it is, then!
This post contains a house horror image which some readers may find disturbing!

It started not with a kiss but with a post, this one.  I intimated there that a crisis was a-brewin' and I would follow that little teaser with a post.
Well this is the post, a year late!

To briefly recap, when looking for specific photos in my photo album stash, stored on shelves on a little half landing, I discovered more than old photos -  I exposed work that needed to be done and money that needed to be spent.  I like neither of those.

The stairs leading to ...

... the problem.

Yes, this is my house horror image.  Yucky, eh?  Damp ingress in the corner of the wall.  Rod the Roofer informed me that rain was coming through cracked leading on the roof.  Oh and by the way, the old pantiles were crumbling too and the whole lot needed replacing.

I decided to put a positive spin on this.  This was an ideal time to tackle the very pokey cottage stairwell which turned under the eaves.  Why so pokey, I often had wondered.  The Photographer jokingly told me it was designed BITD for Hobbits. Well, I'm a bit Hobbit-like (but without the two breakfasts)., so I'd had no issue with the quirky stairwell. TP, however, needed to do a bit of ducking and diving to go upstairs, which perhaps is why we had designated the main bedroom upstairs as a guest room over time.

So I talked to various professionals and learned that a cat slide window maximises head height.
There ensued many months dealing with architect, the local government planners, roofers, window fabricators, builders, plasterers, electricians and decorators. All this palaver just to complete a relatively minor reno.

And sometime towards the end of all of this chat and just before work commenced, we managed to get up into the attic.  As the roof was to be exposed, it was wise to clear the attic of its junk carefully curated and archived items stored for longer-term use.  That was a perfect decluttering opportunity.  And I did.  A little.

Finally the scaffolding went up in June.  (You can imagine how the little ones loved all this!)

The pantiles were replaced during some of the hottest weeks of summer. 
I became ice lolly dolly for the guys.

A big hole for the cat slide window was gouged out of the roof.
We slid Bertie down it to test if it did what it said on the tin.  Joke!

The hole was sealed.  Then a few weeks pause whilst the window was made up and fitted. 

So the electrician went in to lay cables (ceiling spots) whilst the joists were exposed.

I did think to do some type of exposed granite feature but felt it would look a bit odd on a little mezzanine landing and with a plastic window.

The window was fitted in July. Plaster was slapped on the walls - those guys work so quickly.
Then there was then a gap between plastering and painting, as our preferred decorator wasn't available till November.  So four months of bare plaster walls and dangling ceiling spots.

 Then last week, when our lovely decorator chappie, Pete the Painter, arrived mid-week and started painting the whole area white.  But, alas, the job wouldn't be finished until Tuesday this week. 

Last Friday afternoon, I returned home to find that he'd made a feature of the protective plastic sheeting for the weekend.

He even created a cute tie-back.  I think I may just stick with this feature!

The journey.

The destination.

What I now have is a stairwell fit for Gandalf.
It's a blank canvas of white wallage.  It looks fresh and modern. This relatively small tweak has made such a big difference to how this cottage works and feels.   Hey, we've even moved back up into the heavenly en suite bedroom upstairs!

This new space is a place where I'd like to party.  Hmnn, a Window Warming Party.  
I'm thinking of serving drinks and canapes from the window sill at Christmas.  Seating, the stairs.  Mingling area, the miniscule mezzanine.

I now want to give myself some months of thinking time before finishing off the banisters and dressing the window and the space generally.

That's what I've been up to since that butterfly fluttered a year ago.  
Creating My Stairwell to Heaven ...

(You just knew that's where I was heading, eh?!)

I hope my home improvement story hasn't been too tedious for you.  I'd love to hear of any tweaks you've made to your home.  Quirky challenges in the house that have been overcome with a tweaking.  Sometimes a little tweak can really made a BIG difference

A la perchoine.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Mini Seasons of Opportunity

Hi there, m'hearties!
It's getting a bit brrr over here, though remarkably our temps are about 4-6 degrees higher than mainland UK, which is hovering around 0c today.  So we haven't had the UK's snow but we've had a few hail showers.

It's dawned on me lately that our seasons have mini seasons within them.  Each on its own has an array of weather suiting different types of outfits.
We're around 6-11c in the next week, then I expect the temperatures to drop in December.
A couple of months ago I made a mental note to get out my khaki utility jacket for autumn.  Then before I managed to kick that mental note into action, lightweight jacket season had been and gone.  Dressing opportunities are like Black Friday bargains, I've discovered.  Blink and you miss out.

My khaki jacket experience made me realise that I have to strike when the mini season presents itself.  No blinking.

Right now, sweater dresses are ideal.  But they won't be in a few weeks.  So I am striking out at these beauts during the sweater dress mini season.
Are you feeling the love for sweater dresses right now? 

For an early morning airport run I slipped on this old Monsoon winter white sweater dress.
And that's exactly what happens with sweater dresses.   Slip them over your head and you are done.

It's a dream of a still-loved dress.  So comfortable to wear and just look at that colour!  You don't get much more neutral than winter white.  So just about any accessorising goes.  Here, chocolate knee boots and opaques.

A cashmere paisley scarf with furry pompoms creates a snug outfit.

And whilst the temps are relatively high, I did more slipping on, firstly with this long East merino cardi, also in chocolate brown.

Then it got messy. 

I wanted to try the dress with an old suede jacket, also chocolate brown.

There's a limited mini window to wear little jackets like these.  They're really too warm for indoors but in a few weeks time I will freeze if I go out the door in this little shortie.  So, as with sweater dresses, I seized my mini season window for this jacket too.

Then it got really messy.  Bearing in mind I was doing an airport run and one has just one window of opportunity for making it aboard planes, in true Pout form I wanted another wardrobe tweak.
"I wonder what the jacket looks like with some furry neckage?" I said, curiously.
"No" said The Photographer, "No more pictures, we're outta here".

Now I am a stubborn Pout.  So I wound the furrage around my neck ...

... and started taking selfies.
The Photographers next comment is unpublishable.

The Photographer works to mini window rules too, it would seem. 
My mini window of opportunity had just slammed shut.

A la perchoine.