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Sunday 31 July 2016

Beach Dressing

Hi peeps!
Today I thought I'd show you one of my most-used dresses this summer. 
My little Next beachdress.
And what better place to show you is there other than in its natural habitat.  The beach!

I detailed it in this post here but I hadn't taken any IRL shots of  it.  So let's address that now (pun sooo intended!).

I think it may have sold out now.  Sorry if you missed it.

First a trek through the grassy headland to get to the beach. 

 I think I look a bit David Bellamy, wading through that undergrowth!


Then on to the seaside headland around Port Grat.

It's a little fishing boat port and beach.

And then on to the beach!  

We decided to give ourselves a day off, so we had a pleasant walk, soaking up the beauty that is around us.

The beach is beautifully sandy.  Great for swimming.

I could afford to relax, lounge around on rocks and paddle in the sea.  I'd finished the Shed Project!

I went out walking around midday.  The tide was low.

The hat is also from Next and I'm loving it.  It keeps down firm even on a breezy day.

Taking bad selfies.  Gotta be done!

Dipping my toes in the water.  The swim came later in the day when the tide was high and the water had been warmed over the hot sand.  I'm not stupid!

So a dip was all I managed on this little trek.

Image result for images of port soif guernsey

And later, a swim before tea. Warm sea.  After the initial shock of getting wet!

And I got wet in my second OOTD, my brown cozzi from Bravissimo, shown here
It's so easy to throw the little stripey dress over a swimsuit and head for the beach.

Have you been on the beach today?  Maybe swimming?
Whatever you did, I hope you had a nice Sunday.
Thanks for popping in.

A la perchoine.

Saturday 30 July 2016

Friday Night In Da Hood

Friday night out.  Much-deserved after a week of liberating shed clearance and other hard-graft.
So it was nice to have a break from working clothes and golf gear (yes, I sneaked in an early-morning round).  Oh what bliss to slip into something halfway decent.

We fancied going out for a bite to eate but we didn't fancy venturing too far.  We were pretty shattered, so my look was fairly casual.  And layered, as the day had been around the 20c, not the 32c of the previous week :-(.

Woolovers grey cashmere/merino frilled cardi.

Next layered ivory top.

Some much-treasured, beautiful grey/taupe beads given to me by a jeweller friend some years ago.

My taupe heels.  So surprisingly comfy.  I walk like a sassy lady in these!

So you'd think this would be layer enough for a July evening.

But no!  The Photographer wanted me to take a pash "in case it was cold on the way back"!


But needless to say, I did not wear this grey/cream patterned pash!  It was far too warm an evening.

So, keeping my pash stowed away in a capacious bag "just in case", I went here ...

Hotel Hougue du Pommier

Hotel Hougue du Pommier.
It's an old granite farmhouse building and is surrounded by lovely gardens to wander through.
It's just round the corner, a 5-6 minute walk.  It's in my hood.
So it should be on our list of local eatery stops.  It is now!

We experienced some disappointing service about 5 years ago, let's call it Lobstergate.  A rogue piece of chicken found in a lobster thermidor - the maitre d didn't handle the situation well, and neither did the chef.  So we had stopped frequenting the place.  Which is a real shame, being so close. 

We felt that we had distanced ourselves enough from the event for there to have been a full staff turnover.  And, we discovered, it was also now under new management and boy, could we mark the difference .  For last night's meal couldn't be faulted, it was pretty superb.  
The restaurant was packed, that really says it all. eh? 
We will be going back there again very soon.

A nice chilled Pinot Grigio to check out.

Yup.  That hits the spot.

The Photographer had what was listed on the menu as plain old scampi.  In reality it was full-sized firm prawns cooked in a tempura batter.  The Photographer declared it the best scampi he'd had in years.  And that's coming from one who is frugal with superlatives, so "best" is pretty big in his world!

I had the chicken breast burger served with a little red cabbage coleslaw.  And some cheeky onion rings were thrown in to the mix.  I was not unhappy with that!

The breast was beautifully cooked, tender, with a super salsa topping.  Simple food, cooked yummily.

A double espresso to round off a truly lovely meal.

Hotel Hougue du Pommier.
Location - brilliant.
Food - the best (The Photographer's words).
Service - superb!

And, as often happens, we met Henry the neighbourhood patrol cat on the walk home. 
I hope you note that after last Friday's Blistergate, I had packed Birkies in my capacious bag for the return journey through the ruettes tranquilles.

I paused to snap our neighbour's fine display of Michaelmas Daisies.  He is so good with this flower and his garden proudly boasts this superb daisy hedge each year.

Cosy-Fridayness is what was on my menu yesterday evening.  Hope it was on yours too.

Wishing you a lovely rest-of-weekend, peeps.  Thanks for popping in.
A la perchoine.

Thursday 28 July 2016

Super Seafood Suppers, The Overdue Appendix

Hi peeps, thanks for popping in.  It's been all go here today, what with the shed project, shopping and taking His Royal Fluffiness for his pamper session (a grooming at the local vets). 

And then, maybe because I was thinking about sunny days and eating al fresco, maybe I was thinking about the friends I made this meal for here, but anyway, I suddenly remembered I promised you some recipes and I hadn't delivered!  And I'm sorry about that.  So I swiftly got on the case.

Now this is a variation on a meal that I usually turn out at least once during the summer months.  Because it's so simple.  It's inspired by a souvenir cook book I picked up when visiting the Newport mansions on Rhode Island.  What an experience!  Allow at least a day to visit just a few of the many mansions available to view.

Anyway, back to the plot.  The food. 
I've strayed from the recipes and format over the years but I do love the concept. 
An extremely easy meal involving little cooking, a bit of preparation and almost all is done in advance.

And that's really the beauty of this tried-and-tested menu.  When your guests arrive, you look (and feel!) calm and collected.  You can enjoy drinks out on the patio with them, at some stage you drift away from your prosecco to pop into the house to fling a few elements together ...
But you serve a meal that is perfect for a summer's evening, that is a doddle to make yet looks and tastes so professional that you cannot fail to impress your guests.  Whilst relaxing and enjoying their wonderful company.

You just cannot go wrong with this menu!  So please, please, give it a go. 

Requirements: prepping in advance; a calm, sunny evening; invite people you love.
Recipes serve approx. 6; warning - you may have leftovers :-)

Herby Goats Cheese Dip

1 roll-pack goats cheese
about half pack cream cheese with herbs
squirt of lemon juice
finely chopped fresh thyme and rosemary, or to taste or to what you have to hand
olive oil
A little salt and pepper if required
Perhaps just a spoon-tip of wholegrain mustard

Mash goats cheese with herby cream cheese, quantities to taste but the ratio I used was roughly equal quantities.
Blend in chopped herbs, a spritz of lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil.
Add a small amount of salt, pepper and/or mustard if required but be light of touch, keep the flavour delicate and predominantly that of the cheese.

Place in a glass bowl; I just love those little Ikea +365 glass dishes, on the left, so useful, so elegantly simple.
 Serve with bruschetta, bread sticks, oat cakes - whatever takes your fancy.  And I recommend it served with chilled prosecco out on the patio! 

Chilled Lobster Tarragon

2 medium-sized cooked lobsters, cut in bite-sized pieces
(I get mine cooked and shelled from our local Crab Cabin, hope you have something similar near you)
A couple of squirts of fresh lemon juice
2 ribs of celery, very finely chopped
4 spring onions, trimmed lightly top and bottom, chopped
3/4 cup full-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
sea salt or plain salt and freshly ground pepper, to tase
6 outer leaves from Little Gem lettuce
lemon cut in 6 wedges

Combine the lobster, juice, spring onions and celery in a bowl.
Mix the mayo and tarragon with seasoning then add the lobster mix.
Place in a covered container and pop in the fridge for a few hours.
To serve: place servings on to the lettuce leaves, with the lemon wedge to the side.

To Serve
Boiled new potatoes, local (as I used) or Jersey Royals and sugar snap peas.

Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar snap peas, about a pound (2 bags), washed and trimmed if necessary
Butter, I use Guernsey butter, of course, but use any rich local butter
Finely chopped chives and basil, or whatever you fancy

Add sugar snaps to rolling boiling water for about a minute or so.  Drain and cool under cold running water.  Put to one side until ready to serve.
To serve, gently heat the butter in a pan (do not burn), add the sugar snaps and herbs and warm through.

Serve this dish with a chilled white - I served Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc on this occasion.  V nice.

Mixed Berry Tart

8 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened at room temperature
1/3 cup double cream, chilled
1/4 cup castor sugar
6 tartlet shells, I always get mine from M&S
You need roughly 1 cup each of washed & prepared fresh strawberries and blueberries (or other berries)
1/2 cup apricot jam
2 tablespoons water
Icing sugar, to dust

Beat the cheese, cream and sugar together in a bowl until the usual stiff peaks form.  Divide between the tartlets. 
(Now I usually end up with extra mix, which I keep in the fridge and have with fresh fruit the next day)
Place the fruit on top the mascarpone mix, as artistically or not as your heart desires!
Combine the jam and water in a little saucepan.  Cook slowly until melted and smooth.
Brush over the top of each tart.
Cover and refrigerate until chilled, which at least 2 hours

To serve: dust with the icing sugar.
(Any left over tarts are super for breakfast the next morning.  Trust me!)

And if you are living in our British climate, retire to the sofas indoors for coffee.  (And a little chocolate :-). )  Because it will no doubt be getting a tad chilly by the time you've lingered over this wonderful meal.

And there you have it - a beautifully light summer's evening menu.  Do I make these recipes sound easy?  Well, that's 'cos they are!
I do hope you try out at least one of the recipes, dear reader.  You won't be disappointed.

Do you have any fave summer lunch/supper recipes to share?
Or menus that make entertaining so easy because they can be prepped well in advance?
I'd love to hear.

Happy Thursday to you all.
A la perchoine.

Tuesday 26 July 2016

How To Sleep Well

Do you want to know what's getting me to sleep so well?
And what's preventing me from posting nice OOTD pics?

It's this.  The Overgrown Garden.

And this.  The Leaning Sheds of Guernsey. 

Bet you never thought you'd see pics like this on a blog!

The sheds need replacing, PDQ.  So we've emptied these two beauties and the messy utility area bridging the two. 

We've filled five 1 ton bags of rubbish from the area.
Just why have I kept so much junk for so long?  Answers in comments below please!

It's funny how when things are left in a shed for enough years, they erode in value.  Just by sitting there. 
They go in the shed as things of importance, things of value, things that it is vital that one keeps.
They leave the shed as rubbish.

Have you been working on any unpleasant jobs in the garden?
Or have you been enjoying the summer in nice outfits rather than scruffy old work clothes like me?

Yes, I've had to roll up the old pensioner sleeves.  And this evening I'm exhausted!
But I wanted to take a pic of something nice when I finally headed back to the house teatime.

I took one of this new rose.  It's out of focus.  Even my camera button pressing finger is exhausted.
So much lifting, shifting, cleaning, sorting, deciding, strategizing, dumping, organising.

But you have to know bad to know good, a quote from Son.
The bad is my aching body from two days of a-bendin and a-liftin and a-shiftin.
The good is that something nice and pretty and exciting will replace The Leaning Sheds.

In the meantime, forgive me for sharing these hum-drum pics with you.  But I thought you might want to see what I'm up to.  
Hard grafting.  And falling asleep as soon as my tired little pensioner head hits the pillow.

Sleep well too, peeps
A la perchine.

Monday 25 July 2016

No-Brow Investigation

Whilst taking my new specs selfies a few days ago, I dared to take some bare-faced shots with my hair pushed back.  There were motives behind my madness.

Firstly, I've always felt that wearing glasses means I have to wear more eye make up.  During my recent training session with my new glasses, I think I got away with just mascara (YSL false lash, bien sur).  These new glasses can take that light-touch approach as they are bigger than my usual frames.

Secondly, in my Getting Lippy post, I mentioned that I enjoy wearing just lip balm on a casual day.  In summer I prefer it to lipstick.  Here I'm wearing a lovely cherry-flavoured stick which I think is by Lipsyl but it could be a Boots-own (I bought it and its melon mate from Boots but I've torn the wrapper off which had all the info).  Well, it tastes gorgeous and its doing a lovely job on my lips. 

Do you reduce the lippy in summer?

And finally, the main reason for all these selfies.  My eyebrows.  I pushed my hair back to have a good look at them.  
What's happened to them?  Where have they gone?!
They have become sooo thin in the past few years.  I now find myself saving the long wirey white stragglers that I used to pluck out because they looked so aging.  These days, if it's a hair, it stays.  Thems the rules.  So I now cut my new best buddy brows with scissors, in the hope they will stick around a little longer.

I've tried pencilling in some pseudo-fullness but I just look like a painted lady.  The colour has to be light as my eye brow hair is ashen brown, a.k.a. grey.  The pencils on the market seem to be a ruddy brown and stand out glaringly against my, err, soft (grey again) colouring.

Oh, and BTW ...

... here's what I wore whilst conducting my No-Brow Investigation.  After the soaring temps we've experienced, this day ear-marked for brow-ing, shopping and errands was a cooler day so I somehow reacted by covering a little more, even though it was still warm.  Just not sweltering.  
Black modal Next top, black/ecru print skirt from M&S about 15 years ago (beautifully lightweight fabric), black Ecco sandals.

Now, tell me, are you experiencing eye brow loss?
How are you managing it?  Doing something about it or leaving well-alone?
And do you know of a really good brow product that fills in the spaces but provides some vestige of "natural" brow about it?  Maybe one that you've tried that works for you. 
I'd really appreciate your help.

A la perchoine.