Remember ...

If not now, when?

Saturday 29 April 2017

Being ... Nigella

Last year I was Nora and Jane.  So far this year, I've been Anna and Une Femme.  It's about time for another Being ...

But first, a bit of back-story.  I save outfit ideas on my Kindle.  I have to admit that relatively few become reality.  I have a virtual self, an alter ego, who dresses imaginatively and each and every outfit she is inspired by becomes a reality, put together from shopping her wardrobe.  But the real me is mostly out living her day to day and never quite finds the time for her dream dressing.  Occasionally, I get really fired up and go for it.

Especially if the outfit is as simple as this.

I find a lot of inspiration on Andrea's blog and recently she posted a simple yet punchy outfit here.  She looked lovely.  Short black dress worn with denim jacket and slouchy shoes (can't remember what they're called).

No short dresses for me (you have seen my knees in shorts?)  but a black midi would work.  Which I have ... worn here

So I saved Andrea's pic on my Kindle with good intentions of doing a steal.
Just a few days later Jacqui had posted her take on the outfit here. Her variation was to substitute the dress for a black jumpsuit. So glam.  I liked her thoroughness as she even put her hair up a la Andrea and sourced a similar necklace.
Well, jumpsuits and I have a way-back history from the 80s which is not to be repeated, so I decided on how I wanted my take to look and this morning I got going.

My styling was a black jersey midi dress, pendant, GAP denim jacket and Birkies.

But why do you find me in my kitchen?  Well because as I started visualising the outfit, I was soon channeling Nigella.  Nigella about 10 years ago, the chunkier and sloppier version who clunked around in long skirts and Birkies and burkhinis.  Not the one we see today, who is gorgeous Nigella, post divorce and post her double-bunion operation diet.

And what would vintage Nigella do when you popped in unexpectedly?

Why, she'd whip up something tasty from thin air.  So my Nigella has made you a cheese and chilli tortilla (recipe below).

Then what would Nigella do after devouring her Mexican breakfast?

She'd feel that she needed some exercise. But not a lot.
 And inspired by her Birkies and led by her free spirit, she'd take you down on the beach to walk off a few calories.  But just a few.

However, first she'd have a sit-down as getting out of the car had been a tad strenuous.

Then she'd realise she hadn't given you a pudd, so she'd sniff you out an ice cream.

After lustfully devouring a huge cone with complete abandon. Nigella would walk you through the long undergrowth, filling the conversation with one or two of her best innuendos. 

As she hadn't packed her burkhini, she'd invite you to go skinny dipping.  Her version being to merely dip her bare toes in the water.

She'd take lots of breaks during the walk but not waste these moments - though stationary, her face would be animated, mouth pouting and eyes flashing you suggestive looks before looking away demurely.

Of course, she would be concerned that it was a windy day and her hair was being blown unflatteringly away from her chubby face and her dress was billowing out in an equally unflattering way.  But this canny little minx would divert your attention away from this plainer view of her with "Oh look, what a cute seagull, what were the chances of seeing one of those here?!!

"Have you checked out my recently pedicured toes?  Oh, is that a bunion forming?"
"See how good I look in far away shots".
Those sort of diversionary tactics.  Oh she's good.

"Let's do the "I'm a little teapot" song!"

"Oh what a shame these limpet shells are empty - I could have rustled you up a super limpet and samphire icecream."
"Take a look at my manicure too - Tutti Fruiti, don't y'know?!"

And then she would need another rest.  Being a lusty wench is so tiring, Being ... Nigella is tiring.  
So she would stop to look at her winter-pale legs and see her whole self as pale and interesting and definitely not think it was time to get out the self-tan.

I hope your enjoyed your date with Nigella.

Now, here's an idea.  Denim jacket outer, black inner.  Most of us have both in our wardrobes. 
This basic outfit gives you free-rein to put your own stamp on it.
Wouldn't it be fun for you to have a go at it?  Then tell me how your take on it panned out. 
And if you are a blogger, maybe post your pic.  I'm thinking that an outfit with such simple ingredients could turn out to be a sort of relay.  First leg, Andrea, then Jacqui, then The Pout is passing the baton on to ... who?  Who fancies a bit of fun?  Anna maybe?

And talking of ingredients ... I give you

Cheese and Chilli Tortilla
It's inspired by a Nigella recipe, of course

Heat olive oil in frying pan.  Place handful of grated cheese on half of a soft tortilla, then sprinkle with sliced spring onion and chilli (either fresh and finely chopped or use flakes).
Fry briefly on either side.  Eat in lascivious manner looking at camera as you lick your fingers suggestively.

I had this for breakfast this morning.  But without all the lewd stuff!

A la perchoine 

Friday 28 April 2017

Garden Glimpses, Pensioner Perks

What I did on the way to the clothes line ...
I had a wander around the garden.  First stop, my lovely ceanothus.

When I returned from holiday it had grown so much it had blocked this little walk through.  I've hacked back half the bush and it's already saying "thanks, but I think I need to grow some more".

I love blue flowers.  I'll soon be getting huge monstrous displays of more blue flowers in a month or two.  Agapanthus and Echium grow like weeds in my garden and self-seed all over the place.

These two cherry trees are already starting to fade.  Spring flowering is so brief, eh?

This yellow flowering plant (heavens knows what it's called!) has doubled in size, has got leggy and is spilling on to the lawn.  I'm going to have to cut it back but Grandson loves picking flowers from it so I'm going to have to be cautious with my cutting.

I hacked about 4 feet off the bottom branches of this olive tree and loads off the sides, allowing it to hopefully flourish with three main branches.  I read that olives need three or five main branches, so for the past few years I've given it brutal chop backs.   When cutting back the sides I came upon quite a few olives, which explains why the sparrows like to base themselves in amongst the leaves when feeding off the nearby seed table.   Two courses!

The palm trunks were covered in last year's dead growth.  Not now, not after my weekend's labour!

The fig tree just needed some splaying against the wall to support it as it leafs up and its fruit grows heavy.
I expect I should have cut it back, but I'm curious to see how high it grows this year as it had some tremendous growth last summer, which yielded soooo many lovely juicy figs.

On my return from holiday, this old meandering grape vine also received the brunt end of some of The Pout's "gardening" efforts, which is in essence just hacking off loads of everything in sight.
But it's been leafing these past couple of weeks, so I don't think I've killed this v. old grapevine.

I'm getting a nice flowering of wisteria in the pergola area, but I had serious wisteria envy when I recently saw the display at The Dolphins.  I comfort myself that theirs is probably 80 years old and mine is but a pup at less than 8.

So we've had a walk around the garden to show you just a little of what's been keeping me away from the laptop, away from your screens.  Me in gardening clothes is not for public consumption so I've spared you pics.  You're welcome!

And here's another way I idle my time ... with a Thursday Wine O'clock!

Before I retired proper, I did some consultancy work Tuesdays to Thursdays.  So my weekend started Thursday at 5pm and that became my new Wine O'clock.  And since I've been fully retired I've "forced" myself to keep up the tradition.

Last night. about 18.30.  A chilled glass of prosecco,

some candlelight hygge,

on a Thursday, because I can.

Yes, Thursday Wine O'clock is not a tradition I'm going to give up easily.
I look on it as one of the perks of being a poor pensioner.

Enjoy your fredagsmys, your fredags hygge, your Friday Wine O'clock.  OK, I have one of those too. 
Paying homage to my days as a working girl, when my weekend started on a Friday, as tradition would have it.   Gotta be done.  Sooo many traditions, so few bottles of prosecco ...

Hope you're having great results in your garden ... and with your Weekend Starts Here celebrations.
Enjoy!  Cheers!  Skaal!

A la perchoine 

Wednesday 26 April 2017

The Dolphins - Farewell To An Era

The Dolphins has been the holiday home and later the permanent residence of members of the White family for over 80 years.
Brigadier White and his family lived in India and in Lewes, Sussex.  A Dr Byam from London built The Dolphins in the 1930s on one of the island's eastern hilltops and it was initially used as a holiday home whilst he continued his medical career in England.  After the war, the White family moved to the island and to this house and generations of the family have since  enjoyed and loved The Dolphins.

Mrs Anne White (nee Mackay) recently died at the grand old age of 95. 
This family were collectors.  There is depth.  Mrs White brought the contents of her mother's Lewes home over here and her parents had lived many years in the far east.  The Whites had lived in India.  That history explains the immense groupings of artefacts in the house.

The home has remained largely untouched since it was built and then furnished in the 30s and 40s so the surviving family members felt that the house should be opened to the public before it and its contents are auctioned.  It was an opportunity I could not pass on.  And I am watching the bidding of the contents on line as I type this post.  Isn't that amazing?!

The auction is now largely over.  It was the usual type of auction, some items running away, many going to around their estimated price and a few not selling.  I found the experience fascinating.  Indian paintings and ephemera flew with lots of online battles.  One Indian watercolour was estimated at £60-80, yet went for £1450 - what had the auctioneer missed, I wonder?
A continental wooden doll valued at £60-80 started with an online bid at £320, quickly became an online battle and ended in auction floor carnage, selling at £6500.
Yes, an experience but one that I won't rush to repeat, it's addictive.

So, back to the plot.  I visited the house yesterday.  I am hoping this post will appeal to lovers of all things vintage.  Needless to say, many pics were taken and these are just a few!  As usual with this type of post, I will let the pics mostly do the talking.

I tested this armchai's upholstery, which is still surprisingly plump ... or maybe that was my own upholstery?!
(This armchair didn't sell.  It needs re-upholstering; maybe there is a post-auction bid to be made ...)

The architect had maximised on the sea and neighbouring island views, with large 30s metal-framed windows abounding.

 Family crockery, I loved this majolica; family pics in a gilded frame.  Mementoes, toys, clothes, far eastern collections and ephemera were displayed for all to view.

I thought of Terri from meadowtreestyle when I spied this stash of glam dressmaking patterns.  Terri loves sewing and retro patterns.  She would have made a serious bid for these, I'm sure. (Terri, the patterns went for £75). There were handbags and hats, fabric and jewellery that I know would have tempted her too.

Beaded handbags; what must be a lifetime's collection of buttons (sold for £45).

These wooden horses sold for £240.

This must have been a childrens' room, it was filled with toys.  I'm thinking Sis might be interested in the Paddington Bears ...  She has one but can a PB fan really have too many?

Well, the dalmatian doggie and brush set went for £120 and the Paddington Bears, £100 (sorry Sis, I didn't get them for you :-()

Handbags in snakeskin.  A set of scales that looks like it may scarily display weight honestly!

Beautifully made ballgowns and pics of their wearers.

The dear lady of the house on the right, in her younger days as Miss Anne Mackay.  So pretty.

The Pout's photographic assistant displaying 1930s coats and jackets.  The range of clothes went right up to the 70s.  Vintage dressers must have had a field day. 
I'm sticking to the vintage I have in my wardrobe!

The Brigadier's chests; Bakelite picnic sets.

Can you imagine having tea on the terrace, wearing your 30s/40s tea dress?

We bumped into a friend who played here as a child.  She doesn't remember ever appreciating the fine views, she just remembers her adventures in the house and garden.

Sark can be seen in the far distance.

So sad that this lovely house with all its history will no doubt be re-built, Sandbanks-style, the same way as so many older houses have gone of late.

Then again, its neighbour, this burnt-down hotel, has remained untouched for about 14 years.  But I think that's a different story.

So, farewell to a delightful 1930s time capsule.

A la perchoine