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Thursday 29 June 2017

Don't Give Up

"Don't give up, I know you can make it good."
OK, that's a truncated version of the chorus of the song but those are the words that resonate today as I type this post.
A few weeks ago, I accepted that my hedychium had finally given up the ghost.   My Garden Guru Jean thought it was just resting.  My take was that after so many years of fighting for survival in the hands of an inept gardener, it had finally gone to meet its maker, was pushing up daisies, departed to that mysterious country from whose bourne no traveller returns ... etc etc
But Jean was right*!  This week a miracle happened and it metamorphosised from a bunch of gnarled old corms to 24 inch high healthy leafage.  So life's lesson also applies to the garden.  Don't give up, folks.
Hedycium and palms:
I'm hoping by the end of the summer I will be able to show you its lovely flowers.
*This lady is good. Not only did she know that my hedychium was waiting for its moment, she hit on the winning grey mix for my little navy skirt recently too.  I'm going to hang on that lady's every word ...
Elsewhere in the garden, all things are flourishing.  Could it be the recent burst of heat, perhaps?

We've already been feasting off rhubarb.
This bush which usually only shows a couple of roses at a time, has burst forth this past week.

I love its yellow petals.

Pink roses pop up, fit for a wedding table.

I tried to sneak in a shot of my newly tutti fruitied nails, but failed.  White roses are so classic.
Heavens knows what these are but I allow them to self-seed in the gravel to break up the flow of the pathways, here by my utility area.  They produce blousy yellow flowers.
All in all, I think my garden has thoroughly enjoyed the little heatwave I arranged for it.

So, peeps, with gardens, as in life, Don't Give Up ...
Doesn't Kate just have the ultimate in pouts?!

A la perchoine.


Tuesday 27 June 2017

Navy Skirt Gets A Try-On Session

Not 10cc.  15c.  That is today's June temp on Pout Island.  That's after heatwave conditions where I registered 45c on the patio (ok, it is a sun trap so not a true indicator).  Within a minute of sitting here in my little skirt, I have closed all windows and draped a thick cardi around me.  That is how cold 15c feels.

Oh, and did I mention rain?  Yes, the precipitation has brought the temp right down to that shivering 15c. 
So it's raining.  What am I going to do?  Do amazing things to the house, like Janet of thegardenerscottage has been doing?  Nah, can't do that, I've got the builders in and things are stacked up, shoved away (you need to know this for later) and I'm sure the whole house is covered in a little bit more dust that the 1mm I usually having going on at Chez Pout.

So instead of achieving wonders in the house, I did something I've had on back-burner for a couple of weeks ever since I posted pics of my little navy print skirt here.  Some of you lovely readers were so kind to respond to my call for help when I asked what colours I could wear other than the navy tops I'd been teaming it with.  Yes, peeps, today I had a good old try-on.

This was Jean's idea.

Jean came up with grey.

Short grey silk/cotton Woolovers cardi, grey camisole and snakeprint flatties from M&S.
This is what I wore today.  I like it.  The grey blends in with the shading in the skirt.

And here I pressed an effects button instead of "save".  They are right next to each other on the screen.  Bad laptop design.

Anna and Jennie came up with pink.

Limited Collection modal top, pink wedge sandals and a pink/grey necklace, all from M&S.

This felt quite smart casual. It's old but it just may sneak in as Blush?  
I swear I heard this ensemble say "do something  civilised with me, like taking me out to lunch".

Still on pink, a Next cotton top and still accessorised with the pink/grey necklace.
It needed something more.

So I accessorised with a pout to snazz up the look.  (Thanks for "snazz", Janice of theviviennefiles!)

Steph suggested a whole rainbow of brights, which my wardrobe is short on so the nearest I got was her fuschia (M&S).  I felt fresh and vibrant.  I could see me wearing this with my fuschia sling-back heels.

Jennie, Christy and Jean gave me white.

A layered white top, which was a usual panic buy the day before holiday; bought last year for my trip to Denmark.  It didn't come out the case and I still haven't worn it.  I will now.  Teamed with my Next linen mix navy cardi.  This look is telling me that I desperately need some navy wedged espadrilles, n'est pas?

And yes, I missed "save" again.

Nobody suggested duck egg blue.  This is my suggestion to self.  I spotted this one as I was a-rummaging through the wardrobe.  It's cashmere from Jones of New York.  The plait-edged camisole is from my East Aqua period, ca. 2002. 
This combo surprised me, I felt it worked and again the shading in the skirt invites quite a few colours in that area of the spectrum.

 Anna and Jennie's suggestion of yellow excited me.  The colour has really surprised me in the last couple of years.  I like it.  Never thought I would be such a fan.

The vest is a nice thin cotton jersey, so cool in summer.  I love it with a white bottom (clothes-bottom, not my untanned nether region!).   Again, navy espadrilles would finish off this ensemble.

And the bit you need to know about things being stored away is this.  I have an M&S cardi that goes beautifully with this vest.  I hunted high (top shelf of cupboard) and low (floor of wardrobe in case it had fallen off a hanger).  I could not find it, so I think it must be in the upstairs wardrobe.  The builder has declared the upstairs floor a no-go zone, due to him storing precariously balancing big panels of plaster board on the landing.  So, dear reader, you get me in my bare-armed state.  Sorry about that.

I included a blow-up of my head (oh, peeps, please do not take me literally!!).   I thought this shot displays my swathes of grey streaking.  Loving being grey!

But back to our little fashion show.  (Enjoying it so far?)

As a wild card, I brought in this little peplum short-sleeved cardi, a sort of off-white, pale stone sort of colour.  A non-colour. It's M&S Limited Collection and was a find on one of those £5 rails they sometimes have.

I bought it to top summer dresses to hide arm tops.

I don't think I've ever worn it in the 5-6 years I've kept it hanging around.  I will now.
Because I can see it looks cute with skirts as well as dresses.  And I could see it with coloured bottoms too - oh, here we go again - bottoms, as in crops and jeans, not my derriere after exposure to sun during a long sleep on a sunny beach (yes, I have done that!)

And just when The Photographer thought his good work was over, I had another flash of inspo.
What about another wild card?!

(Roofer's scaffolding in background)

Let's mix up stripes and floral. Fashionistas do this, eh, so why not The Pout? Quite like it.

What a productive way to spend a rainy June morning!  In my view.
I was able to try out some of your helpful and inspirational suggestions on colour mixes.
I have identified a need for espadrilles, maybe navy.
And I discovered pieces that I am now excited to try out, v. soon.  When the sun shines again.

A Big Thanks to all you lovely ladies who came up with colour ideas.  I still have quite a few to try out.  But I think by the time I got to Wild Card No. 2, I really had tested my Photographer's patience.

So, what do you think, ladies?  Which work?  Any? Some? All?
Could you bring any of these colour mixes to your wardrobe's aid?
I really appreciate your input and creativity and I do love to hear from you.

And as all those fun Looney Tunes films ended, so endeth your fun time today with The Pout, for

That's it, folks!

Oh no, I spoke too soon!  I also found this combo.  Add a denim shirt to the list of looks still to try, folks.

Now, how am I going to sweet-talk The Photographer into taking yet more shots of this skirt  ... ?

A la perchoine.

Sunday 25 June 2017

Blonde on Blonde Revisited

 Hi, my midsummer maidens.  Pout here, reporting rather sheepishly for duty.

In case any of you haven't picked up on it, we've had a heatwave in GB this past week.
Our hottest temp since 1976 has been recorded.  And that was a drought summer, I was told, but I was living abroad and didn't experience it.

It was hotter here than Ibiza.  Skiathos.  Los Angeles.
I have decided that I like heatwaves.  I cannot imagine how many times I must have said "Gosh, it's hot" this past week.  But it was such a nice place to be.  I enjoy waking up to heat and seeing a clear blue sky every day.  I like planning my early morning walks so that I'm home again before the sun starts to sear.  I love sitting out in garden in the evening sun, with not a wisp of wind around to rustle the patio's olive tree or palms.  I wallow in sipping a sundowner and watching the sun drop down in a deep cerulean blue cloudless sky.
But the heatwave hasn't spawned OOTD pics.

My day job at home has been dealing with roofer, builder, window maker and electrician, making decisions about where things should go and how things should look as the roof is replaced and the big window area starts to take shape.  Or I've busied myself trying to make some sense out of the inevitable clutter and dust building up around me.
I've done a fair bit of work in the garden too.

So all of that meant I was invariably beclad in some variation of my heatwave uniform, that being shorts and camisole.
It goes without saying that no good OOTDs come out of such work and from such heat.

The rare breaks from my day job have been spent on the golf course or the beach and again, no cute outfits come out of those leisurely pursuits either.
Golf wear has consisted of a sleeveless polo shirt and more shorts.  Beachwear was a swimsuit over which I have thrown a beach dress or yet more shorts.  My focus was on keeping cool, and only now do I realise that my week in outfits has been photograph-unworthy.
BTW. as I write this post I have resolved to treat our next heatwave (in my dreams!) as being a holiday situation.  I will wake up each day and slip on something cool but cute, as one does on holiday.  And I will record my heatwave outfit for you, dear reader.

But all of that good intention stuff is now on back-burner as on Friday the heatwave broke.  We reverted overnight to "seasonal average", which meant a drop of about 10c degrees.
I have decided I don't like seasonal average.  Heatwave.  I like seasonal exception.  Who ever took my heatwave, please return it a.s.a.p. as I really do miss it.

So as it transpired, on the one day that I had to force myself to tidy up to go to the nailist*, that being Friday, instead of slipping on a pretty cool cotton summer slip dress, I wore a jumper!  Yup, my blonde on blonde look was revisited.  This time I tarted it up a tad with Clarks wedged sandals in nude, a white summer necklace and my recently rediscovered pink Tula crossover bag.  I hope my nailist appreciated my efforts, for she would not have liked having a be-shorted and camisoled Pout sitting opposite it her for a 45 minutes. 

* they're shelkac'ed CND Tutti Fruiti again, BTW

I hope she appreciated my laced up back view too, as I departed the salon.

So I apologise for my blonde on blonde revisit.  But during the writing of this post, my head has been a-buzzing with Dylan as I thought of my title.  The Blonde on Blonde album, the Highway 61 Revisited.  The title is a mashup of those two.  And in amongst all that cerebral mayhem, this song kept coming to me.  This is my "sorry gift" to you for not having taken shots of what I wore during the heatwave, even though the shots would have been none too pretty!


Seasonal Average seems to be sticking around and Normal Service should therefore now resume with some half way decent and photographable clothing.  In my view, anyway!

Now, tell me, how do you dress in a heatwave?  Does style go out the refreshingly window as you reach for whatever is coolest?  Or do you seize the opportunity to hook out some of your cool-as-a-cucumber little wisps of dresses?

A la perchoine.

Friday 23 June 2017

Dad's Day - Dirty Linen, Fried Salad

Today I washing my "dirty" linen in public.  I've mentioned previously that I'm not a huge fan of outdoor OOTD shots.  And here's why.

1.  Pasty face.  My face is not pale and interesting.  It is ruddy.
2.   "Marks" which do not exist in reality appear on dark clothing. E.g. Pic on left, two pale splodges on left of dress.  Pic on left, same two pale splodges, now shifted to the right.
3.  Points 1 & 2 indicate that we are not camera-savvy. 

Perhaps it's time to sit down together with a cup of coffee and read our camera manual ...

This little outfit looked nice IRL.  Trust me.  Yet here's Pale Pout again and with even bigger splodges! 
The dress is old, from Next, black linen, easy shape, worn with black Ecco sandals and turquoise jewellery.

And I wore my "dirty" linen to take The Photographer out for a Father's Day dinner down at the golf club along the coast. 

We shared a starter of four prawns (seen here already split) served with the most delicious little pot of fine slivers of ginger, done pink.  Oh how my taste buds exploded.
And that half-starter should have been where we put our forks down and headed for home.  Because ...

Simple fish and chips, left, as I started tucking in and right, when I was "finished".  Same on TP's plate.  And all we'd eaten during the day was our beach brunch cheese sarnie, so we hadn't exactly been pigging!  I think it was because the starter was so good, that we really wanted for little else after such exquisiteness.  So two huge pieces of fish came home with us in a doggie bag ... or sac du chien   as The Photographer eloquently put it!


Fried Salad

This time of year we are eating a lot of new potatoes, home-grown by a neighbour, super flavour.  We are also eating a lot of salad, especially during our heatwave.  We always end up with left overs of both.  The potatoes can be put to many uses but what do you do with left over salad, especially if it's got a bit soggy from vinaigrette?  
Well I just heat a little olive oil in a pan, cut the potatoes into chunks, fry till browned, then chuck in the salad leftovers.  It makes a tasty vegetable dish as the potatoes absorb the vinaigrette.  You're welcome!

Sac du Chien (left over battered fish)
Serves 2

Two left over battered fish fillets
Olive oil to cook
2 slices of bread for toasting
Handful of cooked prawns
Mayonnaise and lemon
Garnish, e.g. mixed salad, pickled beetroot and pickled cucumber

  1. Gently warm the fish through in a pan with a little olive oil.
  2. Place two slices of bread in toaster.
  3. After flipping over (the fish, not yourself!), start plating up whilst the fish warms through.
  4. Place toast on plates.   Spread the toast with mayonnaise.  Place fish on top, add a dollop of mayo, decorate with prawns, top with a lemon twist.  Serve the salad mix on the side of the fish toast.  Add garnish, if desired.


So, The Photographer enjoyed a beach brunch and a swim in the cooling sea (previous post) and here dinner at the golf club.  Plus his Sac du Chien on his Boxing Father's Day.  He was a Happy Daddy. 
I also put together a little pressie for him ... but I'm going to save that for another post!

A la perchoine.

Wednesday 21 June 2017

Dad's Day - The Idleness of the Reluctant Gardener

Oh my, we are enjoying a heatwave extraordinaire.  And that makes me happy.  So happy that I have just somehow deleted the first draft of this post and this face is only just the slightest bit bothered.
This post is shorter.  Yes, shorter!  Consider yourself let off lightly.  So happy days, eh.

Yes, the sun is shining, bigly, and I'm happy and all is good.  My roof work started this week, that made me happy for no rain is forecast for the duration.  Unfortunately, heatwaves do not make roof guys quite so happy.  To ameliorate the sweltering conditions they find themselves in up on my roof, I am supplying an endless stream of cold water and ice lollies.  Whilst come into this cool room and chat away with you guys.  I know who's got the better deal!
Father's Day was equally hot.  I decreed sweetly suggested that The Photographer should construct his day according to his wishes; he decided it would kick off with brunch on the beach.  But first, after watering the plants (and myself!), I had a little detour to make around the garden, as I want to show you the lofty heights my echium have reached.

Pretty lofty, huh?  Bees love the little blue flowers on these plants.

I've found a new blog trick tool.  Andrea Nine top-tipped that wearing a big hat and sunglasses is a good cover on those days when you've worn minimal make up and not bothered too much with your hair.  I was going to the beach and hair and make up do not figure.   Is this trickery working?

I wore a cool maxi dress over my black tankini.  I was beach-ready. 
Do you have a fave dress for throwing over bathing gear?

The dress is made of uber fine cotton knit and it's reminiscent of an H&M one I had in the 70s.  This dress comes from H&M too and it also comes with a story.  The story in the original draft was humongous.  Let's be easy on you, let's test out my precis skills.

  • Saw dress online early SS11.  Loved dress.  #excited, as dress reminded me of fave 70s dress.  Discovered H&M does not ship to Guernsey.  Walked away from dress.  Move to July holiday that year, Helsingborg, Sweden.  Young Swedish lady crosses road in front of our car, looking gorgeous in elusive H&M dress.  Fall instantly in love all over again.  In that instant, I am determined that dress will be mine.  It was meant to be!  Bypass H&M Guernsey-ist shipping policy and arrange with cousin Top Cat to have dress delivered to her UK address, as TC is visiting island shortly after.  Turns out dress weighs less than a small fluffy cloud and rolls into nothingness, so TC's packing plans weren't compromised by extra baggage of Obsessive Pout's dress. 
Bingo, successful precis, just one bullet point!

So what is this fixation I have with Swedish lady outfits?  That same holiday here I was obsessing over a simple blonde and white outfit spotted on another Swedish lady.
If I lived in Sweden, I think I would spend myself out of house and home recreating looks I espied in the street.  Or gatan, for that is what I would be calling the street there.

So let's move on from my Swedish issues and my desire to wear dresses I wore in my 20s.
After my echium shots I took garden pics on the way back to the house.

The agapanthi are about to burst forth.  They self seed.  Anywhere.  Which means that although I pull many up, they still thrive in huge swathes throughout the garden, and pop up between patio slabs, granite pathways, you name it and they'll set up home there.  They are determined and robust.  And when they are in that mood, they are a devil to pull up. So the rest I let stay put and tell visitors that I am letting nature be nature. 
But the truth is that I am a lazy gardener.

The following tree has surprised us this summer.  We planted it about 7-8 years ago.  We didn't have a tag on it so as it grew we determined that it was a cherry tree.  An ornamental cherry tree, for it did not bear fruit.  And so it was left.

Until a few weeks ago.  It is now a proper, grown up cherry tree!

The figs are also doing well.
I also have pear and peach trees and strawberries.  And if the back jungle  soft fruit area was cleared I would also have raspberries, redcurrants and blueberries.  I need to get a man in if I am to feast off home-grown fruit salad through the summer.

Here is a pergola clematis which each year I think I've killed I aggressively cut back hard.
It's starting to flower but is facing the wrong way.  When the bloke comes in to clear my jungle soft fruit area, I will find my garden wire and reposition this resilient plant.

More examples of my laziness repurposing of garden plants.  I planted a new grape vine here 3-4 years ago.  It died over a year ago.  I just haven't got round to digging it out.  But now the back wisteria is stretching out to the side and has latched on to the dead vine.  So I will be telling visitors that I repurposed the vine as a natural climbing frame for the wisteria.  Letting nature be nature :-).
A lazy gardener  ... but a lying cunning one.

This pergola inspection ended the garden tour and I reached the house, grabbed our beach stuff and off we sped down the road to ...

... our favourite pitching spot on Grandes Rocques beach.

We watched doggies and their strollers as we sat on our tartan rug, ate our cheese and tomato sarnies, drank coffee from a thermos.  Pretty retro, eh.

After waiting the requisite amount of time after eating ...

... we stepped tentatively plunged into the cooling sea.

And with a pic of The Photographer, so endeth his Father's Day beach brunch.  Cheers.

A la perchoine.