Remember ...

If not now, when?

Wednesday 28 February 2018

My Snowday, Part 2

 The weather yesterday was truly perfect ...

...for Samoyeds!

And for snowmen.

It's possible to make snow angels in our 3cm of snow!

It's possible to have snowball fights.

It's possible to dress up like an abominable snowman ...

... an unavoidable look with thick thermals, layers and scarves!

Yes, one could say I overegged the layers for -4c, but the real temperature was -9c, so the unattractive Yeti look was justified.

After these frolics, TP thought I'd had my fill of snow shots for the day.

But he was so wrong.  It's snowing again.  Grab your coat, honey, we're going out for more!

My takeaway coffee cup was a warming accessory 😉.

Coffee break over and TP was under snowball-fire again.

I bought this cosy hat and scarf from Dotty P a couple of weeks ago, when I first learned that The Beast was a-comin'.  They were significantly reduced in the sale.  Glad I bought them.  The scarf moulds itself snugly around my face and feels like it's going to be a good protection against sinusitis.  So warm too.

This is warm too.  A log fire.  Toasty toes after an exhausting yet  exciting day of snowballing and Yeti-ing.


A la perchoine.

Tuesday 27 February 2018

I''m Having A Snow Day!

Yes, the Beast From The East has finally arrived and I'm having a Snow Day!
A few flurries of the white stuff descended on us yesterday evening.
On awakening this morning I ran hurriedly to the bathroom.  No not because of a senior bladder moment.  I ran excitedly, as a child would, to look out of the bathroom window.

The frosted up window bodes well.

And yes there is a sprinkling of snow.
But hardly beast from the east stuff.

I excitedly phoned Son and yes, the schools were closed as heavier snow was forecast for later in the day.  Goodoh, this day has all the makings of a Snow Day, so I declared it mine too.

So, what springs to mind?  What to wear, of course!

The beast we've been entertaining this past week has manifested itself in bitterly cold but dry and sunny days and I've been dressing up snuggly.

But after seeing what was out in my garden, I realised something seasonal was required for today's dressing.  Something with snowflakes and little crystal embellishments giving the appearance of scattered snow, methinks, like on this jumper from George.  Some jumpers just look warm.  This jumper IS warm! I wore it with grey camisole, jeans and scarf and of course the furry boots had to come out to snow-play too.

Dressed snuggly I ventured outdoors.  Hmmmm, still not much snow.  TP said that the Scandinavians, who have kindly sent us this weather, would be sniggering when they saw this.

But I dashed around the garden snapping so excitedly.

I was like a kid in a sweet shop   Snow-Pout with a camera.

OK so this is a bit embaressing and here I have to fess up.  Yes, I haven't de-headed these hydrangeas!  Oh the shame.

No toasty tush to be had sitting out here today

No leisurely breakfast under the pergola either.

And even the birds haven't come out to feed.

Yet as soon as I stepped back in the house, this little robin did indeed come out to seed-up for his Snow Day.

I really was like an excited kid.   Snow is a rare occurrence over here, here being an island surrounded by salty air which usually breaks down any lurking snow.  
I've been excitedly following the snow forecast for days.  TP spent many years on Dartmoor so he sees snow as a general inconvenience and has ignored the forecast, that being one snowflake's worth for most of the day and a whopping two snow flakes at midday.

But all I saw outside was just a sprinkling of snow on the ground and the occasional falling snow flake.  Not very beast-like.  Not like the blizzards currently gripping the unfortunate UK right now.
I looked out the window expectantly.  I looked at my watch aggitatedly.  11.35am.  Hmmn, according to the forecast we're due two whole snowflakes at 12pm.  It'd better up its game sharpish.

Well, the weather must have been listening in on my conversation with TP because about two minutes later a few bigger flakes started falling and within 5-10 minutes the snow was falling in an orderly Beast From The East fashion.

It started to get atmospheric.

The outside boiler's steam was blasting through the ice-cold air.

I thought it looked quite ethereal.  Or a bit Dr Zhivago, steam train on icy St Petersburg station.

So as I type, it's now snowing in a less wimpy fashion.

There has been a flurry of activity in Bird World after the snow started to fall proper.

Emergency tree meetings have been held.

They must be tweeting their game plan.

This great tit's plan seems to be to nip out to the "shops" to stock pile on seed before the snow fall gets too heavy for his little wings to carry him.

 Yup, this day has all the makings of a Super Snow Day.
I'll share some snowier scenes with you tomorrow.
And yes, as you can probably tell, I am super excited today.  My excitement is child-like because we Islanders don't see much snow -  but 3-4 cm of snow has fallen!

I've just heard that a severe weather warning has been issued.  Islanders have been advised not to leave their homes unless their journey is absolutely necessary.  
Those in the UK have been told they will need a big coat.

Yes, we don't get much snow over here ...

A la perchoine.

P.s.  If you want the statistics on how excited I am about snow, just count how many "excited"s (or derivatives thereof) there are in this post!

Sunday 25 February 2018

The Lady Who Lunches Meets Lady Leoprint

The Outfit

There are some days when we just want to go back to basics.
Like black trousers.

Wimpy me just wants something warm around her legs when THE BEAST FROM THE EAST is a-visitin'  - skirts and dresses stay in the wardrobe.

Instead of my go-to coated biker jeans which my thoughts had first gone to for the evening's attire, I decided to go right back to basics with simple black trousers.  I haven't worn plain old trousers for an age.  Have you?
Add a camisole to create a black column, layer on a pop of cardi colour in wintry red and you have the makings of what I would describe as a Lady Who Lunches outfit.  Safe. Tried and tested, but it works.

I have to say the Lady Who Lunches staring back at me from the mirror did unnerve me slightly.  But The Photographer said she looked nice just as she was, with no knee jerk dressing required.  I should mention that at this point I had threatened to switch my classic black trousers for the Plan A coated biker jeans.  So I heeded TP's advice,  but gave a nod to my Lady Leoprint roots.

Well naturally something as sensible as a LWL outfit must at least have a bit of subdued edge, so I introduced a scarf and little bag in leoprint.  Lady Who Lunches Meets Lady Leoprint.  And only then was I was good to go.

And go I did, to meet up with my Sibs at a nearby hotel restaurant.

The Meet-Up

The hotel's foyer was attractively decorated, I'm guessing for a wedding reception.

I chucked my phone in the direction of The Photograper because I realised I'd left home without showing you my outerlayer.

It's this.  A black leather zipped and hooded coat from way back.  Maybe 20 years way back.
I'd stopped wearing it purely because its side pockets are positioned a bit too far back for my liking.  Simple solution -  I didn't put my hands in them last night.  Why on earth has it taken me two decades to work out that simple fix?!!

Bro missed this photoshoot.  Funny, that. 

Sis and I wore complimentary colours, without even having liaised beforehand!
Me in black, red and leoprint.  Sis in black, a pretty black print top which she topped with her pop of wintry red in the form of a scarf.

This isn't the first time we've turned up in complimentary outfits, like when we were

That's sisters for you, eh.

Apropos prints, I really struggle to find any prints I like.  Sis, on the other hand, has a kanny knack of finding prints that I always like. Why do I never see these prints in the shops?

The Food Shots

And because I haven't posted any food shots for ages ...

Classic Prawn Cocktail
Hungarian Goulasch - which our sweet Hungarian server
assured us was made authentically as she'd tested it.
Chicken Jalfrezi

Another classic, Toad in the Hole
And the classics continue with an Apple Crumble

Don't fret, not ALL those dishes were mine!

So in summary, my post today:
It's about the forgotten wardrobe hero, black trousers.
It's about classic column dressing. 
 It's about simple pops of cheering wintry colour.
It's about introducing a little leoprint edge to LWL outfits.
It's about how when looking at these pics I realise that black, red and a little bit of print really work well together.
It's about keeping my hands out of awkwardly place coat pockets.
And mostly it's about having a wonderful evening in the company of lovely family.

Hope your weekend is going well, keeping warm/cool and keeping in touch with those you love.

A la perchoine.

Thursday 22 February 2018

Did you MAKE this?!! Pea, Parmesan and Garlic Soup

In my last recipe post (SEE HERE), I talked about those special dishes we make that inspire the "OMG ... did you make this?!!!" reaction.  So continuing along that path, here's another recipe that I guarantee will get that same reaction, yet it's easy peasy to make ... quite literally!
This soup is one of my fave soups and I originally stumbled across it via Nigel Slater's Real Food.  I saw him make it on telly and rushed out to buy the book and it has since become one of my Desert Island cookbooks, so if it's not already on your shelf, I really do boss  recommend that you remedy that after reading this post!  The twist is that it's not his recipe but Nigella's.  It's OK, he did attribute it to her so all is well in the world of bonhomie and cookery writers.

The original recipe became far too rich for my palette over time, thus I've adapted it to my taste, as I mention below.  So this recipe has moved away from Nigella's somewhat but I thank her for the inspiration.  And as with most food I make, this soup isn't chemistry (like baking) and my ingredients quantities are not too prescriptive.
This soup is so heavenly, yet is so easy to make and like all of my favourite dishes, it can be made in advance so that at the time of serving you've had plenty of downtime to doll yourself up, light a few candles, put on some nice music ... yes, time enough to look gorgeously relaxed when your guests arrive.

Pea, Parmesan and Garlic Soup

Serves 4-6, depending on how hungry you are

Staged and photographed by Son - didn't he do well?!


One head of garlic
2 teaspoons olive oil

Large bag of frozen petit pois, about 600-800 gr
75 gr butter
4-6 tbspns grated parmesan cheese
600 ml vegetable or chicken stock (I tend to use my own fresh chicken stock)
284 ml pot of double cream, max*


Heat the oven to 200c. Lop the top off the head of garlic, then place on a square of aluminium foil that can loosely package the garlic.  Place the whole head of garlic in the centre of the square.  Drizzle the oil over the top of the garlic.  Make a loose parcel around the garlic then place on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes.  The garlic parcel should feel soft when you squeeze it (don't use your bare hands, it will be hot!).  Set to one side to cool.
NB: I usually do this in advance and when I'm already using the oven, so as not to be wasteful of energy.  You can pop it wrapped in the fridge if you are making the soup later.

Boil up the peas in lightly salted water.  Drain.  Return to the saucepan.  Mash with a food blender a little, then add the squeezed out cloves of garlic, butter, Parmesan and half the stock.  Blend carefully together. I leave a few bits of pea in the mash as I like to see that it's pea soup when its served and not some Hulk-style green soup!

Gently add the remaining stock and the cream, to taste.  I say "to taste" as the original recipe called for huge amounts of cream.  *I've roughly halved the quantity with the 284 ml but even then, I tend not to put the whole pot of cream into the pan.  You can use up to double this quantity of cream should you wish, but be warned, that quantity makes for a very rich soup.  Remember, you can add but you can't take away!

Warm through, taste and add salt and pepper as required.
Serve and ENJOY, maybe with some freshly baked baguette ... and more butter!

If I'm feeling "posh", I add some freshly chopped coriander and a drizzle of any remaining cream just before taking the bowls to the table.

This soup is perfect pretty much all year round. 

It comes into its own on rainstormed days.

I also keep it in my Florence Nightingale arsenal and make up a batch when loved ones are poorly, or off their food and in need of something tasty and nourishing to perk up their taste buds.  
It's my savoury tiramisu!

It's so easy to eat that if you're feeling a little under the weather,  you can even pour some into a mug, grab yourself a soup spoon, snuggle yourself in a rug on the sofa and enjoy the heck out of it!

This soup freezes well and calls for nothing but everyday ingredients that you probably already have in the fridge, freezer and veggie drawer.  So there's nothing stopping you making it today, technically!

A la perchoine.

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Ultra Violet Pipedreams

Helloooo.  How's your day?
Our day is amazingly beautiful ... but cold.  We're about to enter a Polar Vortex phase, potentially.  (Yeah, I had to google it too!).  Sounds a bit Star Trek but the good news is that we get about 10 days of brilliant sunny (but cold) weather, so I'm going to have to wrap up warmly and get out there with the camera.

What I'd like to share with you today is what I'm starting to refer to as my Christmas Storage Dividend.  It started with storing  Christmas decorations in see through plastic containers (SEE HERE) and the ripple effect keeps on paying me surprise dividends. 

Today I share with you one such dividend.

 It's a pretty pinky lilac suede skirt.  It's probably about 20 years old and I was reunited with it when we started on the loft clearance last month to create space for those Christmas storage boxes

All suede skirts found in the loft (5) were bunged in the washing machine on a gentle cycle and hung out on the line to dry.  Good as new!  Have you tried washing your old suede, BTW?  If it's old and you've got nothing to lose because you would otherwise chuck it out, why not eh?

The skirt length is below the knee, but I'm seeing that as not so dated as I've noted from store websites and bloggers' posts that a longer length is sort of trending, so I'm perhaps bang on trend with this little beauty.

At a stretch, the colour could be seen as Pantone's 2018 Ultra Violet.  It's perhaps not quite there but it's a very close relative - if there were DNA testings for colours I think it's Ultra Violet blood line would be confirmed.  But for now, I'm kidding myself that the colour is bang on trend too.

I added my cute leoprint and leather cross-body/clutch bag.  It's from Accessorize and was a much welcomed Christmas gift.  It's the perfect size for stuffing my essentials in when my outfit is lean on pockets.  Phone, a couple of lip balms, a handy size pack of tissues, oh and just occasionally a debit card! 

I chose this outfit for a birthday dinner with a close and special friend.  The meal was just perfect but what was also perfect was that we picked her up, as the birthday girl deserved a little pampering, ca c'est sur, but I got a little pampering too - TP drove the "posh car" and for me that meant a spacious ride and warm
bottom!  The seats are leather and heated.  Oh the joy of that on a cold winter's night!!

Earlier in the day, we popped into town for a few things so we made an occasion of it with a stroll around one of the piers and a little picnic lunch courtesy of M&S.

Fancy joining me on my little stroll?

Starting with a few little gin palaces.

Then on to where the fishing boats moor.

Boats are taken up during the winter for cleaning, painting and repairs.

I love the shiny stainless steel used on boats.

A little fishing boat leaving the harbour.

And a bigger one carrying passengers to France.

A glimpse of the old castle at the end of the pier.

Oh and I had to point this out to TP.

Havelet Bay, on the other side of the pier.  Its a pretty little bay.

And it's where a former brewery looks out on the castle and the islands, and it's being converted into luxury flats.

And I pointed out to TP that I could quite see myself in a new life here,

looking out on this view.

And TP pointed out that "we are not quite ready for apartment living here".
Perhaps he is right on this.  Or perhaps he was thinking that these flats may just be a tad too pricey?
Perhaps he was diplomatically telling me that I'm punching above my weight, that these beauts are going to be way outside of my pension pot.
Perhaps I'll just dream on this one ...

Do you allow your eyes to wander when it comes to property?
Do you find yourself wanting to taste a little bit of luxury?  Punching above your weight?
Or are you like me, for in reality I snap myself out of my reverie and tart up my existing home - a lick of paint, a few new shelves .... for, to paraphrase Stephen Stills' song, 

If you can't be in the house you love,
Love the house you're in.

A la perchoine.