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Sunday 28 June 2020

Almond Cake for Sunday Tea?

Hello my lovelies!
Happy Sunday.  What are you doing today?  A bit of baking maybe for Sunday afternoon tea?
That used to be a thing in childhood, my dad (yes  my dad!) would occasionally bake a cake and it was such a thrill to bite into a slice straight out of the oven.  We didn’t wait around for it to cool in our house!  A coconut slab cake was his specialty. 

Now they do say that old habits die hard. 

They say that if you do something for 30 days it becomes habit. .
Well 3 months of habit forming ain’t goin nowhere fast!
I’m still comfort baking even though we’re pretty much out of lockdown.
I’ve made this one a few times recently.  Almond cake with a butter icing.  Delish!
And I made a pinky promise on Insta to share the recipe on the blog, so today I’m keeping my promise. 

Almond Cake

Coffee and a piece of cake!


4oz/115gr butter
6oz/170gr sugar
2 eggs, separated 
1 tspn vanilla extract 
6oz/170gr self raising flour
1/2 tspn baking powder 
4fl.oz/120 milk
2oz/55gr ground almonds
Butter icing filling: make up to your usual recipe.  For this cake size I use 4oz of sifted icing sugar to 2 oz softened butter, a dash of vanilla extract, then about 1 tbspn milk to give it a spreading consistency. 


Line a 6in/15cm cake tin *. 
Pre-heat the oven to 180c/350f. 
Whisk the two egg whites to stiff peaks stage and set aside. 
Cream the butter and sugar together. 
Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla quickly into the mix to avoid curdling. 
Sift the flour and baking powder over the mix and blend together. 
Add the almonds and milk and mix well. 
Gently fold in the egg whites into the mix. 
Pour into the lined tin and take for 50-60 minutes, depending on your oven; mine is fast and 50 mins does it for me, so I suggest you test it around 45 mins.  It’s cooked when a thin knife inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean and dry. 
Turn out on a wire rack and leave to cool. 
When cool, slice carefully horizontally through the middle and smooth out your butter icing over the bottom half. Replace the top half.  Sift icing sugar over the top of the cake just before serving. 
NB: the cake keeps well for several days in a closed container. 

*my photographed cake looks a bit rustic around the edges because I used a cake tin liner larger than the tin I used. 
But at least it looks homemade!

Ok, my piece of cake wasn’t the whole of the cake, just a modest slice.

But you can always go back for more!


A la perchoine.
Mary x 

Friday 26 June 2020

Love in Neutral Gear

Hello my lovelies!

Paraphrasing Shakira today,šŸŽµ The legs don’t lie. 

Summer is the time for shorts.  Shorts feel fun, free and youthful IMHO.  
 But they do have a best before date. 

There’s a reason why you should wear shorts NOW, before you get to the best before date.
Varicose veins.

They happen and they don’t photograph well. 

I did try the shorts option for  @my_stylejourney #herstyleourway style steal but I had to edit out my aging legs. 
The legs really don’t lie on camera.  In fact, the camera highlights faults and is more brutally honest than a mirror.  Or hubs trying to be kind!
But even though veins show up badly on camera as huge blotches, bruises and lumps, they are there IRL but no quite so frighteningly so. 
So remember, younger ladies, wear shorts whilst you can.  You may be put off showing your legs as you feel they are less than perfect.  But this is as perfect as they will be.   As I’ve said before on this blog, legs don’t improve with age.  The pins you have right now is as good as it gets.  If you avoid wearing shorts because of a little cellulite or lumpy knees, they will get bumpier and lumpier as time goes by, and most likely some veins will be added to the mix too.  And your opportunity will be gone.

So wear your shorts, knee length skirt or dress now.

But back to the outfit, I really liked the chosen Pinterest looks because I’m a lover of a neutral jumper over white jeans. .

So white jeans worked, covering up the veins nicely, whilst still feeling fresh and classic-casual with the neutral jumper. 

The outfit felt spot-on for the day’s activities which revolved around buying a new tree, a beautiful copper coloured Acer.

Here’s the jeans look I stole, but without any tummy tucking.  Hope you like my interpretation.
And maybe this simple styling is something you fancy giving a whirl. 

But remember, wear your shorts NOW!

A la perchoine, 
Mary x. 

Wednesday 24 June 2020

Staying Healthy

Hello my lovelies!

Seeing boxes of goodness like this on my doorstep has kept me happy and healthy in lockdown. 

During self-isolation my grocery purchases have been considered, ethical and successful.  And by using a home deliveries service run by a local firm ( Manor Farm Foods )  I’ve done my bit to reduce food miles, road congestion, fossil fuel guzzling and air pollution.

So it’s not just the courgettes that are green in this household !

And talking of courgettes, I made a tasty moussaka with them and their aubergine (eggplant) mates.
And shock horror!!! I took not one single photo of it. 

So here’s the cookery book it came from instead!

Now that we’ve hit Lockdown Exit Phase 5 and all is open again, I’ll continue to make use of this excellent home delivery service.  It’s an ideal way to shop. 

And it makes me feel a bit old-lady-posh getting home deliveries.

A bit Margot from The Good Life!

Thank you, #manorfarmfoods❤ for bringing me through this, happy and healthy. 

A la perchoine, 
Mary x 

#guernsey #guernseylife #ethicalshopping #goinggreen #homefooddeliveries

Tuesday 23 June 2020

Cause for Celebration

Hello my lovelies!

Sct Hans Aften.  Solstice.  Midsummer.  Phase 5 Eve!!!

As well as eveing up midsummer, last Friday was Phase 5 Eve of Lockdown Exit.  Yes, that last one sounds a convoluted phrasing of an event, a thing, but it was even more reason to celebrate.  And I marked the double event with a fun evening in the garden with the neighbours.

Don’t you just love the simplicity of slipping on a summer dress, no faffing about with does this go with that?  Instant reward.  Instantly changed the mood. 

A pretty blue and white toile de jouey sundress seemed the perfect one-and-done outfit after a day of tree shopping and gardening.

And setting out nibbles for the evening had a slight feeling of “newness”, like this was the first time I’d invited friends around, the first time I’d entertained. 

It is said that 30 days of doing something creates a habit.  We’ve had three months of creating a new habit of wariness, of self-isolation, social distancing, sanitizer and masks.  THAT has definitely embedded a new habit. So venturing out after Friday into a world without caution and fear makes me feel somehow trepidatious. 
It all feels a bit unreal out there, like I’ve been sent out without my armour, without my safety net, but getting out there and supporting local business as best we can is important for the economy and perhaps for our well-being so onwards and upwards eh.

Please drop me a comment on how things are where you are right now.

A la perchoine,
Mary x

 #guernsey #guernseylife #lockdown2020 #covidfree #guernseytogether #guernseytogetheršŸŒˆ. 

Monday 22 June 2020

Wasteland Makeover Magic

Hello my lovelies!

Any of you who have followed my blog over the years may remember that I’ve written the occasional post about the end of my garden.  It has a dog leg shape and could easily be forgotten about.  So it was.  Out of sight out of mind.  And because of that it became a wasteland.  A dumping ground.
A horror movie garden corner.

You can read a little background by clicking 
 HERE, to read the-lost-garden-of-poutland. HERE.

Today I’m showing again the worts and all of my little garden corner.
I’m embarrassed to show you how messy the whole area had become, though one can’t do a good makeover post without before shots eh?

So brace your teeth, let’s go on a pictorial journey of my wasteland’s transformation.


The dog leg corner.  Stuff got dumped here and weeds grew up to waist height.  Several times a summer I came in from a day of clearing the weeds with cuts all over my arms and legs from dastardly brambles, and red weals from stinging nettles.  It was never a pretty sight, this corner and my body after clearing it!
 In this pic we must have recently done some clearing as the weeds are a mere few inches high. 

At the front of this corner the two sheds about to topple over.  
I called them The Leaning Sheds of Guernsey, and sometimes of Poutland. 

In between was a utility area, which here had been cleaned out ready for demolishing, so the site was even worse before.  How bad COULD this get?,  I hear you ask.

Well here’s a post about us “tidying” the sheds ready for knocking down.  Read the shed “clearance” post please click HERE
I’m shocked that this post dates back to 2016.  It took me three three whole years to brave up, knock those sheds down and then finish the project in 2020.  Nothing happens fast at Chez Pout. 

So that was the corner of the garden I managed to turn a blind eye to all those years. 
I think we’d better move swiftly on to something looking slightly more positive. 

 Sheds demolished, revealing the mess that had accumulated behind them. 


Decking was put up and the solid wall was painted a fresh white in summer, 2019. 
Then in spring this year we set about finishing the area. 
The fence paneling is a mismatch of panels resulting from storms and replacements added as fencing fell down.  The fencing belongs to the neighbour so couldn’t be replaced.

So we painted the panels black (excuse the big UFO finger thing hovering top left!). 

Painting them black gives some uniformity to them and the mismatch is hardly noticeable. 

Black also gets the fencing to sort of disappear.  I like doing that trick with black.  Works with clothing too!

During lockdown we brought in some old garden furniture that was on its last legs.
TP banged a few bits of wood in the pieces as a temporary fix until we could get out to a shop to try out some replacements.  (He then discovered those nice bits of wood he’d found were the base slats of a bed!) 

Meantime, in spring it gave us a place to sit and drink coffee.  Or maybe wine. 
The old trellis panels were eventually given their own makeover (see below).
Nothing is wasted at Chez Pout.

We set about planting in the border by the wall (more on that in another post).

 When the garden centres opened up in Phase 3 of lockdown exit we skidaddled over to our local centre and put our bums on various seating arrangements.

And our makeover journey has gone from Nightmare On Pout Street to ...

This was delivered a few weeks ago.

 We went for a more traditional arrangement of sofa, two and two, primarily because this was by far the most comfortable in the shop.  High backs, nuff said.
But TP was convinced this set was The One when the salesman explained that the armchairs and the sofa end seats recline.  Deal done.  Men and gadgets eh?!!
The table lifts with a simple action to rise to dining height.

Corner arrangements are popular but we could see limitations with this type of seating arrangement as when all are seated around the table, chilled and enjoying a nice lunch, said all have to rise if the one in the corner needs to go to the loo!

Back to the picture.  The old trellis panels can be seen hung on the wall, painted white to blend in.
We’ve planted clematis under one and a honeysuckle near the other.  Eventually both will be covered in foliage and blooms.  But probably not this summer.

Overspill table.

An old picnic bench and chairs were given a top up coat of black paint and now provide overspill surface for ice buckets, glasses and food etc.

I picked up the all-weather rugs last summer in a sale, B&Q, £15 each.

And there you have it, from ignored uber-embarrassing dumping ground horror story to a serene chilling and entertaining zone.  It’s like we’ve magic-ed a whole new garden within our garden!
This corner will never be ignored again.  And it’s only take 4 years to get here!

A la perchoine,
Mary x.

Thursday 18 June 2020

My Favourite Beauty Products - 2010 +

Hello my lovelies!

This is the third and final part of my fave beauty products series, you will be relieved and overjoyed to hear!
But I felt compelled to write this mini series as a celebration of beauty products I’ve enjoyed over the past 55 years. So let’s get cracking!

The Born Lippy range from The Body Shop

I’ve often banged on about my favourite lip cover in old age - I find the combo of lip liner and balm so kind and, generous and forgiving on older lips.
These are my fave lip balms this past decade or so - and they’re all fromThe Body Shop!

Born Lippy lip balm, Grenade, The Body Shop.  The Best.  But I fear they may be discontinued this product.

These are glossy beauts and are still available. 

This one isn’t available now but fortunately I stockpiled it some years ago so I’m still good thanks.  It’s a pearlier non-colour which I use to glam up tired old lipsticks.  
Body Shop, please bring this back so that other ladies can enjoy its magic!

These little pots leave the lips with a glossy sheen and a touch of natural looking colour.

They’ve come up a with a fruity range in recent years. 

This is my instant makeup.  On days when I go makeupless (of which there are many!), when leaving the house for a walk, a visit to the doctor or whatever mundane stuff I’m up to, just before I go out the door I apply lip liner, one of these fruity balms and some sunnies and to the outside world it looks like I’ve made some effort!

Do try that trick!

Yes, for lip care products, The Body Shop is The Best!

And now we can move on to foundations and moisturisers

Link from 2016 post HERE, where I wrote about my fave foundation and the creams I was using at the time.  They are still my faves.

Vitalumiere foundation, shades 30 & 40 (winter and summer), Chanel

This gives a line luminous cover and I’ve been using it for many years.

I started using moisturisers when I was 14.  I began with Johnson’s baby lotion and used that throufh my teens and  I still go back to it occasionally as I like its feel on my skin ... and that baby smell!!
 Later in my teens I tried things like Astral and Nivea but have always found them a bit thick and draggy on my skin, so I returned to Johnson’s.  I’m a lotion gal.

Dramatically Different  moisturiser

Yes, to this day I still prefer a lighter lotion on my face and avoid creams wherever possible as I just don’t like the feel of them on my skin.  It’s a personal preference eh, each  to her own. 

This Clinique product became my moisturiser of choice during the noughties and that continued through to the beginning of this twenties decade.

These days in retirement I tend to use cheaper moisturisers like the Simple range (shown in the linked post).  My preferred moisturizer is the gel in the range. 

Or when I can get it ...

ANY Aldi face products 

Yes, I love any face products from Aldi, but we don’t have an Aldi store on the island.  When I’m in the UK I stock up on their lotions and even some of their creams aren’t too bad!

Face serums, any from Aldi

I’m new to the face serums but thanks to Aldi I’ve finally joined the party.  Serums are ridiculously expensive and that put off tight (cheap) old me.  But when I discovered Aldi’s beauty range I also discovered affordable serums (around £3) so my case always has a pile of these crammed into it when I return for a trip to the UK. 

This one is the BEST, but I fear they may have stopped producing it now as I haven’t found it of late.  And that’s made me a little sad. 

That’s it!
The End.

So,  my list starts late 60s and ends here today.  55 years worth of fave beauty products.  You’re welcome!
 Care to share what yours are ladies?

A la perchoine,
Mary x .

A Double Denim Day

Hello my lovelies! 

It may be June the somethingth (have you lost track of days and dates too?) but it doesn’t feel like it. 

June hasn’t been the best of months for weather.  The shirts, skirts and dresses and even white jeans have been often ditched in favour of warmer jeans.  And it’s June for heavens sakes!!!

One day was so chilly I ventured into double denim territory.   

A pretty Zara floral blouse was the cheeriest the day got. 

This is another combo I’d not really thought to put together before but I think it works. 
Because I’d bought this blouse in autumn I’d looked on it being a colder months top.  It was always covered by a thick cardi on cold winter’s days.  Yet some of these June days feel like they’ve crossed season so it actually works for cooler summer days too, but without the thick cardis. 

There is some denimy blue in the print that echoes the jean and jacket colour so it pulls the OOTD nicely together, IMHO. 

So my tip today would be if it’s a little cooler in summer, wear jeans, wear the denim jacket, but wear a light layer underneath so that you can react to the changing temperature of the day.

This one has long sleeves but the fabric is a light floaty gauzy material making it the perfect reactive piece for a cooler June day that would have been better suited in March!

A la perchoine,
Mary x. 

#retirementdressing #retirementstyle #retirementfashion #agelessstyle #pensionerfashion #over70style #over70fashion #over60style #whatiwore #doubledenim #zarablouse #zarafloralblouse #iwantmysummerback

Wednesday 17 June 2020

My Favourite Beauty Products - 2000 +

Hello my lovelies!

I’ve been putting together a list of my favourite all-time beauty products.
You can catch the first installment
by clicking HERE

My first post started back in the 1960s when some of you were too young to know what a beauty product was!  So I’m bringing us into the current millennium today.  Maybe there are a few of your own personal favourites in this little lot.

2000 to currently, mostly

Retractable lip liner, Ginger, Rimmel .
I’ve probably been using Rimmel’s retractable Lipliner in various shades for a couple of decades.  Ginger is the best shade.

I’ve stockpiled this over the years for fear that it may be discontinued.  I still have a few now, though I haven’t seen it on the Rimmel shelves of late so I fear my stockpile may be all the stock the world has of this perfect lipliner.

I often use it with lip balm for a day to day look and it creates a natural and perhaps even “youthful” pair of lips!
I personally think this combo is the best look for ladies of a certain age, it looks so natural, gives a moist look and is soft on the eye. 

Lipstick, Mocha Pink, Clarins
This was the perfect lip colour for me, not pink, not brown, it just met somewhere in the middle.
I used it for about a decade.  It discontinued in the mid noughties, sadly.
I’ve never since found a colour to replace this fave.
Do you know of perfect mocha pink on the market now?

Bronzer, in powder form, Clarins.
Gives the best natural glow from a blend of three separate colours.
Again I was sold on this through the 90s/00s until it discontinued in this packaging.

It came in a red container, as above.  There’s still a bronzer in the range (right) but it’s not quite the same. 

A blusher is now sold in the same red container (left).   On the right is what’s left of my latest bronzer.  
A sad sight eh. 

Clearly I need to buy a new bronzer at some stage - can you recommend a good one?

Bronzer, stick form, Clarins.
This was even better than the powder form above.  It had a sheen to it and looked err, naturaler.
It was shoved in a handbag and was so easy to whip out and touch up when needed.
If anyone can recommend a really good stick bronzer too, I’m all ears!

False lash mascara, YSL
I’ve been using this for about 20 years.  I’ve occasionally tried other products
  but always go running back to this one.  It gives unclogged luscious lashes and seems to nourish as it coats, for I don’t get the brittle break off of lashes I get with some other mascaras.

Occasionally it’s sold with this fabulous red lipstick.  If you find this deal, snap it up!

One step cleanser, orange, Clarins
My replacement for Cosmedin (mentioned in the previous linked beauty post).

It was like coming home when I discovered this all-in-one cleanser in the late 90s.  It’s a quick process, perfect for this lazy gal!  And it leaves my skin feeling so soft and moisturized ... and perhaps even a little glowy.
I’ve tried one or two micellar waters that have come onto the market in recent years, but none leave my skin feeling like the Clarins product does so I’m not going to experiment any more.  And it lasts much longer than other products of the same size as little is needed to cleanse.
This one is for me until they stop producing it.  Which I hope is NEVER.
NB: There’s a peach version of this Clarins product.  It cleanses well but it doesn’t leave my skin feeling quite the same as this original orange version.

Gentle/Instant eye make up remover, Clarins, as pictured above (there are two types, both equally good)

Paired with the above cleanser, this makes up a perfect cleansing duo.  Eye make up slides off in an instant.  There’s no need for harsh rubbing.  And it doesn’t irritate my eyes like some other removers do.  Again, I’ve occasionally tried other products in the past two decades but none matches this Clarins product. 

Ok that’s enough from me for today.  Over to you.

Have you used any of these products?
What’s your view on them if you have!
And do you have any recommendations for replacements for those that are discontinued?

A la perchoine,
Mary x.

Tuesday 16 June 2020

Floral Blouse and Jeans

Hi my lovelies!

For another of my outfit steals which  @my_stylejourney had chosen, it was yet ANOTHER week went I went with their Southern Hemisphere choice (far left). 
I wasn’t feeling the summer. 

So yes, I had to add an extra layer because it was bloomin’ cold and wet too. 

My retiree’s twist was to switch out the jacket for a more cardi-casual vibe. 

And this cute but cosy cashmere cardi was the perfect foil for the day’s  gloomy weather. .
(It’s since warmed up and we’re back on course for summer.)

One of the benefits of entering these steal challenges set by others is that you shop your wardrobe, yes, but you also come up with combos you hadn’t thought of before.

I’ve worn this pretty blouse countless times, with chinos and white jeans, with little linen skirts, even over dresses. 
But I have honestly never thought to wear this blouse with jeans before.  
Duh, you might say, for EVERYTHING goes with jeans eh?

I think the secret is to link a colour in the print to shoes and cardi so that the jeans come through as a neutral backdrop. 
And having worked out this link thingy I discovered that I really liked this outfit.  
So did TP.  I tried on two other choices for the challenge and this was the one he selected for my OOTD.  Choosing my day’s outfit is a little reward I give him after putting him through about 59  photo clicks.  Though I think his reward of choice would be a Galaxy chocolate caramel bar!

Anyway, my conniving aside, I put together a cheery and bright outfit.  
And not only did I need that to combat the day’s winter-like weather, but also to brighten up my day generally as on the agenda was a trip to the dentist.  Yes I had an “incident” during lockdown and had to wait until the dentist’s surgery was fully operational to get myself properly fixed.  

Do you come across combos you’d never ever considered previously ?
And do you “steal” from outfits you see on social media, Pinterest, films etc?
I’ve been doing it for a few decades now and it’s always a surprise to discover that you have long-forgotten pieces that can make up a darn good outfit steal. 

A la perchoine,
Mary x.

#retirementdressing #retirementfashion #retirementstyle #retirementcasual #agelesstyle #over70style #over70fashion #over60style #whatiwore #whatiworeatthedentists