Naughty, But Nice

by Margaret Powling-

No, I’m not referring to these lovely double tulips when I say “Naughty, but nice” for they were inexpensive and have brightened the kitchen all week.  I love double tulips when they open up and these are a lovely mix of apricot and daffodil yellow.

The naughty I am referring to is my book habit, for this month (and we’re only the 10th of the month) I have splurged unashamedly on books, but there again, some of them were just a 1p plus postage, that’s less expensive than driving to  and from town, paying for parking, and ordering a book from the Library.  I like to support libraries, but when you can buy a book for 1p plus plus postage, and also have it delivered to your door … well, who can blame me for using this internet facility. 

Already I have read Katharine Swartz’s The Second Bride and The Vicar’s Wife, both of which are similar in styles, not surprisingly as they are being marketed as Tales from Goswell, the fictitious Cumbrian village in which these stories are set.  The Lost Garden arrived this morning, as did the latest Jacqueline Winspear novel in her series about psychological investigator, Maisie Dobbs.  I have read almost all this series with the exception of just the previous one (waiting on my bookshelf).  What I enjoy about the Maisie Dobbs series is not only the superb quality of Jacqueline’s writing, but also how she has allowed her heroine, Maisie, to age and develop with each successive story. 

However, if you are going to embark on this series my single piece of advice is to read the first story first, simply entitled Maisie Dobbs, and then to read each novel  in chronological order (the list you will find, I am sure, on www.fantasticfiction.co.uk) as not only does Maisie develop with each new investigation, but also the ‘back’ story  develops.  And therefore, to appreciate fully these stories, to understand the characters, do read them in chronological order.

How could I not buy the above title?  I have no idea who T P Fielden is, but it says in the book that he (for I am assuming it’s a “he”) is a leading author, broadcaster and journalist.  Of course, it might well be a “she”, but the cover is so eye-catching and so obviously set in this corner of South Devon I just had to have it! 

It is being marketed as “the first novel in the Miss Dimont Mystery series”.  I have only read 37 pages (in bed this morning) thus far, but it has captured my imagination even though it’s very stylised and totally unbelievable, but that’s the fun of a cosy crime, isn’t it?  You know the story is totally unbelievable, but you still read and enjoy it! 

Miss Dimont, our heroine, is a reporter on The Riviera Express, a westcountry local weekly rag.  To confuse matters, The Riviera Express is also the name of the train which plies between Temple Regis (perhaps Teignmouth?) and Paddington.  I confess to having laughed out loud at one rather un-subtle joke by the author, when he says that a sign above the editorial desks, hung there by the Editor,  Rudyard Rhys, says “Make it Fast, Make it Accurate” to which some wag has added in crayon, “Make it Up.”  How topical is that!

Later in the morning a delivery driver brought something quite different (different from a book, I mean) and here is what I’m alluding to when I say “Naughty, but nice” … as well as all those books, of course.

For my 21st birthday my dear husband (for I was already married by then) bought me a lovely powder compact and a handbag scent atomizer (before most scents were sold as atomizers.)  Sadly, this went years ago, and I’ve always wanted to replace it but never have.  And then I saw some compacts by Charlotte Tilbury and thought, well, why not?  Sadly, these do not hold replacement blocks of powder, and I do think they are quite expensive for what is, in effect, a throw-away-when-finished compact, but I am going to trial it … compare this powder with my usual cheapie-from-the-supermarket version.  How I will achieve this remains to be seen (no pun intended) because it might involve powdering one half of my face with the above and one half with my cheapie.  How else to make a true comparison? 

But I think you might agree that it’s a very attractive product, the case is a lovely copper colour, not the usual rather bright ‘gold’, and is something I wouldn’t be ashamed of opening in public (not that I touch up my makeup in public; I refer to the washbasin area of a loo).  The lipstick here is by Lancôme, one of several products very kindly sent to me by the Editor of a magazine.  I have to say, although the red is rather bold, when I wear navy, or especially black/grey/white/red, it’s the perfect shade.  It is L’Absolu Rouge, 122 Indecise, Sheer, and the number is:  62N402.  It is a beautiful, clear red. 

How lovely it is when such attractive things arrive in the post, all naughty (because they are most certainly not essential) but all very nice!

Have you had a naughty, but nice item in the post recently? 


Saturday 11th March 2017

This morning I gave my new Charlotte Tilbury powder its trial.  I applied my moisturizer, then my foundation (a very light foundation, Boots No 7 Lift & Luminate, shade Cool Beige) and then, with a brush, applied very lightly my usual Rimmel matte powder to one half of my face and the Charlotte Tilbury to the other.  The shades are remarkably similar even though I could only see a small sample of the various Charlotte Tilbury shades online.

The result was much as I expected. I can’t see any difference, with and without my glasses.   The solid block of Rimmel retails at £3.99 and the Charlotte Tilbury is around £40 on her website but I paid £36 (which included p&p) from the John Lewis website. 

I have thus paid a lot of money (well, a lot to me) for the same effect, but that doesn’t mean I resent this. It was my choice to have a pretty compact for my handbag (ieven though there isn’t space even for a small cotton wool pad with which to apply it when I’m out and about) and in this I am not disappointed.

However, I think I’d have been wiser to have spent a little more and bought a ‘proper’ powder compact, one into which I could insert a block of face powder, such as the Rimmel I usually use.   It would be a once-only expense and then I could continue buying inexpensive blocks of powder which, as I have now experienced,  give the same effect. 

(All this may sound like I  go in for the polyfilla effect, caking on the makeup, but I use both foundation and powder very lightly, simply to even facial colour and to provide a matte finish – a shiny finish when you are past youth simply looks greasy.) 

Margaret Powling


  1. simpleliving31.blogspot.co.uk

    I have bought some 1p books this week also, it makes it a very affordable treat doesn’t it. I will be having some nice treats soon as I have had some competition wins, but I will wait for them to arrive before posting about them.
    Have a lovely weekend.

    10 . Mar . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      Oh, how lovely to have more competition wins, Marlene, I shall look forward to hearing about them in due course. I used to go in for book giveaways, and I once had a 3rd prize of some Le Creuset cookware – five pieces – but it is very heavy, I’d never be able to lift it now! Also I won a radio general knowledge quiz (it was so easy it was embarrassing!) and won several LP records in the days before CDs. I won many books in the various giveaways. You have a lovely weekend, too, Marlene!

      10 . Mar . 2017
  2. Bess

    Margaret, that top photo is one of the most breathtaking I’ve seen in a long while! Those tulips are beautiful. I recently read A Village Affair (a novella) by Katharine Swartz. I enjoyed it, and hope to get around to reading her other books. Wishing you and yours a lovely weekend! Bess

    10 . Mar . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      Thank you so much, Bess. I took this photo in our kitchen, which is a darkish room as it’s north facing and – mea culpa – I decided to have black vinyl on the floor because if a room is dark, light colours don’t really help all that much. But black? What can I have been thinking of! What we need to do is decorate again, have new worktops and a new wall colour and it could (only could, mind!) make all the difference … and so I like some flowers in the kitchen, and lamps and things, just to brighten it up. When working, I have worktop lights on, and lights in the glass-fronted cabinets certainly help. The tulps were in my local convenience Co-op store, a shop I only go in usually for bread (as I like their Ancient Grains bread) and these were in one of those buckets with a load of brightly colour mixed bouquets which I don’t actually like, but I had to have them, even though they were in tight bud, I knew they’d look spectacular once they were open! And they do!
      I shall have to look for that novella by Katharine Swartz – she had another book but it’s only available on Kindle, and I don’t have any kind of e-reader, nor do I want one.
      And a lovely weekend to you, too, Bess.

      10 . Mar . 2017
  3. Elaine

    Lovely tulips!
    Confession time, I have received four books this week. Three of them were 1p bargains, the other a little more expensive. I look forward to learning the result of the compacts trial!
    Enjoy your weekend.

    10 . Mar . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      Oh, we are partners in book crime, Elaine! What are we like? But 1p plus postage bargains really are bargains in my mind! Yes, I shall have to remember to start the compacts trial tomorrow! Glad you like the tulips! I need to get more tulips for our bedroom – I love having flowers in our bedroom, it is an inexpensive way of making the room look more luxurious. You have a good weekend, too, Elaine.

      10 . Mar . 2017
  4. Gardengoddess42

    Lovely tulips. Here in the US midwest we are debating whether to venture forth to cut all the daffodils that are in bloom in the garden, for though it is a lovely sunny day at the moment the temperature is supposed to drop to 17 Fahrenheit / -8 celsius overnight.
    I am anticipating the arrival of the latest book in the Maisie Dobbs series – In This Grave Hour – which is due out here on March 14. Like you, I appreciate the fact that Jacqueline Winspear has aged Maisie along with the time period she is writing about. These books are so well researched.
    Enjoy your new books and that beautiful new compact too!

    10 . Mar . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      Hurrah, another Maisie Dobbs fan, Gardengoddess! I haven’t yet received In This Grave Hour but have it on order. I love these books but with In This Grave Hour I will have THREE unread, so can have a Mini-Maisie-Fest, can’t I! Yes, they are so well written and so well researched.
      My goodness, that is an overnight temperature drop, from sunny in the day to -8C! Yes, that could certainly play havoc with your daffodils!

      10 . Mar . 2017
  5. Lara

    Your postal goodies all look lovely. I live in a regional town and do online shopping a lot more than when I lived in a city and could easily get to the larger stores. I had oohed and aahed over a pair of low wedge-heeled sandals this summer which I had seen online but was reluctant to purchase without being able to try them on. Even though they are a brand I know well, I can be a 7 or 7.5 depending on the type of shoe in the same brand. A recent trip to the city enabled me to try them on in store but they didn’t have my size and I was left disappointed. A few days after I’d returned home I looked online and not only did they have my size but they were also on sale. It was the shoe gods telling me I simply had to have them. They arrived within three days and I was as happy as a kid on Christmas morning.

    Books for 1p plus postage is a bargain. Books are very expensive in Australia. We can order them online from overseas for much cheaper. I use our local library or borrow from family/friends. I liked the front cover of ‘The Riviera Express’.

    13 . Mar . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      You were right to be patient in getting those sandals, Lara! I have bought shoes online, but it’s not always been a success. And even when I’ve been in a shop and bought shoes, I’ve sometimes had to return them – my new winter boots being an example (I bought two pairs, both had to be returned as I simply found them too uncomfortable – walking around the shop in them didn’t really tell me how uncomfortable they were!) I think shoes are the worst things to find for both comfort and style.
      Yes, the cover of the Riviera Express book is very attractive – I have started this book but have left it while I read The Lost Garden and then I shall return to the Riviera Express.

      13 . Mar . 2017
  6. Fiona

    Your Charlotte Tilbury compact is just beautiful, I love rose gold like this with that touch of copper pinkness. Shame it isn’t refillable though, that would bother me too. But it will last you a long time in your bag if you use it just for touchups and continue with your Boots powder at home. I have a loose powder container from Dior (not as nice as your CT compact though) and I refilled with Avon 🙂 I too am a powder fan – loose for home or pressed when out, as I still can get quite a shine especially in my t-zone. I wonder if I will ever grow out of that at 46! Aren’t shiny t-zones for teens? Still, it means my skin is not too dry, so it is good for aging well.

    I love your tulips photo too, and agree, The Riviera Express book cover is delicious – very 20s/art deco.

    17 . Mar . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      I used loose powder for a long time, Fiona, and it really is the best way to apply powder. I think a dewy fresh skin is lovely on a young woman, but when you’re an old codger like me, then it can just look unkempt, provided you don’t go overboard and then you look as if you’ve dunked your head in the flour bin! I am going to search for some loose powder again, and as you say, keep the Charlotte Tilbury for my bag. But yes, I’m sure the T-zone will become less shiny with age. The skin tends to dry with age (sorry if that’s too much information!) and therefore I apply Vichy serum (not sure what it’s supposed to do but it was a freebie and I thought, well give it a try) and then L’Oréal moisturizer, then Boots Lift and Luminate foundation and then powder, but I apply everything very lightly and truly, it does not look like I’ve applied four different layers (the moisturizer and serum sinks into the skin anyway).
      I have started reading the Riviera Express cosy crime but I’ve left off reading it for now as I’ve turned to Alice Peterson’s novel. I shall return to the cosy crime in due course. I think the cover is lovely but it gives a rather erroneous impression as the book is set in the 1950s not the 1930s.
      So glad you like my photo of tulips – as they have opened out, they have become more yellow rather than less yellow. When I bought them I thought they would be much lighter, more ivory than yellow, but they are still very elegant flowers.

      17 . Mar . 2017

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