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Topped and Tailed


Yesterday, I paid my podiatrist my three-monthly visit.  I am afraid I am one of those unfortunate people who really could benefit from a farrier, as I grow skin on my feet like a horse that requires its hooves cutting back.  Seriously, no matter how much foot cream I use – and I do use one recommended by my podiatrist, a special lanolin cream for feet – and I use a Scholl battery- powered foot file, my feet require professional attention every three months.  Husband, on the other hand, who seldom creams his feet and has never had recourse to use a foot file in his life, has feet as smooth as silk.

Therefore yesterday, I was ‘tailed’, and today I have been ‘topped’, i.e. I’ve been for my five-weekly visit to my lovely hairdresser in Totnes.

We chatted about my blog and I said I would mention my visit, and would she mind if I included her photo, whereupon she seated herself on this lovely sofa which she had refurbished herself – I love this shocking pink upholstery, just right for a hair salon.  I have been going to Gill’s to have my hair done almost since she opened her salon ten years ago; I tell her – jokingly, of course – that I only go for her coffee, as she serves the best coffee in town, from a proper Italian coffee machine (and not a teeny-weeny Nespresso, either!)  All her staff are equally lovely, and we usually end up having a good laugh, or putting the world to rights.

I’ve used this photo of Gill’s salon before, but it doesn’t hurt to show it again

But before I settled myself for my pampering session, I popped into the supermarket for some flowers and some salad things for our this evening’s supper, and then, at the request of elder son, I bought a pasty in the deli which is just across the road from Gill’s salon …

Son wanted a pasty to take with him when he plays his round of golf – weather permitting – tomorrow morning.

Gill’s salon and this shop are positioned on an area of Totnes called The Plains. Well, it is a flat area, something you don’t find often in Devon, known for its hills.

This is The Plains in summer

On one corner of The Plains is an attractive block of flats …

Not many years ago a garage stood here where we used to take our car for it’s annual MOT.  I have to admit that this building looks far more attractive (and the car business didn’t close down, but simply moved to an industrial estate, much more suitable for the type of work being carried out.)

Totnes is filled with a great many independent shops such the deli, and although I would’ve liked to have a mooch around this morning, I knew the time I had left for our car on the car park was limited, so I made a quick dash to W H Smith and bought the latest Country Homes & Interiors …

and I have photographed it here with some gorgeous creamy-white freesias that I bought in Waitrose yesterday (after my visit to my podiatrist.)  White freesias do not have as strong a fragrance as the deeply coloured varieties, but these more than make up for that with their beauty.  And when husband went to collect our newspaper from the local shop this morning, he returned with a packet of mint humbugs, which we both enjoy, and I suddenly thought that an old Chinese bowl in pale turquoise and pink would be ideal for them, a real hint of spring in those lovely floral colours.

After my speedy visit to W H Smith I popped into Super Drug on the hunt for some new eye shadow.  Now my hair is silver I like to keep to the silver/mauve tones for eye shadow but I have to take care now to over-do the mauve shades otherwise my eyes can look as if they’ve sustained a direct punch, as grey combined with mauve can resemble a nasty bruise!

This eye shadow, unsurprisingly, is the same one I’ve been using for a few years, this is just a new replacement.  And the powder is Rimmel Stay Matte pressed powder, which is such good value at under £4.  I use powder very sparingly as elderly women coated with powder simply look desiccated; one seeks a nice healthy glow, but not a greasy glow, so I tend to just set foundation with a little powder but not over-doing it.

Indeed, I have been reading about Rimmel.  This company was founded by Eugene Rimmel in 1834 and while with such a name it sounds to be a French company, Eugene Rimmel’s perfumery was located in Regent Street, London (it was acquired by Coty in 1996.)  I have been doing a little research and Wikipedia says that “within a year of opening, Rimmel came to create many make-up products, including his best-known mascara.  It gave rise to the term ‘rimmel’ being used to mean ‘mascara’ in many Mediterranean languages.”

I love the drive home from Totnes.  It is only a five mile journey, but the road bisects some lovely fields and in the distance I could still see lines of snow still not thawed out along the hedgerows, as if someone had been white-lining, as workmen do down the centre of a road.

As I mentioned, yesterday we shopped in Waitrose where I bought the creamy-white freesias. I also bought the deep purple lisianthus which are on the first photo on today’s post and today I bought some alstromeria. They are not yet fully in bloom, but when they are they will look pretty in our sitting room window.

And before rain set in for the rest of today – because no sooner had I arrived home than the sky clouded over and rain began – I picked three deep blue hyacinths from our garden, so we could enjoy them in the house.  They were some that I’d had as bulbs in the house last year and re-planted in the garden once they had finished flowering.

If this rain continues through the weekend one thing which I will do to alleviate the gloom is to watch a DVD I have just bought.  Yes, it’s mainly for children (although advertised as a ‘family’ film) but we’re all children at heart, are we not?  Of this film I have heard great things, so I’m sure I shall enjoy it.

Until next time.


About Margaret Powling

Margaret Powling
Margaret’s main interests are her husband and family, her friends, her home, her garden, writing, literature, architecture, décor, social history, photography, historic houses and gardens, and towns, villages and the countryside. She writes about the things she enjoys: flowers, scent, fine soap, monthly style magazines, and other such small indulgences, such as afternoon tea or simply enjoying her summerhouse with a book. She invites you to enjoy this virtual visit to South Devon, England.

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  1. I remember Paddington 2 having good reviews when it was in the cinema so I hope you enjoy it. I watched the first one on television and it was better than I expected and really very good.

    More lovely flowers 🙂

    I used to get terribly hard skin on my feet but worked on them for many many months, filing and moisturising and using heel creams and finally got them clear and I’ve managed to keep them that way by using body lotion on them after my bath each night while the skin is warm and very slightly damp so it seems to absorb better. I sometimes feel like not bothering but then I remember the alternative. The skin was so hard and sometimes split which was really painful. Not at all attractive 🙁

    We’ve had a dry day, a cool wind this morning but that dropped this afternoon and it suddenly felt milder. I managed to dry some washing outside too which is always a bonus. I think we’re due to get the rain overnight and tomorrow.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Alison, and lovely to hear from you. As it looks like we’re in for a rainy weekend, I think watching Paddington 2 will be just the ticket tomorrow afternoon.
      Yes, more flowers – I’m afraid I can’t resist them! I think I keep the flower industry going single-handedly!
      Yes, I use body lotion, too, after each shower, plus my foot file, plus special lanolin cream for my feet and heels, but after three months they need attention again.
      How lovely to get washing dry out of doors again. I can’t wait to see the sheets blowing in the breeze.

  2. I wonder why so many men seem to have better skin on their feet, my husband is the same as yours. I laughed about the farrier, I know exactly what you mean. Perhaps we could get a discount for two of us.
    Coincidentally, I was at the hairdressing salon yesterday, now that I keep my hair short it has to be trimmed much more frequently. I used to get away with going every three months before, now I manage about 5/6 weeks. My stylist has just joined a new and very upmarket salon, I wondered whether that would mean an increase in her prices – thankfully not, or not yet!
    I went to the cinema to see Paddington 2 with my grandchildren and daughter. I was a tad reluctant, but goodness did I enjoy it. She has now bought the dvd, I have plans to make my husband watch it. I am sure that, despite his reluctance, he will enjoy it. Have a wonderful weekend.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Glad I made you laugh regarding my needing a farrier, but yes, the lovely soft skin is wasted on men, ha ha! If I didn’t cream my feet each day after showering I’d soon have fissures in the skin on my heels, too. I really don’t know why my skin is like this, I couldn’t do more for my feet, they are truly pampered and the special lanolin cream isn’t cheap, either, but a little goes a long way. Fortunately I have a lovely podiatrist and we have a good chat while I am being attended to.
      Yes, short hair does need quite a lot of attention, every five weeks for me.
      When we have seen Paddington 2, it will go to grandson who I’ve no doubt will enjoy it. And so will his mummy and daddy!
      Yes, you have a good weekend, too, Elaine.

  3. Hello Margaret,

    I saw Paddington 2 at the Odeon in Bath, just before Christmas, when I was staying there. It is a lovely film, beautifully photographed with an amusing, yet heart warming story – I do hope you and your husband enjoy watching it.

    Kind regards,


    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Samantha, and thank you for that wonderful endorsement of this film – I’m looking forward to seeing it; it is the ‘carrot’ which I will dangle before myself (metaphorically speaking!), a treat in store provided I get the housekeeping done before I settle down to watch it!

  4. I get big cracks up from my heels. I think that they are inherited, plus here in NZ I do wear flip flops (jandals), a lot. I think all of that banging onto one’s heels whilst walking in jandals, must surely be helping those cracks form.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I used to get those awful cracks in the skin on my heels, Ratnamurti, but now I visit a podiatrist regularly, the skin on my feet is much better. It’s all to do with skin management, I think. We mustn’t neglect our plates-of-meat! Every time we shower or bath we should nourish their skin with a rich feel balm, but if the skin is really dried and hard, that really needs attention from a podiatrist. Cracks can also be sites ripe for infection as well as being painful. Just one visit to a podiatrist could be a great help to you.

  5. To have a good hairdresser is one of the essentials of life. Almost as, if not more important than, a good doctor ! No matter how tight my budget is, I will not relinquish my six-weekly visits for a colour and cut. I will happily tend to my own nails and have taught myself to tint my own eyelashes but do my own hair – no ! Ha ha. We each have our non-negotiables in life 🙂

    That pink chair is quite beautiful. Such a gorgeous colour. Whilst I wouldn’t want a three piece suite in our lounge room, it looks very sassy in the salon.

    It’s essential to look after our feet. They do a lot of hard work and are underappreciated. It’s often not until we get a blister, stub a toe or get a corn that we give them attention. I volunteer at a local aged care residential home and a podiatrist makes regular house visits to the residents, many in their 80s and 90s. He explained that as we get older we need professional footcare due to poor flexibility (we can’t reach our toes), poor eyesight (we can’t see our toes), poor manual dexterity (we can’t safely handle the tools) and those with diabetes must take extra care with their feet. So let’s all give a big cheer for podiatrists.

    Your comments about eyeshadow and powder made me giggle. (Another plus for cooler weather is that makeup is feasible. It’s currently too humid for me to bother as it slides off my face). I hope Paddington 2 is fun. I really enjoyed the first movie. The cast was well chosen and the scene where he cleans his ears with two of the family’s toothbrushes then replaces them in the holder had me in hysterics. I enjoy children’s movies and when done well there are often two sets of gags – one for the children and one for the adults.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, I put a good hairdresser is one of life’s essentials and it took me a while to find mine. As I don’t have facials, massages, manicures, pedicures, etc, it is the one thing which is solely for me, and I enjoy the time I spend with my hairdresser and her staff, all of them well trained, intelligent young women. Yes, the pink sofa is lovely – and there is a matching pink chair, as you say, very sassy for a salon.
      You are right there – it’s only when our feet give us problems that we consider them! What good advice that podiatrist has given … the reasons for requiring a podiatrist as we age, and it’s essential we look after our feet. They do a lot of hard work for us, supporting us daily and walking miles.
      I have tried some different coloured eye shadows, but I always return to the grey palette with a hint of mauve/purple. I’m sure there must be another colour selection that might work – greens, as my eyes are green, but finding the right shade of green, a sort-of leaf green rather than emerald, isn’t easy. It’s a colour that seems to have been overlooked in the make=up world.
      We will settle down to watch Paddington 2 this afternoon – it’s an ideal DVD-viewing day, it’s absolutely pouring with rain. We mightn’t even venture out for the paper, we have lots of reading material and we can get the News from the TV. However, I know I will miss the various sections that I enjoy if we don’t brave the elements and go for one!

    • I’m with you there, Lara. Hairdressers are non negotiable!

  6. Ha ha, your comment about needing the farrier did make me giggle Margaret, mine is very charming and cracks jokes whilst he attends to my girlies hooves, shall I send him your way? ☺️
    Must admit I don’t suffer with heel problems but the hard skin can accumulate on the balls of my feet if I’m not careful, would imagine it has something to do with the way I walk and my high arches, I do use one of those large file type things when I first get out of the shower and also cream my feet well then and also last thing at night when I get into bed.
    It must have been the week for hair appointments as I also had mine done yesterday, I have been going to the same place in Cambridge for years and enjoy the hour or so pampering very much.
    Paddington 2 is a lovely film and I am sure you will enjoy it immensely.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Provided your farrier doesn’t charge for the travel time or petrol, yes do send him! He’d pick up my leg and anchor it between his knees, ha ha! He could remove the hard skin but I don’t think I’d appreciate nail being hammered in and metal shoes being attached, though!
      Yes, I sometimes have hard skin on the balls of my feet, too. I also have high arches, perhaps this causes the problem. My podiatrist says to use a file when the skin is dry as when it is soft after washing/bathing/showering, there is more chance of rubbing too much away or nicking the skin, so always file dry skin.
      Yes, a number of us seem to have been visiting our hairdresser recently! Glad you enjoy your hour’s pampering, too.
      I’ve not heard a bad word said about Paddington 2, looking forward to seeing it this afternoon. But first, some housekeeping!

  7. Hello Margaret

    I too have a special relationship with my podiatrist- I feel like I’m walking on air after a session of clipping, trimming and sanding followed by gentle creaming.😊
    I’m a bare feet person indoors during our long hot summers with thongs(flip flops) or sandals for outside and with the family bunions on both feet my hard skin develops there – beneath the bunions as well under the heels.

    I nodded quite vigorously when I read Lara’s comment about needing agility and flexibility to cut our toe nails because that’s part of the reason I visit my ‘little man’. It’s funny how any trained professional would be able to perform the task but once we develop that relationship with either our hairdresser or podiatrist we’re loath to accept another person in their place.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Cathy, and lovely to hear from you. It seems that we do tend to have special relationships with our hairdressers and our podiatrists. Not the same as with our doctor and dentist, but special all the same. Yes, when we walk out after our little tootsies have been ministered to, the feeling is wonderful! I’m now considering having a pedicure – something I’ve never had so I don’t know whether, after the visit to my podiatrist, it will make my feet look even better (even at my age my feet are in pretty good shape, no bunions, no crossed toes, etc) but at least my toenails would be nicely shaped and painted a pretty colour, something I can’t do very well myself.

  8. Mary-Louise Mielcarz

    Hello Margaret

    You are a wealth of information. Never have I ever heard of Rimmel cosmetics. I have been using Channel cosmetics for years and now I feel it is just by habit. At age 65 I am not sure how much makeup you need, now perhaps just enhancers. I looked up Rimmel on line and was amazed at how available it is in the US. Looking forward to a change and a little experimentation, not to mention the price!

    Thank you,


    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Mary-Louise. I have to say that Rimmel is bargain-basement when it comes to cosmetics. I only use the powder because it’s easily available in supermarkets and in a discount store in the UK, Super Drug. I’m not saying it’s the best, but it does the job. However, I’m considering buying some different brands when I next require some new cosmetics, for example Bare Minerals, Liz Earle, and Look Fabulous Forever, the latter which has cosmetics which have been especially formulated for older skin.
      Of course, the high-end companies such as Chanel certainly know how to market their cosmetics – they look so good in their black and gold livery, but when it’s on our faces, who can tell whether it’s a bargain basement cosmetic or not? Much depends on the colours we use for the skin, and how we apply it. I bought some eye make by Lancôme a year or so ago and paid an eye-watering amount for some colours for my eye sockets. Similarly, a magazine sent me a free sample of Victoria Beckham’s eye shadow palette to try out (I did not request this, it was a gift from a magazine and not even with review-strings attached) and when I checked out the price I think it was around £54. That’s £54 for four little pans of colour. I reckon this works out more expensive than gold per ounce. I’m not saying it is more expensive than gold, only it’s a guess that it is. My Revlon palette, bought yesterday, might not be as attractively packaged as the ridged black compact case of Victoria Beckham’s palette, but it was a fraction the price. I agree, it’s nice to open a lovely package and to display something beautiful on one’s dressing table, but surely it’s the end result that really matters. So go ahead and experiment, with cheaper brands, mid-range brands (which I tend to use, such as Boots own brand in the UK, No 7) and high-end brands, and judge not on the packaging but on the result.

  9. Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

    Haha, now I don’t feel so bad about going to see peter Rabbit last week! I saw the first Paddington film but haven’t yet seen the second one. I’m sure your little grandson will enjoy it too.
    The purple lisianthus are stunning – they are such a deep, rich colour.
    I use as scholl electric pedi file too. Then, most nights I slather on Rose & geranium foot balm from The Blue Lemon. This keeps things in check so long as I use it very regularly. I do like a nice pedicure and always have my toes painted in the summer, but I like to give them a rest in the winter.
    Friends visited for lunch today and we talked about your lovely posts and the way that they are so beautifully colour coordinated.
    It’s some years since we went to Totnes; it’s on my list for a re-visit this summer.
    I love the building that has replaced your garage; it doesn’t look like a new-build.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Oh, I’d love to see Peter Rabbit! We’re all children at heart!
      Re my feet, as well as that particular balm, I use another one at night – Roger & Gallet’s Rose Precious Restoring Balm. I don’t know what’s “precious” about it, though! Yes, I like my nails painted in the summer, too, and as I find this difficult myself, I think I shall treat myself to a pedicure – at least I can then see whether it’s worth shelling out the money on this small indulgence.
      Ooh, my goodness, being a topic of conversation over lunch, I am flattered! I do like to keep certain colours together and not have clashing colours in photographs that are close together. Thank you for such lovely comments.

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