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A Little Pampering


I hope you will forgive yet another photo of this lovely bouquet of flowers.  I moved them from the sitting room window, where the heat of the sun this morning wasn’t doing the flowers any favours, to the back of the sitting room into the shade.  The scent from the stocks is wonderful, they have such a lovely clove scent, a little like old fashioned garden pinks.  I start this post with flowers as they are such a lovely small luxury – not that I would indulge in a large bouquet like this, which was a present, but even some humble grape hyacinths and forget-me-knots from the garden at this time of the year look pretty.

But to other small luxuries … I decided that it was high time I had a little bit of pampering. Nothing too extravagant, I already spend a not inconsiderable amount on having a good hair cut-and-colour, but my nails were looking rather unkempt.  I do try and care for my nails but I’ve not very good at it, and since having had chemotherapy I have found my nails are brittle and ridged. Of course, I don’t like to admit it, but I think age might also have had something to do with this!  But hey, I’m still here and if chemo left me with veins like piano wire and ridged nails that’s a small price to pay for life, isn’t it?

Anyway, enough of the sob story, today I had a professional manicure and I am absolutely delighted with the result.  So much so, I booked another appointment right away.  My hands … well, they are an elderly person’s hands now, but my short nails have been shaped, the straggly cuticles dealt with, the nails buffed, my hands and forearms exfoliated, and then my nails given a base coat, two coats of coloured polish and then a final top coat.  I was a whole hour being pampered and I absolutely loved it.  Why has it taken me so long to realize that having my nails looking this good – for this really is good for me – is actually good for me?  My hands are smooth and the nails nicely shaped.  In football manager parlance, I’m over the moon!

The nail colour is actually darker than the bright red shown here, but I’ve had to highlight the photo as it was a little on the dark side – husband took it and I don’t want to pester him again and ask for a second attempt.  The colour is a deep wine colour and looks very smart indeed.  Strangely enough, where a lot of elderly ladies go into for pastel shades, pale shades look awful on my hands.  I’ve tried them, as I rather like seeing pastel colours on neat nails, but they do my hands no favours whatsoever.  I’m not keen, either, on the fashion for anything glittery or for blue or green nails. As for black … well, they look good on Barry-the-dog – his claws are black – but that’s where I think they should stay.

As well as having this lovely bit of pampering, I’ve booked for us to see the film The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I find it hard to believe that it’s ten years since I read the book (which I enjoyed) but ten year on and I find it difficult remembering anything about the book, only that it’s a series of fictional letters.  I’m now debating whether to give it a quick second reading before I see the film, in a couple of week’s time.

We won’t be seeing the film at the local Vue multiplex cinema.  Indeed, we’ve never been to the local multiplex – perhaps we will one day, as I think they have concessions for oldies (I hate the term “senior citizen”, it sounds so staid, pillars of the community, etc, etc!) on some days, but we really do love going to Dartington’s Barn Cinema to see a film.  Although the setting is a 14th century barn – imagine, a 14th century barn with Dolby sound! – it is like cinemas used to be in my youth, i.e. simple rows of seats, no lounging chairs, no people stuffing popcorn or guzzling drinks.  Here is a collage of the Barn Theatre (photo credit: Dartington Barn Theatre) with the Roundhouse café which is next to it.

Indeed, Dartington is a lovely place, especially in spring.  It was the brainchild of Leonard and Dorothy Elmhirst, she an American heiress, and the couple rescued Dartington’s derelict buildings in the 1920s and transformed the Hall and the estate into a farm and centre for the arts.  Here is a collage of spring in Dartington Gardens.

I don’t think a manicure and going to see a film is too spendthrift, do you?  I like to keep my little luxuries within reason!

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. Good for you Margaret! I agree about nail colours. We’re often told that ‘paler colours are more flattering to older hands’ as though it applies to everybody but, surely skin tone, among other things, is more of a factor. Not to mention personal taste. I think the darker, more ‘classic’ shades look more sophisticated. I always notice fingernails, on both men and women, whether they’re dirty or well-kept or so on.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Thank you for your comments, Kate. I really enjoyed having my nails ministered to, I’d forgotten how enjoyable it was for someone to take the responsibility of filing them, buffing them, tidying the cuticles and then painting them without smudges. It really was money well spent. I had to drive very carefully home, though, as the polish, while dry wasn’t yet hard. My hands did look a little red when husband took the photo, because I had been having massage which brings the blood to the surface, but my hands are now smooth as silk, they feel wonderful from the exfoliating and the cream and massage.

  2. Margaret, you described my hands (your pre pamper description)! And I just love all of the places that you visit.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      If my hands can be made to look good, then anyone’s can, Ratnamurti. It’s not that I’ve not looked after them, more that my nails are very brittle and ridged, so I get fissures down the nails which results in my having to file them very short. But having the hands and lower arms exfoliated, which I’d never considered before (just like exfoliating my face) has been wonderful, they are now as smooth as silk. I am now considering a pedicure, which whilst isn’t essential (I already visit my podiatrist once every three months) I am sure my feet and toenails would benefit from this.

  3. And very nice they look too! I remember buying that book, but I didn’t get around to reading it. The cinema looks rather wonderful. Do they have an interval for refreshments? It finally sounds as though the weather is going to warm up, possibly into next week, too. Very exciting. Have a lovely weekend.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Thank you, Elaine. I’m delighted with the result of having a manicure. I didn’t think it would make that much different to my hands and nails, but it has been a revelation. The Barn Cinema is lovely, we really enjoy going and the seats are off-set so that you can usually see the screen easily even if you have a large person in front of you. I like a cinema that is no-frills although the seats here are really quite comfortable. No, there is no internal, but there is a café right next to the cinema so if you want something before hand or afterwards, it’s there (although late at night it wouldn’t be open.)
      It has been sunny today, not as warm as yesterday. Still, husband has done some tidying up in our small back garden.

  4. Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

    What can I say, Margaret…a good manicure is exactly what was needed for you to feel proud of your nails! It’s so worth the small extravagance, isn’t it? I think you will be hooked now! Husbands are jolly useful for taking the photographs.
    I have a couple of pale colours but they don’t do a lot for my hands. Most of mine are strong and apart from a deep purple-blue, comprise reds, pinks and orangy tones.
    What a fabulous cinema. It’s so unusual. I also want to see that film having enjoyed the book. i saw a TV trailer and aim sure that I’ll enjoy it. Hope you will too.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      It is over 30 years since I last had a professional manicure but as you say, I’m hooked now. I’ve noticed that she’s made the appointment for 5 weeks’ time rather than the 4 weeks I asked for, a genuine mistake, I’m sure. So tomorrow I will phone and book for a month. I am really going to try and look after my nails to ensure that when I’ve had a professional manicure, it lasts as long as possible. My nails grow but they are brittle, as I’ve mentioned, so I’m hoping that professional treatment will actually help them. I love dark French red nail polish more than any other colour. The only other colour I have loved and have bought it three times is a Sally Hanson polish, Complete Salon Manicure, number 331 called Enchante. It’s a dusky pink with a hint of brown in it, and I really like that. It’s the closest to one I used to use years ago called Rosewood but I can’t remember the manufacturer, perhaps it was Revlon. I also like Revlon Red, a pure red. Lovely with navy.
      Yes, a great little cinema in a 14th century barn. The only problem is the very loud noise of the adverts which go on for about 20 minutes and we need to stuff our fingers in our ears. Yes, I think this will be our kind of film.

  5. Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

    Oh Revlon Red is a classic and one of my favourites. I use a rosewood one by Nina, but I believe it has been discontinued, as has another great one called Die another day by OPI. It’s infuriating as this has also happened to the lipstick I’ve used for ages.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      What a coincidence that you also like Revlon Red, Eloise, and yesterday the colour I had put on my nails was by Nina although I can’t remember what colour it is! I do wish that really good colours (well, good to us!) were not discontinued so quickly. But I found in my collection of nail polish, which I keep in the fridge, there is one almost identical to yesterday’s manicure colour. It’s by Max Factor, Gel Shine Lacquer, and the colour is Radiant Red 50. This is a lovely deep red, not the bright red of Revlon Red.

  6. Now tell us about those lovely rings! Heirlooms? Or did Husband select them? I envy your spring comes so early.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Donna, and thank you for your kind comment … no, my rings are not heirlooms. They are my engagement ring, bought new in 1963 and my wedding ring, bought new in 1964. Wide wedding bands were popular then, but many young women chose to have decorative wedding bands but I always wanted a plain one. Strangely enough, it is exactly like that of my maternal grandmother (whom I never knew) but my mother passed on her wedding band to me. I can only wear it on my little finger, though, as my grandmother must have had tiny hands! But husband went with me on both occasions to choose my rings.

  7. simpleliving31.blogspot.co.uk

    We all deserve little luxuries Margaret, I am glad you enjoyed your pampering session.
    How lovely have a trip to the barn cinema, will you be going for a jaunt around Dartington while you are there?
    It would be lovely to see some more photos.
    Have a good weekend.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, having my nails manicured was a lovely treat, Marlene. I really enjoyed it and the end result is very pleasing. Yes, we might have a look around Dartington gardens if the trip to the cinema coincides with a sunny day. I will post more photos of Dartington in due course – I have some of their wonderful displays of crocus in spring. We don’t always managed to get to see these each year, but they are stunning.

  8. Your hands look lovely Margaret and I do like that colour, very bright and cheerful. My toe nails are always painted in the summer but must admit my fingernails very rarely see anything than a clear gloss, usually Sally Hanson’s Hard as Nails which helps to prevent them from splitting.
    The cinema in a barn is beautiful, another one here who thoroughly enjoyed the book and is anticipating the film, we will probably go next week when the children have gone back to school and the cinemas tend to be quieter!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Thank you for the kind compliments regarding my manicure. Sadly, a tiny bit of nail polish has peeled off my left hand middle finger but I have some polish which is almost identical and I will touch it up before it gets any worse. That’s shopping for you and forgetting not to take more care! I use Sally Hanson Double Duty which is both base coat and top coat and have found that quite good.
      Yes, the barn cinema is very nice. One day we will try a multiplex but really, the barn cinema suits us and it gets all the new films just like any other cinema, plus live opera and so forth streamed from the Royal Opera House and so forth.

      • Oh Margaret, your vanish how annoying, I would be able to redo/touch up the nail on Monday if you like, just give me a call and arrange a time.

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          Thank you so much, Wendy, for that kind offer. I have touched up the edge and so far the nail looks fine. I’m looking forward to my next appointment.

  9. I’m glad you so enjoyed your manicure – you nails look lovely. I have never had a manicure, but I did once have a pedicure and found it just wasn’t for me. For one, I have very ticklish feet so rather than being relaxing it was more annoying. I haven’t polished my fingernails for eons – it just doesn’t last for me even though I wear gloves when doing dishes and when gardening. I do like to keep my toenails polished in the summer, though. We have a winter storm watch beginning tomorrow. Nasty weather is coming. Sure doesn’t seem like mid-April!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I have now booked not only for a manicure but also a pedicure, Jeannine. Thankfully, I don’t have ticklish feet, and I’m looking forward to having my toenails looking pretty for summer. Oh, I hope you will be safe with the storm approaching. Here the early morning sea mist is now lifting and it looks like it might develop into a rather nice day.

  10. I think your professional manicure was money well spent. I also like red nails but as my finger nail polish always chips I tend to leave my fingernails bare or a coat of Sally Hansen diamond-something-or-other as a strengthener. I like to have my toenails polished in the warmer months and most of my colours are tones of pink. I have one red, an OPI brand called ‘the thrill of Brazil’ which my friend bought for me. I really like it on my toes but as it’s quite unforgiving I either need to be extremely careful (and lucky) to get it just right – or else take it with me to the salon.

    That cinema is beautiful. I would much rather go there than to one of those generic multi screen places where the smell of old popcorn pervades every corner and the ‘jumbo-sized’ soft drinks and other sugary rubbish fills the foyer areas. Most movies currently showing are for the school holidays and nothing appeals so I haven’t been for a couple of weeks. I’ve been enjoying DVDs from my local library. I’ve just started watching ‘The Good Wife’ with Julianna Margulies (?). I had seen bits and pieces on television but couldn’t follow it so have borrowed season one to start from scratch. I like it so far. It’s set in a law firm in current day Chicago so it’s not exactly ‘Downton Abbey’ 😉

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Thank you, Lara, for your kind comments re my manicure. I loved having my nails ‘done’, pure luxury for someone who has always been frugal when it comes to pampering such as this. Yes, the barn cinema is lovely, very plain and simple – well, it is a barn! – but we enjoy going there. The only drawback, and this is everywhere these days, is the volume of sound for the adverts and the trailers and even the films. There really is no need to have the volume so painfully loud. We have complained about this (or asked for it to be reduced) but to no avail – we are told it comes with the film and there is little they can do about it. I ended up stuffing my fingers in my ears at one point the last time we went. Only when people start to walk out because of the volume will things change.
      I watched some of the first series of The Good Wife and enjoyed it. I might return to this. There is also The Good Fight which is also interesting and entertaining.

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