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Giveaway News



Dot Nicol has been in touch with me, thanking me for the Giveaway prize, and she has kindly given her permission for me to use two photos she sent me of the items in the box.  Before I posted the box, I wrapped each item individually in patterned tissue paper (I do love tissue for gifts) and here they are, above.

And Dot sent me two lovely photos of herself and the items …


The list of items is as follows:

Cocktail-size napkins; a pack of Thank You cards; a lime & basil soap; four floral note cards; three hankies; two Floris perfume samples; hand cream; notebook; chocolate with sea salt; and lip balm.

Thank you, Dot, for your lovely photos – and belated birthday wishes for last weekend!

* * * * *

I am being very lazy this morning; I’m still in my cotton wrap (at 9am) and husband has just brought me a warmed brioche with apricot jam – yes, I know:  I shouldn’t eat at the computer, dropping crumbs all over the keyboard!  I do have a washable keyboard but I’ve yet to try this out – I’m afraid it will then cease to work, but I vacuum it regularly and then wipe it with an anti-bac tissue. Shortly, I will make a fresh pot of coffee and then make a move to having a shower and my day will start properly.

You remember those peonies I bought in Waitrose on Thursday?  Well, they’re like Topsy, they’ve just keep on growing …

They really are quite spectacular, but somehow they’re not quite ‘me’, if you know what I mean?  Yes, they ‘go’ nicely with our décor, but they are the blowsy bar maids (apologies to any bar maids reading this who are not in the least blowsy!) of the floral world.   What I can’t understand is that they are not like the peonies that I know and love, the kind we have grown in our garden, with lovely tissue-like petals and a glorious scent. These have slightly waxy petals and the scent (what there is, thankfully only slight!) is gross.  Stunning, no doubt, in the right setting, but it will be the more delicate freesias for me in future, and sweet Williams when they are available, and roses of course.

And now for that 2nd pot of coffee …

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. Morning Margaret, how pretty did all those parcels look and what a lovely collection of goodies. I should also say good morning to Dot and pleased to “meet” you!
    Hmm, like you Margaret I am not sure that those flowers are what I would consider or expect when buying Peonies, was there any further clues on the label?
    We are back from a couple of days away at the Windsor Horse Show, the first time I had ever been and what a fabulous setting with the castle overlooking the showground. We did see Her Majesty as was one of her homebred Fell Ponies took the Championship, what a tiny but regal figure she is and such a wonderful smile.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Elaine, and thank you for your kind comments re the wrapping of the parcels. I love pretty tissue, but I’ve forgotten where I bought this particular paper – I think in W H Smith, but I could be wrong!
      I will have a look at the cellophane wrap that was around the peonies to see if there was any other info. I have kept it in case they fell apart the next day.
      How lovely to have visited the Windsor Horse Show and see her Majesty there. I have only ever seen her once, and that when I was a child and she visited Torquay and drove down the narrow street where our parents had their shop. That would’ve been soon after she became Queen, around 1952/1953. I have only dim memories of that day, but I remember I wore a pale blue cotton jumper for the occasion. We all dressed smartly even though she was only passing by in her royal limousine! But that’s how people behaved in the 1950s. People stood for the national anthem, even in their homes.

      • How lucky you were Margaret, to see the Queen on her visit to Torquay.
        Isn’t it strange that we can often remember what we were wearing on those special occasions? X

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          I was indeed very young when the Queen came to Torquay on that occasion, Dot – I think she’s been since. I can’t remember what the Queen was wearing, but I clearly remember my pale blue cotton jumper! Yes, we can remember clothes from years ago, I can even remember certain perfumes I wore at certain times, too. I clearly remember Elizabeth Arden’s Memoire Cherie for my wedding, which sadly isn’t made any more. Also, when I went to stay with some friends of Chris’s in 1963 (we’d only been engaged a few months, and of course, in those days, to have shared a room would’ve been unthinkable!) and I wore Coty’s L’aimant. Also, for my 38th birthday when we went to Plymouth’s Theatre Royal and then had dinner in the theatre restaurant afterwards, I wore YSL’s Rive Gauche, and I still love that perfume.

    • Good afternoon Elaine!
      How fortunate that you were able to catch sight of the Queen at Windsor.
      I did visit Windsor Castle on a school trip many moons ago, but Her Majesty was not in residence at the time!

      Best wishes
      Dot x

      • Margaret Powling
        Margaret Powling

        We visited Windsor Castle about ten years ago. We were staying at the Danesfield Hotel & Spa near Marlow, and that wasn’t far from Windsor. I was there to review the place for a magazine and it was lovely, and the hotel served one of the best breakfasts we’ve ever had in any hotel or B&B, the various cooked foods served hot, in ‘silver’ chafing dishes. I loved seeing Windsor Castle but what I wanted to see the most was Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, and I did see it but only glimpses as there were so many people crowded around it (it’s behind glass, too, to keep the more eager people from pawing it.)

  2. Hi Margaret, I have had a crazy few weeks (mainly work) but am now just catching up on your blog posts that I have been missing so! I do hope you’re well. It’s starting to get very cold here, so I’m sure you’re starting to warm up. Off to read the rest of your posts xx

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Kellie, lovely to hear from you! As it’s getting colder with you, it’s very slightly warmer with us – we had it hot, actually HOT, last weekend, the Spring Bank Holiday weekend (the first Monday in May is a national holiday, and there’s another, the last Monday in May, too) but since then the weather has reverted to its usual self, chilly, windy, rainy, dull, or all the lot in one day! I hope you enjoy the rest of the posts.

  3. Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

    I’m sure Dot was delighted with her box of goodies, and that they were so beautifully wrapped – almost like opening a Christmas Stocking full of surprises! I use a lot of tissue when wrapping gifts, and I like pretty designs but that must be the nicest I have seen, Margaret! I also like cellophane. Strange creatures aren’t we? Can you ever imagine a man saying that they have a penchant for pretty wrappings? Haha!
    And how lovely to see your photograph, Dot. It’s nice to be able to put faces to names.
    peonies remind me of my childhood garden where we had several of the deep red variety. I always think they look rather exotic whilst tightly furled.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      No, Eloise, we’d be lucky to have a present from a man, let alone it being wrapped up nicely! I’ve not used cellophane, but my late friend used to use this, and to great effect. She really made her presents look beautiful, she was a very stylish person. Yes, it’s a lovely photo of Dot.
      I must try and find that tissue paper – I have an inkling it was from W H Smith. But I could be wrong, of course!
      Yes, peonies are a rather exotic flower, especially the deep red ones.

    • Thank you Eloise, I loved opening all the individual items. The tissue was exceptionally pretty, I will look out for some when I go shopping, I like using tissue for small and delicate gifts.
      Best wishes
      Dot x

      • Margaret Powling
        Margaret Powling

        So glad you liked the tissue, too, Dot. I thought it so pretty when I saw it! I bought it before I decided to hold the giveaway draw, and I thought it was just suitable for the small items I bought for the box (the only item I didn’t need to buy was the notebook, one I had and thought was suitable – I have a little stash of pretty notebooks, almost too pretty to use!)

  4. Hello Margaret,
    The prize draw gift is lovely, such pretty and yet practical items and so beautifully presented. I love everything!
    We had a piece of the chocolate this afternoon with a cup of coffee, it was delicious!
    It was such a kind and generous gesture on your part to hold the prize draw and I was so pleased to win.
    Thank you so much!

    I spent the entire morning in the garden, weeding and filling pots with begonias. So this afternoon has been spent relaxing and watching
    The House of Elliott on tv. The costumes are so elegant. Wonder what people from that era would make of modern fashions, particularly my pet hate – ripped jeans! Still, what goes around, comes around. Maybe we will start to see some more elegant fashions coming through sometime soon. Hope so!

    Warmest wishes
    Dot x

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      So glad you have liked the things I included in the box, Dot, and glad the chocolate was good, too. I love the hint of salt in some chocolates now, it’s quite different. I prefer it to chilli chocolate which I’ve had, too.
      As it was such fun, I think I will have to hold another draw before too long, perhaps for a book next time. I think everyone likes books!
      Oh, I’d forgotten The House of Elliott. Yes, the fashions were wonderful. I remember, many years ago now, they had an exhibition from the series at Killerton House here in Devon … Killteron has it’s own fine collection of costumes – and I went with a group from Totnes and it was wonderful seeing the costumes in close up.
      I should’ve been doing gardening, filling pots with plants for the summer, but instead I was doing housekeeping. But they will be done before too long!

  5. Margaret, I am looking for your quiche recipe which I know you posted more than once (why didn’t I save it?!). I can’t find the post(s) and there isn’t a search by topic feature to assist. Could you point me to which month and year they were posted? It seems a wild goose chase from my end. If it would be a chase for you as well, please don’t put yourself out. I’ll just keep looking.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Jeannine. The post you are looking for is (1) Computer Problems Solved … and that was posted on the 3rd May. I hope you can find it! If not, let me know and I’ll send you the recipe. I really should’ve put up a search by topic, but I never knew how to do this, and now it’s a bit late in the day, unfortunately. I’m not very good where websites are concerned. How I manage to post photos is a modern miracle!

  6. Such a lovely give-away box! I loved your comment about a flower being like the blowsy bar lady of the flower world. It reminded me of talking with one of my sisters, with me saying how I couldn’t wear frilly clothes as they made me look blowsy. She laughed. And agreed.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, “blowsy” covers a certain type of woman in a certain type of outfit, I think, Ratnamurti, and the peonies – which are normally stunningly beautiful flowers, that are in the house have right now are more blowsy than beautiful. I wouldn’t have peonies like this again.

  7. Greetings Margaret from cloudy and cold southern California. It’s glorious to see the clouds but it’s quite unusual for us to have this weather. You are such a dear to put together these lovely gifts as a giveaway and Dot looks so happy to have received them! Speaking of Queen Elizabeth, my daughter was in graduate school at the University of Bath years ago and she was able to see the Queen. It was quite exciting for her as she was in the front row as the Queen made her way about. It’s something that she will always remember. Your peonies are so lovely but I understand what you mean. My daughter gave me a beautiful bouquet of irises only to have them open and wilt. Maybe this is normal for irises? My alstroemeria are just now seeing their end after having them for 10 days. My husband is taking me for an early Mother’s Day dinner and to buy me some new flowers so I will say good bye and wish you the all best. Pat xx

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Pat, and it’s a lovely morning here in South Devon, blue sky and little to no wind, and sunshine. It’s lovely that your daughter saw the Queen when she was in Bath (a lovely city).
      I’ve never found iris last very long indoors, tight bud, open, wilt within about two days. Meanwhile, alstromeria go on forever! It must be Mother’s Day for you today, Pat. Ours is much earlier in the year. I do hope you have a lovely dinner and a lovely bouquet of flowers.

  8. Well, I guessed correctly on part of the box! Chocolate, soap, hand cream and stationary. I love pretty notecards and paper.

    Another fan of pretty tissue paper for gifts.

    I love Peonies and had several in the garden. They disappeared. I blame the squirrels. Nothing came up last year. This year there appears to be signs of growth of one in an area where none where planted!

    Speaking of barmaids, my Granny managed a bar in a port city in Scotland. She was a legend in her day. No bouncer/doorman required, Just a glare from Granny stopped many a dispute.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, you guessed correctly – chocolate! And nine small other things. I had great fun putting the box of items together.
      Squirrels can be a pest – they have stripped our walnut tree of nuts two years in succession when, before, we used to have a wonderful crop, far too many for ourselves, so we would bag them up and pass them around friends and neighbours.
      Oh, I expect your Granny could be fierce when necessary! She would have to be to manage a bar in a port, I would think!

  9. I had never heard the term ‘blowsy’ before – I will keep it up my sleeve to use the first chance I get !
    I reiterate everyone else’s comments about the pretty tissue paper and also thanks to Dot for sharing her photographs with the rest of us xx

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      “Blowsy” means a bit over-blown, in-your-face, a bit over the top. A good word to have up your sleeve!

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