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Another Peter & Jane Day

For those new to my blog, a Peter-and-Jane Day has been named (by us) after the two little children in the 1950s/1960s Ladybird books’ reading scheme.  Peter always helped his daddy, mending or washing the car, while Jane helped her mummy, baking and washing up.

Today’s Peter-and-Jane day involved husband clearing the leaves in the garden while I spent time in the kitchen.  As you can imagine, there is always a lot of leaves to clear, having such a huge walnut tree. Fortunately, the high winds this week have ensured that there are few leaves left to fall, and although this morning’s task was quite an onerous one, at least we know we’re coming to the end of this annual garden task.

To help clear the leaves, husband uses the lawn mower and this chews them up, they’re deposited into the grass box and that makes it easy for him to empty the grass box (several times) into waste bags ready to take to the tip (garden waste section.)

While husband was in the garden I made the bed and then finished off ironing so that the ironing board could be put away.  I also made braised red cabbage and small roast potatoes to go with the beef casserole that I cooked yesterday for today’s lunch (photograph above.)  We love braised red cabbage and I do it with port, veggie Oxo cubes (two of them), balsamic vinegar, and a smidgen of runny honey (or you could use some Demerera or Muscovado sugar), plus a little extra water. (Main ingredients:  red cabbage, finely shredded, with a desser apple and an onion.)

I start it off in the frying pan on the hob (photo above) and then once it has simmered for a few minutes, tip the lot into an oven-proof fish, cover with foil and cook for at least an hour in the oven (about 160C – 200C).

I also removed the old paper whites from their bowl, emptied and washed the bowl, and then husband re-filled it with fresh compost and I planted seven more paper white bulbs.  You’d not think that these small tasks would fill my morning, but they did.

Yesterday, we first went to Marks & Spencer so that I could return the coat I’d bought online – it was far too large – and I tried on two smaller coats, and swapped the too-large coat for the next size down.  When I got home I found a scarf which goes with it perfectly – well, it does to me.

The coat without the scarf (above) and with the scarf  (below) …

And I have a pair of purple gloves which I think pick out the purple in the scarf.  I have hardly worn the purple gloves, so they are like new, and I have a pair of aubergine ankle boots, similarly little-worn, so that’s that outfit ‘sorted’ as they say.

Yesterday, after M&S (I need therapy after a visit there, I can’t abide the place, so apologies to all people who love M&S or who might even work there.  I find it just too disorganized … if I want jeans, I want them all in one place, not Per Una here and Autograph (or whatever) there.  I suppose they think you will go around the store, searching, and while en route  see other things to buy, but I want a bit more organization and a bit more colour co-ordination.  Hear me, Mr Marks and Mr Spencer?)

As for the quality of things in M&S, that can be hit or miss, but if they improve the quality then the prices will rocket.  I can appreciate their problem here – would quality items at a higher price sell?  I really don’t know.  I rather hope they would but I have my doubts.  Few people are now brought up to buy good quality that will last. They want the latest fashions, not something they need a mortgage to afford and which will look outmoded by next season, and really, who can blame them?

This coat was £54 Sale price, £69 normal price.  That’s back-pocket change to some people, or a huge amount to others.  I consider this a good enough price for a good enough coat, we’re not taking Burberry or Aquascutum (are they still in production?)  It will do for the autumn/winter for the days when it’s not freezing – it is only a light-weight coat – as I have two other winter coats which are much warmer (not including the quilted coat and jackets).  As for length, it’s knee-length on me, but for a taller person it would be a long blazer.  I’ve always said buy the best you can afford and, quite frankly, I can afford better, but do I want to have something in my wardrobe that is so good that I will then feel I must wear it for the next decade?  (I have things I bought almost 20 years ago, they are far too good to discard, and they actually suit me, but I’m simply fed up with them!  Items from Viyella and Country Casuals, two companies which we no longer see on the high street.)

After M&S I needed to relax – we’d traipsed around the men’s dept too, and bought husband a brushed cotton shirt and I’d been around the tights/pantihose dept, and managed to find what I was looking for – 60 denier opaque tights, navy blue, in my size.  Husband also wanted a navy blue leather belt but they only had a nasty bright blue – who on earth wears such things?  And the leather belts were really stiff, harsh leather, not something you’d want to wear around your waist, you’d be in danger of being sawn in half!  Anyway, as I say we needed to relax, and so we drove up to the golf club. This is getting a habit!  And we had the small portions of fish and chips each, and a pot of tea.

It was very dull but there were lots of women in the club house as Tuesday is Ladies Day, and some were about to go out and some had just come in.

The view from where we were sitting, with a terrace immediately outside, then the practice putting green and then the course itself.

Yesterday’s post brought me these beauty items …

I thought I’d try BB cream – I’d not heard of it until Jeannine mentioned it, so of course, I had to try it!  Oh, it’s quite different from what I imagined. It is much darker than my usual foundation, so perhaps I should’ve opted for Light rather than Medium, and I felt the texture rather strange, but I persevered and after I had smoothed it out all over my face it didn’t look bad at all!  Good coverage, a bit ‘orange’ to start with, but that soon disappeared and I didn’t need to use the powder which came with the same consignment.  The eye shadow is called Truffle (a sort of coffee colour), Boots No 7, but I think I’d have been better buying a more-mauve as the brown just accentuates the dark circles around my eyes.  Will I continue to use BB cream?  Yes, I think I will.

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. Most of my days are Jane and Jane days 😉 My husband does help out with out of the ordinary jobs but the everyday run of the mill chores don’t seem to be on his radar.

    Still, I wouldn’t be without him 🙂

    • Margaret Powling

      Right now husband is actually doing a ‘Jane’ job … he’s decided to clean out some of the kitchen cupboards! He knows I don’t like having to climb on a step ladder or a chair to reach the top shelves, so he’d doing it all for me. Can’t complain at that, can I? I might have to re-arrange them later, but at least he’s cleaning them for me!

  2. Oh those purple gloves are beautiful and go so well with your new coat and scarf. I too struggle with the issue of quality versus less expensive but fashionable clothes. I think of all the poorly paid workers churning out clothing items which are worn for a season then discarded.

    • Margaret Powling

      I’ve had the gloves for a few years, Pieta, but not had occasion to wear them often … I have tended to use my navy gloves with my navy coat, but I think a bit of colour now would make a nice change.
      Yes, I also think of those poorly paid workers. The only alternative for them is no work, I suppose, which would be even worse. I don’t know what the answer is, I really don’t. Maybe there should be an organization such as Fairtrade (for flowers and bananas and so forth) so that we know that if we buy those garments, the workers will benefit.

  3. Oh I like your new jacket, scarf and gloves ensemble very much ! My best friend is always beautifully dressed and her favourite colours are purple and green, so I thought of her immediately when I saw your photos. I understand your comments about being overwhelmed in those large stores. Many are so brightly lit and noisy that I feel like I’m being tortured after only a short spell. So much for shopping in their stores being a leisurely experience. And some of them are so short-staffed that you need to hunt down someone to help you. I feel sorry for the staff as it’s not their fault they’re run off their feet. I recall watching a series by Mary Portas (I think it was ‘Queen of Shops’ ?) where she highlighted the poor service in department stores then set about recruiting and training staff. It was very informative and entertaining…… Your dinner looks lovely. I made apple crumbles in individual ramekins last night for our dessert. I was inspired by Jennifer Scott’s latest post (aka The Daily Connoisseur) where she made apple pie. Our local store had very large green apples so I bought three and made six ramekins. We ate two last night (with cream) so I will freeze the rest. There’s nothing that can’t be solved with dessert !

    • Margaret Powling

      Oh, that a coincidence that your best friend (or “besties” as they are called now, which I don’t particularly like) wears purple and green. Of course, with a touch of white, we have the colours of the suffragettes, don’t we? Oh yes, the bright lights and the noise! M&S isn’t particularly noisy, thank goodness, but a lot of very large supermarkets are, and even our small Co-op has Co-op Radio blaring out. It was so loud the last time I was in the store (only for bread, I wanted to get out ASAP) it was so loud I couldn’t hear what the checkout woman said to me. Yes, Mary Portas has done her best to try to improve things in shops and on the high street.
      I like to make apple crumbles in individual ramekins, too, and then serve with a dollop of ice cream on top – to yummy!

  4. Marks and Spencers was a must visit for us last month as my friend and I both shared childhood memories of shopping expeditions with Grannies and Aunties. So off we went. We loved their café and food hall but found the clothing displays a mystery. My pal wanted some cord, above the ankle trousers she’s seen and thought over. Well we found the burgundy pair and they fit, she was sure they were navy the first time we’d seen them. So two pairs were the way to go. The navy pairs were on the opposite side of the store in a totally different area. We didn’t know if the store was colour coded or???

    I find my winter coats are living forever. Feather and down for the cold days, wool coats for milder winter and quilted jackets for the rest of the time. I did hower invest in a coat. A green Barbour for dog walking. I forgot to buy the hood, so will have to order it, if Canada Post ever stops striking!.

    One of my son’s still wears his Granda’s Barbour jacket that was bought in 1986.

    • Margaret Powling

      There were once a series of letters in The Daily Telegraph (the paper we have) about ancient Barbours, and who might still be wearing the oldest … well, some went back decades, I can’t quite recall just how long, but they’d been in the family and handed down, just as your son is still wearing his Granda’s jacket. People had even written about sending them back to Barbour for re-proofing, etc.
      My goodness, the same problems with M&S’s way of dis-organisation even in Canada! Someone ought to tell them! You would look for something, perhaps, if you knew it was there but you couldn’t see it right away. But if you don’t know it’s there in the first place (such as my husband looking for cords on our previous visit and we couldn’t find them with the men’s trousers) you don’t even look.
      Another thing … they used to have their gloves and hats (or berets and beanies, they seem to have given up on proper hats) close to the shoes and bags, which seemed sensible to me. But now they’ve put the hats and gloves near the door, perhaps to grab customers’ attention for those things as Christmas presents? Also, I do wish they would co-ordinate the colours of gloves/shoes/bags, the leather goods, in fact. Such a worst mish-match of non-co-ordinating colours have I yet to see. Are their chief buyers colour blind? Sorry, end of M&S rant!

      • M&S left Canada about 20 years ago.

        We sort of toured them when we were in Scotland. Best bra fitter was in Inverness! Aberdeen was muddled and busy. Glasgow was disorganized but had the best scones, lol.

        • Margaret Powling

          Oh, how great that you did your own mini-survey of M&S in Scotland, Linda! I love the idea of having an M&S Leader Board, points for best scones, best customer service, best bra fitters, etc! And points deducted for lack of assistance when required, disorganized layouts, etc.

  5. I bravely tackled M and S at the Willows this morning. Christmas is coming and my parents are easily sorted if I get to a M and S. I couldn’t agree more about wanting everything in one place although in the men’s area it seemed better organised. But, as you say, the Ladies clothes seem all over the place. Even the Food Hall seemed to have things all over the place. I needed a strong drink and therapy when I finally returned home!! 🙂

  6. Your new coat, scarf and gloves ensemble are really lovely. I like your sense of colour. I used BB cream for a while. In New Zealand, no matter how hard you try, most of us end up with sun damage, in the form of sunspots. I’ve tried using concealers, but they don’t look good, so now I’m ploughing through my stash of foundations, making them into a sort of BB cream, by mixing them with a strong SPF50. Not great, but I am now accepting that I just have to do the best that I can about the sunspots.

    • Margaret Powling

      Thank you for your kind remarks re my coat, scarf and gloves, all of them inexpensive and the scarf and gloves a few years old but little-used.
      Yes, you would need a stronger sun screen I think than that in the BB cream, Ratnamurti. I have never soaked up the sun, always worn a sun hat or tried to keep in the shade long before we were told of the damage the sun did. I just don’t like the heat, you might as well sit under the grill on the cooker! I used the BB cream again yesterday and I think I will get used to the texture. As I say, it looked slightly orange to start with but then that suddenly disappeared and it covered my face nicely, and not too heavily.

  7. Your new coat and scarf/glove ensemble are lovely. The colors are my favorite. It’s been over 20 years since I’ve worn a real winter coat. When we moved 21 years ago we found ourselves in a moderate climate for the winter months. Now, being in southern California, I rarely wear any type of coat/jacket. I miss shopping for beautiful woolen outerwear. I visited a M & S store while I was in Istanbul. The clothes were lovely but I didn’t purchase anything since most of the styles were for cold weather. It wasn’t a huge store but it had a nice selection. Thank you for telling me about BB cream. If I recall, someone commented on your blog about it. I bought some today at my local Target store; Garnier like the one you bought shown above but I purchased the oily/combo skin and light shade. I plan to try it tomorrow and see if I like it. You’ve given me so many great ideas! Pat

    • Margaret Powling

      My goodness, 20 years since you wore a winter coat! We really need them here, Pat, winter can be very cold – perhaps climate change is making it thus? When I was a child, Torbay rarely had minus temperatures, but now this is normal, with summers much hotter.
      Oh, that’s interesting – I bought Garnier BB cream – we will have to compare notes on this, Pat; see how we get on with it. I didn’t know you could buy for oily/combo skin. I have very dry skin (it goes with the territory, i.e. arthritis – I’m sure if I were an engine I’d just need the oil topping up!) I will now look for BB cream for dry skin in a Light shade. It was on offer from Boots the chemist over here, at under £5 a tube, so it won’t hurt the wallet too much if I buy another one to try!
      Glad to have been of service, giving you some ideas.

  8. We have a garden recycling bin at home for garden waste,I think it’s £39 a year and it’s collected fortnightly.Do you have this facility in “your neck of the woods “? I agree with your other readers re M&S and I’ve also noticed that the jumpers I bought from there a couple of weeks ago are going bobbily already!

    • Margaret Powling

      No, we don’t have a garden-waste collection, Margaret. But with all our leaves, we’d need a huge bin, believe me! I think husband fills around 50 to 60 waste sacks in the autumn/winter, as he makes several trips to the tip (the garden waste section) with them, and takes about 10 to 15 bags at a time. Fortunately, the tip is only a mile or two away, and it’s free to dump the garden waste.
      Yes, my new jumpers aren’t the best quality, bobbling already, but then they were very inexpensive. Perhaps not the best choice, mea culpa! But the better ones are always wool or cashmere and I can’t wear either.

  9. Hi Margaret, I love your blog. Keep the BB medium for Summer. I use a different brand and wouldn’t go back to foundation. Your coat ensemble looks so smart.

    • Margaret Powling

      Thank you for your lovely comment, Julie! I have worn the BB cream three days on the trot now, and I’m getting used to it. I like the fact it’s moisturizer and foundation all in one – I don’t use much of those anyway, so the BB cream is just right. It feels strange at first, when I apply it, but when even distributed over my face it looks as good if not better than the No 7 Boots foundation I’d been using, if a little heavier.
      Thank you for your kind comment re my new green/blue coat. I’ve not worn it yet but maybe next time I go out I shall.

  10. Well I hope someone else’s name and e mail vanishes after I post and mine does too, anyway here goes.

    The coat and the co-ordinating accessories looked good Margaret, our M&S is much smaller than your local very large store so I can well imagine how much walking you might have done to find things. Hope you enjoy your coat. I’m a bit of a traditionalist about coats, they have to last, I’ve got three including a formal black one, all plain wool, they’ve got to be warm in the winter. Actually I don’t wear them very often, no wonder they last! I did succumb to a nice Whistles cocoon style coat in a sale a couple of years ago but it’s going soon, I look and feel like a cocoon in it!

    • Margaret Powling

      Oh, a smaller M&S would be lovely, Heather. There used to be one in Newton Abbot and then that turned into an M&S Outlet and I didn’t care for the things there, no doubt they were selling to a different market, and now that has closed down. The Torquay store, on two floors, is large and I really have to psych myself up before I go there. Surely, this isn’t what the owners want to hear? I also breathe a sigh of relief when I leave!
      I did have a lovely camel coat which I bought five years ago, it had a detachable faux-fur collar, too, but I felt it was wearing me, not the other way around. I felt like a maiden aunt in it. I wanted something more modern, hence the quilted coats and the new herringbone coat. I still have my teal wool coat with a sort-of funnel neck (not really a good style on someone short like me, I end up looking like a tortoise!) so if it becomes really cold, that gets an outing.

  11. Your green coat, scarf, and purple gloves are wonderful. How fortunate to find the perfect gloves among things you already own. I hope you end up liking the BB Cream. I’m pretty fair, so always buy light or maybe a light/medium – depending on the brand. I’ve used it for years now and find it’s just enough. I don’t see myself ever going back to foundation as I find it heavier and unflattering – I hate to say this: at my age! Haha!

    • Margaret Powling

      Thank you for such lovely compliments re the green coat, scarf and gloves, Jeannine. I would’ve liked the quality of the coat to have been a little better (I’d have paid more for a better quality, but not everyone would, and I suppose they know their market better than I do.) Oh, that old phrase, “a my age”! Or worse, “At your age!” Yes, it often is applied to we women of a certain (or uncertain!) age! I do think I will get the same BB cream – I’m delighted you mentioned it as I’d never heard of it! – in a Light shade, but once applied even the Medium is acceptable.

  12. I think I deleted my comment by mistake! Your green coat, scarf and purple gloves are wonderful. How fortunate to find the gloves you needed amongst things you already own. I’ve used the BB Cream for some years now – I am fairly fair, so find that light or light/medium, depending on the brand, works best for me. I don’t see myself ever returning to foundation as I find it heavier and unflattering (I hate to say this) ‘at my age’!

  13. I love your new coat – you’ll look a bobby dazzler in that (as we say up here!). My current M&S Sparks offers have given me 20% off jumpers and coats this time – I’ve already ordered a jumper on-line.
    I remember Country Casuals and Viyella – my mum was a big fan of both. We were lucky enough to live less than 5 miles from a Viyella factory shop selling slight seconds at knock down prices. In fact we used to have loads of factory shops around us (I think they’re now renamed as “outlet stores” but are not much cheaper than the normal ranges in the shops). The factory shops as I remember all used to be good value, selling quality brands. I got all my flannalette cot sheets, etc, from my local factory shop when our first son was born 30 years ago (which I still have by the way as they’re so cute!)

    • Margaret Powling

      Oh, I remember that saying from my childhood – a reet bobby dazzler! (My parents were Lancastrian.) Yes, 20% off M&S jumpers, and so I’ve been rash and ordered two skinny rib polo neck jumpers, as I need the high neck with the V-neck of the coat – even with a scarf in winter, a V-neck, single-breasted coat can be chilly on the neck.
      My Country Casuals jersey dress and coat outfits were lovely, but the cardigan coats are really rather long and I don’t think you can shorten jersey successfully. One is in Air Force blue and the other is in navy blue and silver (i.e. two dress and coat ensembles.) What a shame that Viyella is no more, nor Country Casuals, or CC as it became.

  14. I had to laugh at the Peter and Jane description. I taught my children to read with those books in the 70’s and they described us too until DB’s health stopped him doing things. I think your outfit is beautiful. I don’t like any shops really and the M and S in our town closed down but I do like their winter tights so occasionally visit another store.

    • Margaret Powling

      Glad I gave you a laugh! Our two sons found the Peter and Jane reading scheme very difficult, phonics seem so much better, children can build on the sounds of the combinations of letters whereas with look-and-read, they have to learn the picture of a word and they could not build on the sounds the letters made.
      As I say, I have to psych myself up to go shopping, especially in M&S! However, I’ve just bought navy blue opaque tights there – I hope they fit nicely and that the crotch doesn’t end up around my knees!

  15. I went to Shrewsbury to meet a friend today. As we walked through M and S we passed a woman trying on your new coat. It looked very good, she was also wearing it more as a coat than a blazer.

    • Margaret Powling

      What a coincidence, Jill! I’m glad you’ve actually seen the coat in close up! Yes, it is more a coat than a blazer, especially if you are only five foot two like me, but if I were five foot ten and a size zero, it would be a blazer!

  16. Loake, the shoe people do lovely belts. They have a navy suede one at the moment, my son bought one last week, to go with a navy suit.
    When our son was at University he had a weekend job at Austin Reed, and due to his staff discounts, developed a liking for really good shoes. He built up quite a collection of Church’s shoes before graduating!
    Now, however, he’s a Loake fan, his shoes look super smart, but he says they feel almost like slippers, they’re so comfortable.
    Country Casuals clothes are still available, but from Edinburgh Woollen Mill shops, and the quality is not what it once was.
    I loathe shopping in M&S, and am always in a bad mood by the time I make my escape. I’ve not been impressed with their clothes for a long time, undies and tights are still great, and some of the coats (obviously, because yours is lovely), but a lot of their range seems very drab lately. I prefer Sea Salt and Joules!
    I’m a bit of a glove addict, my poor husband just despairs! He just doesn’t understand why I need eleven pairs of leather gloves, when obviously it’s because they’re all different colours! Black, Brown, Tan, Beige, Grey, Dark Purple, Scarlet, Amber, Lilac, Shocking Pink, and Bottle Green! At least it’s fairly easy to store my gloves and scarves; the shoes and bags to match or coordinate are another problem entirely!

    • Margaret Powling

      I hadn’t thought of Loake for belts, Colette, so thank you for mentioning that company. Husband likes Loake for shoes. How fortunate your son was to build up a collection of Church’s shoes, which are truly excellent (and expensive.)
      I had no idea that Country Casuals were now sold in Edinburgh Woollen Mill, but that’s a shop I seldom go in as the items always look so poorly made and are, well, let’s say they’ not really my style. And you are another person who longs to escape from M&S once in there and are now disappointed with the general quality of goods. I have to say that the quality of my coat isn’t great – I’ve bought it just as a fun item to brighten my mainly navy wardrobe. I know after a few wearings it migntn’t look that good.
      Yes, husband can’t understand why I love gloves, either. I was looking for a navy pair to replace my old navy ones (navy again!) but all he could say was “what’s wrong with the ones you’ve got?” What is wrong is that the fingers are worn! You do have a lovely collection and in such wonderful colours!

  17. Edinburgh WM have got Jaeger too, but they are setting up some separate shops for this brand (I think that’s right?)
    Do you ever look at Pittards, our local SW leather specialists? If we go to Clarks Village they’ve got a good outlet there just now, the leather colours are lovely, but I usually buy their bright yellow gardening glove offers. I’ve just been clearing out a box by our back door, where all the wellies and old shoes seem to accumulate, I found a lot of discarded gloves and walking socks, of course, non of them match. Where do they all go?!

    • Margaret Powling

      My goodness, EWM are looking up if they stock Jaeger. Perhaps they bought out Jaeger, I don’t know who owns this brand as I thought it went to the wall some time ago? Oh, Pittards! As with Dents they make lovely gloves. Oh dear, where indeed do all these things go? Maybe for your wellies you could wear mis-matched socks, they wouldn’t be noticed, or if they were, you could set a new fashion trend!

  18. Love the colour combination of coat, scarf and gloves. I miss our M&S since it closed. Even though it wasn’t one of their better stores, it was the best store in town and the shop is still empty. It all looks rather sad.
    I make my red cabbage and apple in a similar way- definitely with balsamic but I’ve never used port. That might change!
    I mostly use Bare Minerals make up but they no longer do my favourite eye shadow which is a pearlised powder in a truffle shade. I am not keen on the replacement (which came in a palette with five other colours -wasted a small fortune buying it) so I shall have to look around for something similar.

    • Margaret Powling

      It’s just a good slosh of port, Eloise, I think it helps. I also sometimes cook white cabbage in a similar way, in the frying pan, and then a slosh of dry sherry when we have any which is rarely as husband doesn’t like it and I can certainly live without sherry. I must dig out the recipe, try it out again, and then if it’s as nice as I remember it to be, I will write about it. If I recall it was from an old M&S cookery book from the 1980s.
      I’ve tried the truffle eye shadow and while it looks a nice colour in the little pan, I can’t really see that I’ve put any on! Also, I’m finding the BB cream rather dry, my face needs more moisturizer than this all-in-one moisturizer and foundation gives.

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