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Tuesday Bits & Pieces

I love it when the tulips return to the flower section of the supermarket. I even like the bunches of mixed-colour tulips when, usually, I prefer single-colour bunches. I particularly dislike those huge bouquets of mixed flowers and mixed colours, none of which you’d put together in any other way (such as wallpaper, paint, and furniture, or dress, coat and shoes) unless totally colour blind.  Even worse are flowers that have been dyed lurid colours.  What an insult to what might otherwise have been beautiful blooms.  I’ve seen carnations dyed a vulgar deep turquoise. It could be considered Cruelty to Flowers!

But tulips have everything going for them, and no more so than they are very easy to ‘arrange’. Indeed, they don’t need ‘arranging’, just a suitable container (I used an old glass sweet jar minus the lid) and then allowing them to do much their own thing.  I even like them when they go all floppy, they still look so pretty.

And these look particularly well with our sofa, although the upholstery is now almost 17 years old (our 1985 sofa was reupholstered in 2002) and, courtesy of sunlight, has  faded.  I’ve been looking at photos of it when it had recently reupholstered and, my goodness, it did look lovely.  It is now a subtle coral colour instead of the deep terracotta it was originally.

Our sofa a year or two after it had been reupholstered (this photo c2004, print film, not digital – as you can see, we rarely change things in our sitting room!)

In the bay window the amaryllis has now bloomed …

Try as I might, I really am not keen on these big, blowsy flowers.  They have a somewhat sinister look to me, don’t know why, as if they should really be carniverous plants such as the Venus fly trap.  I don’t know what makes me think about them in this way, they are very popular, especially at Christmas time, and I’ve even been seduced into buying them for others as presents.  Perhaps much depends on the colour, too.  I gave one to someone this Christmas and it is a deep magenta, almost purple.  Now that was outrageously, quite luridly-coloured, which goes against all I like in a flower, but my goodness, it really was a show-stopper but I loved it!  There really is no rhyme nor reason to my likes and dislikes where these flowers are concerned!

After having put the Christmas decorations away, our two little people are back on the mantelpiece.

Yes, they are twee!  They are something I should never go out and buy, but they were part of my mother’s vast collection of all kinds of ceramics showing that even she had her weak spots, just as I have for a magenta-coloured amarayllis!  These are the kind of things which are interior designers’ nightmares:  ditsy, knick-knackery.  My mother bought a number of these Oriental ceramics in the early 1960s so they are, I suppose, ‘vintage’ by now, but like a lot of kitsch, you either love them or loathe them.  Strangely enough, I love these two little people, and they sit on either side of a classic piece of Royal Crown Derby, a box which the clever potter has made to look like a tin box as he or she has purposely put a ‘dent’ in it!

This morning I had my six-weekly manicure.  Goodness knows how it has taken me until my seventies to appreciate having my hands and forearms exfoliated, creamed and massaged, cuticles dealt with,  and my nails filed, buffed and painted I do not know. I used to have a manicure when I went to a hairdresser’s many years ago, but my hairdresser now (whom I’ve been going to for at least a decade) doesn’t provide this service and so I hadn’t had a professional manicure for a very long time.

My hands always look much pinker and more wrinkly after a visit because a massage brings the blood to the surface, but oh, how nice my hands now feel, the joints eased through massage, too.  The pinkness goes after a few hours, but the effects remain for a good few days.

Tomorrow, it’s my hairdresser day, and on Thursday a visit to the podiatrist. I alternate podiatrist with pedicure, they are both different; I only wish there was one person who could perform both tasks, but even if I now found such a person, I don’t think I’d change because both the professionals I go to are excellent in their own way.

After the posts in which I included photos of our small shower room and small bathroom, I just thought I’d include one more photo and that is of some of my small collection of scent bottles on the shelf in the bathroom – they just add a little interest.  I parted with a lot of modern bottles which, no doubt might one day be ‘collectable’ but it’s just not possible to keep everything one has used in the hopes that one day this might be the case.

A 1950s bottle of Mitsuko, a modern Peter Tysoe bottle with scent ‘dropper’ inside, and a Victorian silver-necked bottle.

Now for a cup of tea and the newspaper.

Until next time.



About Margaret

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 detest dyed flowers. Bunches of turquoise, magenta and bright orange chrysanthemums appeared in Tesco a couple of years ago. Horrid! Tulips are lovely, and even when in mixed bunches seem to complement each other. I specially like white ones. So pleased that you are enjoying your new found manicure treat. I go to different people for hair, nails, back massage and eyebrow waxing. On the rare occasions I have a facial then it’s with yet another person. It would be so nice to do it all together with one person but I’ve built up trust with these people over many years so will stick with them.

    • Margaret

      Oh, spare me even the thought of those poor, dyed chrysanthemums. I’d like to know who buys them? I never actually see anyone putting them into their trolley, but there again, I’m only in there once a week for a very short period! I love white tulips, too, they are such a lovely pure white. And then there’s a white tulip that has a sort of blush pink to it, too, and that is lovely. I don’t need eyebrow waxing because my eyebrows are almost non-existent now, sadly, so I have to lightly pencil them with a blonde pencil (not grey, that would look wrong even with grey hair.) I’ve never had a back massage, either. I don’t begrudge the money I’m spending on trying to look good because if you feel you look good (even if you don’t actually look good) it does a lot for self-esteem, especially as we get older. Like you, I like and trust all three people I go to, hairdresser, manicurist and podiatrist.

  2. I’m sure I’ve written before that I don’t like tulips (or orchids). I know I’m odd! I did however finally get some flowers yesterday – a bunch of daffodils which are beginning to open so tomorrow they will be promoted to the living room 🙂

    • Margaret

      No, Alison, you are not odd; we all have our likes and dislikes, like me and amaryllis! I don’t like avocados, either, and most people love them. We all like/dislike different things. And daffodils are lovely, they are bright and cheerful, whether tiny narcicci or large-trumpet daffs.

  3. Kathryn Hemstead

    I abhor dyed flowers, it truly is a crime to do such a thing. I love fresh flowers. We have a kitty, Miss Grayson, she too loves fresh flowers to chew on and break the heads off, silly girl. We have an amaryllis that is just about to bloom. It was shared with us from the neighbor who left for the month. The leaves are full of teeth marks. We have snow today. It’s a perfect stay at home day. I always enjoy your posts.

    • Margaret

      Oh dear, a cat that demolishes flowers! I don’t think cats and flowers mix very well, do they? We were fortunate that none of the three cats we had (we didn’t have them all at once, although the second two were together for a long time) didn’t destroy anything. What a lovely name for her, Miss Grayson! Oh dear, snow … yes, the perfect day for indoors and to admire the white stuff from behind glass (on the right side!)

  4. I got my timings all wrong with my amarylis. Red Velvet which was supposed to be in bloom over Christmas is still at the bud stage and as for Apple Green, that has barely started to grow despite being potted up mid-December. I adore Amarylis, but they have to be simply potted in old terracotta pots and supported by twigs from the garden. I was interested in your bathroom posts. We are embarking on a new bathroom next month. Our new house has three shower rooms but no bath and I am really missing my bath. I went swimming today mostly to enjoy the feeling of immersion in water. I’m not a buyer of cut flowers but I always have a posy of homegrown delights on my desk, and I can hardly wait for the snowdrops I transplanted from my old garden to flower. They are just starting to show their noses through the rufty tufty grass. Tulip Purissima came back year after year in my old garden, but here I have planted 90 tulips in shades of dark purple, apricot, crimson and pale pink and if they all flower I will be so happy.

    • Margaret

      Isn’t it strange how we either like or loathe amaryllis? Yes, I’m sure they would look better grouped together in terracotta pots rather than in the rather gaudy ‘gold’ pot that came with the one we were given as a present. You’d think I’d have sussed that out, wouldn’t you? Maybe four or five of them together on the windowsill would’ve looked spectacular rather than this one that looks as if it’s someone in fancy dress arriving at a black time dinner!
      How lovely to always have a posy of home-grown flowers on your desk. I buy cut flowers as we have a tiny garden and I can never grow sufficient to have garden flowers for indoors as well as in the garden. I always plant the tulips in pots, and have new ones every year, because there wouldn’t be space for anything else if I planted them in the garden, sadly. Your various shades of tulip sound wonderful, they will make a spectacular sight in the spring, Sarah.

  5. Having flowers in the house makes me so happy. Don’t know who would want the dyed ones – yes, they ARE vulgar – your descriptions tickle me! I love the white tulips and also lavender or yellow. Most any white flower , and also pink roses.

    Your little bottles look so pretty and interesting. Wish I had kept some of mine from the 60’s. I always loved Chanel # 5, Chantilly, White Shoulders, and L’air du Temps. Of course I just tossed all the bottles away without a thought at the time. And they used to be beautiful. Also would like to have some of my Yardley makeup containers – just for nostalgia’s sake!

    • Margaret

      I’m glad my descriptions ‘tickle’ you, Kay! Oh, I love pink roses! I shall be buying some for our bedroom, soon. I love to have flowers on my dressing chest and/or bedside table (night stand to those in USA and Canada.) Oh, I love Chanel No 5, it’s timeless! And Chantilly (Houbigant) was lovely, not seen that around for a long time. I don’t know White Shoulders, but Nina Ricci’s L’air du Temps was a delight. As for Yardley, I loved their fragrance Bond Street in the 1950s, it was a cut above the rest of their scents. I know Yardley was a cheap make compared with Chanel and the top dollar houses, but Bond Street was so very 1950s! It went with shirt-waister dresses, and chiffon scarves! We always regret the items we unthinkingly threw away.

  6. I love old perfume bottles. Worth displaying. I once gave all of my perfumes to a grand daughter. She and I have similar tastes with clothes and scents. She always gives me just the right clothes or make-up. I am very lucky.

    • Margaret

      How lovely it is when someone knows your taste exactly. Such people are actually few and far between, so wonderful your granddaughter chooses exactly the right things for you!

  7. Your sofa is quite modern because Living Coral is 2019 color of the year!

  8. I agree wholeheartedly with yours and others’ comments about enjoying manicures, trips to the hairdresser and so on and with regards to it making us feel better. And of course if you can’t afford those luxuries at all – or as often as you would like – there are now so many gadgets, goops and tools available from the large pharmacies and department stores and when combined with the plethora of YouTube videos, you can do your own facials, manicures, pedicures, etc at home. I think I’d draw the line at cutting my own hair, though, as I have no sense with such things ha ha. Your flowers are all very beautiful. Thank you for sharing them with us all 🙂

    • Margaret

      I’d not thought of looking at You Tube for videos on manicures and pedicures, Lara – what a good idea, silly I’d not even thought of it! My problem is two-fold where my feet are concerned, though: 1. I can’ bend easily with arthritis to reach my toes and cut the nails, and 2. Neither distance glasses or reading glasses are suitable for the job, it’s that middle distance which is neither near or far that is difficult for me; for these I need varifocal lenses and I’ve tried them and I don’t get on with them, either! So for pedicures, I will have them done professionally, but fortunately I don’t need that doing often (and only in summer when my feet are on display, so to speak) and in the meantime, podiarty for any hard skin. I can do my nails myself, but I just love having them done. Also, I seldom set aside sufficient time to do my nails properly and then allow them to dry really hard!

      • What you really need is an outdated pair of distance glasses which have ‘faded’ as it were into ‘just right’ for feet. I speak from experience:))

        • Margaret

          That’s a good idea, Helen. I have some old distance glasses, I shall try those out indoors. My distance glasses are OK for the TV and driving, it’s that distance for cooking that’s so annoying.

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