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Make-up, Manicure and … Munching?

Although this post is headed Make-up, Manicure and … Munching, I thought I’d start with the tulips which are looking good. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for the wallflowers.  I think yellow was a mistake.  I fact, I’m sure it was a mistake!  I should either buy the selection that is called Persian Carpet, and which includes lovely rich but almost-subdued colours, rather than bunches which are marked Yellow and Red.  The red is acceptable (not shown here) but the yellow (above) is a nasty acid yellow which simply looks wrong in our garden.  Daffodils can take this colour, strangely enough, but wallflowers that are the colour of gorse just don’t look nice to me.  But we live and learn and next year, if we plant wallflowers, I must remember “No Yellow!”

But the tulips are beautiful, especially the pink ones – I wish now I’d kept a note of the varieties; it is always my intention to do this, but seldom have I done so.

You may recall that I wasn’t happy with Boots new No 7 foundation I bought which was (and still might be for all I know) on offer at £10 a tube?  And so I sent for my usual foundation which arrived a couple of days ago but somehow I’d chosen the wrong colour: instead of Cool Ivory I’d chosen Cool Beige.  Rather than going to the trouble of returning it I ordered Cool Ivory and it has arrived this morning, for me a much better colour.  But I worked out that I’d spent a total of £47 on getting my ‘right’ make-up, having spent £10 on the one I dislike, £18.50 on the wrong colour (including postage) and another £18.50 (including postage) on the right colour. I might just as well have gone to the beauty country in Boots and chosen a more-expensive make in the first place!

For some, there mightn’t seem a great difference in the two colours (shown above) but the one on the left is correct for me and the one on the right is just a tad too dark.  I could blend them before use, but is it worth the effort …

Today was manicure day. I never used to have manicures but started having them exactly a year ago and I’m glad I made this decision.  Yes, it’s another expense that a pensioner can do without, but hell’s teeth, our hands are on show all the time and to have my nails looking messy to me now is akin to not having a good haircut or going out without make-up or even wearing tatty clothes, i.e. just something I would not do.

My fingers look very wrinkled and pink here, but this dies down by late afternoon.  They are rather pink/red because part of the treatment involves exfoliation, creaming, and massage of my hands and arms, which draws blood to the surface. My hands are silky smooth after the treatment and feel wonderful.  The nails are filed, buffed, and the cuticles pushed back, and there are five coats of polish – base coat, three colour coats, and a clear top coat.  The whole process takes about an hour and twenty minutes and is very relaxing.  The lovely manicurist also provides me with some chilled water and also a lovely cup of coffee. What’s not to like?

I can’t wear my nails ‘long’ because they split vertically, but having them neat and short is better than not having them manicured at all.  I love red polish best of all and this one is much deeper than it looks here and is a pinky/red. It’s Sally Hansen’s Complete Salon Manicure in shade number 543 called Berry Important.

After I returned home, husband and I then went with elder son and grandson over to the Headland Hotel in Torquay for a snack lunch.  Indeed, son and grandson had already had lunch – grandson is at home for the Easter holidays but his mummy is at work today and tomorrow, but she will be home on Thursday and Friday – but husband and I hadn’t eaten so while son had a flat white and grandson had lemonade and they shared a toasted teacake, I had pate and husband had a Thai fish cake. Both were really tasty.

I apologise for my shadow over my plate, but the sunshine was very bright in the conservatory where we had our lunch.  Husband and I shared a portion of chips with our lunch, too, and it was quite sufficient for us.  The chutney here was delicious, with a slight curry flavour.

It was very warm in the conservatory, and eventually someone opened the glass doors to cool the room down, which was lovely.


Still with ‘food’, above is all that remains of our walnuts (from our walnut tree.)  They have seen us through the winter and have been delicious.  The bowl is one that our younger son’s partner made when she was working at Dartington Pottery many years ago – it’s one of two such bowls we have that she made and this one is ideal for the walnuts.

Having to pop to the pharmacy yesterday to collect some meds, I also nipped in to the nearby Co-op for their Ancient Grains bread (the only sliced bread we like) and saw some pink lisianthus on offer at just over £2 for this lovely bunch.  I’ve found that lisianthus last well, and they will look even better once the bud open. I have placed them in the window and put the white alstromeria on a table nearby.

While I have been enjoying Philip Gwynne Jones’s memoir of how he and his wife upped sticks and moved from Edinburgh to Venice, To Venice With Love, I have also started reading the D E Stevenson novel, published in 1964, Katherine Wentworth.  While there are some instances in the writing that writers today wouldn’t incorporate (such as speech which includes a phrase in brackets, for no one speaks in brackets, such as I’m doing now!) the story is interesting, and as such I’ve already ordered the follow-up, Katherine’s Marriage.  I thought these were part of a trilogy but on checking D E Stevenson’s novels on www.fantasticfiction.co.uk there are only two Katherine books. If you know differently, please let me know.  I do love original editions, too, and only buy a re-print if an original just isn’t available or is frightfully expensive (now there’s a 1950’s word for you:  “frightfully”!)

And now to make us both a cup of tea, and then a little snooze.  Having my nails done and lunch out … oh, life is so exhausting at times!

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. Margaret I love your stories of daily life. You are tres chic aussi Madame ! xx

  2. For years I was trying out various foundations bought ‘off the shelf’ in Boots and never found exactly what I wanted until I began to fo to the make up consultants who will provide a sample pot. They usually contain enough for a few days which gives one chance to really assess whether it’s right. I now pay £28 for Bare Minerals but know that it is perfect and it lasts ages. I recently got seduced by marketing into trying something else. Thank goodness I tried a sample as it was horrible.
    Glad you’re enjoying your manicures. Mine also take an hour and 20 mins. I love the massage.
    As ever, I am envious of your walnuts,

    • Margaret

      I really should try bare minerals. I don’t want thick coverage, just a light coverage of foundation as I have quite a pale skin, but I like to even up the colour, and I feel I need foundation if I’m to wear any eye makeup or lipstick, otherwise they would simply ‘shout’; I think a good foundation is like preparing a canvas before painting it! Not that I use a lot of ‘paint’.
      I never thought that a manicure would take an hour and 20 minutes until I had one and then realized that for it to be done properly, it really does take that long, with the various stages and the waiting for the various coats of polish to dry. But well worth it.

  3. Nails looking great Margaret! I must admit I think bright red looks really chic on shorter nails but I’m not keen on it on talons. I really appreciate a bit of professional help with my nails these days – I used to be able to get a good finish on them myself but not so now. Those tulips! The colours! Will definitely consider Sarah Raven for next year – yours just look like the catalogue, not always the case when ordering by mail.

    • Margaret

      I don’t like talons whether they are coloured or not Margaret L. My nails look neat, just to the ends of the fingers. I allow them to grow once they’ve been manicured, always hopeful they won’t split, but they always do. I should’ve learned by now and keep them filed to this length between my visits to ‘my’ manicurist.
      I’ve always been more than happy with Sarah Raven’s tulips, but I’ve never bettered the selection I had a few years ago, they were stunning, although I can’t remember the varieties I chose.

  4. Hello Margaret, your garden tulips are truly beautiful. By the way, I’ve tracked down coffee ice cream to M&S food hall, I’ve not tried it, but their raspberry version is delicious. Best wishes, Samantha

    • Margaret

      Oh, thank you for that, Samantha! I will try there before too long and see if our Torquay branch has some! It’s certainly worth a try if they have some.

  5. I agree those tulips are spectacular ! As I’ve mentioned many times before, tulips are expensive and hard to come by in Australia – so I always enjoy seeing yours. They look beautiful all lined up in their terracotta pots. …. Your nails look very stylish, too. I think red nails look very chic and there are so many different shades of red available. I have an OPI brand bottle of red polish which a friend bought for me and I adore it but find it difficult to apply. It’s very unforgiving ! I have taken it with me to the salon and asked the manicurist to apply it, which seems to be the best option. I also love red lipstick but despite having tried many shades over the years, never feel it’s ‘me’. Maybe I just haven’t found the right shade yet…. Finding the right foundation / tinted moisturiser can be fickle. I’ve been using the same brand and shade for a few years now. Like you, I like a texture that doesn’t feel heavy on my face. I always wear a moisturiser with a high SPF on my face, neck and décolletage- good advice given to me by a beautician almost 20 years ago. The Australian sun is very strong for most of the year and can be quite ageing. Never mind the skin cancers.

    • Margaret

      Yes, the tulips are lovely. I’ve never managed such a spectacular display that I had several years ago, they were quite something! But this years are pretty good, too.
      I do like OPI nail polish, and I have the lovely shade that Eloise once showed on her own blog, This is Sixty, called Miami Beet. It’s a lovely plummy shade, and is one of my go-to colours when I don’t want pure red. Yes, I always use moisturizer, too. Ity has about a 15% SPF but I don’t sit in the sunshine and always wear a hat when I go out in summer. Indeed, I seldom have anything even approaching a tan! I tell people that I’m “pale and interesting” ha ha! Well, I’m certainly pale, we can forget the interesting!

  6. I also really enjoy your daily life tales. They are really interesting. I have had a couple of pedicures recently, and now I wonder if I could have them all of the time!!

    • Margaret

      Yes, I would love pedicures all the time, too, Ratnamurti! But I intersperse them with a visit to my podiatrist who is able to remove hard skin. I must have some hoofed genes in me, a donkey or something, as I could grow hard skin for Britain no matter how much I attend to my feet and use proprietary foot creams!
      Glad you enjoy tales of our daily lives!

  7. Yes, I also love reading your stories of daily life. I am so interested in the routines of people and what we all do each day. I find it kind of fascinating – what makes up a day. And the way you write about it is the best!
    I also, like you, think a good foundation is a must. Otherwise, it seems nothing else that follows will look right.
    My favorite now is Armani Luminous Silk in their lightest shade, as I’m also pale. It is such a beautiful foundation. It’s about 70.00 but worth it . I’ve used it for several years and don’t find one I like better.
    Your flowers and garden are just beautiful. So nice to see Spring! Are you enjoying your summerhouse yet?
    Your nails look so pretty. It does give you a real “certain something” of a feeling to have a manicure, doesn’t it? Maybe a little more pulled together. I remember once when I was working, my boss asked me to call on a company we were doing a good bit of business for, and I said just give a minute to paint my nails! It made me feel better equipped! Ha ha. I must go and get a manicure before long!

    • Margaret

      I find others’ routines interesting, too, Kay. It’s a bit like breakfast, isn’t it? We all know that we can have fruit, cereal, toast or a cooked breakfast but then the variety of ways of presentation and cooking are seemingly endless! And so we all get up, make beds, go shopping, do housekeeping, but each of us has a different way, a different routine.
      Ooh, that is lovely to hear, that the way I write about it is the best! I won’t get through the study door to write if such praised are heaped on my head, it will swell to enormous proportions!
      Yes, we have had the summerhouse open on a few occasions. I could’ve opened it today but I didn’t have a very good night last night and while I felt I could go out to the summerhouse, it was quite cold outside and I have just done very little today except the jobs that were really necessary – making the bed, making lunch, etc – while husband did some gardening. But it has been lovely seeing the sunshine even if it has been cold.
      That makeup sounds horrendously expensive but if it works, then worth it. I’m happy with No 7 but I expect I’d love the Armani Luminous Silk, too! Does it last a good long time for that amount of money, I wonder?
      Yes, pulled together it just how the manicure makes me feel. Nicely finished.

      • Yes, it is pricey to me too, but I think I buy it only about once a year or every 10 months or so. It is a wonderful foundation, and I think you would love it!

        It’s a little luxury I allow myself because a good makeup base is that important to me!

        • Margaret

          Your endorsement of it would be enough for me, and I would buy it had I not just purchased the No 7 foundation, Kay. I must say, it does sound rather lovely. And at my great age, I need all the help I can get apropos makeup and such things!
          Later … I have just been looking at the Armani website and various others (such as Feel Unique) and this foundation is around £42, so within my grasp. I might treat myself before too long. The reviews speak for themselves.

  8. I’ve heard of hell’s bells, but never hell’s teeth. Haha! Your tulips are wonderful. Do you leave them in the pots year after year? You don’t plant new pots every fall, do you?

    • Margaret

      Yes, “hell’s teeth” used to be quite a common saying, perhaps it no longer is but I still use it. And yes, I plant new tulips every autumn/fall. This is because tulips are forced to look good for their first season. We sometimes put a few into the garden afterwards but there are far too many to use them all, so they are dumped, sadly, and I buy new each year to have a lovely display in the spring. Having only a small garden there isn’t space for a greenhouse or a compost heap, so I can’t garden ‘properly’. But I feel that my outlay on tulips in the autumn is worth the effort as they look so pretty in the spring when we’re longing for some colour after the long winter.

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