At this time of our life, more than any other,  we should dare to do anything and do it with confidence and audacity.      We have the freedom to express ourselves in new and creative ways and attitudes.    As we age we start feeling invisible.    We are told – your hair is too long.    Gray hair should be cut very short.  Don’t wear  bright colours.    These years we wear so proudly belong to us.  Why shouldn’t you enjoy the  ritual of dressing.     The pleasure of fashion self expression.  The getting dressed for life in style and elegance.

Here’s the trick to looking  expensively dressed on a thrifty budget.

Wear all Black or all white.   Think  white trousers and a white sweater.

When ever possible buy natural fabrics.  Stock up on white and black 100% cotton T Shirts.  They go with everything.

Jewellery  – wear dainty or a bold gold,  or a  pearl necklace ,  but just one piece.

A great pair o sun glasses.  They hide a multitude of sins and protect your precious eyes.

Scarves – collect them in the colours you love and wear them with everything.

Belts – the finishing touch, look for reversible belts, more versatile.

Handbags – no logo or hard wear. When you find the perfect handbag treat it with respect. NEVER put it on the floor.    It unhygienic, adds wear to your handbag and increases your dry cleaning bills.

Dark jeans.  They’re always more flattering and smarter, no matter what cut you choose.  Don’t even think of wearing your smart, dark jeans with running shoes!   Dark jeans look fabulous with a white t-shirt and blazer.   Or top your jeans with a silk shirt for a great evening look. They give you the most bang for your fashion buck.

Wear fewer white shirts, try jewel colours instead.

Shoes.  This can be a little tricky but for dressing up  you need black  and skin-toned shoes.  Pointed toe shoes elongate your legs and we all want long legs.   For casual wear a classic loafer or ankle boots (no hard wear or embellishments).

It’s important to feel confident and relaxed about what you are wearing.  It’s you people are interest in, but it’s also fun to dress up a bit –   after all, when are you going to, if now now?







August 2019

French women have a saying “Vieillir un Privilége”  – To age is a privilege.    There is an art to aging well and dressing with style.    With advancing age great adventures begin.    Embrace them and be bold.  Be adventuresome.  Dazzle yourself and the world.    At this time of our lives dare to do anything you like and do it worth audacity.  This  ritual of dressing.  This dressing for life.  These years belong to you.  Life is short, make every moment count.

Less is less. More is not quite enough. Good taste is overrated.  Don’t wear beige.

Never, never live home without lipstick.

Determine what looks good on you and wear a variation every day.

To grow old is a privilege.  Flaunt a life well lived.  Do it with style.

And sex: never give up on it, in what ever shape or form.  It keeps the roses in your cheeks and the gleam in your eyes.

(Over six decades of being a fashion maven  has influenced my style of dressing.  I appreciate timeless, classic style. I  wear fashions I bought 45 years ago.   When in doubt I ask myself “what would Chanel wear”.   I dislike leggings.  They are simply tights with the feet cut off.  Tattoos.    Gray hair coloured with patches of pink or mauve.    They do  nothing for any women, but I defend to the end their right to their choices.)


The silver scissors cut her hair so she could fly away.

The owl had found his own true love.

He said good bye to the pussy-cat

And gave her a ten pound note.

Invest it wisely, but not in bonds.

She left the pea-green boat in tears.

The Golden Maiden and the Two-Timing owl

Sailed away for year and a day.

The romance couldn’t last.

He never cut his nails.

(Greeting card on card-stock with images gleaned from old masters and other  secret sources.)

MYSTERY FLOWER IN THE WILD GARDEN . . . what is its name?

Bel’Occhio’s Wild Flower Garden

The mystery flower.   It flaunts its beauty and seduces the bees, then as the sun sets  tightly folds it blossoms and disappears.

It was the long talk with my friend, Oswald, gentleman rabbit,  that gave me the idea for this garden.  He is a master gardener and is responsible for all things growing.  He voiced his concern about the challenges facing bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.  Pesticides, climate change,  and the disappearances of their habitats in rural areas have drastically reduced their population.

We took a third of our vegetable garden and dedicated  it to wild flowers .   I thought I would  have some  dainty flowers growing wild and free in the breeze.   A few bees and butterflies, and the occasional hummingbird doing what they do best.    This outrageous, flamboyant display was a wonderful surprise and I am thrilled beyond belief.  It is my secret garden,  hidden from public viewing in the  quiet privacy of our vegetable garden.

Today I discovered  a brilliant, sapphire blue flower.  It took my breath away.   I searched my garden books but haven’t discovered its name.  I hope someone will know.

The mystery flower.



I have a wild flower garden.   It’s a secret garden.  A garden where bees, butterflies and hummingbirds quietly go about their business in calm privacy.  It is surrounded by hay fields.  Near by are ditches filled with water and grassy thickets and brambles.

This spring I took almost half of our vegetable garden and sowed it with wild flowers.    I filled it with annuals, biennials and perennials.   Bees are especially drawn to  blue, purple and yellow flowers.   

The bees love these single petal flowers.  They hum songs of happiness as they fly from blossom to blossom.  Occasionally makings forays into the vegetable garden for flavours or oregano and mint.  This is their secret magic world.  A garden of earthly delights for bees.

My wild flowers flaunt outrageous colors .  Waving gossamer petals to entice butterflies and hummingbirds to dine on their nectar .

I’ve added extra flower seeds to my wild flower mixture.  Lots of flamboyant poppies and delicious blue and pink bachelor buttons.  Their bright colours catch the attention of hummingbirds and butterflies.

The wild flower garden is rather like  Christmas.  Early in the morning, when the dew still sparkles on the cobwebs in the grass, I stroll out to the garden.  There’s always a new surprise for the contents of the wild flower mixture are not listed.  They are yours to discover one by one.  I never take flowers from the bee garden.  I don’t dead head.  It is their sanctuary.

I’ve close planted the flowers creating   a brilliant  kaleidoscope of colour.  The garden  is in full sun from morning to evening.    It is a garden of joy.    A small thing , this garden for bees, butterflies and hummingbird, but incredibly important to our environment.

It is estimated one out of every three bites of food we take is made possible by bees and other pollinating wild life.  Food and shelter for bees allows them to nest and increase their population in safety.

My secret bee garden.  Oswald, the master gardener would approve.  He understands the need for a rabbit proof fence.








The other day my favourite local grocery store featured organic lemons twenty five cents each.  A bargain.  I filled my shopping bag  with a couple of dozen of these little darlings to make PRESERVED LEMONS.

PRESERVED LEMONS are one of the indispensable ingredients of Moroccan cooking.  I use it not just in tagines or with lamb and chicken I add the lemons to salads and vegetable dishes and use the pickling juice in salad dressings.  No matter what some food writers  say  their unique pickled taste and silken texture cannot be duplicated with fresh lemon or lime juice.

The important thing in preserving lemons is to cover them with salted lemon juice.  You can use the lemon juice over and over again.   Preserved lemons are not complicated to make.  You partially slice the lemons.  Jam them into sterilized jars, add a few spices if desired and freshly squeezed lemon juice,   You let the lemons ripen in a warm place for thirty days, shaking the jar each day to distribute the salt and juice.     To use simply rinse the lemons as needed under running water, removing and discarding the pulp, if desired.

I have preserved lemons with olive oil but I prefer this recipe from  Paula Wolfert’s book on Morocco food.    Join me in MRS.BUTTERFINGERS kitchen  for this exotic recipe for PRESERVED LEMONS.

JAPANESE TREE PEONIES – the brightest star in the garden

Once upon a time (all good stories begin with once upon a time)  many centuries ago a delicate tree grew in China.

The flowers on this tree were so magnificent, so unusual only the Emperor of China was allowed to possess a tree peony.

These  tree peonies would live up to one hundred years, but  they could never be moved for they would die.

Beauty such as this could not be held captive by one man.

In the eighth century the royal court of China shared these blossoms with Japan.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote “if the stars should appear but one night every thousand years how man would marvel and stare”.

Truly the Japanese Tree Peony is the star in this garden.    Blossoms,  heavy with fragrance and the size of dinner plate, fill one with rapturous, delirious delight.

One can only stand

and stare

and marvel.