Update 21/09/20

I had thought about not posting at all today. Once again, the sun is shining but I am feeling too afraid to leave my bedroom, so I don’t really have much to write about. The days are becoming very monotonous and, if I write about that, I am sure you will be totally switched off!

So, I’m going to drop some hints that there will definitely be some finished books to tell you about in Wednesday’s Reading Roundup and maybe some purchases to show you and another event to write about in Friday’s post!

Until then, I will try to be as positive as I can and I hope you have some great weather to enjoy wherever you may be.

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Update 18/09/20 with good and bad news

So, which do you want first? I think that I will give you the good news:

Back in April, I announced on here that one of my favourite sellers of boots, Duo Boots, was closing. If you remember, I have bought several pairs over the years, including my most-beloved purple boots. Anyway, I have just received an email to say that they are reopening very soon with some new designs – hooray! You can read more on their blog here.

Purple suede boots by Duo Boots

The sad news is that Once Upon A Belt is closing. A few years ago I discovered this wonderful source of belts and bought quite a few, with interchangeable buckles. Unfortunately for me, my waist has somewhat expanded since then and I cannot wear belts any more. Even so, I was sad to read that this excellent online shop is closing. I do hope that the owners are OK in the future.

Wishing you all a good weekend!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Reading roundup 16/09/20

Well, I have a confession to make: I haven’t managed to finish a book this week! I have been really struggling with my health and haven’t had the necessary concentration. Instead, I am about half way through my book – Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber.

Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber

I will give you my verdict in next week’s Reading Roundup post.

Until then: Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Update 14/09/20 with the most fabulous scarf!

Before I write anything more, I must say that this stupendously beautiful scarf is totally beyond my level! There is no way that I would spend this much money on an accessory, even if I had this much money to play with. So, what is it?

Here we have what Hermès call an “Exceptional” scarf: Plumes en Fête by Aline Honoré  (REF: H593433S 02) 90×90. As you can see, it is made of silk and covered with beads, sequins and embroidery, which apparently took over 135 hours to complete by hand. It is, at the time of writing, currently available for $4850 on the US website! Wow!!!

These are the images:

Just imagine being able to wear this amazing scarf and the kind of occasion where it would be appropriate. Mind you, if I owned this I would wear it with jeans and a t-shirt, just to get my money’s worth.

Or even with a dressing gown. Silk, of course – not fluffy fleece!!!

Anyway, I will add the scarf image to my Scarf of the Moment post about Plumes en Fête as soon as I have finished this post.

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Update 11/09/20 with something new!

I just cannot resist sales! The problem with using an iPad all day – to watch TV and films, to read books, to surf the web – is that I have such easy access to temptation. I try to resist, in fact this week I deleted myself from several mailing lists, but boredom and weakness set in and I fall.

As regulars will know by now, I have a love of colour. I have worked out a wardrobe plan, thanks mainly to The Vivienne Files website, that gives me grey and navy as my staple colours against which I can wear more vivid shades as accent colours, such as purple, pink, and cobalt. Variations of turquoise and teal are also amongst my favourites. So, when I saw these particular loafers in the sale on the Lands’ End site, well…

Suede loafers in Paradise Teal by Lands’ End

… I just had to get them! Aren’t they a gorgeous colour? I think I will wear them with navy or grey outfits with, maybe, a more subdued scarf or plainer jewellery and just let the colour sing out.

Of course, as I hardly ever leave the house at the moment, they may have to be worn as “posh” slippers!

What do you think about styling these shoes? Would you wear some other bright clothing or accessories with them? I would love to know.

Happy Weekend to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Reading roundup 09/09/20

I got myself into a bit of a muddle with my reading this week. This is what happened…

Feeling bored, I had a look through the ebook catalogue on our Public Library’s app and chose a few to download, purely based on hunches. Amongst them was my first read of the week: Dana Stabenow’s No Fixed Line.

No Fixed Line by Dana Stabenow

…I didn’t notice that it is #22 in her Kate Shugak series! Yes, the twenty-second book!

Now, this is really basic stuff and I should know better – more about this later in the post. Anyway, here is the blurb:

… though there is no fixed line between wrong and right,
There are roughly zones whose laws must be obeyed.

It is New Year’s Eve, nearly six weeks into an off-and-on blizzard that has locked Alaska down, effectively cutting it off from the outside world.

But now there are reports of a plane down in the Quilak mountains. With the National Transportation Safety Board unable to reach the crash site, ex-Trooper Jim Chopin is pulled out of retirement to try to identify the aircraft, collect the corpses, and determine why no flight has been reported missing. But Jim discovers survivors: two children who don’t speak a word of English.

Meanwhile, PI Kate Shugak receives an unexpected and unwelcome accusation from beyond the grave, a charge that could change the face of the Park forever.

This is my rather muddled response to the book, as posted on Goodreads:

No Fixed Line (Kate Shugak #22)No Fixed Line by Dana Stabenow
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It was rather stupid of me to choose a book which is 22nd in a series, without having read any of the others. So it was my own fault that I felt quite lost at times with the plot, characters and settings. There seemed to be so many people, relationships and situations to get to know!

What I did enjoy was the wonderful descriptions of Alaska which has led this semi-rural English woman to find out more about the state’s geography and history. I also had to do some basic research about the Aleuts. Many of the characters were also interesting, especially Kate herself and her dog Mutt.

As for the plot: much of this was also a little confusing, but it kept my interest to the point that I have downloaded a lot more of the books so that I can start properly with the first one!

View all my reviews

A Cold Day for Murder by Dana Stabenow

OK, so that was the first part of this post – now to the second part. I then turned to the first book in the series: A Cold Day for Murder. First we have the blurb:

Somewhere in the hinterlands of Alaska, among the millions of sprawling acres that comprise “The Park,” a young National Park Ranger has gone missing. When the detective sent after him also vanishes, the Anchorage DA’s department must turn to their reluctant former investigator, Kate Shugak. Shugak knows The Park because she’s of The Park, an Aleut who left her home village of Niniltna to pursue education, a career, and justice in an unjust world. Kate’s search for the missing men will take her from self-imposed exile back to a life she’d left behind, and face-to-face with people and problems she’d hoped never to confront again.

I think I was even more confused by my response to this book:

A Cold Day For Murder (Kate Shugak #1)A Cold Day For Murder by Dana Stabenow
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I found this book rather strange in some ways. The main character, Kate Shugak, has a lot more of a back story than usual, for a first book. In fact her past sometimes seems to be more interesting then the events she is involved with in the present! I wonder if the author will eventually let us know more?

The descriptions of Alaska were amazing and the hard life of the people living there was well-drawn. As a complete outsider, I did find some of this quite difficult to follow, but I intend to read more of the books to see where the author will lead us. I could have done with a list of characters as I became rather confused as I read on. There is such a sense of melancholy in the book that left me with a feeling of sadness when I finally finished the book.

View all my reviews

So, I have now finished two books in a very long series and have not rated them higher than three stars. I have to admit that in a very mad or weak moment I actually bought ebooks 1-9! Why did I do that? I’m not at all sure. Anyway, I will take a break from Alaska and choose something quite different for my next book.

I hope!

Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Update 07/09/20

I am going to spend some time this afternoon answering comments and updating a couple of older posts. First of all, I must apologise once again for being so tardy with replying to your kind remarks. I was always a dreadful procrastinator at the best of times, but now, with my memory issues, I am even worse!

Today’s outfit consists of pyjamas and a cardigan – so not at all suitable for displaying on here! I will try to dress in nicer outfits on my “good” days. After all, these lovely accessories which I am so fortunate to be able to afford, should be worn and not languish in drawers, boxes and cupboards.

Along with regular reading, I watch a few programmes on Amazon Prime every day simply to change things around. Over the last few months, I have been binge watching Grey’s Anatomy. I wonder why I missed this when it was first aired in the UK? I have now reached season 15 and have really enjoyed the journey. It has been interesting to see how the actors who have stayed with the whole series from the beginning have aged. I am not sure what to select next when I get to the end!

Right, I had better get on with some other tasks. Elder Son has asked me to hand sew some items for him. This will be quite interesting to do with my, er, eyesight “challenges”!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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PS. A kind follower of the blog posted a link to this lovely video, which I have linked below, in case you didn’t see her comment:

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Outfit of the day 04/09/20

The weather has been pretty dreary so far today: grey and cloudy, with a slight feeling of damp in the air. Despite that, I have been feeling quite upbeat and so decided to put together a nice outfit in greenish turquoise and blue…

Outfit of the day 04/09/20 with Liberty’s Aurora pocket square

Today’s outfit:

  • Surf green crew neck cotton top – Lands’ End.
  • Navy linen-mix trousers – Isle Clothing.
  • Cobalt crystal and silver earrings – Sonrisa Boutique.
  • Turquoise enamel and rose gold skinny Star bangle – Halcyon Days (no image).
  • Blue and gold Agama bangle – Halcyon Days.
  • Navy suede, white soled Daisy shoes – Hotter.
  • Blue and white silk gavroche – Aurora – Liberty of London. Tied in a simple cowboy knot.

I wore this cute pocket square with similar accessories earlier this year, Outfit of the day 24/07/20, but I think that the splash of turquoise/sea green really lifts the whole ensemble to a new level! I wish I had the matching cardigan, but this was an early Lands’ End sale purchase made before I realised that they existed.

The Ianthe design on Liberty’s website

Oh, one more thing before I sign off. I saw this page on the Liberty of London website this week. There is some information about my favourite Ianthe pattern, including an advert for a new range of canvas bags, which I won’t be purchasing. Canvas, at those prices!!! I will, however, add the useful pieces of information about the design to my Ianthe page on this site. I will try to do this over the weekend, together with some other necessary blog admin.

OK, I think that is enough from me – Happy Weekend!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Reading roundup 02/09/20

After the intense excitement of the two books I wrote about last week, I turned the dial down a bit! I finished two books, about which I will tell you more in a minute. They were both very different but also enjoyable in their own way.

Into the Fire by Greg Andrew Hurwitz

I have already read some of the books in the Orphan X series, but my library’s ebook selection doesn’t seem to have all of them. Author Greg Andrew Hurwitz has said that this book, Into the Fire (Orphan X #05), will be the last in the series – well, we shall see.

First of all, here is the blurb:

Orphan X returns—facing his own uncertain future and undertaking one last mission.

Taken from a group home at age twelve, Evan Smoak was trained as an off-the-books government assassin: Orphan X. After breaking with the Program, he reinvented himself as The Nowhere Man, a figure shrouded in shadows who helps the truly desperate. But the government didn’t let go of him easily, sending their best to hunt him down and eliminate him. All of them failed. With his deadliest enemies behind him, Evan is facing a new challenge—what is he going to do now that no one is after him?

Max Merriweather is at the end of his rope. Separated from the woman he loves and barely scraping by, Max is a disappointment to everyone in his life. Then his very successful cousin Grant is brutally murdered. Two months before, Grant left Max an envelope with instructions to take it to a reporter if anything happened to him. Now the reporter is missing and Max’s apartment is ransacked. A man at the end of his rope, he calls The Nowhere Man.

With mixed feelings, Evan takes on this mission, easily finding the men who are after Max and executing a plan to keep him safe. But it isn’t as obvious as it seems—and Evan finds himself enmeshed in one of the most challenging missions of his life, one that he can’t survive on his own. With the help of Joey Morales, a genius-level hacker and the last Orphan recruited into the Program, and the brilliant, off-the-books gunsmith, Tommy Stojack, Orphan X once more heads…Into the Fire.

And here is my quick review on Goodreads:

Into the Fire (Orphan X #5)Into the Fire by Gregg Andrew Hurwitz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a good, gripping and exciting read. I have read others in the series and enjoyed them all, you just have to take them with a pinch of salt and not take them too seriously!

With this book, you almost have three tales wrapped up in one – I won’t say any more about that as it would give too much away, but be prepared for the tension to keep being ratcheted up, over and over again.

This is supposed to be the final part of the series, but with a hero like this, can an author resist writing more?

Perhaps it is all Smoak and mirrors!

View all my reviews

Long Range by C J Box

After this book I had a previously reserved one waiting for me in my library account: C J Box’s Long Range (Joe Pickett #20). I have now read all of this series, except for one that I am trying to track down – the library ebook service seems to have overlooked it. Anyway, this is the blurb:

Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett must investigate an attempted murder–a crime committed from a confoundingly long distance.

When Joe Pickett is asked to join the rescue efforts for the victim of a startling grizzly attack, he reluctantly leaves his district behind. One survivor of the grizzly’s rampage tells a bizarre story, but just as Joe begins to suspect the attack is not what it seems, he is brought home by an emergency on his own turf. Someone has targeted a prominent local judge, shooting at him from a seemingly impossible distance. While the judge was not hit, his wife is severely wounded, and it is up to Joe to find answers–and the shooter.

The search for the would-be assassin becomes personal when Joe’s best friend, Nate Romanowski –just as he’s adjusting to the arrival of his first child–falls under suspicion for the crime. It’s a race against the clock as Joe tries to clear Nate’s name and identify the real shooter, all while deciphering the grizzly encounter. Beset by threats both man-made and natural, the two men must go to great lengths to keep their loved ones safe.

I read this book very quickly and came to this verdict:

Long Range (Joe Pickett #20)Long Range by C.J. Box
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sometimes I wonder why I read this series. After all, I live in a small town in the UK. I hate the idea of hunting and am not an outdoors kind of person, being bedridden with illness. But maybe these things are exactly why I read Joe Pickett.

He comes across as a decent character – honest, caring and a man who loves his family. His wife works in a library and uses her research skills to help him solve crimes. How could I not love her, as a former librarian myself? The wonderful descriptions of the landscape and animals that live in it are so compelling to someone whose view of the world is circumscribed by the boundaries of bedroom walls and a window frame.

I read tons of fantasy and SF, so while this book series may be more real to some readers who live in the USA, to me it is as magical or alien as those genres. After all, I don’t tend to balk at swords or giant axes, or flinch at light sabres!

This particular episode in the series was not one of the best, however. I felt that the parts about the grizzly bear were unnecessary padding, although the main plot was better. I wonder how long Box intends to carry on the series – after all, Joe is now in his fifties and is definitely showing his age…

View all my reviews

Right, so that’s all for this week’s Reading Roundup.

Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Update 31/08/20 with an interesting video

I can’t quite believe that it is the end of August already! Time really does whizz past quickly as you get older, even when you are not doing anything very exciting.

Today’s post is about this superb video that my lovely nephew linked on Facebook the other day. He wanted me to tell him my thoughts. Well, I did that and then realised that many of my readers on here would also find it interesting, if you haven’t already seen it. It is such high quality for a YouTube video…

What do you think? OK, I know it is long, but it is well-worth watching and I would love to know your reactions.

Before I sign off, I must admit that I have really got behind with answering comments on here again – apologies. I will try to sort that out tomorrow.

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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