Reading roundup 01/02/23

Welcome to the first Reading Roundup post for February!

I have been struggling to read even ebooks over the last few weeks. My various health issues have been flaring up and these, together with difficult family matters, have resulted in a lack of ability to concentrate on reading books. I have been able to read online, but have found it too difficult to follow and remember complex plots and character names.

So, I only have one book to write about today. This is it…

Empire in Black and Gold by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Regular visitors to my Wednesday posts will know that I am a huge fan of Adrian Tchaikovsky’s books. So far, I have read most of his science fiction works and have praised them on here and Goodreads. A short time ago, I decided to try his earlier fantasy writing and Empire in Black and Gold, #01 Shadows of the Apt, was the book that I chose.

Here is the blurb:

“The days of peace are over . . .

The city states of the Lowlands have lived in peace and prosperity for decades: bastions of civilization and sophistication. That peace is about to end.

In far-off corners, an ancient Empire has been conquering city after city with its highly trained armies and sophisticated warmaking . . . And now it’s set its sights on a new prize.

Only the ageing Stenwold Maker, spymaster, artificer and statesman, can see the threat. It falls upon his shoulders to open the eyes of his people – as soon a tide will sweep down over the Lowlands and burn away everything in its path.

But first he must stop himself from becoming the Empire’s latest victim.”

I finished reading the book a few minutes ago and wrote the following response on Goodreads with a rating of four out of five stars:

Empire in Black and Gold (Shadows of the Apt, #1)Empire in Black and Gold by Adrian Tchaikovsky
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an enjoyable read that improved as the story unfolded. I struggled with it a bit at the beginning. Getting used to the strange insect/human crossovers was quite odd to start with, but the characters began to interest me more and more as the plot became increasingly exciting. As is usual with this brilliant author, his amazing imagination is fully on display in this book. I felt so drawn in to his world.

I understand that there are ten books in the series, which will keep me going for a while! On the whole, I prefer Tchaikovsky’s science fiction writing, but, perhaps this series will win me over. After all, these are his earlier books.

View all my reviews

As I read more books in the series, I will take a break now and then with other books, otherwise it might drive some of you lovely visitors away! I had better go and see what is waiting for me on the Library ebook app…

Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Monday post 30/01/23: it’s good to be back!

Welcome back everyone! This last week has flown by and I am now ready to resume the usual blogging schedule. The visit from Younger Son was very productive as well as generally lovely. All three of my “chaps” worked very hard to clear out accumulated clutter from the shed, house and garage. Unfortunately, the skip wasn’t quite big enough, so we will have to repeat the process later in the year. Still, it has been very good for us to clear away so much.

I wasn’t able to help to the extent I would have liked. Mind you, it was probably for the best! I find it so difficult to throw anything away. I get particularly sentimental about items from when my sons were children or from happier days when Lovely Husband and I were fitter and stronger. Strangely enough, I was pleased when several people asked to take things from the skip. At least those items will be used. It just means that the things that remain are truly unwanted and really rubbish!

Now, I will cheer myself up with a lovely image:

Screenshot of post by Archaeology and Art from Facebook – accessed 14/01/23

That carving is utterly amazing, isn’t it?

Back again on Wednesday for this week’s Reading Roundup post.

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Taking a short break 24/01/23

OK, I don’t usually post on a Tuesday, but I just want to inform regular visitors that I am taking a break from the blog until Monday 30/01/23. Younger Son is visiting to help us do a huge clearout of all the clutter we have accumulated in the shed, garage and house over the last few years. I also want to spend some time with him.

I will leave you with this…

Screenshot from @ArysPan on Twitter – accessed 31/12/22

Goodbye for now!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Scarf of the moment: Robe Légère

Well, I don’t think that this has ever happened to me during my “romance” with Hermès scarves! I usually look carefully at the threads on the Purse Forum as a new season unfolds, watching for the first clear images of each design in all of its colourways. Then something seems to click for me. One or two scarves stay in my mind and I start to think of how I might wear them and with which clothing and jewellery. Eventually, my choice becomes clear and then I pounce.

At the beginning of the Autumn/Winter 2022 I did pounce! The scarf that I chose was Sous le Charme d’Orphée by Alice Shirley (see the Scarf of the Moment post), but another began to ease its way into my mind. I kept noticing the lovely modelling photos on tPF and occasionally checked the Hermès website to see the different colourways in stock. Then, just before the price increase hit the UK on January 1st, I placed my order for…

Robe Légère, designed by Théo de Gueltzl, 90cm, silk twill, colourway #05 rose hortensia/bleu/vert, Ref. H003904S 05.

Description

The scarf is a beautiful floral design. Against a plain background, a magical horse made from flowers rears up proudly. The blooms fly away from its mane and hooves in colourful array. The horse’s body makes a strong diagonal across the background with blossoms in the blank spaces. On the smaller sizes, just the head is shown.

The background colour of my chosen colourway, #05, is a gorgeous soft pink with a contrast hem in a slightly darker shade. The flowers are in subtle, muted hues of a darker pink, blue, green, yellow and teal. The effect is very light, springlike and joyful.

The whole design is a contrast between energy, strength, excitement and beauty, whimsy, gaiety.

Colourways

These are the colourways for the Autumn/Winter 2022 silk twill 90cm scarves. I have added in the codes to help those of you who wish to purchase this scarf. Further down the post, you will find the colourways for the 45cm gavroche size and also the beautiful and special embroidered 45cm and 90cm versions.

Please note: as I have compiled this post very late in the scarf season, the images below have been taken from a variety of sources and, therefore, are not all of the same size. Do check the sizes written below each section.

These are the colourways for the 45cm gavroche silk scarves – Autumn/Winter 2022 season.

Here are the special embroidered versions of this design for the Autumn/Winter 2022 season:

Design story

This has been taken from the Hermès website:

Robe Légère design story

Details

Here are some closeups of my scarf in a slideshow format:

How I wear the scarf

As I have only just bought the scarf, I have not had much opportunity to wear it, however, I have made one collage. I think this will look great with my navy items and, perhaps, with silver grey. In addition, I was thrilled when I bought a pink jumper from Lands’ End and discovered that it toned beautifully with this scarf. What luck!

Outfit of the day 09/01/23 with Hermès’ Robe Légère

Scarf ties

I have tried on this scarf in a variety of ways. At the moment, as it is so new, the silk fabric is very crisp and stiff so doesn’t fall easily into soft folds. Anyway, you can get the general idea of how it looks when worn. The scarf rings are by MaiTai.

Robe Légère scarf ties

I honestly did try to take decent photos without my face showing! Unfortunately, I simply couldn’t get the light/colour balance right. Anyway, you can see the following tied, clockwise from the top left: asymmetric wrap, criss-cross knot, necklace knot, cowl knot, half bow knot, cowboy cowl knot, and simple bias fold.

Background information

There is some information about the designer of the scarf, Théo de Gueltzl:

Théo de Gueltzl 
https://www.theodegueltzl.com/
His official site, with plenty of his art works. I found this rather difficult to navigate!

Creative Exchange Agency: Théo de Gueltzl 
https://cxainc.com/artist/theo-de-gueltzl/biography/
Linked information about the artist and designer with biographical details and images of the scarf.

Found Fashion: The story behind the Hermès Robe Légère embroidered scarf
https://found-fashion.com/blogs/news/the-story-behind-the-hermes-robe-legere-embroidered-scarf
Short but interesting article.

It may also be worth looking at his Instagram posts. Théo de Gueltzl collaborated on the Hermès scarf A L’Ombre des Pivoines with Octave Marsal. I have written a Scarf of the Moment post about this scarf as I bought it a few years ago.

Here are a couple of videos about the Robe Légère design:

Watch this next one from 3.44 to see the Robe Légère 90cm size. This series of videos also has further sections about the design in other formats:


I hope readers have found this exploration of Robe Légère both interesting and useful. Once again, if you find any errors or have any additional information that I could add, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Friday post 20/01/23: with even more scarves!

This has been a rollercoaster kind of week: some terrible, difficult days and some peaceful, quiet days. Lovely Husband and I are quite worn out both physically and emotionally. Some good news is that Younger Son is visiting from next Monday with a view to helping us sort out a lot of household issues. We have hired a skip in readiness!

All of this has exhausted me and I have had to spend a lot of time in bed recovering. I have managed to get dressed on a couple of occasions and these are the scarves that I wore with a navy merino/cashmere v-neck from WoolOvers:

The red velour scarf was a birthday present from my sister in 2020. It is so soft, drapes well and the colours are gorgeous. I also wore the earrings from this set by Pilgrim on both days. They were a present from my Mum, many years ago.

The second scarf is, of course, my new one from Hermès: Robe Légère, tied in a criss-cross knot using a MaiTai enamel scarf ring in gold and navy. I don’t think I need to post a larger image again, do I? Oh, I will anyway…

Robe Légère by Hermès

Yes, I’m in love with this scarf and am enjoying trying out different knots. At the moment, I am working on its Scarf of the Moment post, which I hope to have ready to publish very soon.

With Younger Son visiting next week I may be too busy to write blog posts, or have to keep them short. We will see. Anyway, I do hope that you all have a good weekend, whatever your situation.

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Reading roundup 18/01/23

Well, I have a confession to make this week: I haven’t finished a book! Not one. Even a short one…

Oh dear!

I started three different books. Three. But the first two simply didn’t work for me, even though I read around thirty pages each time before I gave up. The third is OK, but I have been very distracted by life and, therefore, to tired and unable to concentrate.

So, I will have to sign off!

Happy Reading to you all,

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Monday post 16/01/23: hitting the sales!

Welcome to this new week on my blog. Today’s post is about my haul from the January sales. Specifically, the Lands’ End sale. I had saved up some money for this as I needed some particular items. Before I went on the Lands’ End site, I had a good look around my usual places: John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s Tu etc., but I couldn’t find the items I wanted.

Anyway, here they are…

The haul:

  • Two sets of cotton jersey pyjamas: there wasn’t much colour choice left in my size, but I think these are nice. I definitely needed some warm but fairly light weight pyjamas and these are just right. Stretchy cotton jersey was also a must.
  • Slippers: these are the third pair in this style that I have bought over the years. They are suede and have strong soles that you can wear for a quick trip outdoors (between the kitchen and the freezer in the garage in my case). I would have preferred plain navy, but those were sold out and I didn’t like the brown ones!
  • Jumper: this was an unexpected find. On its arrival, I loved the colour and was amazed to see that it is a shade darker than my new pink Hermès scarf, Robe Légère! What luck!

…or would it be too much pink?

Here is the scarf as a reminder:

Robe Légère by Hermès

And this is my attempt to photograph the jumper and the scarf together. Unfortunately, the light in my bedroom made the colours look a bit too warm, but, hopefully, you can see that they go together…

Lands’ End jumper with Hermès’ Robe Légère scarf

Now, I think some lovely flower earrings would be nice with this outfit! What do you think? And what colour should I look for? I would really appreciate your ideas.

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Friday post 13/01/23: with a range of scarves!

I almost didn’t post today! We have had a difficult couple of days and I am now exhausted and in pain from pulling a muscle in my side. I won’t go into the background story very much, but will simply say that it involved an unpleasant medical procedure for Lovely Husband, a bad reaction from Elder Son and some unnecessary and painful physical work for me. LH is now recovering well, ES has calmed down and I am sitting up in bed feeling a bit better and trying to write something coherent for today’s post.

This week, I decided to kind of travel from one end to the other through my scarf collection. I rummaged through my cheaper scarves and selected some pretty ones and then went to the other extreme, for contrast. It was a fun exercise to do and really reminded me that all kinds of scarves can lift a basic outfit.

Here they are…

Once again, I wore them with navy clothing, but selected different earrings that toned with each scarf. I don’t have close up photos of the first two, but this is a larger modelling photo and a large image of the third scarf, Liberty of London’s cashmere/silk, 140cm, Hera in a range of blues, pink and mauve:

Outfit of the day 12/01/23 with Liberty of London’s Hera shawl

And this is the shawl in all its glory!

Hera cashmere/silk shawl by Liberty of London

On Monday, I have some sale purchases to show you with some unexpected good luck! Until then, I wish you all a very Happy Weekend.

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Reading roundup 11/01/23

Welcome to the first books of the new year! I have set my Reading Challenge goal for 2024 on Goodreads and have finished two books this week…

2023 Reading Challenge on Goodreads

I decided to stick with 60 books, even though I exceeded this number last year. It’s only for fun and I don’t want to feel any pressure to meet the target.

Here’s the first book of 2023:

Girl, Forgotten by Karin Slaughter

The first book was Girl, Forgotten by Karin Slaughter, #02 Andrea Oliver series. Here is the blurb:

A small town hides a big secret…

Who killed Emily Vaughn?

“A girl with a secret…

Longbill Beach, 1982. Emily Vaughn gets ready for the prom. For an athlete, who is smart, pretty and well-liked, this night that should be the highlight of her high school career. But Emily has a secret. And by the end of the evening, that secret will be silenced forever.

An unsolved murder…

Forty years later, Emily’s murder remains a mystery. Her tight-knit group of friends closed ranks; her respected, wealthy family retreated inwards; the small town moved on from her grisly attack. But all that’s about to change.

One final chance to uncover a killer…

US Marshal Andrea Oliver arrives in Longbill Beach on her first assignment: to protect a judge receiving death threats. But, in reality, Andrea is there to find justice for Emily. The killer is still out there – and Andrea must discover the truth before she gets silenced, too…”

I read the first book in this series back in 2018, so I must admit that I had virtually totally forgotten the plot, which was a bit of a problem as I began to read this book. Anyway, this is my response on Goodreads:

Girl, Forgotten (Andrea Oliver, #2)Girl, Forgotten by Karin Slaughter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a sequel, unfortunately I couldn’t remember much about the first book and I was quite grateful that Slaughter signposted some of the plot! I did enjoy this book, although I didn’t feel that it was one of her best. The book improved as I read on and became quite exciting in the second half. The chapters set in the 80s were very sad and upsetting, reminding me of how much things have improved.

I will certainly read Slaughter’s next book and am glad to see that she is returning to the world of Will Trent!

View all my reviews

I was excited to see that a television series based on Slaughter’s Will Trent books is now airing, but despite having several streaming platforms, it is not available on any that I subscribe to! What a shame.

Now, let’s turn to the second book of the week…

The Heron’s Cry by Ann Cleeves

I was quite excited when this book came up in our library’s ebook listing: The Heron’s Cry by Ann Cleeves, #02 Two Rivers. I had read the first book in the series, The Long Call, back in 2020 and enjoyed it immensely, as I have Cleeves’ other books. Anyway, let’s look first at the blurb:

“North Devon is enjoying a rare hot summer with tourists flocking to its coastline. Detective Matthew Venn is called out to a rural crime scene at the home of a group of artists. What he finds is an elaborately staged murder–Dr Nigel Yeo has been fatally stabbed with a shard of one of his glassblower daughter’s broken vases.

Dr. Yeo seems an unlikely murder victim. He’s a good man, a public servant, beloved by his daughter. Matthew is unnerved, though, to find that she is a close friend of Jonathan, his husband.

Then another body is found–killed in a similar way. Matthew soon finds himself treading carefully through the lies that fester at the heart of his community and a case that is dangerously close to home…”

Now, this is my review:

The Heron's Cry (Two Rivers, #2)The Heron’s Cry by Ann Cleeves
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is more of a 3.5 really. Whilst I did enjoy the book, the characters were well written and the locations and plot were interesting, I found the whole thing far too long. I have read a lot of Cleeves’ other books and found them far better. If a further book is written in the series, I will almost definitely read it, but I hope that she can be a little more succinct!

View all my reviews

Once again, I must apologise for the brevity of my responses to each book. I don’t suppose they deserve to be called reviews really. However, whilst I am really pleased that I get visitors to these Reading Roundup posts, I write them for my own amusement and to have a record of what I am reading. Also, I don’t want to put any pressure on myself to write at length or to achieve a certain quality in my writing. I compile this blog now to try to exercise my brain since I retired and particularly since I had the stroke in 2019. So, thank you to those of you who do respond – it is really appreciated and I hope that you do get something useful or entertaining from these posts!

Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne 

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Monday post 09/01/23: with a beautiful reveal!

Welcome to the first post of a new week. I have something lovely for you today. You may remember that I bought one scarf from the Hermès Autumn/Winter 2022 season, at the beginning: Sous Le Charme d’Orphée, designed by Alice Shirley. To be honest, I really didn’t like anything else at all. But then one design started to work its way into my consciousness…

OK, I succumbed at the very end of the season, just before January’s huge price increase, and here is the reveal:

Isn’t this gorgeous? And this was the special scarf box for the Christmas market. Below is the image from the Hermès website and then a very quick modelling photo (I hadn’t even removed the label!):

Robe Légère by Théo de Gueltzl for Hermès
Robe Légère by Hermès in an asymmetric wrap

The scarf is called Robe Légère, in 90cm silk twill, designed by Théo de Gueltzl for Hermès. The colourway is Rose Hortensia/Bleu/Vert and the shopping code is H003904S 05. I will try to take some proper modelling photos as soon as I am able. Then I will post a couple on tPF and on here, and also compile a Scarf of the Moment post.

Now, about the price increase. Please bear in mind that I am only writing about H scarves and shawls. I have no knowledge of the company’s policies for other items, such as handbags or jewellery, etc.

Every year, at some time in January, Hermès adjusts their prices. Some years, many of the new Spring/Summer designs become available in the UK just before the increase and I have been able to purchase my early choices at the old price. The adjustment is made across all of the scarves in stock online, whether or not they are the most recent or older designs. Very rarely the price actually drops!

Anyway, something “spoke” to me on the 30th of December and I decided to order the scarf I had been thinking about for a few weeks. It’s just as well because the price increase arrived on January 1st and was huge! Hermès is already really expensive and I can only afford to buy scarves because I don’t have many other calls on my “pocket” money. I can’t socialise with friends or go to the cinema, for example, or take yoga classes or go to the gym, as I used to. Instead, I invest in these beautiful, wearable, works of art that lift my spirits.

So, this year I will be working my way through my gorgeous collection of Hermès, Ferragamo, Liberty of London, Fetolia and other scarves – “shopping my wardrobe”, as they say. In fact, today I am wearing an incredibly cheap and cheerful scarf and it looks lovely! I will show it to you in Friday’s post.

I do hope you have enjoyed reading this post as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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P.S. Just a reminder that you can find more information about the amazing Sous Le Charme d’Orphée double-face scarf in the Scarf of the Moment profile.

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