Outfits of the week 22/01/21

Earlier in the week, I spent some time going through my Hermès scarf collection, looking at the ones I haven’t worn for a while and making a pile of those most suitable for winter wear. I intend to work my way through them all and wear them in turn over the next few weeks with nice outfits and jewellery. After all, I bought them to wear not just to look at!

So, my first outfit of the week was this one that I wore on Tuesday with Hermès’ 90cm silk twill, Cosmographia Universalis…

Outfit of the day 19/01/21 with Hermès’ Cosmographia Universalis

My second outfit of the week was based on the Hermès’ men’s cosy wool mix 100cm scarf, Sweet Dreams…

Outfit of the day 20/01/21 with Hermès’ Sweet Dreams

I wore my new loungewear from Marks and Spencer with the first outfit and kept my new pyjama trousers from Lands’ End on with the second. Appropriate knots were tied with each scarf and I found some lovely jewellery too.

As I intend to re-organise my records for the collection, I am spending quite a lot of time moving the 1000s of photos into folders for each scarf. I will then put some of these, plus the purchasing paperwork, into a file to be kept safe in case of disaster!

I think this might take me ages to do, but then I have a lot of free time these days!

Wishing you all a very Happy Weekend…

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Reading roundup 20/01/21

It’s Wednesday again, already! Even though I don’t feel that I am doing very much, time seems to be speeding along very quickly. Perhaps it’s because I have enjoyed reading so much in the last week? Anyway, here is my first book…

Keep Your Eyes on Me by Sam Blake

Keep Your Eyes on Me by Sam Blake was an intriguing book. Here is the blurb:

You won’t be able to look away

When Vittoria Devine and Lily Power find themselves sitting next to each other on a flight to New York, they discover they both have men in their lives whose impact has been devastating. Lily’s family life is in turmoil, her brother left on the brink of ruin by a con man. Vittoria’s philandering husband’s latest mistress is pregnant.

By the time they land, Vittoria and Lily have realised that they can help each other right the balance. But only one of them knows the real story…

I really enjoyed reading this book – it has a similar structure to the famous film “Strangers on a Train. This is the short review that I posted on Goodreads:

Keep Your Eyes On MeKeep Your Eyes On Me by Sam Blake
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a highly entertaining book to read. Yes, I know that the theme has been done before, but this version was a quick and easy read with plenty of mayhem, mystery and murder. I really enjoyed seeing two despicable persons getting their comeuppance!

There were sections of the book which went on a bit too long and, for that reason, I can only give three stars rather than four. I would definitely, however, read more books by Blake as I am sure that I would enjoy them.

View all my reviews

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

My second book of the week was a surprise return to Young Adult fiction: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. First of all, here is the blurb:

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

I read this book pretty quickly as I really immersed myself in the story. Enjoying a YA book  in this way, really took me back to my days as a School Librarian! Anyway, this is my response on Goodreads:

An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1)An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I haven’t been in the world of Young Adult writing for such a long time. So, I am not one of the readers who have been swept up in any hype about this book and the series. In fact, I hadn’t heard about it at all and simply chose it from a serendipitous wandering around our Library Service’s ebook offer.

I found the mix of reviews, love or hate, about the book quite interesting. I myself really enjoyed it. The pace of the plot was swift and exciting, and the characters, in my opinion, were mainly varied. Some of the relationships were also quite nuanced too.

So, if you like a lot of action and excitement, intrigue and plots, you may find that you enjoy this book as an adult! I’m certainly going to try the sequel, when I get to the front of the long queue.

View all my reviews

OK, now we have got to the end of this week’s post and I will sign off, then turn to my ebook app so that I can decide on my next read! See you next week…

Until then… Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Update 18/01/21

I have made quite a few New Year’s resolutions for this year. I probably won’t disclose all of them, but one was to try to help out more with household tasks than I was able to last year. Lovely Husband and Elder Son do as much as they can, but there are some things that simply need me!

So, recently I have been making two To-Do lists, one household and the other personal. Today, I managed to complete a couple from the household list: finally packing up the artificial Christmas tree and changing the spent lightbulbs on the chandelier in the dining room. “Is that all?” you may ask. Yes, it was, but those two jobs have completely finished me off and I am now in bed again. I might manage another such task later, but it depends on whether I feel strong enough.

And whether my “Chaps” feel strong enough to help me balance on the step ladder!

Doing just two items on the list gives me a sense of satisfaction. For a short while, I don’t feel like a useless drag on my family but a fully contributing member.


Onto another New Year’s resolution…

Christmas presents 2020

You may remember that Younger Son gave me a gift of skincare for Christmas. As I am determined to improve the state of my complexion, I asked him for some Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish. I used this for many years during my working days and found it really effective. So, I have now been using this at bedtime for a couple of weeks, together with a nighttime moisturiser and I can already see an improvement. OK, the wrinkles won’t disappear – I am 64! But my face feels much smoother and softer.

My plan is to use up all of the odds and ends from my moisturiser jars before choosing a new one for my skin type as it now is. That will take quite some time as I have so many small jars with little bits of cream left over!

When all that is underway, I will begin to work out a similar plan for the rest of my skin. As someone who had very greasy skin for most of my life (and cursed it regularly), having really dry ageing skin is quite a surprise. It must be tackled before it gets worse!

Right, I think that I have confessed enough for one post! I will now turn to my latest book as I want to finish it before Wednesday’s Reading Roundup post so that I can tell you all about it!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Outfit of the week 15/01/21

Oh dear! I have to confess that I have worn only one “proper” outfit this week and even that was based around loungewear/pyjamas. Yes, I have draped a scarf or a shawl over my shoulders on occasion, but I have spent so much time in bed and have been too weak to dress properly.

The other day, when discussing my scarf collection with Lovely Husband, I happened to mention my first ever Hermès scarf purchase: La Promenade de Platon. Looking through my posts on this blog, I realised that I haven’t worn it for ages! So I decided to wear it today.

This is today’s outfit…

Outfit of the day 15/01/21 with Hermès’ La Promenade de Platon

Putfit of the week:

  • Dark blue lounge rib sweatshirt – Marks and Spencer.
  • Dark blue wide leg lounge trousers – Marks and Spencer.
  • Bronze Art Nouveau style earrings.
  • Silk scarf, 90cm, in turquoise, beige, brick, and purple – La Promenade de Platon – Hermès. Tied in my favourite asymmetric knot. The colours are so bright and cheerful on this typical damp grey winter’s day.

I think that I am going to try to work my way through my Hermès scarf collection and try to wear as many of the winter season designs as I can over the next few weeks. Even if I can only find the strength to pair them with pyjamas or lounge wear, it may make a difference to my mood which can help the general feelings of my family. Too often, my thoughts turn very dark and I don’t want to impose these on my loved ones.

Now, what would be a suitable scarf to wear when I am eventually called for my vaccination. Ideas please for something very cheerful, because I will be celebrating! Well, maybe not until the rest of my family and friends have been vaccinated too.

I wish you all a happy and healthy weekend.

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Reading roundup 13/01/21

In contrast to last week’s post, this one will be about only one book. There is a bit more to say about that, however. When I had finished the first book of the week, I actually started reading, and gave up on, not one but two other books. This was because they turned out to be second books in a series – both of them! I really must get in touch with our Library Service and inform them of this as I am sure that they don’t intend to purchase second and third parts of series and not the first book!

Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson

Anyway, having got that off my chest, I must give you the blurb of the finished book: Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson:

Hen and her husband Lloyd have settled into a quiet life in a new house outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Hen (short for Henrietta) is an illustrator and works out of a studio nearby, and has found the right meds to control her bipolar disorder. Finally, she’s found some stability and peace.

But when they meet the neighbours next door, that calm begins to erode as she spots a familiar object displayed on the husband’s office shelf. The sports trophy looks exactly like one that went missing from the home of a young man who was killed two years ago. Hen knows because she’s long had a fascination with this unsolved murder—an obsession she doesn’t talk about anymore, but can’t fully shake either…

I found the book pretty absorbing. Here is the verdict that I wrote on Goodreads:

Before She Knew HimBefore She Knew Him by Peter Swanson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, if you want a creepy, twisting plot that leaves you puzzled and then hits you with a big surprise, then you must read this!

It is virtually impossible to review this book in any detail because that would give away important parts of the plot. Let me just say that, since my stroke, I have found it very difficult to focus on books and remember the plot from one reading session to the next. Not with this book! I was completely drawn in and totally immersed from the beginning.

I am now going to search out more books by this author – I really hope my library has the ebooks!

What a great start to my 2021 Reading Journey!

View all my reviews

The Catch by T M Logan

I am now about two thirds through another book, which I will write about next week: The Catch by T M Logan. I am really enjoying it so far and have more of Logan’s books on reserve. When I have finished this post, I will read a bit more.

Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Update 11/01/21 with a lovely reveal!

Oh, I am soooooo bad and greedy! Naughty me just couldn’t resist the new season from Hermès after all!

Can you remember  I said, only a few days ago, that I didn’t like any of the new scarves for the Spring/Summer 2021 season? Well, scratch that! I really surprised myself with this choice and here is the reveal…

First, the neat packaging…

Next, the smaller than usual iconic orange box with its Bolduc ribbon tie…

A close-up of the ribbon for this year…

The open box with a hint of the contents. Those are nice colours!

The whole scarf. Now, this is very different from my usual Hermès 90cm silk twill scarves!

This is a close-up photo of the centre of the scarf…

So, what is it? The scarf is a 70cm bandana called Grand Manège Love by Henri d’Origny. The colours are: Bleu Jean, Rose Pâle, Bordeaux. The order number is: H183447S 08.

Basically, over the last few years Hermès have taken some well-loved old favourite designs and re-imaged them in bandana style, in a range of sizes. This has also meant limiting the colour palette, probably to save money, and simplifying the original drawing. In the case of Grand Manège Love Bandana in this colourway, we have a blue/grey shade which is closer to what we in the UK call “Airforce Blue”, a pale pink, a lovely rich and deep red, plus white. I intend to research this more thoroughly before I attempt to write one of my Scarf of the Moment posts as there are multiple versions of the original Grand Manège design in an array of complex colourways. Another comment that I will make about the design now is that this version of the bandana style has replaced dots and circles with hearts, hence the “Love” in the title!

I haven’t worn the scarf yet, so I can’t take any modelling photos. I suppose I could leave it until Valentine’s Day! Anyway, here are the images from the official website…

Grand Manège Love Bandana – H183447S 08

That’s all for now!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Outfit of the week 08/01/21

At least I managed to wear one nice put-together outfit this week! OK, the bottom half was a pair of pyjamas (which I will show you later in the post), but the rest was nice.

Here it is:

Outfit of the day 06/01/21 with Hermès’ Plumes en Fête shawl

Outfit details:

  • Mid-grey cashmere v-neck jumper – Marks and Spencer.
  • Navy ribbed pyjama trousers – Lands’ End.
  • Silver and gold feather earrings – birthday present from Younger Son.
  • Cashmere and silk 140cm shawl in grey, purple, pink, blue and orange – Plumes en Fête by Hermès. I simply folded the shawl in half and draped it around my neck with a pretty scarf ring on one corner for a bit of drama! The scarf ring was a lovely present from a kind friend.

I bought two pairs of these pyjama trousers from Lands’ End in their sale. They have very wide legs, (not too long this time), pockets, a comfortable elasticated waist, and the fabric is mid-weight and very soft. The pyjamas are also suitable for loungewear and you could almost get away with wearing them outside, although I probably won’t do that! Anyway, they, plus the recent purchases from Marks and Spencer, have replaced worn garments and updated my day-to-day outfits rather well. The image below is from the Lands’ End website. It is not very clear, but does give you the idea of what the trousers are like…

Navy pyjama trousers – Lands’ End

I wish I had long legs like hers!!!

Before I sign off for the week, I just wanted to show you this. I get some lovely kind comments on the blog, which are really appreciated. I also get some spam, most of which is deleted before I see it. Generally, I delete the few which do get through straight away. But, this one really made me laugh, so I thought I would share it with you. It kind of reminded me of the current fad of “negging”: people, usually men, leaving nasty negative comments by text or on dating sites. I am not sure what the perpetrators hope to achieve and I am certainly baffled by what this spammer was aiming for!

What so you think? This was the message in its entirety…

The subsequent time I read a weblog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I actually thought youd have one thing fascinating to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you possibly can repair should you werent too busy in search of attention.

I think I will now turn my attention to a nice cup of tea…

Have a great weekend!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Reading roundup 06/01/21

Welcome to my first Reading Roundup of 2021! Actually, in some ways it is the last one for 2020 as the post will cover the final three books of that year…

The Foundling by Stacey Halls

First of all, here is the blurb for The Foundling by Stacey Halls:

London, 1754.

Six years after leaving her illegitimate daughter Clara at London’s Foundling Hospital, Bess Bright returns to reclaim the child she has never known. Dreading the worst – that Clara has died in care – the last thing she expects to hear is that her daughter has already been reclaimed – by her. Her life is turned upside down as she tries to find out who has taken her little girl – and why. Less than a mile from Bess’ lodgings in the city, in a quiet, gloomy townhouse on the edge of London, a young widow has not left the house in a decade. When her close friend – an ambitious young doctor at the Foundling Hospital – persuades her to hire a nursemaid for her daughter, she is hesitant to welcome someone new into her home and her life. But her past is threatening to catch up with her and tear her carefully constructed world apart.

Some time ago, I really enjoyed the author’s first book, The Familiars, and The Foundling was also a good read. This is my verdict as written on the Goodreads website:

The FoundlingThe Foundling by Stacey Halls
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The book was both entertaining and enjoyable. I stepped out of my comfort zone to read the author’s first book, The Familiars, and I am so glad that I found this one also.

The idea of leaving a new-born baby to be brought up by others was heartbreaking and the description of those scenes was very well done. In fact the whole background to the tale, set in Georgian London, was excellent, with dark elements of mystery, poverty and daily struggle to survive. The clash between the poor and the better off middle classes was also well written.

Without giving too much away, I felt that the ending was very neatly wrapped up. I will definitely read further books by Stacey Halls if she keeps writing at this standard!

View all my reviews

When I was younger, I used to read loads of historical fiction. I am not sure why I stopped and moved over to thrillers, fantasy and science fiction!

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

My penultimate book of the year was The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. I had been meaning to read this for quite a while, but kept putting it off, for some reason. All of my friends seemed to have enjoyed it mightily, so I finally joined the queue for Library Service’s ebook. Here we have the blurb:

Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?

In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.

And this is my review:

The Midnight LibraryThe Midnight Library by Matt Haig
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

To begin with, I know that Matt Haig has struggled with his own mental health as he has written about this often on his Facebook account. As I also wrestle with my own “black clouds” I was very reluctant to read this book. I kept on putting it off because I couldn’t face reading more miserable thoughts. As I became more and more isolated during the COVID crisis, I didn’t want to read anything that might dig up anything even more difficult to handle.

And then I arrived at the front of the library ebook queue! Did I want to read the book, or should I let it go to the next person in line? Making up my mind, I downloaded the book and read the first couple of chapters. I couldn’t see what all of the fuss was about. I knew by then that the book had had an amazing reception and was on bestseller lists. It was about to win awards.

I still wasn’t keen.

Suddenly, I simply got it. I became immersed in the story and loved it. I couldn’t put the book down and my mood began to lift. Even in the darkest moments of COVID and the gloomiest parts of my brain, sunlight began to shine.

So, I think I must actually buy the book so that I can turn to it again.

Thank-you, Matt X

View all my reviews

So, now we have arrived at the final book of 2020: Lies by T M Logan

Lies by T M Logan

Let’s start with the blurb!

WHAT IF YOUR WHOLE LIFE WAS BASED ON LIES?

A gripping new psychological thriller of secrets and revenge.

When Joe Lynch sees his wife enter an underground car park in the middle of the day, he’s intrigued enough to follow her down.

And when he sees her in an angry altercation with family friend Ben, he naturally goes to her defence – and doesn’t for a minute believe the accusations Ben makes against her.

It’s pure misfortune that, just as the clash becomes violent and Ben is knocked unconscious, Joe’s son has an asthma attack, and Joe has to take him to safety.

This is my final review of 2020:

LiesLies by T.M. Logan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book! It was complex, with so many plot twists that it took my breath away. Just when I thought that I had worked everything out, the author would change things around again. From a slight change to routine, a whole life gets turned around and upside down and the “hero” has no idea what is happening or where his life will end up.

So, I have immediately reserved more books by the author and I am sure that I am in for further treats if they are as good as this one!

View all my reviews

OK, that definitely wasn’t my best review but my memory is really poor at the moment! Please believe me when I say that the book is definitely worth looking at. Read some of the other comments on Goodreads for more responses.

So, next week’s Roundup will look at my first reads of 2021 – there is definitely one so far. Until then…

Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Happy New Year 2021!

So, I hope you all had a very good Christmas and that the New Year has begun well for you. We had a very quiet and simple “holiday” period, with some sadness because Younger Son was unable to visit because of the rather sudden last minute change to the rules by the Government! We now haven’t seen him for more than a year.

As usual, I will share my Christmas presents here. First of all, I was fortunate to receive this cute “High Tea” necklace and earrings by Pixiewing from Elder Son, and also my favourite Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish from Younger Son. The jewellery is such fun and also highly appropriate, given my addiction to tea! The cleanser and cloths should help get my skin into better condition.

Christmas presents 2020

You may remember that my gorgeous Plumes en Fête shawl was partly a birthday and Christmas present from Lovely Husband, so I have yet another excuse to show it here! On my really bad days, I snuggle up in bed with this shawl around my shoulders and I immediately feel lifted from the gloom.

Hermès’ Plumes en Fête shawl (H243433S 04)

Thinking about my Hermès scarf collection, I am not sure whether to continue to collect the 90cm silks or whether to save up for another hugely expensive shawl. Or, perhaps, I could stop buying scarves altogether. After all, I must have enough by now!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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PS. Many thanks to those of you who have sent lovely messages over the holiday period XXX.

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Final post for 2020!

So, this is the last post for this unforgettable year! I have been so pleased to see the huge increase in traffic to the blog this year, especially when I have curtailed the number of posts to three per week. Many thanks to all of you who have supported my blog, particularly those of you who have posted comments either on here or on Facebook – these really make a difference to me.

I hope that next year will bring a huge improvement to us all with reliable vaccinations against Coronavirus. With all of my various ailments, I think that I will be offered the “jab” quite soon in the New Year, with my husband a little later on. This can’t come too soon for us!

The blog will be revived in early January, all being well, so I hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!

Merry Christmas by Kit on Flickr

Merry Christmas by Kit on Flickr

Ooh, just one more thing to add. Scarfaholics like me will be excited to know that the new Hermès Spring/Summer 2020 scarves and shawls are beginning to appear in the online stores. The usual helpful thread on The Purse Forum has begun to list them as they appear – have a look from halfway down page 14 onwards, the link above should take you straight there.

Now, I have to admit that nothing has really grabbed my interest yet! This has happened before in the past, then I have always been sucked in eventually. But, this season I can’t see anything that I like!!! That will save me some money – LOL!

We shall see… Anyway, here are a few examples for you from tPF thread:

Faubourg Tropical by Octave Marsal and Théo de Gueltzl (90cm silk)

Selle des Steppes by Wlodek Kaminski (90cm silk)

En Attendant Ulysse by Florence Manlik (140cm cashmere/silk)

See you in 2021!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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