Update 25/05/20

Our days seem to have settled into a rhythm now, depending on whether Elder Son is working or not. They are all so repetitive that there is very little to write about on this blog, sadly. I am too weak and tired to get dressed on most days, so I stay in a t-shirt and pyjama trousers, occasionally adding a necklace or earrings. Usually, I get up for lunch and Lovely Husband and I sit together and watch TV, then I do a couple of jobs and return to bed to entertain myself with my iPad.

The weather has been quite lovely and warm for weeks, but I think I have become so used to staying indoors that I have developed a mild phobia towards sitting outside. I only feel safe in bed. I need to get over this so that I can get the benefit of the sunshine!

I didn’t manage to update the Wardrobe Planning post over the weekend, but will try to do so as soon as I can. Instead, I am sharing this link with you – I found it thoroughly entertaining!

Boredpanda: Museum Asks People To Recreate Paintings At Home, Gets 30 New Impressive Photos

Here is an example…

#9 The Great War By Rene Magritte

It is really worth scrolling down the page. People can be so inventive!

Right, I am now going to drag myself out of this gloomy mood. Maybe I will go sit in the garden!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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P.S. I sat outside and read for an hour or so, after writing the post. Tried not to look at the weeds and lush overgrown areas!

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Outfit of the day 22/05/20

I should really begin a series called “Outfit of the Week”! During present circumstances, I am finding it very difficult to make myself get properly dressed. Unless I feel strong enough to go for a walk (I have managed this twice during the week), I cannot raise either the energy or the enthusiasm to get fully dressed. Most days, I wear my pyjamas all day or just a nice top or t-shirt with my pyjama trousers and, perhaps, a necklace.

Anyway, here is a very quick collage of one of my outfits this week. I cannot bring myself to include a selfie because I look so bedraggled! My hair has grown almost to my shoulders and looks a real mess.

Outfit of the day 22/05/20

Today’s outfit:

  • Pond blue cotton sleeveless vest – Lands’ End.
  • Navy linen trousers – Isle Collection.
  • Navy, neutral and blue horn necklace – via Etsy.
  • Blue, black and white enamel and rose gold bangle – Ianthe – Liberty of London.

Every time I wear one of these Lands’ End vests I feel that I should recommend them. They are produced in a range of colours each year and are made in lovely thick cotton fabric. The shoulders are cut wide enough to hide bra straps. I usually buy new ones in the sales!


One of my most visited posts seems to be “Wardrobe planning #15: Hermès scarves – The Purse Forum”. This was written when the blog was quite new, back in April 2017. I took a quick look at it the other day and realised that it needs updating. If I feel well enough over the weekend, I will try to work on it, checking the links and making sure everything is current. Hopefully, it will be ready for Monday.

Anyway, I hope that you all have a good weekend.

Love and best wishes,

Anne

💕💗💖💗💕

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Reading roundup 20/05/20

I have just finished this week’s book – Phew! That is truly the right word and you will soon see why, if you stay with this post…

Dark Age by Pierce Brown

Just a reminder: back in September 2019, before I had my stroke, I was engrossed in Pierce Brown’s Dark Age (Red Rising Saga #09). After my time in hospital, I didn’t have the vision or the cognitive function to carry on reading the book and so I set it aside for a few months. In the end, I bought it in ebook form and restarted reading it from the very beginning after last week’s Reading Roundup post. This was certainly the correct path as I could only remember small details from the plot. So, I really immersed myself in the book and I had better give you the blurb before I link to my review on Goodreads:

For a decade Darrow led a revolution against the corrupt color-coded Society. Now, outlawed by the very Republic he founded, he wages a rogue war on Mercury in hopes that he can still salvage the dream of Eo. But as he leaves death and destruction in his wake, is he still the hero who broke the chains? Or will another legend rise to take his place?

Lysander au Lune, the heir in exile, has returned to the Core. Determined to bring peace back to mankind at the edge of his sword, he must overcome or unite the treacherous Gold families of the Core and face down Darrow over the skies of war-torn Mercury.

But theirs are not the only fates hanging in the balance.

On Luna, Mustang, Sovereign of the Republic, campaigns to unite the Republic behind her husband. Beset by political and criminal enemies, can she outwit her opponents in time to save him?

Once a Red refugee, young Lyria now stands accused of treason, and her only hope is a desperate escape with unlikely new allies.

Abducted by a new threat to the Republic, Pax and Electra, the children of Darrow and Sevro, must trust in Ephraim, a thief, for their salvation—and Ephraim must look to them for his chance at redemption.

As alliances shift, break, and re-form—and power is seized, lost, and reclaimed—every player is at risk in a game of conquest that could turn the Rising into a new Dark Age.

This is my review:

Dark Age (Red Rising Saga, #5)Dark Age by Pierce Brown
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I finished this book I couldn’t stop shaking for quite some time. I was almost speechless in response. The sheer horror of the multiple deaths and gore-fest battles was quite overwhelming. The bleak darkness was almost too much to handle.

Before I started writing this response, I thought for a while about how I would phrase it and also how to rate the book fairly. One part of me wanted to give it no stars at all and write something really negative and scathing in this box. So many millions of deaths! Such huge destruction! Evil blood-thirsty characters!

But, you know what? This is only a book. It is fiction for goodness sake! It is not real! If all of this could happen in real life – terraformed planets with billions of people being destroyed by hordes of giant armoured maniacs – then, of course, horror and disgust would be suitable responses. But in the middle of a real world-wide pandemic, this ill and depressed person found just the right book to take her mind away from her own real problems for a few hours.

Therefore, I am now eagerly anticipating the final(?) book in the series with great hopes for a wonderful ending to the whole saga. These imagined worlds are so amazing and the tale so gripping that I can’t wait…

View all my reviews

After this epic read, I can’t decide what to tackle next so you will have to wait until next week to find out!

Until then, Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Reading roundup 13/05/20

I read a book by my favourite author this week. In fact, he is my favourite author of all time! Even more gratifying was the discovery that I had actually missed the fact that not just this book, but another had been published in recent years. So, I am lining up this other book to be read very soon. How wonderful!

Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay

The author is Guy Gavriel Kay and the book was called Children of Earth and Sky. Here is the blurb:

From the small coastal town of Senjan, notorious for its pirates , a young woman sets out to find vengeance for her lost family. That same spring, from the wealthy city-state of Seressa, famous for its canals and lagoon, come two very different people: a young artist traveling to the dangerous east to paint the Grand Khalif at his request-and possibly to do more-and a beautiful oman, posing as a doctor’s wife in her role of a spy.

The trading ship that carries them is commanded by the clever younger son of a merchant family -with ambivalence about the life he’s been born to live. And farther east a boy trains to become a soldier in the elite infantry of the khalif-to win glory in the war everyone knows is coming.

As these lives entwine, their fates-and those of many others-will hang in the balance, when the khalif sends out his massive army to take the great fortress that is the gateway to the western world…

Here is my review on the Goodreads site:

Children of Earth and SkyChildren of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I simply cannot give less than five stars to this book, because I am completely in awe of GGK and always have been since my close friend recommended his writing. I love the way that he has created an alternate world, with two moons, which mirrors events in this one. I must admit that I don’t know anything about this particular period and the parallel events in our world, but that did not prevent me from immersing myself in the plot and characters. His plots and characters are always so interesting.

His writing always haunts me with its beauty. The way connections are made between the characters, then unmade as events take hold, then sometimes remade again. When I finish one of his books, they keep a hold on me for years. They are the only books that I have read and re-read multiple times, often for comfort. I still find new discoveries amongst the echoes of the previous reading.

As I can now no longer read print books, since I had a stroke, I am going to make sure that I have his entire work as ebooks, for those times when only the escapism of a GGK book will do!

View all my reviews

Many times I have recommended reading other reviews on Goodreads. In this case, it would be helpful to read other people’s reaction to this book, rather than my paean of praise!

Dark Age by Pierce Brown

I have now finally returned to the book I was halfway through back in September 2019: Dark Age (Red Rising Saga #05), by Pierce Brown. It is such a long book that it will probably take me more than a week to read! I cannot remember any of the book that I had already read, so it is like starting again and that is actually a bonus.

Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Update 11/05/20 with our back garden

This is a very short post today as I couldn’t think of anything to write! My brain is trying to avoid thinking too much about the horrible looming crisis and how poorly our government is behaving. I have absolutely no confidence in our leaders. So, I am blotting it all out by reading and binge watching TV shows – the current one is the brilliant “This is us”.

Last week I said that I would post a photo of our garden. This one isn’t the best, but it gives an idea of what it is like. We live in a three-bedroomed semi-detached house, built in the 1930s. In those days, houses often had quite big gardens. Ours is long and narrow, about 100 feet long and broadening out for the last third. There are mature trees on the right-hand side and at the end. The neighbours on the left cut down all the trees on their border with us some years ago. I really love our garden and, during the almost twenty years that we have lived here, have worked hard to develop it. I don’t like anything too manicured, which is just as well! Sadly, I have been unable to do anything in the garden for a few years because of my multiple conditions. We do have a great guy who cuts the lawn and does some weeding, but the garden is really showing my enforced neglect.

In the near distance, you can see a filled in pond (for safety), then we have two inter-locking flower beds with patio furniture on decking. The path goes under an old swing then we have a large open grassed area where Younger Son used to practise his bowling (cricket), many years ago. I find it hard to go out into the garden because I feel so guilty looking at the weeds and mess that I cannot tackle. In fact, I haven’t been able to force myself in it yet this year, despite the lovely weather we have had.

Anyway, these quick snaps give you the idea…

Garden 10/05/20

Garden 11/05/20

I will try to take some better photos soon. Oh, this post has ended up at a normal length after all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

🦋🌳🌹🌼🌹🌳🦋

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Outfit of the day 08/05/20

Even an inexpensive scarf can add so much to an outfit. I have been wearing them on and off since my late teens and still have some of my oldest and cheapest purchases in my scarf drawer. They can really add something to the plainest outfit and, in the present circumstances, can bring cheer on sad and gloomy days.

I bought this multi-coloured silk scarf in the time just before I fell down the expensive Hermès slippery slope. It has so many shades of gold, purple, orange, yellow, green and bronze with metallic splashes. So, it goes with just about anything in my wardrobe.

This week, I have worn the scarf with two of my Lands’ End short sleeved cotton mix tops. I wish I had the matching cardigans for these, but I found the tops in a sale on their own…

Outfits of the week 08/05/20

See? The scarf works well with both bright colours: purple and turquoise. I wore the tops with my boring navy joggers. I then paired bronze Art Nouveau earrings and a turquoise enamel Halcyon Days bangle with the turquoise top. The purple top looked great with multi-coloured bead earrings and a purple enamel Halcyon Days bangle.

OK, that’s all for this week. I have been really struggling for a while so I am going to try a walk later on this afternoon. I haven’t even been down the garden for ages! Now that I am too ill to work in the garden, the sight of so many healthy weeds makes me feel guilty. The garden looks so beautiful from a distance. In fact, I might actually try to take a photo for the blog so that you can see.

Hope that you have a Happy Weekend!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

💕💗💖💗💕

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Reading roundup 06/05/20

This week, I took a diversion from my usual reading – Science Fiction, Fantasy, Thrillers, Mysteries etc. – and read something very different. This book has also made me come to a difficult decision.

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe

As a former Librarian, I couldn’t resist a book with the title: The Librarian of Auschwitz! Written by Antonio Iturbe, it is based on a true story. Here is the blurb:

Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious books the prisoners have managed to smuggle past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the secret librarian of Auschwitz, responsible for the safekeeping of the small collection of titles, as well as the ‘living books’ – prisoners of Auschwitz who know certain books so well, they too can be ‘borrowed’ to educate the children in the camp.

But books are extremely dangerous. They make people think. And nowhere are they more dangerous than in Block 31 of Auschwitz, the children’s block, where the slightest transgression can result in execution, no matter how young the transgressor…

Here is my review as shared on the Goodreads website:

The Librarian of Auschwitz: Based on the True Story of Dita KrausThe Librarian of Auschwitz: Based on the True Story of Dita Kraus by Antonio Iturbe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was not without flaws, as other Goodreads’ reviewers have written. Perhaps this is something to do with the author not being certain of his audience? Was the book intended for teenagers or adults? I am not sure. I’m not going to add more criticism as Holocaust books must be so difficult to write.

As a retired Librarian, I felt compelled to read the book. The idea of a young girl caring for and hiding a few precious books in such terrifying circumstances was very disturbing. I found the sections describing this very moving. Although parts of the book dragged, it became impossible to put down as the story progressed, whilst at the same time being very upsetting. As books about this subject must be.

The updates on the main characters was very interesting and I loved the author’s description of Dita’s character as an old woman. What a wonderful person!

I have, however, come to a decision after finishing the book. Having read so many on this subject over the years and now being so ill mentally as well as physically, this is the last book on the Holocaust that I will read.

There is no more to say.

View all my reviews

There is no more to say…

Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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