Update 11/11/19 with birthday gifts

Well, that wasn’t the best birthday ever! Unfortunately, it seems that I caught a viral infection last week that resulted in a few days with an almost constant violent cough and aching limbs. And that was on top of everything else! So my birthday was not very nice. My presents, however, were lovely and I am very fortunate to have received them.

I will really enjoy wearing these over the next days, weeks and months…

Birthday jewellery – 2019

The lapis lazuli necklace and earrings, from Lovely Husband, will go with so many of my outfits and accessories – you probably know by now that I adore bright blue! Elder Son gave me the dragonfly earrings – these are gorgeous! All of these items are by Bill Skinner (link in the sidebar). The silver earrings, sent by my sister, are amazing in real life – they glitter and shine so beautifully. These are by RR Designs on Etsy. I think I will save up for the matching necklace! Please note that the images in the collage above are not to scale with each other, if you see what I mean.

Younger Son sent me a striking and beautiful copy of The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, which matches the design of the sequel, The Testaments, that I bought for myself quite some time ago. I originally read The Handmaid’s Tale when it first came out, but have never bought my own copy, so this is such a lovely addition to our bookshelves.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

I think that the virus has been conquered, so I hope to get a bit stronger this week, although other issues in the family are causing a lot of stress. LH and I really need a meal out, or something to give us a positive boost!

Love and best wishes to you all,



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Update 08/11/19

I had intended to write about my birthday today but, unfortunately, I have been very ill for a few days. I hope you all have a good weekend and I will catch up next week.

Love and best wishes,



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Reading roundup 06/11/19 – the Return!

Well, I now feel ready to write the first Reading Roundup post for a long time! I was so worried that the stroke would stop my reading for good. After relying on audiobooks for two months, which don’t feel quite like real books to me, I have managed to read two ebooks. Hooray! I cannot yet read a really real book as, even with glasses, I cannot cope with the size of the text. At least ebooks enable me to adjust the font and its size. I do still find the print even of ebooks quite difficult to follow – web pages seem to have a lot more blank space between paragraphs – but my sight issues appear to be improving still. Phew!

I will tell you about each book I have read, giving you my star rating as log it on the Goodreads website, the blurb (as written on the same site), and my review as uploaded. For the time being, my reviews will probably be quite short until I can get back into the swing of writing again. Also, my book choices will depend on the ebooks that are available to me on Leicestershire Libraries’ ebook site. I find it far more difficult to select books online as I prefer to hold an actual print copy in my hands!

If you look on the right hand side of this “The Librain Retired” site and further down the column, you will see a “widget” that contains the feed from my Goodreads’ account. This shows you the most recent books that I have read, plus my review. If you were to look at this feed on the day I am writing this post, you would see that I had to abandon a fabulous print book – Pierce Brown’s Dark Age – halfway through when I had my stroke. I do hope that I am able to return to it very soon, although I expect that I will have to start again at the beginning as I will have forgotten too much of the complex plot!

The Blood Road by Stuart MacBride

So, my first ebook was Stuart MacBride’s The Blood Road, #11 in his Logan McRae series. Here is the blurb:

Some things just won’t stay buried…

Logan McRae’s personal history is hardly squeaky clean, but now that he works for Professional Standards it’s his job to police his fellow officers.

When Detective Inspector Bell turns up dead in the driver’s seat of a crashed car it’s a shock to everyone. Because Bell died two years ago, they buried him. Or they thought they did.

As an investigation is launched into Bell’s stabbing, Logan digs into his past. Where has he been all this time? Why did he disappear? And what’s so important he felt the need to come back from the dead?

But the deeper Logan digs, the more bones he uncovers—and there are people out there who’ll kill to keep those skeletons buried. If Logan can’t stop them, DI Bell won’t be the only one to die…

This is my review:

The Blood Road (Logan McRae #11)The Blood Road by Stuart MacBride
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love this series. The main characters are brilliantly written to the extent that many of them feel like old friends, and the black humour often makes me laugh out loud. The plotting is clever and usually very, very dark. This book stands well with the rest of the series with some sad, scary moments leavened with amusing touches. Even though there have been a lot of books, the author continues to write at a very high standard. Highly recommended.

View all my reviews

As you can see, I am trying out a different way of linking my review! Let me know if you have any issues with this, please.

Gallows View by Peter Robinson

My second ebook of the week was Gallows View by Peter Robinson, #01 of his Inspector Banks series. This is the blurb:

A Peeping Tom is frightening the women of Eastvale; two glue-sniffing young thugs are breaking into homes and robbing people; an old woman may or may not have been murdered. Investigating these cases is Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks, a perceptive, curious and compassionate policeman recently moved to the Yorkshire Dales from London to escape the stress of city life. In addition to all this, Banks has to deal with the local feminists and his attraction to a young psychologist, Jenny Fuller. As the tension mounts, both Jenny and Banks’s wife, Sandra, are drawn deeper into the events. The cases weave together as the story reaches a tense and surprising climax.

I only finished this yesterday, so I have just written this quick review:

Gallows View (Inspector Banks, #1)Gallows View by Peter Robinson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

There were some good points about the book: the actual storyline was interesting, with three strands woven together and the setting was well described. These are what kept me reading. It was so obvious that this book was written in the 1980s – in fact the general attitude to women felt like something fuelled by Benny Hill! The sexism was awful with female characters being stereotyped in such crude ways. Mind you, the males were not much better.

I may try to read one of the more recent books in the series, with the hope that the author has developed beyond the porcine Neanderthal that he shows himself to be in this book, but I am not sure if it is worth my time!

View all my reviews

Well, I hope that you have enjoyed my return to sharing my reading.

Love and best wishes,



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Outfit of the day 04/11/19

I do hope that you all had a good weekend, whether you were working or playing. Elder Son is working hard at the moment as he has taken on quite a lot of overtime to boost his wallet! He has coped well so far and I am keeping my fingers crossed that everything continues peacefully.

My eyesight is still improving, which is fantastic, but I seem to be suffering from extreme fatigue over the last week or so. I can hardly keep my eyes open all day, despite sleeping quite well at night. Friends had warned me about this, so I think this is fairly usual after a stroke. I am trying to get up and go downstairs every day for a few hours, but so much is weighing on Lovely Husband’s shoulders.

At least I was able to get dressed today!

Outfit of the day 04/11/19 with Aspinal’s Owl in the City scarf

Today’s outfit:

  • Navy cotton cable jumper – Lands’ End.
  • Pyjama bottoms – Sainsbury’s Tu.
  • Crystal and gold tone owl earrings – Sainsbury’s Tu.
  • Blue and cream enamel, with crystals and gold, Owl bangle – Halcyon Days.
  • Silk scarf, 90cm, in navy, grey, blue and white – Owl in the City – Aspinal. Tied in an asymmetric wrap.

Yes, I went a bit mad with “owl” accessories! I suppose I could have added my owl brooch too…

As I have finished my ebook (Yes!!!!), I will try to write a Reading Roundup post on Wednesday. When I have finished with this post, I will go and make a pot of tea and continue with my new ebook – it feels so lovely to be able to write that!

Love and best wishes,



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Update 01/11/19 with something new and blue!

Hello to the new month! This year is hurtling by so quickly. It is now very nearly two months since my stroke – I can hardly believe it – and only a week until my birthday. So, next Friday I will be showing you my presents, assuming that I receive any – 😀.

Today there is a new purchase to show you…

Heritage sweater, cable cardigan – LL Bean

I have a long-term plan for my wardrobe as I replace items that are worn, or too small or unsuitable for my current lifestyle. This year I planned to buy a new heavy-weight cardigan in navy and I found this great cable knit version in a longer length. I have been watching the LL Bean site for some time to see what was on offer, alongside other sites, of course. The other week, they had an offer on their knitwear so I pounced. If I had waited until later in the season, I think they might have sold out of the more popular sizes. Anyway, I am really pleased with the cardigan and wore it today with a navy short sleeved top from Lands’ End, indigo jeans, navy shoes and this cute gavroche, Bibliothèque, from Hermès.

Here is the outfit…

Outfit of the day 01/11/19 with Hermès’ Bibliothèque gavroche

I must apologise for not making a collage, but I am really struggling with tiredness today. So, I will wish you all a great weekend and sign out. A lovely pot of tea awaits…

Love and best wishes,



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Outfit of the day 29/10/19

I am really trying to get up every day, even if it’s just for a few hours. Lovely Husband and I watch TV and have lunch together and sometimes he comes to bed in the afternoon, to ease his back pain, and we chat and laugh and tell each other silly jokes. Today, we have struggled a bit. Both of us have had grey moods and it has been difficult to keep our spirits up. Perhaps we will manage better tomorrow.

Today I did put on some proper clothes, instead of lying around in my pyjamas…

Outfit of the day 29/10/19 with Liberty’s Ianthe shawl

Today’s outfit:

  • Navy, cashmere v-neck jumper – John Lewis.
  • Indigo stretch jeans – Klass.
  • Cobalt blue, copper and silver resin earrings.
  • Grey suede moccasin slippers – Lands’ End.
  • Blue, navy, black and white enamel and rose gold Ianthe bangle – Liberty of London.
  • Navy, turquoise, red and beige, varuna wool shawl in Ianthe – Liberty of London. Tied very casually. This is such a lovely warm shawl.

Oh, I do have some good news to tell you: this week I have managed to read part of an ebook! This was totally impossible only a few days ago, but I adjusted the font type and  size and read for several hours on two afternoons. It really helped that the book is part of one of my favourite series! Anyway, when I have finished I will write a proper Reading Roundup post again.

Of course the next step will be to read a paper book where only my glasses can enlarge the text, but at least this goal is getting closer. At last I feel optimistic that I will be able to finish that fabulous book I was reading before the stroke… and eventually read the rest of the series when the author finishes writing it!

I think that thinking about and writing this post has cheered really me up 😀.

Love and best wishes,



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Update 25/10/19 about my stroke situation

I don’t have an Outfit of the Day to show you as I am currently sitting up in bed, wearing pyjamas and a large woolly wrap! Unfortunately, I forgot to photograph yesterday’s clothes. I woke up late and then had to rush to get ready for the hospital visit, so there wasn’t enough time to pose! There are three large hospitals in Leicester, and we had to drive to the farthest one for the appointment. It was also pouring with rain, so I am glad that I wore a les expensive scarf (still one of my favourites), rather than one of my Hermès’.

Anyway, here is the scarf…

Feminist at Heart by Karine Assaf

A Feminist at Heart by Karine Assaf

So, what did we find out from the consultant? It was all a bit complicated by the fact that my usual treatment is done by doctors/hospitals in Leicestershire, but I was taken over the county border when I had the stroke back in September. The consultant hadn’t received a copy of my MRI scan, so had to rely on notes and Lovely Husband’s and my testimony. It seems that I have made very good progress and that I may still have further improvements to my vision. All of my other physical symptoms have now returned to my “normal”. I also still have issues with short-term memory, but that may also improve. The general advice seems to be that I have to try to do the things that have been damaged – i.e. to read books, even though this is difficult, and to use my brain as much as I can etc.

Basically the mantra is “use it or lose it”, particularly over the next few months. That is the crucial time period. I also need to keep an eye on my cholesterol level and try to get it lower. My blood pressure has always been on the low side and this is not, apparently, an issue. I am not allowed to drive either, until my eyesight improves, but I am not driving anyway because of the chronic cough. I will have to be tested by a doctor before I can resume driving. This leaves LH as the sole driver in the house as Younger Son lives in Wales (with my his car!) and Elder Son is very unlikely to learn.

Well, that all seemed to be fairly positive. I am more hopeful that I will be able to read books again. How soon that may be is not clear, but I feel more confident that the ability will come back. I am, however, still terrified of a recurrence – no-one is able to tell me, I fully understand why, but it is very frightening. We have to hope that the medication, which I will have to take for the rest of my life, does the trick!

OK, I had better stop there. I will try to post again on Tuesday, if it is possible. In the meantime, I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend.

Love and best wishes,



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