Yes, I did go to the hairdresser’s yesterday, but I am saving that post until next week. Today, I am going to show you the outfit that I wore earlier in the week, before I had the haircut.
Purple short-sleeved cotton top – Lands’ End (photo is of a similar top in a darker purple).
Navy cotton joggers – Cotton Traders.
Grey crystal and gold drop earrings – Swarovski Crystal.
Purple enamel and gold Salamander bangle – Halcyon Days.
Silk scarf, 45cm, in bright pink, grey, purple, white and black – Baobab Cat. Tied in a loose cowboy knot using the device (see below).
I do love these cute gavroche scarves and plan to wear mine more often – perhaps next week? Anyway, this image should remind or inform you about the device I made from Hermès bolduc ribbon and four brass D-rings to lengthen smaller scarves:
I have finished one book in time to write about it today and I was rushing to finish another one. But then I slowed down and thought for a while.
Why do I read?
To be able to count how many books I finish in a year, or to really savour and enjoy a fantastic plot and interesting characters?
To gallop through a book as quickly as possible or to wander through a magical experience that draws me in, away from my fears and worries?
My current book is definitely drawing me in and helping me to forget my situation – so why spoil that experience?
The decision is made and I am going to write about one book this week and leave the other for next week, or even the week after if it takes me that long to finish!
So, my book this week was Turncoat by Anthony J Quinn. Here is the blurb:
”The sole survivor of a murderous ambush, a Belfast police detective is forced into a desperate search for a mysterious informer that takes him to a holy island on Lough Derg, a place shrouded in strange mists and hazy rain, where nothing is as it first appears to be.
A keeper of secrets and a purveyor of lies, the detective finds himself surrounded by enemies disguised as pilgrims, and is drawn deeper into the mysteries of the purgatorial island, where he is forced to confront a series of disturbing secrets and ghosts in his own life.
Haunting and unsettling, Turncoat is a story of guilt, survival, and the terrible price of self-knowledge, told through the voice of a detective with a double life. Descending into paranoia and self-doubt, he uncovers a sinister panorama of cover-ups and conspiracies. The closer he edges to the truth, the deeper he is drawn into the currents of power, violence and guilt engulfing his country . . . “
I wrote this short review on the Goodreads website:
Yet again, I seem to be almost alone in my reaction to this book. Most of the reviewers on here seem to love it and have gained a great deal from reading it. Well, not me!
I found the book tedious. After the first half, I kept waiting for something momentous to happen, so I kept on reading. At the two-thirds mark, it was the same. I felt as if I was also walking around and around the same features, just as the main character was. Towards the end, a few things did happen, so at least I can add a star for that. Perhaps, as a non-religious English woman, I am missing some deeper meaning?
As you can see, I awarded the book only two stars. Perhaps you can now see my reasons for savouring my current book! It is John Gwynne’s latest: The Shadow of the Gods, #01 in his The Bloodsworn Saga – excellent so far and really doing the trick of distraction from my worries and cares.
I do hope that you had a great weekend. Mine was OK, although I spent most of it in bed watching the final episodes of Scandal and the first of series 16 of Grey’s Anatomy, thanks to my iPad and a subscription to Amazon Prime.
I also managed to take some photos of my latest purchase from Marco Massaccesi with a few suitable Hermès scarves. First of all I will show you a collage:
Clockwise from the large image: Massaccesi Midi-Selene in Deep Purple Africa leather, Jaguar Quetzal, Dans un Jardin Anglais, Baobab Cat, La Promenade du Platon, L’Arbre du Vent.
As the images are quite small, I have added them to a slideshow so that you can see them better:
I am so happy that this handbag fits into my wardrobe so well! Perhaps another purple Autumn/Winter scarf would be nice?
I must apologise again today. Unfortunately, I feel so down and ill that I can’t manage to post. I don’t want to moan on here and I think that I wouldn’t have been able to hold myself back from a grumpy post, if I had even begun to write more than a paragraph! Instead, I am trying to take some photos for a more uplifting post next week.
Oh, OK, I will also add a photo here for your interest and amusement. A 90cm scarf from Hermès’ Autumn/Winter 2021 collection. Yes, some hints are already appearing online!
I am writing this post in rather a rush because I have spent the afternoon finishing my second book of the week. As I am really struggling with my mental health, the comments about the second book are very short. I find it very difficult to read a book, remember the plot and characters and write a decent review when my brain is under this dark and thick fog.
The second book should have been finished yesterday, but I spent most of the day fast asleep and didn’t read anything! Very unusual for me!
The first book which I read this week was The City of Tears by Kate Mosse, #02 The Burning Chambers. First, here is the blurb:
“August 1572: Minou Joubert and her family are in Paris for a Royal Wedding, an alliance between the Catholic Crown and the Huguenot King of Navarre intended to bring peace to France after a decade of religious wars. So too is their oldest enemy, Vidal, still in pursuit of a relic that will change the course of history. But within days of the marriage, thousands will lie dead in the streets and Minou’s beloved family will be scattered to the four winds . . .
A gripping, breathtaking novel of revenge, persecution and loss, the action sweeps from Paris and Chartres to the city of tears itself, Amsterdam.”
This is my four star review – which is a bit odd and quirky this time…
I have enjoyed many of Kate Mosse’s books and this was one of her better ones. The period of French and Dutch history was new to me and I found myself really drawn in to the story of the central family.
As I read, something very strange happened. Part of the book involved the lead up to the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in Paris, and it’s aftermath. Reading through these horrific events awakened a really old memory (this is going to sound very weird indeed, I warn you). I could vaguely remember an old TV programme about the massacre. As I thought more about it, I realised that it was a Dr Who!
OK, I am not going insane! I looked up old Dr Who plots and found that indeed one of the programmes with the first Dr (William Hartnell) was called The Massacre of Saint Bartholomew’s Eve. Here is a snippet from Wikipedia:
“The Massacre of St Bartholomew’s Eve (also known simply as The Massacre) is the completely missing fourth serial of the third season in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in four weekly parts from 5 to 26 February 1966.”
So, I remembered something that I saw when I was only nine!
This fact has shocked me so much, that I cannot think clearly enough to write much more in this review. Let me just add that the book is really worth reading, with an excellent plot and interesting characters. The background research is clearly phenomenal.
The second book of the week was #05 in the Jackson Brodie series: Big Sky by Kate Atkinson. This is the blurb:
”Jackson Brodie, ex-military police, ex-Cambridge Constabulary, currently working as a private investigator, makes a highly anticipated return, nine years after the last Brodie, Started Early, Took My Dog.
Jackson Brodie has relocated to a quiet seaside village, in the occasional company of his recalcitrant teenage son and an aging Labrador, both at the discretion of his ex-partner Julia. It’s picturesque, but there’s something darker lurking behind the scenes.
Jackson’s current job, gathering proof of an unfaithful husband for his suspicious wife, is fairly standard-issue, but a chance encounter with a desperate man on a crumbling cliff leads him into a sinister network—and back across the path of his old friend Reggie. Old secrets and new lies intersect in this breathtaking novel by one of the most dazzling and surprising writers at work today.”
I was so pleased to find another book in the Jackson Brodie series! So, here is my review on Goodreads, (four stars again):
Another brilliant book by Kate Atkinson. I love the way that she weaves her characters and plotlines together. At first, the different strands are shown to us, then gradually we start to see how they might fit and, finally, the pace speeds up as everything starts to make sense – well, that is how I see her work! Others may differ.
I loved the fact that the setting took me back to my younger days. When I was a child and a teenager, my family often had holidays on the Yorkshire coast, especially in Scarborough. The description of the famous “Naval Warfare” at Peasholm Park was especially memorable!
I do hope that she write another Jackson Brodie book as I love the characters and the dark humour of Atkinson’s work so much.
Today’s post is short because I am struggling with my health, both physical and mental. Apologies!
I occasionally wander onto Twitter but hardly ever post these days. Sometimes I come across something that catches my attention most unexpectedly. This time, it was a photo of a doorway.
Here it is…
I am ashamed to admit (as a former librarian) that I can’t caption the image properly as I forgot to write down the source. I think that the doorway belongs to a house in Brussels.
Isn’t it lovely and wouldn’t it be nice to see the whole frontage of the building? Well, luckily, further down the Twitter thread, someone had kindly posted a picture. This one…
These may be photos of the same house at different times, or of two houses. Anyway, how gorgeous is the stained glass? I would really love to see the interior!
I have always adored the wonderful shapes and patterns of Art Nouveau.
See you on Wednesday for this week’s Reading Roundup!
Love and best wishes,
PS. Well, the librarian in me just reared her head and told me to do an image search on Google for “art nouveau house Brussels”. It turns out that Brussels is known for its Art Nouveau architecture and there are hundreds of amazing images to be found online. Some of them are quite stunning! I would love to be able to see them in real life.
OK, the title of the post is rather misleading as it’s only ONE outfit and it’s from LAST week, but I haven’t been able to get dressed properly this week. I have been struggling with my mental health and have felt unable to swap my pyjamas for something nice.
So, this is the outfit that I wore last week for my visit to the surgery for a blood test. As I don’t leave the house, at the moment, for anything more exciting, I have decided that I need to take any opportunity possible to wear my lovely accessories. Also, I wanted to use my new purple handbag for the first time.
Here is the collage:
The cotton twinset is by Lands’ End, the amethyst earrings by Blue Nile, the leather wrap bracelet by Ferragamo and, of course, the handbag is my new deep purple Africa leather midi Selene by Massaccesi. The gorgeous scarf is Escales Mediterranéenes by Hermès, tied in a simple bias fold and held by my MaiTai purple scarf ring. To break up all of the purple, I also wore navy jeans and shoes. I think my fantastic purple suede boots might have been overkill!
I expect you have worked out by now that I LOVE PURPLE!
If you would like to find out more about this lovely Hermès scarf, please have a look at my Scarf of the Moment: Escales Mediterranéenes post.
My plan was to tell you about two books this week, but the second one is quite long and I haven’t finished it in time. It would be silly to rush something so enjoyable just to keep to an arbitrary timetable, so one book it is!
I haven’t read a good spy thriller for some time (or perhaps I have but have forgotten all about it!). Anyway, I really enjoyed this debut and would love to read more in the series. Here is the blurb:
”LISBON, 1943. After escaping from Nazi-Occupied France, SOE agent Elisabeth de Mornay, codename Cecile, receives new orders: she must infiltrate high society in neutral Lisbon and find out who is leaking key information to the Germans about British troop movements. As Solange Verin, a French widow of independent means, she will be able to meet all the rich Europeans who have gathered in Lisbon to wait out the war. One of them is a traitor and she must find out who before more British servicemen die.
Complications arise when ‘Solange’ comes to the attention of German Abwehr officer, Major Eduard Graf. As they get to know each other, she struggles to keep her lies close to the truth.
But in a city that is filled with spies, how can she tell who is friend, or foe?”
I wrote this quick review on Goodreads and awarded the book four out of five stars:
I really enjoyed this book and was totally glued from start to finish. It is an excellent debut novel set mainly in Portugal during WWII. The book is a highly entertaining mix of genres. There are spies, intrigue, romance, thrills and danger. Our heroine is brave, feisty, intelligent and handy in a fight.
I am currently reading the book above, which is the second part of Kate Mosse’s The Burning Chambers series. Unless illness or some other event intervenes, I will write about the book in next week’s Reading Roundup post.
The reveals have been coming thick and fast so far this year! Boredom because of lock-down and illness is not good for my bank account. Anyway, here is the reveal of a purchase that I made earlier in the year and received last week…
The first peek inside the box…
And this is the beautiful handbag in deep purple Africa leather: Massaccesi’s midi Selene with dark gunmetal hardware and a purple lining.
I must apologise for the quality of some of these photos. The sun was shining directly into my bedroom and I’m a pretty hopeless photographer at the best of times!
My first Massaccesi bag was a midi Selene in dark blue Africa leather, although I also added the zip option. I have bought other designs since, most notably the Victoria, but I decided to return to the Selene for what is probably my final bag purchase. I will almost certainly buy SLGs (small leather goods), in the future, but I have now a wonderful range of handbags and no room at all for any more!
Ah, but wait…. there are some other items inside the handbag! What could they be?
This time I am going to show you the contents of the handbag in a slideshow format…
The bracelets are in Persian Green, Cobalt and Silver “Diamond” calf leather with gold hardware. They are a great way for Marco to use up scraps of leather to make sure that there is very little wastage. I might also look at purchasing some mini bags to use inside my larger bags in the future, or tassels, as well as more of these beautiful bracelets.
The gorgeous handbag and bracelets will look wonderful with many of my scarves and jewellery. So, I think that I will plan another post with full photos to show you all. I have already carried the bag, when I went to the doctor’s last week, so that outfit will be uploaded on Friday, all being well.
Right, I suppose that I will have to build up my strength so that I can have a cupboard and wardrobe clear out. Or move into a bigger house!
I tried a small experiment over the last few days. Oh, OK, I love this combination of scarf and twinset so much that I simply had to wear them twice! The scarf is by Alice Shirley for Hermès and is called Under the Waves. The colours are aqua, pink, turquoise, blue and yellow, with the contrast hem in dusky pink. Here it is…
After looking through the blog, I have just realised that I nearly always wear this scarf with this twinset! Perhaps I need to change things around a bit. Anyway, the twinset was from Lands’ End and I also wore my dark navy jeans, cute earrings and Halcyon Days bangles in cream, eau-de-nil and cream, and turquoise.
I have to admit to you that I am deliberately missing out the outfit that I wore yesterday. Any trip outside is an excuse for me to “dress up” in something nice and wear jewellery and one of my lovely scarves. I don’t really care about the occasion. In fact yesterday’s jaunt was only a visit to the GP for a blood test! Anyway, to get to the point, I chose my clothes to go with a new handbag purchase from the wonderful Marco Massaccesi and I will wait until next week to do the full reveal!