Update 14/12/20 with thoughts of Christmas preparations

This will be a short post today. Lovely Husband and Elder Son have been rushing around, cleaning and tidying up so that we can finally put up the Christmas Tree and decorations. Unfortunately, I was unable to help them because dust sets off my chronic cough. So, I had to hide away from it all whilst the mayhem was being created!

At least I can do the tree tomorrow as it is a pretty simple one to assemble. We bought it a few years ago when we realised that my health was collapsing. In previous years, I used to spend hours decorating the tree with baubles and tinsel, with help from Younger Son, and putting up all kinds of  festive frivolities around the house. Our current tree just has lots of lights and fibre optics and looks lovely on gloomy days and evenings!


Oh, I have one thing to show you before I upload this post. I follow a range of people and organisations on Twitter and one is this amazing account which posts images of, often provocative, women’s art:


I think that “provocative” is a good word for this! As a keen tea drinker, I don’t quite know what to say about this piece 😄.

Love and best wishes,

Anne

☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️

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Outfit of the week 11/12/20

I only have one outfit to show you this week as I have been unable to get out of bed most days. It is so hard to motivate myself to get up as I feel so very frightened and ill. At least I have my iPad as a source of amusement, entertainment and information!

My new items from Marks and Spencer were shown in Monday’s post. Later in the week, I realised that this gorgeous Hermès scarf by Annie Faivre, Le Jardin de la Maharani, would work beautifully with them. In fact the scarf raised the two pieces from pyjamas to… what… loungewear? I’m not sure of the right word, but the outfit worked for me!

Outfit of the day 11/12/20 with Hermès’ Le Jardin de la Maharani scarf

Outfit items:

  • Dark blue lounge rib sweatshirt – Marks and Spencer.
  • Dark blue wide leg lounge trousers – Marks and Spencer.
  • Silver earrings – RR Designs on Etsy.
  • Silk scarf, 90 cm, in blues, black and white – Le Jardin de la Maharani – Hermès. Tied in a criss-cross knot using a MaiTai navy enamel and gold scarf ring.

I was quite shocked when I looked through my posts and realised that it is ages since I last wore this beautiful scarf with its gorgeous patterns in multiple shades of blue with black and white. The parade of fantastic animals around the border gives a playful touch. Also, the wide array of other formats and colourways with this design are stunning. If you are interested in finding out more information, please look at my Scarf of the Moment post for a full report.

Well, that’s the final post of the week. I do hope that you have a happy weekend.

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Reading roundup 09/12/20

It’s time for the Reading Roundup post again! The weeks seem to rush by so quickly these days.

Platform Seven by Louise Doughty

The first book of the week was Platform Seven by Louise Doughty. This is the blurb:

Platform Seven at 4am: Peterborough Railway Station is deserted. The man crossing the covered walkway on this freezing November morning is confident he’s alone. As he sits on the metal bench at the far end of the platform it is clear his choice is strategic – he’s as far away from the night staff as he can get.

What the man doesn’t realise is that he has company. Lisa Evans knows what he has decided. She knows what he is about to do as she tries and fails to stop him walking to the platform edge.

Two deaths on Platform Seven. Two fatalities in eighteen months – surely they’re connected?

No one is more desperate to understand what connects them than Lisa Evans herself. After all, she was the first of the two to die.

This was a real departure from my usual kind of reading material and here are my thoughts about the book, as written on the Goodreads website:

Platform SevenPlatform Seven by Louise Doughty
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a real mixed bag of a book. Parts of it were really gripping, some parts interesting and insightful, and yet other parts were slow and boring. I think it was well-written, but the first section began to drag after a while and I nearly gave up. Then came a part set in the past, which was faster moving and really explained what was going on – very necessary to me! The ending was also long, perhaps too much so, but rounded things off in a good and satisfying way.

The idea behind the story – a ghost slowly remembering the events leading up to her death – was really well-thought out and most of the writing was great. So, 3 stars is probably the best I can give.

View all my reviews

I did enjoy the book, with some reservations, but my next book of the week was not so successful!

A Line of Forgotten Blood by Malcolm Mackay

This was A Line of Forgotten Blood by Malcolm Mackay. This is the blurb:

Scotland has been a proudly independent country for centuries. But success has now turned sour. Malcolm Mackay’s remarkable novel of crime and corruption is set in a brooding, rain-swept Scottish city that is compellingly different from the one we think we know.

The Scottish city of Challaid is a corruption-riddled place where people frequently go off the radar. So when PC Vinny Reno discovers his ex-wife, Freya, has disappeared, he turns to private detectives Darian Ross and Sholto Douglas.

Their search will lead them to a collision between Freya and a wealthy banking family. But it also leads to more questions. What does Freya’s disappearance have to do with a year-old murder case? What is the involvement of a young man who never leaves his house? As they dig deeper into the past, Darian and Sholto realise they must stand against the most powerful people in the city if they are to unearth the truth…

OK, I must admit that I cut my losses this time – here is my report with only one star (perhaps I should have avoided the stars altogether):

A Line of Forgotten BloodA Line of Forgotten Blood by Malcolm Mackay
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I read a few chapters of this, but couldn’t get any further. The writing was poor and the invented Scottish city with the constant listing of streets and areas was really jarring. So, I gave up. Life is too short to waste time reading bad books!

View all my reviews

Right… so that was my reading for the week! Since then, I have been too ill to concentrate on books and I will have to decide what I wish to download next. You will find out in next week’s Reading Roundup post.

Until then, Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Update 07/12/20

This will only be a short post today as I am feeling very unwell and haven’t been able to get out of bed. I have been wearing pyjamas so much that some of them have become very tatty indeed. So, I had a search around and came across a top and trousers that I thought would work both in bed and also for lounging around the house. In fact, so many shops now have “loungewear” collections on their websites, which are especially useful in our current circumstances.

Anyway, here are the images from the Marks and Spencer website:

Cosy Lounge Rib Sweatshirt – Marks and Spencer

and…

Cosy Wide Leg Lounge Pant – Marks and Spencer

Both pieces really are soft and cosy and in a kind of dark navy and white tweed effect. My only issue is that the legs are too long – I have very short legs. In the past, I would have shortened them, but I don’t have the energy to do that now. So, I think I will just leave things as they are and hope that I don’t trip over the hems!  Having looked at the site again, I can see that they have sold out now, but they might be re-stocked with different leg lengths. So, if I decide to buy another pair, I may be able to select shorter legs next time.

Oh, and the trousers have pockets! It’s so rare to find pockets in women’s clothes these days, but they are so useful.

I will let you know how these wash and wear in the longer term. Other colours were also available a few days ago, so if they work out for me, I might buy more in other colours.

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Outfits of the week 04/12/20

OK, I have finally given in! I cannot really write Outfit of the Day any more. Yes, I wore both of these this week, for a few hours, in between lying in bed:

Outfit of the day 01/12/20 with Hermès’ Plumes en Fête shawl

Outfit items:

  • Dark grey long-sleeved t-shirt – Lands End.
  • Grey cord pull-on 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. This shawl is so wonderful to wear! I am still paying back the house “kitty” for it whilst plotting quietly to see if I can possibly save up for another one. Oh, the Hermès slippery slope!!!

And here is the second outfit from this week, this time with the silk 90cm version of the Plumes en Fête pattern:

Outfit of the day 03/12/20 with Hermès’ Plumes en Fête scarf

Outfit items:

  • Cobalt cashmere v-neck jumper – John Lewis.
  • Navy cotton joggers – Cotton Traders.
  • Silver and gold feather earrings – birthday present from Younger Son.
  • Silk scarf, 90 cm, in cobalt blue, turquoise, and green – Plumes en Fête – Hermès. Tied in an asymmetric wrap. Aren’t these blues wonderful?

I really adore the feather earrings as they are not too large and just nicely tie in with the pattern. In fact feathers have been my theme this week, because today I am wearing my Liberty of London Hera shawl which features peacock feathers. I didn’t take a modelling photo, so here is a reminder from a while back:

Outfit of the day 29/10/18 with Liberty’s Hera shawl

Outfit of the day 29/10/18 with Liberty’s Hera shawl

Right, I think that is enough for the final post of the week, so I will sign off with my very good wishes for a great weekend.

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Reading roundup 02/12/20

This week’s post is about two books which I have enjoyed reading. I am also half-way through a third. All this is thanks to our County Library Service – they are really expanding their ebook catalogue.

Absolute Proof by Peter James

The first book was Absolute Proof by Peter James. Here is the blurb:

Investigative reporter Ross Hunter nearly didn’t answer the phone call that would change his life – and possibly the world – for ever.

“I’d just like to assure you I’m not a nutcase, Mr Hunter. My name is Dr Harry F. Cook. I know this is going to sound strange, but I’ve recently been given absolute proof of God’s existence – and I’ve been advised there is a writer, a respected journalist called Ross Hunter, who could help me to get taken seriously.”

What would it take to prove the existence of God? And what would be the consequences?

The false faith of a billionaire evangelist, the life’s work of a famous atheist, and the credibility of each of the world’s major religions are all under threat. If Ross Hunter can survive long enough to present the evidence…

I enjoyed the book and awarded it three stars on the Goodreads website. Four stars are given to really good books and as for five stars? Well, I only award the full five for a book that makes me go “Wow!” (or even “Aargh!”, or “Eek!). Anyway, this is my Goodreads review:

Absolute ProofAbsolute Proof by Peter James
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think that, if I had realised that the book was so very long, I wouldn’t have started it! Whilst I became quite engrossed by some parts of the story, I think the book could have been cut by up to a third. That would have tightened up the pace of the plot considerably.

I am really not a religious person, but that side of the tale was very intriguing even if over-done at times. There were nicely written twists and turns and a good ending.

Last of all: the choice of cover design was poor. It gave the impression that a large chunk of the action would take place in Egypt or that hieroglyphics would be important. That is not so! There was an exciting piece of action, but not enough to use such a misleading image.

View all my reviews

Better to Rest by Dana Stabenow

Those visitors to this blog who follow this weekly reading post, may have noticed that I am enjoying Dana Stabenow’s work. So, this next book won’t come as any surprise. Her fourth book in the Liam Campbell series is Better to Rest and that was my second book of the week. Here we have the blurb:

A party of hunters stumbles upon a desiccated human hand, a feisty grandmother meets an untimely death in her own kitchen, and the broken remains of a World War II-era transport plane emerge from the face of a calving glacier. It’s all in a day’s work for Sergeant Liam Campbell of the Alaska State Troopers. And 60 years ago is like yesterday.

Liam had his hands clenched around the edge of his seat and with every muscle strained upward, keeping that plane in the sky. Oh, God yes, anything but down, please, please. I’ll never get drunk again, I’ll do all of Miranda every single time no matter how the Supreme Court rules, I’ll marry and settle down and live a nice, quiet life, just please don’t let this plane go down with me on board.

But when he risked a glance out the window, down seemed to be coming up very fast indeed, and now he cursed the light of the moon that so clearly illuminated the river beneath them.

I am finding this series perfect for my present mood: exciting enough to keep me reading, well-written and interesting characters, with a great setting. This is what I wrote on Goodreads:

Better To Rest (Liam Campbell, #4)Better To Rest by Dana Stabenow
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the book, especially the great opening chapter. Lots of the longer story arcs of the series were resolved – did the author intend to finish it here? I know there is another books, so I suppose she will open up some new avenues for her main characters.

The mysteries at the heart of the book were, however, not quite so well written for me. The resolution came along rather suddenly with some details left open. Although maybe that was either intentional or my own fault with memory issues.

Anyway, I have had a good time with these characters and the amazing setting and hope that I can read more books in this series.

View all my reviews

Platform Seven by Louise Doughty

When I have finished writing this post, I will return to my latest book: Platform Seven by Louise Doughty. It is freaking me out a bit and I will tell you why in next week’s Reading Roundup!

Until then, Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Update 30/11/20

Sorry, there will not be a proper post today as I am feeling very ill. I hope to be able to write later in the week.

Love and best wishes,

Anne

💕💗💖💗💕

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Update 27/11/20 – hassles all round!

I had planned to wear a colourful outfit with a lovely Hermès scarf today – I had been building myself up! But, events have got in the way. Things tend to come in threes, don’t they?

First event: lasted all day yesterday. Elder Son (with Autism) spent the whole day kicking off about the new COVID rules for England which have put our area into Tier 3. This stops him travelling around and visiting his friend in the way he prefers. Instead of berating Boris, ES decided to punish his parents! We ended up exhausted and distraught. I hope he calms down before this evening.

Second event: the back door broke! So, we have spent the day trying to find a good and reliable firm to repair or replace it. Hassle all round.

Third event: ES noticed that a length of guttering had become partially detached above the bathroom window. So….. we have spent the day trying to find a good and reliable firm to repair or replace it. Hassle all round again.

Events 2 and 3 are not Earth-shattering in themselves, but, added to the exhausting nature of the first event plus the poor state of our physical and mental health, they do feel difficult to sort out. Let’s hope that we can regain some equilibrium in time and not end up like this famous song from my childhood…

Wishing you all a hassle-free weekend!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Reading roundup 25/11/20

I have been rushing to finish a book so that I could write about in this week’s Reading Roundup, but realised that I was spoiling the ending for myself. So, this post will be about one book this week and I will add that book to the next Reading Roundup post.

Close to Home by Cara Hunter

The book I am writing about today is Close to Home by Cara Hunter (DI Adam Fawley #01). Here is the blurb:

SOMEONE TOOK DAISY MASON… SOMEONE YOU KNOW.

HOW CAN A CHILD GO MISSING WITHOUT A TRACE?

Last night, eight-year-old Daisy Mason disappeared from a family party. No one in the quiet suburban street saw anything – or at least that’s what they’re saying.

DI Adam Fawley is trying to keep an open mind. But he knows the nine times out of ten, it’s someone the victim knew.

That means someone is lying…
And that Daisy’s time is running out.

And this is the quick review which uploaded to Goodreads:

Close to Home (DI Adam Fawley, #1)Close to Home by Cara Hunter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fairly complex police investigation of a missing child. Many of the characters were well-drawn, others were just an interchangeable set of names. The main character, DI Adam Fawley, was interesting with a tragic back-story. I found the interjections of past events rather jarring and they interrupted the flow of the plot.

The book was easy and quick to read, despite the bleak themes, and held my interest all the way through to the surprising end. I certainly enjoyed the book enough to immediately search our Library Service’s ebook catalogue for more books in the series and was very pleased to find that there are several available. The next book has been reserved!

View all my reviews

As you see, my experience with such a dark and serious book last week made me turn to crime! The book which I haven’t quite finished is Absolute Proof by Peter James – here is the cover:

Absolute Proof by Peter James

As soon as I have finished reading the book, I will write it up ready for next week.

Until then:

Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Update 23/11/20 with some grammatical humour

A friend posted this on Facebook this morning and I just had to share it on here:

David Needle

• An Oxford comma walks into a bar where it spends the evening watching the television, getting drunk, and smoking cigars.

• A dangling participle walks into a bar. Enjoying a cocktail and chatting with the bartender, the evening passes pleasantly.

• A bar was walked into by the passive voice.

• An oxymoron walked into a bar, and the silence was deafening.

• Two quotation marks walk into a “bar.”

• A malapropism walks into a bar, looking for all intensive purposes like a wolf in cheap clothing, muttering epitaphs and casting dispersions on his magnificent other, who takes him for granite.

• Hyperbole totally rips into this insane bar and absolutely destroys everything.

• A question mark walks into a bar?

• A non sequitur walks into a bar. In a strong wind, even turkeys can fly.

• Papyrus and Comic Sans walk into a bar. The bartender says, “Get out — we don’t serve your type.”

• A mixed metaphor walks into a bar, seeing the handwriting on the wall but hoping to nip it in the bud.

• A comma splice walks into a bar, it has a drink and then leaves.

• Three intransitive verbs walk into a bar. They sit. They converse. They depart.

• A synonym strolls into a tavern.

• At the end of the day, a cliché walks into a bar — fresh as a daisy, cute as a button, and sharp as a tack.

• A run-on sentence walks into a bar it starts flirting. With a cute little sentence fragment.

• Falling slowly, softly falling, the chiasmus collapses to the bar floor.

• A figure of speech literally walks into a bar and ends up getting figuratively hammered.

• An allusion walks into a bar, despite the fact that alcohol is its Achilles heel.

• The subjunctive would have walked into a bar, had it only known.

• A misplaced modifier walks into a bar owned a man with a glass eye named Ralph.

• The past, present, and future walked into a bar. It was tense.

• A dyslexic walks into a bra.

• A verb walks into a bar, sees a beautiful noun, and suggests they conjugate. The noun declines.

• A simile walks into a bar, as parched as a desert.

• A gerund and an infinitive walk into a bar, drinking to forget.

• A hyphenated word and a non-hyphenated word walk into a bar and the bartender nearly chokes on the irony.

Isn’t it clever? Well, I think so…

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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