Update 11/04/19

Apologies. I am feeling very weak and ill today, so am not able to write a proper post. Hopefully, things will be better tomorrow.

Best wishes,


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Reading roundup 10/04/19

I have finished only one book this week! Quite shocking for me, I suppose. But, it had over 1000 pages, and when I tell you that it was Diana Gabaldon’s An Echo in the Bone (#07 in her Outlander series), fans will know the reason why.

An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon

I had requested volumes 7 and 8 from the local library and had put them both aside for a while until I felt able to tackle such long books. Well, I felt able enough this week!

Anyway, here is the blurb:

Jamie Fraser, erstwhile Jacobite and reluctant rebel, knows three things about the American rebellion: the Americans will win, unlikely as that seems in 1778; being on the winning side is no guarantee of survival; and he’d rather die than face his illegitimate son — a young lieutenant in the British Army — across the barrel of a gun. Fraser’s time-travelling wife, Claire, also knows a couple of things: that the Americans will win, but that the ultimate price of victory is a mystery. What she does believe is that the price won’t include Jamie’s life or happiness — not if she has anything to say.

Claire’s grown daughter Brianna, and her husband, Roger, watch the unfolding of Brianna’s parents’ history — a past that may be sneaking up behind their own family.

Here is my review on Goodreads. I awarded the book four stars:

I know that there are all kinds of things wrong or annoying about these later Outlander books: the length, the detail, the detours from the plot telling the reader about the minutiae of life in the 18th century, the differing points of view, the plot holes, the stupid and incomprehensible decisions made by some of the characters, the huge number of characters, characters dropping in that the reader has forgotten about, the overwriting, the overwhelming number of story arcs carrying on simultaneously, or not quite, the number of maritime disasters, the sheer length of the books (oops, I have said that already)…

And yet…

You know, I love this series. I love finding out how Claire is going to perform a miracle of medicine. I love the sheer adventure. I love the tiny details of their lives. I love the romance. I even love the characters I hate!

I love these huge bricks of books…

So, I am finishing this review now and turning to the next one: Written in My Own Heart’s Blood. And it will be just as daft as the last one…

And I don’t care!

So, there you go. I am going to do exactly that…

Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon

Happy Reading to you all!

Best wishes,


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Update 09/04/19

Well, I have had yet another pyjama day! Last night was not good as I alternated between coughing and acid reflux. Poor Lovely Husband didn’t sleep well either because he was kind enough to stroke my back to try give me some comfort. I went downstairs at about 11.30 and we watched the latest episode of the amazing Line of Duty and a new programme, The Visitor, which looked interesting. This is being shown all week and the plot is already thickening nicely!

I did manage to have a long bath this afternoon (which is exhausting in itself, but the pleasure kind of outweighs the fatigue). It is difficult to climb in and out these days as I have become so weak. Well, it was worth it in the end.

The rest of the afternoon was spent reading random things on the internet as I didn’t have enough concentration to begin my new book (another huge blockbuster, which I will tell you about tomorrow). I must admit that I am addicted to Mumsnet, particularly the Feminism and Women’s Rights section, having been a member for quite a lot of years. There are so many highly articulate and intelligent contributors and I enjoy being educated!

Reading Roundup post tomorrow…

Best wishes,


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Update 08/04/19 with good news for handbag fans!

Quite a few months ago, I announced on here the sad news that my favourite handbag company, Massaccesi, was being forced to close. They managed to hang on for a while, running down the stock, but appeared to be nearing the end. Well, I am happy to say that the following post appeared on my Facebook wall on Saturday:

Massaccesi news 06/04/19

Massaccesi news 06/04/19

I cannot afford a new bag at the moment, and probably cannot justify one anyway, but I am sure that other fans of Marco Massaccesi and his staff will be very pleased indeed. As  reminder, here are my own previous purchases (not to scale):

Handbags by Marco Massaccesi

Handbags by Marco Massaccesi

Best wishes,


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Outfit of the day 05/04/19

I had to cancel my counselling appointment again this morning as coughing had almost taken away my voice. This is unfortunate, because I need these sessions and they are really helping.

Also, I had a nice outfit planned. After some time basing my clothes around grey, I had decided to change over to purple, with my pretty lilac Escales Mediterranéenes Hermès scarf. Instead, I have spent the day mostly in pyjamas! Well, I did put on my Marks and Spencer silver grey cashmere jumper as I wanted to try it with the very bright pink Baobab Cat gavroche – a very nice combination, in my opinion 😀. Anyway, I took a quick pic on my iPad and here it is:

Outfit of the day 05/04/19 with Hermès’ Baobab Cat gavroche

Outfit of the day 05/04/19 with Hermès’ Baobab Cat gavroche

Now, I am returning to my book and hoping that my health improves over the weekend. I also hope that all my visitors to this bloghave a great weekend too!

Best wishes,


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Outfit of the day 04/04/19

Hairdresser day again! Six weeks goes by so very quickly. I woke up feeling very tired and have hardly been able to keep my eyes open all day, but I did manage to get to my hair appointment, thanks to Lovely Husband. It was just a trim and blow dry as I am not going to return to the days of dyeing. Now, when I see people with coloured hair, it looks so dry and fake. There must be many people who look good with dyed hair, but not very many, unless they have a lot of subtle shades of colour and keep the hair in good condition.

I am not at all happy with my hair. Yes, it looks much nicer after an appointment, but it has remained very thin. There is nothing that I can do about this, short of wearing a wig!

Anyway, here is today’s collage…

Outfit of the day 04/04/19 with Hermès’ Sweet Dreams scarf

Outfit of the day 04/04/19 with Hermès’ Sweet Dreams scarf

Today’ outfit:

  • Silver grey cashmere v-neck jumper – Marks and Spencer.
  • Indigo cotton jeans – Cotton Traders.
  • Crystal and silver stud earrings – John Lewis.
  • Blue and cream enamel, with crystals and gold, Owl bangle – Halcyon Days.
  • Blue enamel and gold Chain bangle – Halcyon Days.
  • Wool and silk scarf, 100cm, in blue, grey and white – Sweet Dreams – Hermès.

I wore my very comfortable navy leather Hotter shoes and carried my gorgeous bright blue midi-Muse Massaccesi handbag. A navy coat completed the outfit – very necessary today as it has been rather cold and drizzling. At least the bright blues gave me a lift!

Best wishes,


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Reading roundup 03/04/19

I have read three books this week and made a start on a fourth, which is very long indeed. In fact, it may take me a whole week to finish that one. If I mention the Outlander series, fans of that will get what I mean!

Night Music by John Connolly

Night Music by John Connolly

My first book was a collection of short stories by John Connolly: Night Music (#02 of his Nocturnes series). Here is the blurb:

A decade after Nocturnes first terrified and delighted readers, John Connolly, bestselling author of thirteen acclaimed thrillers featuring private investigator Charlie Parker, gives us a second volume of tales of the supernatural. From stories of the monstrous for dark winter nights to fables of fantastic libraries and haunted books, from a tender account of love after death to a frank, personal, and revealing account of the author’s affection for myths of ghosts and demons, this is a collection that will surprise, delight—and terrify.

Night Music: Nocturnes 2 also contains two novellas: the multi-award-winning The Caxton Private Lending Library & Book Depository and The Fractured Atlas.

Night Music: Nocturnes 2 is a masterly collection to be read with the lights on—menace has never been so seductive.

This is my four star review on the Goodreads website:

John Connolly is one of my most favourite writers, so I was really looking forward to reading this collection. The stories are superbly written and very macabre. I think that the set of tales called Fractured Atlas was the best. I also particularly liked the last piece about his own reading journey. I have not yet read his first collection, Nocturnes, so will request this from the Library as soon as possible. Highly recommended.

The Encircling Sea by Adrian Goldsworthy

The Encircling Sea by Adrian Goldsworthy

The second book was The Encircling Sea (Vindolanda series #02) by Adrian Goldsworthy. This is the blurb:

AD 100: Flavius Ferox, Briton and Roman centurion, is finding it hard to keep the peace. Based at Vindolanda – an army fort on the northern frontier of Britannia and the entire Roman world – he feels the eyes of his enemies on him at all hours.

Ambitious leaders sense a chance to carve out empires of their own. While men nearer at hand speak in whispers of war and the destruction of Rome.

And out at sea, ships of pirates and deserters restlessly wait for the time to launch their attack on the empire’s land.

Once again, I seem to have picked up a part two, without having read part one of the series first! This was OK, as the writer gave enough hints of the previous story, but I have already asked for the first book from the Library. Anyway, here is my three star review:

I picked this book up because I saw the word “Vindolanda” on the cover. As I have had some lovely holidays near Hadrian’s Wall and have visited the fort, I was immediately interested. The book was a good read and, as a former student of the period, appeared to be accurate. In fact, this striving for accuracy kind of got in the way of the story. Yes, it’s good to know which weapons and armour were used and the correct names for officers etc., but it does detract a bit. I also find it rather strange, as a Brit reading about the conquerors of our ancestors, to come across such a whitewashed tale of the Roman Army. Most of them are far too decent – not even a good swearword. “Humping”!!!! I will read the other books, though!

Past Tense by Lee Child

Past Tense by Lee Child

I had been waiting since the Autumn for the next book. When I requested the latest Jack Reacher (#23!) from the Library, I was 88th in the queue! So, I read it quickly in order to return it to the Library for the next eager reader: Past Tense by Lee Child. Here is the blurb:

Jack Reacher plans to follow the autumn sun on an epic road trip across America, from Maine to California. He doesn’t get far. On a country road deep in the New England woods, he sees a sign to a place he has never been – the town where his father was born. He thinks, what’s one extra day? He takes the detour.

At the very same moment, close by, a car breaks down. Two young Canadians are trying to get to New York City to sell a treasure. They are stranded at a lonely motel in the middle of nowhere. It’s a strange place … but it’s all there is.

The next morning in the city clerk’s office, Reacher asks about the old family home. He’s told no one named Reacher ever lived in that town. He knows his father never went back. Now he wonders, was he ever there in the first place?

So begins another nail-biting, adrenaline-fuelled adventure for Reacher. The present can be tense, but the past can be worse. That’s for damn sure.

I gave this book three stars, although it is probably worth 3.5, and wrote this review:

I have enjoyed reading this series and would be sad if it came to an end, but I think that it should go out with a real blockbuster and Child should find a new hero (or heroine) to write about. There were two main story arcs in the book and the one with Reacher, although quite interesting in terms of filling in some more of his background, did drag on quite a lot. There was a lot of hotel changing and meals in different places and driving around, punctuated with a few fights, but that was it.

The other story arc reminded me quite a lot of the book and film Open Season and I guessed really early on what was going to happen. The fact that the two arcs met so late in the book was rather odd.

I did enjoy reading the book, don’t get me wrong, but there are better ones in the series.

Right, I now have two books in the Outlander series to read – two huge tomes! It will probably take quite a while for me to finish both of them, but I will report my progress next week.

Happy Reading to you all!

Best wishes,


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