Update 22/08/22 with 70th birthday planning

Welcome to the new week on the blog!

For the last few weeks, I have been planning for Lovely Husband’s 70th birthday in September. He doesn’t want a big fuss, but I think that it needs marking properly by his closest family. Younger Son is planning to visit, which is great, and I have asked him to organise and cook a lovely celebratory meal for the four of us. Elder Son can be his “sous chef”. LH has always been the cook in the family and YS has enjoyed learning from his Dad over the years. He is now a proficient cook in his own home. As I am unable to commit to going out for a meal, this seemed like a great alternative.

I have also been planning gifts with my two “boys”. We have clubbed together and bought some gorgeous lead crystal wine glasses. In addition, I have organised some cricket memorabilia and have to get two items framed. Unfortunately, as I cannot drive any longer, I have had to tell LH about some of this, so that he can drive me to the picture framers for quotations! I also had an issue resulting from my stroke and had a bit of a meltdown about all of the planning as I couldn’t manage it all on my own. LH kindly stepped in to help. So, some of the surprises aren’t surprises any longer.

Never mind.

Anyway, here is an image of the wine glass from Royal Scot Crystal:

Westminster large wine glass – Royal Scot Crystal

Isn’t it gorgeous?

I will show you some of the other gifts after LH’s birthday as I have at least managed to keep one as a surprise!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

💕💗💖💗💕

Posted in Family, Lifestyle, Special days | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Outfits of the week 19/08/22

Hi everyone and welcome to Friday’s post! The really hot weather eased off at the beginning of the week, but I have still felt rather uncomfortable on many days. So, I have only one “outfit” for you this week. As we move towards the end of the summer, I am sure that I will be able to get dressed properly on more days. Those gorgeous scarves need to be worn!

Before I show you the photo, I would like to mention that I have removed some pages from the blog. The other week, I had a bit of a moan/rant on here and many of you kindly responded. I had a think and decided on a few things, one of which was that it seemed the right time to move on from my days as a school librarian. So, I have broken the links to the pages about my career and also the section on diet and exercise. All of this is rather irrelevant now. I haven’t completely deleted anything, just in case the information is needed in the future, but it is all hidden for the time being. Thanks again for your input!

One other change has been made. Some of you may have noticed that the menu sections for my scarves has been moved up the right-hand sidebar. Promoted, if you like. I decided that I would like to give the links more prominence. After all, those Scarf of the Moment posts do take a lot of writing!


Right, here is the “outfit” photo that I took yesterday. The scarf is Hermès’ Escales Mediterranéenes, worn with a purple t-shirt and my pyjama trousers! My earrings (that you can just see) are amethyst and silver by Blue Nile and the mother of pearl scarf ring is by MaiTai. Oh, and I forgot to remove my glasses!

Outfit of the day 18/08/22 with Hermès’ Escales Mediterranéenes

As you can see, I felt too weak to take the photo standing up, so here I am sitting up in bed!

Here is an image of the whole scarf. I love the colours, especially the pretty shades of lilac…

Escales Mediterranéenes by Christine Henry for Hermès

I am going to look through my scarf list and decide which ones I consider to be “summer scarves” – because of the colours or the themes – and try to wear them over the next few weeks.

On that lovely thought – rummaging through beautiful, colourful silks – I will sign off and wish you all a very Happy Weekend!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

💕💗💖💗💕

Posted in Blogging, Lifestyle, Outfit of the day, Scarves, Wardrobe | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reading roundup 17/08/22

Welcome to this week’s Reading Roundup! This last week turned out to be rather annoying in terms of my reading. Unusually for me, I had three false starts (awful clunky writing) before turning to something more tried and tested. The extreme heat didn’t help. In the end, I returned to the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold, as I knew that I would enjoy her writing.

Here is the book…

Ethan of Athos by Lois McMaster Bujold

I am still trying to tackle this series in the reading order, rather than publishing order, although, in this case it didn’t really matter. Ethan of Athos is a kind of side story to the series and doesn’t involve any of the previous main characters. Anyway, this is the short blurb:

“Dr. Ethan Urquhart, chief biologist from the all-male world of Athos, must travel to other planets in search of new genetic material, as their current supply of ovarian tissue is no longer viable.
Ethan encounters what to him is practically an alien species — women! — and also finds himself hunted by Cetagandan ghem lords and helped out by Miles’ Dendarii officer Elli Quinn.”

And here is my response as posted on Goodreads:

Ethan of Athos (Vorkosigan Saga, #3)Ethan of Athos by Lois McMaster Bujold
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am really enjoying the Vorkosigan Saga so far but I think that this book is not my favourite. Just a note that I am using Bujold’s reading order for the series.

The idea behind the book was interesting: a world without women and how a man from that world would cope when he left the planet. I just found the whole thing irritating after a quite amusing beginning. There was definitely Bujold’s wry humour in parts and this lifted the story, but I became rather lost in the plot twists this time.

On to the next one!

View all my reviews

So, I am not sure what to read next. I only gave this book three stars – is the Vorkosigan Saga losing its spell? Oh dear! Anyway, you will find out my choice of book in next week’s post.

Until then, Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

📚📕📚📕📚

Posted in Reading | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Update 15/08/22

Welcome to a new week on the blog. Phew! We are just coming to the end of a heatwave in this part of the UK. Those of you who live in much hotter climes are probably rather surprised that we react so badly to temperatures that are much more common where you live. The thing is that the infrastructure here cannot cope with extremes of weather. Our houses don’t have thick walls, in the main, most of us don’t have air conditioning or window shutters. That’s because we only need these for a few days every couple of years. It’s the same with snow. Some years we have quite a lot, other years we don’t have any at all. So it is not worth investing in counter measures.

But… with climate change we have to face a different world and that will be difficult or even extreme for many people.

I am not going to go into a political rant on here, so I will bring this subject to a close. All I will add is that the heat has had an impact on my health and I have been really struggling. It has also had a bad effect on tempers in this house, so I hope everything will calm down soon!

Now, I will leave you with a beautiful image or two…

I found both of these lovely images on Twitter. Aren’t they beautiful?

Now, I will try to return to my latest book. I am finding it so hard to concentrate in the hot weather, so I hope I will have something to write about in Wednesday’s Reading Roundup post!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

💕💗💖💗💕

Posted in Health, Lifestyle, Serendipity | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Update 12/08/22 – not Outfits of the Week!

Apologies dear readers! We are again under a heatwave in this part of the UK and my health issues are giving me real difficulties. Therefore, it is proving impossible to concentrate on writing a proper post today. And, to be honest, my “outfits” consist of a vest and knickers – definitely unsuitable for posting on here 😂🤣😂🤣!

The sheer elegance of this woman is a vision to behold…

NOT!!!!!!

Anyway, I will stagger through the next few days and try to put something together for Monday’s post. I will leave you with this image from Twitter:

Seashells by Florence Pindrys – womensart1 on Twitter (accessed 10/08/22)

Such pretty colours.

Happy Weekend to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

💕💗💖💗💕

Posted in Health, Lifestyle | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Reading roundup 10/08/22

Welcome to this week’s Reading Roundup! Unfortunately I have been struggling a lot with my illness and family issues, so have only managed to finish one book because my concentration has been so poor. Let’s hope everything improves in the following week.

Here is the book that I have read:

Femlandia by Christina Dalcher

This week’s book was Femlandia by Christina Dalcher. I have read her debut novel, Vox, and really rated it, so I was looking forward to this book. This is the blurb:

“The United States has sunk into total collapse.

Men in positions of power have wrecked the economy and left women to suffer and pick up the pieces.

Miranda Reynolds has lost her husband, her job and her home. There’s only one place left that she and her daughter Emma can go. Femlandia.

Femlandia is a female-only community. A utopia for women. There’s a reason Miranda never joined before. Now she has no choice.

With what Miranda knows about Femlandia’s founder, she’s right to be wary. While life outside the gates is fraught with danger, there’s something just as sinister going on within.”

I was really excited about the book after reading the blurb. Here is my response on the Goodreads website:

FemlandiaFemlandia by Christina Dalcher
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Goodness, I don’t really know how to react to this book. I am a feminist, married to a man and a mother of two sons, so my feelings about it are coloured by my background. The idea that a feminist “utopia” could turn out like this feels like a slur on feminism. So much about the lifestyle and relationships were not even tackled; so much was missed out in the cause of what seems to be sensationalism.

Once again the responses on here are widely mixed and I can see why so many readers enjoyed the book. It would certainly make a great discussion topic! Just not to my taste.

View all my reviews

I was so disappointed with this book as I was expecting something much more nuanced. Oh well, on to the next one…

And I will have to tell you about that book next week.

Until then: Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

📚📕📚📕📚

Posted in Reading | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Update 08/08/22 with gratitude

Welcome to a new week on the blog. Today I want to respond to the comments on here and elsewhere about last Monday’s post. Thanks to all of you who took the time to write to me, I really appreciate you all.

So, I had a bit of a moanfest last week about how I should or shouldn’t move forward with the blog. These are the kind of questions that I am asking myself at the moment. Shall I simply post less frequently? Are the topics that I cover useful or interesting enough? Can I sustain posting when I am becoming increasingly housebound? Am I becoming addicted to buying stuff so that I can post about it here?

You all gave me very sensible and helpful answers. I felt very encouraged and uplifted as I read them and basically came to the conclusion that I was overthinking everything! Thank you all so much for your generosity in taking the time to respond.

So… I have decided to carry on with the same pattern on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, but not get worried when I feel too ill to post. After all, it is only one little blog in amongst millions out there on the web!

I will probably continue to buy one Hermès scarf per season (sometimes maybe two) until I disappear under a mountain of orange boxes! But, I must try to wear them more often, even if I am not leaving the house. I am also planning to list them all and put a label on each box so that I can get them properly organised. Now, that’s definitely something that I will be able to write about!

Another aspect of the blog that I am intending to change is the section on my career in school librarianship. It is such a long time since I retired that I am sure the profession has moved on by leaps and bounds. So, I think that my CV and other pages about my working life can now be archived as they are not relevant to my new life. I think I will also work through some of the other stuff that is now very dated and remove it  – The Diet and Exercise Plan, for example. I don’t diet and I can’t exercise!

OK, I think that is enough for now. I will leave you with this lovely image that I found on Twitter…

Long Summer by Katharine Burns – Twitter (accessed 08/08/22)

I just love that gorgeous sparkling sea! Aren’t we so fortunate that technology allows us to see such wonders from the restrictions of our bedrooms?

Love and best wishes,

Anne

💕💗💖💗💕

Posted in Blogging, Lifestyle | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Outfits of the week 05/08/22

Welcome to Friday’s post! Today is a very special day as it’s Younger Son’s 30th birthday. Time has passed so quickly and Lovely Husband and I sat looking at photos of our two “boys” over the years wondering how it has gone in the blink of an eye.

The weather is still hot and sunny in this part of the UK with no change in sight, so it has not really been a week for scarf wearing. I did manage to wear Mythiques Phoenix Coloriage by Hermès, tied in a necklace knot, for an hour or so on one day, but soon had to take it off. Here you can see the two sides of the knot. Apologies for the photos. My arms aren’t long enough to get the knot in proper focus!

The full outfit consisted of a navy Lands’ End vest with my Isle Collection linen trousers. I also wore pretty gold and silver feather earrings and a matching necklace.

Here is an image of the full scarf:

Mythiques Phoenix Coloriage by Laurence Bourthoumieux for Hermès
Mythiques Phoenix Coloriage by Laurence Bourthoumieux for Hermès

Earlier in the week my Marks and Spencer navy and white dress coped well with a hot day, but I couldn’t bear to try a scarf and instead chose this Bill Skinner lapis lazuli pendant…

Outfit of the day 02/08/22 with Marks and Spencer dress

This is a larger picture of the Bill Skinner necklace:

Lapis lazuli and gold pendant by Bill Skinner

I must thank everyone who has responded to last Monday’s post, either on here or elsewhere. Over the weekend, I am going to look through your comments again and try to respond next Monday.

Happy Weekend to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

💕💗💖💗💕

Posted in Clothes, Family, Jewellery, Lifestyle, Outfit of the day, Scarves, Wardrobe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reading roundup 03/08/22

Welcome to the first Reading Roundup post for August! During the last week, I have read and enjoyed two very different books. This is the first one…

Cetaganda by Lois McMaster Bujold

Yes, I decided to return to the Vorkosigan Saga once again. This book is number five in the series’ reading order: Cetaganda. Here is the blurb:

“Miles Vorkosigan and his cousin Ivan are sent on a diplomatic mission to the court of the Cetagandan Empire, Barrayar’s former enemy. This sophisticated, genetically advanced but in many ways alien society both fascinates and repels, and when the Cetagandan Empress and her attendant die suddenly, Miles and Ivan find themselves embroiled in intrigues that are hard to fathom. Ivan’s romances and Miles’ infatuation with a nobel Cetagandan lady further complicate matters in this novel by four-time Hugo Award winner Lois McMaster Bujold.”

Well, the blurb above does not really explain enough of the complex story and is also inaccurate! Anyway, this is my response on Goodreads:

Cetaganda (Vorkosigan Saga)Cetaganda by Lois McMaster Bujold
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This had so much to like and enjoy: fantastic world building, clever and witty writing, an interesting and satisfying plot, unusual and well drawn characters. So, it gets four stars for all of those plus points. However, it just missed the full five stars for me because Miles is becoming so irritating as a character. I am trying to read the books in the recommended order and I hope that the next one is better.

View all my reviews

And now for something completely different!

Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman

The second book of the week was Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman. This is the blurb:

“London, 1799. Dora Blake is an aspiring jewellery artist who lives with her uncle in what used to be her parents’ famed shop of antiquities. When a mysterious Greek vase is delivered, Dora is intrigued by her uncle’s suspicious behaviour and enlists the help of Edward Lawrence, a young antiquarian scholar. Edward sees the ancient vase as key to unlocking his academic future. Dora sees it as a chance to restore the shop to its former glory, and to escape her nefarious uncle.

But what Edward discovers about the vase has Dora questioning everything she has believed about her life, her family, and the world as she knows it. As Dora uncovers the truth she starts to realise that some mysteries are buried, and some doors are locked, for a reason.

Gorgeously atmospheric and deliciously page-turning, Pandora is a story of secrets and deception, love and fulfilment, fate and hope.”

This book was such a fortuitous choice. My review reveals all:

PandoraPandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was such an unexpected and enjoyable book for me. I chose it at random from the Library’s ebook catalogue because I have a love of historical fiction and also Ancient Greece. However, I didn’t expect to read a fiction book about one of the great interests of my life: Ancient Greek vases! I have a Masters degree in aspects of Ancient Greek vase painting and never thought that I would encounter these ceramics in a book like this: full of mystery, mayhem and murder!

The book itself is good, but has distinct flaws in some areas such as character building and accuracy. I must admit that I also found a few mistakes in the writing about Greek pottery itself. On the other hand, I did enjoy the plot and most of the major characters were well drawn. The cover design is also gorgeous!

I am so glad that I came across this book and I have probably overdone the number of stars, but the melding of themes for the tale just tipped it into the four star category!

View all my reviews

I have never heard of a vase like the one in the book, but one of my Hermès scarves depicts pithoi in the corners: Les Secrets de Minos. You can see more on my Scarf of the Moment post about the scarf and I have included an image of  one of the corners below:

Les Secrets de Minos by Hermès

Right, I will stop here before I end up writing a whole article about Ancient Greek ceramics!

I gave both of the week’s books four stars and hope that my next book turns out to be a good one. You will find out my verdict in next week’s Reading Roundup post.

Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

📚📕📚📕📚

Posted in Reading | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Update 01/08/22 with some thoughts about the blog

Hello and welcome to a new week on the blog. I am in rather a pensive mood today and I want to share a few thoughts with you about the future of the blog.

The Librain…… retired is now in its sixth year and I am so pleased that it still attracts quite a number of visitors. It was started as a way to occupy myself when I became mostly housebound through illness and I have continued to write since I had the stroke in 2019. I am sure that the rediscovery of my ability to think and write reasonably clearly has a lot to do with maintaining the blog. More recently, WordPress quite drastically changed its structures and I had to force myself to learn a complicated new system. I hope that this has been successful.

On the other hand, there have been some negative impacts. I can be quite a driven person. At the beginning, I decided to write a post on every week day and I kept that going for a long time. This was rather difficult to achieve as, because my day to day life is so limited, I had to search around for something to write about. Eventually, I had to drop the posts down to three per week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday. That has been manageable most of the time. On occasion, when my illness has become overwhelming, I have taken breaks of up to a week, but I have tried to keep those to a minimum.

Another issue for me has been subject matter. Simply, I don’t want to write long complaining or moaning posts about my illness or the difficult issues surrounding our family life. Over the years, I have vented on here from time to time and everyone has been supportive and kind, but I don’t want the blog to be a negative moanfest! So, I have tried to write as positively as I can about more trivial matters, mainly books and reading, clothing and accessories, and the curiosities that I find whilst wandering around the web.

One thing that this has led to is that my passion for scarves and costume jewellery has become rather overwhelming. The lovely, positive responses that I have had to my scarf posts here and elsewhere have resulted in my spending on these luxuries getting a bit out of hand. Nothing too over the top, I must hasten to say, but rather it’s a bit silly when I can’t wear any of these items out of the house. I sometimes feel very foolish that I own this wonderful Hermès collection, but I can only wear the scarves in the house or for medical appointments!

So, I am in a bit of a dilemma. I need to think about whether I should continue with the blog and also decide its purpose. Perhaps I also need some deeper thoughts about my own future and purpose. I don’t really know.

I would really appreciate some responses.

Love and best wishes,

Anne

💕💗💖💗💕

Posted in Blogging, Lifestyle, Serendipity | Tagged | 8 Comments