Update 23/08/21 with an early reveal

Oh, all right then, I will reveal my “secret” purchase!

On Friday, I wrote this…

”A more upbeat update is that I have received an item today that I will show you later in the year! Isn’t that irritating of me?!? Lovely Husband always leaves me to choose my own presents from him as I have such specific tastes. Luckily for me, I spotted something I was already thinking about on eBay at a huge discount! As it will be more useful in the Autumn and Winter months, I am going to put it away until my birthday in November and will post about it on here then.”

… but I can’t wait until November to show the item to you! On 13/08/21 I wrote about exploring the Johnstons of Elgin site and I saw loads of really gorgeous cashmere scarves and wraps. Then I decided to search for them on eBay, just to see what might be available. Well, I was really fortunate and found one of the new designs, entirely unused, at a really discounted price! So, I snapped it up straight away and it arrived on Friday.

Here are some images of my new cashmere stole from the Johnstons of Elgin site to be going on with:

In real life, it is absolutely magnificent – so very soft, with beautiful shades of white, navy, grey, turquoise and green. Perfect for Autumn/Winter snuggles as it measures 190×70 cms.

I am almost looking forward to cold weather!

Anyway, I have now put it away and will save it until my birthday when full modelling photos will be taken and uploaded to this blog. For now, I will just have to get it out of the bag now and then to admire and feel its fluffy softness!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Update 20/08/21

Apologies, but this will be a short post today. We are struggling at the moment with Elder Son’s moods and I am sitting in bed, shaking with stress and exhaustion. I’m sure that it will all blow over soon.

A more upbeat update is that I have received an item today that I will show you later in the year! Isn’t that irritating of me?!? Lovely Husband always leaves me to choose my own presents from him as I have such specific tastes. Luckily for me, I spotted something I was already thinking about on eBay at a huge discount! As it will be more useful in the Autumn and Winter months, I am going to put it away until my birthday in November and will post about it on here then.

I try to avoid anything too controversial or political on here, but I just saw this on Facebook and decided it was appropriate in the present circumstances to post it:

The Hijab Series: “What if” by Yemeni photographer Boushra Almutawakel, 2014.

Anyway, goodbye for now and I hope you all have a great weekend!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Reading roundup 18/08/21

I really enjoyed this week’s book! After reading such a long book over the previous fortnight and a succession of “OK, but not amazing” ones previously, it was refreshing to find a book that I could relax into. The sort of book that draws you in and makes you forget the outside world.

Now, obviously, those kinds of books are very personal to the reader. In this case it was a fairly straightforward thriller…

Red Station by Adrian Magson

My book of the week was Red Station by Adrian Magson, #01 Harry Tate. Here is the blurb:

Having been made the scapegoat for a botched drugs intercept operation, MI5 officer Harry Tate is dispatched to ‘Red Station’, a remote outpost in the Balkans, ostensibly to avoid press scrutiny, but where in effect the security services send ‘problem’ agents they’d like to be rid of. But the outpost is thrust into the international spotlight when troops begin massing in the area; and, as the situation becomes increasingly dangerous, Tate discovers the real, truly shocking, purpose behind ‘Red Station’ – and decides to fight back . . .” 

A very, er, sparse blurb, but accurate! Anyway, I read this pretty quickly and this was my review on Goodreads:

Red Station (A Harry Tate Thriller)Red Station by Adrian Magson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I chose this book completely at random from the Library’s ebook collection. Having just finished it, I searched for more in the series or by the same author, but was very disappointed not to find any! So, that gives you an idea of my response.

The book was a quick and enjoyable read with some nice setting up for the next book in the series. The main character, Harry, was interesting and well developed, but with plenty more to be discovered. The setting was fairly dismal and bleak. Lesser characters were mainly rather unlikeable.

All in all, this is a good spy thriller, which has had a very mixed reception here, on Goodreads. I found that it held my attention well and was a satisfying read.

View all my reviews

So, once again, it is worth checking out other reviews!

At the moment, I have quite a few interesting looking books in my reservation queue. Most of these won’t be available until September at the very earliest. In the meantime, I am choosing ebooks at random and giving them a go. I have decided that, if they don’t grab me within a couple of chapters, I will move on. It seems to be so difficult to do this as I was brought up to  finish each book and not give up. But why should I waste precious time on something I am not enjoying?

I have started to read my next book and it is The Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel H Wilson. So far, it is really unusual and intriguing and I will give you my response in next week’s Reading Roundup post.

The Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel H Wilson

Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne 

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Update 16/08/21

Over the weekend I came to the decision that I really should make a huge effort to shake myself out of this current malaise. I am spending most of every day in bed feeling sorry for myself. OK, I keep myself entertained with reading, web surfing and TV watching (and spending too much money on frivolity) and I am not being miserable and gloomy with loved ones, but, generally speaking, I am in a pit.

So, I began to make a plan for gentle exercise and more involvement in household activities. I felt really upbeat and positive.

BUT, since then I have had coughing attack after coughing attack and all I could do was stay in bed recovering before the next one! So, what can I do? I am too frightened of starting off another bout. What would I do if a cough started and I was out on a walk?

Just in case readers don’t understand how severe and frightening one of my coughs can be, there is a full description here and at the start of this post.

Right, I will now try to push away the feelings of gloom and doom by looking and pictures of cute furry animals…

… like these:

Ahhh! That’s better!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Update 13/08/21 – with some amazing scarves and shawls

Ooer! It’s Friday 13th today! I do hope that you and yours are safe and well today.

Unfortunately, I am still struggling with a painful back. Also, Elder Son was “pinged” last week, so has been isolating at home. To be honest, he has been driving us mad as he is so bored, although, to be fair, he has helped a great deal with housework and caring for me. It will be nice for him to be able to return to work and his usual days out next week. I think that we all need a period of calm in this household as Lovely Husband and I have also been getting on each other’s nerves!

I have been spending my time, as usual, reading, browsing and watching with my iPad. The other day, I was reminded of the the wonderful cashmere produced by companies based in Scotland. So, I had a wander through various websites and fell in love with many of the gorgeous items on the Johnstons of Elgin website, particularly these:

Wow! Aren’t they beautiful! But, they look even better when modelled. Here are a few:

OK, this model is gorgeous and tall and I am a short, dumpy woman, but don’t these catch your eye? To be honest, I am seriously thinking of getting one of these instead of an Hermès shawl this Autumn/Winter. I particularly love the ombré designs, here, and could easily see myself snuggling in bed with one over the colder months.

What do you think?

Yes, they are still very expensive, but they are far more manageable for me than Hermès, as it will take me many months to save up for an H shawl. Although, H scarves retain their value if looked after well.

Anyway, I will continue to think about this. By the way, I will add a reminder here that I don’t receive any payment from companies that I feature on this blog, and wouldn’t wish to. I write the blog purely for my own amusement.

Well, that’s all for this week.

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Reading roundup 11/08/21

It is so nice to be back this week and to be able to say that I have actually finished a book!

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

The book which has taken me so long to read is To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini. First of all, we have the blurb:

Kira Navárez dreamed of life on new worlds.

Now she’s awakened a nightmare.


During a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, Kira finds an alien relic. At first she’s delighted, but elation turns to terror when the ancient dust around her begins to move.

As war erupts among the stars, Kira is launched into a galaxy-spanning odyssey of discovery and transformation. First contact isn’t at all what she imagined, and events push her to the very limits of what it means to be human.

While Kira faces her own horrors, Earth and its colonies stand upon the brink of annihilation. Now, Kira might be humanity’s greatest and final hope . . .”

Here is the review that I have just written on the Goodreads website:

To Sleep in a Sea of StarsTo Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow! I am usually a fast reader, but this mighty tome took me some considerable time. I must admit that I almost gave up at some points, when the story began to drag, but it became more difficult to cut my losses when I had already read 500 pages, or 700, or even more.

There was a lot of good, exciting writing in this book – this kept my attention. There were also some glaring and some silly errors, which were hard to forgive. This is a science fiction book after all! I won’t go into a load of negativity but one glaring, and almost funny, mistake involved the author forgetting that Kira had lost one arm and writing that she held a cup in her “hands”!

I really feel that the book should have been somehow re-shaped into a trilogy. It was far too long as a single volume. Or it should have been cut down and edited into two or even one volume. There was a lot of unnecessary repetition, in my view.

All in all, however, I am glad that I persevered with the book and I am sure that the story will stay with me for quite a long time. I am left with a feeling of awe and wonder about the Universe in which we live and what may be waiting out there for us to discover in the future!

View all my reviews

I know that I repeat this next statement rather frequently, but it really is worth reading other responses to this book, as well as mine. My reviews are coloured by the effects of my very poor health, especially the stroke. Perhaps I am not always as unbiased as I should be. Anyway, bear in mind that the book is the Goodreads Choice 2020 Winner of the Science Fiction category!

I am not sure which book I am going to read next. There are a few queued up for me, so I will check through the blurb first. I think I need something shorter and snappier this time!

Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes

Anne

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Update 09/08/21

Doesn’t Monday come around so quickly? I must admit that I am really enjoying the absence of the “Monday morning feeling”, now that I have retired.

I am still struggling with a very painful back, so, in between doing some recommended exercises, I am spending most of my time reading. Also, I haven’t yet decided which Hermès shawl I am going to get – it is a really big decision for me as it involves a huge amount of money! Of course, I will tell you all when it arrives.

So, I will leave you with this amazing image…

“Storm over a lavender field Provence France”, photography by Antony Zacharias

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Update 06/08/21 with more shawl pondering

Well, we are now at the end of another working week. For me, as someone who is retired, one day tends to merge into another and I find myself surprised when I realise that the weekend is near. I have attempted to reserve my Friday posts for “Outfit of the Week” updates, but, yet again, I have spent the week in pyjamas. Unfortunately, I have had quite severe issues with my back for a while and the pain has been really awful this week. As Lovely Husband has struggled with his back for a very long time, he has been able to help me with appropriate exercises and meds. I just hope that the pain goes away soon.

On Monday, I showed you some possible Hermès shawl options as I am planning to purchase one during the second half of this year. I still haven’t decided which one I like the best, despite suggestions on this blog and on Facebook. There doesn’t seem to be a consensus!

These were the options that I posted on Monday:

Since I uploaded Monday’s post, I have found out that the two Kawa Ora shawls are not available from the Hermès online shop, so that rules them out for me. As it is such a huge purchase I have to make the correct choice and I wish I could travel to London and try on loads of the shawls!

Anyway, there are definitely a couple of designs and colourways in the running and I am going to leave a hint here! When I was 21, my parents bought me this silver charm bracelet for my birthday and, over the years, I have added lots of charms that really mean something to me. These bracelets have now gone out of fashion and I haven’t worn it for years. I even have more charms that need to be fixed on to it. So, I just came across it again when tidying my dressing table and enjoyed a few moments reminiscing about the occasions that the charms represent for me…

… and one of them relates to a possible scarf choice. Can you work out which one?

Silver charm bracelet

OK, that’s all for this week. 

I do hope that you all have a good weekend!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Reading roundup 04/08/21

Well, this week’s post is going to be rather short. You see, I haven’t actually finished a book! It turns out that the book I chose – To Sleep in a Sea of Stars, by Christopher Paolini – is so long that it could have been divided up into a trilogy. I am really enjoying it so far and I am about a third of the way through. Let’s hope that it continues to interest me and that I will be able to finish it and write about it in time for next week’s Reading Roundup post.

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

OK, well that’s all for this week! I do hope that you will all have an enjoyable time with your own reading.

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Update 02/08/21 with some choices to consider

I do hope that my readers had a good weekend. Unfortunately, I am still struggling with my health and haven’t been able to get out of bed and go downstairs. I really want to be able to get up and go for a walk to begin working on my fitness levels, but the horrible chronic cough won’t let me.

So, I am trying to think of nicer things. I am wondering if I can save up for another Hermès cashmere/silk shawl. Last year, I put together enough of my own money, plus birthday and Christmas presents, to be able to afford the gorgeous Plumes en Fête.

Here it is as a reminder…

Hermès’ Plumes en Fête shawl (H243433S 04)

And this is what it looks like with grey clothing…

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

I also have a 140cm size cashmere/silk Hera shawl from Liberty…

Outfit of the day 20/01/20 with Liberty’s Hera shawl

So, if I did decide to save up for another Hermès shawl, which pattern and colourway should I choose, bearing in mind my wardrobe colours? These have evolved over the last few years as I have grown out my grey hair:

Base colours: navy and grey.

Accent colours (shades of): turquoise, blue, purple, pink, white.

I am completely flummoxed as to which colours I should choose? Or do I go for something completely different? Mind you, that would mean that my other accessories wouldn’t work.

Choices, choices!!!

Anyway, let’s look at some of the shawls that I am considering (note: some of these are from previous seasons)…

Any suggestions would be really welcome and I am open to ideas about other designs/colourways.

Please help me choose!!!

Right, I think I had better have a rest from writing now – back to my book!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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