Outfits of the week 21/05/21

At last, I am able to write about my haircut, which I had over a week ago! I have been struggling this week, in various ways, but I will not go into details as I really don’t want to moan. So, here are the before and after photos…

Left: before, right: after!

I eventually decided on quite a drastic change! I was tired of managing longer hair and just wanted to get it all out of the way, so I asked the hairdresser for a much shorter cut and to dry it without using curling tongs. It’s a bit strange that my hair only seems to curl at the front when it is longer.

For the trip to the hair salon, I wore a Lands’ End cotton mix top in purple, dark navy jeans and the lovely Hermès’ scarf L’Arbre du Vent in blue, fuchsia and turquoise, tied in a simple bias fold held by my MaiTai purple scarf ring. I also carried my new purple handbag from Massaccesi.

Early this week, I managed to wear another nice outfit based around purples after I had washed my hair for the first time since the cut. Here it is:

Outfit of the day 17/05/21

As you can see, the details of the outfit are the same as above, but the scarf was Hermès’ Dans Un Jardin Anglais and I wore the Sainsbury’s Tu silver butterfly earrings given to me by Elder Son.

Next week, I should have some new nightwear to show you. As I wear it so much, a lot of my collection has been giving up the ghost and so I needed to replace quite a lot. 

Wishing you all a very happy weekend!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Reading roundup 19/05/21

I had great fun with a really entertaining book this week! As it was long, I haven’t had enough time to finish another, so it’s just one I am writing about.

The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne

After two exciting series set in the same “world”, this is the opening book of a trilogy which takes place in a totally new setting: The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne (#01 The Bloodsworn Saga). This is the blurb:

This is the age of storm and murder.

After the old gods warred and drove themselves to extinction, the cataclysm of their fall shattered the land of Vigrio.

Now, power-hungry jarls carve out petty kingdoms, and monsters stalk the shadow-haunted woods and mountains. A world where the bones of the dead gods still hold great power, promising fame and fortune for those brave – or desperate – enough to seek them out.

As whispers of war echo over the plains and across the fjords, fate follows the footsteps of three people: a huntress searching for her missing son, a jarl’s daughter who has rejected privilege in pursuit of battle fame, and a thrall who has cast off his chains and now fights alongside the famed mercenaries known as the Bloodsworn.

All three will shape the fate of the world, as it once more teeters on the edge of chaos.”

And here is the review that I posted on the Goodreads website:

The Shadow of the Gods (The Bloodsworn Saga, #1)The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Whoooooop! Another exciting, pulse raising, heart pounding, sword and axe raising blood-fest! When you are beset by worries, this is just the kind of book you need to take your mind away from them.

Here, three different characters take inter-woven journeys in a fantasy Viking universe. This first book in the series really sets the scene of a brutal world with heroic characters and evil villains, hacking their way across the sea and land towards….

…. well I am sure we will find out in subsequent volumes!

I am fast becoming a fanatical follower of John Gwynne’s work as I love his ability to create such immersing worlds, characters and plots. I can’t wait until the next book!

One small niggle (and why I didn’t award the full five stars). The repetition of certain phrases does occasionally get on my nerves e.g. the belt holding the weight of the chain mail. There were several others like this, repeated so often throughout the book – just not necessary!

On the other hand, I am so pleased by the balance of strong female and male characters. This is, in my experience of fantasy writing, quite unusual. So, well done!

What do you and your children recommend I read to fill in the time before your next book, John?

View all my reviews

Also, I must confess that I was rather excited when John Gwynne himself “liked” this review! Whilst waiting until I can enjoy his next book, I have to keep myself busy and entertained, so I have chosen my next book: The Gates of Athens by Conn Iggulden (#01 Athenian series). I will let you know how I get on in next week’s Reading Roundup.

The Gates of Athens by Conn Iggulden

Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne 

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Update 17/05/21

I had planned to show you my new haircut today but, unfortunately, I am really struggling with my health. Apologies for the number of times that I have to start a post like this. Anyway, I will try to write about it later in the week and also take a photo when I have washed my hair. I am not sure how it is going to look! I am too weak to wash my hair daily, so it has to wait until I can raise enough energy to shower instead of having a quick strip wash.

I will, instead, show you this lovely photo that I saw on Twitter the other day:

Japanese wisteria

As many of you will know:

I love purple!

If anyone knows the source of this image I will, of course, acknowledge it properly.

Love and best wishes,

 Anne 

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P.S. Many thanks to those of you who have left such lovely comments recently. I promise that I will answer them this week. Apologies for my tardiness XXX

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Outfits of the week 14/05/21

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.

Outfit of the day 11/05/21 with Hermès’ Baobab Cat gavroche

Outfit details:

  • 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:

Finished article – my “contraption”!

Well, I hope that you all enjoy the weekend!

Love and best wishes,

Anne 

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Reading roundup 12/05/21

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!

Turncoat by Anthony J Quinn

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:

TurncoatTurncoat by Anthony Quinn
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

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?

That must be it.

View all my reviews

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.

The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne

I do hope that you have a great week of reading!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Update 10/05/21: a handbag with scarves!

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?

Oops! There I go again!

Love and best wishes to you all,

Anne

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Update 07/05/21

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 wish you all a great weekend!

Love and best wishes,

Anne 

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Reading roundup 05/05/21

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 City of Tears by Kate Mosse

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…

The City of Tears (The Burning Chambers, #2)The City of Tears by Kate Mosse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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.

View all my reviews
Big Sky by Kate Atkinson

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):

Big Sky (Jackson Brodie, #5)Big Sky by Kate Atkinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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.

View all my reviews

As I have only just finished the Kate Atkinson book, I haven’t yet decided what I am going to read next. So, you will have to wait for next week’s Reading Roundup post, if you are interested.

Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,

 Anne 

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Update 03/05/21

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,

Anne

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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.

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Outfits of the week 30/04/21

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:

Outfit of the day 30/04/21 with Hermès’ Escales Mediterranéenes scarf

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!

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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.

Wishing you all a very happy weekend!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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