Update 18/04/22 – taking a short break

Hi everyone! I’m going to take a short break from the blog until next Monday (25/04/22). My mental and physical health are both poor at the moment and even everyday things are a real struggle.

Just in case you are interested, one of my many “conditions” is sarcoidosis of the lungs. This graphic from the SarcoidosisUK explains some of the issues:

Image from SarcoidosisUK

When I have better moments, during my break, I will try to work on a couple of posts that I have planned for the blog. I will also try to read several ebooks and play with my gorgeous scarves!

See you soon!

Anne

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Outfits of the week 15/04/22

I am looking out of my bedroom window at a beautiful sunny day, but I am stuck indoors again. This morning, I have been feeling even more ill than usual but have recovered enough to write a very basic post.

On Monday, I showed you my latest Hermès purchase: Regina designed by Leila Menchari. I decided to try it on Wednesday and pulled out a twinset that I hardly ever wear. Why, I don’t really know as it is a gorgeous bright pink! Anyway, the pink is very close to the colour in the scarf and I think that the twinset worked very well. I must work out some more scarf ties that will show off the beautiful bouquet…

Outfit of the day 13/04/22 with Hermès’ Regina scarf

This was a simple criss-cross knot using a mother-of-pearl scarf ring by MaiTai. My earrings were pretty silver butterflies – a present from Elder Son.

Here is a larger image of the scarf to remind you of the pattern and colours:

Regina by Hermès

I hope that everyone has a wonderful weekend and that those of you who celebrate Easter enjoy yourselves. Apparently, it is going to be warm and sunny for us in the UK.

Happy weekend to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Reading roundup 13/04/22

Hi fellow book lovers! I read and enjoyed two books this week. The second one really gripped me and I whizzed through it in two sessions!

This is the first one…

A Necessary End by Peter Robinson

This is the third book in Peter Robinson’s Inspector Banks series. I have previously read the first episode and wasn’t very impressed, but thought I would try again in the hope of improvement. Anyway, this is the blurb:

“In the usually peaceful town of Eastvale, a simmering tension has now reached breaking point. An anti-nuclear demonstration has ended in violence, leaving one policeman stabbed to death. Fired by professional outrage, Superintendent ‘Dirty Dick’ Burgess descends with vengeful fury on the inhabitants of ‘Maggie’s Farm’, an isolated house high on the daleside.

Inspector Banks is uneasy about Burgess’s handling of the investigation. But he has been warned off the case. Soon Banks realizes that the only way he can salvage his career is by beating Burgess to the killer …”

Here is my response to the book, written on the Goodreads website:

A Necessary End (Inspector Banks, #3)A Necessary End by Peter Robinson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is really difficult to review. Written in the 80s, it really shows its age with the awful police methods, attitudes to women, heavy smoking and drinking, and the social issues of the time. Did we really need to know the names of every glass of real ale? The actual plot and investigation are good and kept me reading. The dated background means that I do not intend to return to the series.

View all my reviews

I suppose I might try one of the more recently published books in the series (the most recent episode, #27, was published in 2021), just to see if there has been any change to the 1980’s sexism. But, I will only do this if I can’t find anything better to read! It’s a bit odd, but I have enjoyed the TV versions of the books. Perhaps the script writers toned everything down and concentrated on the well written plots.

This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay

For my second book of the week, I had a complete change of pace. These days, I very rarely read non-fiction as I prefer the escapism of stories: crime, thrillers, science fiction, fantasy etc. I just chose this book at random – This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay.

Here is the blurb:

Welcome to the life of a junior doctor: 97-hour weeks, life and death decisions, a constant tsunami of bodily fluids, and the hospital parking meter earns more than you.

Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt provides a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line. Hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking, this diary is everything you wanted to know – and more than a few things you didn’t – about life on and off the hospital ward.

I read the book very quickly as I was glued, sometimes in shock, to the unfolding episodes. This is my first, rapid response on Goodreads. I will comment further underneath…

This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior DoctorThis is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Brilliant black humour, desperately heartbreaking, incredibly informative about the state of the NHS in recent times (and I am sure it has got even worse since). As someone whose life has been saved multiple times by the wonderful staff of our precious NHS, I can only pay tribute to them. I wouldn’t be here without them.

Highly recommended.

View all my reviews

Reading through other reviews of the book has been both interesting and enlightening. Many are very similar to my first reaction (although, generally more informative and better written). Others are far more negative, for a range of reasons. I can see some of their points. The writer has the “typical” black humour of many in the medical profession and that is OK up to a point. Most of the incidents in the book were either darkly funny or extremely sad. But some rather unpleasant things were also lurking beneath the surface. I detected prejudice towards the elderly, particularly women. I also found the gory details of horrible births and women’s anatomy very distressing. The author’s reaction to these was sometimes unpleasant and I am not surprised that many women prefer to have female practitioners for these kinds of procedures. This made me very glad that I am past the child bearing years!

Anyway, it would be interesting to know what any of you think about the book.

Having finished the book, I now have the happy task of choosing my next read! All to be revealed in next week’s Reading Roundup post.

Until then, Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Update 11/04/22 with an unexpected reveal

Hi! Welcome to a new week on the blog. I have a really unexpected reveal for you today. Unexpected, in the sense that those who know me well would be very surprised by this purchase. I will show you what I have bought first, then I will explain…

Here’s the reveal, starting with the seller’s photo of the iconic Hermès box. Is it an older version than usual?

Ooh! This is the magnificent Regina by Leila Menchari. The design was originally made to celebrate Queen Elizabeth in 1972. This one apparently dates to 1987. The scarf is in almost pristine condition with only two tiny marks that I can see.

Here is another image of the whole scarf:

Regina designed by Leila Menchari for Hermès

I haven’t tried to wear the scarf yet, but these are a couple of photos of the bias folds:

As the scarf is quite old, it may take me a while to compile a Scarf of the Moment post. Accurate information about these scarves is fairly difficult to find. If any readers of the blog have useful insights or information about the design, I would be very grateful if you could pass this on to me.

As to why this is a very unexpected purchase for me…

I am trying to avoid being too political here, but since I went to University I have been strongly in favour of getting rid of the monarchy, or at the very least, slimming it down. In more recent years, as the Queen has reached old age, I have become more supportive of her personally. Her long reign is quite amazing – she has been Queen for all of my life, to date. So, I felt that a purchase of this scarf in the year of her Platinum Anniversary was appropriate. I have waited to see whether Hermès would produce a special scarf, but I haven’t seen one yet. This version of Regina was offered at a very good price and in excellent condition.

I may even look out for another one!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Outfits of the week 08/04/22

It has been a strange kind of week with very changeable weather. My health has also been very variable. When I felt at my best, I was able to work through some useful tasks, but at the worst times, I was  unable to leave my bed.

My main focus this week has been on our laptop. It is almost out of warranty, but has had very poor performance since it was first set up. The issue has been speed. It loaded so slowly that I could almost knit a jumper whilst waiting for it. Also, programs kept crashing to the extent that it was unusable. I should have returned it ages ago, but kept putting it off because I felt too ill to do anything about it. Anyway, to cut to the chase, I have finally backed up all of the data onto a new hard drive, parcelled the machine up and had it collected at lunchtime. I will let you know the outcome.

I have managed to wear one reasonable outfit this week. My Hermès Grand Manège Love Bandana in blue, pink and red was the basis, and I put a simple navy ensemble around it. I only have one pair of earrings in red, a present from Younger Son. They bring out the red elements of the scarf.

Outfit of the day 08/04/22 with Hermès’ Grand Manège Love Bandana

Here is a larger image of the scarf so that you can see the details:

Grand Manège Love Bandana by Hermès

Well, that is all for this week. I do hope that you all have a great weekend.

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Reading roundup 06/04/22

I hope you have had an enjoyable reading week! I finished one book and then had a lot of false starts choosing a second. That means I have just the one book to tell you about.

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

The book of the week, chosen at random from the Library’s ebook service, was The Wonder by Emma Donoghue. Here is the blurb:

“An eleven-year-old girl stops eating, but remains miraculously alive and well. A nurse, sent to investigate whether she is a fraud, meets a journalist hungry for a story . . .

Set in the Irish Midlands in the 1850s, Emma Donoghue’s The Wonder – inspired by numerous European and North American cases of ‘fasting girls’ between the sixteenth century and the twentieth – is a psychological thriller about a child’s murder threatening to happen in slow motion before our eyes. Pitting all the seductions of fundamentalism against sense and love, it is a searing examination of what nourishes us, body and soul.”

And this is the review that I posted on Goodreads:

The WonderThe Wonder by Emma Donoghue
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found this a most unusual book, set in mid 19th century Ireland. The plot centres around a young Catholic girl who has apparently stopped eating for several months. Many in her local area, including her family, venerate her as a possible saint and a group set out to test the circumstances. They hire an Irish nun and an English nurse, trained under Florence Nightingale, who are supposed to stay with the child in shifts to see whether she takes any food.

The English nurse begins with a very practical and fairly harsh regime and manner, determined to find out the truth and expose the girl. As the plot slowly unfolds, the reader is drawn into a charged atmosphere of strict religious observance, attempts to prove cheating and lies, and, at the centre, an intelligent and suffering child.

Some readers have found the book too slow, but I was quickly drawn into the story and enjoyed how the two main characters, the English nurse and the young girl, developed and changed.

View all my reviews

All in all, I found the book a really interesting and satisfying read and will look out for more ebooks by this author on our system. Donoghue is also the writer of Room, which I have also read. You may remember that this book was made into a film.

OK, well I had better turn to the book I am currently reading so that I finish it in time for next week’s Reading Roundup post!

Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Scarf of the moment: Hermès Story

Well, I thought that I had finished with the Spring/Summer 2022 Hermès scarf season when I purchased Le Premier Chant. None of the other scarves had caught my eye or imagination. The colourways didn’t appeal. But then I made the error of looking on The Purse Forum…

… the modelling photos of one particular scarf began to get to me…

… but, but, but, I don’t wear the main colour! Mmm, it looks so lovely…

And so I fell even further down the slippery slope…

This is Hermès Story by Jonathan Burton, a 90cm silk twill in colourway #08, Marron Glacé, Bleu, Pétrole, code H003875S 08.

Hermès Story by Jonathan Burton for Hermès

Description

The image on the scarf is of an amusing scene. A beautiful woman and her motley group of followers pose for a selfie. They are surrounded by clouds of butterflies and birds. She rides a wooden steed, perched on a mountain top, and her companions are precariously balanced, one upon another, for the moment of the photograph. Will they collapse and fall?

In this colourway, the whole image is a study in rich textures. The background looks like molten chocolate, delicious and smooth. The creatures’ fur and feathers are coloured in shades of blue and beige with hints of white. They seem so soft and tactile. The blue border frames the scarf and there is a contrast hem in black which sets off the whole design.

I was attracted to the glowing colourway, despite my misgivings as to whether the scarf would suit me with my grey hair. There are modelling photos further down the post, so please tell me what you think. The scarf would also look wonderful as a hanging in my bedroom!

Colourways

These are the colourways for the Spring/Summer 2022 silk twill 90cm scarves. I have added in the codes to help those of you who wish to purchase this scarf.

Design story

“British illustrator Jonathan Burton presents his second collaboration with the Maison with a design that pokes fun at our era, one where social media and self-presentation result in all kinds of means—sometimes dangerous—to impress. Perched on a snowy mountain top, an equestrian and her comrades pose like acrobats: if one of them stumbles, the whole pyramid collapses! Despite the somewhat unsteady performance, everyone is dressed to the nines and hopes to look their best. The giraffe dons a bow tie; the turtle and the pelican picked out their best hats for the occasion. The selfie is a success and the phone blows up with likes!”

Details

Here are some closeups of my scarf in a slideshow format:

How I wear the scarf

This is such a beautiful scarf  but, because I have recently purchased it, I have only managed to wear it to try out different knots. Here is one outfit I have put together. As I don’t wear brown clothing, the scarf will be used to liven up my navy ensembles, mainly in the colder months. For me, this particular colourway does not read as Spring/Summer.

Outfit of the day 20/03/22 with Hermès’ Hermès Story scarf

Scarf ties

I have tried on this scarf in a variety of ways. At the moment, as it is so new, the silk fabric is very crisp and stiff so doesn’t fall easily into soft folds. Anyway, you can get the general idea of how it looks when worn. Apologies for the repeated sight of my face! I tried to photograph just the scarf without me peering at you, but I had a lot of trouble with the lighting and angles. I am a hopeless photographer!

Hermès Story – selection of scarf ties

Background information

This is not the kind of scarf with lots of useful background details, but I have found the following. If I come across any more information, I will add it here…

Jonathan Burton
jonathanburton.net
His official website with loads of wonderful designs, including this one. He is also on Instagram and Twitter

Here is an “unboxing” video from YouTube showing Hermès Story:


I hope readers have found this exploration of Hermès Story both interesting and useful. Once again, if you find any errors or have any additional information that I could add, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Outfits of the week 01/04/22

If you have been following this week’s posts, you will be aware that I had my second COVID booster injection on Monday afternoon and that I have been suffering ever since from a bad reaction. Today, I am a little better but still have extreme fatigue and very “fuzzy” thoughts. So, today’s post will show you the outfit that I wore on Monday, but I cannot manage to write very much commentary.

This is the ensemble, based around the stunning Hermès scarf Jaguar Quetzal, designed by Alice Shirley:

Outfit of the day 28/03/22 with Hermès’ Jaguar Quetzal scarf

Yes, my love of purple is rather obvious again! I will show you the scarf again in a larger image…

Jaguar Quetzal by Alice Shirley for Hermès
Jaguar Quetzal by Alice Shirley for Hermès

I am feeling very tired now, so will sign off. If you have any questions about this post, please ask them in the comments and I will try to answer them as soon as I am able.

Happy Weekend to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Reading roundup 30/03/22

Hello readers! Unfortunately, I have had a bad reaction to my second COVID booster jab and I have been very ill for a couple of days. So, this will be a bare bones post.

Here is the first book:

The White Girl by Tony Birch

The first book of the week was The White Girl by Tony Birch. This is the blurb:

“Odette Brown has lived her whole life on the fringes of a small country town. After her daughter disappeared and left her with her granddaughter Sissy to raise on her own, Odette has managed to stay under the radar of the welfare authorities who are removing fair-skinned Aboriginal children from their families. When a new policeman arrives in town, determined to enforce the law, Odette must risk everything to save Sissy and protect everything she loves.

In The White Girl, Miles-Franklin-shortlisted author Tony Birch shines a spotlight on the 1960s and the devastating government policy of taking Indigenous children from their families.”

And here is my response as written on Goodreads:

The White GirlThe White Girl by Tony Birch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a simply and well written story about the plight of Aboriginal people living in the Australia of the 50s. I found the racism suffered by the people absolutely horrifying: ranging from petty acts by local youths to institutional systems set up to disadvantage them. I had heard about how families could be torn apart with efforts made to suppress Aboriginal lifestyles and culture and the book really drove all of this home.

The writing style makes the book accessible to a wide age-range and it could easily be used as a text by schools as well as being read and enjoyed by adults.

View all my reviews
The Innocents by Michael Crummey

This second book of the week was completely different: The Innocents by Michael Crummey. Here is the blurb:

“A brother and sister are orphaned in an isolated cove on Newfoundland’s northern coastline. Their home is a stretch of rocky shore governed by the feral ocean, by a relentless pendulum of abundance and murderous scarcity. Still children with only the barest notion of the outside world, they have nothing but the family’s boat and the little knowledge passed on haphazardly by their mother and father to keep them.

Muddling though the severe round of the seasons, through years of meagre catches and storms and ravaging illness, it is their fierce loyalty to each other that motivates and sustains them. But as seasons pass and they wade deeper into the mystery of their own natures, even that loyalty will be tested.

The Innocents is richly imagined and compulsively readable, a riveting story of hardship and survival, and an unflinching exploration of the bond between brother and sister. By turns electrifying and heartbreaking, it is a testament to the bounty and barbarity of the world, to the wonders and strangeness of our individual selves.”

This is my short review on Goodreads:

The InnocentsThe Innocents by Michael Crummey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am so glad that I chose this book. Usually, I enjoy fast-paced thrillers and crime novels, but this slow and detailed story really caught my imagination.

A brother and sister of 12 and 10 are left orphaned in a cove on Newfoundland in the 19th century. They have previously worked with their parents to eke out a living from the land and sea around them, with twice-yearly visits from a ship which replenishes their stores. The two children carry on with the numerous tasks that keep them alive in harsh conditions. Occasional visitors come by and liven up their existence, but life is very hard.

The reaction to this book is very varied, but I am amongst those who were absorbed by the story and the amazing details of daily life and the fight to survive. The darker side was very realistic and I felt necessary to the whole tale.

View all my reviews

Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Update 28/03/22 – memories of Mothers’ Day

Here we are at the beginning of a new week. Yesterday was Mothers’ Day in the UK and I had a wonderful day with lots of treats! Younger Son sent me a lovely box with 40 different tea sachets and Elder Son (who lives with us) gave me some cute sparkly heart-shaped earrings. ES also made me the most amazing “afternoon tea” which I ate in the evening and brought me a scone with jam and cream with my afternoon pot of tea. Confusing? Sorry… 😂🤣😂🤣😂.

Here is a photo of that amazing “afternoon tea” – I didn’t manage it all, by the way…

Mothers’ Day afternoon tea 2022

Doesn’t that look delicious?!?

This afternoon I am meant to be going out for my latest COVID booster jab. As I am feeling very poorly today, I hope that I am able to get there. Anyway, I will try my best.

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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