Update 12/11/21 with an apology

I am sorry but I am unable to write a proper post today as I had a huge migraine with aura and headache this afternoon.

Normal service will be resumed on Monday, I hope!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Reading roundup 10/11/21

Welcome to this week’s Reading Roundup post. I have two books to tell you about this week. There might have been a third, but I am actually doing something rather difficult: reading two books at the same time! OK, this might sound like a very foolish thing to do with an impaired brain, but I have my reasons. I am trying to read a more academic book at the moment. The kind of book that takes quite a lot of concentration. Now, a few years ago this would have been a breeze for me, but now it is quite a struggle. So, I am reading a chapter of the more difficult book, then swapping to a Young Adult book to ease off on the brain power. I think this strategy is working reasonably well.

Anyway, this is the first book that I want to tell you about…

The Night Hawks
by Ellie Griffiths

The Night Hawks by Ellie Griffiths is the 13th book in her Ruth Galloway series. This is the blurb:

”Dr Ruth Galloway returns to the moody and beautiful landscape of North Norfolk to confront another killer. A devastating new case for our favourite forensic archaeologist in this acclaimed and bestselling crime series.

The Night Hawks, a group of metal detectorists, are searching for buried treasure when they find a body on the beach in North Norfolk. At first Nelson thinks that the dead man might be an asylum seeker but he turns out to be a local boy, Jem Taylor, recently released from prison. Ruth is more interested in the treasure, a hoard of Bronze Age weapons. Nelson at first thinks that Taylor’s death is accidental drowning, but a second death suggests murder.

Nelson is called to an apparent murder-suicide of a couple at the isolated Black Dog Farm. Local legend talks of the Black Shuck, a spectral hound that appears to people before they die. Nelson ignores this, even when the owner’s suicide note includes the line, ‘He’s buried in the garden.’ Ruth excavates and finds the body of a giant dog.

All roads lead back to this farm in the middle of nowhere, but the place spells serious danger for anyone who goes near. Ruth doesn’t scare easily. Not until she finds herself at Black Dog Farm …”

This is the short review that I wrote on Goodreads:

The Night Hawks (Ruth Galloway #13)The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read quite a few of the early books in this series ages ago. Then I saw an offer on this book and decided to return to the world of Ruth Galloway again. I am glad that I did!

I studied Archaeology at university and so Galloway’s profession really interests me and the author uses it very well in her plots. Also enjoyable is the development of the main characters through the series, although, of course, I have missed quite a lot of their stories. In fact, I must go back and read the books that I haven’t tackled yet.

Anyway, the story was very well written with plenty of atmosphere, complicated twists and also a gentle humour. Sometimes I became slightly confused by the number of characters with similar names, but that is my issue.

This series and this particular book is really worth reading.

View all my reviews

As I enjoyed this book so much, I may read more in the Ruth Galloway series, picking up where I left off years ago. Now, to the second book of the week…

Throne of Glass
by Sarah J Maas

So, this was the series that I chose to read alongside more serious books: Sarah J Maas’ Throne of Glass (#01 Throne of Glass). This is the blurb:

Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness.

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake: she got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?”

And here is my response…

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this because I have enjoyed other books by the author and because I wanted a book to take me far away from my troubles! I didn’t want to read anything too taxing either. Well, this book fulfilled those needs and wants quite nicely.

The book was enjoyable and held my attention enough. Of course, it wasn’t written for someone my age! I have several issues with it and the main one is that I was not able to suspend my disbelief in the main character. She is supposed to be a teenage girl who is such a skilled assassin that she can overpower and kill full-grown adult men. There is very little evidence throughout the book that this is possible! OK, she boasts that she is an amazing killer, but we are not shown any factual background to this. So, for me, the whole story wobbled around on this main storyline.

Still, this was a fantasy book!

View all my reviews

OK, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I did some in Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses series, but then she doesn’t write for my age group! It was still a book that could take me out of myself for a while and that is why I am reading the second book in the series, Crown of Midnight.

I will give you my verdict next week!

Happy Reading to you all.

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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PS. If you want to know more about the “more academic” book I am reading, it is listed in the sidebar. I am not going to write about it on here as it covers a very controversial topic, which I don’t want to discuss on this blog.

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Update 08/11/21 – it’s my birthday!

Oh my goodness – 65 today! Where did the time go? I am now officially a pensioner – eek!!!

I apologise for this very short post. Friday’s will have photos of various presents. I had a terrible night, so don’t have the energy to take any today. To be honest, I have been indulging myself this afternoon and I don’t have to feel guilty today!

Anyway, here is a quick modelling photo with my “big” present, which you may have seen before earlier in the year. Full details on Friday.

Birthday photo with cashmere stole by Johnstons of Elgin

OK, now I am going to pick up my book again and enjoy reading with a lovely pot of tea!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

🥳🎂🎉🎂🥳

PS. Thanks for all of the lovely birthday messages of FB and elsewhere!

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Outfits of the week 05/11/21

A good thing about cooler weather is that I can wear my lovely scarves again! From the heavy silk of the Hermès 90cm beauties, to the smaller gavroches and twillies, to the cashmere/silk shawls – I am so lucky that I have so many to choose between. I also have pretty scarves in my drawers that were very cheap, when compared with the expensive designer treasures, and I love them too. So, I am going to enjoy selecting my scarves and building outfits around them over the next weeks and months.

I have two outfits to show you this week. One was with a scarf, the other was without. Here is the outfit based around a gorgeous amber necklace that I have had for many years:

Outfit of the day 29/10/21 with amber necklace

This was the outfit that I wore on the booster vaccination day! You may recognise some of the grey clothing items – they are all from Lands’ End. The earrings are by Swarovski and I also wore my new pewter shoes from Hotter.

My second outfit was only worn at home. I had washed my hair for the first time since the haircut and wanted to wear something nice:

Outfit of the day 03/11/21 with Liberty’s Hera shawl

I am fortunate to own two cashmere/silk 140cm shawls. One is by Hermès – Plumes en Fête – and the other is by Liberty of London – Hera. The colours in both are spectacular, but when I want to wear a large shawl with some of the blue clothes in my wardrobe, I reach for the Hera. This time I chose my new navy wool/cashmere v-neck from WoolOvers and matching cord trousers from Lands’ End. A blue and gold Halcyon Days bangle and crystal stud earrings completed the outfit. Here is a larger image of the shawl so that you can see more of the detail:

Liberty of London - Hera cashmere/silk shawl
Liberty of London – Hera cashmere/silk shawl

By the way, I last wore the Hermès Plumes en Fête shawl a couple of weeks ago and you can see the post here.

That’s all for this week. I hope you all have a good weekend.

Love and best wishes,

Anne

💕💗💖💗💕

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Reading roundup 03/11/21

So, we have arrived at the first Reading Roundup post for November! According to Goodreads, I am well ahead of my target number of books for 2021, although there are a few on the list that I didn’t finish, for a variety of reasons. This week, I read two books from the Science Fiction genre…

The Last Day
by Andrew Hunter Murray

My first book was The Last Day by Andrew Hunter Murray. I chose this at random from our Library ebook collection and I am glad that I did. Here is the blurb:

The world has stopped turning. The hunt has just begun.

It is 2059, and the world has crashed. Forty years ago, a solar catastrophe began to slow the planet’s rotation to a stop. Now one half of the globe is permanently sunlit, the other half trapped in an endless night. The United States has colonized the southern half of Great Britain–lucky enough to find itself in the narrow habitable region left between frozen darkness and scorching sunlight–where both nations have managed to survive the ensuing chaos by isolating themselves from the rest of the world.

Ellen Hopper is a scientist living on a frostbitten rig in the cold Atlantic. She wants nothing more to do with her country after its slide into casual violence and brutal authoritarianism. Yet when two government officials arrive, demanding she return to London to see her dying college mentor, she accepts–and begins to unravel a secret that threatens not only the nation’s fragile balance, but the future of the whole human race.”

This was a really good read and a well written first book by the author. I will definitely look out for further books by him. Here is the review that I posted on Goodreads:

The Last DayThe Last Day by Andrew Hunter Murray
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thought that this was a well-written and thoughtful addition to British science fiction. The setting was interesting and unusual: living in a situation where the planet’s rotation has slowed and then stopped altogether. I questioned whether it would be possible for life on Earth to survive this dreadful catastrophe, but saw in the author’s notes that scientists had been consulted.

The political and social responses were well thought through and I enjoyed the fact that the main character was a strong woman. As the book developed into a thriller, it became more exciting, although the ending was quite sudden.

All in all, for me the book was really worth reading.

View all my reviews
Tiamat’s Wrath
by James S A Corey

Whooooop! This was sooooooo good! What (you may ask)? Tiamat’s Wrath by James S A Corey, #08 in The Expanse series, one of my most favourite series of Science Fiction books of all time. First we have the blurb:

Thirteen hundred gates have opened to solar systems around the galaxy. But as humanity builds its interstellar empire in the alien ruins, the mysteries and threats grow deeper.

In the dead systems where gates lead to stranger things than alien planets, Elvi Okoye begins a desperate search to discover the nature of a genocide that happened before the first human beings existed, and to find weapons to fight a war against forces at the edge of the imaginable. But the price of that knowledge may be higher than she can pay.

At the heart of the empire, Teresa Duarte prepares to take on the burden of her father’s godlike ambition. The sociopathic scientist Paolo Cortázar and the Mephistophelian prisoner James Holden are only two of the dangers in a palace thick with intrigue, but Teresa has a mind of her own and secrets even her father the emperor doesn’t guess.

And throughout the wide human empire, the scattered crew of the Rocinante fights a brave rear-guard action against Duarte’s authoritarian regime. Memory of the old order falls away, and a future under Laconia’s eternal rule – and with it, a battle that humanity can only lose – seems more and more certain. Because against the terrors that lie between worlds, courage and ambition will not be enough . . .”

Please read other reviews of this book and this series, in addition to mine. And then read the books! The TV series is pretty good, but nothing comes close to actually reading. This are my thoughts:

Tiamat's Wrath (The Expanse, #8)Tiamat’s Wrath by James S.A. Corey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, what a read! And I wish I could go on to read the final book in the series straight away, but I will have to wait a few weeks.

Having read all of the series up to number 7 a couple of years ago, I have since had a stroke and somehow forgot about these brilliant books. So, I was browsing through an ebook listing and found that I had somehow missed that volume 8 had been published. It was like finding an amazing treasure!

I had a little difficulty when I began to read. I could remember most of the main characters, but had entirely forgotten the plot of the previous book. Perhaps I should have re-read that one first? Anyway, a lot of the story began to re-emerge from my brain fog and I really immersed myself in this cracking tale.

It is sad that the TV series won’t reach these later books and tell the whole story. I really love the main characters and the relationships between them, although my mind now gives them the faces of the TV actors!

I really hope that one day my younger son will read this series as I am sure his scientific brain would have a greater understanding than mine and it would be great to be able to discuss it all with him. In the meantime, I will read more of the reviews on here.

Oh, the nail-biting wait for book 9!!!

View all my reviews

After that I found it very difficult to choose my next book. How on Earth could anything live up to such a brilliant read?

Well, you will have to wait until next week to find out my choice, or take a quick peak at the sidebar…

Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

📖📚📖📚📖

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Update 01/11/21 – COVID-19 booster

Well, here’s to another month! I’m finding it hard to take in that we have arrived in November already. And it’s only a week until my birthday!

Yet again, I am feeling pretty poorly today. I am, however, relieved that Lovely Husband and I were able to have our booster jabs on Friday. Instead of having to travel to a large city, this time we managed to get it all done at our GP’s surgery. Unfortunately, I had a bit of an “episode” whilst we were there.

On arrival at the building, we checked in and were then told to sit in a waiting area. The assistants gathered a group of us together before sending us in to another room for the vaccinations. As we sat waiting to be sent through, the area began to get quite crowded and people started to ignore the signs on alternate seats warning people to avoid sitting too close together. After trying to explain distancing for the second time, I am afraid that I flipped and ran out of the surgery. I think this was probably a mixture of fear of contagion plus some sort of phobia. After being mainly shut in my bedroom for months, I suppose this isn’t very surprising.

LH came after me, managed to calm me down and, in the end, the actual vaccination procedure went OK. After sitting for a few minutes, we were then allowed to leave and we returned home. I have had a stiff arm for a few days and have also felt very tired (but then I do anyway), but everything seems to be alright.

I wonder if we will all have to have a booster every year from now on?

Anyway, that’s all for now. I will return to my book, which I will write about in Wednesday’s post, if I finish it in time…

…oh, I was interrupted just then by a noise at the window. It was a large magpie on the window ledge! It’s now flown away.

Love and best wishes,

Anne

💕💗💖💗💕

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Outfits of the week 29/10/21 – and a haircut!

I did it at last! You can see from the post’s title that I managed to get to the hairdresser. My last hair appointment was in May and I had tried, but failed, to get there since, because I was too afraid to go. Yesterday it took a lot of encouragement from my “chaps”, but they got me there. Here is the result…

Before and after hair 28/10/21

It will be interesting to see what my hairdo looks like after I have washed my it as I don’t have the energy to blow dry it any more!

I also took the opportunity to wear a nice outfit. Elder Son asked me why I was “all dressed up” but I told him that I have to take any opportunity I get! This is the outfit…

Outfit of the day 28/10/21 with Hermes’ Baobab Cat gavroche

Outfit details:

  • Lilac cashmere v-neck jumper – Marks and Spencer.
  • Grey cotton jeans – Lands’ End.
  • Silver leather wrap bracelet – Massaccesi.
  • Pewter leather white soled trainers – Hotter.
  • Grape Croco leather Victoria handbag – Massaccesi.
  • Silk scarf, 45cm, in bright pink, grey, purple, white and black – Baobab Cat. Tied in a cowboy knot.

Today, Lovely Husband and I had to go out again to have our COVID-19 boosters and I had planned to wear another of my gorgeous scarves with a similar outfit. Unfortunately, it is raining heavily today so I didn’t risk an Hermès! As I was very tired, I just threw on a random set of clothes and dashed out to the car.

Anyway, I will try to wear something nice over the weekend and during next week so that I have some outfits to show you in next Friday’s post. I must make the most of having all of this lovely stuff!

Happy Weekend to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

💕💗💖💗💕

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Reading roundup 27/10/21

This has been a really interesting week in terms of reading. Whilst the real world has been very tense, upsetting and fraught, my reading has taken my mind away from all of that!

A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J Maas

My first book was the fourth in Sarah J Maas’s series A Court of Thorns and Roses: A Court of Silver Flames. Here is the blurb:

“Nesta Archeron has always been prickly-proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she’s struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can’t seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it.

The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior whose position in Rhysand and Feyre’s Night Court keeps him constantly in Nesta’s orbit. But her temper isn’t the only thing Cassian ignites. The fire between them is undeniable, and only burns hotter as they are forced into close quarters with each other.

Meanwhile, the treacherous human queens who returned to the Continent during the last war have forged a dangerous new alliance, threatening the fragile peace that has settled over the realms. And the key to halting them might very well rely on Cassian and Nesta facing their haunting pasts.

Against the sweeping backdrop of a world seared by war and plagued with uncertainty, Nesta and Cassian battle monsters from within and without as they search for acceptance-and healing-in each other’s arms.”

After the first three books, I was really looking forward to immersing myself in this one. This is the review that I wrote on Goodreads:

A ​Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #4)A ​Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well, I almost gave this two stars, but decided on three in the end. There were some interesting and exciting parts to the book, after all, but far too much that was annoying, boring and whining!

I found Nesta a really irritating and negative character and disliked the way that Maas seemed to turn her previously positive and good characters into unpleasant unlikeable monsters. I don’t know where this series is heading, but I will struggle to continue with it. This is so disappointing after the promise of the first two books.

Can Maas’s editors please help her out of this Mire of Misery?

View all my reviews

I expect that all of the young fans of this series would probably shoot me down in flames for this response! Anyway, I decided to try a completely different genre for my next read…

We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza

Browsing through the Library’s ebook catalogue, I came across a book that intrigued me: We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza. First we have the blurb:

Told from alternating perspectives, an evocative and riveting novel about the lifelong bond between two women, one Black and one white, whose friendship is indelibly altered by a tragic event—a powerful and poignant exploration of race in America today and its devastating impact on ordinary lives.

Jen and Riley have been best friends since kindergarten. As adults, they remain as close as sisters, though their lives have taken different directions. Jen married young, and after years of trying, is finally pregnant. Riley pursued her childhood dream of becoming a television journalist and is poised to become one of the first Black female anchors of the top news channel in their hometown of Philadelphia.

But the deep bond they share is severely tested when Jen’s husband, a city police officer, is involved in the shooting of an unarmed Black teenager. Six months pregnant, Jen is in freefall as her future, her husband’s freedom, and her friendship with Riley are thrown into uncertainty. Covering this career-making story, Riley wrestles with the implications of this tragic incident for her Black community, her ambitions, and her relationship with her lifelong friend.”

It was really interesting to read something so different and difficult. I must admit that I struggled to write a review and actually read a few others first. I don’t usually do this as I find that other people’s responses sometimes override or re-shape my own. Anyway, this is what I eventually wrote:

We Are Not Like Them: A NovelWe Are Not Like Them: A Novel by Christine Pride
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a difficult and interesting book and I found myself immersed in the story to the point that I couldn’t stop reading. I like the idea of alternating points of view and feel that this worked well. However, I am not sure about the main characters. I definitely learned something about black people’s experience of racism by reading the parts from Riley’s point of view. The chapters from Jen’s side were more problematic as she seemed to be so blinkered. Surely, growing up with a black friend would have given her more insight?

I also agree with many of the comments on here that the whole book felt as if it had been written to be used as a teaching guide. It would probably be useful for the discussion points. As to how authentic it is I cannot comment as a white woman from the UK! Well worth reading, though, despite my reservations.

View all my reviews

I am now reading another book from a different genre! But you will have to wait until next week to see my response.

Until then:

Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

📚📖📚📖📚

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Update 25/10/21

Hello, everyone! We are having a lot of “family problems” at the moment, which I won’t bore you with, but this means that I can’t write a full post today. Our issues have exacerbated my ill health and I am feeling very weak, stressed and tired. I hope that everything improves during the week so that I can write the usual Reading Roundup post on Wednesday and an Outfits of the Week post on Friday.

I saw this lovely set of photos on Twitter over the weekend and must share them with you:

Collage by the photographer Josef Morgoš

Isn’t that beautiful?

Anyway, that’s all for now…

Love and best wishes,

Anne

💕💗💖💗💕

Posted in Family, Health | 1 Comment

Outfits of the week 22/10/21

In today’s post I have a couple of outfits to show you from the last few weeks. Unfortunately, there is nothing from this week as I have been really struggling, but I am pleased that I did manage to put two rather nice ensembles together from my wardrobe.

Here is the first one:

Outfit of the day 16/10/21 with Hermès’ Plumes en Fête shawl

Outfit details:

  • Mid-grey cashmere v-neck jumper – Marks and Spencer.
  • Grey cotton jeans – Lands’ End.
  • Grey crystal and gold earrings – Swarovski.
  • Multi-colour enamel and rose gold Hera bangle – Liberty of London.
  • Pewter leather white soled trainers – Hotter.
  • Cashmere and silk 140cm shawl in grey, purple, pink, blue and orange – Plumes en Fête by Hermès.

We were only leaving the house to have our flu vaccinations, but I have to take any opportunity to wear “proper” clothing and accessories! In addition, I carried my gorgeous Massaccesi handbag, which toned nicely with my new trainers from Hotter. Perhaps the handbag’s style is a little too elevated to be worn with such footwear, but the colours were spot on.

What do you think?

Diane handbag by Marco Massaccesi
Switch II in pewter by Hotter

The second outfit:

Outfit of the day 17/10/21 with Liberty’s Morris scarf

Outfit details:

  • Navy cashmere v-neck jumper – John Lewis.
  • Navy stretch cord trousers – Lands’ End.
  • Blue, navy, black and white enamel and rose gold Ianthe bangle – Liberty of London.
  • Cobalt blue crystal and silver earrings – Sonrisa Boutique.
  • Navy, blue and white silk chiffon scarf – Morris by Liberty of London.

Whilst writing this post, I have been glancing back through the blog to see how I wrote about some of these accessories in the past. It certainly made me think how fortunate I am to be able to afford such beauties!

Now, I just need to find enough energy to wear them more often.

On that note I will wish you all a very Happy Weekend!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

💕💗💖💗💕

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