Update 19/10/17 and a “greyt” dilemma!

I have been thinking over this decision for months, maybe even years, and have finally got things clear in my mind. For a number of reasons (septicaemia in 1996, underactive thyroid, menopause, meds) my hair has been thinning for a long time. Whilst it was never very luxuriant in the past, it was fine textured and curly. Now it is horribly sparse, particularly on the top. I used to like my hair, but now the state of it makes me very upset.

From my teens onwards, I used to dye my own hair and I wore it just about every colour imaginable, except green. But I stopped for a number of years just after Elder Son was born. When the lads were toddlers, someone took a photo of me and my Mum standing next to each other and my hair was so grey that it almost matched hers. I was shocked when I saw the photo and started dyeing my hair from then on until this day, over twenty years later.

But, I have started to notice that my scalp seems to be reacting to the dye with sore patches. I have also been following a lovely group on Facebook, which supports women who want to ditch the dye. So, as I am now almost 61, I have finally decided that I will stop dyeing from now on. My next hair appointment is on November 7th and I am going to ask my stylist to cut my hair shorter than usual and leave the fake colour alone. I am sure that she will try to persuade me to change my mind, but I will stick to this path until all of the colour has grown out and I can see how grey, or white, I am. I am sure that it will be quite a shock!

Anyway, for a bit of fun I downloaded an App called Hair Color Booth. This enables you to recolour the hair in a photo. In fact, you can use any colour of the rainbow, but I chose grey. See what I mean? It will be interesting to see how near to the right-hand photo I end up. I expect the final result will be a lot less uniform.

The Librain and the Librain?

The Librain and the Librain?

I will report back on this after my next hairdresser appointment and each month going forwards. It feels like the start of a journey, although not one of those reality TV ones!

Best wishes,

💙💛💚💜❤️

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Reading roundup 18/10/17

I haven’t finished quite as many books this week, only two, probably because they were longer and “meatier” than usual! Both have been very enjoyable, though.

Conclave by Robert Harris

Conclave by Robert Harris

The first was a different kind of book for me – Conclave by Robert Harris, which I awarded four stars. Here is the blurb:

The Pope is dead.

Behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel, one hundred and eighteen cardinals from all over the globe will cast their votes in the world’s most secretive election.

They are holy men. But they have ambition. And they have rivals.

Over the next seventy-two hours one of them will become the most powerful spiritual figure on earth.

And this was my short review on Goodreads:

Oh, this is such a clever, fabulous book. I am a firm atheist, but the religious aspect of this was fine even for me, because it was about so much more. Political machinations were central, as well as questions of faith, belief, doubt, pride and strength of character. A great read.

I have mentioned before on this blog that I went on a study tour of Greece and Italy when I was at University in the 70s. On part of the trip, we stayed in Rome for a week and visited  most of the usual tourist spots and museums. One of those involved a tour around the Vatican Museum and St Peter’s. It was so interesting to read about these same places which are the setting to the book. All those years ago, I stood in the Sistine Chapel and looked at Michaelangelo’s wonderful paintings with the same kind of awe as characters in Conclave, although in entirely different circumstances, of course! Highly recommended.

Half a War by Joe Abercrombie

Half a War by Joe Abercrombie

The second book of the week was Joe Abercrombie’s Half a War, the final part of the Shattered Sea trilogy. The blurb sets the scene for this excellent YA fantasy:

Words are weapons

Princess Skara has seen all she loved made blood and ashes. She is left with only words. But the right words can be as deadly as any blade. She must conquer her fears and sharpen her wits to a lethal edge if she is to reclaim her birthright.

Only half a war is fought with swords

The deep-cunning Father Yarvi has walked a long road from crippled slave to king’s minister. He has made allies of old foes and stitched together an uneasy peace. But now the ruthless Grandmother Wexen has raised the greatest army since the elves made war on God, and put Bright Yilling at its head – a man who worships no god but Death.

Sometimes one must fight evil with evil

Some – like Thorn Bathu and the sword-bearer Raith – are born to fight, perhaps to die. Others – like Brand the smith and Koll the wood-carver – would rather stand in the light. But when Mother War spreads her iron wings, she may cast the whole Shattered Sea into darkness.

This is what I wrote about the book on Goodreads and I said rather more than usual for this five star read:

This is one of those books which I feel sad to have finished. The kind of book that makes you read it in great gulps to find out the next part of the story. The book that you also want to read slowly so that you don’t finish it too soon. A brilliant finale to a brilliant trilogy. I think I will have to set aside some time to read all three again in succession. So I will have to buy the books myself – there is no higher accolade than that for me 😄.

Although this is supposed to be YA, it veers very close to an adult book, if only because of the violence and gore. The trilogy is about more than these, though. There is a lot of cleverness, well thought out “deep cunning”, unexpected turns and characters who constantly surprise the reader with their development. Those characters surpass stereotyped sex roles and twist expectations. Abercrombie is one of those authors who leave you thinking, long after the last bloody sword has been wiped clean.

Phew! I can’t say any more than that!

Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child

Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child

I am now around half way through my penultimate Jack Reacher thriller – Lee Child’s Gone Tomorrow, #13 in the series. This is another quite long book, so I haven’t managed to finish it in time for this week’s Roundup. I will include it in next week’s.

Happy Reading to you all!

Best wishes,

💙💛💚💜❤️

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Outfit of the day 17/10/17

Well, it was my outfit of the day for about an hour! Things have been rather fraught in our house for a few days and so my cough tends to react. I went down for breakfast, but had to come back up very quickly. As I have often said on here, thank goodness for my iPad and books!

Today’s outfit:

  • Antique brick cotton mix short-sleeved top – Lands’ End.
  • Dark mahogany cotton mix sport knit cords – Lands’ End.
  • Navy suede slippers – Lands’ End.
  • Peach enamel and gold tone earrings – Pilgrim.
  • Animal print enamel and gold bangle – Halcyon Days.
  • Silk scarf, 90cm, in brown, blush, coral, purple and green – Feline in Flower Garden – Ferragamo. Tied in a cowl cowboy knot, which really highlights the gorgeous drape and centre of the scarf.
Outfit of the day 17/10/17 with Ferragamo's Feline in Flower Garden

Outfit of the day 17/10/17 with Ferragamo’s Feline in Flower Garden

The usual Reading Roundup is planned for tomorrow.

Best wishes,

💙💛💚❤️💜

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Update 16/10/17

What a strange sky we have had in the English Midlands today. There was a red sun this morning and then the sky turned a shade of brownish orange with strong winds blowing dust. Hurricane Ophelia has not really affected us here very much, unlike in other places in the U.K., but I don’t think I have seen weather phenomena like this before. I don’t live in Nottingham anymore but this information from the local paper explains it all.

All day, I have been scared of the dust impacting on my asthma. I did manage to go downstairs for a while, but ended up back in bed for the afternoon. I had my annual flu vaccination on Saturday and think I have had a bit of a reaction, although I may just be totally paranoid!

Anyway, all of that means that I have only worn my favourite navy cashmere v-neck jumper with pyjama trousers today. The image below is of the pretty Ferragamo scarf that I am intending to wear tomorrow. I have got to break out of the navy phase for a while!

Feline in Flower Garden - Ferragamo

Feline in Flower Garden – Ferragamo

Best wishes,

💜💙💛❤️💚

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Outfit of the day 13/10/17

Well, I am feeling really chuffed to bits! After several pretty awful days spent in bed, I was able to get up and take myself out on my own this morning. What was the event that inspired me? A visit to the local library, of course 😄😄😄.

Love my library bag

Love my library bag

Actually, it was a Coffee Morning held in the library for National Libraries Week. I really wanted to support the library and its staff, so drove myself into town, parked, and then staggered to the library with my bag of book returns (exactly like the one above). I had a lovely chat with the staff (mentioned some of my history and suggested a few techie things), had my photo taken with a fellow Outlander fan, and then sat and sipped my coffee whilst reading my latest book. Then it was another stagger back to the car and home. It really feels like an achievement and I am now back in bed recovering (and reading).

Today’s outfit:

  • Navy cashmere, v-neck jumper – John Lewis. Really breaking out the cashmere now and putting away the cotton twin-sets.
  • Indigo jeans – Cotton Traders.
  • Bronze art nouveau style earrings.
  • Bluebell enamel and gold Chain bangle – Halcyon Days.
  • Cobalt enamel and gold Agama bangle – Halcyon Days.
  • Silk scarf, 90cm, in navy, blue, brown, beige, and green – Ferragamo. This scarf shows leopard silhouettes against a patterned background. In a loose, casual tie based on a bias fold.
Outfit of the day 13/10/17 with Ferragamo scarf.

Outfit of the day 13/10/17 with Ferragamo scarf.

Hope you all have a great weekend. I am planning to have my flu jab tomorrow and then see what comes up. You never know, something amazing might happen. Well, it might!!

Best wishes,

💚💙💛❤️💜

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Outfit of the day 12/10/17

OK, so I am cheating again as this is really yesterday’s outfit. Once again, I have been in bed all day after coughing really badly this morning. Kind Elder Son volunteered to give my bedroom a good clean and I think that the dust set me off.

Anyway, yesterday I wore this well-loved scarf with my red cashmere jumper. I bought it decades ago but still like the richness of the colours:

  • Cherry red, cashmere, round-neck jumper – Pure Collection.
  • Indigo jeans – Cotton Traders.
  • Bronze art nouveau style earrings.
  • Rose gold and crystal bangle.
  • Silk scarf in red, blue, turquoise, gold and lilac – Accessorize. Tied in a cowboy cowl knot.
Outfit of the day 12/10/17

Outfit of the day 12/10/17

I just want to show you a slight twist on this knot, which is an adaptation of the cowboy knot.  You can also tuck in the long “tail”, either into the cowl itself, or as I did in the photo below, into the neck of the jumper or shirt. I think it looks lovely both ways. The knot is a great way of highlighting the centre of a scarf, which often goes unseen. I have found some rather amusing instructions on The Purse Forum.

Best wishes,

💜💚💙💛❤️

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Reading roundup 11/10/17

Ooh! This is my 200th post! I can’t quite believe I have got this far with the blog 😄😄😄!

The Visitor by Lee Child

The Visitor by Lee Child

I have enjoyed my reading this last week, which is just as well because I have spent a lot of time in bed. First of all, I finished The Visitor by Lee Child. I think I only have a couple more books left to read in the Jack Reacher series and this one is #4. Here is the blurb for the book:

Sergeant Amy Callan and Lieutenant Caroline Cook have a lot in common. High-flying army career women, both are victims of sexual harassment from their superiors; both are force to resign from the service.

And now they’re both dead.

Their unmarked bodies are discovered in their homes, naked, in baths filled with army-issue camouflage paint. Expert FBI psychological profilers start to hunt for a serial murderer, a smart guy with a score to settle, a loner, an army man, a ruthless vigilante known to them both.

Jack Reacher, a former US military cop, is a smart guy, a loner and a drifter, as tough as they come. He knew both victims. For Agent-in-Charge Nelson Blake and his team, he’s the perfect match. They’re sure only Reacher has the answers to their burning questions: how did these women die? And why?

This is my review on Goodreads (I gave the book three stars):

I think that you have to go with the flow with this series and not take it too seriously. Yes, some of the stories are pretty preposterous and full of holes. Yes, I was dizzy trying to follow all of the travelling around the USA, by a variety of cars and planes. I also guessed who was the murderer really early on. But I still love reading about Reacher as I just get sucked into the excitement.

I have just checked and I only have two more books left in the series, apart from the short stories. One is waiting for me on the library’s reserved shelf, and I will pick that up on Friday. I had better reserve the last one as soon as I can. It is the latest, I think – The Midnight Line #22 – due out in November. Goodreads have offered this as a “Giveaway” if you are interested.

The Apostle by Jack Kerley

The Apostle by Jack Kerley

My next read was The Apostle by Jack Kerley, #12 in his Carson Ryder series. Some of you may remember that I read my first Jack Kerley, The Killing Game, last week and really enjoyed it. Here is the blurb for The Apostle:

The Reverend Honus Schrum, a nationally renowned minister and owner of a broadcasting empire, tells the media he has come home to Key West to die. Meanwhile, Detective Carson Ryder is investigating the ritualistic murders of young women with chequered pasts, discovering the killings have religious overtones.

Simultaneously, a newly retired Harry Nautilus takes a job as a driver/bodyguard for Richard Owsley, an ambitious pastor in Mobile. They come to Florida, where Owsley meets with Schrum and is enlisted to complete a special and mysterious ‘project’ Schrum has promised a billionaire benefactor.

As Carson digs deeper into the murders, Harry, interest piqued by all the hush-hush goings-on of his new employer, begins to covertly investigate the strange project. Their independent investigations begin to converge, and Carson and Harry uncover a horrifying connection between the cases…

I gave this book three stars and wrote this short review:

I enjoyed the last book I read by this author and this one was OK, but it was not quite as good. I am getting a bit sick of reading about gruesomely murdered women. Also, the religious side of the plot became rather boring. I do like the two main characters, however, so will probably read more in the series at a later date.

Deadline by Sandra Brown

Deadline by Sandra Brown

The final book book of the week was a very fast read for me: Sandra Brown’s Deadline. I think this is another author to add to my list for searching out at the library:

Dawson Scott is a well-respected journalist recently returned from Afghanistan. Haunted by everything he experienced, he’s privately suffering from battle fatigue which is a threat to every aspect of his life. But then he gets a call from a source within the FBI. A new development has come to light in a story that began 40 years ago. It could be the BIG story of Dawson’s career–one in which he has a vested interest.

Soon, Dawson is covering the disappearance and presumed murder of former Marine Jeremy Wesson, the biological son of the pair of terrorists who remain on the FBI’s Most Wanted list. As Dawson delves into the story, he finds himself developing feelings for Wesson’s ex-wife, Amelia, and her two young sons. But when Amelia’s nanny turns up dead, the case takes a stunning new turn, with Dawson himself becoming a suspect. Haunted by his own demons, Dawson takes up the chase for the notorious outlaws. . .and the secret, startling truth about himself.

Here is my Goodreads review for this four star book:

A thriller with a romantic aspect. This was a very gripping and exciting read, including many plot twists, although I had already worked out the biggest one. I read the book pretty quickly, so I expect that I will look for more by this author. Some of the sex scenes were perhaps unnecessary, but I suppose this is a developing genre: romantic thriller or thrilling romance? Oh, I have just seen that it is called romantic suspense! 😄

Well, it is nice to read about 💕 occasionally! Let’s have a few more of those: 💝💖💖💝

Conclave by Robert Harris

Conclave by Robert Harris

I am about to pick up a weighty hardback for my next read: Robert Harris’ Conclave. I will write about it in next week’s Reading Roundup and also review it on Goodreads, which feeds into this blog in a widget on the right-hand side, if you cannot wait to see my verdict!

Best wishes and enjoy your reading,

💜💙💚💛❤️

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