Update 26/05/17

Sorry, I cannot manage a proper post tonight. It has been so hot today that I fell asleep this afternoon and woke up feeling awful: a horrible, heavy, dopey headache. Never mind. I hope everyone has a great Bank Holiday weekend.

💚💛💙💜❤️

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Update 25/05/17

Yet another hospital visit today. It was a very early appointment so, as it is quite a long way, I had to get up at a very difficult time for me. It was a struggle, but I really wanted to be there for Lovely Husband as I felt that I should be present to help with remembering what was said. The appointment was with a genetic counsellor, going through the implications for LH and his family if there is any genetic link with cancer. Well, we now have to wait for test results before we can really think things through.

I wore the same outfit as Tuesday – white vest, spot cardigan, and jeans – but at the last minute decided to wear flat shoes rather than sandals as I had developed a small blister when wearing them yesterday. Thank goodness that I did wear the shoes. We had to walk a really long way through the hospital to get to the right building as they have recently built a new Emergency Unit right across all of the pedestrian access routes. Both of us were really exhausted when we arrived and had a real struggle to get back to the car. You would think that hospitals of all places would plan for disabled patients!

I did change pendants today and wore this lovely blue topaz and silver one, which was a present from my Mum many years ago, bought in Bristol. The three stones have different cuts and then each section is hinged to the next, which makes the piece much more interesting.

Blue topaz and silver pendant.

Blue topaz and silver pendant.

When we got home, I sat in the garden after lunch and read for a while. It was so lovely to sit surrounded by our wonderful garden, although I do feel a bit guilty looking at the weeds. I used to be the family “gardener”, but can no longer manage this role. We do have a lovely man who comes to cut the grass so perhaps I need to get him in for more hours to give everything a good tidy up. I will take some photos of the garden at some point and post about it properly.

Back to the subject of clothing: I was having a good look through my Summer tops yesterday and realised that I don’t have much in one of my accent colours – purple/lilac. So, I ordered two vests, like the white one that I have worn this week, in purple sapphire and fresh lavender. I really like the shape and the fabric is lovely and thick. I also bought another cotton mix cardigan in frosted lavender. Again, I already have several of these and they are so very useful across the seasons. These are all coming from Lands’ End, who were having a 25% off promotion.

Vests and cardigan by Lands' End

Vests and cardigan by Lands’ End

I will let you know what I think of them when they arrive.

❤️💚💙💜💛

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Reading roundup 24/05/17

I have decided to make Wednesdays Reading Roundup days. As I usually get through quite a few books each week, it will be good to remind myself about what I have read on a regular basis, apart from the short reviews I write on Goodreads.

A Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths

A Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths

Well, I say “quite a few books” and that is usually true, but this last week I got a bit bogged down with one book! First of all, I finished Elly Griffiths’ A Dying Fall. I think I was having some trouble concentrating as I wrote in this review:

I enjoyed this book, as I have all that I have read of the Ruth Galloway series so far, but I have to give it 3 stars rather than 4. For some reason, although I read the book in one sitting, I got the strands of the story a bit muddled and found some aspects rather unlikely and over the top. I even found an error early on in the book! Page 64 of this paperback edition: “…she understands how the Roman legions must have felt, leaving the sunny comfort of Italy and travelling northwards to the barbarous lands of the Anglo-Saxons”. Um, I think that the Anglo-Saxons did not live on these islands until after the Romans came. I could be wrong, but I thought that the Roman legions fought the British. Anyway, I suppose that is nit picking and I am already looking forward to reading Elly Griffiths’ next book.

As I spend more and more time in bed, I tend to flit between reading a print book, an ebook or random stuff on my iPad: Facebook, tPF, blogs, news etc. Just as the younger generations seem to find sustained reading an issue, I believe that a mixture of the above behaviour plus illness plus age is having a similar effect on me. Whereas in the past I had no trouble with concentration, I am finding it harder to focus on one thing at a time. Multitasking can be a very useful skill in certain contexts, but can be a serious block to reading a long book or one with an involved plot and lots of characters. So perhaps I was a bit harsh on this book and also the next one that I finished a couple of days ago.

NOS4R2 by Joe Hill

NOS4R2 by Joe Hill

Joe Hill’s NOS4R2 was a real struggle for me to finish. In the past, or in a different mood, I would have gobbled this book up with relish. Yes, it is very long and the plot pretty involved, but I used to love gory horror fiction just like this. Yet, as I said, it was a struggle. I got to around half way through and wondered if I should simply give up. But, and readers will know this feeling, a mixture of childhood admonitions that everything started must be finished together with the idea that I would have wasted my time by giving up…well, let’s just say that I did persevere and got to the end. There is nothing wrong with the book. I think that it was just me.

Oh, and one other thing. I must be getting stupid or forgetful in my old age! All the way through the book I kept getting an echo of Stephen King. Well, of course Joe Hill is Stephen King’s son! I should have remembered that nugget of information 😂.

The Kept Woman by Karin Slaughter

The Kept Woman by Karin Slaughter

Anyway, let us draw a line under that and go on to the next book. This is by one of my favourite authors: Karin Slaughter. I tend to read her books in one go and The Kept Woman was no exception. I love Slaughter’s series: Grant County and Will Trent. The characters are different, not stereotypes, and very vivid. The plots are complex but the writing holds your attention and does not let go. Some find these books too gruesome, but I like a bit of “grue” in my reading. I read for escapism and I do escape into these worlds and lose track of the even more nasty real world in which we live.

Shot Through the Heart by Isabelle Grey

Shot Through the Heart by Isabelle Grey

The next book was started yesterday and I will probably finish it tomorrow: Shot Through the Heart by Isabelle Grey. I am enjoying this a lot so far and will review it on Goodreads when I do get to the end.

The next Reading Roundup will be on Wednesday 31/05/17, assuming all is well.

❤️💜💙💚💛

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Outfit of the day 23/05/17

The day started grey and a bit gloomy but soon warmed up and the sun came out. Yes, this is the English obsession with the weather! It is no wonder really that we are so obsessed. The weather in the U.K. is so changeable and can vary within a few miles, so we watch the forecast in order to decide what to wear, apart from anything else.

So, today I took the annual decision and wore sandals for the first time this year and also didn’t wear a scarf! Eek! My neck felt really strange. The main reason is that it was hairdresser day again so I wore a pendant instead and tied my Dans un Jardin Anglais twilly on my handbag. This twilly is meant to be Autumn/Winter, but it looks just right on this handbag and I am quite prepared to break any fashion rules.

Dans un Jardin Anglais twilly - Hermès

Dans un Jardin Anglais twilly – Hermès

The pendant must be the piece of jewellery that I have had the longest. I can remember it being a present, probably for Christmas, when we still lived in Canterbury. So I was either twelve or thirteen. My parents gave it to me to go with an orange polo jumper and a teal corduroy mini skirt (it was the 60s). A looooooong time ago. Anyway, I thought it would go nicely with this outfit and the pearl studs would echo the white spots on the cardigan.

Today’s outfit:

  • Bright navy with white spots, viscose mix cardigan – Roman.
  • White cotton vest – Lands’ End.
  • Indigo jeans – Klass.
  • Shell pendant with silver chain.
  • Pearl and silver stud earrings.
  • White enamel and silver bangle.
  • Navy leather sandals – Suave.
  • Navy, deep blue Africa, leather tote bag – Massaccesi.

I always love having my hair done, particularly the soothing scalp massage part – I nearly fall asleep. You may have noticed, in the collage above, that I did something fairly unprecedented when I got home – I put some makeup on!!!!!!

Well, I decided to give Lovely Husband a shock and remind him that I can “scrub up” reasonably well when I want to. So, below are the before and after shots, with a full length version in between. I thought about missing that photo out as it does clearly demonstrate how much weight I am carrying at the moment (Younger Son does not do flattering photos), but I thought I would include it in the spirit of honesty ☺️.

Before and after the hairdresser with the addition of makeup!

Before and after the hairdresser with the addition of makeup!

I am going to enjoy reading a new book today and will catch up about my reading in tomorrow’s post.

❤️💙💚💜💛

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Wardrobe planning #20: Modern handbags

Having written about and shown my vintage handbags last week, I thought I would turn to my modern (?…is that the opposite of vintage?) bags. Now, I am a very ordinary person with a small budget and so have to be sensible about the amount I can spend on handbags. There is no way that I will ever be able to afford an Hermès’ or any of the other major designers’ handbags. But I can enjoy looking at them on The Purse Forum!

In the early days, my 20s and 30s, I probably only owned one or two. My main bag would be used just about every day until it fell apart. Then I had a couple of small evening bags and beach bags, that kind of thing. My main bag would always be leather and probably black or brown, although I did occasionally branch out into blue or red. I have also always had a weakness for a bit of bling.

As I got older, I began to spend a little more and buy better quality bags which lasted longer. By adding in a few more, I could rotate wearing them and have them for different uses and seasons. I now have a spending ceiling of £300 and can find some lovely items at that price level.

I am generally a shoulder bag person and need to put quite a lot of things inside, especially since I became so ill. So medications and a water bottle are necessary, as well as the usual purse/phone/keys/glasses etc. My day-to-day handbags, therefore, need to be at least a reasonable size. On the other hand, as I am now so weak and ill, I cannot manage anything too large or heavy. So handbag buying from now on will be a bit of a minefield.

When it comes to colour choices, I now think of “my” colours when I am looking for a new bag, so mainly navy, purple, shades of brown, cream and turquoise. I think that this is a good way to choose handbags that will fit with my wardrobe.

So here are some of my bags, in a rough chronological order of purchase:

Small bags

I will get this category out of the way first. Small handbags don’t really suit my present lifestyle, as I mentioned above – I have so much stuff that I need to have close by in case I have a massive coughing fit. As I don’t go out often on an evening any more, my decorated bags are almost redundant, although I keep them in the hope that my health might improve. Anyway, the collage below shows a few of my smaller bags.

Small shoulder bags and evening bags.

Small leather shoulder bags and beaded evening bags.

Medium to large bags

Francesco Biasia (no longer in business but still available from eBay and resellers)

Shoulder bag – glazed leather – purple with gunmetal fittings – Francesco Biasia – SS2005?

This has been my main bag since I bought it on holiday in 2005 and has been used day after day until I retired. I still love it and use it often, especially during the cold months. It has held up well, apart from some wear in the stitching. The colour does fade over time and then I polish it with a good shoe cream, being careful to buff it up well to avoid colour transfer. I have been complimented on this handbag several times over the years.

Purple leather handbag by Francesco Biasia

Purple leather handbag by Francesco Biasia

Peony and Moore (no longer in business)

Hobo bag – glazed leather – fuchsia with brown handles and old gold fittings – Peony and Moore Mariella SS2011. Note: the top image, below, shows the true colour.

I bought this gorgeous colour bag as a treat after returning to work from a long period off with illness. It is a large hobo in a shiny vibrant fuchsia leather with chocolate brown handles and brushed gold hardware. A great summer bag, it doesn’t fit with the colour scheme I now use for my wardrobe, but it looks good with navy jeans or linen trousers and a white top. I wear brown sandals when I carry this bag.

Mariella in fuchsia and brown leather by Peony and Moore

Mariella in fuchsia and brown leather by Peony and Moore

Hobo bag – leather – caramel with brown handles and old gold fittings – Peony and Moore Georgia – SS2014.

This is a similar shape to the Mariella above, but smaller and with a useful outside pocket. The caramel leather is very squishy and goes well with most things. I tend to wear this in the late Summer and Autumn.

Georgia in caramel and brown leather by Peony and Moore

Georgia in caramel and brown leather by Peony and Moore

Jane Hopkinson

Shoulder bag – leather – turquoise and black with silver fittings – Jane Hopkinson – Celeste small plaited satchel – SS2012.

I love the bright turquoise of this bag and the black makes a nice contrast, although I do try to avoid black these days. The plaited handle make a nice touch. The leather appears to have stretched in places and so I cannot carry anything heavy in it.

Turquoise leather handbag - Jane Hopkinson

Turquoise leather handbag by Jane Hopkinson

Clarks

Tote bag – leather and fabric – Liberty print and tan with gold tone fittings – Clarks Minorca Bay – SS2013.

This bag is used during the Summer months when I am feeling fit enough (and flamboyant enough) to wear the matching wedges! I adore Liberty print fabrics and this Ianthe one in particular.

Minorca Bay in Liberty print fabric and tan leather by Clarks

Minorca Bay in Liberty print fabric and tan leather by Clarks

I bought this bag to go with these lovely wedges. I wish I could wear them more often 😍.

Wedge sandals - purple suede and Liberty fabric - Clarks

Wedge sandals in purple suede and Liberty fabric by Clarks

Isle Clothing

Print shopper bag – fabric – blue and cream – Isle Clothing SS2016.

A useful and very inexpensive bag that looks great with many of my navy and white/cream clothes such as t-shirts, linen trousers, jeans and skirts.

Shopper in blue and cream fabric by Isle

Shopper in blue and cream fabric by Isle

Massaccesi

Tote bag – textured leather (Deep Blue Africa) – navy blue with light gold fittings and marine lining – Massaccesi – Midi-zip Selene – AW2016.

My favourite handbag of all time!

💕💕💕💕💕💕

The Purse Forum does a great job of enabling.  The gorgeous photos are so tempting, especially to those, like me, with very little will-power! So, when I saw Forum members’ images of Massaccesi handbags, I was hooked. This company, based in Italy, makes beautiful bespoke bags at sensible prices which are within my limit. Each season new designs and new leathers are announced via their website, blog and on Facebook. It is possible to discuss, with their representative via email, which leather type is suitable for the design and then choose the colour of the leather, hardware and lining and come up with a bespoke design that meets your needs. There is a lot of choice!

I love this design so much that I am thinking of getting another one, probably in the Bronze Africa leather you can see on the small pouch below. By the way, I use the pouch as a place to store my silk scarves if the weather turns to rain or it gets too hot. I think I have written this several times before!

Midi zip Selene in Deep Blue Africa by Massaccesi

Midi zip Selene in Deep Blue Africa and Penelope midi in Bronze Africa by Massaccesi

I must repeat that I don’t make any money from this blog! Anyway, if you are interested in Massaccesi handbags, do have a look at their website, blog and also the two main threads on The Purse Forum:

Marco Massaccesi
For the Love of Massaccesi

The Purse Forum threads:
Massaccesi Handbags
Our Massaccesi Handbags Reference Pictures Only


I only have a couple more Wardrobe Planning posts in the pipeline. I am not sure if anyone would be interested in my shoe collection and I am very reluctant to post about my small amount of decent jewellery, for obvious reasons. If anything comes to mind, I will, of course, add more in this series at some point in the future.

❤️💛💜💚💙

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Scarf of the moment: De la Mer Au Ciel

This wonderful scarf, De la Mer au Ciel, was designed by Laurence Bourthoumieux, also known as “Toutsy”, for Hermès’ Spring/Summer 2014 season. The design shows an ocean with fish, plants and other sea inhabitants. An amazing spiral starting in the centre of the scarf has an array of fish metamorphosing into birds and back to fish again. The ocean waves roll and splash against a sky with scudding clouds. There is a lovely patterned border and contrast rolled hem.

De la Mer au Ciel by Laurence Bourthoumieux for Hermès

De la Mer au Ciel by Laurence Bourthoumieux for Hermès

The design reminds me somewhat of Escher’s images of tessellations and metamorphoses in his work. I would have liked to put some of these images here, but copyright issues make this impossible. Instead, you may like to look at the following links:

M. C. Escher: Sky and Water I
Image of a woodcut showing both a tessallation and metamorphosis from fish to bird.

M. C. Escher: Swans
Image of a woodcut showing a moebius strip of swans. There are a host of other images on this official site which show my thinking on this.


I fell in love with this scarf as soon as I saw it online and chose what I considered to be a realistic colourway of blues and greens – colourway 08. Back in 2014 I was all about realistic colours, but Hermès has gently converted me over the last few years to more adventurous choices in my newer scarves!

Colourways for the 90cm:

Some of the colourways for the 140cm shawl (I have not been able to find all of them online):

The design story:

‘Fish, like sea-butterflies, metamorphose to greet the sky.’ With these words, Laurence Bourthoumieux describes her teeming, rippling composition of harmonious curves, their meandering forms evoking the ocean depths, and skies full of birds and butterflies. The design is – quite literally – a picture of metamorphosis in action, a vision of a world floating and flying free of gravity itself; a fluid, dreamlike world where shapes, colours and light are transformed from one moment to the next. Centuries ago, the sky was sometimes thought to be composed of the same elements as the sea. And in ancient Greece, fish were among the attributes of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, born – like this silken bestiary – of the ocean spray.

Below are some close-ups of the design details:

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This is a real Spring/Summer cheerful scarf and goes beautifully with my cobalt blue cable jumper, white tops and navy cardigans. It ties really well and shows different aspects depending on which way it is folded:

De la Mer au Ciel - Hermès - collage #03

De la Mer au Ciel – Hermès – collage #03

These are some of the clothes in my wardrobe that go well with this scarf. I wish I were slim enough to wear white jeans! Shades of green would look nice with it too, if that is what you have in your closet.

De la Mer au Ciel - Hermès - collage #04

De la Mer au Ciel – Hermès – collage #04

And these bracelets and bangles in my jewellery box look great with it:

Bracelets and bangles for De la Mer au Ciel

Bracelets and bangles for De la Mer au Ciel

There are other blog posts on this wonderful scarf which you may find enlightening:

My Little Scarf Blog: Wearing De la Mer au Ciel
How to wear this scarf in different ways – same colourway as mine!

Olfactoria’s Travels: The Circle of Life – Hermès De La Mer Au Ciel Scarves
This is a lovely blog post exploring different colourways of the scarf.

Vivienne Files: Choosing a Scarf – Hermès in Orange
Janice writes about how to choose clothing to go with several alternative colourways of this scarf.


I hope you have found today’s Scarf of the Moment post interesting. If I find any more images of the shawl colourways, I will add them to this post.

❤️💜💙💚💛

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Outfit of the day 18/05/17

It has been brighter today, with sunshine peeping out between the clouds. One design fault in our study is that the sun shines straight through the roof light and lands directly on my laptop at certain times of the day. I was trying to do some useful household stuff and simply couldn’t see the screen! I suppose we should get a blind – one of those “get around to it” jobs that no one seems to get around to doing.

I wore a very old scarf today, one that my Mum bought me years ago. It is a simple silk, crinkly long scarf but I love the colours in it – lots of blue shades. I didn’t want to wear anything thick and heavy as it has been quite warm.

Today’s outfit:

  • Blue silk scarf.
  • Bright navy, cotton cardigan – Lands’ End.
  • Bright navy, cotton top – Lands’ End.
  • Navy cotton joggers – Cotton Traders.
  • Aqua glass and silver heart-shaped earrings or blue topaz and gold stud earrings (I changed my mind after making the collage!).
Blue silk scarf - collage #01

Blue silk scarf – collage #01

Elder Son was pleased when his upgraded phone arrived this morning. As he has ASD and is fairly vulnerable, we have to carefully balance his yearning for an “all bells and whistles” phone with our concern that he could be a potential target for theft. He also has a tendency to lose things for a few months, before they miraculously turn up again somewhere very weird. So, it is a nice phone and he is pretty chuffed with it so far, but very inexpensive – phew! Between us, Younger Son and I got it working and he has gone out looking pleased. I hope he comes home again in the same mood!

Tomorrow, there will be a Scarf of the Moment post about the lovely Hermès’ De la Mer au Ciel. I had better spend the rest of the afternoon finishing it, in between reading, of course 😉.

De la Mer au Ciel by Laurence Bourthoumioux for Hermès

De la Mer au Ciel by Laurence Bourthoumioux for Hermès

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