Blog updates 12/05/17

Before I retired in 2014, I was a school librarian for many years, with seven years “off” bringing up our two lads. My old Librain blog was all about the wonderful profession of school librarianship, but ill-health, both physical and mental, wreaked havoc with my ability to even think about my beloved career, never mind be the feisty, battling and probably annoying Librain who campaigned for better school library provision. These days, I can just about manage to enter a public library (even that was almost impossible when I first left work), and I am sometimes able to read professional articles posted by my friends and former colleagues. But the fight has gone out of me, or perhaps it has gone dormant for a while.

Putting the first book on the shelf - new Dixie Grammar School Library 2009

Putting the first book on the shelf – new Dixie Grammar School Library 2009

When I relaunched as The Librain…… retired, I intended this blog to avoid the controversial in the main and concentrate on the more trivial aspects of my current lifestyle – fashion and accessories – with a bit of a diary thrown in. I cannot avoid, however, thinking about what I considered to be my vocation. Well, it was actually my Mum who called it that, many years ago!

So, for now, I will put back a couple of pages on this blog, showing my career, and may occasionally manage to post something pertinent. But that will not happen often, unless my mental health improves or a Labour Government is elected!

Anyway, as I will always be a Librarian at heart, and one of our roles is information management, I decided to spend part of this afternoon and evening overhauling this blog and, hopefully, making it easier to navigate.

The menus at the top are a bit different:

1) About me leads to an introduction to me and this blog, then listed underneath are:

Living with ASD is a story I wrote many years ago to help people understand more about autism. Elder Son, who is in his twenties, has autism, as I have mentioned several times, and he is happy for me to upload this story.

Tributes to my Dad and my Mum are pretty self-explanatory. These are poems that I read out at their funerals in 2003 and 2012, respectively.

2) Reading gathers all of the blog posts where I have mentioned books and reading together in one list – it will end up being a long one!

3) School libraries leads to an introduction, which is basically a repeat of the first few paragraphs of this post, then to:

Advice for new school librarians – some ideas and tips gathered over the years which may still be useful for those starting out.

My career, which gives an overview of my career from 1981 until retirement in 2014.

SLA School Librarian of the Year 2005 – I was the inaugural winner of this award and must admit that I am still pretty chuffed about it all these years later!

4) Scarf of the moment gathers all of the posts on this topic under one menu heading so that they are easy to find.

5) Wardrobe planning gathers all of the posts on this topic under one menu heading so that they are easy to find.

I have also played around a bit with the widgets in the right-hand sidebar and hope that this also helps with navigation. Please let me know if any links or navigation elements don’t work and I will try to sort things out.

Hoping all readers have a happy weekend!


Posted in Blogging, Libraries, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Update 11/05/17

I don’t have much to write about today, really. We all worked together to do some housework this morning, which resulted in a car load of stuff to take to the recycling bank and the charity shops. This tired me out so much that I had to rest for the remainder of the day as I was also suffering from faintness due to the “postural hypotension” that I suffer from regularly.

Alice Shirley design for Hermès Fall 2017 "Into the Canadian Wild"

Alice Shirley design for Hermès Fall 2017 “Into the Canadian Wild”

There is one thing that lovers of Hermès scarves may find interesting. Members of The Purse Forum have already started the “Fall 2017” scarf thread, which is full of excitement and speculation about new scarves for that season. I know that it seems strange when we are only just in the Spring/Summer season, but that, apparently, is how the world of fashion works. I must admit that I get caught up in it all too and look out for new designs with great interest. This thread will run for months, first the rumours and speculation, then the “early birds” modelling the new scarves as they become available, and then weeks of discussion and photos as we all join in with our purchases from the online shops or the boutiques.

I had better start saving up, or “watering my money tree” as they say on tPF!

Posted in Health, Lifestyle, Scarves, Wardrobe | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Outfit of the day 10/05/17

I actually wore two outfits today. Although the day started bright this morning, I felt cold (thyroid issues) and so put on the same aqua cotton jumper that I wore yesterday. By lunchtime, I began to feel much warmer and so swapped to my bright navy twin-set before going out on one of our garden centre “jaunts”. It may seem silly, but going out even for an hour or so feels like quite an achievement these days, as I am definitely getting worse and much weaker, spending more and more time in bed.

In honour of this beautiful sunny day, I decided to wear Under the Waves 90cm for the first time this year. Designed by Alice Shirley for Hermès Spring/Summer 2016 season, this colourway has a dusky pink rolled hem and shows sea life and corals in pinks, turquoise, aqua, blues and shades of cream. When I do a Scarf of the Moment post on this scarf, I will show close-ups of the lovely sea creatures.

The scarf really goes best with my aqua jumper, but navy is also fine and it also looks nice with a range of summer tops in turquoise and pink. Anyway, this is what I eventually wore today when we went out. The collage below shows the two different outfits with the scarf image in between.

  • Silk scarf 90cm – Under the Waves – Hermès. Tied as an asymmetric wrap.
  • Bright navy, cotton cardigan – Lands’ End.
  • Bright navy, matching cotton short-sleeve top – Lands’ End.
  • Indigo jeans – Cotton Traders.
  • Blue topaz, triangle-shaped stud earrings.
  • Turquoise enamel and rose gold, giraffe pattern bangle – Halcyon Days.
Under the Waves - Hermès - collage #01

Under the Waves – Hermès – collage #01


Since I last wrote about my reading, last week, I have finished three books: Ann Cleeves’ Hidden Depths, Elly Griffiths’ A Roomful of Bones and Jane Casey’s Let the Dead Speak.

Hidden Depths by Ann Cleeves, A Room Full of Bones by Elly Griffiths, and Let the Dead Speak by Jane Casey

Hidden Depths by Ann Cleeves, A Room Full of Bones by Elly Griffiths, and Let the Dead Speak by Jane Casey

I am really enjoying Ann Cleeves’ work and am so pleased that the public library have both her Vera Stanhope series and also her Shetland series on their ebook system. It will be satisfying to work my way through them all and it is great how easy it is to borrow these ebooks on my iPad. If I run out of print books, then I can download so many interesting ebooks and, now I have the newer and lighter iPad, it is very comfortable to read in bed. I prefer reading print books if I am in the garden.

Last time I visited our local library, I went a bit mad raiding the shelves for anything by Elly Griffiths that I had not already read. So I got quite a few of her Ruth Galloway books, with a few gaps which I will sort out later on. I finished A Room Full of Bones the other day and continue to like how Griffiths blends a crime series with the development of her main characters. The archaeology strand also interests me a lot, as I have said before.

I had requested the Jane Casey book, which I think is the last in her Maeve Kerrigan series and, again, this was a gripping read. In fact, I was so gripped that I could not put the book down and so read it in one go. I am not sure if there will be any more Maeve adventures, as this book had a distinct feeling of closure (but I secretly hope that there will be more).

Now, I will draw this post to an end and start my new book:

A Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths

A Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths

Posted in Clothes, Libraries, Lifestyle, Outfit of the day, Reading, Scarves, Wardrobe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Outfit of the day 09/05/17

I wasn’t sure what to call today’s post, “Outfit of the day” or “Update”, as I just put random clothes on without my usual forethought. It felt cold when I got up this morning, so I grabbed the pretty aqua jumper from Lands’ End, my navy joggers and the patterned scarf bought by Elder Son some years ago. Actually, that is not correct, and this is quite amusing, I wrapped a very warm scarf around my neck. Now, it was warm because I had draped it over my teapot to keep my drink warm earlier on! So it felt lovely when I wore it.

Blimey! Is that a bit “old lady”? Well, who cares?

Anyway, here is a small collage of my clothing today:

So, apart from reading, which I will write about tomorrow, I have been sorting out our new TiVo box for our Virgin TV service. Lovely Husband had loads of recorded music programmes on the old box and was hanging on until the last minute. We were getting irritating pop-ups on the screen, reminding us to order the new box, for months, but he wouldn’t let me get on and sort things out.

Well, that has been done today, with help from Younger Son who did all of the grovelling on the floor connecting things. It seems to be working OK and, unless I am wrong about that last statement, it was pretty easy to do with very clear instructions.

Now I will have to teach LH and Elder Son how it all works, which should be “interesting”, to put it kindly!

Wish me luck! 🍀

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Wardrobe planning #18: Fashion and style blogs #02

Part one of this series was last Monday: Wardrobe planning #17: Fashion and style blogs #01 . I decided that this subject needed another post, so here it is!

Last week I wrote:

Now that I have retired, and also because I spend so much time resting, I have time to read all kinds of subjects. In the past, I would have been reading professional material about school libraries, literacy and the wider world of education. Now, I have had to leave all that behind to protect my mental health. One of the subjects I now read is fashion, particularly for the older woman.

I don’t read fashion blogs and then immediately start buying the clothing and accessories I see. Instead, I tend to treat them as guidelines and suggestions as to how I might put together outfits from my existing wardrobe and accessories. I have always enjoyed style and colour and these sites give me ideas!

This post will add more fashion and style blogs and websites that I have found since last week’s post. These have also been included in the sidebar.

A Well Styled Life

Jennifer Connolly is a professional Image Consultant and Personal Stylist, after a long career in fashion. The “About” page of the blog says:

Jennifer Connolly is the driving force behind A Well Styled Life, a lifestyle blog which inspires women over fifty to live with confidence by discovering a personal style which is true to themselves and all their own.

A Well Styled Life screenshot

A Well Styled Life screenshot

Advanced Style

Amazing images of older people showing off their style!

Photographer and author, Ari Seth Cohen, is the creator of Advanced Style, a project devoted “to capturing the sartorial savvy of the senior set.” He says, “I feature people who live full creative lives. They live life to the fullest, age gracefully and continue to grow and challenge themselves.”

Ari has a longtime interest in clothing and style and a lifelong affinity for his elders. When he was growing up, his late grandmother Bluma (a librarian) was his best friend; her “energy and attitude towards life” continue to inspire him. As a result, he couldn’t help but question the absence of mature faces in the lifestyle and fashion media. “I noticed a lack of older people in fashion campaigns and street style sites,” he says. “I wanted to show that you can be stylish, creative and vital at any age.”

Who can resist someone inspired by a librarian!

Advanced Style screenshot

Advanced Style screenshot

Chic At Any Age

Josephine says on her “About” page:

Chicatanyage is a fashion resource for women over 50 who want to learn more about style, fashion and what will suit them as mature women. If you want to continue to look good and have fun with fashion you have come to the right place.

I have not been following this blog, but I think I will spend some time this week reading back through the archives as I really like the photos I have seen so far.

Chic At Any Age screenshot

Chic At Any Age screenshot

Midlife Chic

Nikki Garnett was the editor of Selfridges’ Style magazine for nine years and is now a marketing consultant. She says this about her blog:

I’ve created Midlifechic because a little while ago, amidst all the chaos of family and working life, I was beginning to feel like I’d lost my groove. So this is for anyone else out there over 40 who is emerging from the baby years and trying to rediscover the woman they used to be.

Midlife Chic screenshot

Midlife Chic screenshot

No Fear of Fashion

Greetje Kamminga is the Dutch writer of this blog, which she aims at everyone “but probably most appealing to women over 40, like me (oh alright…I am way over)”. Her photos are lovely and inspiring – I wish I could be as slim as her!

No Fear of Fashion screenshot

No Fear of Fashion screenshot

Over 50 Feeling 40

The strapline says:

Fashion and Lifestyle Blog for women over 50 to help achieve strength, confidence, joy, inspiration, and, of course, head-turning personal style!

The “Mission” of the blog:

…my mission with over50feeling40 is to inspire women over 50 to look and feel their best… to strive to be women of strength and dignity…and to enjoy every single day of life…one day at a time.

Over 50 Feeling 40 screenshot

Over 50 Feeling 40 screenshot

Style Crone

Judith, the writer, is in her 70s and has this to say about her blog:

Welcome to Style Crone, dedicated to the older woman, in her most creative, outrageous, authentic, powerful, adventurous, funny, and proud era. Let’s take back the word crone, to its original meaning, signifying a woman of a “certain age’ who embodies all her life’s wisdom, knowledge, experience, and love.

Her photos are gorgeous and so beautiful. As I am “only” in my 60s, perhaps there is hope for me yet!

Style Crone screenshot

Style Crone screenshot

Une Femme d’Un Certain Age

A lovely personal blog:

My name is Susan, and I’m 60, married, and a mother to a special-needs young adult son. Last year I left my full-time administrative career, and am looking forward to this next chapter in my life. I love (in no particular order): coffee, Paris, travel, my family, my dogs, wearing black, leopard print, dancing, good food, lipstick, finding the perfect pair of shoes, jazz, costume dramas, champagne, and books about history.

I believe that personal style is an essential form of self-expression and started this blog in 2007 in hopes of having a conversation about style for our demographic, which no one else seemed to be addressing at the time. I’m delighted to say that’s changed since then, and is now only one of many, many fabulous style blogs and websites for women over fifty.

Une Femme d'Un Certain Age screenshot

Une Femme d’Un Certain Age screenshot

I hope readers enjoy exploring these blogs. Please let me know if you find any others for “Femmes d’Un Certain Age” and I will add them to my list!

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Scarf of the moment: Bateau Fleuri

Bateau Fleuri has been available as a 90cm and a gavroche since it was first designed by Ljubomir Milinkov for Hermès’ Spring/Summer 2015 season.

The scarf shows a sailing ship floating across stylised waves. The sails and the ship are studded with plants and flowers and there are pretty birds, fish and butterflies in lovely colours.  In the colourway I chose, the main background is navy, the border is turquoise and the rolled contrast hem is navy. There are also touches of lavender and pink. The image below is of the gavroche size that I own in colourway 07.

Bateau Fleuri by Ljubomir Milinkov for Hermès

Bateau Fleuri by Ljubomir Milinkov for Hermès

The gavroche came in a range of colours, I think that mine is the prettiest!

Here are the 90cm colourways – lovely, as I am sure readers would agree:

The slideshow below are photos of the details: the pretty birds, butterflies and fish and also the ship itself.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The collage is pretty self-explanatory! I tend to wear this gavroche in a simple tie and with navy, teal and turquoise clothes. It goes nicely with some of my vintage handbags and also many of my bracelets and bangles.

Bateau Fleuri - Hermès - collage #02

Bateau Fleuri – Hermès – collage #02

The design story:

Designer Ljubomir Milinkov owes his lifelong love of Nature, flowers, and fields of wheat to his home village of Sovac, in the Serbian province of Šumadija – the inspiration for the fresh, poetic touch and gentle humour suffusing his work. There’s a hint of Sixties and Seventies ‘Flower Power’, and Milinkov’s delicate, precise line hints, too, at the distant influence of Orthodox icon painting. In 1962, aged twenty four, he left his native Serbia to pursue his dream of becoming a painter in Paris. Soon, the irresistible lure of New York drew him further West. He moved to the States, and held his first exhibition in 1972 at the Masur Museum of Art in Monroe, Louisiana. Returning to France, he was commissioned by Jean-Louis Dumas to design his first carré for Hermès – Jardin enchanté – in 1986. Ljubomir’s Bateau perfectly encapsulates the artist’s world: a delightful voyage aboard a ship fitted with sails of flowers, in a sea of butterflies, fish and multicoloured birds. Like a wandering, waking dream…

Posted in Scarf of the moment, Scarves, Wardrobe | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Update 04/05/17

A beautiful sunny day today, although quite windy. We have stayed in because Lovely Husband has had a bit of a reaction to yesterday’s procedure at the hospital.

A Game of Ghosts by John Connolly

A Game of Ghosts by John Connolly

This afternoon, I finished the wonderful John Connolly book, A Game of Ghosts, which I have been reading for the last few days. As I sit here in bed, my feelings about the book are best summed up in the review I have just written on Goodreads:

A John Connolly book always leaves me haunted. It is a book I want to read slowly, that I don’t really want to finish because I know I will have to wait until he writes and publishes the next one. Because I know that no other books will satisfy me so completely as his do. Such an amazing mixture of crime, mysterious feelings, brilliant writing, suspense, shock, horror, ghosts….I am haunted again.

Telling Tales by Ann Cleeves

Telling Tales by Ann Cleeves

I have also recently completed Ann Cleeves’ Telling Tales, second in her Vera Stanhope series and I have the third one, Hidden Depths, lined up in ebook format from the public library. I hope to start that one tomorrow. I found Telling Tales very interesting as it is set in a fictional version of East Yorkshire, near Hull. As LH’s family come from that area, and a small branch of mine too, it is somewhat familiar. I always like a setting that resonates, even if only a little.

Hidden Depths by Ann Cleeves

Hidden Depths by Ann Cleeves

I hope that we are all feeling OK this evening  and can go to the polling station as a family to vote for our local councillors. We usually go “en masse” like this and it feels good to participate together.

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