Update 05/07/18

This will be a very short post as the heat and humidity are having quite an effect on me today. In addition, Elder Son is having his annual day away from home to cope with the loss of his best friend five years ago. He hates being here on the day and so goes on a small trip away. I have been in touch with him and he seems to be OK, but will need loads of hugs when he gets home later this evening.

I have spent most of the day in pyjamas, so there is no Outfit of the Day, but here is a hint of things to come…

Victoria in amethyst pebbled leather by Marco Massaccesi

Victoria in amethyst pebbled leather by Marco Massaccesi

Ah, lovely 💗💖💕💖💗

Best wishes,

💗💗💗💗💗

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Reading roundup 04/07/18

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

First of all, I must tell you that I have read 56 books in the first half of the year – not bad going I think! Not that I am trying to break any records, of course.

I have been struggling with this one book since my last Reading Roundup post – Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward. Here is the blurb:

Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. His mother, Leonie, is in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is black and her children’s father is white. Embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances, she wants to be a better mother, but can’t put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use.

When the children’s father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love.

This is my review on Goodreads:

am not sure how to review this book or categorise it. I don’t think it is meant for someone like me: a white, lower middle class, English woman. It certainly was difficult for me to read. Difficult in several ways. The setting, Mississippi, is unusual for me, although I can empathise with the poverty, the misery of illness and the bleakness of drug-taking. There is a lot of love in the family, but also enormous secrets and struggles between the characters. I liked the switching between different points of view – that worked very well. I also liked the main character of the young boy, JoJo, and the supernatural touches. It was just hard to concentrate on and I kept waiting for things to happen so that I wouldn’t be tempted to put the book down.

Anyway, after my rather disjointed writing above, I awarded the book four stars in recognition of what the book is saying to a different reader to me in beautiful, lyrical language.

I have found concentrating a real problem with the heat we are having in most of the UK. The sunshine is lovely, but the high temperatures and dryness play havoc with my numerous conditions, making reading difficult. Anyway, I am part-way through my next book, Circe by Madeline Miller, and I hope that I can tell you about this book, and more, next week.

Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe by Madeline Miller

Until my next Reading Roundup post, Happy Reading to you all!

Best wishes,

📚📖📚📖📚

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Update 03/07/18: Final transition to grey!

I was so pleased to be able to go to the hairdresser today. The heat was too much for me yesterday and I ended up spending almost the whole day in bed struggling to breathe. It had cooled down a bit this morning and I felt much better, so Lovely Husband took me into town and then picked me up afterwards – he is so kind and thoughtful.

Anyway, here is the usual before and after collage. This is me, with no makeup at all (cannot bear it in hot weather). The dyed hair has all gone for good and I am left with a lot of salt and pepper with some lovely (IMHO) silver streaks. I really like the different shades and tones especially as these help to make my hair look a bit less thin, certainly in real life. My fringe is mostly silver, which seems to disappear in photos. The lovely blow dry was a bit spoiled on the way home as we had to roll the car windows right down and I got a bit windswept!

Before and after today’s haircut 03/07/18

Before and after today’s haircut 03/07/18

This collage below is the full before and after. On the left is what I would look like after the two hour dye job, cut and blow dry. On the right is today’s picture.

Full transition from August 2017 to July 2018

Full transition from August 2017 to July 2018

I am very happy with the result. My hair is now very easy to look after and I feel nice, especially when I wear some of my best clothes, in terms of colour, and put on a bit of makeup. I only have to wash my hair, comb it through and ruffle it a bit with my fingers. That’s OK for me!

Reading Roundup post tomorrow.

Best wishes,

💛❤💙💜💚

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Wardrobe planning #28: Wardrobe colour wheel update #02

Back in the early days of this blog, I tried to work out a sensible plan for my wardrobe including clothes, accessories and footwear. I had been, and am still, inspired by the wonderful Vivienne Files website and the way that Janice uses colourwheels to organise existing wardrobes and the buying of new pieces. This method helps to combat my tendency to purchase random items in a rainbow of colours simply because that item has taken my fancy. As I spend so much time online and have a monthly spends budget, I need to control my rather serendipitous buying!

The colour wheels below show the changes that I am making from my first attempt to make some sense of my wardrobe to my latest version, where I have had to account for some changes to my appearance.

First attempt:

Wardrobe Colours chart version #01

Wardrobe Colours chart version #01

For my first version, I assessed what I already had in my wardrobe, scarf collection, jewellery box, and so on, and came up with what I felt would be a working model. In this wheel, I had two base colours, or neutrals: navy and brown, with four accent colours: turquoise, purple, cream/ivory and coral.

Second version:

Wardrobe Colours chart version #02

Wardrobe Colours chart version #02

The second attempt came about because I quickly realised that brown wouldn’t really work for me long term. Some shades, such as tan, were fine for footwear and handbags, but others, like beige, were dreadful for my skin tone. Navy, on the other hand, was great as my base colour and I began to purchase more navy items.

Third version:

Wardrobe Colours chart version #03

Wardrobe Colours chart version #03

The third version was an honest assessment of what was really going on in my wardrobe and purchases. The rigid adherence to colour shades was not working for me – who needs to keep to rigid rules? I love all blue/green colours, for example, such as turquoise, aqua, and teal. Also, cobalt really appeals and purple colours from the darkest blackberry to mauve, lilac and lavender. I didn’t want to restrict myself just for an arbitrary plan, but, at the same time, needed structure so that I wouldn’t suddenly buy a piece in orange which wouldn’t go with anything.

Latest version:

Wardrobe Colours chart version #04

Wardrobe Colours chart version #04

So this latest and fourth version reflects my wardrobe now. I realised that going grey would have an effect on which colours would work for me. Bright cobalt, all shades of purple and turquoise, and warm pinks are lovely and I feel happy wearing them. Navy is a great base colour for me, but the brown items have had to go! I have kept a couple of tops in animal print which work with some of my scarves that I don’t want to get rid of. Apart from those, I am removing everything brown as it looks horrible and washes me out. I still love footwear in tan, so these are staying, especially as they work well with navy.

All of this development in eighteen months! Yes, it is also a bit obsessive, but as I am retired and cannot do much because of illness, I have the time to think about these things. I will now see if this fourth version works longer term. I don’t think that I need to add in another neutral, but will stick with navy as it is easy to find.

Anyway, if you are interested in analysing and planning your wardrobe like this, here are some of my previous posts on the matter. Also, do explore the Vivienne Files site as it is so inspiring.

Wardrobe planning #02 – choosing colours #01

Wardrobe planning #03 – choosing colours #02

Wardrobe planning #04 – choosing colours #03

Wardrobe planning #22: Wardrobe colour wheel update

Best wishes,

💙💜💚💛❤

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Outfit of the day 29/06/18

Once again, it has been a gorgeous day so far and I am feeling doubly pleased that we went out as well. Lovely Husband had an important meeting this morning and, while he was out, I made a real effort to get out of bed and spruce myself up. On his arrival home, I was well enough to suggest that we could go out for lunch and so we had a wonderful drive through the countryside to a local pub, which was full. In fact the whole village was heaving (there must have been some kind of event). We then went to our favourite hotel and really enjoyed their fish and chip special!

Carrying on this week’s blue and white theme, I tried out something new for me: mixed patterns. I adore my kimono jacket and realised that this old linen skirt’s colours were exactly the same tones of blue, so wore them together with a navy vest. I think that the outfit worked, well, I hope so. By the way, the colours don’t look that close in the photos below, but they are in real life.

Today’s outfit:

  • Navy cotton vest – Sainsbury’s Tu.
  • Blue and white modal China Tree kimono jacket – One Hundred Stars.
  • Blue and white linen skirt – Marks and Spencer.
  • Navy leather sandals – Suave.
  • Blue iris leather and pale gold Vara Bow bracelet – Ferragamo.
  • Blue and white ceramic and silver floral earrings – Emma Amies via Etsy.
Outfit of the day 29/06/18

Outfit of the day 29/06/18

It seems that this lovely weather is going to continue. Mind you, I now have two nasty insect bites – the little beasts love to chomp on me and, unfortunately, my skin always reacts badly. I could hardly sleep last night because of the itching!

Anyway, I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend.

Best wishes,

💙💜💚💛❤

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Reading roundup 28/06/18

This post is a day late because I had a pretty awful coughing attack yesterday and was unable to write. I have been able to finish another book today, so that gives me three to tell you about, which must be a good thing!

King of Ashes by Raymond Feist

King of Ashes by Raymond Feist

My first completed book of the week was King of Ashes by Raymond Feist, the first in his new series The Firemane Saga. This was an ebook downloaded from the Public Library Service. Here is the blurb:

For centuries, the five greatest kingdoms of North and South Tembria, twin continents on the world of Garn, have coexisted in peace. But the balance of power is destroyed when four of the kingdoms violate an ancient covenant and betray the fifth: Ithrace, the Kingdom of Flames, ruled by Steveren Langene, known as “the Firemane” for his brilliant red hair. As war engulfs the world, Ithrace is destroyed and the Greater Realms of Tembria are thrust into a dangerous struggle for supremacy.
As a Free Lord, Baron Daylon Dumarch owes allegiance to no king. When an abandoned infant is found hidden in Daylon’s pavilion, he realizes that the child must be the missing heir of the slain Steveren. The boy is valuable—and vulnerable. A cunning and patient man, Daylon decides to keep the baby’s existence secret, and sends him to be raised on the Island of Coaltachin, home of the so-called Kingdom of Night, where the powerful and lethal Nocusara, the “Hidden Warriors,” legendary assassins and spies, are trained.

Years later, another orphan of mysterious provenance, a young man named Declan, earns his Masters rank as a weapons smith. Blessed with intelligence and skill, he unlocks the secret to forging King’s Steel, the apex of a weapon maker’s trade known by very few. Yet this precious knowledge is also deadly, and Declan is forced to leave his home to safeguard his life. Landing in Lord Daylon’s provinces, he hopes to start anew.

Soon, the two young men—an unknowing rightful heir to a throne and a brilliantly talented young swordsmith—will discover that their fates, and that of Garn, are entwined. The legendary, long-ago War of Betrayal has never truly ended . . . and they must discover the secret of who truly threatens their world.

I have read quite a lot of books by Feist over the years and have really enjoyed them. This is the three star review I wrote on Goodreads:

I enjoyed this book and it was easy to read, but didn’t quite deserve four stars. The story arcs of the main characters were interesting enough and held my attention. Some of those characters were attractive and likeable and the fantasy world was well-drawn. But somehow it all fell a bit short, partly because I know that Feist can write much better than this. Yes, it was the first book in a series and didn’t stand alone on its own. Also, there was far too much repetition of things about the history of Garn or a particular character that the reader had learned several times before. It felt as if the author had forgotten that he had told us these facts earlier in the book! I will look out for the next book, but not go out of my way to acquire it. Oh, and the ebook version has loads of misspellings and other errors.

Do ebook publishers employ proper proof readers or rely on spellcheckers?

The Prophet by Ethan Cross

The Prophet by Ethan Cross

My second book of the week was The Prophet by Ethan Cross. I didn’t realise, when I picked it up at the Library, that it is the second book in a series. I think that I missed some backstory, but the book was OK to read on its own. Here is the blurb:

OLD ENEMIES…
Francis Ackerman Jr. is one of America’s most prolific serial killers. Having kept a low profile for the past year, he is ready to return to work – and he’s more brutal, cunning, and dangerous than ever.

NEW THREATS…
Scarred from their past battles, Special Agent Marcus Williams cannot shake Ackerman from his mind. But now Marcus must focus on catching the Anarchist, a new killer who drugs and kidnaps women before burning them alive.

HIDDEN TERRORS…
Marcus knows the Anarchist will strike again soon. And Ackerman is still free. But worse than this is a mysterious figure, unknown to the authorities, who controls the actions of the Anarchist and many like him. He is the Prophet – and his plans are more terrible than even his own disciples can imagine.

With attacks coming from every side, Marcus faces a race against time to save the lives of a group of innocent people chosen as sacrifices in the Prophet’s final dark ritual.

Again, I gave this book three stars and wrote this review:

This was an OK thriller which gripped this reader at some points, then irritated this reader at others. Perhaps I should simply have left it and read part #01 in the series first. Perhaps I am being unfair because I didn’t do that. I didn’t like Marcus, the main character, or the idea of having a semi-official setup where people can kill “perpetrators” rather than bringing them to justice. I also got fed up with the “gun porn”. I don’t really need to know the make of each weapon plus the details of the bullets. Maybe because I am English and we generally don’t do guns? Oh, one last gripe, I really hate this style of using very short chapters. This is why I have stopped reading a very famous thriller writer…

Macbeth by Jo Nesbo

Macbeth by Jo Nesbo

Finally, I managed to finish Jo Nesbo’s Macbeth this afternoon. Unusually for me, I ended up dropping this book, then reading a few chapters, then putting it down again, over and over. For some reason, I couldn’t decide to just let it go. Anyway, here is the blurb:

He’s the best cop they’ve got.

When a drug bust turns into a bloodbath it’s up to Inspector Macbeth and his team to clean up the mess.

He’s also an ex-drug addict with a troubled past.

He’s rewarded for his success. Power. Money. Respect. They’re all within reach.

But a man like him won’t get to the top.

Plagued by hallucinations and paranoia, Macbeth starts to unravel. He’s convinced he won’t get what is rightfully his.

Unless he kills for it.

Apparently, this book is part of a set with different authors basing novels on Shakespeare plays. Jo Nesbo’s Macbeth is a bit of a marmite book, judging by the reviews on Goodreads. Many people have awarded it the full five stars, other really dislike it. I gave it three stars, but perhaps it should be more like 3.5! Anyway, here is my quick review:

I have read most of Nesbo’s other books and really rate them. I also studied Shakespeare’s Macbeth at school many decades ago, but have forgotten everything apart from the main thrust of the plot. This book is cleverly written, using the characters and plot of the play but transposing it to the 1970s, to a very bleak town which is sinking into an abyss of corruption and crime. Sadly, I found the book very hard to read and struggled, particularly at the beginning, to actually enjoy the experience. So, I kept putting it down and reading something else. I am, however, glad that I persevered as the pace of the book improved so much in the second half. I also wish that I could have remembered more of the fine details of the play – I enjoyed the Birnam and “man born of woman” parts very much – it would have been even more interesting to see how Nesbo worked out more of the details into his new version.

As I have just finished Macbeth I haven’t yet decided what I will read next.

Happy Reading to you all!

Best wishes,

📚📖📚📖📚

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Outfit of the day 26/06/18

I am having a very similar day to yesterday. The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, and the insects and birds are humming and tweeting! And I sat reading and drinking tea in the garden this afternoon. Lovely!

🌞🐞🐝🌹☕⛱☕🌹🐝🐞🌞

Instead of wearing similar clothes to yesterday’s, white vest and linen trousers, I changed things a tiny bit by swapping to the navy version of the vest and trying my new linen mix skirt in the same colour. The skirt works well. The elasticated waist is comfortable, which I need, and the skirt is A-line and just above my ankles, which is reasonably flattering. I am enjoying this navy and white vibe at the moment as it feels so fresh.

Today’s outfit:

  • Navy cotton vest – Sainsbury’s Tu.
  • Navy linen mix skirt – Isle Collection.
  • Blue, white and green silk shrug – Pure Collection. I just had to try it again with this outfit.
  • Navy leather sandals – Suave.
  • Cream enamel, crystal and gold Agama earrings – Halcyon Days.
  • Cream enamel and gold Byzantine bangle – Halcyon Days.
  • Cream enamel and rose gold Ianthe pendant – Liberty of London.
Outfit of the day 26/06/18

Outfit of the day 26/06/18

I think I have read enough to write a Reading Roundup post tomorrow, all being well!

Best wishes,

💙💜❤💚💛

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